Organizing Your Priorities

“Organizing Your Priorities”

How many times in a day, do you find yourself wondering, “where did the time go?”  Do you ever feel like you spend too much time doing and not enough time living?  With the fast-paced lifestyle, society has us in, it is no wonder you can find any time for yourself or what is important to you.  You spend all day doing for others that at the end of the day, you have no energy or time left in the day to do anything that is important to you.  It is time to organize your priorities.

Goal  #1:   Ask yourself what and who is important to me?  What do I want to accomplish in my
life?

Goal #2:      Create a list of your top ten priorities; these priorities should be what are important to
                        you.  You will realize all too quickly, that if you don’t know what your priorities are, then
others will decide them for you.

Goal #3:      Post them somewhere, so they will become visual reminders of what is important to you.

Goal #4:      Create a list of the activities (ie: PTA, tennis league, etc) that you are currently
involved with.  Then take this list and compare it to your top ten priorities list.  This should
help you to see what activities you can [Read more...]

Simple Steps to Organizing Your Pantry

“Simple Steps to Organizing Your Pantry”

 We visit our pantry often when preparing meals, but how often do we spend time organizing it?

Now is the perfect time to organize and stock up your pantry. With the cooler weather approaching, you may find yourself stocking up on more items like soups and stews.  Maybe you just want to stock up on the staples to make fewer trips to the grocery store in the cooler months.

Well if you are like most people, you may find your pantry has also become a storage place for extra appliances or even your outdoor entertaining dishes you used during the summer months.  Take those infrequently or seasonal items and store them on the higher shelves out of the way to make more room.  Now that you have made room, you can do the following:

Task #1 – go through and purge expired items or donate to your neighborhood food shelter items that you may never use.

Task #2 – you may find several open bags of chips or boxes of pasta, etc.  Go through them to see what is good and merge them into one box or bag.  Plastic storage containers also come in handy to prevent items from getting stale.

Task #3 – Group items together into specific categories, such as canned goods, sauces, soups, etc.  This will give you a good picture of what items you have or don’t have.  This will also help you to find things easier if everything is in a specific area.  Labeling the shelves may also come in handy.

Task #4 – Depending on how big or deep your pantry is, you may find that placing items that are newer behind items that will be expiring sooner, will prevent you from wasting food.  If you have a lot of room in between your shelves and your pantry door, you can purchase an over-the-door organizer for more space.

Challenge for the Week:  Create a checklist of pantry staples either on your computer or on a dry ease board.  Keep a list of the items you use frequently and put an X next to those items you have run out of or may be running low on.  This will make your next trip to the grocery store easier, and you will find that you aren’t buying items you think you may need only to find duplicates at home.

New Beginnings for Your Closet

September brings with it many new beginnings. Your children start a new school year. The change of seasons start as each morning brings cooler air. With that, the thought of sweaters and coats start to enter into your mind. This is the perfect time to re-organize and de-clutter your closet.

Having a neat and organized closet not only looks nice, but also simplifies your life, making it easier to get dressed every morning.

The key to a cleverly organized closet is to “personalize it”. Create an ideal environment that you want to go to every morning. Here is a quote I heard the other day “it’s like creating a little store in your closet that you are excited about shopping in everyday.”

You can create different sections to your closet. Knowing exactly what is in each section makes it easier to find things. Having these sections will also make it easier to put things away, since each item will have a “home.” Here are three easy steps to creating a great, organized closet:

#1 – Grab and Go Section. This area is for those basic foundational clothes that you wear every day. For example: nice pair of jeans, nice t-shirts or even khaki pants. Things you know will mix and match together nicely.

#2 – Originality Section. This is for items that are not so basic in nature, but add some flair to your ever day clothes such as prints, beading or lace. Ruffled blouses or fitted jackets would go in this section.

#3 – Archive Area – grab the clothes that you wear almost weekly and take them out of play for a little while. Store them in this area in a plastic garment bag. This will force you to revisit some older clothes that you may have not utilized in a while. You have a choice you can start to wear them again or it will force you to de-clutter your closet by getting rid of unused items. It will also give you a new, fresh look to your wardrobe without having to spend the big bucks to do it. It’s called repurposing 101.

New Beginnings for Children’s Closets

You can use the same idea for your child’s closet. Children are growing constantly forcing them to outgrow their clothes a lot sooner. De-cluttering and organizing your child’s closet with clothes that fit and are in season, always seems to be a never-ending task for a parent.

Here are some useful tips to getting an organized, fun closet for your child:

Tip #1: Go through and start to make a pile of items that can be donated or sold.

Tip #2: It would be nice to have your child help you with this task, as you can have them try on items that you feel do not fit them anymore. Again, donate them or if they have, a younger sibling that can use these clothes, save them. Put these clothes in storage bins, maybe some under the bed storage bags, which can be found at Clever Container

Tip #3 – The under the storage bags also come in handy for storing out of season clothes, leaving your child with appropriate clothing for the season in their closet.

Tip #4 – Decide, which clothes should be, hung up and what clothes can be folded and put in their drawers. This again will make it easier for them to put their clothes away, as they will know each item goes into a specific area.

Tip #5 – Creating sections such as the “Grab and Go” section and the “Originality Section” will make it easier and more enjoyable for your children to get ready for school each morning. You can transform your kid’s closet, into a fun and organized dressing area. Take two hooks, nail them into the door and tie a short clothesline to them, equipped with clothespins. After your child picks out an outfit for the next day, they can clip it to the clothesline so they are all ready to get dressed, instead of feeling rushed in the morning. You can repurpose a plastic bag recycler, by tacking it to your child’s door where they can put items like scarves, or hats. When they open their closet in the morning, their outfit is all set for them.  

Are You Ready For School?

As summer is coming to an end, and school is about to begin – are you ready?  You probably have already gotten school registration out of the way, and maybe you have started your “back to school shopping”, but have you thought about what else needs to gets done before then?

A tip for a smooth transition to the start of school is to be organized.  It is just as important for the parents to be organized with their responsibilities, as it is to get your child their notebooks, pens and paper.

Here are a few tips to start that transition:

Tip #1 – Make sure to schedule early, any necessary doctor appointments that may be needed for your child to start school or to get into a sport.  Do not wait until last minute, as it may be hard to get in to see your doctor before school starts.

Tip #2 – You may need “before or after school” care for your child; make sure to arrange that before school starts as those facilities might be filling up quickly.  Include your child, by letting them know what the plan will be for them so they know what to expect when school starts.

Tip #3 – Create a place for school papers.  You can use plastic or canvas letter sized storage bins available at Clever Container.com.  The ones that you can label with each child’s name on it are even better.  These would be used for any graded papers that the teacher has sent home that you may want to keep.  Do not just put them in a pile on your counter to be filed later, it will cause clutter.  Make sure to clean out any papers from the previous school year that you want to purge or file the papers you want to keep, maybe in a baby book, so your file is clean and ready for the start of a new year.

Tip #4 – Another tip would be to create an “Important Dates” place, with a clipboard or corkboard and your family calendar on it.  It could be in the kitchen or in an office.  As you go through your child’s book bag and you come across permission slips, event flyers and school announcements, put them here so you can easily transfer important dates right to the calendar.  This prevents having to look through that never-ending pile of papers that maybe accumulating on your counter, which will inevitably result in your child not being able to attend a school trip because there permission slip was not turned in on time.

Tip #5 – Another helpful tip might be to create a “homework room” out of small office or smaller unused bedroom in your house, that is quiet to prevent distractions.  It should be setup with a desk, a homework chart so your child knows what needs to be completed for school the next day, computer if possible and room for your child or children to spread out.  Your child will like the privacy and will start to get into a routine of going to this room when they get home from school. 

Tip #6 – Create a “drop off zone”, maybe in a mudroom, hall closet or even in their “homework room.” Equipped with locker baskets (available at Clever Container) with each child’s name on them and coat hangers.  Here they would put their coats, backpacks, gym bags, etc.  This will be the central location for them so they do not have to run around every morning trying to find their school bag.  Incorporating this into their “homework room” would be nice as everything will be centrally located.  After getting into a routine of knowing where their things are, they will soon like the ease and organization you have created for them, and you benefit because you are instilling in them responsibility for their stuff.  

Tip #7 – If you have a youngster that may be going to preschool or Kindergarten, label their coats and bags with iron on name labels prior to the start of school.  This prevents any confusion if there are duplicates.  It also helps the teachers out when they go outside; to make sure the child has on the right coat, if the child may not remember what coat they wore to school that day.
Get the Ultimate Back-to-School Combo

Tip #8 – Get your child’s body “ready for school.”  Getting them ready for an early night/early morning routine about three weeks before school starts, will allow your child’s body to adjust and get adequate rest before the start of school.

Challenge for the week:  create a visual chart for what tasks your child needs to do in the morning to get ready for school.  Draw the pictures or clip from a magazine of a child brushing their teeth, getting dress, etc.  Put it on the door in your child’s room and start to practice them now if they don’t’ do them on their own. This will allow your child to become self-sufficient in the morning, so you can get their lunch prepared or get yourself ready for work.

Ways To Conquer The Clutter

As much as we try to stay on top of all the appointments and paperwork we receive everyday with the use of our PDA’s, calendars and files; new things enter our lives every day.  If you are not careful, these things can soon become clutter.  Here are a few tips to stay cleverly organized:

  • Make it work for you.  Make your organization process work for you and your style.  Do not create an elaborate organizing system that will take you longer to understand then to use.  Make it convenient for you to be able to put things back where they belong.
  • Put big projects on your calendar. Let’s say you have a big project that you want to accomplish that week.  For example, it may be cleaning out your closet or garage.  Look at your calendar and see what a good day to schedule that is.  If you notice that the day you chose has other appointments scheduled for that day, schedule it for another day.  Why?  If you are pulled away throughout the day for other things, you will end up with more disarray then you initially started because of an incomplete task.
  • Schedule some catch up time.  If you are noticing that you are starting to fall behind on certain tasks, schedule a day to play catch up.  Work only on that task until you have accomplished what you set out to do.
  • Complete tasks.  If you have several incomplete projects, they will start to weigh on you, causing you to get depressed and wondering how you will be able to get to it all.  By completing each task you start, you will begin to feel energized and a sense of accomplishment.

Organize Yourself and Your Thoughts

The way you are feeling that day, can affect what actions you decide to do.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about a certain project or task, you start to become stressed and therefore put off completing that task.

I would suggest making a plan.  Write out what parts of that task you can easily accomplish, so you can start to feel a sense of achievement.  This will help you to feel more empowered to complete that task.  Here is a quote to think about when you find yourself in this situation.  Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” by William James. 

Challenge for the week:  Take those appointment cards that are either in your wallet or taped on your refrigerator and enter them on to your calendar.  Nothing is more frustrating than a missed appointment.