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

By Julie Stobbe / June 18, 2024 /

Reading Time – 5 minutes

Summer fun with 5 children swimming at a lake.

Putting some planning into the time when your children are out of school will make life at home easier.  Don’t over plan activities for the children. Give them time to appreciate being at home and then going back to school. Share the planning and the fun.  Make it a special time together full of joy, learning and excitement, not stress, tension and arguments.

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 start 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 that they only fought once.  They found things to do so they were not bored.  Three things were 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. Make your morning going off to day camps, activities or childcare easy to get out the door quickly.

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. It is an easy way to help them learn about responsibility. No one wants to get into a wet bathing suit or reuse a damp towel.

7. Have an agreement about snacks and dirty dishes.  Make a list and post it with snack choices.  Set a timer for snack time if you have young children.  Are dirty dishes put in a dishwasher, placed in the sink, washed or left on a table?  If the agreement is not kept then have them decide on a consequence.  Children are very good at deciding on consequences you might never have considered.

6. Determine a schedule for their activities, whether they are in programs or at home. Include screen time, outdoor time, reading time, and creative time. Also included in that schedule, is a 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 to help, to play, or be constantly interrupted by your children so things don’t get completed.

5. Have a routine for getting meals on the table and food and dishes put away. There are a number of tasks involved at mealtime: 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 and have to quickly get ready to leave.

2 girls washing dishes

Teach your children that cleaning and organizing can be fun from an early age.

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 may be different for each day of the week.   Tasks may include making their beds, making, eating and cleaning up their breakfast, tidying up things that were left out from the previous day, and 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 outdoors) collect them and donate them.  If their 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 outgrown, collect them too.  You may decide to give them a challenge, find 5 things each day that you no longer need, use or love.

Donation box

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 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.

Add tip number 11 in the comments. What do you do to stay organized with the kids around the home? 

A family walking in the trees enjoying time together in the summer.

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie 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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Quick declutter challenge week 8 – your mind

By Julie Stobbe / May 21, 2024 /

 Previous challenges

Over  8 weeks the quick declutter challenge has encouraged you to declutter your cosmetics, bedroomsdining room, livingroom, office, clothing and holiday decorations.  You can complete the challenges in any order and at any time. Schedule 15 minutes a day and start decluttering your home. The challenge is finishing with the most important declutter – your mind.

What’s on your mind? 

One of the ways to realize how much is on your mind is to do a brain dump.  Take a piece of paper/open a document and write down everything you need to do, everything you are responsible for and upcoming events.  The list might contain:

Household chores – groceries, meal planning, making lunches, cleaning, laundry, lawn care, car care, house maintenance.

Your schedule – working hours, exercise time, picking up and dropping off children, meetings, social events, medical appointments, dental appointments

Yearly events – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, vacations, visiting/hosting family events, graduations

Work schedule – travel, meetings, presentations, office hours, networking

Family’s schedule – homework help, music lessons/practice, chores to complete, picking up/dropping off children, bedtime routines, fun times, taking care of parents

Make your list and then sort it by what happens daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.  Once you transfer all these thoughts to a document it will help to declutter your brain.  You can plan for each week, month and year and not get overwhelmed by forgetting things, trying to remember everything or planning too many activities at one time. With all the regular tasks organized you have room in your mind for dreams, goals and aspirations. You can soar.

Expectations

There are 2 types of expectations.  The ones you put on yourself and the ones you think others are setting for you.  No one is perfect. Set realistic expectations that you can achieve. You have a limited amount of time and energy.  Decide how you want to use it. Hire help for tasks you can’t do, delegate tasks to others, and decide what tasks are best for you.

Enjoy decluttering your mind

A blue square with a white circle containing a list of 7 things to do to declutter your mind.

If you need help with time management book a virtual appointment with me. julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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Quick declutter challenge Week 7 – holiday decorations

By Julie Stobbe / May 7, 2024 /

Reading time – 5 minutes

Why this challenge now?

You might be thinking this is a strange time of year to write about holiday decorations. Isn’t it too early?  Is it too late?  There have been many special days celebrated this year, Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Easter, Passover, Family Day birthdays and anniversaries.  There are many upcoming long weekends to celebrate in the summer and graduations.  The fall and winter bring the holidays with the most decorations, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, celebration of light, Hannukah and many other special days.

Build good habits

This declutter challenge will help you build a habit of examining what decorations you need.  Every time you get some out for any occasion evaluate if you like them, if they are in good repair or if it is time to reduce.

If you have time look at the paper plates, napkins and glasses you are storing. It is easy to have a few things left over after each celebration that add up to clutter. Use them up at a picnic.  It will be a good conversation starter, remember when we had this party…….

Are you sentimental?

Letting go of decorations can be difficult for sentimental people.  The items may have been made by your child, created by a friend or bring back special memories.  Keep a few of those decorations.  You don’t need to keep all of them.  You will still have the memory of the event and the love and friendship of others when you pass on items you no longer need and find a good home for them.

Is it time to change?

Over time your focus on celebrating will change and so will your need for decorations. Take the time to donate your unneeded things so others can enjoy them.

Tell me about your interesting holiday decorations

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and to reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

 

 

 

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3 Tips to organize a student’s move back home

By Julie Stobbe / April 30, 2024 /

Reading Time – 3 minutes

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 their things are packed in an organized way it will take some of the work out of moving back to school in September.

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

Stacking bins are easy to store.   Most of us like to cut costs and use boxes to move students.  Since moving is an 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.  They will only need to be purchased once whereas boxes are usually recycled and you need to find more every time. Bins are waterproof.Blue Rubbermaid storage bin with lid

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

Make sure the items that are needed at home are packed together in a bin.  Label those bins, bedroom.  Other items that they need only 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.  They may need a bin 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. If your student is moving across the country, arrange to have their school stuff stored with a friend or a storage unit. Save the shipping fees. Keep the list they made to move home to use in September.  When it is time to go back to school look at the list and repack the items that were used during the summer.When you're packing up at college or university, pack the things you need at home separately in one bin and everything else you'll bring back to school in other bins. Share on X

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

Clean out the designated area before your student arrives home.    If everything is kept close together or in a limited number of areas when September arrives, it is easy to know where everything is.

A little planning can make the move quick and easy.  The second part of moving home is talking to your student about the living arrangements at home.  Set up a quick concise contract and life will be easy and enjoyable.

Moving to university

Don’t forget anything

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

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

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Quick declutter challenge week 6 – clothing

By Julie Stobbe / April 24, 2024 /

Reading time – 5 minutes 

The quick declutter challenge is on week 6.  The other challenges were to declutter cosmetics, bedrooms, livingroom dining room and office quickly.

It is said that we use 20% of things we own 80% of the time.  This leaves 80% of our stuff that we seldom use. For example, do you have a certain style of pens you like and don’t use the rest of the ones in your drawer? You receive lots of newsletters and only read 2 or 3 of them. Do eat the same thing for breakfast most days leaving cereals to go stale or fruit to rot?

Look at your closet, are there clothes you wear a lot?  Outfits you love?  Items that never seem to get selected? This time of year is good for decluttering your clothes.  The types of clothing you wear will be changing with temperature changes. As you reorganize your closet look at the 80% of your clothing you seldom wear and donate them.

Start with a quick declutter of your clothing.

A blue square with a white circle instide containing a list of 9 types of clothing items to remove from your closet

Most times when you are decluttering clothes you find a lot of items in your closet that are not related to your wardrobe. If you have time and energy you can continue with your project organizing your closet so you can quickly find what you need.

If you need help with the quick declutter challenges book a virtual organizing session with me.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and to reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

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Quick declutter challenge 5 – office

By Julie Stobbe / April 9, 2024 /

Decluttering is an important process to help free up space and gain a feeling of control in your life reducing stress, anxiety and overwhelm.  Having only what you use, need and enjoy in your life gives you more time, energy and finances to create a life full of meaning, joy and new relationships. Let’s get started.

As you move through your office looking for the 9 things on the list to declutter remember to make decisions quickly and move quickly around the room.   You might get distracted by clutter that is not on the list.  Make a note of other things you would like to organize.  Making a list to do later will help you refocus your mind on the task at hand.  Offices usually have a lot of paperwork to sort, file, shred or recycle. Complete that another day.

a room full of papers flying in the air

If you don’t have a designated office space look around your home for the items on the list.  Consider collecting them all together and creating a portable office.  Have a bin, basket, caddy, or rolling cart where you can store all your office supplies and then move it to where you are working and then store it away.

Here is the list of challenges  1-4. Join in at any time and do them in any order.

Quick challenge 1 -cosmetics

Quick challenge 2 – Bedroom 

Quick challenge 3 – Dining room

Quick challenge 4 – Livingroom

a white circle on a blue square listing 9 things to declutter in your office

Tell me what unexpected items you found in your office.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

 

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Quick declutter challenge 4 – Livingroom

By Julie Stobbe / March 26, 2024 /

The challenge started with cosmetics, continued with bedrooms, and then the dining room.  You can join the challenge anytime and do it in any order. Remember to work quickly for 10 – 30 minutes going around the space and collecting items you no longer need, use or love.  Use music to motivate you and a timer to help you stay on task.

Donating and recycling

Many items can be recycled, batteries, pens and markers, and printer cartridges at Staples.  Habitat for Humanity takes building supplies and old electronics for recycling.  Check with thrift stores in your area.  They take household goods, clothing, toys and furniture. Books can be donated at Value Village.

Selling

You may want to sell some items, look at Facebook Marketplace, consignment stores, Kijiji and Craigslist. When selling items to strangers, meet them in a public place and have someone with you.  It is the time of year when you can do yard sales.

The Challenge

This challenge can be applied to your family room, living room and recreation room.  Get everyone involved and make the quick declutter challenge go faster.

A white circle on a blue background with a list of 9 things to declutter.

In the comments let me know what interesting things you discovered. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and to reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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Quick declutter challenge 3 – dining room

By Julie Stobbe / March 13, 2024 /

I hope you found the tips for decluttering quickly in Quick Declutter Challenge 2 helpful.

Don’t skip this challenge because you don’t have a dining room.  Many dining spaces have been turned into offices.  You probably have a table that collects clutter or a cupboard that collects too many candles, napkins and unused dishes.  It might be in the kitchen, a hallway or a dining room. When clutter is continually visible in a common space area people can start to feel anxious.

In a book I am reading Limitless by Jim Kwik he says, “A Princeton study found that physical clutter competes for your attention  ( frontal cortex of your brain) and decreases performance and increases anxiety and stress. Divest yourself of things that attract your attention and distract you.”  In the common areas of your home, you want to reduce anxiety, stress and overwhelm.  Join the quick declutter challenge 3 and bring happiness to your home.

A list of 9 things to declutter from your dining room

If you have missed Quick Declutter Challenge 1 – cosmetics or Quick Declutter Challenge 2 – bedrooms you can join the challenge now.  Complete the challenges in any order.

In the comment let me know what you found when you decluttered this area.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and to reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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Quick declutter challenge 2 – bedroom

By Julie Stobbe / February 27, 2024 /

How did the quick declutter challenge 1 – cosmetics go?  Did you find it difficult to do it quickly? Did you spend a lot of time making decisions about what to keep and what to let go?

Let’s start with question 1. 

Set a timer.  A timer can help you

  • to focus on the task because there is a deadline for you to stop.
  • to start because you know you only have to do the task for a short time and then it is over.
  • if you can see or hear the time clicking by, it builds a sense of urgency and importance

Play Music

  • Music can help people to focus by blocking out thoughts of other things on their minds.
  • Make a playlist of songs that will help to make the decluttering enjoyable.
  • Some people will like uptempo music to energize themselves.
  • Make your playlist for a set amount of time so when the music is done so is your time for decluttering.

Now for question 2

It can be difficult to make decisions when you are worried you will make the wrong decision. Trust yourself.  You make decisions all the time, what to eat, what to wear, where to live and when to exercise.  Develop some questions that help you to make decisions. Here are a few examples.

  • Do I need this?
  • Do I have space for it?
  • If I keep it will it help me to meet my goals?
  • What is the worst thing that will happen if I don’t have it?

Quick declutter challenge 2 – bedroom

Let me know what else was hiding in your bedroom that you decluttered.

If you need help, let’s work together virtually to declutter your bedroom quickly, julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and to reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

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Quick declutter challenge 1 – cosmetics

By Julie Stobbe / February 13, 2024 /

For the next couple of months, I am going to challenge you to declutter quickly.  Too often you can get stuck in the decluttering step and give up.  I want you to declutter quickly so you see progress immediately.  Decluttering and organizing is not something you do once and it is over.  Sorry to break the bad news to you.  It is an ongoing process.  Learning how to declutter quickly makes light work staying organized. You do a little bit every day and soon it is much better.  Don’t get stuck in the perfection wheel.  That is where you keep working on one area making it better and better after it is decluttered and functional, while other areas that need help get worse.

Here is the first challenge for you. If you need help, book a series of mini sessions with me to help you declutter quickly.

 

Here is some information about the expiry dates for cosmetics.

A chart with expiry dates for different types of cosmetics

In the comments let me know what was hiding in your cosmetics area that surprised you.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and to reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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

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