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Organized for Student Success – Part 2: The College Years

An Organized Student is a More Successful Student

This is true whether your student is heading off to kindergarten or, like 3 students in our family, heading off to college. The better prepared and organized your students are as they head off, the more they are able to concentrate on the important tasks that lay before them.

Moving Day......Simplify the Process!

Get In Order for Dorm Living

Pre-Pack Check

Before you even check out any of the Packing Lists below, it’s a good idea to check out your individual school’s policies. You can find on-campus housing policies both online and in the student handbook of most schools. Alternatively, feel free to call your campus housing office. Find out answers to the following questions before you begin packing:

  • What are the dorm policies?
  • Which small appliances can you bring, and which should you leave at home?
  • How is your dorm room set up? What furniture is provided with your room? Is the furniture stationary, or are you able to move it?
  • What is your bathroom situation? Are you heading down the hall or do you have a private/shared bath?
  • How are you allowed to decorate your room?

Roommate Check

If you are sharing a room, be sure to check in with your roommate(s) before purchasing and packing the larger items that you will need. Dorm rooms are SMALL, and shared items can go a long way in freeing up needed space. Consider sharing items such as: TV, DVD player, Game Consoles, mini-fridge, and microwave. You may also want to coordinate who (if anyone) will be bringing a rug, curtain, etc.

A quick introductory phone call to your new roommate(s) can go a long way toward getting acquainted, starting your relationship off on the right foot, minimizing the stress of shopping and packing, and feeling more prepared.

Life Detail Check

  • Vital Papers – Prepare a small file box with important papers that you may need during the school year.  Create sections for: Banking, School Passwords and Information and Personal Documents
  • Medical Concerns and Health Insurance – Be sure that you are covered under your parent’s policy or purchase medical insurance that is offered through your school. Be sure to have copies of your insurance cards and your current physician’s contact information. Familiarize yourself with your school’s Student Health Center, services provided, costs and hours. Be sure to bring along any medications that you are currently taking.
  • Renters insurance . Most schools will advise you to carry renter’s insurance to cover personal belongings. Accidents happen and thefts do occur, even in the best situations, and generally your University will not replace or reimburse in the event of loss of personal items for any reason. It’s always best to be prepared. A small fee can cover you for several thousands of dollars of coverage.
  • Protecting Your Valuables. Along with taking time to get renters insurance, protect yourself and your belongings by labeling your valuables and electronics with your name and hometown. This can be as simple as using a permanent marker, engraving your name and hometown on your valuables, or going more high tech using assett tagging. A simple assett tagging package can be purchased very inexpensively. ReuniteIT by LoJack asset tags allow you to label your personal assets, so that if they are ever lost or stolen, finders can return them to you. Better yet, removal attempts will always leave a trace, immediately identifying the item as a probable theft, and reducing the likelihood that it can be resold or pawned. A quick google search of “Assett Tags” or “Property Tags” will bring up hundreds of other options.
  • Cell Phone and Internet Access. Check your cell phone plan and be sure it will accommodate your new living situation. If your going out of state, be sure you won’t be paying for long distance or roaming fees. If you will be texting more and/or use your phone to connect to the internet, be sure you have unlimited texting and online minutes. Keep in mind that most colleges do provide internet access to dorm rooms.
  • Banking. Take the time to call your school and find out which banks have branches on or near your college. Many banks reach out to college students and offer free checking accounts.  It’s a good idea to open a checking account at a local bank. You may want to consider getting a debit card and find out where your bank’s ATM machines are located to avoid ATM fees. But, be sure to take the time to consider a spending budget and the importance of avoiding unnecessary debt.

Packing Check

If you are heading off to live in a dorm, chances are your University has sent out a packing list. Use this as a guideline, taking into consideration your personality. The lists tend to be organized into sections of Bed and Bath,Eat, Study, Electronics and Relax, Storage, Tools and Organizing Helps, and finally, Cleaning and Laundry.

Keep in mind, that it probably isn’t necessary to pack clothes for every season during your initial move. Depending on where you are heading, you may be able to bring home your summer clothes at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, and pack up the rest of your fall/winter duds. Then during spring break, switch out your winter for spring/summer clothes. Try to keep to your favorites, as this is what you will end up wearing anyway.

Finally, you know yourself. Don’t pack items that you won’t use (even if they ARE on every list!). Remember, “Less IS More”. There is a fine line between being prepared and over-stuffing your small space, your mind, your time, and your energy with useless items from home. I found a list entitled, “Top5Must-Haves” from a reputable and popular online college resource. My students used none of these “essentials” in their dorm room! Think real life and essential. The reality is that most students will have the opportunity to head out to the local discount store and pick up anything they need.

That being said, below you will find a simple packing list of essentials:

Bed and Bath:

Bedding: sheets, blankets or comforter, pillow(s), pillow protector/mattress pad, book light

Send them off in style with Pottery Barn Dorm Bedding!

Bath: towels/wash clothes, toiletries, medicines, tissues

Bath attached to your room? toilet paper, bathmat, shower curtain, toothbrush/soap holder, bath cleaning supplies – don’t forget to coordinate with your roommate(s)

Bath down the hall? bath caddy, flip flops for shared shower, robe

Eat:

Microwave/Refrigerator -remember to coordinate with your roommate(s), quick snacks such as granola bars & fruit cups, a couple mugs, cups, and bowls,  hot and cold beverage mix. Don’t forget that most likely you have a FULL meal plan.

Study:

Books – if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to order textbooks. Check online. Many schools offer the convenience of ordering online and picking up at the school bookstore. Quick, convenient, and space saving! Bring along any basic resource books that you will use (dictionary, thesaurus etc), but don’t bring these items if you generally access this information online.

Check out PBDorm Line of Study Accessories.

Basics – Day planner (if you don’t maintain online planner), notebooks/binders /folders, basic office supplies, alarm clock (to wake up for class!)

Electronics and Relax

Extra pillows/back rest, i-pod or mp3 player, headphones, stereo/cd player, gaming systems

Storage, Tools and Organizing Helps

Hangers, towel rack for the door/closet, extension cord(s), multi-plug outlet, sticky tack, a few basic tools, light bulbs, milk crates or wire shelves for storage, and a fan

Purchase, after checking out your room, or bring along a few organizing tools such as drawer organizers, closet organizers, shoe storage, shelf dividers, but don’t open until you are sure they can be used (and make sure you hang on to the receipts).

Cleaning and Laundry

Laundry: Laundry bag/hamper, laundry soap and dryer sheets, quarters, stain remover, drying rack, small iron/board (another item that can be shared with roommates – and only bring it if you will use it!)

Cleaning: Find out if a vacuum is available on your hall, basic disinfecting wipes will cover most other needs

Check out one or more of the lists below, but please keep in mind that you won’t need all of the listed items. I suggest checking out a few lists to jog your memory, but your best bet is to create your own lists of items that you actually use on a daily basis.

SallieMae College, What to Pack for College Checklist

CollegeBoard Checklist for College Dorm

Bed Bath and Beyond College Check List

Dorm Room Checklist

College Dorm Room Needs Checklist, About.com

Heading Out of State and Travel Space Limited? Watch for my next blog post; The Traveling Student”

Happy (and Organized!) College Days!

Cheryl

Be sure to check out all of the articles in the Organized for Student Success Series; Part 1: Saving on Supplies,  Part 2: The Traveling Student, Part 3: Organize the Student, Part 4:  Organize Their Space, and Part 5:  Organize Their School Memories.

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Get In Order for Life in 2011!

A New Year, a new you, and a new organized life. Does that sound like something you have been yearning for?  If so, you are not alone. Getting Organized is consistently one of the top 5 New Year’s Resolutions of Americans.

Why is that? Why do so many Americans feel out of order and unorganized? I believe the answer is two-fold. First, most of us live at such a fast pace that we are simply overwhelmed. We plan too much, try to accomplish too much, shop too much, and generally run ourselves ragged. Secondly, many of us simply haven’t learned basic organization skills. Or, we have gotten out of the habit of practicing those skills that we may have learned and practiced in the past. Life is constantly changing, and so must our organizational habits, if we are going to keep ourselves, and our lives, in order.

Come along with me in 2011 as I offer some exciting, new, fun, learning opportunities for all who feel out of order. Come discover how to, slowly, but surely, clear the clutter, conquer the chaos, and learn simple organizing tips, tricks, habits, and strategies to get your home, your family, and your life in order. Getting Organized is a life long learning process that will simplify your time, and ultimately your life. It is a skill and a way of life that needs to be learned and re-learned, practiced and tweaked. So, come along with me, and take advantage of some of these enjoyable, unique learning opportunities!

I am thrilled to announce that I have partnered with The Clever Container Company, and will now be offering Clever Learning Parties and products. These fun parties combine organizing tips and techniques with  products to help simplify your life, in a fun relaxed setting. Simply gather your friends, choose a topic, learn, simplify AND earn free and half priced products from the Clever Container Company! I am currently offering the following Clever Learning Parties:

  • Your Children, Organized!Clever Container Company Logo
  • Clutter Cutter
  • Closet Clean-Up
  • Kitchen Organization

Call Today to Schedule Your March Learning Party!

Join me for Coffee and Conversation many Tuesday mornings at Birdie's Cafe LogoBirdies Cafe, in Westminster, beginning this winter. This not-for-profit, group is for anyone who struggles with organizational challenges (all of us!). These fun, interactive chat sessions will help you discover how to, slowly, but surely, clear the clutter, conquer the chaos, and learn simple organizing tips, tricks, habits, and strategies to get your home, your family, and your life in order. Each week will highlight a specific organizing topic and/or issue, but will not be limited to that topic. Watch my website for specific dates, times and a schedule of featured topics. Email me to suggest a topic.

Join Me For A Cup of Simplicity!

Join NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) Baltimore at IKEA Baltimore on Saturday, January 22, 11:00 am and 12:00 pm in the IKEA showroom. NAPO Baltimore members will be conducting short organizing workshops and giving expert organizing advice. I have the privilege of  conducting one of the home organizing workshop to demonstrate creative ways to use IKEA’s excellent organizing products. Please join me at the IKEA “Get Organized” Workshop!

January is “Get Organized Month”, and NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) members are qualified, equipped, and eager to assist you in your goals of organizing your time, homes, offices…….your lives!
Let’s make 2011 our “Get Organized Year”!

Finally, be sure to subscribe to our Blog, where you will learn very simple and practical habits and strategies to get “In Order for Life”. We will keep you up to date on the latest trends and products in the organizing community. If you journeyed with me these past few years, you will notice many of the same themes, topics and suggestions. Remember, it’s a skill and a way of life that needs to be learned and re-learned, practiced and tweaked. So, come along with me in 2011!

Happy (and Organized) days!

Cheryl


Organize in (Your) Style

I was recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico celebrating a special birthday. I visited a great store, KOWBOYZ , “A First-Class Second-Hand Western Store”, selling 5,000 pairs of new & happily used boots. It was pretty impressive!

Cowboy Style for Your Office

I LOVED their clever solution to organizing their desk. Kids cowboy boots put to use to round up their office supplies.

Boots, chaps and cowboy hats… nothin’ else matters.
Cowboy Proverb

Go, ahead. Get Organized. In Style!

Happy (and organized) days!

Cheryl


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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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 cheryl@inorderforlife.com

My Favorite Things

Click here for my collection of favorites links for organizing products and other useful sites.

Reuse, Renew, and Recycle

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National Association of Professional Organizers