Wednesday, March 28 2018
Spring is finally here and the flu season appears to be behind us. I spent the entire Winter season doing everything possible to avoid getting the flu and the good news is, I was successful. That is something that is very contagious in a bad way.
However, there are things that are contagious in a good way! For example: laughter, smiles, a good mood and even a yawn. Did you know that contagious yawning is a sign of empathy and a form of social bonding?
Also, getting organized can be contagious! Yes! That's right. I have seen time and time again how, when I work with a client in their home, other members of the family get the "organizing bug".
I tend to work mostly with busy moms who are struggling to find the balance in their physical space as well as in their heads with time management, etc.
On many occasions, I work with Busy Mom and in the beginning, Dad is not on board. It is interesting to watch how they begin to see the transformation and want a piece of that. They start organizing a sock drawer or getting rid of some paperwork, simply by seeing what is going on.
Most recently, I began working with a family who has several autistic children, one of which is very sensitive to change. I have no intention of pushing that child to straighten up their room or move anything around that they do not want touched. However, Mom recently got in touch with me and told me that her child has observed the changes being made in her master bedroom and took it upon himself to go into his own room and remove the trash and straighten up his video games.
Needless to say, I am thrilled! I want nothing more than for the children to enjoy an organized and peaceful environment in which to live. Whether I help them or they take it upon themselves to do it on their own, it's a positive outcome.
This is a perfect example of how getting organized can be contagious - in a good way!
If you and your family are struggling with clutter and want to get organized, consider starting the process yourself or with a professional organizer such as myself and you just might find that your family get's the "organizing bug" and starts organizing their spaces on their own.
How great would that be!
Thursday, November 03 2016
I know it's sometimes hard to believe but teenagers can be organized. We need to guide our kids in various areas so the whole picture comes together. There is the physical and mental aspects of disorganization which need to be evaluated.
During the school year, keeping teenagers focused on everything that needs to be accomplished in a day can be a challenge. Here are some ways you can help them:
1. If you have trouble getting your teen up in the morning, buy the most annoying alarm clock you can find and put it far from the bed. That way they are forced to get up and turn it off. Limit their access to electronics as the day winds down to get their mind to relax, providing a better night's sleep, making it easier for them to get up in the morning.
2. To keep bathroom time to a minimum, place a timer inside and set it for 15 minutes. Teenagers are notorious for getting lost in the shower. Once the timer goes off, time's up—period. This is great for siblings who share a bathroom.
3. Help your teen navigate their school roster by copying their schedule on a copy machine to fit in a wallet or backpack. They can also keep a copy in their locker.
4. List activities on a large calendar and color-code them. Keep the calendar in a central location in the home for all to see. Use a different colored highlighter for each member of the household. This is a great way to make sure everyone knows where they have to be and when, as well as assisting parents with carpool schedules.
5. My son never liked sitting at a desk in his bedroom when he was in school. Determine where your teenager would be prefer to do their homework and study. It might be a dining room table, kitchen table or even a comfortable couch with a loveseat. The important thing is that they like where they are working and are productive.
6. Help your teenager develop good time management skills by mapping out a weekly schedule of responsibilities. If they have a larger project to get done, schedule out blocks of time that will enable them to complete the project on time.
7. Provide organizing tools such as a clothes hamper in their bedroom, hooks on the back of the bathroom door for towels, and containers to hold desk supplies, sporting equipment or other items for easy access.
8. Create a chore chart that schedules blocks of time for them to do their own laundry, take out the trash, do some light housekeeping or any other responsibilities you want to assign to them to teach them responsibility and lighten your own load.
Utilizing physical organizational tools and good time management tools will help your teenager to become an organized and productive individual.
Friday, June 24 2016
Being organized does not just pertain to adults. It benefits children as well.
Did you know that you can actually boost your child's confidence, their ability to learn and their maturity level by helping them to create order in their life?
Being organized is more than just a clean room. For adults and children alike, it is essential for learning. If you don't have the materials you need to ace a test or you are surrounded by clutter, it affects your ability to focus.
Organization encourages responsibility. For children, it can be as simple as cleaning up their toys and putting them into clearly marked containers. When your child is organized, they become more independent and their frustration level is reduced. If they know what they want and where to find it, they can do more things on their own, which gives them a great sense of independence and self-esteem.
A few habits is all it takes to help your child develop organizing skills. There are techniques that work for younger children as well as older children.
1. Neatly storing their things:
Younger children can get involved with cleanup. Make it fun by setting a timer and creating a pick-up game that lasts about 10 minutes. If you have more than one child, get the entire family involved. Get your child used to cleaning up as they go and doing a final sweep at the end of the day. By the time your child reaches grade school, they will be able to keep their toys organized on their own. Using simple containers set up by category and labeled with pictures of the type of toy or game will make clean up a breeze.
When it comes to older children, pointing out their successes will encourage them to do more. Your grade schooler or tween can clean up toys and games, help clear their dishes off the dinner table, dust and hang up their jacket. Show them examples of what they are already doing and what else they could also be doing. Make it easy for them to be successful. When your child sees that they already know how to be neat, the task will feel more doable to them.
2. Time Management and Routines:
Younger children do not have a concept of time. However, that does not mean they cannot be taught promptness; it's just a matter of creating routines. For example, every night is "bath, book, bed". If it is verbally stated before the routine is to start and implemented each night, they will get accustomed to staying on schedule.
Older children need to learn not to procrastinate. This can be taught by requiring your child to lay out their clothes the night before or plan out a long-term school project a week or so in advance.
3. Completing the task:
Younger children can learn this concept as young as 1 year old. Read them a story from beginning to end at bedtime. They are taught that things have a beginning, middle and an end. Referring back to what I mentioned above, having your child put away a toy after they play with it before pulling out another toy will teach them task completion, as well. When they are working on a larger project, like a Lego structure, however, you might decide it's okay to leave it for another time to complete. This will teach them how to manage long-term projects.
Older children need to learn rules and limits. Older children get distracted by technology, which is a big hindrence for teens when it comes to completing homework or a chore around the house. Set up tech-free zones in the home and create a quiet place for your child to study. Set time limits as to how long and when they are permitted to use a gaming device or their phone for texting.
Lastly, practice what you preach. Children learn by example, so be sure to follow the rules when it comes to these areas.
If you are overwhelmed with your own clutter or your child's, I can help. I work with busy moms to organize their homes and their time, as well as working with their children to create an organized bedroom or playroom and create time management plans for the family. Don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your particular clutter issues.
Monday, February 09 2015
Have you heard of the concept of having a Memory Box? I personally feel that everyone should have one (or a few). Everyone goes through life and gathers fond memories of people they have met, places they have gone or things they have done. You should have a designated place to store those memories, hence...A Memory Box.
The first time I created a Memory Box was back in 1998 following the passing of my husband the previous year. To this day, it contains fond memories of photos, letters and other items I collected during our 15 year relationship. I also created one for my son who was 7 at the time to contain his fond memories of his relationship with his father. Both of us open up our boxes from time to time and go down Memory Lane together, reflecting on our special times with my late husband and his father.
Memory Boxes are great, however, there are guidelines you should follow:
1. Store your own memories in your own box. This box is not intended to be shared with others. It is personal. Moms often want to store their kids' memories along with their own in one box. Keep in mind that you have your own memories of your kids and your kids have their own memories and they should be kept in separate Memory Boxes. Do not co-mingle!
2. Be selective. Just like anything else that you keep, "everything cannot be your favorite". Using an appropriate-sized memory box is great for setting boundaries as to how much you keep. When a box gets too full, it is a sign that you are saving too much and you need to go through the box and eliminate what is not longer relevant. Pick your favorites!
3. Do an annual review. Contrary to popular belief, what was important at one point in your life might not be as important now. Your memories and emotional attachment to things change. I have found that over the course of the years, what was once so important and relevant is not so much any more, and that's okay. This is especially true with children. That macaroni art from Kindergarten was so amazing when it came through the door ten times that year, but now, your child is in 6th grade, and that macaroni art is not so incredible anymore - at least not all ten! I highly suggest that you go through your Memory Box once a year and do a review. (For kids in grade school, I recommend the end of the school term.) Make room for the new memories that you will gather in the coming year.
4. Don't confuse a Memory Box with a random storage container. Your Memory Box is not intended to be a place to put things that you don't know where else they should be stored. It is not to be used as a catch all. If you have different categories for memories such as I do (I have one strictly relating to my relationship with my late husband and another more current box of memories), that is fine. Don't keep memories that evoke sad or bitter times in your life. You want to be sure they are "positive memories" that evoke happy times in your life.
I encourage you to create a Memory Box for you and every member of your family. Store them in a place that is accessible for those times when you want to go down Memory Lane and relive those happy times in your life.
Remember, it's a Memory Box, not a random storage container. Fill your box with happy memories that you will enjoy for years to come!
Wishing you an organized week filled with fond memories!
Monday, October 20 2014
Now that we are well into Fall with Halloween just around the corner, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chanukah will quickly follow. Before you know it, we will be participating in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping.
I would like you to keep something very important in mind.
I recently spoke to a Moms Club at their monthly meeting and my topic was about organizing the kids. One of the points that I made, which is so relevant at this time of year, is that when it comes to gift giving, you need to remember the concept of "presents vs. presence".
Did you know that the United States has about 3 percent of the world's children, yet U.S. families annually purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally. This tends to happen because there are so many working parents. They now have less time to spend with their kids so they tend to shower them with toys to compenstion for that perceived "loss of quality time". Other relatives, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles can also contribute to this statistic.
There is a difference between "presents" and "presence".
Presents are great, but in excess, can cause clutter.
Don't spoil your child by providing too many presents. There are other alternatives. Have you considered asking grandparents or other family member to purchase movie tickets, tickets for live events or a favorite restaurant instead of a toy? Try to come up with creative solutions that do not involve a lot of toys, clothing or other items that are in excess of what is reasonable.
Relatives and friends tend to want to give "things" to your children to show them how much they love them. However, they need to understand that, although it is appreciated, their time is more precious than possessions. Too many possessions tend to lead to clutter.
I once worked with a hoarder who used to purchase toys and clothes for her grandchildren and ship them out three times a week. Can you imagine what that house looked like with all of those "presents" arriving at their door? I was able to get her to understand that her time with the grandkids meant so much more to them that the gifts they were receiving. She ended up taking a trip to visit them and spent about 10 days of quality time with them instead. Now that, in my opinion, is a "gift".
Before the holiday season gets under way, why not take some time to contact those relatives and friends and express this concept in a tactful way so as not to upset the gift giver. Having alternative ideas in mind ahead of time will guide them in the right direction and help you reduce the clutter of too many possessions in your home. Consider doing the same for those you love. Give your time instead.
Remember when gift giving this year - "presents" vs. "presence". Why not choose "presence".
If you are overwhelmed with the toys, clothes and other items that have accumulated in your home, don't hesitate to contact me. I will help you bring balance back into your home so you can enjoy time spent with your family instead of stressing over the clutter.
In the meantime, have a great day!
Monday, April 28 2014
They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I beg to differ. No matter how young or old you are, you can learn how to be organized. Yes, even a toddler can do it!
Since I work with so many moms, I get this question all the time. "What chores and responsibilities can my children be expected to do?" Let's focus today on the youngest organizers, the toddlers.
Young children want to help. They are eager to be independent and feel that sense of accomplishment.
Here are a few simple suggestions:
1. They can hang up their own coat. Put a 3M removable hook on the back of the coat closet door or near a cubby in the mud room which is low enough for them to reach but not have the coat drag on the floor. They can hand up their own coat this way. The hooks can be raised as they get taller.
2. They can wipe down the bathroom countertop. Get them a small step stool. When they are brushing their teeth, combing their hair or washing their hands, have them use a damp wash cloth to wipe up any spilled and splashed water from the counter top.
3. They can make their bed. By age 2-1/2, you child should be able to pull up the sheet and comforter if the side of the bed is not up against a wall. (It might not be perfect but it's good enough!)
4. They can put dirty clothes in a hamper. Get them a fun hamper that is open at the top. They can easily put their dirty clothes in every time they change their clothes. Just ask them to do so to remind them.
5. They can put their toys away. After playing with toys, toddlers should be able return their toys to their proper storage bin or shelf. Make sure they are in reach and use picture labels to guide them. Clip art is a great tool for finding the right picture. Teach them that they need to clean up before moving on to another activity.
By age two or three, although most of these chores will need some type of supervision, you will be teaching them the basics from which they will eventually be able to carry out these tasks, and others, on their own. You are giving them a good foundation to get started on the road to organization!
If you need some more tools to get yourself and your family organized, please don't hesitate to contact me. Remember, no matter how young or old you are, you can always learn how to get and stay organized. I can show you how!
Monday, April 14 2014
Do you multi-task? Is it really possible? This subject is constantly debated. Some say yes, it is possible. Some say no.
The truth is, when we think we are multi-tasking, in most instances, we are not. Yes, we might be doing several things at one time, that is true. However, we are not saving any time doing so. We are working on pieces, we are not completely focused on a task and, most importantly, there is no time being saved by doing two, or even three things at a time. It's all about focus. If we take the time to focus on one task at at a time, we will get it done more quickly and more efficiently. That is a fact!
Now, can we use items in our home for various purposes? Sure we can! That's what I call multi-tasking! Here are some examples:
1. ICE CUBE TRAY -
* Gather desk supplies such as thumb tacks and paper clips.
* Organize sewing items such as buttons, beads and hooks.
* Use one in your dresser drawer to organize small earrings or pins.
2. SHOE ORGANIZER WITH POCKETS -
* Store art supplies. A plastic hanging shoe organizer can hold, paints, pens, brushes, glue sticks and stickers.
* Use one on the back of the bathroom closet door to store small soaps, razors, sample bottles of lotions or nail polish.
* Place one in your clothes closet to separate pantyhose or pairs of knee high socks.
3. LAUNDRY BASKET -
* Protect delicate plants during a rain storm or hail storm by turning the basket upside down on top of them and burying the edges in the dirt.
* Gather garden supplies, including a garden hose. Coil the hose and stash your sprinkers, nozzles and other attachments in the middle of the coil.
* Take one to the beach filled with beach toys for the kids. Flip it over to use as a table at lunch time.
Can you think of other ways to multi-task, besides running around doing two or three things at a time? Use your imagination and take another look at what you already have in your home that you can use for other purposes. Be creative!
Share your ideas! I would love to hear from you!
If you are simply overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help. I can show you creative ways to use what you already have and repurpose them to help you get and stay organized once and for all!
I am just a phone call (or email) away! I would love to hear from you!
Friday, June 21 2013
Today is the first day of Summer! So exciting! However, with Summer sometimes comes emergency room visits - heat stroke, broken bones, severe cuts, head trauma, etc.
Are you prepared for that trip to the Emergency Room of your local hospital? Here are five things you should have ready to go:
1. Your medications - "It is extremely important to know all of the medications you take, how often you take them, the dosage and when you took them last." according to Barb Taubenberger, RN, director of Emergency Services at Doylestown Hospital. Keep this information in your wallet or purse for easy reference. Usually a small index card will suffice.
2. Your insurance information - In an emergency situation, a hospital will treat you whether you have your insurance card or not but carrying it with you will save you from having to make numerous phone calls afterwards to work out the billing. If you are not currently insured, let the hospital know before you leave so they can connect you with a financial counselor who will help you in making payment arrangements for your bill.
3. Your medical history - Knowing your medical history helps to create a complete overview. If your primary physician is on staff at the hospital or if you have been treated at that particular hospital before, they will be able to pull up your records on the computer. If not, you will be asked about your medical history at triage. Include previous surgeries, allergies or other chronic conditions you have.
4. Your emergency contacts - Have a list of your emergency contacts easily accessible. If you do not have contact information with you, it is a challenge for the staff. Elderly patients, for example, might be transported by ambulance and need a ride home. They might not remember their contact information details of the person who would be driving them home. Creating an emergency contact list and placing it in your wallet or putting it in your cell phone under "ICE" (in case of emergency) is a helpful tool to use.
5. Your discharge instructions - Sometimes, upon discharge, you are not feeling well and might have forgotten the details of your discharge instructions or the fact that you need to transfer your medical records. Some hospitals are equipped with a central phone number to call. Be sure to ask for this information upon discharge.
I certainly hope that you have a safe and healthy Summer, but just in case, this information will help to make the emergency room experience more organized and less stressful.
Have a great week!
Friday, November 16 2012
Next week is Thanksgiving and the official start of the holiday shopping season.
Do you want your younger children to understand more about uncluttering and organizing?
I have gathered some suggestions for gifts you can give them that they might enjoy with an underlying theme on uncluttering and organizing:
- Room Enough for Daisy by Debbie Waldman. Little Daisy has so many toys, she wishes for a larger bedroom to accommodate them all. Eventually, her mom convinces her to donate some items to a rummage sale. Cindy Revell’s illustrations are really cute.
- Too Many Toys by David Shannon. David’s books are fantastic, starting with the hilariously relatable “No, David!” Too Many Toys has a similar theme to Room Enough for Daisy, in that David is required to thin his massive collection of toys. It’s a fun story that kids think is funny and adults find useful.
- Mr. Messy, part of the Mr./Mrs. series by Roger Hargreaves, is an untidy fellow until he meets Mr. Neat and Mr. Tidy.
- More by I. C. Springman is about a hoarding magpie whose friends teach him the value of “enough.” Again, the illustrations are great and the minimal text is great for new readers.
Do you have any suggestions that you would like to share that go with this theme of child organization tools? Please share by commenting.
If you need assistance in getting the toys and clothing organized for the holidays, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Thursday, October 04 2012
Clutter and children have a strong correlation. It begins the day they come home from hospital.
How is it that you bring a tiny new human being into your home and with them comes all this stuff!
Toys, clothes, bottles, pacifiers, bed linens, books, stuffed animals, you name it. We have reached material saturation according to a recent study released by the UCLA Center on the everyday lives of families.
The clutter might begin in the closet, basement, attic or drawers but then it spills out onto our table tops, counters and floors. We currently have more visible clutter than ever before in the history of the world! Our children's stuff is at the top of our clutter piles.
Each new child in a household leads to a 30 percent increase in a family's inventory of possessions during just the preschool years alone! There are several reasons for this increase:
1. Parental guilt because of working outside the home;
2. Generous grandparents.
The United States has 3.1 percent of the world's children. However, US families purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally on an annual basis. The toys can spill out from their bedrooms and play rooms into living rooms, dining rooms, the kitchen and parents' bedroom.
There is a sense among working parents that they have less time to spend with their children, causing them to shower their kids with toys to compensate for a perceived loss of quality time at home.
Aside from that, other relatives contribute to children's collections of material items. Grandparents alone spent about $500 or more, per child, per year, on toys, clothes, books and other gifts. Due to the high divorce rate in this country, many children end up getting gifts from multiple sets of grandparents. If children divide their time between two households, they tend to have double the amount of possessions, as well.
The influx of objects is relentless. The outflow, not so much. We need to develop rituals and mechanisms for getting rid of stuff.
Here are some solutions:
1. Have grandparents purchase movie tickets, tickets for live events or a favorite restaurant instead of a toy.
2. Review the inventory accumulated every 6 months. Get rid of clothes that no longer fit, toys that no longer work, books that are no longer read, school papers that are no longer needed. (End of the school term, Christmas time are two suggestions.)
3. Have a conversation with other gift givers to come up with creative solutions that do not involve a lot of toys, clothes and other items that are in excess of what is reasonable. Relatives and friends want to give "things" to show how much they love them. They need to understand that their time is more precious than possessions. They need to understand that, although it is appreciated, it is causing clutter in your home.
4. Be selective about the items you purchase for your child. They don't need to have everything. Remember, less is more. Too much can be overwhelming for a child. They tend to play with their favorites anyway.
Take a look around your home and see where the clutter is accumulating and make some changes so you can be clutter free.
If you need some assistance or more ideas for solutions, contact me. I am glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great day!
Tuesday, September 11 2012
As you may or may not know, this professional organizer was blessed with a son who has ADHD. This month is National ADHD Awareness Month so I thought it appropriate to discuss time management. It tends to be one of the bigger issues for adults with ADHD.
My son, now age 21, is notorious for procrastinating. He loves to sleep, usually from 3:00 a.m. until whatever time he needs to get up, either for school or work. The thing is, he waits til the very last minute to get up, grab a shower and run out the door.
Today he has classes from 8:00 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. This morning I suggested, gently of course, that perhaps he take something to eat with him since it will be many hours until he gets home. I suggested quickly grabbing a bagel, so he would at least have something. He is not one to pack a lunch the night before, no matter how many times I recommend this. (Since he is 21, I no longer make lunches for him. Call me a bad mom.) His response was "But...I don't have any time!". Seriously? He didn't have time to open the fridge and grab a bagel, put it in a sandwich bag and head out the door. (He doesn't do breakfast.) I think not!
Here's my theory. We all have 24 hours in a day. It's what we do with them that counts. If he would have just simply woken up 15 minutes earlier, he would have had the time to take his shower and grab that bagel to take with him.
In other words, it does take some preparation and some thought as to what we need to do and how much time we need to do it. Then we prepare accordingly. Waking up 15 minutes earlier could have made such a difference for him.
I am still working with him on this issue, but here is some "food" for thought (no pun intended, well...maybe) for those of you that find that you are running out of time in the morning to get out the door. Simply prepare.
To start, make a list of what you need to do and then estimate how long it will take you to do it. Then add a cushion of time to avoid that last minute rushing around.
Simply by taking some time (of which we all have the same amount) to get organized and create a plan, you will find that you are no longer saying "But...I don't have any time!".
Try it out and let me know how you make out. If you need some addidtional help, let me know. I am here when you are ready.
In the meantime, take some "time" today to remember 9-11-01. I think we can all find a few minutes today to do so.
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?
Thursday, May 31 2012
The summer season has unofficially begun with Memorial Day Weekend and the official start is just around the corner. I am thinking that this is perhaps a good time to re-group.
With the start of the new season, the kids will be getting out of school and a more relaxed way of life can begin with the lazy days of Summer. Hopefully this time of year means less schedules to comply with and less structure can mean more relaxation.
This is a good time to consider your priorities and "re-group". Are there projects you have been meaning to get to but because of the craziness of the school term, you haven't found the time to get to them?
Take some time to consider what projects you would like to get off your "to do" list and then create a plan to get them done. Does the school paperwork need to be weeded out? Does the garage need to get organized to allow for Summertime toys (and maybe even that car!)? Does your wardrobe need to be gone through to determine what to keep, toss or donate to make more room in your closet?
I would suggest taking a tour of your home and creating a fresh new list of things to tackle. Walking through your home can provide the clarity you might need to create that list.
If you are in a state of overwhelm and don't know where to begin, contact me. I will be glad to help you "re-group" to get those projects taken care of so you can enjoy the rest of your Summer.
In the meantime, enjoy your week!
Friday, May 18 2012
I have always approached getting organized in a postive way. When all my clients can see is the clutter, I see potential. Also, I never thought it was productive to look at a large project with the only approach to getting organized as what is being eliminated.
What I mean by that is, instead of viewing what needs to be eliminated, I take the approach of what needs to be kept. I find it much easier to approach any organizing project this way.
Most times, people are overwhelmed because they don't know what to take away from the picture. Instead, I suggest looking at what is important enough to keep. The remainder will automatically become what gets eliminated.
This works well for adults and children alike. When parents are helping their children decide what to keep and what to toss, I have them go in with a positive approach as to what are the favorites. It makes it a lot easier to get through the process.
So, the next time you are working on an organizing project, try the positive approach. I guarantee it will be a much more pleasant experience.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and have difficulty picking your favorites (it can't be everything!), don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Have a great week and happy organizing!
Monday, April 09 2012
Most people who plan to read through their stacks of old magazines never do, so why keep them?
By Kathryn Weber, Tribune Media Services Living Space
March 13, 2012
Everyone has to deal
with general messiness around the house, but clutter can become overwhelming -- judging by the number of TV shows about hoarding! Whatever the level of disorder in your house, solving the problem starts with motivation. The problem isn't the possessions, but us. Once we get our thoughts straight about clutter, stuff has a way of finding its way out the door instead of in.
VISUAL WHITE NOISE
The problem with clutter is like the story of the frog in the soup. The unfortunate frog doesn't notice the temperature being raised a degree at a time until he's frog soup. In our homes, stuff can flow in until we're overloaded. Over time, we stop noticing all the clutter and it becomes visual white noise. Some of this is related to our best intentions. We believe that box of ticket stubs and postcards will make its way into a scrapbook one of these days, or that we'll read through that pile of gourmet magazines and rip out recipes, but somehow this never happens.
THE WAY WE WERE
Clutter often represents a personal history. and we hang on to that history, believing these items represent us. In fact, they merely represent a point in time in our lives. The joy of de-cluttering is the ability to feel unstuck, unburdened and moving forward again. Saving
a few special pieces is understandable, but be selective and only hold onto those items you feel strongly about or will actually use.
Getting a handle on clutter calls for an all-hands-on deck approach. Everyone in the family has to understand the toll that clutter can take on their time, energy and quality of life. Too often, clutter control falls on one person's shoulders, but any mess created by two or more people requires everyone's efforts. That's why getting the whole family involved, including children, is more effective in the long run.
Even small children can help pick out organizers for their toys and sort them into tubs. Older kids can learn the joys of selling their unwanted video games and making some money. There are few better incentives for kids or adults than turning their excess stuff into money.
REDECORATE TO UNCLUTTER
Since de-cluttering is seldom seen as its own reward, a fun redecorating project could just be the ticket to get everyone motivated to spruce things up. In the end, you'll have a new look, better organization and extra space, proving that the secret to clutter is all in how you think about it.
(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her Web site, www.redlotusletter.com
Monday, February 27 2012
There are so many options available to us these days to help us get and stay organized. I love options because everyone does not function the same way. Some people are auditory, some are visual and some are experiential learners (hands on).
There are several ways to organize your paperwork if you like clear your surfaces (who doesn't) but still be able to see what you have. (Visual). One way is to make use of binder clips!
Here are some examples of how you can use Binder Clips to get and stay organized:
Use them on the back of a door, a cabinet, a bulletin board or a wall. Adding a magnetic hook or push pins to the mix are a good complement.
I like to take a label maker and put labels on the actual clips themselves to give them a specific purpose. You can even color code the binder clips as they come in so many different colors these days. You don't need to stick with black.
A use for color-coded Binder Clips is to use them for various tasks or for each family member. Assign a specific color to each.
You can clip recipes together for the week and hang them on the inside of a cabinet door.
Use a magnetic hook on the side of your fridge to hang the Binder Clip on for a shopping list with coupons.
Use push pins on the front of a shelf to hand the clips.
Hang a Binder Clip inside the door, under the sink in your kitchen or bathroom, to hold your rubber gloves.
Hang magnetic hooks on the side of a filing cabinet near your desk and create binder clips for "hot" action items.
You can also use a bulletin board with a labeled binder clip called "HOT".
If you can't locate your label maker, you can use a binder clip to clip a labeled index card onto the front of a small bin on a shelf.
If letter trays do not work for you to sort your mail, use a Binder Clips that are labeled "Pay", "Action" and "File".
For paper management purposes, Binder Clips create a boundary. They limit the amount of paper work that builds up. It forces you to create a limit as to how long you put off the inevitable. You will need to keep it under control!
As you can see, there are multiple uses for just a simple Binder Clip. Use your imagination! I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with everyone!
So, get out those binder clips and put them to good use in organizing your home and your life.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Saturday, December 17 2011
A lot of my clients and organizing community are busy moms who work from home. I know that you need all the help you can get. It's a juggling act. I was interested in what Ali Brown has to say about holiday tips for work-at-home moms. I thought I would share:
With the kids around more than usual over the holidays, you might be missing quiet time to get solid work done at home. Most moms I know get too busy to properly plan ahead. But, if you get a little creative, you can set your kids up for a fun, memorable vacation and not miss a beat at work.
Hire holiday help
Remember, K-12 kids aren’t the only ones home for the holidays. Most college students have 3 weeks off and are probably going crazy under their parents’ roofs themselves. (Don’t we all remember those days?) Ask your friends and neighbors if their older children are looking for some extra cash around the holidays to play nanny, so you can still play boss.
Volunteer your kids
During the holidays, soup kitchens and animal shelters are always looking for an extra hand. Appoint an adult chaperone (or two) to take the kids out for a day of kid-friendly volunteer work (For kid-friendly volunteer opportunities, click here.) Not only will it get your kids off the couch, but it also might get them into the spirit of giving in a life-changing way.
Indulge their hobbies
Whether it’s tennis, ballet, reading, or art, sign your kids up for mini-workshops that they can attend during the weekdays. If you can’t find a class in the community, then have a bunch of moms pitch in to hire a private teacher and host group classes in your own home (this method works best if you have a basement you can work in ;)). And don’t forget there are a ton of talented high school and college-level athletes and artists who would be thrilled to teach a group of kids!
Keep a routine
If there’s no way around it and it’s just you and the kids, be sure to set some boundaries so their day doesn’t invade yours. Instead of letting the kids run wild all day long, try to set a schedule for them so they get a mix of exercise, education and rest time. Plan holiday movie time or holiday project fun time, to give you 1.5-hour blocks of time to knock a few things off your to-do list.
Streamline your to-do list
Be honest, if the kids are home, you’re not going to get as much done as you usually would. There’s no reason to beat yourself up and feel like you’ve fallen behind. Instead, write down the top 3 work items that you MUST get done each day and make sure you accomplish them. That way you can shut down your computer feeling right about your day, and focus on all the wonderful time you get to share with your kids!
Don’t forget to indulge your own inner child and join your kids in a few fun holiday projects. That’s the beauty of being a “mom”preneur — you get to decorate gingerbread cookies with your kids in the morning, then work while they giggle to Frosty the Snowman in the background. Could you have a better workday than that?
© 2011 Ali International, LLC
“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com“
Hope you find these tips helpful. Which one did you like the best? I would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Thursday, October 06 2011
Just how do you handle the onslaught of paperwork that comes through your door on a daily basis? Most of us hear the word "paperwork" and think of "work".
Well, it doesn't have to be that way! Trust me!
By creating a "Communication Station" in your home, you will be able to create a zone where all the daily paperwork can gather and have a home while it is active. The keyword here is "Active". This is not a place for old paperwork to gather and accumulate. There are other solutions for that.
The "Communication Station" is intended for kids' permission slips, bills, incoming and outgoing messages, mail and any communication among family members.
There are key pieces to have in place to make this area function as it should.
First, it needs to be in a convenient location in the home (like a kitchen or mudroom).
Second, use either stackable letter trays or wall mounted magazine racks for each member of the family to have their own slot for his or her papers.
Third, a large wall calendar that is color coded for each family member provides a clear view of the schedule for each person. Use it to jot down events that involve multiple family members (such as appointments that require a driver, etc.)
Fourth, a bulletin board (be creative with it if you wish) and use it for flyers, invites, etc. This will provide a clear view of the details for upcoming events or RSVP deadlines. You can add an envelope tacked to the bulletin board to stash coupons, gift certificates or other money-savers you might need to grab on the way out the door. (Be sure to clear the board on a regular basis to avoid clutter build-up.)
Keep a cup or pencil holder on the flat surface in this area for the various colored markers you are using for the calendar. Keep a note pad and pen as well as some post-it notes in this area as well.
Keep a trash can or recycling bin and paper shredder in this area to eliminate the "Junk".
Use letter trays to sort your mail DAILY into various categories for various purposes. Each piece of mail should have a purpose or it is trash!
By utilizing these tips, you can create your own "Communication Station" and eliminate the chaos of paperwork strewn throughout your home. You can have A Better Space.
If you are overwhelmed with the concept of getting organized, whether it be paper or any other type of clutter, let me know. I am more than happy to help.
Submit pictures of your "Communication Station" to provide others with ideas they can use. They might end up in my monthly newsletter "Organizing News You Can Use".
Not getting your issue? You can sign up right on this page!
In the meantime, have a great and organized week!
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!
Thursday, December 16 2010
Have you ever heard of the ripple effect? I'm sure you have. Did you ever think about how it might relate to organization? Well, it does!
I picture myself as a small drop in a large body of water. I believe that my purpose is to drop my knowledge, information and value into that large body of water so that it can ripple and touch others' lives. Then, the lives that I touch will pass their knowledge, information and value onto others. That is the ripple effect. I simply do it through organization.
I was speaking on the phone the other night to a new client and she asked if what I would be teaching her in the process of us working together would help her children. Without a doubt, it would.
We start by my teaching not only how to get organized, but, more importantly, how to stay organized. With this newly learned knowledge, understanding and skills, it is easy to pass that information onto the others in your household. You end up teaching them.
Many times, my clients were just simply never taught these skills - it's never too late. I believe that my purpose is to stop the process of disorganization that might have been passed down from generation to generation simply because it was never taught.
With your new found knowledge, you become the teacher and are able to show your children, not only through conversation, but by example, how to control and manage the clutter in their lives.
These skills are so valuable and will carry them through the rest of their lives. That is how the ripple effect works. Are you ready to be that drop in the large body of water? Simply by learning and passing your knowledge on, you will be doing just that!
If you are overwhelmed by the process of getting organized and don't know where to begin, contact me. I will be more than happy to help you create your own ripple effect.
Have a great week!
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.
Saturday, June 12 2010
My fondest memories of summer when I was a kid was going to summer camp. I loved it! Making new friends and doing lots of activities during the day in a structured environment suited me perfectly. I got emotionally attached to my camp counselors every year and cried on the last day of camp every single time!
I went to day camp, Girl Scout camp and overnight camp until I got too old to go.
This is the time of year when school is drawing to a close and you might be sending your kids off the camp. Whether it's day camp or overnight camp, it takes some preparation.
Are you ready for Summer Camp?
I found some tips from the American Camp Association that might help you out.
Plan Ahead - Your happy camper will be living out of a duffel bag, trunk or suitcase for the duration of their camping experience. If you pack light, it will be easier for your camper to keep track of their items and helps them handle their own luggage at camp.
Review Camp Packing Lists - Each camp should provide a recommended camp packing list, complete with any equipment they require, including recommended footwear, etc. Carefully review that is needed and pay special attention to the items that are not permitted. Before packing your child's favor hand held gaming system, make sure the camp permits electronic items. Many do not. If you're not sure, speak with the camp director to get clarity.
Label Everything - You can use laundry pens, iron-ons and press-and-stick labels to distinquish your child's items from other campers. Most camps ask that you label each and every item, including clothing, personal items and toiletries. Make sure your child knows where the label is located on these items.
Break In Shoes and Boots Before Camp Begins - If you are purchasing new sneakers, boots or any other type of shoes for camp, make sure they wear them at least once before they pack them to be sure they will be comfortable. The last thing your child wants to do is have to sit out on an activity because they new hiking boots make their feet sore.
Prepare Together - Make sure your camper knows what is being packed and where so they can find what they need when they need it.
If you have a specific question, don't hesitate to contact your camp director. They are there to help you and your camper prepare for an exciting and fun experience.
If you have any questions about how to get organized or are too overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, don't hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to help!
Have a great week!
Wednesday, December 23 2009
I am so excited about my upcoming coaching program for busy moms. This past year I have been focusing my business on helping busy moms and women entrepreneurs learn how to get and stay organized.
Not ony have I been busy writing newsletters, blogs and articles on the subject of getting organized, I have produced a line of products called U Can Do It which were specially created to help busy moms.
Now, I am pleased to announce that I have put together an exciting, new coaching program called "Living A More Organized Life".
With this quarterly group coaching program which meets by phone, busy moms will learn how to follow a proven step-by-step method to tackle and accomplish any project, be prepared for every special event, plan vacations and family time, make back to school a breeze and learn how to relax and enjoy the holiday season by having step-by-step ways to do gift-giving, decorating, large family dinners/parties and having overnight guests feel right at home.
This program begins on January 12, 2010 and then continues in April, July and October.
I am highly suggesting that busy moms not miss out on this opportunity to learn how to live a more organized life. If you or someone you know is a busy mom, don't pass this up. I only have 40 slots available and it will be filling up quickly.
For more information about this program, visit my special information page at www.4abetterspace.com/coaching.
In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas!
Monday, September 08 2008
Now that school is in full swing, the kids are already bringing home the artwork that they created in school. Especially in the early school years, these activities will stimulate your children and help them grow.
No matter how simple or complex, usually these "masterpieces" are brought home and proudly displayed on the fridge or the walls. However, how do you handle all of it when it starts to take over the home?
Here are some suggestions:
NO NEED TO KEEP EVERY "MASTERPIECE" - Once a month, sit down with your child and ask him or her to choose the one they like the best from that month's collection. By the end of the school year, you should only have about 10 pieces. You can take those 10 and narrow it down even further. This will keep the artwork under control and will still provide the ability to save their creations to look back on in the future.
PRESERVE THOSE MEMORIES IN A SCRAPBOOK - Take photographs of some of the larger pieces of artwork or the three-D pieces and keep them in a scrap book. Even if the actual piece of artwork is disgarded, the memory remains intact.
CREATE A MEMORY BOX - I find that more often than not, it's the parents who want to hold onto those pieces of artwork, more so than the kids. An easy way to keep them dust free and in good condition is to store them in a clear plastic container with a lid that is clearly labeled. The container should not be too large but reasonably sized to hold the "collection". By keeping them in a container, you are also providing boundaries for how much is kept. It should not exceed the size of the box. Remember, if you keep every piece of artwork that comes through the door for the next dozen or more years, your house will be overflowing with it. So, keep a lid on it!
FRAME IT - For some of those very special pieces, why not create a small art gallery to display them in a frame on the wall. This idea can provide some personality to a kid's bedroom, a playroom, a hallway or stairwell. Once in a while, change them for variety.
ALL THOSE SUPPLIES - If the kids love to create at school, chances are they like to create at home. This involves have a supply of crayons, markers, glue, paper and other art supplies in the home. Purchase a portable file box with a handle that they can easily transport from one room to the other or into the car which contains sandwich bags of the various supplies. This will keep everything organized and easy for them to find what they want.
GIFTING -What proud grandmom, grandpop or favorite aunt would not treasure a personalized gift from your child! Encourage your little artist to give a "masterpiece" as a special gift to that special someone on their birthday or Grandparents Day or any other special occasion as opposed to buying something for your child to give to them.
With these easy suggestions, you will find that the flow of artwork coming through the door and created in your home will become much more manageable. Remember, you can't keep it all, so be selective.
If you have any questions or comments about this topic or any other organizing issue you may have, feel free to contact me and I will be glad to help.
Have a great week!
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!
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!