Cleaning Out Closets Without Stress!


girl in closet

There is nothing more discouraging than to open your closet or dresser drawer and realize that there is no room for the clothes you’ve just washed! You try hard to shove the clothes into the drawer but you damage the drawer instead. What do you do?

Most people, at this point, lose their temper and dump the whole drawer on the floor vowing to throw it all out. But there’s no need to lose your temper or throw all your clothes away. The solution is relatively simple.

Obviously, you need to clean out your closet and drawers… but there is a strategy for doing it efficiently without causing too much stress in your life. There is also a strategy for if you plan on donating your goods or selling them. No matter what you do, you need to decide right from the beginning what course of action you plan on doing BEFORE you get started.

I’m not an expert, but I’ve been cleaning out closets and drawers my whole life. I have been a military child and then wife since the day I was born… and if there is one thing people in the military must do, that is to purge.

Following you will find fail safe ways to accomplish your task of making way for your new or washed clothes without stress …

Donating Clothes:

Donating Clothes is perhaps the fastest way to get rid of unwanted clothing and items found in closets and drawers. One thing to keep in mind is just because you don’t want closet-cleaning Charitablean item any longer, doesn’t mean it is donation worthy. The items you donate should be in good condition with no major damage to them. Missing buttons, holes in jeans are acceptable, but stained items or undergarments should be thrown out.

Let’s get started!

  • First rule of thumb, don’t plan on cleaning out all your drawers and closet in one fail swoop. You will complete this task over the course of a week.
  • What to get rid of is important!
    • Get rid of anything in season that you haven’t worn in the last three weeks.
    • Get rid of anything that you don’t fit. Hanging on to clothes that are too small is a waste of time and space. Only when you lose weight should you go out and CELEBRATE by buying yourself new clothes. But the reality is, most people spend at least a year pushing their too small clothes back and forth in their closet before finally getting rid of them.
    • Get rid of clothes that are CLEARLY out of style. If you are holding onto your high school jeans, put them in the attic…not your closet/drawers!
  • Start with a drawer that is out of season. If it is summer, start with the sweater drawer. It is easier to purge when you aren’t worrying about wearing the items in this drawer that week. You’ll have a clearer eye as to what looks fresh, what looks dated, and whether you just want to start with something new next season.
  • Place a medium sized garbage bag or crate next to your dresser for discarded items. mommy testers
    (Using large bags can rip or burst if filled too full) For items too soiled/ripped or just not worthy of donating… walk right to your trash and throw them out!
  • Go through the first drawer JUST TO GET YOURSELF STARTED! Place discarded items into the bag/crate. Straighten the clothes left in the drawer.
  • Next, go to your clothes closet. If your clothes are sorted, start again with those items out of season OR that you don’t wear often.
  • If they are NOT sorted, start with the LAST 10 items in your closet. Most likely they are at the back because you don’t wear them much.
  • Look through 10 items only. ASK YOURSELF:
    • When was the last time I wore this?
    • Does this still fit?
    • Do I even like this?

If you must THINK about keeping the item, GET RID OF IT!!!! You are only keeping things you really like and love wearing!!

  • NOW STOP! No point in wearing yourself out on the first day! girl reading

  • SECOND DAY: Chose your time of day, either before you go to work or after, when you are changing clothes
    • As you pull your clothes out for the day or for after work, go through the drawer you opened first. Quickly race through the drawer discarding any items that immediately you know you don’t want. (Place them in the bag/crate.) Leave any items that you aren’t sure about for later.
    • Head to the closet for your shoes/belt/purse or whatever. WHATEVER it is you are going for, look through 10 of those items and purge anything that is a “no brainer purge item.” Don’t waste your time thinking about “maybe items.”
    • Go to work/school… or wherever you are going after work. YOU ARE DONE FOR THE DAY
  • Third Day- To End: Repeat the above pattern until you have made it once through every drawer and at least half your closet.
    • When your crate gets full, empty the contents into a bag or box for donation. Then move them to your trunk of your car… out of the house and out of your way.
    • Once you have made it through the drawers and most of the closet, take the bag/boxed items to the nearest non-profit donation center. There are many out there and they are all easy to use. There are even donation dumpsters that you can stop by on the way to work and dump your items in without speaking to anyone.
      I highly recommend this if you are donating a large amount. A medium to large size bag can have up to $500 worth of items in it. Make certain you note what you donated in case you should ever be audited by the IRS.
    • Now take a break from purging for at least a week. Once you are rested and are ready to finish your project, start where you left off. Before you know it, you will be done and ready for the last step.
  • Last Step: Straighten your drawers. I recommend you do this on a Saturday or Sunday when you have a little more time. Turn on your tunes and begin…
    • You might have been straightening your drawers as you went. But now is the time to go one last time through both your drawers and closet, looking one last time at those “maybe items.” It’s a great time to purge them because you are in the “purge mood.” Once you finish this, place your donated items in your car and as you head out to enjoy your weekend, make your first stop the donation center.
    • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DONATION ITEMS IN YOUR CAR FOR MORE THAN ONE WEEK!!! We are not turning your car into your closet!

good will donating 


  • Selling your clothes is not a new concept. More and more people are finding their clothes are worth big money. But a word of caution, selling your clothes can be time consuming and you must do a little research before you begin.
  • The difference between selling your items versus donating them is you must be more discerning when separating your clothing. Not all clothing is worth selling and you need to know which should be donated, trashed and kept for selling.


  • Begin by deciding if you are going to take your items to a Consignment Shop, a Buy Back store like Plato’s Closet or the Buffalo Exchange, or sell on line.
  • Understand that you are not going to get top dollar for your items, but determine what you hope to get for each item so that you can chose the right venue for selling them.

Jill Duffy

    • I recommend that you use two different colors so that you can discern which are the selling items and which are the donation items.
    • When your bag/boxes are full for your “to be sold items” Place these items aside in another area in your home until you are ready to begin selling. NOTE: This should not take more than a few weeks. The idea is to get the items out of your home as quickly as possible.
    • Make certain that you still throw away items immediately and take your donated items to the centers as directed above.
    • Once you have removed all donated items and trashed items from your home. It is time for you to begin dealing with your “for sale” items.
  • Prepare your items for Sale
    • Make certain that each item is clean and worthy of selling
    • If you are selling to a Buy Back Store, fold all items and sort them by type of clothing. Bag/Box them and take them to the store as soon as possible. It is suggested that you take these items to the store during the week when the store is not as busy.
    • IF you are selling the items to a Consignment Shop or on line, begin by labeling each item with a sticky note so you know how much you want for them.
    • Then in crates or boxes, take your items to the Consignment Shop. Be careful when signing a contract, as many shops will take ownership of your goods after a set period of time. So, make sure you clarify if you will be back to pick up any unsold clothes.
    • On Line posting: Most people wanting to sell on line know how to do this or treadflipthey would not be taking on this endeavor. But there are many friendly sites out there now that are a simple click and post and your item is sold soon thereafter. But there is an art to it!
    • Make certain that your photos of items have good lighting for posting. There should only be one item per photo/and posting. Make sure that the size/scale is good and that the consumer can clearly see what they are buying.
    • Make sure also, that you have a plan for shipping and the transfer of money. Never give any of your personal information out to customers! It is best to make new emails/websites etc. that deal only with the sale of your clothes.
    • Make a deadline for when you want the clothes sold… otherwise you should have just left them in your closet and drawers. If they don’t sell, donate them after three weeks. There are lots of people who would be happy to have your old favorite dress or shirt for free.

 Now you know how to purge your drawers and closets with no stress and efficiency. You don’t have to stop once you’ve handled the clothes… these strategies work well for all closets, garages, kid’s bedrooms and even the kitchen! Have fun and Good Luck!

Venngage Shweta DM

                  Photos courtesy of Google images;; goodwill 





Preparing for Kindergarten

Preparing for Kindergarten


Recently a young mother posted a request on Facebook asking for help. She stated that in her town all the pre-schools were full and she wanted to personally prepare her young son for kindergarten. Her only concern was that she didn’t know the first thing about going about it. She was hoping someone would know websites she could use. Following was my reply:


Dear Mom,

I saw your post, and as a retired teacher, I couldn’t let you query go by without a response. I will attach a few websites that you can peruse to help you on your journey to prepare your little tyke for kindergarten. Here’s a few general suggestions to make your job a little easier when learning…


  1. Give your child three options of things to do, such as coloring, word recognition, number sorts. This will allow him/her to feel like he/she is choosing and he will want to do it.
  1. Only work with your child when he/she is not tired or distracted by something else. A good way to do this is to have a set schedule or time of day when he/she knows what is expected.

3.  DON’T overdo it. Some parents feel they have to spend an hour working on something. The average attention span of a young learner is 30-40 minutes max. When you see your child losing attention, take a break and change the activity.


  1. Try to do as much HANDS-ON activities as possible.  Work-book practice should only be used to check what you have taught. Little fingers don’t always handle workbooks very well anyhow.gotmesh.orgnearsay.com5.  Don’t have huge expectations. If you are working with a boy, he may not grasp concepts very well… this is normal in young males. Thus this is why hands-on activities work well with little boys until their cognitive skills mature.
  1. Let your child TEACH you! There is no better way to teach a child then to make them the teacher. Choose something to refresh but have them ask you the questions (Don’t always get them right!)

7.  Don’t over fill the brain with too many ideas at one time. This is why many pre-school  teachers introduce colors by week, and only 1-3 letters at a

8.  Make sure you read with your child every day BUT use these techniques:

  • Picture walk the whole book first… look at the pictures and let your child tell you what he/she sees.
  • Ask your child what he/she thinks the story is about (this is a huge skill they will need as they grow – it’s called prediction. You can even use that word so they are familiar with it.)

  • If words have been learned… walk through the book and ask your child to find words he/she recognizes and have him/her read them. (always give encouragement)
  • Begin reading the book, but always predict what might be on the next page or what he/she would want to happen. (This is active reading and engages the brain to think beyond what he/she sees)
  • IF it is a repeat book, which sometimes they want to read a book a million times so be patient… have them finish sentences if they know the lines. BUT using your finger, point to each word your child says.
  • When you finish the book ask your child if they liked the book and why. He/She will have to be able to give a conclusion as he/she grows.
  • pinterest child reading
  • Have your child put the book away. This doesn’t seem like much of a big deal but it is huge. When a child learns how to take care of a book it is the first step to respecting a classroom, items in a classroom and teaches organization.
  • Don’t be afraid to pull out a kindle book, but this should be on a rare occasion as we try to use books to encourage turning of pages with little fingers, holding a book the correct way etc.



  1. Math is a very important skill and is often not introduced by parents! Just learning numbers means nothing to a child, but putting a number to an object makes sense. Do not start by teaching your child to count to ten… the numbers will mean nothing to him/her. This is true about the ABC’s. Teach the numbers 0-9. and then you can add ten to show that a new pattern is going to begin, starting with the number 1. 10, 11, 12,



Whenever you introduce a number, spend time using that number and re-enforcing the number by writing it each time you build that set. EX. If you pick four apples out of the fridge, stop and write the number 4 so that your child relates the amount with the number. Having a small whiteboard in the kitchen is a must.


  1. Drawing is an incredibly imaginative time for a child. Encourage all drawings even if they look like a squiggly line. Ask what that line is to them. It’s okay if he/she draws out of a coloring page line… their little fingers have to learn dexterity. USE APPROPRIATE COLORING UTENSILS. Pre-schoolers do not need markers or colored pencils. Start with the large FAT crayons, no count larger than 12. Once your child has learned all those colors you can move up to the 24 pack but beyond that is a marketing scam and the colors all start to look the same and you end up with boxes of broken unused crayons… trust me after 20 years of teaching!!


  1. The more fun learning activities you do with your child, the better. Bake together, using numbers, describing words…science words like TASTE< TOUCH<SMELL. Go outside and explore with your child using science words like environment, conifer, air, sun. Then go inside and write the words you used and show him/her how they look in print and have him/her draw a picture to go with each word, then you draw a picture to go with the word . Take those words and drawings and tape them up in places he/she will see all week… then put them in his/her special Vocabulary book titled MOM AND MY Vocabulary book. I would only do like three words to write down until he/she is older.pinterest science


  1. One of the most important things you can do to prepare your child for kindergarten is to socialize him/her. Too many parents fall into the category of spending all adult time with their child. The problem comes at school that your child does not know how to play with other children. Find a play group (check out Meet Ups for one near you) that your child can learn from… just letting children free play is one of the best ways to prepare your child for dealing with other children.

  1. Give your child a small job at home each week or day to prepare him/her for school. Putting the forks on the table is a great job, or sharpening pencils, or simply making his/her own bed each day. In school your child will need to follow directions and carry out little jobs. Why not prepare him/her for these jobs?pinterest jobs.png
  1. Working with TANGIBLES, such as flash cards and paper/pencil. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Below there are a few websites where you will find great printables to use. Once you copy them, keep each set in a Ziploc, Label them and put them in a particular basket that is also labeled. The more organized you are, the better. If you do this ahead of time (I suggest picking a particular day and time to put your things together) you can have your child locate the items for you. Such as Math is in the Red Basket, Letters are in the Blue etc. using printables try to make the activity a game of some sort. It’s okay to do memorization activities but you will most likely find your child will bore of the activity quickly. Memorization is an important skill to learn at an early age, however and should be practiced as we all know the skill will be used throughout his/her lifetime.


  1. TECHNOLOGY… your child will crave technology and you must relent. (I hate to say that!) But the fact is, your child lives in a tech world and by keeping your child from technology is actually going to set your child back from his/her peers. But here are a few guidelines:

  1. Choose the activity wisely. No VIOLENT GAMES!! Children do not understand these games and there are far better activities to use. Try to use programs that encourage learning and enhance what you are currently teaching at home. It should kind of be like his/her homework, a way to practice skills.


  1. Limit the time your child is playing the game. NO MORE THAN 30 minutes a day. I know, I know… this can be difficult. But you need to explain to your child before you ever introduce the program that there is a limit and you will set the clock for 25 minutes, giving him/her a five-minute warning. Then set the clock for five minutes. Let you child take ownership in closing out the program. This should be a big deal at first. Use wording like this: Can you show me how to properly close today’s game etc. or Can you teach me how to close down the program. Then complement your child on their attempt or success at completing the task. Never lose your temper if your young child accidentally wipes out your computer… it will be an accident that can happen to anyone. (Go scream in another room!)


  1. Make a technology corner for your child, perhaps a beanbag chair or mommy or daddy’s desk so they feel special and know that this is a treat to be using technology like a school child. This encourages your child to treat the equipment with respect and to take care of the device/


  1. Pick a time of day that fits YOUR schedule to do technology. I tell parents that Pre-Dinner time while you are preparing dinner is a perfect time for this activity. It does not require a great deal of attention and allows you, the parent, to cook.


  1. Always talk about the activity following the activity. If your child does indeed play prior to dinner, the dinner table is the perfect place to discuss what the game was about, what they liked, what they would do different next time, and how would they change the game to make it better. You’d be surprised by the answers!!


  1. DINNER TALK/ CAR TALK – there is no greater learning that takes place than that found at the dinner table and in a car. Remember this even when your child is a teenager!! You have a captive audience and so you should capitalize on this unique time. Here are some tips to help you out in this department:

  1. Start with open-ended questions, not ones that require a Yes /No answer. Use the five W’s Who, What, When Where, Why….. and How

Example: What was the best thing you did today? Where did you find the most cars today? You ask these as opening questions so that a discussion can begin after their answer. IF they say the best thing they did all day was take a nap, you can follow-up with,”Why was that the best thing?”


Many parents start with, “What did you do today?” or “Did you have a nice day?” But let’s get real…. How many things do you do in a day and where do you start??? That’s just too overwhelming of a question. And as for the day question…. You will get a yes or no…end of story.

  1. Have question cards on the table in a cute basket for dinner prompts…even the parents have to play. Questions like: If you lived on the moon who would you have come visit? What sounds do you think a Squirrel makes when he sees a big dog staring him down. You’ll be surprised the funny questions you can write and the funnier answers you will get in return. Dinner at my table would get really silly at times. If you want to encourage good grammar, ask your child during the day to come up with a question for the basket so he/she feels like a part of the action.


  1. Encourage the Arts at dinner and in the car. Playing music and talking about the artists is a great way to encourage appreciation for music. Once time we played a game where you could only eat if the conductor pointed at you… it was hysterical. Then we talked about the Overture (Beethoven) and what instruments we would have played.

havefunteaching.comYou can place photo cards of Artists and their work in the table basket and have a quick conversation about the one you pull out for the meal. You will laugh when the old photos come out and your little one comments on the crazy hair or big noses… imagine the conversations you can have using great ADJECTIVES!!! (those describing words)

You can even do the same thing with Sports figures and sporting events.


The more you talk with your child/children, the smarter, more knowledgeable, more worldly they will become.

I’m sure you got more than you bargained for here,  but I hope some of it will help. Even if you try some of it you’ll find being your child’s first teacher is pretty awesome. Remember, everything in small doses… if he/she doesn’t get it as fast as you think he/she should, just remember this…. By 12th grade graduation he/she will. The best parent is the nurturing parent, the calm one who is encouraging and makes learning fun.

Good Luck!

Advice From a Teacher


Following are some websites you might find helpful:

 Important To Have




How to Prepare for House Guests

How to Prepare for House Guests

“I’m coming for a visit!” Five words that can excite or fright the average person. First off, what does that exactly mean? Are you coming to town and staying at a hotel or are you planning on crashing at my place? Good question, right? Well, assume that if you live in a really cool place that the latter is probably going to be the answer.traveler

Don’t freak out, it’s not really necessary. Often times our immediate response to such an announcement is mixed at best. I have company all the time, and even though I absolutely love it, I find myself inundated with thoughts and questions too. Perhaps it’s not those words at all that give us a moment of apprehension or anxiety but the actual person that is delivery the words.

So what do we say and do to prepare for the happy visitor?

Rule Number One: Don’t say “sure, yay, can’t wait to have you” if you don’t really want the person to stay with you. Nowhere does it say you have to house someone in your personal space if you don’t want to. With that said, there are a few people that you might have to bite the bullet and let through your door… like your parents and grandparents, but everyone else can be steered to another place to stay. Simply say to the  caller, “As much as I would love to have you stay with me, I think everyone would be more comfortable with more space. I can find you someplace local and close by if you’d like.” This shows that you want them to come but you also need them to stay elsewhere. You can also say, “I’m so B and Bhappy you are coming to TOWN, we have the best hotels and bed and breakfasts. Can I help you find one close to our home?” But what if they say, “I’m coming for a visit and I’m staying with you?” You say, “I’m excited that you are coming to visit, but to be honest, I think I would be a much better host if I put you up in a hotel or found you a reasonable hotel while you are here.” YOU do not have to house them if you don’t want. BE HONEST and tell them up front. Some people just can’t host for a myriad of reasons, and so you should do your best to be honest about this.

Rule Number Two: Breathe and make a list. To keep from feeling overwhelmed later, jot listdown the things you know you must do to prepare for a visitor (see below an example.) By using a list, you can delegate jobs to those that may live with you, you can keep a timeline and do things without feeling pressure. (Grant it, we all make the mad dash the day our visitors arrive freshening up our digs!)

Rule Number Three: Remember that you don’t have to ENTERTAIN the whole time your guest is in town. We all assume that we are so wonderful that our guests want to spend 100% of the time with us. Not true. Just as you are not used to being with someone 24/7, they are not either. So before your guest arrives come up with a simple itinerary for when you might be available to share time with them. (See example below

Rule Number Four: Be Realistic! No one expects your home to be a hotel. (If they do expect that, then they should find a hotel and stay there.) But your guests do expect you to respecthouse cleaning.png them enough to have your home reasonably clean and welcoming. This means doing a thorough cleanup the weekend before they arrive and then doing what I call a “mother-in-law” clean the night before  or day  they arrive (a light touch  up.) IF shoes are sitting by the door or your toothpaste is on the counter… oh well! They probably have the same at their house! Remember that they live somewhere too and it isn’t always perfect every day.

Rule Number Five: Pets. If you have pets make it known to your guests… and be honest with them. If you know “Buddy” drools all over the place or “Mitzy” leaves dead animals as a gift, tell your guest. Don’t let them find out the hard way. It’s hard for a guest to act IMG_0420like everything is normal and keep a calm face when they are mortified! If you know your animals like to jump or are easily excitable, instruct your guest how to handle this BEFORE they arrive to minimize the awkwardness and your hurt feelings when your guest seems annoyed by your “baby.”

Rule Number Six: Be a host/hostess. Your guest will always feel uncomfortable in a foreign environment and a little guidance by you will go a long way. You both want to enjoy the time you have together and this is a sure way to make it happen. When your guests arrive, show them around your home, pointing out where to find food when you are not around, towels in case the ones you laid out are dirty, or a place where they can escape if they need some private time. Yes, this is important! If you tell your guest up front that you have put a television in their room in case they want to get a little down time this will “allow” both of you a chance to unwind during the stay.

Rule Number Seven: My favorite…. I learned from one of my sister-in-laws that a great hostess always reaches out to his/her potential guest before they arrive to find out their favorite drinks, food, toiletries etc. She always states to her guests that if she gets the chance she will try to provide a few things to make them feel more comfortable. This way if she can’t get to the store to get those special items she isn’t held to it…. but she always has my Pepsi when I arrive and I know they are a Coke family. IF you go out of your way to add a few personal touches, it not only makes your guest feel welcome but it will show that you actually took time to think about them during this special time together.

Rule Number Eight: Planning activities is a must for visitors. It does not mean that you IMG_1252 to have a detailed schedule for every minute your guests are in town. What this means is, you need to give your guests options of things they can do with and without you. One way you can begin is reaching out to your guest to ask if there is anything in particular that they would like to do. DO NOT state that you will get tickets or set things up etc. After all, this is their “vacation” and as such, they should be responsible for what they are doing and paying for. However, it is important to send them a list of things to do in your area or have them available in their room when they arrive. One friend of mine gave me the idea of having a little area of books, pamphlets, maps etc. of the area for my guests to peruse in the evening. The reason you need activities is to help keep everyone sane! It’s great to just hang out and chat, but if you live in a place like Hawaii… your guest won’t want to sit in your house all day looking at you. (Even if you are beautiful) Remember, you still have a life, and if you have prior obligations, let your visitors know in advance.

Rule Number Nine: Planning Meals… This is perhaps the most difficult part of entertaining guests. I’ll be honest, I usually buy tons of food and it’s still in my house when my guests leave. So here’s what I have learned… plan for breakfast at least. Almost everyone eats breakfast at my home when they visit. Plan on two dinners at your home for a week long visit… then be ready to eat out or run to the grocery at the spare of minute. BUT… remember that your guests don’t expect you to make an elaborate meal for them (unless you are a great chef!) If you can make a few meals ahead of time and freeze them,IMG_0268 all the better. It is not your job to go broke feeding house guests, but you should at least make the effort to offer a few meals while they are in your home…after all, you would have to eat one way or another if they were not visiting you. Pastas and Grilling out are always a winner in my house!

Rule Number Ten: Have fun and enjoy the moment! This sounds simple, I know. But it is not easy to do when you are still working while your guests are around or when you have cranky guests. It’s even harder to do if you are constantly worried about everyone’s happiness and your over-tired yourself. So how do you relax???  When your guests arrive state right up front, ” Listen, I really want us all to have fun while you are here so let’s just be low key, relaxed and remember that we just aren’t going to worry about the small stuff.” AND THEN DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE SMALL STUFF!!! If little Johnny throws a tantrum at the pool, smile at your guest and say…”To be young again… no thank you” and laugh. And when a drink gets spilled on your new white couch, twinge only briefly and remember that a good “Spot Shot” burst will get it out or the local steamer… it’s not worth freaking out about. And when you breakdown in the desert, miles from the nearest car repair, start telling stories until help arrives. These are the things that you ALL will remember about this visit years later. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to laugh about it? IMG_4478

Now you have the ten rules to a successful visit by no doubt a very special guest! Enjoy and share with all your friends!

List to Do 

  • Clean house – start with guest room, bathroom and kitchen, main living areas
  • Send email with list of things to do in the area (make one up that you can add to and continue to send to others)
  • Send an email requesting food preferences, any known allergies
  • Mark on Calendar what days to clean what and when to grocery shop
  • Clean out car, make room for luggage in trunk
  • Wash sheets and towels for guest room or fluff them in dryer with a bounce to give freshness to them
  • Send an email with days you are available to join them in an activity or two
  • Think of each person and make sure each will be comfortable (especially true if small children are coming and you don’t even have a book in the house)



  • Available to join breakfast if before:
  • Lunch on these days:
  • Dinner on these days:
  • Days I can spend the whole day:
  • Evenings during the week:



Planning a Holiday By Yourself



It’s your first time away from family and a big holiday is looming ahead. What do you do? Do you look sad and forlorn and hope a work colleague asks you over for dinner? Do you plan a trip to a close-by getaway? Or do you bite the bullet and start your own holiday tradition?

Well, it depends on the holiday of course. And it also depends on you. If holidays are not your thing, then take a trip. If you aren’t into planning and making up your own traditions or doing the ones you grew up with…well, look for a friend at work and lament how you miss your family and being alone. I’m sure you’ll be invited to celebrate with this kind soul. But my advice to every person going out on their own for the first time is, start your own tradition. No matter what, you will eventually have to figure out your holiday plans, because after all, you are a grown up now.

IMG_3030Perhaps the hardest holidays to be alone are Thanksgiving and Christmas/or the equivalent in various religions. These are “family” holidays and can be depressing for most people alone during these times. So do yourself a favor and embrace each holiday as it presents itself.

The best way to survive your first holiday alone is to make a plan…seriously. Start by thinking about what you liked as a child at home, and write down all the things you want to keep in your own celebration of the holiday. This includes favorite foods, games, traditions. Once you have this written down, think about adding something new that is all your own. Maybe it’s something you heard or read about or found on Pinterest. Put this down on your list too.

Next, DECORATE. It may sound crazy but decorating your place will help you get into the mood of the holiday. You don’t need to spend a ton of money, but with a few small items you will cheer up just thinking about the holiday. A simple flower arrangement (even in a man’s apartment) can go a long way for getting in the mood. When purchasing decorations IMG_3021be smart. Don’t waste your money on paper decor. Go to your discount stores like TJMaxx, Ross, Marshalls and Big Lots and find a few decorations that you can build upon each year. Buy items that when the holiday is over, you can put into a rubbermaid/or container and use year after year. Now is a great time to start a collection of something. You’ll always remember the first decorations you bought for yourself.

Then, write a list of all the friends that might be alone on the this holiday and carefully think about which ones you could imagine spending the whole day with…because you definitely don’t want to invite someone to your home if you can only handle fifteen minutes of their company. Set the list aside and then plan out your day. Decide if you want to invite any of these friends to share in your holiday.

Things to think about:


Friends: If you can invite a friend or more over, this is the best way to roll. Thanksgiving is a tad bit more fun with friends.

Food: Depending on how many friends you invite, always divvy up the bringing of food. You should never try to host the whole meal yourself. IMG_2915Why? Because most likely your friend is feeling a little lonely too; and being responsible for bringing a dish to your home will help him/her get in the mood of the day. Besides, it’s cheaper if you share the cost of a Thanksgiving meal.

Activities: Always  plan an activity, whether it’s watching football, baking the dessert together, or having everyone write a card of why they are thankful for each other. By having something planned, it breaks up the gloominess that might set in after the meal is over and everyone starts thinking of home.

BEING BY YOURSELF: You notice I did not say “ALONE.” IF you choose to celebrate the day without others around…HAVE FUN!!! Still make your plan for the day. Instead of cooking for yourself, find a place that you can pick up a meal or sit down for a meal. Find something to do on that day that truly interests you, whether it’s a movie, a hike, a photo outing. photographerDON’T do something you could do any day of the week. Most importantly, take time to call at least one friend or family member and tell them why you are thankful they are in your life. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful you will feel at the end of the day.


Christmas/Hanukkah: Perhaps the most difficult holiday to be away from family is Christmas or Hanukkah. Shrouded in customs and traditions, families join together more than probably any other holiday. So what do you do when you can’t get home?

MAKE A PLAN: A plan for this holiday has to start early because we all know that December is a month of parties and gatherings like no other month. As a single person, you don’t want to find yourself calling friends to join you, only to find that they  have already made plans for the holiday. So by the first week of December you should make a plan as to what you want to do.

Friends: Choose friends that have the desire to celebrate the holiday. Don’t just choose anyone, because you might get someone that  is a stick in the mud…which might make you depressed about not being home. Don’t expect those that you invite to stay all day either. (They may have others they wish to see on this day.) IF you can get a friend to spend Christmas Eve with you and on into the next day, you can have fun decorating, baking, watching Christmas movies etc.

IMG_3029Decorate: Definitely decorate your home for this holiday. Like Thanksgiving… invest in quality (but inexpensive) decorations. Start by purchasing a small tree /or menorah. Shop at the stores mentioned above for ornaments and lights. You don’t have to have the most elaborate tree but start small and add to it each year. Hang a few lights in your window or even on your wall of your living room. Buy a candle that smells like the holiday.

Traditions: Make sure you do your favorite traditions and ADD a new one that is your own. (or add some of your invited guests’ traditions) When you get involved in the traditions you grew up with, you not only enjoy the holiday more, you carryon something of your family for generations to come. I always like to add new traditions if I can. Some you might try are, cookie making, ornament making, shopping on Black Friday, sending cards, start a collection of ornaments, and eating a particular food for breakfast.

Being By Yourself: This can actually be a fun time to celebrate the holiday by yourself. Imagine making a plan where you are so busy doing all the things you wanted to do on this holiday. Imagine decorating a tree the way YOU want, like in a particular theme. Or baking the cookies you always wanted but no one liked in your family. You can spend weeknights watching holiday movies and adding decorations in every room of your home! Instead of the traditional holiday meal, you could actually add things to it, making enough to freeze for New Years while you watch football or the latest NETFLIX series you fell behind on. 2015-11-20_2049You could volunteer at a local Homeless Shelter, or travel to different churches and synagogues throughout the month checking them out. And if you are missing home, you can make it a mission to document your activities on your phone and send them to loved ones far away so that they can share in your exciting holiday activities.

These are just two holidays of many that require a little planning to keep the blues away when you are by yourself. The thing to remember is that everyone at one point in their life must be away from family during a holiday. It’s just the way it is in our fast paced working world. So don’t get down and and sulk around, embrace this exciting time when YOU get to take control and make your holiday what YOU always wanted. You’ll be surprised how much fun you will have if you let yourself enjoy the holiday!



How to Manage Your Weekends…


College Beach sceneFirst, give yourself a break!! It IS very difficult to jump straight into the adult world and deal with all the boring tasks that go with it. So start by making it a plan to enjoy your Friday night after work and all day Saturday. This means, being responsible in what you plan on these days but refrain from cleaning, shopping and paying the bills.

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Everyone needs a little down time. Choose what you do on your “off days” so that you do not run yourself into debt or exhaust yourself to the point that you can’t do the “adult” things on Sunday. You don’t have to go out every weekend, and you shouldn’t. If something comes up at work, and friends plan to go out on the town… join them. But if this is a usual affair each week, you need to conveniently find yourself with other plans every other week. You can’t and shouldn’t be forking over your hard earn money towards partying every weekend…eventually you will be out of money and be stuck at home with “mom and dad!”

Plan at least one fun weekend a month and make it a goal to get to that weekend. It will give you something to look forward to on those hard days of being an adult. Plan a hiking event or sports activity that you would not usually do. Spend the day at the bookslargest bookstore in your state. You get the idea…do something you think you might like that requires you to plan it out. It might be a drive out to a lake or a visit to a local museum that you always wondered about. With this said… it should not cost you a ton of money! This should be something you could do for under $50.

Next, plan a bi-monthly outing. This might cost you more money but you should be saving money towards it (more on that later.) This is a weekend that allows you to travel out of town or to attend a major concert. Try to concertlimit yourself to $200. You will most likely go over budget, but if you try to keep this amount in your head, you’re not going to plan a trip to Paris and find yourself disappointed when you don’t have the money to go. (Save the BIG trips, like Europe and Asia etc., and cruises until you are more financially stable and stable in your job as well. Contrary to what you might think, “thirty” is young and you will find you have a far better time at that age traveling then in your twenties.)

RELAX: Now what should you do when you aren’t doing your one special weekend or your bi-monthly outing, you might ask. It’s simple, start by knowing that every person needs to have time to relax. Whether that is sleeping in a couple of hours on Saturday morning, laying by the pool, or reading on the couch you need to find time that is just for you (even if you live by aloneyourself.) This is especially true if you are in a committed relationship where you are together all the time. You need to let your special someone know what your plans are before the weekend arrives, that way there are no hard feelings when you say you are going to take a nap or head out for a drive. Your “alone time” doesn’t need to be more than thirty minutes even, you just need time to be by yourself and breathe.

BE ACTIVE: It’s important that you be active on your weekends. A good way to do this is to get involved with a Recreational program in your area, or join a group on Meet Ups. The Internet is a great way to find out what activities there are in your area. DON’T be shy! Chances are that the people you will be meeting will be just like you. If group activities are not for you, exercise! Take a bike ride or go for a walk. Being physically active will help your mental state and will give you energy that you would not normally get just sitting around at home.10712723_10152305533361671_4665334491060525254_n

ENTERTAIN: Perhaps one of the greatest problems with being new to the adult world is the awkwardness of entertaining at home. As a new adult you have to change your thinking on how you will have friends over. No more “pre-gaming” should be your motto…(okay, we’ll let you have just a few.) Entertaining at home is more in the lines of having a few friends over from work for a BBQ. Or one might have a group of friends over to have cocktails and play games. It sounds terrible, I know. But this is the way you begin entertaining in the adult world. You’ll be surprised how much fun you and your guests will have. Keep in mind that if you do indeed entertain at home, that budgeting for food and drink is imperative. My suggestion is to ask your friends to bring something to offset the costs of feeding or providing all the drinks for the night.

SUNDAY… This is the ADULT DAY. I’m sorry to say it, but this is the day that most adults get their “home” work done. This day should always be routine for you. Why? It should be routine so as not to add stress 2015-10-19_0357 you start your workweek. My suggestion is to get up at a reasonable time (before ten) and know exactly how you are going to conquer your day. Perhaps you attend church, have lunch, then get down to business. Make Sunday your laundry day. A perfect day to throw a load of laundry in while you clean your bathroom/s, dust, sweep or vacuum, and pick up your kitchen. Set a timer on your watch or phone for thirty minutes to remind you that you need to check on your laundry so it actually gets done. Most “cleanups” take no more than 1.5 hours to complete if you haven’t destroyed your home in the course of a week.

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Once you are done with all of your chores, you should have time for football, watching your favorite television series etc. And guess what you can do while you are sitting there on the couch…you got it! Fold your laundry. During commercials put them away. Walla, you are done! Unless of course it is that Sunday where you need to get your bills paid. Lesson ONE! Never do you bills late in the day! IF it is bill pay Sunday, make sure you take care of them while you are still energetic and can complete them quickly. You don’t need to be stressing about money right before you go to bed anyhow. By 5pm you should have everything done and should be able to have dinner and enjoy a quiet evening before getting ready to start the next week.

Don’t let things pile up during the week or you will feel the weight of the world on you when the weekend arrives! You can do it. It just takes planning and staying on a routine.