Organizing through a stressful time.
It’s been a stressful and concerning time for us lately. I’ve been feeling unnerved. We are all processing a collective anxiety. I received some timely advice this week; take a week or so to get grounded to get past the “flight/fight/freeze” moments and to make a list of what you need to thrive now. Press pause. With me, I bought an orange citrus candle last week in anticipation of staying home, I subscribed to my Jazzercise On-Demand classes offered to me free for 60 days courtesy of our class owner and program, I napped, and I’ve washed every pair of jeans and hoodies we own.
I struggle with not being creative right now. How ‘bout you? Does the fight/flight mode shut down your creativity? Being visible professionally feels odd, a bit weird. I was reluctant to post organizing projects on social media but I want to be useful and helpful. I’d like to inspire any of you who are thinking about the projects you wanted to tackle but didn’t have the time nor the headspace prior to this shelter-in-place situation. So I’ll share more tips and how-to’s every few days on Facebook. I would love to continue to help and feel useful while we all navigate this new normal. Check out the videos and past albums in the meantime. I am also available for modified organizing sessions virtually. https://www.facebook.com/RoomSolutionsbyPaula/
Why it makes sense to declutter!
Feeling a bit fuzzy in the head, unable to concentrate on the job at hand? It may not be the Monday morning blues getting you down but may be connected to how in control of your work and home you believe yourself to be.
When people think of clutter impacting an individual’s life, they immediately think of an extreme situation, but that isn’t really the case for most individuals according to the Nat’l Assn of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). In my experience, people have different levels of tolerance for disorganization in their lives, and what is acceptable for one person may be intolerable for another.
A disorganized home might be defined by some as clutter, or by others as a home that needs repair or work, or for others, simply cleaning. But for most, it centers on the functionality of a home – how it is organized and works for the individual or family living there. No matter how it is defined, it is a scenario that interferes with a person’s ability to function and feel in control of their surroundings and of their day-to-day lives.
HOW TO PLAN AND ENJOY AN ORGANIZED GRAD PARTY
- Have the food match the graduate. I focus on the graduate not what people would think.
- Stick to your budget. This party doesn’t need to break the family bank. Figure out where you want your money to go and focus on that. Don’t get distracted by details that add to the budget but do not add to the experience.
- Keep the decorations simple. Look at what you already have, like unused photo frames.
- You aren’t expected to serve a full meal. Most people are stopping for 60 minutes or less. But if you do make sure your guests know this.
- Ask for help so you can mingle and enjoy your child’s party too. Ask a friend to cut the cake/serve punch.
- Guest Book: I love the “KEYS TO SUCCESS” tags each guest can write on. If not buy a fun children’s journal and have people sign that. Signed butcher paper using markers is fun. These are all easy to store in a memory box.
- ENJOY THE DAY! This goes back to all of my points. Keep it simple and focus on the graduate. Don’t try to do it all by yourself, and most of all, don’t stress yourself financially. Your child won’t care… he/she will see the love you put into the party. Enjoy, Paula
Back to school: A parent/grandparents’ guide to be ready
Fall comes with new or old routines, school supplies to get, and a growing to do list for parents. This is a time of excitement for things to come – including new outfits, haircuts, and the all too familiar- dread of rushed mornings! Let’s make this the year of a seamless start. Here are eight tips to get a head start and ease you into the new school year:
DON’T FORGET THE HAIRCUTS
It’s a rule to get a haircut before school starts, right? Of course not, but your child will thank you. If you make your appointment before the last minute rush, your stylist will thank you as well!
GATHER SCHOOL SUPPLIES
If you have items from the previous year don’t forget to check what you already have to save you from buying multiples. Did you store them or create a supply station last year? It’s not too late. Make a game and send the entire family on a scavenger hunt for supplies hiding in the house (HINT: look inside birthday goodie bags too).
CREATE A HOMEWORK STATION
Help your student to stay focused by having a space for them to go with supplies they will need (paper, pencil, calculator etc.) readily available for quick, easy access.
EDIT THE ARTWORK MEMORIES FROM LAST YEAR
This is one of my favorite organizing tips I give to families I work with. Do you have an entire box or drawer full of papers and artwork from the previous year? Most families do. Get with your child and go through the memories. Decide what items you will keep and what items you will share with friends or family. Family members will love to get these, even as gifts.
GET YOUR FILE BOX READY
If you have ever been to registration, you know you walk out with an arm full of papers only to return home not knowing what in the world to do with all of it. No more worries, I have a solution for you! Start an active file box to keep the papers you need regular access to. An active file box (I call this a TICKLER FILE as it tickles your brain into remembering), in the kitchen to keep papers and information (schedules, teacher emails and phone numbers) handy. I always clear out the previous year before the new year starts to be prepared. I’ve made many a mom these priceless files near their Command center.
CREATE AN EVENING ROUTINE
Do your kids come home from school, throw their things everywhere, then sprint to the kitchen like they have not eaten in days? Mine did! I needed something to keep them on track with what is expected of them since they seemed to lose all sense of reality after stepping one foot out of the school doors.
This back to school afternoon/evening routine0checklist shows everyone what needs to be accomplished each night so we are prepared for the next day. You can put it in a frame and use a dry erase marker for continuous use. I will post other charts soon.
If your child packs a lunch for school, begin by purchasing those lunchbox items and storing them close together for easy to grab access. The easier it is to find, the more efficient your little one can be to pack their own! Labels in the fridge or pantry are ok to use.
GET BACK INTO A ROUTINE SLEEPING PATTERN
I saved the best for last… especially if you have teenagers! I myself had 2 growing boys who want to stay up late then sleep all day so the first several mornings of school are a little rough. If you can, start preparing a week prior to school to get a more routine sleep and wake schedule. The teachers will thank you for this as well!
Fall Instatip: SHOES
Freshen up summer shoes with a quick wipe. Your closet will appreciate it! Another way to freshen: unused “too” perfumey soaps/candles/sachets you don’t like – place near your shoes; fabric softener too!
Seasonal Clothes Transitions
This is a transitional weather month; dressing for both warmer and chillier weather, we can forget what we wore when we place a garment back in our closet. If you swap out and bag up your clothes by season or just move them around and keep sweaters in your closet, this may be helpful! How will I remember what sweaters to dry clean in a month? See the 3 hangers with green dots…the heads have been turned to remind myself I’ve worn them while its still chilly. Then I remember what I’ve worn & what is clean before putting them away for next year. Saves $$ on guessing about dry-cleaning bills, not to mention ‘lil nibbles on your woolens.
Tip to Winterize the Outside of Your Home
- Replace summer blooms with fall mums/annual plants.
- Cover perennial beds with two inches of mulch.
- Turn vegetables under along with compost material.
- Fertilize the lawn.
- Scrub away mildew on the deck, porch, and siding.
- Clean, drain, cover, and winterize the pool.
- Remove lawnmower oil and spark plugs and perform routine maintenance.
- Gas up and prepare your snow blower for winter.
- Check your downspouts whenever you rake leaves.
- Clean out the gutters after most leaves have fallen.
Tip to Winterize the Inside of Your Home
- Vacuum refrigerator coils and heating vents before turning on the furnace for the season.
- Clean windowsills and screens, and repair or replace any that are torn or broken.
- Check for drafts around doors and windows, and add door sweeps or window sealant as needed.
- Have your chimney and furnace inspected.
- Change the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide detector on the day you change the clocks.
College Move Tips
As my son spends his last week in Tucson before moving to Texas for grad school I ponder a lot over the last 5 years of his college life. With 5 move in/move out experiences, I’m sad I won’t be there to physically help him this time. Thought I’d compile a list of things for some parents who may be new to this experience or share a chuckle down memory lane (or just shake our heads…)
1. Take time-stamped pictures (video, too) of EVERY aspect of the condition of the rental (inside fridge, inside cabinets, under the kitchen sink, in the shower/tub, etc.) when they move in – while it’s empty. Document what isn’t working properly. Boy this came in handy when a landlord accused my son of a bent post on a back patio in which repairs would come out of the security deposit. I had a pic that we time-stamped and sent to her. Case closed!
2. NEVER assume that any apartment roommate will leave the apartment clean, undamaged, or turn in the keys on time if they are the last person out. And who will the security deposit go to? Currently, my son cannot track down his landlord??##!!!?
3. Get a written lease. (I know, sounds basic, but you’d be amazed at who will rent what to whom with no legal documentation, only to be disputed later. And your kid is almost always on the losing end.) Make sure the renter understands how much notice must be given when they want to move out, and how much notice the landlord must give them if the landlord wants them out.
4. Discuss what will happen when 1 roommate (let’s say an early graduate or someone who moves out in late spring 2 months earlier than lease is up)…Do you know how many kids cover this rent for “their friend”???
5. Find out ahead of time when trash & recycling is collected and where and when it should be left. What the city/town will take and what they won’t (really important for unpacking at move-in time and discarding at move-out time.) This was so stressful when garbage cans were not taken to curb 2 weeks in a row and large broken items not tossed by a roommate and his parents. My son had to deal with this clean-up or should I say,… me.
6. IKEA stuff can be your best and worst friend. It’s cheap and serves multiple functions. It also comes into the space in boxes and usually can’t leave the same way. And those boxes of processed particle board are incredibly heavy to carry up and down the stairs. Way heavier than most regular furniture. It’s almost impossible to take apart without damaging it and making it useful in another space (unless it’s the really higher-end product.)
7. Many college campuses have list-serves/Facebook selling sites/online clearing houses for outgoing students to sell furniture cheap or give it away free to current students. It’s a great way for them to save money, get rid of stuff they won’t need, and re-purpose stuff so they don’t have to buy new (and easier than dealing with Craigslist.)
8. Don’t buy cheap pots & pans. Buy the better stuff and buy less. They usually only use one pot and one skillet. Max. Period.
9. Knives – see above. One paring knife, one larger knife. Period.
10. Not related to the actual move, but this just happened, so fill out a “delegate’ form with your mobile phone carrier so your child can go into a store and purchase a phone if they lose theirs.