#1: Maximize your limited social time at the holidays by attending an event and arranging to meet for a meal with friends beforehand or dessert afterwards.
#2: Brighten up your calendar (and outlook) with holiday stickers or a red pen on special events.
#3: Mark your calendar with 2-hour appointments for preparations. For example, Thursdays bake, Fridays decorate, Saturdays shop and clean.
#4: Enlist a “Holiday Buddy” to call each weekend and plan for the coming week.
#5: Line up envelopes to stuff and stamps to stick for your kids or spouse to assemble while making dinner.
#6: Buy gifts in the same category – different sweaters for everyone, CD’s or books for mailed gifts, or favorite restaurant gift certificates.
#7: Shop for everything on-line or at one mall to simplify the abundance of choices.
#8: E-mail a short, multiple choice gift list to the person you’re stuck on and ask what they would REALLY like to get this year.
#9: Buy novel to curl up with at day’s end to get you through the season.
#10: Savor one event or conversation each day by jotting it down in a holiday journal of “The Best Things that Happened to Me This Season.”
Marcia Ramsland, author of Simplify Your Life-Get Organized and Stay that Way!, is well-known as The Organizing Pro. Her DVD “Prepare Your Heart and Home for the Holidays” includes many more tips. In January she will begin an online 8 week series, Simplify Your Life.
Having trouble getting your kids to clean their room? Give them one easy chore to complete before the next meal. Whether they’re six or sixteen, they will always appreciate your help. Join in and do some of the work with them to brighten their day if they are having a hard time.
Help your children by having them follow these simple steps:
1. Make the bed and make your day. When the bed is made, fifty to seventy percent of the room is clean because the bed is often the largest surface. Make sure to have a comforter or an easy and attractive bedspread to pull up.
2. Pick up everything from the floor and put it all away. Start at the doorway and have them pick up everything on the floor. The floor makes a great play area, but it needs to be picked up before meals and bedtime.
3. Clean the rest of the room by three categories: clothes, paper, and toys.
- Clothes: Put clean clothes away in drawers and dirty clothes in the hamper. Do this before bedtime so that you can start fresh the next day.
- Paper and books: Organize all papers into notebooks, magazine holders, or colored files. Put books on bookshelves and give away ones they have outgrown.
- Toys or favorite collections: The largest toys should be stored on the bottom shelves, and the ones with small pieces, like Legos or Barbies, should be kept up higher. Collections, however, can be displayed on dressers tops, with the front two-thirds of the dresser being kept clean.
4. Add one extra cleaning area each week.
- Desktop: Keep new pencils and paper handy for school subjects and personal interests.
- Nightstand: Make sure you have a good reading light to help the child calm down at day’s end.
- Closet: Check each clothing item with your children to see if they want to keep or give away what’s in their closet. Their sizes and tastes change often, so do this twice a year when you rotate summer and winter clothing.
5. Empty the wastebasket often. Keep a good-sized wastebasket handy and empty it often to minimize the clutter. Vacuum the floor at least once a week, too.
Spend some time together this weekend or this summer simplifying your children’s rooms. Look for opportunities to walk down the hall and say, “Katie, what a great job you did on your room!” After all, their room is their “world,” and they will remember what you did together to make it a nice place to call “Home.”
This excerpt is from Simplify Your Life by Marcia Ramsland. For book Specials and a FREE download of the “Children’s Job Chart” go to www.OrganizingPro.com.