Back To School Made Simple

July 21, 2015
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Can you believe it’s only 3 weeks until the kids go back to school?  Don’t panic! Simply Organized is going to make it simple this year. I’m speaking Sunday July 26th from 2-3pm at the Cumming Library on how you can simplify your back to school this year. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. SHOPPING

SCHOOL SUPPLIES:

Most schools have the list posted online for each grade. You can also buy “packs” from most schools which include all needed supplies.  I recommend you print out your list and shop at home first. You probably have tons of paper, pencils and more left over from last year. Gather everything on the list into one place and check those items off.  The rest can be purchased at any retail store and most have great deals right now.

(ex. Crayons, Ziplock bags, glue, scissors, folders, paper, pencils)

CLOTHES:

Make time to have your children try on the clothes and shoes they wore last year to see what fits.  For the first couple of months (at least in the south) they can probably stay in their summer clothes but go ahead and make a list of their fall and winter wardrobe needs now.

(ex. NEED Shirts: short sleeved #4, long sleeved #4, pants #5, shoes #1, socks #5)

2. SCHEDULE/ ROUTINE:

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FAMILY CALENDAR:

You should have a dry erase, paper or electronic shared calendar for your family.  Each member should have their own color. Place all activities on the calendar including after school, trips, sleep overs, teacher meetings and weekend plans.

ROUTINE

Even if every day is a little different, families thrive on schedules. Have a PLAN B for days with after school activities and a PLAN C for weekends.  To combat confusion and set expectations, use the following daily routines:

Wake up time (ex. 6:30am) eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth

Out the door time (ex. no later than 7:30 am)

Home work time (after school ex. 3:30-4:30) play time, chores

Dinner time (ex. 6:30 pm) then game or tv, bath, brush teeth, read story

Bed time (ex. 8 pm)

3. ORGANIZATION

A place for everything and everything in it’s place – right?  Start these good habits with your family now and it will save you time and stress later.

DROP ZONE

Every person in your family should have their own hook and or basket near the entry and exit of your home.  Even if you do not have a mud room, you can easily create this area around a storage bench, breakfast room, laundry room or garage. This is also a great place to put a family calendar.

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Each night before bed: all homework is completed and put into backpacks near the exit.  Make lunches (or let your kids do it), snacks and even breakfast the night before and have it in the fridge ready to go.  Lay out your children’s clothes (or have them do it) the night before. Keep their shoes in their closets with their clothes or in a storage bench or basket near the door. Use a charging station for all phones, laptops, etc. and plus them in before you go to bed. Keep the charging station near your keys. Do the same thing every day and you will not be frantically looking for your keys, phone, shoes and homework every morning before school.

4. CHORES

Kids love having a few responsibilities and they love helping mom and dad.  Depending on the age and maturity of your child, most experts recommend you start adding 1-2 tasks each year starting when you feel they are ready.  Most kids can start with making their bed, brushing their teeth and picking out their clothes.  When you think they are ready, add setting the table, clearing the dishes, unloading the dish washer and making their own lunch to their daily or weekly chore chart. This makes them feel proud and helps you out at the same time.  The chore list below was found at www.thirtyhandmadedays.com. You can customize it and print it out.

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Back to School should be a fun time. It’s a fresh start and a new beginning for you and your kids. Try to get the task completed early so you can enjoy it!

If you need any help with organizing your home or your time, please contact Simply Organized at 404-825-2105 or email us at: heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Get Your Taxes Done Today and Sleep Better Tonight!

March 30, 2015
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Every year I write a blog about doing your taxes. Last year I focused on charitable donations: http://simplyorganizedyou.com/?s=taxes. This year I want to try to minimize the stress associated with doing your taxes.

Many people do their own taxes on Turbo Tax or another software program, some go to a service like H&R Block or hire a different CPA firm or private accountant. No matter which method you prefer to get your taxes filed, my motto is just get started – now. Procrastination adds so much stress that is unnecessary. Figure out why you are putting it off and change the behavior.

I’m not sure anyone thinks doing taxes is fun, but if you are putting them off for any other reason, I may be able to help you out.

1. Are you delaying your tax filing because you don’t feel like you know what you are doing? Hire a professional. The cost is minimal compared to the amount of time and stress you will save.

2. Is your paper work a mess? Take 1 hour and get it all together in one place, then hire an accountant. If you can’t face it, hire me or another organizer to get your paper work together for you.

3. Are you unaware of what is needed to file your taxes this year? Here is a check list for you: http://www.hrblock.com/tax-offices/tax-prep/tax-prep-checklist.html

4. Are you afraid you will owe money? Delaying the process of filing your taxes will not help. You will have to pay eventually. If you don’t have the money to pay right now, go ahead and file an extension: https://www.irsextension.com/?gclid=CL-zn-D8zsQCFQpk7AodynQAVg

I hope some of that helped you feel better. Doing your taxes does not have to take up a ton of time or cause any stress. Once you commit to doing it, it’s a fairly simple process. Remember there are only two things that are certain in life – death and taxes. You can’t avoid them so you may as well check “DO TAXES” off your list!

Need some help, Call us: Simply Organized 404-825-2105 or send us an e-mail: Heather@SimplyOrganizedYou.com

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How to sell your stuff

March 16, 2015
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90% of my clients have a combination of needs when it comes to getting rid of their belongings. We donate most items to Goodwill, Humane Society, Hope House, Pat’s Place, etc. A few broken items have to be thrown away or recycled. Then there is the furniture, clothes, décor, dishes, tools, bedding, etc. that can be sold. There are many different ways to sell these items:

1. Let Simply Organized List online at E-bay or Craigslist:
Pros: You get to advertise to buyers who want your items and will pay accordingly.
Pros: We will ship the item or meet the buyer and exchange money through Paypal (fees) or cash. We will take photos and post your ad online.

Simply Organized will do all the work for you for 45% of the profit.

2. Estate Sale:

If you have a lot of furniture and smaller items in your house and have at least 2 weeks, this is the best method for selling a large quantity and getting the most money.
Pros: The estate sale company does all of the set up, pricing and advertising for you for a minimum fee (usually 30% of profit).
Cons: You will have several hundred strangers in your home for 3 days. It is best to not be present at your own estate sale.

3. Online auction:

This is similar to an estate sale except all sales are done online and no one comes to your home until pick up day.
Pros: The auction company does all the work for you and takes a % of profit.
Cons: This process takes 2 week to set up and auction takes 1 week.

4. Consignment:

Take your clothing or furniture to a consignment store. They usually take 50% of profit.
Pros: They have clientele who are specifically shopping for certain items and they keep your items in their store until they are sold.
Cons: You either have to take your stuff in or pay a moving company to pick it up (furniture). They only take seasonal clothing at certain times per year and they may refuse your items based upon condition or style.

5. Move Loot:

Furniture Consignment that picks up your furniture for free, they list it and sell it for a 50% commission.
Pros: They pick up your furniture for free.
Cons: They only take furniture and some decorative items.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to selling your stuff.  We can help you with any and all of the options I’ve listed.

Please contact Simply Organized for referrals to any of the above businesses or help with your items you would like to donate or sell.

404-825-2105 or Heather@Simplyorganizedyou.com

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Recipe Organizing – great snow day project

February 17, 2015
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recipeblog5So today was a very icy day in Cumming, GA – no power, no TV, no internet, etc. I’ve been wanting to get my recipes in order for years and my husband gave me this beautiful recipe book for Christmas.  I took pictures of my progress so maybe this will be a helpful project for you to tackle someday.

I decided to go the paper route. You can certainly scan or copy your recipes onto your computer so you can have them electronically.  We did this years ago for my mom’s recipes and made her a printed book for a gift and CD’s for all of her children to have.  Now we can easily e-mail them or print them out if needed.

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1. Throw away all those recipes you’ve had for years and never used. You can always look something up online.

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2. Organize the recipes you want to keep into categories that make sense to you. “Appetizers”, Soups and Salads”, “Main Dishes”, “Desserts”, “Breads”, etc.

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3. Either use a pre-made book like the one in the photo above or get a 3-ring binder. With either option you are going to want 81/2 x 11 sheet protectors and or 4×6 photo or recipe card holder pages to insert your recipes.

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4. Simple way = place your recipes into sheet protectors /More difficult (but prettier) = type or write all of your recipes onto the same type card (index or recipe cards) and then insert into 4×6 card holder pages. The book my husband gave me already had blank recipe cards and recipe card holder pages in it.

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5. After you’ve inserted all recipes into sheet protectors, place them into your book or binder by category. If using a 3-ring binder, use tabbed sheets in between categories and label them “Appetizer”, etc.

Wahlaa – in about 1 hour, you should have all your recipes in one book, organized by category and easy to use anytime you’re in the mood to cook.

Enjoy!

If you would like my help in your home or business, please contact me at 404-825-2105 or Heather@Simplyorganizedyou.com

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Nobody Is Perfect

February 15, 2015
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I love Pinterest. There, I said it – I love Pinterest.  Most people who have used the site love it as much as I do.  I often re-pin beautifully organized closets, pantries and cabinet spaces. We like to look at pretty things.  The reason there are super models and actors on the covers of most magazines is because we like beautiful photos. Is it realistic for us to look like those actors and models? No. Is it realistic for you to have a pantry that looks like the one you just re-pinned? No.

Let’s all lower our expectations a smidge.  If we had all the money and time in the world, this would be a much different conversation.  My definition of being organized is to be able to find what you need, when you need it.  Being organized is about enjoying your space and it not causing you added anxiety.  Having a “photo-ready” home is an unrealistic goal for most of us.

You may need help:

  • if things are falling on you every time you open your closet
  • if you are always losing your keys or cell phone
  • if you don’t open your mail for weeks at a time, if you are chronically late
  • if you have no idea what is inside of that drawer
  • if you are unsure the last time you wore that sweater

However, if your closet doesn’t look like the one your friend just pinned, it’s o.k. Most organized people don’t have homes that look like the ones in the pretty photos.

By the way, here’s where you can find me on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/simplyorgyou/

Would you like some help? Call Simply Organized 404-825-2105 or Heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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How To Work With An Organizer

February 15, 2015
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Most people have never worked with an organizer before.  I’m going to give you a few tips and tools that will not only help you if you ever hire an organizer, but will help you organize yourself as well.

1. SHOP LAST: Almost all of my clients want to go shopping first – before I have even seen their home – they want to know what items to have ready when I show up.  This is a very common assumption.   You can’t know what you will need until after you organize the space.  This is why spending $1000 at the Container Store (or any store) will not magically make you more organized.  75% of all of my clients already have the items we need to get them organized. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you are going to have to make some decisions about your stuff and spend some time and energy to get organized.  Don’t worry, having an organizer makes this process way less painful and will actually save you time and money in the future.

2. ORGANIZERS ARE NOT PSYCHIC: Trust me, I wish we were – it would make life so much easier.  We can sort through your papers, clothing, dishes and other items, sort them into like-itemed groups, make a pile we think you will discard and even get a list of your clothing sizes so we can weed out the high school clothing that may lurk in the back of your closet. We can not however make the assumption or decision to get rid of your stuff without asking you.  I often work without my clients present but always need them at the end of a session or work week to give me the final say so.

3. COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO EXCELLENT RESULTS: I always start my projects with a written goal and the steps necessary to reach that goal along with an estimate of time and money needed to achieve said goal.  We are all human and plans change.  Organizers are usually TYPE A individuals who love plans.  Don’t get me wrong, we accept change and can roll with it as long as our clients communicate with us.  Whether you’ve changed your mind or had a family emergency, just let your organizer know (in advance if possible) so they can ensure your new goals get met just as efficiently and effectively as the original plans.

4. ORGANIZERS ARE PROBLEM SOLVERS: Don’t just tell us about your desire to own a fully functional pantry, let us know what else is going on in your home and life – we may have the solutions. Some organizers are also home stagers, designers and professional packers.  I’ve helped clients find repair crews, painters, pest control, cleaners, floor refinishers, career counselors, a new home for a pet, etc. Organizers have a large network of resources especially if they are members of NAPO (National Association of Profession Organizers) like me.

5. DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE: I know we are all very busy people these days but the earlier you call us, the better we can help you.  I have people contact me the day before they are moving at least three times per year.  I have performed some pretty amazing organizer magic but it caused lots of unnecessary stress to everyone involved. Most people tend to put off the tasks they do not want to do so I understand why I get last minute calls but just bite the bullet and call.  Setting the appointment is the hardest part; the rest of the process is like hiring a personal trainer. We have the organizing skills plus the motivation to get the job done.

Pick up the phone and call today: 404-825-2105 or Heather@Simplyorganizedyou.com

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Instead of Tangible Gifts….

December 2, 2014
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I spend most of my days de-cluttering people’s homes. Even though it’s the way I earn my living, I feel it’s my ethical duty to offer an alternative to all the extra stuff this holiday season.

For the holidays, instead of exchanging packages and bags filled with picture frames, candles, sweaters (that never fit) or gadgets, ask for and give something more special this year. Give memories, time and love. How do you do that?

Give a gift certificate for something your loved one needs or wants for instance: massage, manicure, maid service, or an organizing session (I’ll send you a gift certificate).

One of my favorite gifts to give is a date night = restaurant and movie gift card plus baby sitting time so your friend or family member can go out together while you stay with their kids.

Make a photo album or recipe book using Shutter Fly or Snapfish. Give the gift of photo scanning from Pixorium in order to save those important photos.

For a special memory, give them concert tickets, a trip to the botanical gardens, zoo, aquarium or a cool play or comedy show – anything y’all can do together they would enjoy.

Or instead of cash, give an Amazon gift card or one to a store like Walmart or Target so they can buy whatever they want.

If you hesitate to give a gift card because it seems too easy or thoughtless, pair it with something small they will use like a Starbucks card wrapped in a coffee mug or their favorite book or CD wrapped with the gift card.

I promise you, your loved one will not only appreciate you getting something they will actually use, they will also appreciate you not adding any clutter to their home.

For more ideas or to purchase an organizing session for your friend or family, call Heather at 404-825-2105 or e-mail Heather@simplyorganizedyou.com.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

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Back To School Organization

August 11, 2014
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Back To School Organization

booksThis has to be my favorite time of year. Memories of going back to school still make me giddy. Shopping for school supplies and clothes, a fresh start with new teachers, friends, football and let’s not forget the crisper cooler weather we should expect in the next month or so.  Hopefully, you had a fun summer and the kids enjoyed not having home work.  Now it’s time to get everyone ready for a successful school year.  Getting organized now is the key to less stress later.  Here are a few tips to help get you started:

Clothes:

1. Have your kids try on their clothes from last year to see what still fits and what needs to be donated.

2. Make a list of what you need to buy with sizes and quantities (ex. 2 pairs of size 5 tennis shoes, 3 pairs of size 7 jeans, etc.). This will save you money and time when you take the kids shopping. Make sure to include any clothes they will need for sports and after-school activities.

Supplies:

1. See of you have anything left over from last year like unused paper, pencils, etc.

2. Make a list of everything you need and make sure you include special classes like art, music, P.E., etc.

Meals:

1. Have a grocery list and menu planner on or near your refrigerator (MEAD makes a magnetic one you can get at Target)

2. Make a weekly menu of meals so you can shop and cook ahead

3. I recommend cooking several meals at once on a weeknight or weekend and freezing them so you don’t have to think about it each night when you get home. I’m also a huge fan of the Crockpot.

4. Let your kids help you pack their snacks and lunches the night before. The less you have to do in the morning the better.

Routine:

1. Set up a weekly routine for yourself and your family.

2. Try to keep a set meal time, homework time, bath time, bed time and play time. Even if it doesn’t happen every night, if you try to keep to a schedule, it makes your evenings and your mornings easier.

Calendar:

1. Have a family calendar (monthly or quarterly) displayed somewhere so everyone can see it easily.

2. Color code it for each family member and put everyone’s activities on it each day (try to pick one day per month for the family to sit down and fill out the calendar for the next month). Make sure the bus schedule, school activities, permission deadlines and all after school appointments are on the calendar.

3. If you prefer electronic, use a system that can sync with your spouse or kids and update it regularly.

Drop Zone:

1. Create a space near the entry of your home for your family calendar, keys, hooks for backpacks, charging station for cell phones and ipads (http://www.greatusefulstuff.com/Faux-Leather-Multi-Charging-Station-a/378.htm), baskets for shoes and a mail center.

2. Every night before bed, make sure all homework is in backpacks and all items in drop zone for the next morning.

3. This alleviates all the running around searching for stuff in the hectic morning hours.

 Organizing your kids homework:

1. Every school subject should have a color coded folder.
2. All “to-do” work should be kept on left side of folder and when it’s completed it gets moved to the right side.
3. Once a week, clean out the backpack and make sure all folders are cleaned out. (Sunday evenings are a good time for this)

 Organizing your kids room and toys:

1. Provide a place for everything: a box for school supplies, a shelf for books, a bulletin board for upcoming projects or new artwork, bins or baskets for toys and an under-bed box for old artwork and papers.

2. Each day have them do a 5 minute quick clean to put all toys and other items away.

3. All clothes should be in a hamper (if dirty) or hung in closet/ folded in dresser each day.

4. In the bathroom, they should hang up their wet towels after each shower or bath.

I hope this information helps. If you have any questions, or would like some one-on-one help, please contact Simply Organized at 404-825-2105.

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Packing and Unpacking Your Home

July 1, 2014
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Tis the season to move! I have packed and unpacked more homes this month than I can count (ok – that’s an exaggeration but there have been dozens)

In my opinion, there are few things more stressful than moving.  A few tips on how to pack and unpack will hopefully help make your move easier.  Of course, if you really want to take the easy route, call Simply Organized at 404-825-2105 and let us do all the work for you!

Packing

#1 You have options: I recommend hiring a professional moving company.  They can do just the move for you or the packing too. Get quotes from at least 2-3 companies and ask them if you can “rent” items like wardrobe boxes from them (this will save you money and storage space after you unpack).

#2 I recommend Atlanta Peach Movers 770-447-5121 and McGregor Movers 404-630-9042

#3 Don’t Wait! Contact moving companies as soon as you know you are moving to get quotes and schedule a date. If you are packing yourself or hiring Simply Organized, start ASAP!

When it comes to DIY packing, time and preparation are key. Start as soon as you know you are moving. Do not wait until the last minute – it always takes longer than you think it will!

BOXES:  Either go to the free section on Craigslist for boxes or buy them at Home Depot or Lowes (they usually have the best quality for the lowest price).  You can get packing paper and bubble wrap at Walmart to save some money too.  Get plenty of small and medium boxes and a few large and wardrobe.

Pack all the items you know you won’t need for the next six months first (ex. winter clothes, holiday decorations, etc.).

Label all of your boxes by ROOM and ITEMS IN BOX plus FRAGILE if their are breakables inside. This will help your movers know where to put your boxes in your new home and help you find your stuff easily.

Have the movers put the items you don’t need in the truck first and your bathroom, kitchen and bedroom items in the truck last so they will get unpacked first.

VIP: Take your most important papers and valuable in the car or on the plane with you! This should include: passports, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, wills, medical documents,  etc.  It should also include prescription medication, toiletries and anything else you need daily.

Un-packing

Congratulations! You are in your new home and now it’s time to get settled.

Start with your bedrooms you are sleeping in that night.  Make sure you have a mattress with sheets on it. Put your toiletries in your bathroom and unpack any important kitchen items you have to have (for some this is a coffee pot or kid’s formula).

If you are working all day or don’t have lots of time to unpack, just tackle one box per day. You know what your needs are.  Most people want their clothes, bathroom and kitchen unpacked first. Your books, DVDs, decorations, garage items, etc. can usually wait a few weeks.

Break down the boxes as you go. If your trash company will not take them, list them on Craigslist under the FREE section and put them on your curb, they will be gone in a day.

I wish you years of happiness in your new home.  Please contact us if you need any help with this process 404-825-2105 or heather@simplyorganizedyou.com.

 

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