10 Hacks to help parents organize their children’s routines.

You have successfully accomplished back to school organizing but the day to day chores are not getting done and you are feeling overwhelmed.  Clutterbug has a great video, Organizing Hacks for Parents.  Organizing your home to help your children become more independent means that they are able to complete tasks without your help.  This will help daily routines and habits to be accomplished quickly leaving more time for family fun together.

Which hack worked best in your household?

Need some organizing help contact Mind over Clutter, julie@mindoverclutter, to help bring happiness to your home.

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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Back to school – making homework easy

Plan the best time to do homework. 

Helping your child to be successful with their homework is about planning.  Plan a time when your child can concentrate and an adult is available to lend support to the task.  Some children will be able to do homework right after they finish school other children will need time to do some physical activity  before they can concentrate and yet other children will need to eat first.

Mother and child and after school homework

Have a quiet area near an adult . Children may need support from an adult at times to be successful

 

Plan the best space for doing homework 

You will need a spot that has limited distractions, minimize stimulation from video screens and phones and reduce loud conversations with other family members in the homework area.

Plan a schedule for completing large projects 

Large projects take more than one night to complete.  Help your child learn how to plan ahead.  Look at the week and weekend and see what time is available to work on the project.  Divide the project into smaller sections that can be completed a little at a time during the week and on the weekend.  At first it takes a lot of discipline from the parent and the child but as the family gets used to planning ahead your child will tell you that they need your help with some homework and the only night you are both home is Wednesday.  It will be great when they take over the time management of homework.

Large projects can be broken down into smaller sections and a little parts can be completed each day.

Teach your child management so they will have enough time to complete large projects.

Each child will be different, some will like quiet spaces and others will like to be around people. Some tasks will need large spaces and others will need hardly any space. Click To Tweet

Have a portable homework station that can move with you. 

Many families have shared custody of children between parents and some families are always on the move taking children to after school events where children need to do homework while they are waiting for siblings to finish an activity.

have supplies on hand that can be taken with you so your child can complete their homework on the move.

Help your child be able to complete their homework quickly

 

Help your child be prepared so they can complete their homework quickly

Have a portable homework station that can be taken anywhere

Taking into consideration all the variables, homework areas need to be portable.  Children need have a container with all the pens, pencils, markers, erasers, rulers, a stapler, tape, glue, paper, calculator etc. they need.  This container can be used in any room in the house allowing for flexibility.  Let your child organize the container since they know what they need.   This container can be put in the car and taken along to activities, babysitters, parent’s homes.  It is important that children have the supplies they need and learn to take care of them so they can get their work done.  If you choose to have one room or area for homework make sure to consult your child about what it should look like so they want to work in that area.

Share your tip for making homework and enjoyable experience.

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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7 Organizing Packing Tips for a Move Across the Country

Depositphotos_73413557_m-2015

My son  told me he would be moving across the country to start a new job.  He would be leaving in 2 weeks.  Can you help pack Mom?  Long distant moves on a budget require a lot of planning before the packing begins.  Some of you maybe moving for a job or for schooling.  Take a deep breath and relax.

If you are not hiring a moving company

This move involved selling anything and everything people were interested in buying.  Put your ads for the things you are selling on Kijiji or Craigslist.   Don’t forget about neighbourhood swap and selling sites on Facebook.  You may  have multiple sites in your area and it makes scheduling pickups so much easier when you know that they are in your neighbourhood. But don’t forget the most important source for your sales.  Tell your friends and family and ask them to tell their friends, family and co-workers.  One of my readers shared, “do an Internet Garage Sale where you made a list of items with prices, emailed it to everyone you know, and asked them to share it with others. We  were able to sell quite a few of our larger and more valuable items that way.” Don’t be shy.

Smaller items need to be sold too

You may need to sell clothing, jewelry or home decor items.  Take them to consignment stores. Leave the information for picking up the cash with a friend or relative. They can e-transfer it to you.

Determine what you will take, store and ship. 

Moving out

In this case he was driving a car across the country.  He would be staying with relatives until he found an apartment.  He knew of a few people who would be flying out to see him in the next few months.  With this information the packing began.  For each item, it had to be decided if it would be packed:

  • in the car
  • in a suitcase for someone to bring next month
  • in a suitcase for someone to bring the following month
  • in a suitcase for someone to bring later
  • in a box because there were items that he might want when he had an apartment
  • in a plastic bin and stored

You never know what you might want shipped 

Knowing what is in every box makes it easy to find what you need

Knowing what is in every box makes it easy to find what you need

As boxes and bins were packed someone was in charge of keeping an inventory of what went in each box and bin and labeling the container with a corresponding number to the list.  We used google docs so later in the week when more things were packed or removed from boxes the list could be changed and a new list doesn’t have to be emailed to anyone.  You don’t have to worry if you are using the most up to date list.  The reason to do an inventory is so you can find items that might be shipped later.  The hope is that the whole box will shipped but more likely he will decide on certain items and they might be packed in a number of different boxes.

Food

We started by going through the cupboards and anything that was unopened and not expired was donated to the food bank.  This can be done early in the packing session and it is an easy way to start.  No difficult decisions need to be made.  Some food can be used during the 2 weeks, some disposed of and then  find a friend who will be happy to take your food.

Donate

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

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

As time moved on he found things he didn’t want or need, couldn’t sell or give a way or give back to people.  Donate these items to charity.  It is easy to think no one wants them and start putting them in the garbage but most things can be donated.  It takes just as much time to put them in a garbage bag as in a box or bag to go to a charity.  You will probably be eating out so you can take them to the charity on the way to dinner.

You’re finally finished

You are probably tired and overwhelmed and over stressed.  Just take a big breath.  You did a great job, you are about to start a new adventure .  Focus on that.  Don’t focus on the stuff.  Enjoy the trip and the time off before the new jobs begin.

What is your advise for moving across the country in a car, on a plane or in a train?

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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Organizing a student’s move to university or college

Organize the right amount of stuff to take.

Panic maybe starting to set in.  This is the time of year for back to school.  Some of you maybe moving a student to a school close to home, some may have a long drive to the new school and others may have to fly.  Whether you may be able to make multiple trips to your student’s school or if you have one chance to get it right,  Anne Wynter’s    How to Cut College Clutter  shares many tips in this lovely blog post about:

  1. Clothes
  2. Documents
  3. Mini Kits
  4. Sentimental Items
Having an over abundance of possessions in your dorm room or apartment can contribute to poor time management and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed, Click To Tweet

Make your move a successful, low stress enjoyable event.

dorm room organizing

How much should I take?

Organize your employment

Once your student is settled at college they may need a job.  Finding suitable work maybe easier than you think.  This article,  Ways to make money in college from Aaron Whitman of Careful Cents has many employment opportunities to suit any timetable.  Whether your student chooses to work a little or a lot any income helps to reduce their  overall debt that they might incur at the end of their education. Plan ahead with your finances. In addition balancing work and school also teaches time management skills.

If you need help packing up your student for their move to university contact Mind over Cluttter. julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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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6 Organizing tips for laundry and your student- Bring it home or do it at school?

Success in doing laundry starts with packing the right clothes.When packing for college or university stay away from white clothes, they will turn grey and red clothes that will turn everything pink.  Leave them at home.Discuss who is responsible for doing laundry before your student leaves for university. Click To Tweet

1. Practice

 If your student has not done laundry at home use the last week or two before they leave to teach them how to use a washer, sort laundry, empty pockets and use a stain remover .

2. Money

Find out if the washers and dryers need coins or if money is put on a plastic swipe card.  Put some money on the card or send coins to get them started and into the habit of doing laundry.

3. Laundry ” Basket”

Provide a central collection area for their laundry in their room.  It might be on the back of a door or chair, a bin or bag in the closet. It needs to be portable so they can move it easily to the Laundromat which may be on another floor.

Collapsible Laundry Basket

Mesh laundry baskets let damp things dry until they are washed

cloth laundry bag

Put a laundry bag on the back of a door.

 

Backpack laundry bags make it easy to get everything to the laudromat.

Backpack laundry bags make it easy to get everything to the laudromat.

Plastic ventilated laundry basket.

A basket can be put in any convenient location and is sitting open easily to throw clothes in.

4. Supplies

Buy liquid laundry detergent because it dissolves quickly and comes in small bottles. It is better to have a supply of small bottles than a large one which is heavy and hard to take to the Laundromat.  Buy fabric sheets for the dryer as the student will probably never be there for the rinse cycle.

5. A place to hang damp clothes

Have a place to hang up clothes – a line, door hooks or a free-standing wire rack in their room for things that are damp or that they don’t want to put in the dryer.

wooden folding clothes drying rack

Use a rack to dry clothes and save money

Folding Clothes Drying Rack

Folding wooden or wire racks can be hidden away when they are not in use under the bed or in the closet.

Plastic over the door hooks

Over the door hooks come in many styles to fit the door and space.

 

over the door hooks are great for hanging up damp clothes

over the door hooks are great for hanging up damp clothes

6. Who does the laundry, parent, student, home or at school?

Decide if you will do their laundry when they come home on weekends. Set the policy early so there are no surprises.

Share your experience about laundry successes and failures.

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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Getting ready to sell your house?

Here are 11 Things Most People Forget to Do

Thanks to my guest blogger Jeff  Anttila of Redfin for sharing his tips on getting your house ready for the real estate market.

You’ve started on your lists of small repairs, you’ve contacted a real estate agent, and now you’re in the final steps of getting ready to sell your house. But before you put your home up for sale, and certainly before having your first open house, here are 11 things to consider that most home sellers forget to think about and could cost you a sale.

1. Declutter and Organize Your Closets and Cabinets

Sure, you went through your entire house and reduced the clutter in each room, organized your desk and other surfaces, and arranged your collection of antique ceramic kitty figurines to be facing perpendicular to the window. However, did you tackle your closets and cabinets? One thing you should definitely expect during an open house or individual home tours is that potential home buyers will be looking in your closets, kitchen drawers and cabinets. Will your walk-in closet fit all of his shoes and her summer dresses? Is there enough storage space in your kitchen for their cookware, bakeware, and all the kitchen gadgets that they seem to collect each year? These are all questions home buyers will be asking themselves as they walk through your home.

Of course, you as a home seller will have no idea what the needs are of a potential home buyer, but you can definitely showcase what your house has to offer in terms of storage. Start by decluttering your closets, cabinets, and drawers, and then keeping only enough belongings in each to really show off the potential that space has to offer. Think of it as an extension of staging your home, but for your storage areas.

2. Clean Stains and Eliminate Odors

We should all consider small stains, marks, and other imperfections as badges of honor for a house that has been lived in for years. Nonetheless, these slight bumps and bruises your home has encountered over time will stick out to potential home buyers, so tackle them head-on. Begin by trying to put yourself in the shoes of a potential home buyer and look at your house objectively. Start by going outside and then re-entering your house as if you didn’t actually own it but were an interested home buyer looking at it for the first time. What do you see? Walk through every room and take note of all the imperfections you notice. You might surprise yourself with how quickly your list grows. You can then add them to your list of repairs so you can make your house truly be at its best before your first open house. Also, if you have pets there is a strong possibility that your home has an odor which you can no longer smell. Deep cleaning your house is a sure fire way to help eliminate these odors, but also think about using an odor eliminating spray every day for about a week before your first open house. You can also place plugin room fresheners that offer a great crisp smell, like cucumber, to help infuse a sense of cleanliness throughout your house.

3. Replace Light Bulbs

Walk through each room in your house and look at every light bulb to see if it’s working. As homeowners, we sometimes forget to immediately replace a light bulb when it goes out. You want your house to be at its brightest when new home buyers are touring your home and replacing old burnt out light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to do it. Also, don’t forget to walk around the outside of your house to make sure all the lights of your home’s exterior are working as well. Depending on the time of year, your open house or home tours could happen when the sun is going down or when it’s already dark. So be sure to make your house shine inside and out!

Pro tip: Make sure all your light bulbs are the same color temperature inside your house as well as outside. A soft-white light LED bulb can create a bright but welcoming environment for new home buyers.

4. Think About the Small Details: Plants, Mirrors, Rugs

Consider each room’s individual characteristics, so you can really showcase the potential every room in your house can offer. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while you start prepping every space for an exceptional open house experience.

 Add a little green to your spaces

Nothing breathes life into a room more than a little greenery. A potted tree can work wonders in a living room, but for smaller areas think smaller plants such as a small potted herb garden in the kitchen or a miniature cactus on the mantel.

Open up even the smallest rooms

Mirrors can make small spaces seem large because they create the illusion of depth. Mirrors also work wonders in darker rooms as they reflect light deep into areas of a room that may not receive an abundance of natural light.

 Add character to an otherwise unimpressive space

While staging your home, think about adding character to various spaces with rugs. However, keep in mind that you want to use rugs to enhance a space, not be the focal point of it. Also, if you have a strange space that you never really figured out a good use for, a rug could at least offer a little personality while leaving the space and its potential to the imaginations of home buyers.

 

5. Enhance Your Outdoor Space

You’re probably already aware that enhancing your curb appeal is one of the most impactful things you can do to create a great first impression. However, you don’t want to forget about your other outdoor areas, such as your front porch or entrance, your back entrance, side yard, and backyard. You want to enhance your outdoor spaces around the house so potential buyers can see themselves living as much outside your house as inside. Simple enhancements like placing potted plants to your front entrance or adding fresh beauty bark around the base of your hedges and trees can go a long way. If you don’t already have a designated outdoor space for entertaining, think about building a DIY fire pit and adding four Adirondack chairs to create the idea of outdoor fun. Ultimately, your outdoor space can be just as important of a space as what your home has to offer on the inside.

6. Get Professional (Aerial) Photography

By now your research has probably shown you that homes with professional photos sell for more and spend less time on the market on average. What you may not have considered is adding aerial photography to your listing photos. Aerial photography can show off your entire property, a scenic view, and the surrounding area.  If you have a lot of property, an aerial shot can easily put into perspective the full scope all your land has to offer to potential home buyers. Furthermore, aerial photography has come a long way thanks to the rapid development of drone technology, resulting in reasonable pricing that is accessible for many homeowners today. For higher-end listings, drones can even capture video of your property, helping it stand out among the hundreds of other homes for sale.

7. Don’t Forget About Your Gutters

Imagine that you’re having your first open house and despite the rain, foot traffic has been steadily increasing all morning. Your house looks immaculate, like one of those home’s off of an HGTV show, and your real estate agent has been messaging you updates every hour about how great it’s going. But then the unexpected happens. A small stream of water starts coming down right in front of your large bay window in the living room. The stream is outside the house, but your would-be buyers watch on as it grows into a miniature waterfall. Red flags go up for the home buyers touring your house as the foot traffic thins then disappears altogether. What they didn’t see was that the spillage was the result of a clogged gutter, nothing more, causing water to spill over in a very inopportune place and at the worst time. Depending on where you live, you may not see as much rain in locations like Phoenix, AZ, but in many locations where rainfall is a common occurrence, such as Seattle, WA, this situation is more likely to happen. If you don’t have time to clean your gutters yourself—because you have a house to sell and a million other little things to do—there are professional services that can clean your gutters for you so this little oversight doesn’t drown out your hopes of selling your home quickly.

8. Paint Your Baseboards and Crown Molding

It’s pretty common knowledge that you should paint the interior of your home a neutral color to appeal to more buyers. Home buyers want to imagine themselves and their stuff in your space, so your red accent wall will need to be painted over with a more neutral hue. But what a lot of home sellers forget to do is pay attention to their baseboards and crown molding. Where crown molding may just need some cleaning and touch-ups, your baseboards most likely have seen a lot more traffic, especially if you have kids. It may be a toy truck that has repeatedly crashed into your white baseboards, crayons that went rogue, or the black rubber wheels from bikes racing down the hallway, most likely your baseboards have been marked with years of life experiences.

To correct these homely blemishes, you can try cleaning your baseboards with simple dish soap and water. But if it has been years of wear and abuse, you most likely will need to paint. Use a paint with a semi-gloss finish that will offer a light sheen but not glossy enough to distract attention away from your floors. You can also match your crown molding using the same paint, making every room pop to potential home buyers. Of course, if you end up hiring painters to repaint that accent wall of yours, you might as well have them paint your baseboards while they’re there.

9. Focus on Your Floors

Your hardwood floors were once beautiful and one of the initial reasons you bought your home, but after years of traffic your hardwoods have since dulled to a shadow of their former glory. Likewise, your once plush carpet has also now matted down into obvious paths that lead from room to room. One of the first things potential home buyers look at when entering a new home is the floors, so make yours a statement. If your carpet is approaching that 10-year mark, it is most likely looking pretty worn. Think about recarpeting your house to make it look fresh and ready for new homeowners. Such as you did with your walls, you’ll want to go more neutral in color to appeal to the majority of home buyers. If your carpet is only a few years old, however, getting it professionally cleaned can go a long way in bringing your carpet back to life.

If you have hardwood floors bring them back to their former glory by refinishing them. Refinishing hardwood floors typically includes sanding down the floors to eliminate the original finish and stain, then restaining with the desired color followed by a coat or two of sealer. Your floors will look brand new and really stand out during the open house.

10. Gather Your Documents

You might not be aware of this but you’ll want to gather all the documents you have in regards to warranties, manuals, service records, and repairs done to your house. These documents are hugely important for several reasons and certain ones are needed by different parties before you sell your house. Your agent is your best friend during the home selling process. They are also your homes’ first line of marketing and the more information they have about your house, the better they can promote it. They will write out the specific details of your home as well as an enticing description that will highlight key features that home buyers want. So, if you’ve made recent updates like a new deck, new roof, updated HVAC, or if your home has hot water on demand make sure your agent knows it and you have the paperwork to back it up.

During the home inspection process, home inspectors are going to go over your house with a fine-toothed comb. If your furnace or water heater hasn’t been serviced in years, they’ll let you know. Take a proactive approach by gathering all your service records so you’ll know ahead of time if something needs to be serviced before listing your home.

However, beyond the paperwork your agent and the home inspector would like to see, title companies require very specific documentation in order for you to even sell your home, including:

  • Mortgage loan information, which will show any outstanding mortgage balance and pay-off balance (if there is any)
  • Final purchase and sale agreement
  • Deed
  • Title report
  • Property tax information, including most recent tax statement
  • Homeowners insurance information
  • Lease agreement, if you’re currently renting the property
  • Any reports or documentation that relates to the property
    • Warranty paperwork, permits, service documentation, instruction manuals, dates of home improvement projects, and age of the roof, furnace, hot water heater, HVAC, and all the other major appliances.
  1. Pre-Sale Home Inspection

The last thing most people don’t think about before they sell their home is getting a pre-sale home inspection. Though it is not mandatory, a pre-sale home inspection is a proactive approach to understanding your home’s condition at that point in time, and if there are any repairs that need attention, you can address them now versus trying to do it during the home selling process. Home buyers will most likely get a home inspection of their own, right? So, why would you get one as a seller? A home inspection report will most likely turn up a list of repairs that will need to be fixed. Would you prefer to fix these issues now before you list your home, or after you’re in negotiations with a potential buyer? If you wait, you may push back the sale date of your house as repairs are being made. Or, home buyers may ask for concessions on your asking price in order to cover the repairs and the time it takes to make them. Ultimately, getting a pre-sale home inspection will leave you in a better position when it comes time to negotiate with potential buyers. You may feel like spending a lot of time and money on your house is pointless because you’re just going to sell it anyway, right? Just consider that the more you appeal to the majority of home buyers the more bids you’ll likely see and ultimately help you sell your house quicker and for more money.

Which tip was most helpful for you? 

Originally published on Redfin

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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Document organizing tips to keep you afloat

 

Document System

R – Read
A – Act
F – File
T- Toss

Paperwork, e-mail messages and electronic files  can overwhelm you making you feel stressed and ineffective.  If information has built up, look at the creation date on the document and decide if is the most recent version.  If the document was replaced by a more current version toss or delete the old versions.  If the document can be replicated, retrieved or is obsolete toss it, shredded it or delete it.

As documents arrive, paper or electronic decide:

R  –  Needs to be read or referred to later

If it will be read  or referred  to another person, place it in a folder (electronic or paper) labelled as read.  If the document is to be used by another person forward it to the correct person.

A – Needs to be processed

If the document requires:

  • an action to be taken,
  • a decision to be made,
  • a response conveyed or
  • has a deadline

place it in a folder marked Act.  Financial documents should have their own folder separate from the Act folder.

F – Needs to be filed

If  the documents  are completed, but must be retained ,then they are  filed.  If it is an electronic document forward it to the correct folder.  If it is a paper document place it in a file or basket for filing at a later date.

T – Needs to be disposed of

Documents  that you:

  • no longer need,
  • have no financial implications,
  • are out of date,
  • junk mail or
  • a copy can be obtained elsewhere

can be tossed, deleted, recycled or shredded.

All of your electronic communications and paperwork are now filed as:

  • Read
  • Act
  • File or
  • Tossed

and are ready to be handled at a later time.  Schedule time in your agenda/calendar to read documents, complete any action needed on documents and file paperwork.  This system helps you to:

  • know where documents are if someone has questions,
  • allows you to manage your time effectively by scheduling your paperwork at times when you will be uninterrupted and
  • be able to quickly  locate the papers/documents you need to complete a task.

Although much of your information is paperless there is still a substantial amount of paper to control.  Have 3-5 stacking trays or a desktopper with  folders.  Label the folders/trays: to do, to read, to file,  refer to other people, miscellaneous forms.  File the paper correctly and schedule time to process each folder.

3 black stackable plastic trays for filing and a white desktopper holding file folders for filing paperwork

At the end of the day:

  • Clean off your desk, leaving only papers you are going to process tomorrow in a stack on your desk.
  • In your calendar record the files you need to process.  Place e-mails/documents to be worked on in a folder marked with the day of the week they will be processed
  • Check your to do files (paper and electronic) for items that need to be completed the next day
  • Sort all other paper and documents into their appropriate trays/ folders.

Share how do you prevent emails and paperwork from drowning you?

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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Taking back your master closet

Asian lady surrounded by colorful clothes in her organized closet

Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

Today I have a guest blogger, Haley Kieser of Zog Digital. She always shares an inspiring fresh approach to freshening up your home.

Organizing a master closet is one of those tasks that usually comes last on the list. Master closets are often where extra things get stored to be dealt with later. Instead of putting off this chore, make your closet functional right now by planning out what you’re going to do and then tackling the make-over.

Clean-Up

Take everything out of the closet. You won’t be doing yourself any favours if you tackle this project with all the things still in it, or by doing part of it at a time. You need to get a fresh start.

While everything’s out, do some paring down. You can use the Marie Kondo method, ask yourself these questions, or simply choose to get rid of items that you haven’t worn in a year or more. If none of these get you to point of decluttering, consult with a professional organizer.

Lighting

Next, make sure there’s a bright light near or inside your closet so you can easily see your clothing. This may mean simply placing a lamp close by, or if you have the room, installing a light inside. If there’s no existing fixture, you can either hire an electrician to run wiring inside, or choose a wireless lighting option. There are many strong, high-quality LED lights that you can add. Choose the center of the closet as placement for a larger light or pick two or three smaller ones to provide plenty of light across the board.

If there’s already a light inside the closet, consider whether it’s bright enough and whether you like the fixture aesthetically. This is the time to choose something decorative that goes with your personal style, like a fun crystal piece.

Paint

A new coat of paint makes a huge difference inside a closet. Not only will it rid the walls of the wear and tear closets always get, but it will make it seem bigger and brighter. First pick a shade and finish. WOW 1 Day Painting suggests using a semi-gloss paint. This is a shiny finish that reflects light better than satin or eggshell, so you can better see your clothes. Choose a light-toned colour. It doesn’t have to be white but go for the lightest color in your chosen colour family.

Organizational System

Decide whether your current shelving and clothing rod system is meeting your needs. Perhaps you want more shoe storage, or don’t have enough space to hang your clothes.

Measure your closet both horizontally and vertically and sketch out a plan. You can do this on paper (graph paper works best) or use a software tool. When planning, keep in mind that generally you want to have the things you use every day at your eye level. Little-used clothing, like formal dresses or overcoats, can go in a less-reachable space.

Consider whether or not you like to hang up or fold most of your clothes. If you like to fold them, then you’ll want shelves or drawers more than you want closet rods. Allow 40-42 inches of vertical space for hanging clothes.

There are lots of mostly pre-made closet systems available at home improvement stores these days. These come in single or multiple components, so you can mix and match them for your needs. For instance, if you have a lot of purses, you may want to install cubbies. The good thing about these systems is that they’re easy to install with some basic tools and are already painted.

You can also make your own shelving or hire a professional to do it. If you’re making your own shelving, then you’ll want to do this step before the paint, so you can paint everything at once.  You’ll also need some higher-level handyman skills and tools like a table saw to do the job well.

Accessorize

Even if you don’t have much room, you can choose some things like fancy closet hooks to give your space some personal flair when you hang up necklaces and robes. A small chair or pouf to sit on is both practical and can reflect what you like.

Now that your closet system is in place, you can put all your clothing and accessories back. A functional closet is a lot more fun to use, and the organization system will make it easy to keep neat.

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 to create joy in your home.

man and woman holding hands together with boy and girl looking at green trees during day

I had  a number of questions submitted to me about how to create joy in your home.  Here are my answers.  I hope you enjoy them. Please send me more questions or place your thoughts in the comments about creating joy at home.

How does tidying up a home help create joy?

Tidying up so you are able to find what you want, when you want it, use it to accomplish your task and know where to put it away relieves, stress, tension and frustration.  It also uses less energy to complete your work, leaving more energy, physical and emotional, for other parts of your life.  Feeling less anxious and overwhelmed makes room in your life for happiness and joy because your have time to spend on the important things, health, relationships and personal growth.

How can you use the idea of a happiness shrine to help someone to have more joy and  help reduce clutter?

A “happiness shrine” or “pride shrine” in a home is a shelf/wallspace/corner  used to display items that serve no utilitarian purpose but make you happy.  I have a space in my office where I post 1 picture from some  vacations with my family and a small shelf for interesting items, that remind me of my successes.  This corner certainly makes me smile with many memories.  By having a designated, limited and personal space for sentimental items,  people need to decide which things are really important to them. It allows other areas in the home to be organized purposefully reducing distracting clutter in the commonly used areas. Give each member of the home a “pride shine” area and remember what is in your shrine can change and evolve to reflect your life past, present and future.

White cupboard door with pictures on it.

How can someone organize their running shoes and workout gear in an attractive way  where they are visible but don’t wind up in piles on the floor? 

Exercise is one of many ways to help increase your mental wellness.  People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise   A study showed that people are more likely to exercise or make healthy habits if they can see their workout gear. Goals and habits are easier to accomplish if you are intentional about your plan, set a day and time to exercise.  Organize your sneakers and workout gear on a shelf so you can see them when you enter your room or open the closet. A shoe or pocket organizer hung on the inside of a door will also work well.  Roll your exercise gear, shorts, tops, warm up pants, warm up tops, running jacket, etc and place each item in a pocket.  It will make it easy to see your workout gear as well as limit the amount of gear you purchase.  Don’t forget to put the shoes in one of the pockets too. A drawer may keep your gear hidden from your view but if you prefer using a drawer also put items in the drawer that you use everyday so you will continue to notice your workout gear daily.

Books bring  joy to many people. How can we tidy up our book collections? 

Books are such a personal topic.  Some people read a book once and donate to their library while the book is current and in good shape.  Other people like to be reminded of the stories they have read and so keep books just to remember them.  Still other people like to have beautiful picture style books and enjoy them as entertainment, like watching a movie. Lastly, people like them as reference books on topics they have studied or want to learn about.  Think about why you have books and if they still serve you well.  Perhaps you can check out books from the library, download books, share books or trade books to reduce the number of books you own but still be able to enjoy them.  If you have more books than you can display on shelves in your home, I think you have too many.  Books that are kept in boxes can’t be used, enjoyed or experienced.  Reducing the clutter of owning boxes of books, reduces the time and energy spent on thinking and worrying about what to do with them. It frees up time to spend on the things that are important to you now and it frees up space.

How does donating unused or unwanted items help to create its own sense of joy?

Donating unused or unwanted items creates a sense of helping others.  Your items can be used to help raise money for community causes, given to charities to help people, develop relationships with organizations to make the world a better place for everyone.  We are so privileged to have enough to share with others.  Your sense of joy may come from protecting the environment by keeping useful items out of the landfill, by sharing your wealth to support people and projects locally or globally, by being an example for others to follow.  Joy comes in many forms.

Car trunk full of bags of things to donate

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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5 Tips for getting the food onto the table

Y0u might be using an app to help you plan your meals and make your grocery list or paper and pen.  Here are a few tips to help you take that plan and make it happen.  The easier it is to get the meal onto the table the less likely it is that you will eat out.

 

grocery planning

menu planning

                 

1. Plan meals for a month or more and then repeat the plan.

2. Cook double portions so you can use the planned-overs on another day.

3. Have each family member participate in simple meal preparations that are age appropriate.

4. Cook together on weekends and prepare a number of meals for the week.

5. Partially prepare meat – dice it, brown it and then freeze it.

Share your best tip for making meal preparation easy.

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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