Paperwork seems to be an overwhelming problem for most people, as they struggle deciding what documents need to be kept and then coming up with a sensible filing solution that works for them. Of all the systems that I have put into place over the years, this is by far the most popular system.
- You will firstly need to gather all your documents throughout the home and place all like papers together.
- Then refer to the BBB (Better Business Bureau) PDF to view the time period to hang onto all of these documents. This is by far the most reliable resource to use, for tax purposes etc. http://www.bbb.org…/mis…/Records%20Retention%20Schedule.pdf
- Start to toss and shred the documents that fall outside of this recommended time period.
- Now group like piles of documents together to form subdivisions of a category.
- Then assign each category a different color.
- Each subdivision within that category receives its own folder and label, while still having the same color as the rest of the category. e.g.:
- Insurance (Blue folders) Can be sub divided into — auto, home, life, disability, and medical.
- Financial (Green folders) Can be sub-divided into — bank accounts, credit accounts, mortgage statements, and investments.
- Property (Yellow folders) Can be sub-divided into — receipts for home improvements, furnishings and valuables, product manuals and receipts, automotive purchases and repair receipts.
- Medical records (red folders) – Every family member has a folder.
- Veterinary records (Lilac folders) – Every animal has a folder.
- Now create a laminated code card to be attached to the outside of the filing cabinet.
- This card will be a quick color reference for you every time you need to find a particular folder.
Remember that this process of sorting through your paperwork and putting in a functional system, is not going to happen over night. You may have years of unsorted documents that require filing. The important thing to know is, that it is never too late to implement such a system making it easier to maintain in the future.
Are you too Busy?
You are just far too busy and while you may prefer to have an organized home your lifestyle makes this difficult to implement.
Are you Emotionally Distressed?
You have and are currently struggling with an emotional trauma and have lost the desire to keep things orderly. You home and life has spiraled out of control and you need help getting on track.
Do you have ADHD?
You battle with this disorder and are unable to stay focused and complete a task. You have a house full of unfinished projects and attempts at being organized.
Are you Untrained?
Your mother never taught you how to keep things tidy and organized and you struggle to know where and how to get started.
Are you Unmotivated?
You are not concerned at all with your living environment and feel apathetic and indifferent towards change.
Are you Organized?
You already have a great understanding of organizing and would like to hone your skills and establish some workable systems.
Call Cheryl from Chaos 2 Organized, (559)324 9708, for a free consultation. I can help you reduce clutter and stress. As well as put Organizational Systems in place for you that work for you and your family while making future maintenance easier.
Summer vacation is a time that most people dismiss their regular schedules and throw caution to the wind and make time for things that they ordinarily may not have gotten around to. You may have spent part of your vacation walking on white sand and swimming in the waves, or were tucked away in a cozy cabin in the mountains, or instead decided to stay home and enjoy relaxing and spending some time together as a family. Unfortunately now that has all come to an end and it is time to settle in and get your children focused on the year ahead.
Register your child for the upcoming school year:
Complete the necessary documentation required at the beginning of each school year and ensure that all your vital information is up to date. Consider things such as Medical Insurance updates or even a change in a telephone number. So that all information on file is current.
Get a head start on school supplies:
Some stores have great deals and large areas of the stores are usually dedicated for school supplies. A lot of people leave this till the last day of vacation and end up dealing with large crowds and some empty bins with sold out stationery. Beating the crowd gives you more options to browse without dealing with the congestion.
Notify the nurse of any Medications
Whether your child takes medication at home or at school, it is always a good thing to give the nurse this information. If your child needs to take a dosage at school, the nurse is able to provide you with a document for you to sign giving her permission to administer this medication.
Confirm your child’s Bus Route:
Whether your child has been taking the bus for many years or this is his/her first time, it is always a good idea to go online and confirm the bus number and the pick up time and location of the bus. The same information should be confirmed for the child’s departure from the school coming home.
Discuss your child’s schedule:
Even if your child appears very excited for the new school year, the schedule will pose some minor stress. Such as where is the class, who is the teacher, and are there any friends that will be on the same schedule. Sit down and discuss these stress factors with your child and reassure them that they will adjust and settle in to their new schedule within a few days.
Set Goals and expectations with your child:
Help your child to set goals for the upcoming year and then help them with a short-term plan giving them the steps and tools to attain their goals. The short-term goals could be making a list of weekly requirements that will eventually come together and help them reach their end of the quarter or end of the year desired result.
Get your child’s study area set up:
A study area should consist of minimal distractions and a focal area for them to work daily. Have all their stationery compartmentalized and make it very clear that the stationery in this zone is for homework only. Also keep a Calendar and bulletin board in this area, so as to track necessary school functions and sport events.
Check your child’s Back 2 School clothing requirements:
Help your child go through their summer clothing and separate what is appropriate for school and what is for lounging around the home. If you see that your child requires a few more outfits, then try to take them shopping ahead of the back to school shoppers.
Adjust your child’s sleeping schedule:
Most children enjoy the late sleeping schedule during the summer. They get to go to bed later and sleep in, in the morning. Start getting your child back into a reasonable sleeping pattern at least a week before school starts.
Make that first day special:
They are nervous and excited on their first day. Try make the day as special as possible for them. Maybe pack an extra something nice in their lunch bag or give them a card telling them how proud you are of them and love them. Even a love note on a napkin or a frozen yogurt after school will help alleviate the somewhat stressful first day.
Finally, if you are no longer dealing with a younger child and now have a difficult teen in your home. Please be reassured that these Ten Back 2 School Steps are vitally important for them also, even though they make out that it is silly. The only difference is that all discussions taking place would have to be a lot less formal and more of a casual conversation while eating dinner. Anything more in-depth may come across as preachy to them.
Moving home is said to be one of the top most stressful experiences one can go through alongside divorce and death of a loved one. The only way to make this experience somewhat manageable is if you attack moving with an organized plan. Here are a few suggestions to help you make this transition as smoothly as possible.
Make a list of non packing essential planning:
- Hire a mover a few weeks in advance of the actual move.
- You may need to get the carpets of your new home cleaned or walls painted before you move in.
- Organize the transfer of school records if your child is moving to a new school.
- Your fridge must be unplugged and defrosted a day or so before the move.
- Purchase supplies needed:
- packing tape
- bubble wrap
- permanent markers
- Colored Stickers
- Notify utility services of your move, both the old home and the new home.
- Trash and recycle
- If you are moving out-of-town, then get prescriptions filled and transferred to a pharmacy closer to your new home.
- Notify certain Services of your move:
- Post Office
- Credit Cards
- Insurance companies
- Dispose of any flammable materials in a safe manner.
- Make advanced travel arrangements for your animals if necessary.
The Packing Process:
- Now is the perfect time for sorting and making a fresh start so use this time wisely and weed out items that need to be sold, donated or tossed.
- Pack like items, one room at a time, together and color label it correctly, including a description of its contents and the room that it is destined for.
- Don’t throw foodstuffs in a box that will end up going bad if not opened immediately. Either give it to someone or eat it up before the move.
- Mark your boxes on the top and on the side of the box, so that the box is easily identified and placed in the correct room upon arrival.
- Items in a box should be packed tightly together allowing only minimal movement within a box.
- Ensure that you put heavier items on the bottom of the box and lighter items on the top.
- Make sure to label boxes with glass items as fragile in very clear letters.
- Bundle your breakable items such as plates. Individually wrap each item with paper and then bundle every 4 or 5 with more paper.
- Put heavy items such as books in small boxes and light items such as bedding and pillows in larger boxes.
- Stack boxes together according to the room that they will be placed in guaranteeing that they go on the truck in that order.
- Always stack the heavy boxes at the bottom and the fragile ones at the top.
- Use clear containers for items that you will need immediately at the other house.
- Dresser drawers can be moved with your clothes in. Simply cover each drawer with Glad Press ‘n Seal and everything will remain intact.
- Use clothing bags to group hanging items together and they can be transported as is. If you don’t have sufficient clothing bags, then simply use a large garbage bag to gather all your hanging items and keep hangers intact.
- If you have vacuum bags, then you can also vacuum seal out of season clothing or large bedding items such as comforters.
- Wait until you have a sufficient amount of items that you want to give away and instead of carting them over to your favorite charity give them a call about 2 weeks prior to your move and they will gladly pick up the items themselves.
- Keep a small sandwich bag for the hangers, hooks, and screws taken from each room. Label each bag with the name of the room that the items should go in.
- Clothing can be used as protective padding for kitchen glassware and clean socks can be used as padding for glasses.
- Pack an overnight bag for you and your family members with the basic necessities such as pajamas, change of clothes, and some necessary toiletries. It may be late once everything is delivered and you will be too exhausted to dig around boxes looking for those items.
Please remember it is always quicker to do things the easier way and cut corners. I have unfortunately witnessed way too often how those mistakes get carried over into the new home. Boxes not marked or filled with non-essential clutter never get opened and land up in the garage; things not protected properly get broken and the result is a financial loss; and boxes left unopened with perishables end up rotting and causing unwanted house guests to move in. Instead take your time, plan in advance , and tackle your move in an organized way which will minimize your stress.
A shopping addiction is like any other addiction that may surface, whether it is gambling, alcoholism, drugs, or even food addiction. One’s reasons for becoming a shopaholic, are also very similar to what drives an alcoholic to drink or a drug addict to take that extra hit. They all provide a rush or a high which is released through Endorphin’s that temporarily block any feelings of inadequacy, depression, anger, poor coping skills, loneliness or pain. Notice the word temporary is used to describe that feeling behind an addiction. This feeling is then followed by a swift downer leaving the person back in that state they were prior to the moment. In order to capture that Adrenaline rush again, they are forced to repeat the action. This repetitive action results in an addiction.
Whether you are a shopaholic or you just enjoy shopping a lot, there are some things that you need to be aware of before making that next purchase. In my mind, there are three types of shoppers: The emotional shopper, the practical shopper and the frugal shopper. The addict will almost always fall into all three categories and have no discretion whatsoever.
The Emotional Shopper:
Is someone who loves to purchase objects that have low function but are highly sentimental. Their purchase is almost always described as something that they saw which was cute, pretty, fell in love with it, part of a collection, and had to have it.
The Practical Shopper:
The items this shopper purchases has high function but low sentimental value. Words often used to describe their purchase are – I wanted it, it’s useful, I need it, and it is such a practical object (whether they will ever use it themselves, is irrelevant at this point.)
The Frugal Shopper:
This shopper can be a combination of both of the above as they do not discriminate between an emotional or practical purchase, provided they are purchasing a deal. They would describe their purchases as cheap, deal, discounted, on sale, or they had a coupon.
Each one of these shoppers does have some commonalities whether they are occasionally compulsive or a shopaholic:
- Over purchasing results in too much household clutter
- Debt can also be a result of overspending
- Family members get lied to and relationships can be harmed
- Cluttered homes become uncomfortable for the person(s) not doing the spending
- A lot of really impractical purchases that are never used
If your shopping habit has gotten to the point that the welfare of the family is at risk then you most probably have an addiction and this needs to be addressed like any alcohol abuser acknowledges that he is an alcoholic or a drug user acknowledges that he is a drug addict.
- Acknowledge that you have a problem
- Become accountable to a close family member or friend
- Temptation will surround you at all times
- Don’t give up if you fall off the wagon
- Seek spiritual support and prayer if you are a religious person.
Finally, don’t be ashamed to call a Professional Organizer, like myself. I can help recoup some of your expenses and help make your home more functional if necessary. About 90% of the homes that I enter are as a result of too much purchasing and too little purging, which results in too much clutter. Please feel free to contact Chaos 2 Organized as I am now operating nationally and am able to assist you by telephonic Professional Organizing assistance.
Telephonic Appointment Includes PDF Formatted:
- Task Breakdown Worksheet
- Long & Short Term Goal Planner
- Techniques such as BECALM & 3 E’S
- Ways to remove your clutter
- Useful Organizing Products
- 54 Page Handbook : “A Quick Guide from Chaos 2 Organized.”
For further information regarding both in-home and telephonic Professional Organizing, please refer to my Chaos 2 Organized Website
BECALM is managed in 6 simple steps rendering calm or quiet within your home and within you.
B – Start by bundling all of your like items together in piles.
E – Then take a look at each pile and eliminate the items that are old; broken; unused; or out of style. Ask a friend to help you decide if you are having problems making choices. Sometimes all it takes is an extra pair of eyes that are objective to your situation.
C – Now create a home for each of the remaining bundles. This home will be the go to place when you ever want that item in the future. In other words all your First Aid items will be stored in a designated area for First Aid and all your batteries will be together in another spot. This will ensure that you no longer have to “hunt down” anything when you need it.
A – Next assign relevant storage to each of those grouped items in their designated places. Your stationery in a drawer organizer will most probably be stored in a completely different manner than your important documents in the filing cabinet.
L – Remember to label all of your storage containers; organizers; shelving etc. This will help you identify the exact area and container that each like item is stored in.
M – Finally maintenance is of the utmost importance. You do not want to have to go through this process again in 6 months. You maintain a system by utilizing it daily.
- Every time you take something down, you put it back up.
- Every time you use something, you put it back in its spot.
- Every time you run out of something, you replace it.
The preservation of photographs has dramatically changed over the years ever since the first consumer digital cameras were released in the 1990’s revolutionizing the way we view photographs as well as store them. Today’s generation will never know the excitement surrounding the setting up of a projector and watching one’s photos flash up on a screen in the form of slides. They will also never experience the cost of developing a film only to find out that half the photographs are either out of focus; red-eye exposed or poorly lit. In fact some people may choose to never develop their digital photography, but instead keep them nicely stored in digital folders on their computer and backed up to a hard drive or a flash drive. This blog, however, is intended for those of us that have scattered photographs throughout the home in serious need of some form of organization.
- The first step to this process is to go through all your cabinets and drawers and gather up your photographs and place them in some kind of container or shoe box for the time being.
- Start the sorting process once you are satisfied that you have accumulated all of your photos. Take an afternoon to go through the photos and purge all of the obvious disasters. i.e. duplicates; out of focus; red-eye; low light; or even just poor quality.
- The remainder of the photos now needs to be grouped according to years and then further sub-divided into specific events within those years.
- Now you need to decide on your method of storage:
- Scan and go digital: The process of scanning every photo is long and tedious although it does leave you paper free in the end and makes it easier for digital slide show viewing and sharing.
- Digital Photo Album: Very attractive and creative and great for highlighting a specific event in your life such as your wedding; child’s birth; or even a memorable vacation. The downside to this option is that it can be a very expensive way of preserving your memories.
- Scrap booking: This is a beautiful way of gathering collected memories in the form of both photographs and mementos. E.g. a scrapbook of baby’s first year can even include a hospital bracelet; a newspaper clipping; or even a lock of hair. Scrapbooks make wonderful creative gifts which illustrate a lot of care and are very sentimental. On the other hand it can be a very long tedious task for someone who does not naturally care for scrap booking.
- Traditional Photo Album: Takes up a lot of space on the book shelf and can become discolored over the years. However it is possible to purchase photo albums nowadays that are acid free and have archival quality paper. An advantage of using photo albums is that your photos also remains fingerprint free from people browsing through your memories.
- Photo Boxes: Stack attractively and come in many different colors and designs which can be utilized as part of a rooms overall decor. The downside to this method is that each photo is easily exposed to fingerprints when being handled.
- Start placing your photos in the order that you previously sorted them in and use the storage method that works for you. Start from the earliest year and place in all the photos from that year according to events that occurred. Now record this information as best as you can:
- Digital Folders: Label your Digital Folder with the year and inside that Folder have all of your sub folders relating to events at that time.
- Traditional Photo Album: Label along the sides of each photo and include information such as date; place; and event.
- Photo boxes: Fill out the Photo Box Dividing Card listing the date; Event (Subject) and place. E.g. Date listed is 1973 and on the same card are all the events that occurred in 1973 such as Easter; Summer Vacation; Halloween; Birthdays & Christmas. Now add your photos in the same order behind the labeled photo box dividing card. The next labeled Photo Box Dividing Card is then placed behind those photos and the process is repeated until all the groups of photos have been boxed with a card illustrating the relevant information.
- The time period for this task is dependent on how many photos you have in your collection that need to be sorted. Don’t be discouraged by the length of the process but instead tackle it in the same manner that you tackle other organizing tasks.
- Visualize the end result
- Plan the process and focus on what needs to be done:
- Set a realistic time frame for this project
- Make yourself accountable to someone you trust
- Begin today and you will be that much closer to your desired end result.
Then finally, I have attached a link to my website for you to download a free Photo Box Divider Card Template. This will come in handy should you decide to store your photographs in a Photo Box. Please feel free to share this Blog with someone whom you know may benefit from any of these ideas.
As parents we have the responsibility of taking care of our child’s emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental development. Helping your child to keep his or her room organized and neat is vital for their physical safety as well as their emotional sense of well-being and also contributes towards a healthy mental state.
Eliminate: Go through your child’s clothing and toys at least twice a year, before their birthday and before Christmas. Work with your child on deciding which items they no longer have use for and have outgrown. I have always trained my children to give to the less fortunate before they acquire new things, for the following reasons:
- It creates a giving spirit in your child.
- You also make room for the new toys. (A home for everything.)
- You are teaching your child how important the idea of one-in and one-out is. This will give them the tools as adults to prevent clutter in their homes.
Enhance: By grouping like items together and organizing them in relevant storage containers according to the proximity of the child allowing them to easily access their things.
- Help your child to organize their artwork in a neat manner by purchasing a Child’s Artwork Frame such as Lil’ DaVinci Art Frame from Amazon. This boxed frame is used to house up to 50 works of art, making it easy to rotate the art on display.
- Colorful labeled boxes are handy for smaller items that your child may want to keep stored on a shelf or in a book-case.
- Larger items such as building blocks and Lego can be sorted into labeled transparent containers.
- A Window Bench can have attractive baskets neatly tucked away.
- A Kids Storage Unit contains colorful bins that can be used to store separated groups of items.
- Under the bed drawers are useful for folded clothing or undergarments.
- A Netted Storage Hammock is very useful for getting those extra stuffed toys off the floor and utilizing some higher wall space.
- The Desk or Art Zone should have all the stationery sorted into small labeled drawer organizers.
- Days –of – the – Week Hanging Closet Organizer is a wonderful way to organize a younger child’s outfits for the week. If you have a little princess, that likes to choose her own wardrobe, then allow her to do so in advance, by placing each outfit of choice in a different day of the week.
Establish:Be sure to view the room from your child’s perspective. It may mean that you have to get down on your hands and knees to see what it looks like from a smaller child’s view-point. If your child is able to get to his toys easily enough, then he will be able to return them to their “HOME” on the shelf easily enough.
- Because of the height issue you want to ensure that you organize their toys from low down moving up.
- All high priority toys need to be contained at a level that is easy for them to reach. The lower priority toys should get stacked higher up as they would require those less frequently.
- Every container, bin, drawer, crate, basket, or box should be labeled indicating what is contained in that space. If your child is too small to read, then consider laminating some appropriate pictures to indicate what is in each storage container.
- If your child is inundated with too many gifts at Christmas or birthday. Then consider hiding some of those toys out of reach. After a period of time, especially during the long summer break, when your child tells you that he is bored; take down the stored packages and your child will have a renewed appreciation for them.
- Create a routine for your child by instilling in him:
- The importance of cleaning up immediately after a task has been finished.
- End of the day pack away is very important, as it gives your child a maximum framework as to how long the mess is allowed in his room.
- Instill in him the importance of packing away a container and placing it back on the shelf, before removing the next container of toys. This prevents the room from becoming so overwhelmingly messy that the child will not know where to start clearing away.
When a parent is able to work alongside their child, assisting them through the organizational process frequently, then these habits will eventually, over time, be instilled in your child. These three steps will become as natural to them as brushing their teeth twice daily or wearing a seat belt while driving a car. This is just another aspect of parenting that we need to follow through with.
Most clients that approach me complain that they do not have enough space in their homes to accommodate their items. But did you know that it has been reported that the average American home size has tripled in the last 50 years. So size is not altogether to blame for a cramped living space. Rather consider the following two questions and how they pertain to you.
What can I do about Minimizing the amount of stuff I have?
- The average American Household has on average 300 000 items.
- 93% of American teen girls stated that shopping was their favorite hobby.
- The average American woman owns upwards of 30 outfits in her closet.
- The number of children in America make up only 3.1% of the world’s population of children, yet American children own 40% of the toys consumed throughout the world.
- 25% of average American families with two car garages do not have any space to park their cars.
How can I maximize the space that I have to work with?
- Is the layout of my furniture placed in the most functional manner allowing good flow throughout the room?
- What is the best layout for the room?
- What organizing equipment do I have or need to best utilize even the smallest of rooms creating a functional environment in which I can operate?
With all that being said, I have created a list of some of my favorite things for small spaces. I find these items are hugely functional and take up minimum space utilizing even the smallest nook in a room. I have not ranked these items according to importance, but rather focused on one room at a time.
Small Laundry Room –
If your laundry room is hidden away in a cupboard or a very small space in the house and you are the kind of person that likes to remove you clothes immediately from the dryer and iron and hang them up. Then these two items are a must for you:
- Over the door ironing board which flips down when you need it.
- Retractable Clothing hanger holder attached by a bracket to the inside of your cupboard or laundry wall and easily pulls out allowing you to hang multiple items of clothing on hangers.
Small Bathroom –
Some bathrooms are so cramped that your only space for bathroom items, may be a small upper cabinet, which holds very little. Anyone of the following two items will add a tremendous relief to this problem.
- Shower curtain pocket organizer acts like a hanging shoe organizer only you store bathroom items in those pockets.
- Around the toilet bathroom cabinetry which is another fabulous ways of working around the toilet and maximizing your vertical space.
Small Kitchen –
Some kitchens can be very functional and others can have such a limited amount of space that you are left scratching your head as to how you are going to find place for even the basics such as plates and pots and pans. If you fall in the latter group, then these items may be essential for your kitchen.
- Cabinet shelf organizer for plates allows you to stack your dinner plates and side plates on top of each other utilizing the full height of the cupboard.
- Pot and lid organizing rack take up far less space if you are unable to nest your pots due to limited height in your cupboard. There is also an organizing rack for pans as well.
- Expandable kitchen drawer cutlery organizer expands to the size of your drawers utilizing the space properly as well as preventing movement in your drawers when opened and closed.
Small Bedroom Closet –
If your closet is filled to capacity and you are unable to find what you are looking for, then these two closet items may make a difference in how your closet functions.
- Space saving scarf, belt and tie hanger organizing rack is a great way of grouping all your accessories together. You are able to utilize a smaller portion of the closet and find the item you require a lot quicker.
- Ultra thin non slip hangers keep your closet uniformed in height, skinny hangers for more compact hanging and velvet covered for non slip benefit.
Space is the number one issue I am confronted with as a Professional Organizer so please share this article even if you felt it did not apply to you.
When spring arrives, then so does the familiar feeling of suddenly cleaning and getting organized. Here are just a few steps to help you plan for when the mood sets in.
Clean Room by Room:
Always start with your high priority projects first and then work your way to the lowest priority rooms. It is important to establish a function for every room otherwise it will just end up becoming a dumping ground for items that do not yet have a “home”.
Clean from Top to Bottom:
Spring is the time to give your home a good “Deep Clean.” You accomplish this by always working from the top down. So start off with the ceiling, the ceiling fixtures, vents and ceiling molding. Then wipe, dust, polish, wash and dry clean everything at eye level down and end with the floors by sweeping, vacuuming and mopping or polishing.
Minimize your items and furniture:
Anything old, broken, or ugly should be tossed or recycled and anything unused should be given away or sold at a yard sale or online.
Maximize your Space:
Stand back and view the room and ask yourself whether the traffic flows easily enough or whether some furniture or items need to be relocated to another part of the house.
Maintain all Year round:
Items remaining in that room should be placed in labeled bins, totes, baskets, and drawer or shelf organizers. This will help define a “home” for every item, helping you in future to keep like items together and not scattered all over the place.
Download the free link: