Archive for the 'Get in Order for Life 2010' Category

Organized for Student Success, Part 4: Organize the Student

An Organized Student is a More Successful Student

Give the students in your home every advantage by working with them to develop excellent organizational skills.

Organize Time and School Work

Help your student(s) develop a plan to organize their time. Most students will receive an agenda book. Hold your student(s) accountable to using it. Help them develop good habits. It takes approximately 21 days of constant repetition to form a new habit. Offer them grace, as you encourage them in forming this new habit. It will help them succeed as a student and they will learn valuable lessons of time management for the future.

Teach them organizing skills as you work with them to set aside specific places in their binder, notebook, or folders for homework, current work, and completed work. Many teachers will share their suggestions for organization with you and your students. Take advantage of their wisdom and experience. Finally, consider creating a file box at home to store completed work, filed by subject. When their binder or folders begin to bulge, they will have an easy and convenient place to file their work away, while still having quick access to it for future needs.

Organize a Study Area

A Functional Work Space from PBteen

Create an area in your home specifically for doing homework. This area should be will lit and quiet, with a work area and a supportive chair. It is also helpful to have storage for basic study helps and school supplies. This is the perfect time to inventory all your school and office supplies while reorganizing the area for ease of use. This is an easy process, which includes a few simple steps:

  • Think through how you want your space to look and function
  • Empty out any drawers, cabinets, bins or files that are storing office and/or school supplies
  • Group like things together. Create sub categories such as; Art Supplies, Paper Supplies, Pens and Pencils, Notebooks and Binders, Office Supplies etc.
  • Toss or donate any damages or obsolete supplies
  • Return the “keep” pile to the space and think through what, if any, storage accessories or containers you many need
  • Finally, store often used supplies close at hand, while utilizing harder to reach space for seldom used supplies

Happy (and Organized) School Days!


Be sure to check out all of the articles in the Organized for Student Success Series;  Part 1: Saving on Supplies, Part 2: The College Years, Part 3: The Traveling Student, Part 5:  Organize Their Space, and Part 6:  Organize Their School Memories.

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 9: After the Rush

Pairing Down, Packing Up and Pondering

As you pull out your empty boxes, do take a minute to pull out anything left in those boxes to donate. If you didn’t use it this year, you are even less likely to use it in the years to come. This can be you’re first step towards a simplified and organized 2011!

Take your time as you take down, pack up and store your holiday decorations. The few extra minutes you take now will pay off for the years to come. Use clear plastic containers and be sure to clearly label each container.

Take a few minutes to think through HOW you prepare for Christmas, and pack up accordingly. Put away those things that you tend to use last, first. And pack away those things that you tend to use first, last, so that they will be easily accessible next year. Many people put up their outside decorations first, may decorate the inside of their homes next, send out Christmas cards and start listening to their Christmas music, and finally put up and decorate the tree. If this were the case, you would want to pack away your tree trimmings first, and place them in the back of the storage area or shelving unit. Next you would want to pack up your cards, Christmas music and wrap. Then pack away your indoor decorations and finally your outdoor decorations.

The stores are enticing you to come on in and purchase, purchase, purchase. For the past several months they have been trying to get you to purchase Christmas stuff, now with the New Year approaching, the stores are moving on to organizational aids. Of course being an organizing professional, I have a certain affinity for this time of year and for all those cool organizational tools that are for sale. But the fact remains, if you don’t need it, it becomes clutter. Think through WHAT you need BEFORE venturing out to purchase.

Finally, take a few minutes to ponder. Think back over your holidays. Did your holiday season come close your mission? Did you begin any new traditions that you would like to continue? Were you able to develop any new habits, either personally or within your family, that you would like to continue? What was your greatest frustration this holiday season, and how could you minimize it in years to come? What changes did you make this year that enabled you to enjoy a simpler and more fulfilling holiday season?

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 2, Take Time to Make Time, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5, Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, Part 7, It’s a Wrap, and Part 8, Merry Christmas, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Here is to an organized and blessed 2011!


Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 7

It’s A Wrap!

The big day is quickly approaching. Are you ready? Are you in the Christmas spirit?

It’s time to wrap up your preparations and your gifts!

Consider setting up a wrapping station where you can keep all of your wrapping supplies and gifts in the same area. Make it fun and festive by setting up your wrapping station near a TV. Then you can wrap and organize, while watching old Christmas classics or listening to Christmas music.

When you pull out last year’s wrapping paper, take the time to discard any wrinkled, outdated, or damaged paper and supplies.

Get the kids involved!

  • Give the job completely to an older teen
  • Have younger children help by stamping, painting or decorating butcher paper to use as gift wrap

Wrap gifts soon after you purchase them to avoid the last minute rush. Be sure to clearly label each gift and cross the gift off your list.

Remember, don’t be afraid to cross off some tasks from your list! Your friends and family would rather have a joyful you, with store bought cookies, than a stressed out, frazzled, you, with homemade treasures.

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 2, Take Time to Make Time, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5, Decorating, and Part 6, Meal Planning, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

May you have joy in the journey!

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 6

Meal Planning

We tend to cook more and entertain more during the holidays. There is much that you can do prepare for this busy time so that you can truly enjoy your celebrations.

First, ask yourself who, what, when and where? When you have your answers to these questions, you have the backbone of your plans.

Take time to prepare for the weeks ahead by doing some (or all!) of the following:

  • Organize, purge and clean your pantry, refrigerator and freezer
  • Do a quick inventory of dinnerware, glasses, silverware, linens and serving pieces. If there is a need, there is certainly a sale!
  • Prepare a flexible menu for the weeks ahead
  • Each week, make a shopping list from your menus and try to shop only 1 time a week. Go on off-peak times of the day—early in the day and early in the week, if possible
  • Take advantage of sales to stock up on non perishables that you will need for your holiday preparations
  • Prepare dishes, breads, cookies and desserts that can be frozen
  • Keep basics and easy to prepare foods on hand
  • Share the responsibility and joy of cooking for others—when your guest asks if they can bring something, say YES, and cross something off your list!
  • Consider pot-luck dinners for large celebrations

Remember your goal this holiday season! Look back at your “Holiday Mission Statement” that you created back in week one. How is your mission going? Are you joyful in the journey of your preparations? If not, it might be time to cross a few more things off that list of yours, regroup and move forward.

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 2, Take Time to Make Time, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning,  Part 5, Decorating, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Have a blessed and organized holiday!


Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 5


Picture of Christmas Tree

Our Little Tree

I’m sure many of you have started, if not completed your holiday decorating. We are finishing up this weekend. Once again, we purchased our tree from a lot rather than cutting it down fresh. We’re hoping for more than sticks during our New Year Celebration!

When is the best time to put up and then take down the Christmas tree? When I pulled out my Christmas boxes, I was joyed to find a long lost, ultra (not!) spiritual book about Christmas celebrations that gave me a clue. In her book, A Purse-Driven Christmas (So, What did you get me?), author, comedian and singer, Anita Renfroe, writes:

“We can’t find any guidance from the official etiquette dames regarding the question of the right time to remove the Christmas decorations. When is the optimum time to take them down? I have seen (only in movies) that there are some people who don’t even put their trees up until Christmas Eve. Who are these people? Don’t they know that the joy of having a tree is its being up at least a couple of weeks prior so they can enjoy the lights and watch the presents and pine needles stack up around the bottom? These are the same people who take the tree down the day after Christmas. They obviously don’t do quite as much decorating as we do, because if we waited until Christmas to do all that we do and then took it down immediately afterward, we would miss Christmas altogether. I believe that these people are secretly Christmas haters and just want to have the least amount of Christmas environment allowable by law. Their mantra is, ‘It’s not Christmas yet, not yet, not yet, not yet –now it is — great, it’s over already — get the stuff outta hear!’”

It’s a funny, lighthearted read, described as “The happiest accessory for the holiday season”!

For those of you that haven’t started your decorating yet, most of the us who are in the midst of it, and the few who actually wait until Christmas Eve, keep these tips in mind.

  • If you do a lot of decorating, don’t try to get it done in a day (OK, this one doesn’t apply to the Christmas Eve folks!)
  • Make a schedule, delegate, and work as a family
  • Make it a part of your celebration and remember to have joy in the journey
  • Before you begin pulling out the holiday decorations, be sure the house is clean and straight

As you pull out your holiday decorations

  • Take the opportunity to purge any items you no longer use or love
  • Consider donating those items that you no longer use
  • Pack up your regular season decorating accessories into your holiday boxes (it will save you from searching for them after Christmas!)

Happy Decorating!

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 2, Take Time to Make Time, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning,  Part 6, Meal Planning, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!


Get In Order for the Holidays, Part 4


This is the time of year when your doors are open, friends are in and out, and company is on the way! Make it easy on yourself, and get your house in order early, so that you can enjoy! This is NOT the time of year for major home repairs or projects – save those for the slower times of year.

First, decide what needs to be done. Then decide on a realistic schedule to get those jobs accomplished.

Begin with jobs that won’t get undone:

  • De-clutter and purge – make room for the holidays!
  • Clean carpets if needed
  • Clean silver
  • Do the Great Exchange:  Switch out spring & summer for fall & winter linens, platters and dishes. Switch out the beach towels and chairs for gloves & hats and sleds & clothes
  • Purge and organize your pantry – prepare for the holiday cooking and baking
  • Clean out the oven, refrigerator and freezer

Next, Get caught up on basic cleaning each week. If you are overwhelmed with your cleaning list, consider some of the following options:

  • Use a timer and set it for 15 minutes several times a day – it is amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes of focused time!
  • Eliminate some of the jobs in your list
  • Delegate! Get your family members involved
  • Hire help, if possible (this is a great gift for both yourself and your family!)

Have a blessed and organized holiday!

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping, Part 2, Take Time to Make Time and Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide , Part 5,  Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.


Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 3

Budget and Gift Giving GuideGift List

How are your holiday preparations coming along? Are you keeping up with all the advertisements and racing along at a frenzied pace?

If so, slow down. Regroup. Get organized and create a plan of action. It will enable you to slow down your pace, use your time wisely, and enjoy the weeks to come.

Start by creating a budget for your holiday. Be sure to include gifts, decorations, travel, meals and entertainment.

Next, create a gift list with each person’s name that you plan to purchase a gift for, along with gift ideas and the dollar amount that you plan to spend.

As you purchase gifts, fill in the gift purchased and the dollar amount spent.  This will help to organize your shopping, avoid purchasing doubles, and keep to your budget.

If you happen to like forms and planners, check out the website, Organized Christmas. They have a form or planner for any aspect of Christmas that you can image (and many that you can’t imagine!). Personally, I use a lined piece of notebook paper in my home notebook. It works. Use whatever is easiest for you and whatever you will actually use!

It is too tempting to overspend during the holidays—don’t allow your good intentions and good will to be an excuse for irresponsibility.

About the time we think we can make ends meet, someone moves the ends. Herbert Hoover

Don’t let yourself become that someone!

Check back often for parts 4-10 of the Get in Order for Christmas Series, which will give you tips and ideas for cleaning, meal planning, decorating, shopping and gift giving, wrapping, and reflecting back on your holiday season.

Check out Part 1, Happy Shopping and Part 2, Take Time to Make Time , Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5,  Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!


Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 1

Part 1, Happy Shopping!

Shopping BagsBlack Friday.

Black is the only descriptive word needed to keep me away from the stores on one of the busiest shopping days of the year!

Black Friday is the name that the Philadelphia Police Department gave to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the 1960’s. It was NOT a term of endearment! It officially opened the Christmas shopping season in the city center, and massive traffic jams as well as over-crowded sidewalks tended to accompany the day, as the downtown stores were mobbed from opening to closing.

Are you of the Black Friday mindset, where shopping becomes a challenge, a competition, and an event? Have at it and have fun!

Shopping is not my favorite activity, so the less stress the better. I’m of the opposite mindset, which we can call White Tuesday. I try to shop early in the morning and early in the week, avoiding the crowds (as much as they can be avoided at this time of year!).

Whether you are of the Black Friday or the White Tuesday mindset, consider the following tips to simplify your shopping throughout the season:

1. Be sure to shop with an organized list. Jot down EVERYTHING you are looking for, including ideas and price range. Keep this list handy,  and use it consistently to avoid purchasing duplicates, overspending, and to save time. Keep all receipts, with the name of the recipient written on the back. Keep them in a safe place.

2. Don’t clutter up the lives of your friends and family. Consider some of the following gift-giving options:

  • Consumable gifts, including lotions, candles, great wine and foods
  • Cool experiences, evenings out, tickets to a play or event
  • Movie tickets along with popcorn and candy
  • Passes to a museum or zoo for a family
  • Classes for art, dance, golf or gourmet cooking
  • For teenagers, consider gift cards for gas, coffee, fast food or restaurants
  • For teachers, consider gift cards for coffee, gas, fast food, restaurants, office supply stores or educational supply stores
  • Give of yourself; a car wash or lawn mow for an elderly neighbor, an evening of babysitting along with a gift certificate for a dinner out for young parents.
  • Instead of a traditional gift, agree to spend a special evening together with friends
  • Give a cow, a goat or chickens. Dig and stock a fish pond. Send a child to school. Provide life saving medicine, mosquito nets and emergency food. Purchase fruit trees, honey bees or a fishing boat. It’s never been easier to change the lives of those in need. Check out the World Vision Gift Catalog or the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog, and share the true Spirit of Christmas, while changing the lives of children forever. They make it quick and easy to send any of the above, along with many other ideas, in all price ranges. Check it out!

3. If you make homemade gifts, become a specialist. Find one thing that you love, make it well, and make many of them.

4. Keep several generic gifts available for the last minute need. Consider some of the consumable gifts mentioned earlier, such as great lotions, candles, gourmet foods and excellent wine. If you don’t have a need for them, you can treat yourself after the holidays.

Happy Black Friday and Happy Shopping!

Check out Part 2, Take Time to Make Time, Part 3, Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 4, Cleaning, Part 5,  Decorating, Part 6, Meal Planning, and Part 7, It’s a Wrap, of my Get in Order for the Holidays Series.


Happy Thanksgiving


I am thankful for a week at the beach with my husband and 4 kids, 3 of whom live away at college. What a tremendous blessing it is to be together!

I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to work with such awesome people on a daily basis, including clients, fellow organizers , NAPO board members, and local business colleagues.

I am thankful for the opportunity to do work that I absolutely love!

I am thankful for my clients, who allow me into their homes and lives.

I am thankful to be able to bring simplicity and order into lives that are often times crowded and stressed.


It is through giving that we receive.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to give through In Order for Life.

I am thankful that In Order for Life is able to provide help and hope to a young man, Cadeiado, through Food for The Hungry sponsorship and their excellent work in Mozambique, Africa.

I am thankful for clients, who consistently give of their overflow. They receive the satisfaction that their, once loved, possessions are going to help others. After client appointments, it is not uncommon to see me driving through Goodwill, or up to a Little Love Barn with a car full of donations.

We have gone to Appalachia to serve the people. Meet a Little Love Barn and Appalachia Ministries, through Uniontown Bible Church. I am consistently able to bring slightly used, very loved, possessions to be donated to the Appalachia Project. These items will eventually make their way to Appalachia, where the local people will sell them, and the proceeds used for local programs, by the local people. Helping people to help themselves and others.

We have gone to the proms. Meet The Priceless Gown Project.  $1,000’s worth of one client’s beautiful gowns were donated to this effort. The Priceless Gown Projects provides gowns and accessories to local young women, who may otherwise not be able to attend their prom, a special ending to their high school years. They recieve the dresses of their dreams and memories to last a life time.

We have gone to the dogs! One client, who consistently and tirelessly, works with animal rescue and care, was able to donate a full truckload of linens, blankets, and towels to a local animal rescue project. Items that are always needed at animal care and rescue facilities.

Truckload of Donations

We have gone to the dogs (and cats)!

We have gone to the schools. After organizing a craft room, a local craftswoman and Stampin Up representative, donated several boxes filled with art and craft supplies to a local Elementary School. These included items that could be used for arts and crafts, as well as items that could be used as teacher prizes. Both teachers and the administration were thrilled with her generous donation.

Donations to a local school

We have gone into to the schools.

With Much Thanksgiving,




Get “In Order” for the Holidays!

Yes! It is time to get yourself and your life In Order for the Holidays!

Does this time of year find you hurried and harried rather than joyful and jubilant?
This 90 minute workshop will help you sail through the holidays in organized bliss, as you recapture some of that energy and joy that is so often lost in the details of the days.

We’ll discuss time saving strategies and ways to simplify your holiday plans that you can use year after year. We will talk about Expectations, Gift Giving, Cleaning and Decorating, Holiday Meal Planning and the Creation of a Wrapping Center.

Workshop: In Order for the Holidays

When: Monday, November 16th, 2011

Where:    The Marriage Resource Center, 255 Clifton Blvd, Suite 213, Westminster, MD

Cost:  $15

To Register:  Call 410-386-9003 or email

Don’t miss this opportunity to get yourself in “Order for the Holidays”, while  supporting the Marriage Resource Center of Carroll County……….”building healthy community, one marriage at a time!

Happy (and Organized) Days!

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NEW Home Learning Parties!

Organizing Just Got Fun!
Now Scheduling Home Learning Parties for Summer 2011
Gather your friends, choose a topic, learn, simplify AND earn free and half priced products from the Clever Container Company! To schedule your party, call Cheryl at 410-259-1466 or email

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