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.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Packing for College

Yesterday I helped one of my foster daughters pack for college. Since she is going to be around for another month, this was the first round - it took us about 3 1/2 hours with three of us working. I asked her questions about each item, she and I sorted them into categories, and we had another person who folded clothes and later packed sorted items. We sorted into several categories - toss, give, store, will take but don't need it until then, and will take but will use between now and then.

Those things she tossed and gave away were cleared out of the room as we filled bags - it gave us more space to work. We packed in clear plastic 70 qt. continers and slipped a sign down the side of each container listing the contents. This allows you to see the list as well as what is inside.

We packed clothes and shoes she didn't need now in a couple of containers. Winter clothes can be packed separately since they won't be used for a couple of months. We put school supplies in a container by itself. Another container holds extra shampoos, mouthwash, toothpaste, toilet paper (I can't believe her school doesn't provide it!!!), etc. Towels and other miscellaneous belongings went in another, and so on.

We also organized stacking drawers she will take for her dorm room - one for electronic things - camera, ipod, wires, batteries, etc. One for important papers. One for daily cosmetics/hygiene stuff. And a set of smaller drawers for little items. She'll pack her remaining items in her suitcases when it's time to go off to college.

By doing the initial packing ahead of time, she was able to get rid of a big job and have peace of mind that it's done. She could take inventory to see if there are things she still needs to get and have enough time to do it without being rushed. Her room now contains only what she will pack up to take to college, or leave behind.

If you have a child going off to college for the first time, make sure to look at the list the school sends you. Work ahead to purchase the things your child needs and to do an initial packing of his/her room. This will provide a pleasant memory for your child as he/she prepares to leave home, rather than a hectic, last-minute scramble. Going away to college is scary enough without having additional stress.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Quick cookies

We got in from a funeral last night and I needed to take a dessert to church today. At Christmas time I made up batches of cookie dough and put them in my freezer. Am I glad I had some snickerdoodle dough left in the freezer - instead of taking a lot of time making a dessert, it took me just a few minutes to thaw and bake those cookies!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Compile activity ideas

For when life seems boring and you are brain dead, keep a list of activities to do in your area. We are teaching our foster children life skills - important things they need to know when they leave home. Each week they can choose one item they want to do, and this week one of the girls chose "things to do with your friends." So this morning, I compiled crazy parties we've had, entertaining dinners, and game ideas.

I also have been compiling a list of interesting things to do in our area - museums. farms, pick-you-own orchards, art galleries, amusement parks, parks, hiking, zoos, etc.

Make up things to do. One we did recently was a progressive fast food dinner (give your children a certain amount of money and go to four different places where they can get only one item). We went to a drive-in hamburger place, a gas station/convenience store, a mall eatery, and an ice cream place. Not something I'd suggest often, but it turned a boring evening into a fun one - especially when you don't tell them ahead of time which places you are going.

If you keep a list of ideas, you can usually pull something fun together when you need it!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Getting out the door

Your mornings will go much more smoothly if you start the night before, according to Elizabeth Pantley, author of Kid Cooperation and Perfect Parenting, http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth.

She advises: "Start your morning — at night! A real key to smoothing out your morning is to prepare as much as you can the night before. This means choosing the day’s clothing, packing lunches, gathering homework, signing permission slips and setting the table for breakfast. "

Friday, July 13, 2007

Decluttering Your Car

Did you know that you get better gas mileage the less weight in your car? Clean out that trunk of unnecessary stuff, and keep what you need in a plastic container to keep it neat.

Each time you get out of your car, take your trash with you - then your car doesn't get overly trashed out. Keep a plastic bag in your car for trash - maybe even one for every row of seats. Train your family to put their trash in the bags.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cook a turkey!

I cooked a turkey this week. I decided I could endure the heat in the kitchen for a little while to have the benefit of having a few heat-free meals. I discovered a salsa chicken wrap recipe that was fabulous and served it once for a neighbor coming for lunch and another time last night for our foster girls. Everyone liked it! I served it with fruit and green beans.

I'll use some more in a summer dinner salad and again in a pasta salad. I'll do chow mein, too - a quick cook. If I don't use it all, I'll freeze it for recipes later in the summer.

Here's my adapted version of the chicken and salsa wrap recipe from www.recipegoldmine.com:

Chicken and Salsa Wraps recipe

8 burrito-size flour tortillas, warmed
2 c. grape tomatoes, chopped
1 (2 1/4 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 tablespoons diced canned green chiles
1/3 cup sliced green onions, including tops
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 pound cooked chicken or turkey, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 t. taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients except tortillas. Place 1/2 cup filling on each tortilla; roll up. Slice diagonally.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Decluttering and Donating

Keep a box in your laundry room or elsewhere in which you can toss items you no longer need, clothes you no longer wear, toys that are outgrown, etc. It declutters your house, and you're ready for the organizations who come by for donations.