Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 4 – Time)

This is the last in my series about the holidays. I’ve been hearing many people talk lately about how busy and overwhelmed they are. We’ll tackle that subject soon. Today, let’s focus on how you are preparing for your holidays! Try these 3 tips. 

  1. Don’t over schedule your holidays. It’s ok to say no to events! When you say no, you’re simply saying yes to something else.
  2. Schedule time for any important family traditions.
  3. Schedule downtime. Put it in your calendar and make some time for yourself to relax or do something that is important to you!

Action item: Get some downtime and your family traditions on the calendar. Hold those dates sacred and say no to anything that interferes.

preparing for your holidaysNow that you have a plan in place for the holidays, I want you to schedule some time after the holidays to think about what worked and what didn’t work. Are there things you’d like to do different next year? Are there things you want to make sure you do again? Write it down and put it somewhere you’ll find it next year (on top of your decorations or as a reminder in your phone). 

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to spend your time, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 3 – Gifts)

preparing for the holidaysWe are preparing for the holidays so you can enjoy them! This week we are going to look at gifts. Start shopping soon so you’re not left scrambling for something at the last minute.

  • Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for and any ideas you have for each person.
  • Make a plan of when you are going to shop for the gifts. Are there items that need to be mailed ahead of time? (If yes, get started on those first). 
  • Check your gift wrapping supplies. Do you have enough wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, tape, bows?
  • Can you challenge your loved ones to buying experiences instead of things? Memberships to the art museum, trips to a water park, time spent together?
  • Create lists for you and your family of things you want / need. When people ask for gift ideas, it’ll be easy to share.
  • Stock up on host/hostess gifts for any parties you might attend. These could be bottles of wine, homemade cookies or a package of cocktail napkins. 

It’s even better if you can shop throughout the year. At the beginning of the year make a list of gifts you know you will need. Think of people when you’re traveling or spot something on sale. Then have a specific place (a labeled box) somewhere in your house to store these items. And make sure you label them so you remember who they’re for!

Action item: Start a list of people you need to buy gifts for and schedule a day (or 2) to do some gift shopping.

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 2 – Decorations)

This is the 2nd of a 4 part series on preparing for the holidays. Last week we talked about food for the holidays. This week we’re going to take a quick look at decorations.

  • Plan a time to sort through and put up your decorations.preparing for the holidays
  • Create a list of decorations you need to replace or supplement. Do you need more outdoor lights? Do you need more pumpkins for your centerpiece? Can you wait until after the holidays, when items are on clearance or do you need it before? Set a budget!
  • Plan time to take down and sort through your decorations. Purge items you haven’t used, are broken, or don’t enjoy anymore. Do you need more storage boxes for your items? We buy our kids Christmas ornaments each year to represent that year. This year, I’d like to start storing these ornaments in their own boxes, so when the kids move out, the ornaments are ready. 

Your action item for this week is to schedule time to put up your decorations! And while you’re at it, schedule time after the holidays to take them down.

Next week:  Gifts!

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 1 – Food)

It’s October. It’s time to start preparing for the holidays! You may still be figuring out what you are going to be for Halloween but Christmas decorations are creeping into stores (or have been there since August). That means the holidays are right around the corner. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, a New Year’s Eve party, or just want to be able to relax with your family, start preparing now!

The next few weeks we are going to look at different tasks for preparing for the holidays from food and decorations to gift buying and spending time with your loved ones.

Let’s start with food.

If you’re hosting a meal, dinner party or holiday event, keep reading! These are the tasks you need to get on your calendar!

  • Clean your oven. Do that now before you are putting your turkey in the oven or baking your favorite holiday treat!
  • Check the state of your linens, dishes, glassware, stemware, and serving dishes. Does anything need to be repaired? Do you need to buy anything? Make a list of what you need and schedule a time to complete this task.
  • Plan your menu. Do you provide the main meal and everyone brings side dishes? Or are you doing everything yourself. Figure out who is doing what and let everyone know ahead of time.
  • Write your grocery list. Watch for sales and stock up on items early.preparing for the holidays
  • Identify what can be made ahead of time and schedule time to prepare as much as possible before the big day.
  • Plan when you will start preparing those items that need to be made the day of. If people are bringing food, will they need the oven? Make sure there’s time to warm up everything before dinner. Can you use a crock pot or roaster to save room for other items in the oven?

Your action item this week is to start thinking about these tasks and get them on your schedule. It will help the holidays be much smoother!

Next post: Decorations!

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Jury Duty and Being Prepared

I recently spent 8 days serving on a jury. I was not prepared for this, as most cases in Denver last 2-3 days. As I realized I was going to be seated on this jury,  after the judge had said the case could take 8 days, I started thinking of how my life was going to be impacted. What would I need to reschedule and who would watch my kids?

I’m not going to say that I came home that day and magically got my life prepared for the next 2 weeks. We had take out for dinner as I was too tired to cook. And I’m sure we didn’t have the kids put their toys away before bed (which we try to do each night). I did do a load of laundry, gave my kids a few extra hugs, and figured out who was going to watch the kids the next few days.

be prepared

What I learned through this experience is how important it is to have some simple maintenance routines. We usually have our meals planned for the week. We prep much of our food on Sundays or early in the week. Our fridge has a drawer marked ‘raw meat only’ so we can defrost several days of meat/fish at once. This makes for easy dinners because food just needs to go in the oven. I did a load of laundry and cleaned the kitchen each night. And I spent a few minutes after the kids went to bed cleaning out emails, packing lunches, stocking the diaper bag, and identifying priorities for the next day.

Be Prepared

There are many simple organizing tasks you can do each day to keep on top of the clutter. If everything in your house has a home, it’s easy to put stuff away, see what needs to be replaced, or what you can get rid of. There are also plenty of things you can delegate. Can you hire a house cleaner? Someone to mow the lawn? Can your kids start doing more chores (put away their clean laundry, take out the trash, feed the pets). Do you need to reevaluate who does what tasks with your partner?

What are some tasks that you can start doing every day to make life a little simpler? Schedule some time with me (or send me a message) and let’s find a way to get some order back in your life! 

Morning and Evening Routines

morning and evening routinesSeptember is almost over. The school year has been underway for several weeks now. Hopefully, your command center is set up, your kids’ homework stations are working, and packing lunches are easy! Let’s take a few minutes to check in on your morning and evening routines. Are they still working for you?

Let’s start with your evening routine. The more you do the night before, the easier your morning is going to be. Here are some tips for your evening routine.

  • Plan breakfast for the next morning.
  • Pull out anything that needs to defrost for dinner and put it in the fridge.
  • Pack lunches for the next day.
  • Pack backpacks, purses, and bags with items needed for the next day. What events (soccer practice, piano lessons, choir, etc.) are happening? What does each person need for their activities?
  • Sign all permission slips and place them in backpacks.
  • Pick your clothes out (and have your kids’ pick out theirs).
  • Set alarm clocks!

Now that you’re ready for the next day, your morning should run a bit smoother. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready before the kids get up. This will help you feel less rushed. And make sure your kids get up with plenty of time to get ready. My daughter likes to read books or play for a bit before we head off to school. I plan time into our morning for that.

What other tasks do you need to complete in the morning? Get the dishwasher running, or dinner in the crockpot? Have a checklist on the wall by the door to make sure you have everything you need as you head out the door!

What changes do you need to make to your routines for your mornings smoother? Call me and let’s chat! Continue reading Morning and Evening Routines

Using Bins for Organizing Your Stuff

Today I want to talk about using bins or baskets for organizing stuff. I’ve recently switched my kids’ bookshelf to 2 white bins. My youngest likes to pull books off the shelf and this way she can pull one book at a time and the whole pile doesn’t come crashing off the shelf.

Bins should never have lids unless they’re storing something in a dusty room or aren’t in regular use. Keep the lids off hampers so you, your spouse, and your kids can easily toss clothes in them. Open bins for kids’ toys are also a good idea. I use bins of various sizes for my kids toys. My daughter’s legos are all in 1 open bin. It’s easy to get them out, easy to put them away. Her baby doll stuff is all in 1 bin. She likes to dump the whole bin on the floor, but we make a game out of putting them away. We simply see who can toss the clothes in the quickest.

I have a collection of weights and bands I use for physical therapy for my shoulder. I recently put the items in a bin so they’re not cluttering up my desk. I can easily pull them out when I need them and put them back when I’m done. We use bins in our pantry to keep onions separate from our potatoes. In our bathroom, each person’s toothbrush/floss/etc, are in separate bins in a drawer. It keeps them organized within the drawer and makes it easy for everyone to find their own stuff.

Bins are an easy way to keep stuff organized and collected. How can you use bins in your life? If you need help getting organized, call me today!

organize with bins

organize with bins

Simplify Your Decision Making

Today I want to talk about meta decisions and guiding policies and how these can help simplify your life. Lisa Montanaro describes meta decisions as umbrella-type decisions impacting the smaller decisions that follow. Having guiding rules and policies, as described by Lorie Marrero at the Clutter Diet, is also helpful in decision making.simplify your decision making

Let me provide some examples of how I use these in my own life. Many people are raising money for various charities. While I know they are all worthy charities, we decided several years ago to only give to 2-3 places of our choosing each year. I simply say no to any other requests. My family is considering making Sunday our family day. We will simply say no to any invitation we receive that is for an event on a Sunday. Before we had kids, my husband and I had a date night every Tuesday. We said no to any event that fell on a Tuesday. I work out on Monday afternoons and don’t schedule anything else that might interrupt that time.

Having these decisions made ahead of time sets boundaries for your life. It leaves breathing room and keeps your schedule from being too overwhelming. Maybe your kids get 1 sport and 1 other activity each semester (baseball and guitar lessons). Maybe you are only gone 2 nights a weeks (PTA meeting, dinner with friends). When something comes up that goes against these decisions, you can say no. No need to explain why not, just say no.

How could this benefit your life? What meta decisions can you implement today? Schedule a call or send me a message and let’s talk about how to incorporate meta decisions in your life!

Organizing For A New Baby

Oh, babies bring such joy, exhaustion, smiles, and stuff to your life. Stores, other parents, grandparents, and others you meet will have lists of stuff and advice you need to get organized for your new baby. But do you really need all this stuff?organizing for new baby

I received a gift at my baby shower that the person said she used all the time and it was a necessity. I carried it around in my diaper bag for 6 months before I decided I’d never use it and I needed to stop lugging it around. I had enough stuff in there. The baby swing we barely used for my now 3 year old was used often with my 2nd child. But this time, my older child used it to push her stuffed animals in. Occasionally we put the infant in it, but again, my older child pushed her and it was more entertaining than soothing. We never used it to put the baby to sleep.

The lesson here is that you never know what is going to work for you and your family. Every child and parent is different.

Babies also grow fast. My children were born in opposite seasons (Winter and Summer). I figured this meant I’d be buying all new clothes the second time around. But my youngest grew so fast that she’s able to fit into her sister’s hand-me-downs.

Do I Really Need All This Stuff?

Here are some suggestions for preparing for your baby, as well as managing the stuff that shows up that first year.

  • Don’t go out and buy everything on that suggested registry list. All you need to prepare are some diapers (newborn and size 1), some onesies (newborn and 0-3), a place for the baby to sleep, and a car seat. Babies don’t do much but eat and sleep those first few months, so you can buy the right size clothes and start thinking about other items you might need after the baby shows up.
  • Borrow items from friends to see if it works for you, your space, and your child. Can you borrow a swing from a friend and see if your baby likes it? Do you really need that play mat or will a blanket and some toys on the floor work?
  • Do you have friends you can swap stuff with? If their kids are older or younger, passing items along gets it out of your house or saves you money if it’s your turn.
  • If you have space, label bins with sizes (o-6 months, 6-9 months, etc.) and toss clothes in as your child outgrows them. Now they’re ready to pass on to the next person.
  • If you have space, have a bin or two for the stuff you don’t use. Whenever you see something that your child has outgrown or you know you won’t use, it goes in the bin. You may try several types of baby bottles before you find one your baby likes. Don’t let the others clog up your kitchen space.
  • If you’re not holding on to items for your next child or your friends children, have a plan for where to send this stuff when you’re done with it. Is there a consignment shop nearby? Or a donation place for families in need? Know where the stuff is going to go next so you can let it go, clearing space for the next round of toddler toys and clothes!
What About Gifts?

And as your child nears his or her first birthday, think about asking for experiences instead of gifts. A membership to the zoo or museum is more meaningful than another stuffed animal or toy. You can spend the morning looking at animals or playing in bubbles at the children’s museum. You both have fun and your house isn’t covered in toys (at least not for those few hours).

I hope this helps as you prepare for your new little bundle of joy. And, congratulations!

Why Should I Bother Getting Organized?

That’s a great question. You feel like you’re functioning just fine with all of your stuff. Maybe you spend 20 minutes in the morning looking for a pair of shoes (yours or your kids), every now and then. You can find something important on your desk if given a few minutes to search for something. And you rarely miss any appointments. So why bother getting organized?why bother getting organized

Maybe, taking the time to get yourself organized would greatly benefit you. It might give you more time with your family. Or maybe your mornings won’t feel so hectic and you’ll get to work focused and ready for the day. Your evenings won’t leave you feeling exhausted and wanting to collapse on the couch. And you won’t spend your weekends frantically trying to get everything done that didn’t get done during the week.

You will be less stressed. If you clean up your desk at the end of the day and prepare for tomorrow’s tasks, you can start each day in a much more efficient manner. You won’t spend the morning trying to figure out what you need to do that day, you can just dive right in.

Being more efficient during the day means you just might get to leave work before the sun sets. So you can get yourself to the gym or dinner with friends. Or home to see the kids before they go to bed.

When things have a home, as in your keys go in the same place every time you walk in the house, your kids know where to take their shoes off, and your pantry items are where they belong, you won’t spend so much time looking for things.

If you’re staying on top of your tasks and clutter, you can focus on what’s important to you. You won’t spend dinner with your family thinking about all of the things you didn’t get done today and all the things you need to do tomorrow. You may still be writing to-do lists on the shower wall every now and then. But you’ll know that you have a clear path to getting those things done as necessary.

There are many benefits to being organized. These are just a few to get you thinking about what reasons you might have to get organized this year. If you’d like some help figure this out in your life, schedule a call or send me a message!

Organize Your Closets!

Let’s talk about closets. They tend to be places we shove things when company is coming. Or we’re tired at the end of the day and we don’t bother to hang up our clothes (or put away our laundry). Things hide in closets and possibly multiply when we’re not looking. Take some time this week to organize one or all of your closets. Maybe spend 15 minutes a day or clean out one shelve a day. Whatever works, just get organizing!organize your closets

Here are some tips to help get you started.

  • First, purge everything from a closet. Wash all of your laundry, so you can sort through your clothes. Create piles (keep, donate, belongs elsewhere, trash).
  • Think about the space within a closet. What do you use the closet for? Does it serve that purpose? What needs to change so it supports the purpose?
  • Think vertical. Put in shelves as high up as you can. Store off-season or rarely used items on the top shelves.
  • Store the items you use most often on the shelves that are easiest to access – directly in front of you.
  • Design the closets for the person / people using it. Put hanging rods and hooks low enough for kids to use.

Hopefully these will get you started on getting your closets under control! If you want some more guidance, set up a call with me or send me a message!

Procrastination

ProcrastinationLet’s talk a little about procrastination. Have you ever just put away your to-do list because it looks like too much work. Or stepped over a laundry basket instead of taking the time to put away the clothes? How about letting the pile of mail get bigger and bigger instead of sitting down and going through it? We all do it. Sometimes we just don’t want to deal with a project, big or small. We’d rather just wait until tomorrow.

But the longer you wait, the bigger the pile gets or the  less time you have to work on a project. Here are some ideas for working through that desire to procrastinate.

  1. Gather the tools you need the night before. Lay out your gym clothes, gather the paint and painting supplies (maybe even start taping), gather the paperwork and files, etc. Getting started the night before helps you get a jump start on the project.
  2. Tackle a project when you feel at your best. That may be first thing in the morning or right after lunch. Whatever time of day it is, focus on your most important task.
  3. Break down a project into manageable steps. Sort the mail (pulling out the important stuff), shred all of the junk mail. Then tomorrow sit down and deal with everything that needs attention.
  4. Spend 15 minutes a day on something (cleaning out photos, paperwork, emails).
  5. Do the worst part first. It’ll only get easier!

Just take that first step. Sometimes you just need to find some motivation to get started and you’ll be able to keep going. Think about tomorrow and if you want to wake up to that dirty kitchen or that pile of mail. If you take care of it now, your future self will thank you!

If you want some help getting started, schedule a call or send me a message!

Organize Your Home Office

organize your home officeThe second Tuesday of March is Organize Your Home Office Day. So this post is all about organizing your home office. You can plan to organize yours on Tuesday, or take a little bit of time each day or on the weekend to make sure your home office is working for you.

  1. Gather any tools you might need: a shredder, trash bags, a box for any paper that needs to be sorted and filed, sticky notes or label maker, pens, markers, and any cleaning tools you might need. 
  2. Pick one corner of the room, a spot on your desk, a shelf, whatever spot makes sense to you. Work around the room, sorting into piles (like with like) everything that you come across. This helps you see what you have and allows you to start identifying what needs to live where.
  3. Once you have worked your way around the room, take out the trash and shred everything that you’ve piled up near the shredder (unless you were shredding as you went along).
  4. Then work through each pile and find homes for everything. Think about how close you need it to you as your working. Archived files can live in the closet. Your inbox should be convenient to your chair. Keep in mind how you work and what items you need access to when.
  5. Make note of any supplies you need to restock. Keep in mind that you don’t need all of your sticky notes to live on your desk. You can have a couple of pads out and the rest can be in your closet or on a shelf with other overflow supplies.
  6. Get in the habit of ending your day by cleaning up your desk. Put items back in their appropriate places and prepare for tomorrow’s tasks. This way you can start each day with an organized workspace.

Make some time today to organize your workspace and create habits to keep them organized! Happy organizing! 

If you want some guidance in getting your office organized, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Let’s Be More Productive!

be more productive

As we wrap up February, I thought I’d share a few productivity tips. I don’t know about you, but my to-do list seems to grow longer each month instead of shorter. Somedays it’s downright overwhelming. Maybe it’s being home with a 14 month-old who doesn’t like to nap. Or maybe it’s me. Either way, I could certainly use to follow some of the advice below to be more productive!

  • Find a calendar you love and commit to it. It may be on your phone, on your iPad, or a paper version. Find one and use it. 
  • Create a list of everything you need to do. You can have separate lists for work and home, but don’t keep too many separate lists. Things get lost this way.
  • Manage your technology, don’t let it manage you. Check your email at certain times each day and have a specific time to respond to emails. Make sure the blogs and other items you receive are supporting you, not taking away your focus from something important.
  • Schedule downtime. Otherwise, that elusive spare time will never happen. It’s perfectly fine to put it on the calendar.
  • Break down tasks in to smaller steps. I’ve been wanting to work on my scrapbook for months now. As a whole, it feels very overwhelming. But I sat down a few weeks ago and put everything in my scrapbook box in order. Then I sat down and over a week went through pictures (all on the computer) to see what to print. Then I printed them. Next, I need to take those prints and get them mixed in with everything else. Then I can sit down and start scrap booking. Tiny steps means I’m on my way to catching up with it.

These are just a few productivity steps to help wrap up February. Start thinking about how you can use them in March. If you want some guidance in how best to use your time, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

What’s Your Bill Paying Process?

bill paying processNo one likes paying bills. Unfortunately, it’s something we all have to do. The third week of February happens to be National Pay Your Bills week. So I thought I’d share a few tips on making your bill paying process a little bit easier.

  1. Keep all of your incoming bills in one location. This could be a folder or inbox on your desk or a box on your kitchen counter. Where ever it is, all bills that need to be paid should go in it. 
  2. Keep all of your bill paying supplies in one place. Stamps, pens, pencils, your checkbook, envelopes, return labels, etc. should all be kept together. If you like paying your bills while watching TV, keep the supplies in a box that you can take with you to the couch and store out of the way when you don’t need it.
  3. Balance your checkbook before you pay bills. Pull out the receipts from your wallet. (We have one spot in our house where all receipts go so I don’t have to go bothering my husband about receipts when I want to balance our books.) Keep in mind any debits or credits that are going to happen in the next few weeks (such as incoming salary or automated bills being paid). This way you won’t overdraw your accounts.
  4. Sit down 1-2 times a month and pay all your bills at one time. Make these regular times, say the 3rd and 24th of each month.
  5. Immediately record all the paid bills either in your checkbook or your computer software register and (if necessary) file them.
  6. Automate payments where possible. Maybe you can have your cable bill and phone bill automatically put on your credit card. Ensure you review those bills regularly to ensure you’re not overpaying.
  7. Pay your bills online. I log on to my checking account and pay all of our utility bills at the same time. You can even post date when necessary. Maybe you’re headed out of town and need some bills paid while you’re gone. You can do this with online bill payments.
  8. Consolidate your money as much as possible. Have only 1-2 debit and credit cards to use for everything. You don’t need all those department store cards or gas cards. Fewer bills coming in means it’s easier to keep track of where your money is going.

I hope these tips help you create an easier bill paying process!  If you want some support in creating new routines, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Cleaning Out Your Computer

cleaning out computer The 2nd Monday in February is Clean Out Your Computer Day. Maybe instead of a day, you need a week or a month. How about spending just a few minutes at the end of each day cleaning off files. Get in the habit of doing this regularly and you can keep your computer clutter free.

Here are a few tips to get you started. (Some of these can apply to your smartphone as well).

  • Delete any software or apps that you no longer use.
  • Take a look at your computer’s desktop and delete any files you know you no longer need. Last week’s list of errands is probably no longer relevant.
  • Go through any folders you’ve created and delete files you no longer need.
  • Delete duplicates of any files. Do you really need 4 versions of something? Keep only the most recent.
  • Create folders for each person in the house and start putting relevant files into each person’s subsequent folder (if it’s necessary to keep).
  • Go through iTunes and delete any music you no longer listen to or want to keep.
  • Go through your photos and delete any duplicates, blurry photos, etc.
  • Create files for your photos to keep them organized. For example, mine are labeled by year-month-topic (2013-3-Trip to Santa Fe). Use a naming system that makes sense to you.
  • Clear out old emails in Outlook or Mail. Archive old emails if you have many you want to keep.
  • Go through your contact list and delete duplicates or remove any contact that is no longer useful.

This list should get you started. Schedule some time to back up your computer and get in the habit of cleaning up your computer’s desktop and files on a regular basis. A clutter free computer is a happy computer! If you want some guidance in cleaning out your computer, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

You Do Have More Time Than You Think!

you do have more timeYou have 168 hours every week. You’re in charge of how you spend those hours. Are you using your time as best as you can? According to Laura Vanderkam, you have more time than you think. And I agree with her!

We have dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, microwave ovens, and many other devices to help us get more done quicker. So why does it feel like you still have more to do than you have time?

Maybe it’s how you’re using that time. If you’re watching 23-30 hours of TV a week, like the average American, that’s a lot of time you could be doing something else. Or maybe you’ve signed your kids up for every activity imaginable and you’re rushing around to 1-2 activities every night, trying to figure out how to get your older child to swim practice at 4:00 and pick up your youngest from karate across town at 4:30, all so you can get home, figure out what to make for dinner and head out to choir practice at 6:30.

Maybe you struggle to get everyone out the door in the morning because lunches need to be made, you need to sign a permission slip for your son, your daughter needs help finding her soccer cleats for practice tonight, and you need to gather paperwork for an important meeting.

Or maybe you feel exhausted come Sunday night because you had 3 birthday parties, grocery shopping, errands to run, a house to clean, and a family dinner to attend. You’re left wondering where your weekend went and still feel like you have a million things to do, let alone spending any time relaxing with your spouse.

So What Can I Do?

So how do you fix it? Can you? I’ll give you a few ideas to get started. Then read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 hours: You Have More Time Than You Think for even more.

Start by keeping a time log. For one week, log everything you do and how long it takes you. Once you know how you’re spending your time, you can identify things that you can change or tweak. I’m guessing this task will be eye-opening.

Think about your morning and evening routines.

What can you do at night to make the morning run smoother? And vice versa. Pack lunches and gather paperwork, sports equipment, etc. at night to save time in the morning. Conduct nightly clean ups, putting all toys, books, and laundry away so clutter doesn’t pile up. Plan meals out for the week so you’re not scrambling to feed hungry family members at the end of the day.

Don’t pack your schedules so full that there’s no room for emergencies, last-minute changes, or even spontaneity. Maybe each family member gets one activity per semester. Have one day a week with no technology, unless you’re watching a moving together. Or if your family enjoys being so busy, see if you can share carpool duties with 1-2 other families so you’re not driving all the time.

Plan your weekends a day or two early if possible.

My husband and I will talk about the things we need to get done (errands, groceries, cleaning) and things we’d like to do (go hiking, go out for ice cream) and anything else that’s already planned (birthday parties, family dinners). We’ll identify who’s doing what and when we’re doing it. Then we’ll check in throughout the weekend to see how we’re doing on our tasks and if anything needs to be tweaked. I by no means am saying our weekends are always perfect. I have many Sunday nights where I wonder where the time went and why it feels like I got nothing done. But planning our weekends makes them easier.

See what other tasks can be outsourced. Can you hire a cleaning service? Find a way to have your groceries delivered? Automate your bill payments? Delegate tasks to your kids? Depending on their age, they can empty the dishwasher and help clean up meals or put away their own laundry. Maybe they can even be in charge of their own laundry from start to finish. Maybe they’re old enough to help with dinner or make dinner for the family every now and then. It may feel like a bigger hassle to teach them these things, but in the long run, it will be helpful.

There are numerous other tips I could provide, but these should get you started. Think about how you’re spending your time and what changes can be made so you feel less overwhelmed. Remember, you do have more time than you think!

If you want some guidance in sorting out where your time goes, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Too Many Emails?

too many emailsDoes your email inbox scare you? Do you check your email and cringe because you have so many unread emails? What do you do when you have to many emails?

Maybe it’s time to declare bankruptcy on your emails. Pick a date, maybe 30 days ago, and delete all emails prior to that date. Or if deleting them seems too scary, move all of them into a folder with a title that makes sense to you (for example: old emails, prior_date_year). This way they’re still searchable if necessary, but they’re not taking up space in your inbox.

Then you can process emails from the last month, making sure to delete or file them as you read or respond. Take a look at the blogs, daily deal emails, or other group emails that you’re getting on a regular basis. Are they relevant to you? Are you reading them or using the deals? If not, unsubscribe. Your time is valuable.

Set up rules for your emails. Maybe you have a favorite blog but only sit down every now and then to read it. Have it sent directly to a specific folder. Then you can go in and read them when you’re ready. This helps keep less important emails out of your inbox.

And try to sit down each day or every few days and process your emails. This means sitting down and responding, deleting, filing, etc. each email. This will help you from having to declare email bankruptcy in the future.

If you want some guidance in sorting out your emails, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Delayed Decisions

delayed decisionsClutter really is just delayed decisions. Those clothes in the back of your closet waiting for you to decide whether to keep or donate. That pile of mail that needs to be dealt with. The emails you need to return but are avoiding. Those are all decisions that need to be made.

You can decide to keep the clothes or drop them off at Goodwill. You can sit down and sort through the mail. And you can either delete or respond to the emails (or respond and then delete). Either way, you need to make a decision.

What decisions do you need to make to clear out some clutter? Get to it!

If you want some guidance in making these decisions, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

While You’re At It

quick declutteringWe’re busy. It can be hard to find time to tackle an organizing project. So, I have another suggestion, similar to my previous post about quick decluttering. Take a look at your shelves while you’re doing something else.

  • While you’re brushing your teeth, take a glance at your medicine cabinet. Do you need everything that’s in there? Are there bottles of expired medicine / lotions / etc.? Get rid of what you don’t need.
  • While you’re doing the laundry, take a look at clothes you’re putting away and the clothes already in the closet. Does the item still fit you (or the appropriate family member)? When was the last time it was worn? Is it the right season (should it be stored with the other off-season clothes)? Or should it go in your donation box (which you have right there, in the closet)?
  • While you’re putting away the groceries, take a look at your fridge and pantry. Better yet, take a look at them while you’re making your grocery list. What is expired or about to expire? What can you work with to make a meal out of this week?
  • While you’re dusting or putting other household items away, take a look at what you have and where it is located. Do you still need it? Is this the best location for it? If not, where else could it go?

You get the picture. As you’re taking care of one task, take a few minutes to see if there’s anything you can get rid of or find a better home for. You may be surprised at what you find.

If you want some guidance in decluttering, schedule a call with me or send me a message!