Back to School Organizing Party

Our 2nd annual Back to School Organizing party for the 6th grade girls at

Trinity Episcopal School was a huge success!

Offered the week before school starts, the organizing party was the
perfect time for these girls to catch up from the summer break, meet
new girls in the grade, and think about getting organized for the new
school year.

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Who knew that organizing could be so fun? After kicking off the party
with an icebreaker game, we led several hands-on activities to share a
variety of organizational tips and strategies.

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This two-hour session focused on two primary organizational skills: the
benefits of knowing what you have and where it belongs and how to
effectively manage your time.

From binders to lockers, middle school students are expected to
maintain a variety of organizational systems on a daily basis. To equip
them with the skills to do so, we divided the girls into three groups to
organize pre-made messy backpacks and lockers. Proudly
demonstrating their finished product, they shared the steps they took
to put things in order and the supplies that were useful to maintain the
system.

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Middle school students also start to take on a lot more responsibility!
As the homework increases and the afterschool activities last longer, it
is important to utilize day planners to help manage time for both
personal and school life. To minimize stress in the morning, each girl
also created their own “get to school on time” morning routine.

Although organizing does not come naturally to everyone, it is such an
important life skill! By working alongside the girls to create customized
organizational systems and functional routines, Simplicity Organizers
hopes to help reduce anxiety and increase your child’s confidence in
balancing life at home and school.

BEFORE PICTURE

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AFTER PICTURE

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Interested in learning more about our Simplicity Kids program or
hosting an Organizing Party? Please visit our website at www.simplicity-organizers.com


The Paradox of Choice

The Paradox of Choice Barry Schwartz, the behavioral psychologist coined the phrase, the paradox of choice in his book of the same name. His thesis is that having no choice makes us unhappy, having some choice makes us happy and having too much choice makes us jittery and downright unhappy.

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Source:http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bschwar1/

We tend to be poor choosers. We have a hard time distinguishing our needs from our wants and even when we identify a true need, we are paralyzed by the surfeit of options available. Honestly, how many choices of salad dressing or blue jeans do we really need to maximize our happiness?

Schwartz makes the case that too many options inevitably make us less satisfied with our decision. We have heightened expectations that with so many options, surely we’ll make the perfect choice. When it turns out to be just fine, but not perfect, we feel like failures and are filled with self- blame. How could we not have picked the perfect jeans when there were hundreds of pairs to choose from? Next time we’ll get it right! So the “just fine” jeans hang in the closet with the tags still attached and the hunt for perfection plays out with another trip to the mall. Could we make ourselves content with mere excellence rather than absolute perfection? Of course, this is only a problem in the world of material affluence. How much time and energy do you waste trying to find perfection when good is good enough?

A couple of strategies (notice it’s only a couple) for dealing with the paralysis and unhappiness that endless choice bring: *Separating needs from wants. Our needs are few and simple. Our wants are explosive and often driven by clever marketers and our desire to “keep up with the Joneses.” Learn to satisfy your needs and curb your wants. * “Self-binding”. This strategy, developed by Jon Elster, a social theorist, goes like this. We can consciously try to choose less by pre-committing to limiting our choices. Simply thinking about this apparent contradiction of too much choice is a good starting place. Adopt the “good enough” mindset. Understand that complicated choices make us less happy, more exhausted and more regretful. Consciously limiting choices can be liberating, even exhilarating.

So before you prepare for the family beach trip, or begin back-to-school shopping, talk with your family about needs versus wants and vow to limit your choices. Your toddler will be content with last year’s sand toys even if they don’t include a castle turret mold. Your teen’s happiness on the beach will not depend on finding the perfect swimsuit. And your college-bound student’s life will still be complete even if the extra-long twin sheets are basic white!

For more inspiration, watch Schwartz’s TED talk. http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice.html


Traditional Clutter-Free Anniversary Gifts

Wedding PhotoAs my husband and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary last month I struggled with what to get him.  We have a small house and since the birth of our daughter it’s become even smaller!  A lot has happened in the past five years from military deployments, living in 4 different states, starting and relocating a business, traveling to various states and countries and of course the birth of our daughter just 6 months ago.  I wanted to give a gift that was special but didn’t take up space.  I thought about past articles I’ve written about clutter-free gift giving.  This reflection led me to think about the many anniversaries we have in front of us.  I researched the traditional anniversary gifts and wanted to put a clutter-free spin on the list.

When in doubt about the perfect anniversary gift, give the gift of time.  Plan a day doing things you love to do with the one you love.  The memories and joy you both will take away from that time together will last longer than the joy a gift would bring and the clutter that would inevitably follow.

Happy Anniversary!

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Traditional Gift

Modern Gift

Clutter-Free Gift

1

Paper Clock Tickets to an event

2

Cotton China Breakfast in bed

3

Leather Crystal Champagne toast

4

Fruit or Flowers Appliances Flowers (reuse a vase you alreadyhave or a pitcher)

5

Wood Silverware Take a cooking class together

6

Candy or Iron Wood Box of chocolates

7

Wool or Copper Desk Sets Spend quality time together in frontof the fire cuddled under a warm woolblanket

8

Bronze Lace or Linens Take a hot air balloon ride together

9

Pottery Leather Tickets to a sporting event

10

Tin or Aluminum Diamond Jewelry Membership to a Beer of the Month Club

15

Crystal Watches Attend a wine tasting event together

20

China Platinum Dinner out at a 5-star restaurant

25

Silver Silver Renew your wedding vows

30

Pearl Diamond Get your family portrait taken to showoff your pearly whites

35

Coral Jade Revisit your honeymoon spot

40

Ruby Ruby Write a poem for your sweetheartusing red ink

50

Gold Gold Let your family and friends host a party

55

Emerald Emerald Watch the Wizard of Oz together

60

Diamond Diamond Let your family and friends host a party

Paper Statistics

Statistics on Paper and Filing

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    •  The average American gets 49,060 pieces of mail in a lifetime, one third of it is junk mail·
    •  There are thirty-seven hours of unfinished work on your desk at any given time.
    • 90% of all documents handled each day are merely shuffled.
    • Over 800 million pages are created from computer printouts per day, enough to fill a file drawer 225 miles long.
    • 80% of filed papers are never referenced again. 50% of all filed materials are duplicates or expired information.
    • Experience continues to show that 30%-40% of all recorded information can be immediately deleted from electronic systems or paper systems.
    • Studies show that some executives will pick up a single piece of paper from their desk thirty or forty times before acting on it.-Michael F. Woolery, Seize the Day
    • By switching to electronic bills, statements and payments, the study (commissioned by the non profit Pay It Green Alliance) found, the average US household could save 6.6 pounds of paper and reduce greenhouse gases by 171 pounds per year.  According to the alliance, you could save up to $100 on postage, $50 on checks per year-and whatever you would have spend on late fees. -Ilyce Glink, Tribune Media Services.
    • The average American business person loses an hour a half a day, or 40 hours a year, in lost productivity, searching for lost and misplaced items from messy desks and files. – Wall Street Journal
Please Note: Unless otherwise stated, all statistical information was obtained from the National Association of Professional Organizers. NAPO continuously collects statistics on organization and clutter control.