The holidays seem to sneak up so fast these days. Before you know it, its the week before and you are rushing around like a mad woman. This year let's try something a little different. Lets make a plan.
1. Grab a piece of scrap paper and a pen and start brainstorming. Write down the 12 billion things floating around in your head that you know need to be done to prepare for the holidays (in no particular order yet).
Determine how many events you will be either hosting or attending and the requirements for each.
2. Now you can start grouping the duties in a way that works for you. Some will organize by event, others by categories (cleaning, cooking,etc.) and some by errand locations. It doesn't matter how you group these, just that you do.
3. Next its time to bring the family into it. Delegate some of the errands to other family members. You don't have to do everything on your own. It might even help them to feel more invested if they are involved in the preparation. I suggest keeping all of this information in a centralized location so all family members can see what needs to be done and by whom.
4. Time to whip out your calendar! Start adding the errands into your calendar. You are much more likely to complete the task if you set yourself an appointed date and time to do it. If you have delegated some tasks, you will have to let go of them. You may have to remind them to complete it, but you should let them do it their own way. Micro managing will make them miserable and they will no longer want to be involved.
5. Now its time to execute the plan and enjoy yourself. You should be able to relax a little more knowing that you have a plan and its in motion.
Will the holidays be perfect now? Maybe not, but that's OK too. Some of the best family stories come from plans falling off the rails. Just keep in mind that they won't remember if the holiday vase made it to the table, but they will remember how relaxed and happy you were spending time with them.
Five Simple Steps to Get Rid of Clutter and Organize Your Home and you'll be on your way to reducing stress from your life at home.
A pact, according to Dictionary.com is "a formal agreement...such as one between nations."
Well, I want you to have A-Pact with your clutter. Although this turns into more of a battle (that you win)...it's a great way to remember the steps to organization.
Here's what it means and how it works …
A-->ASK: Ask yourself what you want out of the room or area you're going to organize. What are the goals of the room? What are you shooting for by getting organized? And the thing is, you want to dig a little deep into how you want to benefit. This will help you get motivated and work towards the final goal.
For instance, if you're going to start the process of organizing paperwork in your home office, the question is "why do I want to organize this space?" The answer could be "I don't ever want to have a late bill again" or "I want to find any document in less than two minutes."
Once you've answered the question, then move onto step 2…
P--->PILE: What you do in this step is pile "like" items together. In your closet, you make a pile of all your shirts. Another pile of all your pants...
Or let's say we're in your home office (or wherever you do keep paperwork.)
Start with your file drawer, or grab a pile if that's what you've got for a "filing system." Put each piece of paper in "like" files. For example, all the insurance paperwork will go together. All of your 401K paperwork goes in another. All medical expenses from the present year in another.
A--->ANALYZE: Next you go through the piles and break them down even more, this time into two piles of "treasure" or "trash." I like to assign each category with treasure or trash so there's no in between. No room for "I'm going to decide on this later." No, decide right there and then if it's either staying or going.
No in between. Now the thing is, the trash doesn't necessarily mean it's going to the garbage. That step comes next... and remember the saying, one man's trash (or junk) is another man's treasure.
C--->CASH-IN: This is where you go through the "trash" and break it down once more, deciding what can be donated, what can be sold, and what's going to the dumpster.
Next step is where you get organized...
This is where, once you've gotten all the "trash" out of the area, you organize the items you've decided to keep. Tidy up, put it back in an ordered, organized fashion.
When you're organizing, always keep like items together whether on a shelf, in drawers or in any other type of storage you're using. Have items you use more frequently be more accessible and within reach, too.
So there you go...
Have A-PACT with your clutter today, okay?
For more help with this process, contact a professional organizer in your area to work with you on the process.
Now, I can't claim that I am a goddess in the kitchen. A Goddess, yes..of the kitchen, not so much! I didn't spend any time in the kitchen until my child was put on an elimination diet after a severe allergic reaction when she was 5 years old, and I was forced to cook every meal for months.
After the elimination diet was complete, I slowly started cooking on and off for several years after, but was still inconsistent. It was only the last few years, once I got into organizing that I began meal planning and actually enjoying my time in the kitchen. And once I started using the Tupperware line of products, I am having a ball in the kitchen. So much so, that I have started to hold meal prep workshops at my local Tupperware Studio.
I was practicing the recipes for my upcoming freezer meal workshop and was really happy with the results, so I though I would share them with you!
COOK AND HAVE FUN!
I was looking at my school day treasures book the other day and I was so thankful that my mother kept it for me until I was able to take it over. Its a little on the damaged side but it has become so valuable to me to look back and be reminded of the simpler times and how I have changed over the years. My next photo project is to scan all of the pages and mementos and turn it into a photo book so it can last me for several more years and my kid can get a kick out of laughing at pictures of my younger self and read about what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Its so important to collect, secure and organize kids memories for them to enjoy upon adulthood. Its such a thoughtful gift to give them one day to reminisce over. You'll want to get started at the beginning of a school year because its the easiest time to set it up while you are prepping for back to school.
It doesn't matter if they're a little older now as most people still have those lifetouch photo bags with left over school pictures from when they started school, so you can at least fill out most of the pertinent information and post a photo from previous years.
You can certainly purchase pre-made books like this for memory collecting at dozens of retailers, but they are often too small to keep much in the pockets and can get expensive. if you want to keep costs down, you can build your own for much less. All you need is a presentation binder of sheet protector pockets and some printables. I have provided links to access both below.
As far as what to keep in the pockets, report cards, class pictures without the cardboard frame, awards, samples of their work and photos of their art projects are the most popular but keep anything small that will make them go "awwwwe". Have fun creating your school treasures book!
Tupperware modular mates are a dream come true for an organizer like me! They have sets to fit any size of cupboard or pantry. This isn't something most people can do all at once, but converting to cardboard and bag free will be a game changer for creating space in your pantry and easily keeping up with your on-hand inventory. Meal planning is a breeze with these modular mates. You can identify if you are low on any item with a moment's glance.
Tupperware's guaranteed seals also keep your food fresher for significantly longer than other brands, decreasing the waste of food. They are stackable, allowing for the most efficient use of space, like that spot at the top of your pantry.
Personally, my pantry is still a work in progress but each modular mate I add helps to bring me more calm and more smiles.
These modular mates are on sale August 10, 2019 - August 30, 2019
Time and space saving Tupperware is here! Although I am a Tupperware consultant, I am also a professional organizer and do not encourage my clients to purchase everything in the catalog. No one has the space or money to do that, nor would I want them too.
What I do encourage however, is to find some key, top quality kitchen products to help you in your endeavor to save you time and make life a little easier. That is why I brought the Tupperware line of products into my organizing business.
Finding products that are guaranteed to hold up for years of repeated use, help you to quickly create healthy meals and are multi functional to boot are right up my alley. If you can find a product that can take the place of a few others, you have instantly increased the space in your cupboards.
Having that product be dishwasher safe, use less energy to cook with and made for the microwave so even kids can safely use it, well that's just exciting! Take a peek. You'll be surprised at what Tupperware has been up to.
The Smart Multi Cooker will be on sale August 31st, 2019 - Sept. 13, 2019
Sorting your family photos can seem like a really daunting task, especially when confronted with boxes upon boxes of photos. I mean, where do you start, right?
Before I start a big project like this I make sure I have all the tools I'm going to need. If you have to continuously stop, go find something and then restart the sorting session, you're less likely to get much of anything done. So what exactly are you going to need?
My sorting toolkit consists of the following:
1. garbage bags
2. rubbermaid totes / bankers boxes
4. photo safe pen
5. sticky notes
6. sorting criteria
7. clipboard, pen
8. ziploc bags
No one has time to complete a large project like this in one sitting, so I have broken it down into more manageable pieces. I would usually set myself a timer for this first sort to ensure that I don't go down the rabbit hole of reminiscing over each photo and get lost in time. For this first sort all you will need from the kit is the garbage bag, and tote. You will only be sorting the photos into keep and toss based on the criteria you have prepared. Your criteria may look something like this, but make yours to fit your needs.
Toss the following photos:
1. Blurry: Unless it has supreme sentimental value, there is no need to keep these
2. Doubles / triplicates
3. Poor quality with a finger in the photo or something similar
4. Landscapes: unless they evoke a specific and sentimental memory you're not likely to look at the photos ever again from the trip you took back in 1982. Images of people will likely have much more meaning to you.
5. If you don't have a clue who the people in the picture are nor does anyone else in the family.
Now get comfortable and complete the keep and toss sort. Don't get stuck in the notion that getting rid of a photo of someone is akin to getting rid of the person. The first time I sorted my own photo collection, I had difficulty tossing the hundreds of extra school pictures I had of my daughter. It seemed wrong to throw away anything related to her, like it was bad karma or something. I finally went and asked for her opinion on the matter. She laughed at me. That's just stupid mom was the answer I received. I realized it was a non rational fear and threw them all out except for one copy of each. Now, I take no issue with tossing images of any type.
The second sort is more involved and will take more time, with a greater risk of getting drawn into the memories. Try to keep on task as much as possible. Once your project is completed you will have more time to appreciate your photos and their memories.
This time you will be sorting your remaining photos into broad categories. You will want to decide before you start this sort, what types of categories you will use. People, years, events, some other theme.
You'll need to get your containers ready (or just make piles). You will use the sticky notes to write down the categories as you come across them. If you come across photos that you need to write something on the back of them, use the photo safe pen. Other pens and some pencils will push through to the other side of the photo causing damage.
As you work through this sort, you may come across categories that have dozens of photos of the same event. Challenge yourself with those large categories and save only the best 5 of each event. Your photos should hold meaning and 25 pictures from your friend's cousin's wedding probably isn't necessary for the memories.
If your time runs out before this sort is complete, use the ziplocs to keep the photos sorted until your next session.
As a co-chair of the fundraising committee for my daughter's cheerleading club for the past three years, I have worked with many different vendors and events all in the name of helping the kids to continue in this great sport.
We offer around 13-20 different fundraising opportunities per year with varying degrees of success. So I think I can say that I have experience with organizing fundraising events and I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned and how to make it easier for other committees.
1. People are more willing to contribute if they are raising funds for individuals than groups
Often if you are fundraising for individuals, family and friends are more likely to and will contribute more to support their family member or friend when they will personally benefit instead of the group overall. Its more personal. So, if you are able to individualize the fundraiser, do so.
2. Clarity is King:
Instructions for any fundraiser must be idiot proof. People's attention span is aprox. 8 secs. so you need to give them the most important info up front. Try to keep some consistency in your fundraisers. Example: they always go to the same place to locate the information and submit their orders, same form of payments accepted for each and to the same person.
3. Utilize technology available to make it easier for yourself, even if there is a small learning curve. Over the long haul, it will run more smoothly and consistently. I utilize several different time savers. I created a free and easy drag n drop website for our club, so members always know where to find information sheets, product info and a consistent place for order submission. Here is ours to get an idea. https://pfcparentcommittee.weebly.com/
I use the non profit version of jotform to accept order submissions. Here is an example of ours. https://form.jotform.com/82904704072252. The form completes the calculation for the submitter to prevent submitter error. It also prevents issues from illegible handwriting. We only accept submissions directly from club members. This ensures that we are not trying to hunt down someone's uncle's work friend for a bounced cheque as we only have to deal with one payment directly from the club member. It has the ability to create a google spreadsheet directly from the submissions, making placing the order to the vendor simple as well. We can then send the spreadsheet and a single profit payment to the gym for disbursement.
I also use Gmail mail merge to send the submitters updates on their orders as well as pickup locations and times. Its great for reminders to members as well.
4. The last thing I learned is that patience is a must. No matter how organized your fundraisers are, there will almost always be something new to learn from each fundraiser. People are people and sometimes we just need to be reminded of why we are fundraising in the first place.
The easiest fundraiser I have come across is the TUPPERWARE FUNDRAISER. Its why I decided to start coordinating them myself. For more information on my TUPPERWARE FUNDRAISERS click the button below.
The trick to balancing life and decreasing stress in your life lies in a 20-minute exercise each day:
Five minutes for calming your mind.
This exercise at the beginning of each day is crucial. Meditating or your version of it can mean the difference between attacking your day with ferocity and approaching it with an aura of calmness. Meditation centers your mind and calms your spirit. It also helps relieve any tension you feel about the day ahead. Meditation can help you focus on your inner power and remind you that you’re important to others.
Five minutes for planning.
Once you've calmed your mind, it’s time to plan your day. Planning means organizing your tasks so you can be productive without abusing yourself. Prioritize your tasks based on their importance. Delete and delegate what you can, then schedule what must be done.
Try your best to stick to the plan for the day. Having a clear plan for what you want to accomplish helps to keep you focused and stress-free.
Five minutes for checking in.
Whether all at once or in one-minute intervals, check up on yourself. Assess how well you've been able to stick to your plan. Have you accomplished your important tasks? Have you been able to manage your day without losing your cool?
There may be times when you’ll have to readjust your list of tasks. There are bound to be unforeseen circumstances. But what's important is that you take them in stride.
Take a moment to change your approach. Learn how to go with the flow.
Five minutes for winding down.
Now that you've come to the end of the day, it's time to wind down. You've probably never allowed yourself the opportunity to truly do that before.
Taking time to wind down is the best way to relieve the stress of the day. Engage in some relaxing activities. Do you like yoga or would you prefer to sit quietly and listen to jazz music? Let go of what happened today and get ready for tomorrow.
Winding down also opens you up to spending quality time with loved ones. You'll probably agree that at the end of a busy day, you may be too tired to interact with anyone. That will change when you allow yourself to wind down each day.
Once you try it for a week, you'll realize that this approach works. Designating these 20 minutes each day can help you maintain some balance and decrease your stress level. It can also help you manage all other aspects of your life with relative ease. And you'll enjoy a calmer existence that you didn’t think was possible!
Choosing storage and backups for your precious photos is incredibly overwhelming and there are so many things to consider. I will speak to this more in upcoming posts and want to only discuss one of the many options available that I am familiar with and when you should consider using it. That is Backblaze.
Backblaze is an automated backup service. For a truly minimal fee, Backblaze, once installed, automatically backs up your entire computer and your external hard drive and is incredibly easy to recover.
The backup is stored off site in the cloud, meaning that unlike syncing services similar to DropBox, it will not slow down your computer and use up space on your hard drive. It works in the background to update new materials regularly.
This would be one part of the 3 part 3-2-1 backup suggested for all photos. 3 backups, 2 different formats, at least 1 off-site, in the cloud. Backblaze is a great option for the cloud storage part of your 3 part photo backup solutions with the added bonus of protecting everything else on your computer as well. I suggest using the free trial below first to see if its the right solution for you before purchasing.