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The 9-year-old organizer Feng Shui’s his bedroom

by respaced on February 5, 2015

Feng Shui Plan The 9 year old organizer Feng Shuis his bedroom

“Mom, I’m Feng Shuing my room!” hollered my 9-year-old son from the top of the stairs.

Um, what? How does he even know what that is? were among the multitude of thoughts that ran through my head followed by: This I’ve got to see!

So I went upstairs and saw where he had started to move his furniture away from the walls, pull out everything from under his bed, rip stuff off his bulletin board, and make a big pile of what I gathered were the non-Feng Shui-worthy items in the hall (e.g Star Wars Legos, old Valentine’s cards from 2 years ago). In short, he was making a gigantic mess. But isn’t this what I tell my organizing clients when we first start an organizing project which makes their house look even more disastrous for a bit? You have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.

Nathan was cracking eggs left and right.

He was working off a list he had made for himself (see above pic) with ideas copied from National Geographic Kids’ Almanac 2013.

And 2 hours later, this was the result:

Feng Shui bedroom The 9 year old organizer Feng Shuis his bedroom


Feng Shui bedroom 2 The 9 year old organizer Feng Shuis his bedroom

I was really impressed! He did a great job!

Nathan said he wanted to “Feng Shui” his room because the book said it would increase his wealth, give him better luck, give him better grades and things like that.

So the professional organizer in me started thinking that for all of you parents out there struggling with your children’s messy bedrooms: Maybe introducing Feng Shui ideas to them — especially the ones about getting better grades and more money — might inspire them to clean up their rooms more effectively than threatening or nagging them would.

What do you think? Meanwhile, I will let you know how Nathan’s changes to his room affect him a few months from now. I’m kind of curious to see myself!

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Must-have items for getting your family organized

by respaced on January 28, 2015

stairway organizer 1 Must have items for getting your family organized

Probably 65 percent of my clientele for my organizing business are families, which means I often find myself recommending the same storage products over and over. So I thought you might find it useful to know which products are essential for just about every family to get organized:

*Totes for sentimental items: You know all of those Mother’s Day cards from your kids, old love letters, and medals from your marathons that you never know where to put? They should all go in a Rubbermaid plastic bin labeled “Sentimental Items.” Each family member has sentimental items, so each family member needs his/her own bin. The bins can live in the back of the closet or even out in the garage or basement.

*Treasure box for kids’ special items: Younger kids tend to find little treasures like small pebbles and toys that clutter up their rooms, so give each child his/her own treasure box and let them keep it on their nightstand to hold those treasures. When the box is full, the kids know it is time to pare down some of the treasures. Find wooden treasure boxes they can paint themselves in the wood craft section of Michaels Arts and Crafts for about $10.

*Incline file sorter for mail. Everybody gets mail, which means everybody needs a solution for storing the mail beyond leaving it in a pile on the counter. I recommend everyone get an incline file sorter and fill it with 3-4 file folders each labeled with the task each piece of mail needs (e.g. “Needs to Be Paid, Needs to Be Looked Into, Needs to Be Filed,” etc.) Sort your mail into the incline file sorter each day, then sit down once a week and do all of the tasks your folders tell you to do. At the end of the week, those folders should be empty, ready to accept the next week’s batch of mail.

*Basket for “Things to be Returned.” Most people have a lot of items sitting around their house that need to go out the door. For example, they have library books to be returned, clothes that need to be returned to a store, or a toy leftover from a playdate that needs to be returned to a friend. The easy solution is to get an attractive basket that can sit by the front door with a big label attached to it that reads “Things to be Returned.” Then whenever you leave the house, glance down inside the basket and see if there is something you can take with you

*Goes Upstairs bags/baskets for each family member. If your family has bedrooms on the second floor, you most likely are experiencing the situation where family members put things that need to go away ON THE STAIRS instead of in their rooms. Solve this problem by getting everyone their own little tote (I usually recommend the bags from LL Bean with each family member’s name monogrammed on the bag.) Hang the bags from hooks on the wall going up the stairs or leave the bags directly on the stairs. Throughout the day as you come across things that need to go in their rooms, put it in the bags instead. At bedtime every evening, each family member takes their bag upstairs and puts the contents away. Every morning they bring the empty bag downstairs and put it back on the hook.

Nothing too expensive is needed. I usually find all of these products on sale at big box stores (e.g. Target, Michael’s, Fred Meyer) or even at Goodwill. They are simple ideas, but they make a huge — huge! — difference in how orderly your house stays. Try them, and let me know what you think!


Super easy way to organize kids’ schoolwork

by respaced on January 7, 2015

Typically, I write about “how to organize kids’ schoolwork” in June. But recently, I have found that it can be helpful to do a big purge/sort of the kids’ schoolwork at the halfway point during the school year in order to keep the June sort/purge a much more manageable task.

I also thought it might be helpful to show you how I organize my son’ schoolwork. It’s really quite simple.

Step 1: I gather up all the schoolwork and sort it into years. (In the photo below, I had already sorted his preschool and kindergarten work, but the more recent grades still needed some whittling down.)

Schoolwork organizing before Super easy way to organize kids schoolwork

Step 2. I pick my favorites from the school year and recycle the rest. (I know I made that sound super easy, but trust me, I know how hard that is in real life!)

Step 3. I store the keepers in huge bubble envelope mailers, one per grade. I label the mailers and place them on the top shelf in his closet. Done!

Schoolwork organizing after Super easy way to organize kids schoolwork

The mailers I use are the 11″x14″ ones from Target for about $2.50. I use the bubble mailers because I have found that they hold up longer than the paper ones, plus they expand to allow room for notebooks and writing journals. I love how inexpensive this storage method is, and how easy it is to store all the packets lined up on a shelf.

Would this method work for you? How do you organize your children’s schoolwork? Let us know in the comments below.


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Exciting news! I’m in a magazine!

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