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Get Organized Now!
Mid-Week Mini Edition

By Maria Gracia
August 30, 2017

  Today's Feature

Are You Experiencing the Unofficial End of Summer Too?

In less than two weeks, my daughter will be back in school. Although it's still summer until September 22nd, the first day of school signifies the 'unofficial' end of summer for least as far as weekdays are concerned. This year, even some of our family's Saturdays are now booked with out-of-town cross country and swim meets.

When the lazy days of summer are gone, reality definitely kicks in for us. That being said, the more organized we are, the better life is. So, we do a whole lot of planning and organizing this time of the year. For instance, here are just five examples:

1) We get together with a few families, whose kids are in the same school and actitivies, and we carpool. In doing so, each parent takes turns driving the kids back and forth. No burden on any one family.

2) I already input all of the important school dates, special events, sports practices, etc. into my iPhone calendar...from September 2017 through June 2018. Yes, some extras will come up along the way, but at least most of them are entered...and we won't end up with schedule conflicts.

3) I determined our free weekends, and found some fun family activities we could do during some of them. Those are in my calendar, and my family will be spending some time together planning these outings and enjoying them when the dates roll around.

4) I meal-planned for the entire month of September, based on what activities are happening on what nights...and including the fitness classes I teach as I know what I'm making each evening for dinner. Many of those meals will be made in the slow cooker, so even on busy nights, there will be a hot meal waiting for us. Some of those will be meals I we could eat half one night...and the other half another night.

5) Our family's homework rule: Any homework that's not completed in study hall in school, must be done as early as possible...because the later it gets, the more frustrating it is. When my daughter was in grade school, when she came home from school, she had 30 minutes of relaxation time to eat a snack and give her mind a rest, but then homework had to be done directly afterwards. Now that she's in middle school, with both cross country (practice 4 days a week) and swimming (2 to 3 days a week) almost directly after school ends, we had to change our system. She still has a study hall, thank goodness, where she completes what she could. On cross country only days, she does homework directly after practice. On swimming only days, she starts homework in the car, since it takes 30 minutes just to get to practice...and the rest when she gets home. On those days with both swimming and cross country on the same days, those are tough nights, admittedly, because she's tired. But homework still needs to be done. So, she starts homework in the car on the way to swim practice, and must complete the rest when she gets home. This process worked for us last year and was fairly smooth and efficient.

So, while the unofficial end of summer is a bit of a bummer for me, being organized and planning ahead definitely makes for a less stressful, smoother, happier, transition for our whole family.

Wishing anyone in your family going back to school this season a wonderful, successful school year!

P.S. By the way, this time of year is also a wonderful time for us adults to reevaluate and reconnect with each other. If your relationship is fizzling out and/or has lost its passion, it's time to rekindle that romance. Believe it or not, you'll learn a very effective method for waking up the 'secret romantic' in your life--even if you have kids, work too much, or just 'don't have the time'-- and it's all done, believe it or not, with texting on your cell phone. Plus, BEFORE SEPTEMBER 3RD, you can get $100 in eBooks, from me, complimentary! Visit:

All the details are further down in this issue.

  Ask Maria

As I'm Getting Older,
My Garden Seems to be Getting Larger

A GON Reader Asks...

Hi Maria, Thanks for all your tips and tricks! I have learned so much from you over the years. I do have a problem that I haven't seen addressed here before. I have a fairly large yard filled with bushes and perennials. As I am getting older, it seems to be getting larger...and I am getting slower. Yard work is always on my mind--lots of weeding to do!

I usually get down and dirty when I am working in the garden, so I don't prefer to do it every day, but I can't seem to find a good routine to keep me happy and the garden weed free. I don't have any children to help out any more, there's only myself and my husband.

Just wondering if you have any ideas for me. I would like to be able to sit back and enjoy the yard for a change!

Thanks. Eileen from Ontario

Maria Gracia Responds...

Hi Eileen, Trust me, I feel your pain. My husband and I are regularly outside doing something with our bushes, perennials, annuals, trees, and other landscaping...and it is a lot of hard work.

If it's in your budget, you may want to farm all, or at least some, of that work out. I know it's tough to let go of your pride and joy, but paying a professional gardener or gardening company can relieve you of the backbreaking work and give you time to simply sit back and enjoy your garden.

Another possibility is hiring a local (responsible) teenager. A few years ago, we hired a young man named Austin who was 17 at the time. He did a wonderful job trimming our perennials...and he helped us spread mulch as well. We paid him, but it cost less than a landscaping company would have charged, and with direction from me and my husband, he did great. We did the same awhile ago with another teenager named Nate...and he did a super job as well. You can always hire a teenager and see how they do with a plant or two, before making a decision on a large portion of your yard.

One other possibility is posting on Facebook that you're seeking some assistance. It's always possible that you have a neighbor or friend who is retired and would love to make some extra pocket cash doing this sort of work.

If you don't want to hire out, here are some ideas to help ease the workload a bit:

To help combat weeds in your plant beds, you're going to want to use fairly thick layers of mulch. A layer of mulch that is three inches deep will keep most weed seeds in the soil from sprouting. It will also help increase moisture retention.

In addition, one of my friends who has a large and gorgeous garden suggested, 'You might want to consider putting down burlap or garden fabric which will keep the weeds down. However, you will have to do that work at the beginning of the season. You might want to call someone in to do that, but doing so will cut back on the weeding. Put down the burlap, fabric, or even wet newspaper, cover it with mulch, and you will see a big reduction in weeds.'

Work out a gardening schedule for you and your husband, like work on it three days a week for a set amount of time, and enjoy it four days a week. This helps to spread out the work so you don't overwork and you won't have to use up an entire Saturday doing yard work.

Be more relaxed in your expectations. If one of the bushes has gotten a little bit overgrown, let it go until one of your scheduled yard work days rolls around...or even the next if you can't get to it immediately.

Set a timer for 30 minutes to one hour. See what you can get done in that amount of time and when the timer sounds, that's it. Let the rest go and set a timer again the next time you're out there.

Too many plants? See if your neighbors want to stop by and dig some up for their own yards. Let them know which ones they can have.

I hope some of these ideas help. Remember, gardening can be a ton of work. It's vital to take time, however, to enjoy the fruits of your labor and to stop and smell the roses.


  New on our Web Site!

Cleaning Secrets: Easy tips for cleaning your garbage disposal

Did You Know?: The weekly schedule of a typical pioneer woman

September Checklist: Autumn is the perfect time of year to turn over a new leaf and get organized. Start today with our NEW September 2017 Organizing Checklist

My Life: My daughter said, 'Mom, I want my hair to smell like yours!' This is why and here's what I did

Dirty Little Secret 1: Sometimes using technology is not the best way to go. Here's something I do that's productive and low-tech

Dirty Little Secret 2: Is your purse feeling heavy? Removing this one thing helps take the weight off quickly

Dirty Little Secret 3: My cleaning routine has become so easy--ever since I made this one simple change

Mini Challenges: Fall into an organized autumn. Autumn brings some seasonal TO DOs to the table. These mini challenges all focus on tasks that are great to do as the weather cools.

In ADDITION, on our home page, you'll also find lots of NEW and featured STUFF including...

Social Media Spotlight: Getting financially's help

What's up with eLearning? Does e-Learning increase or decrease information retention rates? Find out. Also, discover how many colleges classes will be e-Learning based within just the next two years

Theme of the Week: School. Enjoy our home page quotes, that reflect our theme, for added inspiration and motivation this week

  In Closing

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.

Celia Thaxter

I'd love to hear from you.
Comments, suggestions, or just to say hello. Just REPLY to this email with a short note.

And remember...Being organized creates a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life!


Maria Gracia
Get Organized Now!

This is the end of our
Regular Newsletter Content
If you'd like to learn more about
Today's Special, Gotta Have Resource
you will find that information below.

  Special 'Gotta Have' Resource

If Your Spouse or Special Someone
Hasn't Brought Home Flowers in Awhile
or Your Relationship Has Lost its Passion
it's Time to Text the Romance Back...
Here's How

To fast-forward to getting organized today, visit:

I was just listening to the radio and heard the song 'Under the Boardwalk' (The Drifters) . That classic song reminds me of walks along the beach, under the stars...summer love.

If your spouse or special someone hasn't brought home flowers in awhile, or your relationship has completely lost its passion, I have a wonderful resource for you to check out this week. It's a complimentary presentation that will instantly help you add that 'spark' back into your relationship.

Believe it or not, you'll learn a very effective method for waking up the 'secret romantic' in your life--even if you have kids, work too much, or just 'don't have the time'--and it's all done, believe it or not, with texting on your cell phone!

The techniques in this video have been tested by tens of thousands of people around the world. This is a wonderful resource, and I highly encourage you to watch the complimentary video all the way through and recharge your romance today. Visit:

P.S. $100 Worth of Bonuses!

As a special Summer Love package, if you buy anything from the Text the Romance Back web site, and you email me your order confirmation number, I will send you the following eBooks, worth over $100, complimentary:

* 200 Problem Solving Tips for Your Home and Your Health

* 101 Steps to Success: A Guide for Achieving Your Goals

* Advanced Memory Tips: Systems for Remembering Everything

* Making Money at Garage Sales, Swap Meets and Flea Markets

* Recipes for 200 Delicious Fruit Smoothies

This offer ends 11:59 p.m. (CST) on Sunday, SEPTEMBER 3RD. Visit...

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How to Use This Newsletter

In this newsletter, you will find stories, ideas, inspiration, links and more to help you live a less stressful, more organized, more fulfilling life. We encourage you to apply these ideas to your own life AND share them liberally with your family, friends, and fan base via email, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, other social media outlets, and in person, of course!

When you share, please mention my name and web site - Maria Gracia - as the source.

Thank you for helping to spread the gift of organizing far and wide! -- Maria

(c) Copyright 2017 by Maria Gracia, Get Organized Now!

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-- Maria Gracia