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Organize + Energize: 6 Productivity Habits My Parents Taught Me When I Was Young

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

 

I often get asked if I was always organized and if I grew up in an organized home. The answer is yes, and yes! My parents each transferred different skills to me. My dad, a successful small business owner, taught me great business skills and my mom taught me organizing skills in the home.  

I learned most of this skill set before the age of 8, but as I grew older, I took these skills to another level of efficiency and productivity. Here are 6 productivity habits my parents taught me:

How to fold/hang clothes.  I remember this event like it was yesterday. I was at dance class when I was about 7 years old and my mom came into the waiting room with me. I had just taken off my jeans to get ready for class and my mom said, “Go hang up your jeans on a hanger.” I came back with the hanger and couldn’t figure out how to hang the jeans on the hanger. It must have taken me 3 or 4 times to get it right and I remember my mom getting frustrated with me and then I finally got it right. Later in life, I was a manager at The Gap and it took my folding skills to another level. If you’ve ever been in a Gap store, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a skill set that can be learned at a very young age.  Do your kids know how to fold their clothes and put them away?  You’d be surprised at how many kids don’t know how to fold or hang clothes. 

How to maintain a calendar.  My mom taught me the importance of using a calendar. I had to keep track of dance classes, after-school events, birthday parties, and important homework and project dates to remember. It was important to keep track of these dates.  This calendar sat on my desk, and I kept track of everything. I don’t think I ever missed an event. Start your kids with a paper calendar so they can write everything down and make notes. Using a paper calendar will allow them to see their weeks ahead in front of them. 

How to file paperwork/bills.  At 18, I opened up my own bank account, opened my first visa and got my own phone line in my parent’s house. With that came mail addressed to me! So exciting! I had to develop a system to handle this incoming mail. My mom suggested that I purchase a small file box. I bought a black file box and grabbed some white envelopes and wrote the names of the accounts on them. When a bill came in, I filed it in my calendar on the day I wanted to pay it. I then paid it and filed it in the corresponding envelope in my file box. When I went to the bank to deposit money, the slip got filed in the envelope in the file box. Give your kids a little independence. Help them set up a filing box and get them started on maintaining a filing system. 

Plan and prepare. I was taught by both my parents that if you have an event to attend, an assignment due or a trip to make, don’t wait until the last minute to prepare. Don’t waste time. If it needs to get done, do it.  Getting things done efficiently and quickly allows you to spend more time on the things you enjoy doing. If a project needed to be completed, I knew if I completed it right away, it would leave me more time to play outside. Don’t procrastinate. 

Appreciate and take care of your belongings. My dad’s work trucks were always immaculate. I always saw my mom and dad taking great care in their belongings. When you appreciate things, you take care of them. I started working when I was 15. I worked hard for my money and bought my own clothes. I took care of my belongings because I knew I bought them with my hard earned money. Why would I throw my clothes on the floor and leave them in a pile? I would hang them up because I knew how much I paid for them. I knew if I took care of my things they would last longer. This transferred to big tickets items as I grew older. Teach your kids to respect their belongings. 

How to do things right the first time.  My dad always taught me that if you are going to do something, you do it right the first time.  I love this quote by my dad, “Being organized makes you more profitable because you don’t waste any time. Every shot has to count. Meaning, everything you do, you can’t waste time and energy. Put your nose to the grind and get it done right the first time. Time relates to money.  Bottom line, the more time you waste looking for things, it turns into money lost.” 

These skills are just some ways my parents have helped mold me into the efficient, organized, and productive adult I am today. I’m so grateful that my parents taught me so many great lessons. Take the time to sit with your kids and transfer some of the organizational skills that will help them become organized, efficient and productive adults. They will thank you for it, just as I have thanked my parents. 

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. She has appeared on air on Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio and her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start. She is also available for organizing workshops. Tune into her weekly radio show, Organize, Energize! on talkstreamradio.com.   

 

Related Slideshow: Organizing Products For Your Closet

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Scarf organizer

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Belt organizer

How are you storing your belts? Are they in a tangled mess? Purchase a belt organizer for a cheap solution—they can be as inexpensive as $6.99 from the Container Store.

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Tie organizer

Keep your ties organized and hanging on a tie rack, or keep then rolled in a drawer organizer. Whichever way you choose to organize them, treat them with care. To take care of both your belts and your ties in one fell swoop, check out this organizer from the Container Store.

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Drawer organizer

This is a must for your underwear, socks, bras, nylons, etc. Drawer organizers will help to maximize space in your closet. You won’t believe the amount of space you will have once you contain these items in drawer organizers!

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Jewelry organizer

Are you always trying to detangle your necklaces? Think about how you grab your jewelry and then purchase an organizing system according to how you function. Before you purchase your container, take inventory of what you own and purchase accordingly.

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Shoe rack

Did you know people who didn’t own shoe racks were 7 times more likely to show up late for an event? Are your shoes in piles on the floor? Get them off the floor and contain them in a shoe rack. There are many options out there, like this one from Bed Bath and Beyond. Choose the shoe rack that is going to fit what you need to hold and fit in the space you are working with.

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Hangers

Are you hanging your clothes on the wire hangers from the dry cleaner? Those hangers will ruin your clothes. Get rid of them and store your clothes on the hanger of your choice, but be consistent and stick with one type of hanger.

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Handbags

How are you storing your handbags? Are they stored all over your closet? Are they in bins or crumpled up on the floor? It’s time to organize your bags. There are many options depending on the space you are working with. You can stand them up on a shelf, you can hang them, or if they are small, you can store them in a canvas bin. The choice is yours. Think about how you function and develop a system from there.

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Baseball cap organizer

How many baseball caps do you own? How are they organized in your closet now, and how long does it take you to find one? The Container Store (pictured here), Bed Bath and Beyond, and other stores sell this baseball cap organizer. I have a few clients that have purchased them and they love them!

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Function over flash

There are many variations on these products. Choose the product that is right for you. There are some organizing products I would never use, but other people might choose to use them. Choose the one that is going to be the most efficient and productive product for you and your family. Don’t choose a product because it’s pretty, choose it based on functionality. Search online for different products before you rush out and purchase a product. You may find that one store is more expensive than another. Don’t forget if you are going to Bed Bath and Beyond to use their 20% off coupons. If you don’t want to purchase these items, get creative and re-purpose items around the home, or make your own!

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Kristin MacRae

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. She has appeared on air on Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio and her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start. She is also available for organizing workshops. Tune into her weekly radio show, Organize, Energize! on Mondays at 8:30am on www.talkstreamradio.com.

 
 

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