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Keep Your Cool during the Summer Sizzle
Are your kids talking about the summer yet? Are they getting excited? Chances are they don’t know how much more work it is for parents during the summer than it is during the rest of the year. To keep the kids busy with little effort, consider putting advance planning in place so that the rest of the summer can be more spontaneously enjoyed. Here are some ideas you can use to improve the summer months:
Create an activity list or an “I’m Bored Jar”
Get a large jar for the whole family to add ideas when one strikes. Have all family members write their ideas on notes and put them in the jar. Need some inspiration for summer activities? Organize a picnic dinner, swimming at a local pool, or camping in the backyard. If your kids are acting like wild animals, you might even plan a visit to the zoo.
Install a wall calendar and put the activity ideas on it.
Use some sticky notes and a marker and start by indicating the important dates, such as the first day of school or camp, or time that will be spent away on a vacation. Colour code the sticky notes by category which could make the board look more kid-friendly. Potential categories can include theme days, playdates, planned outings, and activities done at home.
Stick to a normal routine as much as possible.
To make life easier for yourself, make sure you write out sticky notes for your own well-being and apply them to the wall calendar. Write down your date nights, dinner menu plans and babysitter arrangements.
Pre-sort supplies for Grab and Go Bags
Pre-pack backpacks before an activity day. This will help you avoid the hour of preparation time before being able to leave the house. Some ideas for Grab and Go Bags are:
- Theme park bags
- Walking/hiking bags
- Playdate bags, picnic bags
- Library bags
- Pool days
If you’re going to the pool, have water excursion supplies pre-packed in a tote bag. Pack swimsuits and towels, as well as sun safety essentials including sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to bring a plastic bag for wet bathing suits!
- Road trip essentials
Be sure to pack items that will keep you and your family comfortable and entertained while away from home. Include essentials such as diapers, water bottles, snacks, and sunscreen. To avoid the inevitable cries of “Are we there yet?” don’t forget books, colouring books or clipboards with blank paper, and zippered pouches of crayons for each child along with the electronic device preloaded with learning games and movies.
There is nothing wrong with kids getting bored from time to time, as some ingenious and unique activities can result from that. Keep art supplies within reach in the craft cabinet, a few outdoor toys in the backyard, and fruit and sugar-free drinks in the fridge.
I love sharing guest posts from the Professional Organizers of Canada! Great content from my colleagues across the country. Here’s an article full of timely tips on organizing your garage.
‘Trouble finding the gardening tools?
The snow is gone, the air is mild, the buds are starting to appear – all signs of spring being here! Aren’t you excited? Or maybe you will have a tough time getting into your garage to find your gardening tools and patio furniture?
During the cold Canadian winters, who wants to work in an unheated garage? As a result, the garage becomes a dumping zone which has to be dealt with in the warmer months.
Think twice about what’s being stored there
A garage may not be an ideal location for certain types of storage. They often have solid concrete floors and despite the age of the garage, concrete can absorb and hold moisture and create a damp environment. Moisture eventually finds its way into your possessions and can create mould and rust.
When storing, items should be containerized so there’s no chance of anything falling on to you, your possessions or your car. (if a car is indeed occupying the garage). It is also important to protect your belongings from pests and moisture as these can be severely damaging. Be mindful of important keepsakes or antiques and wrap them securely.
Store them within easy reach and systematically according to seasons for easy and safe retrieval. Get as much as possible off the floor. Utilize the wall hanging panels and hooks. (pictured below)
Be realistic about the time involved to get it organized
Depending on the volume of clutter, you may need more than one day to get organized. Many garages require a minimum of 6 hours and can sometimes exceed 24 hours depending on the size of the garage and the sheer volume of items. Remember, it’s not just tidying up; it’s creating a system of organization so that you will never have to do it again.
Don’t forget to label the bins and locations.
Once everything is up and out of your way, leave your garage in a clean, tidy and labelled manner. Consider labelling the locations of things as well, so that all family members know where to put things back.
Once you’ve invested in a system of organization for your garage, it’ll be easy to maintain for the seasons that follow.
Preserving, organizing, and storing your paper family photos in order to enjoy them for a long time is time-consuming but highly valued work.
Gone are the days when your family might have captured a few dozen pictures a year. Nowadays, there may be huge containers and bins of photos hiding in your basement and attic begging to be organized and cherished. It makes a great project for those snowy or rainy days. Enjoy that time as you take a walk down memory lane.
To get started, separate the various mediums: slides, home movies, photo albums and loose pictures. Keep in mind you are trying to get all those boxes reduced to one perfectly edited album that will look elegant on a coffee table, or a few well-organized photo boxes in which you can find things with ease.
Decide whether to sort the photos by chronological order or by theme.
- If chronological, arrange the photos in a logical timeline; it makes identifying the people in your photos and selecting the best examples much easier.
- If thematic, sort them according to categories such as trips, birthdays, life passage events, happenings, etc.Scrapbooks can be made that tell the story of a person’s life.
Get some help from family members to identify those mystery individuals in old snapshots.
Eliminate poor quality shots, duplicates, and any pictures where you don’t know any of the people. Also toss most of the scenery shots. Be ruthless! If it doesn’t immediately bring back a memory, let it go.
Use archival pencils or pens to write the date and the subject on the back of photos with a light hand. Be careful as you want to preserve the data for generations to come, not damage the image.
Once photos are reduced in number, you can determine how you prefer to access them:
- Photo albums
- Photo boxes
- Web-based photo books such as Shutterfly, Picaboo, Canada Photobooks or directly through Apple’s iPhoto App.
For safekeeping of your photos, find a photo scanning company to digitize them. They can be stored in the cloud, or put onto a device for you to keep.
Take the time to respectfully and carefully preserve your family’s photos and memorabilia. Memories can be the most valuable things in a person’s life. Make your photo keepsakes a treasure for the future!
Lisa McDonald, Nova Scotia Member
Next, tomorrow, later, now? When is the best time to get started? http://ow.ly/i/mwgU6
Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. ~Frost http://ow.ly/i/mwhU9
People complain about a lack of time. – Zig Ziglar http://ow.ly/i/mwhtv
When selling your home, keep it bright. Dimly lit rooms tend to look smaller and dingy. Turn on many, if not all lights, even when you are showing your home during day hours.
Create lighting that sets a warm inviting mood. This occurs with multiple lights and not just overhead lights. If there is a small or darker room in your home, put a floor lamp in the room to bounce light off the ceiling and use table lamps to make the remaining space light up.
If the walls seem dreary, repaint them in a nice neutral shade to catch the light. By creating a lighter feeling in the room, it will appear more relaxed which will allow buyers to visualize themselves in the space. Make it more welcoming with drapes and blinds open to let in natural light. Wash the windows in each room on the inside and outside. Hire a professional window washer if necessary.
By lightening up your home it will help to sell it faster, for more money and that will brighten any seller’s day.