Archive for Back to school

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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3 Tips to organize moving students back home easier?

Moving back for the summer?

Moving back for the summer?

It is that time of year when college and university students are moving back home for 4 months.  If you pack up their items in an organized way it will take some of the work out of moving them back to school in September.

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

It will make them easy to store.   Most of us like to cut costs and use boxes to move students.  Since moving is a ongoing process for the next number of years buy some bins.  They will stack nicely in a truck/van and in a closet or storage area at home.  You will only have to get them once where as with boxes they are usually recycled and you need to find more every time. Bins  are  waterproof.

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

Make sure those items are packed together.  Label those bins, bedroom.  Other items that they only needed for school can be left in the bins  to be moved back to school in September.  Label them basement, closet where ever they will be kept.  You may need a bins or two labelled laundry.  Some items may need to be washed before they are stored away for the summer, bedding, blankets, winter coats etc. This makes unloading quick and easy.

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

Clean the area out before you go to pick up your students.  If everything is kept close together or in a limited number of areas when September arrives, you know where everything is.

A little planning can make the move quick and easy.  Next I will talk about how to making the living arrangement at home easy and enjoyable.

Moving to university

Don’t forget anything

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

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca 

 Twitter FacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Learn more about what a professional organizer can do for you

 

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What are the 2 Most Important Boxes in a Move?

Home interior right after moving in.

Where are those 2 special boxes?

When you are moving pack 2 boxes that has everything you need for moving day and the first night. Keep these 2 boxes with you and not in the moving truck. These boxes should include:

  1. Glasses –  plastic or glass for drinks or water.
  2. A roll of paper towels
  3. A roll of toilet paper for each bathroom
  4. A bar of soap or container of liquid soap for the bathroom
  5. A hand towel in the bathroom
  6. Dishcloth, dish soap and tea towel for cleaning dishes that maybe dusty from moving
  7. Sheets for the bed and pillows so you can go to sleep at the end of a long day moving in
  8. Towels for a shower and basic cosmetics to clean up after the move
  9. Chargers for your phone, tablet and computer

It is handy to pack a pail of basic cleaning supplies so you can do a quick clean before things are unpacked.  Bring:

  1. Cloths
  2. All purpose cleaning supplies
  3. Broom and dust pan
  4. Mop
  5. Pack it all in a pail

With these things easily accessible you can clean up and get a good nights rest before you continue to unpack and make your new place a home.

 

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Tales from a Lunch Bag

It is almost time for packing lunches for school.  Are you dreading it?  Children learn better when they are not hungry so the task is to pack food they will eat and not throw out, hide or trade.

1. You know what your child likes and doesn’t like.

Children will food jag, eat the same thing over and over and never get tired of it.  If there is a lunch they like give it to them, a fruit, a vegetable, a protein and a carbohydrate.   When I went to school I would eat a cold chicken sandwich, bread butter and chicken, an apple, a cookie and drink usually milk everyday for months.  My mom couldn’t understand why I didn’t get bored but I just loved it.  Life was easy she made it for me and I enjoyed it.

School lunches made easy

School lunches made easy

2. I hate sandwiches.

Some children don’t like sandwiches so give them leftovers.  Heat up the leftovers and put them in a Thermos.  I had child who hated sandwiches, I would heat up taco meat and send the shell and toppings cold, a baked potato with butter or cheese, soup, stew, home made macaroni and cheese. Pack warm chili with  taco chips, cheese and salsa. When you are cooking make extra and freeze it in individual meals and then you have a supply of lunches in your freezer.

thermos

Send warm foods to school in an unbreakable thermos.

3. Get lunches packed after supper when the food is out.

As part of our evening routine, each child would pack the food for their lunch that didn’t need to be refrigerated.  They packed, veggies, pickles, crackers cookies and in the morning I would add a sandwich or hot food to the lunch bag.  If you have more than one child this really makes life easy because you don’t need to remember which child like what.

Lunch bags

Pick a size and shape of lunch bag that makes it easy to pack and send the correct amount of food to school, not too much, not to little

4. Finger foods are great but you might want to send a fork

Some schools have schedules where children eat smaller meals a couple of times a day.  Pack things that your child can eat a few items at a time.  Cut up cheese, meat, bread into cubes .  Send nuts, hard boiled egg, veggies or cut up fruit.  If you have a container with lots of sections they can open one box and see all their choices.  It makes it easier to pack and the child doesn’t have to struggle with lots of container and there is less to wash at the end of the day.  Children are not good at washing their hands before every meal so encourage them to use a fork, send a plastic one in their favourite colour.

Box with finger foods

Send a variety of foods in small quantities for quick snacks throughout the day.

5.  Leftovers lunches – plan differently

When your child brings their lunch home remember it has been unrefrigerated all day, 8 hours, and dirty hands have been in the container touching all the food. Compost the leftovers.  Re-evaluate what you are sending and how much food you are putting in their lunch.

Plastic counter top compost bin

At the end of the day compost leftover to a prevent a mild case of food poisoning.

Don’t use school lunches as a time to introduce new foods or worry about variety in their diet.  Use supper time or weekend meals to introduce them to new foods.  You want them to eat a healthy lunch everyday and since you are not there to supervise them when they are eating, make a plan with your child so you can all be happy.

 

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Moving a Student to School – Bathroom Organizing

Make everything as portable as possible.   It may have been a while since your child has had to share a bathroom and/or not had a bathroom attached to their bedroom.  Here are some tip

1. Have a basket for transporting all shower items from their room to the bathroom. The basket should have ventilation so it will dry out and not get moldy.

Make it portable

Make it portable

Use a well ventilated container

Use a well ventilated container

Shower organizer that hooks on the shower bar

Shower organizer that hooks on the shower bar

 

2. In some residence the students need to supply toilet paper.  Extra can be stored under the bed. Send all shower essentials shampoo, conditioner, soap, shaving, etc in a convenient portable size.

Use small bottles in the shower store extras under the bed

Use under the bed storage for extra supplies

3. The basket may include an over the doors hook that the student can use to hang their towel while showering so it is convenient.

4. Send a bathrobe.  They may not use one at home but might find it useful at residence.  Pack one that they will wear not one that has been around for a long time.

5. Send 2 bath sheets and 2 or 3 hand towels and 2 washcloths.

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Moving a Student to School – Closet Organizing

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

Bring lots of hangers

Buy thin hangers because the closet space is limited

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over the door hooks

Lots of hooks can be very useful

over door hooks

Use the space on the front and inside of the doors

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

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

 

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