Organizing Your Home and Life

It’s a subject I have been thinking about for some time now. As my teen boys grow into adulthood I am beginning to help them with some of those life skills that will be necessary once they leave the house and go off on their own. Organization is one of them but it’s a struggle. It’s hard enough to get them to study and do their homework. But I keep pressing on hoping that something will rub off on them and when they do get to college they will at least take a small bit of organizing knowledge with them.

So how do you teach them? For me, it’s all about making organization easy and fun. For example, my oldest son could never get his clothes into the hamper. But by chance I took him to Target one day and there were some nifty cool hampers there. He wanted one but when I pointed out that I wasn’t going to waste money on something that was not going to get use. He assured me that was not going to be the case. I gave in and bought it for him and I have found that he does use it. Problem solved. One down and only 200 more to go. LOL

As for the other teen organizational problems my intent it to blog about it in a series entitled “Teen Organization”. I hope to be able to provide many different suggestions on how to keep your teens organized from my own experiences as well as other people’s experiences. How do you get your kids to be organized? Leave a comment if you have any kind of ideas.

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It’s my favorite time of the year – a planners dream….the end of September means that the holidays are right around the corner.  Year after year we all continue to get behind and each year I become more and more determined to not become behind.  This is why my goal is to have a holiday game plan in place by October 1.  Some of the things on my goal sheet are exampled below:

1.  Halloween costumes – start shopping for those now.  Avoid the long lines.  If you are making your own costumes, start now as well. 

2.  Holiday portraits – if you are not taking the portraits yourself, this should be planned out now including making the appointment and going.  It takes a few weeks to get portraits back and it is best to avoid procrastinating on this.  As the holidays get closer it will get harder to make a timely appointment.

3.  Holiday greeting cards – Start getting your address lists in order. Print out mailing labels and return address labels.  You can find some good sales on holiday cards so if you buy now you will be way ahead of the game.  You can then start to write up your cards or start to create your family newsletter.

4.  Thanksgiving plans – Thanksgiving is only 2 months away.  Start contacting your family and friends to see how you all will celebrate your Thanksgiving day.  If you are cooking, start to plan out what the menu will be and what kind of recipes you will need.  Get your decorations together and ready to be put out after Halloween.

5.  Purge in your house – This rule is really important especially if you have kids.  Your kids will likely get many gifts so it is important to purge any old items or toys or games that they no longer use. Do the same for clothes too.  Think of giving these items to charity.

6. Speaking of charities start thinking about whether or not you want to give to charity this holiday season. If so, figure out how much you will be giving whether it is money or merchandise.  If merchandise, start shopping now. 

7.  Have your kids get their holiday gift lists in order as well and start a budget for yourself to ensure that you are not overspending and that you are keeping within a specific budgetary guideline.

8.  Gifts – it’s never too early to shop for the favorite people in your life.

If you can start accomplishing some of these tasks early you will be way ahead of the game.

Welcome to my first Menu Monday on this blog.  I love to plan my weekly menus mainly because I am really busy and without laying out plans I will never get to make homecooked meals for my family for the week.  So here goes  for this week.  What does your week look like?

Monday – grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans

Tuesday – chicken with lentils and chirizo

Wednesday – pork apple tenderloin

Thursday – Shrimp tacos

Friday – Chili

Saturday – chicken salad salad

Sunday – my little guy’s 4th birthday so we will be celebrating with a bbq

Have a great week!

Sometimes being neat and clean doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.  In fact sometimes it is just about changing a few old habits.  These three tips can help start you onto the road of clutter control and organization.

1.  Make your bed – As soon as you wake up make the bed.  I have done this every day since I was a kid.  Messy beds really make the room look sloppy and undone.  It doesn’t matter how neat and picked up the rest of the room is.  If the bed is unkept it ruins the entire look of the room. 

2.  Never leave dishes in the sink.  I never leave dishes in the sink nor do I let my kids leave their dishes in the sink.  I do use a dishwasher so I put the dishes right into the washer for future washing.   Also, I never go to bed with dishes in the sink or on the counter top either.  One reason is because dirty dishes attract bugs.  Another reason is because, for me, there is nothing worse than waking up to work waiting for you and dish washing is definitely WORK!  I prefer to be more proactive with my dishes and have them all done before bedtime.  If you do not have the luxury of a dishwasher (which I have at various times in my life) then handwash your dishes and then dry them and put them away as soon as possible.  I learned this rule from my mom who also implemented the same rule when I was a kid.  Consequently the kitchen never looked horrendous when I woke up the next day.  Following this rule also allows you a peace of mind when you wake up in the morning to a fresh, clean kitchen.

3.  Five minute rule in each room – I love this rule and follow it all of the time.  The rule basically says that when you go into any given room during your day, spend a total of five minutes to pick up in the room, throw some visual clutter away, or do a sweep of the room if things are out of place.  It’s a rule that forces you to address clutter and mess as it is happening as opposed to a week later when the clutter is so out of control that all you want to do is leave the room and shut the door.  Being more proactive than reactive is the key to keeping clutter under control.

Following these three easy rules will not only help you control the clutter but it will give you a sense of relief that order is being kept in your home.

I am so excited! My pantry is featured here! Please stop by and check it out and make a comment. I would love to hear from you!

The other day I was in the mall and happened to walk by the Coach store.  If you are female then you know exactly what store I am talking about…where they sell the most ridiculously expensive purses, shoes, sunglasses, and anything else with the “C” logo and checkerboard plaid patterns.  The purses can cost up to hundreds of dollars.

It got me to thinking and talking about whether or not I would spend that much for a purse.  First of all, I won’t be making that kind of decision any time soon. With the expense of paying for both of my boys to go to Catholic school, saving for their college in a couple of years, and all other expenses that come with raising 4 children, I won’t be worrying about a $300 purse.

But I did think about what I would do IF I happened to have that kind of spare cash hanging around.  My conclusion is that if the purse really improved the quality of my life and if the purse was designed to last through the torture I put the rest of my other purses through then it might be worth it.  I cannot tell you how many times during the day that my cell phone gets lost in the black hole.  It’s so frustrating.  The phone rings inside my purse and then I start to look for it. It has fallen to the bottom so I have to take out my wallet.  After I take out my wallet I usually have to take out at least 5 other items in order to get to the bottom of the purse.  By the time I get to my cell phone, it is no longer ringing and has now gone to voice mail. SO FRUSTRATING!  And I am organized!  So I cannot blame it on my disorganization.  It’s just the poor functionality of my purse.

I want to come up with a solution to this problem and it needs to be an inexpensive solution.  Remember, I am not going to be in the Coach store anytime soon.  I have researched some organizers on the internet and have come up with one that seems to be very popular.  It’s called the Pursetek and you may have seen them on infomercials.  But does it really work? 

I think I might have to order one and try it out and let you know.  Do you all keep your purse organized and if so, what are some of your methods?

I am reading a fascinating book right now with respect to organizing for disaster.  I know that to most it would probably be as exciting as watching paint dry but to a person like myself who loves to organize this is an exciting topic.  But in all reality it is extremely important to be prepared in the event that you need to evacuate.  In some instances you will not have time to think about what you are taking with you when you do evacuate so that makes it all the more important to be prepared well in advance.

Some interesting facts I have learned are that 90% of all Americans believe it is imporant to have a disaster plan but only 5-10% of those Americans do actually have a disaster plan.  Do you?  Do you remember the citizens who were displaced after Hurricane Katrina?  A lot of them were bussed to a different state and had no choice but to move their lives temporarily.  This meant moving children and elderly parents.  That means they needed to recreate their lives in another city.  This means that they would need to have records of who they are so they could get jobs, put their kids in school, continue health care and medicine, and keep their credit going.  Think about what would happen if you had 24 hours to evacuate and what would happen if you had to move your family to a new city and all you had was the stuff you could bring with you.  What would you bring?

I could write on and on about what should go into a disaster plan but I am saving all of those words for my own future book.  However I will give a few tips on some things to start you off on creating your own disaster plan.

1.  If a disaster hits you will need to have enough food and water in order to sustain you and your family for up to 5 days.    This includes your pets too.

2.  If you have to go to a shelter do you know where you would go and if you have a pet does your shelter accommodate them?  If not, what happens to your pet? 

3.  First aid kits and supplies – you hear this all the time…get your batteries, lanterns, battery operated radio, candles, etc etc.  That is true.  You will need all that and more.  Don’t forget the can opener.

4.  Paperwork – this is probably one of the most important areas that most people forget or don’t really prepare for.  You should have some kind of waterproof container with all of your important paperwork that you can have with you ready to go at a moment’s notice.  Think hard about what kind of papers you want to have with you such as copies of house deed, insurance cards, social security cards, birth certificates, wills, life insurance policies, kids immunization records, marriage certificate, pet records, credit card (both sides), bank account numbers, pin numbers for all important accounts, and other special warranties that you cannot afford to lose.

There are many other things that can go into a disaster kit and you can customize it to your own satisfaction.  It’s very important and when you need it you might not have time to prepare for it.  So prepare now when you have time.