Can you believe it’s June? It has been a VERY LONG few months with Quarantine! A typical summer I find parents fall into two camps. The ones that are running for the wine and beer, dreading the next three months and the ones that are excited to be spending the next few months with the kids. This summer safety, health and providing some summer memories are the priority!
I fall into the later. I love making memories. Trips to the pool, beach and museums. Time for projects. What I don’t enjoy though is the sibling rivalry and the ‘’I'm bored’ comments. To counter that, we spend time together planning out our ‘summer bucket list’. I ask each one what they’d love to do this summer. We put together a fun list of summer to dos. Our list usually contains a trip to the movies (or two), bowling, trips to the beach, kayaking, paddle boarding and at least one museum. We even include things like riding our bikes and blowing bubbles.
Check out this pin and this pin if you need some inspiration.
Saving memories from the school year
I am so amazed by all the work the kids complete throughout the school year. Now is the perfect time to go through the pile of work and create a system that works, especially if you find your pile is pretty high right now!
The kids and I go through all the school workbooks, notebooks folders and worksheets that come home and we pull out any written stories or favorite comments and then recycle the rest. We take the saved sheets, report cards, certificates and memories and place them in a file folder and label the grade on it. We then store in a file box or small container.
It’s important to get your children involved, especially when it comes to which school art projects and papers to keep. They may not like the ones you do. Let them pick out their favorite artwork. It’s fun to frame the top pick and even frame and give away some of them to family members. Store the rest with the other items from the year. Switch out the artwork as often as you like. If this seems to daunting, I love this system. It enables you to keep your kids' precious artwork and school memorabilia from toddler to 12th grade organized (no more crazy piles!)
Keeping organized over the summer break
Keep a loose routine so the chaos doesn’t take over your home. Have summer reading and chores done in the morning before camp or any play happens. Keeping organized will help you make the most of the long summer days. And remember, take time to enjoy the birds chirping, the sun setting late, the kids creative playing and summer barbecues.
If you need help with your school work papers or any organizing needs call for a free consult
We are on day 39 of quarantine inPennsylvania. Are you binge watching TV Shows, exercising, eating lots of carbs or trying to work and teach your kids school work at the same time! For me I am managing this time by doing virtual exercise classe, taking family walks, doing lots of games and puzzles with my family. The most stressful part of my day is trying to teach my kids their school lessons fortunately the teachers have been amazing and have been doing video lessons which have been a great help!
How is everyone managing this stressful time?
The reality of the times can be very stressful with that can bring lots of clutter and lots of angst.
It’s OK during a pandemic not to be very productive but at the same time you don’t want to hoard messes of trash recycling or clutter. Understandably it is very hard to day in and day out try to maintain the kids toys and have them pick it all up but in the same hand you don’t want to have a disaster zone of a playland all over your house this will only create more havoc and more stress for you. Maintaining a routine and having the kids participate in fun ways of cleaning up by putting some fun music on and setting a timer see who can clean up the fastest in five minutes in a certain area. Another idea is to throw hula hoop down around bunch of toys and whatever in the whole hula hoop has to be cleaned up. Another thing is making a basketball game into it putting your arms as a hoop and having the kids shoot Legos or toys into your arms the land right into the toy bin the other thing is creating a sticker chart kids love stickers and being able to get a sticker after they complete a task. Another idea would be to have two toys out and once they’re done with them they have to put them back before they can get any other toys out or once they’re done with the activity they need to clean up before they can move on to something else. This could help from a massive cleanup at the end of the day.
Keeping the Kitchen Clean
We’ve been doing lots of cooking obviously all three meals and snacks I feel like my kids are having massive growth spurt‘s at this time and they’re constantly hungry and needing food all the time so trying to promote healthy nutritious snacks for our family makes us go into our kitchen a lot. With those many trips into the kitchen I noticed different kitchen utensils or dishes or appliances that need to be replaced or that could be just recycled or donated so while you’re in between trips to the kitchen waiting for something to be cooked look around up in a drawer do you really need 10 spatulas do you need six whisks or is the whisk really broken and just need to be thrown out. Do you use the breadmaker or do you use the 10 different ninjas? Think about those types of things while you’re in the kitchen and grab the appliance you don’t use or the a broken utensil and donate it or recycle it. This way little things like this will help do you declutter your kitchen.
On those rainy days where you hear the constant I’m bored from the kids, I hear it too at my home! To stop the complaining is to play game of empty the pantry and get rid of the foods that you don’t use or that will be expiring soon and you won’t eat it is to donate to food pantries. Create systems that work for you if snacks or more important have them at easy access if you need to have them higher ups a little hands don’t keep constantly getting them, rearrange that. if you don’t feel like tackling the pantry you could also tackle say your cookbooks or the game closet these little things you could do there would take half hour on a rainy day or on any day.
Remember I’m here for you if you want to just send me a quick text or shoot me an email or give me a call I am here as a resource or as a venting space if you need to just vent or if you have a question about what can I do with all these things or my kids or help me clean up what can I do I’m here for you just reach out. And don’t forget to schedule a session if you need some help starting in June.
The COVID19 sidelines everyone. Are you working from home, teaching the kids with distance learning and taking care of the daily home tasks? Are you overwhelmed or bored?
The first week I was very grateful to spend time with my family and enjoy the nice weather. Trying to organize all the kid’s homework emails felt like a fulltime job! I feel Teachers are amazing!!
Week two has been overwhelming and stressful for me. The wet weather we are having here in PA doesn’t help! The kids are adjusting to the two set times I have scheduled for their school work. Not being able to work and get out really set in for me and the stress overwhelmed me. After a good yoga session, I was able to focus on the positives of this crazy situation we are in. My family time and finally completing the to do list that I wanted to get done.
During the rest of this week and next week focus on
Here are some Organizing tips to help fill the time.
10 Minutes at a Time to Get Your Spring Organizing Done
With the arrival of warmer temperatures and that fresh smell that makes you want to open all the windows, Spring motivates many of us to dust off the cobwebs, get rid of the clutter, and re-energize for the fun season ahead.
At the same time, it can be overwhelming to make a list of all the things you want to do, especially in large spaces like a garage. Who has the time to dedicate a day or afternoon to cleaning and organizing? With that in mind, I’d like to share with you some manageable ways to make a difference in your home.
While waiting for the pasta water to boil…
Go through your spice rack or cabinet. Get rid of all those that have expired or that you simply don’t use.
Watching a Movie?
Grab a garbage bag and a laundry basket and pick one room to attack. Put anything that should be thrown away in the bag and any items that belong in another room in the basket. Continue with other rooms as time allows, replacing the misplaced items in their proper spots.
During a conference call…
Sort through (or even dump out) the items in your desk drawer. Put like items together and notice duplicates. How many pens or paper clips do you really need? Put essential items back in the drawer and donate or trash what’s left over. Talk about a productive conference call…
Next time, pull out all expired or outdated materials from your filing cabinet. What papers do you still need a file for? What filing system seems to work best for you?
Waiting for the kids to gather their jackets, shoes, and backpacks?
Take a quick look at your bookcase. Notice any books you can donate or share with a friend? Put them in separate piles to deliver on the weekend.
As you can see, so much can be done in ten-minute spurts. You’ll be crossing off that list in no time – and be able to spend any extra time on something you really enjoy.
We’re all in a similar boat, in unchartered waters, so let’s do our best to stay positive, be smart and safe!
Check out my full list of Spring Organizing tasks here and email me with any questions – or to let me know how it’s going! Happy Spring!
February has been the time to tackle my clients’ basements. Many people use their basements for different purposes, from family rooms with playrooms, to unfinished spaces used for storage, to finished areas used for inventory storage. Keep in mind, though, that no matter what the basement is used for, it often turns into a dumping ground.
Here are my tips to make sure you get the most out of your basement and other storage space without letting clutter build up and heirloom items get neglected.
The general rule of organizing is to have a purpose for each space and stick to it.
Basements, attics, or garages tend to be a dumping ground. Before you know it, the space is filled and unusable, taking weeks to clean up.
So how do you manage items you need to store?
Yes, free boxes are appealing but are not good for long-term storage. Preserve your memories—do not destroy them. You can’t imagine what I have seen being done to family heirlooms. Think rodent destruction, standing water, and moisture from damp basements.
My husband and I learned the hard way when a three-generation photo was destroyed by leaving it in the frame too long. The picture stuck to the glass, and we had to pay to get this photo restored. Things like this can be avoided by removing these pictures from frames and storing in proper photo boxes. If these frames are no longer needed, just donate them.
Plastic storage is for long-term memories, pictures, family heirlooms, seasonal décor, and extra party supplies. Cardboard boxes allow dust and sometimes critters to get into these them. Make sure you label each container so it’s easily identified.
Before anything goes into storage, ask yourself, why is it going to storage?
Are you storing it so you can “deal with it later”? If this is the case, set an appointment on your calendar to deal with these items. Otherwise, you’ll forget the box.
Are you redecorating but don’t want to throw out those expensive décor items? Ask yourself, will you use the items again? If the answer is NO, then sell online to Facebook selling sites or find a local home décor consignment shop or local donation place.
Mapping out basement space
A room can have multiple purposes, especially the basement. My basement has a TV section, which includes my son’s Xbox. Another part of the basement is an area for my daughter’s make-believe classroom where she can teach her dolls. We store games and puzzles on the other side of the room. Another section in the basement is used for darts and other in-the-house games.
The important part of having multiple functions in a space is to stick with the sections and not junk up the area with unnecessary things. If you have a workout area, keep workout equipment in an organized space. Do you have a lot of weights, and do you have a weight stand? If the answer is NO, then use an empty bookshelf or shoe container. You can use a canvas bin or empty plastic tub for all the other loose equipment.
What about a toy area? Don’t let the toys creep into the other sections of the basement. Rotate toys to allow the new and exciting feeling to come out every three to six months. Create toy organizing systems like the child’s school for simple following through with clean up. Have toy storage that works for the type of toys that your child plays with. Remember, if there is an overabundance of toys, the child will feel overwhelmed and not play with all the toys.
Help your family have an amazing day by having a clutter-free home where they can play, focus and feel stress free!
Don’t know where to start? Call us for a consultation where we can help you create an organizing plan! 215-908-2869
Are you ready for a five-minute challenge that could transform your home?
Yep, you read that correctly. In just five minutes, you can take one huge step in decluttering your home. Wanna know the best part? You can get the kids involved too!
You should be able to enjoy the items in your home without feeling bogged down by the clutter. And in five minutes you can create habits that will tidy your space and ease your mind!
Your home should be your sanctuary, a safe space where you can relax and get away from it all. But if you live in a space with no order, it can be difficult to actually unwind, even when you’re within the walls of your own home.
You should be able to enjoy the items in your home without feeling tense when you spot clutter. It’s about time to make space for the things you love!
Quickly glance at the surface areas in your home. Are there items that you like but don’t love? Do you have a beautiful picture of your family with no place to put it? Are all your surface areas covered with things?
Congratulations, you just conquered phase one of decluttering!
Now it’s time to put on some music, grab a box or a bag, and set your timer for five minutes.
Pick a room, look at the surfaces, and ask yourself this:
If you answered no, it’s time to donate these items and let them go to someone who will make better use of them!
It’s not always easy to comb through your belongings, but when you have a common goal in mind, it makes it a lot simpler.
If you have a gift from someone you love, take a picture of the item and cherish the memory, not the item! Before you buy more ‘stuff,’ ask yourself, "will I use this?” And before you buy multiples of something, consider if you have a place to store them? Can you maintain them, and do you really need two?
The key to success is finding a home for the items that you love!
- Schedule 5-10 organizing days on your calendar.
- Have an accountability partner.
- Work when you have the most energy.
- Don’t tackle the whole space. Tackle one pile or shelf at a time.
Having a tween or teenager can be very stressful on many levels. This is especially the case when trying to keep them (and you) organized at home. What was once toys taking over all the space is now electronics and sporting equipment. What can you do to keep your house under control while raising tweens and teens?
Strategies to Use With Your Teen
I asked my sister, mother of two teens, for advice. She had two valuable insights:
My son, now almost a teenager, is used to the regular decluttering sessions we do in his room, which includes the open communication of what works and what doesn’t. One struggle we deal relates to the laundry. He forgets to put away the clean clothes in the wash basket and then dirty clothes get thrown on top, making extra work for us. Many times, this results in him having no clean clothes to wear to school.
I don’t want to be overly involved in putting his clothes away, so I’ve learned to not worry about how he puts the clean clothes in his drawers. If he can’t find something, it’s on him. He is now realizing it’s better to roll the clothes so they fit better in the drawers. Finally, if he doesn’t put the clothes away when I ask him, then he loses his phone.
Speaking of losing his phone, this consequence also occurs for other organizing matters. You would think that the home for his school bag and sporting equipment is right by the front door—but there is actually a place where he is supposed to put it. Instead, he comes home and just drops everything in front of the door. We’ve told him that we’ll only remind him once about putting them in the proper place. If he doesn’t do it, he loses his phone. This has worked for us most of the time, and he now has started to put these things in their proper place.
Proper storage solutionsIt sounds crazy, but more storage is key! You would think little kids need more storage and less when they get older, but that’s not the case. Older kids have books, slime, arts and crafts, electronics, make-up, hair products, and tons of clothes, shoes, hats, and purses that all need homes.
Think through what your tween or teen needs to keep their stuff organized and come up with systems that can keep your home tidy and clutter-free.
Why Is This Important?
Organizing is important to teach teens:
10 Tips for Keeping Your Teen or Tween Organized
What Not to Do With Your Teen or Tween
Make getting organized and staying on top of things a positive experience. Here are five things to avoid when working with your teen.
What is your word for 2020
My word for the year is Growth
I am welcoming 2020 with open mind
I want to help more people, teach others, provide more resources and to have my blog reach many more people who struggle with clutter
Growth is not only for my business but for me personally! One can never stop learning and growing especially when you have a soon to be teenager!
What is your word? My Goal for you in 2020 is Simplify
No more resolutions:
Start the year fresh
Hope this is a year where you accomplish all the goals that you genuinely care about. And if not, I hope you have the tools to step back and adjust accordingly!
Don't Struggle we can help you out
It's beginning to look a lot like… one of the most stressful times of the year.
Who doesn't love Christmas? It's a time of good tidings and joy, but with those come a whole lot of clutter! That's the reason why so many people make their New Year's Resolution: "Get organized."
But here is the problem; by the time the new year comes, it's already too late. Your already disorganized home is now literally overstuffed with new decorations, presents, clothes, and everything else that comes with the winter holidays. By January 1st, the vast majority of homes in the United States are beyond bursting!
It's almost the spookiest time of year, and I couldn't be happier!
While some people complain about the cooler temperatures of the fall, I kind of love them. Why? Because Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! I love dressing up and going trick or treating with the kids! I also love decorating the home with cobwebs, spiders, and tombstones! And I love/hate all of the candy that they bring home!
Can you believe that fall is finally here? Boy, summer moved quickly this year!
I've always loved the fall. One of my greatest joys of the year is watching the trees turn all shades of wonderful colors. Fall brings up so many happy memories from my childhood, from jumping in leaf piles, carving jack o' lanterns, and picking apples to hayrides, bonfires and watching the local football teams. It's a tradition that, around the start of fall, my family begins to plan out all of the DIY Halloween projects we will tackle this season too (I can't wait to break out this crafts bag!) It's a fantastic time of year!
Annie Kilbride is the CEO of Life Simplified, LLC a professional organizing business. Visit www.lifesimplifiedpo.com for more information.