Monday, June 29, 2009

Getting Prepared for College

I realize 4th of July isn’t until next weekend but I thought I would write my next two blogs about getting your high school graduate off to college organized and ready to take on the new world.

Have your him/her make a list of what is most important to them to bring with them to college. This will help you have a grasp as to how much they have and what you have left at home to make room for you new craft room! From the list you can see how much they want to bring and this will give you an idea visually how creative you need to be to get everything to fit in their dorm room. If it is possible make sure they resist the urge to over pack and keep out of season clothes at home until they are needed. I found a great list to start get the process started so that everything is not so last minute.

Separate your list into what you will be bringing from home, what you can purchase in your new town. Some of your new items may even be ordered online and shipped directly to their dorm. This may help if your child is going to college out of state. Keep in mind whether you are ordering something new or bringing something from home that they are easily disassembled and easy to take down at the end of the school year.

On Thursday I will show you some great ideas to help organize your their dorm room and utilize every little bit of space!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Organizing for a Vacation

Before your vacation:

Don’t you hate it when you forget to pack something or worse yet you packed too much? We often take our favorite or most comfortable clothes that we feel great in and fifteen pairs of shoes to match these great outfits. Have you ever thought of packing three pairs of shoes (walking, dressy and casual) and coordinating your outfits around the shoes rather than matching several different pairs of shoes to the outfits? This will help eliminate the amount of luggage you need and help you pack with less pieces that will allow you to make more outfits! Just a thought J
I would start with a what to pack list for each member of the family, clothing, HBA, medicine and anything they want for the car or airplane ride.
Next I would ask a friend of neighbor to help out with mail and newspaper. If you have a pet, I would set up a reservation for boarding. Anything that has to be taken care of while you are gone make your arrangements ahead of time.
Don’t forget to pack emergency numbers, your insurance agents number and the family doctor’s number.
After your vacation:

When you get home its best to completely empty out your bags, suitcases, backpacks and purses. Toss out the trash and vacation brochures, ticket stubs unless of course you are a scrap booker then place those items in your photo area so they are ready to use after your pictures are printed.

Keep any traveling toiletries you have left so you are ready for your next trip and even write a quick note to replenish items you may need before next trip. When you pick up your mail and newspapers if you have kept up with current events, place the newspapers in the recycling bin. As for your mail, sort it into four piles, recycling, bills to be paid, to read and trash. Go through you mail right away rather than putting it off otherwise the pile will grow into a huge mountain. As you put all your bags away, start the laundry and down load your pictures on to your computer so you can enjoy looking at them while you are catching up from your vacation.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Too Many Books

Many people are love books and collect stacks and stacks of them. But sometimes there are just too many books. Here's a plan to conquer that growing library. Divide all your books into "to read" and "already read." For the "already read" category, decide if you would like to display them. Do you really want your friends seeing your Managing Money for Dummies?

Ask yourself, am I likely that I will refer to that book again or have the time to reread it with so many new books coming out? Trust me, if you like reading…you will buy more books. If you decide you can part with the books you’ve read, you can sell them ( ), trade them or give them to so many wonderful organizations in Tulsa Your local library or schools may want your donated books. Start a book exchange with your friends, not only will this help save money but you will be able to read new books.
Now let’s take a look at the "to be read" pile. Will you really read it, or have you changed your mind? Perhaps it was a gift, and you know you will never read it. Add those books to the pile of other books you are deciding what to do with.
You should now have the books left that you love, use for reference or going to read. Let’s divide them into categories – Reference, Self-Help, History, Romance, etc. Now you can tackle the storage challenge. Good-looking reference books and hardcover’s can be attractively displayed on shelves in the living room, family room or your bedroom under pictures that you are displaying. You can even put books in a basket or put a book in your swimming bag, in the car or I used to keep one in the wagon I took down to the park everyday with the boys.

After you finish your books, why not go through your children’s books? Use the same technique as we did above but maybe instead of getting rid of them you can pass them down to the next child. I love putting baskets of books at the end of the bed in children’s rooms so that they can easily access them and put them away.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Great Organizing Product is Command Strips by 3M

I absolutely loves these hooks, by 3M. You can mount them to any wall surface, glass, ceramic tile, wood and even plaster! What I like about them is that they come off easily without tearing up your wall or trying to scrape of that yellow sticky tack.

They have an assortment of decorative hooks, racks, clips and picture hangers. They offer a coupons on their website and you can plug in your zip code to show you the numerous stores that sell these great little gadgets.

I use ours to hang the boys, masks (power rangers and scary masks!) on the door of our storage closet. I have used a couple of picture hangers and I use them to hold the boys lunch boxes and backpacks in our coat closet. The options are endless and your walls will be hole free!

Monday, June 15, 2009

DVD/CD Cases… To Keep or Not To Keep

We bought a new entertainment stand today. It is much smaller and has only one cabinet door. Our old, I mean 20+ years, cabinet was huge and had plenty of room to store all of our movies and games in their cases. We have always kept our DVD/CD and game cases.
Today I bought a two DVD cases that holds 72 items. I am using one for movies and the other one for games.

We had just gone through all of our games and movies two weeks ago for our neighborhood garage sale so I knew they were all “keepers”. We had always kept our cases because of resale value and the fact we had room to store them. Now we have less room and my question was, why keep them? If these are the movies we love and will always want to keep, what is the point? I think it would be silly to store a tote filled of empty movie cases.

Now on the other hand, I did keep the game cases for to help with the resale value. I called GameStop and he said there is very little difference on the amount that you will get if you have the case or not. If you intend to sell your games on EBay or I would recommend you keep your cases, there is a price difference on their websites.

So what can you do you with all of your old cases? You can donate them to your local library, their cases get tattered and torn with use over time. You can donate them to your school, sometimes kids make a project on a CD and they can use the case to decorate about their theme on the cover. I have even had a client use them as a CD photo holder. She printed two pictures to decorate the outside of the case with photos were on the CD inside.

All of our movies, games and CD’s fit into our cabinet even though we only have a fourth of what we had. It sure is a good thing I know a professional organizer!!!

Do you keep your cases, if so why? If not, what do you do with your cases?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Keeping a Schedule for the Kids this Summer

Schedule@#!? I know, school just got out but let’s face it some of us are already hearing “I’m bored, now what should I do?”! I will probably win the “Mean Mommy Award” this summer as I have won it the past several summers.

In our house, the boys still get up at 6:30 a.m. no matter what time they go to bed the night before. If we are really lucky they might sleep until 7:00 a.m. but those days are few and far between. After they have their breakfast, shower and play for a while, it’s usually not later than 9:00 a.m. before I hear the “I’M BORED”….I pull out workbooks. They each do a math page and then they each read for 15 minutes.

Oh it gets better, I delegate more responsibilities to them during the summer. I don’t know about your house, but summertime at mine means a lot more mess. We have more laundry, more dishes and so on. I try to impress upon them that we all need to pitch in and help since we are all at home making the mess together and if we keep things under control we can stay ahead of the game.

I try to make a game plan at the beginning of each week of fun things we can do that we don’t normally do each day. The boys love to go swimming so you can always find us at a pool in the afternoon. Nothing tires kids out more than swimming, exercise and exhaustion it’s a win/win! This week we had haircuts, Driller’s game and an invitation to a friends house to play for the day. I try to plan out fun things around the scheduled activities already planned. Maybe ride our bikes to the pool, water balloon fight on the trampoline, go to a park, go to the library or go exploring at a State Park. I realize the things we do are not necessarily exciting but I have found if I have a game plan for the day, it gives my family a focus for the day and they stay occupied.

Our boys are not big fans of running errands so I try to run just an errand or two each day to spread out the fun! I have found if we run them on the way to whatever it is we are planning that afternoon they don’t seem to mind as much. In my car for the summer I keep library books for them to read. The books help them stay entertained while we are driving around and it something new for them to read or look at.

Bedtime at our house…is 6:30 to early?!?!? We let them stay up later in the summer but we really try to keep things pretty normal, not to say we wont stay up for an occasional movie or a play off game but we really try to keep thinks consistent and stick to a routine. Shoot, I am ready for bed by 9:30!!

What do you think, does a routine work better in your house or do you find that a routine suffocates your family?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Using the Back of the Door to Organize!

Some of my favorite organizing products are ones that hang on the back of doors. I have used over-the-door shoe organizers for several different organizing ideas to help find unused space for storing things. They are easy to install and can be purchased for under $15 at Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Wal-Mart. I prefer the clear pockets so that you can see what is inside the pocket. Here are some examples I have used the over-the-door shoe organizers to organize some of my client’s homes:

Bathroom Door - Styling Products, deodorants, hair brushes and pony tail holders. This helps clear the clutter of your counter tops if you have limited storage space.
Girls Bedroom Closet Door - Barbie’s, Webkinz, and dress-up accessories.

Boys Bedroom Closet Door - Power Ranger morphers and any other weapon accessory.
Men’s Closet Door – Loose change, iPod, wallet, and everything else that falls out of his pockets that he puts on top of the dresser!
Craft/Gift Closet Door - Ribbons, bows, cutting tools, pens, markers, tags and tape.
Panty Door - Jell-O boxes, puddings, snack bars, seasoning packets, noodle or rice side dishes and vitamins.

While we are at it, I found this great Over-the-door Purse Organizer at for under $13. If you are one of those people who like to switch out your purse on a daily basis to match an outfit, this will be so much easier than digging through drawers or stretching out your arms to pull it off the top shelf of your closet.Now go find some doors and have fun organizing! If you have any questions you may reach me at

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Less is More...

The “Phrase Finder” states the meaning as “The notion that simplicity and clarity lead to good design.”
A basic rule in organizing any home, closet, or drawer is purging unused items. In order to gain space we do need to let go of the things we no longer need our use. I realize you have paid for these items and with the economy the way it is I am sure you are wondering why I am suggesting you let go of some of your things.

Sometimes having “less is more”. Is it more important to you to have your home, closet or drawer full of stuff or would a home that is less cluttered and organized be more relaxing? I realize that having things sometimes makes us believe we will feel better but in the end sometimes those things suffocate us. Do you have a closet that is stuffed with clothes that don’t hang straight and everything is wrinkled or a drawer you have to shove a couple of times before it will shut?

A quick tip for purging items in your closet is keep a small bag in your closet for items that you are sure you will no longer wear. Hang a shopping bag on a hanger or place it on the floor. Wherever you have an item in your hands that you know you will no longer wear put it in the bag. Tackle a drawer during a commercials. Purge the items that you no longer need, save the organizing for later...let’s just get some breathing room for you home and for your mind. Get rid of it once and for all. As soon as a bag is full donate it or offer it to friends or family.

Do you think having less is more?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Organizing School Papers

Schools out, schools out…teacher let the monkey’s out! Now what!?!? I know there are some of you out there that have been collecting school papers and artwork all year long and your bin or bag is overflowing from this past school year. Next school year we are not going to let it get this out of control. I know you want to keep things and everything is so cute but you just don’t have the space or the time to go through all of it at the end of the year.

I use these folders (Office Depot $2.59 each) for each of the boys for the school year. On the front of the flap, I write their name, school, teachers name and grade. Inside the pocket folder I have pictures of them holding their artwork (I just print the picture on 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper), any papers they want to save and I couple I want for them, class picture, notes from teachers or other children in their class and that’s it. The pocket folder only expands 2 inches so you have to choose wisely what you want to keep.

Let’s be honest if your parents handed you boxes and boxes of your school work, do you really want to go through it? If you had a pocket file for each grade that fit conveniently into a tote and you could pull out each grade year with your children to share, wouldn’t you be more apt to show them that than a box full of “stuff”?
So let’s get started and this fall start off with a good system in place so you don’t have to go through everything at the beginning of summer.

Treasure it and Set Limits
The first step is to ask your child if they want to keep it, is it special to them? Did they study a long time and then received a 100% on a test they thought they were going to fail? Second step is to have a system in place, have a designated spot (bin or drawer) for your child to keep his papers/artwork. You could really get a head of the game by having their pocket folder labeled and ready for them to place their papers in! Wouldn’t that be fun?

Depending on the age of your child, work together to figure out what papers and projects will be kept, displayed or recycled. Typically, younger children will want to save everything! Consider setting up a time for your child to have show and tell so he feels as that everyone pays attention to his accomplishments. More times than not, they just want to share and show you everything.
If you find it hard for you and your child to make a decision right away; that's okay. Keep it for now, and then if the pocket folder is over flowing maybe go back over some of the saved treasures.

Organize It
There are many ways you can organize and store your children's papers and artwork so it can be enjoyed and at the same time not take up a lot of space. If you are not sold on the pocket folder, a three ring binder is great for containing papers. Add page protectors so artwork can be stored as well.

Please take the time to label the containers with the child's name, the contents, and the school year of the child. That way when you do want to pull something out, you can locate the items without having to search and dig through one big container.

Artwork and Special Projects
Here are some creative ideas to save artwork without having to take up a lot of space.

•Take a picture of your child with an oversized art project.

•Scan artwork

•Use digital pictures for a screen saver on the family computer. That way the artwork can be continued to be displayed.

•Use large sized artwork on paper for gift wrapping.

Above all, be selective about what you save. Do you really need every math and spelling test? And, some of those arts and craft projects just don't hold up over the years. This is a good opportunity to teach your children that it is OK not to keep everything. Getting your children involved in the process will help them to learn the skills they need to help themselves as they get older. If you need any further help go to my website to contact me.