Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The X and Y Book Review

I just finished reading a wonderful book by Elizabeth Pace entitled The X and Y of Buy.

How refreshing to read a book that's not afraid to state the obvious - that there ARE major differences in the male and female brain - instead of constantly trying to blur the lines. Males and females have very different decision-making processes and unique ways of responding and communicating, and fully understanding these differences is crucial to your advertising and sales success. Each chapter was filled with very practical tips and strategies to immediately put into place. I'm not even involved in the sales/marketing field, but still found this book thoroughly fascinating and plan on putting some of the principles I've learned into practice with the relationships that I have. A great read for anyone wanting to educate themselves on how to be a better communicator, and a great tool for success if you’re involved in sales, marketing, or advertising in any way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Clean Car? Yes!

I confess, I'm not that great about keeping my vehicle in a tidy state. Anyone that has ridden with me is now nodding their heads, LOL.

I think I've come up with a very simple solution to keeping our cars clean. Everyone has to fill up at least once a week. There are handy garbage receptacles at all gas stations, along with paper towels. Whenever I stop to fill up, I now use that time to clean out my vehicle of any accumulated trash while the gas is pumping. Throw a bottle of all-purpose cleaner into your trunk and spritz one of those paper towels (not sure I'd want to use that nasty window cleaner they have there for use...) and give your dashboard a quick wipe.

By the time you're finished tidying up, your gas should be done pumping, and away you go. Filled gas tank AND a clean car!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Kiddie Zones

Don't forget your kids when it comes to zone cleaning. This concept can easily be adapted to their bedrooms (gasp!). Sure, they "clean" them everyday (or we *think* they are up there cleaning...let's not go there...), but do they REALLY get them clean?

Divide up each bedroom into "zones" and get those kids involved! My son's bedroom is divided into four separate zones - closet (!!), bureau (another !!), under the bed (this can be downright scary if not kept up regularly), and headboard/bookcase. Your zones probably will be different depending on what's in your child's room that needs attention.

The concept is easy - have your child concentrate their efforts on just one zone a week, making it PERFECT.

Putting it into practice, however, is hard, at least with my boys...

I love the idea of zones... the control... the organization.... the simplicity. My boys, however, are not nearly as enthused as their mother. In fact, they outright hate zone cleaning (ok, so they hate cleaning of any kind...).

Perhaps your kids are different. But probably not...

So good luck!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Conquering the House One Zone at a Time

Cleaning our homes can sometimes be an overwhelming task... so daunting that perhaps we keep putting if off...

I found a great solution to whipping my house into shape a few years ago - on Flylady.net. (If you've never come across this website before, check it out! She has the BEST feather duster on the market, by the way!) Anyways, her approach is a simple one... and I'm all about simplicity when it comes to cleaning my home. :)

It's what Flylady refers to as "Zone Cleaning." How it works is you divide your house into separate zones or areas. She recommends five and that's what I have done, but it could work with any number of zones with the small modification to her plan that I have put into place.

My Zones:

Zone #1 - The Entrance Foyer, Front Porch, and Living Room

Zone #2 - Kitchen

Zone #3 - Small Bathrooms and Office

Zone #4 - Master Bedroom and Master Bath

Zone #5 - Family Room and Mudroom

The plan is super easy. Each week, I concentrate heavily on one particular zone... working my way through my zones in order. Rotating through these zones, it insures that every five weeks, my house is getting squeaky clean!

And the best part? It takes 30 minutes a day!

Mondays are generally set aside for decluttering the designated zone area (getting rid of EVERYTHING that does not belong there!) and organizing so that the rest of the week's cleaning can be accomplished in a more timely fashion.

Tuesdays through Fridays are spent following a very detailed daily list that I have set up for each of my zones... kept, of course, in my "can't do without" household binder.

Start by dividing your house into equal zones - can really be any number of zones. However, just remember, the number of zones you have equals the number of weeks it will take to get through your entire house.

Once you have your zones divided up, sit down with paper and pen and write down EVERYTHING you can think of that you would need to do in each zone to make that part of your house shine!

With your master list now in hand, you can then begin splitting those tasks equally among the five days of the week.

Type them up, print them out, put them into your binder, and you're ready to begin whipping your house into shape the SIMPLE way!

Here are my detailed lists for each of my zones if you'd like to take a look for inspiration.

Zone 1 http://waltdisme.com/Zone1.doc

Zone 2 http://waltdisme.com/Zone2.doc

Zone 3 http://waltdisme.com/Zone3.doc

Zone 4 http://waltdisme.com/Zone4.doc

Zone 5 http://waltdisme.com/Zone5.doc

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

EASY Fall Centerpiece

Recently, my youngest son and I went out apple picking. We quickly set about hunting down the most perfect of all apples. It became a fierce competition between us at which I sorely lost. My apples somehow always fell short of that mark... according to Brandon.

We arrived home with our bags packed with fruity perfection. I stood at the sink washing and polishing these gorgeous round red orbs until they became works of art when inspiration hit. Why not display these somehow as a table centerpiece. I found a large, dark wooden bowl and filled it to overflowing with these apples... the perfect ones on top... mine relegated to the very bottom of the bowl...(sigh). I tucked some greenery in and around the apples and stood back to admire my work.

It's simple, but yet elegant sitting on my table. A perfect centerpiece for the beginning of fall. And what's best of all... it's so easy to swap it out when the apples have all been eaten. Come October, you can then fill the bowl with uniquely-shaped gourds and small pumpkins and colorful fall leaves, perhaps even in the center tuck a fat ivory pillar candle.

Once Christmas season hits, you could very easily fill this same bowl with Christmas bulbs and evergreen and tiny white lights...

I think I'm onto something here. Just grab yourself a nice decorative bowl and have fun!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

School Supplies

School season is now well underway for the year; backpacks have been purchased and well-stocked. However, do you really think you're done buying supplies for the year? Probably not. In my house at least, it seeems like there is always a need for another notebook, index cards, or more pencils...

Why don't you clear a spot today in a cabinet or a closet to store extra school supplies that you might need during the year, saving yourself a rushed trip out to Walmart that always seems to come at the most inconvenient and busiest time possible....

I currently use the floor of my downstairs hallway closet to store notebooks, filler paper, extra pens and pencils, glue sticks, book covers, and a bunch of those duo-tang folders (not sure what the official name of those are...) How nice it is when a child asks (usually at bedtime...), "Oh, Mom, I need a new notebook tomorrow for English class," to which you can simply reply with a smile, "Just grab one out of the closet, dear." No frustration!

Right now is the perfect time to take advantage of a great school supply sale such as the one Target is currently having - 75% off all supplies, excluding backpacks and lunchbags!

This is one time it's "okay" to be a pack rat because it saves you time... and money!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Evening Routine Helps!

Having an evening routine in place can greatly enhance your morning and free up more time so that you and your family are no longer rushing to get out the door, but can move at a more leisurely pace (as long as you don't hit that snooze figuring that you now have "extra" time!)

An evening routine should be SIMPLE; otherwise, chances are you won't do it, will you? And consistency is the key. Easier to add an evening routine with only 1-3 steps than one that has you doing 6-8 things and causing you to feel so overwhelmed and tired that you don't even bother most nights.

My evening routine consists of about 10 minutes of prep time. Now granted, I don't have children I'm getting ready for school, except one... and he's a junior this year in high school... "You're on your OWN, buddy!"

1) I lay out my clothes the night before keeping in mind what the next day's plans consist of and what the weather will be like.

2) I make sure to clean my kitchen before heading up stairs, making sure there are no stray dishes in the sink that my family snuck in at the last moment - there's nothing worse than coming downstairs first thing in the morning to dirty dishes or a sticky table or a cluttered countertop.

3) I run the dishwasher each and every night, whether it's full or not. I just like the routine of having clean dishes in the morning to start the day. That's just me. :)

If you get up from the TV every time a commercial comes on, you can get your entire evening routine accomplished in pieces here and there by the time your favorite TV show is finished!

Families that have the busiest mornings are those with school-age children. Which is ironic... because if you have school-age children in your home, you have built-in "helpers" in your home. Use them!

Some suggestions:

1) Lay out their clothes (or get them into the habit of choosing an outfit the night before)

2) Have the kids set the kitchen table for breakfast next morning.

3) Have the kids empty their lunch boxes and set them out on the kitchen counter (you can have them begin packing their lunch the night before).

Speaking of lunches, I really do love those individual pre-packaged cookie/cracker packs... yes, they're a lot more expensive, but if you can hit a "buy one, get one" free sale, STOCK UP! Much easier for a child to reach into the pantry and grab an already pre-packaged container of 4 Oreos than to fill a ziploc bag with a package of regular Oreos, and yes, my sons would literally FILL the bag! Hmm... maybe those pre-packaged snacks aren't so expensive after all...

4) Shower/bathe (if you have a few children all getting ready in the morning, in addition to you, this becomes a necessity to stagger shower times!)

5) Set the backpacks, jackets, and all other needed school items by the front door ready to go. All you need to do is add the lunch pack in the morning.

Don't be afraid to get your kids involved. Turn it into a nightly family ritual and then enjoy that unrushed morning time together.

No snoozing allowed though!