Posts Tagged 'organize'

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.

Organized for Student Success, Part 4: Organize Their Space

An Organized Student is a More Successful Student

As your student(s) gets ready for a new year of school, take the opportunity to work with them in organizing his/her bedroom and clothing. Use the same basic steps outlined in Organizing a Study Area, in my previous post; Organized for Success, Part 3: 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

    Beatiful 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: The College Years, Part 2: The Traveling Student, Part 3: Organize the Student, and Part 5:  Organize Their School Memories.

Your Trash, Their Treasures

I am currently working with a client to organize her craft room. Now, she is a crafter from way back. She is a women who has seen trends and styles come and go, and has been in the forefront of many of them. Aside from crafting for her own enjoyment, Ruth is a craft teacher to many, a mentor to some and a Stampin Up representative to the masses. If you are in need of any Stampin Up supplies, Ruth can be reached at 410.751.8818.

She keeps up with the changing times, and so do her craft supplies. Over the years, her craft supplies have managed to take over her craft room. Despite the fact that Ruth is an organized soul, and had some great organizational systems in her craft room, the space had become unruly.

During our first organizing session together, Ruth was able to part with many craft supplies that have become obsolete to her. This truly is the 1st and most essential step in any organizing project.

Treasures Ready for Donation

You can’t organize clutter! And clutter is anything that you don’t love, anything that doesn’t bring you joy, or anything that you simply don’t need or use anymore. These are items that can be in perfect, pristine, and wonderful shape. They may be “in style” and current. But, if YOU don’t love them, if they don’t bring YOU joy, or if YOU can’t use them anymore, they become your clutter.

Ruth donated specific items to specific friends who she knew could use and would want them. Other items were boxed up for Goodwill. Finally, we had several boxes filled with art and craft supplies that she donated to Elmer Wolfe 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 the teachers and the administration were thrilled and

For the hardworking teachers.......

thankful for Ruth’s generosity. The boxes were brought into the teacher’s lounge and the art and craft supplies were distributed to all. What an awesome gift Ruth was able to give the teachers at Elmer Wolfe Elementary School. Her trash truly did become a treasure and a blessing to others. Thanks Ruth for taking the time and the energy to bless another!

How might you be able to bless others with your “clutter”?

Happy (and organized!) days!

Cheryl

Get in Order for the Holidays, Part 6

Part 6, It’s a Wrap!

The big day is quickly approaching. Are you ready? Are you in the Christmas spirit?

It’s time to wrap up your preparations and your gifts!

Consider setting up a wrapping station where you can keep all of your wrapping supplies and gifts in the same area. Make it fun and festive by setting up your wrapping station near a TV. Then you can wrap and organize, while watching old Christmas classics or listen to Christmas music.

When you pull out last year’s wrapping paper, take the time to discard any wrinkled, outdated or damaged paper and supplies.

Get the kids involved!

  • Give the job completely to an older teen
  • Have younger children help by stamping, painting or decorating butcher paper to use as gift wrap

Wrap gifts soon after you purchase them to avoid the last minute rush. Be sure to clearly label each gift and cross the gift off your list.

Remember, don’t be afraid to cross off some tasks from your list! Your friends and family would rather have a joyful you with store bought cookies and than a stressed out, frazzled you with homemade treasures.

May you have joy in the journey!

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Cheryl

Get in Order for Christmas, Part 6

Part 6, Shopping and Gift Giving

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

Still Shopping.........

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

Are you of the “Black Friday” mindset, where shopping becomes a challenge and a competition? Have at it and have fun! I’m of the opposite mindset, which we can call “White Tuesday”. I try to shop early in the morning and early in the week, avoiding the crowds (as much as they can be avoided at this time of year!).

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

Don’t clutter up the lives of your friends and family. Consider some of the following gift-giving options:

  • Consumable gifts, including lotions, candles, great wine and foods

  • Cool experiences, evenings out, tickets to a play or event

  • Movie tickets along with popcorn and candy

  • Passes to a museum or zoo for a family

  • Classes for art, dance, golf or gourmet cooking

  • For Teenagers, consider gift cards for gas, coffee, fast food or restaurants

  • For teachers, consider gift cards for coffee, gas, fast food, restaurants, office supply stores or educational supply stores

  • Give of yourself; a car wash or lawn mow for an elderly neighbor, an evening of babysitting along with a gift certificate for a dinner out for young parents.

  • Instead of a traditional gift, agree to spend a special evening together with friends

  • Give a cow, a goat or chickens. Dig and stock a fish pond. Send a child to school. Provide life saving medicine, mosquito nets and emergency food. Purchase fruit trees, honey bees or a fishing boat. It’s never been easier to change the lives of those in need. Check out the World Vision Gift Catalog or the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog, and share the true Spirit of Christmas, while changing the lives of children forever. They make it quick and easy to send any of the above, along with many other ideas, in all price ranges. Check it out!

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

Finally, keep several generic gifts available for the last minute need. Consider some of the consumable gifts mentioned earlier, such as great lotions, candles, gourmet foods and excellent wine. If you don’t have a need for them, you can treat yourself after the holidays.

Happy “White Tuesday” and Happy Shopping!

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

Have a Blessed and Organized Holiday!

Cheryl

Get In Order for Christmas, Part 4

Part 4, Meal Planning

We tend to cook more and entertain more during the holidays. There is much that you can do prepare for this busy time so that you can truly enjoy your celebrations.

First, ask yourself who, what, when and where? When you have your answers to these questions, you have the backbone of your plans.

Take time to prepare for the weeks ahead by doing some (or all!) of the following:

  • Organize, purge and clean your pantry, refrigerator and freezer

  • Do a quick inventory of dinnerware, glasses, silverware, linens and serving pieces. If there is a need, there is certainly a sale!

  • Prepare a flexible menu for the weeks ahead

  • Each week, make a shopping list from your menus and try to shop only 1 time a week. Go on off peak times of day—early in the day and early in the week, if possible

  • Take advantage of sales to stock up on non perishables that you will need for your holiday preparations

  • Prepare dishes, breads, cookies and desserts that can be frozen

  • Keep basics and easy to prepare foods on hand

  • Share the responsibility and joy of cooking for others—when your guest asks if they can bring something, say YES, and cross something off your list!

  • Consider pot-luck dinners for large celebrations

Remember your goal this holiday season! Look back at your “Holiday Mission Statement” that you created back in week one. How is your mission going? Are you joyful in the journey of your preparations? If not, it might be time to cross a few more things off that list of yours, regroup and move forward.

Have a blessed and organized holiday!

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

Cheryl

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

IMG_5441 craft area reduced

The Transformation Complete!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It has truly been a pleasure!

Cheryl

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

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

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

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

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

The Shred Pile has grown as big as Charlotte!

The Shred Pile has grown as big as Charlotte!

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

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

Happy (and organized!) Days!

Cheryl

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Blog a Job! 2009 Watch a Professional Organizer in Action! Part 3

During this 4-hour work session, we literally began working our way through the room. We started at one end of the room and began sorting and purging everything into one of the following categories:

  • Trashkeep-relocate pic
  • Consign/Give Away
  • Relocate (move to other areas of the home)
  • File – Long term (will be moved out of the office)
  • File – Current
  • Office
  • Craft
  • Gift Wrap
  • Memories

As we were sorting, we came up with the following zones within the room:

  • Bookshelf
  • Craft/Sewing Area
  • Desk/Office/Files
  • Closet: Off-Season Clothing, Gift Wrap/Craft Storage, and File and Office Supplies

charlottes room picI mentioned earlier that it will look worse before it gets better. This is almost always the case. It takes space, energy and time to pull out everything and sort. But it is a necessity, before you purge. How can you begin to make decisions about what to keep, if you don’t truly know what you have? The answer is, you can’t! Becky and I were working in a relatively small office space. Therefore, it was necessary to spread out a bit. You will see photographs of us working in her daughter’s room which is located across the hall from the office. We also used the hallway for storage of our supplies along with bags, boxes and bins, which were being permanently moved out of the space.

At the end of the day, we had an even better direction of how Becky would like the room to function. We also had several huge bags of trash, several “relocate” bins and a gigantic pile to take to the consignment shop. It truly does pay to get organized!

I am often asked if I will throw out or get rid of other family member’s belongings. I always assure clients that it is my policy to only work with my their belongings. If there is ever a question about other people’s belongings, they are set aside in a pile or bin so that the owner(s) can sort through and make decisions.

I also don’t try to talk clients into getting rid of belongings. I do help them see the trade off (and there is always a trade off!). The reality is; more stuff = less space and less breathing room, while less stuff = more space and more breathing room. Generally by the time a client contacts me, they are tired of living in the midst of so much stuff, and are ready for change. The truth is, you cannot organize clutter. I love Flylady’s definition of clutter:

“Clutter is anything that does not bring you joy, you do not love, or you don’t need. Things that you use, love, and enjoy are necessary and important to have. Things that you have in your home that you don’t need or don’t like will have the opposite effect on you: they will make you feel negative and dragged down.” FLYlady

So, my job is to help clients eliminate clutter. But this is a process that we work through together. It begins by first helping clients identify what things they use, they love, and they enjoy. Then we figure out what to do with the rest. We don’t just “get rid of” the rest. We thoughtfully make decisions. Are there family or friends who might enjoy an item? Is this something that they might be able to sell or consign and make a few extra dollars? Are there people in need who could truly benefit from the donation of these items? When put in this context, most people are much more likely to begin the process of eliminating clutter.

As I work with clients, I suggest specific “homework”, jobs that they can accomplish on their own.  This can reduce the number of hours that we work together. Clients can, of course, choose to have me work alongside them throughout the entire process. The choice is theirs.

After this work session, Becky was left with the following homework:

  • Go to the consignment shop
  • Empty “relocate” bins and move to the appropriate areas of the home
  • Remove 2 extra file cabinets from the room
  • Purge and reorganize 3 “memory” bins
  • Purchase additional clear plastic bins for memories

During our next session, we will dive into the paperwork. We will begin to set up a family filing system. This is going to be a tedious and time-consuming task, but will both simplify Becky’s days and significantly de-clutter her office.

Check out Blog a Job! Part 1, Blog a Job Part 2Blog a Job! Part 4 and Blog a Job! Part 5.

Check out our progress in the coming days!

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Blog a Job! 2009 Watch a Professional Organizer in Action! Part 2

My client, Becky, has graciously agreed to allow me to “blog” her first experience working with a professional organizer. I thought it might be eye opening for you to see how the process plays out through an actual job.

Becky is a creative soul. She is one of the most vibrant and gracious people you will meet. She is overflowing with personality and style. This is going to be a FUN job!

Clutter Piled On Top of Important Files

Clutter Piled On Top of Important Files

We will be focusing on her home office space. Becky was a successful business women, who has now chosen to commit full time to the new job of raising her precious daughter (the darling girl you will see in the pictures). In the midst of the transition from the business world to the home world, Becky never made the transition in her home office.

She is an organized girl and has a beautiful home. But, she has a room. Many of us do. It’s the one place we “pile”. It is the “extra” room. It is the room that no one sees. Therefore, it is the room that we put anything and everything that doesn’t have a place. And it becomes THE room to accomplish many tasks. While accomplishing many tasks, it accumulates lots of stuff. That’s the reality of many of our homes and lives.

During our first meeting together, Becky shows me her home office, which is causing her stress. I ask many questions, attempting to get a feel for how she and her family work, what systems they currently have in place, and how we might improve on them or create new systems. At the same time I’m trying to get a picture of her vision for the finished project. How would she like this room to function? What tasks will be accomplished in this room? I take pictures, both to refresh my memory throughout the process, and to motivate us both along the way.

An Inefficient Work Space!

An Inefficient Work Space!

With this information in hand and pictures in my camera, I can begin to create a plan of action.

During our next appointment, the hard work will begin. Next time we will get down and dirty.

It generally gets worse, before it gets better. But, as you will soon see, the results are definitely worth it!

Check out Blog a Job! Part 1Blog a Job! Part 3 , Blog a Job! Part 4, and Blog a Job! Part 5

Piles and Bins and Tubs, Oh My!

Piles and Bins and Tubs, Oh My!

Check out our work progress next week!

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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