A Magnetic Family Calendar to Keep You Organized

Keep Track Of All Those Activities In One Space!

By Amy Trauntvein

I received this calendar for review, but all opinions and pictures are my own.

When you’ve got a house full of kids and adults who are busy, you’ve got a lot of activities, appointments, practices, lessons and everything else to keep track of!  Jen at Calendarsandchores.com must have seen me in her crystal ball because she asked to send me one of her beautiful and functional calendars to check out, thank you Jen!  Oh yes, I‘ve got a smart phone with a calendar and all which I use, a lot, but I needed something that my whole family could see every day and also add to as things come up. (Large Magnetic Calendar seen here with 6 weeks and bonus Memo strip $82.00)

Magnetic Calendar

This magnetic calendar is the perfect solution, because it is a perpetual calendar!  What’s that you say?  It means that when your week is over, you wipe everything off the top strip, and move it to the bottom of the calendar to start filling in for later weeks!  You see, each “line” is it’s own magnetic strip that you can organize yourself and it all fit’s on the included frame any way that you fancy.  When my calendar came, I slapped that thing on the wall and got to filling it all in!

So many of my kids activities are for multiple kids so instead of using one color per kid, I use a certain color per activity/lesson.  I’ve got 2 kids in the high school marching band, so I used Red for their school color, I have 3 kids in piano/vocal lessons with the same teacher so I use blue for those, I have 2 kids in gymnastics and I picked orange for it and so on and so forth.

I adore the magnetic pencil cup! ($10)  Not only is it cute, but it holds all the extra month labels that aren’t in use, and my wet erase markers (I like them better than dry erase for fine tip writing and they don’t smudge) right where I need them.  No more looking in drawers and wondering what my kids did with them!  They stay right here.  Period.

Magnetic Calendar

The weekly Menu List ($4.50) comes in handy for those busy nights that I just don’t want to figure out what to fix for dinner.

Magnetic Calendar

And Memo strip (included in calendar kit) with categories of Upcoming Events/Grocery/To Do/Notes section you can use in place of one or two of the “weeks” on the calendar, if you just want to post a month at a time.  See bottom of the calendar…

Magnetic Calendar

The calendar comes in many colors and styles and sizes, but I love the Antique White frame with the Vintage White magnetic strips.  They are perfect for my living space!  As you can see, I chose to use all 6 weeks and even figured out a way to let me know when the next month is coming up.  I separated the two months a bit and stuck the September strip between the two.  Easier for my kids to know what month they are looking at.

Magnetic Calendar

I am so happy with my new calendar and so are my kids.  No more, “Mom, what time is practice? Mom, what day is the party?  Mom, when is picture day?”  They can just look themselves.  Thank you calendarsandchores.com!  You’ve just made my schedule a whole lot easier to handle!

Be sure to check out her online Etsy store.   She also carries other cool products like chore charts cute locker memo magnets.

Love To All! ~Amy





I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Organize for July 4th celebrations

Staying Home or Heading Out for July 4th?

Whenever you plan for the July 4th, or any holidays, vacations or just weekend getaways…. you usually always forget something if you aren’t prepared. Right?july 4th

We don’t usually do anything real big for July 4th. Our town has a nice firework display that we go to every year.   We don’t want to go to some massive display downtown and deal with all the traffic and mess you get into down there. Usually we grill out and then head to the high school. Nice and simple.  We’ll also head to the farm on some years and grill out our hotdogs over an open fire. 

It was my dog Sadie’s worse holiday of the year.  She was so scared of fireworks and for a few days prior to 4th of July and a day or so after, there are always those in the neighborhood setting off their own displays. She was a bundle of nerves! It was will strange this year without her, having to leave with the TV blaring and fans running to help cut the noise of fireworks for her.

You might just be staying at home and grilling out for your family, or some friends for the fourth….but you will still need some supplies you weren’t counting on. Chances are you might be going to some friends house for fireworks , or going on a weekend camping or getaway trip.

Get out Your Paper and Pen and start your list for what you will need to have for your 4th of July celebration.  Here are just a few suggestions:
2)Ice – Make your own ahead if there is time!
4)Place settings/cups
5)Napkins/paper towels
6)Trash Bags
7)Bug Spray
8)Sun Screen
10)First aid kit

There is the beginning of the list. Of course there is more, but be prepared.  Have a fun 4th of July weekend and please be safe if you are going to be messing with fireworks and even sparklers!

Your day/weekend will go much smoother if you have it planned out and aren’t forgetting half the things you need.


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Organizing and Planning Ahead For A Trip

Be Sure To Organize Ahead Of Time For Your Travel

Organizing prior to a trip isn’t hard, it just takes time management.


Planning for a trip, of course depends on what kind of trip you are going on.  Is it a family vacation, are you flying or driving? How many people are going?  Is it a business trip and you’re leaving the family at home?

For this post, I’m going to plan for a business trip with one adult going from the family.  For our family, this has been me doing all the traveling. Dave doesn’t travel for work, but for the last several years, I have been traveling multiple times throughout the year.

I’m planning this week for my trip next week to Bentonville, Arkansas for our first Collective Bias conference, SoFabCon. I’ll be gone for a week from home.

Plan at least two – three weeks prior to your trip

Plan what you are going to wear. Go through your wardrobe to make sure you have the clothing, shoes and accessories you’ll need for the trip. More than likely, you’ll have all you need, but there might be occasions that you do need to shop for something new prior to the event.

If you have to order sometime online, you should probably plan out further than 3 weeks to be sure you receive it on time, and it fits.
You want to give yourself enough time to return or have something altered if needed.

Be sure to check your accessories to be sure you have any jewelry, cosmetics, crazy socks etc that you might need.

Plan Week Ahead

1) Plan out meals for your family, or at least make sure needed grocery items are stocked in the house.
2) Get all the family laundry completed before you go.
Personally, I do this because if my hubby needs to do laundry, I come home to baskets full of clothes that I can’t tell if they are dirty or clean (nothing folded when it comes out of the dryer). He will use my sorting bins to put clean clothes in, I find my sorting bins upstairs in bedrooms.. oh my – an organizers laundry nightmare!
3) Prepare a packing list.
It is so easy to forget things when you are packing.  Make sure you add things on there like business cards, extension cord (if you take your laptop etc with you), phone chargers, camera download cords etc. In this day and age of electronics, there are a lot of accessories needed to use them.
4) Prepare a Family “To Do” List
Especially if you are going to have teens at home without you. When do they have to be at practices, events? Does anyone take daily medicine that needs to be remembered? Will they remember to feed, water and walk the dog or clean out a litter box. What day is trash day?
5) Make a copy of your itinerary.
Make sure your spouse knows how to get hold of you, what flights you’re on and where you’re staying.
6) Be sure to print out any tickets or passes you might need. It’s great to have everything on your phone, but if you can’t get service, you could be in a bind if you count on having important documents stored electronically.

Couple Days Prior To Your Trip

1) Start packing for your trip. You won’t want to pack any clothes that will wrinkle until the last minute, but have them ready to go. You can pack underclothes, jewelry and other items that you don’t have to worry about the “wrinkle factor”.
2) Prepare any food items you’re family might need while you’re gone

Planning ahead will make you’re preparation go much smoother, and generally you have what you need while you’re gone. It also will help to decrease stress for you and the family while you’re gone.



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Tips For Organizing for Christmas

Making a Christmas List – Checking it Twice…

We have so much to do this time of year, don’t we?  Dave and I we have even a little bit more than just Christmas, out of our eight kids, five of them have December birthdays! The youngest five to be exact.  Wowza!

christmas listIf only our lists were this easy?  Making lists and keep track of what you are doing, what you have done and what you still need to do can be your survival for the holidays. I will be referencing Christmas, because that is what I celebrate – please just insert your own holiday. Thanks!

Preparing Your Home

*With decorations comes moving things around, rearranging and cleaning.
*As you go through your decorations this year. Look in that box. How many things have not come out of that box to be used, in years?  Hint- It’s ok to get  rid of it. Just because it is from Christmas’s ago…doesn’t mean you HAVE to keep it. Take a picture with it…and let it go. This will make more room  if someone gives you more decorations, or there is something you just have to have in the store this year.
*Cleaning and sorting as you put things out, makes putting them away that much easier.

Holiday Meals – Things to Think of

*Which big meals will you be preparing and on which dates?
*How many people will be there?
*What will you serve? Along with appetizers, side dishes, desserts and beverages.
*Make out your grocery list.
*Look for coupons (big meals can be expensive! – This is one expense that many people don’t think to budget into their holiday spending
*If people ask what they can bring, give them an answer – salad, appetizer, dessert. Don’t hesitate to let them help.

Christmas Parties

*Be sure to write any invites on your calendar with times to keep track.
*Be curious and RSVP  (so many people don’t do this anymore. Let the hostess know how many to plan for)
*Plan what you are going to wear ahead of time.
*Do you need a gift for a gift exchange? Put that on your list
*Plan babysitters early (and get one for New Year’s Eve now if you need one!)

Christmas Cards

*If you still send them (and I hope you do…. I do) then purchase your cards if you haven’t already.
*Update your address list.
*They are great to take with you to appointments – sit in the Dr. office waiting room and fill out your envelopes!
*Buy your stamps.
*Fill out your cards. Personally I love the letters (I save and open those last when I get cards) – but at least a short note is appreciated to let people
know that you are actually thinking of them when you write your cards.
*If you are ordering a Christmas card with pictures, be sure to order SOON if you haven’t done so.

The Christmas Gift List

*Decide on your budget! (before you start buying)
*Make a list of all those you need to buy for
*Write down what you plan to buy them, or thoughts of what you’d think they would like if you don’t know specifics
*Watch for deals!
*Suggest no gifts, just time together (if possible). You may be surprised – other family members may thank you for this!


This was originally posted on Dec 2, 2010. I’m revitalizing it for this year.

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Black Friday Shopping

November 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Sales, Shopping, Stores, Time Managment

Organizing for Black Friday Shopping

Are you a Black Friday shopper? Do you set your alarm for 3am and have the drive in the dark and sometimes snow. Standing out in the line that you can’t believe is already THAT long? If you have never experienced the craziness…you are actually missing some fun.

I always like seeing The Salvation Army bell ringers out, although I think at that time in the morning and with those crowds, they don’t come out until it’s safe. lol

black friday shopping

  I don’t shop every year on Black Friday am, only if there are things that it will benefit me and I am in the right frame of reference to do so.

But I love to do it and usually make it about 75% of the time.
But I think once you get yourself on the road (the getting up is no fun), then you feel like you are off to tackle a battle and its really fun.
I usually go to Walmart because I would rather wait inside..thank you very much. They just have all the “door busters” covered up and you are guessing at which big covered thing in the middle of the aisles is what you want. Then at the given time of the sale there is supposed to be an employee by each one…they tear them off and everyone starts diving for them. I have never been in a situation where people are literally fighting or pushing or calling names. I know it happens, but usually everyone is friendly and tend to help each other out. You are there on the same mission.
But it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy and buy too much. You may go with one thing in mind, but if you don’t have your shopping trip planned you may walk away with oodles of things you really didn’t budget for or you may walk away without any of the deals you went for.

Before you go

1) Make your list on Thanksgiving day with the sales ads in hand. If you know the
layout of the store, mark down a map of where you plan to go.
2) Plan which stores you are going to go to and at what time (plan early for
your first store). Some stores match prices so you can take your K-mart ad into
Walmart with the exact same item and if there is a given price (you can’t use a
percentage off, they won’t honor that)during the hours of the sales, they will
match that. (Check to make sure your store matches prices)
3) Get to your store early (everyone else will too) Make sure you have your list
with you AND the store ads. (keep them in a folder)
4) Go for your most important item first. Then try your best to stick to your plan.
5) Try to resist grabbing the last ticket for that 52″ big screen that you don’t
need or want just because you are in the right place at the right time.
6) Go light hearted and plan to have fun. Having a positive attitude can make
your experience an adventure instead of a disaster!

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10 Travel Tips To Help Dad When Mom Travels

Here Are A Few Travel Tips To Help Your Home Run Smoother While Your Away

As bloggers, many of us are now traveling to conferences and events frequently. I’ve heard several moms who need some travel tips to help their husbands have an easier time while they are gone. I use the term “husband” or “dad” throughout this post. It might be that the caregiver is your mom, or a sitter, relative etc. This is all applicable. So know that “husband” is interchangeable for whatever your circumstance might be.

travel tipsI wanted to share a few tips that seem to help my home run smoother while I’m away. I have to admit that my husband is pretty self sufficient while I’m gone, so I don’t have the issues that I’ve heard some moms have. (I say that and knock on some wood because I am traveling as this is posted). The kids I still have at home are also very self sufficient (11 year old triplets) and know our routine.

Several of these ideas take some preparation prior to your trip. Even though we are often stressed trying to get ourselves ready and it’s not much fun to do some extra work before we leave, it can often help things run smoother.  Keep in mind, if things aren’t too bad while we are gone, then going the next time isn’t going to be such a big deal.. right?

10 Travel Tips to help your home run smoother while you are gone.

1) Clean your home right before you leave.

If things are in order before you leave, then it might not seem as over whelming to your spouse. If the house is already a mess, then he will feel the pressure of cleaning too.

2) Pre-plan meals

Depending on your husband, and his level of expertise in the kitchen (or lack there of) have meals prepared ahead of time. Either frozen (with directions telling him when to pull them out to thaw) or in the refrigerator.  Label the meals and have a guide prepared with directions of how to heat them up.

3) Prepare lunches ahead of time.

You can even pre-pack the lunches if you have room in your refrigerator for that. Make sure you have purchased plenty of lunch supplies before you leave.

4) Have all the laundry washed and put away

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of my husband in the laundry room. He likes to “help”. Which in turn, means I have to rewash clothes that I’m not sure are clean or dirty. He tends to let clothes sit in the washer over night (and sometimes a couple days!) and you all know the sour smell that develops when you do that. So I generally re-wash anything that he has “helped” me with, once I get home.

5) Leave a detailed itinerary of the kids activities, sports practices and directions if necessary.

6) Leave a list of phone numbers, Doctors, Dentist, neighbors, car pool, babysitter, school etc.

7) Leave a list of the routine the kids are used to (if Dad,  doesn’t know)

8) Leave your itinerary and schedule of your events.

Husbands like to talk to us, and as busy as some of these conferences or events can be, they are already feeling left out (if any of you have had your husbands travel… you might know the feeling well yourself. My ex husband traveled a LOT and I relate very well when I hear one of my blogging friends say their husband is “needy” when they are gone). Both of you get skype and plan times that you know you’ll be at your computer and can skype with him and the kids.

9) Have a back up plan in place.

In case one of the kids gets sick, school is cancelled due to weather etc, someone misses a bus.Leave instructions with Dad and the kids as to what will happen or who will take care of the kids in these situations.

10) By all means… make sure the soccer socks are clean and laid out.

Quick story: On one of our trips to Vegas, where we were two hours earlier than home – Kim @CraftyMamaof4 hubby called her about 6:00 in the morning. Her husband and son were in a panic because they couldn’t find a soccer sock for his practice that day. We (@ZipporahS) were cracking up because she was so embarrassed that he woke up all of us calling that early over a soccer sock.  Moral of the story – make sure every piece and part to every thing you can imagine is clean, laid out, prepared, written down and posted before you leave.

More work on us? Yes… a lot! But the benefit would be not getting awakened at 6am with a frustrated husband looking for a soccer sock.

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Time Management

Clutter Messes with Your Time Management

Does Clutter Make me Late? You would be surprised at home you manage your time can be influenced by clutter around your house.

cluttered office


Clutter can make you late!

“What, do you mean by that?” you may say. But clutter and time management can go hand in hand as a problem.
“Where are my keys? I know I just laid them here, maybe they are under this stack of mail.” “I just need to grab that report for the meeting, but where is it?” “Mom, where did my red jacket go? I’m going to be late for school!”
Do any of these sound like your house?
When you have extra clutter sitting around choking up the “clean, clear, calm” space, then you also have clutter sitting in your head…choking up the “clean, clear and calm” space in your brain. When you do not have a clear brain to think with, you are going to have too many thoughts…too many things jumbled in your head and lose track not only of what needs to be done, but in what time frame it needs to be done in. Simply put, Too much stuff in your house + Too much stuff in your head = Being Late.
Being late out the door, being late to pick up the kids, being late with reports due, being late paying bills, being late to the meeting – sound familiar?

So what do you do? Clearing out the clutter from your home will result in clearing out the clutter from your head which will in turn help you to focus and plan your day more productively which will then lead to being on time.
Sounds simple doesn’t it….NOT!

How Do I Clear out the Clutter?

Use your 5 signs to designate your piles to sort.

sorting guidelines



Get white trash bags for your donate and black for trash (so you don’t mix them out when you take them out of your house.
I prefer clear plastic storage bins for long term storage.
Make sure you have some form of labels to label your bins.
Give yourself 2 hours of time if you are able. Do not think you will get an entire room done, just start out with a smaller goal.

Pick up each item, look at it fast and think:
1) Do I use this?
2) Do I need this?
3) Do I like this?
4) What is the worse thing that can happen if I don’t have this?
Don’t spend more than about 5-10 sec. on each item, otherwise memories start popping in and you “personalize” that item. You want to keep it “depersonalized”, otherwise it can be too hard to get rid of.

Time Management

Break down your day into 15 minute increments.
For instance: If you have to be at the school by 3:00 to pick up the kids, but you need to go to the bank and grocery store first then plan it this way:
3:00 – Be at School
2:45 – Leave for school. (It takes 10 min. to get there from school – but use 15)
1:45 – Be at grocery to do the shopping.
1:30 – Leave from bank to go to grocery. (It only takes 8 min. to get there, use 15)
1:15 – Leave for bank. (It only takes 10 min. but use 15)
So to get to the school by 3:00, you need to leave the house by 1:15. You will have an extra 17 minutes to play with if there is traffic, or if the grocery store is crowded. If you end up being early, just keep a book you are reading or a steno pad in your car to make a “to do” list.
Now make sure that 15 minutes before you get ready to leave the house you get your keys, grocery list, banking items ready and have stopped by the bathroom.
So if you need to, set your timer on your stove for 1:00. Once you get in the habit of using 15 minute increments to plan things out, it will become easy and natural and you won’t have to worry about being late.
Because your clutter is now cleaned up off that kitchen counter, you can find those keys and bank book and grocery list and you can get out the door on time!
Time management is much easily accomplished when you do not have clutter blocking your path!

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Just Do It!

How Many Times Do You Hear Just Do It?

just do it

I tell myself to Just Do It! all the time.  Do you wonder why we don’t always do the things we should?  It’s almost like we make ourselves our own enemy.

My struggle right now is with weight.  I like to eat, I love sugar.  Do I know it is bad for me? Yup!  Do I feel like crap at my heaviest weight? Yup! Do I WANT to be thinner?  Yup!

So it should be simple, right? Just stop eating the crap, exercise and JUST DO IT!

I actually am beginning tomorrow with a trainer once a week. I need someone to make me accountable, someone to push me, someone who I have to answer to.  I know I shouldn’t. I know everything I need to do, I know what I need to eat and not eat – but it is something about someone else believing in you and working with you and counting on you… to motivate you.

I think the same thing happens in almost any area of our lives that we struggle in, but want to improve.  That might be keeping the house clean, cooking or organizing for you.  Of course there are way too many to list.. but you understand.

Steps To Just Doing It

1) Goals & Visions

Write them out.  What do you want to accomplish?  Give yourself specific goals to reach. Make them attainable goals. Be sure to put a date on the paper when you write it, so you can monitor time.

2) Make a Plan

When are you going to start? What time or cost is involved? What steps do you need to take to accomplish your goal?

3) Write it on your calendar

Writing it down is very helpful in making us accountable. If that time is set aside to accomplish your goal, then that is usually one big obstacle out of the way.

4) Find the resources you may need to help you.

It might be a personal trainer, a Professional Organizer, a chef  or, it might be finding a tutorial on Youtube, an article, book or magazine to help. It may just be your friend or neighbor that can help you.

But why does it seem that anything we need help with cost money? Have you noticed that it cost more to eat healthier? Why is that? I don’t know, but when I’m watching what I eat, I always spend more on the healthy vs the unhealthy items in the store.  Hiring a personal trainer cost money too. If you have organizing problems, hiring a Professional Organizer isn’t free either. I think we have to think of it as an investment in ourselves, our well being, our families well being.

5) Just Do It!

I know… I had to say it didn’t I?  But it does come down to that. We can’t just plan and want to do something – we have to actually do the grunt work to receive the benefit.  I know I’ll feel better once I start working out and eating right, so I’m going to just do it.

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Control Freak

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Time Managment

Are you a Control Freak if You are Organized?

The impression many people have is that if you like to organize, you are a control freak.  Hmm, maybe it’s true? What do you think?


control freak

I was just talking to a friend and we were talking about many things, but the topic of being a control freak and woman came up. We both agreed that we liked feeling in control. I think most people do..as opposed to being out of control right? But control can go too far, be over the top and also cause trouble as I think we all know.

I thought it was interesting that she brought up someone she knew saying that this other woman…we will call her Sue has a completely controlled life. Sue has 2 children ages 11 and 13 who are not involved in any sports or activities. They do not attend church. They go to school and come home. Sue goes to work and comes home. Her husband arrives home from work at 3:30 everyday and Sue has dinner promptly on the table at 4:30 everyday. Dinner dishes are washed at 5:15 everyday. Her entire life is about routine and order. That isn’t all bad, but there needs to be some flexibility in there to be healthy. Every minute is planned out perfectly. The family works well with the schedule. Ok…good. If life were always perfect there would never be a problem.

When Life throws you a Zinger
But life isn’t always perfect and things don’t always go the way we want them to. So you throw a curve ball into that situation and it ends up breaking a window!!! Sue can’t handle anything that doesn’t fit into her neatly packaged home. Sue had a situation that came up that was very upsetting to her and one of her children. Yes and we are all going to go through those! But because Sue’s world is so regimented she couldn’t handle it, doesn’t know how to handle it and is striking out at all the wrong people! Her perfectly controlled world is now out of her control and she is now out of control mentally because of it.

Feeling Safe
I have to say that I like order and control myself. It makes me feel safe if things are going the way I am used to and have planned out. But I am realistic to know that things do come up and they have (divorce was kind of a biggie that I never expected or wanted for that matter), but although there can be tears and concern and worries – it shouldn’t send us into crazy zone either.


Organizing can be a control thing. It puts everything in its place and into its box. When things don’t have a box (place) to go into…then the anxiety comes into play. Order = Peacefulness for some people. (including myself).

But we have to also be flexible if we are to cope with what life throws at us. So if the holiday decorations sit on the basement floor for a few days after Christmas because you don’t have the time to get them all put away, or there is some extra stuff in the garage from the craft show you did 3 weeks ago that you need to find a new spot for…. then we just need to learn to chill. It doesn’t mean we are slobs…it doesn’t mean we don’t have control of our lives…it doesn’t mean we are a failure at organizing…it just means we are human and things come into our lives that we aren’t expecting.

Try our Best

All we can do is try are best. We are not always going to be perfect at anything (only Jesus can claim that one!). If we have a bad day and do not get to all the things we planned for that day, then relax and put it on the list for tomorrow. Don’t beat yourself up. We have enough stress in our lives. Organizing should be something that is helpful and makes us feel good. Not something that stresses us because we can’t do it perfectly.

Be thankful for the good things. Be thankful for your family and your home. Look for the positives when your life seems out of control. Be thankful if your family has their health.

This post was originally posted in 2008. I revamped it a bit and reposed it. The picture of the T-shirt I found and you can purchase that shirt here if you are interested. No, I'm not an affiliate of any kind, but wanted to give them     credit for the picture I used.
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Time Management

April 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Family & Friends, Time Managment

Time Management is so important!

Do you have problems with time management? So many people do, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Time Management

Do you always find yourself running late? Missing appointments?

Some people take it for granted, but it can cost you business deals, jobs and friends.  Don’t just assume that “everyone knows I run late”.   We always have times that are exceptions to the rules, I’m there with you.  Getting lost (I’m good at that), cars breaking down, an event running late – I hear ya.  But all it takes is a phone call.  Be considerate of the person you are meeting or is counting on you.

Here are some of my tips for staying on time.

Set alarms

Have one on your phone?  Use it! If not, download an app.  I set mine all the time, even when I am home working. I often get very involved in what I am working on and time can get away from me.

Give Yourself Extra Time

Always give yourself more time than you think it will take.  If it is something close by, it may only need to be an extra 15 minutes you add onto your schedule. If it is something across town, a further distance or during a rush hour, you may need to add on an extra 30 – 60 minutes.   It is much easier to sit and work on a project or answer emails when you are at your destination a little early, than being late and costing your reputation.

Be Considerate of Others

As much as we may feel that we are the only ones who are important, it isn’t the truth.  Being late all the time portrays that  feeling to others.  By keeping others waiting for you consistently, it is rude in my book.  Again, I’m not talking about the occasional event that happens to all of us. I’m talking about those who are consistently and expectedly late.

Teach Your Children To Watch Time Also

Start your children early. If someone is picking them up for school – make sure they are ready and waiting either outside or watching out the window. Don’t make them wait while your child puts on the shoes, hunts for their book bag and grabs their lunch. Why should those people who are doing you a favor by picking up your child – be late (when they were on time to pick up your child) because you/your child aren’t paying attention to the clock.

Likewise – if your child is ready and waiting to go somewhere, how frustrating is it for them to be late because the person picking them up is running late?





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November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Time Managment

I don’t know about you, but my life has been extremely busy since I took on this full time job. Part of prioritizing so that we don’t go totally crazy is to not take on too much. If you do, then you have to give up something.
For me, one of the things that is on kind of a hold right now is my blog. Ugh… I hate to say that, but there is no reason not to be honest with you all.
If you follow me, then you will realize I’m not posting as frequently as I used to. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of posting more often, but for now, I’m hanging on by a thin string.

I have been turning down most reviews that I have coming through. I’m not planning on having a gift guide this year. So things are changing.

Often people have a hard time prioritizing, so that they take on way too much, don’t want to give up anything (because they either volunteered for it or just love it) and then they fall apart because they can’t do anything the way they should.

How to prioritize:
1) Make a list of all the things you have to do daily.
2) Make a time line of when you plan to do those things on your list
3) Work your list and see if it is realistic.
4) If you can’t get it all completed as you planned, decide what you want to give up.
5) Rework your schedule again. If it still doesn’t work, take off another item.

We have to realize that we aren’t failures if we give something up! It is ok.
I’m not giving my blog up… I’m just not posting as much as I was.

My organizing posts take a lot of time to do. The writing is easy, but I have to actually go in and organize the area (time consuming) then process and edit all the photos and then put together the post. I would guess that one of my organizing posts takes a minimum of 10 hours from start to finish.

Give yourself a break…don’t go crazy – it is ok to give up one of the zillion things you are doing each day, as long as your family, your home are taken care of properly.

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Organizing Your Schedule

October 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, How To Organize, Time Managment

Feel Like You Don’t Have Time?

We all seem to have schedules that are so over loaded, work, kids, cooking, cleaning, car pools, kids sports, etc…..

Do you often feel like you don’t know where your time goes?  Feeling over whelmed at all you have to do for the week and have no idea how to do it?

My son just started college a couple  weeks ago.  He is living at home (his choice) and working part time along with taking a full college load.  Some of his classes are in class on campus, others are online classes.

He has ADHD and although he has been functioning since his senior year in high school well without his medication, he was overwhelmed today with trying to figure out his schedule. He felt he didn’t have the time he needed to study, work and still have time with his girlfriend and friends.

We worked on a schedule to help him visualize where his free time was and how he could manage it.  Of course college has to be first priority. I have told him that work is secondary. Although he would like to be able to have some income (he is supposed to pay for his books, my ex husband and I are splitting tuition) so that he can take his girlfriend out and save for a car, pay for books etc….  I told him school is priority.  If he has to cut down on something (between school & work) then he needs to cut down on work. I will pick up the books etc. I want him to be able to succeed in college.

Here is the schedule I made up for him on excel.  It is something that is simple to make up and anyone can make one.  Of course you can do the same thing on your online calendar or go buy a planner, but for Tim, this was all he needed.  I told him we can print a new one up each week.  He seemed to really appreciate it.

Simple…. easy…. but extremely helpful.  Visualize Your Schedule!

I color coded it to make it easier to “see”
He has classes on the college campus on Mondays and Wednesdays – blue
He has already slotted out Tuesday to do his two internet classes. This will also be some study time for those classes and possibly his other two classes. That day is in green.
Work is Thursday, Friday and Sunday morning. – yellow
He can now see that he has free evenings every day, all day Saturday and most of Sunday free. It is just a matter of now deciding how much time he can make for his girlfriend and studying.

I printed a copy for him to take with him today as he went in search of a quiet study area at a local library. He will need a “clutter free” “low stimulus” area to study.

Often just being able to see something on paper was helpful to him (I know it is me). He can plan his study time and “play” time.

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Back To School Routine

August 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, How To Organize, Time Managment

Get Your Routine Set Before The First Day of School

Are you ready for school to start?  My best advice to you is decide what your morning routine is going to be, in advance of school starting?  Make a chore board… or routine board.

Why? Because once the hectic mornings begin, it will be hard to change habits.

Here are my suggestions for a morning routine.

Morning Routine

1) Get up at least 15 minutes earlier than you “think” you need to. There will always be a glass of spilled milk or a “melt down” when you least expect it.
2) Have a “chore board” or “morning routine board” if needed to help your child remember their morning routine.
3) PREPARE the night before!!!
* Pack lunches or lunch money
* Lay out clothes
* Have book bags ready to go
* Homework inside in the bookbags
* Library books inside the bookbags (you get the point)
* Take your shower the night before if possible.
* Have breakfast planned and table set

After School Routine Tips

1) Routine…Routine….Routine. (kids need it)
2) Book bags emptied when they come in the door. Have a specific spot for their papers where you can go through them.
3) Snack
4) Homework time (don’t delay it, get it over with..they are still in school mode..not play mode yet.)
5) Have a quiet place, with low stimulus for homework. Desk in their room without tv, or a kitchen table.
6) Put their book bags away in a set spot. Hooks on the back of a door can work great.

It isn’t hard to establish a routine, but don’t expect your children to do it.  You need to do it for them.  Once you get it going…within a couple of weeks it will be habit to them.  They won’t think anything of it – kids need routine.

Your days will go much smoother with just a few rules put in place. Believe me… I’ve been there.. done that (I have 3 adult sons….remember?


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Planning Board

DIY Chalkboard & Dry Erase Scheduling Planning Board

planning board

Creating your own schedule board that is geared towards your children/ family doesn’t have to be hard. It can be a family communication board, weekly calendar, chore board for the kids, or combination board, or planning board like I created.

I made karate calendar / job board for the triplets.  Their karate schedule is different most every night. It also changes a couple times a year.

I started off with finding a frame. I had one that I really liked, was the right size, but the color wasn’t right. So… I spray painted it.


Step one  – Prime and paint the frame.

This is what I used for primer.  I also got the Krylon paint.


I used an Dover white gloss spray paint and it took several coats.

spray paint

Step 2: Gathered your other supplies

craft supplies

I had the frame, Chalkboard Contact Paper, 18″ x 6′ and the  Liquid Chalk – Works like a Marker Dries like Chalk – Set of 8 Earthy Colors ,a glue gun, an x-acto knife and cutting board and a ruler. I also purchased a long narrow magnetic dry erase board that fit half of the frame.

But I also needed a few other things.  I had purchased this Elmer’s Tri-Fold Foam Display board from Walmart for another organizing project I am planning in the future. I knew I wouldn’t use it all for that project, so this would work perfect. It is light weight and thick enough.

Elmers Tri-Fold Board

I also bought some small self laminating sheets.

photo laminating sheets

I had magnets that you can adhere your business card to.


Then I found those cute small clothes pins when I was in Walmart too. They were just too cute. I also bought 3 yards (I didn’t need all of that) of a thicker ribbon and some thinner robe like ribbon (for the name cards) along with white hooks.

Step 3: Measure the space that the Elmer’s foam board needs to be cut to fit.

First position the dry erase board where it will fit. Then measure to cut the foam board.
craftI used the X-acto knife to cut the foam display board. It made it easier than scissors to cut and you get a cleaner line.

Step 4: Cut the chalkboard contact paper to cover the Elmer’s foam board.

chalkboard contact paper

You don’t have to cover the back of the board too. Just bring around the edges and make sure you have a smooth surface on the front without wrinkles or air bubbles.

chalkboard contact paper

Wrap the edges under and then on the ends I did trim off some of the excess contact paper with the x-acto knife. I didn’t want to take off both layers, I just wanted to thin it down when I folded it over.

chalkboard contact paper

Step 5: Position the two boards into place.

I first cut a piece of ribbon that would cover up where the two surfaces meet and hot glued to the dry erase board.  I positioned it so that it was half off the dry erase board.

I put hot glue around the inside ridge edge of the frame where the boards would lay.

I then placed the dry erase board with ribbon attached into the frame (good side down).  I then put the chalkboard covered foam board into place. I first hot glued the edge of the chalkboard foam piece that would meet up against the dry erase board. Once they were in place I held it up without turning it over to make sure the ribbon was in place and then pushed on it to make sure it would adhere to the chalkboard piece.  This is what the back side now looks like.


I also gave a squirt of some hot glue in between the crack where the two pieces meet.

hot glue gun

Turn it over carefully once it has dried and this is what it looks like at this stage. From here you can customize it.  You may want to leave the top blank for hand written notes or magnets. (See the ribbon across the middle?

communication board

Step 6: Put the screws in place.

I just purchased the small hook screws. I didn’t need to pre-drill them, I just positioned them and screwed three of them in the bottom, one for each of the triplets.  Then two across the top for the ribbon to tie onto to hang it.


Step 7: Make the Name Cards

I got out some of my old business cards and used those.  I put two of them together for a little thicker base.  Then I covered those in the chalkboard contact paper.

business cards

Once I covered three of those I cut the thinner ribbon to the length I wanted. I did bring it down the side of the business card to fully measure.

I then wrote each of the kids names on the chalkboard covered name card in the chalkboard markers. Be sure to let them dry completely before you complete the next step.

chalkboard markers I then opened up one of the laminating cards and placed the name card upside down on. I placed the string down along the edge of it and then covered the laminating sheet. Be sure to tuck the other side of the string down.

name card

Step 8: Make the clothes pin magnets

I again took one of magnets for the  business cards.  I covered the sticky side with a piece of the chalkboard contact paper.  I then cut it into two strips length wise. I then used the hot glue gun and glued the clothes pin onto the chalkboard contact paper covered side.

clothes pin magnet

I made one for each day of the week.  I only used Monday – Saturday on my board though. The kids don’t have karate on Sundays, so I didn’t want to crowd them.

Step 9: Make the small cards with the time on them.

I then cut up some of my old business cards in half. Covered those with the chalkboard contact paper and wrote the times on those.


Step 10: Write the jobs on the chore board.

I put a number 1, 2 and 3 on there, because the triplets change seats at the dinner table.  They will have their seat assignment, and chore for a week at a time.

chore boardRemember if you mess up, you can use a wet cloth and erase .. and start over.

Step 11: Put it all together

The weekly karate schedule

clothes pin board


The top bow. It hides the hook that it is hanging from.


The weekly chore board and seat assignment for the triplets.

chore board

The final project

planning board

Isn’t it cute?  I am really excited about using it.  It is going to go against a periwinkle wall when my dining room is finished.


I Love Your Comments!

I’m linking this post up to these lovely blogs:

Cherished Bliss – Craft and Tell Tuesdays
Bella Before and After – Amaze me August
Tip Junkie – Handmade Projects
A Bowl Full of Lemons – One Project at  Time

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias. The pictures, project and thoughts are my own.

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Organizing the Paper Clutter

February 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Paper, Time Managment

Those Papers Coming Into The House – They are  never ending!

I discussed my mail system here, but I wanted to go into more detail with you today on how I handle the rest of the paper trail.

Over the next week I am going to go over how to handle in more detail, so be sure to follow along!

1) Bills
2) Files and how to Organize Them
3) Daily paper file or “Command Center”
4) Receipts /Income and how to handle that for a home business
5) Password Directory

Mail Comes in from the Mail Box or School Papers

You can see my post on “mail” here.


1) One Central Location For Mail

Have just one central location that the mail is to be places when it comes into your house. Make sure each family member that might bring mail into the house has 1 place to put it. That way it isn’t left on the kitchen counter one day, dining room table another, couch – underneath the newspaper another day.. you get the point.

2) Sort It

Separate out your spouse’s mail  or if you have another person in the household that routinely gets mail and have a specific spot that you place that when you sort it from the main “mail hot spot”
mail sorting

A) Bills To Be Paid


B) To Do

This will go into your Daily Files  or “command file center”. School conferences, appointments, things you have to follow up on.

To Do File

C) To File

Papers that you need to keep. There are no “pending actions” to be taken on these papers.

D) Junk Mail – To be Shredded

You can see my post on shredders here.


If you have a specific plan for your paper trail, it will make it run much more smoothly. If you don’t have a plan, things will get lost, be late, appointments missed and life will be a bit more chaotic.

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Track your Paper Trail!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

You can find the linky by clicking on the button above or going to my Organizing Mission Link Party. Feel free to keep linking up your different office projects that you accomplish during this Office Mission. I am ok with also linking up organizing projects that aren’t office related. This link will be up until Feb. 24 so you will have time to add your office projects in.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

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New Year’s Goals

Do You Make Goals for the New Year?
New Years

Resolutions or Goals?
Which term do you use? Why? Does it matter to you? I know many people hate the word resolutions. But why? Because they never keep them?

New Years Goals

I personally use the word goals? I’m not sure why. I don’t have a problem with the word resolution. But I do think it is a good time to make goals for the year.
It is the beginning of something new
It is fresh
You can forget about what you didn’t accomplish last year (if that is the case) and focus ahead.

I think it is a great time to make new goals.

Here are my suggestions:

Get a piece of paper (or computer as I am going to do) and write out the things that bother you. What you would like to change.
It might be weight, exercise, organizing, cleaning, finances etc…
Then write a list of realistic goals.
Now.. write what you plan to do to accomplish each of those goals.

Now take that list and keep it with you (and make a copy to save). Work on those goals.

At the end of next year it is good to get the list from the year before out and see what goals you have or have not accomplished.

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Get Organized for Black Friday Shopping

November 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Sales, Shopping, Stores, Time Managment

The Sales Are Coming.. Are You Ready?

How many of you like to do the “combat” shopping ..as my husband calls it?

Black Friday

I do!!  I have gone Black Friday shopping most years and think of it as fun.  I go alone… I have my list….and my plan in place.

To be successful I think you have to do your homework.

1) Have your list made out of what you want to buy
*No impulse buying when everyone is grabbing a deal

2) Have your BF ads together. (or use your smart phone to access your saved online BF store ads)
*The crowds can over whelm you, mix you up and make you forget things… have them marked and ready to go.

3) Know your plan of attack.
*Which store will you go to first?
*What time does each store open?
*Which stores match prices of items at your other store?

4) Grab your mug of coffee (and I suggest adding a packet of Cold Stone Creamery Cocoa to it..oh yum) or Hot Cocoa and get ready to either head out really early….or stay up really late from the night before.

One of the things I have done the last couple of years (last year I did online BF shopping only...but other than that) was to go to Walmart on the Wednesday before BF.  I knew what I was planning to buy and found out where it was in that store.  Then I would use the other store ads to get that item at the lowest price and purchase it at Walmart.

One year I went to an all night Walmart an hour before their BF sale started. All their specials were in the middle rows covered with black plastic. But most of the items I wanted were not at their sale. I went around filling my cart with items that other stores had on sale (and I had their ad with me) and got all the door buster prices!  I have to admit that the woman at the register wasn’t too happy with me. She called over a manager, but the manager ok’d everything. I had exact items, I was there during the right times and none of my ads listed % off…they were all actual pricing.

Here are my other Black Friday posts from the last 2 years

Black Friday Shopping…Organized 2008
Organize and Prepare for Black Friday Shopping 2009
Black Friday Shopping (online) 2009

You have to watch ads now though, some say no price matching during Door Buster pricing.  I haven’t looked this year.  But I will be checking things out online this year.

Here are a couple Brands and products that you should keep your eye out for.  I’m thinking you should watch your Walmart BF ad to see if they are going to be in there and if so… I recommend these Brands.

Seagate Go Flex Hard Drive
Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker
Elmers Products

Disclosure: The Brands that I mentioned are all clients of Collective Bias.  I was not asked to mention any of these Brands in my post and I do not know for sure if any of them will be in the BF ads – but I do like their products and will be watching out for them myself on Friday.  I just wanted to let you in on that. I am also the community leader for the Cold Stone Creamery Hot Cocoa group in CB.  That one is just a no brainer for me to mention, because I’ve been drinking it myself everyday.. duh!

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Organizing for Thanksgiving

Are You Prepared?

thanksgiving binHow do you prepare and organize for Thanksgiving?

Of course there are different preparations for the different scenarios.  Is Thanksgiving at your house?  Are you driving near by to someone else’s home?  Are you traveling?

Here are a few of my tips if Thanksgiving is going to be at your house:

Thanksgiving Preparation:

1) Have your menu prepared this week.  (hopefully it is already done)
2) Write out your shopping list and look for coupons
3)  Make a time line for when you are preparing your meal.  Thaw the frozen bird (what day?).  Making some things a couple days in advance and freezing or making fresh that morning.

Organized Thanksgiving Bin

Some of my favorite tips for making things easier (if not this year…than next) is to have a bin like I have in the picture for your Thanksgiving supplies to be stored in.  You know where to find that Kosher salt that you may only use once a year for the brine mixture for the turkey, etc.

1) I make copies of  my Thanksgiving recipes that I know we will have every year and store them in the bin.
2) I keep my electric knife in our bin since we don’t usually use it other than Thanksgiving.
3) Thanksgiving decorations, special bowls and my turkey serving platter are in the bin.

It just makes things so easy.  I bring the bin up a couple weeks before Thanksgiving to get my recipes out and decorate.  What are some things you would put in your bin?

If there are a few little tricks that we can use to decrease stress for holidays like Thanksgiving… then its worth it isn’t it?  I’m all about making things easier instead of harder.  Here is my post from last year for Organizing for Thanksgiving.

How could this make your Thanksgiving a little more organized in the prep stage?

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Organizing: Stay in your Target Zone!

October 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Time Managment

What does it mean to Stay in your Target Zone?

When you are organizing a room, a space or even a junk drawer – your “Target Zone” is that area you are organizing.

Everytime you walk out of that space – you are taking a chance of not walking back into it! Why?  Sometimes because being in that space you are organizing is very overwhelming. If you walk away from it, then you are taking the chance that you will talk yourself into not going back in!

But what will more than likely happen is that you will walk into another room and see things in that room that need to be taken care of.  Usually when you have psyched yourself into finally tackling your clutter problem…then you are gun ho to get moving…and you will look at everything in your home with a different eye.  Believe me…. it happens!

The other big reason is because you lose valuable time running each and every item to the room it goes to.  Instead of taking 2-4 minutes to run each item down to the basement or out to the garage – just set that item into the pile where it belongs.  It might be in the black trash bag, or the white donate bag.  Maybe it is an item that you are going to store, or it may be an item that just needs to be moved to another room.  But by putting it in the pile, you will save that time. Then at the end you use a 1/2 hour and take it all and put it where it goes.  This is a good time to utilize your family to help you get all the things where they should go.

I have another post about Staying in Your Target
You will be amazed at how this simple step can help to keep your focused on the project at hand.

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Organizing: How to Get Started

October 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Time Managment

Getting Started can be the Hard part of Organizing!

But this is actually the 3rd step in my process to Organize a space. The first step is to Visualize and Plan out your space. Then your next step is to know how to sort and make your sorting cards.
Now you are ready to actually walk into that room and tackle the clutter. This is the scary step. I know… you look at that pile of stuff and think…”There is No Way!!”. But guess what? “Way!”. You can do it!
Just little by little. If you try to jump in and don’t have a plan or know what you are going to do with things… .then you might have more of a problem.  Don’t forget that when you start working on one room… you can cause a bit of a “domino effect” and have some mess build up in another room that you are moving things too.  Don’t let that stop you. It is just a part of the process and once you have one room under way or finished… you will get inspired to keep going. It will just feel so good to have your space back again.
Hopefully my video will give you a little guideline to go on too. But if you have the Sorting process down, then the rest of it is just going through each item. Just pick up that first item…and start.

Here is another post I did awhile ago on Getting Started to Organize . You might see some things there that I didn’t mention in the video that might help you.

Please let me know if you have questions.  I will do my best to help you answer them… just leave them in the comments, or you can contact me via contact form to ask me.

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