Archive for the 'Seasonal' Category

Organized for Student Success, Part 5: Organize Their Space

An Organized Student is a More Successful Student

As your student(s) begin their new school year, take the opportunity to work with them in organizing their bedroom and clothing. Use the same basic steps outlined in Organizing a Study Area, in my previous post; Organized for Success, Part 4: Organize the Student .

  • 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

    Beautiful and Functional Possibilities by The Container Store

    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 can still take advantage of summer clearance sales.

Happy (and Organized!) School Year!

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 College Years, Part 3: The Traveling Student, Part 4: Organize the Student and Part 6:  Organize Their School Memories.

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Organized for Student Success, Part 3: The Traveling Student

In my previous post, The College Years, Get in Order for Dorm Living, I talked about getting ready for and packing for life in the dorm. What to do if you are heading across the country, or across the state, for that matter? How do you fit all that stuff in your car and still have room for the people? Bed Bath and Beyond has come up with the perfect solution with their new Pack and Hold Service.

Get Organized for Success with Bed Bath and Beyond!

Their Pack & Hold service allows you to shop either online or at your local Bed Bath and Beyond store and have your purchases shipped directly to your school. Alternatively, you can have your order shipped to the Bed Beth & Beyond store that is nearest to your school and pick it up when you arrive in town.  In both instances, shipping charges do apply, but keep in mind that you are bypassing the headache of bringing home, packing up, and shipping these items yourself.

Bed Bath & Beyond has almost everything you will need for a dorm room, as well as packing advice, checklists, and practical solutions to common problems in the dorm. Check out The College Insider with links to helpful college websites, and products organized by sections.

To take advantage of the Pack & Hold service, you will need to know:

The Dorm Room Address

Be aware that many colleges and universities use their gym or other large facility to store all  shipments received before move in date. You will want to call your school and confirm exactly where your packages should be shipped and where you should pick them up.

The Ship Date

Colleges and universities usually have a window of time in which they will accept deliveries for incoming students. Again, you will want to call your school and determine this time frame. Next, keep in mind that when you select your ship date with Bed Bath and Beyond, that you are selecting the date when your order will actually ship, not the date that it will be received by your school. So, factor in an extra 3-8 days for standard shipping methods within the contiguous United States, and 5-10 days for shipments to Hawaii or Alaska. An exact shipping date cannot be guaranteed, so it is important to communicate with your school as you are making your plans.

Thanks Bed Bath and Beyond! You have started a good thing. I have a feeling other stores will be following suit.

Looking for a gift for a college bound student? Keep in mind that Bed Bath and Beyond does offer a College Gift Registry. Not registered? A gift card makes a perfect gift!

Happy (and Organized) School 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 College Years,  Part 4, Organize the Student, Part 5:  Organize Their Space, and Part 6:  Organize Their School Memories.

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.

Spring Cleaning, Really?

I LOVE spring. I look forward to it all winter. Many things come to mind when I think spring: light, clean, cool, Easter, outdoors, sun, open windows, longer days, flowers, and……. SPRING CLEANING?

I LOVE the IDEA of spring cleaning and actually having every surface of my home clean at the same time! But, I must say, I have 5 very good reasons NOT to spring clean. 5 acres, 4 kids, 3 cats, 2 goats, 1 dog and only one life, and this life is ready to celebrate and enjoy spring! According to wikipedia, spring cleaning refers to the,

Yearly act of cleaning a house from top to bottom, which would take place in the first warm days of the year, typically in spring, hence the name.

In the past, homes were heated by coal and wood fires and come the end of winter, there was a definite need to open up the house and clean out, top to bottom.

I have the desire to have every surface of my home clean. But, I don’t want to spend my days cleaning, during what can be the most beautiful time of the year! So, what is the alternative?

Rather than cramming all your heavy cleaning jobs into a week or two in the spring, have a year long cleaning plan. Create a check off list of ALL the jobs you wish to accomplish throughout the year. Think of it as spreading your SPRING CLEANING throughout 12 months, rather than 2 weeks. Then set aside 30-45 minutes per week to devote to heavy cleaning. With very little effort, you have set aside almost 40 hours (45 minutes x 52 weeks) which, practically speaking, is more time than you would devote to spring cleaning anyway. And best of all, you have a clean house AND you are able to get outside and enjoy spring!

Throughout the year, do the jobs that make sense for the season.

Then in March and April do only your spring jobs. They might include:

  • We will be opening windows soon and getting outside, it’s the perfect time to clean the windows, sills and screens
  • Clean off the porches and decks. Pull out the cushions and deck furniture
  • Switch out fall and winter clothes for spring and summer. Take advantage of this time to purge and lighten your load.  Any clothes that you haven’t worn in the past season should be tossed or donated, depending on their condition. To protect clothes that are being stored, remember to wash them before packing them away and then, make sure they are stored in a clean, cool, dark, and dry place. It’s also the perfect time to take note of any clothing needs for next fall and winter and take advantage of winter clearance sales.
  • Switch out the snow suits, gloves and hats for the beach towels, goggles and suntan lotions.
  • Finally, get outside and begin your garden projects!

Enjoy spring AND a clean house!

Happy (and organized) spring!

Cheryl

Originally Posted April 5, 2009

We Talked. We Drank. We Got Organized!

This past Tuesday, I hosted my 1st ever Coffee and Conversation at Birdies Cafe.

Thanks ladies, for sharing that time with me. It was as I had imagined. Just a perfect opportunity to get women of different walks, interests, and ages together to encourage each other in our common pursuit of simplicity and organized living.

Yesterday’s topic was “Paper, Paper, Everywhere“. Yes, it is a universal problem!

Aside from discussing tips and habits for reigning in everyday mail and paperwork, we talked a bit about the overwhelming amounts of artwork that our little ones create. It’s a tricky, and often times, emotionally laden subject. We tend to feel that we have to save every single piece of artwork. As the months and years slip by, and with multiple children in the family, the artwork can take over! And when the volume is so great, it can become clutter rather than treasures.

When the artwork begins to overtake your home, it’s time to consider your options. The solution is twofold.

  • First of all you need to decide on a temporary display, what I will  call,  a “Creation Zone“, within your home. This might be in the kitchen, family room, playroom or your child’s bedroom.  When the creation zone is full of art, it’s time to take them down to make room for the next set of masterpieces.
  • Next, as you take down one group of artwork, simply pull out your favorites, your child’s favorites, or those pieces that truly show off your child’s personality and creativity and decide on a dedicated space to save these masterpieces. It can be as simple as a file box with hanging files for each year , a banker box with large envelopes for each year, or you can purchase an art file or or art box.

Mom’s (and Dad’s and Grandma and Grandpa!), check out these simple ideas for setting up a “Creation Zone” in which to display, cherish, and quickly and easily, change up your little one’s masterpieces…….

1. A tip from Tammy F. during Coffee and Conversation:

Gather all of your child’s artwork for the month (or the week, depending on the volume). Tape or tack them up on a wall and take a picture of your child in front of them. Next pick your favorites to save and store, and toss the rest. You are left with a chronicle of ALL their work, along with their current picture, and you have saved for the future.

Thanks, Tammy! This is an excellent tip that I will share with others!

2.  Check out this storage frames from Dynamic Frames.  This is a front-opening art cabinet with a latch. This frame can store up to 50 pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 artwork with the front piece being displayed. It couldn’t be any easier to display and change up your child’s artwork. It has a single bevel-cut mat and can be mounted to the wall vertically or horizontally, or it can be used tabletop with the stand that is included.

Easily Display and Store Your Child's Artwork

3. You can simply hang all your child’s creations for the week with clips along one wall in your home. Again, after this space is full, take out your favorites, and store them away, to make room for the next group of creations. Check out the 3 options below. Hang a curtain rod, equipped with  clips to hang their art. The picture below was posted on Make and Takes Blog, in an excellent article written by Heidi Smith of the Budget Wise Home Blog. Any clothes line with clip will work, or you can purchase the Work of Art Clips from The Land of Nod. Finally, try a simple cable system, as pictured below from West Elm.

Work of Art Displayed on a Curtain Rod

Work of Art Clips

 

It's So Easy to Display Artwork on a Cable System

3. Create a magnetic wall to simply display their artwork. It’s easy, quick, and fairly inexpensive. Magnetic paint is readily available at home centers. You can paint the area any color that you wish and trim it up with strips of molding, which can be nailed directly into the wall.

Make a "Creation Zone" with Magnetic Paint

Next, simply pull out your favorites, your child’s favorites, or those pieces that truly show off your child’s personality and creativity and decide on a dedicated space to save these masterpieces. Quickly and easily, create a portfolio with a file box hanging files for each year or a banker box with large envelopes for each year. Or you can purchase any number of products for a quick and easy solution.

  1. A quick and easy, home-made art portfolio:

A Home-made Art Portfolio

2. Check out The Art File from The Container Store. It is made of heavy fiberboard and has metal label holders on two sides.

The Art Storage Box

 

3. Finally, check out this expandable file by Alex Toys  made specifically for a  child’s artwork.

The options are unlimited. Get creative with your child, and design your own art portfolio!

Join us this Tuesday, April, 5th, as we tackle the subject, “Spring Cleaning, Really?”

I LOVE the IDEA of spring cleaning and actually having every surface of my home clean at the same time! But, I must say, I have 5 very good reasons NOT to spring clean. 5 acres, 4 kids, 3 cats, 2 goats, 1 dog, and only 1 life, and this life is ready to celebrate and enjoy spring!

So, come chat about the “how” of actually getting our homes in order, without being locked in our homes during what (is going to be!) a beautiful spring!

What:    Coffee and Conversation

Why:    To Get “In Order for Life”!

When:  Tuesdays, 9 AM, Spring

Where: Birdie’s Cafe, 233 East Main Street, Westminster, MD

Happy (and Organized!) spring!

Cheryl

Do the Great Exchange!

Spring is coming......

Happy Spring!

Spring is in the air (well, at least it was yesterday!).  Rest assured, it IS coming (and I can’t wait!).

But, wait we must. And while we are waiting, there are a few things we can do to prepare for it.

It’s time, once again, to do “The Great Exchange”. Make life easy on yourself and take an afternoon to prepare for spring and summer. It is the time of year to pack away the fall and winter clothes and equipment, and unearth your spring and summer apparel and gear.

Begin with your clothes. While you’re at it, take a few extra minutes to sort and purge before you pack your fall and winter clothes away.

Ready for spring

Do you remember the old 80/20 rule? It’s true! We do tend to wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. As you take the time to sort and purge you’re off season clothes, make it your goal to purge a higher percentage of your clothing so that you LOVE and KEEP what you will actually wear. Don’t you love it when you’re on vacation and you have a suitcase filled with all of your favorite clothes? It simplifies both your choices and your laundry.

 

If you’re having a difficult time figuring out if you should keep a specific item of clothing, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the item in good condition
  • Does it have stains or tears or is it too worn? Can it (or will it) be mended?
  • Is it still in style? Is it YOUR style?
  • Do I love it, or even like it?
  • Does it make me feel great to wear it?
  • When was the last time I wore this? If you didn’t wear it last season, you probably won’t wear during the next season!
  • How many do I currently own of this type of item? How many do I realistically wear or need?
  • Does it fit? If not, is it within a reasonable number of size ranges of my current size to keep it?

Now that you have determined which fall and winter clothes you will be holding on to, it’s time to consider where to store them. If space allows, simply move the off season clothing to the back of the closet, bringing the spring and summer clothes to the front of the closet. Then, rotate them back as the season’s change. Alternatively, you can move off season clothes from your closet to a spare closet. If you don’t have room within a closet, consider purchasing a freestanding closet to store in your finished basement, finished attic or guestroom. Finally, you can store your off season clothes in a bin labeled with your name and “Fall/Winter Clothes”.

Before storing away off-season clothes, take these 3 simple steps to protect them: Clean, Contain, and Repel.

  • Clean – Moths and carpet beetles are the primary pests that can cause damage, and they are attracted to natural fibers like wool and cotton. They also feed on organic stains. Always clean clothes before storing them away.
  • Contain – in a clean, dark and dry location, such as a closet, freestanding closet, storage box or bin to deter pests
  • Repel – Use all natural cedar to repel pests

It’s also the perfect time to take note of any clothing needs for next fall and winter and take advantage of those last winter clearance sales.

Next, switch out the snow suits, gloves and hats for the beach towels, goggles, and suntan lotions. Find a home for these items near the front door, where you will be coming and going all spring and summer.

Clean off the snow boards, skis, and sleds and store them away for the summer, while pulling out the volleyball nets, croquet and badminton set, lawn chairs, and charcoal.

Relax and Enjoy!

The spring weather promises to reappear, and when it does, you will be ready to enjoy it!

“The Great Exchange” was originally posted May 9, 2009

Happy (and organized!) Spring.

Cheryl

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks

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.

Giving

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,

Cheryl

 

 


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NEW Home Learning Parties!

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