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hamper

Organizing Made Easy

Helpful Organizer BlogPutting things away is a very important part of organizing. It needs to be simple and easy. If it isn’t easy, we don’t do it. Therefore, a simple storage solution is the best solution.

For example a client of mine mentioned that she was frustrated with her children for leaving their dirty clothes on the floor where they took them off. I asked her where she wanted the dirty clothes. She walked into the bathroom, opened a linen closet, slid out the hamper, took off the lid, and pointed inside. I then asked her where her children changed into their pjs at night. She said right inside her bedroom door. So, she was confronted with a pile of dirty clothes each time she entered her bedroom. I’m sure we can all understand why she was frustrated. Laundry is a never ending chore that is only simplified with help from all family members. Can you guess at the solution we found? We found one that was simple and easy for her children to adopt. We moved the hamper to a spot by her bedroom door and took off the lid, and let all the children know that they were expected to put their dirty clothes in the hamper.

Another example is a client of mine explained how frustrated she was when her children left their bicycles all over the place. They were in jeopardy of getting run over when they were left in the driveway. They were always getting wet when they were left out in the rain. They were tripped over when they were left by the back door. I asked her where she wanted the bicycles to be when not in use. She answered honestly, that there was no specific spot for the bicycles to be put away, but in the winter they were up on hooks in the garage. This is understandable. Often, seasonal items are either in use or packed away. So, after some discussion we came up with a simple solutions. We used tape to mark off parking spots for the bicycles in the garage. We also labeled each parking spot and let all the children know that they were expected to park their bicycles in their spots at night.

In both of these examples we were able to find a simple storage solution with some discussion and planning. I encourage you to do the same. Keeping things organized will be much easier if you do.

© October 2016   Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®   All Rights Reserved

Colorful child's drawing of flowers

What To Do With Children’s Art Work

Helpful Organizer BlogOne thing many parents have a difficult time getting rid of is the things their children have made. Some items are cherished treasures, like a drawing that showcases their personality, their first hand-made Mother’s Day card, or a precious clay bowl. Other items are less meaningful, but are equally important to the giver. That causes problems, right? These things have a high sentimental value. I understand that, but we can’t keep everything. You know we can’t. So, what goes and what gets kept?

Setting limits is a great way to minimize what is kept. A good limit is to have one ‘keep bin’ per child. This one bin will hold all the art treasures that are being kept from that one child. Label this bin and use it to store the creations each child makes. Set some guidelines on what is kept. For example keep only those items that significantly highlight your child’s personality and talents. Go through the bin yearly to reevaluate and weed out items.

Another way to minimize what is kept is to re-purpose and reuse. Below are some creative ways to do this.

  1. Scan or photograph art work and use several images to create family calendars. Let the originals go after the calendar is created.
  2. Have a gallery wall were you display art work for one month then let it go.
  3. Use scanned images of the art work as a screen saver on your desktop computer. Share who made the piece, when they made it, and what they have to say about their creation.
  4. Separate art work by season and save a few special pieces to put up with other seasonal decorations.
  5. Take photos of the art work with the artist and scrapbook the images with details.
  6. Add the art work to a digital frame or tablet and showcase at their birthday parties and holiday gatherings.
  7. Frame a few of the artist’s favorite pieces in a shadow box for one year. Then add another piece right over the previous year until the shadow box is full. Then store in a keep bin (listed above) or let it go.

It may be difficult to make decisions on what creations to keep, but your child will thank you for only holding onto one ‘keep bin’.

©September 2016  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer  All Rights Reserved

Clutter Free Gift Ideas

giftDo you like giving and receiving gifts? It can be fun, meaningful, and heartwarming.  Unfortunately, it can also make our home feel like it’s bursting at the seams with toys, clothes, and electronics.  After the gift giving season is over do you dread having to make room for all that stuff?  Do you detest having to shift things around, box things up, move things to the basement, or get rid of things, just to fit comfortably in your home once again?  Would it be nice if you could avoid all that?  I have 25 organizer friendly gift ideas that concentrate on giving and receiving consumables and experiences, not stuff.  Therefore, you won’t have to struggle with all that stuff, you can just make plans with family and friends and enjoy.

25 Organizer Friendly, Clutter Free Gift Ideas

  1.  A cultural experience to a play, performance, or theater
  2.  An adventure or fun family outing
  3.  Activities, clubs, classes, or lessons
  4. A day pass, membership or special program at a zoo or aquarium
  5.  A useful automobile related gift like car washing or detailing
  6.  A helpful housework booster
  7.  Tickets to a sporting event
  8.  Movie passes or movie night
  9.  Salon treatment or spa day
  10.  Gifts of time or a financial contribution
  11.  Food in one form or another
  12.  Donation to charity in recipient’s name
  13.  Fitness Membership or classes
  14.  Books or music for electronic devices
  15.  Tickets to a concert or musical performance
  16.  Involvement in nature clubs, groups or organizations
  17.  Shopping for charity
  18.  Membership or passes to a museum
  19.  Gifts of your time and memories
  20.  Small acts of kindness
  21.  Volunteering at a local food bank, homeless shelter, hospital, etc.
  22.  A small dose of nature like cut flowers, floral arrangements, or live wreath
  23.  Assistance for necessities to homeless, seniors, or anyone in need
  24.  Count your blessings and share them with friends and family
  25.  Gift certificate for my services

If you have other clutter free gift ideas please share them with me.

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Happy Holidays from the Helpful Organizer, Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®

©December 2014  Janine Cavanaugh, CPO® All Rights Reserved

Mindful De-cluttering

Practice mindful de-cluttering.
Angry de-cluttering is done without thought, when we’ve reached a point of being overwhelmed and just start pitching stuff.  Mindful de-cluttering is an orderly, systematic approach to making decisions about our belongings.  We allow ourselves the time necessary to make mindful decisions based on our current needs and lifestyle.

Back to School Organizing Tips

Back to school
It’s back to school time.  Did you promise yourself that this year would be different?  Did you say you were going to come up with a plan to manage all the school papers and homework?  Did you have a great idea for organizing school lunches and backpacks?  What about homework?

It can be difficult to stay organized with school things when so much happens all at once.  However, it is possible with a bit of planning and some family guidelines.  Below are 10 back to school organizing tips to help you plan and establish family guidelines that will help you stay organized.  Allow yourself time (3 weeks) to transition into these guidelines, but stick to it, and you’ll see results.

Here are 10 back to school organizing tips:

1.  Create a defined drop zone for backpacks just inside the back door, and label a location for each pack.
2. Create a vertical inbox for all incoming school papers, and assign time on your daily calendar to look at these papers.
3. Label the vertical inbox with categories that make sense to you.  For example:  school handbook; schedules; menus; contacts; events.
4. Create a clearly defined homework area for each child, and assign time on your daily calendar to review homework.
5. Create a healthy snack box where kids can grab something good to munch on, to hold them over until dinnertime.
6. Establish one family calendar to post everyone’s schedule.
7. Plan school lunches for the week on Sunday, and assign time on your daily calendar to make them the night before.
8. Pick out school clothes the night before and have them ready to go.
9. Plan breakfast for the week on Sunday and have all menu items on hand .
10. Have each child contribute as much as they can to the family guidelines.  Organizing should be a group effort.

Please share any school related family guidelines that have been successful for your family.

©September 2014  Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®  All rights reserved

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