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Smooth Transition from Summer to School

>Many children, especially in the lower grades, find it hard to make the switch from the lazy days of summer (going to the beach, playing soccer, visiting amusement parks) to the school year (early mornings, routines, homework). Come to think of it, it’s not easy for parents, either. But there are ways to smooth the transition:

1. Read, read, read: Make reading an integral part of your summer. Libraries often have incentive programs for the summer months; take advantage of them. Read to your child, have 29them read to you, and read together. Read menus, books, comics, read everything and anything.
2. Buy supplies: If you have your child’s class list of supplies, keep an eye out for bargains and stock up. Some schools get parents to pay a flat rate and the teachers buy the supplies in bulk and to their own specifications. It’s a great time-saver for parents, and the teachers know each child will have the exact supplies he or she needs.
3. Take inventory: Go through your child’s closet and donate clothes that no longer fit. Throw out any that are beyond repair. Make a list of what items are needed (indoor sneakers, outdoor sneakers, backpack, etc.) and go shopping. Don’t forget second-hand stores.
4. Call the school: A day or two before school starts, call the school and find out what class your child is in and if there’s anything you or your child needs to know before Day 1.
5. Know the route: How is your child getting to school: walking, by bus, by car, from the sitter’s? Is there a change from last year? Try out the route with your child to see how long it takes. A route that takes you five minutes to walk, for instance, could take a child up to 10 minutes.
6. Ease back into routine: A few weeks before the first day, start regulating bedtimes and rising times to be closer to the school-year routine. How long does it take everyone to get ready in the morning?
7. Build excitement: Most children are excited about the return to school, at least for a week or two after it starts. Even if you’re dreading the return to hectic mornings and evenings supervising homework, control your negativity, which can be contagious. Plan some fun outings during the first few weekends, and sign your child up for some favorite extra-curricular activities.
8. Visit the school: A nice tradition is going with your child on the first day back, not just for Grade Primary. It will ease some jitters and make your child feel valued.
Helping your child transition from summer mode to school mode will make them feel prepared to take on the school year and give them a smooth start. A smooth start can give a child the confidence boost he needs to do well all year.

If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to others who would find it useful and sign up for our Organize Anything newsletter on our homepage at http://www.organizeanything.com
© 2010 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553

Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.

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Downsizing…Now What? – Professional Organizers of Canada Guest Post

Are you ready to downsize? Know someone who is? A well organized move can make the difference between chaos or a peaceful transition.

There are ways to plan for a stress-free move. Follow our Downsizing Checklist to start on the right path:

1. Start the discussion early: For some, the decision to move may not be a welcome idea. Plant the seed early to start discussing the benefits of downsizing.

2. Determine what isn’t moving:Next is the time to do some space planning and decide what you don’t want to move. Decisions can be made to sort into the following categories: 

  • Pass to family/friends
  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Recycle
  • Waste

3. Contact a Realtor: Ask for referrals, find someone you enjoy working with!

4. Declutter and stage: Time to get the house ready for sale. Consider decluttering and staging if your home needs an update.

5. Book moving company:Make plans for truck rental, moving assistance, or hire a moving company.

6. Packing:Purchase packing supplies, enlist the help of family and friends, or hire a Professional Organizer to get the job done quickly.

7. Update address:Be sure to notify utility companies, services and personal contacts.

8. Moving day:Assign one person to be in charge of all questions of what is going where.

9. Unpacking: Make the transition as smooth as possible by unpacking right away.

If you are stuck or require assistance anywhere along the way, call a Professional Organizer – we are here to help!

Happy Organizing!

How to Maximize Space in Small Closets

I get asked all the time for “how-to” tips from clients. So for the next few weeks, I’m going to post some great how-to’s. If there’s anything YOU are wondering how to, send us an email and maybe you’ll see it on the blog!

This week, a few tips on maximizing minimal closet space.

1)   The first step in organizing a small closet is to go through and purge any items you no longer wear or use.
2)   Decide what items you use regularly (undergarments, work clothes, jeans, workout clothes), those you use occasionally (formal wear, bathing suits), and what you use seasonally—basically winter (sweaters, corduroy pants) versus summer wardrobe (shorts, sundresses).
3)   Items that are out of season can be stored either in bins on the highest shelf, at the back of the closet, or even elsewhere in a trunk or under the bed.  Infrequently used items should be pushed to one end of the bar; keep the space that’s most accessible for frequently used items.
4)   Group like things together—T-shirts, blouses, pants, skirts.  By hanging shorter items together closetyou will create space on the floor below or maybe even room for a second lower bar to be installed.
5)   You can put a set of drawers on the floor of the closet to store things that do not require hanging.
6)   Do the non-wardrobe items in your closet truly belong there? Or is there a better place for them- with other similar items?  These items should be sorted and stored in labelled baskets, bins, or boxes on the shelf, with items you use more frequently closer at hand.
7)   Don’t forget to use the space on the back of the closet door and side walls to hang hooks or pocketed organizers, which are great for shoes, scarves, mittens, accessories, and smaller items.
8)   You may also want to consider purchasing organizers which hang off the closet bar and are great for shoes and sweaters, but not heavier items. Closet organizers can be found at discount department stores or home ware stores in the laundry or closet section.

Develop Perfect Pitch – Organize Anything’s Tips for Purging Unwanted Items

It happens to the best of us, you open your closet and it’s bursting at the seams or you run out of storage space in your garage. Spring is here and now is the perfect time to purge the extra items you’ve acquired over years that no longer add meaning to your life. .

Organize Anything has seven fantastic ideas and tips to help you develop your perfect pitching skills.

1. Donate the duplicates. Have several sets of flatware or the same shirt in six colours? Pick the set you like the best and donate the rest to a charity or give to someone who’s starting out on their own for the first time. Multiples of the same article of clothing? Donate the ones you never wear.

2. Check the hangers. When you switch your closet over at the beginning of a new season, put all your clothes hangers facing the same way. After you wear something once, turn the hanger so it’s facing the other direction. When the season is over, purge any clothes on hangers that haven’t been turned because you haven’t worn them once.

3. Keep a donation bag handy. If you always have a donation bag on the go, it will be top of mind. Instead of throwing out clothing or household items that are in good repair, donate them instead. Remember, don’t donate anything you wouldn’t want to receive yourself.

4. End of season, end of use. Free up storage space in your shed or garage by purging the tools and toys you don’t use at the end of the season. Be it shovels, rakes, crazy carpets or beach toys, they take up valuable space in your home. Donate or put them curb side to reclaim your space.

5. Make it a party. Have friends with similar clutter problems? Band together and tackle your garage/basement/attic purges together. You help them with theirs, they help you with yours. Many hands make quick work, and turning a chore into a social activity is a great way to bond with friends and get work done quickly.

6. Be realistic. Purging your possessions can be an emotionally difficult process, especially if you have an connection to an item. It’s important to think critically about what you own and if you really need to hold on to it. Do you still have it because it’s something you use frequently or is it taking up space because of an emotional connection?

7. Sort it out. Set up four boxes labelled “Put Away,” “Give Away,” “Store,” and “Throw Away.” Take them room-to-room and go through everything in the room, sorting as you go. Items that end up in “Put Away” and “Store” can be put back in their proper places or remain in the clearly labelled box and be put in storage. The “Give Away” box goes to charity and the “Throw Away” box goes to the curb on the next trash collection day.

Purging your possessions to create more space in your home and more clarity in your life doesn’t have to happen in a weekend. Tackle one room at a time, working efficiently and critically. You’ll be surprised at how much stuff you’re holding onto that you don’t need.

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Use What You Have – The Cure for the Financial Blues

Here’s an idea that will help you get organized while warding off the financial blues—use what you have.  You’d be surprised at how many items you have lying around that you’ve never used.  Items that, by using them, will create more space in your home and save you money.  For example:

1. Use those gift cards and certificates you received over the past year.  It’s a great way to get what you want or need without spending money.  You can even stretch out their value through end-of-season sales.  Just be sure to check the expiry date before using them.

2. Those decorative candles?  They were meant to be lit and to burn out, so use them before you buy new ones.

3. Check your books and magazines.  There’s always one you haven’t read.  Consider cancelling subscriptions for any magazines you don’t read regularly, and get rid of any items you aren’t going to read.

4. Take an inventory of the food you have and think about ways to use it.  Got pasta and tomato sauce?  Add meat and cheese to your grocery list and make lasagna.  Even your freezer is likely to have several items that you can prepare.  This will save you money and reduce clutter in your cupboards and fridge.

5. Why rent when you can catch up on movies you’ve collected, or programs you’ve recorded?  When done, take the movies you don’t need to keep and donate them, or give them to a friend.

6. Built up a lot of points on your merchant loyalty cards for air travel, products or services?  Now is the time to redeem them.

7. You probably have more beauty supplies than you realize.  It’s time to take stock and start using them.  This is also a great way to clear out products that are past their expiry date.  If you have items you don’t plan to use, like shampoo, drop them off at your local women’s shelter.

8. Have a lot of loose change around your house?  Gather it up and use it.  You can roll it up and put it in the bank or divide it up and give it to your kids as lunch money.

9. Instead of a new hobby or craft, revisit one that you set aside. You’ll save money on supplies.

Remember, when it comes to excess or unused items around your home, everything old is new again.  For example, consider cutting up old towels to make new cleaning cloths. And consider giving your extra or unused linen and kitchen supplies to someone who’s just purchased a new home or rented an apartment.   .

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Closet Questions – Should it Stay or Go?

Stumped as to what to keep and what to get rid of? Try asking yourself these questions to help you define what should be in your closet:

1. Do I love it and feel good when I wear it?
2. Does it flatter my figure or did I just buy it because it was on sale, it fit me, I was depressed, I was celebrating or it’s the latest trend?
3. Am I really going to get it altered or repaired?
4. Is it a classic piece of clothing that I can wear again and again or is it actually just memorabilia with sentimental attachment?
5. When was the last time I wore it?
6. How many other articles of clothing does it go with?
7. Can I wear it through many seasons?
8. Does it reflect who I am now and who I would like to be?
9. How may duplicates do I have in my closet?

Have some fun and invite friends and family over to have first pick of clothes that you don’t want anymore. They can also give you an honest answer as to whether something should stay or go.

By asking yourself these questions you will have an easier time navigating your closet, finding what you want to wear and getting to where you are going faster and more self assured.
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Closet Questions – Should it Stay or Go?

>Stumped as to what to keep and what to get rid of? Try asking yourself these questions to help you define what should be in your closet:

1. Do I love it and feel good when I wear it? We want to feel good and empowered when we leave the house in the morning for work or head out for our leisure activities. We should be comfortable and confident.
2. Does it flatter my figure or did I just buy it because it was on sale, it fit me, I was depressed, I was celebrating or it’s the latest trend? We have to know our bodies and what really looks good on us. Forcing a trend on an unsuitable figure is just not attractive.
3. Am I really going to get it altered or repaired? Many times we think we will get around to making the alteration and it just doesn’t happen. If we so decide to take it to a professional there is still the risk that some alterations just won’t work. Simple things like hemming or buttons will, but when we’re talking full makeovers there is a bit of a gamble of paying the money for something that still may not look right and is wearable in the end.
4. Is it a classic piece of clothing that I can wear again and again or is it actually just memorabilia with sentimental attachment? Often we hang on to our expensive classic pieces long afterward everyone has stopped wearing them. We also have the tendency to keep things related to special occasions. Our closets are prime real estate for the clothing we wear everyday. Memorabilia should be stored elsewhere or in a keepsake box.
5. When was the last time I wore it? Am I currently wearing it and when will I wear it in the future? If it has been hanging around and the only thing that has touched it is a layer of dust let it go.
6. How many other articles of clothing does it go with? One article of clothing should be purchased knowing it is flexible within your wardrobe and can go with several things.
7. Can I wear it through many seasons? Buy items you can wear for the majority of the year.
8. Does it reflect who I am now and who I would like to be? We grow both professionally and personally throughout our lives. Make sure you are not stuck in the past and that your wardrobe has grown with you.
9. How may duplicates do I have in my closet? Make an inventory of how many pairs of jeans, black pants, white t-shirts or sweatshirts you have that you no longer wear? When there are too many of one item, you will only wear your favorites anyway. Do yourself a favor and just get rid of extras to make more space for the ones you do enjoy and wear frequently.

Have some fun and invite friends and family over to have first pick of clothes that you don’t want anymore. They can also give you an honest answer as to whether something should stay or go.

By asking yourself these questions you will have an easier time navigating your closet, finding what you want to wear and getting to where you are going faster and more self assured.

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