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Are you “dog ear-ing” your copy of Total Memory Makeover so that you can easily find those tips and exercises that help you improve your memory and make your life more manageable?
If so you’ll be happy to know that in 2013 you can have some of this information at hand in the form of daily reminders. Summer isn’t usually the time that we start to think about purchasing a new calendar. For most people that time is mid January when it’s almost impossible to find the one you want and we find ourselves settling for anything that’s going to give us the day and date…even if it features cartoons or hobbies in which we have absolutely NO interest.
But since it’s almost June we’re already HALFWAY TO 2013 !!! It’s not too soon to pre-order your Total Memory Makeover Calendar. During the end of year rush you’ll be ahead of the game AND you’ll have something that’s not only going to organize your days but help you organize your life as well. It’s like spending a year with Marilu as your personal life coach, giving you tips and hints each and every day!
We talk a lot about setting up your environment. This is a good week to think about a few tasks that sometimes fall by the wayside. Here are some ideas that work well at this time of year:
- Update your address book. You might want to pick up a new address book for the new year. A helpful tip is to use a sharp pencil rather than a pen. When people change their address you can update it without making a mess of your book. (Be sure to go through your holiday cards and add addresses to the book before you dispose of them.)
- A closet adjustment. You may not have time for a full blown closet makeover but this is a good time to lay out all the winter sweaters. Some will need a trip to the dry cleaner and others might need to be donated. If you haven’t worn something in the past year be sure to wear it one day this week. If it feels like a “find” then add it back to the rotation. If it makes you remember why you stopped wearing it then donate it where it will be appreciated.
- Recycle holiday cards. Go through the cards and decide which ones you will keep. (Handwritten notes from good friends, elderly relatives etc.) A pair of blunt scissors and a housebound child can turn the rest into next year’s gift tags.
- Next year’s to-do list. Was there something that came up over the holidays that caught you off guard? Teacher’s gifts? Drop in guests? Take out your 2012 calendar and make some notes in the margins. Next year you’ll feel proud of yourself when you aren’t scrambling to find a gift for the groomer at the last minute and you have a freezer ready with hors doeuvres for a last minute get together.
- Make a nasty weather check list. For those who live in more extreme climates prepare your home and cars BEFORE a storm is predicted. A shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight and a warm blanket should all be in your car. At home be sure you have a shovel for your walkway and driveway along with salt and sand or kitty litter. Be prepared with gas for your snowblower and flashlights or rechargeable lanterns for your home. Once a storm is predicted the stores will have a run on most of those items.
- Blues chaser. If the winter months get you down plan something now that you know you’ll enjoy. Having something to look forward to will keep your mind busy and your spirits up, especially if it involves activity on your part. Planning a trip or a get together will keep you occupied and make the winter pass more quickly. Treating yourself to a concert or show will give you a bright spot to break up the long wait for spring. And trying a new winter sport might give you a new appreciation for the season
With the fast pace of the holiday season you’re probably wanting organization and order more than ever. Those of you taking our current Hot for the Holidays class are following Coach Jan’s tips and getting out from under the messiness. This article contains an inspiring picture tutorial with common problems and solutions to help you keep moving in the right direction.
Marilu shares a story about her brother joking with her that she had children in order to have another closet to organize !
When you make the connection between having order and being better able to move towards your goals, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Be sure to read the labels of the products you clean with (not just the food you eat).
Of course you want the most natural cleaners you can find – especially for places you clean frequently, like the kitchen and bathroom. Look for brands approved by Green Seal or EcoLogo, two organizations that identify products that have met environmental label guidelines.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! You don’t have to be Irish to GO GREEN today.
Evaluate your recycling habits. Can you do more? Check with your recycling provider to find out if you’re taking advantage of all the programs (for example, hazardous materials collections, electronics collections, etc.).
Add a green vegetable (not salad) to every lunch and dinner. Tired of broccoli and green beans? Look at all the produce you’ve been ignoring, and try something new.
Check your lawn care products – are they horrible chemicals? There are other options – look for environmentally friendly (earth-, air-, and water-friendly, not to mention people- and pet-friendly) lawn care.
Reduce your junk mail. Seriously. You get enough in your spam folder; you don’t need it in your actual mailbox, too.
Drink a green smoothie at least once a week. Just add a couple of handfuls of spinach to your favorite smoothie. (If the color bothers you, put it in an opaque or colored glass or mug.)
Reduce your energy consumption. Energy costs are skyrocketing between the civil unrest in the Middle East and the issues with nuclear power in Japan. How can you cut back? Where can you walk, or carpool, instead of drive? What can you turn off?
Make your salads from a variety of greens – get more adventurous than romaine and spinach. Try arugula, mesclun, baby herb mix, butter lettuce, red or green leaf lettuce… there are lots of choices.
Don’t use the dry cycle on your dishwasher. After it’s done washing, open the door and let everything air-dry. If you start it before bed, set it to “air dry” – everything is dry in the morning.
Plan – or plant – your garden. Depending on your growing zone, it may be planting season already. Even in an apartment, you can grow herbs in pots. If you have a balcony or deck, you can grow tomatoes and strawberries. If you have a yard, you can grow just about anything.
It’s one of Marilu’s favorite tips, and it’s something she learned from her mother (who had a husband, six kids, and two home-based businesses).
If, every time you leave a room, you do a quick scan and pick up one thing that belongs where you’re going, picking up the house becomes less of a problem. If everyone in your house does it, just think of how much easier it will be to clean the house, and how much more free time you’ll all have.
We’ve seen a spin-off of this with piles of stuff to go up or down the stairs. Don’t leave the pile, though! Take it up (or down) on the next trip. (Yes, we’ve seen those stair baskets – the last thing anyone needs is permanent clutter on the stairs. Skip the basket!)
The fragrances of the holidays are our favorites – cinnamon, evergreens, vanilla, bayberry.
Avoid all the fragrance sprays and plug in things. They add more chemicals to the air than scent. Not good. Instead try one of the suggestions below – or share your own ideas.
Use reed diffusers to add a light scent to your home. You can change the oil for different seasons. When you want a punch of scent, turn the reeds upside down in the bottle.
Candles are decorative as well as just smelling good. We like soy candles with plain wicks because they don’t add extra toxins to the air. Be sure to keep candles on a non-flammable surface. Stay in the same room as burning candles, and extinguish them before you go to bed or leave the house.
Potpourri is also decorative – many of the seasonal blends have pinecones and berries and evergreen branches in them. Don’t use potpourri if you have young children or pets who might want to eat it. Find one of those crystal bowls you got for a wedding gift, or inherited from a relative, and use it for potpourri.
What else do you use to scent your home for the holidays?
If you’re entertaining this week or weekend, don’t waste another minute of preparation time. Knowing what you have to do and doing a little bit each day will make the whole weekend more relaxing for everyone.
If you’re having overnight guests (or the kids are coming ‘home’), then clean the bedrooms and bathrooms they’ll be using. Change the bed linens if necessary. Put a couple of extra blankets on the bed, along with a set of clean towels for each guest. Put a basket of sample-sized bath gel, shampoo, moisturizer, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. in the bathroom, in case anyone has forgotten anything. Make sure you have laundry detergent, too – in case anyone needs to do laundry while they’re home.
Get your dining table ready. Put in the extra leaves if you’ll need them. Collect the chairs from around the house (or the closet, or wherever you keep the extra chairs!) – they may need to be dusted or wiped clean. Put the table linens on the table, and get the candles or centerpiece together. Use cloth napkins and labeled napkin rings (or assigned seats) if your guests will be present for several meals.
Make your menu plans now. Stock up on pantry items at the grocery store early in the week, and go back later for produce (after you’ve cleaned out the fridge).
Twice a day, spend 15 minutes decluttering a room (two rooms a day). In a few days, you’ll be able to dust and vacuum with ease and efficiency.