Archive for the 'Memories' Category

Organized for Student Success – Part 1: Saving on Supplies

Organize. Plan. Save. Simplify.

The stores are telling us that it’s Back to School time. The “Start of a new year”.  In my little world it’s still the middle of summer. Enjoy. Go to the beach. Get back in the pool. Remember the Lazy days of summer? Try to find one before it’s too late!

No, it’s not time to go back to school, but it is time to get yourself organized, so when it truly is Back to School time, you will be able to ease into those hectic weeks with grace, being more relaxed, and with a little bit of extra cash.

Follow these simple steps to prepare for Back to School:

Gather ALL your school supplies…..from all corners of your home. Check the closets, the kitchen cabinets, how about your kids cubbies? Pull out last year’s backpacks, and dig into your child’s study area.  (Speaking of last year’s backpacks, have you set up a School Memory Box for each of your children? If not, check out my “Organize Their School Memories” blog for a simple, low cost,  solution to a common clutter problem.)

Put Like with Like. You truly can’t see what you have, and won’t know what you need until you take the time to put all of your office and school supplies together. Take the time to divide supplies into simple categories, such as:

  • Paper……….Lined, Computer,  Colored, Craft, Construction
  • Pens, Pencils, Markers, Highlighters, Crayons………….all things that write, draw or color
  • Notebooks, Spirals, Composition Notebooks, Folders, Binders, Dividers
  • Book Covers, Rulers, Glues
  • Calculators, Compass, Protractors
  • Backpacks, Flash-drives…………..And the list goes on…………

Assess What You Have. Now you have a realistic picture of the school supplies that are already lurking in your home. And you’re well on your way to knowing what you will need for the coming year. Perhaps you won’t need as much as you thought!

Be Realistic and Start Saving! Now that you know what you have, it truly is the perfect time to begin taking advantage of the Back to School  sales. Office supply and discount stores are offering some ridiculously low prices on supplies that in-coming students will be needing. Take advantage of the sales, but keep in mind…….

  • How much storage space that you have. You are not purchasing supplies for an army, just your family. Buy accordingly. Don’t purchase more than you can neatly store, or that will most likely be used in the coming semester (remember, the sales will begin again in December).
  • You probably haven’t yet received the official “Class Supply List”, although, unless your child is launching into their first year at school, you most likely have a good ideas of the basic supplies that will be needed.
  • Your local office and discount stores will offer excellent deals to get you in their store. They are betting that you will wander in uninformed, purchasing their incredible deal, but then being pulled into the Back to School buying frenzy, and buying more than you could possibly need. Shop with a list of your needs, and determine to stick to it.
  • Check out the sale adds so that you know what a great deal is.
  • Every week, every discount and office supply store will be having some incredible sales on school supplies. Take advantage of those sales that are convenient for you. Don’t go out of your way, wasting both your time and your gas, to get in on all the sales. Take advantage of the best. Forget the rest.

Happy Summer (and Organized)!

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The Keeper of Memories

“There is no childhood home to return to for holidays or long weekends. My mother long ago packed my bedroom items into a box marked,”Amy” ,and brought it to me in Birmingham. Letters from old boyfriends, photos from school dances, moody poems I wrote at 13-I keep them safe. I am the caretaker of my own past.”
Excerpt taken from “Going Home Again” By Amy Bickers Mercer,
Southern Living Magazine, April 2008

As another year of school comes to a close, memories of the past year are piling up. What are we to do with all the photographs, certificates and memorabilia each year?

Parents, you are the caretaker of your child’s past. How do you accomplish this without being overtaken and overwhelmed by mounds and mounds of memories, which when out of control, become clutter rather than keepsakes?

The answer really is simple: You save the BEST and the MOST special keepsakes, photos and memorabilia. If you save everything, it diminishes the value of those SPECIAL items. They will get lost in the shuffle, and you will be left with clutter, not keepsakes!

We tend to start out strong, with the first many pages of the baby book (for the 1st child, at least!) filled out completely. But then, life takes over and we might pile papers in the back of the book for a rainy day. The rainy day becomes the rainy years, and before we know it, our children are ready to launch out on their own, and if we are lucky, we have boxes of memories, which may or may not be clutter, to pass along to them.

So, how can we reign in the clutter and sort through the toys, books, clothes, artwork, school work, and photos? Will we, like Amy’s mother, be able to pass along a wonderful, handpicked history of our child’s development and memories?

First, think LONG TERM and SIMPLE.

Think through the categories or stages of your child’s life.

To document the life of a child, consider the following categories or stages; Baby, Preschool age, School Age, and High School. You will want to develop a system of saving memories for each category of your child’s life.

Finally, consider how YOU operate, and plan accordingly.

Next develop a system of saving memories for each category based on your own personality. Are you a detail oriented person who will actually fill in the blank spaces in the baby book, and the school memory keepsake? Lovely! Then simply set aside a few minutes each week or month, depending on your child’s age and rate of development, and do it! You know yourself and your life. If you are not someone who has time, energy or motivation to fill in those blank spaces in the memory books, then come up with a plan that will work for you. You can choose to use a calendar to record the milestones of your child’s development along with cute and funny sayings and incidents. You can hang the calendar in whatever room you spend a significant amount of time, so that it is often accessible and you can record your child’s milestones on the run, as they occur.

An alternative is to simply set aside a photo box, clearly labeled with your child’s name and, using dividers that come with the photo box, simply slip in the memories you jot down, photos and memorabilia in chronological order. Look how simple it can be!

The same system can be used to record the preschool years.

As your child approaches school age, consider purchasing a file box with 12 dividers or a banker’s box with 12 large envelopes. Then as each year slips by, keep a plastic or cardboard crate accessible and toss in all your child’s potential treasures……….., all the sweet cards, pictures, awards and brilliant writings. At the end of each school year, sort through and save the best and most meaningful. Then transfer them to the appropriate file or envelope. By the end of high school you’ll have a wonderful, handpicked history of your child’s life and development (with very little effort).

To borrow a phrase from Nike, “Just do it”! You’ll be glad you did (and so will your child)!

Happy Summer and Happy Memories!

Cheryl

Your Children………..Organized??

Oh yes, our children, organized!

Children. The very word can conjure up images of chaos and disorganization. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love children. I have 4 of them (who are all on their way to adulthood), and they have blessed my life beyond description. But, I also love order in my life. Can the two, children and order, dwell in the same home and life. You betcha!

You have an opportunity to learn how in Tuesday’s upcoming workshop!

Your Children, Organized!

Is your home overwhelmed with the overflow of  your child’s belongings? Come learn how to clear the clutter, reign in and organize the present and cherish the past. Learn how to set up a childhood memory box, create a school and art archive for each child, and learn creative ways to displaying and storing art work. We will also cover tips on reigning in and organizing clothing and toys.

When: Tuesday, November 9th, 10-11:30 AM

Where: Robert Moton Center, 300 S. Center Street, Westminster

Cost: $15

Sign Up Today! Call Carroll County Parks and Recreation at 410-386-2103 or Click Here for online registration

Happy (and organized!) Days!

Cheryl



Organized for Student Success, Part 5: Organize Their School Memories

An Organized Student is a More Successful Student

My Daughter's 13 Years of School Memories

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to create a School Memory Box for each child. This can be as simple as setting up a plastic file box or a cardboard banker’s box divided into 12 sections. Then, as each school year slips by, keep a plastic or cardboard crate accessible and toss in all your child’s potential treasures……… all their sweet cards, artwork, pictures, awards and brilliant writings. At the end of each school year, sort through and save the best and most meaningful. Finally, simply 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 life and development (with very little effort).

Basic File Box by See Jane Work

Check out these stylish file boxes by See Jane Work. They come in 4 different colors and hold standard hanging files. They are chic enough to set out on a bookshelf, desktop, or kitchen shelf, adding flair to your home and organization to your life. They also coordinate with other See Jane Work office products.

Finally, Check out this excellent product from Mom Agenda. Honestly, I have never been a fan of school memory books. They tend to be a bit tacky, and for most people, unrealistic. The School Years Book by Mom Agenda is different. Its simple, classic design is available in 3 colors and 2 different sizes. It is simply an organized and convenient portfolio that will help you keep track of those important mementos from pre-K all the way up to 12th grade. Each grade level folder can hold report cards, school pictures, creative writing and artwork. In addition, each grade level folder has space to write in your child’s personal information. You can write as much or as little as you wish. The choice is yours! The School Years Book allows you to archive an entire school career in one place.

So, regardless of whether you purchase and fill in a School Memory Book, or create your own School Memory Box, to borrow a phrase from Nike, “Just do it”!  Preserve those memories now, pass them on to your son or daughter in the future, and in between, pull them out and reminisce! You’ll be glad you did (and so will your child)!

Happy (and Organized) Memories!

Cheryl

Be sure to check out all of the articles in the Organized for Student Success Series;  Part 1: The College Years, Part 2: The Traveling Student, Part 3: Organize the Student, and Part 4:  Organize Their Space.

6 Simple Steps to Photo Organization

20 Years of Memories, Unorganized and Scattered Around My House!

Memories are on my mind (and on my to-do list!). In my previous post, “20 Years of memories, Organized and on My Desk“, I attempted to show you that it really can be a simple process to organize and enjoy memories, and specifically photographs.

On the other hand, I have worked with more than a handful of clients, who have 20+ years of photo’s and memories strewn throughout their homes. To them, and maybe to you, the process seems more than overwhelming, with no natural or logical starting point.

So, what if you are 20 years, or even a few years, behind in your organization of photographs? What if, in the midst of your crazy, busy life, your creation of those great memories have taken precedence over the organization of them, and they are now in piles, hit or miss, throughout your home?

It’s NEVER too late to Organize and Enjoy Your Memories!

Start with very simple goals. A realistic goal for overwhelming amounts of photographs is to organize them chronologically into clearly labeled, photo-safe boxes. Follow these 6 simple steps, and you will be well on your way to enjoying a lifetime of memories.

1. Gather ALL Your Photographs

Simple Photo Storage Boxes from The Container Store

Gather them from every corner, nook and cranny of your home, garage, attic and basement. Include any photo albums and books. This may be time-consuming, but it will save you from duplicating your efforts later in the process.

2. Put Your Photos and Photo Albums in Chronological Order

If you are MANY (say 30 or 40) years behind, begin by separating photographs by decade. Label photo-safe boxes by decade. Then simply separate all those piles of photos into these broad categories. Next sort each decade box into individual years. Label the outside of the box with the years and separate the inside of the box with dividers for each year.

Alternately, if you are only several years behind, just label each box by individual year.

Finally, within each year, you may want to consider separating into winter, spring, summer and fall. Photo boxes come with several dividers.Additional 5 x7 dividers can be purchased from Office Depot and other office supply stores.

At this point, you can confidently store the bulk of your photographs, while you organize one box at a time. The process will feel much more do-able and much less overwhelming.

A Simple Way to Organize Photos Chronologically

3. Purge

Now that you know what you have (and not before!), you can purge. As I always say, keep the best! If you hold on to EVERY picture, the volume becomes overwhelming and you won’t be able to enjoy any of them. The idea is to pick the best, organize those beautifully, and toss the rest. That way, you can actually access and enjoy your memories.

You need to be able to see what you actually have before you can decide what to keep.  If you are working on a photo box labeled 1970-1974, be sure to look through your photo albums (which you have already put in chronological order) for any albums with these corresponding years. Then compare your loose photos with those in the photo albums. You may find that the loose photo’s were “extra” from 30 years ago and can now be discarded.

If you are unsure of tossing any photos, consider putting them in a photo safe box labeled with the year and “extra photos’ for a year or so, until you feel more comfortable about tossing them. Then if you come across them in the future, you will have the assurance that you have these photographs in another location.

You may also consider passing extra photos to friends and family.

4. Label Each Photograph

Unless the date is already indicated on the photographs, label each photo or batch with an acid free, photo-safe pencil or pen with the date/person and/or event.

5. Determine to Keep up with Current Photographs

Follow these same simple steps as you receive new photos.

Sort into Chronological Order

Purge–Remember the goal is to pick the very best, organize those beautifully, and toss the rest

Label Each Photograph

Store in a Clearly Labeled Photo-Safe Box

6. Enjoy Your Photographs and Memories!

Now is the time to slip your photographs into photo safe photo albums or begin your scrapbook.

Remember, don’t start a system or project that is too overwhelming. Chances are, you won’t finish it and once again, your photo’s and precious memories will be shoved into a closet.

Enjoy those memories!

Happy (and Organized!) Days!

Cheryl





The Keeper of Memories

20 Years of Memories, Organized & On my Desk!

“There is no childhood home to return to for holidays or long weekends. My mother long ago packed my bedroom items into a box marked,”Amy” ,and brought it to me in Birmingham. Letters from old boyfriends, photos from school dances, moody poems I wrote at 13-I keep them safe. I am the caretaker of my own past.”
Excerpt taken from “Going Home Again” By Amy Bickers Mercer, Southern Living Magazine, April 2008

Parents, you are the caretaker of your child’s past. How do you accomplish this without being overtaken and overwhelmed by mounds and mounds of memories, which when out of control, become clutter rather than keepsakes?

The answer really is simple: You save the BEST and the MOST special keepsakes, photos and memorabilia. If you save everything, it diminishes the value of those SPECIAL items. They will get lost in the shuffle, and you will be left with clutter, not keepsakes!

We tend to start out strong, with the first many pages of the baby book (for the 1st child, at least!) filled out completely. But then, life takes over and we might pile papers in the back of the book for a rainy day. The rainy day becomes the rainy years, and before we know it, our children are ready to launch out on their own, and if we are lucky, we have boxes of memories, which may or may not be clutter, to pass along to them.

So, how can we reign in the clutter and sort through the toys, books, clothes, artwork, school work, and photos? Will we be able to pass along a wonderful, handpicked history of our child’s development, accomplishments and memories?

You certainly can, and quite easily, if you follow some simple steps:

1. First, think LONG TERM and SIMPLE.

20 Years of Memories

2. Think through the categories or stages of your child’s life.

To document the life of a child, consider the following categories or stages; Baby, Preschool age, School Age, and High School. You will want to develop a system of saving memories for each category of your child’s life.

My Daughter's Memory Box

This is my daughter’s memory box, in  which you will find a favorite baby blanket, a few special books, her baby book and photo album, precious outfits, her apron, cook book and tea set which we used often when she was little.

3. Consider how YOU operate, and plan accordingly.

Are you a detail oriented person who will actually fill in the blank spaces in the baby book? Lovely! Then simply set aside a few minutes each week or month, depending on your child’s age and rate of development, and do it! You know yourself and your life. If you are not someone who has time, energy or motivation to fill in those blank spaces in the baby book, then come up with a plan that will work for you. You can choose to use a calendar to record the milestones of your child’s development along with cute and funny sayings and incidents. You can then hang the calendar in whatever room you spend a significant amount of time, so that it is often accessible and you can record your child’s milestones on the run, as they occur. An alternative is to simply set aside a photo box or memory box, clearly labeled with your child’s name and, using dividers that come with the box, simply slip in the memories you jot down, photos, and memorabilia in chronological order. Look how simple it can be!

The same system can be used to record the preschool years, school age and high school years.

13 Years of School Treasures

4. Create a Simple System to Save Your Child’s School Work and Accomplishments

As your child approaches school age, consider purchasing a file box with 12 dividers or a banker’s box with 12 large envelopes. Then as each year slips by, keep a plastic or cardboard crate accessible and toss in all your child’s potential treasures……….., all the sweet cards, pictures, awards and brilliant writings. At the end of each school year, sort through and save the best and most meaningful. Then transfer them to the appropriate file or envelope. By the end of high school you’ll have a wonderful, handpicked history of your child’s life and development (with very little effort).

To borrow a phrase from Nike, “Just do it”! You’ll be glad you did (and so will your child)!

Happy (and Organized!) Memories!

Cheryl

The Inept Scrapbooker and 13 Years of Memories

My Daughter's Photo Gallery and Scrapbook

5 Simple Steps to Organize & Document Those Precious Memories….

Graduation Day is upon us, once again. Two of our 4 children graduated from high school 2 years ago, and this month our middle son will begin the next step of his journey. This is a bittersweet time in our lives. Sweet, as we look back over their accomplishments and individual growth through the years and see the fine young men and young woman they have become. And sweet, knowing we have done all that we could have to prepare them for this next stage of life. Life away from home. Bitter (actually not bitter, just a bit sad), as they will all 3 be in different parts of the country.

How quickly I forget how crazy busy the senior year of high school is! The last few weeks of the school year include prom, college prep, senior capstone service projects, end of year banquets and celebrations, wrapping up sports seasons, and of course, graduation.

In the midst of it all, I complete a memory book for each of our graduates, spanning their 13 years of school, along with a photo gallery frame with sweet memories of their high school years, to be on display at their graduation party, and to pass on as gifts for the graduates.

This task is a joy, not a burden, in large part because I have taken a few simple steps to collect and document their memories and accomplishments over the years.

Of all the organizing projects we might undertake, tackling photos and memories can be the most overwhelming. But, on the other hand, it can provide the biggest payoff in terms of joy, satisfaction and freedom. Our photos simplify life by providing memories without having to keep all the stuff associated with those memories.

It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process, if you follow these simple steps:

1. Keep only the best!

If you hold on to EVERY photo and piece of memorabilia, the volume becomes overwhelming and you won’t be able to enjoy any of them. The idea is to pick the most special, organize them beautifully, and toss the rest. That way, you can actually access and enjoy your memories.

2. Contain The MemoriesPurchase a scrapbook, photo album or memory box for each child

Be realistic. You know yourself. Don’t start something that you won’t keep up with. If you know you won’t finish a scrapbook, then don’t start it, as it will only bring you stress, not joy. If a scrapbook isn’t your thing, then purchase a simple photo album or memory box. Keep in mind that it will need to accommodate 13 years of photos and memories, but remember– only THE BEST!

When each of my children began kindergarten, I started a school age scrapbook for them. I intentionally purchased spiral bound scrapbooks, which limited the number of pages that I had to fill for each of their years of school. Basically, I had a bout 5 pages per year. Not so overwhelming for this inept scrapbooker!

3. Gather The Memories – Each year, place an envelope in the back of your photo album or scrapbook and begin to gather photos and memorabilia of that year.

As each school year began, I simply put a manila folder in the back of each of my child’s scrapbooks to gather pictures of that year. As I had pictures developed during the year, I would get an extra copy of the best that I had for each child, and simply slip them into their envelope.

4. Edit The Memories – At the end of each year sort through and pick out THE VERY BEST (toss the rest……yes, toss the rest- or give to Grandma!)

By the end of the school year, I had gathered highlights of each child’s year, which generally included their first day of school,  highlights of the year, special activities and sports, holidays and summer fun. I then choose the best, most memorable, and most meaningful to incorporate into their memory book.

5. Organize The Memories -Beautifully and Simply

Finally, I spent a few hours arranging the photos and memories that I had collected for each child into their scrapbook. Despite my ineptitude as a scrapbooker I enjoyed these hours. It was a time to reminisce and review each child’s year. I don’t try to tell a story on each page, as a seasoned scrapbooker may. Instead, I simply mount the best pictures that I had for that year, along with a a few colorful die cuts, photo-safe stickers, card-stock and a few captions or funny sayings.

Matt's Photo Gallery and Scrapbook

My Son's Photo Gallery and Scrapbook

As my children head off to college, this inept scrapbooker is thrilled to have a picture story to remember the past, as I look forward to their exciting years to come.

Times have changed, and over the years, so have my photo habits. Even this old girl has gone digital, ordering and storing pictures online. Many people now create their scrapbooks completely online. The entire process has been simplified, making it easier for us to be the keeper of memories.

Happy (and Organized!) Days!

Cheryl

P.S. Congratulations Graduates!


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Organizing Just Got Fun!
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