Tips and Tools for Back to School 2016

July 20, 2016
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1. SHOPPING

SCHOOL SUPPLIES:

Most schools have the list posted online for each grade. This year I’ve seen local lists at Target stores too. 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)

DON’T MISS THE TAX FREE WEEKEND
Georgia Back to School Sales Tax Holiday 2016 for Clothing, Computers, and School Supplies July 30, 2016 through July 31, 2016:

Clothing and Footwear < $100: Clothing and footwear, no sales tax unless item is over $100. 

  • Computers and Computer related items < $1000: Computers, computer components, and prewritten computer software purchased for noncommercial home or personal use with a price $1,000 or less. 
  • School supplies > $20: School supplies, school art supplies, school computer supplies, and school instructional materials purchased for noncommercial use costing $20 or less.

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:

DOWNLOAD A FREEE BLANK SCHEDULE & TO-DO LIST ON OUR WEBSITE:
http://simplyorganizedyou.com/resources/

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.

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.

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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Stop Piling – Start Vertical Filing!

April 26, 2016
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IMG_1043cloth hanging wall orgaction system

 

Is your mail piling up all over your counters and table tops? Do you lose important bills, kid’s homework, receipts and tax info.? I have the solution for you and it’s soooo easy!

I.Get a vertical hanging file holder. They come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Get a wooden one from Ballard Designs (shown), metal, plastic from office supply stores, fabric from the Container Store (shown) or green cardboard from Target (shown).

II.Hang it on a wall or over a door where you will see it every day.

Label each section accordingly:

A. ASAP or VIP: “DAILY” This section will hold RSVPs, permission slips that need to be signed and anything else that needs immediate attention.

B. To Pay: “WEEKLY” This section holds your bills that need to be paid and any other form that will need attention before the week is over.

C. To File: “MONTHLY” This section gets all the paper work in your life that needs to be saved (filed, photographed or scanned). RECEIPTS, Insurance, investments, medical, kid’s art, taxes)

**** Feel free to create file folders in each section for sub folders. It makes sense to have folders for each family member. Maybe you prefer to have main sections for each family member with daily, weekly and monthly sub folders.****

III. Every time you bring paper into your house, toss your junk mail and place your items into the vertical place they belong. Empty your “DAILY” section and take care of it!

IV. Set an alarm on your phone to go off at the same time each week when you know you will be home. Use 5-10 minutes each week to empty your “WEEKLY” and every 4th week, your “MONTHLY” sections.

V. Enjoy the wonderful feeling of clean counters plus knowing where your important items are!

Need some help? Call Simply Organized at 404-825-2105 or email at Heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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A Simplified Life (my organizing book) is ready to pre-order

April 24, 2016
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book-cover300.

 

I’m so excited to announce my book is almost here! A Simplified Life: How to Achieve Order and Calm So You Can Reclaim Time, Energy and Control is all about the costs of disorganization and how to get and stay organized so you can spend less time worrying and more time having fun with your loved ones.

My book will be available on Amazon and in print in a few short months. Please click on the link below for a glimpse at the first two pages and a to order your copy now: http://simplyorganizedyou.com/book/

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Using Time Management Tips to Gain 6 More Weeks Back!

February 3, 2016
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freeorganizer

So today was Groundhog Day and I presented my time management tips and tools to a group at the East Cobb Library. For those of you unable to attend, I’m giving you the handout my audience received. I will also be posting a link to the presentation video soon. Please contact me for any questions or help 404-825-2105.

TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS & TOOLS:

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 iPad, 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. You can also lay out clothes, prep snacks & lunches night before.

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.

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.

Cooking:

1.Weekly meal plan and grocery list

2.Cook several meals and freeze

More Tips:

  1. Stop procrastinating: Set a timer to do 20 minutes at a time & Start with most difficult
  2. One task at a time and complete
  3. Multi-tasking (if you must: one physical and one mental at a time)

While pumping gas:

Clean out purse/ wallet/ car

Check e-mails and texts (return and delete)

While talking on the phone:

Fold laundry

Unload dishwasher

Clean out a drawer

  1. Learn to say NO
    1. When you say yes – you say no to something else

Time Saving Websites and Apps

www.ThredUp.com (10-80% / clean-up bag)

www.Unroll.me (unsubscribe to all sites or get one e-mail per day)

www.parents.com (chore charts and meal planners)

Doctor on Demand APP (24/7 access to physician)

Groove Book ($2.99 for 100 4×6 photos printed)

TIME SAVED USING TIME MANAGEMENT TOOLS:

Getting organized = 7.5 hours/ week not looking for stuff

Planning (make a list, menu)= 10 hours/ week not wasting time (1 hour of planning saves 10 hours of doing)

Outsourcing & Delegating = 20 hours/ week spent on items you want to do

Websites & APPs = 18 hours/ week not couponing, re-reading junk e-mail or going to the doctor

TOTAL = 55.5/ week = 2886/ year = 8/ day

 

 

 

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Simply Organized is Having a Contest!!!

January 16, 2016
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Simply Organized is having a contest. You can win $300 worth of our favorite products PLUS A 1 HOUR TIME MANAGEMENT SESSION WITH HEATHER ROGERS!

To enter, please click on the link below. We will announce the winner in two weeks (January 30th).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!!!

If you need us in the meantime, call us at 404-825-2105 or e-mail us at Heather@Simplyorganizedyou.com

 

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Why This Generation Does Not Want Our Parent’s Stuff

September 28, 2015
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There was an excellent article earlier this year in the AJC titled “We collect stuff all our lives. Then what?” It brought up an important discussion between my parents and I as well as sparked a lot of debate with my fellow organizers and our clients.  I’ve been accused of being “cold hearted” by my mother because I do not want her china cabinet and Spanish inspired walnut dining furniture from 1968.  My goal in writing this post is to explain to our baby boomers and their parents that we are not cold hearted or lacking in sentiment but have been raised in a materialistic disposable time.

My parents were raised by the generation who lived through the depression and two World Wars.  They were taught to appreciate everything because they survived a time where there was nothing.  While I was raised to appreciate hard work, my parents also gave us a very easy life full of whatever food, clothes and toys we wanted.  Each generation wants to provide the best for their children. My generation has been able to buy whatever we need at affordable prices making us mass consumers of everything from electronics to cars and homes. This has lead to a disposable attitude towards the goods we purchase.

It is also much harder to find furniture and goods that are high quality and long lasting. We can buy a room full of furniture for less than $1000 so we don’t care as much if it is out of style or breaks after 5-10 years. Many newer homes don’t even have dining rooms or formal living rooms anymore. The number one hardest thing to sell right now in the furniture world is a china cabinet. Most of my friends don’t use real china or silver when entertaining; we are much more casual. I think this is a combination of two-income households and being way too busy.

I’m not trying to make excuses for my generation but I do want our elders to understand, we aren’t trying to be rude or callous when we tell you not to hold onto your stuff for us. We want you to get any money or value you can from the items you worked so hard to buy for yourself. You do not have to know the person who will wind up with your treasures. If you can sell it or donate it, I promise someone will love it and take care of it as much as you did.

I also want to re-iterate a point I made a couple of years ago about storage. Please do not waste money storing items you will never use again or items for your kids or grand kids if they tell you they do not want them. The AJC article brings up two alarming statistics: “Last year, we spent about $7.7 billion on stuff to organize our stuff and another $24 billion to store it”.

I know all big changes like moving or getting rid of items can be very stressful. Please contact us so we can help you feel less over whelmed. We now have a re-selling division of Simply Organized. What we can not re sell for you, we will find a charity to give it to.

Heather Rogers 404-825-2105 or Heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

 

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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:

freeorganizer

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.

mudroom 2

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.

chorelist

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. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to selling your stuff.  If you don’t have many items to sell or they are not in great condition, consider having a charity pick them up for free. It will often save you a lot of time which is priceless.

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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