How much of a child’s artwork, school papers, and mementos does a “good” parent save?
I once read about a mom who saved each year of her children’s school memories, pre-K through 12, in a separate (clean, new) pizza box. Her plan was to deliver the 15 “pizzas” to her kids once they moved into their first apartments. Gee, thanks, mom.
Another mom I know had bookcases overflowing with album after album containing every page her child ever scribbled on. Luckily, she couldn’t keep up with this for long, so the albums only went up to about first grade for her first child. I shudder to think how many albums she’d have filled if she’d kept going!
Let’s get real. Your kids don’t remember much about kindergarten and they don’t care about their brilliant 4th grade report on butterflies. They might like to reminisce with you over an album or a few mementos, but don't make the mistake of overwhelming them by saving everything.
Back to School: Make a Plan
Masks or no masks? Bus or no bus? Digital or paper? What’s the plan for school this year?!?
When faced with back-to-school confusion, what does a professional organizer do? Make a plan!
Taking control of the things that are within your control will help you and your family feel calmer and more confident about the start of school. Here are my top tips for a smooth transition.
Your Back to School Plan
1. Start going to bed and getting up earlier—not just the kids, but you too! It’s time to admit that vacation is coming to an end. Use the extra AM time to work your way into a good routine. You’ll all be less stressed after banking some good sleep.
2. Establish your school-year screen time and device rules now. Get the kids’ buy-in by explaining to them the need for rules, then asking for their input and having a conversation. Just remember that the parents have the final say! ...
Get Organized for College
It was a crisp fall day in 1989. Students were going in and out of the dorms like ants carrying trunks, suitcases, and tote bags. Befuddled parents were standing outside, trying to be helpful but mostly chatting with other parents and taking in the scene. This would be their beloved, newly-adult child’s home for the next year and they wanted to memorize it all.
State-of-the-art ‘80s dorm must haves were an answering machine, a boombox with a CD player, and a word processor (or, if you were lucky, a DOS-based computer or Macintosh SE). Throw in a wall tapestry and a Klimt poster and you’ve got a pretty fine room!
Now that my oldest daughter is heading off to college this fall, I figured I probably shouldn’t rely just on my own experience to help figure out what she needs. So I polled my mom friends with kids currently in college to find their best move-in tips. Now I get to share them with you!
“How do I get my kids to clean up their toys?”
“How do I get my family to stop leaving things all over the counters?”
“My kids have too much stuff!”
“How can I declutter when my spouse won’t get rid of anything?”
I hear these laments all the time. Have you ever said them yourself? I’m sure I have! Are you ready to hear my magic words for solving this problem?
STAY IN YOUR LANE!
Or, if you prefer, “Eat off your own plate!” or “Take the plank out of your own eye!” In other words, before you point the finger at others in your household, deal with your own clutter.
Did you know that 80-95% of college students procrastinate? Maybe you’re rolling your eyes and saying, “Duh, who doesn’t know that college students procrastinate?” And maybe you were one of those students.
But when you’re trapped in a procrastination cycle, it can feel as if everyone around you has it all together and you’re the only one who has, once again, gotten yourself into trouble with the doom of an approaching deadline.
In her new book, How to Do It Now Because It's Not Going Away: An Expert Guide to Getting Stuff Done, Leslie Josel tackles the sticky problem of procrastination.
Back to School: You’ve Got This!
It’s August, so that means time to get ready to go back to school. Sorry, I mean remote learning. No, wait, hybrid. Or maybe a pod?
Wow! And I thought annual school-supply shopping was hard (Why are the supply lists so long?!). Now, we have to contend with shifting school start dates and 11th-hour plan changes.
This year, every decision we have to make around getting our children back to school seems fraught with frightening complications.
What’s a parent to do? Get organized!
With all the time you’re spending in your home these days, you’ve likely noticed that there’s plenty of items lying around that you hardly use, or food that’s gone bad but is still sitting in the back of your fridge. However, with this extra downtime and lack of visitors, now is the perfect opportunity to finally get your house in order. So, it’s time to toss out any junk that’s managed to sit on your nightstand for far too long, and throw out those old, expired salad dressings to go, along with the broken can opener that still hasn’t made its way to the garbage.
While the thought of decluttering and reorganizing your home can be overwhelming, it’s much more doable than you think. Better yet, it can all be done without needing to purchase anything new. To help you get started, we pulled together tips from decluttering and organizing experts living in Nashville all the way to professionals living in Vancouver, BC (and many more in between). Here’s how to get your house in order without buying anything new.
Say YES to Summer Adventures!
Are you ready for summer fun? Get organized, and you will be prepared to take off on an adventure whenever the opportunity strikes!
Do you ever feel that you want to take advantage of the excellent summer weather, but there’s simply too much in your way to make it happen? Maybe your house is disorganized, and you feel like you wouldn’t be able to catch up on the housework when you get back?
Perhaps you can’t find the things you need, so you waste time searching—Where did we store the picnic blanket?—or buying things over and over again—I can’t find the sunblock, so we’ll just stop by the store and buy more.
By the end of the summer, when kids are headed back to school, and the warm weather is waning, will you look back wistfully and wish you’d had more fun? This year, say yes to adventure with the confidence that you are organized enough to make it happen.
Why the Fancy Egg Bins?
Eggs are one of the great products that come to us already nestled into perfectly organized, sturdy-yet-gentle, recyclable, reusable containers.*
So why do refrigerator companies and stores that sell organizing supplies try to convince us that we need to buy rigid plastic (non-recyclable) "egg organizer" containers into which we must transfer our already-contained eggs?
So, you get home from the grocery store and then have to transfer each little egg into a hard plastic container (careful not to break it!) just to put them into your fridge? What if you still had a few eggs left so the new dozen doesn't completely fit? Do you have to buy a second plastic egg bin?
A Fun and Organized Snack
It's nearly back-to-school time, so be sure to check out some of my previous posts about that (like this one, this one, and this one).
In the meantime, don't forget to enjoy the last gasp of summer with fun tips like this one!
Here’s a quick and organized way to serve lunch to your kids.
When my kids were little (and occasionally even now that they’re bigger), they loved the surprise of a muffin-tin lunch. The novelty of having several different foods in separate little compartments got them to try new things and to eat a more balanced meal.
After all, who doesn't like cute, tiny food and meals that give you a taste of everything? We grownups just call it tapas!
You can put all kinds of things in the tins, but it works best for two kids (or as a snack for 3-4, dividing the holes by row) with each child getting 6 muffin holes-worth of food.
Pictured here is a lunch of salami, tortilla chips and salsa, Kalamata olives, cheddar cheese, and watermelon spears. Other cute ideas are mini-salads, trail mix, crackers and cheese, nuts, beans, dried fruit, baby pickles, sandwich bites, whatever will fit. Even small servings of soup, pudding, or mac & cheese will work.
Let your creative juices flow and see how excited your kids will be to eat lunch!