Plan for Summer Fun

Summer is really here! I love summers. I think this goes partly back to when I was a student and then a teacher and summer was break time. In summer time our schedule usually changes. This may be because kids are home, a vacation is planned, or it is just so hot.
To make this summer really special, let’s come up with a plan.

  1. Start with developing a vision. What is most important to you this summer? How do you want to feel? What do you want to do? Do you want more family time? Do you want more “me” time? Do you want that special vacation or a series of day trips? Have a family meeting to get everyone’s viewpoint, then make your bucket list. Now prioritize it because you probably can’t do it all.
  2. Brainstorm all that has to happen for this summer vision to come true. What family routines will be maintained and what ones can be relaxed? What events need prior reservations? Who will be responsible for the listed tasks? What is the budget?
  3. Sort the tasks on your brainstorm list. Find the ones that are similar. Group those tasks together. For example, if phone calls need to be made to schedule events, write a list of all calls and schedule a time to make them. If outings – to the pool, parks, concerts – are part of your list, put together a basket or container for items needed like beach towels, sunscreen, bug spray, coolers, and summer hats. Have a designated place to keep that container.
  4. Now pull out your calendar. First put in all of the nonnegotiables. Put in all doctor appointments, summer camps, and other prior commitments. Next schedule the fun stuff on your bucket list. Then schedule time to prepare for these fun events. Schedule the time to make calls, pack, shop, etc. Don’t forget that even if you are on a relaxed schedule, you still need some time to clean, shop, cook. Look at the schedule now. Is it too full? Have you allowed some down time just to read a book on the deck? When the calendar is complete, post a copy for everyone to see. If something comes up after the calendar is complete, and it will, have another meeting and decide if the new possibility is worth dropping something already scheduled. Remind all family members that if an event or outing is not on the calendar, It isn’t going to happen.

No matter what your plans are, visualize yourself having fun this summer. Be prepared to be flexible. Celebrate this lovely season.

Enjoy!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Last Day of School

The last day of school is almost here! The children are soooo ready for this final  day (not to mention the teachers). On the last day, you just know they are going to run home, dump their school stuff in a corner, and run off to play.

OK, so give them one day. But that pile in the corner has to be handled and throwing it into a closet is not the answer. Those stacks of old school papers, that whiffy backpack, old supplies,  and the end of year mementos have got to be dealt with before summer can really begin.

  • Clear a space – maybe put down newspaper and keep dogs and cats clear for their own safety.
  • Pull out the top layers and then turn the backpack upside down and dump the contents on the floor. Shake it a few times so that what is stuck to the bottom with old gum and candy also falls out.
  • Do a sort. Smelly clothes and sneakers go to the laundry. Tattered papers and candy wrappers go to the trash. End of year awards can be salvaged and filed or put into memorabilia boxes. Check out old crayons, pencils, and other school supplies and see if they are usable for summer art or are in such bad shape they need to be trashed.
  • If anything in the pile moves or tries to crawl away – step on it.
  • Decide if the bag is going to be used again or is now also ready for the trash (broken zippers, tears, straps broken).
  • Put everything that is saved away and everything that is no longer usable put into trash or recycle bin.

Now, enjoy the summer!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Summer Fun – Throw a Party

I love to throw a party every July for my friends. Summer is a more laid back time of year and a great time to come together and socialize.

The very idea of giving a party can be overwhelming to people. Like any project that seems overwhelming, it’s not so daunting if you break it down into smaller, manageable tasks and you don’t strive for perfection.

I start with my vision in mind. How do I want this party to look and feel? I usually have a theme but the theme could be as simple as “catch up and have fun.” This year, because I just build a new shed house and deck, my theme is “get decked out and shed your cares.” I want people to have fun, relax, reconnect, and have dialogue. I want the atmosphere to be comfortable, casual, and connected.

Next I brainstorm what has to happen to make this vision work. I start with my guest list. Then I plan my invitations. I also look at what I want to serve and my party location. My list might look like this:

  • make invitation list
  • send out a save the date email
  • design invites
  • print invites
  • address and mail invites
  • plan the menu
  • prepare the yard
  • clean deck furniture
  • prepare/order food and beverages
  • clean house
  • decorate
  • stray yard for mosquitoes
  • put out food/beverage stations

When looked at all at once, it seems overwhelming, but I break it down and do it over a month’s time. I will either hire out some help or ask for some help or usually both. One day I just concentrate on my invitation list, another day I design the invites, another day I print them off, and still another day I mail them. Now my intention is set and the party is on!

The other items on the list are mostly done on weekends and are broken up so that no one day is consumed just by these tasks. By the day of the party there is little to do but finish decorating, some last minute food preparation, preparing the food/beverage stations, and spraying the yard for bugs.

When the guests come, I am ready to party with them. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer