Archive for the 'Get Organized 2009' Category

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 6

Part 6, 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 listen 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When you pull out last year’s wrapping paper, take the time to discard any wrinkled, outdated or damaged paper and supplies.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 and than a stressed out, frazzled you with homemade treasures.

May you have joy in the journey!

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Cheryl

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Get in Order for Christmas, Part 6

Part 6, Shopping and Gift Giving

If you haven’t completed your Christmas shopping, don’t feel bad. Surprisingly, your in the majority with 66% of the

Still Shopping.........

country right there with you! In fact, according to the the latest American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, one in five consumers (21 percent) will still be shopping for gifts the week before Christmas, with 4 percent expecting to shop on Christmas Eve (men??). I’m right there with the majority, still shopping away. Once upon a time, when the kids were little, and I could actually pick their clothes and their gifts, I shopped all year, created “theme” gifts, and finishing up nice and early. Times have changed and so have my kids. Actually, they are no longer “kids”. They are young adults and adults. I have learned that times and life change quickly at their stage of life.  I have also learned that their gifts are much more expensive. Consequently, they receive fewer gifts, making my job of shopper much easier.Case in point, the only gift my college age daughter asked for was money toward a reunion trip to be held over the New Year Holiday, out of state. She told me just last night that her plans may be changing, and she may not be going on her trip. I might need to get shopping!

Are you of the “Black Friday” mindset, where shopping becomes a challenge and a competition? Have at it and have fun! 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!).

Be sure to shop with an organized list. Jot down EVERYTHING you are looking for, including ideas and price range. Use the list you created in week 2, and you will avoid purchasing duplicates, overspending, and save time.

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!

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

Finally, 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 “White Tuesday” and Happy Shopping!

If you missed them, check out Part 1: Take Time to Make Time, Part 2:  Budget and Gift Giving Guide, Part 3: Cleaning, Part 4: Meal Planning and Part 5: Decorating.

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Cheryl

Get In Order for Christmas, Part 4

Part 4, 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 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.

Have a blessed and organized holiday!

Check out Part 1, Take Time to Make Time, Part 2, Budget and Gift Giving Guide and Part 3, Cleaning.

Cheryl

Get in Order for Christmas, Part 2

Part 2: Budget and Gift Giving Guide

Create 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 end meet, someone moves the ends.” Herbert Hoover

Don’t be that someone!

Check back often for parts 3-9 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.

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Check out Part1, “Take Time to Make Time”.

Cheryl

Blog a Job! 2009- Part 5 The Transformation Complete!

IMG_5441 craft area reduced

The Transformation Complete!

Let the fun begin! This is the last work session with my client, Becky, and her home office.

During our previous work sessions, we literally worked our way through the room and through many years of paperwork and accumulated clutter. We were working in a room, which lacked identity and purpose, and that made it way too easy to continually add to the clutter and chaos.

We were able to reorganize the past, disposing of everything that was not needed in the present and organize treasures and precious memories for their enjoyment in the future. We set up a current working filing system and archive files for storage. We sorted through many years of craft and sewing supplies, and were able to purge the useless and organize the useful.

As the process continued, we were able to define what tasks Becky wanted to accomplish in her office and therefore, which clearly defined zones would be established in her space. She was left with an area for books, crafts and sewing, her office area with her desk and current files and the closet which would store off-season clothing, gift wrap, craft and office supplies.

Becky is a creative soul. She is both vibrant and gracious, and she is overflowing with personality and style. She had decorated her office, but the style was literally lost in the clutter. Once we cleared out the clutter, we were able to edit some of her decorative items and were left with a stylish office space that is light, bright, and functional.

We were able to use much of what Becky already owned and therefore had to spend very little money on supplies, while creating her new space. Becky purchased the craft supply cart, jars for the ribbons on the shelves and some filing supplies.

It is my hope that by following the progression of this organizing job and the transformation of this space, that you are both encouraged and challenged to imagine the possibilities of your home “In Order” for “Life”!

Check out Blog a Job! Part 1, Blog a Job! Part 2, Blog a Job! Part 3 and Blog a Job! Part 4 for the complete story! Also, check out the Before and After Gallery for pictures of our progress from beginning to end.

Thanks Becky, for opening your home and your life and allowing me to be part of this transformation.

It has truly been a pleasure!

Cheryl

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Organized for Success – How are YOUR Students Managing?

Organize the Student

An organized student is a more successful student. Give the students in your home every advantage by working with them in developing excellent organizational skills. Help your student(s) develop a plan to organize their time and their papers. Most students receive an agenda book. Hold your student(s) accountable to using it. Help them get into a good habit. 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 with you and your student. Take advantage of their teacher’s wisdom. Also, consider creating a file box at home to store completed work, filed by subject. When their binder begins 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 the Study Area

Next, prepare a study area and take stock of your school and office supplies.

Beadboard Basic Corner Desk from Pottery Barn Teen

Beadboard Basic Corner Desk from Pottery Barn Teen

Create an area in your home specifically for doing homework. This area should be well 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, Computer Supplies etc……..
  • Toss or donate any damaged or obsolete supplies
  • Return the “keep” pile to the space and think through what, if any, storage accessories or containers you may need
  • Store often used supplies close at hand, while utilizing harder to reach space for seldom used supplies

Organize a School Memory Box

The Bungalow File Holder from See Jane Work

The Bungalow File Holder from See Jane Work

If you haven’t done so already, consider creating a School Memory Box for each child. This can be as simple as a plastic file box or a cardboard banker’s box divided into 12 sections. During the school year file away any artwork, projects, special memories, creative writing and awards. Then, at the end of each school year, go through your file box of completed work and pull out the best and most meaningful of their creative writing, schoolwork and artwork. Finally,  simply file it 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.

Check out these stylish Bungalow File Holders from See Jane Work. They come in 5 different designs and hold standard hanging files. They are chic enough to set out on a bookshelf, desk top or kitchen shelf, adding flair to your home and organization to your life.

Organize the Room

This is also the perfect time to work with your child organizing his/her bedroom and clothing. Use the same basic steps outlined earlier:

  • Think through how you want your space to look and function
  • Empty out drawers, clothes and any bins that are storing clothing
  • Group like things together. Create sub categories such as Underclothes, Sports Clothes, Uniforms, School Clothes, Dress Clothes etc.
  • Toss old or worn clothes and donate outgrown, seldom worn, or out of style clothes. The biggest pitfall is keeping more clothes than you actually can use or have room for. Be realistic in what you are keeping.
  • Return the “keep” pile to the space and think through what, if any, storage accessories or containers you may need. Assign a specific space for each sub category of clothing.
  • Store often used clothing close at hand, while utilizing harder to reach space for seldom used items. Store off season clothes in a clearly labeled bin or under-the-bed container.
  • Be careful not to over-stuff drawers and closets. You will go a long way in helping your child stay organized by actually providing a space for all of their belongings and then making it both easy and accessible to put them away.
  • Make use of storage space, which is often overlooked, such as the backs of doors or inside of closets to mount hooks, racks, or pockets. Use hooks for storage of everyday items such as sweatshirts, pajamas, robes, and towels. If your child doesn’t have many hanging clothes, install shelves in half of their closet for additional folded clothes or for toy storage.

Now that you know what your child owns and what needs they may have, you may still be able to take advantage of summer clearance sales.

Have a Fantastic (and organized!) School Year!

Cheryl

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Blog a Job! 2009 Watch a Professional Organizer in Action! Part 4

Today is paperwork day. Tedious and time consuming. But, it is oh so worth it! Investing the time into creating a simple and effective filing system is one of THE MOST BENEFICIAL organizing jobs you can accomplish. Think about all the paper lying around your house……..the newspapers, magazines, newsletters, school papers, bills, mail, invitations, the stack on your kitchen table (you KNOW you have one!), appointment reminders, and the list goes on! Now imagine your home de-cluttered and organized with no paperwork in sight, yet easily and quickly accessible. It IS possible. And the fist step in achieving this is to create and maintain a simple and effective filing system.

Becky and I spent four full hours setting up a filing system. Our first step was to organize both her and her husband’s past work files and clear them out of their office space. Becky worked in an industry, which requires her to keep business contacts and files for four years. These files will, most likely, never need to be accessed, and therefore, could safely be stored in their attic. Next, we organized her husband’s past files. Much of his paperwork and files have to do with his master’s degree and current teaching position. His files may need to be accessed occasionally, so they were organized and will be stored in the office closet. Out of the families current living space, yet still accessible. By clearing out the past, we created space for the present. Finally, we set up their family’s current filing system.

Check out my previous blogs; “Developing a Simple and Effective Household Filing System” and “Filing Tips, Tricks and Ideas“, for direction and ideas on setting up your own filing system. Or, feel free to shoot me an email at cheryl@inorderforlife.com or give me a call at 410.259.1466 to schedule an appointment.

The secret to any good filing system is to keep it simple. Whatever system you use should make it easy to find what you need, be easy to maintain, and make sense to everyone who may need to use it. You should be able to retrieve any paper in less than one minute—if that’s not the case, it may be time to revamp your system. Then be sure to locate your files in a place that is easy to get to. If they aren’t  you won’t get to them!

The Shred Pile has grown as big as Charlotte!

The Shred Pile has grown as big as Charlotte!

Becky and her husband both had homework this week:  Becky was to bring her books to the library for donation, sort, purge and organize her memory bins and shred all her documents that had identifying information on them. Her husband was to sort, purge and organize both his past files and his memory box.

Check out Blog A Job! Part 1, Blog A Job Part 2Blog a Job! Part 3, and Blog a Job! Part 5, to read the complete article and to see the finished office space.  The fun is just beginning. Now that we have cleared out the clutter, re-organized the past, and decided exactly how the office space will function, we can organize the present!

Happy (and organized!) Days!

Cheryl

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Organizing Just Got Fun!
Now Scheduling Home Learning Parties for Summer 2011
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