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“The Revolving Door”

Getting (and Staying!) Organized During the College Years

Graduations, another year of college completed, mission trips, summer camp, a new job, a new town, …………each resulting in “The Revolving Door”, as young adults move in and out of our homes.

The Revolving Door:  “characterized by a frequent succession or a cycle of leaving and returning.” Merriam Webster Dictionary

As in college students returning home for the summer!

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

College students often return home for the summer with more stuff than could have possibly fit into their little dorm room or apartment! Their last days at school are consumed with finals, friends, and hopefully, a little fun, and they usually aren’t too concerned with neatly packing their belongings for the summer. Oftentimes, their belongings are shoved into bags, bins, and crates in a hit or miss manner (and that’s on a good day!). So, how do you keep it (your home, your life, your car) organized in the midst of the revolving door?

Don’t allow them to dump! Gently remind them that this is your home, not a storage facility. Then, offer simple, easy, and effective solutions to storing away their college gear until the next semester.

Dorm and Apartment Supplies, School Supplies and Gear

Pack away these supplies in clearly labeled, clear plastic bins. Sort like with like. Only then, can they see what they have, and decide what to keep. Next, ask a few questions about each item, before packing it away:

  • Did you use this item last semester?
  • Do you foresee a need for it next semester?
  • Where would you like to donate items that aren’t needed/used?
  • This is the perfect opportunity to assess any needs for next semester.

College Textbooks

  • If they won’t be needed in the future, require them to sell back their textbooks. This will result in less clutter, and can be a deposit for next semester’s books.
  • If you missed selling textbooks back to the college bookstore, check out these easy solutions.

Unopened Foods, Any Toiletries, Cleaning Supplies, and Laundry Detergent

Incorporate all foods (opened and unopened), any toiletries, cleaning supplies and laundry detergents into your household. Then they can start new and fresh next semester.

Clothing

Encourage them to take a few extra minutes to sort and purge before they unpack and/or pack away their clothes. Begin by taking a hard look at the clothes they did not bring to college. Generally, these are clothes they don’t like or don’t wear as often, and it just may be time to donate. Next sort like with like. Then ask the following questions to help your student sort and purge before storing away:

  • Did you wear it this semester/year/season? If you didn’t wear it last semester or season, you probably won’t wear it during the next semester or season!
  • Does it fit? If not, is it within a reasonable number of size ranges of your current size?
  • Do you love it? Is it still in style? Is it YOUR style?
  • Is the item in good condition? Does it have stains or tears or is it too worn?
  • Does it need mending? If so, will it realistically be mended?
  • How many do you currently own of this type of item? How many do you realistically wear or need?
  • Where would you like to donate the clothes you haven’t worn? Carroll County friends, check out this Renew, Reuse, Recycle link to some local possibilities.

Before storing away clothes, be sure to take the 3 simple steps of clothing storage, Clean, Contain, and Repel to protect them. Read more at a previous blog post,  “The Great Exchange”.

Linens and Bedding

Use the same 3 simple steps of clothing storage; Clean, Contain, and Repel, and store linens to be used next semester in a clearly labeled container. Incorporate any other linens into your household, or donate to a worthy cause.

Microwave and Refrigerator

Clean out the microwave and refrigerator, and any other appliances, before storing them away for next semester.

Before packing away the crates and bins of clothing and supplies, be sure that everything is clearly labeled.  I love, love Post-it and 3M removable and self adhesive labels . They allow you to quickly and easily label boxes and bins, while giving you the flexibility to change labels often. They come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Not only will you be taking steps to keep your home organized, just as important, you will be helping your student(s) learn and practice organizational skills, that they will use for a lifetime.

Yes, this hits close to our home! We had 3 college students move in within a 2 day period last week, and 2 will be heading out for the summer next week. It truly is a revolving door!

Happy (and Organized) Living and Moving!

Cheryl

“The Revolving Door” was originally posted in May 2010.

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Drink, Chat and Get Organized!

Join me, Tuesday, April 26th,  for the last Coffee and Conversation of the spring.

What:    Coffee and Conversation

Why:    To Get “In Order for Life”!

When:  Tuesdays, April 26th, 9-10 AM

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

This week we will be chatting about kitchen organization. Our kitchens do tend to be the heart of the home. It’s the one place the family is likely to gather. It where we land when we come in the house, and we are inclined to spend many of our home hours.

As the kitchen goes, so goes the home…………

Does the heart of your home feel more like the bowels of disorder? Come share your organizing successes and struggles, and learn tips, habits, and tricks, to tame the chaos in the heart of your home. Come rediscover the heart in your home, bring calm and efficiency to your busiest room, and revitalize the Joy of Cooking once again.

Coffee and Conversations will resume this fall. Watch my website for details. Is there a topic you would like us to cover? Send an email to cheryl@inorderforlife.com.

Happy (and Organized!) Days!

Cheryl



Join Me for Coffee and Conversation!

Are You Ready to Get Organized?    Are You Ready to Simplify?

Then, You are Invited!

Join me for Coffee and Conversation this Tuesday morning from 9-10 AM at Birdies Cafe, in Westminster. This not-for-profit, group is for anyone who struggles with organizational challenges (all of us!). This week we will focus on closets.

Are your storage areas and closets bursting at the seams?

Do you feel the need for more closet and storage space? Chances are no one will be building you any in the near future! So, come discover tips, tricks, habits, and products to make the most of the space you have. Imagine peace and calm as you retrieve that perfect outfit, hang your guest’s coats, and utilize your storage areas, day by day!

What:    Coffee and Conversation

Why:    To Get “In Order for Life”!

When:  Tuesday, April 19th, 9-10 AM

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

These fun, interactive chat sessions will help you discover how to 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. It’s the perfect time to get a handle on some of your most distressing organizing challenges. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and share those solutions that are working in your life and home, in this casual, cool atmosphere.

Mark your calender for our last spring session, next Tuesday, April 26th, when we will chat about kitchen organization. We will look at how an organized kitchen can lead to getting those meals on the table, day by day. Then, watch my website for the upcoming fall session.

Just $3 per session, paid to Birdie’s for your refillable coffee.

A Full Menu of Coffee Drinks, Teas, Baked Goods, and Sandwiches available to purchase.

Join Me for a cup of simplicity!

Happy (and Organized!) Days,

Cheryl

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

Join Me for Coffee and Conversation!

Are You Ready to Get Organized?

Are You Ready to Simplify?

Then, You are Invited!

Join me for Coffee and Conversation Tuesday mornings this spring at Birdies Cafe, in Westminster. This not-for-profit, group is for anyone who struggles with organizational challenges (all of us!). Each week will highlight a specific organizing topic and/or issue, but will not be limited to that topic.

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

These fun, interactive chat sessions will help you discover how to 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. It’s the perfect time to get a handle on some of your most distressing organizing challenges. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and share those solutions that are working in your life and home, in this casual, cool atmosphere.

Just $3 per session, paid to Birdie’s for your refillable coffee.

A Full Menu of Coffee Drinks, Teas, Baked Goods, and Sandwiches available to purchase.


Join Me for a cup of simplicity!

Happy (and Organized!) Days,

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

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