A holistic approach to getting organised

Since I’ve become a professional organiser, it has become clearer to me that a holistic approach is necessary to create order and, more importantly, to keep it that way.

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Oftentimes you hear people talking about decluttering, but what comes afterwards? Or you buy some fancy organising and storage products and are disappointed because the mess is not going away. That’s because one doesn’t work without the other, or at least only for a very short time.

The third issue is maintenance, which is often overlooked completely. You can declutter as long as you want. If you don’t build new routines and/or habits, the mess is going to be back pretty soon. Same with storage: The best organising products don’t make you tidier or more organised as long as you don’t declutter beforehand and change your habits at the same time.

In my view, we need to fuse all three factors in order to be successful. Let me explain each of the three circles and my holistic approach in more detail:

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Declutter

What is decluttering anyway? If you Google a definition, sentences along these lines will come up: ‘Remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place)’ or ‘To simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, complications, etc.’

Mess, dresser with scattered clothes, shoes and other things

I think we can all agree that it’s about letting go. Usually, the first things that come to mind are, of course, physical possessions. However, I think it is much more than this. How often do I hear (after a decluttering session): ‘Wow, now I can think a lot clearer!’? Some people even lose weight after decluttering their physical spaces!

Digital clutter is becoming a serious issue in this day and age as well. So are constant interruptions and impressions that we need to deal with. Our brains are overloaded (or at least feel like they are), and we struggle, too, with the FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome.

I see decluttering as a shift in one’s attitude towards things, thoughts, and even people. Knowing where you want to go in life, knowing your purpose and priorities, is important when decluttering. It makes it a lot easier to make decisions. Does this item enhance my vision or not? Maybe it’s even a hindrance! So, focussing on the positive side and on the outcome, letting go becomes easier.

Also see my post about ‘To Purge or not to Purge …’ that gives you guidance if you struggle to decide what to let go or don’t know how to do so.

 

Organise

In this context, organising means arranging things systematically, putting them in order, arranging them in an orderly way.

So, let’s analyse this a bit closer. It’s about systems and order. For me, it answers the question about where and how things are stored. Again, this is not only for physical things but also for digital ones. We need to create a storage system that suits us. And because we are all different, there is, of course, no one-fits-all solution.

In short, it’s nothing other than about, everything needs a home! If things don’t have a storage place, they will be put in random places. An example that is quite common: People don’t have a place to put their keys (or don’t use it) and constantly waste time looking for them.

As mentioned above, a system can’t stand alone; it always includes habits and routines. Let me give you an example: I really like my SpaceCube. Let’s say you use it as a command centre. If you don’t change your habit to drop your paper mail on the kitchen bench top instead of using the SpaceCube as an inbox, it won’t help you at all. The letters will still pile up on the bench top.

That brings us to the third circle: Maintenance.

 

Maintain

Maintenance means preserving a condition or situation. So, after we have decluttered and found a home for everything, we want it to stay like that. This is only possible if we invest some time and energy into maintaining the current state.

Motivation is What Gets You Started Habit Is What Keeps You Going written on chalkboard

I like to compare it with dieting. After shedding 10 kilos, we can’t just go back to the old eating habits. If we do, we’ll carry the lost 10 kilos plus possibly more around again a few months later. We need to change habits to sustain our new self.

Of course, changing habits is often difficult. It takes discipline and some time until a new routine becomes a habit. However, we may not have to change everything at the same time. Pick one new habit and only work on the next one when you actually get used to the first.

 

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As the three circles imply, I think the three topics are interlocked. They are not necessarily in sequence though. For example, before I start working with a client, I often ask them to start working on one new habit. It’s a myth that you can only start a new system or habit once you’ve decluttered and reorganised everything.

If, for example, paperwork is an issue for you, nothing stops you from creating an inbox and throwing all your mail in there instead of piling it up on the kitchen bench. This is a habit you can easily get into before you start decluttering the piles and piles of old paperwork.

As you can see in that example, organising and maintenance go hand in hand. Having a physical inbox and putting the mail in there is organising. It’s a system. However, the actual action of putting the mail into that box is going to become your habit, hence maintenance.

The Heart

By the way, if you are wondering about the heart in the centre of it all … decisions are usually not made based on logical and rational reasoning. I encourage clients to listen to their heart (or guts), especially when they are decluttering. There is no right or wrong, it has to feel good for you.

 

 

This hopefully gives you a better idea of my holistic approach to organising. If you’d like to learn more about how I’m working with clients and what packages I offer, don’t hesitate to call me on 0413 216 589 or email to Chantal@simplyinorder.com.au.

21 Habits of Organised People

21 Habits of Organised People

We can declutter and organise as much as we want. However, without routines that eventually become good habits, we will be back to Square One after a while and be frustrated because the decluttering and clever storage solutions don’t work – or so it seems.

Not everyone is a fan of routines because they feel it’s boring and too hard. Personally, I think routines and habits are one of the keys to both a more orderly home and a simpler life.
Some of the tips below are actually more about cleaning and tidiness than about organising. Even if an organised home is not the same as a tidy home, I feel these habits help create a calmer, healthier and more functional environment, which helps us thrive.

Just pick one or a few of these suggestions to try out, and I’m sure you will see an immediate positive impact!

Quote: You'll never change

 

21 Habits of Organised People

  1. Never walk empty-handed – if you leave a room and see something lying around that doesn’t belong, take it with you and put it away.
  2. Always do the dishes while you’re cooking – start washing up, loading the dishwasher and keeping the bench top clear instead of watching the pasta water heat That way, you can sit down for a more relaxed meal, knowing that you only need to put the used crockery, cutlery and pans in the dishwasher.
  3. Tidy up and clean your kitchen every night – before you sit down or go to bed, make sure the dishwasher is loaded (and turned on if full), and that the surfaces and the sink are clear and clean.
  4. Empty the dishwasher in the morning and leave the house with a clean kitchen – nobody wants to come home to a kitchen with dishes piled up in the sink or dirty bench tops. Allow enough time in the morning to clean after
  5. Make your bed – it takes less than a minute to make a bed, but it makes a huge difference coming back in the room later. It automatically looks so much tidier.
  6. Put things away immediately – have a home for everything and put it back after every use. Throwing the dirty clothes into the laundry basket doesn’t take any longer than dropping them on the floor! (Read more about putting things back here.)
  7. One in – one out – when you bring something new into your home, let go of another one to avoid clutter build-up.
  8. Have a laundry routine – whether it’s a load a day or per week, it doesn’t matter. Find a routine that works for you, stick to it and you will always have clean clothes in your wardrobe.
  9. Tidy up every day – take 10 minutes every night to quickly tidy and straighten things up.
  10. Deal with your mail daily – whether it’s paper mail or e-mail, go through it daily, immediately recycle envelopes and junk mail (having a sticker on your letterbox so you don’t get it anymore would even be better). Action things immediately or throw it in an inbox to deal with it later.
  11. Unsubscribe from unread newsletters – when you receive newsletters and updates you were once interested in but realise that you haven’t read the last few ones, immediately unsubscribe.
  12. Take the rubbish from your car with you – whenever you come home and have rubbish or other stuff in your car that doesn’t belong, remove it immediately.
  13. Meal plan – you can save so much time and money when you plan your meals and don’t have to run to the shops every night. (Read blog here – link).
  14. Cook more than necessary – and freeze the leftovers for the days you can’t cook, or for lunch the next day.
  15. Allow buffer time when going somewhere – if you have an appointment, always consider travel time and add some buffer time. If you’re early, you can always read a book, catch up on emails or just relax for a bit.
  16. Have a donation box – place a box or a bag near your garage. Whenever you no longer want something, throw it in there. Go and donate it when the box is full.
  17. Plan, plan, plan – take a few minutes on Sunday to plan your week ahead and don’t forget the buffer time! Also do a quick calendar check every night to plan the next day.
  18. Prepare the night before – if mornings are stressful for you, prepare everything you need the next day the night before: put out your clothes, pack your briefcase, and maybe even prepare your lunch as far in advance as possible.
  19. Think twice before buying something – do you really need another pair of shoes? More toys? That fancy kitchen appliance? If yes, what can you let go to make space?
  20. Have one – and only one – place to write down your to-do list – have a master list with all of your to-dos and ideas. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical notebook or a digital solution as long as it’s all in one place.
  21. Have a filing system – having a home for everything includes paper or digital files. Create and use a system that works for you and always file documents as soon as possible (if you actually need to keep them).

 

Have you got any habits or routines that help you to be organised? I’d love to hear about it. Just leave your comment below.

 

Best wishes,

3 Steps to Your Easy Meal Plan or …

… how meal planning gives me an extra 90 minutes each week!

What would you do with an extra 90 minutes each week? Would you read a good book? Would you spend that time with your kids? Would you hit the gym and do a little cardio? No doubt you’d rather spend that 90 minutes doing something fun, not spending it grocery shopping.

 

 

Meal planning Pinterest-2

 

Years ago, I was no fan of meal planning. In the meantime however, it has become a great habit, which has saved my family a lot of money and time over the years.

Before we had children and were living in Switzerland, we worked full-time. In Switzerland, people tend to eat a big lunch and then a small dinner – cold meat and cheese with bread or a soup. Our workplaces offered a canteen so we typically ate there for lunch. There was no real reason to meal plan.

The weekend was the only time we really cooked, and that was if we didn’t go out. A few times I tried to implement meal planning, but it just wasn’t for me. I was also under the misconception that meal planning would take away any flexibility, spontaneity and freedom. I mean what if I wanted one thing but planned for something else?

You know what’s coming … once we had kids, everything changed! It didn’t happen right away of course. It actually happened after we moved to Australia… a whole new culture to contend with. You see, I was a stay-at-home mom with two toddlers (one and three years old). My husband’s workplace offered a canteen but he’d rarely eat there. And, this is when I found myself cooking dinner every single night.

It was becoming quite clear that meal planning may be a good idea after all. So, I started it and tried several things. When you check out Pinterest, you get all kinds of ideas and pictures on meal planning systems. The reality though is who has time for doing all of this so elegantly and beautifully? I don’t, and I don’t really care to do it so creatively. If you are the creative type, more power to you and have fun!

Let me share what worked for me.

 

3 Helpful Tips To Create Your Own Easy-To-Follow Meal Plans

 

Do Your Math

Meal planners are going to tell you that you save yourself a ton of time. However, I’m a bit of a skeptic so I sat down and did some calculations. If I did a weekly plan and the grocery shopping takes me roughly an hour and half each week for a family of four (combining my trip with a school run and shopping), I spent about 78 hour or three and quarter days a year doing this.

If, for some reason, I have to shop more than once a week, I’d still need approximately the same amount of time to do the shopping. However, no meal plan and a trip to the grocery store all the time would take me three hours a week or nearly one week a year. And, that cuts into my work hours or dragging the kids to the shop. Talk about added stress there!

So, what did I learn? I learned that meal planning is a big payoff for both me and my family.

school equation with apples

 

 

Find Your Best Day For Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

I used to do my meal planning on a Monday morning before school and doing the shopping first thing after the school run. Right now, I am doing my meal planning on Saturday. We talk about the next week over breakfast and consider what everybody’s plans are … sports, business trips, doctor visits, extracurricular activities, etc.

For instance, I don’t cook fish on Monday night because one of the boys and hubby come home after 7 p.m. My other son and I don’t want to eat that late and have dinner shortly after 6 pm. Keeping this kind of meal warm is not an option. And, I don’t feel like cooking twice. Therefore, I need a meal I can re-heat or keep warm easily, such as a one pot meal (find interesting recipes here).

I then pick the menus. During school holidays, each boy gets to choose the meals for one week. This encourages them to help with the cooking and, in my eyes, learn an important skill without even noticing. I see it as an added bonus.

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Find A Planning System That Works For You 

I tried meal planning using my computer, but I found that didn’t work for me. And, doing a paper and pencil system seemed too wasteful and time consuming (of course you could keep the plans and re-use them some weeks later).

What I did was create little cards using thick paper, printed the meals on them, laminated them and cut them into card size. You could also use empty laminated cards and write on them using a whiteboard marker.

I then used a cheap Ikea photo frame and put some fabric in the frame behind the glass, painted seven wooden pegs and glued them onto the glass. I didn’t bother writing the names of the days on them since we know the first day is Monday. Now, all I have to do is add one card per day. The board is situated in the kitchen and everybody can see it.

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Our Meal Plan

My meal planning doesn’t include breakfast or lunches. That’s because breakfast is generally the same every day. As for lunches, I don’t list them on the plan but they are considered. I don’t like giving our kids sandwiches. Perhaps that’s a cultural thing because, in Switzerland, we don’t have them for lunch. Rather, I give them the night before’s leftovers. I give them their food in Tupperware Heat ‘N Eat containers so they can use the school’s microwave to re-heat them.

Once I’m done with the planning, I make the shopping list, which can be done quickly. I go shopping and that’s it for the week. I rarely ever have to visit the shops again during the week for fresher vegetables and/or meat. If stored right, you can keep vegetables and fruit fresh for the week and I freeze the meat.

 

 

 

Extra Time Saver Tip: Combine Your Errands
Try combining your grocery shopping with other errands to save yourself time and petrol money.

Errands List

 

 

 

Remember earlier when I said I was afraid of losing my freedom, flexibility and spontaneity? Well, doing this for several years now, I can tell you that this just isn’t true. I am still flexible, and in fact often do move menus around the week. However, since everything is at home already, I don’t need to do any last minute shopping trips.

 

What kind of meal planning system do you use (if any)? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? If you have a picture of your system, I’m sure we’d all love to see it!

How to Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet

Especially if you don’t need a lot of medication, it is easy to forget about the contents of your medicine cabinet. However, it only needs a little bit of maintenance once or twice a year. I recommend tying this task to another one so it’s not forgotten. If you take out or put away your outdoor furniture every spring and autumn, clean the medicine cabinet at the same time. Or simply schedule it in your diary.

 

 

Dispose of unneeded stuff

Get rid of medicine that has expired, is ineffective or is almost empty. Expired medicine can become dangerous, so better not risk it. Discard it safely and take it to the pharmacy. Please don’t throw it in the bin or flush it down the toilet!

 

Check the fridge

Some medications need to be kept cool, but they easily get forgotten and take up valuable space in your kitchen.

 

Store duplicates correctly

If—for whatever reason—you have a lot of one particular medicine, don’t clutter the medicine cabinet with the reserve. Keep those packages or bottles somewhere else. Keep in mind it needs to be a dry, dark and cool space that is out of reach for children.

 

Take care of seasonal products

Spring is the time to buy some new sunscreen and insect repellent. You can use sunscreen from the year before as long as it’s not expired, has been closed firmly and was stored in the right place. Sunscreen generally keeps about three years. But if in doubt, toss it and buy a new one.

 

Test your medical devices

Know whether your thermometer, blood pressure monitor, etc. are still in good working condition. Exchange batteries if necessary (see here where to discard them if you are in Australia), have the device fixed or replace it if you still need it.

 

Replace only if necessary

If you needed two pain relief tablets in the last 12 months, they might not be worth replacing—or at least buy the smallest package possible.

 

More practical tips:

Write the opening date on your packages/bottles. The expiry date on medicine always refers to an un-opened package. As soon as it’s open, it should generally be used within 12 months. Careful—there are exceptions, such as eye drops. Write the date of opening on the container.

 

Children’s medicine. If you have children, keep their medicine in a separate container. When you need something, you won’t run the risk of grabbing the wrong bottle and giving them medicine that might harm them. It’s also easier for other people who may be looking after your kids.

 

My Top Tip: Keep a box or a bag for expired medicine. Every time you come across expired medicine, throw it in there. When it’s full, take it to the pharmacy for disposal.

How to Establish Routines for Children

Do you find routines and habits boring? Think they take out all the fun of your days? Hinder your children’s or your creativity and spontaneity? Well … I don’t agree. I believe that routines are very important to have for children (and for adults for that matter) and that they actually give us more freedom to be creative, spontaneous and relaxed.

 

Our family has definitely benefited from routines. They even more importantly help our children to establish habits and teach them important basic skills such as brushing their teeth, washing their hands after using the toilet or preparing their own snacks etc. After all, we expect them to become independent, sensible and responsible adults and these kinds of skills are part of it all.

Routines don’t necessarily have to be boring chores. They can be fun or beautiful and relationship building activities like reading a story together every night. Furthermore, they make children feel safe and secure because their environment becomes more predictable.

Here are a few tips and ideas to consider when you want to introduce routines:

 

One At A Time

Decide what your top priority is and concentrate on that. Then, only introduce one new routine at a time. Once it is well established, you can build on this basis and introduce the next routine.

 

Plan Wisely

Manage your family’s time well – there are only 24 hours in a day! Not everything always goes as planned, especially with very young children. Therefore, allow buffers and downtime. Using a diary or a time map might be helpful to visualise how filled your day is so that you can plan accordingly. One of the best tips I ever received after we had our first baby was from a yoga teacher. She recommended to plan only one thing per day when you have a new baby. She didn’t talk about the daily housework tasks but things like running errands. Only plan the grocery shopping, not coffee with friend afterwards and then baby swimming. For me, that worked wonders.

 

Be Realistic

Keep the age of your children in mind when you introduce new routines. Also, keep your expectations low. Make sure they are able to do what you expect from them. Talk about the routine and help them, at least at the beginning. “Tidy up your room” probably doesn’t work. “Please, pick up all the blocks and put them in this box’ is much more clear.

 

Stay Flexible

Create routines that meet your family’s needs at this point in time. Children grow and situations change. Life is happening fast. Tweak existing routines or implement new ones when necessary.

 

Dare To Be Unique

Routines don’t necessarily work for your family just because they – seemingly – work for everyone else. Your family is unique, so find routines that work for you. (If you have a routine that you think is unique, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section if you’d like to share).

 

Facilitate

Make it easy for your family members to follow routines. If you want your children to dress themselves in the morning, make sure they can do it easily, maybe by putting out their clothes the night before. If they’re old enough to do this themselves, they can do that part as well. Also make sure they can access everything they need easily. Too often I see kid’s wardrobes with their clothes hung up too high for them to take down.

 

Make It Fun

Routines don’t have to be dull and dreaded times. Make picking up toys at the end of the day or brushing teeth fun by having the children listen to their favourite songs.

 

Visualise

Help children to remember their routines until they have become habits. Use checklists that show all the things they need to do in the order they should be done. Pictures work great for children that can’t read yet and also for older kids. They’re just more fun for everyone!! Your kids will have fun making the charts.

 

Chores

Chores can be a part of a routine. Be sure that the child is capable to fulfil the chore you give him/her to avoid frustration. Visual checklists help here, too.

 

Have a look here for some visual inspiration regarding routines and chores.

 

Mini-Challenge

Over the next week, think about one new routine that you would like to introduce in your household and share it in the comments or on our Facebook page!

Alone Time versus Me Time or How to Refill Your Watering Can

Do you ever feel exhausted? Do you neglect yourself because you’re always there for everyone but you? Do you feel you’re giving all the time? Then let me share something with you: a lesson I learned last year about the importance of recharging my batteries.

I feel soooo exhausted!

I started my organising business almost two years ago and have really enjoyed what I’ve done during that time. However, towards the end of last year I started to feel exhausted. Everything was going well and I was loving my work, but still, something wasn’t feeling quite right. It felt like my brain couldn’t take in anything anymore; I felt mentally exhausted and too tired to think.

During the summer holidays, having the kids at home, I had time to take a step back, have a good long look at my life and do some thinking. I had long conversations with a couple of very good friends that changed my perspective quite a bit, too. One day I listened to an interview given by my lovely yoga teacher (http://www.olgadossa.com), and it was such an eye-opener for me! You might have heard the ‘empty cup analogy’ – I had. Several times. But somehow, this time it really struck a chord!

It goes something like this: We are like a cup full of water – or if we use my preferred container, a watering can. But we can only give and share if there is enough water in it. If the watering can is empty, there is nothing to give. So we need to fill and top up our watering can regularly.

Very logical, don’t you think? And so true, I find. Thinking about this a lot in the last couple of months, I realised something. I had made a mistake – a big one! For some reason I had confused alone time with me time. Since our boys started school about four years ago, I’ve basically had six hours a day to myself (yeahhh). And this was my me time – right? Wrong! I misinterpreted it as my me time and thought I had plenty of it because I was mostly on my own – that is, if I wasn’t working with clients or meeting a friend or doing the grocery shopping or running some other errands. But being without kids or husband doesn’t mean that I automatically recharge my batteries. Of course not. But it took me until now to realise this. I did and still do enjoy my work. Working does top up my watering can to a certain degree because it gives me a great sense of satisfaction and fulfilment when I get to help my clients on their journey. But it also involves a lot of giving. Giving time to do marketing and administrative tasks that honestly don’t really fill my watering can, even though I like these tasks, too. And of course there are many other giving activities involved in a typical day, especially if you’re a mother. Often, we simply forget to put ourselves first and recharge our batteries.

If this sounds familiar, read on to find out how I fixed it.

 

How to fill and top up the watering can

1. What fills my batteries?
I had to think about what I actually need to recharge my batteries. It can be so many different things and it is different for each and every one of us. For me, it included doing Pilates and yoga, amongst a few other things. I noticed that this is how I can get grounded and connect with myself best. What fills your batteries?

2. Schedule, schedule, schedule!
Once I had defined what I need and want to refill my watering can, I sat down and scheduled time for it. This was quite easy for Pilates and yoga because I go to lessons and can write them in my diary. Other things, like reading a good book for pure pleasure or going for a walk, are a bit trickier because there is no day and time dictated by a teacher. So it takes a bit of discipline to schedule these activities. Look at them as you would any other important appointments. The only difference is that these are appointments with yourself.

3. Review and adapt
After a while, it’s important to think about what works and what doesn’t. Things change all the time. Maybe you thought that reading would recharge your batteries, but after a while you realise it doesn’t give you as much pleasure as you thought. Or maybe you did it during a time of the day that wasn’t ideal, or it was simply the wrong book. Find something else or reschedule it to a different day or time. I love walks, but more so in spring and autumn, when it’s not too hot and the air is so beautifully fresh and crisp. I don’t walk as often in winter and almost never in summer, but I do other things instead. Tweak the system as much as you want until it suits your needs.

As we all know, life happens. Sometimes we might not be able to invest enough time in our well-being. If this happens from time to time, it won’t be the end of the world. However, if we are constantly giving more than we’re refilling, we will feel the consequences sooner or later and burn out. So take care of yourselves – take the time you need. This is not being selfish. Because if your watering can is full and is constantly topped up, there will be plenty to give. And that is definitely not selfish, is it?

 

What do you do to recharge your batteries? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

 

Update 3rd December 2015: I came across this wonderful blog post that I think ties in nicely with the above-mentioned tips: 55 gentle ways to take care of yourself when you’re busy busy busy. Just before Christmas, many of us are really stressed and also emotional. Try a few of the tips Marthe suggests to stay sane during this season.

 

 

Family Screen Contract – How we gained two nights of free time!

I’m sure you have heard many times about various options to limit and control screen time for children. Well, we took it a step further and worked out a Family Screen Contract. Why? Because we believe in role modelling and fairness.

Why would we – as sensible and reasonably mature adults – impose restrictions on ourselves? I suppose it has to do with age and the fact that we make more conscious choices. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Priorities and choices. We all get 86,400 seconds = 1,440 minutes = 24 hours per day. It’s up to us to choose how we want to spend this extremely valuable commodity, as we can’t save and accumulate it or use more than we have – it has to be used right here and now, or it’s gone.

Here is why we have created a Family Screen Contract and how it all came about.

Note: We are only talking about screen time for entertainment and not for work or communication.

Screen time limits for children

We have tried quite a few popular techniques to limit our children’s screen time, but nothing really worked. Often it was too hard to follow through, or we, the parents, weren’t good enough at following through with consequences. So no wonder it didn’t work! A few months back, screen time around our house went out of control for various reasons. One was that a screen is a great and cheap babysitter. The kids are happy, and we can work. Eventually, the daily arguments at ‘switching off time’ became too much, and we went cold turkey – well, more or less. We decided not to allow any screen time at all on school days and to give them two hours each day on Saturday and Sunday.

Wow, what an amazing change! Of course they asked for screen time at the beginning, but they gave up pretty quickly. Can’t blame them; we would have tried as well when we were their age (almost 8 and 10). Our family life immediately became more peaceful. All of a sudden, I had helpers in the kitchen who wanted to assist in preparing dinner. They played together more and became more creative and crafty. They rediscovered certain toys and were playing happily. We had peaceful family dinners and great conversations. In short, everyone was so much more relaxed. What a difference!

 

The Contract

This somewhat extreme trial was a great success. We all assumed we would reintroduce screen time on school days eventually, and we did. Same story – huge arguments despite very clear rules and agreements. So, what should we do? During a family meeting, we all agreed that it had been much more peaceful when there was no screen time allowed on school days. We then agreed that we should make a contract with new rules. But during the discussion, it also came up that it should really be a family contract and not just parents dictating rules to the children. Hence, the idea was born that the parents will have restrictions, too. Fair enough!

As a next step, we adjourned our meeting to think about consequences if somebody breeches the contract. Yes, including consequences for the parents! A few days later we sat down again, and after some discussion, we all agreed on the rules, conditions and consequences.

The finished product, a typed and printed contract, was signed by all four parties and is now hanging in our living room.

 

First impressions

The Family Screen Contract has only been in place for a few weeks, and so far it has worked a treat. The benefits clearly outweigh any negatives. To be honest, I can’t even think of a single negative so far. And as an extra benefit, our boys are learning how to control their time expenditure and are hopefully learning an invaluable life skill. And we? We enjoy this freed-up time as well and don’t miss the TV at all.

 

You might wonder what all this has to do with being organised. Well, I think it has a lot to do with it. For me, being organised means living a simpler life, and time management is a major part of this. It’s about knowing one’s priorities and making choices. By limiting our screen time, we have set priorities and made choices that suit us. Time will tell how well it will work – I’ll keep you posted!

 

This is how a Family Screen Contract could look like: Example Family Screen Contract and here you can download a free Word template to create your own:

Family Screen Contract Template

 

 

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