Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What To Do When Your Child Goes Off To College

As I write this, I sit surrounded by cubbies. Big cubbies. Cubbies taking up so much floor space that there is barely any room to walk around.

No, I'm not moving.

My oldest is off to his second year of college today.

I realized this morning that I was in his place 33 years ago.

I find that hard to fathom. How could it be that long ago when it seems like just a few years ago?

This staggering fact made me realize that any wise words of wisdom I may impart to him would be hopelessly out of date. It would be like someone giving me college tips from 1947. Can't quite see any relevance there. Were there even phones in college dorms back then?

So, I'm just going to keep my mouth shut.

But here are my tips for when your child goes off to school.
  • do not offer your advice about anything.
  • your job today is a Sherpa.
  • make sure they have a good breakfast before they go. At least you know they won't starve for today.
  • give them a big hug before you leave your house, there may not be time later.
  • keep your opinions about their roommates to yourself, your not living with them.
  • take assurance in the fact that you taught them well, now it's their time to fly.
  • do not cry until after you leave.
Have to go Sherpa.

 be organized.....evelyn

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How To Organize Happiness

Happiness. The elusive quest. Just when you think you're getting close, something knocks you right back to despair land again.

But no, it doesn't have to be that way. What you (and I ) need is a buffer. Something to rely on when the going gets tough. And I don't mean shopping.

Here instead are my top 6 ways to organize happiness:
Smiley Face Cake
  1. schedule some time for yourself doing something you love best. Reading, bubblebathing (is that a word?) exercising (I hear for some people this is something they actually enjoy doing!)
  2. set up some schedules in your life to free yourself from everyday jobs. Like the ones suggested in  my previous blogs or in my book.
  3. surround yourself with upbeat people. The naysayers have no place in your life, other then to bring you down.
  4. imagine a happy outcome to your troubles. Actually put yourself in the picture and envision the happy results. Ever seen The Secret?
  5. don't watch the news everyday. Informed is good, constantly hearing about all the bad things in the world, not so good. My 12 year old son couldn't sleep after watching the precoverage of Hurricane Irene. He finally realized that the reporters job was to keep you glued to the set by scaring you. 
  6. Do you subscribe to The Happy News? Only happiness, all the time.
So - give it a try! What do you have to lose?

be happy & be organized.....evelyn

ps - that cute picture of a smiley face? It's really a cake from Family Fun magazine. Click here for the recipe!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Is Your Disorganization Destroying Your Morning? 7 Ways To Stop It Now!

Today's topic: Getting out the door in the morning without stress & on time. Now that back to school time is upon us, this seems like the impossible dream.

But it's not.  You need a schedule. Here it is:
key/mail cubbie, keys are behind the photo
  1. plan out what you are going to wear the night before. Hang it on the outside of your closet door so it's ready and waiting for you in the morning.
  2. limit your breakfast choices to a few quick and easy things. Oatmeal, cereal, breakfast bars come to mind. This is not the time for eggs, pancakes or anything that takes more then one minute to make. Save those culinary adventures for the weekends.
  3. have everything you need for the day right by the door you exit from. Library books that need to be returned, mail to post, items to drop off. Have it all in one big bag right by the front door. A bag you put together THE NIGHT BEFORE. Same goes for the kids.
  4. anything you need to remember on a regular basis that can't fit into the bag, make a sign or a cut out of the item and post it on the front door THE NIGHT BEFORE. We have a purple foam cut out of a violin. Whenever my son needs to take his violin to school, I put the cutout on the front door right above the door knob at eye level. Our front door is metal, so I glued a magnet on the back, but tape would work also. This way we can't forget the violin in the morning, and family members who leave earlier won't trip over the it.
  5. pack lunch THE NIGHT BEFORE  (this would be a good cutout item for the front door also.) Or pack it that morning using the freezer idea from here.
  6. take a minute to figure out what dinner will be tonight. Is there anything you can pull out of the freezer now and leave to thaw in the fridge all day? If so, do it.
  7. useful storage things to have by the front door: mirror to check yourself in before you leave, basket containing sunglasses, a key rack, an outgoing mail cubbie. Anything that makes your life easier in the morning is worth taking a few minutes to set up THE NIGHT BEFORE.
Are you sensing a trend here? I'll let you in on a secret - the best way to assure yourself a smooth morning to to prepare all you can THE NIGHT BEFORE. That way you have a bit of wiggle room in the morning to adapt for those inevitable things that will go wrong. Plan ahead to give yourself this room.

That's it for now. Make September smooth by trying a least one of these tips and see if it makes your life easier. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Weekly Round Up! Winning in Life and Then Slowing Down......

  • Taa daa! 
  • Each Friday I gather all of my weekly posts and present them in one place, just on case you missed any. Since I just started this blog last Wednesday, only two posts so far.....
  • But if you're looking for any more of my ideas and words of wisdom, just click here to see my other blog.

    There you'll find a huge archive of other organizing tips.

    be organized .....evelyn

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Organizing a Slo-Mo Day

Well, it 's the last two weeks of summer vacation here in NJ, and my family is celebrating it by s-l-o-w-i-n-g down, savoring the last days of summer.

We tend to do unusual activities, ideas that require more imagination then cash. The goal is fun and time spent together. But no stress. No running around. No waiting in lines. Living a slow motion life.

This is how memories are made.

Here's a short list of ideas to get you started.
  • a candy tour - map out a few local candy stores, give each person a set $ limit per store (usually $2.00 is enough) and hit the road. Pack a picnic lunch, lots of water, and invite some friends along. This year we're hitting Chester NJ where there are 4 candy/chocolate stores, last year we did the entire county!
  • find a babbling brook at a nearby park and wade into it. Bring along some squirt guns and towels, again pack a lunch and just enjoy nature.  
  • set off on a local bike ride, and every time you get to a crossroads, flip a coin to decide which way you go. Don't forget to pack lunch. And a picnic blanket. Then find a tree.
  • take a self led walking tour of a big city nearby. Go in early on a Sunday morning - no traffic, lots of parking. Pack a quick lunch, eat it on the steps of a really big impressive building. Make sure you buy ice cream from a outdoor vendor, and browse inside unusual shops.
  • look on the site and find somewhere near you that is unique and unusual for lunch. Have that giant piece of cake or that tiny burger.
  • go tour an unusual museum. Just google unusual museums near your location and you'll be surprised by what pops up. We've been to the Houdini museum, The Jello Museum, the Carousel Museum to name a few. Pack a lunch and go.
Are you noticing a theme here? All our trips seem to involve food, and usually a lunch we've packed ourselves. That's one of the keys to keeping it slow motion. Remove the places where you'll find crowds, remove the time spent waiting for food and you can assure yourself a stress free outing.

And even if you're summer is technically over all ready, Saturday is just a few days away. Plan something unusual that won't involve crowds, lines or lots of money.

 be organized.....evelyn

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How To Win In Life

I saw an interesting movie last night called The Joneses. It's about a marketing company "planting" a well-to-do family in a neighborhood to impress others with their toys and influence sales. It's fiction. Or is it? It better be.

He who dies with the most toys does not win.

He who lives life to the fullest with time to do things he wants to do wins.

It comes down to clutter.

Clutter chokes out your space and uses up your time. It controls you.

It should be the other way around. You need to control your clutter.

Notice I didn't say the clutter. I said your clutter. It didn't just grow there.

Try one of these easy steps today to take control over your clutter.
  • clean off one of your kitchen counters.
  • empty off your mantle completely. Live with the space for a few days, then put back one or two items.
  • clean out your medicine cabinet.
  • clean out your junk drawer.
  • clean out your car.
  • clean out a bookcase.

None of these need to be time consuming or confusing. Just toss out the junk and put away the misplaced items.

How do you feel? If decluttering one space made you feel better, move on to a second. Don't worry about organizing the space right now, just get rid of the junk.

Go do it right now, don't put it off, go win at life.

be organized.....evelyn