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Wednesday, August 27 2008

August is drawing to a close this coming weekend.  If your children haven't started school yet, they will soon. 

Why not start the school year off right with these Quick Tips for A Better Space!!!

Keep your family organized by placing a wall-mounted calendar in a common area, such as the kitchen or family room. Include every family member's schedule and chore list for the week or month. Use different colors to code each family member's entries. At a glance, each person will know everyone else's schedule, resulting in less confusion about whose soccer game is on Saturday and who won't be available to babysit on Friday.

Items like book bags, shoes, umbrellas, jackets – even sports equipment – inevitably pile up right next to the door that everyone in the family enters. Add a shelving solution to corral all of those items and keep the entryway clutter free. Add a hanging rod for coats and jackets and hooks for umbrellas and backpacks. Setting up a system like this near your main door will also help reduce clutter spreading to other areas of the home.

Finally, as more and more students are spending more and more time surfing the Web, doing research, downloading homework assignments, etc., it's helpful to create a computing station that all family members can easily access.   Shelving solutions are now available in all different styles and finishes to complement your home's décor and you can create a highly efficient, space-saving station which includes a desk surface and more.  Just look up!  Think vertically.   Don't forget to use some shelves above that desk space for storage of school supplies, books and can be kept in decorative boxes and magazine holders to provide an organized, functional and attractive space in which to get that homework done!

I hope these tips help you create A BETTER SPACE for your home. 

If you have any comments or questons about this topic or any other organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me.  I will be more than happy to help.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 07:57 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, August 15 2008

This month I celebrated another birthday - not telling you which one!  I decided that I wanted to make a life change and began working on taking more control of my health.  I have a history of eating poorly and not exercising and as a result was feeling sluggish and lazy.  I knew I could improve. 

So, I began by setting some goals for myself.  I decided I wanted to eat better and begin an exercise program.  I know myself well enough to know that if I jump in, full force, I will burn out and never accomplish my goals.  So I am taking it slow.

Beginning August 1st, I began making a conscious effort to eat 3 meals a day.  (I was only eating maybe 2 and lots of junk food to boot.)  I went by myself to the supermarket on July 31st and bought fruits, vegetables, fat free yogurt, whole grain breads and cereal, low fat milk, 100% juices such as apple, grape and orange, low fat peanut butter ( I love peanut butter!), and 94% fat free popcorn as well as whole grain crackers to snack on.

I decided to begin an exercise program, and again, taking it slow since I don't exercise at all except for when I am organizing clients' homes.  I decided to walk.  I love to walk in my community.  We have a great community park which draws lots of people from our neighborhood.  There are walking and biking trails, basketball courts, soccer fields and more.  I even enjoy just taking a walk around the streets in my area.  There are lush trees and the wonderful sounds of nature to enjoy.  Everyone says "hello" when they see you; it's just so nice.  So, it was a good choice for me to at least get myself out the door and moving around.  I walk about a half hour, which covers 2 miles, every other day.  I walk at a brisk pace and feel energized when I am done. 

I am taking vitamins too!  I decided to start with a woman's multi-vitamin and since I have a Vitamin D deficiency (most people do and don't know it), I supplement with a Vitamin D on a daily basis.

This was a good start for me.  I am paying close attention to the foods I eat, using portion control, exercising and taking vitamins.  In two weeks, I lost a couple pounds and overall feel so much better. Mentally, I am happier and more energized.  I feel that it is much easier to accomplish my day to day goals with a much clearer head.

I guess the moral to this story is that you can begin to organize your life by making small life changes that will make you feel better about yourself.  As a result, you will feel happier and more energized to accomplish those goals you wish to achieve.  Now, you can tackle that messy linen closet or those pantry shelves!  Taking small steps to get where you want to go will have a lasting effect.

I will keep you posted on my progress so you can follow along...

If you have any comments or questions about this topic or any other organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me.  I will be more than happy to make your place A BETTER SPACE!

Have a great week!

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:33 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, August 06 2008

Although I love Summer and hate to see it end, as a parent of a senior in high school, I have no choice but to start thinking about the upcoming school term. This year promises to be very exciting and it will be in full swing before we know it; September 3rd to be exact.

So, once again, it’s time to start thinking about how to handle the deluge of school papers that will flow in and out of our homes. For students and parents alike, getting an ORGANIZED start to the new school year can make the difference between having a SUCCESSFUL school year or not. If you follow the eight recommendations below, I know that you and your child will have a much more successful school year!

GET YOUR CHILD RE-ACCLIMATED TO GOING TO BED EARLIER AND WAKING UP EARLIER

Start now to slowly move the bedtime back by a half hour or an hour a week so that when school begins, your child will be able to go to bed early enough to get the proper rest that they need in order to function best in school. This is especially true for older children (such as teenagers) who, like my son, started off the Summer going to bed at 1:00 a.m. and sleeping until 11:00 a.m. Teenagers need lots of sleep (usually about 10 hours per night). I am currently moving his bedtime back in one hour increments so that when Labor Day rolls around he will not have such a hard time going to bed at 9:00 p.m. This will enable him to get up for school on time at 5:45 a.m. As I move the bedtime back, I also make sure my son gets up earlier so he can get acclimated to doing that as well.

SET SOME RULES RIGHT FROM THE START.

Establish family ground RULES relating to the school year daily schedule, such as that ideal bedtime, homework completion, television watching, computer surfing, and socializing. Establishing these expectations at the beginning of the school year communicates the parent’s PRIORITIES and commitment from the start. Children need and want these boundaries to feel safe and secure, whether they know it or not, even teenagers.

SET UP A CENTRAL SYSTEM

Establish a "Command Center" for your children’s PAPER -- incoming and outgoing. Put an end to the school paper chase by establishing a zone for processing school paper – both incoming and outgoing. This area is where parents can review and PROCESS action papers (permission slips, lunch money, homework sign-offs, etc.) for quick turnaround. Adopt a simple two tiered "In/Out box" where you will process paper (the preferred location being in or near the kitchen) and instruct your children to place papers for mom’s or dad’s review in the In box. Completed paper is then given to children for return to school.

CREATE A LAUNCHING PAD

Establish a ZONE for the daily backpack pickup/drop close to the door where your child enters and exits each day. After Mom or Dad has processed the papers that need to go back to school, they can then return them to this zone for the kids to return to their backpack. Any other items needed for school should be placed in this area as well.  This simple strategy will greatly ease the morning rush.

CREATE A SPACE FOR HOMEWORK

Set up a desk or STUDY workspace that is conducive to concentration and focus. Considerations for setting up the child’s workspace should include good lighting, low noise levels, plenty of space to spread out, privacy, sufficient availability of supplies and anything else that adds to the structure.  Stock drawers with basic supplies your child needs in order to complete homework and projects.

THINK ABOUT CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION

Establish a system and tools to help your child be organized AT school as well as at home. It is critically important for children to develop organizational skills at an early age. Accordion folders or binders with pocket folders labeled for each class can be an easy organizer system for your child to keep papers corralled at school as well as home. Once your child is old enough to use a locker at school, equip him/her with locker accessories that allow subjects to be separated by, perhaps, morning and afternoon classes.

TAKE IT EASY

Don’t overload your children with too many extra-curricular ACTIVITIES. Today’s school children are over-scheduled and stressed out as a result. A balance of academics, activities and down time is necessary for academic success and good mental health. Make every effort to have dinner together as a family and avoid outside activities that distract from this important family ritual. Ask yourself what’s more important, your kid’s skills or their sanity? They will gain a lot more from the time they spend with the family around the dinner table.

GET EVERYONE TO HELP OUT

Establish an age appropriate CHORE routine to keep your children engaged and accountable to the family unit. With EVERY family member pitching in to help the household run smoothly, more time is freed up for fun family activities when the work is done. This includes the parents. Children need to see that their parents are active participants in household chores, not just dictators.

By establishing these simple yet powerful organizational routines, you and your children will be on the road to success this school year.

If you have any comments or questions about this topic or any other organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me.  I will be more than happy to make your place A BETTER SPACE! 

Have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:07 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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