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Guest Post by Paula Constable

The state of the economy is on consumers’ minds again this Christmas season. Some spenders plan to reduce their budget, while others do not. I would like to suggest that the attention put on financials could actually be a positive. Yes, it might be a good thing…. for the spirit of Christmas and the Holidays.

I challenge you to move away from the “materialistic focus” of gift-giving to a “love focus.” Instead of giving stuff, give the gift of time, experiences and gratitude. Don’t buy a gift, just to get another person crossed off your list.

Clutter-free gift (CFG) giving is the act of gifting items that do not add more stuff (often unneeded) to the recipient’s home. Many CFGs also let the person know you were truly thinking about their likes, passions and interests.

Easy Action Steps to Clutter-Free Gift Giving
1. Make a list of those you would like to give a gift to.
2. Really think about each recipient. What are their likes and dislikes? What are their hobbies? What dreams have they talked about? Brain storm on paper or the computer and an idea or clue might pop up.
3. Make a list of your top 3 ideas for each person. Pick one for this year and file the list away for the next gift giving opportunity.
4. Add to your list throughout the year.


Clutter-Free Gift Ideas to Get You Thinking
• Experiences (indoor water park weekend, tickets to sporting event, spa day with your girl friends)
• Donations (food pantry, church, cancer research, local library)
• Consumables (gift cards, food, gift of the month clubs, gym membership)
• Time (offer to watch your friends kids while they finish up their shopping, volunteer at a soup kitchen)
• Expressions of your love and gratitude (a letter to your parents thanking them for all they have done for you, forgiveness)

As the Organizing Expert for Moms, Paula Constable works with busy moms and families who want to make their daily lives easier through organization. She provides her organizing services both in-home and via Teleclasses and workshops. Receive Paula’s free reports, The Clutter-Free Gift Giving Guide and 5 Must-Know Organizing Tips for Busy Moms, when you sign up for newsletter at or visit her blog, Organizing Tips and Thoughts for Moms.

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Guest Post by Paula Constable

“I just don’t have the time to do the things I want to be doing.”
“If I just had more time…..”
“Once I get caught up, I’ll have more time.”

Sound familiar? These are the types of statements I hear quite often from clients, friends, other moms and business owners.

Many people struggle with how to go about making sure the important stuff gets done and gets the attention they desire it to have. Here are some tips for you to help you make the most of your time.

1. How you spend your time will be determined by your priorities not your availability. Too often we forget to look at what is truly important to us and our families before we add another thing to our already busy calendars. Take the time to reflect on what matters most to you and your family and write them down. Ask, “Do these requests of my/our time fit with my/our priorities?

2. Try to be proactive instead of reactive. In other words, plan ahead as much as you can. Plan your meals out for the week and then make your shopping list. Take time to plan your next day the night before. Planning also includes grouping like activities and tasks together to make the most of your time. For example, it makes sense to do all your errands on the same day. Read More→

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Guest post by Paula Constable

I love routines to help me make the most of my time. It’s about picking a day or time of day to do recurring tasks or activities. By doing this you take control and decide, based on what works best of you and your schedule, when you want to get stuff done.

It’s all about having a game plan. Of course that plan can always be done away with when you are a mother, but I find it’s helpful to start with one; you can always adjust as needed.

Here are some examples:
• Meal planning for the week on Sunday night and shopping on Monday.
• Paying the bills every Thursday or on the 15th and 30th of each month.
• Washing 1 load of laundry everyday or all of it on Wednesdays.
• Planning your next day the night before or first thing in the morning.
• Devotional and prayer time in the morning.
• Checking email at the kids’ nap time and after the kids go to bed.
• Returning phone calls between 9 and 10 a.m.
• Vacuuming on Mondays, dusting on Tuesdays, and washing the floors on Wednesday.
• Starting meal prep 1 hour prior to dinner time.
• Opening and sorting the mail everyday after dinner.
• Filing your “to file” pile the same day every week.
• Waking up 30 – 60 minutes before the kids to get yourself ready for the day.
• Exercising on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
• Eating out with the family on Thursday nights. Read More→

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Guest Post by Paula Constable

Think for a moment how your family starts off the day. How would you describe the mornings in your household? Do they tend to be calm and peaceful or rushed and stressful -or, somewhere in the middle? I found that planning ahead really helps to curb the morning madness. Here are nine quick ideas to help make your mornings less of production for you and your family.

Tip #1: Get up 15-30 minutes before the kids. Give yourself time to get up and ready to go before the children need to be up. I find that when I do this I am more relaxed and able to focus on helping my children. The day is more likely to start off with conversation rather than prodding and nagging. I also feel better about myself. When I feel good about myself, it has such a positive impact on my day!

Tip #2: Make sure the kids have adequate time to get ready for school without being rushed. Note how much time it takes them to complete all their necessary morning tasks and chores. Ideally, I like to have a 15 minute cushion of downtime before they walk out the door.

Tip #3: Have the kids empty their backpacks after school, not the next morning, to avoid any last minute surprises. Designate a drop-off spot for school papers, notes or permission slips that you need to see.

The Night Before
Tip #4: Have your children layout their clothes they want to wear the next day. Make this simple step a part of their bedtime routine. Read More→

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