Group Safety Tips for Crowds
Summer is upon us and it’s time to soak in the sun, see the sights and enjoy everything summer has to offer – like concerts, street fairs, festivals and more. However taking in the local culture can turn into a stressful time when corralling the family and traveling in a group. Whether it’s your two-year-old wandering off in a crowd, or your husband of 20 years, it’s important to have a plan in case you’re separated.
Organize Anything has put together six great tips to help you stay connected with your group as you enjoy summer activities.
1. Colour Coordinate. Taking the kids to the fair, or attending this summer’s “must-see” concert? Consider colour-coordinating your t-shirts, or dressing the little ones in bright colours so they’re easy to spot in a crowd. This tip is popular at large amusement parks like Disneyworld where you’ll often see whole families decked out in neon.
2. ICE it. Traveling with a group of friends to see a concert or enjoying a festival? Make sure everyone’s got everyone else’s cell phone numbers programmed into their phones. Label the numbers with “ICE” which stands for In Case of Emergencies. Taking smaller children out to enjoy performance? Safety pin your cell phone number, home phone number and address to the inside of a pocket or coat so they have it case of emergencies. Remember at large events you can’t always hear the phone ringing vibrate may help.
3. Plan ahead. In the event you do get separated from your group, you should have a plan in place of where you’ll meet them. Before leaving the house or when you have arrived at the venue, decide on a spot where everyone will meet at the end of the day if you get separated. Everyone knowing the plan will save you headaches and heartaches later.
4. Talk it out. When travelling with small children, be sure to tell them early and often how important it is to stick together. Cover the ground rules before leaving the house in the morning and then review them on the ride there and before you get out of the car. Make a game out of remembering the information.
5. Get Technical. For grownups, there are apps for your smart phone that let you share your location via GPS with friends. Perfect for that crowded concert, group members can go for snacks and bathroom breaks without losing you in the crowd. For younger children you can purchase small GPS trackers that tie onto shoe laces or backpacks. At the press of a button the tracker will start to chirp, alerting parents to their child’s location.
6. Light it Up. Heading out to watch the fireworks? Go to the Dollar Store and grab coordinated glow sticks or funky flashing lights to pass out to the family. Turn them on when the sun goes down so you can track the members of your party.
Armed with this handy information, you and your family and friends are ready to hit the streets and the beach this summer worry free. A little planning for safety can ensure lots of fun at any gathering this summer.
You can be outdoors but remain shaded at the same time!
The garage and storage areas are typically dumping grounds for the whole family. While it might seem like this no man’s land usually gets to a point of no return, there is hope for returning it to its original state of glory.
Here are some tips on how to transform your garage into an organized and – most importantly – functional space. Perhaps a space in which you could even fit your car? Imagine that…
Join Forces. Blast the music and ask your partner, kids or consider a work exchange with a neighbour or friend.
Collect Supplies. Gather trash bags, gloves, tape, containers, cleaners, paper towels, rags, labeller, vacuum, broom and dustpan. Lay them out and have them at the ready before you start, so that you don’t lose momentum.
Collate Items. Tackle one section at a time and organize like with like.
Purge. Decide and divide items into further categories: what needs to be kept, donated, sold, trashed, returned, repaired or recycled. If you need a dumpster, get one or share one with a neighbour.
Create Zones. Form general areas: sports, garden, tools, seasonal, travel, home, electronics, etc. Create a flow in your garage, keeping the most commonly used items easily accessible.
Make a Path. Always ensure there is a safe and clear path to get what you need. This rule applies to any organizing project. Consider marking out ‘clear’ zones with painter’s tape on the floor.
Get Vertical. Your walls are a great way to store your items so that they’re easy to see and take up less space. Use pegboards, good quality shelving and aim to keep things off the floor to make sweeping a breeze.
Look up. Use the ceiling to store ladders, skis or bikes.
Label Like Crazy. The secret to staying organized is to label—especially if you expect others to put things back.
Make It Easy. For those who seem to ignore labels, clear containers are your friend. They help folks find what they need quickly and put it away easily. Spend a little extra on quality, stackable containers. Add adequate lighting or sensor lighting.
Move It out. Complete the job and get rid of everything that needs to be removed.
Make a Profit. If you’ve got a lot of useable items left over, set up a yard sale so you can make some cash fromyour old goods! Consider Craigslist, Kijiji, eBay or Etsy to reap a little reward for your efforts from saleable items. Set a deadline for selling, after which you’ll donate any unsold items.
Avoid Hijacking. Set up an area for donations, so you can practice the one in, one out rule to prevent a garage hijack from occurring again. Post and communicate house rules to keep it organized.
Is your mudroom, hallway, foyer or entry way making you mad?
Do you constantly trip over everything on the floor?
Is there no space to put anything?
You may just spend minutes coming or going but this brief time can definitely set the tone for the start or end of your working day.
Nothing says welcome like entering into a space where you feel comfortable and can easily store your coat, shoes and outerwear items. Think about your home’s entry and incorporate these ideas to help keep it in top shape and keep you sane:
1. Give each family member a space: limit the amount each person can keep there (number of shoes, bags, etc.). Locker-like cubbies, milk crates or laundry baskets are great and can work well depending on the space. Allow only items that are used frequently and for that season in this area. Have adjustable shelves and hooks to grow with your child. Think about what is reachable for your child when deciding where to hang hooks and put baskets. Square cubbies are great for kids’ extra-curricular supplies and equipment; even shallow cubbies are helpful for stashing things away.
2. Have a place to sit to put on shoes. A bench with storage under the seat is a great multi-purpose item. A chest or toy box can make a great bench/storage option, too. Or tuck bins under a bench or chairs. This is a great place to keep sports equipment. Be diligent about keeping this seat clutter-free so you will always have a spot to quickly sit to lace up your shoes.
3.Provide enough hooks. Make sure that there is at least one hook per family member (an easy alternative to nagging kids to hang up coats). Strong hooks are also great to get book bags off the floor. Use big hooks for heavy coats and small ones for umbrellas and hats. Don’t forget the family dog! Have a hook for his leash. Hooks can also be placed on the back of doors. Hooks are a great way to tap into unused storage space- the walls and doors. Make sure the kids’ hooks are at their level and the adults can use the upper space.
4. Create a specific area for your pets. In one spot store leashes, waste bags, outside toys, treats, a cloth to wipe paws and winter paw protector or booties. Think about opting for bag holders that attach to the leash, collapsible water bowls and treat or ball bags that clip on your belt to save your pockets from an overflow of plastic bags and ‘cookie’ crumbs. Have reflective bands for you and your dog for nighttime outings—especially important in fall and winter as the days become shorter. You may also wish to consider a place to stash indoor toys on your way out.
5.Think up, way up. Build a custom cabinet up to the ceiling to maximize storage of out of season items higher up. If you are working with the closet you have, use labeled bins and boxes for seldom used or out of season items and store higher up. Consider adding an extra shelf above the existing ones. Could you double rod the closet – adults coats on the top – children’s below. If you do not have a front closet, you must be particularly selective about what you keep in your entrance. Think seasonal – what do I really need right now? Keep things for this time of year and store the rest elsewhere in your house.
6. Watch out for wet items. Allow each family member to have only one pair of shoes out at a time on a boot rack. Once a pair is dry it should be put away. Wet mittens and hats can be hung by clothes pins on a line that runs vertically or horizontally–thread line through pins’ spring, spacing them along the line, or use a pretty piece of 1 inch ribbon that they will easily clip to. Hang this mini clothesline close to a heat vent or heater. Again, once dry, these items should be stashed away.
7. Make a message centre. A bulletin board nearby, will help keep your family on schedule. Pin forms, invitations, practice schedules, and a calendar. This will help you remember to grab these items on the way out.
8. Check yourself out – add a mirror. Not only does it help make the space appear larger, it is convenient for you to give yourself a once-over before rushing out the door. It will help you catch turned up collars, food in teeth and hat-head. Get a mirror that has a small ledge for lipstick and a comb.
9. Give some careful thought to every item in the mudroom. Use waterproof paint and tile floors to deal with the moisture that will be coming in. Allow lots of natural light in and install ceiling light for nighttime entrances. If there is something there that doesn’t serve a purpose, remove it. Space is at a premium in the mudroom, so make sure you have a rationale for all your choices.
It may be a little space, but a little time and thought can rid you of the aggravation and madness of your mudroom.
It happens to the best of us, you open your closet and it’s bursting at the seams or you run out of storage space in your garage. Spring is here and now is the perfect time to purge the extra items you’ve acquired over years that no longer add meaning to your life. .
Organize Anything has seven fantastic ideas and tips to help you develop your perfect pitching skills.
1. Donate the duplicates. Have several sets of flatware or the same shirt in six colours? Pick the set you like the best and donate the rest to a charity or give to someone who’s starting out on their own for the first time. Multiples of the same article of clothing? Donate the ones you never wear.
2. Check the hangers. When you switch your closet over at the beginning of a new season, put all your clothes hangers facing the same way. After you wear something once, turn the hanger so it’s facing the other direction. When the season is over, purge any clothes on hangers that haven’t been turned because you haven’t worn them once.
3. Keep a donation bag handy. If you always have a donation bag on the go, it will be top of mind. Instead of throwing out clothing or household items that are in good repair, donate them instead. Remember, don’t donate anything you wouldn’t want to receive yourself.
4. End of season, end of use. Free up storage space in your shed or garage by purging the tools and toys you don’t use at the end of the season. Be it shovels, rakes, crazy carpets or beach toys, they take up valuable space in your home. Donate or put them curb side to reclaim your space.
5. Make it a party. Have friends with similar clutter problems? Band together and tackle your garage/basement/attic purges together. You help them with theirs, they help you with yours. Many hands make quick work, and turning a chore into a social activity is a great way to bond with friends and get work done quickly.
6. Be realistic. Purging your possessions can be an emotionally difficult process, especially if you have an connection to an item. It’s important to think critically about what you own and if you really need to hold on to it. Do you still have it because it’s something you use frequently or is it taking up space because of an emotional connection?
7. Sort it out. Set up four boxes labelled “Put Away,” “Give Away,” “Store,” and “Throw Away.” Take them room-to-room and go through everything in the room, sorting as you go. Items that end up in “Put Away” and “Store” can be put back in their proper places or remain in the clearly labelled box and be put in storage. The “Give Away” box goes to charity and the “Throw Away” box goes to the curb on the next trash collection day.
Purging your possessions to create more space in your home and more clarity in your life doesn’t have to happen in a weekend. Tackle one room at a time, working efficiently and critically. You’ll be surprised at how much stuff you’re holding onto that you don’t need.
Here’s a different sort of spring thaw and one you can do yourself. Get prepared to clean out your fridge and freezer. This process is a hot idea with refrigerator rules that will save you money and time.
1. Start now by making a commitment to buy fewer grocery items and eat as much as possible of what is already in your fridge and freezer. Schedule a date as the day you will clean your refrigerator and try not to purchase too much before then. Look at your calendar and find a day and time that you have nothing else planned, preferably the day before garbage pick-up day. Make sure you allow enough time on the day you have picked, to complete your project.
2. Be prepared. Have plenty of extra large, heavy-duty trash bags on hand and have your recycling and composting containers nearby.
3. Let things go. When you start to clean out the refrigerator you may be left with food that is too old to eat or that you haven’t chosen to eat. Maybe it’s just time to let it go. If your poultry is petrified, your sauces are science projects, or if you can’t remember when you bought it—toss it. Check the expiration dates. Pay attention to foods and condiments that weren’t eaten, and consider this when grocery shopping for these items in the future.
4. Take everything out for a good cleaning and use a cooler to store while you clean. It’s spring and you will need to get those coolers out anyway.
5. Get rid of the old ice in the ice trays and give the trays a good washing.
6. Put like things together. Create sections for different types of foods — beverages, veggies, fruit, cheese and deli meats, dairy, other meats.
7. Think proper storage. Meat and poultry should be stored in the center back where it stays the coolest. Condiments are fine in the door where temperature fluctuates. Vegetables are best in the crisper with higher levels of humidity. Use clear containers for leftovers, or repackaged items, and label with the date so you know what it is and when it was put there. Square containers are better than round, as they waste less space.
8. Know what you actually eat and when. We may not notice it but we often eat seasonally. So, just like switching over our closet, we need to change over our refrigerator contents as well. Our spring and summer eating styles tends to change to more fresh produce and barbecue items and there may also be some adjustments when the kids get out of school.
9. Take out the trash. Immediately put that trash bag outside for the collection.
This spring thaw will give you a clean refrigerator with foods that can be easily found, last longer through proper storage techniques, and create more room for easy access.
It can be daunting deciding if you need to bring in professional help – whether you need a life coach, a business coach or just some friendly help to get through a rough patch. Join us for a series of quick tips and advice from Colette on Why You Should Hire a Coach.
A great reason to hire a coach? Define your passions.
Take a Vacation in the Comfort of Your Own Home
A staycation is a holiday vacation where you don’t actually leave home. There are many reasons why you might want to have a staycation instead of a vacation. Small children, a lack of funds, and environmental concerns are all popular reasons
for enjoying the simplicity of a staycation.
1) Set a date and time. If you don’t book off your specific time for your staycation and put it on the calendar, you run the risk of just treating it like an extra long weekend. Get excited about your time off just like you’re going on an around the world adventure!
2) Tell your friends, family and work that you’re unavailable. You wouldn’t invite all of your friends along on your vacation, so why treat your staycation any differently? Let your friends know that you’re unavailable, take in the welcome mat and enjoy taking a break from your responsibilities and commitments. If you are really brave you can even disconnect from TV, phone, internet and social media. Enjoy some “non-stimulation” time and recharge naturally.
3) Make a plan. Just like a regular vacation, you should plan your staycation. Pretend you’ve never been to your home city before and explore it through the eyes of a tourist. Visit the local museums, plan a night out on the town, see a show, find a
new favourite pub or restaurant – your options are limitless! Ask yourself what is it that the tourists do?
4) Chronicle your staycation.
Take pictures just like you would on a regular vacation. You’ll get a kick out re-living your grand stay-at-home adventure in years to come. Get pictures with your pizza delivery guy, on your downtown adventure, standing in front of local tourist attractions – anything that you can tell a story about later.
5) Upgrade. Use the money you would have spent on a pricey vacation and spend it on something new for the house – indoors or out. It might be the big screen TV, new furniture or a deck. Now is the time to really get to enjoy that new purchase.
6) Relax. The point of most vacations is to actually relax and rejuvenate. Your staycation is no different. Have an at-home
spa day, read the book you’ve had on your nightstand for months or catch up on your favourite television shows you’ve been saving. Never underestimate the healing powers of doing absolutely nothing!
7) Reduce your carbon footprint. Not only does your let you save some money, it saves the environment! By choosing to stay home, you’re saving car and airplane fuel. You’re also reducing the amount of energy, water and resources that would be used to support your family at an all-inclusive resort.
So next time you’re thinking about taking a vacation, consider a staycation instead. You eliminate the travel stress and time, you cut the budget considerably and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home.
Sometimes the most stressful part of travelling is everything leading up to the trip – and let’s face it, it can take the fun out of the trip before it even starts. Use these tips to reduce the stress before you leave, while you are travelling and when you return!
1. Check the weather forecast at your destination – even if travelling to a warm country – for ideas on what to pack. Build your travel wardrobe around one basic color (black, navy or brown) to expand wardrobe options and limit luggage. If you plan on driving and it calls for snow, try to leave room in your schedule so that you can take off earlier to avoid the storm. If travelling through snow is necessary, pack an emergency kit, a shovel and some gravel in case you get stuck.
2. Use travel sized toiletry items to save space. Fill them only three-quarters full to save on extra weight charges if travelling by air. Place in zipper freezer bags to avoid leakage. If you have the time, purchase these items once you arrive at your destination. If your suitcase is full and you want to squeeze a few more items in, drop the bag on the floor a few times to make everything settle and create more space.
3. Use plastic dry cleaner bags or tissue around clothing to reduce wrinkles. Another method is to place two items of clothing together flat and fold them around each other. Try not to fold clothing any more than it needs to be to fit in the suitcase. Some may even iron everything before placing it in the suitcase. If it goes in crisp and clean, odds are more in its favour of coming out the same.
4. Pack snacks and bottled water for yourself and the kids. Fill a cooler if you’re on the road. This eliminates unnecessary stopping and can be much cheaper. Eating in the car can be hard for kids to manage, so use a shoe box as a tray to hold a sandwich, a drink or fries and keep from spilling.
5. Pack an extra bag for items you buy or receive on your trip. This especially applies during the holidays. If time permits, wait to wrap presents you will be giving until after you arrive at your destination. This saves on space and you don’t have to worry about damaging your pretty wrapping paper.
6. Take care of home before you leave. You will be returning at some point, so tidy your house before you leave. The thought of returning to a messy house can put a damper on your vacation. Try not to let too many people know you are going away and set several lamps on timers to switch on/off at various times so it appears as if you are home. Have a neighbour pick up your mail – or stop service – and take out the garbage bin on garbage day.
You can’t do everything, so if everything is not perfect before you leave, try not to let it bother you. Once you have left your house there is nothing you can do about it, so wait and take care of it when you get back – you might as well enjoy your trip!
If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to others who would find it useful and sign up for our Organize Anything newsletter on our homepage at http://www.organizeanything.com
© 2010 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.
To maximize productivity for the following day, it is important to start off on the right track. Preparing yourself for your day’s events begins with a good night’s sleep. If you are tired of tossing and turning, follow these 8 tips to enjoy an uninterrupted night of shut eye.
1) Organizing yourself the night before can help to alleviate stress allowing you to benefit from a more restful sleep. Gather all materials that you will need for the next day. Prepare your lunch and breakfast to save time in your morning routine, finish your assignments the night before and have your bag packed and ready to go. When you are prepared, your mind can rest and stop racing about what needs to get done in the morning. Creating a routine of things you do before bed, as well as, what time you go to sleep and wake up at will help your body gear towards a healthy sleeping pattern.
2) Wash your bedding and sleepwear regularly. Use all natural products when doing your laundry. A good mattress and pillow can help with back and neck problems and other health issues. Poor sleeping patterns can have a negative effect on the immune system, therefore increasing injuries and illness. Just as you must change your running sneakers to guarantee proper support, you must change your mattress every eight to 10 years. Spend a little extra to buy a top quality mattress. After all, over a third of your time is spent in bed, so it should be comfortable and inviting.
3) Try not to exercise right before you go to bed. Instead, wake up half an hour earlier and begin your exercise routine as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Exercise no later than early afternoon to give your body time to cool down fully. Another reason to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day is because people who exercise have an easier time falling asleep than non-exercisers do.
4) It is important to try to cut back on all caffeine products, but especially be mindful of your consumption before bedtime. Keep track of how much chocolate, tea, carbonated beverages, alcohol and coffee you drink. Instead, have a glass of water or juice. These healthier alternatives will not speed up your heart rate and keep you awake as caffeine products can. Avoid spicy foods and try not to eat at least three hours before you hit the sheets. If you are hungry, have a glass of milk. The serotonin will calm brain chemicals. The higher the level of serotonin, the more relaxed you will be and able to fall asleep easier.
5) Give yourself enough time to get a pleasant and relaxing sleep. Your body and brain need to replenish. We often underestimate how much sleep our bodies really need. We think we can function on as little sleep as possible, but our bodies need an average of eight hours per night. Doctors recommend falling asleep before 11pm. Go to bed earlier than you normally would. This can also help you to avoid constantly checking the clock and worrying about getting up. Also, keep the same sleep routine even on the weekends. Have a 20 minute nap later in the day if you are tired. Don’t overexert yourself and think you can catch up on your sleep on Sunday morning.
6) It takes some time to gear down from a mentally and physically exhausting day. Try to watch something light hearted on television before you go to bed, listen to soft music or read a calming book. Save repetitive and soothing chores for the end of the day, such as ironing or folding laundry. Pay bills and do heavy cleaning at least 2 hours before bed. Our minds continue to think about whatever we were doing before we fell asleep, so it is a good idea to create a restful mood for your mind and body. Turn off phones to avoid late-night disturbances and stop using your computer several hours before bedtime. Keep a notebook by your bed and record worries and task for the next day. This will help you clear your mind. After 20 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep, get up and go into another room. The change of scenery will help you to get in the mood for sleep when you return to your bed.
7) Create a conducive and healthy sleep environment. Too much light may be keeping you awake. Dim the lights an hour before bedtime to prepare your mind. Turn your alarm clock away from you it has a backlight or digital display. Make sure your blinds block enough sunlight or wear an eye mask and earplugs. Providing full darkness for your eyes will aid you in falling asleep faster. Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature. You need lots of clean air space and a toxin-free room. Remove any candles or scented products that may be interfering with your sleep, and throw away piles of papers or old magazines in your room. Declutter any extra dust collectors that promote unhealthy air quality. Wash bedding and drapes in hot water to kill dust mites. Remember to replace your pillow every two years or at least wash it hot water periodically. Dust covers can be purchase to trap dust mites away in your mattress. To completely seal it off use duct tape over the zipper closure. Have you carpets cleaned periodically.
8) Try deep breathing while counting sheep. Try counting your breaths. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose.
The effects of sleep deprivation on our everyday performance can keep us from living up to our potential. Even a modest half hour lost per night can affect the way the body functions during the day. By following these suggestions, you will see an improvement in your sleep patterns and wake up feeling refreshed.