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Posts Tagged ‘organization’

The Life-Changing Magic of Organizing Your Organizational Supplies

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Raid the Container Store again? Us too. Here, humor writer Julie Vick imagines the absurd ways she would repurpose the boxes, bins, and everything else she buys.

Did you visit the Container Store and accidentally buy one of everything? Do you have an organizing project you’ve been meaning to get to for 10 years? Us too! That’s why we put together these transcendent ideas for repurposing your mountain of organizational supplies.

Mason Jars

You’ve probably got a supply of these for projects like baking unicorn cakes or creating jewelry storage jars by dipping them in 24-karat gold. To organize your collection, first sort them by size and color. Then procure an enormous mason jar and arrange the smaller jars inside to construct a stylish statue—perhaps of a robin’s nest or Marie Kondo.

Plastic Bins

Haven’t had time to organize your children’s craft supplies into bins of items like “glitter that will be in your carpet forever”? No problem! Just use the bins to build your kids a play area shaped like the Colosseum. The first kid to knock it over has to sort the Lego pile.

Pegboard

That pegboard will someday be a wonderful way to organize all the pots and pans. Until then, turn it into a game of Plinko. The bottom “prize” slots could be fun activities, like scrubbing the bathroom grout or finally converting the Plinko board into the Julia Child–style pots-and-pans organizer you have always visualized.

Cute Tiny Boxes

Did you buy several boxes thinking they would be perfect to hold some things, but you didn’t know what those things would be yet? Just arrange them on a shelf in your bathroom. Your guests won’t know they’re empty, and they’ll be impressed with your organizational skills, which is the whole point of organizing anyway.

Cereal Boxes

What should you do with the empty cereal boxes you’ve held on to in hopes of one day giving them new lives as beautiful drawer organizers? Set them up in a pyramid to make a knock- down game. You’ll be surprised by how invigorating it can be to throw something.

Still-in-the-Box Shelving

If you haven’t had the chance to put together the bookcase you bought to achieve the #shelfies of your dreams on Instagram, don’t fret! Paint the box the same color as your living room wall, sketch a seascape on it, and store it directly on the wall.

Hooks

Those extra hooks that are supposed to be for designing vertical organizational systems throughout your home can, in fact, help you save money on a gym membership. Simply attach the hooks to your ceiling for a unique, upside-down rock-climbing space.

Canvas Storage Bins

Do you have a stockpile of canvas totes you picked up when they were on sale last year, figuring you would use them somewhere? Now you can! Stuff them with other tote bags and the scarves you have been stress-knitting, then set up a nap area on a closet floor. You’ll probably need to rest after all this organizing.

 

This article was written by Julie Vick from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Organized—and Staying that Way

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

Your home doesn’t have to be perfect, but it can be organized enough with the right gameplan.

We’re all so busy—working, taking care of kids, trying to have a life outside of work and kids—it’s no wonder that keeping our homes organized sometimes falls to the bottom of the priority list. Yet we know that having a chaotic home just makes everything harder.

I’ve been helping clients—many of them working mothers—get organized in Manhattan for nearly 20 years. I hear it all the time: “I know how to get organized. The challenge is keeping things that way.” Heck, some say, “I don’t even know where to start!”

It’s not as bad as you think. My first piece of advice: Don’t try to do it all in a day. The best strategy is to make a habit of spending small chunks of time tackling a specific area. Even 15 minutes will do.

Here are my best high-impact, low-investment strategies for getting organized, even when you are super-busy.

When you have 15 minutes:

  • Tackle the stack of paper on your kitchen counter (or where ever paper piles grow in your house). As you are sorting and purging, ask yourself why it always ends up there—and how you might avoid the same pile happening again.
  • Run things back to the rooms they belong in. Don’t worry about putting them away, just aim them get everything close to where they belong. If something doesn’t belong anywhere, ask yourself if you even need it.
  • Tackle a bowl, drawer or other catchall full of miscellaneous stuff. Put stuff where it belongs, or purge it. If there’s stuff that doesn’t have a place, make a place: What category (tool, toiletry, office supply) is it? Where you keep that category?
  • Eliminate junk mail. Go through your pile of catalogs and ask to be removed from the mailing list.

When you have 30 minutes:

  • File papers you need to keep, and create folders if you don’t have them already.
  • Arrange to pay bills online.
  • Look through your children’s books to see if you can get rid of ones they’ve outgrown.

When you have an hour:

  • Go through your child’s dresser. Do the contents of the drawers make sense? Does everything fit the child? Does everything fit in the dresser? Does your child need all those clothes?
  • Go through your pantry. Purge old stuff and items you are never going to use. Create zones: Baking, Pasta & Grains, Oils & Vinegars.
  • Go through the coat closet or mudroom. Purge single gloves, too-small boots, equipment for sports your kids no longer play.

Do a little bit a few times a week and things will quickly begin to feel less chaotic. But better than that, by beginning to think about how it gets that way, you are paving the way for the most important part: how to keep it that way. Cultivate these easy to embrace habits to maintain order and keep clutter at bay:

Do a last sweep every night.

Spend five minutes every night restoring order to your common areas: Toss your children’s socks back in their room, stack up the paperwork you were dealing with on the couch and put it on your desk. The idea is to just get your living area and kitchen reasonably tidy (not picture perfect), so when you wake up you are starting from a good place.

Don’t let the mail pile up.

Open all your mail every night. The good news, 90 percent is probably garbage. Toss all the junk, plus the envelopes and useless inserts, right away and what’s left will be much less intimidating.

Nip clutter at the bud.

Most clutter and chaos spring from having too much. We live in a culture of abundance (of stuff, not jobs or health insurance!). Work on bringing less into your home. Say “No” to your kids. Say “No” to yourself. Really justify each purchase, and practice the “something in, something out” method to maintain all that good work.

Once you get in the groove, and tackled the surfaces and the “sticky spots,” you may want to delve deeper into making your systems more coherent. It may occur to you that storing school supplies in three places, or having board games in every room, doesn’t make sense. But don’t just start moving stuff around. If you want to get all the board games into the family room, think about where you will put them. How many board games do you want to bring in, and how will you make space for them in the family room. Maybe you need to get rid of a shelf of books, and that might not take you that long at all.

Organization isn’t brain surgery (thank goodness!). It’s just a way of seeing things and developing habits. You can do this, and by inviting your children into this process you’ll help them grow up with better organizational habits, and that’s a great gift to give.

Amanda Sullivan is a professional organizer in New York City and the author of Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist’s Guide to Getting—and Staying—Organized. Amanda lives in Manhattan with her husband and their three children. To find out more about Amanda or read her blog check out her website, theperfectdaughter.com.

 

This article was written by Amanda Sullivan from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How to Become an Expert Photo Organizer

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Whether you’ve got boxes of printed pics or you’re at full storage capacity with digital photos, these organizing tricks will help you keep track of your precious memories.

Printed Photos

Start by gathering, sorting, and identifying your photos, says Cathi Nelson, founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers and author of Photo Organizing Made Easy: Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed. Make one pile for album-worthy photos, one pile for art projects, and another for irreplaceable photos that will go in a photo-safe box. Use the 20/80 rule when sifting through photos: Keep 20 percent (the ones that tug at your heartstrings or help tell the story of your or the subject’s life) and toss the rest. Get rid of duplicates, blurry images, and most scenery shots. On the back of the photos, note the date, location, and people with a pencil (try Stabilo All pencils, which won’t bleed through). Then decide if you want to organize chronologically or thematically (birthdays, holidays, vacations) and what type of photo storage you’re going to use (archival photo box or binder). To hedge against damage or loss, scan your prints—services like Fotobridge can do it for you (up to 10,000 images at once) in about three weeks.

Digital Photos

Your most beloved images—scans of prints and ones you took digitally—should be stored in three places (think a flash drive, a computer, and a form of cloud storage). If you’re overwhelmed by zillions of digital photos, use Google Photos, which lets you search images by person, date, and place, so you can find what you need instantly without creating albums if you don’t want to. Make sure to set aside about 30 minutes every month to clear out clutter on your phone’s camera roll and complete a backup. When you’re done, pick some recent favorites to actually do something with: Post a video montage of your vacation on social media or print a few recent photos of your kids to send to older relatives who aren’t online.

 

This article was written by Tamara Kraus from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.