Back To School Organization

Back to school organization isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. Preparing for this exciting time takes energy, effort, and can be expensive. However, if you are organized, it will take a lot of stress out of this time of year.  I recommend heading to your nearest Goodwill store to look for fun and unique containers for school supplies.


Organizing School Supplies

Back to school organizing means being organized for the first days and weeks of school.  This organizing begins at home and will become habit. For example, you might have a drawer in your house that can be emptied and used for school supplies…extra pens, #2 pencils, markers, erasers, tape, glue, etc.  While at Goodwill, look for square or oblong containers that fit in your supply drawer.   Sort your supplies so pens are not mixed in with  markers, for example. Have a home for these things to make it easier and less expensive to restock your backpack. Don’t re-purchase crayons and glue, shop in your supply drawer!


Backpack Storage and Organization

Backpacks need a home. Ideally, hang backpacks near the entry/exit door of your home. If you do not have a mudroom with lockers or cubbies, create your own.  Use simple, sturdy hooks at eye level. This encourages the habit of getting home from school, emptying the backpack of homework and other papers, and hanging the backpack directly on the hook.

If you don’t have space for hooks, try a door organizer. The one pictured was intended for handbags, but works perfectly for backpacks.

No more searching all over the house for the backpacks or the papers that need to return to school.


Paperwork Organization

Back to school organizing means dealing with mountains of paperwork.  Create a home for all that paper – shop at Goodwill and look for containers suitable for holding temporary papers.  For example, baskets and trays work well.  Label the containers with words that suggest action, such as “Homework to do”,  “Mom to sign and return”, or “Put on calendar.”


Organizing kids clothes

Another area in your home where organization is key is the kids bedroom closet. Simply decide on your next day’s outfit the night before and set it out (don’t forget the shoes). One easy way to organize the next days outfits is to find hanging storage cubes at Goodwill. Having 2 of these storage units makes things even easier. One for tops and one for bottoms.  Label days of the week for each cube to eliminate morning frustration. Get your kids involved with choosing outfits by allowing them to choose tops, and you add bottoms.

This smart move will give you extra time in the morning for a healthy, relaxing breakfast.

Have a Happy, Organized School Year!!


This months guest blogger is Cathy Fairchild from Say Yes to Less.

Get in touch with Cathy at:  http://www.sayyestoless.guru  

Find Cathy on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/sayyestoless.guru/

High School Back to School Fall ’17 Trend Report

As much as I don’t want to admit it, summer is over.  In my house, that means we are over our heads in all that is ‘back to school’. Over the years, we’ve offered tips and thoughts on getting through the back to school season…with a shred of sanity!

This year, I’m sharing with you (and your budding fashionistas) my Back To School Trend Report. Many of the things in this year’s report are easy to find at your local Goodwill Store. Some things to look for include:

  • Slogan t-shirts – those t-shirts with sayings on them.
  • Anything Embroidered – if you are crafty, maybe you can add some embroidery to an old jean jacket or pair of jeans to give it new life
  • Fair Isle sweaters – remember the old ‘ski sweaters’? You know, the ones with all the print and detail around the shoulders? Well…they’re back! 

What are your kids loving for BTS this season?  What do you wish they’d leave home?  I’d love to commiserate with you!

text 2017 all rights reserved

Organize kids stuff: secrets to back to school bliss!

When the kids head out the door for the first day of school, many moms start the cleaning and organizing! Fall is the perfect time to embrace an “out with the old – in with the new” attitude”…especially with your kids stuff!

This week, our organizing expert, Lorie Marrero shares some organizing tips on getting the grade and finding the Secrets of Back to School Bliss!

And remember, if you need a few more back to school wardrobe basics – including school uniforms, Goodwill is a great place to shop!


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgpe6q9Pziw]

(transcript of the video)
Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about getting in the swing of things with back-to-school time. So when you’re getting ready for back-to-school, you have to think about, of course, gathering all the school supplies and clothes you need, but you also need to think about creating new routines to go with the new schedule that you have.

So let’s start with weekly planning – we call it Sunday Planning – at the end of the weekend, sitting down with your calendar looking at the week ahead, figuring out who needs to be where, and making some menu plans for the dinners every night for the rest of that week.

So the next thing you should think about is your morning, afternoon, and evening routines so that your day goes more smoothly. So, of course, in the mornings, it can be chaotic trying to get everybody ready and out the door. Make that as easy for yourself as possible by thinking through it carefully. Who needs what and when? Are you getting yourself ready before you get the kids ready? Get a head start on them. Get up a little earlier. Also, we recommend having a destination station, which is the area where you enter and exit the home most frequently and you put things there that you need to take with you when you leave the house. So you establish this station, you can hang your keys there, your purses and backpacks go there, and anything else that needs to go out the door in the morning.

The afternoon is a little more complicated because maybe you aren’t there. Maybe the kids are by themselves. Maybe the kids have a sitter in the afternoons. Maybe they’re somewhere else in the afternoons. But you need to have a routine and some policies and rules around several pieces of what happens during that time of day.

So first of all, homework. Do they need to start their homework immediately? When is homework supposed to be done and where? Snack time, screen time, and general play time also need to have policies established around them so everybody understands what’s supposed to happen. Now, you may have homework being done at the kitchen table – this is this classic kitchen table dilemma of the multiple functions that are often going on in this space – so you may be setting the table for dinner while your children are trying to do homework here. And what often I see that people need is extra storage in this space. So, one of the greatest solutions that I’ve seen lately are these premium cubes that are available at Home Depot by ClosetMaid, and they look so nice with the rest of your furniture. They don’t look like they’re inexpensive and they belong in the kids’ playroom. They belong in the common areas of your house. They look great with these faux leather premium fabric drawers that they have. And so you can have extra storage really close by that looks good, and you can put things in it like a pouch full of school supplies for their homework time, like a calculator, extra notebooks, post-it notes, index cards, all the things that the kids need so that they can get them out and put them away quickly and easily when it’s time to shift to dinner time.

So, you can also use these cubes for other things you need around the kitchen table. So for example, you can put your cloth napkins or things like that, that you need for your eating along with the school supplies. So, establish those afternoon policies and if the kids are older, you can even do that with them and even write them into a formal contract. Sometimes, it really doesn’t hurt to get everybody’s very formal agreement on how that’s going to go.

Then, let’s talk about your evening routine. So that is crucial to making your morning go more smoothly. If you’ve got little kids, you probably have bath time. You may want to lay their clothes out for tomorrow. There’s a lot of activities that have to do with setting the stage for the morning. So clothing’s great, but also sports equipment, of course, their backpacks and any homework they’ve gotten done needs to be packed up and ready to go in that destination station area. And you may want to pack lunches the night before to save yourself a little bit of time and hassle in the morning.

So all these routines are fantastic to think through ahead of time, but remember, routine does not equal rigid. You want to plan some flexibility into the process, and don’t make it painful and frustrating for everybody. Have a little bit of leeway here and there, but use this as a basic outline for your day and for your week.

If you’d like to have more back-to- school tips, we have a countdown calendar for three weeks leading up to the first day of school and you can get that calendar at clutterdiet.com/countdown.
See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.
You may have been searching for stress free school schedules or how to ease back into school.

text 2017 all rights reserved

8 DIY Command Center Ideas

Back-to-school season means back to the daily grind of controlling paperwork, keeping track of schedules, checking homework, figuring out meals, and corralling the backpack clutter in the home. Thankfully, it is easy to create a DIY Command Center for your family on a budget and even in a small home.  Today I want to showcase eight ideas for command centers that would work in small spaces, or in a larger home, and how you can utilize Goodwill for some of the supplies for your project.

Let’s get organized!

Transform a Door

One of the most inventive ideas I have seen for a command center comes from Tatertots & Jello. She utilizes a screen door for creating a command center for her family. For families that don’t want to mount anything on their wall, this command center created from a door can be propped up anywhere and I could picture this project even as a command center in the garage.
To create a place for jotting down notes, consider heading to Goodwill for a picture frame that you can transform into a magnetic chalkboard and check their baskets section for a basket to gather shoes or for paper storage! 

Use a Folding Chair

Not everyone has a large space to create a command center wall. I adore this idea, from Nalle’s House, of creating a mini command center for your family by using an old folding chair. Check the furniture section of Goodwill for this project and with a little chalkboard paint and a basket, you have a spot to jot down messages and to tuck those small & important items like wallets & keys! 

Dedicate an Unused Corner

Unused corners in our home can be the best place to create a small command center. The best part about a small command center is that it is an easier space to manage and clutter can be tidied up quickly. This command center from Hi Sugarplum showcases an unused corner that she now has made into the family’s command center.  
With a simple basket, a wall-mounted file folder, a small bulletin board, and a charging station, you now have an organized hub for your family.  

Dedicate a Wall

If you have a wall that you can use for your family’s command center, I absolutely love the cohesiveness of this wall command center from The Caldwell Project. They utilize beautiful free printables in picture frames to track things with dry erase markers, they have great storage for cell phones and commonly found paper clutter in the home, there is a spot for the mail, and a place to jot down notes. 
If you want to create this on a budget, consider spray painting picture frames from Goodwill all one color and utilizing the free printables to keep your command center on budget. Be sure to visit this post for their free printable resources for your own command center. 

Use a Cabinet Door

Although Domestic Imperfection actually built this beautiful command center out of wood, a cabinet door from Goodwill would work perfectly in creating a command center for a small space. I love that she decoupaged a map of somewhere special on her door to create this command center. To keep it on budget, stop at the visitor’s bureau to snag maps of the places you visit for a special and personal touch. 
Again, this command center is perfect for limited wall space and I love that you can personalize this one to your own needs! 

Create a Chalkboard Wall

This chalkboard wall command center, featured in BHG Magazine, illustrates that you don’t need a lot of space to create a command center that functions well for your family. I love that everything is on one wall and that you can chalk captions on the wall to remind people where their items are and that items can be switched out based upon your family’s needs from year-to-year! 

Make It Fun

The Homes I Have Made has the happiest of all happy command centers that I have ever seen. It makes me so happy that I want to replicate this one for our own house. She chose an eye-catching color scheme and adds beautiful details to make this a cheery place to organize and drop your belongings.  A handmade bunting brightens the space and the happy pieces of art in her color scheme make this place feel whimiscal and not utilitarian.

Use Open Framing to Organize

One last idea that I love is this command center made with open frames created by Wid Kids. Picture frames are a great item to find at Goodwill and utilizing just the framing of them creates a unique and open detail to your command center for creating with. In this case window frames were used, but you could utilize whatever type of frame you can find at your store and replicate this same concept in your own home. 
I love that it adds a fun detail to the wall and is open and airy enough to make the space not look cluttered.

Do you have a command center in your home? What do you do to keep your family organized in this space? 

Goodwill Back-to-School Fashion Show in Rochester!

 
You are invited to join us at a BACK-TO-SCHOOL Fashion Show at the Rochester store!  The show will feature some amazing local kids showing their unique style for this school year.  The show starts at 1:00 pm.  See you there!

the thing about kids…and fashion trends

I have an 11 year old daughter who has strong opinions about her wardrobe (don’t all 11 year old girls?).  Her opinion and mine are vastly different when it comes to school clothes. This back-to-school season I decided I was done arguing about her clothes every morning.  She and I went to Starbucks and had a “fashion meeting”.

Truth is I want her to show her individuality in her wardrobe. I’m glad she isn’t uber obsessed with fashion (I couldn’t afford it!). At our “fashion meeting” I explained to her that I am concerned about things fitting properly, being age appropriate and not unisex (I insist she wear ‘girls’ clothing, not sports wear that are for gals and guys…at least to school). She agreed and we developed our school-clothes rules.

They are:

  • Things must fit (not too small and not too big)
  • Be cool, trendy (whatever that definition is in her 11 year old world)
  • Not look like she is wearing her old-mom’s clothes.  Her clothing must be age appropriate.
  •  Must not be uni-sex.  Must be clothing for girls.

Based on our new agreement (or fashion rules), I then decided that we should choose a style for her. She got to tell me what her personality was through her clothes. She showed me things online she liked, and we went to the mall and she pointed out things in stores she thought was cool.

Some of today’s trends in kids clothes make me take pause when I consider what our kids clothes are saying about their personality.  But, we as responsible parents, need to know what is fashionable (or what “all the kids are wearing”) so when we have these conversations with our teens and pre-teens about wardrobe choices, we are doing so from an educated viewpoint.And of course, to show our kids that we are still cool (*wink*).

Here are 2 big trends in kids clothing this fall.  Or in other words – the stuff your kids are going to be begging for…if they haven’t already!

FUR
This can be a tricky one because pieces that kids like are EXPENSIVE!  Try this: get a great hoodie, denim jacket, or puffy vest from your local Goodwill store.  Then put on your “crafty” hat and DIY!  This tutorial shows you how to get in on this trend in just 5 easy steps.

MOTIFS
Camo and skulls are still big in kids fashion.  Camo has been around a while, look for it this season in bright trendy colors.  For some of us, the camo thing can be a little much for little ones.  Consider a DIY Camo sweatshirt! 

I would love to hear how you’ve calmed the ‘school clothes’ battle in your home! Any suggestions for the rest of us?


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School – Fall Fashion Trends Ultimate 80’s!

Boyfriend jackets

A boyfriend jacket is simply an oversize unstructured blazer.  I have many photos (that should be burned) of me and my girlfriends proudly wearing the boyfriend jackets with our granny boots and miniskirts. Yes, we thought we were amazing…Big hair and all!
LOVE IT:Then bring on the pins! The best way to don your boyfriend jacket this season will be to accessorize it with a plethora of pins and brooches a la 80’s style.
CAN’T DECIDE: Go basic with black or grey. There are some styles that have a bit more structure.
photo credit: http://www.seventeen.com

Super skinnies

The super skinny is here to stay.  This season if you want to embrace all that is 80’s then do it with a granny boot and a boyfriend jacket. This trend takes on a new twist this fall with vibrant COLOR!
LOVE IT:Bring on the skinnies in hot neon colors!
CAN’T DECIDE: If you aren’t sure the skinny jean trend is for you then skip it!  This trend brings a lot of attention to the bottom ½ of your silhouette. 
Photo credit: http://cdn.sheknows.com

School – Fall Fashion Trends SHOES

Granny boots

CONFESSION: I loved my 80’s granny boots and wore them with everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING!  I am very happy they are back!
LOVE IT:Get a few pair with varying hardware.  Maybe a black pair with strong military details and a chunky heel…then add a brown pair with a slim heel, more feminine. 
CAN’T DECIDE: all of the discount shoe stores will have a variety of this style in the Fall.  Try 

Photo Credit: http://www.looksandbooks.com

Boat shoes

When I say Sperry Topsider, what do you think?  I remember a time in the 80’s I fondly remember as the ‘gator bowl’.  No, not a football event, but rather a ‘preppy’ contest between me and a few girlfriends.  Boat shoes were key to this middle-school event. Boat shoes of all colors!
LOVE IT:There are some of the cutest boat shoes I’ve seen out at the stores this season. Everything from a dressy metallic to a sporty tartan. Be sure to pick up a pair in your teams colors! 
CAN’T DECIDE: this trend is one that you can be safe in trying.  I promise it’ll work well for you!  Especially at those times a tennis shoe is appropriate, but you just aren’t in the mood for an athletic shoe. 

Photo credit: http://cdn.hypebeast.com

School – Fall Fashion Trends Bleached!

Bleached

We all did this in the 80’s.  We got a pair of jeans and bleached them.  Problem with our “home method” was that we then smelled like bleach for weeks.  
LOVE IT:Over distressed and bleached denim will be all the rage this fall
CAN’T DECIDE: Skip the jeans and opt for a bleached jean jacket

Photo Credit: http://blog.swell.com