As a Professional Organizer and former teacher I can assure you that there are 3 tips that will serve you as a parent, and your children, well. They are: Be a positive organizing role model, Encourage children to be involved in the organizing process, and Don’t nag them. When parents hire me to help their children learn how to organize their room it’s important for me to see the entire home environment as well. If the parent is not able to maintain an organized home it will be more difficult for the child to do so. When parents are able to see that this skill takes ongoing practice they can better support their children in the process. Something as simple as making your bed each day can make a significant difference. I suggest that you make organizing part of your daily family routine. For instance, every morning there is an agreement that everyone will make their own bed before they leave the house. Another important tip is to remember the bigger goal is for self responsibility and that the bed is to be made. Please don’t strive for perfection. Every afternoon when you all get home your routine is to have everyone go through their backpacks, briefcases, lunch bags, and purse to get rid of clutter, organize and plan what needs to get done for the next 1-2 days. Remember that you need to allow enough time for everyone to organize. Try not to rush or multi-task, if possible. Even very young children can get involved in organizing. They love to sort toys into bins, make games out of getting rid of trash, and earn praise for a job well done. Recently I was working with a young girl who told me that she wanted more space in her bedroom.… read more →
Why is it important to identify and help disorganized students? Who are disorganized students and what do they do differently than organized students? We all know adults who function adequately despite their disorganized homes or chaos at work (although many do not). If you asked them, they would probably tell you that they’ve always been that way, even as children. What they might be hesitant to share is that struggling with organization affected them mentally, emotionally, socially, and maybe even physically even when they were students. It is important to understand that disorganized students are no different than any other students in the sense that they need love, understanding, support, encouragement, and confidence. As a parent, your goal is to help set your student up for success. That means understanding the specific strategies that will help the disorganized student to function in a more organized and less stressful way in all environments. It may also mean that he or she will need to develop coping strategies for the areas that present greater difficulty. Previously I recommended that you begin to keep a notebook describing the behaviors that you observed in your student that demonstrate his or her difficulty with getting or staying organized. Now add information to this notebook (remember it is for the parents’ eyes, only) about the student’s predominant learning style. Notice if he or she tend to learn and remember information that is presented visually more so than auditorally. Or is the student what we call a kinesthetic learner? Some students learn and remember things better when they are hands-on and can do something with things. Image courtesy of: hyenareality/freedigitalphotos.net
Do you know a student who is disorganized? If so, you probably recognize that he or she is likely to be disorganized at home and at school. What is it that he or she does, or doesn’t do, that demonstrates difficulty with being or staying organized? Disorganized students may exhibit behaviors such as: Frequently loses or has trouble finding things that he or she needs. Has difficulty being on time for activities or transitioning from one to another. Often forgets to do what he or she was asked to do. It’s summer vacation for most students and as a former educator I’d like to encourage you to help your student now. Begin by writing your observations in a notebook (your eyes, only). The key is to be observant without being judgmental. After awhile you will begin to identify patterns in the student’s behaviors. What are his reactions to the situation? Begin to think about what your goals for your student are as we develop a plan of action.
Not all emergencies fall into the category of natural disasters. What about man made events, contagious illnesses, and the spread of infection? As someone who coaches people about time management and productivity I thought that it was important to remind you that taking a few minutes to focus on prevention, will likely save you from losing more valuable time in the near future. Here is information about “hand washing” from the Center on Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
This month I’m sharing tips and resources to help you organize your family, home, and business in order to be safe and prepared for possible emergencies. Take a tour of your home and identify areas that: are overcrowded – prevent objects falling & people tripping are too dark – replace light bulbs, apply stick-on lights at entryways and in closets, keep a flashlight handy are potentially hazardous for children, seniors, pets – check the electrical outlets and cords, lock up medications & toxic substances, keep perishables in weather and rodent-proof containers, remove area rugs or furniture with sharp edges Here is an article that highlights additional safety organizing tips: http://www.pbs.org/hometime/house/safety/safediy.htm What is the 1 change that you will make today?
It’s not about living in fear, it’s about thinking ahead and using that opportunity. Here’s a great article for family organizing: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/what-emergency-supplies-keep-in-car
Do you think that summer organizing is limited to cleaning out the garage? Well it’s also the best time to focus on disaster preparedness. No matter where you live you are going to want to use a checklist to ensure that you’ve addressed a variety of: types of disasters important documents and records valuables, including sentimental possessions. Here are some resources that you can refer to: FEMA: http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan CDC: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/ Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/plan You may also contact your local chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) to find an Organizer who can get you started!
There are benefits to planning your stay-cation, right? Save money, save gas, you don’t have to pack much, and you exercise your creative muscles! Still, it requires some organizing and planning. So let’s think in categories: OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Plan something you can do with the family and friends! Visit your local Chamber of Commerce or AAA and check out places to walk, hike, botanical gardens, etc. Take advantage of coupons and discounts for children and seniors. Find out what the sporting goods stores suggest for biking, hiking trails, bird watching and camping. CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT: Be a tourist in your home town! Go to places you’ve never been, or haven’t been to in a long time. Check websites for days/hours there are specials and discounts. Keep a journal and write reviews of each place, exhibit, or event. Send distant friends and relatives a family newsletter (why wait for the holidays)! CHARITABLE: Enjoy the gift of giving to others. Volunteer at a food bank. Sign up for a local Habitat for Humanity project. INDOORS: Fun ways to share and organize! Host a neighborhood garage sale or clothing exchange party. Donate everything that isn’t sold or taken to a community resource center or shelter. Organize a game night. Bring out the board games, dart boards, or just play charades! What else is on your list?
Create an end of school year ritual and purge the backpack. No matter what the student’s age you can get him or her involved as well. Have the student take everything out and place it on a cleared surface. Have him/her identify what can be discarded or recycled. Help him/her identify what can be donated to an organization or camp. Help him/her identify what to keep (it’s okay to ask “what will you use it for?”). Art work – have him/her keep the favorites to either frame, put into a scrapbook, or scan and save in a file!
‘Tis the season for gifts and the need for gift ideas that don’t add to the clutter. I love the idea of toys with storage features. Check out this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/garden/shopping-for-toy-storage-with-michael-aram.html