Tip Tuesday: Give me an O!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Do you have an organizing cheerleader? You need one. You can hire a professional. Search here for a Professional Organizer. Or you can use a friend. I think a sister (or sister-in-law) is usually perfect for the job.

The fact is, you are not objective about your own junk. No one else who lives with your junk is objective about it either. You need someone who can see that shoe box of cards you got at your wedding 15 years ago for what it really is.

If you're tackling an organizing project, call in a cheerleader. She (or he) can keep you on track and help you be brutal - two things you may not be so good at alone.

Tip Tuesday: Now You See Me...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You've decided to become more organized and you're trying to decide where to begin. Don't tackle the closet first. Walk in your front door and find the first disorganized spot your eyes land on. That is where you should begin!

Choose a spot that is visible. Take 15 minutes to organize it. Take 30 (or 623) minutes if you need it but make that spot look fantastic. Then you'll have that feeling of success every time you walk in your front door. It will be a great motivator and everyone in the house will have a physical reminder of your goal to get organized. Your friend's overflowing, exuberant compliments will be a great motivator too!

About me

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's no secret I built a business thinking of creative tools to help moms motivate their children.

I thought maybe you'd be interested in MY motivation. No? Okay. You can stop reading then. If you're still with me... every one of the ideas that turned into products came about because I desperately, desperately needed them.

I have one son but I like to think of him as 5-in-1. My sweet one is a handful. He recently received a couple of mental health diagnoses that validated that "handful" statement. I understand from his behavior specialist that many parents are upset to receive the news we did about some of the difficulties our son faces. Me? I was just so relieved to understand it wasn't ALL due to poor parenting. I was completely prepared to take all of the blame. Turns out it's a genetic thing. Not an environmental thing.

Still, there is plenty we can do in his environment to lessen the "handful" tendencies and fallout. I have to admit to a small amount of pride when the therapist suggested that we should use "some kind of chart with stickers" to help our son. I almost burst out laughing. A chart you say? And could you recommend one? No? Could I recommend one then? Haha!

The point is, my extremely difficult child has forced me to be extremely creative in coming up with solutions to minimize some of, well, the extremes.

While I wouldn't wish any of my extremes on any mom, I suspect if I peeled back your roof and took a peek inside on a random Wednesday night, I might find you struggling with some of the same things I deal with. Please, please tell me it's so! I can't be alone in this right?

And so, Organize It Mom! was born.

I'm just a woman with a dream of slightly less nagging, slightly more cooperation, slightly more responsible children, slightly less chaos in every household in America (Canada too). That's not too much to want is it? If my products do that even a little then I can put on my superhero cape and sleep with the delusion I have changed the world for the better.

What are some of the extremes you deal with? You never know, I might turn a solution into a product for you! Let me have 'em!

Tip Tuesday: Old Clothes

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another tip from the brilliant Rebecca:

Have you ever wondered what to do with clothes that are in too poor of condition to give to good will but make you feel guilty for throwing away? With a husband who likes to work on cars, a child who loves to make messes, and a house that always needs cleaning – I am always using rags.

I take the clothes that are no longer good enough to wear and rip them into various-sized strips and rags. The best materiasl to use are strips that feel soft and gentle so they don’t scratch (knit, fleece, jersey, etc.). I throw all my rags in a plastic bag that came with a set of flannel sheets and toss it on a garage shelf. Use them to wipe up spills, finish craft projects, or during home repairs. They work great, and the best thing is that you can either toss them in the wash to be reused or you can feel better about throwing them in the trash.

Motivate for Sanity's Sake! (part 1 of so, so many)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I have been thinking a lot about motivation. How do you motivate someone else to do something you want them to do?

So often, when it comes to motivating children, I feel mothers have a choice between two bad options: bribery and threats. Really, think about it. What is your go-to when you need your child to clean their room? Something like this: "If you clean your room first, you can go play with friends." OR "If you don't clean your room, you can't play with friends."? Insert any task and any reward, the formula tends to be the same.

But I don't like it! Neither approach really teaches what I want my son to know about the intrinsic reward of doing and finishing for the sake of doing and finishing.

To further complicate matters, something that works for one child will not work for another. Something that works for a child will not work for a husband. Something that works at home never works on employees at work or students in school. Boy oh boy!

Speaking of students in school - I am one and I recently took a class about organizational behavior where one of the topics was motivation and the professor shared this quote:

"Spending time and energy trying to 'motivate' people is a waste of effort. The real question is not, 'How do we motivate our people?' If you have the right people, they will be self-motivated. The key is to not de-motivate them." Jim Collins. Good to Great. p. 89

AHA! Now you know! Your kids are just the wrong people! Kidding.

In class, we talked about diagnosing motivation problems and a motivational theory. The theory (Vroom's Expectancy Theory - in case you were wondering) says people go through the following process of questions before they do something and problems happen when someone answers no to one of the questions:

Do I think I can do it? Do I think I'll be rewarded? Do I value the reward?

Now that's a theory we moms can sink our teeth into right? Problem: Susie won't clean her room. Does Susie really have the skills to clean her room? Does she know what a clean room means? Is she old enough to do the cleaning without help? Has she gotten negative feedback when she hasn't cleaned her room "correctly" in the past? Susie must feel capable of the task.

What about the reward? Face it. We all need one. Maybe you've gotten to the point where finishing is it's own reward. But it's still a reward. Think of Susie and her room again. What is her reward? And does she value the reward?

Think about your children. You know what rewards work. You do! You may not like them but you know what they are. One child might go to the moon and back for a tootsie roll. My son will do almost anything for 15 minutes of Poptropica (a computer game).

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll write more about motivation and rewards. For now, just think about those questions. If your child doesn't think he has the skills to do what you've asked, how can you fix that? If there is no reward, rethink that. If there is a reward but it means nothing to your child, rethink that.

What works for you? What doesn't? When do you have the hardest time motivating your children and what tasks are the most difficult?

More to come!

Tip Tuesday: Socks

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another idea from the amazing Rebecca:

After only 6 months, my pile of mismatched socks looks like this:

I hate matching up socks...especially all the little boy ones that are so small and easy to lose. I have very little storage space and don’t have room for multiple laundry baskets/bags for easy sorting so I bought a linen bag at Walmart for $0.97.

Each night when my son’s socks come off, they go right into the linen bag, which is kept on top of his laundry basket of dirty clothes. Then when I do the laundry, I zip up the linen bag and toss it into the wash with the rest of my laundry. Easy in, easy out.

Although the tricky part is getting kiddos to put their socks in the linen bag, it certainly saves time and is worth the laundry lessons!

Tip Tuesday: Kid Supplies

My friend Rebecca is amazing. Seriously. Amazing. Maybe you have a friend Rebecca and maybe she's amazing so you know what I am talking about. She told me this tip and I'm passing it on for you - so maybe we can all be a little more amazing.

"Last summer I decided at the last minute to stop at the park for my little boy to play. Forty minutes later I had a soaking wet, dirty, thirsty and slightly pink child. I was so unprepared!

"I went straight home and came up with an easy solution. I took a cardboard diaper box (the one thing I seem to have a lot of), turned it inside out, taped it together, filled it with items I would need throughout the summer and put it in the trunk of my car. I felt better prepared, it cost me $0, and it seriously took me five minutes.

"Now as the seasons change, I restock my box for items I might suddenly wish I had. Items in my summer box included, swim diapers, towel, wet wipes, hat, jacket, change of clothes, toys, sunscreen, bug spray, small first aid kit, bottled water, fruit cups & spoon, granola bars, antibacterial soap, disposable camera, and a magazine."

See? Amazing right? If you don't have a friend like mine, (who you can shamelessly borrow from during park escapades) make your own box. Make it work for you. Use a bigger box for more than one child or use a crate or recyclable grocery bag if you'd prefer.

Go on. Do it now! And don't get distracted thinking you have to clean out the trunk of your car first. Just push that stuff out of the way. We'll conquer that another day.