Read an Excerpt
In the "Seven Days a Week" section of this book, you'll find ideas for daily organization--from morning till night. In the "House Works" section, you'll find dozens of ways to make and maintain your home as a place in which people like to live.
Anticipation is half the battle: knowing what's coming up in the months ahead and having a plan to do what you need to do. Who among us hasn't had the experience of forgetting to service the car, the furnace, or the air-conditioning until it's too late? In "Twelve Months a Year" you'll find ideas for planning ahead that add sanity to tomorrow--and today. Every Family Manager deals with dramatic changes: having a baby, sending a child off to college, moving, changing jobs. You'll find ideas and plans for these and more in the "Big Life Changes" part of the book. The tips in the "Special Occasions" section will help you plan and pull off memory-making moments--big and small--throughout the year.
Finally, in the "Holiday Bonus" section at the end, you'll find a number of ways to make memories and begin family traditions for holidays throughout the year, plus a sane way of coping with The Big Season: Thanksgiving through New Year's.
When you're at your wits' end, wouldn't it be nice to have someone hand you a plan to get your house clean in a weekend? To have at your fingertips fifty ways to entertain bored kids, none of which is planting them in front of TV cartoons? Throughout the book, look for Emergency Measures to solve these and other problems, which, I continue to learn, are just opportunities in disguise. They are opportunities--for personal success and satisfaction, for discovering new ways to approachand solve problems, and for learning how to live and work together as a happy family through the ups and downs of life.
There are a number of ways to use this book. If you're just starting out as a Family Manager--or if you are about to experience meltdown--you may want to read it from front to back. As I've said before in my other books (and will say again), no Family Manager is equally proficient in all the departments she oversees. So if you're an experienced Family Manager who has most things under control most of the time, you may want to use the Contents or the Index to look for ideas to supplement your weaker areas. If you've read my other Family Manager books and are already running your home via the seven departments, and your team members (a.k.a. family members) are functioning pretty well by the ground rules you set up in family meetings, you may wish to skim part 1 and then skip to part 2. Whoever you are, and however you operate as a Family Manager, this book can help. Take the ideas you like and adapt them to your family and your life.
You can start today: June seventeenth, January first, April fourth, October twentieth, or November eleventh. You don't have to wait for a new year, a new month, or the perfect time, because, to be perfectly frank, there is no perfect time to get organized--other than now.
The Big Three Principles (Times Two)
Organization is an ongoing art, a process, not an end product. It's something to practice, to experiment and live with. Beyond chaos, beyond holding on for dear life by the tips of our breaking fingernails, there is survival, and there is life.
THE FIRST BIG THREE PRINCIPLES: NO, NO, NO
1. There is no such thing as perfection. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. We're all human beings dealing with other human beings. When we give up trying to be perfect, we can get on with a rewarding life.
2. There are no standards but your own and your family's. You get to decide how clean is clean enough; how fast is fast enough; how much work, time, money, and energy to devote to what. Don't fall into the Mother (or Sister or Best Friend) Knows Best trap, or the What Will the Neighbors Think trap. Your standards are your standards, and they're the ones you're striving to meet.
3. No, it won't ever all be done. Bathrooms, once clean, have a way of getting dirty. Home is a place, as the saying goes, where they have to take you in. I prefer a more positive outlook: home is meant to be lived in, in the fullest, most potential-fulfilling way for everyone in it. That means that some things just won't be important enough to spend time on.
THE SECOND BIG THREE PRINCIPLES; YES, YES, YES
1. Yes, creating a home that's a good place for you and your family to be is a worthy goal.
2. Yes, you can manage your home according to your family's style, goals, and standards.
3. Yes, you can allow yourself to count your accomplishments, not your shortcomings. Doing that can only lead to more accomplishments, according to your standards, and to feeling satisfied rather than overwhelmed.