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Blog: Keeping Busy Families Organized
Organized Gift Giving

Holiday shopping can be stressful and disorganized. When you don't have a shopping plan you can end up spending a lot more money than you otherwise would. Let's look at a few ways to make gift buying an organized experience. 1. Start early. When you are in the store throughout the year and see a great sale, go ahead and buy. Most of the gifts I give during the year and at Christmas were bought without anyone in particular in mind. I keep a few shelves in the laundry room where I stash gifts and when I need one I go shopping right in my own house. Having this type of stash will also help with the times that you need a gift at the last minute. Keep your wrapping paper and bags close to this area as well. 2. Shop with a list. I am...

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posted on: 12/11/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family


Blog: Helping Kids Become Organized
The ABC's of Organizing Kids: J is for Just Do It; or is it that easy?

Do you have plans that you never get around to accomplishing?  Do you have projects that never get done?  Well our children do also.

If we are honest with ourselves, we all have things that do not get accomplished, but for some of us the list significantly impedes our making progress where it really matters in our life.  Teaching our children to not only take responsibility, but follow through with their own plans and those they have committed to others should be our goal. 

It takes training and discipline these days to accomplish the quantity and variety of things that we need to.  We live in a world of distractions; from video and computer games to a voluminous set of choices everywhere we look.  Try picking out a new toothbrush in just a few minutes, choosing a meal quickly on the restaurant menu; choose a box of crackers at the grocery store.  It is not surprising that we get stifled day after day and become paralyzed in the process of getting things done.  This we demonstrate and pass along to our children. 

What we want to do is to pass along good processes and habits to our children so that they will be prepared for this hustle and bustle of a world we live in and not become stifled by what is coming at them.  How can we help this situation for ourselves and teach our children?  The process is simple but not easy if it is not a habit.  Review what needs to be done at the beginning of the week (you choose the day; it doesn't matter as long as you are consistent), decide what of those things are most important.  Then decide how best to integrate that into the calendar.  Do a quick review of this information each day to adjust as things get added and subtracted throughout the week.  This will help children be more realistic about what can be accomplished in a day, about preparation times, travel times, etc.  Teach them how to combine activities and trips to better utilize their time.  Do they need to make a trip to the store twice this week for school project supplies, when they already know that they have two projects coming up?  Would it be good to do the preparation for a dinner the night before when there is a school program in the evening and you will be short on time?  Teach them to break a task down to do parts of it over several days. This will keep it from being so much work on any particular day.  When there are many choices facing them, teach them to look for the important criteria to help make the decisions more quickly.  Teaching our children these strategies will allow them to face life with a different view and handle what comes at them with more success and a lot less stress....

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posted on: 12/10/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


Blog: Easy Organizing For Active Kids And Busy Parents
5 Tips to Help You Motivate Your Kids to Organize

I recently had the distinct pleasure of working with my new favorite client!  She was motivated, hard working, and willing, for the most part, to let go of unnecessary stuff.  And at the ripe age of 8-years-old, I even caught her explaining to her baby sister that things need to go back to their "home" when she's finished playing with them.    It was at that moment that I knew she was really taking in the theory behind organization, or at the very least, she had listened and processed what I was trying to explain.  Yes, her closet and room will probably not stay perfectly organized forever, but maybe the next time her Mom tries to get her to straighten up her room, she will have a plan and a method already...

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posted on: 12/7/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Debbie Jordan Kravitz
category: Family


Blog: Having a Baby? Have a New Baby? G.O. Here!
A Case of Too Much Information

While in Florida this past weekend for a girl's weekend with my mom and sister, we stopped for a Starbucks…an addiction that I'm thinking about quitting. The young woman behind the counter who took my order was about 7 months pregnant. All belly. Very cute! This was her first baby and she was obviously excited.
...

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posted on: 12/5/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Stacey Crew
category: Family


Blog: Helping Kids Become Organized
The ABC's of Organizing Kids: I is for Involve your kids

We often do not recognize how much our kids are capable of doing and try to minimize what we "make them do or put them through".  Some parents say let them be kids; don't make them work; they will be working all their life.  I spent 18 years working as an engineer and in management full time plus many extra hours and my children had to be involved and, as a result, learned to be very responsible.  Did that make them miss their childhood?  I don't think so.  Today our oldest two children, who are now pretty much on their own, are very responsible and successful young adults that we could not be more proud of.

Involving our children in what needs to be done around the house, taking care of their own things and planning or helping plan their own events is part of our responsibility as being our children's first teacher.  It has the same importance as teaching them academically, spiritually and morally.  Involving our children doesn't always mean putting them to work; it also means giving them respect.  Ask them for their input or opinion, when making decisions that impact them or the family.   Children want to have an important place in the family unit and when they have responsibilities, they feel more responsible.  The old saying "we reap what we sew", I feel is applicable here.  When any of us do not make an investment into something, we cannot care the same about it.  Children often do not know what it takes to accomplish tasks, what it takes to have certain things, etc. When they are "involved" they have more of an appreciation for things and a deeper respect for what it takes to get them.  It is hard though, sometimes for us as adults to take the time to teach them versus do it ourselves.  It is often easier to do it ourselves.  Make that the exception versus the rule; as it is our investment in them that is our part as their first teacher.

We can involve them in planning family or holiday events, family vacations, gift purchases, chores, meal planning and preparation and many other things. It is through this involvement that we have the opportunity to not only teach our children lifelong skills but it also allows our children to understand that their contributions "afford" us the ability to have the time and resources to do many things they need from us; like the time we spend taking them to sports practices or other extracurricular activities.  Involving children in all that we can also reaps great benefits in their ability to take care of themselves when they are on their own.  Even though, as parents we sometime want to think of our children as "always needing us"; I have learned, with difficulty that the biggest compliment we can receive from our children (spoken or unspoken) is their ability to manage without us....

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posted on: 12/3/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


Blog: Easy Organizing For Active Kids And Busy Parents
Benny's Book of Sorting: Searching for a Different Way to Teach Kids to Organize

Over the Thanksgiving break, my 7-year-old daughter Eliza and I purged her massive book collection. (Yes, sometimes my kids are not too thrilled with the fact that their mother is also their own private organizer-especially when it means extra chores for them.)  Nevertheless, her bookshelf was packed to the gills, and many of those books she had long since outgrown.   As we weeded through various editions of Arthur, Junie B. Jones, and The Magic Tree House series, I came across a book that had first belonged to me as a child:  Benny's Animals and How He Put Them in Order...

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posted on: 11/30/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Debbie Jordan Kravitz
category: Family


Blog: Organizing Kids Of All Ages
Do You Need a Personal Assistant?

Recently, after a very busy two month period, I decided I needed a personal assistant. While this was mostly a mythical being more than a possibility, I enjoyed imagining that my life would be easier to manage and I would have more time to truly participate in the things I enjoyed doing. As an organizer I spend most of my time deciphering what my clients' desires and wishes are that I neglect my own. I feel the pull to spend more time with my family and less on housework. As a service to my clients I offer a monthly service similar to a regularly scheduled housekeeper. I organize a few hours a month and keep them going on a regular basis. Sometimes it is overwhelming for an organizer to come in one clean sweep. As I ponder this...

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posted on: 11/29/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Searcy
category: Family


Blog: Keeping Busy Families Organized
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda's of the Holidays

Why is it so easy to feel guilt as a parent? There is no one on earth I expect more from than myself. When I am unable to create the picture perfect existence I feel my children deserve I wallow in self loathing and guilt. The "shoulda, woulda, coulda's" can zap all the joy out of your soul, especially at the holidays.

So let's focus on what is important and realistic. Children need to feel loved. All the other stuff, such as decorating the Christmas tree a certain way, homemade Christmas cookies, visiting every living relative between December 1st and 31st, is extra. Your kids will not remember twenty years from now what angel was on top of the Christmas tree or whether your Hanukkah traditions were exactly the...

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posted on: 11/27/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family


Blog: Helping Kids Become Organized
The ABC's of Organizing Kids: H is for holiday planning

Did you ever think growing up, that the holidays would be this stressful?  As a kid Christmas was the most anticipated holiday of the year.  As an adult, it is a marathon of effort to get to the end of the year.   No matter how you celebrate this time of year, I think that you would agree it is never as peaceful as you hope.  That brings us to what do we want our children to get out of the "season"?  It is easy for us to spend much more time focused on shopping and material things than on enjoying time together and creating or passing along family traditions.  You will probably agree that more of our memories as adults are of simple but memorable family traditions rather than of any particular item we...

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posted on: 11/26/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


Blog: Easy Organizing For Active Kids And Busy Parents
Using Technology to Simplify Your Holiday Preparations

Well, it's "Black Friday," the official start of the holiday frenzy.  As I see it, you have two choices:  1. You can stress-out and overwhelm yourself (again) to the point of wishing the holidays away, or 2. You can make an effort to simplify your schedule, and your to-do list, and make more time for a memorable holiday season with your family.   If you chose the latter, one foolproof way to get more done in less time, without hiring a personal assistant, is to enlist the help of technology, specifically your handy, dandy personal computer.  The following tips and suggestions can help you shave time off your holiday chores and give you more time for sipping...

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posted on: 11/23/2007 9:00:00 AM  by Debbie Jordan Kravitz
category: Family


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