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May 30, 2012

Get Organized for Summer: Ideas for Creating Summer Routines


Around here we’re easing into the summer routine. We’ve been at this summer thing for just about two weeks now, and so far things are going quite well. Summer has meant an earlier start to the work day. The kids have been sleeping in a bit which means quiet mornings in the office to write. Really nice. 


Today I thought I’d answer some questions related to creating household routines during the summer. Sound like a plan? Okay, here we go.  

Here is Joanne’s question: 

Hi Aby - Great post! Here is my dilemma about summer. I have an 8 year old boy and a 3 year old girl and would love your advice on how to gently create household routines with them that keep things organized here but still allow them to feel the joy of long carefree days. I hate the idea of a rigid to-do list but also find in the summers that the house can easily look like a bomb went off and routine chores can get back-logged fast. Thanks for your help!


Helen echoed Joanne’s thoughts with this question: 

I love having my children at home in the summer holidays and enjoying time together, but I usually find by the time they go back to school, I spend the first week or so trying to get the house back into some sort of order! How can I prevent that this summer? I need some sort of Summer Schedule for basic house maintenance, so I can enjoy both my children and a clean house! Thanks!

Thanks for your questions Joanne and Helen! I love the idea of gently creating household routines, especially those that allow your kids (and you!) to enjoy long, carefree days without feeling tied to a rigid to-do list. Around here, the way we do it is with a daily decluttering…just a simple end of the day routine where we put things back where they belong. This works great with younger kids, and if you start them young, then picking up simply becomes part of the daily landscape. I’d also suggest picking your battles. In the beginning, focus your daily decluttering on restoring order in the public areas in your home and spaces where the adults hang out to unwind after the kids go to bed. 


To enact a daily decluttering session, simply grab a timer and a container like a laundry basket or small storage bin. Set the timer for fifteen minutes and start by putting away anything that belongs in the room you’re decluttering. Then, use the decluttering container to transport items back to where they belong, such as the toy room or the kids’ bedrooms. You might be amazed at how quickly you and your kiddos can clear the decks when you do it as a team. And if you play “beat the clock” or put on some upbeat music, you might even find yourself enjoying the process, too.  



As for keeping on top of other routine chores, at our house we do a once a week cleaning, and everyone chips in. I prefer this to doing a little bit each day, as it allows us to get the cleaning out of the way for the week and not have to worry about it. If this approach doesn’t work for you, you might consider creating a running list of all the chores that need to get done. Then, simply start at the top of your and work your way down as you can squeeze it in…ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there, etc. Then when you’ve made it through the entire list, simply start at the top again. If you find you aren’t getting through the list fast enough (and the dirt or clutter is starting to drive you batty) simply carve out more time per day to do a bit more chore work. Eventually you’ll find the perfect balance for you and your family. (For ideas on what to include on your list…check out this post.)


Happy organizing!


May 25, 2012

Summer Bucket List: M is for Making Memories

As you’re planning your summer and adding items to your summer bucket list, do you ever step back and remember your own childhood summers? If not, take a minute today and do so. You might be surprised at what you recall and how it helps shape your plans for the summer ahead.


I took a little trip down memory lane this morning. Want to come along?  Okay. Here's what I remember about my childhood summers. I remember…

…going to Baskin Robbins, my mom’s favorite ice cream place. She always got two scoops of Jamoca® Almond Fudge on a sugar cone. I often got pink bubble gum, a pink ice cream with real bubble gum in it—two treats in one. How fun is that?


…playing softball and after the game riding my bike with friends to 7-11 for gumballs and pop. I especially remember the year my sister and her friend coached our team. It was so fun hanging out with my big sister. I was never very good at softball…but that really wasn’t the point. It was all just for fun…and for that bike ride to 7-11 afterwards.


…vacations in the family station wagon with our pop-up camper pulled behind. As the youngest, I always had to sit in the middle between my two older siblings. I was always squished, elbowed, and told to move over (even though there was nowhere to go.) We spent hours in that car seeing 35 of the 50 states, staring out the window and doing nothing but daydreaming about life…Would I marry the boy down the street? Would I have a dead tree in my back yard and use it to hang out the laundry to dry? Who eats all that corn?

…playing cards with my family in the camper and playing Monopoly and Scrunch on the avocado green kitchen table. We did this for hours and hours at a time! 


…going to drive-in movies with my sister and her friends. Don’t you miss drive-ins?


…hanging out in the empty lots on either side of our house with my friends…digging to China…making “soup” out of weeds…daydreaming…and doing absolutely nothing but hanging out with friends, talking and making memories. 


…swimming at my friend Kathy’s pool. I had one friend with a pool and it was always so exciting when she would call and invite me to come over and swim. What a treat!


…eating fresh raspberries from the garden and enjoying my mom’s strawberry freezer jam. (Yum!) I also remember really tough green beans, beets and bitter lettuce! (Yuck!) 


But I think the thing I remember (and miss) most about my childhood summers is going to my grandparent’s lake house. We would swim and float on rafts. We’d lie in the sun for hours (and often I’d end up with a sun burn.) My sister Amy and I would paddle around the lake in inflatable boats. And at night time Grandpa would take us out for pontoon boat rides around the lake. Afterwards we’d sit on Grandma’s couch and look through her many, many photo albums. I loved lazy summer days at Grandma’s house…doing nothing but building memories to last a lifetime. 


At-grandmas-lake-1971me at my grandma's lake in 1971


As I reflect on my own childhood memories, I realize that the big planned events, like the yearly trips to somewhere in the big green station wagon, definitely make my list of memories. But what I remember—and miss—the very most is time spent with my family and friends doing whatever. It’s funny how the simple, everyday things like bike rides, raspberries and card games—that’s what sticks forty years later. It isn’t so much the activity that holds the memory for me, it's the people. Spending time with people I love, doing whatever, that's what summer is really all about. Both then...and now.


So no matter what is on your bucket list this summer, and regardless of if you do just 1 thing on that list or 100—you and your loved ones will be making memories, simply by spending time with together. So let’s go out and make some summer memories, shall we? 


Have a great weekend my friends. And if you feel inspired to do so, I’d love to take a walk down memory lane with you. What do you remember and miss about your childhood summers? Thanks for sharing!


May 24, 2012

Summer Bucket List: S is for Spot it!

Today’s summer bucket list add-on is the game Spot it! from Blue Orange Games. They offered me two complimentary games, and being the game lover that I am, I simply had to say yes. I’m always up for a fun game, and if it is cleverly packaged, all the better. Spot it! comes in a cute, round, metal tin which makes it handy for taking with you on vacation or to play while waiting for a summer concert or fireworks to begin.




Packaging aside, this game is really fun. Here’s how it works. There is always one and only one matching symbol between any two cards. Spot it and you win. That’s all there is to it. And even though it may sound too simple to be fun, it really is a lot of fun. Sometimes you sit there staring at the card for minutes, thinking “This is the set they got wrong. There’s no match.” But there always is. And there's only just one match. Plus it’s a quick game, which means you can sneak it in during a few minutes of down time. My whole family enjoys this game, and we took it with us on our trip to Michigan—they loved it up there, too. I gave my second game set to Jennifer and her family thinks its great fun, too. So if your looking for a fun new game to ad to your bucket list this summer—S is for Spot it!


By the way, if you have younger kids, no worries, just in time for summer, Blue Orange Games introduced Spot it! Jr. Animals. Spot it! Jr. Animals features 31 brightly colored cards with six different animal images on each card. With only one matching animal between any two cards, this delightful visual perception game is really fun for all kids. Children are natural learners and will love spotting the animals and matching them in this fast-paced game designed for children 4 and up, and for 2 to 6 players. 



Both Spot it! and Spot it! Jr. Animals can be bought online through,, or in stores across the country that carry Blue Orange products. 


How about you? Do you love to play games in the summer? What's your favorite game? Thanks for sharing. 


May 22, 2012

Summer Bucket List: D is for The Book of Doing


Continuing on with our summer series, in my next few posts I’m going to share a few add-ons for your alphabetized summer bucket list. The first one is THE BOOK OF DOING: Everyday Activities to Unlock Your Creativity and Joy by Allison Arden. 


Here’s what the publicist shared with me about the book:  Arden, the Vice President and Publisher of Advertising Age, never intentionally set out to write this book. In fact, THE BOOK OF DOING came out of her decision to start living life rather than just going through the motions. Approaching her fortieth birthday, Arden wondered whether she needed to leave her job in order to find passion in life, or if she should continue with her day-to-day responsibilities (working and being a married mom) and just commit to figuring it all out eventually.


Arden kept thinking about her childhood and how she loved arts and crafts. Even as an adult, simple creative tasks like decorating cupcakes with her daughter or going to a crafts store excited her more than she ever thought it could. She loved trying out new activities and getting her hands dirty: “What I loved most of all was the physical act of ‘doing.’ With it came a simple focus on pure delight.” Arden took this newfound strategy to the workplace and to her everyday activities. She tested new concepts and reworked packaging at work while making up local tasting tours and park visits at home. The joy and freedom she discovered while doing this led her to write the fully illustrated and designed THE BOOK OF DOING, in which Arden passionately encourages readers to do what they love most, create new ideas and engage with the world around them. She includes 94 fun activities such as learning code, making a popsicle stick replica of your five favorite people, crafting something special out of a sentimental article of clothing and learning the meanings behind flower types and colors. 


THE BOOK OF DOING is a fun, must-have guide for anyone looking to reawaken their senses and reclaim the serenity of doing the things that they love.



I wanted to share what the publicist had to say about the book because it really encapsulates the book and what it’s all about. Plus, I wanted to give you a feel for why I said yes when the opportunity to review this book landed in my in-box. What really struck a chord with me was that Arden originally contemplated leaving her job to find her passion. But instead, she figured out how to make her job and the rest of her life more rewarding by bringing her passion into her job and life. She discovered that what she needed to live a creative and joyful life was already inside of her. As she says in the book “No need to vacate your life. You will find all you need in your daily acts of doing.” 


The book includes 94 fun activities that you could do to ignite your own creativity and joy, and if you’re like me, as you’re reading the book you’ll think of even more. The book begins with "The Laws of Doing" which are 18 terrific suggestions for how to digest the concepts in the book. And they’re also pretty terrific guidelines for life in general. For example, Arden suggests that you can always find time for things you want to do, and when you do make that commitment to yourself, you’re better in the process.


So if your summer bucket list is short on books to read, or you’re looking for an idea that starts with D, or you’re looking for a resource that will give you loads of inspiring ideas for your bucket list, or you’re ready to reignite your creativity and joy, check out THE BOOK OF DOING. I found this book to be incredibly inspiring – and that was before I even starting doing any of the ideas in it! I started thinking about my life and my to-do list in a different, more creative and joyful way. 


One final note:  When I am offered books to review I tell the author’s people that I will share the book with my readers only if I like it. In this case, it was a no-brainer. I couldn’t wait to tell you about the book so you, too, can be inspired to start doing the things you love to do.


Now it’s your turn:  What books are on your must-read list this summer? Thanks so much for sharing!


May 21, 2012

Get Organized for the Summer: Tips for Keeping Your Puppy Safe

For today’s Get Organized for the Summer reader question, I called on my friend professional organizer Janine Adams. April asked a question about keeping her puppy safe during the summer. While I have dogs, I’m by no stretch of the imagination an expert on dog training or puppies. But Janine spent ten years (1995 to 2005) making a living writing about pets, primarily dogs. She is the author of seven books, contributed to four anthologies and wrote over 100 newspaper and magazine articles, for such outlets as Family Circle, the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and the Bark. She also won four writing awards from the Dog Writers Association of America. Plus, Janine is a dog owner and her dog is very well behaved. (And he was a super cute puppy, too, don’t you think? This is Janine's dog, Kirby, as a puppy.) 



So I thought Janine was the perfect person to answer April’s question about keeping her puppy safe this summer. Here is April’s question: 

Questionmark_1inchNo Kids, but new puppy here. This is my first puppy ever and my 2nd dog. When I married my husband he came with a grown dog. While he was good he did have a few issues regarding training at time. Seems so simple in comparison.


But anyway around here we will be trying to have fun outdoors while puppy learns the ropes. After having him for a week now he likes the back yard and wants to explore while on his leash, but I fear a visit or 2 with some cacti will not go well for either of us once he is off leash. How do I limit this? How do I organize back yard to make it puppy fun so he doesn't hear the word "NO" all the time?Puppies are like babies everything must be tested via the mouth…weeds, rocks, you name it. Going to be fun but he is darn cute.


Here’s Janine’s answer:

Puppy parenting, like parenting a toddler, is more about patience, persistence, training and constant supervision than about organizing. Here are some ideas to help you transition into life with a puppy this summer. 


You could erect temporary or permanent barricades to keep your puppy safe from things like cacti. I’m assuming your yard is fenced so that he’ll be safe off-leash eventually. (If it isn’t, I wouldn’t recommend letting him use the yard unsupervised off-leash, ever, and even with supervision it’s dangerous.)


When he picks up stuff in his mouth, have a squeak or chew toy handy to substitute for the offending item. When you see him going toward an object that’s not great for him to explore, distract him rather than waiting for him to get to it and then telling him no. While you're in the yard with him, use treats to practice teaching him to come--a very important command and also a great way to get him to pay attention to you.


When he’s old enough for training, you’ll be able to remove the temporary barricades and teach him what’s off limits. But you’re right, it just gets really tiresome to tell a puppy no all the time. I’d encourage you to search the website for the Association of Pet Dog Trainers to find a positive trainer who can help you with your puppy as he gets older.


Thanks, April, for your question, and thank you Janine for your great answer! If you're a dog lover and have any additional puppy tips to share with April, we'd love to hear from you!


May 18, 2012

Summer is No Time for Guilt

As Jennifer posted earlier, today is the first official day of summer in our little town! Yesterday was a terrific last day of school at the Garvey household. Kailea had a little school’s-out get together with friends, and Collin and his friends celebrated the end of the school year with an early dinner at Steak and Shake. So…we’re off to a good start and already have a couple of bucket list items we can check off! Fun. 




Today, I wanted to answer a couple more reader questions. Today's theme is guilt. Jennifer mentioned in her blog post today that she felt slightly guilty when she wasn’t as excited about summer as the other moms. Fellow working mom, Jen Pugh, shared a similar sentiment in her question below: 

Questionmark_copyright_simplify101I have the typical working mom's dilemma: love summer schedules and the ease in the routine but feel guilt about being at the office while they will be home. They will be home with Grandma while I work. I want them to have a fun and productive summer but don't want to overwhelm my mother-in-law with my agenda of what I think that should look like while I am at work. Would love to hear other thoughts / recommendations.


I really connected with Jen’s question, because as a full time working mom myself, I can totally relate to the guilt that comes from being away from my kids during the summer months. With my kids, we are away from each other mentally and emotionally during the work day, even though physically we’re in very close proximity. The way I have made peace with this over the years, including when my kids were babies and in daycare, was by knowing that when I am true to myself and do what my heart and soul call me to do, it is the absolute best choice for everyone. My heart and soul have always called me to have a career and so that’s what I have done. Are there trade-offs? Absolutely. But there are trade-offs in any decision we make. 


Regardless of how you get to the decision about working outside of the home or not, whether it is out of choice or out of necessity, once the decision is made—give yourself permission to let go of the guilt. You and your children will have different benefits and challenges than someone who made a different choice, but your kids will have great childhood experiences and a wonderful summer—either way.


What I try to do during the summer is make the most of my time with my kids when I’m not working. One way that I do this is to get them to help out with basic household tasks such as cleaning the house, doing the dishes, cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, and putting away the laundry. I remind them that the more they do to help me with stuff that needs to get done, the more time I will have to do fun stuff with them. This way, when I’m not working at simplify 101, I have more time to spend with the kids doing those fun bucket list items.


While we’re on the topic of guilt, I wanted to give some thoughts to Teresa who is feeling guilty that her house isn’t unpacked after moving two years ago. Here is her question:


Questionmark_copyright_simplify101We have two active girls (9 & 11). I started working this year after 11 yrs staying at home. We can hardly wait for weekends and holidays (to me it is time to get things done that didn't get done during the week). My children are convinced that I do not understand the meaning of the words "holiday" or "vacation" because we are always cleaning or sorting...BORING! They do each have a weekly chore schedule and are a big help. I would love to just have a fun summer with my kids for a change but the guilt of trying to finish unpacking after 2 yrs bothers me. It seems we don't have enough time to finish unpacking (and the realization of how much we stored in our garage in our last home...eek! We don't have a garage or the built in cupboards that we used to have.) I'm stuck in a cycle of unpacking, sorting, not knowing where to put things and NO FUN! =( There is no balance in our family right now.


This is another really great question! I’m so glad you asked it Teresa. It sounds as if your stuff right now is stealing your peace of mind and your ability to truly enjoy time off from work. Here’s a really important thing to keep in mind about the stuff that you can’t find a home for:  If it has been in boxes for two years this means you haven’t been using it for two years. How much of it do you really need? And, if you were to let it go, what would you gain in the process? Only you know for sure what you would gain, but I would venture to guess that time, peace of mind, and the ability to really enjoy time with your family, would be at the top of the list. So often when we let things go we think about what we’re giving up, but what if you shift that focus to what you will gain in return?


Here’s something for all of us to consider:  Summer is no time for guilt. Let’s make a pact to let it go this summer. Whether you feel guilty because you’re working while your kids are at home, or you feel guilty about unpacked boxes, or other unfinished projects—guilt isn’t productive. It just makes you feel worse. 


Instead of feeling guilty about something you can't change, focus on what you can change. And then go change it. In the case of the unpacked boxes, what if you divide your time off of work between unpacking (and letting go of stuff you don’t need) and enjoying fun time with your kids? Decide to go through a certain number of boxes per week or spend a certain number of minutes on weeknights and weekends chipping away at those boxes. If you tackle this project in small bits of time, and give yourself permission to have fun while there are still boxes to be unpacked, your entire family will enjoy the summer more—and you can spend it guilt-free. You’ll know you’re carving out time for a project that is getting under your skin, but more important, you’ll be spending time with the people who matter most to you.


Alright friends, I'd love to hear from you. Is there something you're feeling guilty about as you head into the summer? Are you ready to let it go?


Happy Friday!


Welcome to Summer!

It’s a bright, crisp morning outside. I hear neighbors heading to work and birds singing warnings about the neighbor’s cats. But inside my home, it’s still and incredibly peaceful. I’m not packing lunches or reminding anyone of the time or encouraging “less talking, more eating” at the breakfast table. In fact, the children are sleeping in — a well-deserved rest to celebrate this first day of their summer vacation from school.


This year, I feel like I have a vision for how I want summer to be, and a loosely structured plan on how to make it happen. My vision for the summer is for our family to relax and have fun! So I kicked off our summer by surprising the girls after school yesterday with this Pinterest-inspired bit of fun.



Can I get honest with you here? Since they began school, I have never been a big fan of summer break. In fact, I met it with more of sense of overwhelm and maybe even a little dread. I have friends who would comment that they couldn’t wait to have more time with the kids and less demands on the schedule, and I would feel quietly guilty that I didn’t share that sentiment. Oh, of course, I love my children infinitely. Yes, I love to be with them. But, I still had a job to do, plus housework and errands. Summer meant trying to keep up with it all while now having them with me 24x7; trying to keep them occupied and structured enough and also find time for all this family fun we are supposed to be having. Overwhelmed is an understatement.


This summer, I am super happy to tell you, I feel differently. I. Am. Excited! Why? I think it’s a number of reasons. For one, my girls are getting so much more self-sufficient. Two, it was a tougher school year in a lot of ways, and we are all relieved to be through it. Three, this is my first summer working at simplify 101, and that has meant planning for weeks in advance on how to structure my work time. Four, I’ve been absorbing all the good stuff that Aby has been doling out in the Get Organized for Summer blog series. I think all of this has come together and put me in a very good place for the summer ahead of us.


I don’t have things worked out 100%, and I don’t expect perfection from our summer. But I feel ready for it, and I am going to embrace it.


How about you? Do you loathe summer or love it? 


Happy Friday!

Jens signature black

May 15, 2012

Add a Little Happy to Your Workspace

This time of year, the sunny weather outside can make it harder to stay inside and get your work done. (Are you noticing this, too?) When the weather starts to tug you away from your desk, it’s more important than ever to have a “happy” workspace – a place where you enjoy spending time! Here are three simple ideas to infuse your space with a little bit of happy—to make it a brighter, more pleasant place to be. 


Declutter. One of the simplest, fastest and least expensive ways to freshen up any space (and boost your feelings about it) is to clear out some clutter. Let go of tools and supplies you no longer love and are unlikely to use. Create some breathing room in your file cabinets by clearing out paperwork from completed projects and tasks. Reevaluate the items on your desk, and eliminate anything that isn’t either a daily essential or inspiring to your eye. Getting rid of even 15 minutes worth of clutter will breathe new energy into your space and make you feel happier when you’re there. 


Use creative storage solutions. Freshen up your work space with some creative storage solutions. Stock up on brightly colored flower pots or metal buckets and use them to corral basic office supplies such as pens, pencils and scissors. Use a ceramic egg crate or votive holders for small office essentials such as paper clips, rubber bands and extra staples. Repurpose favorite ceramic bowls for Post-it notes, small notepads and index cards. 



Freshen up your office supplies.  A simple way to make your space brighter and feel more fun is with some cheerful office supplies. For example, stock up on some new Post-it notes, such as the eco-friendly Farmers Market Collection, which will add a fresh burst of color to your space. Or, next time you need a new three-ring binder or need to restock on file folders, opt for colors you love that make you (and your whole space) a notch happier.


When your workspace is a place you like to be, it makes it easier and more enjoyable to get your work done—which means, you just might get outside faster. 


How do you make your workspace a place you'd like to be—even when the weather is luring you outside? Thanks for sharing your ideas!


May 14, 2012

Get Organized for the Summer: Establishing a Cleaning Routine

Hello my friends. Sorry for the unannounced blogging break last week! It was a crazy-busy week as we wind down the school year and gear up for summer. Add an anniversary, Mothers Day, and a busy client schedule into the mix…and well, the blog was last week’s casualty. But I’m back and ready to answer more of your summer organizing questions!



Today’s question is from Jessica who asked about establishing a summer cleaning routine. Here is Jessica’s question:


What are ways you keep a house where everyone is home all the time? Clean one time each day? Clean as you go? Same with dishes, do them as you go, or spend one lump sum of time doing the dishes each day. Which is more time effective?


With more people coming in and out of the house during the summer, I find my house can really take a hit. So the first strategy I’d suggest is to look for ways to minimize the mess so it’s easier to stay on top of the cleaning. For example, establish a “take off your shoes at the door” rule so that the dirt stays in one spot and doesn’t get everywhere. If your home has kids who will be swimming or running through the sprinkler, keep beach towels by the door and encourage everyone to dry off at the door instead of running through the house wet.


Cleaning-bucket-croppedAs for how to fit in the ongoing cleaning, this one really boils down to personal preference. If your current cleaning routine is working well for you, consider if it would make sense to change it up during the summer. What benefit could you gain from doing something different? If it takes several hours to clean your home from top to bottom, then you may favor spreading the task out over the course of several days, instead of being stuck inside for hours at a time cleaning. My personal preference is to clean once a week and get it all done in one fell swoop. (And I enlist the help of my family members so it goes even faster.) But, I can certainly see the argument for cleaning one room a day or doing one cleaning task a day (such as floors one Monday, dusting on Tuesday, etc.) Choose the approach that feels right to you and then give yourself permission to change your mind if you decide it isn’t working as well as you’d like.


As for dishes, I’m a fan of washing them as you go. It’s easier to deal with dishes as soon as you’re done eating—before the food has a chance to get dried on and hard to remove. So I think it's most time effective to do the dieshes right away, plus, having a clutter free kitchen sets the stage for the rest of the house.


If you’d like to read more about the pros and cons of creating a cleaning schedule, check out this post:  Cleaning: Is it Better to Create a Schedule or Not?

What is your preferred approach to cleaning and dishes—do it all at once or clean as you go?


Thanks for sharing!


May 04, 2012

Balance Summer Fun and Keep Your House in Shape

The following post is a sample of my weekly Quick Tip email. Since it goes along with getting organized for the summer, I wanted to include it as part of the Get Organized for the Summer blog series. By the way, if you don't yet subscribe to my Quick Tip, you can sign up here.


In our house, summer is just around the corner — there are only 9 school days left! (But who’s counting, right?) While summer is a fun and carefree time of year, it can also mean the end of the routines. This makes it easy for clutter to start creeping back in. If you’re like me, you don’t want your house to fall apart over the summer and have three months of clutter to deal with when the kids head back to school. Plus, if you’ve been making progress on getting your house in order since January, the last thing you want to do is lose momentum or backslide over the summer. 


So how do you balance summer fun with keeping the house in shape? Here are three ideas:


1)  Keep organizing on your radar screen. Commit to spending 15 minutes a day keeping the house in order or making progress on an organizing project. Once a day, set the timer for 15 minutes and put things back where they belong or work on an organizing project. Get your kids in on the daily decluttering, too. Extra hands means faster progress and more time to do something even more fun!


2)  Bite-size bigger projects. Break down the bigger projects on your to-do list into small, bite-sized pieces, and then focus on one small piece of the project at a time. For example, instead of organizing your child’s bedroom in a single day or over a weekend, work on it in sections—one drawer, one shelf or one storage bin at a time. 


3)  Get some help with those bigger projects. Summer is the perfect time to teach kids simple organizing skills that will serve them into adulthood. If you don’t have kids, or your kids are too young or no longer living at home, consider enlisting the help of a neighborhood teenager. There are teenagers out there who enjoy organizing and would love a little extra spending money, too. Who knows, you might have the next Martha Stewart or HGTV expert in your neighborhood! 


If you’d rather spend your summer days outside in the garden, or at the pool or beach, it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your organizing efforts altogether. Instead, use these three simple strategies and keep your organizing momentum going all summer long!


What strategies do you use to keep your house in order over the summer months? Thanks for sharing your ideas! Have a great weekend!


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