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Tuesday, March 20 2012

 

Last time, l spoke about tips to get organized for Daylight Savings Time.  Now that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with some tips for getting organized for the Spring season.  After all, Spring is the time when we look forward to a fresh clean slate - in our homes and in our ourselves.  Here are some ways to  start off the season with some fresh ideas:    

1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as sitting outside and reading a special book or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many at-home' spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. Whatever  you choose to do, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for Spring.

2. Switch Out: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn't put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn't use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don't put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away.  

3. Lighten Up: Clutter can't be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When your spaces are filled with things, your perception is that rooms are closing in on you. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten it up.  The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale!

4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize your work-out routines. It's likely that through the winter you had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it's possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and change your schedule with some new scenery and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.

5. Cooking Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven't used and don't plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have eliminated those you don't want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week! Also, if you try a recipe and no one likes it--toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own cookbooks at all!

6. Trash Tattered Towels: Have your bath towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of Spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter like the SPCA. They will appreciate your donation. Take inventory what remains. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel.

7. Outdoor Organizing:  With warmer weather, many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks. It's also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Did the cement or driveway crack over the winter?  Does your house need a new coat of paint?  Organize your gardening tasks and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar every weekend.  Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant since all danger of frost is now past.

8. Organize Your Refrigerator: I always advise to do this before Thanksgiving but this is also a good time of year to organize the fridge.  Organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small baskets or bins to group like items together. [CLEVER CONTAINER has a great line of bin organizers for your fridge and pantry.  Check them out right on this website!  Just look for the CLEVER CONTAINER tab on the home page.  They are on Page 6 of the catalog.]  Use them to put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator can be a welcome change!

Get Spring off to a good start but using the tips above and enjoy the season of new beginnings!

If you have any additional tips, we would love to hear from you.  

In the meantime, have a great week!  

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:14 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, March 10 2012

In the early morning hours of this coming Sunday, most of us in the US will "Spring Forward" an hour to begin Daylight Savings Time. 

We do lose an hour of sleep and tend to feel it's affects for several days thereafter, but it's also a great time to take on a few quick Spring chores. 

  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.  In addidtion to replacing the batteries and testing your alarms, be sure to also check the units' expiration dates.  For your family's safety, you want to be sure all of these devices are functioning at their best.  If you can't find expiration dates on your alarms and detectors, replace the units every 10 years. 
  • Recycle batteries.  Since you will be removing the old batteries from all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replacing them with new ones, now is a great time to recycle all of the old batteries you've collected over the past six months as well.  Every Best Buy in the United States does.  They also accept all kinds of old electronics and some appliances, so check out what services your local store offers and recycle some other clutter while you are at it!  (Another option for old electronics and appliances is to list them on Freecycle.  Someone will come to you and take them away.)
  • Turn on the water.  If you shut off the water to all of your exterior water faucets in the Fall, now is the time to turn those faucets back on for Spring.   If you might run the risk of another hard freeze this year (doubtful where I live), you might want to wait a little bit longer.  If you need to bring out water hoses, now is the time to pull them out of storage.

Although we lose an hour of sleep on Sunday, I love that we get an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day! 

What other chores do you like to do when the clocks spring forward?  I would love to hear your suggestions.

In the meantime, Happy Daylight Savings Time! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 05 2012

Clutter is one thing but when it's not yours, it's something else.

Here's the scenario:

You were always relatively organized.  However, you had kids.  Everyday you struggled to keep pace with their toys, electronics, paperwork, clothing and the like.  Their stuff invaded your home from the moment they were born until the time they grew up and moved out.

And, finally, after all those years, they grew up and moved out.  Okay we had to deal with "Empty Nest Syndrome" but, admittedly, a piece of us was thrilled!  Yahoo!  We finally had our space back and we could again control the environment in which we lived.  Right?  Wrong.

It is said that when they move out, they never really leave.  Is that true in your household?  

Two things could have happened.  One, they moved back home again.  "There's no place like home; there's no place like home", or, two, their stuff moved back home again.  How did this happen?  You were just getting used to having your own space and the calm that comes with it.

In the first scenario, your kids were so anxious to get out in the world and be in charge of their own destiny.  (The grass is always greener on the other side, right?)  Instead what happens is they find out they can't afford to make it on their own.  This is more common than not these days due to our economy.  So they move back home and bring all their stuff with them.  (Probably more than what they left with!) 

The second scenario is that your kids do move out but cannot afford a large enough space to hold all their stuff.  So they turn to you and say,  "Mom, can you hold onto a few things for me because I have no place to put them?"  How many of us have heard that question? 

Now what do we do?  We want to help out our kids but still want to maintain the balance in our lives that we were finally able to obtain.

I have one word of advice - "BOUNDARIES".  You need to set limits on the space that your returning kids can occupy and the stuff that comes with them.  They cannot bring it all back and then some.  Just like before, it is a shared space, but this time, they are adults and need to respect your boundaries.

You need to set boundaries on the amount of stuff you are holding onto for your kids who now reside in their own home.  They need to learn to live within the space that they have and make choices.  You have to and so do they.  Remember, your home is not a storage unit! 

Whether your kids are returning home to live or using your home to store their items, you need to sit down and talk with them about those boundaries and have them understand that they must be respected.  

Spring is a great time of year to evaluate your current living situation.  To me, it represents growth and change.  It's time to make a change and claim your boundaries. 

Until next time...

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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