A. Rey of Hope
At a recent local area Home Show, a fellow organizer and I played an organizing game with some of the children who stopped by our booth with their parents. The object: to sort out a jumbled mess of office supplies and fit them into a compartmentalized tray. The kids had a timed minute to complete the task and then received a prize.
What the kids learned: When organizing (or tidying up) is a game, it can get done Well, Quickly and with a bit of FUN (a la Mary Poppins)
What the parents learned: Kids can organize and tidy pretty quickly when they want to and are motivated.
What I learned: It's not easy for a parent to watch a child try and do a task without "helping", criticizing or correcting before the time is complete.
It is to this adult challenge that I would like to speak. that I'd like to offer some tips for parents to help their children become organized adults.
1. Promote organizing skills.
So many early learning toys are geared toward one of the most basic organizing tools - sorting. Children learn to sort by color, shape and size sometimes before they can even walk or talk! As parents, if we recognize that these are actually life skills, we can be aware of them as our children grow and remind them that they have these skills as they meet new challenges.
2. Make sure they have the necessary tools.
Children can't be expected to put things away if they don't have an environment set up that makes clean up clear and easy. Organizing tools for kids range from toy bins to reachable clothing hangers to timers that can be set for a round of "Beat the Clock" organizing!
3. Give them a chance to do it on their own.
An infant needs help for everything, a toddler wants to start doing things on their own, a pre-teen's hormones make them see things differently. Each developmental stage our children go through is a also a developmental stage for us as parents. We are challenged to learn how much autonomy we should give at each stage. A good rule of thumb is: if there's no harm in trying on their own, let them try.
Organizing is a life skill that can support your child at every stage of their life for the rest of their life. Give them that gift.
My friend Sue: Do you have any free time to get together this month?
Me: 'Free' time? No, I don't.
(I am a busy person. I have my own business - two, in fact. I write a monthly column for an online newspaper. I volunteer on the board of my professional chapter. I have a husband, three kids in their twenties - still testing their wings, I play in a handbell choir at a nearby church. I have a home...and a dog....and I'm speaking at the Philly Home Show this month!)
Me: Send me a couple of dates and we'll set something up.
No, I don't always schedule my free time, but I have to say that when all the responsibilities of my life are at their max, scheduling my fun is one way that I ensure that it happens!
Being organized is not one of my life's goals. It is, rather, the way in which I support all the things in my life that are goals. And, time management is one of the most important organizing techniques that I use.
I start by making sure that all my recurring commitments are clearly blocked out on my calendar - chapter meetings, bell choir rehearsals, conference calls.
Then, I make sure that deadlines are added - blog and article submission due dates, membership renewal dates.
I keep all of my work appointments on the same calendar with personal ones so that I don't double-book my time. (I use different colors for work, personal and NAPO activities)
And, I set up reminders on my computer and mobile devices.
This may sound like a lot of work but the bulk of the time is spent in the set-up. If you use an online calendar like I do, this work is easily automated and can be changed on-the-go.
Using my schedule in this way helps me make my Busy life, a Full one - and that is worth my time. Because, its not about the time, it's about the Times of my Life.
I'm looking forward to my lunch with Sue on January 23rd.
What do you have on your plate that is just crying out to you, needing to get done? Chances are, several
things flew through your mind when you read that. What were they? Write them down, get them out of
your head, and then ask yourself “What can I do to get these things taken care of right now?” Notice I
didn’t say “What do I have to do myself to get these things taken care of right now?” I don’t mean that
you need to take care of everything personally, but you do need to be in charge of getting the ball
rolling. Where I live, we have these bright yellow flags at each crosswalk called “Take It to Make It” flags, and
our city claims that more than 60 people have been injured or killed when not using the flag, and zero
injuries/fatalities have resulted when pedestrians do carry the flag with them when they cross the
street. I’m not saying that all of the responsibility falls on the pedestrian for road safety, but when a
pedestrian is willing to take that extra step to be safe, they are often willing to go the extra mile and
tend to be more aware of their surroundings, which makes them safer all-around.
You may be wondering how these two things relate, and I’ll tell you...it is all about YOU taking
responsibility. YOU have to make sure that you have the right team in place to take care of your stuff for
you. YOU have to be in charge of making sure your stuff gets done, either by you doing it, or by
delegating it out (my preferred method). It is up to YOU to go that extra mile and make sure that YOUR
stuff gets done. In the end, it’s up to YOU, and in the end YOU get to give credit where it’s due! It’s time
to start walking forward, and don’t forget to Take it to Make it!
Susan Brennan is a speaker, personal assistant and productivity enthusiast. You can learn more about
her and how she helps people Be Productive Vicariously, by visiting her website at
Gearing up for a Big Move?
If you are doing the packing
yourself, you may already be starting to plan: what supplies you’ll need, when
to start, and what to pack first and save for last. If you will have a company coming in to pack
for you, and with all the other details that you are taking care of, you may
not have packing on your radar. Either
way, doing your own packing or not, taking a moment now to think about these
three P’s can make the difference between a peaceful and a stressful move.
The three P’s I am referring to are, in short: paper, pearls and pills. Whether you will have a one or two day
cross-town move or a four to five day cross-country move, it will benefit you
to have control of items that are critical and vital to you and your
: The papers that you will want to keep in your
possession are anything having to do with the move – moving company contract,
rental agreements, etc., school registration requirements, identification for
each family member. With the exception
of ID, it is also ok to keep these items digitally
. Try using Evernote to take a picture of each
document. Evernote will store them by
the date and location the picture was taken.
Make sure you practice this in advance.
When I first tried this, my pictures were not saved because I did not
realize I had to make a selection to choose
to save them.
Pearls: Whatever jewelry you may have of any value
should be kept with you at all times or securely stored in a safe or safety
deposit box. Moving time can be
confusing; don’t leave your valuables to chance.
: Yes, you plan to be at your new home
tomorrow, but then the truck breaks down, your flight gets cancelled, there’s a
family emergency in Florida and Aunt Alice needs you to get there right
away. Sometimes unexpected things
happen. It may not be easy to refill prescription while in transit. Be sure that you when you travel you bring a
two-week supply of medications for each person.
Naturally, you can spend time post-move
searching boxes for these essential three P’s.
I suggest you save yourself the added stress. Make a list now and, when it’s time, start by
setting these items aside. You’ll be
happy that you did.
A new wave in sharing fast facts is the Info-graphic. Info-graphics combine information, statistics and pictures for quick, at-a-glance answers.
This Clutter info-graphic was created by Sparefoot and gives
15 Fantastic Reasons to
Clear Out Clutter at Home.
From earning more money when selling your home to improving your health and even bumping up your credit score - clearing out clutter pays off in more ways than you may think.
- Wondering if you should declutter before putting your home up for sale?
- Having trouble in your family with asthma and want to improve the air quality of your home?
- Trying to find ways to reduce your family's stress?
- Struggling to find ways to save money?
- Can organizing even improve your sex-life?
Check out this infographic and find out what professional organizers already know!