Archive for Organization


Simpler Holiday Plan

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Simple Holiday Plan PLUS Simple Annual Plan Bundle

Do you want a holiday plan that doesn’t have you do a million things you just don’t have time for?

I’ve tried the holiday plans that are online. But, I never finished them. Having simplified my Christmas I didn’t use many of the parts of those plans. And they just made me feel guilty.

Would you like a simpler holiday plan?

I created a plan that I use to keep my holidays organized without overwhelming me.

Plan includes:

  • a checklist for each week
  • simple steps to take to create the holiday you want
  • short cuts and simplifications for many holiday tasks
  • questions to help you decide what is important to you and your family
  • worksheets and forms

Bundle it with the Simple Annual Plan to help plan your year ahead.

Simple Holiday Plan PLUS the Simple Annual Plan Bundle


Categories : Planning
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Simplest Menu Planning

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I have heard many people say they have no time for menu planning. However, they do eat every day.

So the simplest way to menu plan is to write down what you eat for the next 2-3 weeks on the back of an envelope or in your phone. Then ask your family what they like that you haven’t made recently. When you are done you have a 2-3 week menu plan.

You can put it in the computer if you want. I like to save my menus in my documents and save menus by season. More stews and roasts in winter, more light vegetable dishes in summer.

If you need a menu plan, start writing down your dinners today. Soon you too will have a menu plan.

Categories : Organization
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Kid’s Routines

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A big part of our jobs as parents is to teach the kids to be able to live on their own. So when you have kids in a zillion after school activities and sports but no time to help at home you may have a kid that can kick a soccer ball, but not know how to do laundry at their college dorm room. Or manage finances. Or know how to take care of things.

One way to counteract that is to have a routine for your child. Even if most of the bigger chores can only be fit into the weekend.

If they have a phone with apps you can get a checklist app. Otherwise a clip board with the routine checklist inside a clear page protector with a dry erase marker works well. I’ve also seen people put the checklists in a picture frame and then use dry erase markers.

Start with the morning. What do they need to do before they go to school or homeschool? Perhaps:

  • Wake up with alarm
  • Clean clothes on
  • Eat breakfast
  • Clear spot
  • Brush teeth and comb hair
  • Pack a lunch
  • Make sure you have your backpack, etc.
  • Do one chore – ie put a load of laundry in, wash dishes, put dishes away, dust, sweep (2 or 3 on the weekend)

Then after school, what needs to be done and can fit in a schedule for afternoon. Perhaps:

  • Hang up backpack
  • Put school notes into Mom’s inbox
  • Snack
  • Pack up for practice
  • Do one chore

In the evening when the kid’s get home from their after school activities, what would you like them to do? Some ideas:

  • Homework
  • One chore
  • Family pick up time
  • Brush teeth
  • Reading time
  • Pray

If you aren’t sure what chores are appropriate for your kid’s age, you can check out this page. Your chore list will probably be on a different list so you can portion them out. For more tips on chores you can read my post on chores and kids. I also love this post on a successful bedtime routine.

You don’t want to overload the kids, but at the same time they can feel more in control when they help organize their surroundings. Plus, it’s good for your kids in the future. The bonus for you is you do less nagging because the kids know what to do next.

Tweak your routines as their activities change. Your routines are never set in stone. Instead they define a path to use.

Categories : Time
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Tips for Sports Moms

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Being a sport mom requires tons of time at games & practices. Time sitting in the cold, heat or wet. Lots of time in the car. Too much looking forward to the end of the season.

Before each sports season it’s important to decide together how many sports your child will be in. If your child has a bunch of other things like ballet, piano lessons, Spanish class, and volunteering maybe no sports is right for your family.

Too many parents think that having kids in sports will lead to college scholarships. But only 25% of school scholarships are sports related. There are other avenues to the scholarship.

My son was in soccer many years, but I’d love to hear tips from other Sports Moms.

Here are some of my tips:

  • Prepare the night before with equipment, chairs, snacks. Keep equipment together. My mother-in-law made a soccer bag for his ball, pads and shoes.
  • If younger siblings come, bring something fun for them. My daughter had a coloring book/crayon kit she used to bring.
  • Walk around the field to fit in some exercise. Or some fields have parks by the field for the younger ones (and you) to play.
  • Bring a book, chat with a friend, knit or give yourself something to do during practices.
  • Have someone else help with the driving – spouse, aunt, friend, kid’s friend’s mom.
  • Don’t be obsessed with performance. Look for the positives in practices and games.
  • Put the sports calendar in your calendar. Things fall through the cracks when you use separate calendars.
  • Have a laundry basket in the laundry room just for uniforms.
  • Plan quick meals for practice/game days.
  • Schedule visits to the doctor months in advance to make sure you can get the medical forms filled out in time.
  • Check out what is the proper equipment for the sport this season before you go out and buy.
  • Always bring extra clothes, socks and a first aid kit for the car.
  • Make sure your kid has everything before you leave. Everyone can do a quick scan.
  • Put in your calendar a couple days before you are due to bring treats so you have time to bake or buy.

What are your tips?

Categories : Organization
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Everything in its place

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In a recent Weekly Simplicity Tips, I mentioned having “places for books, papers, mail, and stationary supplies.” Tracy wants to know where those places are for you.

For me I have a bookshelf in my closet for health and home books. A shelf in my office is for books I am currently reading. The bedroom has a bookshelf for spiritual and relationship books. The bookshelf in my office has creativity and business books. The big bookshelf is upstairs and holds novels, personal development, hobby & reference books.

For papers: when they come in the house they go to the inbox on my desk. After sorting they either go in the action file for papers to do, reference files or shred/recycle/trash.

Action Files

Mail goes in the inbox.

Stationary supplies go in a box in my office. Cards are sorted by type ie birthday, sympathy, etc. And I have general note cards in there.

Where do you store things like these?

Categories : Organization
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Moving projects along

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When I worked as a graphic designer at a printing company, I took over two positions. A graphic designer and a receptionist. They said answering phones would be a group thing. But, they only answered the phones when I was away from the desk.

A print shop is quick turn-around times. Sometimes I would be changing a name on a business card. Sometimes I would be creating whole brochures from scratch. I usually had about 10 projects going at once in different stages of development. Each year things got busier and busier.

This is when I started looking at simplifying and systems. I was completely stressed at this job.

What I loved having for my projects was a stepped wire file rack.

I also had a simple sheet of paper with the projects, deadlines, next steps and where I was at with each project. It made organizing my day much easier. I would look at this sheet of paper and organize the projects on the file rack for which I wanted to do first.

I would work on the first one until I had enough time on it or I had moved to a part that I needed something from the client. I’d post where I stopped and the next actions on my sheet before moving on to the next project.

In the middle of projects I would need to answer the phones, talk to a walk in client or get stuff from the fax machine. I would put post it notes on the file so I knew what I was in the middle of doing when interrupted. This made it easier to get right back into the projects.

I still work this way now that I work from home. I post the next step for my project after working on the project and before moving on to the next. This keeps projects moving.

Categories : Organization
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10 Ways to Say No

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Instead of feeling resentful for saying yes when you really wanted to say no, try these phrases:

  1. Someone in my time class uses the phrase, "That doesn’t work for me."
  2. I am feeling overwhelmed and can’t put anything else on my plate.
  3. I have a policy to never ….
  4. I really can’t…. right now, but I can….
  5. I’m sorry, I have another commitment.
  6. Thanks for thinking of me, but I am not able to.
  7. I appreciate the request, but I am not taking on anything else right now.
  8. I am honored you thought of me, but I don’t have the time to do a proper job.
  9. My heart wouldn’t be in it.
  10. Thanks for the invitation, but an early night is a better option for me.

What are your favorite ways to say no?


Categories : Time
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Changing of the Seasons

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I love the changing of the seasons. This past weekend was changing from summer to fall. You may have done this already, be doing it in the next month, or next year in the other hemisphere.

The reason I do a change of seasons prep is so I have more room for what is active. I have no need for sandals in a Michigan winter. So I change out clothes, shoes, decorations and sheets.

Here are some tips to make the transition smoother:

  • Wash clothes before you change them out or you will have lone tank tops floating around while everything is packed away.
  • Put on some fun or lovely music to make it more pleasant.
  • As you take down the other season’s clothes, you can keep some short sleeves to layer but notice the colors. Coral and turquoise remind me of summer so I pack them away.
  • See what you didn’t wear all season. Is it time to give it away?
  • Perhaps it doesn’t fit. Then either give it away or pack it away with the out of season clothes regardless of what season they are.
  • You can put out of season clothes in an out of the way closet, under bed storage or in a box in the basement.
  • Don’t forget the pajama drawer.
  • Write down if you notice anything missing in your wardrobe. Maybe you notice you don’t have a classic black pant anymore or your favorite blazer is no longer fit for public.
  • Schedule in your calendar when you will switch seasons again. If you are afraid you will forget, note where you stored the out of season.
  • If you like flannel sheets or such in winter, you can store away summer sheets. I like two winter sheet sets and two summer sets. You don’t usually need more than that for one bed.
  • As you tuck away sandals for boots or vice versa, also check for any shoes you didn’t wear all season.
  • Are there any shoes that need replacing? I had to let go of my favorite brown loafers. Scuffed, broken, and no longer with a shape. So I sadly got rid of them and now need a replacement since this are my go to fall shoes.
  • Keep less decorations. I have only one box for each season/holiday except Christmas. I can switch out decorations quickly. I don’t like a lot of decorations because they take up useful space. I don’t need to be reminded of what holiday it is every where I look. For fall I put up a welcome shovel with a pumpkin painted on it for the porch along with two other porch decorations. I created two fall vignettes on the living room entertainment center. I tucked a fall leaf thing among things on my desk. Then I got out the fall towels. Quick, quick, quick.
  • If changing everything out at once seems overwhelming. Do a little each day until it’s done.

What are your favorite changing of the season tips?

Categories : Nature, Organization
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Don’t catch up on everything

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A couple weeks ago I did a post on How to Catch Up. But, I don’t want you trying to catch up on everything in your life. Some things you can let go of catching up with if you get in a busy time:

  • Newsletters
  • TV shows you only kind of like
  • News programs
  • Blog reading
  • Facebook
  • Magazines
  • Ideas you thought you might do one day
  • Recipes you will never get to

All of these are about information. We all get plenty of information coming at us every day. We can’t digest it all. So often we need to trim this information sources at the beginning. Here are a few articles on information for you:

Information Reduction Plan

Simplifying Information


Categories : Simplicity, Time
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How to Sort Papers

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We were away last weekend and busy all week. So today I had a bigger pile of papers than usual. I did my TV pile method.

I turned on No Way Out on the TV. I like the movie but I’ve seen it quite a few times and don’t need to have my full attention on it.

I sat on the living room floor with my pile in front of me. One by one I picked up a piece of paper and decided what pile it went in. These were the piles I needed this week

  • trash
  • to file
  • receipts
  • magazines
  • recycle
  • coupons
  • exercises
  • recipes
  • to do/data entry

Once everything was sorted, I used the commercials to put it all away.

Trash got thrown out. I filed the to files. Receipts I shredded (tax receipts went into the to file pile).

The magazines went into the magazine rack which I quick glanced through for any magazines to be recycled.

Coupons went in my coupon folder.

The exercises were ripped out of my fitness or yoga magazines and put in my in box. The exercise articles go in an expandable file folder sorted in categories: upper body, abs, lower body, full body, yoga, pilates, cardio, ketteball

The recipes go in my menu planner. When the slots get overfilled, I let go of recipes I probably won’t make.

Another commercial gave me time to put the local college’s arts schedule into Google calendar, my hair appointment from my schedule card, some to dos on my to do list (and I put the cooresponding paper into the take action folder)

Now my inbox is empty.

Categories : Organization
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