Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teaching Your Kids Organizational Skills

People always ask me "at what age" they should start teaching their kids some organizational skills...and the answer is "before they are even out of diapers".

It's never too early to start teaching kids how to be organized and how to pick up after themselves. Even a two year old can be taught how to pick up a toy and put it into a basket. To them it's a game. So let it be fun and make it a part of their everyday routine. Play time followed by "putting your toys away time".

But if you didn't start at a young age it's not too late! And don't worry if you aren't the most organized person in the world, you can still teach your kids how to be organized. It all starts with "ground rules". You have to be able to set rules on how things are done and when they are done. And you have to stick to your guns!

Yes, your children will probably say "but you don't XXXX" .... but I'm sure that they already say that about a number of things, so don't let that throw you.

Set some rules:

1) you have to put your dirty clothes in the clothes hamper (instead of on the ground)
2) you have to hang up your clothes in the closet (instead of on the ground)
3) you can only have clothes in your dresser drawers (instead of toys and garbage)
4) your dresser drawers need to be organized by "type of clothes" (socks, underwear, shirts...)
5) you have to put all of your homework in your back pack immediately after finishing it
6) your back pack needs to be set by the door before going to bed (so you don't forget it)
7) your clothes for the next day should be set out the night before school
8) bath towels do not belong on the bathroom floor (they need to be hung up to dry)
9) put your dirty dishes in the sink after eating
10) Mom and Dad are not your maids

Kids need rules. They need structure.

Set some rules. Enforce them. Watch the change.

It takes time but it's worth it to have an organized child. They will be less stressed and on time for school! And you will be less stressed and have time for yourself.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, March 19, 2012

Too Much Stuff !!!

How much "stuff" does one person really need? Do you really need 25 pairs of jeans? Or 50 pairs of shoes? Maybe the celebrities do but "everyday, ordinary people" who aren't millionaires really don't. Let's be honest!

"Stuff" overwhelms people. "Stuff" controls people. "Stuff" smothers people.

Don't get me wrong. I like to have nice things. I have things that I collect. But there is a difference between a collection and going overboard and having too much "stuff" clutter up your home and your life.

If you can't find things easily and continually buy the same things over and over again your space is too cluttered. You need some organizational help to get things under control.

But having too much "stuff" and continually buying more is not just a "space" issue but a deeper issue. An issue that is hard for some people to acknowledge and sometimes to understand.

Constantly buying things that you don't need might be fulfilling some emptiness inside yourself. Or it might be a way that you cope because of some things that are happening in your life. It can be an "escape".

Whatever the reason, stuff needs space. And if you don't have the space to properly store your stuff then you end up with clutter everywhere.

Sit down and be honest with yourself and try and figure out why you have the need to continually buys things that you really don't need, don't have room for or can't really afford.

It's not just about the "stuff".

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, March 12, 2012

Organizing Your Files

Organizing is an on going process. It's not a "one-time deal". And it's not something that you have to set aside an entire day for.

Organizing your files and your paperwork is extremely time consuming because you have to look at each piece of paper and make a decision. It's emotionally exhausting. So why wait until year end to go through that process?

For best results and the least amount of trauma make it a habit to go through your filing cabinet, files or desk drawer and clean out your paperwork at least once a quarter or every few months.

Go through each file and toss anything that you really don't need, anything that is expired (coupons or notices that are past the deadline....) or anything that you have not dealt with. This does not include anything related to taxes or any legal papers.

People tend to keep too much paperwork because they are afraid to get rid of things or because of their "good intentions" of doing something with it.

Make sure that your files are labeled according to what makes sense for you. Don't use a system that is too complex and that you will never use or keep up. It might work for some people but that doesn't mean it fits into your lifestyle.

Make sure that all of your papers are filed at least monthly to keep the mess at bay.

Only keep "current" files in your filing cabinet. Archive old files and store them out of the way. If your filing cabinet is too crowded and you cannot get into the files easily it will give you another excuse for not filing.

Keep it simple. Keep it organized.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, March 5, 2012

Organizing For Seniors - Moving Your Parents

I've had a lot of people call to tell me that they need help in clearing out and organizing their parents home due to a move to an assisted living or nursing home. It's a sad and stressful time for them.

Clearing out your own home is much easier because everything is yours and you can make the decisions. Helping your parents or other relatives clear out their home is much harder because you are making decisions for someone else and there are a lot of emotions involved. If you make the wrong decision about what to get rid of the person can harbor resentment. If you throw things out without asking you are opening yourself up to a lot of anger and rage. You might think that you are helping by "getting rid of the junk" ...but you are not.

It's complicated. It's emotional. It's exhausting.

If you have to put your parents or other relatives into an assisted living or nursing home there usually are not a lot of things they can take with them. What do you do with the rest of the stuff?

How do you make the decisions on what they should take?

During this time period you are usually also going through a lot of complicated paperwork and a lot of decisions about their care. Organizing for their move could be made easier by using an outsider (such as a Professional Organizer) that has experience in dealing with seniors and downsizing. They are a non-judgemental third party that can get the job done without all of the emotions that a relative has.

In some assisted living facilities there are people that can also help the seniors with coordinating the move and making decisions on what will fit into their new space.

It's a tough time in a persons life. The child has to acknowledge that their childhood home might be no more .... and the parent is forced to let go of a lot of things they have collected over the years. Not an easy thing to do.

As your parents age and while they still have their memory it is a good idea to encourage them to start the process on their own. Encourage them to give away some of the things that they would leave to people. By doing it while they are still alive they get the pleasure of seeing the people enjoy their gift.

Downsizing is a long and emotional process. Encourage your parents to think about it years before they even think about moving. By doing it on their own time it will be a lot easier.

Organizational Consulting Services