Be Thankful For Teachers.

I spent the day on Monday helping a teacher of 20 years organize her classroom.  Her school is moving to full day kindergarten so her classroom (Grade One) had to be moved to the second floor of the school in order to make room for renovations.  In June she had packed up countless boxes and had them hauled upstairs.  It was time to see what was in them!  I enjoyed this process immensely.  Partly because this teacher is one of my best friends of 28 years, and partly because of what I learned about teachers that day.

As we opened each box and found a spot for everything I discovered how much teaching meant to her and how much of herself she put into it.  I discovered all the tools that she had developed and used over the years to teach different kids.  Different kids have different needs and respond to different methods.  She was ready for anything.  I also discovered how much of her own money and resources she put into that classroom.  Her students will not go without.

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As we get set for Back to School let’s remember and be thankful for all those teachers who give themselves to our kids.  They go above and beyond to make sure that our children learn, grow and experience life away from us.  I know I am.

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Organizing to Stay Organized

UnknownBeing organized takes some work.  Sure it comes naturally to some people but it still takes a certain degree of lists, planning, sticking to it and execution.  Late last night we came home from a wonderful week vacation at our family cottage.  After a long car ride all I wanted to do was crawl into my own bed but some things had to be done.  Car emptied, cooler away, bags unpacked etc etc etc. The girls are a great help but at 11:30 at night I only expect them to brush their teeth and crawl in bed.  The food was put away but after that I simply made a list of what needed to be done in the morning.

1. Laundry started
2. Any clean clothes put away
3. Box of random cottage things put away
4. Grocery list of what we are out of up north added to the regular grocery list.

List was made and I was happy.  Now I could go to sleep with no worries about the piles of boxes and bags at the front door.  Besides, my helpers would be awake in the morning too!

This morning was a breeze and all was in order by 8:30.  Good way to start the day.  Make a list and stick to it!  You will thank yourself for it later.

Organized Travel

Ahhhh … Vacation is 2 days away and I have been packing for a week!  It is not as bad as it sounds.  Just a little bit each day keeps me organized and helps me remember all we need for a family of 5.  We take an annual road trip to Georgia each year and look forward to this vacation the most.  Quality family time is the best.

Just some of the things to remember are …

Clothes – We have laundry capabilities so this is not too hard and we don’t need too much.  I actually packed the clothes 2 days ago because laundry here was finished.  Now I just need to keep the girls from reaching in their bags to get dressed.  Wear what’s in your drawer!

Electronics – 17 hours in a car can get a bit long, so electronics are a welcome distraction.  IPods need to be loaded, updated and charged.  Once we get there it is beach, biking and ice cream so I don’t worry about how much they watch in the car.  The DVD player in the car gets a workout also so I try to choose some movies from the basement that they haven’t seen in a while and borrow from friends too.  What’s old is new again!

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Food for the trip – We bring lots of snacks, drinks and treats for the ride.  There is nothing worse than a 5 year old arguing with Daddy to stop for food when he has filled up with gas 20 minutes ago.

Each girls gets a small bin with some personal items, books, tic tacs, a pad of paper, markers and earphones.  This helps them immensely keep track of their own items and helps me because there isn’t stuff rolling around the floor of the car.  That makes me crazy!

Oh ya, and Daddy gets an audiobook so that he can drive away and tune the rest of us out!

Happy Summer!

Organizing for Mother’s Day

imagesHappy Mother’s Day to all the Organized Mom’s out there.  Does anyone else organize for Mother’s Day or is it just me?  I love Mother’s Day morning.  I always stay in bed while my three girls and my husband put some breakfast & coffee together for me.  After it is brought up to my room, my daughters and I have a bed party where we just talk, eat and have fun being silly.  There are always treats for me and homemade treasures that I adore.  To be honest though … I do prep for this morning.  The house is tidy the night before and the kitchen clear and ready for the whirlwind of food prep that will happen.  Things are put away in the proper place and vacuuming is done.  It just makes for a really nice day when after the bed party, we can get up, get moving and on with our family day, without me worrying about the house being clean & tidy for company that night.  Even on days dedicated to us, we moms need to stay organized.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Home Life Organization

Whenever I go missing, it’s probably a safe bet that I could be found digging in a cabinet, drawer or closet, sorting, purging and rearranging. Always looking at each and every space, wondering what could be done to make the space work better & more efficiently. I can’t stop. Really. It’s the most fantastic addiction.

I am a proud mama to three beautiful and active daughters. Life is constantly chaotic in the most fulfilling way. Dance, gymnastics, musicals, piano & swimming take up most of our free time. So I don’t care to spend my time looking for sheet music and jazz shoes but would rather have those things easily accessible and ready to go. Regular household maintenance is the key to this type of happiness. Here are some tips to keep your household running smoothly.

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Empty ALL bags as soon as they enter the house. Napsacks & lunch bags, soccer bags, shopping bags, etc, etc, etc. Deal with what is in them right away and get the recycling & garbage where it belongs. Putting away laundry is an ongoing process for all our homes so take the opportunity to pull clothes out that no longer fit before you put the clean clothes on top. Purge & Rotate. Shoes! So many shoes! Keep on top of them and have them divided by season. Get those flip flops out of the mudroom in the dead of winter. At the end of each season, purge those that are too small and put away those that could be handed down to another child. The mail is also one that is so important but can easily get left behind. Sometimes it is a week before we go to the box so when we get the mail, it needs to be dealt with immediately. Bills to pay in one convenient place, perhaps near the computer if you pay online. Junk mail straight to the recycling and personal items to a designated bin, basket or box.

I feel good on a Sunday night knowing that the skating bags, knapsacks and snacks are already prepped and ready to go for tomorrow. It is a good way to start the week.  Prep your life! 

Home Office Organization

imagesMost all of us could use a designated workspace in our homes.  Whether we work from home or not, a place to pay bills, file papers, or just simply work quietly is a must.  No matter how hard we try or who uses it, life gets in the way and this area tends to become a chaotic one.

When you are ready to have this designated space you must first decide what exactly this space is being used for.  Do you need storage, computer space, whiteboards or filing cabinets?  Will there be children using the room for homework?  Will there be two or more people sharing the space or only one?  After these things are decided it will be much easier to make it function for you and your family.  Finding storage solutions and furniture is a much easier task after you understand what you need the room to do and how it needs to work for you.

Take a good look at the size of the room and start there. It does not have to be a big room or space. My own home office is about four feet by six feet. But, I have the exact furniture and storage choices in there that makes it function perfectly.  There are many options to choose from and most storage solutions do keep space saving in mind when designing their lines.  Before you shop, take good measurements to better help you decide what you may need.

Lastly, have a system in place will keep the room running smoothly and organized.  Each person is different and will have a completely different idea about which system works for them.  The key is to make sure you have a system and stick to it.  Bills, schoolwork & papers will pile up quickly and need to be filed away on a regular basis.  With a system, everything will find a home.  Pick one day a week and dedicate just a half hour to sorting, organizing and filing.  Whatever is unnecessary shred & recycle.

It is hard to work and concentrate in chaos so designate a place, create a system and keep on top of it!

Spring Purging ~ Declutter Before the Clean!

Spring is here!  … I think.  Although the weather is not fully cooperating, we can still get moving on some Spring Purging.  I like to do this long before any cleaning gets done ~ primarily so I can see the floor before I try to clean it.

Mudroom Cubby Magic

Mudroom Cubby Magic

Many areas of your home can get reclaimed during this process.

Go for the mudroom, entrance & shoe factory first!  Our mudroom is a small room that houses shoes, boots, coats & bags (lots of bags!) for a family of 5.  Cubbies are an excellent way to keep our stuff organized and also to keep the kids accountable for their things and space.

Pull everything out, discard and donate those items no longer wanted and put away those things that may work for another child.

Labelling the cubbies and using bins & baskets will help each family member stay organized.  It will feel so good to get rid of those winter items and get started with the next season.

Let us help you ‘Live a Little Lighter’ and call Organize Once.

 

Advice from a Professional Organizer

If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” in your space, you’re not alone.  Finding a balance between your life and your stuff isn’t easy.  Decluttering, minimizing, optimizing – it’s a process.  How do you decide what you really need?  What can be thrown away?  What belongs in storage?  How do you know the most efficient way to organize your belongings to maximize efficiency while still finding a way to be aesthetically pleasing?

Don’t feel bad if you find the task of getting organized overwhelming.  These skills don’t come naturally to everyone.  You don’t feel bad when you call a mechanic when you need help optimizing the performance of your car… You don’t feel bad when you call a doctor when you need help optimizing the performance of your body.  So why not call an expert when you need help optimizing your home?

That’s where a Professional Organizer can help.

If you are looking to create some amazing Before & After photos for your own home, much like the ones below, then give me a call!  Helping you declutter, organize, downsize, and optimize is my specialty.  Whether it’s your whole house or office, or special project like organizing your kitchen or closets.  Let me help you reclaim your space…and your life.

Visit my website today for more info!

~ Andrea

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