With only a few days to go…there’s still time to get you ‘Christmas’ act together without all the stress.
Accept that you can’t do it all. Give yourself permission to let some traditions go.
Be present and make memories. In other words, stop, look and listen. Stop what you’re doing and enjoy the moment.
Buy, don’t bake. Instead give the business to a local bake shop.
Call or send e-cards. It’s okay not send out traditional cards.
Wrap as you buy. Don’t leave it to the 24th and stay up all night wrapping.
Keep a list of last minute errands. Delegate as much as possible.
Opt finger food or potluck dinners. Forgo the formal sit-down and go casual.
Shop ASAP. Stock up now on groceries and beverages that will carry you through the New Year.
Still have gifts to buy? Opt for experiences and perishables, gift cards (creatively wrapped), re-gift, swap IOUs etc.
Trim to-do list. Ask yourself, “If I don’t do this, what will happen?” Pare down chores to only the necessary ones.
Christmas isn’t a one day event, it’s a whole holiday full of sharing, caring and giving. With lots of time left between now and the New Year why not give some thought to extending the spirit of the season well into 2017?
Following are some of my favourite ways to make the holidays extra special for others.
Contact People Who Have Made A Difference In Your Life
We all have someone in our lives who has made a lasting impression on us. Touch base with people who have had a positive influence on your life. Thank them for what they have given you and/or explain why they are special to you. Surprise them with a handwritten note, an email, visit or a phone, Skype or FaceTime call.
Extend A Kindness
Give up your seat on the bus to someone with lots of packages in tow or your place in a long checkout line to someone who looks more worn out than you are. Or, offer to switch seats on a plane or train if it means a family can sit together.
Why is it that we often recognize people on the street as being a neighbour or we see the same faces everywhere we go but yet we haven’t taken the time to know their names? It may seem odd but it’s never too late to introduce yourself to the people you see on a regular basis, like the clerk at the grocery store or the fellow passengers on the bus during your daily commute to work.
Be Generous With Compliments
There’s nothing better than making someone’s day by giving them a compliment. Consider passing out compliments to people who would least expect it, like the school crossing guard or your mail carrier.
Be Courteous To Others
Help a neighbour carry in packages from their vehicle. Or, offer to take someone’s carpool shift.
Send A Kid A Letter
Write a letter to a child who is in need of some extra special attention and mail it. What kid’s face doesn’t light up when they find something with their name on it in the mailbox?
Show A Shut-In You Care
Invite a homebound person to go on a driving tour through town to see the Christmas lights. Or, pass along a good Christmas novel or magazine after you’re finished with it.
Put Loose Change To Good Use
Leave a grocery cart rental unchained so the next shopper doesn’t have to search for a quarter or buy coffee for the person behind you in the drive thru lane.
Forgive A Debt
If you have the financial means to do it – forgive a debt. And, never bring it up again.
Say I’m Sorry
Mend a broken relationship with a friend or relative.
Offer to run errands for an elderly friend or relative. Or, help a mother carry her baby stroller up a set of stairs. Just holding a door open for someone can make a world of difference.
Be Generous With Tips
Tip someone who doesn't expect it. Or, be extra generous to your server when dining out.
Make A Toast
Toast your friends when they’re in your home. Tell them how much it means to have them there.
Give A Secret Gift
Secretly shovel the snow off your neighbour's front walk or driveway.
Pass Along A Good Word
If someone in your office really helps you by going above and beyond, take the time to jot a note to their boss explaining what a great a job he or she is doing.
Remember The Bereaved
If you have friends who have lost family members since last Christmas make an effort to call and cheer them during the holidays.
Christmas – it’s everywhere. No matter where you turn – TV, radio or in the stores, someone is trying to sell you something. Spending within your means is one thing but if you’re spending more than you’d like, the overindulgence can wreck havoc on your personal economy. It is never too late to look at your spending habits and challenge yourself to cut back.
Following are some good ways to keep your spending from careening out of control:
Use reward points towards gifts. Most point programs like Air Miles will allow you to convert miles (points) into wonderful gifts like magazine subscriptions, dining certificates, or electronics.
Know your weaknesses. It’s an advertiser’s job to appeal to your emotions at every turn. Be prepared for this and maintain your willpower.
Think personal over lavish. Think of some of the most memorable gifts you’ve received, chances are they didn’t cost a lot but where thoughtfully selected or handcrafted. Keep this in mind when selecting gifts.
Give an ‘I owe you’. This idea is perfect for those with older children. Instead of paying full price for clothing and accessories in the days prior to Christmas give them a homemade gift certificate for a Boxing Day clothes shopping spree. That way, you spend 50 to 75 percent less than what you would have spent prior to Christmas.
Stock up on basics. Use the holidays as an opportunity to stock up on year round items like craft supplies, educational books etc. Some families wrap up these types of gifts and then store them away until required. Chances are you would be purchasing these items anyway so why not give them as gifts?
Give a gift of yours. If you have something a friend or relative admires, consider giving it to them as a gift. Where appropriate attach a note.
Create a little mending magic. What a great gift it would be for your husband to finally mend that extra pair of casual pants or replace the buttons on his favorite overcoat.
Wrap up new-to-you toys. Dig through your basement or attic to find outgrown toys. Give them a new life with a little TLC and they may make a wonderful gift for a young niece or nephew. Consider the child’s age and how much she may enjoy receiving a gift of her cousin’s dollhouse with all its furniture. Many kids think it’s a big deal to get a ‘hand-me-down’ from an older child they look up to.
Create a personalized photo album. And, while you’re in the basement, do you have any loose photos that could be put in a scrapbook for a loved one? Be creative and come up with a gift that will be long remembered.
Give the gift of time. You can also do away with traditional gift giving completely by gifting your time instead. This Christmas, consider spending 'time' not 'money'. Parents with young children would probably really appreciate the gift of babysitting. Elderly friends and relatives almost always enjoy a visit over a gift that comes in a box.
With a little creativity, I'm sure you can come up with many more cost effective ways to enjoy the season with loved ones without becoming a financial casualty.
While I love Christmas – I find the commercialism of the holiday season a tad overwhelming. With all the hoopla we tend to overlook the real meaning of the holiday. We often get caught up in all the hype and spend, spend, spend – whether we can afford it or not.
With tomorrow being Black Friday and with Christmas just a month away, there’s no better time than now to start saving and planning for the financial hit that traditionally occurs this time of year.
We’ve entering the time of the year when we typically spend the most money. Between gifts for loved ones, travel to see family and the cost of attending seasonal events, the holiday season can get rather expensive and spending within our means can be a real challenge.
Planning ahead not only puts you in control of your spending but it also gives you peace of mind. If you do need to travel during the holidays, make your plans now. Comparison shop online and use travel coupon codes to get the best deal you can on airfare.
Having a budget and/or a good money saving plan can make all the difference. Budget first – plan and write your shopping list second.
Always spend relative to your financial position. In other words, spend only what you can afford after you consider your current income, expenditures, and financial obligations e.g. your mortgage payments and any balances you carry on your credit cards.
A budget is a great money management tool.
When making a Christmas budget, it’s important to take all related expenses into consideration e.g. gifts, holiday food, seasonal decorations, social costs, charitable giving etc. Spend some time thinking about where your money goes between now and January 1st. One of the best ways to come up with your total figure is to write all your expenses down and give yourself a good visual picture of what you’re actually dealing with.
Compare your estimated total against your ideal budget. Chances are good, your two figures won’t even be close and you’ll have to make some adjustments if you want to spend within your means.
Look at all the areas where you can reduce your spending between now and Christmas. For example, say yes to only the most important events and borrow or wear what you already have instead of buying something new just for a single event. And, if you can’t give your regular charitable donations in cash this year – volunteer your time instead.
To Use or Not To Use Your Credit Card
It’s really quite simple - unless you pay off your credit card balances every month you should seriously limit your credit card use during the holiday season. By limiting credit loans for holiday spending you avoid inflating your debt in the New Year.
If you do decide to use a credit loan for some or all of your holiday purchases, it’s wise to verify the credit limit on any cards you plan on using before you hit the mall to do a major shop.
There’s no time like the present to start saving. How much did you spend on Christmas last year? If you spent $1,000 in 2015 and plan to spend a similar amount this year then you’ll have to save $125 per week for the next eight weeks in order to pay off your credit card balance in January (assuming of course, you don’t have an outstanding balance).
What are your personal shopping habits like? Starting today seriously look at any negative spending habits you have. The bottom line is if you can’t afford to pay off your credit card in November, then you can’t afford to add a lot more to it. ‘Christmas’ is not a valid excuse for increasing your debt load.
If you really want to stick to your budget and avoid impulse spending, pay with cash. Typically we tend to spend more when using credit cards instead of cash or debit.
This Christmas, make a written commitment with yourself to stay within your budget. Doing so will help you resist last minute impulse buys as we head deeper into the holiday season.
By shopping within your means, you won’t have to face the burden of excessive January bills. This year give yourself permission to have a Christmas you can actually afford. You’ll thank yourself come January.
Life can sure be busy. The start of the school year in particular can be extra chaotic. To help you better manage the speed of life so you don't become too overwhelmed here are seven steps you can take to keep on top of all that life throws at you.
1. Start in the worst place first
The best place to begin is in a spot that your changes will be the most noticeable. Starting in a room (or corner of a room) with a lot of clutter is the best way to make the biggest dent and inspire you to keep decluttering. Seeing quick results is one of the best motivators for propelling yourself forward.
2. Categorize your clutter
The key to keeping your clutter at bay is to deal with it before gets the best of you.
Categorize your clutter into four categories - toss, recycle, donate, and keep.
Get rid of anything you've never used or are unlikey to use. That said, if it could be useful to you in a another way, re-purpose it. For example, a tower bookcase no longer needed in your home office could be used as a storage unit (placed on it's side) on the floor of a child's closet. Just purchase some colorful cube bins with handles.
The key here is to only keep things you need, use regularly and brings joy to your life.
3. Implement a 'one in, two out' rule
In order to stay on top of your clutter you have to stop bringing items in without removing some. In other words, stop buying stuff you don't need. For every new item you bring into your home, get rid of at least two things no longer necessary in your life. It takes discipline, but you can do it :)!
4. Give everything a home.
Having a place for everything is the first step to getting in the habit of putting things away on a daily basis. It is amazing how much more ordered your home will be when you have a 'home' for everything and regularly take the time to put things away.
Encourage children to put away their toys, books and clothes by turning cleaning up into a game e.g. race against the song or the clock (put on some fast-paced music or set a timer).
5. Form daily maintenance habits
The best way to stay on top of both your home and your schedule is to mark events and appointments on your calendar right away and commit to doing a few small tasks every day to keep your home both clean and organized.
One good idea just to set aside 5 to 15 minutes at the end of each day to take care of any last minute tasks and to plan for the day ahead.
6. Create routines that work
Wish your day-to-day home life ran smoother? It CAN. The key is to implement regular routines like making it a rule that all school and work lunches are made before bed or that the youngest kids shower before bed on school nights.
7. Streamline your schedule and eliminate unnecessary activities
Where possible, try to consolidate tasks and errands during the same timeframe or split tasks with your significant other so you can both be more efficient.
Furthermore, give some thought to eliminating activities from you personal, couple and family schedules that aren't enhancing your life. Life is too short to be doing things you don't really enjoy.
7 Tips for Saving Money on Back to School Shopping
Back to school shopping doesn't have to cost a fortune. Here are 7 smart ways of keeping the pocketbook in check in the days leading up to the return to the classroom.
1. Quality vs. price
While it’s true quality items usually last longer, they aren’t always worth the price. For instance, a washable three season jacket that can be worn throughout the school year is a better value than a winter jacket that needs to be dry cleaned. When weighing quality and price, it’s often best to consider the size (how long it will fit) as well as the number of seasons it can be worn or in the case of a backpack or school supplies, how long it will last before it needs replacing.
2. Can it be returned?
There’s nothing worse than bringing a purchase home and finding out it has a flaw or doesn’t fit and then being unable to return it. To be on the safe side, check out the store’s return policy before you make your purchase. Do you get your money back or can the item only be exchanged?
3. Not all purchases need to be new
For many families, especially those with several kids, back to school shopping could break the bank. After all, new clothing once washed is just the same as something purchased secondhand. Visit consignment, secondhand, and thrift shops early in the summer for the best selection of back to school clothing and accessories. Consider selling or donating clothing your children have outgrown.
4. Don’t drive around
You’re wasting time and gas by shopping all over. Pick two or three places to do your back to school shopping. Office supply and department stores typically have the best deals on back to school supplies.
5. Stock up
If you find some basic school supplies like notebook and computer paper, glue sticks, report folders etc. on sale that you know your child will go through quickly, stock up! This way, you won’t have to pay top dollar during a ‘crisis’ later in the school year.
6. Buy in bulk
If you see bulk savings on office supplies consider splitting the supplies and cost with a fellow parent who won’t mind saving a few dollars.
7. School uniforms
Before buying new school uniforms query parents of older students to see if they have any gently worn clothing that has been outgrown. You may also want to place an online or newspaper classified ad looking to purchase school clothing of a particular size or call your child’s school to see if there’s a used uniform sale in the works.
How to Outfit Your Child with the Right School Backpack
Before you head to the local mall or nearest department store to outfit your child with a new backpack, here’s some important information to keep in mind.
Research shows that there are an increasing number of reports of back pain in children. There’s also some evidence to support the fact this may be due, in part, to overloaded and improperly carried backpacks.
Studies aside you don’t need to be a scientist to see the negative effects of an ill-fitted backpack on a child’s growing body. A trip to any schoolyard before or after school will sufficiently demonstrate the damaging effects of a heavy or unsupported backpack. It’s easy to pick out the children with appropriate sized and weighted backpacks vs. those with overly heavy ones – their walk is different.
And wearing both straps does make a difference. The saying, “As the twig is bent, so goes the tree,” comes to mind. Just think of the damage a school year could do on a growing spinal column if an overloaded backpack is carried on one shoulder.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 4,928 emergency room visits each year result from injuries related to book bags and back carriers. An improperly carried backpack can cause back pain, muscle strain, nerve impingement as well as long term damage.
But what’s a parent to do? You understand the importance of not putting undue stress on your child’s developing body but you also don’t want your child to be the only one in her class who doesn’t have a backpack.
It comes down to two things, one, knowing how to outfit your child with the right backpack for her age, weight, and size; and two, educating your child on how to properly carry one.
Look for a backpack that’s sturdy and size appropriate. For young children, you may want to consider one of the new lighter weight backpacks some manufacturers have designed for school aged children up to ten years of age. These backpacks not only weigh less than a pound but also feature shorter back lengths and widths which offer better positioning on your child’s back.
Whatever you child’s age, it’s important that her backpack is appropriate for her size. A good fitting backpack ends just a few inches above the waist.
To further help with weight distribution, select a backpack with soft padded shoulders, waist straps and lots of pockets. Aside from comfort, padded shoulder straps reduce pressure on the nerves around the armpits. Waist straps help stabilize the load.
Also teach your child how to make the most of all those pockets by distributing her contents throughout the various compartments. If you don’t balance the weight of the contents in your child’s backpack, her body will shift into unnatural postures to compensate.
It’s recommended that the weight of your child’s backpack not exceed 10 to 15% of her body weight. For example, a child weighing 70 lbs. should never carry anymore than 10.5 lbs. of weight on her back. And, if your child’s backpack forces her to bend forward - it’s too heavy.
Keep the weight of your child’s backpack under control by helping her sort through her backpack before heading off to school each day. Leave out anything that isn’t necessary. Place heaviest items in first. The closer heavy items are to your child’s back - the less strain they’ll put on her growing body.
Show your child how to properly carry her backpack. Insist the waist strap be fastened and both shoulder straps are used to balance out the weight. Shoulder straps should be snug but not too tight. Carrying a backpack over one shoulder may look cool but there’s nothing cool about chronic shoulder and back pain.
And don’t ignore the importance of teaching your child how to lift and position her backpack. It may sound extreme but improperly lifting a heavy backpack day after day can cause permanent damage. Show your child how to bend at the knees and lift with her legs, not her back.
The bottom line is we need to teach our children at a young age how to select a backpack, pack it, and wear it. And, just because a backpack looks cool, doesn’t mean it is.
Stuff, we are surrounded by it in our daily lives but sometimes it gets the better of us. It is far too easy to accumulate stuff than to get rid of it. We all have excuses for why we hold onto the things we do.
Today, I want explore the top five excuses, I hear as a professional organizer. Do you have the same excuses? If so, you may want to read my response (written in italic) to each excuse and heed the advice that follows.
1. I might need it one day
Decide when someday is.
Ask yourself, “Realistically, when will I need this?”
If you can’t come up with a definite answer then assign an arbitrary date up to six months in the future. Put the item in a box, write the date on the outside of the box, and move on. If the “someday” (the date on the box) comes and goes and you haven’t needed the item, you are now free to send it off to a better place. Maybe you will but chances are good you won’t, especially if you haven’t used it in the past year.
What’s the worst thing that could happen if you did let it go?
You have to weigh the cost of the prime real estate that that bread maker, or deep fryer, or crafting gadget is taking up and make a decision.
One way to keep the clutter down is by borrowing items that you don’t use very often. You don’t have to own everything – things like camping gear, party items, and tools, can be shared and borrowed.
2. It was a gift and I don’t want to hurt their feelings. Or, it has too many memories.
Take the fact that the item was a gift out of the equation.
Often our homes are overflowing with stuff simply because we’ve kept everything that was every given to us. It’s okay to let it go.
When you come across a gift, ask yourself “Do I need, use or love the item?” If the answer is no, you aren’t obligated to keep the item. It’s ok to make a decision, do what’s right for you, and free up some valuable living space in your home.
A gift doesn’t come with strings attached. I know this one can be hard to swallow… but it’s true.
The same holds true for items that have been passed down to you. There are creative ways you can honor the memory of the gift, without actually holding onto the actual item.
For example, if you love scrapbooking you could take a photo of the gift and create a mini scrapbook entitled “gifts of love” or “memories”. Record in the scrapbook who gave you the gift and what the occasion was. Then jot a note about why that person is special to you. Or, make notes of remembrance about special items. What you want to keep alive is the memory, not necessarily, the item itself.
This will allow you to focus on the person who gave you the gift, and their meaning to you, instead of feeling tied to the gift itself.
Or in the case of cherished memories, taking a photo and jotting down a related note will help you retain the positive feelings without having to continue to cope with the weight of the physical clutter.
3. It was free!
Just because something is free doesn’t mean you have to take it.
Was it really? Are your cupboards overflowing with free coffee mugs and you can’t find the one you really like to use?
You may want to consider taking the item and then donating it to someone who could actually use it. If it’s causing stress and taking up valuable space, it wasn’t free.
4. I paid good money for this.
Accept that the money is spent.
No amount of hanging-onto an item can bring your money back. Whether you keep it or not, the money is gone. Forever.
Cut your losses and move on. If you look at something and feel guilty about what you paid for it, yet you’re not using it, the guilt won’t entice you to use the item. You’ll continue to not use the item and continue to feel guilty about it. Why let those negative feelings linger? Let them go.
5. It might be worth something and/or I could make good money for this.
Find a good home for your previously-enjoyed items.
You will rarely get back what you paid for something and this can be hard to swallow.
The “garage sale syndrome” sets in when you have decided to let go of some things and yet they continue to linger in your presence, waiting for the big garage sale.
It’s true, garage sales can be a way to turn some of your no longer needed items into cash. But not without a cost. If letting go of things is difficult for you, a garage sale simply extends the process.
Ideally you can find a charity you’ll feel good about donating your items to. Schedule a pick-up for the day after your letting-go session. Or check out www.freecycle.org. In no time, you’ll have treasure hunters lining up to relieve you of your things!
Or, if you really want to get some money back on your items, set a garage sale date within a week or two, gather your big ticket items and implement a two week ‘sale’ plan.
Week one, gather all your big ticket items, photograph them and list the items on Kijji or a local buy and sell site for one week and what doesn’t sell in that time, put in your garage sale the next week.
Whatever is left after your garage sale – donate ASAP. Ideally, put it in your vehicle immediately after the sale and drop it off to a local charity like St. Vincent de Paul, the same day.
The key is to be realistic about how much you can get. If the idea of organizing your items for sale sounds too overwhelming, make a donation to a local thrift shop.
How Planning Ahead Can Make a BIG Difference to How Much You Spend
Aside from the expense, the annual ‘back to school’ shopping ritual can cause considerable friction between parent and child.
From one parent to other, here are a few things I’ve learned about the process of locating the necessary school supplies and the perfect back to school outfit.
First off, don’t wait until those last few days of summer (when the back to school panic is in full swing and the malls are jammed packed with other like-minded parents and kids) before you start shopping for school related gear.
Second, if your children are young, do the bulk of their shopping for them. Just bring them along to try on shoes and pick out a knapsack and lunch bag.
Inventory school supplies
Before doing any back to school shopping, have your child go through his existing school supplies. Keep what is useful and get rid of things like dried out markers, glue sticks and bottles of liquid paper.
Evaluate the school supplies your child already has. Why purchase something he doesn’t need? If he doesn’t want to use the same backpack or pencil case two years in a row and money is tight, encourage (consensual) swapping with a sibling or creatively decorating it.
The process of taking stock of what your child already has helps him see what needs to be purchased and what doesn’t. It’s also a good time to discuss the difference between needs and wants.
Color code supplies
Keep things simple by having a different colored knapsack and lunch bag for each child. You could also take the color coding idea one step further and use it as a way of keeping your children’s class materials separate.
Each child could also have his own color of binder and pencil case. Individual class assignments could be color coded with stick-on labels or multiple colors could be used for each child to help them remember which class papers/assignments are what e.g. geography - blue, science - green etc.
BACK TO SCHOOL CLOTHING
Evaluate what fits and what doesn’t
Take everything out of your child’s closet and drawers. Bag up the clothing that isn’t worn for whatever reason and take it to a local consignment shop, give them away to friends (and/or family members), or donate to charity thrift shop. The key here is to get the unwanted clothing out of the room so you can focus on what’s left.
Make a list of likes and dislikes
Chances are good the process of taking inventory of your child’s clothing has resulted in the discovery of some items that aren’t being worn. Now is the time to open up a dialogue re: the type of clothes and colors preferred.
This step is crucial.
There is no sense buying t-shirts in six different colors if your child won’t wear them.
Ask your children the following questions and take notes.
What type of clothes does your child like?
What color(s) of clothing does she prefer?
Does she favor fleece and comfortable athletic wear or jeans and T-shirts?
Does she like zippers and buttons or pullover sweatshirts - with or without hoods?
Are blouses and skirts in or out in her mind? If skirts are in, what is the preferred length?
How about dresses? It may be cute in the store display and hanging in her closet but if she won’t wear it, why buy it?
Analyze what your child has
How many different outfits can you make?
What type of garments are you missing?
Make notes and create a list of required garments and accessories.
Invest in basics
Purchase quality apparel in favorite colors that is classically styled and coordinates with multiple wardrobe items. Pair up classic basics with the odd trendy piece of clothing for a signature look.
Socks and underwear
Now is also a good time to check your child’s supply of socks and underwear. If it’s in need of replacing, keep an eye out for upcoming sales. Department stores usually offer great ‘back to school’ deals on multi-packs.
Make lists of ‘must haves’ and ‘would likes’
Follow up your list of ‘must haves’ with a list of ‘would likes’ should your budget permit.
Shop with a plan
Grab the list of ‘must haves’. Bag up any clothing items in need of coordination e.g. a favored skirt that doesn’t have a top to match. Put the list and the ‘coordination’ bag (along with notes about your child’s likes and dislikes) in your car for the next time you’re out shopping. To eliminate having to take things back, bring picky children along.
Set a spending limit
This is especially important for older children who favor designer labels. To keep a handle on spending and to avoid arguments later, decide on a spending limit upfront.
You may wish to allot separate amounts for footwear, clothing, stationary supplies, a backpack and a lunch bag instead of giving your child one large amount to budget for everything.
Or do what I've done with my oldest child, and set one large dollar amount for all back to school purchases. By doing it this way, your child takes ownership in the process and gains valuable spending and budgeting experience.
Encourage your child to keep track of how much is being spent by saving receipts and keeping an ongoing list of what has been purchased and for how much.
You many also wish to hold a little money back until after school starts and your child sees what other kids are wearing. While I don’t believe that children need to dress exactly like their peers, I do feel it’s important for kids to feel like they fit in.
‘C’ is for compromise
Often children feel undue pressure to wear what their peers are wearing or have what other children have. If this is the case, a little compromise may be in order. The occasional compromise can be just what your child needs to feel more accepted. The key to compromise for both parents and kids is balance.
That said, you may want to remind your child we are not what we own, wear, or drive. She is a truly remarkable and worthy individual simply for who she is. Unfortunately advertisements tend to leave young people feeling that if they don’t have this or that they aren’t valuable, which simply isn’t true. The challenge is to convince our children of this.
If your child routinely wants more than you can afford or feel you want to spend, consider giving her an allowance or encourage her to get a job to earn some ‘back to school’ spending money. It has been my experience that children with their own money learn to make more careful spending decisions.
Conquering clutter is the first step to getting your life better organized.
Almost everything we hold on to - even down to our junk mail and extra pens - symbolizes what's happening in our lives on an emotional and psychological level.
Since we are constantly evolving, it makes sense that some of our possessions are no longer relevant.
Think about the items you loved years ago that no longer speak to who you are. Maybe you have tons of expensive dishes because you used to love to host big dinner parties—but these days you appreciate a quiet evening with just you and the dog. You don't need those dozen place settings anymore, and that's as it should be. Just because something made you happy in the past doesn't mean that you have to keep it forever.
Decluttering is the act of removing the things that impede our ability to use our living space(s) as they were meant to be used.
Clutter can be made up of items you no longer need or want and/or things that don’t belong in a particular space, area or room.
It's important to remove clutter from your home so you can find what you need when you need it and fully enjoy your space. Not to mention, give your mind and eyes a much-needed rest from unsightly piles of stuff.
Where do I start?
Start with at the easiest place possible and build up little victories and momentum over time.
Clear the clutter from your car, a nightstand drawer, your bathroom vanity, a kitchen cupboard etc. You’ll soon start experiencing the benefits of living with less… and then you’ll know what to do when you finally arrive at the seemingly impossible areas in your home.
For many, the sum of everything that needs decluttering is so overwhelming they don’t even want to try. The key is not to allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Sure you what to be able to see the big picture but you can’t focus on just the whole.
Instead you need a plan of attack that actually works.
Have you ever trained for a marathon? If so, you’d be familiar with the training model of…
Day 1: Run 1 mile.
Day 2: Rest.
Day 3: Run 1.5 miles.
Day 4: Rest.
You can also find great motivation to declutter and get organized by following a similar plan.
You see, it’s all about taking that first step, following through with a second and rewarding yourself along the way. Stay focused on the step at hand and let the other steps take care of themselves when you get there.