Tag Archive for: Family Manager

Fall Classes 2010

Fall means back to school! The sunny days of summer are over and fall is a great time to tackle those home projects.    Join me in learning more about organizing strategies at these upcoming events! 

Fall Refresh on September 14

Fall Refresh is an engaging afternoon program about organizing and interior design.  Certified Professional Organizer Ellen Delap will present Out with the Old .  Interior Decorator Leslie Sarmiento will present Company’s coming!  Refresh your home by decluttering and adding the latest in decorating trends.    Bring at friend and join us at this free presentation at Kingwood Public Library at 1 pm. 

 Organizing for Academic Success on September 20

Struggling to help your child with school success?  Join me in sharing techniques and tools to help your student get into the groove of school again.  Class is offered by phone at 7 pm central time.  Fee of $29. http://theprofessionalorganizer.com/organizingclasses/back-to-schoolwork/organizing-for-academic-success/ 

Organizing for Academic Success  for the AD/HD Student on September 21 

Join me for strategies to help your student with AD/HD achieve the success she/he deserves.  Class is free at Kingwood Public Library at 1 pm.

 Clutter Support Group beginning September 21

Have you had a life long struggle with being organized?  Need support from a community of people who are equally overwhelmed?  Join me in learning from others in the Clutter Support Group. This membership based group is the starting point for your journey in transforming your life, helping you define, establish and maintain an uncluttered lifestyle.  Group meets for 6 weeks, starting September 21.  Fee of $120.  Contact Ellen for details. 

Organizing for the Busy Mom and Dad  starting October 5

Take a fresh perspective to improve your and your family’s quality of life!   The Family Manager™system transfers management skills and strategies  from the business arena to running your home and personal life.  Family Manager skills help you reduce daily stress, create a smoothly running home, and have time for self care and recreation. Four weekly one hour teleclasses on  October 5, 12, 19, and 26.  Fee of $49.  Contact Ellen for details. 

Last minute school organizing

It’s the last weekend before school, your back packs are packed, complete with pencils and paper.  Your kids’ new school outfits are laid out and ready for the first day.  You have lunch bags set on the counter, ready to fill.    So what is left to prepare or organize for the new school year?   Being organized means you have that last minute fun before the new school year.    Have a last minute fling with a day trip to Galveston,  family fun night of games, or just an inexpensive jaunt to a local park.   

Are you not ready and not so organized?  Put in a couple of hours of organizing and jump into the fun!  Your kids will remember this last minute fun more than you will stress over being unorganized. And next year it will be a reminder of why get organized – so you can  have more fun! 

On your outing, talk about what is going to make this school year the best yet!  What will each of you do to be great team members for your family? What will be your goal and what does it take to get there? What routines will help everyone achieve their goals for the new year?   The best part of family fun is the communication that happens, the sharing laughter and the time spent together. 

Not even getting ready for school?  Have your last minute fling next weekend!  Kids and families will be in their new routines and it will be less crowded than Labor Day Weekend.

 We all want to stretch summer to the end!

Back to School Preparation Checklist

Back to school check lists


You and your kids are counting down the days until school begins again.  Start the year off right with some easy steps to prepare for the first day.   A little preparation goes a long way throughout the school year.



It is time to schedule all those back to school doctor, dental and eye glass appointments. It can take up to 2 weeks so call now for the best time.  Many athletic departments require physicals and it is important to have an updated immunization record. Be proactive and get these dates on your calendar.  Remember to get an extra copy for your files too!  Schedule other groom essentials like haircuts and more too.



Before the new year avalanche of paper starts, take the last year’s artwork and corral it.  Using a Fed Ex Box large box, save only the “precious” items to store in the top of a closet.  Label the box by year (1st grade or 2009-2010).  Now you are ready for this year’s art.

Set up your command center for action papers.  Your command center holds all the very important action papers, including bills, kids papers from school  and other papers requiring an action. Add sections for papers that will be pending and filed. Each day open your mail at this station, recycle junk mail, shred potential identity theft papers and bring catalogs and magazines to a reading spot. By creating a specific work station for these papers, you are ready to act on them with an hour of weekly administrative time.



Clean out your kids’ closets before you shop for back to school gear.  Only keep what is fitting or a little larger.  Keep some warm weather attire for the beginning days of school.  When it comes to creating a system for storing the clothes, have your kids partner with you to create what works. Kids can maintain their closets or drawers if they are in reach and they have a good routine for this.  Have a laundry basket in everyone’s room to collect dirty and redistribute clean clothes too.



The first few weeks of school are all about refreshing skills and concepts. Do your kids need a little routine for the last few weeks of summer? Skill building books and free online computer games are available for writing, math and problem solving.  Make it fun with stickers and rewards for accomplishing and completing pages.


Morning and Evening Routines

The hardest part of getting back to school is getting back to the morning routine.  Two weeks before school begins, start having earlier bedtimes and wake up calls.  You can inch back bedtime for half an hour earlier each week until the week before school starts you are setting the routines in motion.   Practice getting up with an alarm too.   Hold your family meeting to review what works best each morning and evening during the school year.    Set in motion an evening routine where backpacks are ready at the backdoor the night before, clothes are laid out and everyone feels ready for the next day.

Make this your best school year yet by chatting with your family about their expectations and more.  Go around the table and ask each person to talk about what they want to accomplish this year.    Ask how each family member can assist another, in partnering about tests, sharing responsibilities or other aspects.  Create a team in making each person’s academic goals come true!

Heading off to college


college organizing


More than just getting your clothes together and buying your books, heading off to college is best done with great organization.  It takes some time, but it is well spent!

Start with a great list.  Think about the very small space you will be living in and sharing.   What is most essential for your comfort and success?  Everyone is different, but most agree that laptop, clothes, bedding, small refrigerator and a few other items are at the top of the list.  Keep this list handy so that you are not easily distracted to add more and more.   You will thrive in a decluttered environment and your space will be small.

Now that you know what you need, eliminate what you will not use.   We are blessed with an abundance of clothes, so let’s share these blessing with others.   Start with a serious sorting of what really needs to go!  You will clear space for the rest of the process this way.

Next gather your goodies together that are going with you.  View them all together so you can really see what you are taking.  Time to start gathering what you wil take in 66 quart tubs to travel safely to the new destination.  Be sure to carefully pack things that will leak or break.  Be sure to keep important papers like college registration documents and medical information in a special spot to keep close by.

Before you start unpacking, think through the space.   Think through all the activities you are doing in your room.   Note where the outlets and computer connections for technology are.  Where will you get ready in the morning?   Think through the game plan of where you will put on makeup, dry hair, do homework and entertain new friends.   Mark spots with post its where things will go.

NOW you are ready to shop!  Here are a few great products to help in small spaces.

It really depends on your space what you will need, but having command hooks to hang various items, using the back of your door for storage of all types, a desk top sorter for papers, drawer systems for your closet, in the room or under your bed, a way to contain your makeup and toiletries and a great laundry basket make a difference in keeping your college life in order.  These items are from the Container Store, but there are tons of selection at all your local retailers.    Think about your personal strengths of how you stay organized and choose products you love to help you!  Be sure to measure a space before you purchase items to be sure it will fit.

Having a great year at college is more than just learning academics, it is learning life skills too.  Organization is one of those life skills and make a difference now and later.

Organizing for the Mom Entrepreneur

I  love learning what works for moms!  In using twitter, I met the most organized entrepreneur mom ever, Melissa Lierman, @timeoutmom.  She shared with me the most important technology tools she uses to keep her busy home organized. 

  • My blackberry allows me to go to more kids activities because I can take the office with me.
  • Online bill paying takes the stress out of finances. 
  • Have  a dimmer switch in your bathroom for  bath time relaxation.
  • Have a DVR so you  are not tied to regular television viewing.   We just record our shows and watch when we want.   We have 2 DVRs, one for the family and one for me!
  • We have a slew of timers.  We play beat the clock, set the timer for 15 minutes and do crazy fast RTO = Restore the Order to the house.
  • The computer makes great spreadsheets for chore charts, after school routines, and organize weekly & monthly projects.
  • My  favorite non-tech item is her end-all be-all giant family calendar – master calendar to organize everyone’s work and activities.

Thanks Melissa for these great ideas! 

About Melissa

 Melissa Lierman will be married to her wonderful husband John 14 years in November and is a busy mom of 3 great kids – smart and sharp 11 year old MacKenzie Peter, artistic and creative almost 9 year old Maria Stella, and powerhouse action-packed 2.5 year old Jonathan Roger. She believes that the keys to success for a busy household are: lots of love, lots of patience, and lots of organization, and great communication.

 Melissa runs 3 businesses as a work at home mom. She travels once a a month speaking all across the United States and Canada teaching and training how to use Social Media and Twitter for Business. She fills in her time between travel with her product business (all mom-made), her training and consulting business, and her work with authors.  She teaches how to do it smarter, better, faster, stronger and goes by the nickname The Bionic Wonder Woman ! 

 Website: http://www.timeoutmom.com (complete re-do in process this summer, re-launch in september)

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TimeOutMom

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/TimeOutMom


Website: http://www.ILoveAuthors.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ILoveAuthors

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/ILoveAuthors

Organizing Teens

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit my niece Hallie for a very special occasion, her high school graduation.  One look in her room and closet, and I knew she had the organizing gene! No clothes on the floor and order inside her closet.   I asked her about her successful organizing techniques and what she would share with other teen girls, especially about her folding and laundry tips. 

First off why stay organized?

Clutter is annoying and it wastes time. I don’t like the way mess looks.

How does laundry get done in your home?

My step dad gets it in the washing machine and dryer and then I fold and hang my own clothes.  It is either in my parent’s room or I go get it and bring it into my own room.  Once it is on my bed, I separate it by shorts, tee shirts, and things to hang or things to put in drawers.  I hang each type of clothing all at the same time.  Its quick and I do it fast!

 What about your friends?

If my friends are unorganized, I help them organizing their rooms.  They get very overwhelmed.  But big thing is that they leave it all to do at one time.  I like to organize as I go along and as a process.   I do it in small steps so it is easier to do.  Just  a little at a time and then you get it done. Then you can do others things with your time.  One of the problems is too many clothes too.   I understand wanting to have enough clothes but only buy something if you are going to use it.   There is not so much to do at one time if you have fewer clothes. 

 What about organizing and other parts of your life?

I am organized about school stuff too and that is the key to success and good grades.  You have everything you need and you can turn it in on time.  If you are organized in class, you know what materials to study and you’re on top of your homework. 

What about stress and organizing?

Being organized is a lot less stressful and much easier on everyone. 

Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?

Not so much, just more organized than other people.  And everything does not need to be perfect but material stuff helps to be organized.

Are you born organized or did you develop this?

Of course my mom and you influenced me a lot.  

Anything else you would like to share?

Watch Hoarders and you won’t want to be them. Hoarders is enough to make you want to be organized. 

Thanks Hallie! You rock!

Organizing for Special Events

Our family celebrates big and little events in life! Whether a birthday, anniversary or holiday, family traditions mean everything to us.  It is gathering together and enjoying our time that makes an event special.  And we like to keep things super simple! 

Create your team.  Special events are even more fun when everyone has a part in preparing. Set the date together with your family and talk about how each family member can contribute. Decide on all the required tasks, from food preparation to decorations, and divide and conquer.  Write all the dates on a calendar so that everyone knows when to get their jobs complete.

 Use the internet to send invitations.   Both www.evite.com and www.paperlesspost.com offer ways to invite your guests.   This inexpensive solution offers your guests the ease of response and keeps costs down. 

 The little things can make a difference. Get your playlist ready on your ipod and gather new scented candles for the kitchen and bath.  

 Food is an important part of the fun. Keep it simple with easy recipes and ready made goodies.  Fresh simple ingredients make it healthy too!  Prepared hummus and veggie chips, cheese squares, and fruit make for yummy summer treats. 

 Get prepared ahead of time.  Shop a week in advance of your party. Work backwards a day for set up of tables and decorations.  Prepare your goodies a day ahead and refrigerate or freeze.   

 The best part of keeping things simple is that YOU get to enjoy the party!  It is the real reason to gather people together.  Greet your guests as they arrive and encourage them to mingle and help themselves to goodies.   

 In the end, enlist a clean up crew so you are not the only one finishing up with the trash and dishes. Put on some fun music and keep the party going as you clear away the debris. 

Keep from reinventing the wheel for each event.  Start a celebrations notebook that includes a list of food and fun for each event.  What a fun new tradition to keep celebrations going!

Rejuvenation and Renewal


Taking time to rejuvenate is something I share with all women.  We are constantly nurturing others and need to “put on our own oxygen mask first.”  This is exactly what I did this weekend as I attended my college reunion last weekend.

I am a lover of learning and am always eager to return to school. My Smith College reunion afforded me this opportunity in many ways. On Friday evening I attended a session on Supporting our Children with LD/ADHD as They Launch. Sharing information and learning from moms in the “trenches” was empowering to everyone.  On Saturday we learned from former Smith College President Jill Ker Conway about taking the next step as women.  It is all about thinking outside the box and finding ways and places to make a difference using our strengths and skills.  Our final speaker was writer Katrina Kenison, author of the gift of an ordinary day.   It gave each of us the opportunity to examine our focus as women moving through motherhood and onto the next step. You can tell the growth that occurred as women looked to each other to provide coaching to move forward.  

It was an extraordinary weekend of empowering each other.  I seldom saw others texting or using technology. Women were sharing how to connect on Facebook! We were all engaged in the lives of each other, where we are now and where we are headed.  Engaged women discussed politics, history, economics and the important details of homes, families and current events.  

And most importantly it was a fabulous family weekend.  My twin sister Ann and I both graduated from Smith, so one of the best parts of the weekend was sharing moments together.   Each morning we would take a brisk walk about the beautiful campus together.  It was especially meaningful to walk on campus on Saturday night during illumination.  

I want to encourage you to find ways to nurture yourself through the things you are passionate about! Learning from other women, supporting each other as we move forward, and being in an amazing environment is something we each need.  I would love to hear how you are making this happen in your life!

Ending the School Year with Organization

Did you know the end is just as important as the beginning? Closings, completions and round ups make for great celebration.  Here are a few baby steps to get this school year “done.”

Spend an hour culling through all the papers that have come home this year. Decide what is precious and sneak the rest out the door.  With those final touches, you will finalize this year’s school memories.  Be brutal and know what “precious” means to you. 

Clean out your own paperwork from school activities.  Finalize what you will be passing along to the next boy scout leader, PTA volunteer or church Sunday School teacher. Pass the papers along before the end of June so you are ready to begin fresh for your new volunteer opportunities.

 Print all the photo memories from this year using automated services. Only 6% of photos are being printed, so choose the most precious.  Archive the photos on cd, dropshots, or other medium to clear off your camera for summer memories to come.

Evaluate and donate kids clothes that are too small.   Shorts, tees, and other summer attire from last year may not fit.   Decide how many you need of each for this summer, take a little shopping trip, and be ready.

Host a family celebration for the end of the year. Too often we miss these opportunities to give our kids a hug and praise for their successes each year.  Bake or buy cupcakes, purchase ice cream and have an end of the year grand slam celebration.  Making the most of every day makes a big difference!

How will you celebrate the end of the school year?

Eva’s Note

Not sure what this note is? My four year old grand daughter Eva wrote it last week for herself. It says “choir.”  She said to her Mom and me, “I want to be sure I remember that I have a choir performance on Sunday.”  She wrote several of these notes through out the week to herself, each more adorable than the next.

There really is something to modeling organizing! Eva sees her Mom, Dad, Paps and Gigi (that’s me!) write notes to ourselves to remember things all the time. She sees us make lists for grocery shopping, dinner menus, recipes, and dates in our calendars.  It was very natural for her to want to help herself remember in this way.

 Eva and her mom decluttered her closet last week too. Eva brought her outgrown clothes to a friend at school to share.  She was especially excited to share a pink tutu with a dance friend.  Eva is already starting to recognize how to organize her closet!  

 Next time you are thinking about your family and getting organized, remember how powerful your actions are.  Moms often ask me how can they help their children get organized.  It is all about your being a role model for all types of organizing.

What powerful actions are you sharing with your family?