July 16, 2012 12:00:00 PM MDT
Potty Training - Try Something New!
Potty Training is ROUGH
After potty training 5 ½ kids, I feel that I know more now than I did the first time, right?
My first boy was in cloth diapers until he got big enough to take the lid off of the diaper pail. When his little brother was born he was given a big box of disposable diapers. Have one in cloth was okay, but having two was so much more work. So I caved, found the money somewhere, and bought the disposable diapers. When I decided it was time to potty train the oldest, I put him back in cloth. That was a lot of work - he could get up and run away! Sometimes I would just let him go. Without the diaper, I spent a lot of time at home. This was no different than normal days, just more stressful. I had towels covering every surface that he might sit on. I don’t remember any great tricks from that time. I just kind of gritted my teeth and cleaned up. A lot.
Trying Something Different
We must have made it, because he started preschool. Then I had another baby and we moved to a bigger home. I had another boy a year later. Soon it was time to worry about preschool for my second son. He has autism so they let him come to preschool in diapers . I still pulled out the cloth diapers. I tried and tried, no luck. I tried no diaper, that didn’t seem to bug him. Plus I could not sit at home - he had to get to preschool. Then when he was almost 4, his other brother needed to get potty trained. That was probably motivated by his cousin who was giving my sister my sister a really rough time to train. So I took them all on, with a renewed sense of determination. I adopted the best idea I had heard yet - We would yell “I NEED TO GO POTTY!!” and then go, wash up and join all the kids at the top of the stairs for a “smarty party.” Everyone got one smarties candy. It was a big hit. It had helped that the oldest was 5 and thought this was great fun. I also helped design Organize It Mom!'s potty charts at this time. I loved the idea of a reminder of all the steps, washing hands, getting dressed, etc. I think it took about a month, and kids were potty trained. All of them, even the baby. So my hair brained idea is to potty train in groups. Sure, it worked right?
Sometimes I would have to add extra incentive for my boys when they would have accidents. I would put a candy bar just out of their reach, out of my reach, but not out of dad’s reach. If they stayed clean all day they got the candy bar from dad. If not, dad ate the candy in front of them. It worked great (and dad really enjoyed it).
Little Girls Go Potty Differently!
Then my little girl came along. Girls were supposed to be easier to potty train, that is what I had always heard.. Potty training time came. I coached the boys to yell again, but my oldest thought that was completely lame and would grouch about it. I still worked with my daughter. I knew she knew what to do but I think she needed a reason. Going to preschool was too abstract. She didn’t have any experience with that.
Trying Something Different...Again.
One day we went to IKEA and the boys went into the playroom at the store while we shopped. That did it. She wanted to go to IKEA and play, but their rules are that you have to be potty trained. She was sold. I told her she had to go a week without diapers. Poof. Magic! I love IKEA for that. It was their rule. Not mine. They were the bad guys. We went to IKEA a week later. I could not believe that it had really worked. It was the best time I ever had there. I was giddy! Thank you IKEA!
Lame, I guess. Although, such a blessing. Try something different. Find something that motivates them. Take them on a play date with a friend. Go to a store with a play place where the friend can play but your child cannot. Huge. I don’t think I did potty training the perfect way. I think that there is no perfect answer, hence all of these blogs and books about potty training. Potty training is hard. My second son and I have a saying: “Hard? I like hard!” Hard things make us strong. Nothing feels better than accomplishing a big goal! You can do it. There is no official time line for when you are supposed to be done. Just enjoy teaching them and discovering the ways your kids learn. Never wish for anything more perfect than now. Enjoy.
June 25, 2012 12:00:00 PM MDT
Simplicity - It's the Key to Getting What You Want
By Tony Mase
It's not hard to feel overwhelmed. After all, the house is cluttered, work is stressful, the rush hour commute is long, and that cell phone never seems to stop ringing!
With all of that noise in your life, it's easy for your inner voice to be squashed. And when that happens, it leads to a whole host of other problems - like irritability, fatigue, extreme stress, and feeling like nothing ever goes your way.
So, how do you quiet all of the noise and get what you want out of life?
Keep it simple!
I know - simplicity seems like an out-of-reach dream when the kids need to be picked up, when the laundry needs to be done, and when your boss needs you to work overtime.
The key to making it work is baby steps. Don't try to give your life a complete overhaul right off the bat. Instead, do a few "little" things each day that can help you achieve inner peace - like shutting off the TV and curling up with a good book, silencing your cell phone and going to bed early, or visualizing a happy, more peaceful life the next time you're stuck in traffic. Things like this won't change your whole life, but they're a good start in the right direction.
So, what happens next?
It won't take long for you to feel more refreshed. And, once you do, it'll be easier to take bigger steps, like:
- Getting away from people who drag you down.
We all have that certain "someone" who brings out our negative side. Gradually remove that person from your life.
- Limit the frustration in your life by doing everything you can to avoid controversy and conflict.
This doesn't mean you can't stand up for yourself. It just means not arguing with a co-worker over something trivial or battling with your kids over what you want to eat for dinner.
- Don't give difficult things any more attention than necessary.
If the boss wants you to stay late on Friday night to finish a big project, it's OK to be mad you're missing "date night" with your husband. However, realize there's nothing you can do to change it. Don't let your anger consume you and ruin the rest of your weekend.
- Get rid of the clutter.
Be willing to throw away (or donate!) things you don't need anymore. Once your house, car, and workspace are less cluttered, you'll be amazed at how much better you feel!
Once you focus more on what you CAN control - rather than what you CAN'T control - it'll change your entire life. You'll start to be more aware of what's going on inside you and you'll feel a sense of balance. As a result, you'll inspire better behavior from others and you'll start to experience more positivity in your life.
Tony Mase is a serious student of the works of Wallace D. Wattles and the creator of an amazing website that'll take you by the hand and guide you step-by-step down Wallace D. Wattles' proven path to wealth, health, success, happiness, love, and more. Check it out now at: http://www.tonymasesinnercircle.com
May 19, 2012 9:58:09 PM MDT
Tips For Getting Your Baby Nursery Organized
By Jackie Kent
Planning what your baby nursery will look like is a big responsibility. Good time and money needs to be spent to make your child’s haven suit your taste and seem perfect. Remember the nursery is going to be your child’s playground and general living space for quite some time so it must have some utilitarian values as well. Keeping your nursery organized is of prime importance to make sure you make most of its functional benefits. Whether your room is as large as a football field or small enough to be a closet keeping it systematized is a priority.
Below we compile a few basic tips for keeping your child’s nursery tidy.
Primary tip: See that you have sufficient space in the room for storage. Enough space for storing things will allow you to keep the room neater. Let’s take one storage area after another for consideration.
- The Closet - Your child’s clothes will be smaller in size than yours or your spouse's so take full advantage of the reduced dimensions, push the closet rod down until it is just a few feet above the floor. Use the extra space you create above for more shelves. You can also consider using a closet organizer to make full use of the space.
- Spaces Under...- The crib or the changing table are fantastic storage areas for baby stuff like diapers, creams, powders, wipes etc.
- Wicker baskets and Plastic containers - work very well for storing Blankets, crib sheets, bedding, bibs etc.
- A dresser or an armoire - sounds far too fancy to be useful but is actually quite helpful for storing things. Consider putting one of these in the nursery while deciding your interiors and furniture.
- Shelves and bookcases - These will allow you to put your baby’s books, toys, teddies and other itsy bitsies in place. Improvise in case the area of the room is little; use taller bookcases instead of small, short ones if the space is cramped.
- A toy box - one of those bits of furniture you just MUST have in a baby’s room. Once the baby comes he will be getting new toys every passing week from you, your parents, your friends and pretty much everyone else who comes to know about his arrival. The growing toy collection can obviously prove a bit problematic to clear up. A toy box is the best answer to such toy trouble. Just shove them in the box and clear up your room.
When trying to organize your baby’s nursery be innovative and imaginative and you’ll soon find little nooks and cranny to store up those little baby details in. Remember, proper storage is the first step towards clearing up a room so don’t ignore it.
May 19, 2012 9:56:51 PM MDT
Empower Your Kids - Organize Your Life
By Patti Keating
Are you robbing your children the opportunity to learn valuable life skills? Moms who do less, provide more learning opportunities and have children with higher self esteem. When the whole family is involved in creating and following a smooth routine, magic happens.
Imagine for a moment your child waking up, and making her bed. She quietly gets dressed, and packs her bag for school. She strolls to the kitchen and puts a lunch ticket in her bag. The cat greets her and she fills his bowl with food, then takes out the trash. You arrive in the kitchen, say good morning, as you both sit down together and eat breakfast. Sound too good to be true? This is the routine my 7 year old happily performs each school day morning. How? Last August wecreated a chart of responsibilities for all family members. Being recently separated from their father, we all needed to pitch in so I could run my coaching business, and the boys could be part of a nurturing family routine.
How to do it: List your child's responsibilities (i.e. make bed, sort laundry, pack lunch) List fun activities (i.e. computer time, bike riding) Divide the day into 3 parts, before school, after school, and nighttime. When the list of responsibilities is complete, its time for the fun activities.
Why does this work? First it empowers kids to make decisions that help them get what they want, a valuable life skill. Next, it is a clear plan, that is easy to understand and accomplish. It feels good for kids to contribute, to see the results. Their pride boosts their self esteem. It removes policing responsibility from you. The answer to the question “Can I ride my bike?” is on the chart. When the chart items are done, the fun activities begin. By mid school year we stopped posting the charts in their regular spot on the refrigerator. Why? The boys no longer needed them. The assigned duties had become well established routines, and the charts were no longer necessary. They knew what to do and when to do it.
Would you like to give it a try? I have posted Spencer and Avery's charts on my website for you. Modify them for your family, and watch the change it creates. Its a beautiful sight when my boys run in the door grab a snack and zoom off to get their homework done!
Copyright 2006 Patti Keating
About The Author
Patti Keating, is a Coach, Success Trainer, and Speaker. To learn more about her and sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her site at http://www.IntentionsCoaching.com.
May 19, 2012 9:55:29 PM MDT
Sibling Rivalry: 5 Problem Solving Solutions When Kids Fight
Researchers tell us that 36 million acts of sibling rivalry occur every year. Some are severe. Most are normal. When your kids fight, they want you in the middle. They want you to be the judge and jury. They want you to take their side. I remember my own mother’s reaction.
When I was a kid, fights with my brother were constant. We kicked, we teased, we shoved, we called each other names, and we rolled over and over on the ground punching each other as hard as we could. Later, my mother said, “I knew you two would kill each other.”
Many of our fights started in our backyard. In my excitement to win, my yelling grew so loud that the whole neighborhood knew we were slugging it out. My mother, a rather shy person, used the common problem solving solutions of the day. She'd open up the nearest window and holler, “For Pete’s sake Jeanie, shut up!” Then she'd slam the window shut to emphasize her anger. The whole neighborhood heard her. Her shouts embarrassed me and hurt my feelings but they didn’t stop me. Fighting with brother continued almost every day. And almost everyday mom's problem solving solutions for our sibling rivalry echoed throughout the neighborhood.
Looking back, I can’t remember what my brother and I fought about. I can remember my mother’s words. How about you?
When your kids fight, do you have any problem solving solutions for their sibling rivalry? What will your kids remember?
5 Problem solving solutions for sibling rivalry that fail:
- Yell when your kids fight
- Swear when your kids fight
- Hit when your kids fight
- Lecture when your kids fight
- Let your kids fight until they're hurt each other
Knowing what to do in the heat of the moment isn’t easy. What is easy, is letting your own anger explode. If you do, what are you really teaching your kids?
5 Problem solving solutions for sibling rivalry that help:
- Talk the situation over with your partner or someone you trust.
- Come up with a logical plan for handling future fights.
- Tell your kids (when they're not fighting) what will happen the next time they fight.
- Determine to respond with your reason and not your emotion.
- Follow through with the plan.
If you react to their sibling rivalry with yelling, arguing and hitting, you can change.
3 questions to discover your best problem solving solutions:
- What will my kids remember about my reactions?
- What am I really teaching them?
- What do I want to teach them?
Here’s to your parenting success!
May 19, 2012 9:37:28 PM MDT
Goal Setting For Kids
By Linda Jones
You know setting goals is helpful in your life. But what about your kids?
Goal setting for kids is not an unattainable concept. It should happen both in schools and at home, as it helps children to develop self-esteem. If necessary, you should sit down with your children and help them set goals. Tell them that if they have a life without goals they will have a life without direction. Goals can give them the all-important power to find their own solutions to everyday problems.
The children should be encouraged to set goals in the different areas of their lives. These should include:
- Academic/Career. Children can be encouraged to seek higher grades in their studies and to participate in sports. They should be asked to set higher goals in the fields where they show potential to excel.
- Personal. The importance of character development should be explained, and personal growth and appearance. They should advised to adopt the best practices in life.
- Health. They must be taught the value of exercise and a balanced diet, and be encouraged to set goals to improve their fitness level.
- Community. You should instill a sense of social responsibility in your children by encouraging them to take on volunteer work.
- Financial. Setting goals in this field helps your children to understand the value of money and the importance of spending it wisely.
- Friends. Your children need to understand the influence of the company that they keep. Help them develop goals so that they always choose their friends wisely.
- Household needs. Encourage your children to participate in the running of the house and it will make them good householders one day. Goals should be set for managing the daily chores and making positive contributions to the work around the house.
- Recreation. Finally, make sure that your child does not grow up before his or her time. Goals should cover things like parties, movies and hobbies as well as the serious stuff.
You must remember, however, that goals can become counter-productive if they are imposed upon children without their cooperation. Goals should be woven into their lives.
May 19, 2012 9:36:10 PM MDT
Mommy Burnout - 6 Ways To Lose It
By Carrie Lauth
Feeling burnout as a Mom is very common. It does not mean that you are failing as a Mom.
It’s mostly due to the isolation that a lot of Moms face in our culture, as well as the overscheduling and overwork that a lot of us deal with.
Here are 6 things you can do to prevent burnout and treat it if it comes up.
- Find your tribe. Find a support group of like minded Moms. There are neighbors, people you worship with, family, Moms at storytime, the park, or anywhere else Moms hang out. It’s extremely important for Moms to have a social network. Talk about your feelings with someone who won’t judge you, and return the favor. Spend time with good friends, and don’t forget to nurture your relationship with your spouse.
- Set boundaries. Setting good boundaries isn’t just about limits with your kids. Boundaries are something that protect you from being overburdened with other people’s responsibilities. Learn to say no to things that don’t honor your values, and don’t overextend yourself.
- Lose the guilt. Don’t feel like you’re a bad Mom because you feel burnout from time to time. In fact, you are probably a very conscientious Mom who is neglecting her own needs! Be as forgiving and empathic with yourself as you are with your kids, and remember, when you take care of your own needs, you’re in better shape to care for your family. It’s kind of like when the flight attendant tells you to put on your own oxygen mask first in case of emergency!
- Take care of your body. Eating poorly leads to fatigue and stress. Nurture your body with healthy foods and avoid excessive caffeine and sugar, which only deplete you.
Exercise is also very important because it helps you deal with stress and floods your body with endorphins, the “feel good hormones”. Don’t make excuses! Get moving for 20 minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do.
Exercise is also good for the kids because it helps them discharge excess energy that they may have from being inside too much.
Spending some time every day in the sun is also a good idea. Sunlight improves mood and helps you sleep better.
- Take a break. Nurture yourself every single day in small ways. Take a hot bath by yourself. Go outside for a few minutes and breathe deeply. Say your prayers, journal, pursue a hobby that you love.
Even if all you can do are 5 minute increments, take the time!
- Focus on what’s truly important. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself that the most important things on your to do list are your children, not the dishes or the dusty blinds. Put everything aside for 15 minutes and just play with your kids. Have fun, laugh together, spend time in nature together, and enjoy life.
The rest can wait. Kids have a way of growing up despite us. And keep hugging those babies!
May 19, 2012 9:35:07 PM MDT
How To Deal With Supermom Stress
By Kathy Wilson
One of the top stressors for women today is what many are calling the “supermom syndrome”. Many of us are led by society today to believe that in order to be successful Moms, we have to do it all, and give all. Nonsense. We all want to do our best as Moms, as we should. But at some point, for our own mental health, our best has got to be good enough. Here are some great ideas to reduce the syndrome at your house.
It’s ok not to be perfect. Let me say that again. It’s ok, not to be perfect. I think many of us hold ourselves up to a level of perfection that merely hurts our ability to be a good Mom. So what if the living room isn’t clean on Monday nights?...you had bedtime stories to read. Who cares if you had to choose a work presentation over your childs field trip...you’ll go next time. Not allowing ourselves any slack simply causes more stress in our lives, and prevents us from savoring every precious moment of being a Mom. Lighten up. It’s ok not to be perfect!
Don’t buy into societies hype that in order to be a good parent, you must offer your child every experience under the stars. Over and over again, psychologists talk about the dangers of over scheduling our kids, but it seems few are listening. It is not healthy for your child to learn to be so busy that he/she never learns to be with and like himself, to dream, use his imagination, or just be bored! Limiting your family to one extracurricular activity per child will help reduce family stress both in time and money. Do not let society guilt you into doing more...after all, this is the same society rules that say its ok for our children to starve themselves to look like movie stars, or to play Nintendo for 12 hours straight. Is that what you want for your kids?
Make time for yourself. Make a rule that you will take 10, 20, even 30 minutes a day and shut out the world. Close the bedroom door, take a bath, take a walk...just have that time to yourself. You deserve it, and your family owes you that much. Do not feel guilty asking for it either! Tell the kids Mom is not to be disturbed unless someone is bleeding or something is on fire...then enforce the rule! Oprah says it well...if your cup is empty, how will you fill up the ones you love?
That being said, it is important to recognize your family as an essential part of your life. Stopping to smell the roses when it comes to your family will help you to keep your life in perspective, and therefore, reduce your daily stress. Make sure you take time for yourself, but also take time to spend with your family outside of the daily chores and running around. Let your children help you cook dinner, play cards together in the evening, take a walk around your neighborhood with your kids. Make sure you read to those little ones every night, and make sure you do those great voices with the characters! Laugh with your family, choose your battles wisely, and savor every moment of their precious childhood...before you know it, they will be tending their own families! (And won’t you feel good knowing what an example you were, cherishing your family as you do!)
Finally, make sure you remember who you are as a person. Not as Mom, or wife, or business associate, but as who you are. Cultivate old pastimes, and expand your world by developing new ones! Learn to play piano, paint, or to speak a different language. Read. Celebrate your spiritual life, and let yourself grow in the world that has been gifted to you.
It is time Moms stood up and made a stand...we don’t have to do it all to be good Moms. We already are good Moms, because we do our best. And that’s good enough.
May 19, 2012 9:34:01 PM MDT
Parenting Tips That Build Character When Your Kids Are Driving You Crazy
By Jean Tracy, MSS
I remember counseling a second grade boy who was a ’Sammy the Slacker.’ One day his teacher confided, “When I tell my class, ’Children, please take out your readers,’ Sammy leans back in his chair, his arms hanging over its back, and calls out, ’I can’t find my book!’ Sure enough, a little girl scrambles over, looks in his messy desk, and finds it for him.”
Sammy irritated his teacher, lost the respect of his classmates, and had no friends. These are not the results most parents want for their children. To help Sammy, I worked with his parents. I found out that his mother and grandmother believed it their duty to be servants to their families. They were to pick up after everyone, do all the housework, and smile too.
Sammy’s mom felt her smiles turn to anger. She understood that she was spoiling Sammy, making him weak, dependent, and distasteful to others. She decided to build character in Sammy by changing the beliefs she inherited from her mother.
3 Parenting Tips That Build Character:
Sammy’s mom wrote out age-appropriate chores for Sammy.
She created a chart to help build his character.
She worked with Sammy to choose a goal for his chart.
The goals Sammy’s mother offered were clear, simple, and positive. At the top of Sammy’s chart Sammy chose this goal:
"My goal is to do my own work and then help others."
3 Parenting Tips That Motivate:
Sammy’s mom offered stickers for his chart.
She developed a fun activity list to share with him as a reward.
She gave Sammy the choice of which activity to share when he earned a certain number of stickers.
Once the chart was created, Sammy posted it on the refrigerator. Sammy’s mom knew she had to encourage his improvements.
3 Parenting Tips to Encourage Good Behavior:
Sammy’s mom rewarded him consistently.
She gave the stickers soon after he completed a task.
She scheduled his fun activity to do together soon after he earned enough stickers.
Because Sammy’s mom was positive and consistent in rewarding him, he went from being Sammy the Slacker to becoming Sammy the Helper. His teacher sent home reports of improvement and, slowly but surely, Sammy made friends.
Whether you have a Billy the Blamer, a Gretta the Greedy, or a child with some other problem behavior, consider using character building charts. You’ll be teaching your child responsibility, self-discipline, and teamwork. You’ll feel saner and happier. You’ll be building character too.
May 19, 2012 9:26:25 PM MDT
One of the reasons you are buried under clutter is that you have failed to define parameters for the places you keep your stuff. The old adage, "a place for everything..." really does work but only if you've put a boundary around your places.
This one rule of organizing is so important. If you don’t do this, you’ll constantly find yourself in an organizing cycle. Take your kids’ toys as an example. If you don’t have a designated spot with defined boundaries - this means top bottom and four sides - you’ll find quickly that you are drowning in toys. You’ll spend a Saturday going through them only to find two months later that you need to do it again.
Do yourself a favor and put a lid on it. Going back to the toy example... define a space for the toys to live. Define smaller spaces for secondary homes. For example, use a bookcase in the playroom, and small baskets for other rooms where toys always end up. Watch for patterns of play and make toy-homes in the rooms where toys always land. We have a cupboard in the family room, small baskets in the formal living room and kids rooms and a cupboard shelf in the kitchen for the toys.
When you have a defined space, organizing is so much easier! Watch how this works. Since our son knows the toy parameters, if we’re at the store, tempted to buy a new toy, he has to choose whether he’d really like the new toy because it will mean getting rid of one of his... and if he really wants the new one (and the budget allows, of course), he has to decide which toy to get rid of.
The same principle applies to our stuff too. Sometimes our biggest problem is that we haven’t defined parameters for our stuff. One natural parameter is our home (four sides, a top and a bottom). Still though, is your house so stuffed it’s spilling into the garage and storage sheds? If so, you’re not sticking to your parameter. Don’t buy anything you don’t have a place for!
This is a simple concept that will free you if you can apply it. It will work for your stuff, paper, cyberspace, and even your time. We already saw how it will work with stuff but what about the others?
Did you know research shows that 80 percent of the paper you file is never looked at again? (Organizing Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin) A file cabinet is a great parameter for paper - that’s why it was invented but if you’re like most, it’s probably not a parameter you are taking advantage of. Instead you have piles of paper stacked up all over your house right? Organizing experts all say you should only touch a paper once. If you are that disciplined, congratulations. Most people (including me) find that too high a standard to reach. If you find yourself in that situation a simple solution is to define another parameter - one for the piles. Allow yourself one pile of “to file” papers but make sure that pile has it’s own home with easy access but a definable top so the pile can not exceed a certain height.
Cyberspace is trickier because it’s harder to define. But it can work. Your computer can quickly become littered with all kinds of cyber-garbage. Computers are supposed to simplify life. If you can’t find what you need on yours, then it’s time to set some parameters. You could limit yourself to a certain number of files or file size. It doesn’t make sense to save something you can never find if you need it. Stay on top of your cyberspace with limits - even if you can’t see the top, bottom and four sides, you can still create limits for yourself.
Defining parameters for your time will ensure you are doing what is important to you. If you don’t have time parameters set up, you will find yourself inundated with requests from others. Soon, you’ll be over-committed, running around like a chicken with your head cut off because you failed to define how you would protect your time. You decide what your priorities are and then determine how much time you will spend working your priorities. When interruptions come, you will be able to determine if they take precedence or if what you are doing is more important.
Think about it. How often do you buy more frozen food than will fit in your freezer? My guess is it’s not often because you have trained yourself to know what that parameter is and you stick to it. You can do the same with so many other aspects of your life. Be creative and be the boss of your space, stuff, paper, and time.
May 19, 2012 9:24:34 PM MDT
Before you spend buckets of money on organizing products, look critically and creatively at the things in your home. The best organizing products are the ones you already have. You may be surprised how an old baby food jar can help you get organized. Here are a few ideas:
Let’s start with a toilet paper roll. Besides the obvious and helpful roll it plays in your life (pun intended), it also makes a wonderful toddler toy. But wait, free toddler toys make you and your tot happy but they don’t really help you get organized. Toilet paper rolls are perfect electric chord holders/organizers. Just fold the chord and tuck it in. Use this trick for loose chords or chords attached to appliances.
If you have a tangle of chords, tuck them into separate rolls and label them. If you have chords in a visible place (and can’t stand having a toilet paper roll on your kitchen countertop) disguise it with paint or wrapping paper. Now, this should go without saying, but remember that toilet paper rolls are flammable so do not use this trick with curling irons, clothes irons, or hot griddles that don’t have detachable chords.
Other ideas: Use shower curtain rings hooked together to organize belts or ties in your closet. Use decorative toothbrush holders to hold pens or makeup brushes. You know that shower caddy you have that never gets used? Hang it from a hook in your teenage daughter’s room and put all her hair supplies or jewelry in it. Use see-through pill boxes to hold jewelry, small craft supplies, or nails.
Put towel racks on the back of the door in everyone’s room. You can keep towels from cluttering the bathroom or you can use the racks to hang belts, ties, hats, or shoes. Put spring-bar curtain rods in small children’s closets so they can reach their clothes and you can move up the bar as the child gets taller.
Attach empty baby food jars to a shelf. Screw or nail the lid into the bottom of the shelf. Then simply twist the glass jar on and off when you need it. You can use this idea in your pantry and fill the jars with spices or use it in the garage to store nails and screws.
Use an old book (one you never want to read again) to make a bookshelf. Attach brackets to the book and the wall and then stack books horizontally to cover the brackets. It will give you a floating bookshelf and add a decorative flair to your room.
Think about it. You already know how to do this. Your treadmill already doubles as a laundry sorter - right? The lid of your dishwasher has probably been a finger-painting canvas. Your kitchen table is used for many things besides meals. Your couch and bed make great trampolines (according to your kids). If you simply think outside the toilet paper roll, you can have fun organizing without spending any money at all.
May 19, 2012 9:23:22 PM MDT
Organizing is like dieting: you have to get the junk out of the trunk; then, you have to keep it out. Really though, before you even get to that point, you have to know your weaknesses. Once you know your weaknesses, you can work around them to organize your life and bring balance to your home. Compare organizing to dieting to see where you fit in. Are you an emergency-only organizer, a resolution-maker, a natural, hopefully deluded, or a freak?
An emergency-only dieter starts to diet and exercise when the doctor says, “your life is on the line.” An emergency-only organizer de-junks when her mother-in-law calls to say, “I’m coming to stay for a week.”
You can succeed as and emergency-only organizer if, when the emergency strikes, you call in the troops and make a good plan. Sit down and write out what must be done to get the house mother-in-law-ready and then delegate. If it’s a serious emergency, call in a professional organizer. This is no time to be embarrassed; your mother-in-law is coming for pete’s sake! Go room by room and be ruthless in your elimination process. When you come across something you’re emotionally attached to put it in a labeled box and store it. Whatever you do, don’t open that labeled box again. You’ll be much more able to make an unemotional decision about what to do with it later.
A resolution-maker dieter goes to the gym regularly - for a week in January, a couple of times in April and then again maybe for a week in June. Resolution-maker organizers love to buy organizing supplies - especially when they are on sale (and whether or not she can use them), and then organizes in streaks, either when the mood strikes or when she’s feeling guilty.
If you are a resolution-maker, you need to let yourself off the hook and set and accomplish small goals consistently. Don’t try to organize your whole home at once. Don’t even try to organize a whole room at once. Tackle one task at a time. For example, make a realistic goal to organize your kitchen - maybe it will take a month, maybe two. Then, set weekly goals, one or two cupboards a week or one or two pantry shelves at a time. Do something towards that goal every week and reward yourself so you can stay motivated.
A natural dieter is someone who just stays thin regardless of what they eat and do. A natural organizer’s home and life are magically in order. The truth is a natural dieter has a killer metabolism doing all the work for her and the natural organizer doesn’t exist. You’ve decided your neighbor is a natural organizer so you can compare yourself to her but the fact is, if it actually is effortless for her, someone else is doing the organizing when you are not watching.
Give up on the idea that this is going to be easy and that if you could just be like so-and-so, organizing would be a breeze. It’s hard work. Give yourself and your organized neighbor some credit.
The hopefully deluded dieter just does the best she can, without a real plan and hopes her metabolism will help out. She’s deluded because when she turns 30, her bad habits are going to catch up with her. The hopefully deluded organizer doesn’t realize how her lack of planning is eventually going to lead to disaster.
Things are piling up. Pretty soon, the paper is going to take over and you will be stunned because you never saw it coming. The good news is; it’s not an emergency yet. But if you don’t get a handle on it now, it will be. Look around. Where you see a mess, make a system to deal with it. If the mail is piling up in the same place every day, put a sorter in place of the mess. Notice your trouble areas and be creative about solutions. You’ll be in good shape in no time.
The freak dieter is one whose life is consumed with eating right and exercising. Freak dieters are personal trainers or body-builders. The freak organizer drives her family crazy with a new system every week and actually giggles when she sees a new junk-drawer organizer at the store.
It is okay to love organizing but it’s not okay to drive your family crazy. Branch out and offer to help your emergency-only neighbor and quit moving your husband’s ties for cryin’ out loud.
No matter what kind or organizer you are, the number one way to keep junk from taking over your life is not to allow the junk into your life in the first place! Before you make any purchase, ask yourself, do I really want to dust that? Do I really want to move that? Do I really want to repair that when it breaks? If the answer is no, leave the item at the store and go visit it whenever you’d like but DON’T buy it! Make a commitment to love the things you buy. Reevaluate that commitment as time goes by - do I still want to dust that? Do I still love that? When the answer becomes no, give the item a new home. It will be happier and so will you.
May 19, 2012 9:22:03 PM MDT
When you think of organizing, the first thing on your list is probably not the thing I’m about to suggest. But if you can get this one thing organized, you are going to save so much money on headache medicine! It’s grocery shopping.
Your whole life, your mom has been telling you to make sure you take a list to the store to avoid impulse buys right? Well, hopefully, you listened - it’s going to make the rest of this so much easier if you’re already in that habit.
Roll up your sleeves because this is going to require some work but it will be worth it!
First you need to do a little research. Pick your favorite grocery store and go. Don’t buy anything, just write down the aisle order. Okay, if you must, you can buy that loaf of bread but nothing else - this is serious business! If you want to skip this step, use the following generic order (it will work for most stores): medicine, toiletries, cleaners, dairy, paper/baggies, baking & spices, cereal, canned & jars, condiments, pasta/rice/beans, bakery/bread, snacks, meat & deli, frozen, fruits & veggies, other.
The next step takes place at home. Take inventory of the things you usually buy. What do you have in your pantry, fridge, freezer, and storage right now? Write it all down (categorized in the groups above). Include things you usually buy but may not have right now.
As part of your inventory, take your best guess at what you usually pay for those items, leaving room to prove yourself wrong on your next shopping trip. If you can’t even guess at these prices, don’t despair. Simply track your purchase price for three months and you’ll know what each item should cost.
From now on, every time you write a list, keep it in the same categories above. When you shop, it will save you so much time! Color-coding will make this whole system a thing of beauty.
So, here’s how it works, you’re ready to make your list. You go to your pantry and notice you’re low on oatmeal, so you write it under “cereal” on your list. You write down the other things you are low on or notice you need to replace.
Before you go to the store, check your list against your inventory list. This is vital. One of the biggest shopping problems is that after you write what you think is a comprehensive list; you’ll get to the store later and see something you hadn’t thought of. Checking against an inventory will solve this problem.
If you clip coupons or shop the ads, keep everything together. A three-ring binder is perfect for this. You can keep your coupons in sheet protectors normally used to store baseball cards. Then tuck the ads in back.
Don’t want to do all this work? We’ll do it for you... click here for the Grocery Organizer.
May 19, 2012 9:20:53 PM MDT
You are not going to hear this from any other organizing experts so read carefully. I mean it, lean in - this is good. You don’t have to be a minimalist to be organized! You can be organized and have stuff! Isn’t that great news?
Now, here comes the catch: you have to love your stuff. Organizing your home then becomes a simple matter of deciding what you love most. Once you know what you love, you need to decide how it will function in your home. If you can’t find a function for the thing, you don’t love it enough. Let me repeat that okay? If you can’t find a function for the thing you love, you don’t love it enough to keep it.
For example, I love books. Voracious is the perfect word for the kind of reader I am because sometimes I feel like I’m consuming books instead of just reading them. So, it goes without saying that I have a lot of books. And I’ll get rid of them... when you can pry them from my cold, dead hands. Get the picture? I love books.
As my collection grows, so must my capacity to store them in my home. This means I have to get rid of other things I don’t love as much - like a stuffed animal collection or in my case, a spare bedroom. See how it works? If you love the spare bedroom or the stuffed animals more, then you have to get rid of some books. And let me just say this right now... if you love the books enough to put them in a box and keep them in storage... I’m not sure you really love the books. Get it?
I worked with one client (whose permission I have to share this) who owned a green sequined skirt from her performing days in her high school choir. Say what you want about the craziness of loving a green sequined, 15-year-old skirt. She really loved it. Her problem was finding a function for it in her home. Taking up a hanger and closet space was no longer an option because there were other things she loved more that needed hangers and closet space.
She loved it enough to be creative though and now that green skirt comes out every year as the family Christmas tree skirt. It’s a perfect solution. Green sequins are pretty stunning on a Christmas tree and her choir memories now have a place of honor. As a bonus, she could get rid of that other Christmas tree skirt that she never really liked and certainly never loved.
Another client loved pictures of her family (don’t we all?) but she had an excessive amount of them and didn’t like scrapbooking, or hiding them all in boxes. One of the creative ways she decided to use those pictures was by doing 11x17 layouts and then laminating them. Now she has the coolest placemats in the neighborhood and she still has those pictures she loves.
You can do this. Look around. What are the things you love? How are those things functioning in your home? Organizing will be a breeze now that you know what you love. Be creative about their function and, you’re good to go.
July 28, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Take organizing with a friend to a new level. Do an organizing road-rally. Get a group of 3 or 4 friends and tackle one organizing project at each house. If one mom doesn’t want to organize, she can babysit in return for her organizing project. Have fun with it. You may find that your friends need that old ______(you fill in the blank) you’ve just been dying to get rid of.
July 21, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
July 14, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
On my last trip to IKEA, I picked up round, magnetized, clear-lidded containers that I’m using everywhere - for nails in the garage system, for barrettes in the bathroom medicine cabinet and for small scrapbooking supplies in my scrappin’ nook.
July 7, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
It’s pitch time: the IKEA store is an organizer’s dream. I have yet to encounter an organizing problem that could not be solved with an IKEA system. A word of caution though; plan to spend some time when you go. There’s LOTS to see. They have a great playland for potty-trained kids (when it’s not full - call ahead to check).
June 28, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
June 21, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Use discipline dice - list consequences 1-6. Your kids should help you come up with these. Make sure “say sorry and give hugs” is one of them (they always think that one is the worst torture - so it’s very effective). When kids are out of line, they role the dice and take the consequence.
June 14, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Put your shredder between the mailbox and your counter. One organizing professional keeps hers in the garage so junk mail never even enters her house.
June 7, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Want to control your paper? Stop it before it even comes to you. Type “stopping unwanted mail” into Google and learn how to prevent paper from landing in your mailbox. Catch it before it lands on your counter in a pile.
May 28, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
When your child can negotiate hangers, insert a tension rod in the closet. Adjust the height as she grows.
May 21, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Keep children’s dressers in the laundry room - establish the laundry room is the place where they should always dress and undress. You’ll be amazed at how clean their rooms will stay.
May 14, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Line top of hard-to-reach areas with wax paper. Instead of scrubbing when they get dirty, just replace with new paper.
May 7, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Are you using the back of your doors? This is such a great space - don’t waste it. You can hang a clear shoe organizer over your pantry door to organize baggies, tin foil and wax paper. Hang a shoe organizer in your hall closet for hats and gloves. Hang towel racks on the back of kid’s doors to keep their towels off the floor and out of the bathroom. Use hat-racks on the back of doors to hang hats (of course) and ties and shirts!
April 28, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Use empty paper towel rolls to keep hanger creases out of your dress pants. Cut a slit in the roll and then slide it over your hanger. Then when you put your pants on the hanger, you won’t get that unsightly crease that usually ends up right above your knees.
April 21, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Empty toilet paper rolls make the best cord organizers. Fold the cords and tuck them into the roll. For longer cords, use empty paper towel rolls. This is a great system for cords behind your TV or computer. If you label each roll, moving (whether you’re rearranging furniture or moving to a new house) will be a breeze.
April 14, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
One of my customers turned me on to this great tip. Originating from www.housefairy.org, use this tip to keep your kids motivated about cleaning their rooms. Explain that there is a clean room fairy (sister of the tooth fairy) who will come and visit (no one can be sure when) and if their room is clean, she’ll leave a surprise. This is such a great idea and has already worked for me. The fairy may want to purposely visit when the room isn’t clean and leave a note like, “sure hope your room is clean next time so I can leave your surprise!”
April 7, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Have an abundance of photos? Take them to your local copy center and have them laminated to make placemats. Your kids will love them and so will you!
March 14, 2010 12:00:00 PM MDT
Use a friend. Your best friend will be, well... your best friend... for organizing. Sometimes you need an objective party to tell you that the green-sequined skirt you wore to prom is just not worth hanging on to anymore. Invite a friend to help you get organized and then return the favor. A word of caution, do not invite someone to help who is invested in your stuff in any way - they can not be objective (don’t ask your husband - he doesn’t want to help anyway and it’s gonna get ugly - just let him watch football okay?).
March 7, 2010 12:00:00 PM MST
Right after Christmas and Springtime are my favorite times to organize. Start small. Pick a spot that will have a small domino effect. Sometimes one kitchen cupboard can turn into a whole kitchen rearrangement and that can be overwhelming. Don’t start those projects unless you have a lot of time to devote.
February 28, 2010 12:00:00 PM MST
Give yourself some credit. Stop seeing what isn’t done and pat yourself on the back for all of the things you are getting done.
February 21, 2010 12:00:00 PM MST
Instead of using an unwieldy spice rack, use Velcro dots to stick your spices to the underside of a cabinet. The rack will be gone and the spices won’t take up counter or cupboard space!
February 14, 2010 12:00:00 PM MST
Keep a basket by the door. Put old magazines, books, or toys in it and when you have visitors, tell them to help themselves as they leave.
February 7, 2010 12:00:00 PM MST
Help your family help you by not doing everything for them. Make them responsible for their stuff. When your husband says, “Where are my keys?” respond, “I don’t know.” and then fight the urge to get up and find them for him. Every time you find them for him, you teach him not to care where he puts them down. You are not helping anyone if they can’t do anything without you.
January 28, 2010 12:00:00 PM MST
This is my favorite closet organizing tip. You can do this today! Go into your closet and turn all of your hangers so the hooks face you. When you wear something, hang it back up, hook facing the back of the closet. After a set amount of time, get rid of anything that still has its hook facing you. You’ll know what you’ve worn by the direction of the hangers.
January 21, 2010 12:00:00 PM MST
Keep a check-out list with videos/dvds/cds or anything people tend to borrow from you often. You’ll never have to do a telephone search to locate “Sleepless In Seattle” again.
January 14, 2010 12:00:00 PM MST
January is the best time to organize. That’s why all the organizing supplies are on sale right now! Teach your kids how to fit their new Christmas goodies into their space. Establish a January de-junking tradition. Anything not worn or played with since last Christmas should definitely go!