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Exciting news! I’m in a magazine!

by respaced on September 30, 2014

So this really neat thing happened to me:

20140922 071058 Exciting news! Im in a magazine!

20140922 071207 Exciting news! Im in a magazine!

I was contacted by Real Simple magazine to submit a tip for their article “76 Greatest Organizing Tips of All Time.” The magazine is the October issue, which means it is on newsstands now. This is so thrilling for me! For professional organizers, Real Simple magazine is the closest thing we have to an “organizing publication,” so this is a big honor.

My husband and I celebrated with at least 2 bottles of champagne: One when the fact-checker contacted me (because that was how we knew I would definitely be in the issue) and the other bottle for when the magazine actually came out. icon smile Exciting news! Im in a magazine!


The flat surface clutter cure

by respaced on September 12, 2014

Sick of everyone in your family using the kitchen counter (or any flat surface) as a dumping ground? Try putting a handy-dandy little sign there to break this habit:

Flat Surface Sign Simple2 The flat surface clutter cure

Need it bigger so it can’t be ignored? Try this:

Flat Surface Sign Large The flat surface clutter cureI know it seems so silly, but when I use this with clients’ families, it WORKS and you will find your counters CLEAR because we are all trained from our earliest childhood to obey signs.

On some flat surfaces, you could try placing a large vase of flowers there to deter the clutter pile build-up.

In extreme situations where you just cannot break that habit, you might need to eliminate as many flat surfaces as possible. Get rid of extra end tables, sofa tables, side tables, open shelves, etc. Hey, now there are fewer places to dust!

Let me know how this works for you. And if you make an especially cute sign with a cute frame, email it to me and I will post it here!


clipboard organizing pinterest How to track your kids homework, manage their schedules and get To Dos doneIf you are a parent to a school-age child or children, Back to School Week is a huge week for you. It’s exciting, scary, expensive, stressful and thrilling all at once. And it completely tests your organization skills.

If you are a parent who struggles with organization, starting a new school year can be really stressful, because it means new schedules to keep track of, new contacts to remember, new items to store (e.g. backpacks, school supplies) and a whopping number of To-Do’s to remember (e.g. snack duty, buy posterboard, sign permission slips). If you don’t have a good system in place for these things, you and your kids suffer the results of being late, forgetting things and neglecting responsibilities. Not a good feeling.

So here are some ideas for setting up a system for tracking all of those things:

1. You will need to buy:

  • A set of stackable in-trays. You need one tray per child plus one for school notices. Label each tray.
  • One clipboard per child plus wall hooks to hold each clipboard. This will be for holding their homework. Label each clipboard.
  • A whiteboard for tracking To-Do’s
  • Consider buying a wall calendar. If you don’t use a wall calendar, set up a calendar in your phone or computer or purchase an appointment book. You MUST have a calendar  in some form to track schedules and to-do’s.

2. Designate a spot in your house as a command center for everything related to school. Usually this is a corner of the kitchen counter, but it could also be a table in the entry way. You will need flat space for the in-trays and wall space for the clipboards, white board and wall calendar, if you decide to get one.

3. At the end of the school day, teach your children to put their schoolwork in their in-tray, school notices in the school notice tray and clip homework to their homework clipboard. If this is too much for your kids to remember, start by having them put everything in their in-tray.

4. Then every evening, you go through their schoolwork/paperwork and sort it. Schoolwork that is worth saving stays in their in-tray. (I always recycle worksheets and anything that isn’t their best work.)

5. Read notices from the school. Enter any important dates they mention in your calendar. Also enter any To-Do’s they mention on your white board. Recycle the notices after doing this. If you may need to reference them in the future, put them back in the school notices in-tray.

6. Sign permission slips, report cards, and anything else that needs to be signed and put those back in your child’s backpack that same evening.

7. At the end of the school year, do a final sort of the kids’ in-trays. Put the schoolwork worth saving in long-term storage. Recycle all school notices and everything else.

The key to this system working is YOU working the system every day, no exceptions. No system on the face of the planet simply works by itself. YOU have to set aside the time to actually do something with all of those papers, to-do’s and important dates. It’s about creating that routine and practicing it over and over and over.

If you haven’t set up a routine like this before, it may take a few weeks of continually practicing it before it becomes automatic. Don’t beat yourself up if you forget to do it. Just remind yourself that this is new for you, and try it again tomorrow. Eventually, this routine will become a habit for you and you and your family will reap the benefits of FINALLY feeling like you are staying on top of things.

If after a few weeks, you find you cannot stick to this new routine, you may want to seek out the services of a professional organizer like me. I have lots of experience creating household routines for families that are tailored to their habits and needs, and I can create one for you too. Click here to find out more.

Let me know how this school system works for you. If you have questions or suggestions for improving this routine, please enter them in the comments below so everyone can benefit. Happy Back to School Week everyone!


10-minute organizing tips for your home

July 29, 2014

Most of us are pretty pressed for time most days. At least, that’s the most common reason people give me for their disorganization — they have no time to sort through their things! It’s understandable. It’s hard to carve out four hours or more to do a major organizational overhaul of a room. So what’s […]

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Organizing bedtime kisses and hugs

July 7, 2014

My mama friend from Moreland MOPS is letting me post this picture of the schedule one of her kids made that outlines the order in which Daddy hugs and kisses each child good-night. This way, each of the four children gets a chance to be the first one to get Daddy’s kisses/hugs at night. Nobody […]

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The 8-year-old-organizer has a better way of keeping things off the stairs

June 24, 2014

Remember this post, where I came up with a solution for storing things that need to go upstairs in wall folders instead of in piles on the stairs? Well, Nathan, my 8-year-old future organizer, decided to take matters into his own hands. He came up with this device: See, throughout the day he puts the […]

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End the piles on the stairs with this easy idea

June 12, 2014

I’ll bet you have experienced this dilemma: You have things that need to be put away upstairs in your house, but you don’t want to take the time to walk upstairs. So instead you stack those things on the stairs, promising yourself you will put them away at the end of the day. But sooomehoooow…. […]

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Create a Summer Activities Folder for your kids

June 2, 2014

If you are the parent of school-age children, you don’t need me to tell you that summer vacation is almost here! Yikes! So I’ve been making lots of these Summer Activities Folders for my organizing clients: It’s the perfect way to store all those brochures about summer camps and swim lessons. It’s also great if […]

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The 8-year-old organizer’s DIY stuffed animal holder

May 15, 2014

If you have been reading for awhile, you know how much stuffed animals are a thorn in my side. The children in the families that I work with have often lost considerable real estate in their bedroom or even on their bed due to the overwhelming number of stuffed animals in their collection. Yet the […]

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Organize your nightstand using adorable tins

April 22, 2014

My nightstand has been a clutter magnet for years, probably because it is tucked into the back corner of my bedroom, and I only see it for a couple of hours every morning and night. The rest of the day, it’s out-of-sight, out-of-mind. But then I came across a cute organizing solution and decided to […]

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