"Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them."
"Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them."
When the 6:00 pm news anchor talks about a “pile-up” it’s typically not a good situation. What piles up in your life? Paper? Mail? Bills? Projects? How about laundry? If you’re not careful, repetitive “life maintenance” tasks can pile up quick! Keep your home (or office!) organized by thinking through a simple process to stay on top of your piles.
Let’s talk laundry piles, for example. Many people struggle stay caught up on their laundry. It piles up so high they NEVER want to do it, and really, can you blame them? I wouldn't want to either. Mount Laundry can feel like Mount Everest at times. At our house, we have a simple system that works for us. My husband and I do separate laundry! He has his hamper, I have mine, and never the twain shall meet. We like it that way because we have different laundry philosophies.
I believe smaller is better. He doesn’t. (He is a man, after all. Ha!)
I pre-sort my clothing into two bins (one for whites and one for colors) as it comes off my body. I also prefer to do my laundry in small frequent loads, rather than wait until I have a ton of it. He, on the other hand, throws all his dirty clothing into one bin and waits until he has a ton of it before doing laundry. Whatever your preference, here are nine tips to help you stay on top of Mount Laundry and keep your family in clean clothes every day.
1. Pre-sorting. Sort your clothing as you remove it from your body,
rather than putting it all into one hamper. This means you never have to sort a
big pile of clothes before washing. Provide each family member with two small
laundry hampers to sort into lights and darks. Pre-sorting saves a ton of time
on laundry day.
2. Keep a stash of hangers near the dryer so you can pull wrinkle-prone items
out when they’re still damp and hang them immediately. This will save you time
because they won't need ironing later. If you don't have anywhere to install a
closet rod in the laundry area, just mount a few sturdy hooks on the wall or a valet rod on the back of a door for
3. Don't run out of supplies. Always be sure to have a back-up of laundry
detergent and any other supplies you regularly use. Getting into the habit of
replenishing supplies early will ensure your laundry stays on schedule.
4. Teach young children laundry basics. You can enlist the help of
kids as young as four years old, and approach laundry as a teaching
opportunity. You can explain the difference between whites, colors and darks,
let kids help put the clothing into the washer, show them how to measure
detergent and also how to fold different pieces of clothing.
5. Designate days. If you have several kids, you may need to give the older ones their own
day each week to use the washer and dryer. Putting them in charge of doing
their own laundry gives them a sense of responsibility and also means you'll
never be blamed for ruining their favorite sweater or turning their underwear
6. Keep a stain stick or spray near the hamper. Pre-treat stains before
clothing hits the hamper, so the product has days to work instead of just a few
seconds before it hits the water.
7. Keep socks together by washing them in a mesh lingerie bag. They're ridiculously
inexpensive. Give your kids and spouse each their own mesh bag and have them
load their socks into it before they go into the wash. The bag keeps socks
together in the washer and if the bag isn't too full, you can even dry them in the
8. Fold as you pull. I find myself highly unmotivated by a big basket full of laundry to fold, so I just stand in front of the dryer with the door open and pull one piece at a time and fold it as I go. In a matter of just a few minutes, I'm done and the clothing never sits for hours in a laundry basket getting wrinkled.
9. Put clothing away quickly. It's easier to stay organized when your clean clothing makes it back into your drawers and closets. But it's tough to put it all away if your dressers and closets are packed with stuff you never wear. Make it easy to put clothing away by culling your wardrobe frequently and donating anything you rarely wear.
What are your favorite tried and true tips for staying on top of your laundry?
Mothers are a blessing and I miss mine every day. She is so much the reason I am who I am today, and I will never forget the lessons she taught me, whether directly with her words, or indirectly by her actions...
What goes around comes around.
Don't take the last cookie in the jar.
Any job you have, do the best you can.
Don't walk across someone else's lawn.
Walk across the street, don't run.
Life isn't fair, and sometimes it's hard.
Respect the property of others.
The world doesn't owe you a living.
Do the right thing.
Tell the truth.
Because I said so.
Figure it out.
And my personal favorite... don't MAKE me pull this car over!
My mom wasn't a brownie-making, laundry-doing, lunch-packing, cry-on-my-shoulder kind of mom. She was a hard-working, no-nonsense single mother who didn't take no for an answer. Because she loved me, she instilled in me character, integrity and a work ethic that I'm thankful for. I'm grateful for every day I had with her.
Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there and thank you for the difficult and important work you do.
“Why is the slow cooker in the front of this cabinet?”
“Why do you keep your mugs and glassware in two spots?”
“Why are your towels in the hall closet while your foot spa is under the vanity?”
These are the kind of questions I’ve asked clients over the years and the answer is often the same: “It’s been that way since we moved in and we just never changed it.”
I’ve worked with clients who tolerated disorganized spaces for years before calling me. They moved into a new home and in the haste to get unpacked and settled, they put things away without too much thought. And that’s how they stayed. Today I want to share with you five tips so you can unpack your moving boxes and be organized from the day you move in.
The best way to ensure an easy UNpack is to give considerable thought to what you pack and bring with you from your old house. Several months before your move, systematically declutter each room of your home, donating and selling everything and anything you can possibly live without. There is no sense putting time, energy and money into moving things you don’t need anyway.
When packing your things, label each box in a way that will help you unpack easily. Write on the outside of the box the room it should go into (not where it came from), how many boxes you should have in there and what’s in each box. For example, MASTER BEDROOM / BOX 1 OF 6 / SOCKS & T-SHIRTS.
Your Storage In Advance
Most homes will require some customization to fit your lifestyle. If possible, arrange to outfit your closets and storage spaces with organizing tools before you move in so they’re as ready as they can be on moving day. Install your closet systems and kitchen Glide-Outs, purchase a wide selection of drawer dividers, shelf risers and clear containers so you have them all on hand in the moment you need them when unpacking.
One Room at a Time
Get each box and piece of furniture into the appropriate room first. Then, whether you’re solo or moving as a team, assign each person a room (beginning with the kitchen) to unpack completely before moving to the next one. There’s nothing more chaotic than having several rooms half-unpacked and nothing completed.
5. Unpack the Kitchen and Bedroom First
As mentioned above, focus on one room at a time and make the kitchen your first room. Next, set up your bed, put on bed linens and unpack your clothing and toiletry items. At the end of the first day no matter how much you did or didn’t accomplish, at least you’ll be able to eat, shower, sleep and get dressed in the morning with ease.
"With one kind gesture you can change a life. One person at a time you can change the world."
Author, Speaker and Radio Show Host
Our home is small and so is our kitchen, so over the years I've had to be creative to help maximize the storage capacity of my cabinets. I've done things such as using the inside surface of the doors for storage, and using lazy susans and clear shoe boxes to corral small items to make them easier to access.
However, my favorite way to maximize the limited cabinet space in my small-ish kitchen is with these clear plastic stemware racks that attach to the bottom of my upper cabinets. They're ridiculously inexpensive (less than $8 each!) and by displaying all my stemware on the OUTSIDE of the cabinet, I freed up an entire interior shelf for other glassware. The space below the double cabinet shown is long enough to accommodate two racks side by side, and each rack holds between 9 and 12 glasses, depending on their size.
If clear plastic isn't your thing, you might opt instead for one in oak or chrome, each of which offers a higher end (but less invisible) look for a little extra money. Regardless which style you prefer, they install in minutes with just a few short screws and these do-it-yourself organizing products offer superior functionality and smart space-savings for very little money which makes them a fantastic value for any kitchen.
"Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again."
Time does fly, doesn't it? I know this because I'm still 26. Until I check my mirror and my driver's license, that is. If you don't believe time flies, just ask anyone with kids if the little buggers grow up too fast. One day they're toddling around the house in diapers and the next they're applying to college. Ouch.
Truth is, you really don't have time to waste when it comes to preparing your kids for life, which is why it's important to teach your them important life skills as early as possible because they're gonna need 'em before you know it. And let's face it, the younger you begin, the less they'll fight you.
Here are five crucial skills you must teach your kids that will give them a big fat headstart when they eventually do fly the coop.
There are several ways for your child to learn to manage his time. Getting your child out of bed with plenty of time to wash, brush teeth, dress and eat breakfast before it's time to leave for school is morning job one for parents. Yet at some point, you'll have to transition your child into taking responsibility for getting himself out of bed and running his own morning routine. Helping your child take charge of his morning routine teaches him about the hard-to-grasp concept of time and builds his confidence.
Sorting and Categorizing
Many of my clients have very young children and are sometimes reluctant to begin teaching them how to sort and organize when they're very young. I'm not sure if it's because they aren't aware the child's capabilities or if they feel guilty asking their children to do anything besides play all day. The big not-so-secret is that most young kids like to "help" and by asking them to do age-appropriate tasks you build their self-confidence and teach them important lessons at the same time.
Responsibility for Their Possessions
"Mom! Where's my..." What mom on planet Earth hasn't heard those words yelled across the house? My mom always answered, "It's wherever YOU put it!" (Smart lady.) When you take responsibility for keeping track of and caring for your child's things, she has no incentive to do it herself and you make her dependent on you. You also sign yourself up for a part-time job as stuff-tracker and that job comes with no pay and no benefits.
Conversely, when you adopt a more hands-off approach, your child learns that if she isn't paying attention to her own behavior and where she leaves her things, they become lost or broken. As a parent, it's your job to prepare her for the world and she needs to learn that you aren't her personal homing device.
Respect for Material Items
I love Suze Orman's mantra, "People first. Then money. Then things." It goes without saying that people are more important than things, however don't make the mistake of allowing your children to mistreat material goods in order to avoid hurting their feelings or stunting their "creativity."
I can't tell you how often I've seen children destroying furniture, tearing books apart, or stomping on their toys without being parentally corrected. I understand that kids -- especially very young ones -- are always learning and most of the destructive things they do are just experiments to see what happens. It's not their fault because they haven't yet been taught not to destroy things, but I believe it's a parent's job to step in and establish boundaries that teach appropriate behavior toward material items. You can encourage creativity without destruction. We don't write on walls and furniture, but we do write on tablets and coloring books. We don't tear up books, but we do tear up construction paper.
When you allow your children to mistreat their own toys, books, clothing and such, they don't learn to respect their things or the effort it took to acquire those things. In addition, allowing a child to mistreat his own possessions (or yours) teaches a lack of respect for the hard work and property of others. After all, how can he respect someone else's property if you don't teach him to care for and respect his own?
One of the interesting things about modern houses becoming larger over the years is the advent of separate bathrooms. When I was a kid there were six people in my family and our home had one bathroom. It was at the end of the upstairs hall and all six of us shared it. I also never had my own bedroom until I was about ten because our house just wasn't large enough.
As inconvenient as sharing bedrooms and bathrooms sounds, I think it's actually a good way for kids to learn to share space with another person. It's good for kids to learn to keep a space neat for the benefit of someone else and it helps teach them to manage their time too. I'm sure many a brother quickly learned the value of getting up a few minutes early to nab the bathroom before someone else jumped in for her 20-minute shower!
What are your favorite ways to teach your kids life skills they may not even realize they're learning?
"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude."
Denis Waitley Author and Speaker
I know you're an honest person. Aren't we all? No matter how honest you are with others, I'm willing to bet you lie to yourself on a regular basis. Some of those lies get in the way of your health, your financial success and yes, your organizing success. Here are five of them you might recognize.
“I’m too busy.”
It’s easy to believe that you’re too busy to tackle the organizing projects in your life. The truth is you can’t afford to have that attitude because you’ll never get control of the things that hold you back. You are busy. We all are. But human beings naturally find time for the things that are most important. If organizing the chaotic parts of your life is important, try putting something else on the back burner temporarily.
“I’ll get to that later.”
How many times have you walked past a dirty dish, a pair of shoes or a stack of mail and thought, “I’ll deal with that later?” The truth is later never comes. Those little moments of procrastination add up and can become an overwhelming burden. To boost your feeling of “I’ve got my act together” begin a new habit. Instead of telling yourself that you’ll deal with it later, just DO it right then and you’ll always be caught up.
“I don’t have to write that down, I’ll remember it.”
Hahahahaha! That’s a good one! I tell myself that same thing every night as I’m falling asleep and yet another great idea pops into my head. But I’ve learned that if I don’t write it down, I will not remember it in the morning. Whether it’s an ideas, appointment, phone call or face-to-face meeting, relying on your memory is a mistake waiting to happen. Enter everything into your calendar to free your brain for more important tasks such as problem solving, creativity or just being in the moment during conversation.
“I saved this because…”
Imagine this… you’re cleaning out your desk / bedroom / office / kitchen for the umpteenth time and you can’t figure out why it never gets finished. As you pick up each item, you tell yourself its story. You remember where you got it, who gave it to you, the role it used to play in your life. Then you set it aside and move to the next item or piece of paper, doing the same thing each time. Thinking about your items isn’t helpful. However, using those stories to lead you to an actionable decision IS helpful.
“This will just take a minute.”
Squirrel! Shiny! Look a bunny! Whether you’re in the middle of an organizing project or writing a proposal, interrupting your focus with small tasks that will “just take a minute” is sure to derail you. One second you’re responding to an email and next thing you know it’s an hour later and time for your lunch meeting. To stay focused, use a timer or try the AntiProcrastinator to help keep you on track.