Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another year gone.......

I cannot believe it's almost 2012! Feels like the new millennium just began, but that was 12 years ago.

Even my 14 year old said it feels like it should be 2002.

By 2012, weren't we supposed to be driving flying cars and living on the moon?

And yet, it looks the same outside today as it has for years. December in NJ is usually grey, and today is no exception. Kind of dragging everyone down.

But tomorrow is the start of a new year. I don't know about you, but I always feel like I get a new supply of patience, energy and hopefulness every January. (That's hopefulness, not hopelessness.) By December, I'm used up. Thank goodness the new year is upon us! Now I'm just waiting for that burst of New Year's energy. It hasn't arrived yet.

Are you one of those people who makes New Year Resolutions?

I'm not.

I figure why set yourself up to fail.

Instead I'm going to try and put in place a few new systems to help make my life run smoother. That's my goal for this new year. Make life run s-m-o-o-t-h-e-r. And I love systems.

I've got lots of systems in place already, but there's always room for improvement - right? I'm going to focus on finances and exercise. Small bites, a little bit at a time.

Forgive me for rambling, but that's how my mind is this last day of December.

Give yourself the gift of nothingness today. Go within and comfort yourself with cocoa, down time and relaxation. You deserve it - it's been a hard year.

See you in 2012! Yikes!

be organized.....evelyn

If you want to see some of my systems, take a look at my book.....
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Don't Let Your Family Get Away With This!

Christmas traditions.

Always fun to plan & participate in. Putting up the tree, decorating for the holidays.

Hopefully your family members participate in this and your have some fun traditions built up around what really is a lot of work. We have a doughnut/champagne tradition. It makes the entire family really look forward to decorating.
If only this was all there was to put away.....

Then comes the time to take down the decorations. Suddenly everyone is "busy". And undecorating becomes your responsibility.

 Don't let your family get away with this.

Time to start a new tradition that accompanies TAKING DOWN the decorations.

No more.

circa 1968, made by me!

 There's nothing worse then doing the  undecorating all by yourself. Your holly is no longer jolly. The tree is just something you trip over. And there's lots of big boxes to carry up a whole bunch of stairs.

Last year in our house we started a new tradition. Hey, it worked for us!

Here's how:
  1. Write in PEN a date on the calendar to undecorate. Make sure everyone is free on that day. For the entire day. Having to rush or having one family member missing undermines the entire thing!
  2. Pick something you all like to eat that can be personalized. We all love pizza, so on that day everyone can get whatever toppings they want on the pizza. We  have 4 people, so 2 pies with 1/2 toppings each fills the bill. No sharing! Everyone gets exactly what they want. Sandwiches would work too, Chinese - whatever is your families thing. The point is that everyone gets exactly what they want 
  3. Get fun beverages also - this is not the day to limit people's choices. You want happy elves, not disgruntled ones.
  4. Put some upbeat music on - swing, 50's, anything that has a quick moving beat. Keeps the family going. Nothing like bopping to the beat, eating your favorite food, and putting ornaments away!
  5. Make/buy some spectacular dessert that you can't cut into until EVERY LAST SCRAP OF HOLIDAY CHEER IS PACKED AWAY!

That's it! Create a system that makes a dreary activity into a fun family activity. I'm all about the systems...........

And stay tuned - next week I'm shooting a series of eHow videos all about common organizing problems. With a videograper! I'll let you know as soon as they're posted.

Want a free sample of my book? obligation, just click, enter your email, hit send and voila - free tips for your kitchen!

See you next year!

be organized.....evelyn

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Ah Ha Moment

My question is: how many times do I have to knock over something before I fix it? In my case, the answer is lots & lots.

Let me explain.

I wear contacts. All the time, except for the few minutes when I take them out at night get into bed. Then I wear glasses. Without my glasses, I can't see, so it's important to have them handy at night. I leave them on my nightstand next to my bed. And almost every morning when I get up, I knock them to the floor. Then I have to find them strictly by feel because I'm blind without them and it's usually dark. Not a good start to the day. Which leads back to my question of how many times do your have to knock something over before I fix it.
glasses & mattress pad control

I'm proud to announce I have now fixed it.

No I didn't get Lasik surgery.

This is what worked for me. I looked at the problem and devised a system, using what I had on hand.
I attached a plastic drinking glass to the side of my nightstand with Command Adhesive sticky things. Now every night the glasses slip right in, and in the morning I can find them without groping around on the top of the nightstand. It's impossible to knock them over. And I have more room on my nightstand!

I liked this idea so much that I mounted another plastic glass to the inside of the bathroom cabinet door for my husband's razor. It was getting in the way of getting other things out of the cabinet, so to the door it went.

razor in the cup
And it works beautifully.

This led me to think what else could I mount vertically instead of placing horizontally.

Next to my bed, I mounted the control for myheated mattress pad. (If you don't have one of these, get one now. You'll thank me later!) No more scrambling around on the floor looking for it.

I also mounted the control for the lights.

Now I have a mini command center within arms reach of my bed. Lights, heat, and vision all within my grasp.

Life is good.

be organized.....evelyn

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Simple Idea That Will Save Your Sanity

Yes, I'm claiming a lot with the title of this post.

And yes, I mean it.

Do this one idea regularly, and your life will be saner. You will be happier. And your house will be neater.

I'm talking about THE FAMILY CLEAN UP.

What is that you may ask?

It's a simple idea that removes YOU from being in charge of keeping your house neat.

It removes YOU from being the person who bugs everyone else about keeping the house neat.

Takes a bit of rewiring your family at first, but then it's a no brainer.

The simple steps:
Get more time to do this - in a neat house!

  1. gather your family together twice a week. We use a bell, the same bell we ring for dinner time.
  2. first come gets first choice of jobs. In our house the choices are - quick vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting & decluttering. You'll have to show them how to do the jobs at first, but then it runs smoothly.
  3. each family member goes off and does their job.
  4. since you're all working together, no one feels they got the short end of the stick. And everything gets done quickly.
  5. results? In just 15 minutes or less, your house is now neat, tidy and clean. (At least on the surface. I do a deeper vacuuming & bathroom cleaning once a week.)
  6. you no longer have to vacuum under kids feet while they are playing video games. That alone makes the entire thing worthwhile!

The long term results of this idea are as follows:

  • no one is late because first there gets first choice of jobs.
  • your kids learn all types of home care jobs - enough to keep them going once they leave the nest.
  • you are not a one woman cleaning team anymore.
  • your house is guest ready at all times.

Try it out! Your family may surprise of my sons always picks cleaning the bathrooms!

Yes, it's a bit radical to expect your family to help keep the house neat, but trust me, it works!

It's simply another system, one that works for you and not against you.

What do you have to lose?

Want more ideas about systems to help run your home?
Check out my book Get a free sample!

be organized.....evelyn

Thursday, December 1, 2011

10 Steps To Homemade Joy

'Tis the season for running around like a crazy person, cramming too much into every day, and still not feeling the joy of the holidays.

Am I wrong?

No more. Time to stop and smell the Christmas tree. I'm not going to tell you how to streamline your day, I'm going to tell you how to get more joy out of it - with a simple system that puts the fun back into the holidays for your entire family.

And that system is..........An Advent chain.  

Doesn't matter if you're religious or not, doesn't matter what holiday you celebrate, doesn't even matter what you call it. It's simply a system to ensure that you do fun holiday type things strictly for the enjoyment of it. Remember that word? FUN?

Here's how it works.
  1. Pick a start date. We celebrate Christmas, so Dec 1 is our start date. 
  2. Cut strips out of construction paper, whatever colors are appropriate for the holiday. Our strips are 1 1/2" wide x 12" long, red & green.
  3. Divide the strips between family members
  4. Each person writes one enjoyable activity per strip. It can be anything as long as it's easily doable and not expensive. Keep them secret! For example, our strips might include - watch a favorite holiday show, go see a light display in our PJ's, give a group hug. (That was this mornings from one of my sons!). 
  5. If any chain entries need special equipment, like marshmallows for cocoa, start a list so you can get the supplies and have them ready. If you're afraid people might eat the supplies, put a sticky note on them, or keep them in a hidden spot.
  6. Mix up the strips of paper.
  7. Assemble them into a paper chain. Use tape or staples.
  8. Hang it over your breakfast table.
  9. Every morning take turns having a family member breaking the next link off the chain and reading it aloud. There's your fun activity for the day! We post the strips on the fridge so everyone knows whats coming, and if we can't get to it that day, we won't forget. Don't stress out over it - if you get too backlogged, forget about some of them The point here is to get some enjoyment into the holiday, not give you more to do.
  10. This is the perfect place to list all those holiday things you want to do but never seem to get to. And it makes a fun start to the morning.
We've been doing this for years - when we started, the kids were too young to do their own strips, so my husband & I did all of them Now, we all contribute, so it's a surprise for everyone.

I can't tell you how much joy this simple tradition brings to the holidays. And it removes the guilt of YOU having to be in charge of all the fun for the family. And, it removes all those activities from your head where they've been rolling around. Get them out of your brain, into a system that takes care of them, and on to the enjoyment instead!

One more way to remove all the "shoulds" from your brain - my friend Csilla   who ids a health coach just launched a free series of video tips on how to stay healthy and keep your eating in check over the holidays. One a day - short, easy to implement and free! Check them out here. 

 be organized.....evelyn

Want an unusual gift for the holidays for someone you know really well? How about my book - 30 Days To AN Organized Home - see the details here -