In the recent edition of my email newsletter, The Neat Sheet, I presented some tips for grocery shopping. I got some great responses from readers about that article.
Here’s one idea that I just had to share: this mom gets her boys to do some of the shopping! Her boys are in elementary and middle school so they are able to read a list and find the items. She sends them to get an item that’s an aisle or two ahead of where she is.
The mom noted that “it keeps them busy, gives them a sense of ownership (we are shopping because they get hungry too), and keeps them from arguing too much.”
I love this idea because it builds the boys’ independence and responsibility, and anything that can reducing the arguing is a good thing!
Thanks for the great tips. Feel free to email email@example.com your great ideas!
Here in the Boston area we are still digging out from last weekend’s blizzard that dumped 2 to 3 feet of snow. With two snow days off from school, we ended up with a long weekend. In between shoveling and sledding we watched a lot of movies!
Watching movies is the inspiration for my Favorite Container for February: clear media storage boxes.
This great storage box comes from The Container Store. It’s clear, sturdy and stackable. It’s easy to look right through the top and find just the right movie. It also slides out of the cabinet, so I’m not shifting through lots of loose DVD boxes looking for what I want.
At first I was skeptical that I needed a box made for media, but it is the perfect size – with no wasted space. Once I had one box it worked so well, I had to get some more. We’ve now used these boxes to organize all our DVDs and games in our family TV room.
Your Turn: Can you find movies when you need them? If not, it may be time to get them organized. With all the on-demand options for watching movies now, be sure you are only keeping movies that you really watch and enjoy! And finally, don’t even think about keeping VCR tapes unless you still have a working VCR.
When sorting papers or dealing with mail, my clients often put aside requests from non-profit organizations, arts groups, and schools to make an “end of the year gift.” The folder or pile grows and grows.
Well, the end of the year is around the corner! Now is the time to pull out that folder or get to that pile of requests, and make your decisions.
Here’s what to do:
- Find your folder or stack of donation requests.
- Grab your checkbook, or your laptop if you pay online.
- Sort requests by organization/group, and throw out multiple requests from the same place.
- If you write checks, keep a list with the organization’s name and the amount you gave this year. Use this list to be sure you get all the acknowledgement letters.
- If you pay online, you should receive an email confirmation. Set up a file in your email program and file all the confirmation emails here.
With a few simple steps you’ll make your donations and be ready for tax time.
When my family set out on our drive to see relatives for Thanksgiving, we actually left on time! Exactly on time, not 10 or 30 or 60 minutes late, which is usually what happens. We sailed along traffic-free and had a great drive to grandma’s house.
What happened so that we got out of the door at the appointed hour?
- Got out our bags a few days before the trip.
- Made a list of random things we had to bring – a wedding gift, a stack of books to return to my mom.
- Packed as much as possible the night before; generally I say I will do this but don’t really pack everything – this time I did it!
- Used bags to organize: I created a “car” bag for all the random last minute things that need to go in – GPS, camera, snacks, baseball hat.
- Set up the cereal, bowls and glasses on the counter the night before; this made breakfast easier in the morning.
- Let everyone in the family know my expectations: when we planned to leave, that we’ll need your help packing the car, etc.
What are your secrets for starting a car trip on time?
Last week I heard a great idea from a client. Once each month, on a weekend, her family has a scheduled Chore Day. On Chore Day the whole family is involved, working from a list of chores, including putting things away in the storage areas, cleaning out cabinets, and general tidying up. The client reported that “having a scheduled chore day each month means I don’t feel guilty the other three weekends about having lots of fun.” Brilliant! In my house I may schedule some time for myself to work on the basement or the attic, but it’s more haphazard…and it’s not usually a family event unless I rope my husband into it at the last minute or get my daughter to clean out her art supplies. And in between all my daughter’s weekend activities we do have a lot of fun…but the mess in the basement is still there. But now I’m very inspired by the idea of Chore Day, and will try it with my family: maybe just half a Saturday each month to get us going on that nagging list of To Do’s. Would a set Chore Day work for you?