Talk to your kids about donating items/toys

goodwill-logoWeeding out kids toys was never my favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon but years ago I found it much easier when I told my kids to think of it as sharing their abundance of toys with children who are much less fortunate than we are.  It worked like a charm and on top of that, they both surprised me by putting more in the “donate” pile than I had imagined that they would.  I was very impressed with their sensitivity (and I had a smug feeling for just a moment that I’d done something right).

When the time comes to have your kiddos go through their toys, stuffed animals, clothes, games, etc. just remind them that they will to go places where families are struggling and might just need a teddy bear to hug or to sit and play a game together. Even at a very young age, kids can understand this concept and it will also pave the way for a lifetime of giving back which always a good thing.

Will you be doing any organizing projects this weekend?

Get enough sleep!

Aren’t those mornings great when you wake up just before the alarm goes off?  You think, “hey, I must have gotten enough sleep since I just woke myself up this morning”.  You know what? You probably did!  So many of us are stretched so thin that sleep actually ends up taking the backseat when in reality nothing is more important for your health than a good night’s sleep (except maybe a multi-vitamin of course but that’s another story).

The past few weeks I’ve felt very behind in my sleep and so for a few evenings this week I’ve been turning in a little earlier than usual.  I’d stop working at 7:00 or 8:00 and just crawl into bed.  My office is right near my room which can be dangerous but I work very hard to make sure that one does not invade the other. Since I love my job I could see it crawling into bed with me in which case my creative wheels start to spin and I’d  never get to sleep.

My standard evening routine is to shut down the office around 9:00 (if I haven’t done so already) and then change into my jammies and crawl into bed with a good book or maybe to watch something on TV.  I have a small note pad on my bedside table that I can write notes to myself for the morning but I do my very best to stay in bed and wind down so that I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour. I also like to have a cup of chamomile tea to end my day in a comforting and caring way.

What part of your evening routine can you not live without?

LNM Signature

Off season storage

Now that summer is officially behind us and if you live in a climate where there is more than one season, you should store off-season clothing carefully to avoid damage from insects, mildew and mold. Be sure to wash and dry all garments thoroughly before storing. Garmentcare.info suggests that you do not store clothes in plastic bags or airtight containers. They think that Rattan trunks are perfect for storing clothing, as they allow the clothing to breathe when air circulates through the rattan.

Here are a few tips for safe storage of different types of clothing.

  • Leather and suede should be stored in a closet that is cool and well ventilated. Boots should be laid flat and stuffed with tissue or a rolled up magazine to help hold their shape
  • Linen garments should be rolled and then placed into their storage container to prevent deep wrinkles in the fabric.
  • Knitted and silk fabrics should always be stored flat but if you hang these items, be sure to pad the hangar well with white acid-free tissue and cover it with a garment bag.
  • Fur garments should be stored professionally.
  • Wool should be thoroughly cleaned, padded and wrapped in white tissue. Add mothballs to the storage area to prevent moth damage.

More Storage Tips:

  • Reduce dampness in closets by using a product like Damp Rid to keep the humidity down in your storage area (in the basement for example).
  • If the weather in your area is cool and dry, be sure your storage areas are well ventilated.
  • Always store garments loosely so they can breathe and air can circulate.
  • Always clean garments before you store them. Insects are attracted to drink, food and perspiration but more importantly it will be nice to know that your items are clean when you need them the next season.
  • Areas where garments are stored should be dark and clean. Light fades colors and attracts insects.
  • Try to avoid storing your off-season clothing in the basement or attic when temperatures tend to be extreme.  This can damage your clothes over time which will “age” them prematurely.
  • All natural fibers such as cotton, linen, silk & wool should always be stored in a well ventilated area.
  • To freshen up your garments after they come out of storage just fluff them in the dryer on low heat with a fabric sheet and voila, you’re ready to go.
  • If you use mothballs, don’t let them touch your clothing, just use an old sock.

I found a great site that has videos showing you how best to fold various items of clothing from leather jackets to v-neck sweaters:

http://www.ehow.com/videos-on_4295_fold-clothes.html

This is not a “commercial free” site so I apologize but I liked that she had so many different videos to choose from.

Our favorite Products…

Even though it is best to store your off season clothing in “breatheable” containers (such as the rattan option suggested above) I have always stored mine in these from The Container Store: 

I particularly like being able to see what is in a particular box.  I also like these “heavier dutier” ones too for ski gear, winter boots, etc.

A few years ago I put Bounce fabric softeners in my containers when I stored them.  They were “fresh” when I opened them 6 months later and I loved it!  That is a simple low cost option but you can also use moth balls or cedar blocks that are also available at The Container Store.

 

Simple organizing tip, start with what bothers you the most

This might seem like a simple concept but truthfully it is one that a lot of people struggle with. We want to postpone the “yucky” stuff when I think that starting with the yuckies is the way to go. If you dislike filing then go ahead and tackle the “to file” pile on your desk. You’ll feel so much better by just getting it out of the way

This can apply to all facets of your life. Does clutter throughout your house bother you? Then start one room at a time & de-clutter a room or an area of a room one by one. When you break a project down it instantly seems less overwhelming and much more attainable.

Give it a whirl, what are some of your strategies for your most dreaded tasks?!

Turn off the TV

I am a creature of habit and don’t feel like I’ve properly started the day unless I’ve watched the first 20 minutes of Good Morning America in the morning. On the mornings that I leave it on in the background I notice that it totally sucks my attention and before I know it, I’m watching Kelly & Michael!

Mind you, I am not sitting through commercials, but still, I get sucked in.

I’ve also found that if I need to check the weather during the day that I’ll turn on our local channel that does traffic & weather rather than The Weather Channel because not only is more accurate, it’s got a lot less fluff. I just want the information that I need and then get out.

Turning it off as soon as my segment is over gives me just the information that I need for the day and then I can go and get about my life. Turning off the TV is a great way to manage your time better. It’s as simple as that.

What shows suck you in?

Keep control of your schedule

Keeping control of your schedule may be impossible on some days but shouldn’t be impossible most days. If it is, you might want to consider adjusting a few things and prioritizing others.

For example, if you know that traffic is bad between 8-10 AM don’t schedule a meeting or appointment on the other side of town or miles away where you are certain to get stuck which is going to make you stressed which will start your day on the wrong foot.

You could also consider using technology if you don’t necessarily have to be at the meeting in person. Could you use Skype instead? We use Skype to visit with our family a lot and it feels like we have a really good visit and have also had the computer sit on the table while we are eating so that we can “have dinner” together!

Have someone else think your schedule through with you to make sure if it makes sense. A few months ago I was in a tizzy because I needed to go to Costco and the highway is always crowded with traffic, etc. but my son, Peyton, suggested that instead of going to Costco on our way to his LAX clinic that I just drop him off and go while he’s there. Duh! I was so wrapped up in my head that I hadn’t considered that super easy option. Well-done Peyton!

I know that you can’t always cater your schedule to your needs but if you try to make it easier on yourself you will reap the benefits of a more relaxed day which this day and age is priceless!

How do you schedule your day? Is it at your convenience or someone else’s?

Toe the line

Last weekend we caught one of our favorite movies is ‘Far and Away’ on one of the movie channels and one of the lines that I remember most from that movie is “Toe the line, gentlemen!” This is in reference to two Boxers about to face off but in the case of dealing with your family, it can much be the same…

I know that it is really, really hard to let your kids fall but occasionally it is necessary and it’s going to happen whether we like it or not. When your kids get to a certain age (most moms I know think this is around age 10 but each case is different for what we might be talking about here) it might be time to start with a little “tough love”.

Here are a few circumstances that I’m thinking of…

Make your own breakfast

Snack before practice

Tennis shoes for gym

Permission slips

Homework/projects

Practice

If your kids know that there will be consequences (detention) then they will automatically be inclined to avoid such consequences. Why work against this? Instead, when your son or daughter calls because they forgot their sneakers and will have to stay for detention & take the late bus home, let them! It isn’t the end of the world by any means and I can promise that they will remember them next time.

Consider the second option… you bail them out and then the next time it happens, you are in a meeting and they expect you to come in with their sneakers & the drama ensues. Nip it in the bud the first time, every chance you can…

Bottom line: if it is important to them (they never forget the date that a new version of COD is being released), they will remember. The world is not going to end if they have to take the late bus or have to run an extra lap at practice. They are going to have to learn to take responsibility for themselves. I always figured it was better for them to learn how to be responsible sooner rather than having to learn all of this at once when they get to college!

How does this sound? Is this a completely foreign concept or do your teenagers manage to get what they need to/from school on their own?