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Archive for organizing with children

Moving Students home – Make Home Life Simple

Expectations

It is a big change in lifestyle when children 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

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

Swoop Bags for Organizing Toys

Do you have children in your family with Lego laying allover the floor?  Here is a fun organizing tool to make cleanup  of toys easy and fun .  Check out swoop bags.

Super Swoop Bag Berry with Lego Bricks

Need help getting toys and home routines organized?  Contact Mind over Clutter for a free one hour assessment in person or virtually to get you on the road to success.

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

 

A Cluttered Life – Middle Class Abundance

Make your home perfect for you.

Make your home perfect for you.

This 6 minute video is a great look at our society and our relationship with “stuff”.  It is easy to collect “stuff” but it is hard to know how to get rid of things.

http://www.uctv.tv/shows/Stuff-A-Cluttered-Life-Middle-Class-Abundance-Ep-1-24699

Need help simplifying your life and home contact Mind over Clutter to work with you in person or virtually to help you meet your goals.

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 for Organizing During A Divorce

This is an excerpt from a great article by Autumn Leopold .  Click on the link below to see the entire article

1) Give people the appropriate time and space they need to sort through items. If they need to stop and share some memories with you, let them. Do not judge or share your opinion just keep the process moving forward.

2) Be mindful of the children in the home. If they need to see or discuss some of the items you may be donating or throwing away, sit and let them get their feelings out. They may have some memories tied to those items that you aren’t aware of.

3) After the homes are separated, parents should do their best to create a new routine for children as quickly as possible. Do something new and change things up around the house. Get different bedding or a few decorative items to create a new environment for the healing to begin.

Organizing During A Divorce.

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

 

11 Professional Organizers Share their Favourite Tips.

Professional Organizers in Canada

I asked my colleagues from the Professional Organizers in Canada Cyber Chapter to send me their favourite organizing tip.  This is what they said.

Patti Schneider from Time to Organize Coach™ in Huntsville, Ontario tells us :

  • Don’t organize anything without tossing, recycling and donating first!

April Miller owner of April Miller Professional Organizing in St John`s Newfoundland shared:

  • To ensure better maintenance: Organize according to what works for you, not according to someone else’s system.

Elana Kleinman owner of EK Organizing in Toronto, Ontario

  • For maintenance, do a 5-10 minute scan of your home before bed and return everything to its assigned home. This prevents end-of-week (month?) organizing marathons:)

Ruth Beattie-Ostrom of HOME, Hard Organizing Made Easy from Parry Sound, Ontario shared:

  • A fun tip to involve children to help maintain the house: set the timer for 15 min and everyone (incl mom) puts items back in their place.

Kym McFadden owns Space-Ese-Solutions Inc in Burlington, Ontario.

  • If you don’t use it, lose it. Recycle, donate or toss it in the garbage. I generally tell clients for clothing wear it within 6 months and all other items use it within 6-12 months or out it goes. Then go have fun! If it is close to bedtime read books together.

Nathalie Bureau owner of Nathalie Bureau L’Art de l’Organisation/Organized Living from Saint Boniface, Quebec tells us:

  • Using the space vertically is one of my best tips
  • Sort food packages in a drawer using hand made separators or dividers.

Adele Lapointe of Chaos to Clarity from Burlington, Ontario simply said:

  • Like with like

Karen McIntosh Murdock,Your Organized Friend in Edmonton, Alberta

  • If grieving clients are having trouble releasing sentimental belongings I recommend that we take photos of the items, write down the stories surrounding the item and make them into a photobook.

Bev Chandler owner of C & C Organizing  from Regina, Saskatchewan shared:

  • Keep the things you use the most, close at hand.

Adriana Romkes  from Dundas,Ontario tell us:

  • Less is more

My tip, Julie Stobbe owner of Mind over Clutter in Beamsville, Ontario

  • If you are having trouble letting go of things figure out if it is because you are clinging to past or fear the future.  Once you solve that mystery it will be easier to part with unused items.

Share your favourite organizing tip with me in the comment box.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices. 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

Smart Organizing – Simple Strategies for Bringing Order to Your Home

 

Paperback book Smart organizing

Author Sandra Felton

Sandra Felton, the organizer lady, is the author of this very practical book to help people bring order to their life. The book helps people to “reach their organizational goals in the simplest way possible.  This is why I recommend the book.  The book is full of people’s stories, quizzes, tips and practical solutions to suit a variety of personalities.

She focuses on planning.  I recently twitted “hope is not a plan”.  She outlines how to develop a plan that is right for the person, how to work with the plan getting each space in the house organized and how to live with the plan and maintain the new organized life.

Here are some of the tips that appear in her book.

Bathroom

If a bathroom is shared by several children and is cluttered with their things, get them their  own coloured basket for toiletries.  Each child can take it a back and forth to the bedroom leaving the bathroom clear.

Garage

Use the walls to hang up smaller items you need more often.  Put up a peg board in the garage and use S- hooks to hang up gardening equipment, tools and sports equipment.

Laundry Routine

If you do laundry for a number of people, refuse to wash unpaired socks.  Insist that everyone pins each pair of socks together with a sturdy safety pin or those little plastic circles into which some sock pairs will slip.  If they aren’t paired you won’t wash them.  Now no more pairing socks.  Another good idea is to colour code socks.  Buy a different colour band or sock for each individual and let him or her match their socks.

Sandra Felton encourages,”spending less time and energy on the mechanics of living and  giving more time for more significant pursuits.” Her books help people to be successful at this.

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Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices. 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.

5 Bathroom Organizing Tips

1. Have a drawer for each person who uses the bathroom to store his or her toiletries and cosmetics.  If you don’t have the space to store items in the bathroom, give each person a basket to transport their things to the bathroom from his or her bedroom, where the basket is stored.

2. Purchase under-sink storage shelves or baskets to make good use of this under-utilized area.

Creatively use the space under the sink

Find a shelf or stacking baskets to use under the sink

3.  If medications are stored in the bathroom, safely store them where small children can’t gain access.

4.  Store cleaning supplies safely nearby so you can do bathroom quick cleans ups but out of the reach of children.

5.  Add hooks or towel bars to the walls or over-the-door racks/hooks to hang and dry towels after use.  Not enough room in the bathroom?  Install hooks or bars in the bedrooms.  This will keep towels off the floor, neat and clean.

Swing out towels bars provide space between each towel so they can dry quickly

Swing out towels bars provide space between each towel so they can dry quickly

6 Tips for Organizing with Children in Mind

1. As children grow, placement of their items should change with their higher reach.

Hooks are great for keeping things off the floor

Have hooks at a variety of heights so each child can reach a hook

2. Items for tasks that children are responsible for should be kept within their reach.  If a child constantly needs help accessing these items or putting them away, this will cause frustration for both parent and child.  Keep books, toys, dishes, coat hooks, clothes closet bars and towels at age/size-appropriate level

3. Remember to always keep cleaning supplies and medicines out of the reach of children

4. If children are permitted to use the microwave oven unsupervised, place the unit at a height where children can remove food easily without climbing on counters or standing on chairs.  This will help prevent injuries from hot food spilling or a child falling.

5. Label bins, drawers, and shelves with pictures or words to make tiding up quick and easy.

Labels with pictures and words

Label containers to make clean up easy

6. Establish a bulletin board, magnet board, or a wall covered with magnetic paint as an area to display children’s work.  As new work comes home, remove items from the display area and put them in a box.  When the school year is over, go through the box and decide which pieces to save and put away and which to recycle.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Vehicle Organized

Vehicles are used as mobile offices, restaurants, entertainment centers, locker rooms and homework stations.  Keeping a car clean can be easy.  Here are 5 tips to help you organize your vehicle.

1. Have a plastic garbage bag in the front and back seats of your vehicle.  It can be hooked on the headrest or armrest.  Make sure all garbage is put in the bag and not all over the floor.  When the bag gets full unhook it and put it in your garbage can on the way into the house.

 

 

A plastic garbage bag can be hooked on armrests.

A plastic garbage bag can be hooked on armrests.

Place a garbage bag in the back seat by hanging it over the head rest.

Place a garbage bag in the back seat by hanging it over the head rest.

A garbage bag can be anywhere in the car, just make sure it is used.

A garbage bag can be anywhere in the car, just make sure it is used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. If you have a young child keep a backpack ready at the door to take with you in the car.  Fill it with things your child can use to entertain themselves.  When you arrive at home put everything back in the back and bring it in the house.  This prevents toys, papers and video games from being left all over the car.

3. Cup holders are a great invention.  Put a clean tall cup in the holder and use it to hold pens, pencil crayons, small toys, notes, papers, snacks. It will help to keep items confined to a space and prevent them from being lost in the vehicle.

 

Organize your change to make it easy to get into your hand or to take out of the car.

Use a cup for your change. it will be easier to retrieve your change . Keep the cup in your cup holder.

Organize your snack in you cup holder

Bring snacks from home and keep them in your cup holder

Organize children's toys in cupholders

Use a cup holder for children’s toys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. If you use your car for an office try using a bin, box, bag to contain all your supplies.  There are a number of portable offices organizers available or make one that is personalized for your situation.

 

use any container and make a car office organizer

Customize your own portable office for your specific needs

Office organizer for the front seat of the vehicle

This organizer keeps the seat clear for items while organizing your office supplies

Portable office organizer for the car

This office organizer attaches to the seat so it won’t end up on the floor of your vehicle

This is a portable office that can easily be taken with you to the car, meetings, library or hockey arena

This is a portable office that can easily be taken with you to the car, meetings, library or hockey arena

This mobile work station can help to keep your work organized

This mobile work station can help to keep your work organized

 

5 .Keep disposable wet wipes in the glove compartment for quick clean ups and  always take everything out of the vehicle when you arrive at home.  Use the car door pockets and seat back pockets for items that permanently stay in the car.   If you start with a clean vehicle on every trip it is easier to keep it clean.

 

Prevent messy build up in your car.

Take everything out of the car each time you arrive at home.

Keep disposable wet wipes for quick clean ups of spilled drinks, and dirty hands.

Keep disposable wet wipes for quick clean ups of spilled drinks, and dirty hands.

 

Cleaning up after every trip for a few minutes prevents needing lots of time to clean your vehicle later.

Be ready to jump in your car and go and enjoy your trip, short or long

Moving a Student to School – Closet Organizing

Bring lots of hangers, you can never have enough.  It is a great way to make new friends by sharing the extra hangers.

Bring lots of hangers

Buy thin hangers because the closet space is limited

Use a second hanging bar to make more room in the closet

Use a second hanging bar to make more room in the closet

1. Store your clothes in the closet.  Double your hanging space by purchasing a lower hanging bar.  Add an extra shelf up high in the closet to store off-season items mitts, hats.

2. Under-bed storage containers are very helpful for sports equipment, food, laundry detergent, musical instruments, etc

3. Use vertical space to add more storage.  There are many types of carts with drawers which can be used to store school supplies, cosmetics, food etc.

4. Use the inside of the bedroom and closet doors to hang items.  Over-the-door rack and hook products accommodate coats, clothes, etc

Over the door hooks

Lots of hooks can be very useful

over door hooks

Use the space on the front and inside of the doors

5. There are many pocket style items that hang from the closet bar.  Buy one or a shelf for shoes to use to double the shoe space storage.

6. Make sure anything you buy is returnable because you won’t exactly what you need until you get there.

 

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