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7 Steps To Ease Your Pill Pain

7 Steps To Ease Your Pill Pain

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Let’s Simplify Pill Management

Whether you are a caregiver to an older adult or a mom managing a family who values wellness, you might find that administering pills can become almost a full-time job. But here are seven steps to ease your pill pain.

I want to share a system that can simplify pill management and increase consistency in everyone’s taking meds and supplements.

The secret is the pillbox!

What You Need

 Here are some tools you might need for this process.

  • Pillboxes with morning, noon, evening, and bedtime compartments are available here.

  • Label maker (optional)

  • Sharpie

  • A medium to large plastic bin or container – these Multi-Purpose bins work wonders. Also, here’s my favorite plastic box ever.

Follow These Steps

  1. Place all prescribed and OTC meds and supplements that household members regularly take in the plastic bin or tote. The amount and size of pill bottles on hand determine the size of your container or box. This step only happens once because this bin will become the forever home of ingestible medicines and supplements at home. You may benefit from a second plastic container for all OTC medicines NOT regularly taken, like cough syrup, painkillers, allergy medicine, etc.

  2. Write the name of each person (or initial) who takes each medication on the bottles’ lids. Include the intake frequency of that product. For example, “M 1-am / 2-pm” indicates that person “M” takes one of those pills in the morning and two in the evening. Repeat this process with all bottles for easy identification at a glance.

  3. Assign each person taking medications or supplements regularly a pillbox and label both sides of each pillbox with their name.

  4. Line all pillboxes on your counter or table and open their lids.

  5. Work by person – Select all bottles with someone’s name and place all meds/supplements they need in their pillbox, according to timing and dosage.

  6. Work by-product – If you’d instead work with one product at a time, distribute a medication or supplement into the pillbox of each person taking that product.

  7. Repeat the process for each person or per product bottle (depending on your preferred method).

  8. Close all pillbox lids when each box is complete with all medications and supplements for that individual.

**Devote 30 minutes to this task every week. Make it a commitment and calendar this activity!

Where and Why

Ingestible medicines and supplements are best kept in the kitchen, not the bathroom. The humidity in the bathroom might affect the product’s integrity.

Keeping medication and supplements in the kitchen makes sense because we ingest these, usually with water or another beverage. The pantry or a cabinet in the kitchen are optimal spaces for these pillboxes and the bin with the medication bottles.

On the other hand, things we apply to our skin, hair, teeth, or nails go in the bathroom. This group includes rubbing alcohol, H2O2, antibiotic creams, muscle pain patches, cotton, gauze, bandages, etc.

It is simpler to take medications and supplements when we do not need to sort the product, open several bottles, and make the same decisions repeatedly, several times per day. It makes sense to streamline this process.

When medicines and supplements are in a single place, finding what we need at any moment is easier.

A central location for meds and supplements also facilitates knowing what needs reordering and when.

It also eliminates having multiple open bottles of the same product.

This process has an inherent accountability built in; it’s easy to notice when someone forgets their meds and when it happens just by looking at the pillbox. Thus, this system also increases the consistency in taking medications.

Make It Happen

These five steps described above will make it easier for everyone to take their meds and supplements consistently.

However, to make the system work:

  • Devote 30 minutes to this task every week.

  • Place this activity on the calendar as a recurrent weekly activity.

  • Make it a commitment.

Pro-Tip: Consolidate medicine when it arrives at your home. Usually, medication bottles come half empty. There is no reason to have several half-empty bottles of the same product, which takes up a lot of space and leads to expired medication around the home.

Designing The Perfect Kids’ Playroom

Designing The Perfect Kids’ Playroom

Note: This is a guest post by Kevin Connors of Inspired Organizers in Phoenix, Arizona

Creating the Perfect Kids’ Playroom

When envisioning well-organized spaces in your home, the kids’ playroom may not be the first that comes to mind. However, creating that ideal place  for your children can foster their creativity, exploration, and joy.  It also makes it easier for parents to maintain order and encourage imaginative play.

In this guide, we’ll explore the best practices for organizing a kids’ playroom. Striking the perfect balance between fun and functionality creates a space that nurtures learning and enjoyment.

First, Declutter and Organize

The initial step in organizing a kids’ playroom is decluttering the space. Begin by sorting toys, games, and other items into specific categories, such as puzzles, building blocks, stuffed animals, art supplies, and board games. Discard broken or unused items. Consider donating toys your children have outgrown to make room for new experiences.

Investing in proper storage solutions is crucial for maintaining a tidy playroom. Combine open shelving, closed cabinets, bins, and baskets to store toys and belongings effectively. Open shelving allows easy access to frequently used toys, while closed cabinets can safely store items that might be hazardous to younger children. Clear bins and labeled baskets help children identify where to return toys after playtime. This encourages them to participate in the cleanup process.

Activity Zones Ideas

Organize the playroom into different activity zones to stimulate specific types of play and learning. Here are some ideas:

  • Reading Nook: Designate a cozy corner with a bookshelf or bookcase, soft cushions, and good lighting to create a welcoming reading space.
  • Art and Craft Area: Set up a table with art supplies, drawing paper, coloring books, and washable markers to ensure ample space for creative exploration.
  • Building and Construction Zone: Utilize open shelves or storage units for items like LEGO, building blocks, and magnetic tiles. This inspires engineering and imaginative play.
  • Pretend Play Corner: Arrange a play kitchen, dolls, action figures, dress-up costumes, and accessories for imaginative play.
  • Transform the playroom into an excellent environment for learning. Introduce educational elements like a whiteboard for drawing and practicing writing skills. Consider adding a map, alphabet chart, or numbers display to make learning fun and accessible.

Additional Considerations

Consider implementing a toy rotation system to keep things fresh and avoid toy fatigue. Store some toys away and rotate them periodically. This method reduces clutter and reignites children’s interest in toys they last saw a while ago.

Safety is paramount in a kids’ playroom. Anchor large furniture to the wall to prevent tipping, cover electrical outlets, and use cord holders to manage wires. Keep small items or toys with small parts away from younger children to avoid choking hazards.

Flexibility is vital as children’s interests evolve, and their playroom should grow their interests.

Kid's Playroom by Inspired Organizers Arizona

Designing an organized kids’ playroom is a fulfilling investment in your child’s development and happiness. You can build a space that encourages creativity, imagination, and joyful play by decluttering, employing smart storage solutions, creating purposeful activity zones, emphasizing safety, and incorporating learning elements.

With some planning and effort, you can create a magical haven where your child can explore, learn, and make unforgettable memories.

About the Author: Kevin Connors owns Inspired Organizers in Phoenix, AZ, and serves as the Director of Membership of the NAPO Arizona Chapter.

Organizing Kids’ Memories

Organizing Kids’ Memories

All those school projects, papers, and awards are everywhere, and you can’t find it in your heart to let them go.

Organizing kids’ memories lets you declutter your life and enjoy those mementos better. I will show you how.

First, gather all your children’s projects, artwork, school papers, trophies, awards, and the like. Go through every space, drawer, closet, and room in your home. Leave no space unchecked. Take all this kid-related stuff to a single place in your home to collect them together.

However, stay hyper-focused during this gathering process. Don’t get distracted by other things you might find. Your focus is crucial! Getting distracted is what trips people through this process, and then they get confused and can’t finish half the job.

You will have many miscellaneous items once this material is in one place. Now subdivide this big pile by child (if you have two or more children).

After having a separate pile for each of your children, sort each one by year.

When you can’t recall the year of this creation, assign some chronological order as best as you can.

You will have several groups of items per each of your children. Now follow the steps described below for each year per child. You must work on one group (year or stage) for one child at a time.

Horseshoe child's art creation

Photograph Non-Scannable Items

Take good pictures of everything other than paper, like artwork pieces, medals, trophies, etc. As you take each photo, include a post-it note with the child’s name and the item’s date.

Place this post note at the bottom of each article so you can crop it out of the picture later.

Then, when ready to work on a project with these pictures (like a photo book or scrapbook), crop the note out if you can tag or caption the image.

If taking pictures of these items suffice, you can let go of the physical object.

When dealing with trophies, medals, and awards that are necessary keeps, find a suitable location in the home where you can gather and display these items in a cohesive, aesthetic way. You want these things to look intentional within your home..

The Written Work 

Group items related to written work like stories, poems, analyses, and the like. The idea for these is to make binders or books later on. But, for now, organize the material to create these books later.

The “Warm & Fuzzy” Box

Regardless of your most ruthless efforts to eliminate clutter, there might be a few (a few) small items that you or your child can’t simply let go of, even when you have them in digital form as well. That’s where the “Warm & Fuzzy” box comes in.

Everyone should have a “warm & fuzzy” box, by the way. This is a nice-looking box, basket, or container with a lid that includes items we keep forever. Those items take us back in time, making us laugh and cry every time.

Therefore, it is crucial to be selective with what we include here. Not everything makes it to the coveted “warm & fuzzy” box material status. Remember that!Kid's art

Paper and Flat Media

Loose papers, awards, recognitions, messages, etc., on paper, are scannable media. As you do this, name the electronic file with the child’s name and the year they made it. This process is equivalent to the Post-it notes you applied to items photographed.
Scan everything using your printer/scanner, iPhone, or any equipment you might have or can purchase. This equipment is not that expensive anymore. However, having a reliable scanner at home would be an excellent investment.
Stories, poems, essays, and other items you put together to make binders or books (step 3) should be digitized, ensuring a safe record. If you do, ensure that pages of the same item remain together in sequential order.
You will manage the scanned material like you did with the pictures. So, think of each scanned paper or project as a digital image comparable to the photos.

Rinse and Repeat

Once you finish working with all the mementos of a child’s years, repeat the process with each of your other children, working a year or a stage at a time.

In my case, we have three children, and for each one, I divided their electronic files into four main stages: infancy, elementary school, middle school, and high school.

Note that pictures or souvenirs from extra-curricular activities and summers get included in one of these four stages, depending on the year.

Create Digital Files

Download all the photos you took of non-scannable items into an electronic file. You could name this file “Kids’ Projects” or something like that.

Then, create a file folder per child and move every picture related to a particular child into their electronic folder. After this, you may subdivide each child’s electronic folder into years, stages, or any way you want to do this.

Remember to add all images from your scanning process to your digital folders.

From Now On

When you gather all those projects, awards, and papers from around the home, consider it a clean slate and a new beginning. Pay attention to how you manage your children’s documents, projects, and awards. The key is to stay on top of things. Here’s how you do that.

Every day, when kids come home from school or extra-curricular activities

  • Note important dates and deadlines and place those dates on the family calendar.
  • Post any school reminders for your children on a magnetic or chalkboard where they can see them every morning. 
  • Discard those notes or papers. Those are the miscellaneous papers you tossed in Step 1 above.

The Artwork

When children bring home artwork pieces, trophies, medals, and other non-flat items:

  • Photograph these as soon as they get home (so they look their best and you don’t forget to do this). 
  • Save these pictures in the child’s electronic file. Name the file with the child’s name and year. 
  • Add subsequent art projects during that year to that same file.
  • Create a new file with the child’s name and year every year. 

You or your child might want to display such an item for a while. That’s great! Just ensure you place this item in that particular location you designated for this kind of thing. But, again, you don’t want their projects to look or feel like clutter.

In any case, taking those pictures early on gives you and your kids the freedom to let go of the item after displaying it for some time.

The Paper

Scan all paper items and flat media such as report cards, academic evaluations, school pictures, stories, essays, and poems as soon as they come home.

If you can’t process these items immediately, park these papers in a bin close to the scanner and assign a day of the week or the month in your calendar (yes, do it now!) to periodically scan them. Of course, discard originals as soon as you digitize them. But should you need to keep it, place it in a file with the child’s name in your filing cabinet.

Now You Tell The Story

It’s a lot of work, I know. But consider that all this work needs to be done just at the beginning of the project because you did not have a method to deal with all this stuff. So, once you follow the initial process, you only need to stay on top of it. 

But why do all of this in the first place? First, this solves the overwhelming number of papers and artifacts cluttering our home space. Second, this process allows you to have all that worth-keeping material organized and ready to create meaningful stories of each stage of your children’s lives. 

Telling a story is the real purpose of keeping all these projects, pictures, and awards. Having all those papers and items with no order all over the house does not tell any story nor inspire anyone to create one. This material is meaningless when scattered around or carelessly stored in a bin somewhere. 

On the other hand, memories in book form, like photo books, are easy to keep neatly on a shelf or library and are a joy to share. Our children will be able to see and enjoy their path through life and share this fantastic legacy with friends, family, and their children.

Also, imagine the storage space you will recover when you let go of physical items and original papers! However, you might think throwing all that away is what you do not want to do. But how often has anybody enjoyed those things since you put them away? Is there space in your home to display them all? Are they all worth exhibiting? Do you want your home to look like a kindergarten classroom? 

When your child created a project, you displayed it for about a week. But eventually, that project and so many others started cluttering your home and your life. So, this way of purposely and intentionally working with your children’s stuff will take you where you want to be.

Looking Beneath Your Need to Keep the Stuff

If you feel it is too hard to let go of those physical objects and original papers, even when they are safely digitized, what you are trying to keep is the feelings they evoke. It is not about the item itself.

Images of these items can still satisfy those feelings without drowning you in “stuff.” Instead, having these memories accessibly organized enables everyone to enjoy and share them for many years.

The Greatest Pitfall in Home Management

The Greatest Pitfall in Home Management

No Time for Housekeeping

Here’s my take on the most significant pitfall in home management.

That laundry basket seems to travel around the house and never gets emptied. Do you know that basket? Families don’t have time to finish the laundry. Cleaning up the kitchen is a problem for most people. Laundry, paper, and kitchen are the nemeses of so many! I repeatedly hear an argument: “There is not enough time to keep the house in order.” The problem here is a lack of systems and time management skills.

Have You Ever Had a Managerial Role?

I have identified a common pitfall among household managers — not acting as managers at home. Most people do not apply in their homes the skill set that makes them successful at work. But why not?

If you work outside the house, you have managed to keep your job, staying on top of things. Regardless of the type of work you do, there are out-of-the-ordinary projects and day-to-day ones. Those routine tasks comprise the backbone of your job. Whether you supervise those tasks or execute them, the responsibility is yours. If you stopped ensuring those processes are thoroughly performed, things would go south rapidly.

Why can’t we all plan and execute like actual managers at home? One might think it is because home is where we rest and want to think of things other than chores and duties. 

Here’s the Irony

But the irony here is that the more you feel that way, the more chaotic your home environment will be and the less you can rest and relax.

You are looking for the million things you can’t find in the home, buying duplicates, wasting time, effort, and money, forgetting essential family commitments, or not having a dining room table available to gather around.

Each time we neglect our home duties, we add a new layer of chaos to our most intimate environment and the corresponding energetic shift that such chaos brings. Are you sure your home is where you want to rest and forget about the stress of your job?

What Get Scheduled, Gets Done

Running the home like a well-oiled machine requires planning what needs to happen. Remember that what gets scheduled gets done. 

You would not leave it to chance or rely on “when you have time” to make client appointments at work or to write that report for the boss, right? So, why not schedule house chores and involve every household member? This way, everyone contributes to the home and learns to execute all these domestic chores. This knowledge is essential. Your kids don’t want to go to college to realize they don’t know how to boil an egg.

Then Schedule It!

Much of our household stress would decrease if we transferred some of the management skills we proudly displayed at work to the home and started planning and scheduling the many menial household tasks. 

Planning allows us to control when and how these things happen, while scheduling means that those chores will stop interfering with our lives — they will be part of it.

Suggested Reading:

 

Some Clutter Truths

Some Clutter Truths

How Would That Look Like?

Imagine a beautiful store window. But then you can’t focus on any particular item in it.

Think of a beautiful model home. 

Then clutter covers countertops, cabinets are packed to the brim, and boxes are everywhere.

Visualize a hotel room with a closet full of empty wire hangers, every inch of the walls has some artwork or painting, blankets (with prints of all colors and different types) on the bed, and bathroom cabinets full of toiletries to last for three months (with daily use).

What if The Container Store showroom was full of mismatched hangers, many pieces of clothing on top of each other, and store supplies boxes under the clothes?

Clutter Truths

The above scenarios convey the following truths about clutter:

  • We can’t organize clutter
    • We can’t organize clutter
    • A cluttered place will never look elegant, inviting, organized, or appealing
    • Clutter will ruin the beauty of any space
    • Less is more when it comes to elegance
    • Clear space is to a home what a wide, white mat is to a work of art – It highlights the beauty of its surroundings

Why Can’t We Let Go

We often struggle to let go of things we no longer need or want. This difficulty might come from fear of not having something when required (if we ever need it). But often, we don’t know what we own and continue buying more of the same.

Other times, we think discarding some expensive item is throwing money away. But the money was spent when buying that thing, not when tossing it—keeping costly things we no longer want will not return the money. And frequently, keeping those things costs us more money than letting those items go.

In the meantime, the fear of letting go holds us hostage to a cluttered environment – a home in disarray and chaos. Whether we notice it or not, our life energy gets sucked into a tornado of clutter. And the cluttered space prevents us from enjoying the things we do keep. When everything seems unique, then nothing is.

I invite you to take the plunge and free yourself of useless possessions. Re-evaluate your relationship with things. The less we own, the easier it is to keep up with what we have, and the more we start appreciating everything – material possessions or otherwise.

I can partner with you on this journey! Let’s talk.