Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The 23 Things You Need To Know Before You Leave Home

I have been reading an organizing book written by a mother daughter and I was struck by the list of 23 things that they compiled. Did you know all of these things before you left your parents home? If you are a parent, do your children know all of these things? I am a mom of three and looking at this list, I need to teach them many of the items on the list. Please enjoy and maybe take away something to teach the next generation.

1. How to write a check and balance a checking account
2. How to do laundry
3. How to shop for and prepare a breakfast, lunch and dinner
4. How to find a doctor
5. How to set up and work with a budget
6. How to set up and use an electronic or paper address book
7. How to calculate a tip in a restuarant
8. How to keep track of important dates and appointments
9. How to pick a mate
10. How to tell when you need medical care
11. How to drive a car
12. How to find a place to live and arrange for internet, telephone and cable TV service
13. How to get out of a building in case of fire
14. How to act appropriately when someone you know dies
15. How and when to write a thank you note
16. How to book a flight and a hotel for a trip
17. How to dress for social situations that are labeled “casual,” “business casual,” “semi-formal,” and “black tie”
18. How to exercise
19. How to relieve stress
20. How to address and envelope, assemble and mail a package, and write a formal letter
21. How to give back to society through community service
22. How to express and develop your spiritual side
23. How to examine your failures and turn them into learning experiences so that you can grow stronger

Source: “Organize Yourself A Mother/Daughter Guide to Getting and Staying Organized in All Aspects Of Your Life So You Can Have Fun” by Robin Lee Venturelli and London ALexandra Venturelli

Monday, April 27, 2009

Motivational Monday: Tide Loads of Hope

Tide in conjunction with Hornbachers has their truck located at the Osgood Hornbachers 4151 45th St. S. in South Fargo. This is a great service that provides clean, dried and better yet folded laundry to those that were affected by the flooding in our area. As moms, we never seem to see the end of the laundry basket. Add to that having your washer and dryer out of use as drains in basements were plugged, or simply no time to do laundry as the community gathered together to spend their time fighting the mighty Red and neglected tasks around the home such as laundry. Maybe you are all caught up with your laundry but have friends in outlaying areas who still are on water restrictions, call them up and pick up their dirty clothes for them and take them to Hornbachers to be cleaned. Simply drop off the dirty clothes and come back later in the day with fresh clean laundry. Services available Monday, April 27th through Wednesday, May 6th from 8AM – 6PM. Get that laundry done with the help of Tide and Hornbachers.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Home Entry: from Dysfunction to Function


The Before picture shows an entry that is not very functional for my client's family. They are a busy family of 6 with two working parents who find little time to just sit and relax. By creating an entry that is functional and beautiful it invites people into order and not chaos. The kids now know where all of their "stuff" goes, and better yet, the kids can now keep it up as the baskets and hooks are all at a level that works for their height.

1. While deciding what do use in the entry to make if more functional, Amy found a bookcase in the client's home and had her paint it black....cost free.

2. Coat hooks were added, one for each child, there is even room for the back packs.....cost $20.

3. Baskets were added to the shelves, one on the top to catch keys and change as the parents empty pockets, three on the first shelf (one for each of the older children as a catchall for their school papers and sports items, labeled with their names) and two baskets on the bottom for mom to put her stuff in....cost under $75.

4. Picture frames were added in a grouping above to include all of the four children, even the new baby.....cost $10 for one of the frames.

5. More pictures in frames that were found around the house, grouped in a collection on the second shelf....cost free.

6. Entry rug to place the shoes and wipe the muddy feet.....cost under $40

What I want you to take away from this project is that for under $150, huge changes can be made in a families life. The kids and parents all know where the school papers, back packs, coats , keys and misc. items all have a place. People crave order, they just need a system that works for their individual lifestyle. Special thanks to Amy and our fun client Bonnie.

To Simplified and Joyful Living,

MS Simplicity

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Today is Earth Day and I want to challenge you to make a difference in your world today!

Here are a few easy to implement ideas for making our earth a greener place to live. I really would like you to donate with purpose. Don’t just gather your unwanted, old and tired items and donate them. Before you donate the items look at them and decide will someone else be able to use this thing? If it is stained, has holes in it or missing pieces, you probably should not donate it. But you don’t want to fill up the landfill either, so what should you do?

1. Alternative ideas:

a. What do you do with your stained towels? Call the Humane Society as a cat or dog won’t care if the towels you donate are stained.

b. What about my jeans with holes in them? Find a local quilter who makes quilts out of blue jeans. I also do this with my old sheets as they can use the large pieces of fabric for the backs of quilts or for the filler in the quilts.

c. What should I do with my old magazines? If they are recent issues, drop them off at your local gym, nursing home, hospital, doctors’ offices. For older magazines in great shape, call the library as they are sometimes in need of them. That is how I got rid of my 4 + year collection of Martha Stewart Living.

d. What do you do with your worn out tennis shoes? You would then send them to Nike's Shoe Recycling. What I love about this program is that they then recycle all the parts of the shoe and turn them into useable play ground materials. They can be any brand of tennis shoe. Call your neighbors and friends as well and see how many you can gather. If you send many shoes into Nike as opposed to one pair, your carbon footprint will be less. TIP: I keep a garbage can in my garage that is just for me to place the shoes in. So as my kids grow out of their shoes I collect them until I have enough to send in.

If you want to know how to keep the stuff from coming into your house in the first place.….buy less stuff! Once you learn to donate with purpose, you now can learn to buy with purpose and avoid those impulse buys.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Putting it all together

Alas I have been lax in my blog posts of late. If you have been watching the news around the region/state/nation/world you are familiar with our flooding of the Red River in Fargo/Moorhead. While few have lost their homes to the flood waters due to the fact that we worked together as a community, all have been affected by the preparations that were asked of us in order to spare our homes and possessions of the ravages of the flood water.

My friend Brenda Levos created the logo above with proceeds to go to local charities. Please take the time to visit her site to place your order.

Many are still living with their basement possessions on the main floor of their home. Many are still living with sandbag dikes surrounding their property. I saw first had the strength of this gentle giant while I was visiting a friend's home the day before they lost their home to the battle.

The National Weather Service has now warned us of an upcoming second crest of even greater proportions than the first crest. This post is to help those of us who continue to be surrounded by our basement contents, try to put some normalcy back into our lives. This post is also to help you be the most prepared that you can be if you are ever faced with a natural disaster of epic proportions.

  • Take the time to go through your possessions now, before they go back in storage. This process will take some time, invest in the time now! Do not expect this to take an afternoon and do not be hard on yourself for getting everything back in its place now.

  • Take a picture of your house and all of its contents, put it in a safe place such as a water proof safe. You may need this for insurance purposes later on.

  • Grab a friend and do both of your organizing projects together. It is always best to get a fresh set of eyes, and especially when those eyes do not see the sentimental attachment to what is being sorted.

  • Donate what you think other people would find useful. Don't just donate items to get it out of your house. Donate with purpose. Maybe you have an extra coffee pot that a family who have been displaced would appreciate.

  • Place your items in plastic bins and totes. If you ever had to carry wet boxes you suddenly realize how heavy water can be. A favorite to use is Space Bags. These cool organizing products take large items like clothing, blankets and stuffed animals and literally sucks the air right out of them and compresses them to 1/10 of the size in a water proof container.

  • Look at your items and really decide if you use it or if you are just holding on to it for sentimental reasons. A good rule of thumb, if you haven't looked at it or used it in 6 months, it is time to get rid of the item as you are only holding on to it for sentimental reasons.

  • Place all of the items you can't live without in an easy to grab location, so if you do have to evacuate, you or your family know exactly where the items are and can grab them in an emergency.

  • Photos need some special attention. Scan those priceless one of a kind photos into your computer and save them on an outside server such as Snapfish, so that they can be accessible from wherever, whenever. A teenager in your household can easily take on this project.

  • Many of us are now lost without our computers. Make sure that you have a plan for your computer. If you have a large, cumbersome desktop computer, invest in an external hard drive. Save all important documents on a regular basis so that if you need to leave your home quickly, you can grab that external hard drive as you leave the house without the fear of losing any important information .

  • As you get the all clear to pull those drain plugs out of the drains, label them with sharpie marker and place in a zip lock bag. So if the mayor ever tells you to plug your drains, you can simply grab the bag of drain plugs and quickly get the job done.

Plan now and be prepared for the worst case scenario but hope that you never will come upon that scenario. Remember to really work on what is important to you and your family and you will soon realize that it is not your possessions, but it is your loved ones and as long as they are safe, you have everything you need in life.

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