80% of the time people eat the same 20% of their food.
80% of the time kids play with the same 20% of their toys. And so on!
Saturday the 22nd was the Fall Equinox, and a reminder for me to get my flu vaccine! That simple preventive measure really seems to make the difference–I have gotten a flu shot every year since 1995, and I have NEVER had the flu!
I hope that you’re all looking after your health, but in case you do get sick, I encourage you to take ten minutes NOW to prepare.
Go to the depths of your linen closet and bathroom drawers and pull out all the old medicines, pills, and remedies. Take a few minutes to toss dried-out or expired items, then gather together what’s left.
Make a list of the products you may need to stock up on, and GET them. The last thing you’ll want to do when you feel ill is go out to the store. Think of this small effort now as a gift to your future ill self, and it will make you more motivated to do it. After all, you would bring chicken soup to a friend in need, so care for yourself in advance!
What else are you doing to prepare for flu season? Here’s hoping for a flu-free autumn!
Why do we still consider bags filled with cheap plastic crap and candy mandatory to give to departing guests at a children’s birthday party? A faithful blog reader has suggested that ALL parents agree to collectively STOP giving out party favors.
Sunday was “National Working Parents Day” and whether you work outside or inside the home, this we know–all parents work hard. None of us needs to make parenting any harder, so, I ask, why do birthday party favors still exist? Professionally, I often see these castoff toys used once then ignored, or never even taken out of the party bag. They’re simply a waste of money and more plastic in the landfill.
Here are my tips for keeping this unique type of clutter to a minimum:
FAVOR GIVERS: If you feel you MUST give your guests something, make it part of the party entertainment. When my daughter turned nine we had a “Backward Birthday.” Her friends decorated t-shirt transfers (where the words had to be placed backward) and we ironed them onto the t-shirt. That tee was their “take-home” gift and because the girls created them, they actually got worn, not wasted.
FAVOR TAKERS: If someone still insists on giving your child a favor bag, adopt the idea that party favors are only good for 24 hours! Tell your kids that these mini toys must be enjoyed immediately as they “expire” after a day. The same goes for toys from fast food chains or ANY useless freebie that your kids are given. After a day, feel free to discard it to keep your home kid-clutter free!
If you’re with me in banning party favors, let me know!
YOU can be a positive force! Today, September 11th, is the “National Day of Service and Remembrance,” and September 13th is “Positive Thinking Day.” I realized that these two days are naturally linked–every time I volunteer my time or money, I feel immediately rewarded with positive thoughts.
Everyone can find some way to give back. I have a client who is homebound and even she finds a way to volunteer through Be My Eyes. Through this app, people with blindness or vision problems can connect with her via her smart phone and she can “see” for them, reading instructions or finding things dropped on the floor.
Or, if you’re active, always out and on the go, “plogging” (the Swedish word for picking up trash while jogging), is getting popular in the D.C. area. It’s a simple thing you can do to help the planet while you’re helping yourself get fit.
I encourage you all to think about how you can give back, support others, and enjoy the rewards of “positive thinking” during this time of remembrance and service.
September is “Self Improvement Month” and September 6th is “Fight Procrastination Day.” For parents and their kids, it is also back-to-school time. So for ALL of us September provides a perfect opportunity to hit the reset button. Vow now that you CAN do whatever it is you’ve been putting off this summer. All you have to do is get started!
Sometimes accountability is the best way to reverse procrastination. If you are accountable to someone else and must report your progress (or lack of it), that often nudges you into action. Just as teachers set assignments for their students and give deadlines for the homework they must complete, have a friend, partner, or professional hold you accountable for whatever you’re trying to achieve.
Here are a few examples of things my clients have done to force them to complete, instead of delay, dreaded tasks:
– Commit to attending a weekly exercise class with a friend.
– Pay a lawyer a hefty fee to execute neglected wills and estate plans.
– Text me regularly to confirm that the family laundry is done and completely put away.
– Post photos on social media showing how they’re playing the “minimalist game” (giving away one thing on day one, two things on day two, etc…) for a total of 465 donated items in a month!
So (Im)Prove yourself by sharing the proof of your accomplishments with others! Start by letting me know what you are finally going to get done in the month of September!
Is your closet currently in a state of chaos? Are you confused about how to curate your closet? Clearing out your closet becomes easy when you ask this trio of “clothing queries”! When you’re sorting, for each article of clothing you pick up, ask yourself:
1 – Does it FIT? And I want you to answer this honestly! All of your clothing should fit your CURRENT size. If your clothes are comfortable (but not baggy) they fit. Ignore the size number inside, and instead think about how they feel. Do they bind or pinch? If so, they are too small and should be retired (for now). In general, strive to only keep the two sizes you most often go between in your wardrobe at any given time.
2 – Does it FLATTER? These are the clothes that get you compliments! The silhouette suits your body type, the color harmonizes with your skin, and the hem hits your leg just right. Just because something is “in style” doesn’t necessarily mean that it flatters YOU. Think about what becomes you and what does not.
3 – Does it reflect the IMAGE you want to project? If you want to be thought of as friendly and approachable then it is best not to be too “buttoned up” wearing harsh, dark colors and stiff fabrics. If you want to be promoted then the old adage, “dress like your boss,” still applies. Even Mark Zuckerberg, who always wears a grey tee, wore a suit to testify before Congress.
Hopefully these three questions and the classic query “Have I worn it in the last year?” will help you calm your closet chaos! Let me know if you have any other closet tips.
I recently saw a statistic that each American wastes about a pound of food every day! But that number did not surprise me too much; I’ve seen many cavernous pantries filled with forgotten food. For example, look at what I found organizing a pantry recently:
Neglect your pantry organization for a while, and you can easily end up with 6 half-used spice jars of cinnamon…
So save yourself time and money spent on forgotten food, and employ these simple tips to achieve pantry perfection!
– Revisit the tried-and-true tip of “round in round.” I love to use a turntable to contain canned goods, condiments, and all of the other round-edge items you find in a kitchen. A 10″ turntable fits well in an over-the-counter cabinet, and allows you to spin your spices around to see all you have in stock.
– And don’t forget the reverse mantra: “square in square.” Always choose a square canister when decanting any foods like cereal, nuts, or granola. Square canisters fit closely together which means NO wasted space. My favorites are the OXO POP top ones.
– Finally, don’t overbuy! You don’t save yourself any money if those cans and bottles you buy in bulk expire before you can use them. Also, consider the “cost” of storing them in your pantry. Instead of spending money to renovate for a bigger pantry, you can keep less on hand.
I hope these tips help you to perfect YOUR pantry! If you have any specific questions about your space feel free to ask!
Almost every client I have has a litany of laundry complaints. The unfolded piles, the orphan socks, the dryer sheets EVERYWHERE. My advice is to create a regular routine to make getting through this oft-hated chore a little easier.
There are two general routes to laundry logistics: ALL at ONCE or ONE AT A TIME.
The “all at once” method seems to work best for couples or individuals. In my house it is easiest to do all the laundry at once EVERY week, but some households can get away with doing it every two weeks. In our house, laundry day is Sunday.
Start by gathering up all your dirty clothes, and, while you’re at it, collect empty hangers too. Divide up the loads as you like (usually lights/darks or linens/delicates/sport) and get to it. Most importantly: stick with the laundry until completion.
Set a timer to keep the process moving along. I have one client who set up a TV in her laundry room so that she can shut the door and binge-watch her favorite shows. The end of each 50 minute episode is her cue to switch out each load and start hanging and folding. Laundry day has become her favorite day of the week!
For drying, reduce wrinkles by hanging as many articles of clothing as possible right out of the washer. Clients love using my recently-released Holding Hangers for easy wrinkle-free drip-drying. (Plus, I’m extending the Tip Tuesday reader 15% off discount for one more week, as many of you were on vacation last week!)
Finally, remember: laundry is not truly done until every article of clothing is delivered back to the rail or drawer it originally came from.
Next week we will cover the “one at a time” method…until then, Happy Laundry Day!
“Must-Dos Go in Twos” is an concept I have come to embrace: take something you ALWAYS do daily or weekly and LINK that task to another task you want to accomplish.
For example, I’ve had clients who wanted to remember to take their vitamins and medications every morning but did not want their pills out on the counter. What do they do EVERY morning? Drink a cup of coffee, of course! So we simply placed their pills in the cabinet by the coffee mugs and they LINKED the two actions. First cup of coffee = morning medications.
Or let it be a task/reward link. A client had a weekly 11 a.m. Pilates class that she attended religiously. Her kids left for school at 8:30. She decided to devote the quiet two hours before her class to taking care of her mail, bills, paperwork and other must-do tasks. By focusing her energies for just two hours, she freed up her time from those chores ALL week. She no longer has to worry about them, because she can trust she will get them done before her beloved class.
Think about how you can make your must-dos go in twos for ultimate productivity and regularity!