Summer – a chance to turn procrastination into action

Customized Family Handbooks – an Invaluable Family Resource

I’m ready for summer! Looking forward to days of when our routine is gone and relax into an agenda that reveals itself anew each day.

Where the stress of carpools, parent/teach meetings, homework assignments, and task lists are gone and the freedom to just “enjoy the day” returns for a brief season.

Purple Martin & Co Purple MartinThe Purple Martin & Co.

During the summer I close The Purple Martin & Co. and take time to reflect. I think back on the clients I have had the opportunity to serve and take stock of all I have been able to learn from each of them.

My goal is always to re-open in August with new and refreshed ideas…to create more efficient strategies for my clients and to stay on top of the latest trends and technology enhancements.

I am fortunate enough to have been able to work with phenomenal and inspiring clients over the years, such as:

  • A mother of six
  • A young mom battling cancer
  • A widowed parent of young children
  • A young mom beginning to “parent” her aging mother
  • A retiree managing her mother’s dementia

Each client has a unique set of needs and circumstances, but at the core they all have one thing in common…The need to empower others to help them.

Why?

Well the most logical answer I always receive from clients is “so I can have a break”.

But the most important answer I know we are both thinking is…

“Because I may not be here one day and I need someone to know EVERYTHING that I know.”

In the business world, when we are assessing risk within an organizational structure we always look for what we call “Key Man Dependency”. This is when one person holds all the cards, has all the knowledge, and nobody else is trained in their “expertise”. The biggest risk with “Key Man Dependency” in business is if that employee were to decide to quit, all of the knowledge of that specific job would walk out the door and into the hands of the competition.

In the case of managing a family, if one person is managing all of the “day to day” tasks of running the household and has not communicated the details of his/her role to anyone else, the family is at risk of key man/woman dependency.

The biggest question I receive from every client I meet with is…

“Why can’t my iPhone (insert any form of technology here) stand in for me in an emergency?”

I always answer this question with the following question…

“If your spouse’s plane crashed today, and you were handed his iPhone, could you figure out everything you needed to know about his job? More importantly, could his phone tell you where to find his life insurance policy or who his power of attorney is?”

Then we turn the tables…

“If you were to die today, would your husband be able to take your iPhone and understand how to do your job?”

The answer to both questions is always – “No, I would be completely lost.”

The reason being that technology does not translate our intent to others. My iPhone cannot tell my husband what time my daughter eats lunch at school, what my son’s carpool schedule is for baseball, who he can call for my four year olds play dates.

My iPhone is excellent at recording contacts- but they are just that – names and addresses lacking the CONTEXT of how they touch our family’s life.

My iPhone can you you I have an allergist, but I can’t tell you that my son receives like saving peanut allergy treatment via an epi-pen that is stored in the upper left cabinet in our bathroom.

Only YOU can provide the details and intricacies of how you manage your household.

The second question I am asked most frequently during speaking engagements is…

Do I have to hire someone to have a family handbook?”

The answer is ABSOLUTELY not.

I encourage you to take this summer and create your own family handbook!

  1. Make a list of all your specific roles
  2. Describe both how and who you use to accomplish them (be detailed and include accurate contact information)
  3. Organize your information in a logical format that others can understand (use a simple three ring notebook and tabs to divide the information into logical “chunks”)
  4. Store your information in a safe place (I recommend having both a hard copy and electronic version)

Above all else, I like to remind clients that your family handbook remains useful only if the following criteria are followed:

  1. Others know the handbook exists and know its permanent location
  2. You and your family are familiar with the handbook contents and are comfortable retrieving information in a panic
  3. The criteria data remains updated and accurate

There is not right or wrong way to create a family handbook. The most important thing is that one exists and that others can retrieve the information easily and in an emergency.

The third most frequently asked question I receive is…

“My life is so complicated, how will I ever find the time to complete this?”

I encourage you to take this summer and turn procrastination into action.

Take a few minutes each day to chronicle the important intricacies of your family’s life. When you think your handbook is in a good place, put it through a test run.

Hand your notebook to a close friend or spouse and see if they can step into your shoes and help in a crisis based on what you have created. If your notebook needs tweaking, take the time to make the changes recommended by a friend.

I’ve seen the crisis first hand and while we don’t live for the “what ifs” in life, providing a safety net for those we love “just in case” is something we can’t afford NOT to do.

Be inspired to take the summer challenge of creating your own family handbook. My hope for you is that your family handbook will become as one client described…”like the fire extinguisher I keep under the kitchen sink…I hope I never have to use it for its intended purpose, but it sure does give me peace of mind knowing it is there.”

Lori Martin

 By Lori Martin of The Purple Martin & Co. 

The Purple Martin & Co.’s Facebook page


Entering Summer with Simplicity

Simplicity Equals Spareness
Simplicity Equals Elegance
Simplicity Equals Calm
Summer Sky
Spareness: You wouldn’t wear a wool coat or choose to eat a
heavy stew during hot weather, but summer is the perfect time to practice spareness with your things.
In less than an hour you can:
Purge the pantry of all the mysterious sauces, chutneys and mixes that you got for Christmas. If you haven’t used them yet- you won’t.
Edit your winter wardrobe as you shift summer outfits forward. If you didn’t wear the winter garment last year, it’s a safe bet you won’t wear it next year.
Toss every catalogue and all but the most current issue of your magazines. More will be in your mailbox soon and almost everything you are saving for reference can be found online (if you ever really want to find it).
Elegance: Treasured items need fewer things to keep them company. Their story fills the space nicely. Put treasures in honored places and enjoy telling their stories. Children’s art, family photos and random “sit-abouts” can all use some editing.
Calm: Streamline your calendar. The impromptu neighborhood get-together, family outing or quiet time with a book won’t happen if every waking minute is scripted. Make time so that spontaneity and serendipity can be savored. Consider these simple suggestions. They just might inspire you to make this your most organized and least chaotic summer ever!

Moving: Wrong Way or Right Way?

 

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Not all moves are created equal.  Sometimes a move is the result of a happy occurrence and sometimes not.  Some moves are long in the planning and some must happen rather abruptly. Often moves are handled from start to finish by professionals, but others involve significant personal effort.  Regardless of the impetus for your move or its practical aspects, the move will be smoother and settling into the new quarters will be enhanced, if you follow a few principles, collectively called “rightsizing”.

Rightsizing is a framework for thoughtfully examining how you want to live your life and for identifying which possessions will best feather your new nest. Rightsizing appreciates both the importance of practical necessities and the desire for treasured keepsakes.

In a nutshell, rightsizing is the critically important precursor to packing to move and getting organized in your new home. When you examine your life and all your stuff and are honest about what works and what doesn’t, you’re on the rightsizing path.  When you ask and answer tough questions about why you’re hanging on to mountains of clutter, you’re rightsizing.  When you do the math and admit that 5000 square feet of stuff won’t work in a 2000 square foot house, you’re rightsizing.  When you deal with the psychology of clutter BEFORE you begin to pack, this is rightsizing.

Boxes, packing paper and bubble wrap are important but stocking up on these supplies should follow the soul-searching that rightsizing elicits, not precede it. Rightsizing is a way to rescue you from being a prisoner of your things when you settle into your new space.

If thoughtful decision-making is so important, what is the proper framework for dealing with your possessions in anticipation of a move?

Here are several possibilities:

Does the utility or joy derived from the item exceed the space it consumes and the maintenance it requires?

Am I holding on to this item only from a sense of obligation, sadness or guilt?

If I’ve ascribed great value to this item, am I curating it in a fashion consistent with that value?

The emotional barriers to rightsizing are usually far more challenging than the physical ones.  Once the self-examination has been done, the nuts and bolts of packing are relatively simple.  Rather than feeling totally overwhelmed by the magnitude of the process (which only invites procrastination), a move that STARTS with rightsizing can be seamless and successful, not only in the short run but for the long haul too.

When you rightsize, you will have already formulated priorities, explored options for putting treasured possessions front and center and found creative solutions for disposing of those things that no longer make sense in your life.

If you are open to the possibilities, you’ll discover that change can be liberating and energizing.  So if a move is in your future, consider doing it the right (sized) way!

– By Robin McCoy

 

 


12 Tips for Simplifying Your Holiday

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1) PlanningThe holidays will be here before you know it.  Take the time to plan what needs to be accomplished.

2) Calendar:  Make sure all family members are on the same page-literally. Keep everyone’s events marked on the same calendar so the whole family knows what’s coming up.

3) Decorating:  Avoid feeling like you have to decorate every square inch of your home.  Let go of decorations you seem to avoid putting out each year.  Listen to the song – “Let it Go”!

4) Saying No:  The holidays can be exhausting so keep in mind that it’s okay to say “No.” You will actually appreciate more when there is less on your plate.  It will help keep your stress levels down and allow you to not be so burnt out when the season ends.

5) Mailing list:  When adding or editing addresses in your database-start early. Avoid waiting to order your cards and print labels a few days before Christmas when you are already stressed.

6) Holiday cards:  Aim to have them ready, stamped and in a box by November 1st!  On or around the first of December, send them out as you like.  This process can take a lot of time, but once it’s done you can relax and enjoy the season a little more.

7) Holiday treats:  If you plan to bake for the holidays, consider giving these items a week or two before Christmas.  It’s a great time to connect with your friends and neighbors when they might be more grateful for a special treat.

8) Limit gift giving:  Draw names for gift giving.  This takes the pressure off of worrying about the amount of gifts and how much money you have to spend on each person.  Purchase one thoughtful gift for the person you draw.

9) Meaningful gifts:  Share an event or activity with a loved one, make a donation to a charity that is important to that person, or create something yourself that they would enjoy. Consider giving the gift of time.

10) Get into the giving spirit:  Encourage your children to donate old toys, games, and stuffed animals.  This will also provide a head start on your New Year’s resolution of de-cluttering and organizing your home.

11) Wrapping it up:  No need to take up space in your home with lots of  rolls of wrapping paper.  Just purchase one roll of butcher paper from Michaels.  You can have your children decorate the paper or just use decorative ribbon.

12) At the end of the holiday season:  Punch a hole in the corner of each of the holiday cards you received.  Place the cards on a large jump ring with a pretty bow or ribbon you have hanging around post holiday gift giving. Place the cards in the middle of your dinner table or wherever your family regularly gathers.  Every day, make an effort to think about, pray for, or reach out to the family on the top card.  Once you flip through all of the cards you can toss them guilt free and look forward to next year’s flipbook of new cards.

 


Organizing Your Meals & Tips from The Whole Tulip

Enough of the back to busy rushed mornings and the last minute “What do we want for dinner?” madness.

Planning and advance preparation are the keys to turning madness into method. Almost no one likes making multiple trips to the grocery store throughout the week in order to prepare a few simple meals.  It’s expensive in both time and money. With a bit of thought, desperate store runs will be a thing of the past, saving time for more enjoyable and productive activities.

Grocery Store

Here’s the plan:

  • Keep one central grocery list-whether on a clipboard for your family to add to or use an app on your phone.
  • Stick to the list!  Resist impulse buys and don’t go shopping hungry.
  • Use the weekend to plan the next week’s meals.
  • Use the grocery store’s online shopping service, to save on time.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
  • Prepare extra meals that you can freeze for later.
  • Don’t get bogged down with fancy recipes or delusions of gourmet grandeur-the simpler the better! Come up with some solid “go-to” meals that you can whip up without thinking twice.
  • Unload your groceries and begin to prep for the week.  Encourage your children to help!  They’ll learn valuable kitchen skills and be excited about eating what they’ve helped prepare.
    • Decide what you can do ahead of time.
      • Example: Pack up carrots, chips, nuts and other snacks used in lunch boxes.  Cut up fruit to store (add a little lemon juice to keep them from browning!) in the fridge
  • If your family likes hard-boiled eggs (easy breakfast and/or snack!), boil a dozen and keep them in the fridge for easy access.
  • Try and reduce unnecessary waste and use glass storage containers if possible (no phalates)
  • Make lunches the night before. It will save you precious minutes and a whole lot of sanity the next morning!
  • When starting dinner prep, a chopped apple or an orange can buy you some time when it comes to “Mom, I’m hungry! Is dinner ready yet?”

 The Whole Tulip Logo

We asked healthy eating experts Adri and Carolyn of The Whole Tulip for pantry staple advice from their popular eBook, Let’s Cook, Real Food Recipes Worth Knowing By Heart”. This eBook covers staples for the pantry, fridge and freezer.

Organizing Your Basic Pantry

Whether you have already given your pantry a make over or you still can’t bear the thought of departing with your goldfish and cheerios, we have some great next steps for you. Building a real foods pantry takes time and can be a bumpy road. We are going to share with our favorite go to pantry staples and what we have found works well for busy people. Use it as a starting point and get curious about what excites you. Use these as suggestions. Your job is to fine-tune the list; adjusting as you go to add the ingredients you use most.

One of the keys to eating real food is always having fresh food available and accessible.

TABLES

Dried Goods

We always tell clients that if you have produce and some grains, you have a meal. Keeping your pantry stocked with essential dried goods makes it easy to feel that you can a simple meal waiting for you.

TABLES

 

You don’t ever want real food cooking to feel boring or bland. Have those special go to staples that bring out the true flavors of your naturally simple ingredients.

TABLES

Organic vs. Non-Organic

Making the choice to go 100% organic can be overwhelming, unrealistic and expensive. However, we now live in a time where it is necessary to eat organic foods to avoid pesticides that are toxic to the nervous system.

The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. We have listed the top 14 produce items to buy organic to avoid exposure to pesticides. However, eating conventionally grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. If at all possible, shop local. Buying local produce supports local farmers, will be seasonal and fresh, and reduces your carbon footprint.

Dirty Dozen:

TABLES

Clean 15:

Clean 15 TABLE

You can rest assure that buying organic produce is less toxic. Crops grown by organic farmers are not exposed to toxic pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, synthetic grown hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients. Buying organic also means you are buying products that do not contain GMO’s, Genetically Modified Organisms.

Source: Environmental Working Group

 


6 Tips to Effectively Manage Your Email on Your Mobile Device

6 Tips to Be Mobile and Be Smart: How to Effectively Manage Email on Your Mobile Device

By Carson Tate of Working Simply

It’s 3:09 pm. Hungry, restless, maybe just done for the day, you’re in desperate need of a break from meetings, conference calls, you name it. So, you decide to check your email on your mobile device. That innocent need to keep your inbox under control is plagued by the thought of the time it will take not only to read the emails, but also to respond to, file, organize, or maybe just remember not to forget to do all the aforementioned when you’ve got more time. It’s a lot to think about.

I get it.

Managing Email

Here are six go-to strategies to help you manage your email effortlessly on your mobile device saving you time, attention, and energy, so you can use all three on life beyond the mobile.

  1. 1.     Mobile email management is part of a broader email management strategy.

Managing email on mobile should be part of your personal, larger email management strategy. It is one piece of the email strategy puzzle that allows you to maintain connectivity from almost anywhere in the world, allowing you to work from virtually anywhere – which is a blessing and a curse.

I do not recommend managing email on your mobile device as your primary email management strategy. You have very limited functionality on a mobile device and cannot really optimize your email management with only this tool. Your mobile device is ideal for quick responses, urgent requests, or acknowledgements of receipt. If an email is urgent and demands your attention now, acknowledge the email and then follow up with either a phone call or longer email from your primary computer to handle or resolve the issue.

  1. 2.     Read and respond to incoming messages.

We have all done it. You are standing in line waiting for coffee, you just peek at your email, and then before you can even finish reading the email, it is your turn to order. You place your order and quickly forget what only a few minutes ago you were reading. Now you have to go back and re-read that email message, either on your phone or later when you return to your office. Re-reading emails, even on mobile devices when we think we are being efficient, actually wastes significant amounts of time. Let’s say that you receive 100 emails per day and it takes you approximately one minute to read those emails. It will take you one hour and forty minutes to read those emails. Now, if you do nothing with those messages you must come back and re-read them. At this point, you have now invested over three hours of your time on the same 100 messages! Cut your email time investment in half. Read and respond to incoming messages on your mobile phone. If the action required takes longer than 2-3 minutes, create a folder labeled EMAIL TASKS (for directions on how to add folders and other ideas see #4 below) and move the message to this folder. When you are back at your computer, open this folder first in your email application and execute on these items. If the action required needs to be handled by someone else on your team, forward the message to them. If the message does not require action by you, either delete it immediately or file it in the appropriate file folder. Take action on your incoming messages and save a few hours this week.

  1. 3.     Screen and cull incoming messages using the rules feature.

There are too many messages to manage on a screen the size of your palm. The design of our phones sets us up for inefficiency and overwhelm. So, take back control by thoughtfully and strategically screening all incoming messages using the rules feature in your email program. By using rules you can filter out the messages where you are CC:ed, are FYIs, are newsletters, blogs or company newsletters that you can read at a later date. Setting up new rules must be done from your primary computer. Your goal is to open your email on your mobile device and only see the current, relevant messages that actually require a response by you.

  1. 4.     Use folders to get your work done and stay organized.

Folders are an essential component of your mobile email management strategy. Create email folders that actually help you stay organized and get your work done. Consider setting up folders based on the type of action you need to take on email messages. For example:

  • Urgent Reply
  • Call
  • To Do or Tasks
  • Follow Up
  • Read/Review
  • Schedule

To set up new email folders in iPhone Mail (in an IMAP or Exchange account):

  • Go to the folders list for the desired account in iPhone Mail.
  • Tap Edit.
  • Now tap New Mailbox in the bottom right corner.
  • Type the desired name for the new folder over Name.
  • To pick a different parent folder:
    • Tap the account under Mailbox Location.
    • Now tap the desired parent folder.
  • Tap Save.
  • Finally, tap Done to the top right.

Note that you cannot add custom folders to POP accounts in iOS Mail.

When you receive an email message on your phone that requires action, move it to the appropriate folder. Now, when you return to your primary computer and open your email application, your messages have been sorted by your next action step, saving you hours of precious time.

Once you have set up your action folders, organize them on your desktop (this will be mirrored on your mobile device) based on priority. Use numbers and symbols in front of your folder names to build a customized, prioritized folder list. You want your most frequently accessed folders at the top of your folder list for easy access.

  1. 5.     Create a dedicated mobile email signature.

Use your mobile email signature as both a gatekeeper and a scapegoat. By including an email signature in your messages you let the recipient know that this is a response from a mobile device helping you manage their expectations regarding your response and you give yourself an excuse for any fat finger typos that are so common on mobile devices. Here are just a few examples to consider:

  • Speedy reply mobile #
  • Quick mobile response
  • Please excuse any typos. This is a quick mobile response.
  • From my mobile
  • Mobile reply
  1. 6.     Remember why you have email on your mobile device.

As much as we like to think it’s about work or deadlines or staying on top of things, having email on our phones is really about connecting with people. Your email on your phone allows you to maintain connectivity to not only your work, but also your friends, your family, your life. Remember that your mobile device is a connection tool. This will help you maintain perspective even when your inbox is blowing up.

If used well, managing email on your mobile device will decrease the amount of time you spend overall managing your email. Get started today designing a mobile email management strategy that works for you. Invest a few minutes to set up your system, and you’ll be amazed at the time you now have to enjoy life beyond your mobile device.

If you are interested in additional tips and strategies and would like to receive my free e-book 60 Ways to Work Simply please go to www.carsontate.com/guest/ .


Preparation

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

Failing to prepare, procrastinating, putting off until tomorrow what should be done today…

These are all strategies for disorganization, chaos, waste and heartache- outcomes that few seek.  So why do we do the very things that sabotage success we crave? The answer is at least in part-we’re human and we’re creatures of habit.  In our busy lives and fast-paced world, there always seems to be more to do than time to do it.  Putting things off is a coping mechanism.

But preparation skills can be learned, practiced and habit-forming.  And in the process, life becomes calmer, simpler and happier.

As summer gives way to fall, school and work schedules intensify.  Consider these possibilities for success through preparation.

In the kitchen:

Plans meals and keep a grocery list (easier than ever with technology) rather than impulse buying and not having anything that constitutes a meal.  Shop less often but more intentionally.

Prep groceries when you unpack them.  This means rotating your pantry stock, washing greens and cleaning veggies, unwrapping or unsealing the bottle or jar before you put it in the fridge.  Spending a bit of time on the front end pays off handsomely on the back end.

In the laundry room:

Sort clothes and check pockets before tossing them in the hamper.  No more towel lint on your yoga pants or ink pens ruining the load!  Empty the dryer as soon as the cycle is complete and fold or hang clothes to minimize wrinkles.  If something needs ironing, don’t wait until you’re late for the event where the garment was to be worn.  Ditto, missing buttons- sew them on before the button is lost!

In the closet:

Hang things rather than letting them pile up on a hook, doorknob or the floor.  Take care of cleaning or mending as soon as the need arises.  Hang or stack like items together.  Consider purging the roughly eighty percent of what’s in your closet that you never wear.  Know what you like and what flatters your body and shop carefully.  Use the one in- one out rule.  For every new thing that comes in, a similar one must go.

In your tech world:

Deal with your email rather than “checking your email”. This is like the rule of paper management- handle things only once. The delete button is your friend.  How many links to dancing cats do you really need? Keep address books and calendars up to date.  It’s much easier to enter a new address or phone number right in your device than to scrawl it on a scrap of paper to languish on the counter or the bottom of your purse.

In your paper world:

Establish files as soon as they are needed.  Don’t let papers stack up for lack of a system.  For example, a tax file for the new year should be available on January 1.  When a new insurance policy or financial statement arrives, make sure the numbers mesh with the previous one and then shred the old document.  The new magazine, newspaper or catalogue’s arrival triggers recycling of the old one.

In your social world:

Respond to things that require a response as soon as possible. If you know you cannot attend, let the host know immediately.  When a thank you note or call is appropriate (and when is it not?), do it sooner rather than later.  Better late than never might be true, but better now than later is certainly true.

Getting things done feels good.  Preparation will make everything you do easier and more successful.  Remember, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Go forth and succeed!

 

 

 

 


Busy is the new normal… Let’s change that!

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How time management & “margin” can bring you more peace & joy

The generic “ how are you?” question used to always elicit the response- “I’m fine.” These days, it seems the new normal is “I’m busy.” Busyness has become a badge of honor and pride in our culture. We equate busyness with success, productivity, and even popularity at times. Often, we fear if we don’t respond with “I’m busy” then we might be labeled as lazy, unmotivated, or uninterested. How can we change this?

We would argue that the root of our busyness issue lies in time management. We find our selves busy because we over commit and allow our obligations to determine our schedules. We must regain control over our commitments and create vision for our lives by determining what is truly important to us.

Tips for breaking free from “I’m busy”:

1. Commit to a calendar: If you are an electronic person, utilize your ical that you can easily be accessible on your computer & iphone. You can create individual color- coded calendars for each of your children, your workout classes, household maintenance, and social events. Or, you can personalize your favorite paper calendar from places such as Erin Condren or the Mom Agenda. Do not commit to an event before you check your calendar for conflicts and “full” days.

2. Learn to say no: It is perfectly acceptable to decline an invitation. Know your limits and be firm with where you need to draw the line to protect your personal health and family life. Even if you are free you may decline. Carving out time for your self is critical.

3. Create Margin: Like the margin on a legal pad or novel, you must learn to allow for empty and blank space in your day. There will always things that pop up and sometimes you just need those extra 45 minutes before carpool to catch your breath. It is in the margins of life where we find our peace, rest, and sanity.

4. Work backwards: When you have a project due or a party to throw, it is best to work backwards. For example, if you have a presentation at the PTA board meeting in a month, set weekly task objectives to stay on top of it. Or, if you are hosting a dinner party, lay out all your recipes, create a timeline for when each dish needs to go in the oven based on cooking time and temperature. Complete your prep work the night before and lay out your serving pieces with sticky-notes with where things will go.

5. “Check-ins:” Always look ahead so that things don’t catch you off guard. Sunday night, review your week to prepare anything that needs to be done in advance. Each morning, glance at your calendar so when you leave to take your children to school, you have your daughters dance bag, your yoga mat, reusable grocery bags, and a birthday gift for the friend you are meeting for lunch. You will feel less frazzled and caught off guard when you can visually review the upcoming weeks and days.

6. Goal setting & prioritizing: Make time for what is important to you. With the new year upon us, it is the perfect opportunity to carve out a few moments to truly define your “big picture goals” based on your values and desires for the upcoming year. What do you want to be about? Who do you want to be?

Here is your challenge: Try to create “margin” in your day for the little things you really love- walks with friends, yogurt dates with your kids, a glass of wine with your spouse. When every minute of the day is maxed, we miss out on the things that truly bring us joy. This new year, resolve to let go busyness and add more “margin” to find simplicity in your own life.


Routines for a Stress-Free School Year

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Though there is a sense of freedom in the flexibility of summer, the structure and routine the school year brings can be comforting. Children thrive on predictability, repetition, and consistency. “Knowing what to expect from relationships and activities helps children become more confident,” says Dr. Peter Gorski, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Children need routines in order to learn how to manage their time and their day. In a nutshell, routines don’t bind, they liberate. Routines provide a strong foundation for future learning and independence. They empower children and teens to take responsibility. Structured appropriately, routines can reduce anxiety, eliminate power struggles, and reinforce positive behaviors, In designing your own family routines, you may want to consider the following:

Morning Routines
How you feel in the morning usually lays the foundation for your day.
Mornings can be very hectic, so set a routine that can provide a
smoother start to the day.

Afterschool Routines
Afterschool routines are just as important as morning routines. These
routines help teach children how to manage their time.

Meal Routines
Meals not only contribute to the mental and physical health of children,
they also establish a sense of family identity, and provide a positive
environment for family interaction.

Evening Routines
Evenings should be the time to wind down and prepare for the
following day. Building a bedtime routine will help your child learn how
to be prepared and the importance of a good night’s rest.

It is important to customize routines to meet the needs of your family.
Each family should establish patterns that work in their home. Though
creating routine for your family is very important, avoid making too
many changes at once. Becoming familiar with routines takes time.
Build gradually. Learning and understanding the importance of
routines is a very important life long skill.

Interested in learning more about establishing new organizational
systems and routines for the new school year? Please join us on
Thursday, August 29th from 11:30-1pm at the Junior League.


Searching for Ways to Help you Clear the Clutter? Part 2

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Struggling to find ways to let go of some of your belongings?  Below we have complied a list of non-profits and vendors in Charlotte that can help simplify your life and clear the clutter!

If you don’t see what you need on the list below check out our resource page at: http://www.simplicity-organizers.com/diy-resources/where-to-donate-donations.html

 

Books, CD’s, DVD’S, VHS Tapes

Mecklenburg Library Book Drive

http://www.cmlibraryfriends.org/

 

Furniture and Beds

Beds for Kids

http://www.bedsforkids.org/items-we-take/

 

Newborn Clothes & Blankets

Baby Bundles

http://babybundlesnc.org/donate-now/

 

Art & Crafts and Gardening Supplies

LifeSpan Services

http://www.lifespanservices.org/donate/ways-to-help-wish-list/

 

Stuffed Animals

Stuffed Animals for Emergencies

http://www.stuffedanimalsforemergencies.org/Home.php

 

Old Electronics

Donate Games

http://www.donategames.org/donate/

 

Building Materials and Home Fixtures

Habitat for Humanity

http://www.charlotterestore.org

 

Shoes

Soles for Souls

http://www.soles4souls.org

Wine Corks

ReCork

http://www.recork.org

 

Bulk Trash/Junk Removal & Donation Drop Off Services

Captain Clutter, Alan Womack

http://www.captaincluttercharlotte.com

 

Old Paint Removal/Disposal

Trinity Painters, Vincent McCullough

704.582.2827

 

Papers

Shred-It

www.shredit.com