Monday, November 27, 2017

On to the Next Holiday - It's Time to Start Writing Out Your Christmas Cards!

Thanksgiving is over and the stores are primed for Christmas.  Sales and Santa's are everywhere.

It's hard to enjoy one holiday at a time when they all seem to run together. But this is the time to remember your family and friends and reach out to people, your friends and family, that you have neglected over the past year. It's not entirely your fault. We are inundated with so many obligations that we can barely keep up with everything and friends sometimes go by the wayside.

So instead of sending out Christmas cards where you barely sign your name to the card - write a short note that really means something.  Not a "form letter" that you send to every person in your address book. Write something special and meaningful to each person individually. A few sentences mean a lot.

Start now. A few cards every day so that you are not overwhelmed. Make it personal.

With email and texting, cards and real letters seem to have gone by the wayside. But getting a piece of real mail means something. Something special.

So start now - one card at a time. And before you know it, you will be done.

Happy Holidays!

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

Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Have a great THANKSGIVING filled with lots of stuffing!

Wishing you and yours a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, November 20, 2017

Start Now - Organize Your Kitchen For the Holidays

It's getting near the Holiday season and I can smell the food already!  Cookies, pies and all kinds of great foods that we only make a few times a year will soon be seen in our kitchens.

Are you ready to start cooking?  Do you have everything you need?  Do you know where all of your special dishes are?  Your cookie cutters?  Your special molds?  Those seldom used special recipes?

If you don't bake a lot during the rest of the year you might want to check your supply of flour, sugar, baking powder and anything else that you might not use often. You don't want to find out that you are out of something during the middle of baking.

Having an organized kitchen is the key to a stress free holiday season.  If you've been out to the stores lately you will see that all of the baking supplies are neatly stacked in the aisles ready for you to buy.  They are teasing you and reminding you to stock up now!

Start cleaning out those cupboards and make a list of everything that you will need to start planning your holiday season. Give yourself plenty of extra time so that you will enjoy the process and not feel forced to have "fun" in the kitchen.  By being prepared ahead of time and having everything you need at your fingertips you will be able to enjoy the atmosphere and the holiday spirit.

Baking and cooking for your family and friends for the holidays should be a fun and enjoyable experience. Not something that you dread.

By being prepared and having everything in your kitchen organized and ready to go, you will have one less thing to be stressed about.

The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed.  Being organized makes life easier. Make it a family event and teach your kids how to make those special holiday cookies!

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

Organizational Consulting Services

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!

Holiday Card Tracker
Holiday Gift Tracker
Holiday Menu Planner
Holiday Cooking Planner
2017-2018 Winter Planner

                   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