Friday, May 27, 2011

How to Plan The Best Memorial Day Weekend EVER!

I can't believe it's Memorial Day weekend already. Weren't we just shoveling snow? Crazy weather here lately on the east coast, but since today is sunny and warm with no rain in the forecast, I'm not asking questions. And after the wet spring we have had, it's time to welcome summer in a big way............. here's how -

Friday, May 20, 2011

The 5 Biggest Mistakes I've Made in Organizing

So,  I like to think I'm organized. I can usually find what I need when I need it. And if I can't, I then like to think I didn't need the item in the first place. Hey, works for me!

But there are mistakes I've made along the way. Errors in judgement.  Ideas that didn't work. So here's my list. Learn from it and save yourself some trouble.......

My 5 Biggest Mistakes

  1. Don't introduce your kids to LEGO. At least, not the big expensive sets that can only build one thing. And that thing is usually large. And there is never anywhere to put it after it is built. Don't be like us, the people who are currently designing special glassed in shelves to house my son's growing Lego collection. Don't buy them in the first place. Regular LEGO bricks, ok - they can all be tossed in a bin. Special sets - just say no. And you can bet that when said son grows up and moves out, those LEGO creation are going to be the first thing I pack up!
  2. I own too many drinking glasses and do not have a drinking glass room to store them in. I need an old fashioned butler's pantry with shelves for glasses. I would take that over an extra clothes closet any day. Lesson here - don't be lured in to imagining a different life for yourself if you only had the right drinking glasses.  Work with what you have.
  3. Just because you set up a system, it doesn't mean it will work. Family members have a way of not going along with the well thought out system. For example, my son seems to think the living room is a storage spot for dirty socks. I think otherwise. I set up a system to deal with it. He knows the system. He doesn't follow the system. The new system is that I pick up the socks. Choose your battles wisely.
  4. Laundry will always be there, and the dryer will continue to beep just to drive you crazy. (It's beeping as I write this!) I used to think I could outsmart the laundry. I could stay ahead of it. And I would be right if it was just me and my husband. But I have learned that kids don't think about their laundry until the minute they NEED THEIR GREEN SHIRT RIGHT NOW! So I have made peace with the laundry. I have accepted that there will always be laundry that needs to be done. And I thank my lucky stars that I don't have to bring it down to a stream to do it. (It's all in the perspective.)
  5. And last but not least - it has taken me a life time to realize that more room does not equal more places to put things. More room equals more junk. Plain & simple. Our amount of junk will expand to fill the space we have. Far better, and cheaper, to get rid of excess junk then to make space for it. Time for a garage sale anyone?
Live and learn.

So, those are my 5 biggest mistakes right at this moment. I'm sure that tomorrow I could come up with 5 more. The point is that life will never be perfectly organized. I do what I can and hope for the best. Join me in my alternate universe, it's a nice place to live.

be organized....evelyn

Crave actual organizing tips? Just click to get a free sample of my eBook,
  30 Days to an Organized Home.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The 5 Organizing Tips Worth Your Time!

Let's face it. There are only so many hours in a day, so many days in a week, so many weeks in a month. And the list of what we would like to organize, make perfect and never worry about again is v-e-r-y long.

Time to weed out the best from the merely helpful.

Time to gather in one place the 5 organizing ideas will give you the biggest payoff. Do these and I guarantee that you will have more time and more sanity in your daily life. And less stuff sitting around bogging you down.

The Top 5 Organizing Tips
  1. clean off your kitchen counters  Remove everything. Only put back what you use every day. Everything else needs a home somewhere else.
  2. stop junk mail
  3. stop spam
  4. plan your meals - In a nutshell - jot down what you want to eat for the next 7 days. Even if you say that's impossible, try it anyway. Look at your calendar. See what you have coming up. Make allowances for it. Some days, quick dinner, other days, you have a bit more time. Make a list that works with your life.You know what you like to eat. Just write it down. Make a shopping list of what you need, go to the store once, and have food for the week. If you need more details, check out my eBook,  30 Days To An Organized Home.
  5. clean out your closet
That's it. Sounds simple, but they all build upon each other to make your life better.

  • empty kitchen counters = sanity = place to put things down = more you time
  • less junk mail  = more space =  less time reading & recycling = more you time (for pleasure reading?)
  • less spam = less time at computer = more you time
  • planning your meals = no last minute trips to store = more you time
  • cleaning out your closet = less time choosing outfits = less laundry = more you time

It all leads to more you time. Time to do whatever you want to. Sounds like a dream?
You can do it! Start today with #1 and take your life back!

be organized............evelyn

Crave more organizing tips? Just click to get a free sample of my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Time Has Come.................

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things......

You may be wondering why in the world am I quoting Lewis Carroll?

Well, I've been writing on this blog for over a month now. A new entry every day. So, the time has come, I have said, to not talk of sooooo many things......

The time has come to let you catch upon any entries you may have missed. There's a whole list over at the bottom of the right hand column.

The time has come for me to start spreading the word about my blog.

The time has come spread my focus a bit wider. Cast a bigger net. See what fish I catch. Promote my eBook.

Oh, I'll still be blogging. Both here and on my other blog, Just not quite so often.

And I'll  be posting my tip of the day on Twitter and Facebook. Click on the "follow" buttons to the right to stay in the loop. (By the way, does anyone know how to get the little Twitter bird and small Facebook button? I really don't like these large ones!)

Time to go talk of many things. Just not right here right now.

But sign up to receive free updates so you don't miss anything!

be organized....evelyn

Crave more organizing tips? Just click to get a free sample of my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home. be organized.....evelyn

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cubbies Make The World Go 'Round.......

Today a picture is worth a thousand words.....

May I kitchen cabinet.

The one we use every single day.

Over & over.

Note the cereal & crackers stored in easy to open and close plastic cubbies. That all the family members can use.

Note the labels.

Note the glasses and plastic cups located where all family members can reach them. And put them away.
(yes, we still use the occasional plastic even though my youngest is 11!)

And note the jumbo size bag of chocolate chips stored where your average 11 & 13 year old don't think to look.

'nuff said.

Crave more organizing tips? Just click to get a free sample of my eBook,
30 Days to an Organized Home.

 be organized.....evelyn

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You Deserve A Time Out - How To Plan a Girl's Day Out!

Yesterday I talked about how to plan a day out with your kids (scroll down to see that post). Today I'm talking about how to spend time with YOUR friends. You do have some right? When was the last time you saw them?

"Energy is the essence of life. Every day
you decide how you're going to use it by
knowing what you want and what it
takes to reach that goal, and by
maintaining focus." - Oprah

While I'm sure Oprah wasn't intending this quote to be about seizing time for yourself, it certainly applies.

If you don't refill your gas tank, how can you expect to function?

Quality time in = quality time out.

Organize a day out with your friends. With email, Facebook and Twitter it's easy to contact everyone, without making numerous phone calls.
Your steps:
  1. Pick a day that is completely free for you. If all your kids are in school or camp, pick a weekday, feels more decadent. If not, pick a Saturday or Sunday when your hubby can take over child rearing.
  2. Plan some simple, inexpensive fun activities that you never get to do and that you would never do with kids in tow.
  3. Invite all your friends via email, Facebook or whatever works for you.
  4. Pray for sunshine.
  5. Enjoy your day!
Here's a sample of what I call "A Day In The Country" that I plan once a season with my friends.
  • Meet at 8:45 at my house, right after drop off at school Form carpools if you have a crowd..
  • Go to chic french bakery (Coco Luxe is our favorite!)about 1/2 hour away, but plan a road trip that takes you past huge mansions and wonderful scenery. The point is not to get from point A to point B as fast as you can. The point is to slow down and relax. Meander.
  • Have coffee/tea and a pastry. Calories don't count today.
  • Drive to a high end consignment shop that is over the river and through the woods.No highways allowed . Califon Consignments gets our vote!
  • Have lunch a a cute bistro. Gourmet Expressions is absolutely the best for great food and no stress atmosphere. Located in a 100+ year old general store.......does it get better than that?
  • A quick stop by a home decor/gift shop on the way home (LamingtonGeneral Store) for some much needed browsing, and more relaxing.
  • Home before the kids need to be picked up from school or camp.
And there's only one rule - No talking about your kids. I want to hear about what you've done, not what your kids have done. Today is reserved for you as a person, not you as a mom.

I guarentee you will face the next day with a renewed sense of energy and a feeling of well being.....


Crave more organizing tips? Just click to get a free sample of my book, 30 Days to an Organized Home.

be organized.....evelyn

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day Trips With Kids - The Do's & The Don'ts

I'm not going to lie to is possible to go on fun, relaxing day trips with your children. It is possible, but it does take some organizing prep work. Gone are those days when you can just waltz out of the house unprepared with a devil may care smile on your face. You gave up that freedom when the first child arrived. Along with many other freedoms, but back to the subject at hand.

What do you need to do to assure a fun day's outing before you leave the house?
  • Plan where you are going. No aimless driving around country roads. Have a destination in mind.
  • Dress kids in bright colored shirts, preferably the same color, so they are easy to spot in a crowd. Or while running ahead of you.
  • Pack non messy snacks for the car. Water, not juice (too sticky). Trail mix without chocolate chips. Nothing that would get them or the car dirty.
  • Have a rule about video use if you have a player in your car. Our rule is if the destination is more then 1 hour away, video ok. If less then 1 hour, no video. And always have the kids use headsets to save your sanity. Doesn't matter what they cost. They are worth every penny.
  • Decide what your souvenir $ limit will be and tell the kids ahead of time. Also state that you will be visiting the gift shop at the end of the day, not right when you get there. Or, if they insist you go before, tell them they will have to carry their purchase around all day. Give them a choice. Then stick with the result. 
  • If you have a browser in the family, suggest they start a collection of something inexpensive and small, like key chains. Lot less browsing that way.
  • Pack lunch if allowed. Better for you, better for the kids and better for your wallet. If not allowed at your destination, you can still pack lunch and have a picnic along the way.
  • Get a special dessert, such as ice cream or candy later in the day. I always go on line and research what ice cream places are near where we are going. Saves a lot of frustration.
That's it! Work with these guidelines and you should all enjoy your day out. A bit of organization goes a long, long way towards happiness.

Crave more organizing tips?
Just click to get a free sample of my eBook,
30 Days to an Organized Home.

be organized.....evelyn