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Decluttering with your kids

decluttering with your kids

Summer is the best time to partner with your kids in decluttering your home.  You have a little more time during the week without the pace of school.  Your kids need a little something more to do around the house.  Most especially we all need an annual time to declutter what has built up throughout the year.  There are many philosophies on decluttering with your kids.  All have merit.  It’s time to think about what works best in your family.

Working alongside your kids

 

Many of us as kids were just sent to our room to “clean up.”  It might have been a frustrating experience. Where do we start? What does our room need to look like in the end?  What do we do with all our stuff?  Work alongside your kids to get their rooms organized.  Start with trash.  There’s a lot of it!  Trash includes anything broken, stained or unusable.  Coach your child through categories.  It can be general, like toys, clothes and media.  Then work through sub categories, like XBox and Wii, Barbies and Barbie clothes, or vehicles and animals.  Start to pare down once everything is grouped together. It’s much easier to let go of stuff if you know what you have.  Keep working steadily with your kids until they start disengaging.  It’s good for you to continue without then at this point and work until the space is complete.  By working together, your kids will learn the organizing process, learn to simplify and learn that less is more!

 

Working without your kids

 

Sometimes kids’ spaces are too overwhelming for them to be a part of the organizing process. As the parent,  you know there need to be changes.  Go ahead and organize their space without them.  It will be a blessing to them that you are working at organizing.  You can delete toys and place  these in black garbage bags in the garage to be sure you have not eliminated a precious item.  Start by grouping items together, then deleting what is excessive.  Create spots to store the items so that your kids can easily access them and label each spot.  Your kids will need a “tour” of the space and some reminders on how to stay organized.

 

 Kid keepsakes

 

Most kids have school and other papers in their space. It’s best to have a keepsake box for them. It’s a place to stash what they think is precious for their keepsakes.  If your child is an artist, think of a display area for their work.  Many parents are using clothespin lines for art display.  If your child creates lego structures, think of adding ledge shelving for display.  Honoring your kids’ keepsakes is another way of connecting with them.

 

Other decluttering tips:

 

  • Your children can share their blessings by decluttering before a birthday or holiday. Encourage your children to donate to local philanthropies that are important to your family, such as a women’s shelter or relief fund.
  • Sell the items online or at consignment and have them also learn about money.  Go through your children’s clothes at summer and winter intervals to be sure only what fits is in the drawers or closet.
  • If you store clothes for the next sibling, keep these in uniform, labeled containers with the size, season and gender on the outside of the container.
  • If your children are not ready to part with certain toys, the toys can “go on vacation” on an upper shelf or other storage area to be brought out later.  Expect to work together for 30 minutes, and then finish up.

 

Great kid storage options

 

IKEA small bins

IKEA small bins

 

 

Kids keepsake boxes

Kids keepsake boxes

 

 

toy organizing

Container Store busy boxes

 

 

More organizing ideas for busy parents here!

Your Most Organized Year Ever

Most Organized Year Ever

Each year as we start the new year, we think of ways to make a change and improve our lives.  Did you know that organizing is one of the top three goals each year?  Throughout the month of January, I will be offering 31 tips to help you have Your Most Organized Year Ever.  Implement just one of these tips, tools, techniques or tweaks this year. 

Families have a lot going on! There are dates for school, dates for church and dates for volunteering.  It’s too much to keep in our heads.  How do we track all this information?

 

Your family calendar creates communication, coordination and cohesiveness.    It’s one place you see all the information together.  Your family works as a team to be sure you are arriving on time as well as prioritizing which activities you are attending.  It gives everyone a starting point to communicate about priorities.

 

Is it wise to keep two calendars, your own and your family calendar?  Coordination is required.  For the parents, it’s important to have all the dates in one place. For the kids, it’s important for them to track and see their own responsibilities.  This redundancy can help remind everyone about upcoming activities and be sure your schedule runs smoothly.  Make this Your Most Organized Year Ever with your family calendar.

 

More ideas on family communication stations here!

 

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Parents’ Resources for ADD

ADD and ADHD Parents Resources

 

Learning that you or your child has a new diagnosis can be scary.  Getting some background and tools empower you and your child.  Here is a short list of suggested resources for you to start your education. 

Websites

www.additudemag.com

www.chadd.org

www.adda-sr.org

http://letsgetfittofocus.com/

http://www.familieswithpurpose.com/

Blogs

http://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/

http://www.parenting.com/article/adhd-in-children

Books

Empowering Youth with ADD by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett

The Organized Student by Donna Goldberg

The Crumpled Paper that Was Due Last Week by Ana Homayoun 

Journey Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden

Super Parenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child by Edward M. Hallowell M.D. and Peter S. Jensen

ADD and the College Student  or Understanding Girls with ADHD both by Patricia Quinn,MD

Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults by Thomas E. Brown

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Ped Dawson, EdD

What are your best resources?  Please share!

Family Manager Lists

In my life, making and having a great list can make things so much easier.  On the Family Manager website, www.familymanager.com, there are many lists for  productivity, family chores and peace of mind.  Creating a list gets it all off your mind and you can really live and do “in the moment”. But what if there were lists made for you so you don’t have to think about it all yourself or that go beyond your own ideas?

Weekly Hit List:  Save your sanity with an orderly list of task.  Family Manager divides your tasks in the the six major departments of life. Using this list, you can write down all the tasks and priorities for week.  Seeing it all written it is easy to review what is to be done, deleted or delegated. 

Who’s Responsible for What,  Age Appropriate Chores List and Kids Chores Chart:  Who said Mom is always responsible for all chores?  A full list of all the possible jobs for family members. Use this list for family members to choose what they prefer or do best.  Assign points for level of difficulty of the chores and then create your own chores chart  to post in the kitchen for all to see. 

House Rules Contract: Family communication begins with agreeing on family guidelines and expectations.  Use this contract as a guideline for your family’s discussion. 

Lists are an easy way to make anything more visual, from the files in your file cabinet to the gifts purchased for holidays.  What lists work for you and your family?

Family Dinner

dinner organizing and family dinner

 

In our minds, the thought of family dinner brings back a picture of the 50s family gathered around the table feasting on pot roast and mashed potatoes.  With the busy lives we lead we may not be able to make that pot roast ourselves, but we can continue to make family dinner a priority. In a recent Time Magazine article, the Magic of the Family Meal, authors cited the family dinner as a primary part of family life. The communication that goes on not only smooths family life, this article even went on to say it prevents kids from doing drugs! This is reason for us to be sure we have our sacred family time.   http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200760,00.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/fashion/04dinner.html

So how to accomplish this daunting task? Here are several suggestions to make this a simple part of your everyday family life.

Start with a plan. 

Be sure family members can be home together to have dinner.  Making dinner a priority means some thing else may not be a part of your week.  Include grocery shopping (and possibly coupon clipping) in your calendar in order to prepare dinner.

Include your family team in meal planning and preparation.  During a family meeting, have family members request their favorites and make a list.   Family members can partner to make meals and clean up after meals.  With your chores chart, assign a night to the pairs.   If starting dinner is a sticking point, make it a standard operating procedure for whoever comes in the door first starts dinner.

Families look forward to dinner and the yummy foods. 

With your family list create a 3 week rotation of easy to prepare meals. Recycle your 3 week rotations in a notebook to reuse later in the year.  Post the weekly or 3  week rotation on the refrigerator so your family knows the plan and chats about the yummy treats coming up.

Keep It Simple Sweetie applies to family dinner.

It is about gathering together, not culinary creativity.  Sandwiches, breakfast food, and crock pot dinners are all great ways to get dinner done.  Affordable healthy take out from fast food restaurants can be a part of the plan too.

Family traditions start with dinner time. 

Friday night can be frozen pizza night, Sunday is Dad’s Grill Day and Wednesday night might be Breakfast for Dinner night.  Our kids remember these times!

Your pantry should be the go to spot for those crazy nights when everyone is running late.  Include pasta, bottled speghetti sauce, tuna and other staples that can be turned into dinner in 30 minutes.

Plan for leftovers. 

Recently I read about a family who dedicates Sunday to going to the park each Sunday in the summer.  Dad grills burgers, chicken and other dinner meats for the week, while Mom relaxes and the kids play games.  On a weekend, double recipes and freeze half.  Cook an entree that can be used in two different dishes, such as taco meat for burritos and later in the week taco salad.

And here are a few other resources too!

www.5dollardinners.com

http://www.dinnerplanner.com/

www.menufortheweek.com

http://www.makedinnereasy.com/

http://www.sixoclockscramble.com/

http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/

 

What is your favorite way to get dinner done?

Back to School Supplies

Shopping for school supplies is creating a boost for our economy!  Choose where to shop first based on your most expensive item. If you need new backpacks for the kiddos, shop first at the store where these are most on sale.  Don’t forget our sales tax free weekend on August 21 – 23! Its a little late but a great date!  

Some outstanding websites to help you save for school supplies!

www.houstononthecheap.com

www.target.com

www.officemax.scom

www.orientaltrading.com

www.discountschoolsupplies.com

Mom to Mom Toddler Success Tips

As my kids grew up, I always appreciated tips from other moms who had kids in the same stages as mine or even a heads up about what is coming up.  My daughter is in the middle of the terrible two’s phase.  Here are some of her success tips.
Consistency is most important for parenting a toddler.  Have a plan and don’t waiver, regardless of continual whining, continual negotiation and even if it seems easier to give in.  To be consistent, you must first know what is important to you. Being respectful, having good manners, eating properly and taking care of toys are top priorities.  

Routines are important for every day organizing.  Schedule pick up time regularly in intervals before the next activity. No one is overwhelmed and your home stays orderly.  Five minute “heads up” prepares your toddler for what is coming next.  “Five minutes until we put away toys.” The transition time helps them know what is next and get ready.  Morning and evening routines emphasize the order of life too! In the morning we get up, go potty, brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, and get ready for “school”.  Every afternoon nap time takes place between 12  and 1.  Routines make our lives smooth and tranquil.

Potty training is a big step for toddlers.   A great resource is Potty Training in Less than a Day by Nathan Azrin and Richard Foxx.  It really works! Be sure to follow exactly what it says. 

Time out is viewed as a time to reflect and refocus.  This is coupled with the beginnings of character training and communication.  We stress apologizing, stating what he did, saying he was sorry, and ending with a hug and a kiss. 

My great joy at being a mom is watching my daughter be a great mom!

 

 

 

 

 by

Gigi Day

As an organizer, it is important to me to to prioritize. And nothing is more of a priority to me than my family and relationships. Last year, I started having Gigi Day with my grandkids.  Why Gigi Day? I am called Gigi by my grandkids and 2 of them live nearby.  Every Friday I spend the day having fun with them.  What do we do? It can be as simple as a trip to the park, the zoo or Children’s Museum. Some time it is playing hide and seek.  It is my way of spending time with them every week just to be a part of their everyday lives.  

Each summer my other grandchild comes to visit for several weeks and it is our time to spend with him.  As a far away grandparent, we are thrilled to have him play with his big wheel on the driveway, color or play with trucks.   This is time that is priceless, super valuable and incredibly important!   

These times are my small but important ways to do what is most valuable to me.   The greatest gift is time spent together, not the stuff you can buy. 

Think about what your family shares. How do you spend time together? Do you have family dinner and time to have fun? Listed here are some Houston links  for family fun. 

http://www.cmhouston.org/

http://www.discoverygreen.com/

http://www.chron.com/channel/momhouston/

http://www.houstononthecheap.com/

http://www.hmns.org/

http://www.houstonzoo.org/

http://www.grandparents.com/gp/home/index.html

 What family fun are you sharing this week?

Organizing Your Car

organizing your car

 

Your car is your office on the go and your home away from home! Whether you are a professional going to work or a busy mom or dad carpooling, having an organized vehicle can make the difference in your travels.  Organizing your car just takes a few extra minutes!

Think about what items you will need as you travel. We all need tissues, first aid kit, car insurance, and a flashlight just in case. What is needed for other travelers? Busy families may need books or toys. Travel for work may require business products and files. Take a few minutes to plan and write a list of needs for you and your family.

If you car is your mobile office, organize for stocking, storing and traveling with business tools. Carry some basic desk items such as business cards, calculator, stapler, scissors and tape in a zipper case or small tackle box. Store files in a hanging file case with a cover. Be sure to have a notebook and pen in your car for taking notes.

For kids on the go, being organized makes every trip less demanding. With access for your back seat travelers, you can place an organizer in the back seat or over the seat with a place for a water bottles, electronic games and books. For kids’ toys and more, there is the Clear away car organizer from OnlineOrganizer.com. For maps, snacks and more, look into the Case Logic Back Seat Organizer from stackandstacks.com. For movies and technology, look at the High Road Entertainment Organizer from www.thebusywoman.com. These organizing products make travel easier for everyone!

Every day items require storage too. The Creekside Cargo Mini from www.drivewerks.com keeps all sorts of items from milk to soccer balls from rolling around your trunk. For tools, purchase a durable canvas bag to contain all the tools including jumper cables. For compact disks, visor storage is a convenient, easy to access spot. What about trash? A pop up trash can made of durable mesh can fit by the driver’s seat.

What about paper? The glove compartment or center console is a great spot for this! Use a check organizer and group the papers by category, such as maps and directions, insurance, warranty/instructions and emergency phone numbers. Be sure to label each pocket for easy retrieval.

Finally, keeping your car organized requires maintenance routines. Each stop along the way and each evening empty the trash from your car. Restock the items for your business on a weekly basis. Remind family members to replace items in the storage spots. Be vigilant about your registration sticker and make a note on your calendar when to renew this. Emptying the car is more than stuffing a bag and dropping it in your garage. Finish your routine by putting the items in the trash or in their place inside your home.

What will work for you to keep your car organized?

Go Outside and Play

Being active with my grandkids is a priority for me! Recently interviewed by Grandparents.com (July 1 edition), I was interviewed about my favorite outdoor activity with the 3 grands. http://www.grandparents.com/gp/content/activitiesandevents/everyday-activities/article/13-grandparents-1-mission.html?clktrk=home_feature_stories-1

Pool time is my favorite kid and grandkid activity! In the pool families interact on a totally fun, non judgemental, no standards arena.  It is all about safe, “clean” fun!  Everyone gets time to be together, share the space and get a healthy dose of vitamin D too.  Being active promotes a healthy lifestyle, encourages a life long love of activity, and bonds you as a family.   Outside time is an aspect that nurtures me, creates clarity in my life and is a priority for me.  I want to share this with my family. 

What are you doing to go outside and play?