Back-To-School Organizing Party

Recently, Simplicity Organizers and the Lori Martin, the owner of the Purple Martin and Co, teamed up to host a BACK-TO-SCHOOL Organizing Party for the 6th grade girls of Trinity Episcopal School!  As if the lure of “sweet surprises” was not enough, these 6th grade girls arrived eager to learn new organizational tips and strategies that would help them transition to Middle School.

Lori and her own 6th grade daughter, Emma, hosted the party at their home the weekend before school started to help everyone get a jump start for the school year.

Both returning and new Trinity 6th grade girls mingled as they filled up small white bags with some of their favorite candy. This sweet surprise helped keep energy and enthusiasm high throughout the event.

Next the girls participated in an icebreaker game in which they discovered fun facts about each other. By this point, everyone was well acquainted, full of sugar, and ready to learn new organizational techniques

Simplicity Organizing Coach, Catie Eller, facilitated hands-on activities for the girls to learn the new strategies and apply them to their own situations. In a group brainstorming session, the girls discovered a wide range of reasons for why it is important to be organized.


Next, Catie Eller discussed the importance of time management and planning ahead. After sharing several tips, each girl was given an opportunity to devise her own morning routine. The routines were then framed so they could be put out as a visual reminder.

Organizing Backpacks and Lockers-BEFORE and AFTER!

One of the fundamental principles of our Simplicity Kids curriculum is to allow the student to play a large role in setting up their own organizational systems. Working together in teams, the girls had to figure out the best way to “organize” a backpack or locker.  Through problem solving and teamwork, they all learned ways to use the pockets effectively and eliminate the build-up of loose papers. 

Day Planners and Notebooks

Day Planners are a wonderful tool for recording more than just school-work. Middle School students must also keep track of sports, extra-curricular activities, upcoming social events, and trips. To maximize their usage, we discussed how often the girls should check their day planners (at least 3 times a day!) and ways to highlight important events.

Each Trinity 6th grader carries one primary notebook to hold all of their class notes, handouts and tests. The Purple Martin and Co. provided cute paper for each of the girls to use to decorate the front of their notebooks while Simplicity shared strategies for keeping track of homework and signed papers, in addition to setting up a filing system  at home to keep their binder from overflowing.

We covered a lot of organizing material in just two hours! Each girl also took home a bag filled with candy, a customized notebook, a framed morning routine, and a handout with organizational tips and strategies!


While the candy might not last past the first week of school, hopefully the organizational tips and techniques will last them a lifetime! Thank you 6th grade girls for such a productive, fun Sunday afternoon!

If you are interested in having Simplicity and Lori Martin, with the Purple Martin and Co. host an Organizational Party for your children, please contact us directly for more details.  info@simplicity-organizers.com


DNC… ONE WEEK TO GO!

DNClogo
Many of you may be renting out your homes for the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which takes place one week from today. Trent Corbin with Providence Property Management has created a helpful list of organizing tips for preparing your home.

BASIC HOME PREPARATION

  • Clean your home.  Whether you hire a professional cleaning service or do it yourself, your rental should be sparkling for guests.
  • Depersonalize the home. Remove or store family photos, refrigerator magnets, personal items, sentimental items, etc.
  • Store and protect valuables so guests do not have access to them.
  • Provide keys and codes for tenant access. Homeowners will need to provide house keys for house guests.  If garage parking is included, provide all necessary garage passes, tags, reserved space numbers, etc.   This goes for pool/fitness centers as well.  Please also consider any specifics regarding HOA rules, amenity access, hours of access, etc. 
  • Provide all appliance instructions. Tenants will need brief but thorough instructions for any and all appliances, audio/visual equipment, etc. This include wireless internet codes, TV and DVD instructions, etc.  If you have a SmartHome or advanced A/V system, provide instructions for the operation of those system. 
  • Include a personalized note (optional). Some homeowners may like to leave a welcome note or other informa.   tion for guests. It would be a nice gesture to have a welcome letter from homeowners.
  • Provide easily accessible trash bags.  Make it easy for guests to find all trash can liners, including those for kitchen, bath and any other trash bins.  Consider putting additional trash bags at the bottom of each bin to avoid confusion when guests look for extra bags.  It is also a good idea to include garbage instructions for trash chutes, dumpsters, recycling, etc.
Bedrooms and Sleeping Spaces
  • Provide clean linens.  Guests are expecting linens to be cleaned prior to their arrival.  We highly recommend providing two sets of linens for each sleeping surface.  If you choose to purchase new linens for guests, these may be washed and donated to local shelters upon your return.
  • De-clutter your closets.  All closets should be emptied to the extent possible (again, to make it feel more like an executive rental), leaving at least room to hang 4-5 garments per sleeping surface (if you have 2 beds  in one room, you will need space for at least 8-10 garments in the closet)
  • Clear dresser drawers. These should be emptied to the extent possible but at least 2 drawers per sleeping
  • surface should be available.  Again, the primary objective is to remove any and all personal items that you would not want guests to have access to while you’re away.
  • De-clutter and clear out bedside tables. Remove all contents of drawers and depersonalize bedside tabletops.
Kitchen
  • Clean out fridge and pantry. Please clean out fridge and pantry as completely as possible without wasting food. If you have a garage refrigerator, you may want to store perishables there while you’re away.
  • Leave all dishes and flatware available to your tenants or provide plenty of disposable flatware for them to use.
  • Provide paper towels and/or kitchen towels for guests.
  • Include instructions for the dishwasher in the appliance instructions. Your preferred dish detergents would be ideal to leave for guests as well.
  • Include instructions and cleaning supplies for guests so that they may immediately clean any accidental spills, etc.

Bathrooms

  • Clean bathrooms thoroughly (tubs, grout, toilets)
  • Depersonalize and de-clutter countertops. Leaving toothbrush holders and hand soap is preferred. 
  • Remove any personal items from drawers or cabinets that you would not want guests to access (includes prescriptions, toiletries, personal hygiene items).  These should be stored and secured so guests cannot access these items
  • Provide clean (or new) towels for each sleeping surface. Each sleeping surface will need two sets of towels (two bath towels, two hand towels and two washcloths).  Similar to the linens, all towels may be washed and donated to local shelters following the DNC.
  • Provide critical toiletries, including toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner and body wash and/or bar soap (face wash optional) for each bathroom.  These should be new/unused.  Travel size bottles will be fine (you can buy small travel bottles at Target).  Additional amenities (toothpaste, tissues, etc.) are optional.

If you are struggling to make it all happen, Simplicity Organizers are here to help.


THE REAL “NEW YEAR”

2012 Picture (2)

I am only half joking when I tell my family and friends that September 1st feels like the real “New Year” to me. After a summer filled with travel, camps, house-guests, countless loads of beach towels and entirely too much Disney Channel, I find myself feeling like I need to subject my entire house to a thorough shake down. I am craving a fresh start for the new school year and the holidays that will arrive before I have fully recovered from the last ones.

It is officially time get our little ones back in school so we can complete a thought, have an uninterrupted telephone conversation, and grocery shop without having to apologize to everyone between the parking lot and the check-out aisle. We feel like only then will we be able to clean out the playroom to our satisfaction, sort through the accumulated seasons and sizes of clothing, and figure out what really needs to happen to that stack of mail and papers that we shoved into a Belk’s bag so we could clear off the counter tops for that last minute cook-out we volunteered to host. Fun stuff, right?

While all of those things need to happen and are an important part of running a home and managing a family, wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to spend so much time and energy doing those kinds of things? I don’t know about you, but I would rather be working on my family photo albums, meeting a friend for coffee, exercising, reading, or serving in my community.

We tell ourselves we will do these things when we have more time. Have you ever thought about how you will actually get more time? We always think the next stage of life, whatever that may be, will open up the calendar and the clock for us. As a professional organizer who has worked with families in all seasons of their lives, I can tell you that each one holds demands for your time and energy. We must be intentional about making the important things happen in our lives. We have to resolve to do them.

I find it interesting that the word resolution, which originates from the Latin resolvere, means to loosen or untie; to reveal. When we work with clients we often find them knotted up in anxiety and overwhelmed by their circumstances and their stuff. As we deal with the troublesome parts of their homes that cause them stress and we help them evaluate their relationship with their possessions we commonly see the layers peeled back revealing a fresh new perspective and attitude. They feel free to pursue the endeavors they really enjoy but have been putting off. So, what are you resolving to do with your “New Year” and how do you plan to make it happen? Maybe we should ring it in together.

by Andrea Gill, Simplicity Organizers


Back to School Tips

The Scout Guide Charlotte

First published in The Scout Guide Charlotte

Believe it or not, the new school year is just three weeks away! It is time to start preparing for the transition from laid back summer days to new routines and schedules.

 It’s Time to Get Organized!!

Laurie Martin of Simplicity Organizers has been busy getting her clients ready for school and helping them start the year off on the right foot. She shared a few tips with me to share with you. 1) Make a checklist for all the school supplies needed for the school year. Typically schools provide a list of recommended school supplies. Be sure to take your list with you when you go shopping. Each child should be responsible for shopping for his/her own supplies. Make this a family trip. Create a place near where your children do their homework, to store all the school supplies.

 

2) Organize the backpack. Backpacks are very helpful for storing and carrying school supplies. Before organizing your backpack, make sure it is completely cleaned out from the previous year. Be sure to stock backpacks with the necessary school supplies. Assign each compartment of the backpack so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. If the weight of the backpack is a concern, wheeled backpacks are available.

3) Create a system for school papers and artwork. Artwork and papers can easily flood an entire room. Set up your system before the first day of school. As a family, decide what system you are going to use. Not every piece of paper can or should be kept that arrives home from school. Set up a bulletin board or a special place in your home to celebrate each weeks best work. Either toss the rest, file what is important, or store the work in a tub that will needed to be purged at the end of the year. Take a picture of the artwork or school project. A good rule of thumb is to keep no more than 5 pieces that best represent that year. 4) Plan and pack lunches ahead of time. Prevent emergency grocery runs by planning ahead! Review school lunch rules and guidelines. Keep pantry and refrigerator stocked with healthy choices. Meet with your children to plan lunch ideas. Pack lunch after dinner and refrigerate overnight.

5) Create new routines. Routines help establish security and confidence in a child’s life. Regular schedules provide a framework that allows children to learn how to manage their time and attention. Children thrive on repetition. It is important that children understand what is expected. Effective routines help keep a family organized. Simplicity is a professional organizing company dedicated to helping you make your life easier. If you feel like you need more balance and organization in your life….call Laurie Martin and her team to develop a customized solution and system tailored for you and your individual needs.

Simplicity Certified Professional Organizers www.simplicity-organizers.com 704.464.3713