A. Rey of Hope
I've got all the money I'll ever need, if I die by four o'clock.
- Henny Youngman
Are you one of those people who has so much money you just don't know what to do with it? You know, extra cash just laying around collecting dust. No? Me neither.
I will be speaking at the Philadelphia Home Show this coming weekend. Last year, Mark Brunetz of the reality show Clean House, spoke before me. I really enjoyed listening to him speak about his experiences working on the show and with people who really needed help getting their homes back in order. He also had a lot of great information to share.
One thing Mark shared was the statistic that one in every ten Americans rents a storage unit. One in twenty rent multiple.
First, I just want to say that there are many good reasons to rent a storage unit, some of them being:
- A place to house your belongings during an extended home transition
- As a wear-house for business product inventory for a current business
- A place to store your home items while living abroad
to name a few.
However, "I have more stuff than what can fit into my home" is not one of them. If you have more than what you can fit into your home you either have too much stuff or need to buy a bigger home.
If buying something bigger is not an option, think about this: A 5 X 10 foot storage unit averages about $175.00 per month. Would you rather pay $175 dollars to store things you don't use, or put $175 extra into your budget each month? That's an extra $2,100.00 per year.
Consider what it's worth before you pay one more month's rent.
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.