Now What? Too Many School Supplies

July 29, 2015

Can you ever have too many school supplies? I think you can. When your child begins his school career in nursery or preschool you are given a list of supplies to get for your child. Some school supplies are taken to the school for the teacher to have in her classroom. Other supplies are important, or necessary, to have at home so that your child can complete his homework without you dashing off to the store to get markers, crayons, colored pencils, notecards, poster board, tape, the list goes on and on. When you do this year after year without culling the past year’s supply your in home supply multiplies dramatically.

Before you run out to get the necessary supplies this year take some time to go through the ones you have. You may be able to shop from your own store at home to supply your child with most of what he needs for the coming school year. You may also be able to give some of your supplies to a friend or a local charity if your child has aged out of some of the supplies you have around your house.

As your child gets older some items on your school supply list get dropped off. It may no longer be necessary to keep a stash of crayons or markers at home. What about all those binders and subject dividers or half used notebooks? What do you do with them?

Consider going through the supplies and determining what is really usable. This is something you may consider having your child help you with before school starts up again.

Get out the crayons. Put the broken ones in a pile or perhaps a large plastic bag. You may be able to use those in a rainy day craft project. Put the whole crayons – the ones that are still nice – in another large plastic bag or a basket to keep. If at the end of the school year your child has not used the crayons – either the broken ones or the whole ones consider tossing the broken ones and donating the whole crayons.

Next get out the markers and some paper. Test all the markers. Put the ones that still work in a basket or a plastic bag and toss the ones that don’t work. Also, toss the ones that don’t have a cap!

Move on to the colored pencils. Sort them into usable and not usable piles. Keep the ones that can still be used and toss the remainder.

Do you have piles of colored craft paper? Go through those piles and recycle the bits of paper that are not large enough to be used for much of anything. Then sort the paper according to color and keep it in a container or on a shelf near where your child does homework or craft projects.

What about those binders and half-used notebooks? First try cleaning up the binders. If they clean up nicely then have your child use them again. Are they completely falling apart? If they’re falling apart or don’t clean up well – toss them. As for the half- used notebooks either use them for grocery or ‘to-do’ lists, recycle, or donate them.

As you begin to think about school starting think also about gathering all these school supplies from around your home first. Go through them with your child. Determine what can be used this school year and then go to the store to purchase the rest!

Now What? Too Many School Papers, Projects and School Supplies?

July 22, 2015

I’ve been talking to you about having too much and learning how to cull collections of your belongings. Well, if you have children you know that there is something else that floods our homes. That is school supplies, papers and projects.

Let’s talk about school projects and papers first. The influx starts when your child begins school. He comes home with lots of art work and projects. Now, in my house, we decorated the refrigerator with these beautiful art creations. When we ran out of room on the refrigerator we started taping these projects to the kitchen cupboards. From there we went to the walls of his bedroom. I think you’re probably getting the idea. Pretty soon my house was really, really full of kid art. I knew that if I didn’t come up with a method of culling this art work there would be no room in my house for anything else. And, I also knew this was just the beginning as he was in pre-school! I didn’t want to think about the amount of papers and projects we would accumulate over 14 years if we already had an abundance in pre-school!!

Between us, my son and I decided that each art project would stay up on the cupboards in the kitchen for all to enjoy for one week. We marked on a calendar the day the project would be recycled or saved. If it was ultra – special and wonderful it would go into the memory box. Admittedly, this took a bit of scheduling and following through on my part but it also gave my son a time frame. He knew that in time each project would come down from the cupboards and that we would decide if it was a keeper. This all took place for me back in the days before digital photography.

I now recommend that my clients with young children take a picture of their child with their art project and have the child tell them something about the project. This allows my clients to keep the art project in such a way that doesn’t add to the collection of items in their home. They display the project in their home for a short period of time and in one small designated spot – like a bulletin board and keep only the very special ones in the memory box. They recycle the bulk of the art work as soon as it comes down from the bulletin board. They always have the photograph along with a description of what the art project relates to in school and the date.

At the end of the school year some of my clients have put this collection of digital photographs in a printed album for their child.

I’m mentioning this now because here in the South the school year is just weeks away from beginning. It’s a good idea to have a plan of what to do when the art work starts coming in. This strategy can be applied to older children also. The projects may not be as numerous but they are sometimes very large. Taking a picture of the project keeps it around. Have your child add a written description to remind him what the project related to – science, english, social studies – and the teacher’s name.

I’d love to know if you’re inundated with school art work, papers, and projects. If you are, is this a strategy you might consider using? Write me back and let me know!

Now What? Too Many Toys?

July 8, 2015

These past few weeks I’ve been talking with you about knowing when you have enough of something based on the container. I talked about clothes and closets and books and bookshelves. Today I’m beginning the topic of our children’s toys.

Wow! What a topic! I know that when my children were little toys just seemed to multiply overnight. My mother would give toys on random occasions. Birthday parties with goodie bags contained small toys. Then there were birthdays and holidays and all of a sudden the toy chest, closet, and shelves were full to overflowing!

Then the toys appear in the family room. I’m not sure there was ever a space (maybe the dining room) that didn’t have some sort of collection of toys. So, do I think there were too many? Absolutely I do.  However, we moved overseas when my children were young. Because of this move we were only allowed to bring a certain amount of things with us. Naturally, this meant we had to cull our collection of toys – making some tough decisions.

So, how do you go about this process with your children?

First, think about what is age appropriate. Are there any toys they have aged out of – baby toys, toddler toys? I understand they may love these toys and may even play with them occasionally. Help wean your child away from these toys by removing these toys slowly. Be sure to do this when they are not around. You can selectively donate out (to a friend, relative or charity) a few toys at a time. If you want to keep them for another sibling then simply put them out of sight. Perhaps the top shelf of a closet.

Next, are there any toys that are missing pieces or broken? Those should be easy to discard. Please don’t donate toys that are not in ‘gently used’ condition. Your child can help you with this process. It’s a valuable life lesson for children to learn to go through their belongings and weed them out. This will help them understand that they do not have to keep everything they own always.

Finally, are there any toys of which there are duplicates or even triplicates? Please reduce the number by eliminating the extras! Your child can help identify the extras. You can even go together to give the extras to a local daycare center.

I’d love to hear from you on this topic. Do your children have too many toys? Is the amount of toys overwhelming? How do you handle this?

Now What? How Many Books are To Many?

July 1, 2015

I’ve been talking with you about the concept of enough. A few weeks ago I wrote about how many clothes are enough. Moving on to books… I’ve often heard said ‘you can never have too many books’. I disagree. Even though I think books are wonderful and I am, in fact, a self-professed book-worm. My nose is often buried in a book whether it be an e-book, a paperback, or a hardcover. However, I pass novels on to family, friends, or to my local public library once I’ve read them. I do keep reference books and books that have spoken deeply to me that I may want to re-read. I do not let my collection of books grow to the point where there are so many books that I don’t have places to adequately keep them.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s go back to the concept of the container. We’ll imagine that the bookcase is the container. How many books can your bookcase hold without double stacking and without one row of books in front of the other? Some tall bookshelves with long shelves may hold many, many books while other bookcases being shorter with short shelves may only hold a few. Perhaps you have more than one bookcase in your home. Maybe you have a few shelves in the bedroom and a larger bookcase in your office or family room. You could also have a few large coffee table or picture books in the living room.

When you’ve run out of places to put books try not to run out and buy another bookcase. If your containers (bookcases and shelves) are full starting looking carefully at what you’re keeping and edit out books you’ve read and will not be re-reading. Maybe your children have out grown some of the books. Consider donating those in good condition to a pre-school or nursery. Maybe you’ve read some great novels, your friends or family members may want them or perhaps donate them to your local library. What about all those cookbooks? Are there some that you honestly never ever open? Put them aside to donate too.

I’m interested to know about the books in your home. Do you have too many books or is your collection just right?

 

Now What? Closet Organizing Tips

June 25, 2015

Last week I started a conversation with you about your closet. I compared the closet to a container. When a container is full, you can’t put anything more in it. Likewise in a closet, when it is full, it becomes difficult to put clothes away neatly.

I promised to give you tips on how to organize your closet after spending some time culling your collection of clothes. So, here they are!

  1. Group like with like. Put all your slacks/pants together. Put all your blouses/shirts, skirts, dresses and jackets together too.
  2. Once you have them grouped together separate the colors within each group.
  3. Take the time to separate the dressy clothes from the everyday clothes

You will be amazed by how easy it is to spot the clothes you are looking for when your clothes are group by type and by color.

Are you wondering what to do with your shoes?

Depending on the space in your closet you can get a shoe rack and put the shoes you wear most often in the shoe rack.

For the shoes you wear only occasionally, consider storing them in an under the bed shoe storage drawer or in clear plastic boxes on a high shelf in your closet.

Another option is to get an over the door shoe rack.

Here are a few more tips courtesy of my friend and colleague, Geralin Thomas from Metropolitan Organizing. I love these tips because they are so easy to remember!

Geralin says look for anything that needs Mending. Ask yourself a few questions: Are you going to take the time to fix this yourself or get it fixed? If so, schedule it in your calendar. If not, remove it from your closet.

Next, look for anything that needs to be Ironed. Will you actually iron it? Will you get someone to iron it for you? If you answered ‘yes’ then schedule the ironing. If the answer was ‘no’ remove the item from your closet and try to buy wrinkle free clothes!

Finally, is there anything hanging in your closet that needs an Alteration? Is it too long, too short? Does the waist need to be let out or taken in? Is it worth fixing? If the answer is ‘yes’ then schedule a trip to the tailor. If the answer is ‘no’ remove the clothes from your closet.

I hope these tips help you keep your closet in good order. Remember, your closet can only hold so many clothes. When you plan to go shopping also plan what you will be removing from your closet to make room for the new clothes!

Now What? How Much Is Enough?

June 18, 2015

I’d like to start a conversation about what enough means to you. How do you know when there is enough of something?

Well, sometimes the container defines enough. Take a glass, for instance. When you go to fill it with water you know you have poured enough water as the level of the water reaches the rim of the glass. If you get all the way to the very tippy top of the glass you know you won’t be able to lift the glass to drink out of it. It’s too full, there’s too much water.

A bowl, a plate, a pot are all similar in that the size of the container defines how much you can put inside.
These are easy concepts, right? But what about our closets and clothes?

I’d like you to think of your closet as a container – a defined space. Only so much will fit inside. Intellectually we all know this to be true. Yet we cram as much as we possibly can inside. So much that the hangers don’t always fit in well and the clothes become bunched up. Sometimes there are so many clothes to put away and no room for them that they find homes on the floor, on the back of chairs, doors, and in doorways. How do we figure out how many clothes are enough?

I have a few strategies for you to use to keep your clothes collection manageable.

First, let’s talk about your clothes. Are you keeping some because they hold marvelous memories of a great time you had while wearing them? Would you ever consider wearing them again? If so, great – keep them. If not, then take a picture of the clothes, remove them from your closet, and put them aside to donate. Someone else can benefit from them.

Next, are there any clothes hiding in the back of your closet. Perhaps you aren’t wearing them because they are either too big or too small. Maybe you’re thinking that one day you’ll be that size again. Well, maybe you’re right. You may be that size again one day but when that day comes these clothes will probably not be in style. Please remove those clothes from your closet and put them aside for donation.

Now, take a hard look at your clothes. How many pairs of black slacks do you need? I suspect you want to have different kinds of black slacks – dressy, work, and knock around. How many of each kind do you need? How many can you wear at one time?

Sometimes it’s necessary to have a pair to wear, a pair in the wash, and a pair ready for the next day. So, that makes three. This holds true for many articles of clothing that you need on a regular basis.

Think about this and decide how much is enough for you.

Now that you’ve removed the extra items from your closet you have room to get your hanging clothes organized!

I’ll give you some great closet organizing strategies next week. In the meantime, take an inventory of the clothes you’ve removed from your closet, take a picture of the pile and attach it to the inventory, then take your donation to your favorite charity. Be sure to attach the donation receipt to your inventory!

Reward yourself for a job well done!

Now What? Let’s Get Outside

June 3, 2015

How are you spending your days? Do you spend much time outside? I know I do. I love going on walks with my dogs, going biking with a friend, and even canoeing on the Chatahoochie. I always take water with me – do you?  I use a water bottle made by Life Factory. I love these bottles because they’re made of glass, they’re easy to clean and they are even dishwasher safe!

Using these water bottles means that I’m not spending money on buying bottles of water. A money saving strategy! Also, since they are made of glass they are free of chemicals! Wonderful!!

Life Factory recently added to their line of water bottles (they come in a variety of sizes, colors and caps – straw, flip, and regular) with tumblers, and wine glasses! I love this! Imagine a picnic without plastic cups.

I can imagine having a picnic and bringing along these glasses. I admit bringing these glasses will add to the weight of the picnic basket but it will reduce the amount of waste. Check them out – they are sold in packages of 2. Let me know what you think. Will you make the switch from plastic to glass?

Now What? A Great Planner for Students

May 27, 2015

I love a good planner and am always on the hunt for those which will help my clients feel more in control of their ‘to-do’ list. Here is a planner that I saw at the NAPO 2015 Conference last month.

I am  so excited about Order Out Of Chaos’ Academic Planner—A Tool For Time Management. This planner gives students a natural way to visualize time that helps them time manage and control their schedule. What makes this planner so special is the space at the bottom of the page for listing after-school activities and weekend plans. Students can identify if social commitments will interfere with school plans. Hence, at a glance, students can easily identify blocks of free time. With larger formatted pages, there is plenty of space to write assignment details as well as long-range events, like family vacations or camps.

 

For more information on the Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management, visit: http://orderoochaos.com/shop-products#!/~/product/category=5059090&id=34250373

Now What? Furniture Origami

May 20, 2015

Do you know what origami is? It’s the traditional Japanese folk art of paper folding. When I think of origami I think of intricately folded paper that resembles a swan, swallow, deer or some other graceful creature.

Never in my wildest imaginings did I think that a furniture company would name itself Origami. Well, this furniture company displayed some of their wares at the NAPO 2015 Conference in Los Angeles. The featured sturdy shelves that fold flat! These shelves can be installed in minutes because there is nothing to assemble. The shelves simply unfold and you lock them into place.

The company has a wide variety of shelves which serve multiple purposes. For instance, they have a Washer and Dryer Rack, a Mudroom Rack, a TV Rack, a Computer Desk and even a Laptop Trolley. I was amazed when I looked through their catalogue by the wide variety of shelving racks they offer.

StoreBack-Room-Display-Rack

Here’s a link to their site. http://www.origamirack.com There’s a video on the homepage which shows how easy it is to unfold the racks and pop them into place.

So, if you have a space that needs some shelving – particularly to use the vertical space. Investigate this option.

Let me know what you think!

Now What? Another NAPO 2015 update

May 13, 2015

Last week I told you about HomeZada – a wonderful computer program to help you with everything to do with your house and home. This week I’m reviewing the Purse Perfector. This is not a new invention but the company has been tweaking their design and this year I decided to really investigate it. This is the perfect tool to help organize your bottomless tote bag. You know the one you carry to the beach. The tote bag holds everything: your book, hat, sunscreen, water bottle and all the other various and sundry items we women carry in our bags. I don’t know about you but I always end up holding things in my bag for other members of my family too! Usually I am asked to please hang onto hats, sunglasses, other family member’s books or magazines so my tote bag is necessarily very big.

How do I find MY things amidst all these other belongings? Well, that’s where the Purse Perfector comes in very handy. It has pockets, sections, and slots to hold all my necessary items. It comes in two sizes: medium and large. It’s on sale right now in honor of Mother’s Day. Here is a picture from the website:

Large-Silver-Sage

I put my driver’s license, health insurance card and a credit card in the slots in the very front. My lip gloss goes in the little holder and right next to that I put gum or breath mints. I have room for a kindle or e-reader or small notebook in the center section. Behind that I put my reading glasses and sunglasses. Then I stash my keys in the section next to my glasses. This is how I keep my things all together and organized – even when they are at the bottom of a large tote bag!

The Purse Perfector comes in a variety of colors and you can use it in all sorts of different ways. It even zips apart if you want to use it in a small handbag. Check out their website for more information! http://www.purseperfector.com


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