Getting Kids Organized For School

“Getting organized” is more than eliminating clutter and creating neat storage systems. One of the most important areas of organizing is task management. It’s never too early (or too late) to teach kids how to get and stay organized with schoolwork. The skills they learn now will carry over into high school, college, and ultimately, their careers and home management as adults.

Establish a great homework routine. With your child, determine the best time for daily school work and stick with it. For some kids, it will be right after school. Others may need some downtime to play, and then it’s time to hit the books. The most important thing is to stick to the schedule so your child knows what’s expected.

Set up the space. Have a designated study area, such as the kitchen table. But for unique assignments, allow for some flexibility such as moving to a rocking chair for reading chapter books. Create a school supply box and keep it well stocked with supplies (paper, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, ruler, sticky notes, calculator, etc.) so kids don’t have an excuse to get up.

Make sure you know what’s going on at school. Instruct children to unload their backpacks as soon as they come home. Have them hang up their bags in a designated area (try a coat rack, pegs on the wall, or a wicker laundry basket near the front door). This allows for easy access the next day. They should bring homework to the designated study area. Check in each day so you’re aware of their workload and take special care when they seem overwhelmed.

Encourage the use of lists and planners. The older kids get, the more homework and activities they’ll have. Teach them to manage their tasks with the use of simple lists or a planner/calendar of some sort. Office supply stores sell ones with cute kid-friendly designs, or use computer lists (or even smartphones) for techie kids. When they learn of upcoming assignments, tests, or events, they should write them down in their planners.

Encourage color coding. Color affects our mood and memory. Let kids pick the colors of their folders and notebooks to correspond to different classes. If green reminds them of science, then they’ll know instantly to grab the green notebook when looking for their science notes.

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Super-Quick, Feel-Good, Get-Organized-Now Tips

Take these small and easy steps to make your home look good. You’ll love how it feels! Then, let the momentum carry you to try larger organizing projects.

Make your bed — first thing — every day. Start your day on the right foot, and you’re sure to continue putting things in their proper spots all day.

Clean your kitchen sink. Sprinkle baking soda and lemon juice, and scrub with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse and dry. Polish the faucet to a shine. Now, throughout the day, immediately put dirty dishes in the dishwasher or wash them by hand so you can continue to admire your sparkly sink!

Assess your cups and bowls. How many mugs and cups do you really need? Pull them all out of the cupboard, pick your top 20, and donate the rest. You’ll never miss them. Do the same with your  Tupperware. Match the lids with bottoms and toss anything missing its mate.

Create an errand box. Put a crate or basket by the front door. Deposit into it anything needing to go out.  You can add items that need to be returned to stores, library books and movies ready for return, and borrowed items that need to find their rightful owners. Take the box with you each morning and see what you can get rid of that day.

Give your purse or bag a makeover. Dump everything out, and toss expired coupons, old receipts, scraps of paper, and used tissues. Then, use a small see-through pouch or zip-top bag to hold personal items (lip balm, comb, bandages, dental floss, etc.) Keep an envelope for current coupons and receipts. And keep your wallet, check- book, and keys in a handy, easy-to-reach spot.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Being Your Best Time Master

It is not enough if you are busy. The question is, “What are you busy about?”

— Henry David Thoreau

 

With our to-do lists ever-growing, assigning tasks to our calendars can be a simple way to manage time and reduce stress. The simple act of writing down the things we need to do releases us from having to remember it all “upstairs.” Below are some tips to help you successfully manage your tasks and calendar.

• Be realistic about how long each task will take.

• Learn to say “no.”

• Delegate: when you authorize others to take over some of your activities, you free yourself to focus on where you can make your best contribution.

• For those little things that take only a minute or two (such as putting away your dirty dishes or signing a permission slip), sometimes it’s best to just do them right away.

• If the task will take 15 minutes or more, choose a specific time in which to do it. Schedule an appointment with yourself. You may need to communicate to your coworkers or family that you are unavailable due to scheduled work.

• Without a place to “assign" tasks, you'll always be in a reactive mode. Use your calendar diligently. Do things on your time, when you are ready. You are in command.

• Don’t double-book yourself or plan your appointments too close together. Planning for delays will keep you calm and allow you to enjoy the current moment. Forget about multitasking for a while; simply enjoy the pleasures of each task you do.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

What does it mean to be a Contained Home Organizer?

We all LOVE the Container Store! Did you know we were selected to be Contained Home Professional Organizers? What are some of the benefits to you? 

 

Product Knowledge

We have knowledge of literally hundreds and hundreds of organizing products and solutions for them.  Almost any organizing dilemma can be solved by using the right product for the situation.  We can cut down on all the times you may buy something and bring it home and find out it is the wrong size or just doesn't work for the area. The sheer quantities of products out there can be overwhelming to most people.  We are able to quickly focus on the right tool for the right area.  

Closet Design

We also provide closet design services in addition to storage solutions.  What this means for you the client is we are able to solve the problem of your organizing dilemma in all areas.  When we come out and do a consultation we are always asking ourselves, "What is causing the organizing problem in this area? Is it too much stuff for the space?  Not efficient use of hanging space? Not enough shelving? Not the right containers?" In order to achieve the best results all areas need to be tackled.  We can design a closet that gives you the hanging space you need, the shoe space for all your shoes and then finish it all off with fabulous containers. 

For more information on the program, click here or email us at julie@theorganizingpro.com

Perfect Planning

Perfect vacations rarely happen without some thoughtful planning. While not always as exciting as a spur-of-the-moment getaway, a well-thought-out trip may be less likely to deliver stress and frustration. To start the vacation planning process, compile all your trip details in a 3-ring binder or a spiral notebook plus a 2-pocket folder. Whether you’re in the early planning stages or just days away from your trip, gather these items so they’re at your fingertips when you need them.

holidaytravel

• your travel agent’s phone number and email address
• airline or train reservation information, plus phone numbers and website addresses (to check in online or
verify on-time status)
• car rental agency phone numbers, coupons, and confirmation numbers
• hotel brochures, phone and confirmation numbers
• maps of the area you’re traveling to, as well as maps and directions to help you get there
• brochures of interesting places to visit on the way or upon arrival at your destination (museums, state parks, theme parks, historic sites, etc.)
• complete itinerary of your trip

Also, to keep your home tidy in the days or weeks leading up to the trip, dedicate one central location (such as a laundry basket tucked away in a closet or a suitcase stashed in the laundry room) for take-along items. As you encounter things that must be packed (such as travel books and beach towels), toss them in and forget about them until packing day.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

 

Time For Stress-Free Holidays

Do you look forward to the holidays, or do you panic with the thought of all you have to do? Getting organized is the key to managing a fantastic, stress-free season. Thoughtful planning, deliberate delegation, focusing on simplicity, and slowing down to enjoy family and friends will help you survive — and actually enjoy — the upcoming weeks.

Make a list: Start a running list of “to do’s” that need to be completed before the holidays. If you break your large projects into smaller tasks, it will make things seem more manageable.

Delegate: Stop trying to do everything yourself. Assign each task from the list you created to a specific family member. Then, ask yourself, “Where is it important that I spend my time? How do I want to spend my time?” Delete or delegate everything else. For example, get someone else to clean the house or let the deli do the cooking. This doesn’t have to be expensive; instead of a fancy turkey dinner, plan an affordable sandwich buffet or make-your-own pizza party. Or, invite guests to each bring their favorite dishes for a potluck.

Say “no” sometimes: It’s okay to say “no.” Company parties, family get-togethers, all-day shopping excursions, cookie bakes — they’ll zap your energy fast! Is it time for a reality check on your priorities? Let your involvement in activities be aligned with your goals, not by the open slots of your schedule.

Schedule time for you: Book personal time first. If you fail to schedule the time initially, it won't be there later! Block off an afternoon, an hour, or even ten minutes to enjoy what energizes you and lifts your spirits this holiday season.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Home Safe Home

Take these simple precautions to keep your home safe while you’re away:



• Don’t put out the “we’re not home” sign — install timers on lights and a radio or television so your home looks and sounds lived in.

• Let trusted neighbors know how long you’ll be gone and how to reach you in an emergency. Ask them to keep a watchful eye on your place. Have them collect your mail and newspapers, or suspend delivery until you return. Perhaps they could park their cars in your driveway occasionally. In snowy climates, ask them to shovel your walk and driveway.

Remove home address and phone numbers from your luggage tags and add your cell-phone number instead, in case an unscrupulous baggage handler gets any shady ideas.

Lock up and hide your valuables. Keep some shades partially closed to keep expensive items (such as your big-screen TV) out of view. (But don’t completely close all window coverings, or it will be obvious that no one is home.)

• Set the thermostat to an energy-saving level. Unplug most appliances to save electricity.

Remove all perishable items from your refrigerator, and take out the trash so you don’t return to unpleasant odors.

• It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to lock all doors and windows. If you leave a vehicle in the driveway, be sure to remove any garage door openers.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Kids and Consumerism

Consumerism strikes at a young age. Advertising targeted at children is hard-hitting and hard to resist. It’s no wonder that 93 percent of American teenage girls reported that store-shopping is their favorite activity. Here are some tips to teach savvy shopping and money habits to the kids in your life.

• Teach money management skills with allowances starting at an early age. Show how money should be responsibly spent, saved, and shared.

• Establish a “new thing in, old thing out” system where some purging takes place before buying new clothes, toys, and gadgets. Limit exposure to media so there’s less temptation.

• Help high schoolers understand credit cards and how they work. Calculate interest rates so they understand what they’re really paying in the end.

• Teach kids to shop with a list and stick to it to avoid impulse purchasing. Know that kids are looking to adults for spending guidelines. If you have good habits, they will, too.

• Set up a children’s savings account. Encourage kids to set aside a percentage of their money to save for college, a car, or other long-term purchases.

• Help them find a charity that touches their hearts and encourage frequent generosity.

• Encourage community involvement, providing a healthy outlet for time and a better understanding of others and their lifestyles.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Easy as 1-2-3: Clutter Control for Kids

Managing the mess that kids make can be overwhelming sometimes. But by adding some simple routines and expectations, your household will function like clockwork!

Make organizing a part of each day. Let kids know that they need to be responsible for their own possessions. Teach children how to pick up after themselves. It’s important to show kids that every item they own has a “home” where it needs to return when they’re done using it. Be consistent.

Establish simple routines that are age-specific. Younger children will need more direction and simpler expectations than pre-teens and teenagers. For example, saying “Clean up your room” is overwhelming to a kindergartner. Instead, try “Please put the Legos in the shoebox and your books on the bookshelf.” Some tasks that children under five can do:

• put dirty laundry in the hamper
• clean up toys (with assistance) at the end of the day

Kids over five should also be able to:

• make their beds every day
• clean up toys throughout the day
• select their clothing for the next day
• take schoolwork out of their book bags each day

As they grow, add more responsibilities. You are giving them skills and confidence to tackle more challenging projects in the coming years. And, most important, praise your children frequently for their efforts.

Don't forget that children of all ages need routines and schedules, as well as downtime.

• Set out the breakfast dishes each evening so you have a few extra minutes to languish over breakfast treats and conversation with your family in the morning. Also, gather bookbags and double check that permission slips, sports equipment, and lunch money are ready to go. Lay out tomorrow’s clothing to avoid hassles.

• Throughout the year, maintain routines for bedtime, mealtime, chores, etc. Allow some flexibility to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

• Slow down and unplug to enjoy and appreciate life. Turn off the TV and computer and head outside to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Set aside some special time — a weekend morning is great — to cuddle on the couch and talk about the week’s events.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Artwork Overload

Wondering what to do with the wonderful compilation of kids’ art? Caregivers should learn that they don’t have to save every single project made by a child. Here are a few great ideas to keep the memories but save some space.

Post artwork temporarily to give the family a chance to admire it. To create a fancy refrigerator display, purchase a few 8x10 and 5x7 cardboard mattes. Glue plastic sleeves behind them to hold kids’ pictures, and attach magnets so they stick to the fridge. You can easily remove and rotate art as new creations arrive. Or dedicate a couple standard wall frames to hold kids’ artwork, and change out old art as new masterpieces arrive.

As items are rotated out, store them in a drawer or even an unused pizza box. At year’s end, help kids select their top ten favorites to save. Then, take photos or videotape of three-dimensional art and toss the rest.

Start an Art of the Month Club. Have kids select one piece of artwork each month to give to family and friends. (Grandparents love this idea!)

As new artwork enters your home, ask yourself: “Is this different than other works we’ve already saved?” “Does it give me a glimpse into my child’s uniqueness?” “Does it make me laugh or cry?” Keep only those that really make an impact. Let the rest go so you can appreciate the best.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Always Organized...Tips for Closets of All Kinds

Allow only pressed, clean, ready-to-wear clothes in your closet. If an item needs to be mended, cleaned, or ironed, it should not be in your closet. Keep your ironing or mending pile in a convenient spot so that you can tackle it while watching TV or talking on the phone.  

Place hooks on the back of the closet door to hang bathrobes, belts, or ties, or to lay out your next day’s wardrobe.

Be sure to use the entire closet space, including the vertical space under hanging clothes. For instance, underneath short-hanging garments, place a low trunk full of sweaters. A set of plastic drawers or a simple wooden dresser can hold lingerie, swimsuits, and socks.

It’s helpful to standardize your hangers. It doesn’t matter what type you prefer, just make them consistent and always hang clothes in the same direction. This will help reduce visual clutter and allow you to review your clothes at a glance. Wooden, padded, plastic tube, or velvet "huggable" hangers, rather than cheap wire ones, will keep your clothing in top-notch shape and avoid tangles. Get rid of extra hangers, which just take up space. See if your dry cleaner can recycle your unneeded wire hangers.


For shoes, consider clear plastic shoeboxes, which keep shoes dust-free and easily viewed. Or use over-the-door shoe bags or a neat shoe rack on the floor.

Building closet management into your weekly routine will reduce time and stress in your daily quest for determining what to wear. It will also allow you to make the most of your wardrobe and feel great about getting maximum use out of clothes you already own. This project may seem daunting, but its rewards are many! If you’re stuck, consider enlisting a trusted friend or The Organizing Pro to help you with the process, especially the clutter-clearing steps!

© 2016 Articles on Demand™
 

Purposeful Parenting

It’s a great time to teach a child to get organized! Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, friend, or neighbor, the skills you share will remain with kids for a lifetime. Here are some tips that can be used with your favorite kids of all ages.

• Make organizing a part of each day. It’s important to teach kids that every item they own has a “home”  where it needs to return when they’re done using it. Let kids know that they need to be responsible for their own possessions. Establish simple routines like making their own beds and keeping the floor clear. Have a ten-minute clean-up every night before bedtime.

• Sort and containerize. Teach kids to group similar items together, then find appropriate-sized containers that hold them. With colorful markers, write the name of what’s inside. This makes it easy for retrieval, and, even more importantly, for clean-up! For kids who can’t yet read, glue photos or drawings of the objects on the front of the containers.

• Help them downsize. Often, the sheer volume of “stuff” in a kid’s life — toys, sporting equipment, books, collections, clothes — is overwhelming. Help kids downsize every six months by donating seldom-used toys and outgrown clothing. Establish a “new toy in, old toy out” system where some purging takes place before shopping. Talk to them about how it feels — and how important it is — to donate to local charities.

• Establish a great homework routine. Use an “in” and “out” box system for school papers that need to be seen by caregivers. Have a designated study area. Keep it well-stocked with supplies so kids don’t have an excuse to leave the area. Caregivers should learn that they don’t have to save every single project made by the child. Post them temporarily, then take them down and store in a drawer, tote, or even an unused pizza box. At year’s end, help kids select their “Top 10” favorite to save. PlumPrint.com has some wonderful products where they make custom books out of your child's projects and artwork.

And if you're overwhelmed or desire more tips, just contact us anytime!

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Getting Your Clothing in Order: A Step-By-Step Guide to a Perfect Closet

When preparing for the perfect closet, the goal is to come up with a system that will allow you to maintain it with minimal effort, while maximizing your space, time, and wardrobe. And remember that the closet works in conjunction with other storage spaces as well — you'll want to also cull through clothing in your dresser(s) during this process, as well as any other clothing stored under the bed or elsewhere in your home.

1. Do the laundry. This might sound like a strange place to start, but make sure that any dirty clothing is laundered before you begin the process so you can see everything you have.

2. Once all your clothing is rounded up, start sorting. Pull out everything from the closet and dressers, finding logical categories. Put casual clothing in one area on the bed or floor by category (t-shirts, tanks, yoga wear, shorts, pajamas, etc.) and work or dressier clothing in another (skirts, dresses, dressy pants, button-downs, sweaters, jackets). Also group together shoes, belts, scarves, and other accessories. Even socks, bras, camis, and underwear need to be sorted.

3. Once everything is sorted into categories, now is the time to pare down. Once you have everything sorted, you may discover that you own multiples of the same item. How many black t-shirts do you really need? This is your chance to get rid of those items that don’t fit, are out of style, or are not practical. Remember, it’s important to let your clothing have a little breathing room to keep it wrinkle-free, as well as to allow you to easily view your closet’s contents.  Toss out anything stained, ripped, or out of shape. Did you know that most people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time? Donate or consign items that don't flatter your figure or coloring. If you haven't worn it in the past 12 months, let someone else enjoy it!

4. Now, figure out where everything is going to "live" and assign a "home." Consider the storage spaces in your bedroom... both your closet and dresser(s) will come into play. Designate a shelf, section of rod, or drawer for each category of clothing. There is no single "right" way to do this, but it will be helpful to separate your closet by item type, then group similar items by color. Button-down shirts, dress pants, blazers, dresses, skirts, etc. should all be batched together so you can quickly see and assess your options when you look in your closet. Dressers are a good option for your folded casual clothing, such as t-shirts and yoga wear, as are shelves in your closet.  And where will off-season clothing go? Only keep your “A" team or current clothes in your main closet and dresser. Shift seasonal clothes, maternity, and “other size" items to another storage space, such as under your bed. Many people can reduce the amount of clothing in their closet by half if they follow this guideline.

5. Reconfigure your closet if necessary. If the closet only has one rod across the top, you may want to consider redesigning your closet for maximum space efficiency. Consider simple, inexpensive modifications such as adding a double hang closet rod to double your hanging space. You may also be able to adjust your shelves and rods to better accommodate your space needs. Be sure to use the entire closet space, including the vertical space under hanging clothes. For instance, underneath short-hanging garments, place a low trunk full of sweaters. A set of plastic drawers or a simple wooden dresser could hold lingerie, swimsuits, and socks. Really want to make over your closet? Give it a clean, fresh coat of light-colored paint. This reflects the light and gives you a solid neutral background to view your clothing against. Give the closet a good vacuuming and dusting, too.

6. Find storage containers that are sturdy and sized appropriately. Use containers you already own or shop for new ones at stores like Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, or The Container Store. Sweaters, t-shirts, and sweatshirts line up nicely on shelves with the help of vertical shelf dividers or when placed in clear plastic boxes or hanging canvas shelves. Accessories such as purses, scarves, and belts can be placed in clear boxes or attractive wicker baskets on open shelves.

7. Return clothing to the closet. Organize your clothing to work with your lifestyle. Section garments by type, then by color, so you can always easily see what you have. Hang pants, jackets, button-front shirts, dresses, and skirts. T-shirts, pajamas, sweaters, yoga wear and underthings should be folded and put in dresser drawers, on shelves, or in bins. Don’t put matching tops and bottoms together, since this stops you from seeing other ways to combine them. Arrange clothes so those you wear most often are nearest the front of the closet.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™

Clearing Closet Clutter without Going Crazy

Organizing a closet is one of the most satisfying clean-up projects you can tackle. But without a little planning, its sheer enormity can leave you with more chaos than before you started. Try these tips to clear the clutter, leaving you with only the things you really use.

Pick one closet to start. Make sure you have space in that room to spread everything out. (A bed works great for this.) You’ll be taking out every (yes, EVERY) item in that closet. For each item, ask whether you’ve used it/worn it in the past year. If not, seriously consider getting rid of it. Knowing that we wear only about 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time will help you let go. Try to touch things only once while going through this process — make a decision then and there, rather than putting items aside to “decide later.”

Items that you are removing can go in one of four boxes: a trash box (for stuff headed straight to the dump), a repairs box (for items that need repairing), a recycling box (for things that can be recycled, sold or given away), and a transit box (for things that belong in another area of the home). If you have trouble parting with some items, put them in a box, label the box with a date six months from now, and store it out of sight. If you haven't gone into the box by the time the date rolls around, toss or donate it without opening it.

• The hard part is now complete! Now comes the fun of rearranging, organizing, and storing the remaining items.

© 2016 Articles on Demand™


Ready, Set, Refresh!


Julie Bertram Quoted in Charlotte Observer


Our own Julie Bertram contributed recently to an article in the Home and Design section of The Charlotte Observer. Check out page 15 to read the article and get some great tips on how to get your home organized this year!

Click here to read the article in an online flipbook or click here to read in a PDF.

 

Dreaming about Elfa Shelving Systems?

Get organized for the holidays and SAVE!  

 

Don't miss this INCREDIBLE DEAL! If you have been dreaming about the Elfa shelving/closet system, now is your chance to take advantage of HUGE savings and be organized for the holidays!
 
The Organizing Pros have recently been named official partners of The Container Store's The Contained Home Program. Through this affiliation, we have an exclusive offer for our friends and family - 40% off Elfa Systems and 30% off installation, but only until Sunday, November 22, 2015.

How can you take advantage? Just email julie@theorganizingpro.com or call 704-517-7350 to get your unique coupon code.

But HURRY, the coupons are limited, and we will run out. You have until December 23, 2015 to have the system installed, but it must be purchased by November 22, 2015. To see more incredible Elfa shelving systems visit: http://www.containerstore.com/elfa/index.htm 



 
 












Recipe Relief

Are your cookbooks a recipe for disaster? Take control with these simple tips.

Evaluate and pare down: Gather all your cookbooks in one spot. You'll recognize your favorites, so set those aside. Then, consider donating any books unfamiliar or unused for the past year.
 
Find a central location: Keep all cookbooks and recipes in one area for easy access and awareness. Organize in a way that makes sense to you, such as by author, culinary region, or type of food (vegetarian, soups, breakfast, etc.)
 
Create a recipe binder: Set up a three-ring binder for your recipe clippings. Create sections (such as main course, veggies, salads, desserts) with tab dividers. Glue recipes on both sides of heavy 8-1/2 x 11 paper, and then slip the papers into clear plastic page protector sleeves.
 
Organize clippings: It's tempting to clip every great recipe you see in magazines. If you do, create a "holding" envelope where recipes must past your taste test before being added to your recipe binder. Remember the "in/out" rule: Each time you add a recipe to your book, remove an old one (or two) that is no longer a favorite.
 
© 2011 Articles on Demand™

In Search of Sanity by Julie Hall (The Estate Lady)

We are happy to share a blog post written by our friend, Julie Hall, in this month's blog!

I have a theory that people subconsciously believe their stuff will anchor them to this world.  They fill their homes with "treasures" as a sign of success; they "made it" in this life, in contrast to their parents who didn't have much during the Depression.  They amass things out of fear, fear they will have to go without.  They may hold on to stuff out of guilt.  Finally, they may feel they are doing their children a favor by leaving them so many "valuable" things.

At some point, all this stuff becomes a proverbial monkey on someone's back.  Someone will pull their hair out and cling to sanity trying to understand the estate settlement process.

I find it so interesting that people spend a lifetime collecting stuff, buying stuff, inheriting stuff, fighting over it, displaying it, talking about it ... but they rarely make a plan for it.

Collections are one example.  Everybody collects something.  It's exciting when you find a special piece you've been seeking for years. When the word gets out that you collect cats, suddenly everyone buys you cats.  Metal, porcelain, glass, pottery ... it doesn't matter.  You get tons of cats whether you want them or not.  Next thing you know, you have 200 cats!

Let us not forget that we inherit items along the way, tripling (or more) what we already have.  Soon, our homes are bursting at the seams, our spouses are griping because of all the clutter, and our children let us know in no uncertain terms that they want nothing other than a ride to IKEA and cash, so they can buy what they want.

Every day, I am in multiple estates and I see all of our accumulations.  Some houses are neat and tidy, but the closets are  bursting at the seams!  Things are strategically hidden!  Other homes are eclectic and interesting from world travels.  Still others are hoarders, thinking every possession is valuable, and they will not listen to the reasoning of a professional such as myself.

I can say with 100% certainty that we're facing a major problem in this country as our seniors and boomers age and pass away.  Plain and simple, we just have too much stuff!  More is finding its' way to the market every day as our elders die, and the boomers are getting the message to simplify their lives and let go of things that bog them down.

This simplification process has brought to the marketplace experts:

  • professional organizers
  • senior move managers
  • stagers
  • estate experts

 

Look for professionals who are trained, credentialed, belong to professional organizations, and have solid experience.  Start whittling down the years of stuff you no longer use or need.  Open up your space and let light in the house.  All my clients who have taken the downsizing plunge are thrilled they did it, and are now free to enjoy their lives.

As we make our way through our parents' belongings, we also have our stuff to contend with at the same time.  It's important to think ahead and have some kind of plan in place, whether giving/gifting in advance, or selling everything and buying only what you really need.  You will love the feeling of lightness.

Learn to let go.  Keep the next generation in mind as you are doing so.  It's one of the best gifts you can give your family.

©2015 The Estate Lady®
Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

'Summer School': Prioritizing and Decision-Making

Teach your kids big concepts with small, task-oriented goals – like cleaning out their closets and backpacks over the summer. Add an incentive for a job well done to reinforce the behavior, and they will be well on their way to making the school year a successful one.

Task 1: Unpack the backpack - or the ‘pile’ from last year.

  1. Help them choose (or make) a keepsake box from Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or another craft store.
  2. Have your child sort items into SAVE, REUSE/DONATE and TRASH/RECYCLE piles.
  3. Store the SAVE pile in the keepsake box, dispose of items in the TRASH/RECYCLE pile accordingly and help your child decide whether or not to keep items in the REUSE/DONATE pile next year or if items should be passed on to younger siblings or school supply organizations. This includes the backpack.
  4. Make a list of replacement items for this year and do some early school shopping.
  5. Reward good behavior with a prize, activity or outing!



Task 2: Clean the closet.

Now that your child knows the basics of cleaning, sorting and organizing, have them take on a bigger task.  

  1. Create areas to KEEP, DONATE or TRASH. Explain that in this exercise, that “trash” differs from the backpack exercise in that these are articles of clothing or accessories that are in such poor condition they cannot be reused. 
  2. Try on and sort old clothes, shoes and accessories. Hang/Organize items in the KEEP pile. Take the DONATE pile to friends/family, a shelter or other organization. Dispose of clothing in the TRASH pile.
  3. Make a list of replacement items and go shopping.
  4. Reinforce good decision-making with a reward.