Archive for Home Routine Planning

7 Tips for keeping your vehicle organized

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We are looking forward to using our vehicles more and travelling again. Vehicles are used as mobile offices, restaurants, entertainment centers, locker rooms and homework stations.  Keeping a vehicle clean can be easy.  Here are 7 tips to help you organize your vehicle.

Garbage Bag

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

A plastic garbage bag can be hooked on armrests.

A plastic garbage bag can be hooked on armrests.

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a backpack ready

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

Use your cupholders for temporary storage

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

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

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

Organize your snack in you cup holder

Bring snacks from home and keep them in your cup holder

Organize children's toys in cupholders

Use a cup holder for children’s toys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A portable office 

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

use any container and make a car office organizer

Customize your own portable office for your specific needs

Office organizer for the front seat of the vehicle

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

Portable office organizer for the car

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

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

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

This mobile work station can help to keep your work organized

This mobile work station can help to keep your work organized

 

You spend a lot of time in your vehicle. Keep it a safe and healthy place free from flying objects and germs. Click To TweetClean up messes quickly – people and the vehicle

5 . Keep disposable wet wipes in the glove compartment for quick clean-ups. I have a small container of water, soap and a cloth for washing hands and faces. I keep it in a small box so it won’t roll around the van. I bring it in and change the water and put it back the next time I go to the van.  Keep a roll of paper towels handy.  You never know when they will come in handy for bigger clean-ups.  If you have a mess in the vehicle clean it up right away.  You have the products with you so it is an easy job. Always take everything out of the vehicle when you arrive home.  Use the car door pockets and seatback pockets for items that permanently stay in the car.   If you start with a clean vehicle on every trip it is easier to keep it clean.

 

Prevent messy build up in your car.

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

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

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

 

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

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

Keep your cargo area under control

6. It is easy to put things in the back or trunk and arrive home and rush into the home.  If you don’t take the things out then when you add more it becomes fuller and fuller.  There are certain things that live in the cargo space.  Find a home for them.  A box, crate, a built-in storage area, a bag hooked to the side with a 3M hook, under the bottom by the space tire.  Make sure the other items are stored back in their proper place in the garage, basement or home.

Seasonal storage “locker”

7. Sometimes the cargo area is used as a seasonal storage “locker” because there isn’t an easy place to store and access sporting equipment.  Some situations are hockey bags, golf clubs, soccer equipment and water sports.  When the season is over clear out the gear.  Wash it, clean it, dry it and store it away until next year.  Leaving wet equipment in your vehicle year-round will cause it to deteriorate and get mouldy.

I think I covered most problems in your vehicle, garbage, toys, paperwork, messes and cargo areas.  What did I miss?  Let me know in the comments. 

 

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 your 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. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

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 Organizing myths

People have preconceived ideas about what it means to be organized. Being organized means you can find what you are looking for in a reasonable amount of time.  The myths about being organized are what stop people from moving forward and organizing their lives.  Here is the fallacy in 5 myths.

Myth 1 Organizing is a born talent 

Organization is a skill. You can learn techniques to apply to your situation to get you organized.  If you have the right resources and support it is easy.  Hire a Professional Organizer, read books, watch Youtube and you can learn the steps.  Some tasks at home can be simplified so they are not so overwhelming and time-consuming.  Here is one small example about meal planning.

  1. Pick your menu for the week
  2. From the menu make your shopping list
  3. Now you don’t need to decide what to make each morning or evening and you can take out of the freezer the items you need for later in the day.
  4. After you have done this for a number of weeks or months you can start recycling your plan.  This makes it even easier as you just pull up an already completed menu plan.blue clipboard with a piece of paper titled Meal Plan

Myth 2 – Organized space is neat, tidy, minimal and boring.

Everything needs to have a space, a home, so you know where to put it back.  Some people are visual and will have things displayed other people like things stored behind doors.  Organized spaces should reflect your personality and lifestyle. If you can’t enjoy the space then you won’t take care of it.

Myth 3 – Getting organized is an overwhelming, hopeless chore 

No matter what you’re organizing, no matter how daunting the task or how huge the backlog, getting organized boils down to developing a predictable process that you can reproduce. You follow your process and organize the current things you are using and then each time you’re organizing, work for a little time on the backlog.  Divide the job into smaller tasks, organize one cupboard, one drawer, one table or one closet.  Eventually, the entire room will be organized one small step at a time.

A man sitting at a desk with paperwork spread all around.

Develop processes that work for you, so you can stay organized.

Myth 4 – It’s impossible to stay organized

Organizing is sustainable if your system is built around the way you think and designed to grow and adapt with you.  Here are some tips:

  1. If it only takes 30 seconds, do it right away if not add it to your to-do list
  2. Most unorganized people don’t notice things are in the “wrong place.” Look and do a mental check to see if everything has been returned to its assigned space.
  3. Use spare minutes wisely.  Have a list of small tasks that can be completed quickly when you are waiting for meetings, appointments, trains, planes, children, elderly parents.
  4. Use your lists to record: things to do, to call, to e-mail and errands.  Check the list don’t just write it down.

Myth 5 Organizing is a non-productive use of your time

You can’t afford to not be organized. A national survey conducted by Professional Organizers in Canada indicates 91% of disorganized Canadians feel that disorganization negatively impacts their lives – with a large focus on feelings of stress, frustration and even failure. According to a study by a Boston marketing firm, the average American loses 55 minutes a day, roughly 12 weeks a year, looking for things they know they own but can’t find.

Did I miss any organizing myths? Share your favourite myth in the comments. 

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, office, mind and 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. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

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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4 easy ways to organize your meal planning – Is it possible?

Meal planning can seem like a difficult chore.  I am going to talk about 4 ways to simplify your menu planning. Organizing your menu will give you a healthier diet, save money on food and create a relaxed mealtime.   

Shuffle the Deck

Make menu planning into a game. Compile recipes for 20 to 30 easy-to-prepare main dishes and the same number of side dishes and desserts. Cut them out of magazines, download them the internet.  Get together with friends and each bring 10 recipes and share them.

1.  Put each recipe on a 5 x 8 card, noting any special ingredients that require a stop at a specialty shop.

2.  File all the recipe cards in a card box.

Each week:

1. Select your required number of main dishes.

Pasta and Broccoli

Mix and Match side dishes to give each meal a new appearance

2. Mix and match them with side dishes and desserts.

Pita Sandwich

Meal Planning can be easy if you make it into a game

Your menu is complete.

 

 

 

 

 

Plan a month of meals

I like to plan a month of meals and then take the plan and repeat it for 6 months.  I find there are different meals made in the winter than in the summer.  Make one menu plan for the colder months and one menu plan for the warmer months.  Each year review it, add a few new items.  The easiest way to do this is to write down everything you make for one month.  Now you have a plan.  You might want to look through books, or websites and collect ideas. I used to do my planning while I was waiting for one of my children to finish a sports practice.   With this system, you will only eat each item 6 times.  If you didn’t plan the menu I think there would be some meals you would eat a lot more times than just 6.

Plan using a grid 

I like to make a grid with categories across the top.  The categories might be based on food, ways of cooking or time limits.  It may be a combination of these categories.  When my kids were at home, I needed some meals to be ready quickly because they came home and left for work or a sport.  Other days I would arrive home from work later so I prepared supper in a crockpot.

Under each category (column), you fill in meal ideas, record where to find the recipe and if there are any unusual ingredients that need to be put on the grocery list.

Each week you read across (row) and you have your menu and your grocery list. This provides lots of variety in the menu and it is adaptable to your needs each week.

As my children got older one of the categories became new food. After the new meal, we would evaluate it and see if it stayed on the grid or was voted off. If it stayed on the grid, it would be move to the appropriate category, after all, it isn’t a new meal anymore.

Adapt the categories to suit your family and culture.  This grid has 7 rows so it is a menu plan for 2 months.  Repeat it 6 times and you have a year of meals planned.Save money on food, save time on deciding what's for supper and have less stressful mealtimes by planning once and using your plans over and over. Click To Tweet

Apps

The other ideas lent themselves to paper.  I like paper because you can post it in the kitchen and everyone knows what is for supper and can help.  Apps are wonderful. You can select your menu and the app will generate the shopping list.  Big Oven is one of many apps.

Breakfast and Lunch

You can plan your breakfast and lunch menus in the same way.  I find those meals to be more repetitious and easy to just have groceries on hand and let people decide what they feel like.  I always make more supper servings than are needed at the meal (2-4 more) so they are available for lunches and late night snacks for the hard-working athletes in the home.  Sometimes I would remove those extra servings before the group sat down to supper.

However you like to plan, paper or digital or a combination use your plans over and over.  Do the planning once a month, twice a year or yearly.  Take the stress out of “what’s for supper” and you will end up spending less money eating out, less money wasting food and less time worrying.

Coupon Tip

If you like clipping coupons, write your shopping list on the back of an envelope, and stuff the envelope with the appropriate coupons.

Leaving the decision about what to eat for the last minute makes every meal stressful. Do you like menu planning? If you want help book a virtual menu planning meeting with me.

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, office, mind and 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. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

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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10 Tips to keep your entranceway clear of clutter

Controlling the clutter at the entrance to your home can be a nightmare. With many people using the same area and all having different organizing styles clutter can develop.  Together decide on what will be stored near the doorway and how it will be stored.  When everyone knows the plan, everyone can participate in keeping the entranceway clutter-free.

1. A place for coats

Place hooks low enough that everyone can hang up his or her own coats, sweaters, and jackets.

2. A spot for bags and backpacks

Establish a space that can be reached without help for each person’s backpack or gym bag.  This could be a shelf, cupboard or hook.

Entranceway organzing

Organizing Backpacks

3. Use vertical space

Have enough space near the entrance for shoes that are used regularly.  Buy stackable shoe racks and use vertical space efficiently.  Footwear worn occasionally should be stored elsewhere and brought out as needed.

4. Use the inside of doors

Have a place for seasonal hats, gloves and scarves.  A hanging shoe organizer is ideal for this purpose.  Put regularly-worn hats, scarves and pairs of gloves into the pockets, where you can easily see each item and quickly select what you need.   Storing hats, mitts and scarves directly with a jacket also helps to keep everything together. During the warmer months put sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses and hats in the pockets

Use a shoe organizer for hats baseball caps gloves sunglasses

Use a shoe organizer for hats baseball caps gloves sunglasses

5. Have a collection basket

Have a basket to collect mail, newspapers, schoolwork as you come in the door.  It will keep all the paperwork in one place and you can easily take the basket to your work area to sort it and deal with items quickly.

Samsill Pop,n Store Container

6. Collect garbage and recycling

Do you need a garbage can and recycling bin near the entranceway?  Some people do and some people don’t. It helps to keep the area clean.  Garbage from the car, a backpack,  gym bag or snack can be easily tidied up and not left lying around.  I saw this wastebasket with  4 compartments on one of my trips.

7. Protect your personal property

It is tempting to store keys, phones and purses near the door.  Don’t do it.  Find a more secure location for those items so no one picks them up and walks away with them when you’re distracted.

8. Have multi-use furniture

It is nice to have a place a person can sit to put on their shoes or boots. Have a stool that also has storage space.  It can be a good place to put a blanket for sitting outside when it gets cool, cushions for chairs, small toys for children or pet supplies.

Nebel Foldable 15″ Tufted Square Storage Ottoman

9. Re-purpose furniture 

Add a deacon’s bench, buffet, or dresser that is sitting around your home.  Place it by your entranceway to provide additional storage with no additional cost.

Mickelsen Entryway Hall Tree with Bench

Use verticle spaces in your entranceway to get more storage space. Click To Tweet

10. Declutter often

Declutter your entranceway often.  Place items back in their correct storage place, let go of items you no longer need, store off season items way from the entrance and remove garbage and recycling.

Book a virtual organizing appointment and work with Julie to get your entranceway working well for you. Click here for more information  about Virtual organizing services 

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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Organizing your new normal

These times of living with the pandemic have shown us that material possessions are not as important as we thought. Having lots of possessions is not creating happiness and contentment.  It is a good time to examine what parts of your life bring you satisfaction while staying at home.

Routines

More time is being spent at home and fewer activities take you away from your house.  Everyone can help with work around the house.  Things can get done quickly if everyone knows the routines.

Meal preparation takes time and is a constant consideration. How have you handled this task?

Consider what will work for you:

  • Giving everyone 1 meal/week to make.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, older children can help younger children.
  • Give everyone some responsibility for the meal – meal preparation, meal preparation assistant, cleaning up the food from the table, putting leftovers away, doing the dishes.  Rotate the jobs each day or week.

Keeping the house clean with everyone home all day takes more time.  Consider:

  •  A quick clean up after supper, tidying things up to their correct place, sweep/mop/vacuum the major travelled and used spaces.
  • Set up a cleaning schedule so everyone has a job to do to get the home cleaned.  Divide up dusting, washing floors, vacuuming, wiping down surfaces.  Pick a day when it needs to be done and they can pick the best time to do it.

There may be less dirty clothing around the home since people are inside more and doing less.  It is a  good time to establish a laundry routine.  Consider what is best for you:

  • Doing one load a day
  • Teaching everyone to do their own laundry
  • Setting one day to do  laundry

Now is a good time to evaluate what new routines are working well, which ones need to be revised and what needs to be established to keep the home working well.  When the pandemic is over keep reinforcing the newly established routines for the new times ahead.

Possessions

Shopping is down, clothing store sales dropped 78.8%.  Electronics and appliances declined 60.6% furniture and home furnishing sales dropped 58.7% and sporting goods 38%. Source 

Homes are filled with many things.  This time is a good opportunity for exploring some of the things you own and seeing if they add value to your life.  It will help you know what you need and what you don’t need anymore.

Explore new activities to fill your time.  Introduce health and wellness activities, learn new skills and participate in outdoor activities that can replace shopping.  The pandemic is reinforcing that having an overabundance of stuff doesn’t bring contentment. It is possible to live without shopping.  Think about how you will control what comes into your home after the pandemic is over. Do you have a new normal? What if everything you wanted isn't what you want now? Click To Tweet

Priorities

I wasn’t sure what to call this section. It could be titled time management, relationships or activities.  Before the pandemic would you focus on:

  • meeting deadlines over playtime
  • being perfect over enjoyment
  • an advancement over vacation time
  • answering text messages over your sanity

During the pandemic, it is possible to have time for things other than work.  Learn how to balance all the priorities, relationships and activities you have experienced. Don’t let all this learning about the type of life you want to have to get swept out of your reach when life changes again after the pandemic is over.

Do you have a new normal?

What if everything you ever wanted isn’t what you actually want?

In 2010, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus  both abandoned the majority of their material possessions and created TheMinimalists.com. In 2011, they walked away from successful six-figure careers to live more intentionally. Then, in 2012, they moved to Montana and started writing a book  Everything That Remains .  Remember to minimize once you’re finished—pass it on, donate it, or sell it.

Everything That Remains, photo by Spyr Media

Everything That remains 

Minimalism is all about living with less. This includes less financial burdens such as debt and unnecessary expenses. … For many minimalists, the philosophy is about getting rid of excess stuff and living life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions.

In the comments share what the pandemic has taught you?

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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Quarantine Relief: When Cleaning and Organizing Become an Escape

With spring arriving people are beginning to think about cleaning and freshening up their homes.  I enjoy organizing but cleaning? My guest blogger, Magda  Rae, Editor-in-Chief of Vintage Cash Cow,  loves cleaning and is here to help us get a fresh start.

Due to the self-isolation protocols necessitated by the COVID-19 coronavirus, millions of people are spending more time at home than they are used to. Some have enjoyed the freedom and an opportunity to relax, while others are quickly becoming restless and are looking to stay productive.

If you are searching for a way to escape the frustration of quarantine and keep busy amid the pandemic, cleaning your home could provide the perfect solution. A good spring clean will give you a great feeling of accomplishment, while also helping your family to stay safe at a time when hygiene has become crucial! Cleaning even has plenty of proven benefits for your general health, which is important when you need to keep your immune system healthy. Here is how to get stuck in and perform the home deep-clean of a lifetime.

The Health Benefits of Cleaning

Photo by Samantha Gades, Unsplash

Interestingly, spring cleaning also has several science-backed benefits for your mental and physical well being. According to a Scottish health survey, the practice can reduce stress and anxiety by up to 20%, as long as you spend at least 20 minutes cleaning. Clutter can also add to your stress and lower work productivity, but science says that a clean and neat desk can actually make you more productive in the long run.

Dust and pet dander can aggravate allergies and hay fever, but cleaning can help to reduce symptoms of asthma and chest tightness. A study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has also revealed that cleaning your home can improve your mood and even alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. Clearly, now is an excellent time to get out the scrubbing brush and the vacuum cleaner.Cleaning your home can improve your mood and even alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. Click To Tweet

Taking Advantage of the Extra Time

Photo by Volha Flaxeco, Unsplash

The current pandemic has presented the perfect conditions for a proper deep clean of your home. Many of us are now in unique positions where we have far fewer daily obligations to worry about than usual. This means that you can really get stuck in, move furniture around, and spread out as you clean. Now is the perfect time to get stuck into those jobs that you have been putting off for years!

You can begin by sweeping your walkways, patio, exterior windows, light fittings and patio furniture. From there, you can move on to washing the interior windows of your home, cleaning out cupboards and pantries, and deep-cleaning appliances and sinks. These are all easy tasks that you could rope your children into to keep them busy as well.

Making a List

Photo by Andy Fitzsimon, Unsplash

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning, why not make a list for yourself? Write down a wishlist of all the things you would like to clean and tidy up, starting with those tasks that are a top priority for you. Many experts find that cleaning bit by bit is more effective than doing the whole house at once. Take your time, and begin with the rooms or areas of your home that need the most attention.

You could also devise a calendar for cleaning to help keep your routine organized. For example, Mondays could be bathroom cleaning days, Wednesdays could be dedicated to vacuuming, and Saturdays could be laundry days. This is a fantastic way to incentivize children to chip in with the cleaning too. If they do all of the weekly chores on the calendar you set out for them, you could offer them a treat or extend their leisure time as a reward. There is no better time to teach your children about the value of teamwork and cleanliness, so we recommend making the most of it.

Take Inspiration from Marie Kondo

Photo by Nathan Fertig, Unsplash

Is your home feeling unnecessarily cluttered? Perhaps it’s time to assess whether or not your possessions are functional, useful, or bring you joy. Marie Kondo’s famous technique includes picking up an item and deciding whether or not having it in your life brings you happiness. If not, put it aside to sell, donate to charity, or pass on to someone who will appreciate it. You may well find that if you sell your unwanted vintage jewelry, appliances, books and other items that you no longer use, you’ll pocket a sizable sum of money.

Again, you can also get your kids involved in this process. Many people think that children would want to hold onto everything they own, but Marie Kondo says that this simply isn’t the case a lot of the time. Remember, things don’t have to be in poor condition for you to pass them along to a new home. Charity stores are always grateful for goods in near-new condition!

Keep Cleaning Fun

Cleaning can be a fantastic escape, especially during lockdown. However, for some, this can be an arduous task – so make it fun! Put on your favorite music, rope in your family, and dance or sing as you work. Remember not to work yourself too hard, and to take regular breaks as you see fit.

You can also take before and after photographs of your efforts to incentivize yourself and show off on social media. Some people have even taken to making TikToks of their cleaning work to show the world just how powerful a deep clean can be!

A Good Way to Get Through Tough Times

No matter what your approach may be, the trick to enjoying cleaning and using it as an escape is to make it an enjoyable and rewarding activity that you can look back on with pride.

Need help with your cleaning and organizing project? Book a 30-minute complimentary virtual organizing assessment. https://mindoverclutter.as.me/virtualorganizingassessment

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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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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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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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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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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