Take care of YOU during the holidaysRead More
If you’ve got kids, you’ve got clothes. TONS of clothes! And as your kids grow, all those little pants, tops and dresses just keeps multiplying! As clothes begin to take over their rooms, drawers and closets, it’s time for you to take back control. In an ideal world, we would all have the time to go through our kids clothes, shoes and sports uniforms and discard what is no longer needed on a regular basis. But, let’s face it, life as a parent is way too crammed with activities that we barely have time to take a shower let alone organizing our kids socks!
Here are a few basic steps to help you on your way to retain control and set up systems to help you keep on top of their clothes BEFORE they take over their rooms.
Find a common item to tackle and don’t stray. For example, if your child has overflowing drawers in his or her room, start there, in the room, next to the dresser.
- Grab some empty bags or boxes. Trash bags or store bags with handles work fine for donation items.
- Label the bags and/or boxes KEEP, DONATE, RECYCLE & TOSS
- Dump EVERYTHING out. Even if you think you’ve looked through there recently, do it anyway.
- Go through piece by piece.
- Dispose of accordingly
I know this may be hard, but try to be mindful in this process. Be SELECTIVE about what you are keeping. Use your best judgment.
Anything too small should be donated and anything stained or torn should be tossed.
If you have hand-me-downs that don’t quite fit, go through those and take out what you want, place in a box or bag and label with the clothing size and or/season. Store extra items in child's closet (or garage if there is no room).
IF you have items to pass on to family or friend, make a separate pile and be sure to plan delivery of said items in the immediate future so they don’t accidentally get donated, tossed or mixed back in with the keepers. Place in a labeled bins or boxes and make arrangements to drop off as soon as possible.
On to the organization part:
- Take all the KEEPERS and put back in categories. Shorts, dresses, tee's. pants, swim, athletic... All like items together in their place.
- You can also use dividers in the drawers to customize and maximize the space.
- Next, take ALL DONATIONS down to your car and drop off (or schedule a pick-up) ASAP!
- TOSS unwanted items in the trash.
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve now set your child up for a streamlined wardrobe, one that he/she can easily navigate.
With kids, it really is less = more. The less they have to choose from the easier it will be for them to make decisions. Often while trying to empower our children we end up overwhelming them with too many choices.
Take the time to do this on a regular basis; I suggest every three-four months if your kids are under ten. Mark it down on your calendar and make it a priority. Cleaning and going through your kids stuff on a regular basis is part of being a parent. Think about it as taking inventory. Now you know what items are where when you need to find them.
You’ve also done a good deed and potentially helped someone else by donating. In addition, this sets a good example for your kids to learn about being charitable and not excessive.
Now your kids will find it so much easier to get dressed when you’ve eliminated the things they don’t wear. This leads to happier more harmonious mornings for everyone! Remember, LESS IS MORE!!! xo
For us, school starts tomorrow. Many of your kids may not go back tomorrow but within the next few weeks we will all have to face the dreaded, daily lunch packing challenge! Being prepared is crucial to staying organized for this daily task. Here are a few tips to make the process easier and maybe even a little bit fun!
- Involve your kids. Sit down with your kids ahead of time to plan out some good balanced lunch options. Use the simple guidelines below to create yummy and healthy snack/lunch ideas that are easy to pack. Pay attention to what they like. If you're just packing what you think they should eat, it will probably just get thrown out. Work with them to create a lunch they will actually eat and give them the energy they need to get through the day.
- Make lunch cards. Grab some index cards and write down their lunch options. Create at least 5 different, balanced lunches on paper. Involve your kids in this process. Now that you have your lunches planned out, they can select which one they want for the next day. Keep cards clipped on the fridge or in an accessible jar or bin in the kitchen. Pick a card, pack it up, throw in a water and you're set to go!
- Make their lunch the day before. I always pack their lunches after I empty out the lunch box they brought home that day. After school, have them empty out their lunch box and set it on the counter. Depending on their age, they can pack it themselves or you can do it together. Store packed lunch in the fridge. In the morning put an ice pack in to keep things cool.
- Be prepared: They may not be the healthiest but buy some pre-packed snacks so they are easy to just throw in. Coupled with some protein, fresh fruit and veggies these are fine in moderation and make lunch making a whole lot easier. Some good options are: yogurt tubes, string cheese, chips or Goldfish, hummus with pretzels, crackers, KIND bars, Z bars... You get the idea. You can also pre-pack fruits and veggies. Carrots, celery, cucumber, frozen grapes, tangerine slices etc. pre-packed in baggies will stay fresh a few days in the fridge. Keep these items stocked and stored together in the fridge or pantry. Let everyone know those are for lunches and off-limits while at home.
- Have supplies handy. Make sure you have a few good lunch boxes, water bottles, baggies, spoons, forks and plastic containers with lids on hand. There are so many options and many reusable baggies and containers to use too. Know what works for your child. If he/she is always losing his/her expensive water bottle and lunch box, try a paper bag, disposable baggies and store-bought plastic water bottles.
- Send love. Have a few cute "love" notes already cut out to pop in for your little cutie! Pinterest has some awesome "lunch box note" printables available for free. No matter how old your child is, seeing a little note from you will always put a smile on their face!
Be realistic. Staying organized is really just some thoughtful thinking and planning ahead. If you turn this "chore" into a habit, involve your kids and have the right items on hand, you'll be setting yourself up for success and your kids will be well nourished and able to focus in class.
So...pack on CHEERS to a great, first week back at school!
I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. How many times have you gone into a store to buy one or two things and $200.00 (or more!) later, you have a car full of stuff you didn’t intend to buy? We are all guilty of buying things that we simply just don’t need. Whether we are at the grocery store, Nordstrom, Costco or Target (my personal faves.) we all could use more help when it comes to shopping more thoughtfully. Luckily for you, I am here to give you some tips on how to change all that and stay on task when in the stores so... listen up!
Tip 1: Figure out what your weekly financial allotment is for shopping; food, necessities, clothing, auto, pet supplies etc. and set a realistic budget that you can stick to. If you have a joint account with your spouse, make sure he or she is on the same page as you. Work this out as a team, otherwise you are headed for some heated arguments and possibly the couch!
If you need help creating a budget, there are dozens of interactive tools available online, including your bank. If you have a smartphone, apps are handy for managing your spending on the go. Once you are able to recognize certain spending patterns, you can decide what it is that you would like to change. Do some research and you will be on your way to setting up an easy to follow shopping budget for you and your family.
Bonus tip: try to use cash when you go shopping. You will DEFINITELY stay within budget if all you have is the cash in your wallet.
Tip 2: After you have the financials figured out, encourage yourself, every day, to shop with intention. Before you head into a store, set your limits. Come equipped with a well thought out list and consider the following questions when you veer into dangerous territory and are tempted to buy off the list:
- Did I come into this store for this particular item?
- What will I use this item for?
- Why do I need it? (“Because I want it” isn’t a sufficient answer)
- Do I already have something like it?
- Where will it “live” in my house
- Am I 100% sure I need it?
- Is it returnable (make sure of the store policy) if I find I don’t really need it?
- Can I really afford this right now?
Creating a list and sticking to it is critical to organized shopping. And now, it’s easier than ever especially if you have a cell phone (everyone does, right?). Use the tools and apps available to you. They will help you tremendously in getting organized and staying on financial track.
Tip 3 (and most importantly): Be honest with yourself. Stay within your own personal means when shopping, especially for “non-necessities”. Don’t let the excitement of the moment encourage you to purchase something when you know, deep down inside, that it’s not the best decision.
I know, it’s hard to avoid that when you feel you deserve it for working hard, or something is really cute, or the kids would love it... but those justifications will lead you off track when shopping and, possibly, even closer to debt.
Number one: DON'T BLAME YOURSELF! We are a nation addicted to instant gratification. Daily we are encouraged to BUY BUY BUY! Unfortunately, this can lead to overspending and clutter in our homes. Back in the day people used to save their money to buy things they really wanted. Remember lay-a-way? Today with the overuse of credit cards, and the pressure of “keeping up with the Joneses” we just don’t practice that same discipline.
But, the good news is that you CAN make changes. YOU have the power! I now command you to take control of your actions! Use the tools that are available to you and you too will be on the road to successful, organized shopping. You will find you feel a lot better about yourself when you maintain control and within budget than you would if you were toting around a $1,400.00 Louis Vuitton purse you really couldn’t afford.
Remember; less is more.