Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Calendar - Your BFF for the Holidays

I have talked before about the importance of defining your vision for the holidays and then making plans to fit that vision.

How much is too much? What is really important to you?
After developing your vision, and then brainstorming all you need to do to make your vision come true, actually placing those tasks on your calendar, makes it real.

I use a paper monthly calendar to get the whole picture. I  color code the tasks. I use the categories of  major events (black), traditional holiday rituals and chores (green) , baking or other food preparations (red), and the giving of a party(blue).
Remember that all of these tasks are on top of what you normally do. It can get pretty scary seeing so many of the blocks on the calendar get filled in.

Major events will include all parties, plays, church events, plays, concerts, etc. that you wish to attend.

Holiday rituals and chores will include time for sending out cards, buying gifts and wrapping them, mailing gifts,decorating your home, and hauling out the holiday CDs.

Food preparation will include finding recipes for, buying ingredients for, and actually preparing all special holiday baked items, special meals as well as dishes you take to events.

Giving a party will include making your guest list, sending out invitations, planning the menu, shopping, decorating, and extra cleaning.

Is this what you want? If it is too much for you, what can you let go? Decide this up front and have a family consensus. This will keep you from impulsively agreeing to doing too much.

The lovely thing about having it all down on the calendar, is that you don't worry about when you can possibly get it all done - you have a plan for it.

Just be sure you allow some free time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and some extra "wiggle" time to allow for life's unexpected events.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Refrigerator Organization

Some people might feel that organizing a refrigerator smacks of OCD but in actuality this organizational task will save you time and money. You will know where everything is located. You will maximize your shelf space. It will keep meat juices from running into your saved salad and your cheese from drying into a hard and/or green block.

 An organizational plan:

1. Remove all items from the fridge and group like with like. Have all your cheeses together. Group meats, snacks, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

2. Purge any item that is past its expiration date, unidentifiable, fuzzy, or has been cross-contaminated ( see meat juices in salad above).

3. Wipe out the fridge. You don't want to put your good food back into a nasty fridge.

4. Utilize containers. Put snacks in see through containers. This allows you to find food when searching in the fridge and keeps items from being tipped over.

5. Put food in designated drawers, such as vegetables in the crisper and luncheon meat in the deli drawer. One exception to this is eggs. Keep them in their original container for a longer life.

6. Organize foods by how frequently you use them. Put healthy or quickly perishable snacks towards the front.

7. Put taller items in the back. This way a small item doesn't get hidden.

8.  Place condiments and salad dressing in the door. Do not place items like milk or tube foods in the door as they will spoil more quickly.

9. Monitor monthly for maintenance.

Stand back and enjoy the appearance of your freshly cleaned and organized refrigerator. Celebrate by having one of those fun snacks.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy Holidays! Ready or Not

The holiday marathon is right around the corner. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanuka, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve - all with ads that overlap, collide, and remind us of the myriad of details that we should be taking care of.
The holidays become a long list of "things to do now." We end up with overcommitment, over buying, overeating, and sleep deprivation.

What to do?

1. Take some time - right now - and decide how you want this season to look and feel. What has been bugging you the last few seasons? What do you want to change? What do you love about the season? Write a list. Then share it with family members and get their input.

2. Brainstorm a list of all that you feel must happen to make your vision come true. Christmas baking or ordering goodies? Decorating? Parties? Events?

3. Block out times on your calendar. Don't just put events on the calendar. Also schedule shopping times, baking times, time to put up the tree. If that calendar looks overwhelming after putting all the projects down, see if there are any you can delegate or eliminate.  Leave some days blank. Surprises happen and down time is good.

4. Designate zones in your house for holiday activities. Set up a gift storing/wrap area. Set up an area for working on cards. Designate a staging area for house decorations.

5. Come to my workshop on October 19 - Surviving the Holidaze Workshop at Alpharetta, GA. The Workshop is 10:00 - 11:00. It is full of great ideas, a chance to eat holiday cookies, and win door prizes. Call 404-299-5111 or email jonda@timespaceorg.com to register.

What ever you do, visualize this holiday season so that you experience the joy and not the stress.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Organizing Your Kitchen for the Holidays - Zone Plan

October is a great time to organize your kitchen. This prepares your kitchen for all the extra holiday cooking. It also gives you the opportunity to donate to the various food drives all the food that has built up over the past year through impulse buying or overbuying.

My kitchen strategy:
  1. 1. Look at your motivation. What are the organizational issues with this room? Do you feel your counter tops are too crowded? Do you have difficulty locating items? Make a list.
2. Create your vision. How do you want your kitchen to look and how do you want to feel when you are working there? Write out your vision. Your completion date for the kitchen zone is the end of the month.

3. Brainstorm. Now that you know what you want, jot down all that has to happen to make your vision come true. Some tasks might include:
  • Clearing out items you no longer want or use. If your counters are too cluttered, take everything off that you do not use at least weekly - maybe even daily. Look at the items you removed. Could you live without them? If so, donate them. Do you need them but just not often? Store them elsewhere. How many plastic containers or dishes do you really need? Donate extras and give yourself some much needed space.
  • Look for new storage ideas. I have used a small dish drainer to store lids and pie pans. Plastic bins or tubs hold like items together and make it easy to pull out the bin, select what you want, and put the bin back in its space. Consider hooks for holding items.
  • Organize items for more convenience. Store all materials for making coffee near the coffee pot. Place the coffeepot near the sink. Put the toaster nearby to make breakfast preparation easier. Put rarely used items on higher shelves. Find an attractive counter top container to hold frequently used cooking utensils and place it by the stove. Set up your kitchen into zones - food preparation zone, cooking zone, dishes zone, food storage zone, and food serving zone.
4. Write out your goals that you developed when working on your vision and brainstorming list.

5. Develop your timeline. Write out and put on your calendar when  you plan to do each task. Be reasonable and allow some time  for events that pop up. Do a little each day and schedule larger tasks like cleaning the refrigerator over the weekend.

6. Now just follow the timeline and by the end of the month you will love your new kitchen space. You are ready for the holidays!

For more details on following this plan, visit my website www.timespaceorg.com and purchase my book, From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer