Uncomplicate your thank you notes

One of the important habits and skills my mom taught us growing up was the necessity of writing thank you notes. While I HATED having to write them right after opening Christmas presents, it is a practice that has served me well my entire life. It can be short and sweet but is a perfect way of letting the giver know it was received and appreciated.

Gratitude is essential for a happy life but expressing it does not come naturally. Just ask any parent how many times they’ve said the phrases “say thank you” and “say please” to just one of their kids.

Writing thank you notes is not limited solely to gift-giving occasions. They can be sent at any time on any day you want to express gratitude. Be prepared with actual stationery and stamps so that you’re equipped when the time arises. Nobody wants to keep giving gifts to someone who doesn’t acknowledge them.

You need a system for organizing your thank you notes! Here are my tips for organizing stationery and making the process so much easier and #uncomplicated.

  • Check your drawers and cabinets to see what thank you notes you already have. I recommend storing them together so you don’t over-buy and can find them when you need them. 
  • Make sure they are clean and flat, not bent or crushed.
  • Do you have the right envelopes for the stationery? 
  • Holiday gifts do not require a holiday themed thank you note. Fold over notes or note cards are perfect.
  • If you need more, now is a good time to order or purchase them from your favorite stationer. I have found some cute ones at Home Goods and on Etsy.
  • Not having stationery will be a barrier to writing and sending them. If you have cards that you really like, you’ll be more inclined to get them written and sent.
  • Did you know that you can order stamps from the post office? Yes, you have to pay for postage but you get a really good selection and don’t have to stand in line.

Teaching kids how to be organized

kids organization

Happy Mother’s Day, Mothers and those who mother! I don’t get why we only celebrate Mothers one day a year so you have my permission to take the whole month! 

We all know that Moms make the world run so unfortunately they are too valuable to take a day off. But here is what you can do: 

Moms, get your kids to help you! Teaching kids how to be organized is one of those life skills like good manners and gratitude that will serve them the rest of their lives. Nobody is born knowing how to organize or to say “thank you” so it must be taught. You may say you’re not organized but you are more so than your child. You can teach this skill and it will pay off for you and for them.

Here are some tips to get kids organized and teach them those skills at the same time. They apply to adults as well so keep reading even if you don’t have kids!

  1. When it comes to toys and playtime:  clean up is part of play. Dumping toys from a container is pure bliss; putting them back is not so much. However you can teach them that putting them away is part of the process. Take 5 or 10 minutes to help them put those toys back when playtime is over to reinforce the pairing of activities. 
  2. Make picking things up a game. Reward them for putting trash in the trashcan or for who can put away 10 toys first. Gamification isn’t just for online marketing. It’s a huge part of parenting.
  3. Let go of perfection. Their version of neat will not be yours but it’s part of the process. Reward the attempt and keep showing them how it’s done.
  4. Purge toys, clothes, and books regularly. If it is not being used, especially if it doesn’t fit, donate or give away. You can try rotating toys that they don’t actively play with. More options are not necessarily better. 
    As they get older, get them involved with the review process. Identifying toys that they’ve outgrown and can donate to others teaches detachment to physical items. It also teaches them how to prioritize which is another key organizational skill. 
  5. Keep their toys and clothes accessible to them. You can’t expect nor do you want them climbing shelves or cabinets to get to their toys, books, or clothes. When it is accessible to them then they can at least attempt to put it back!
  6. Label, label, label. This alone eliminates the “I don’t know where it goes” excuse for not putting up toys. It helps you figure out where everything should go and indicates to them where it belongs. If your kids are not yet reading, use pictures as labels. Labels are also helpful for babysitters or visiting family members to know where things go.

While none of these tips will make a difference in one day, they all help to create an organized environment that serves as a solid teaching foundation. You are teaching and enforcing the good habits of taking care of and respecting your space. Putting LEGOs away may seem insignificant except to your feet but it’s part of the long and rewarding process of rearing the next generation.

Happy organizing!