Archive for family

4 easy ways to organize your meal planning – Is it possible?

Meal planning can seem like a difficult chore.  I am going to talk about 4 ways to simplify your menu planning. Organizing your menu will give you a healthier diet, save money on food and create a relaxed mealtime.   

Shuffle the Deck

Make menu planning into a game. Compile recipes for 20 to 30 easy-to-prepare main dishes and the same number of side dishes and desserts. Cut them out of magazines, download them the internet.  Get together with friends and each bring 10 recipes and share them.

1.  Put each recipe on a 5 x 8 card, noting any special ingredients that require a stop at a specialty shop.

2.  File all the recipe cards in a card box.

Each week:

1. Select your required number of main dishes.

Pasta and Broccoli

Mix and Match side dishes to give each meal a new appearance

2. Mix and match them with side dishes and desserts.

Pita Sandwich

Meal Planning can be easy if you make it into a game

Your menu is complete.

 

 

 

 

 

Plan a month of meals

I like to plan a month of meals and then take the plan and repeat it for 6 months.  I find there are different meals made in the winter than in the summer.  Make one menu plan for the colder months and one menu plan for the warmer months.  Each year review it, add a few new items.  The easiest way to do this is to write down everything you make for one month.  Now you have a plan.  You might want to look through books, or websites and collect ideas. I used to do my planning while I was waiting for one of my children to finish a sports practice.   With this system, you will only eat each item 6 times.  If you didn’t plan the menu I think there would be some meals you would eat a lot more times than just 6.

Plan using a grid 

I like to make a grid with categories across the top.  The categories might be based on food, ways of cooking or time limits.  It may be a combination of these categories.  When my kids were at home, I needed some meals to be ready quickly because they came home and left for work or a sport.  Other days I would arrive home from work later so I prepared supper in a crockpot.

Under each category (column), you fill in meal ideas, record where to find the recipe and if there are any unusual ingredients that need to be put on the grocery list.

Each week you read across (row) and you have your menu and your grocery list. This provides lots of variety in the menu and it is adaptable to your needs each week.

As my children got older one of the categories became new food. After the new meal, we would evaluate it and see if it stayed on the grid or was voted off. If it stayed on the grid, it would be move to the appropriate category, after all, it isn’t a new meal anymore.

Adapt the categories to suit your family and culture.  This grid has 7 rows so it is a menu plan for 2 months.  Repeat it 6 times and you have a year of meals planned.Save money on food, save time on deciding what's for supper and have less stressful mealtimes by planning once and using your plans over and over. Click To Tweet

Apps

The other ideas lent themselves to paper.  I like paper because you can post it in the kitchen and everyone knows what is for supper and can help.  Apps are wonderful. You can select your menu and the app will generate the shopping list.  Big Oven is one of many apps.

Breakfast and Lunch

You can plan your breakfast and lunch menus in the same way.  I find those meals to be more repetitious and easy to just have groceries on hand and let people decide what they feel like.  I always make more supper servings than are needed at the meal (2-4 more) so they are available for lunches and late night snacks for the hard-working athletes in the home.  Sometimes I would remove those extra servings before the group sat down to supper.

However you like to plan, paper or digital or a combination use your plans over and over.  Do the planning once a month, twice a year or yearly.  Take the stress out of “what’s for supper” and you will end up spending less money eating out, less money wasting food and less time worrying.

Coupon Tip

If you like clipping coupons, write your shopping list on the back of an envelope, and stuff the envelope with the appropriate coupons.

Leaving the decision about what to eat for the last minute makes every meal stressful. Do you like menu planning? If you want help book a virtual menu planning meeting with me.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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5 Bathroom Organizing Tips

1. Have a drawer for each person who uses the bathroom to store his or her toiletries and cosmetics.  If you don’t have the space to store items in the bathroom, give each person a basket to transport their things to the bathroom from his or her bedroom, where the basket is stored.

2. Purchase under-sink storage shelves or baskets to make good use of this under-utilized area.

Creatively use the space under the sink

Find a shelf or stacking baskets to use under the sink

3.  If medications are stored in the bathroom, safely store them where small children can’t gain access.

4.  Store cleaning supplies safely, out of the reach of children, nearby so you can do quick cleans ups.

5.  Add hooks or towel bars to the walls or over-the-door racks/hooks to hang and dry towels after use.  Not enough room in the bathroom?  Install hooks or bars in the bedrooms.  This will keep towels off the floor, neat and clean.

Swing out towels bars provide space between each towel so they can dry quickly

Swing out towels bars provide space between each towel so they can dry quickly

Here is a link to a lovely informatic from Modern Bathroom to help you have a visual of organizing a bathroom.

If you need help organizing your bathroom book a 30 minute complimentary virtual assessment. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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10 Hacks to help parents organize their children’s routines.

You have successfully accomplished back to school organizing but the day to day chores are not getting done and you are feeling overwhelmed.  Clutterbug has a great video, Organizing Hacks for Parents.  Organizing your home to help your children become more independent means that they are able to complete tasks without your help.  This will help daily routines and habits to be accomplished quickly leaving more time for family fun together.

Which hack worked best in your household?

Need some organizing help contact Mind over Clutter, julie@mindoverclutter, to help bring happiness to your home.

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Moving students home – Make home life simple

Each party in this living situation has different expectations so make a contract with each other so it is clear what the expectations are. Click To Tweet

Expectations

It is a big change in lifestyle when students move home for the summer, for the students and the parents.  Sometimes students think

Share your ideas

What are your expectations?

  • It will be just like before I left
  • I will have the same responsibilities as I did living away from home
  • I am on vacation for 4 months
  • and so on…

Sometimes parents think

  • they have lived on their own so they should have no problem contributing around the home without being asked
  • now I have someone to help with all the work
  •  things have changed and we do things differently now
  • and so on…

Each party in this living situation has different expectations so make a contract with each other so it is clear what the expectation are.  My daughter presented me with some rules when she moved back home for a few months.  She asked me to look at them and see if they were suitable and to add any rules.  It made things very easy and simple because there were less misunderstanding.

Your contract/ agreement might cover the following ideas.

Sharing the car

May I have the car?

Car                                                                                                                                                

  1. Who pays for gas?
  2. When can they use it?
  3. Do they have to ask to use the car or can they just take it?

Food/ Groceries

  1. Who buys the groceries?
  2. Who pays for the groceries?
  3. Do you buy everything on the list?
  4. Do you buy only the things you need from the list when you go shopping?

Cooking

  1. Who cooks?
  2. Who plans the meals?
  3. Do you cook for everyone or only yourself?

    Where do I start cleaning?

    What needs to be cleaned?

Kitchen

  1. Who cleans up the kitchen?
  2. What needs to  be cleaned,  floors counters, stove, sink?
  3. Who does the dishes?
  4. Who empties the dishwasher?

Schedule

  1. Do you record your activities  in a specific place, electronic or paper?
  2. Do you need to tell where you are going and when you will be back?
  3. Are there any activities you are expected to attend?

Laundry

  1. Who is responsible for laundry ?

Cleaning

  1. Who does the cleaning, is it a shared task?

This checklist of ideas makes it seem like working out an agreement will be a lot of work.  The agreement only needs to cover areas that cause conflict, tension or have changed since the student last lived with you.

Our agreement looked like this:

Food                                                                                                                                                                                 

Family agreements about house rules

Make a contract / agreement with everyone in the family to reduce stress and misunderstandings

  • Buy groceries: give Mom the bill,  buy everything on the list
  • Weekday meals:  First one home cooks, Mom will try to plan the meals for the week

Car

  •  Mom will pay for gas

Kitchen:

  • Clean and wipe counter and island and stove
  • No dishes in sink or on the counter, put them in the dishwasher before going to bed

Schedule:

  • Record your evening activities and times when you won’t be home for supper on the calendar
  • Politely and conversational let us know where you are going and when you plan on returning. This for safety reason, if you don’t return we need to know where and when to start looking for you

2 weeks ago I wrote about Moving a Student Back Home 

Tell me what items you put on your contract in the comments below.

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca  

 TwitterFacebook – Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

Book your complimentary Organizing Breakthrough Session

 

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3 Tips to organize moving students back home easier?

Moving back for the summer?

Moving back for the summer?

It is that time of year when college and university students are moving back home for 4 months.  If you pack up their items in an organized way it will take some of the work out of moving them back to school in September.

1. Buy bins that stack inside each other when they are not in  use.

It will make them easy to store.   Most of us like to cut costs and use boxes to move students.  Since moving is a ongoing process for the next number of years buy some bins.  They will stack nicely in a truck/van and in a closet or storage area at home.  You will only have to get them once where as with boxes they are usually recycled and you need to find more every time. Bins  are  waterproof.

2.  Before the student begins packing, make a list of items they need at home.  

Make sure those items are packed together.  Label those bins, bedroom.  Other items that they only needed for school can be left in the bins  to be moved back to school in September.  Label them basement, closet where ever they will be kept.  You may need a bins or two labelled laundry.  Some items may need to be washed before they are stored away for the summer, bedding, blankets, winter coats etc. This makes unloading quick and easy.

3.  At home, designate an area where the bins will be stored over the summer.

Clean the area out before you go to pick up your students.  If everything is kept close together or in a limited number of areas when September arrives, you know where everything is.

A little planning can make the move quick and easy.  Next I will talk about how to making the living arrangement at home easy and enjoyable.

Moving to university

Don’t forget anything

What have you done to make moving your child back home easier?  Share a comment below.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

 Twitter FacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Learn more about what a professional organizer can do for you

 

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Organizing for a road trip

This advise appeared in the P.O.S.T Professional Organizing Strategies and Tips newsletter. To learn about Professional Organizers in Canada  click this linkhttp://www.organizersincanada.com/.  

There’s something about summer, the lure of the open road and the promise of a change of scenery that makes us want to load up the car and just go some place. If there’s one time you really want to be organized, it’s when you’re travelling. Travelling requires more organization than we may possess in our daily lives, so cut the stress by following an organizing checklist for inside the car.

Planning & Prepping

  • Make sure your car is good condition –  oil checked, tires inspected and filled – test the air conditioning and wiper blades.
  • Driver’s licence, passports, insurance card, ownership and registration, and contact numbers for roadside assistance should be readily accessible. Make spare copies and leave with a travel companion.
  • Spare tire and jack – are in good shape and are easy to access. An emergency car tool kit should include an orange flag or pylon that you can use to signal for help if needed. Learn how to change a flat tire.
  • Spare set of keys – in case they get locked inside the car or drop out of your pocket. (Even if you have to call a locksmith to open the car, you’ll be able to drive when it’s unlocked.)
  • Plastic grocery bags for garbage – always!

    Back seat organizer

    Keep your backseat organized with a portable blue bin

  • These blue bins fit between two seats and can hold a lot of gear. Each young member of the family can have their own bin for a blanket, sweatshirt, hat, sunglasses, spare shoes. They can access anything that they need on their own and have a place to wrangle their souvenirs.
  • A file box with a labelled folder for each section of the road trip.

Maps

  • A traditional map or print custom maps for your journey at GoogleMaps or MapQuest Route Planner. CAA or AAA will also provide route maps.
  • (GPS) A Global Positioning System – some travelers say they wouldn’t leave home without one!
  • APPS are available on smartphones to find everything from restaurants, hotels, parks, other points of interest as well as weather reports and plenty of games, quizzes and puzzles for young ones.
  • Book the hotel ahead so you don’t have to find a place at the end of the day. Find hotels with generous cancellation policies.

In-Car Diversions

  • Music –  A playlist or CD collection if you’re travelling through an area where radio signals might be sketchy.
  • Audio Books, DVDs and a laptop are great to have because it means you don’t need to spend time uploading content to your phone or ipad before the trip when you may be busy.  Check out your local library.
  • Spare batteries, charging cables and electricity power converter for electronics.
  • Healthy Snacks: fruit (apples can keep well for a long time), pretzels, granola bars, crackers and nuts, along with a few fun treats. A trip to the grocery store along the way can help you save money too, because the costs of dining out can add up.
  • Beverages: A soft-sided cooler packed with water bottles and low-sugar soft drinks.

Toiletries within easy reach

  • Tissues, paper towels, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer and a roll of toilet paper, in case the rest stop isn’t well-stocked.
  • Prescription medicines as well as basics like pain relievers, antacids and remedies for motion sickness.
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • A first aid kit with antiseptic and band-aids for minor cuts, cortisone cream for insect bites, and bandages.

Clothing & Comfort

  • Wear comfortable clothing – no items which restrict or bind.
  • Wear shoes that are easy to take on and off. Always have a pair of closed toe shoes available.
  • A sweater or jacket over a T-shirt for instant respectability in public areas.
  • A small blanket if you disagree on the temperature setting within the car.
  • A pillow from home for an unfamiliar hotel bed.

Finally

  • Think twice before posting about your trip on social media if your house is currently empty!!

What is your best travelling tips? Share it with us in the comments.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter     Facebook   Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 Click here if you Want to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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Happy Father’s Day

The computer swallowed Grandpa,
Yes, honestly it’s true!
· He pressed ‘control and ‘enter’
· And disappeared from view.
·
· It devoured him completely,
· The thought just makes me squirm.
· He must have caught a virus
· Or been eaten by a worm.
·
· I’ve searched through the recycle bin
· And files of every kind;
· I’ve even used the Internet,
· But nothing did I find.
·
· In desperation, I asked Mr. Google
· My searches to refine.
· The reply from him was negative,
· Not a thing was found ‘online.’
·
· So, if inside your ‘Inbox,’
·· My Grandpa you should see,
· Please ‘Copy, Scan’ and ‘Paste’ him,
· And send him back to me.


··· This is a tribute to all the Grandmas & Grandpas, Nannas & Pops, who have been fearless and learned to use the Computer………
· They are the greatest!!!
·
We do not stop playing because we grow old;
We grow old because we stop playing

NEVER Be The First To Get Old!

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Happy Mother’s Day

Listen to this Ted Talk with  MC Abdominal and his Mom about the rap song they wrote and performed together.  Moms aren’t prefect but they give you inspiration. Remember to remember your mom.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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3 Tips for Organizing During A Divorce

This is an excerpt from a great article by Autumn Leopold .  Click on the link below to see the entire article

1) Give people the appropriate time and space they need to sort through items. If they need to stop and share some memories with you, let them. Do not judge or share your opinion just keep the process moving forward.

2) Be mindful of the children in the home. If they need to see or discuss some of the items you may be donating or throwing away, sit and let them get their feelings out. They may have some memories tied to those items that you aren’t aware of.

3) After the homes are separated, parents should do their best to create a new routine for children as quickly as possible. Do something new and change things up around the house. Get different bedding or a few decorative items to create a new environment for the healing to begin.

Organizing During A Divorce.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 

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11 Professional Organizers Share their Favourite Tips.

Professional Organizers in Canada

I asked my colleagues from the Professional Organizers in Canada Cyber Chapter to send me their favourite organizing tip.  This is what they said.

Patti Schneider from Time to Organize Coach™ in Huntsville, Ontario tells us :

  • Don’t organize anything without tossing, recycling and donating first!

April Miller owner of April Miller Professional Organizing in St John`s Newfoundland shared:

  • To ensure better maintenance: Organize according to what works for you, not according to someone else’s system.

Elana Kleinman owner of EK Organizing in Toronto, Ontario

  • For maintenance, do a 5-10 minute scan of your home before bed and return everything to its assigned home. This prevents end-of-week (month?) organizing marathons:)

Ruth Beattie-Ostrom of HOME, Hard Organizing Made Easy from Parry Sound, Ontario shared:

  • A fun tip to involve children to help maintain the house: set the timer for 15 min and everyone (incl mom) puts items back in their place.

Kym McFadden owns Space-Ese-Solutions Inc in Burlington, Ontario.

  • If you don’t use it, lose it. Recycle, donate or toss it in the garbage. I generally tell clients for clothing wear it within 6 months and all other items use it within 6-12 months or out it goes. Then go have fun! If it is close to bedtime read books together.

Nathalie Bureau owner of Nathalie Bureau L’Art de l’Organisation/Organized Living from Saint Boniface, Quebec tells us:

  • Using the space vertically is one of my best tips
  • Sort food packages in a drawer using hand made separators or dividers.

Adele Lapointe of Chaos to Clarity from Burlington, Ontario simply said:

  • Like with like

Karen McIntosh Murdock,Your Organized Friend in Edmonton, Alberta

  • If grieving clients are having trouble releasing sentimental belongings I recommend that we take photos of the items, write down the stories surrounding the item and make them into a photobook.

Bev Chandler owner of C & C Organizing  from Regina, Saskatchewan shared:

  • Keep the things you use the most, close at hand.

Adriana Romkes  from Dundas,Ontario tell us:

  • Less is more

My tip, Julie Stobbe owner of Mind over Clutter in Beamsville, Ontario

  • If you are having trouble letting go of things figure out if it is because you are clinging to past or fear the future.  Once you solve that mystery it will be easier to part with unused items.

Share your favourite organizing tip with me in the comment box.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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