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Organizing Kid’s Schoolwork

14 Feb

named-binsRecently we’ve addressed organizing paper for grown-ups: mail, important documents, and tax paperwork.  But anyone with kids knows that the amount of paper that they generate can be just as great, and keeping it organized presents its own kind of challenge.

(This is one of those topics WAY too big to cover in a single blog post, and since most busy mom’s we know love Pinterest, be sure to follow our Organizing Kid’s School Work board)

The Problem: Too Much Paper

Despite the increased use of technology in schools these days, we’ve yet to observe any significant reduction in the amount of papers that kids bring home from school, and therein lies the clutter issue.  Little ones walk in the door, proud as can be of their artwork and other treasures, and what Mom doesn’t melt? But …

Some Easy Solutions…

Staples® Letter/Legal File Boxes
One idea we’ve come across for organizing your kids’ schoolwork is labeling a plastic file box for each child, and putting all of their school work (and photos of bigger projects) into the box as soon as they bring it home. You’ll go through it at the end of the school year, and weed out the save-worthy from the recyclable.  So easy, so practical. 

I love this approach because revisiting the box will be a walk down memory lane, while time will determine what’s worth saving and what’s not. And as your kids age, they may enjoy participating in this project with you.

The Mommy Command Center

Another great idea comes from April Perry of Power of Moms:

We recommend clients modify the system April uses, and personalize it to their needs. Most often, we use one distinct basket per child. We also look to suggest a variety of different options for busy Mom’s to store that works for their personal lives to avoid a big basket of clutter on the kitchen counter (or laundry room!)

Getting Organized This New Year!

10 Jan

A Major “Mini” Resolution

Happy New Year!  2014, a new year, fresh and ready to be filled with projects, adventures, and naturally a few resolutions.

Like many people, I have an organizational goal for 2014 (shocking, I know 😉 ), to pare down to the essentials to reduce excess in my life (& by doing so, reduce stress.) 

The Major Mini Problem

While unpacking after moving earlier this year, I noticed far too much of type one thing: mini toiletries! After a hotel stay I always keep the half-used bottles of shampoo and conditioner, figuring they’ll just get thrown out if I don’t.  But instead of finishing off the bottles at home, I’d “file” them away in the drawer of minis, in clearly labeled Ziplocks (hair, face, lotion, etc. -remember “like with like”?), with the idea I’ll use them again when I travel.  But then I get new stuff, and the stash grows.  So, my resolution is to use up all of these minis by the end of 2014, and attain a less-cluttered vanity in the process.

In conversations with friends and experiences with clients, I know I’m not alone. Keeping hotel “minis”, and eventually ending up with a bigger-than-intended stash, is a common issue.  So, what to do about it? 

To achieve my resolution I am ignoring my full-sized products and putting out the minis, one bottle at a time, until I’ve reduced the stash to just one of everything, which will live in my travel kit, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

526612483_df70725fb0If you have a stash of mini toiletries that has grown unwieldy, (particularly full ones) and this tortoise-like approach isn’t for you, here are a couple other ideas:

  • One friend whose brother is serving in Afghanistan right now sent over her stash of full mini bottles in a care package. You can send care packages in flat rate boxes through the USPS.  Find out more about shipping restrictions.  If you don’t have any connections to anyone in the military, but this idea appeals to you, find a soldier through Any Soldier Inc. (or its affiliates, Any Marine, Any Sailor, Any Airman, and Any Coast Guard).
  • A client whose hotel toiletry collection had grown out of hand donated them to Boston Children’s Hospital, where parents are often staying overnight in high-stress situations, and giving little thought to planning their own personal hygiene! Children’s was near and dear to our client’s heart, but you can get creative!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions (organizational or otherwise)?  Leave a comment and let us know!  If that resolution falls into the “tackle that closet” or “deal with my kids’ cluttered playroom” category, we’re always here to help!

Organizing Your Guest Room

20 Dec

Making Guests Feel At Home… In Your Home

You’ve attended the kids’ holiday concert at school, your spouse’s office party, and spent countless hours shopping & prepping for this joyous season. While hosting out of town relatives or friends make the holidays even more special, if you’re not prepared, it can also add a ton of stress to an already insanely busy time of year.  With that in mind, here’s a few Wiggle Room tips for making your house guests feel welcome and comfortable during their stay:

Get the guest room ready, and don’t forget the little touches:

Make the bed with clean sheets.  An extra blanket at the foot of the bed will make them feel cozy and comfortable, and an extra set of pillows in the closet or in an under bed box is a nice touch, too.  Add a few books and current magazines on the nightstand for before bed reading.

Test the air mattress:

If your extra bed is an air mattress, don’t wait until your guests are at the door to blow it up.  Test it ahead of time and keep it inflated overnight to make sure there aren’t any slow leaks– all too common with air mattresses!

Have a suitcase stand handy:luggage

A luggage rack actually keeps me more organized when I’m living out of a suitcase!  It’s an
inexpensive addition to your guest room
, and particularly nice for older guests who might have trouble reaching their suitcase if it’s on the floor.

Make some room in the closet:

The guest room closet is a great asset for off-season storage most of the year, but as an out-of-the-way space, it is also a prime candidate for clutter and disorder.  Make sure that there’s enough room for your guests to hang their clothes, or make space in another closet that’s easy for them to access.  (And if those closets need some serious help, it’s not too late to book an appointment with Wiggle Room!)

Make a toiletries basket:toiletries

Gather all those hotel mini bottles and dentist office freebies you’ve accumulated and display them in a basket for your guests to use.  Have shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, toothpaste, and a toothbrush, along with a clean washcloth or bath poof.

Set out spare towels:
Using ones that are a different color than your own lets guests know which towels are theirs.

Stock the kitchen:

Nothing makes me feel more welcome than when my host knows what I like for breakfast, and stocks the fridge (nor guiltier when they’ve bought every imaginable food item, for me, when I just want a banana 😉 ).  Find out what your guests like, then have plenty of it on hand.  Ditto for afternoon snacks.

Make a spare key:

Hide it if your fam is arriving when you’ll be out of the house.  If they’ll be coming and going on their own during their visit, a spare key will simplify logistics!

Create a list of important phone numbers:

While this type of list is great to have all year round, a list of important numbers is especially useful for guests, should anything go awry while you’re out.  Along with the police, fire department, and nearest hospital, include numbers for your plumber and handyman.  The locations and hours of the nearest grocery store and pharmacy will be appreciated by guests that aren’t familiar with the neighborhood, especially if they’re staying in your house without you!

Write down household instructions:

My grandmother always left post-it notes for how to work the TV and VCR.  In this age of increasingly complex electronics, this practice is more important than ever!  Writing down instructions for the TV/remote(s), WiFi, alarm system, etc., will make things easier for you and your guests.

From our families to yours, have a happy & healthy holiday season!

Inspiration, Motivation & Perspiration!

15 Nov

Getting started

It’s ironic.  One week into launching a blog that inspires to help people get more organized, and the biggest challenge is to organize my own thoughts!  It turns out organizing “stuff” and organizing thoughts are two entirely different beasts.  Go figure. 😉  At some point, as with all projects, you have stop thinking about it and dive in, or else it’ll never happen!

Getting more organized is kind of the same way.  It’s a commitment—of time and of energy—and for those reasons (& more) it becomes all too easy to put off starting.


Life Changes

IMG_3133Often a big life change, such as moving, is the catalyst for starting an organizing project.  Fitting your life into new a space— perhaps with more room, maybe with less—means that one has to adopt new systems that suit your lifestyle within the changing space.  And of course, the physical act of moving all that STUFF can definitely inspire you to take a good hard look at what it all is (& hopefully purge a few things!)

Welcoming a baby is another life change that often inspires an organizational kickstart.  Instead of changing spaces, the challenge becomes how to reconfigure an existing space to fit another (little) person who comes into the world with a whole host of more STUFF!

Regardless of the impetus, organizing is about optimizing your space and using it to its best advantage.  At the end of the day, an organization project should make your space easier and more enjoyable to use.  Whether you’re considering tackling a space on your own or seeking professional help, remember that step one is committing to it and diving in.  (You can totally do it!)  Once you’re engaged, yes, it’ll take some time and energy, but see it through and an improved space is never too far away.

Your future self will thank you for it!