Tuesday, September 02 2014
It's that time of year when we are settling back down into our routines, either with work, school or the household. Vacations are behind us, the kids are returning to school and the normal routine of running a household returns. It's all a balancing act.
There are some ways that you can (again) create balance in your life when it comes to getting organized.
1. The "One in, one out" rule. Whenever you bring something new into the house, get rid of something. Are you purchasing new clothes for the upcoming Fall season? Go through your closet and get rid of the items you did not wear this past Summer.
2. Do not transfer your clutter. You will not do yourself any favors by clearing off the dining room table of clutter and moving it to the home office floor. Deal with it now to avoid a project later.
3. To do or not to do, that is the question. Consolidate all of your "to do's" onto one list and decide whether you are going to do it yourself (and schedule a time to get it done), delegate it to someone else or not do it at all. Keep your "to do's" moving.
4. Finish what you start. Do not move from one area to another when organizing. Finish what you start and then move on to the next area.
5. Store it where it's used. When deciding where something should go, ask yourself where it is used. Keep like things together so you can easily find them when you need them.
6. Don't be afraid of open spaces. It's okay to keep a drawer empty or a shelf in a cabinet empty. You don't have to fill every nook and cranny with "stuff". It's a great back-up spot for those times when you need a little more space.
7. Location, location, location. Mark shelves, bins and boxes with labels so everyone will know where things belong and can help put things away in their correct location.
8. Double trouble. Don't keep multiples of things that are not being used. You do not need two can openers or four pair of tweezers. Get rid of the duplicates either by passing them onto someone else, donating them or throwing them away if they are not in good condition.
9. Get back on that horse. Everyone falls off the organizing horse from time to time. Maintaining organization is a continual process. Allow yourself to fall behind from time to time, but don't delay in getting right back up, dusting yourself off, and starting over again. (The good news is that if you are organized to begin with, it will not be so hard to do!)
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, I am here to help. As a professional organizer, I can help you find your balance. Now, with a new season approaching, it's a great time to create A Better Space. Don't hesitate to contact me.
Monday, August 27 2012
This time of year many people are eliminating their clutter and getting organized for the new Fall and Winter seasons.
On many occasions, while working with my clients, I get asked how to recycle an item. Today, I thought I would take some time to help you find out how to recycle some of your own items.
Here are some ideas you might not have thought of:
Backpacks - The American Birding Association accepts donated backpacks, which its scientists use while tracking neotropical birds (www.americanbirding.org).
Batteries - Recycling batteries keeps hazardous metals out of landfills. Many stores such as RadioShack and Office Depot accept reuseable ones. Car batteries contain lead and can't go into landfills because the toixic metals can leach into groundwater. Almost any retailer seling them will also collect and recyle them. Hazardous waste events will take them as well.
Carpeting - The Carpet America Recovery Effot (www.carpetrecovery.org) will help you find a carpet reclamation facility near you when you ask "What can I do with my old carpet?". Some carpet manufacturers, like Milliken (www.millikencarpet.com Shaw (www.shawfloors.com) and Flor (www.flor.com) have recycling programs.
Crayons - Send them to the National Crayon Recycle Program (www.crazycrayons.com) which melts them down and reforms them into new ones. Be sure to leave the wrappers on them so they are more easily identified by color.
Wire Hangers - Some dry cleaners and laundromats will reuse them. Check with your local dry cleaner. My dry cleaner happily accepts them as it helps them reduce costs. If not, recycle them with other household metals but be sure to remove any attached paper or cardboard first and recycle that separately.
Hearing Aids - The Starkey Hearing Foundation (www.sotheworldmayhear.org) recycles used hearing aids, any make or model, no matter how old. The Lions Club also accepts hearing aids (and eye glasses)
If you are not sure how to recycle items in your home, visit www.earth911.org to find out where and if those items can be recycled.
Do you have any other recycling tips for unusual items? Please share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of August and your Labor Day weekend.
Wednesday, August 22 2012
If your children have not returned to school yet, they will be shortly. For most in my area, school starts the day after Labor Day. It can be a hectic time if you are not prepared.
Are you ready?
I have gathered some tips to help you prepare for back to school that you might find helpful.
1. Review the kids' wardrobes and have them try on their clothes. Have a fashion show! Make sure to do this before you go shopping for new clothes so you know exactly what you need. Donate or pass down clothing to another child. If you do need new clothing, pay attention to sales to save money.
2. Complete necessary medical forms in time for the return to school. You might need to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for shots and signatures so allow enough time to do so. If food allergies are a concern, contact you child's teacher to discuss necessary precautions.
3. Finalize arrangements for after-school care which might involve transportation, payment arrangements and scheduling of pick-up. Be sure the provider knows who is permitted to pick up your child at the end of the day.
4. Purchase an alarm clock for those children who have more difficulty getting up that gets progressively louder or put one on the opposite side of the room to get them out of bed to shut it off.
5. Pack lunches the night before to save time in the morning. Plan out lunches a week at a time and have a sturdy lunch box or bag for each child. Purchase fruit snacks and granola bars, for example, in bulk to make sure they are always on hand.
6. Use a family calendar to keep up with the kids' busy schedules. Indicate half days and school holidays for the year. Keep track of extra curricular activities. Check the calendar each evening to be sure you are prepared for the following day.
7. Organize the paperwork. The paper starts coming through the door the first day so be prepared. Create an "in" and "out" bin for processing. Use a bulletin board for important information.
8. Adjust bedtime starting now. Gradually move the kids' bedtime up by about 15 minutes each night so they will be well adjusted when its time for school to start. You want to be sure they get plenty of sleep.
9. Set up a homework station that provides enough space, good lighting and supplies that are needed. Children will be more productive when they have a designated place to do their homework.
10. Finally, enjoy the last of the lazy days of Summer with the kids. This is the time to spend doing things you all enjoy before the hectic school season begins.
What tips would you like to share for getting ready for back to school? Are you ready?
Monday, September 19 2011
When working with my clients, I find there is always a need for a way to store "memories". We always come across items that are not currently being used but need to be stored away for another day.
Memories can come in many forms and various categories. They can be memories of your child's school years, your childhood, your parents, a close friend or family member who has passed, etc.
For your children's memories, I suggest creating a School Memory Box (one for each child). This can be as simple as a plastic container or a cardboard banker's box. You can divide it up into 12 sections, one for each year from 1st to 12th grade, using accordion hanging folders with tabs in a file folder container. That is even better!
During the school year, file away any artwork, projects, special memories, creative writing and awards in a separate box for that year. Then, at the end of the school year, go through your file box of completed work with your child and pull out the best and most meaningful. File them away in their School Memory Box in the appropriate year. By the end of high school, you'll have a wonderful, handpicked history of your child's development and accomplishments with very little effort.
For other types of memories, a simple plastic container to hold them in is a great way to keep them together and dust free. Put a label on the box for the particular member of the family and store it in the top of their bedroom closet on the shelf. Then, pull it down from time to time and enjoy going down Memory Lane.
Using these methods, you will contain your memories in one container. The container will help you to set boundaries on the amount of memories you keep, as well.
If you need any more assistance with this or any other form of organization, contact me and I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, August 23 2011
I have no idea where the Summer has gone. As it seems to do every year, it flew by and we are now looking at getting the kids back to school, resume our normal routine and put the lazy days of Summer behind us.
The change of seasons is a great time to evaluate and perhaps re-evaluate what we need to do in order to get organized. Sometimes things tend to fall by the wayside (especially during the Summer months).
Perhaps you had a project that you meant to get to this Summer but you never got around to it. It could have been something such as decluttering and organizing the storage room, trimming the hedges, painting a bedroom, evaluating your wardrobe and eliminating items that no longer fit or that you don't like, getting rid of toys your child no longer plays with, organizing the pantry or organizing your desk area where you pay bills.
Before you get too inundated with the responsibilities that the new season will bring, I suggest that you take some time to walk around your home and make a list of things you want to declutter and organize and then get started on that list.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, let me know and I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your Summer!
Sunday, August 22 2010
It's hard to believe the summer is drawing to a close and your children may have already started school or may be starting soon. Start now to develop a routine that keeps everyone on schedule because it takes a few weeks to master. Here are a few ideas to help you streamline the process of getting ready so children make their bus on time with little fuss:
1. Get homework, permission slips, lunch money, and anything else that is needed ready the night before.
2. Wake the kids up 1 hour before school is scheduled to start. This should provide enough time to do all of the morning preparations needed without too much stress.
3. Have the kids dress, brush hair, and brush teeth before they come down for breakfast.
4. For the most productivity in your morning, make a "No-TV-Before-School" rule. Television tends to make children lethargic and irritable when you need them to be focused and agreeable.
5. Have a list of favorite healthy breakfast ideas ready so that little time is spent in trying to decide what they should eat.
6. Make lunches either the night before or while the kids are eating their breakfast.
7. Have a list of healthy lunch options available for easy reference.
8. Set a time for 10 or 15 minutes in order to complete a few chores before school: feed pets, make beds, pick up rooms, etc.
9. Make sure shoes, jackets, and backpacks are easily accessible to children.
10. Start putting on shoes, jackets, and backpacks about 10 minutes prior to the bus arriving.
With these tips in place and practiced daily, you will find that you will be able to get the kids ready and off to school with much less hassle.
Try them and let me know how you make out!
In the meantime, if you are overwhelmed with the process of getting organized, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Thursday, August 05 2010
As you all should know by now, my favorite time of the year is Summer. The problem is that mid-way through, we have to start thinking about "back to school". The stores are all filled with supplies and the sales have begun.
Shopping for school supplies can be chaotic if, as with everything else, you don't have a plan.
Here are some ways you can organize your school shopping experience:
Consolidate Your Lists
When you have several kids to shop for, it's best to consolidated everything you need into one big list. Having a master list can save on time dramatically, which I think is a necessity when shopping with your kids in tow!
Shop For Sales
The school supply circulars are starting to come out in the newspapers, so be on the lookout for the best deals. Since our schools start on August 31st, stock up on supplies now, before the supplies dwindle. I have found in years past that if I wait until school actually starts, the more specific things we need are already gone.
Sort It All Out
While you most certainly don’t have to dump everything out on the floor or a table to get the sorting process started, it can definitely get the kids excited. They tend to love rummaging through the pile of school supplies. It can be exciting. Whether you are a kid or not, there is nothing like a pile of "new stuff". To make sorting easier and to coral all of the school supplies, I suggest using a separate bin for each child. As you check the supplies off of the lists, you can then put them in their designated bins. Now you are ready to put them away until school starts and easily add the few extra things if you need to.
Now that you have all of your school supplies neat and orderly, don’t forget the labels! Every school has different rules for what should be labeled. Make sure you label backpacks, lunchboxes, clothing and outerwear too, especially for the younger ones! After you make the investment on all of that back to school gear, you don’t want it to end up lost!
So, have you started your back to school shopping yet? If not, what are you waiting for?
Hope these tips help you have a more organized "back to school" experience this year! If you need help because you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact me at A Better Space. I will be more than happy to help.