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Back To School Organization

back to school organizing

Whether you’re a parent that loves to have your kids home for the summer or a parent that can’t wait for the school year to begin, it’s time to get the kids organized for back to school. Being organized at the start of the year will lead to organization throughout the school year.

Leading up to school starting

I’ll bet there have been little to no restrictions on bed curfew through most of the summer. Start to wean them back on to a schedule a week or two ahead of school opening so they are not dragging their you know what from the very start of school.  You know your kids and their interests. Plan on which extracurricular activities they’re going to participate in during the school year and keep in mind that these activities, although beneficial, can impact their grades so make sure your child can balance both school and activities they participate in.

Shopping for school

Back to school shopping can be fun as well as daunting.  back to school organizingTry to purchase only what you require to start the year as you will find additional items need to be purchased as the year gets under way.  Try to have one binder for each subject or at the least have dividers to separate the subjects in one binder.  Remember the one in, one out rule on clothing too. Teens have an opinion and are not afraid to give it so have them come along when shopping.  It will go easier when they have some input. Bring your patience and negotiation skills as well as your wallet.

Study space

Students need a clean and quiet area to study in – no matter what they will tell you.  Set aside an area that is clear of all clutter and is relatively quiet for studying and have the student choose the time of day they want to study.  Giving them some input stands a better chance of them following the schedule.  Have this area stocked with the “tools of the trade” (pens, paper, etc.) so there are less interruptions during this study time.  A planner in this area can also be helpful to keep track of what is due when and which days of the week sports fall on.

Be organized prior to each day

Pack what is required the night before.  back to school organizingThis may be a challenge for you and your kids, but if you remember when you were a teen every minute of sleep in the morning is needed.  Packing the evening before will ensure that they have everything for the day so when they blow out of the house in the morning like a hurricane they will have all they need.  Throw a few healthy snacks into their bag, so when hunger sets in there is a lesser chance they will head to the junk food machines.

Teens have been through this before but still need assistance and sometimes a bit of a push to get ready for the new school year.  Making sure they are ready and organized will give them a head start and perhaps teach them a bit about being organized.  ClutterBGone has assisted many families in getting homes, rooms and home offices organized for the start of the school year.  If you require assistance you can reach us at info@clutterbgone.ca or 905-642-5669.

Get Organized For The End Of The School Year

end of school organizing

Whether its public or high school, the end of the school year is swiftly approaching. There will be lots of stuff coming home with the kids as the school year ends. Like everything else in your home, these items need to be sorted, organized and purged.

Backpacks

The backpacks will be retired for the summer but before they are check them out for wear and tear. end of school year organizingThey get a lot of use through the year so it may be time to replace them at the beginning of the next school year. Maybe your babies have “grown up” and want a more mature looking backpack next year. In that case maybe the current one can be handed down or donated for continued use. Check the backpacks for any lunch leftovers too. You don’t want to be tracking down a terrible smell later in the summer!

All that paper

The end of the school year may bring a lot of paper into the home. Notebooks, art projects, test papers and a lot of paper and documents that were accumulated and kept in the desk through the year will be coming home. We’re all proud of our children but we can’t keep everything they create. Go through it all, preferably with your child, and sort into what you will keep and what you will discard. I like to keep a memory box for each child and place the keepers in there. Others will create a sort of scrapbook and place them in that. Either way you and your child will have easy access to everything you found important enough to keep.

Keepsakes

Kids will collect many keepsakes through the school year. end of school organizingRibbons for participating, trophies for doing well, special drawings, school yearbooks, heck maybe even a few notes from a secret admirer? What will these mean to you and your child in a year or five or ten? Decide what goes in the memory box and what goes.

Old school supplies

A lot of the notebooks, pens, pencil crayons and other supplies can be kept for next year. Go through them for wear and discard what is not needed or usable any longer.

Go through all of the school items as soon as they come in at the end of the school year. This will reduce the clutter in the home and teach your kids responsibility and organization. Now let’s get ready for summer!!!

Storing Your Hockey Gear

storing hockey gear

With the pro hockey season now winding down it’s time to get that hockey gear stored until next season. Our friends at Pro Stock Hockey have offered some tips on how to correctly store your gear so it’s fresh and in great shape the next time you play.

Pick a spot

Hockey families will have a lot of equipment to store especially if there’s more than one child playing and possibly Mom and Dad as well. Pick a spot where everything can be stored together and where it can be kept dry. Design a system whether it’s a shelf or hanging on a wall and ensure everyone uses it.

Sticks

Sticks need to be secured to make sure they aren’t falling onto a car or worse, onto a small child. storing hockey gearWe have seen many different ways to keep sticks secure. We can recommend something to you that will work in your space.

 

 

 

Extra gear

You know how fast kids grow and that means they grow out of equipment. Once it can’t be used, sort it and get it out of the house. There are numerous charities that would love to take your used gear. Also, you can sell it at a second-hand sports store or sell it yourself online.

Sweaters and pants

Being a hockey family I’m sure you are familiar with that hockey “scent”. That is usually caused by sweaters and, socks and pants being left in the bag. Hang these up when being stored to eliminate that nasty smell.

The extras

Try to use a bag that has extra pockets to store the miscellaneous items like tape and pucks.hockey gear It will make them easier to find when needed. And don’t forget to put skate guards on your skate blades to protect everything else. Hockey equipment is costly so it needs to be protected.

 

ClutterBGone has helped many clients get their hockey gear (and other sports equipment) organized and stored. Reach out to us here to see how we can help you.

Thanks to our friends at Pro Stock Hockey. The link to there article is here.

Are You Organized Enough For Santa?

organized for Santa

The Holiday season is coming soon! Are you ready for the mountain of new toys about to arrive in your kid’s rooms?

Now is a great time to take stock of your child’s toys to make room for the new toys that will be coming into your home and make the holidays less stressful than they already are.

Whether they have been naughty or nice, kids receive a lot of toys during the holiday season. Many toys are abandoned right after the holidays and left at the bottom of a toy box or closet as your child quickly outgrow certain toys or is so overwhelmed with the volume that they simply get frustrated.

Or it could be that the item just didn’t hold their interest. All kids have their go-to toys and many have toys that are no longer required. Here is how to get your child’s rooms organized for the toy windfall.

Broken toys

These are the easiest to deal with. We all have them. organized for SantaToys that are broken but were never dealt with at the time and now reside at the bottom of the toy box (which, by the way, is the worst way to organize and store toys). Out they go! Even those toys with critical missing parts that you think just may turn up………it’s time to discard those as well to make room for the new stuff.

Out with the old

With toddlers and younger children it’s easy to go through the toys and make the decisions yourself. You may want to separate the toys into categories and then separate those into toys you will toss, toys you will donate and toys you will store for later (visiting children, more children, special treats for sick days, etc.). Now is a great time to donate to your favourite thrift store so there are toys available to those in need.

Get the kids involved

Older kids like to be involved and will want a say in what decisions are made with their “stuff”. It’s only fair and sets a good example of respect. Have them start with choosing the toys they no longer like or play with. It often helps to separate the toys into categories and then have them pick their top 5 from each category. Explain to them that some of their toys are no longer appropriate as they have grown, and space is needed to accommodate the new toys that are sure to come their way.organized for Santa

Your children can also help to take the donations to the donation center to see what happens to them and how they have helped others. Donation centers love to receive toys before the holidays to help out those that need the toys as holiday gifts.

Plush = dust

Those plush toys are nice and there is nothing wrong with having a few on hand, but they really are dust collectors and magnets for dust mites (YUCK!). Unless you are willing to clean them at least once every couple of months, try to keep the quantity to just 4 or 5 absolute favourites for space, allergy and health reasons.

Gain some insight

As you sift through the toys and work with your kids you’re going to find out what type of toy they now like and perhaps what exact toy they would love to have. This information will come in handy when Grandma and Grandpa ask what they want or need for gifts. It should also help to reduce the number of toys they receive that they just won’t use.

Take stock of your storage

This is also a great time to determine if your child requires any additional storage space for toys or if the storage system you use is still workable for you and them. Make sure you have enough clear plastic bins to store the small toys so they don’t end up in the bottom of a toy box and never used. In fact, I recommend you discard the toy box entirely. If you insist on keeping it, then only one category of item should live in the toy box. For example, many clients use a toy box for a dress-up chest, so all the costumes live in that box.

Now is the perfect time to start paring down the toys before the chaos known as the holiday season sets in. As professional home organizers in Toronto and the York Region area, ClutterBGone and our organizing elves are ready to travel across the GTA to help you get organized for the holidays. Contact us now to learn more about how ClutterBGone can take the stress out of the holiday season.

Are You Organized For Back To School?

back to school organizing

In the GTA we seem not to have had much of a summer. We had so much rain this year and the temps barely hit 30 degrees a couple of times each month. So when I tell you it’s back to school time you may be as surprised as I am.

Getting the kids off to school after Labour Day just isn’t a matter of waking them up and seeing them off on the first day. You need to be prepared and organized so the kids are ready and prepared as well.

Take these last few weeks to get your children organized and ready for school with these back to school organizing tips.

Train for bed time now

The young ones have been having a blast all summer long with extended bed times, sleeping in and irregular meal times. back to school organizingNow is the time to start getting them back into the habit of bed times and getting up earlier. You don’t want the chaos and added stress of sleeping in on the first day. Slowly start to get them to bed earlier to prepare them for the first day of school.

Set up a central station

Assign an area in the home where everyone knows where he or she can get more supplies for school. Keep a charger there as well for cell phones, tablets and laptops. No more “Hey mom, where is …” Notes can also be posted there for all to see. Make sure they check this area each morning if you are off to work before they leave for school.

Get the homework area ready

Set up a homework area in the home and get it stocked with the usual supplies – pens, paper, chargers – that they are going to need to complete their homework. This area shouldn’t be in their bedroom. There are too many distractions that will take away from completing their assignments. Assign each child a bin or basket for their particular school papers so they know where they can return and retrieve items.

Go thru the clothes

Perhaps the biggest challenge for any parent at this time of year is going through your child’s clothes to determine what still fits and what needs to go. back to school organizingHow much taller has your child grown over the summer? I used to love going shopping for back to school clothes with my mom. We would come home and go through all my clothes to determine what could be donated or handed down before the new clothes were put away.

Ensure emergency numbers are handy

Kids are getting phones at a much earlier age now and there are arguments for and against but if your child is old enough and responsible enough to have a phone, make sure you have stored the emergency phone numbers in their phone. These should include your home number, cell number and work numbers as well as an alternate family member. Store them in the favourites so one touch of the screen can get them assistance if required.

“Tween” kit

There are times when I’m glad I didn’t have to raise girls. Their needs are much different than boys, especially during the “tween” phase. Help them during this time by preparing a kit containing must have items. Lip balm, deodorant, minimal make up, feminine products and maybe even a small amount of cash are some of the items these girls may need throughout the day. Pack it all in a small bag that they can carry in their backpack or purse.

Going back to school can be a chaotic time in the household. Follow these tips to keep chaos at bay. At ClutterBGone we have helped a lot of families get organized for back to school. Contact us here to see how we can assist you.

Kids Toy Clutter Causing You Grief? Time To De-clutter

Organize kids toys

Now that the kids are out of school I’ll bet there are toys all over the house and yard. With the kids home now is a great time to de-clutter their toys with their help.

Your kids likely receive a lot of toys throughout the year – holidays, birthdays, special occasions or whatever! It’s easy for a child to outgrow their toys and just keep them aside, pack them away or it could be that the particular item just didn’t hold their interest anymore. All kids have their go-to toys and many have toys that are no longer required.

A recent study suggested that children do much better at learning, focus and discipline with fewer toys as there is less distraction and they tend to use more of their imagination which is always a healthy thing! So how do you begin to pare down your children’s toys to a more manageable amount? Here’s a few ideas to help you de-clutter.

Broken toys

You all have them and they’re the easiest to deal with. organize kids toysToys that are broken but were never dealt with at the time and now reside at the bottom of the toy box. Out they go! Even those toys with critical missing parts that you think just may turn up………it’s time to discard those as well to make room for the new stuff. And what about all those little tiny bit of play things you get at fast food chains and birthday parties….those little bits I find the most troublesome and annoying.

Out with the old

With toddlers and younger children it’s easy to go through the toys and make the decisions yourself. You may want to separate the toys into categories and then separate those into toys you will toss, toys you will donate and toys you will store for later (visiting children, more children, special treats for sick days, etc.)

Get the kids involved

Older kids like to be involved and will want a say in what decisions are made with their “stuff”. It’s only fair and sets a good example of respect. Organize kids toysHave them start with choosing the toys they no longer like or play with. It often helps to separate the toys into categories and then have them pick their top 5 or 10 from each category. Explaining to them that some of their toys are no longer age appropriate as they have grown and space is needed to accommodate the new toys that are sure to come their way is a good way to handle hesitation.

 

Your children can also help to take the donations to the donation center to see what happens to them and how they have helped others. Donation centers love to receive toys at any time of year to help those in need.

Plush = dust

Those plush toys are nice and there is nothing wrong with having a few on hand, but they really are dust collectors and magnets for dust mites. Unless you are willing to clean them at least once every couple of months, try to keep the quantity to just 4 or 5 absolute favorites for space, allergy and health reasons.

Gain some insight

As you sift through the toys and work with your kids you’re going to find out what type of toy they now like and perhaps what exact toy they would love to have. This information will come in handy when Grandma and Grandpa ask what they want or need for gifts. It should also help to reduce the number of toys they receive that they just won’t use.

Take stock of your storage

This is also be a great time to determine if your child requires any additional storage space for toys or if the storage system you use is still workable for you and them. Make sure you have enough clear plastic bins to store the small toys so they don’t end up in the bottom of a toy box and never used. In fact, I recommend you discard the toy box entirely. If you insist on keeping it, then only one category of item should live in the toy box. For example, many clients use a toy box for a dress-up chest so all the costumes live in the box.

Now is a great time to start paring down the toys while you have the kids to assess and assist. Let us know how you make out!

Practice Toy Rotation And De-Clutter

How did your kids make out over the holidays? Bad behaviour or not, I’m sure they received a lot of new toys from you, your family and even Santa. Unless you were really organized, you may not have had a chance to go through their toys before the holidays to make room for the new ones. If your kids’ rooms look like a toy factory here are a couple of ways to regain the space and rotate the toys so they will all get used.

Children learn best from new experiences and believe it or not a new experience occurs even after something has been absent for a short period of time. Try rotating your child’s toys by implementing a “toy closet” or “toy treasure chest” for an ongoing learning experience.

Toy Treasure Chest
The principle is simple: Place some of the new toys received, and even old toys that continue to be age appropriate, into the toy closet or treasure chest, hidden away so that every toy owned is not out for use. Children are easily overwhelmed with too many choices. Then on a regular basis, rotate the toys so that your child is not getting overwhelmed or bored with too many choices.   Less is best. The toy treasure chest is also a great idea when you child is not feeling well: A little surprise for him or her from which they can choose a toy.

Of course, organizing the toys out for use is still very important.

Sort into categories

Lets wade right in there and sort all the toys into categories. Cars, blocks, stuffed animals, dolls, etc. You can use laundry baskets or boxes but get everything sorted into categories.

Weed out the broken

As you sort, take a quick look to ensure that the toys are in working order. I know some children have a hard time of letting go of their favourite toy, even if it no longer works or is missing a limb, so maybe encourage them to make the decision between that and a new incoming toy.

Is it still age appropriate?

While you’re at it lets review the toys to make sure they are still age appropriate for your child. Why hang on to it if it will never be used again?

These toys are perfect for donation to replenish your local second hand store or for a yard sale. If the funds go to the owner of the toy they are more apt to agree to let it go.

Divide into play types

Toys can now be stored into categories that can be rotated in and out. Store them into categories like learning (books, puzzles), artistic (coloring), active (dress up, music) and so on. Rotate these categories every few weeks so your children are constantly learning and the toys are being used.

Storage systems

Now that you have everything categorized and the broken and no longer used toys are out, you can plan on how to store these toys in the space you have. Use clear containers whenever possible so your child can easily see what is inside and therefore won’t have the urge to open every container. Containers are great for small toys like cars, blocks and even doll clothes. Store toys at a height that is accessible for your child so they won’t get hurt bringing them out.

Maintenance is key

Now, here comes the fun part – training your child to put it away when they are done. I know it is easier when you are with them but they need to know that this is their job and it will teach them responsibility and organization at an early age. Make it an ongoing thing with a regular review of what’s not being used anymore.

Teach your children valuable life lessons by teaching them how to organize and take care of their belongings and their space.

6 Key Back To School Organizing Tips

Where did the summer go? I know summer doesn’t officially end until late September but for a lot of you summer ends when the kids go back to school so I trust you’ll enjoy the last few weeks you have left!

Take these last few weeks to get your children organized and ready for school with these back to school organizing tips.

Train for bed times now

The young ones have been having a blast all summer long with extended bed times, sleeping in and irregular meal times. Now is the time to start getting them back into the habit of bed times and getting up earlier. You don’t want the chaos of sleeping in on the first day. Slowly start to get them to bed earlier in the coming weeks to prepare them for the first day of school.

Set up a central station

Assign an area in the home where everyone knows where he or she can get more supplies for school.

Homework station

Keep a charger there as well for cell phones, tablets and laptops. No more “Hey mom, where is …” Notes can also be posted there for all to see. Make sure they check this area each morning if you are off to work before they leave for school.

Get the homework area ready now

Set up a homework area in the home and get it stocked with the usual supplies – pens, paper, chargers – that they are going to need to complete their homework. This area shouldn’t be in their bedroom. There are too many distractions that will take away from completing their assignments.

Go thru the clothes now

Perhaps the biggest challenge for any parent at this time of year is going through your child’s clothes to determine what still fits and what needs to go. How much taller has your child grown over the summer?

Kids clothes closet

I used to love going shopping for back to school clothes with my mom. We would come home and go through all my clothes to determine what could be donated or handed down before the new clothes were put away.

Ensure emergency numbers are handy

Kids are getting phones at a much earlier age now and there are arguments for and against but if your child is old enough and responsible enough to have a phone, make sure you have stored the emergency phone numbers in their phone. These should include your home number, cell number and work numbers as well as an alternate family member. Store them in the favourites so one touch of the screen can get them assistance if required.

“Tween” kit

There are times when I’m glad I didn’t have to raise girls. Their needs are much different than boys, especially during the “tween” phase. Help them during this time by preparing a kit containing must have items. Lip balm, deodorant, minimal make up, feminine products and maybe even a small amount of cash are some of the items these girls may need throughout the day. Pack it all in a small bag that they can carry in their backpack or purse.

Going back to school can be a chaotic time in the household. Follow these tips to keep chaos at bay. At ClutterBGone we have helped a lot of families get organized for back to school. Contact us here to see how we can assist you.

How Do I Help My Child Organize Their Room

Organized-kids-room

As a child you’ve probably been scolded and sent to your room to clean it many times. A very familiar sound in my house was my mother yelling “get this room cleaned up”.

Now that I’m older and wiser and have gone through it with my kids, I now know she was trying to get me to organize my room, not just clean it up. It wasn’t really dirty, just a whole lot of everything strewn around the room.

If like most parents you are tired of messy, cluttered bedrooms then here are some ideas to help your children to organize their room.

Get them involved

If you want your kids to learn how to be organized they need to be involved in the process. Don’t go in there on your own when they are at school or at a friend’s house. They will resent you taking control of their possessions and rightfully so. Let them make the decisions with your guidance and they will use this experience when they get older.

Use age and size appropriate systems

It’s tempting to put teen or adult sized furniture in a kids’ room with the thought that they will grow into them. However, kids can’t reach some of the shelves on adult sized furniture so there is a lot of wasted space and items are bound to get left on the floor or jammed onto a lower shelf giving a disorganized look.

Closet - child

In the closet try bringing the rod down so they can reach that too or better yet put a dresser inside the closet or use a hanging closet system for the child to keep their clothes in. Hangers too should be child size to make it easier for them to use until they graduate to adult size.

Bottom to top

As adults, we tend to store things from top to bottom. Let’s face it, as we get older we may find it harder to stoop down. For kids it’s the opposite. Store from bottom to top with the items they frequently use on the bottom so they aren’t struggling to get things or put them away.

S-P-A-C-E

Use the same Space principle that you would use with your own organizing project – Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Evaluate. Sort everything into piles of similar items. Purge the items your child doesn’t need any longer. Pay particular attention to toys and clothes that they have outgrown. Assign a home for everything that is staying. At this point your child can see the progress you both have made so far and can see that everything is easily retrievable.

kids-storage-ideas-shoe-organizers-15

Containerize the smaller items to keep them together and to make it easier to find and store. Label the container so you both know where everything goes at a glance. Lastly, evaluate the system after a few weeks or so to ensure that everything is working as planned.

Allocate time for upkeep

Allocate 30 minutes or so every week or two or however often you think your child will need, for a quick tune up for anything that is out of place or starting to stray from the plan.

If your child is the owner of a disorganized room chances are they have never been taught how and why to keep their belongings organized. A little patience in teaching them will last them a lifetime and assist in success in school and their careers.

If you would like to learn how we can assist in organizing your child’s room, we have plenty of experience in just that. Contact us here for a chat.

Organizing Teens For Back to School

Here we are, well into August already, and I don’t know about you but in Ontario if feels like summer really hasn’t arrived yet! Try to contain your excitement folks but school starts in less than a month.

Now is a good time to start getting your teens organized for when they return to school with schedules, activities, sign-up sheets and more!

school3Here are some clever organizing strategies and ideas for back to school organizing for your young scholars.

Preparing for earlier bedtimes

Let’s start with the obvious. Probably for most of the summer there have been little to no restrictions on bed curfew unless they had a summer job.

Start to wean your kids’ back on to a schedule a week or two ahead of school opening so they are not dragging their feet from the very start of the school year.

Plan extra-curriculars

Plan on which extra -curricular activities they are going to participate in during the school year and keep in mind that these activities, although beneficial, impact on grades so make sure your child can balance both school and the activities they participate in. Do your best not to over-schedule your kids so that they have the greater chance of success in their academic year.

School shopping

Back to school shopping can be fun as well as daunting. Try to purchase only what you require to start the year as you will find additional items need to be purchased as the year gets under way.

And remember the one in, one out rule on clothing too. Don’t forget that teens have opinions (rightly so) and are not afraid to tell you what they think.

bindersHave them come along when shopping so they can have input and learn to make good choices for both clothing and supplies. Try to have one binder for each subject or at the least have dividers to separate the subjects in one binder.

Bring your patience and negotiation skills as well as your wallet.

Study space

All students need a clean and quiet area to study in – no matter what they will tell you. Set aside an area that is clear of all clutter and is relatively quiet for studying and have the student choose from a few options in terms of the time of day they prefer to study. With giving them some input you stand a better chance of them following the schedule.

Have this area stocked with the “tools of the trade” (pens, paper, etc.) so there are less interruptions during this study time. A planner/agenda in this area can also be helpful to keep track of what is due when and which days of the week sports fall on.

Prepare for the first day the night before

Pack what is required the night before. This may be a challenge for most teens but better to do it the night before than running the risk of a chaotic morning looking for what is needed. Remember when you were a teen and needed every minute of sleep in the morning?

Packing the evening before will ensure that they have everything for the day so when they blow out of the house in the morning like a hurricane they will have all the necessities with less chance of a meltdown. Throw a few healthy snacks into their bag as well so when hunger sets in there is less chance they will head to the junk food machines.

Teens have been through this before but still need assistance and sometimes a bit of a push to get ready for the new school year. Making sure they are ready and organized will give them a head start to a successful year.

ClutterBGone has assisted many families in getting homes, rooms and home offices organized for the start of the school year. If you require assistance you can contact us here and learn how we can make a smooth transition to the new school year.