Apr 1, 2014

Make Your Home Work

There’s never enough time. There are more tasks and activities to experience in a day than there are hours. Maybe keeping organized was difficult when it was just you, but now you have a few other people’s schedules to manage, too. You have a work meeting, your spouse told you that he signed up for a class, and you promised your son to pick him up a new book for bedtime. Sound familiar? Sometimes it can be difficult to keep everyone’s schedules, comings, goings, etc. straight and keep everyone happy.

I’m the last person who wants to bring work home, it’s family. But the reality is that things don’t get done on their own. There’s nothing wrong with applying the same productivity principles you would use at work at home. Here are a few tools and practices borrowed from the workplace that don’t require much time, energy, or money, but will help you keep things from falling through the cracks.

A big family calendar - Depending on your preference, a google calendar or a big paper calendar (or even a chalkboard!) hanging in the kitchen or a frequented hallway can bring a lot of clarity with little pain. Advanced tip: Use a black marker for events that pertain to the whole family and a different color for each family member. You can also use the color system online.

Schedule time on your calendar to get things done. Add family tasks to your calendar like you would a dentist appointment. For example, I needed to book some flights but I had to discuss a few things about them with my husband first. We kept putting it off because other things came up. So, I made a 15 minute appointment on our big family calendar (ours is digital) and it gave us a specific time for the task. Now it’s done!

Family to do list - To do lists can be productivity’s best friend or a stress-inducing reminder of how much you are not getting done. But without a written and up-to-date to do list, your brain has to spend some of its energy just remembering the myriad of tasks to do, taking up precious brainpower that can be spent on actually getting things done. Again, decide if it makes more sense to keep a digital or paper list. If your kids are old enough to contribute, encourage them to add tasks to the list, too. i.e. fix little Max’s broken firetruck toy.

Running your home like a business is good practice, but it has its limits. If you find yourself filling out timesheets you may have gone too far!

This also appears on the SPARKBOX Toys blog!

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Feb 27, 2014

My first blog post for the fantastic SPARKBOXToys is live…

Before I had a child, I couldn’t understand how otherwise-put-together people accumulated so much stuff at home. It wasn’t long after my son showed up that my minimal and impeccably neat aesthetic became harder and harder to maintain. Toys started to take over one, then two, then three rooms! I certainly purchased some items, but anything that I paid for had to meet a strict set of criteria about usefulness, value, and design. However other things found their way in too, and a lot of them at that. An ever growing collection of toys can make it challenging to keep an organized home. The following are some ways to take back your living room and manage all those wonderful toys.

Encourage gifts to experience and consume. Encourage relatives and friends to give gifts such as tickets to a children’s play, a museum visit, music or dance classes, etc. Always have a few suggestions ready for when someone asks what to get your child. Increasingly, I’ve seen birthday party invites with the words no gifts please, which I think is a more extreme, yet still great idea.

Put it away every day. At the very minimum, straighten up your child’s play space at the end of each play session or the end of the day. Build toy clean up time into your daily routine. Spending five minutes a few times a day can make all the difference. Get your children involved, it will teach them to be organized. If they are old enough to clean up themselves, teach them to do it every time they play. If you come across toys that are broken or missing pieces, toss them. You can’t donate toys unless they are in good condition.

Let your kids do the donating. Is your child turning three? Have them pick three toys to donate before they receive a bunch of new birthday gifts. Holidays coming up? Have them choose some toys to donate, so less fortunate families can enjoy the holidays too.

Any steps you can take to keep toys at bay will help keep your home more organized and maintain some resemblance to a home where adults live. These three are a great place to start!

How have you avoided the toy takeover?


Tags sparkboxtoys organizing toys clutter parents kids reblog

Dec 11, 2013

Are you constantly losing your wallet and keys and possibly your dog? Well, my dad loses important things (not the dog) on a regular basis, so I’m buying him sticknfind this year!

reblog

Dec 3, 2013

It’s that time of year again. Stores are packed with gift buyers and there is about to be an influx of new stuff in many of our homes thanks the generosity of friends and family. Most people don’t need another candle or sweater, so this year why don’t you consider giving a clutter-free experience?

And now a look back at my favorite clutter free gifts…

Classes
  • Cooking classes can be quite pricy but they are just so much fun. Most people won’t splurge on this kind of class for themselves, so why not buy it for them? 
  • Consider a series of yoga classes, a woodworking workshop or a dance class. 
Food
  • If a cooking class is not in your budget, a DIY Cheese Making Kit from Williams-Somoma might do the trick.
  • Or if it’s more their speed, consider a Beer Brewing Kit.
  • A gift certificate from Seamless.com, a service that delivers food from tons of local restaurants, is a great option for that special someone in your life who doesn’t like to cook.
  • How about the gift of healthy snacks? Naturebox monthly memberships deliver hand-picked snacks to your door along with recipes and ideas for healthy eats. I recently sent a subscription to my mother-in-law and she is loving the delicious snacks. 
  • Of course chocolates, homemade baked goods, etc. are always an option
  • If you want to take things to the next level, adopt an olive tree in their name with Nudo, and they get the olive oil from it for a year!
Entertainment 
  • Movie, concert, sporting event or theater tickets are all great options. Give them a certificate or plan a night out together. 
  • You can rarely go wrong with an iTunes gift card, they can be used to buy movies, apps, books, and music!
  • Or you can give the gift of a museum membership. 
Miscellaneous awesomeness
  • TOYS! I love SparkBoxToys. It’s a great way to give gifts without contributing to clutter. Your friends/family get to keep a set of toys for 4+ weeks and then send them back and receive a new set. And if you buy now through December 25th, they’ll donate a box of toys to charity. 
  • Ok, so this one will probably contribute to the stuff in their home but Etsy is awesome! And a gift certificate, which you can easily order on their website will give them a chance to pick out something they love from a custom cutting board to a one of a kind scarf. 
  • Make a donation to their favorite charity. 
  • Treat your friend or family member to something they wouldn’t buy for themselves, like a manicure, a massage, or a day at the spa. Send a gift certificate from a local favorite. 

Happy Holidays!

52 notes Tags christmas hannukah gifts tumblrgiftguide clutter Holidays reblog

Aug 8, 2013

brit:

Planning a weekend getaway? We’ve got 30 super efficient ways to pack smarter. 

I love this!

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May 30, 2013

Control your mailbox, cut paper waste, and save the Earth is the motto of one of my favorite apps, PaperKarma.

“I can’t get through my mail” is a complaint I often hear from both individual and business clients. The first step and easiest way to deal with this problem is to reduce the amount of mail entering your home. PaperKarma makes this tedious task a breeze. All you have to do is take a quick photo of the unwanted mail and PaperKarma will contact the company on your behalf.

Get the free app!

2 notes Tags mail organization paperkarma organize clutter reblog

May 8, 2013

Graham Hill, most notably the founder of Treehugger.com, describes his lifestyle in the NYTimes article- Living With Less. A Lot Less.

Once again, we read a familiar sounding quote, “The many things I consumed ended up consuming me.” What things that cause you stress could you remove from your life?

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Mar 4, 2013

Do you blame your children’s toys for creating clutter in your home? Well, then this is a great solution for you. Spark Box Toys has come up with a brilliant way to keep only age appropriate toys around. Keep the toys for 4+ weeks, send them back and receive a new set. See what I mean? Brilliant! It’s also a great gift idea!

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Feb 27, 2013

Create and decorate a workspace you love and it will inspire you to stay organized. Here are some great tips from Brit+Co.

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