Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Break Bucket List

Remember to take time this holiday season to enjoy simple things.
This year I started a "Christmas Break 2012 Bucket List" in the notes feature of my phone. This includes things we must do (renew kid #1's passport) and things we want to do (visit area museums). 

Every year my husband and I look forward to the long break between Christmas and New Year. We have grandiose plans of how we will spend the time. And every year on January 2nd we look at each other and wonder where the time went.  

While I doubt we will accomplish everything on my list, my hope is that we can use it to prioritize our precious time with our family. My idea is to balance the "have to's" and the "want to's" by alternating our activities for each day. 

When the children go back to school in January, I can rename my list "Spring Break 2013 Bucket List" or slide the items to the list I have started for Summer 2013. 

Here's to being intentional in the way we spend our time this holiday season and every day.  

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Would you like to learn 5 simple strategies to keep your New Year's Resolutions? Carolyn will be presenting "Simply Organize the New Year" at this year's Women's Health and Fitness Day, a free healthy lifestyle event on Saturday, January 12, 2013. Register at the Women's Health and Fitness Day website.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Clearing Kid Clutter

Telling Santa Christmas wishes. 

Back in February I provided some basic tips on the Simply Organized Life blog to Cut Kid Clutter

Here are some additional tips that are being employed in my household (see also last week's post) as we approach the holiday season.

1) Talk to Your Kids
For most kids, more is more. However, as parents or guardians, we know that a clean uncluttered environment is important to our kids' physical and mental well being.  

My children are quite young so we keep it simple. For example: "We need to let go of some stuff you no longer use to make room for new things." I hate to admit it, but we have also mentioned Santa in our conversations. 

2) Involve the Kids
Now that your children are aware of the fact that they cannot keep outgrown clothing or toys they no longer play with, involve them in the process in age appropriate ways. 

Because some items are sentimental to me too, I like to pick out things that I feel are ready to leave the home and give my kids a choice of what they want to sell or give away. They enjoy giving things to younger extended family members or earning some of the proceeds from the toys we sell. 

3) Set Clear Limits
Only you can decide how much is too much in your home. Setting clear limits (for both your kids and yourself) is a great way to keep clutter from taking over.

Most of us do well with some sort of container to limit our possessions. For example: Only own as many books as will fit in your bookcase or as many clothes as fit in your closet or dresser. Even very young children can understand that the toy box is full and there is not room for anything else. 

Sometimes kid clutter (and adult clutter) can be overwhelming. If you need help with the clutter in your life, please contact Carolyn to schedule a complementary telephone consultation. 

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. To receive a free copy of Carolyn's "Secrets of a Simply Organized Life"and a monthly subscription to the e-newsletter "Your Simply Organized Life" sign up here

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Preparing for the Holidays

Bringing out the Christmas decorations. 
In my home, we are busy preparing for the Christmas holiday. This year we have chosen to take a slow and steady approach in order to involve the kids as much as possible. Every weekend, we pick a small decorating project and have one outing.  

Along with the traditional holiday preparations, I have been focused on clearing clutter in our home, particularly kid clutter. Last year, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of our family and friends toward our children. Even after taking care of holiday returns, we still had a lot of new stuff.

What does clearing clutter look like in a professional organizer's home? Any outgrown clothing or toys have been passed on to the younger child, given to extended family, taken to a local resale shop or donated to charity.

I have also been letting go of my unneeded clothing and household items, such as those blankets we never use and excess belongings stored in the basement. The website is so easy to use that I have scheduled Purple Heart to come out twice in the last  three months.

All of this clutter clearing has been enriching my life, and I hope, that of my immediate family. 

If you are preparing for Christmas, in the midst of Hanukkah or celebrate another winter holiday, my wish is that these tips will help you be just a little more organized and a lot less stressed.

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. To receive a free copy of Carolyn's "Secrets of a Simply Organized Life"and a monthly subscription to the e-newsletter "Your Simply Organized Life" sign up here

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Guest Post: Prioritizing You! (Part 2 of 2)

Last week, guest blogger, Anna Mae Trievel from Ann Arbor with Kids and Fun with Your Kid, shared her tips to make sure moms remember to make themselves a priority. Here is part 2 of 2. 

Based on the success of the coffee group mentioned in last week's post, I want to setup a regular event with another group of friends from my daughter’s school. 

I have talked with another mom about twice a month meetings: one week doing coffee and one week doing lunch. So far, we have not organized anything official, but have done coffee a few times, lunch once and a movie once. We also had an after-school outing with the kids.

My husband and I are fortunate to have family in the area who like to watch our daughter (and where she asks to sleep-over) so we are able to have date nights without arranging a babysitter. 

Date nights are also something that can be scheduled to make sure you have your own time. If finances are tight, you can arrange a routine trade-off with a friend so that you each get a date night once a month and once a month you watch the friend’s child(ren). 

Another option is to look for places that have a regular kids' night out event. Plan to take advantage of those when they are offered to have your regular date night. I have seen them offered at gymnastics centers, inflatable bounce places and my daughter’s school.

So when organizing your schedule, don’t forget the importance of scheduling your “me time”, “date night”, or even family game night.

Anna Mae Trievel writes the blog Ann Arbor with Kids about family events and activities in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She recently launched Fun with Your Kid to provide information about events happening across the country or region, product reviews, travel experiences and more.