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Author Archive for Julie Stobbe

How to organize hockey gear.

My guest blogger this week is from ProStock Hockey.  It can be difficult to keep hockey equipment organized, dry and clean.  Do you want your child putting on equipment that was stored in a moldy hockey bag?  Imagine having 15 hockey bags in a small room containing equipment that is not taken care of properly.

Click arrows in the bottom right corner to expand full screen

Infographic created by Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey shop offering pro stock hockey equipment

Post your best tip for organizing your sports equipment in the comments. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Learn more about What Professional Organizers do 

Moving students home – Make home life simple

Expectations

It is a big change in lifestyle when students move home for the summer, for the students and the parents.  Sometimes students think

Share your ideas

What are your expectations?

  • It will be just like before I left
  • I will have the same responsibilities as I did living away from home
  • I am on vacation for 4 months
  • and so on…

Sometimes parents think

  • they have lived on their own so they should have no problem contributing around the home without being asked
  • now I have someone to help with all the work
  •  things have changed and we do things differently now
  • and so on…

Each party in this living situation has different expectations so make a contract with each other so it is clear what the expectation are.  My daughter presented me with some rules when she moved back home for a few months.  She asked me to look at them and see if they were suitable and to add any rules.  It made things very easy and simple because there were less misunderstanding.

Your contract/ agreement might cover the following ideas.

Sharing the car

May I have the car?

Car                                                                                                                                                

  1. Who pays for gas?
  2. When can they use it?
  3. Do they have to ask to use the car or can they just take it?

Food/ Groceries

  1. Who buys the groceries?
  2. Who pays for the groceries?
  3. Do you buy everything on the list?
  4. Do you buy only the things you need from the list when you go shopping?

Cooking

  1. Who cooks?
  2. Who plans the meals?
  3. Do you cook for everyone or only yourself?

    Where do I start cleaning?

    What needs to be cleaned?

Kitchen

  1. Who cleans up the kitchen?
  2. What needs to  be cleaned,  floors counters, stove, sink?
  3. Who does the dishes?
  4. Who empties the dishwasher?

Schedule

  1. Do you record your activities  in a specific place, electronic or paper?
  2. Do you need to tell where you are going and when you will be back?
  3. Are there any activities you are expected to attend?

Laundry

  1. Who is responsible for laundry ?

Cleaning

  1. Who does the cleaning, is it a shared task?

This checklist of ideas makes it seem like working out an agreement will be a lot of work.  The agreement only needs to cover areas that cause conflict, tension or have changed since the student last lived with you.

Our agreement looked like this:

Food                                                                                                                                                                                 

Family agreements about house rules

Make a contract / agreement with everyone in the family to reduce stress and misunderstandings

  • Buy groceries: give Mom the bill,  buy everything on the list
  • Weekday meals:  First one home cooks, Mom will try to plan the meals for the week

Car

  •  Mom will pay for gas

Kitchen:

  • Clean and wipe counter and island and stove
  • No dishes in sink or on the counter, put them in the dishwasher before going to bed

Schedule:

  • Record your evening activities and times when you won’t be home for supper on the calendar
  • Politely and conversational let us know where you are going and when you plan on returning. This for safety reason, if you don’t return we need to know where and when to start looking for you

Last week I wrote about Moving a Student Back Home 

Tell me what items you put on your contract in the comments below.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

3 Tips to organize moving students back home easier?

Moving back for the summer?

Moving back for the summer?

It is that time of year when college and university students are moving back home for 4 months.  If you pack up their items in an organized way it will take some of the work out of moving them back to school in September.

1. Buy bins that stack inside each other when they are not in  use.

It will make them easy to store.   Most of us like to cut costs and use boxes to move students.  Since moving is a ongoing process for the next number of years buy some bins.  They will stack nicely in a truck/van and in a closet or storage area at home.  You will only have to get them once where as with boxes they are usually recycled and you need to find more every time. Bins  are  waterproof.

2.  Before the student begins packing, make a list of items they need at home.  

Make sure those items are packed together.  Label those bins, bedroom.  Other items that they only needed for school can be left in the bins  to be moved back to school in September.  Label them basement, closet where ever they will be kept.  You may need a bins or two labelled laundry.  Some items may need to be washed before they are stored away for the summer, bedding, blankets, winter coats etc. This makes unloading quick and easy.

3.  At home, designate an area where the bins will be stored over the summer.

Clean the area out before you go to pick up your students.  If everything is kept close together or in a limited number of areas when September arrives, you know where everything is.

A little planning can make the move quick and easy.  Next I will talk about how to making the living arrangement at home easy and enjoyable.

Moving to university

Don’t forget anything

What have you done to make moving your child back home easier?  Share a comment below.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

 Twitter FacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Learn more about what a professional organizer can do for you

 

3 Tips for organizing your spring clearing

I attended the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organizers annual conference in London England this year.  It was enlightening to learn and share ideas with Professional Organizers from England, Scotland, Wales, Netherlands, Japan, Dubai and the United States.  This is where I picked up the phrase “Spring Clearing”.

Start with clearing out the items that are:

Broken 

They are the easiest to let go of but may be hard to get transported to the waste depot.  If you can’t take them yourself can call a junk removal company or make a trade with a friend or neighbour.  They can take your things to the dump and you can ….. bake a pie, mow their lawn, help with their gardening, have them over for supper…..

Donations

There are things that you might not have used in a while, your children have outgrown playing with certain toys, you have a new one and you can let go of an older model of the same item, or interests and hobbies have changed……. Take these items to thrift stores or call and see if they will pick up your donations.

Want them but don’t need them

This group of items are hard to let go of.  Try to let go of 2 or 3 items that have some sentimental value but you don’t need them and you don’t have space for them.  It takes time and practice to be able to let go of these things.  With time it will get easier and you will enjoy having less things are taking up space that you can use in a new way opening up new and exciting adventures in your life.

Here is a video of my adventure doing spring clearing.

A flood started the clearing process and then I just continued deciding what things were around my home that I didn’t need.

If you need information on where to donate and recycle items send me your email address and I will send you a 9 page resource document.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Need more information to help you understand the many ways you can work with a Professional Organizer read this blog post.

http://mindoverclutter.ca/what-does-a-professional-organizer-do/

 

 

Top tips for a less stressful move

My guest blogger this week is Brooke Faulkner.  She is a mom and writer in the Pacific Northwest . When she’s not wrangling her own kids, she’s writing tips to help other families do the same. You can see more of her writing on twitter, @faulknercreek.  Brooke thanks for sharing your expertise.

As you probably have already experienced, packing and moving to a new location — whether across town or across the country — rank right up there as the the least desirable tasks to tackle in life.

Research has even shown that moving is MORE stressful than a divorce or starting a new job. In a poll of 2,000 adults who have moved in the past three years, almost two in three (61 percent) placed moving at the top of their stress list.

Meanwhile, a crumbling relationship, divorce and a new job were ranked second, with less than half (42 percent) voting those life events as the most stressful.

Fortunately, there are many ways to lessen the burden of packing up your life and starting a new chapter. It can even be an opportunity to take charge and move like a boss.

And once you’re done with the big move, you can slowly unpack your belongings, breathe a sigh of relief, and enjoy your new space.

Here are a few things you can do to make the process easier along the way:

To-Do Lists Are Your Friend

There are so many things to keep track of as you work your way through the transition from the old place to the new house. Create a plan of attack by making a to-do list. It can be organized on a week-by-week basis to make it more manageable and less intimidating as the moving date approaches.

Prioritize all of the important tasks first along with the associated deadlines for each.

You don’t have to make a list of tasks out of thin air. There are many handy moving checklists available to use as a guideline. A good moving checklist includes around-the-house and preparatory tasks like scheduling connections of utilities at the new house, disconnecting utilities at the old place, filing a change of address form with the post office, arranging for cleaning services, reserving a moving truck, and collecting moving and storage boxes, to name a few.

An Opportunity to Downsize

Before you even start packing, you’ll want to get rid of any clutter or unwanted items. This will help you feel more organized from the outset because you’ll only be packing up the things you need or want to take with you.

In a previous Mind Over Clutter blog post, we recommended a book called “Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash” designed to help loved ones move, complete with practical steps and suggestions for downsizing without sacrificing treasured memories. For many people, giving up the family home is comparable to losing a loved one.

At the same time, it’s a pretty freeing feeling to downsize, donate items, and clear out the old to make way for the new. Otherwise it can be frustrating to pack stuff you’re going to get rid of anyway after the move. Give yourself plenty of time to do what needs to be done in order to have a successful move.

Prepare Your Mind

Get ready for the possibility of anxiety that comes with living among boxes and in chaos for a while. But don’t let the stress cause you to procrastinate the items on your moving checklist.

People in general have the tendency to procrastinate. Think of it like packing for a vacation. What happens when you delay packing until the very last minute before you leave? You inevitably forget something you might need or want on your trip.

It’s natural to avoid things you don’t want to do, but uprooting your life is a big deal and deserves your full attention. Even after you’ve done the work, there’s always still more to be done. But it will get done. You got this.

It may take a while to make the space your own. That’s to be expected. You don’t have to do it all in one week. Give yourself and family time to settle into the new environment.

Organize Your Belongings

You’ve likely moved before and found yourself frantically looking for something specific only to find you didn’t pack the item in a box with similar items. When you start shoving things within reach into boxes, you set yourself up for chaos.

It seems like a no-brainer, but mixing and matching kitchen supplies with bedroom supplies, for example, isn’t the most effective way to pack. Socks and spoons don’t go together. Organizing your belongings into categories is a relatively simple step.

Labeling each box with its contents with a sharpie is a good way to go. You’ll have more than one box of kitchen supplies, so when writing on top of the box, make sure to write what’s in the box. Simply writing “kitchen” on each box isn’t very helpful. Writing the specific contents under the kitchen category will not only make it easier for you, but the movers as well.

There are many ways to downgrade the stress levels you may experience during the moving process. You may even look back and think, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad.” Pat yourself on the back, enjoy the moment and, of course, your new home!

Share with us where you donate the items you don’t need any more. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter   Facebook   Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space
http://mindoverclutter.ca/what-does-a-professional-organizer-do/

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Facts about St Patrick’s Day 

Shamrock

Shamrock

1.Irish immigrants coming to North America started St Patrick’s day parades to honour their nationality.

2. The first parade took place in Boston in 1737 followed by New York in 1762.

3.Ireland held their first parade in 1931

4.St Patrick’s Day always fell during Lent, when all the pubs where closed

5.The original colour associated with St Patrick is blue but because shamrocks and leprechauns are green, St Patrick’s Day adopted the colour green.

 

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Need help organizing your holiday decorations contact Julie 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 

7 Habits of very organized people

So you want to get organized?

Achieving order in your life doesn’t mean being perfect. That’s not realistic. Getting organized is not an event; it’s a process that happens over time. Like changing your eating or exercising habits, it sometimes involves behavioral changes and routines.

Perfectionism

Is being unrealistic by spending so much time on a task that it deprives other important tasks of sufficient time.

Excellence

Is doing the best job you can with the time and resources at your disposal.

What is organization? 

Being organized has less to do with the way an environment looks rather than how effectively it functions. If a person can find what they need when they need it, feels unencumbered in achieving his or her goals, and is happy in his or her space, then that person is well organized.

Myth #1 Organization is a born talent.

  • Organization is a skill. If the right resources or support are available it is easy to learn.

Myth #2: It’s impossible to stay organized.

  • Organizing is sustainable, if systems are built around the way the person thinks and designed to grow and adapt to new information.

The 7 Habits of Very Organized People

1. They have a place for everything

  • 25% of business documents are misplaced and will never be located so those documents must be recreated.They put things back

2. They put things back

  • Executives waste six weeks per year searching items

3. They write things down

  • From a master list of things to do determine the priorities for the next day.  This may include planning the most effect routine to use  to accomplish the tasksthe route driven to  see a client or considering  high and low energy cycles in the day and planning tasks accordingly

4. They don’t allow papers/ e-mail to pile up.

  • The average worker sends and receives over 190 messages each day.  Approximately 60 e-mails can be processed each hour.  Learn how to use e-mail effectively in order to limit the number of e-mails received and sent each day.

5. They don’t procrastinate

  • Procrastinating causes people to spend more time and energy on avoiding the task than completing it.  Once it is accomplished it is out of sight and out of mind.

6. They set goals and assign deadlines

  • Schedule a time for each task in the project to be complete, so deadlines can be met easily.

7. They only keep what they use and enjoy.

  • Clutter is usually the “extra” that is kept on hand just in case it is needed.  About 20% of items are used 80% of the time,  so 80% of items are hardly used at all.  Find the important 20% and let go of the unimportant 80%.

 

  1. They have a place for everything                                                   
  2. They put things back
  3. They write things down
  4. They don’t allow papers/e-mails to pile up.
  5. They don’t procrastinate
  6. They set goals and assign deadlines
  7. They only keep what they use and enjoy.

If you need help getting organized contact me for a virtual consultation 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/Julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

 http://mindoverclutter.ca/what-does-a-professional-organizer-do/

 

Organizing to better manage your time and stress

Is your plate too full?

Do have more on your plate than you can handle?

April Miller of April Miller Professional Organizing once described life like having a plate of food.  Even when it is full we keep putting more food on top.

Let’s think about stress, do you

  • feel overwhelmed by not being able to shut your mind down
  • feel anxious that there is too much to handle
  • feel frustrated because you don’t have control

Think about how you feel in different situations and why you feel that way.  Once you can determine what problems cause your feelings of stress you can start to solve them.

Balance Wheel

Clare Kumar of Streamline your Life has developed a Lifetime Management Wheel.  She has divided time it into 6 areas:

  • Play
  • Purpose – work and volunteering
  • Health – mental physical and spiritual
  • Lifestyle
  • Relationships
  • Development – personal growth and learning

She says to “note your level of satisfaction with each area of your life by giving it a rating of 1 to 10 with 10 being your ideal.”

Now you can see which areas of your life need some attention.  You can tie some of your feelings of stress to certain areas of your life.

Productivity – another way of managing your time

1. Take care of yourself

If you are healthy and happy you will be more motivated and productive. I walk each morning for an hour.  It allows me to start the day with no questions or demands on my time.  I get physical activity and time to reflect.  I can start my day ready for action, whatever that maybe.  What do you do the take care of yourself?

2. Establish repeatable routines and systems.

This helps you to automate things that need to be completed so they become a habit.  I have a “networking bag”.  It has everything I need for going to business meetings, business cards, brochures, marketing material, note pad, pen, cash. I can leave the office quickly for meetings  not forgetting anything and not spending a lot of time looking for items I need to take.  I have a two month meal plan.  I know what groceries I need for the week and what is being cooked for supper.  Then I repeat the plan 6 times, that is a year.  You only have to eat any one item 6 times in 365 days.    Routines and systems will help you to feel in control and have less on your mind reducing your stress.

3. Slow down to become more productive.

About 5% of the population can multitask successfully. Multitasking slows down your productivity because moving from unfinished task to unfinished task means  you need to look back to see where you left off on the previous task and where to start on the new task and all those seconds add up to minutes making you less productive. Finish one task completely and then move onto the next.  There is relief and satisfaction in completing a task reducing anxiety and stress. You also need time to think and reflect on the work you are doing so you can be more intentional and less reactive. You’re in control and less overwhelmed.

4. Work with your personality not against it.

Discover where you are most productive.  It might be in different spaces for different tasks.  When I write I like to be in the kitchen. What time of day do you work best? Do you like it quiet or prefer to have some background noise? There are articles that suggest that if you are trying to brainstorm ideas you have to leave your office and that physical activity helps in brainstorming activities. I have found that 90-15-90-30-90 works for me.  I concentrate on one task for 90 minutes and then do something completely different for 15 minutes.  Then 90 minutes for working on the same task or a new one and 30 minutes doing something completely different and then a 90 minute work session.  Don’t cheat on the breaks.  The breaks help you to remain energized and focused throughout the day.

Fill your plate with only as much as you can bite off and chew.  Enjoy each morsel and spend time ruminating over the experience.  Reflect on what you are doing and what you could be doing more productively.

Send me your tip for increasing your productivity

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/Julieorganizer

Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

Organize Your Valentine’s Gift

What do you have planned for Valentine’s Day?

Looking for that perfect clutter free Valentine’s Day Gift?  One that says:

  • I understand you,
  • I want you to be happy,
  • I want to make your life easier

 

Great Valentine's Ideas

Let’s get organized

Contact Julie if you need help making this happen or buy a gift certificate.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

What does a professional organizer do?

POC Gold Leaf Member

Perhaps you are familiar with the Professional Organizer industry.  It is an unregulated industry.  Anyone can call themselves a Professional Organizer.  Professional Organizers in Canada  (POC) was established about 17 years ago and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) the American organization is about 30 years old. Look for organizers listed on these directories.  Most Professional Organizers have their own business and specialize in areas of organizing. As you read their websites you will be able to see their years of experience,  type of training and continuing education.

What happens when I call an organizer?

Usually there is some type of conversation over the phone, Skype or email to discover what type of problem you want solved.  It might be to have a spaced organized, help with moving, develop systems to make things function more smoothly, downsizing, coaching or virtual organizing etc. Then there is a description of how the job will be completed. This is about the only common business practice.  Since we all own our own businesses we have varying ways of continuing.

When you contact Mind over  Clutter:

Can I get an estimate on the cost for the work to be completed?

Most times it is hard to estimate how long a job will take during the conversation.  I offer a free one hour assessment to see what the job entails and give you an idea of how long I think it might take and what we will do.   One of the biggest factors on how long a job will take is how easily and quickly you can make decisions on if items stay or go.  The second factor is, sometimes the job expands to include unforeseen work: filing papers, assembling shelving or bookcases, corners and areas not discussed during the assessment. I work on an hourly rate and offer a package of 10 hours at a reduced rate.

How does it work?

80% of my clients work with me to go through items and decide what will stay and what will be donated or recycled.  Then we discuss the best place and way to store the items so they can be easily found and used. Most clients like to learn  the skill of organizing and so working together helps them to learn where start, how to sort, how to decide what stays and what goes, how to store things in containers and where is the best location to store different types of items.

What if I don’t want to help or can’t help?

If you don’t want to help, I can work alone sorting items based on our conversation on what you want to keep and what you want to donate.  Then I create a donate pile  and a garbage pile and recycle pile.  Nothing leaves the house until you have looked through each pile.  If you can’t help you can sit with me and I can bring you things to do and you can answer my questions.

What if I need some guidance but can do all the work myself?

We can work together virtually.  You show me the space to organize over Skype and I send you a plan and you complete the work.  Here is more information about virtual organizing.  Or I can coach you through the process in a conversation in-person or virtually discussing what you want to accomplish and how you can accomplish it.

What happens with donations and recycling?

At the end of each work session I take the donations.  I will drop them at centers that will take your things.  I can take them to the donation center of your choice too.  I take non-curbside recycling at the end of each session. Usually that includes, batteries, paint cans, small electronics , small appliances, textile recycling, medications, and plastic bags.

Why wouldn’t I just do it myself after the one hour free assessment?

Some people do.  They have enough information and can continue with the job.  Most people feel overwhelmed and stressed by doing it on their own.  They find it easier to work with a professional who can guide them through the problem, help solve it and reduce the stress they feel about the situation. Working with someone makes you block time out for the appointment and helps you to stop putting it off.  It is always more fun working with someone than working alone.

Will you give me homework to do?

Only if you want it.  Some people like to keep going with the work and get it done quickly.  Some people don’t want to work alone or would feel bad if they didn’t get the homework done so I don’t that person anything to do.  There are some tasks that are very time consuming and if you can do it on your own it makes it more cost effective for you, sorting paper, going through books, CDs, VHS tapes, clothing.  However those tasks can be difficult to figure out what to keep and what to donate that you might it better for you to do it with me present.

Please post your questions in the comments.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter – @julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area