Archive for the ‘Young Adults’ Category

Whatever Works

July 31, 2012

The other day I had a wonderful conversation with my younger son, Andy. He said,  ‘Mom, you’re going to be so proud of me! Wait ’til I tell you what I’ve done.” I was trying to imagine as he said that what was coming next. Never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted what he told me. Andy went on to say “I just bought an accordion file. I’m filing all my receipts and important papers. It’s really working well for me.” He was right! I am proud of him. As the conversation progressed I learned that he was tired of having to hunt through stacks of paper to find what he was looking for. He was also tired of looking at the stacks of paper. Awhile ago, I had suggested that he find a filing system that works for him. I wanted him to be able to find important documents without wasting time hunting through piles of paper. In fact, I believe I had sent him some pictures of different methods to control paper chaos. As a mom of a young adult living on his own I can only make so many suggestions before they become an annoyance rather than a help. I was very pleasantly surprised that Andy had taken the initiative and found a system that works for him and that he was willing to use.

That is a key component to being organized. Figure out what will work for you and then commit to using the system. It does no good to sit back and figure out what works unless you are willing to put in the time to implement the system. Clearly, Andy was motivated. I asked why he was using an accordion file instead of a two drawer filing cabinet. He responded that the accordion worked for him because he doesn’t have a dedicated work space yet. He told me he puts the accordion file on a shelf in his coat closet. He loves that he knows where the papers are currently and where to put more as they come into his house. I pointed out that this system will accomodate only so much paper. He told me he was aware of that and that he plans to cull the individual sections a couple of times a year. I think he has it all figured out and that this system will work for him!

Going to College?

July 11, 2012

Are you the parent of a rising freshman of college? If you are, I bet there are lots of things on your mind. I’m also sure your child has lots on his mind, too! He (I’m using ‘He’ but you substitute the pronoun ‘She’ if you have a daughter) has probably received information from the college about his new living space (dorm room) and maybe even the names and contact information of his roommate(s).

I was at a client’s house a few weeks ago and my client’s son was talking to me about his dorm room. He received the dimensions of the room (it’s small) and now knows that he’ll be sharing the space with 2 other guys. He’s always had his own room! He’s starting to wonder how he’s going to keep everything he wants to bring with him organized. He’s also wondering how he’s going to manage his time – have fun and do school work.

I gave him a little advice which I’ll share with you. Make use of vertical space. Use the space under the bed. Many companies make plastic storage drawers that fit beautifully under beds. Use the vertical space in the closet – maybe invest in hangers that hook onto each other. Don’t forget to label all electronics – cords, chargers – everything. So many people use the same or similar devices. So, keep track of what’s yours by labeling it!

As for managing time… even though you and your child may use the calendar in your phones buy him a calendar to hang on the wall in front of his desk. Get one that is large enough so that he can write down the important things to remember. This way important meetings and paper due dates will be front and center. Prioritizing tasks and keeping track of everything you need to take care of is a learned skill. Try writing these tasks down. Do the one you think will take the most time and that you want to do least FIRST! This way you get it over with (no procrastinating) and maybe it won’t take quite as long as you thought!

If you live near Metro-Atlanta my colleague, Jonda Beattie, and I are presenting a workshop on July 20th which will cover topics like setting up a dorm room, budgeting, paperwork and time management. Complete information about the workshop is on my website under ‘Events’. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Back to School?

August 18, 2010

Is the young adult in your family going back to school soon? If so, this is a very busy time for you. I remember somewhat fondly when our boys would get ready to go back to school. What they needed to do to prepare often depended on their upcoming living situation. In other words, if they were going back to a familiar dorm and had put some things in storage nearby then we had less to do to get ready. If they were moving into a house or an apartment with some friends in a completely new town then we had lots to do. Usually, my guys would put off asking me for help until the eleventh hour, when they were scrambling to collect everything. Then there was the issue of how to get it to school. It was no big deal if we were driving – assuming it all fit in the car. Once or twice, I remember, we shipped some things via UPS to the UPS store nearest the school. That worked out really well. The duffle bags were waiting for us to pick up at the UPS store – we just had to get them up into the dorm. Enlisting a few of our son’s friends to help was never a problem.

There are other things to do to prepare your young adult. Talk about budgeting money. How do you work within a budget? What do you have to do to create that budget? These are really great topics of conversation. Give your young adult some strategies. Tell them to use cash. One of the most effective ways to stay within your budget is to have only a certain amount of money in cash to spend each day/week/or month. Once the cash is gone – it is gone. Advise them that using a credit card is similar to renting money. Unless you pay the balance at the end of each billling cycle you pay rent on the balance in the form of interest – at a very high rate. Boy, does that interest ever add up! Need more tips – check out Chapter 4 (Organzing Your Budget) in my book: Flying Solo: A Guide to Organizing Your Home When You Leave Your Parents’ Nest.