Friday, November 17, 2017

Holiday Planners - To Help Make Your Holidays a Breeze

Get some great FREE holiday printable planners to make your holidays a breeze!

                   Cozi - Holiday Planners - FREE

Monday, November 13, 2017

Traveling for the Holidays - Plan Ahead

A lot of people will be traveling for the Holiday. Take the stress out of your trip by being organized ahead of time.

Make a list of things to take so that you don't have to think about it as you pack.

Make sure that you put all of the clothes and personal items that you will need on the list.

Don't forget coats, gloves, scarves.

Remember to put any medication that you need on the list.

Don't forget your glasses or your phone charger. Two things that you really don't want to be without.

It might sound silly to put all of these things down on paper, but if you are leaving right after work you will be pressed for time and can easily forget things.

Make sure that your car is ready and gassed up at least a few days before you leave.

Don't forget to check your wiper fluid and make sure that you have a snow brush in your car and that your tires are fully inflated.

Depending on the length of your trip you might want to have snacks with you (especially if you are traveling with children). And also toys and books to keep the children occupied.

Why constantly re-create these lists? Do it once and you will always have it handy. You can tweak it after every trip and make your future travels go much smoother.

Happy Traveling...... and a Happy Holiday !

Organizational Consulting Services

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

The decorations and cooking supplies are already out in the stores. The holidays will be starting soon.  There are a lot of things to think about and a lot of things to get organized.

Yes, “Organized“, “Stress Free” and “Thanksgiving” can be used in the same sentence.

It all starts with the word “organized”. Don’t let it scare you. Embrace it. By being organized and planning ahead you can actually enjoy a holiday.

Start by deciding on what you want your holiday to be like.
  • Do you really want to serve a sit down dinner for twenty (20) people? 
  • Or would a buffet be acceptable for you?
If you really want a fancy sit down dinner party but twenty (20) people is too much for you to handle then cut the guest list down.
If you really want all twenty (20) people there then maybe you should consider a buffet.

You can make Thanksgiving as simple or as complicated as you want - it all depends on how organized you are willing to be.

A good way to keep the stress levels down is to divide and conquer.

Enlist your family for help. Don’t take “no” for an answer. This is your holiday too and you have a right to enjoy it.

And we all know that old saying “if Mom isn’t happy, no one is happy”.

Start at least two (2) weeks before Thanksgiving.

Decide on the type of gathering (formal or informal), the size of the guest list and the menu.

Don’t attempt to make something new for dinner or try out a new dessert that day. It could turn out to be a disaster and that would cause you more stress. If you really want to try a new dish - test it out prior to Thanksgiving.

Menu: Do you really want to serve cranberry relish and sweet potato’s even if you don’t like them and you only serve them because “they are always served at Thanksgiving”?

Make up your own menu (yes, it is radical). Serve something different. Serve something you like!

If you are having a small Thanksgiving dinner don’t feel obligated to serve Turkey.  How about  stuffed Cornish Hen? Or duck? Or stuffed chicken? The possibilities are endless.

Start new traditions! It’s not easy to buck the system but once you make up your mind that you deserve to be happy and stress free on a Holiday you will wonder why you waited so long.

Remember, the whole point of a Holiday is family and friends and spending “quality” time together. Everything does not have to be perfect. Be thankful for what you have and not for what you don’t.

By starting early and making lists and getting as much done ahead of time as possible you will avoid a lot of stress.

Once you have your menu planned work backwards and make up a timetable to what needs to be done. For example: if you want your dinner to be served at 6 p.m., what time do you have to put the turkey into the oven? What time do the potato’s and vegetables need to be started? Just make a list and put it on your refrigerator door so that you don’t have to second guess yourself and aren’t panicking at the last minute.

When your family or guests start to arrive your mind and attention will be elsewhere - so a list can help you stay on track. Don’t leave anything to chance.

A few days before Thanksgiving:
* Shop for all of the essentials, including as much of the food as can be purchased ahead of time
* Make sure that you have enough spices and things that you will need for the food (and rarely buy)
* Do any of the baking or make any desserts that can be made ahead of time
* Thaw the turkey (the size will determine how many days it takes to thaw in the refrigerator)
* Buy the wine or any beverages

The day before Thanksgiving:
* Buy any last minute items at the grocery store
* Chop anything that can be chopped ahead of time (vegetables, bread for stuffing…but do not stuff the turkey ahead of time) and put them in plastic bags so that you will be all ready to go the next day
* Make sure you have enough ice
* Prepare any of the food items that can be made ahead of time
* Make your family aware of exactly what you need them to help you with on Thanksgiving.
* Having assigned tasks for your kids and spouse ahead of time takes away some of the stress of what’s expected of them the next day.

The night before Thanksgiving:
* Set the table and get out all of your platters and serving dishes.
* Make sure that you have enough dishes and silverware. If you don’t, now is the time to call one of your guests and ask to borrow something. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out that you broke the gravy boat last Thanksgiving and never replaced it. 

Thanksgiving Day:
* Wake up early so that you can have some “you” time to have coffee and relax before
the day starts (it will get stressful enough later, so the morning might be the only time you have)
* Read over your lists and timetable
* Gather all of your food and cooking utensils, pots and pans ....
* Measure out everything that you can ahead of time and set it aside
* Follow your time table and start making the food according to the schedule
* Once the food comes out of the oven let it rest a while (you can cover it with foil)
* Start cutting the meat and plating the food
* Have family members start their assigned tasks (setting out and serving food, pouring the drinks…)

ENJOY your meal…… sit and talk…..

After the meal:

Some people like to leave the dishes and the mess until the next day. And sometimes I wish I could too, but its worse the next day when you get up and walk into a mess. I’d rather get it done and over with.

Make quick work of it (or as much as will fit into the dishwasher) and then sit and relax and spend time with your family.

Remember, a Holiday is supposed to be enjoyable. If it’s not, figure out why it isn’t and change it. Skip the big complicated meal, the fancy desserts and the good china and make it as simple as you are able to handle.

Start your own tradition….and make it about family!

Happy Holiday !

Monday, November 6, 2017

Setting Goals for Your Projects

Most people, when they get the idea that they want to "organize" their home, start too big. Their idea is "organize my entire house". It's a great idea - but it overwhelms most people.

When you have a project - it needs to be realistic and manageable.

You need to have a plan. You need to have goals. You need to have a timeline.

So instead of saying "I am going to organize my entire house"  - pick one room. For example, let's pick the basement.

What are your goals for the basement?
  • Get it decluttered and clean
  • Get rid of old paint cans (from 10 years ago)
  • Get rid of old tiles (from a previous remodel)
  • Put in new flooring
  • Paint the basement
What is the deadline for your project?
  • Estimate how long it will take and put the end date on your calendar
  • Work backwards and put completion dates on your calendar (for the floor, the paint....)

What supplies are needed?
  • Make a list of needed supplies and where you are going to get them
Decide on the flooring and the paint and order them.

Pick a date/time and schedule yourself to "declutter" the basement and get rid of the old paint & tile (this needs to be done prior to painting and new flooring).

Planning ahead for your projects - breaking them down into smaller, manageable pieces, scheduling them on your calendar - may seem like a lot of work - but - it will save you time in the end. Also, it will make your project run smoother and save a lot of stress!

Now - go plan your own project!

Organizational Consulting Services

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Monday, October 30, 2017

Is Your Mess Causing You Stress?

Everyone has a different idea of what having an organized space means. And some people don't care or don't even notice that their place is an unorganized mess.

Levels of mess and organization are "subjective".  Some people aren't bothered by having things on the floor (that don't belong there) or piles of mail on the kitchen counter.

Other people go off the deep end when one small thing is out of place. And then there is the space in between.

If your mess bothers you - and it is causing you to stress out - then you need to change things.

If you are ashamed to have people come over to visit because of the mess - you are limiting your social life - and causing yourself unneeded stress.

If you feel irritated when people leave things laying around and don't pick up after themselves - and you feel your stress levels go up - then you need to take a step back and let them know how much it bothers you and how much stress it causes you. Most people that leave messes aren't aware of the emotional impact it causes on other people.

Clutter causes stress. You might not realize that clutter is the cause of your stress - but if you take a step back and analyze why you are upset - it can all be traced back to the mess on the floor!

Think about how you feel when you walk into a disorganized, cluttered room. Then visual the room all neat and clutter free. Are your feelings different? I'm sure they are!

A clutter free, organized space brings about a feeling of calm. 

So if you want to reduce your stress - reduce your clutter.

Organizational Consulting Services

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Monday, October 23, 2017

Planning for your Future - Be Proactive Not Reactive

Being organized is not only about your closet or pantry. It's about your life. Unfortunately, a lot of people leave things to "chance".  By not planning for your future you are being reactive - instead of proactive.

When something happens - such as an accident or illness - are you prepared to deal with all of the things that you will need to deal with? Do you have things in place so that your life will carry on as normal (as can be)?

If you were in the hospital (for example) - would your rent and all of your bills still get paid on time? Do you have quick access to a list of all of the people that you would need to contact to keep things going?

Would those people know where you keep your information so that they could help you? Would they know what you wanted them to do?

You might have a filing system in place - but think about the time it would take to go through everything and find all of the information that you needed.

There are a number of options that might make things easier when you are in a crisis and not able to think clearly.

Having all of your information in one easily accessible place is "being proactive".

Planning for your future - having a list of goals is "being proactive".

Having all of your legal and financial documents in place is "being proactive".

Not sticking your head in the sand and saying "I have time to ...." is "being proactive".

Planning for emergencies and life's challenges is "being proactive".

So start thinking about the future - and plan ..... for whatever might come your way.

Organizational Consulting Services

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What Can You Do In Ten Minutes? A lot!

Make the most of your spare ten minutes. Get Organized!

People always think in terms of hours - instead of minutes. By using your time more efficiently you can accomplish a lot in only ten minutes!

1) Clear out your inbox on your computer. Get rid of unwanted emails, spam, ads and anything else that is cluttering up your inbox.

By doing this at least once a week it will make the job much easier.

2) Clear out one drawer in the kitchen. Get rid of broken utensils.

3) Go through your medicine cabinet and clear out old and expired medications. This also includes cough syrup, suntan lotion and anything else that looks old and you have no idea what it is!

4) Clean out your sock drawer! You probably have a bunch of socks that don't have mates. Get rid of them!

5) Clean out your purse! You probably have old receipts and old coupons in there. Plus who knows what else. Clear our anything that you don't need to carry in your purse.

There are a lot of things that can be done in ten minutes. Using your time wisely gives you more time for the fun things in life!

Organizational Consulting Services

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life