Author Archive for Julie Stobbe

10 Tips to help keep your home organized when kids are out of school

10. Make a list of things that need to be done around the house.  For example, sweep out the garage/shed, break down boxes and put them in recycling, etc.  When the children starting fighting or complain about being bored, tell them to pick a task from the list.  You get small jobs done and they are separated and not fighting.  I used this one summer.  It worked so well they only fought once. But one 3 things got completed from the list.

9. Pack the backpack with the necessary items for the next day the night before and place it near the door.

8. Have a routine for wet swimming towels and bathing suits. They might hang them up, give them to you or place them in a specific spot.

7. Have an agreement about snacks and dirty dishes.  If the agreement is not kept then have them decide on a consequence.

6. Determine a schedule for their activities, whether they are in programs or at home. Include screen time, outdoor time, reading time, creative time. Also include in that schedule time when you will be “unavailable to them” when you are all at home.  Use this “unavailable time” to get necessary tasks done around the house so things don’t get disorganized.  It is easy to always put off household tasks and help/play/be interrupted by your children so that things don’t get completed.

5. Have a routine for getting supper on the table and food and dishes put away. There are a number of tasks involved in eating supper: setting the table, food preparation, cleaning up leftovers, clearing dishes from the table and washing dishes.  Give everyone a task to do.  Record the tasks on a calendar and assign a person to each task.  The task assigned each day will depend on who is home before supper and who may have an activity after supper.

4. Have a morning routine. Getting things done in the morning before the day gets busy is the best way to keep things organized.  Set a time for the latest children can sleep in.  Waiting for people to get up can be very frustrating if people are on very different schedules.  This agreed upon time maybe different for each day of the week.   Tasks may include making their beds, making, eating and cleaning up their breakfast, tiding up things that were left out from the previous day, completing a household chore.  Pick tasks that will help to make the day easier and keep the living space neat and tidy.

3. Declutter as you go.  If children aren’t interested in some toys (inside or outdoor) collected them and donate them.  If there clothing is too small or they won’t wear it, start a bag or box so they know where to put things they no longer need. They may have books or craft supplies that they have out grown using, collect them too.  You may decide to give them a challenge, find 5 things each day that you no longer need, use or love.

2. Try new ways of getting things done at home that are fun, simple and easy.  Summer is the perfect time to change the way things are done.  There is a little more time to teach children new skills and routines because there isn’t the pressure of getting homework done and getting to bed.

1. Sit down and have a family conversation about the expectations for the summer. Include when bedtime will be, responsibilities, consequences, special trips, activities and events that everyone would like to do.  Let the children help with the summer plan and take ownership in developing it.  When everyone is happy, things go a lot smoother.  Enjoy the time together.

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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How to organize your shopping

If you find that you spend too much time or money shopping here are some ideas from “Don’t Agonize Organize your Office” by Diane A Hatcher.

Buying for the Wrong Reasons                                                                                           

  • It was on sale
  • Too good a bargain to pass up
  • I may find a use for it some day
  • Someone else I know may need it one day
  • It feels good to shop

How to Buy

  • Shop for things you need not want
  • Shop for things that fit into the space you have
  • What am I going to use it for?
  • Where am I going to put it?
  • When you buy something new, give 2 things away.

Whenever you buy, make a plan first. 

Signs can encourage to purchase items, so follow your plan not their plan

What habits have you set for yourself so you don’t buy unnecessary items?

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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How to organize a yard sale

There are many ways to organize a yard sale.  You might find that this way takes less time and energy  to set up.

Get  number of boxes or bins to collect your items .  Mark each container with a price $1.00 $2:00 $0.25 $0.50 $5.00 etc.  As you are collecting your items for the sale decide how much you will sell the item for  and put the objects of the same price into the same box.  You are pricing items as you sort them so there is less work to do later.  How much should it sell  for?

Yard Sale

Easy Way to get Ready for a Garage Sale

Pricing

  • 2/3 of the original price for brand new or barely used items
  • 25% – 30% of the original price for the older items

Have a separate display areas /tables for each price grouping.    Place a sign on the front each of the table explaining everything on this table costs _______.  You are finished and ready to have a great day.

If you want to do a little more work to ensure that you get the right price for each item  you can  use stickers.  They are easy to find at a dollar store.

Tags

  • use tags one colour per price group.
  • red for $10.00, blue for $5.00 etc.
  • place a colour coding sticker on each item and when the person buys it you know exactly what to charge.
  •                 or
  • if the garage sale is for multiple families or multiple family members give each group their own colour  then you know which cash box to put the money in. Make sure to never leave the money unattended.

To ensure you get the sale have change.

Change

  • have $25 in change
  • $20 in $1, $4 in quarters, $1 in dimes and nickels
  • keep money in waist pouch so it can;t be stolen

Sometimes a garage sale seems like a great way to make money.  Make sure you are the type of person who likes to barter and is not offended when people tell you that something is not worth the value you have placed on it.  It takes time to set up and clean up from a garage sale .

Timeline for a Preparing for a Yard Sale

  • sort, clean, price                1 – 2 days
  • advertising                           2 hrs
  • arrange and display wares  4 hrs
  • get change                           1 hr
  • tag sale itself                       1 or 2 days
  • take unsold items to charity  3 hrs

Garage sales can be a fun way to get rid of your clutter, make some money and meet people.  If you feel you don’t have the time, energy , a good location, great items for sale or don’t like bartering you may want to donate your items to a charity and spend the day doing something else.

What is your best tip for making a yard sale a success. 

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Moving students home – Make home life simple

Each party in this living situation has different expectations so make a contract with each other so it is clear what the expectations are. Click To Tweet

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

2 weeks ago I wrote about Moving a Student Back Home 

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

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca  

 TwitterFacebook – Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

Book your complimentary Organizing Breakthrough Session

 

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Get organized and donate to textile recycling

April 24th is earth day

The 3 R’s

When going green first became a movement it was called the 3 R’s, reduce reuse and recycle.  Thankfully we have become more aware of taking care of our environment.

We now have

  • reduce – buy less items that have packaging that needs to be recycled,
  • reuse – buy items that have more than 1 time use before they are recycled or disposed of
  • repurpose  – many items can be used in a new way other than what the items was initially intended to do
  • regift – some things you get or buy and don’t work out, can be regifted to a friend
  • renew – some items especially furniture can be refinished or restuffed and brought back to life instead of going to the landfill
  • rethink – your lifestyle so you use less energy and have a smaller carbon footprint
  • recycle – lots of things can be recycled but today I want to highlight textile recycling

Repurpose tin cans into lovely hanging planters

     

 

 

Textile Recycling 

Textile recycling is a newer idea.  The idea of  donating clothes, shoes, purses, belts blankets toys etc to thrift stores is well established in most communities.  What if those items have holes, are discoloured, very old and out of fashion you can still keep them out of the landfill though textile recycling. Canadians only divert 25% waste from landfills.

Textile Waste Diversion  ,Diabetes Canada in conjunction with Value Village are 3 companies that will gladly accept clean, dry ,odorless, clothing, shoes, boots, leather belts, purses, outwear, linens, drapery, soft toys. sleeping bags, yarn, pillows, hats, etc any thing made of textiles to recycle  them

reduce-infographic

graphic from www.textilewastediversion.com

North Americans only divert about 20% of waste from landfills, textile recycling can help to keep clothing out of the landfill. Click To Tweet

These 3 programs have bins for easy drop off.   Not only do they divert waste from landfills but they also put money back into the economy through their fundraising programs.

This problem is not limited to Canada.  In the USA it’s estimated each person wastes 32kg of clothing annually, with only 15% of this ending up in a recycling center. The rest is landfilled or incinerated, causing lasting damage to the environment.

With an increasing growth rate in Britain they also have low rates of waste diversion.  The article The Introduction to all things Recycling  by Monk and company explains the environmental benefits of recycling, the importance of recycling and the environmental impact of textile waste.

If you would like a 9 page recycling document, listing how and where to donate and recycle items, send me and email julie@mindoverclutter.ca and put in the subject line recycling doc and I’ll send it to you. 

In the comments, tell us what do you do to protect the environment and go green?

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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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

 

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Spring into action – Attack the winter clothes

Spring is here.  As winter slowly leaves so should your winter clothes.  As you wear something for the last time this season,  a warm sweater, scarf, pants etc.

  1.  decide if you like it,
  2. does it fit,
  3. do you get compliments when you wear it.

If the answer is yes then wash it and store it away for next year.  Continue with process until all your warm clothing as been cleaned and put away making space and easy access for your spring wardrobe.  Any clothing that doesn’t fit, you don’t like, is too complicated or expensive to launder can be donated.  Clothing with stains and holes can be donated to textile recycling

Winter clothing

Spring into action and pack away warm clothing after each load of laundry

 

Spring clothes

Make your spring wardrobe accessible, remove your winter clothes

Tell us your tips for organizing your clothing 

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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Get your life reorganized

Remember to donate items to charity and not to put them in the garbage.

Being organized is not about being perfect. 

Anyone can learn to be more organized.  It is a set of skills that can be taught.  Organization creates efficiency and effectiveness, making your life and surroundings perform optimally for you.  When you start organizing remember these tips:

  • Accept your limitations on time, space, energy and money
  • Be consistent,  do a little at a time on an on-going basis
  • Acknowledge your successes.  Success breeds success motivating you to do more.
  • Take it one day at a time

How do I decide where to start?

I tell my clients:

  • to start with the space that is bothering them the most.
  • sometimes you may need to start in an area of your home that you  are going to use for storage.  Organizing that space first will give you more places to store items that need to be removed from other rooms.

How do I start?

Get some boxes and bags for :

  • garbage
  • recycling
  • things to go to other rooms – put them in a container and take them after you are done working in the space your are organizing.  If you leave the room you might never return
  • things to be returned to other people – put them in a container and return them to the correct owner after you organizing time is over.
  • don’t buy organizing products – wait until you know what you are storing, where you are storing it, and how much you have to store.  Then you can the best container to hold the items.

How to I get the room looking nice?

There are 5 steps to follow:

Step 1 Sort 

Sort everything in the room into categories.  The categories depend on what is in the room.  You might have:

  • electronics
  • books
  • tools
  • computer items
  • dishes
  • food categories
  • cosmetics
  • paper supplies

Figure out the categories of things you have in your room  and sort the things you can see and then work in the drawers and cupboards

Step 2 Part with items

Part with items you no longer need  and donate them to charity

Step 3 Assign a home

Find the best place to store the  item , close to where you use them and so you access them easily. Things you don’t use very often can be stored further away and in less accessible places.

Step 4 Containers

Now is the time to get the right container to store the items.  Anything can be a container:

  • boxes
  • wine boxes cut in half
  • magazine holders
  • jars
  • tins
  • plastic bins
  • bags

 Step 5 Evaluate

Use your system and then see:

How do I remember all this?

Easy it spells SPACE

S – sort

P– Part with items

A – Assign a home

C – Containerize

E – Evaluate

If you need some help with your organizing book a 50 minute break through organizing session .  Click on the link to book your complimentary appointment, and speak with me to get helpful tips to get you unstuck. Organizing Break Through session 

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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Is Marie Kondo’s question, “does it spark joy”, the right question for you?

Most of us keep more than we will ever need.  This costs valuable storage space, makes retrieval of the items we actually need more difficult and adds to the stress of daily living.  The famous Japanese organizer Marie Kondo tells you to ask if the object sparks joy for you.  If it does keep it, if not donate it.  Sometimes that question doesn’t solve the dilemma if you should keep something or donate it.  The following questions might be more helpful when you ‘re making those decisions.

For Paper:

  • Are there any tax or legal reasons for keeping this?
  • Can I easily get a copy elsewhere?
  • Does someone else have this information?
    .
  • Can I identify a situation in which I would ever refer to this information?
  • Is it still relevant to my life?
  • What are the implications if I didn’t have this?
  • Shred papers that contain personal information.

For belongings:

  • Is it out of style, the wrong size or colour or mismatched?
  • Does it still work?  Do I have all the parts?
  • When was the last time I used this item and when would I need to  use it in the foreseeable future?
  • If  it is something I use rarely, could I borrow one from someone else?
  • Do I use it often enough to make it worth  the cost to store it?
  • Do I have more than one? Do I need more than one?
  • Has the collection outgrown the space or the container originally allocated to storing it?  Has the collector outgrown the collection?
  • Is it the best of the best?

Swedish Death Cleaning

A third way to decide what to keep and what to donate is conveyed in the Swedish Death Cleaning method.  Ask yourself:

Give yourself permission to let go of things. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake cause you to keep things you don’t need, love or use.

Tell us how you decide what to keep and what to let go

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Organizing your approach to handling e-mail

Harold Taylor is a time management expert.  He produces a monthly newsletter.  Here is one of his articles.  I hope you enjoy it.

Harold Taylor of Taylor in Time

Managing E-mail

Do you respond to a lot more email messages than you originate? Are you deleting emails unanswered or unread? Are you spending so much time reacting to email that you don’t have time for creativity, relaxation and renewal? If so, calculate your “Reactive Ratio.”

Reactive Ratio

Count the total number of email messages you receive during a day. Include spam, egroup messages and newsletters whether you still read them or not. Divide the total number of incoming email messages by the number that you send during the day. The resulting ratio should be as low as possible.

You can easily calculate this ratio if you don’t delete or move anything until the end of the day – even those that you have answered. The next morning, quickly count the total number of emails received the previous day as well as those sent the same day.

If the ratio is high, take action by cancelling newsletters that you seldom read, get off groups you don’t participate in, place spam filters at higher levels, and get off mailing lists. Consider using a different email address for purchases to avoid spam. Question whether all incoming messages require a reply. For instance, don’t thank people for thanking you. Consider adding “No reply necessary” to many of your outgoing messages. And investigate apps such as “unroll.me.”

Control Outgoing Email

Your outgoing messages also consume time and generate incoming messages. So question whether a quick phone call is better. Don’t copy people who have no need for the information.Decide whether a quick phone call is more productive than sending an email. Click To Tweet

Reduce the Total Time Spent on Emailing

Even more important than your “Reactive Ratio” is the total time you spend on email each day. Keep messages brief. Use text replacement software for longer & repetitive replies such as instructions or directions. Allocate specific times to check and respond to email. This could be one hour late morning and one hour late afternoon. If you can get by with less time, so much the better. But don’t fragment your day by checking email every few minutes or every hour.

Click here to sign up for his newsletter 

Share a hack that helps you to control the amount of time you spend on email. 

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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