Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Storing Grocery Bags

HGTV compiled a top ten list of its viewers' organizing tips. Marsha J. Robinson's tip: "Store plastic grocery bags in an empty tissue box." To see the other tips, go to:

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Organizing Your Media

Check out the article in today's Akron Beacon Journal by Mary Beth Breckenridge (in which I'm quoted) about organizing your music and movies: http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/living/home/16721074.htm

Friday, February 16, 2007

Let's party!

Sometimes we as parents see positive choices that our children make and don't take the time and energy to communicate our appreciation and/or excitement. Today I was inspired by a lecture by Cecil Burger, a therapist in Akron, Ohio, to celebrate good decisions our children make, positive change in their behavior, accomplishments as a result of hard work or persistence, etc. He suggested we do something to affirm our children's accomplishments - from a complimentary word to throwing a party! My suggestion: acknowledge and affirm anything we want our children to repeat.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Homework battles

Having trouble with getting your child to do homework? A solution I used with my children gives your child control and motivation. Have your child write out all his/her homework assignments on a 3 x 5 card with the estimated time needed to complete each subject. Have your child plan out his/her homework time, interspersing homework time with a video game, a game with you, a TV show, shooting hoops, etc. I recommend 30 minutes studying and 15 minutes to play with longer study times for older kids, shorter for younger. I found that my kids were motivated to complete their homework in the time they estimated so they could get to playing. Plus it's not just an endless expanse of time devoted to homework. They can see an end in sight. If your child underestimates the time it will take to complete an assignment, make sure the play time is honored. Having a change of scenery and tasks refreshes the brain. A suggestion: study your child. One of my daughters, an introvert, was depleted both physically and socially when she came home from school because she had used up all her words. She needed food and time to regroup before she was ready to talk about her day. My other daughter, also an introvert, wouldn't use up her words at school and was a chatterbox because she felt more comfortable using her worlds at home. Give your child a chance to refuel before tackling homework, if needed.

Getting Ready for School: Organizing Homework Papers

One of my foster children came up with a wonderful idea: a colorful plastic expandable file she got at Walmart. It's only about 2 inches thick and has several compartments. She has labeled each section for each of her classes.

In each class she places homework papers and other important papers in the appropriate file. When she does her homework or needs to turn in a field trip slip, it goes back in the proper file. This keeps all important papers and homework neatly filed and easily found, keeps her bookbag from having massive quantities of papers crunched everywhere, plus it reduces the number of items that get lost. She cleans her file out every week or so to get rid of items no longer needed.

An inexpensive and simple way to organize your organizationally-challenged child!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow Day

As we are experiencing a snow storm here in northeast Ohio, it brings to mind a way to really save yourself some time. If you live in an area where you get snow storms, keep a container of milk and a loaf of bread in your freezer. Make sure you get milk that has a screw-on top (not the pop off type). Before you freeze the milk, pour out a little so it has room to freeze and expand without splitting the container. Also, keep on hand some "emergency foods" that you constantly replenish. This way, you don't need to join the long lines at the grocery store when snow is forecast. When we lived in Maryland, these lines sometimes reached from the front of the store to the back! Ugh!

Monday, February 12, 2007


If you spend a lot of time on the phone, consider getting a headset to free your hands. Both our daughters live far away and we spend a considerable time catching up with them by phone since we don't get to see them often. By freeing your hands, you can use your time twice while talking - chores, cooking, etc. You can find headsets for most phones in Target - just remember to look at the brand of your phone before you shop. They are usually less than $20.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Taxes - a little at a time

If you have segments of your taxes where you need to accumulate data (medical expenses, business, etc.), set aside some time before you actually do your taxes to complete that aspect of your taxes. By getting that section done ahead of time, preparing your taxes won't be such an overwhelming task. Yesterday, while our foster girls were getting up at various times of the morning, I took a little time to gather and tally my business expenses and income. When we get ready to do our taxes, that part will already be done, and hopefully the process will go quickly and smoothly.

Friday, February 9, 2007

February cleaning tasks

It's February and the chores for this month are: flip your mattresses and clean out your closets. The next time you change the sheets on your beds, flip the mattresses both lengthwise and widthwise. This allows your mattress to be worn more evenly than if you just flip it over widthwise. As for closets, start with the closet that is the most annoying to you. Limit the time you spend cleaning it and see if you can get it done by the deadline you've set. This way you won't feel like it will consume your life. Make sure you pitch/give away anything you're not using and store like items together. (To keep up with other periodic chores, see our Clever Cleaning mini-book.)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Picky eaters

Have a picky eater in your house? I have one foster child who eats very few fruits and vegetables. I trick her by grinding up vegetables and putting them in meatloaf, lasagna, soups, quiche, etc. I even have a recipe for meatloaf that calls for applesauce! She can see little particles of green and oraange, but as long as they aren't big pieces of veggies, she can handle it. If you are overwhelmed by the task of preparing dinner, take a look at our Hassle Free Dinners CD or our Planning Dinner mini-book!