Go simple this spring
Spring cleaning is the perfect time to clear your home, home office (and mind), but how do you get it all done when you're a work-at-home mom? In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen offers expert tips on easy ways to simplify your life this spring.
Learn from your tax mistakes
When your work-at-home income comes from being an independent contractor or business owner, tax time takes on a whole new meaning. Every year when I’m in the throes of tax season, I swear I’ll adopt a more effective system for the coming year. As soon as the pain wears off, however, it’s out of sight, out of mind… and so the pattern goes!
To end the vicious cycle of paperwork procrastination, Alaia Williams, owner of One Organized Business says to embrace the fact that spring cleaning season coincides with tax time. Celebrate the completion of one tax year by archiving the records used to complete the filing, and creating fresh files for the current tax year. Organizing your home office right after tax time, while you're still clearly in touch with what worked — and what was a major fail — in your recordkeeping system, can shed light on what works for you — even if it's not sophisticated.
Though there are many "in the cloud" apps that allow you to go paperless, for example, your priority is to find a simple system that naturally fits your life and working style. “An overwhelming system pretty much guarantees you won't use it,” says Williams.
Tackle the surfaces
If you’re waiting for an opportunity to clear out the entire basement in a heroic act of spring cleaning — expect to wait a while! Instead of making spring cleaning an epic affair, Williams suggests “chunking” projects by tackling surfaces instead of entire rooms. One day, you might clear off desktops and counter space. Another afternoon, clean out one or two junk drawers. “These are quick things you can do that don't cost you a thing and make a big difference, whether you see it right away or not.”
Get the kids to help
As though you don’t have enough clutter of your own to maintain between running a business and raising a family, your kids' closets and toy chests are a task all their own. But, the longer you ignore the clutter, the longer it takes to clean. If kids are older, have them go through their own drawers, searching for items that no longer fit, are stained, ripped, or that haven’t been worn in a year, while you do the same. Smaller kids can even help, provided that you post a picture of what items should go where. If kids get distracted or refuse to give up anything, invent small challenges, like who can find the sweater with the two missing buttons.