School Organizing Tips for Your Kids

back to school

It’s Back to School and time to get your home and your family organized for a smooth start. Getting your children organized for school helps them feel in control of school life, decreases stress, and allows them more time for extracurricular activities. I have a list of ideas for you to incorporate into your home that will get you off to a great school year.

  • Set up a quiet area for your kids to do homework and make sure it is well stocked with school supplies. This first item is important because it provides a place where they can concentrate and stay focused.
  • Set up a school paper system. This is a system for keeping paperwork that does not need to be kept in the backpack. Use a desktop file box or an accordion file to hold handouts and graded schoolwork for each class. Create a file for each class and add additional files for sports and after school activities. Have your child clean out their backpack regularly and place loose paper in the appropriate file. This item will keep their backpack clutter free.
  • Organize the backpack – set up a system for traveling paperwork using a binder and folders, assign areas for school supplies, and personal items. Set aside time once a week to sort through the backpack.
  • Invest in a planner or calendar and teach your child how to use it. Keeping track of assignments, tests, due dates, and extracurricular activities assures your child will stay on top of things. Time management is an important lifelong skill that will be carried over into adulthood.
  • Organize the locker. Before each long holiday, ask your child to bring home their locker contents in a bag and then sort and purge items before they go back to school.
  • Create a Family Command Center. This is basically a landing pad for school paper that kids bring home. Place a basket or tray in a convenient spot to collect anything your child brings home for you to see, sign, or file. Set up a desktop file box near the paper tray and use it to file paperwork for reference. (Click here to learn about my Paper Piles workshop).
  • Create a Backpack Zone. When the kids get home, chaos happens fast! Designate a space to place backpacks, shoes, and jackets.

Pick and choose the organizing tips that fit your needs, incorporate a few tips or all of the above. It’s important to customize a system that will work for your family.

Uniquely Enhanced Spaces helps you manage the clutter and get organized so that you can get more done, find things when you need them, and feel good about your space. Diana Carlos is a professional organizer serving Lakewood, Long Beach, and surrounding areas in Los Angeles County and Orange County.

- Posted on September 3rd, 2016 in Blog

Sell Your home quicker: De-clutter For a Successful Sell

sell home

Investing in selling your home pays off when it sells! Whether it’s painting, repairing, or de-cluttering personal possessions, many sellers do not want to invest money to sell their home. However, if your home doesn’t sell for months you are faced with having to continue to make payments, pay for home maintenance, and possibly reduce the asking price. Here are 7 reasons why de-cluttering your home could prove to be a worthy investment in both time and money.

  1. Give buyers a great first impression. There is only one chance to make a first impression on a buyer and first impressions are key in selling a home quickly for its market value. Most buyers make up their mind within minutes of walking in the front door. For this reason, it is crucial that the home appear clean, neat, and clutter-free.
  2. Minimizing personal belongings. This is crucial to making buyers see the home through their eyes. If buyers see too much of your personal items, they feel like they are visiting your home instead of imagining themselves living in it.
  3. Let buyers see the home not your stuff. You want buyers to see the home and its assets not the stuff contained in the home.
  4. It’s all about space! Most buyers are looking for a home that is more spacious than the one they are living in. Even if your home is small, minimizing the amount of items in it will make it appear larger and will show potential buyers there is ample storage space.
  5. Get a jumpstart on packing and make moving day less stressful. Packing items you don’t need or use now will decrease the amount of packing you have to do when it’s time to move.
  6. Keep old clutter out of your new home. De-cluttering and packing ahead of time will assure that you will not take any clutter or unwanted items to your new home.
  7. Detach emotionally. Sorting, purging, and making decisions about your personal belongings will help you detach emotionally from the house. You will begin to focus on the items you treasure and are taking to your new home rather than focusing on the home you are leaving.

Uniquely Enhanced Spaces helps you manage the clutter and get organized so that you can get more done, find things when you need them, and feel good about your space. Diana Carlos is a professional organizer serving Lakewood, Long Beach, and surrounding areas in Los Angeles County and Orange County.

- Posted on August 2nd, 2016 in Blog

Messy vs. Disorganized

 disorganized

Is it messy or disorganized?

Believe it or not a messy space is not always a sign of disorganization. Sometimes it’s just messy. For many people, piles and messy spaces cause anxiety and overwhelm. An organized space brings them productivity and happiness. However, for some the mess does not interfere with productivity or happiness. So how do you tell whether someone is messy or disorganized? Let me use an example. Below I describe the characteristics of both a messy child and a disorganized child. Keep in mind this also applies to adults, just substitute in a work theme instead of school.

Messy…

  • Has a bedroom that looks like a disaster.
  • Knows where everything is and can find things in that mess when needed (most of the time).
  • Turns in school work on time.
  • Is prepared for tests and completes projects.
  • Earns good grades.
  • Despite the mess, your child is happy and performing well in school.

Disorganized…

  • Has a bedroom that looks like a disaster.
  • Has a difficult time finding things in their bedroom or backpack (most of the time).
  • Loses items and can never find them again (most of the time).
  • Is often in distress over not finding homework, school related items, or personal items.
  • Is suffering academically because homework and/or projects are not turned in on time or at all.
  • The mess surrounding your child may be causing stress and affecting school performance. (I’m not a therapist so please consult a professional if you think that stress is caused by something else).

Learning organizing skills benefits everyone, whether messy or disorganized. The important thing to realize is that the messy person in your life may not feel as badly about the mess as you do. The power of suggestion is strong and they will let you know when they’re ready to add organization to their life.

Uniquely Enhanced Spaces helps you manage the clutter and get organized so that you can get more done, find things when you need them, and feel good about your space. Diana Carlos is a professional organizer serving Lakewood, Long Beach, and surrounding areas in Los Angeles County and Orange County.

- Posted on March 17th, 2016 in Blog

What does clutter cost you?

cost

There is no doubt that clutter is expensive. The costs can come in the form of money, time, space, anxiety, and stress. Can you afford the cost of clutter? For most of us the answer is “NO”. You’ll be surprised at how clutter can affect your finances and your stress levels.

 Financial cost

Paying late fees because bills can’t be found or are forgotten about as they lay buried under paper piles
The kitchen is too cluttered to prepare meals so money is spent on ordering take out or going out to eat.
The same items are purchased over again because they can’t be found when needed.
There is no longer enough space in the home or garage to store your stuff, so you pay monthly fees for a storage unit to store the overflow.

Emotional cost

There is a feeling of embarrassment over the clutter in the home which makes it impossible for you to invite guests or host social gatherings.
Your home causes feelings of stress and anxiety because you are surrounded by clutter and there is nowhere for you to relax.
The clutter is causing resentment with your spouse/room mates because they don’t understand why you just can’t get organized.

Cost in time

Time is often wasted looking for items (keys, shoes, sunglasses, homework) because you can’t find them when you need them.
Time is often wasted cleaning around the clutter or rearranging it.
Accomplishing tasks can be difficult because it takes longer to get things done when the clutter is in the way. Time is money if this is affecting your job.

Making a commitment to reduce the clutter in your life can save you money, time, and stress. I have never had a client tell me they regretted de-cluttering and organizing their home. It is a big step to take and it will take time to meet your goals, but it is worth every bit of your time and energy. Remember, you should feel great about your home not overwhelmed by it.

Uniquely Enhanced Spaces helps you manage the clutter and get organized so that you can get more done, find things when you need them, and feel good about your space. Diana Carlos is a professional organizer serving Lakewood, Long Beach, and surrounding areas in Los Angeles County and Orange County.

- Posted on February 5th, 2016 in Blog

5 Tips for an Organized New Year

 new yearHappy New Year!

I like to think of the New Year as a time to start fresh. January is the month to decide what is truly important enough to make time for. Whether it’s spending more time with family, working out, buying a new car, or getting your home organized, take the time now to decide what you really want to get done in 2016. If one of your goals is to organize your home, I can definitely help you with that.

I have 5 tips that will help you get 2016 off to an organized start.

Manage your time!
A busy life filled with jobs, a family, a home to maintain, and the everyday demands we often face make is difficult to manage time. Starting the new year off with the right tools makes it easier to manage your day. Whether you use technology or paper planners is completely up to you. Just make sure you use the tools that feel most comfortable to you. If technology is not your thing don’t feel pressured to use apps or online resources. Purchase a new planner or find a great time management app and start using them immediately. You will in control of your time instead of it controlling you.

Conquer your paper piles!
Start the new year off without paper piles. Eliminating the paper piles is as simple as setting up a mail station in your home. This is a place to sort through you mail and make decisions as to what to do with it. Start by placing an in tray or basket in a convenient place in your home, preferably near the front door. This is where all incoming paper will land when it enters your home. Add other items to your mail station such as a recycle can, shredder, and trashcan. Having everything you need to sort and purge paper will make easier to get the job done.

Clean out your closets!
After the holidays we accumulate of lot of new stuff and then cram it into the closet with all the old stuff. Schedule some time (in your new planner) to sort through and decide what will stay in the space and what will leave. If you haven’t used an item in a year, you probably won’t use it again. It is so freeing to let go of clutter, it will be difficult at first but believe me it gets easier.

Organize your pantry!
An organized pantry will save you tons of money because you won’t spend money on duplicate purchases. It will save you in meal prep time because you will find what you need so much faster. Finally, your family will find what they need without having to ask you to find it (my favorite reason). Start by tossing out expired food and anything you know you will never use. Place like food items in the same space or in baskets to make finding them easy and quick. Invest in airtight containers for anything that goes stale, they not only extend shelf life but look attractive.

Clean out the medicine cabinet!
It has probably been awhile since you cleaned out the medicine cabinet. This is typically one of the most forgotten spaces in the home. Make sure to look at expiration dates and toss out all expired meds. You can check with the FDA for tips on what to do with expired medication. Also, take stock of your fist-aid supplies and re-order any prescriptions. Don’t forget to check any other locations where you store supplies and meds: an emergency kit, the car, or your purse.

 
 
Uniquely Enhanced Spaces helps you manage the clutter and get organized so that you can get more done, find things when you need them, and feel good about your space. Diana Carlos is a professional organizer serving Lakewood, Long Beach, and surrounding areas in Los Angeles County and Orange County.

- Posted on January 20th, 2016 in Blog
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