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Is Your Student Ready for High School Graduation?

Are you the parent or caregiver for a soon-to-be high school graduate? If so, have you prepared your student for high school graduation? Is she ready for college and beyond? Likely, there are still some skills that she needs to learn! Some of the areas you might address include: keeping tidy; identity theft awareness; money management; staying safe; physical health; nutrition; time management; transportation; social skills; and social media savvy.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with all you need to pass along, you might enjoy my new Off You Go! Success Cards.

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These handy cards will help you assess her readiness and teach her how to be an independent and successful student when she leaves your nest. Here are a few tips from the cards:

high school graduation

Want to learn 48 more tips? Check out the cards by clicking here! These also make fabulous graduation gifts.

This colorful, whimsical set of 52 cards allows you to work at your own pace. Some parents like to tackle one task per week for a full year leading up to the start of college. Others prefer to review them over the summer months before leaving for college. Whatever your timing, these handy cards are sure to make your student feel confident about branching off on his own in August. Set your student up for college success!

This product was recently endorsed by Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult! I also highly recommend this book if you are the parent of a high school student. High school graduation is right around the corner, and these make great graduation gifts as well! 

I also recommend visiting the Grown and Flown website and parent Facebook group. It’s a great resource full of articles about parenting, college applications, readiness, and college transitions. Check it out! It is so nice to have an online support group as you get ready to launch your kids out into the world.

 


Beautiful Bedroom, Comfy Bed

Your bed should be your most peaceful haven. You spend about a third of your life here, so why not make something that you look forward to visiting each evening? Here are some bedroom decorating tips to help you create a peaceful bed.

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Invest in a quality mattress. If you’re waking up with a backache or doing a lot of tossing and turning, consider the age of your mattress. It is recommend that you replace yours every eight years. Also, to keep yours in tip-top shape, vacuum the surface with a hand-held brush or crevice tool, rotate or flip the mattress as recommended by the manufacturer, and use a quality
mattress pad.

Make your bedding as luxurious as you can afford. Toss your old, ratty sheets. Visit a local department store to touch the bedding to determine what feel you enjoy. Percale is made from high-quality cotton that is tightly woven and provides a smooth, soft, crisp, cool feeling. Sateen is smooth and silk-like and is heavier than Percale, so it’s great if you often feel cold at night. Flannel is made from cotton and is super-soft, like a comfy tee-shirt. Thread count matters, but super high (nor outrageously expensive) is not necessarily better. Buy something that feels great, that washes well (don’t get something that you’ll need to iron), and complements your decor.

Pillows make a difference. If yours are flat and lumpy, it’s time to toss them. Foam pillows are inexpensive and come in a variety of support levels. Feather and down are more expensive, but last a long time and are quite luxurious. Memory foam pillows self-adjust to body contours. The way you sleep will determine the firmness of your pillow: A back sleeper needs medium support; a side sleeper needs more firm support to cradle the head, neck and shoulders; and a stomach sleeper needs soft, plump pillow.

Top if off with little extras. Add some beautiful accent pillows and a soft blanket or throw to place at the foot of the bed. These can provide extra support and warmth, as well as decorative flair.

Consider what is behind and under the bed. Some experts recommend that you avoid plugging in any wiring behind your bed because the energy that flows from the cords can have an effect on your body’s ability to fall asleep. Some feng shui experts also believe that storing things under the bed can send out energy and keep you awake. (Although it might just be that you’re thinking about all that clutter under the bed!) While there is no hard and fast science behind these two theories, if you’re having trouble falling and staying asleep, it wouldn’t hurt to give them a try!


Like these tips? Want to organize your bedroom? Check out the Spring JOY Challenge! You will join us (virtually) as we learn to sort, declutter, store, decorate and more! Click here for details.


Clean Off Your Desk Day

Monday, January 9th, is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. If your desk is a disaster, consider this fact: The average office worker spends 2000 hours per year at her desk. This space can either be a stressful, headache-inducing mess or a pleasant, easy-to-maintain oasis. Use these tips to clean off your desk, maximize your space, and create a blissfully organized office.

 

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Manage papers daily. Keep papers under control by dealing with paperwork on a regular basis. Whether first thing in the morning, at the end of the day, or somewhere in between, set aside 30 minutes each day so you don’t end up with overwhelming piles. For every piece of paper that you encounter, make an immediate decision to either toss it, file it, or act on it. 

 

Toss a lot. Eighty percent of what we file is never looked at again. Keep only the papers you truly need, and remember that if you keep it, you need to file it. Make time each day (or at least once a week) to file your “keepers.” Although not your favorite task, filing as you go will probably take only a few minutes and will make your office life much less stressful and more productive.

 

Create action files. If you can’t act on smaller tasks right away, keep them in a “quick-task to-do” file, and work on them regularly so they don’t pile up. For larger, long-term projects, put each into a separate file folder. Chunk each project into bite-size pieces. Draft a timeline with deadlines, and attach it to the inside front cover of the file. 

 

Keep key things close. Gather items that you use most frequently, and store them within easy reach of your usual seated position. Items that you use less frequently can be placed outside this area, but should still be easily accessible. For things you rarely use, consider getting rid of them, storing them outside your office, or stashing them farther away from your desk, saving your “prime real estate” for the most-used supplies.

 

Corral periodicals. Magazine files will neatly hold newsletters or trade periodicals, making for easy reference and reduced desk clutter. You’ll also benefit from some 3-ring helpers, which are perfect for filing things you reference frequently because they’re easy to locate and page through, they hold a large volume of papers, and they are easy to maintain.

 

Label it. Use a dark marker or label maker to label all file folders and binders. This makes the process of “putting away” and retrieval so much easier.

 

Tidy up. At the end of every day, clear your desktop, review tomorrow’s schedule, and update your to-do list. Tomorrow is sure to be a success!


So Many Shoes, So Many Storage Options…

Are shoes taking over your home? The key to better organization is knowing your storage options. I recently had the pleasure of writing an article for Wayfair on just this topic. Here is the first tip to corral and contain all types of shoes, from high tops to high heels, and then you can click the link to read the rest of my top shoe storage tips!

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Tip #1: Pare down and think seasonally: Cull your collection, and toss or donate shoes that no longer fit, are out of style, or are past their prime. Then, pull out shoes that are not currently in season (you won’t need flip flops or sandals in winter, nor boots in the summer) and move those shoes into storage. You might store them in under-bed boxes or another out-of-the-way area, such as the basement or guest room closet. Then, move on to finding the best storage options for the shoes you currently wear…

 

Click here to read my article and check out the rest of my great shoe storage tips and some neat containers from Wayfair!


Last-Minute No-Clutter Holiday Gift Ideas

Help your family and friends stay organized in 2017— give gifts that don’t add clutter to your loved ones’ homes! Here are a few last-minute, no-clutter holiday gift ideas.

If you are a little crafty, create a romantic meal-in-a-basket: a jar of pasta sauce, a box of pasta, a bottle of wine, and a classical CD. Or give homemade jams, salsas, or soups in pretty Mason jars (which are completely on trend right now). Or give the gift of memories: make a memory book containing your thoughts on a special person in your life. Or tell your life’s story and lessons. (This is great for grandparents to give the kids.)

no-clutter holiday gift ideas

 

Stumped for the teen or techie in your life? Check out these inexpensive cord wraps. I bought them for all the teenagers in my life!

no-clutter holiday gift ideas

 

For the nature lover, buy a new bird feeder and seed. (There are some great squirrel-proof options that will delight any bird lover!)

no-clutter holiday gift ideas

For the active people in your life, consider giving movie passes or a museum membership. Cooking lessons at a local cooking school are sure to inspire the novice chef. The music lover will love tickets to the local chamber orchestra or upcoming play or musical. If you know someone who would like to get a little more organized, order a gift certificate for a session with a local professional organizer. For the stressed out mom, sister, auntie or friend who needs to relax and pamper herself, consider purchasing a gift certificate for a massage, facial, or pampering pedicure.

no-clutter holiday gift ideas

 

I hope you find some inspiration in these no-clutter holiday gift ideas! I wish you happy holidays and a clutter-free New Year!

 


Easy Refrigerator Organization Tips

Is your refrigerator a black hole of fuzzy cheese, past-their-prime veggies, and unidentifiable leftovers? It’s time for some easy refrigerator organizing tips. In just a short time, you can take your fridge from funky to fresh! You’ll also get a peek inside my refrigerator as I give it a quick makeover with help from some neat Fridge Bins from Storables. 

fridgebinseasy refrigerator organization tips

 

  • Begin by purging outdated and unsavory foods. Then, wipe down all shelving and bins so they’re squeaky clean. With your fresh slate, keep these storage tips in mind as you return foods to the fridge.

 

  • Keep items you use most frequently near the front and at eye level. Encourage healthy eating habits by storing good-for-you foods near the front of the fridge in easy-to-grab containers. (See how I took apples and grapes out of their storage bags and popped them into open-top storage bins to encourage my family to eat fruits.)

 

refrigerator organizing tips

 

  • Store taller items in the back of the fridge and shorter items in front of them for easy visibility.

 

  • Don’t forget that you can adjust a fridge’s shelves to maximize space.

 

  • Group similar things together. For example, place all drinks on one shelf, veggies in one drawer, fruits in another, condiments on the shelves in the door, and all dairy together on one shelf.

 

  • Containerize categories of items for easy accessibility. Invest in simple organizing tools, such as a Lazy Susan to hold condiments or a low, open-top bin to corral small jars. (See how I put single-serve yogurt containers in a bin on the top shelf.)

 

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  • Items that you store on the door will be subject to slight temperature drops each time you open the door, so opt to place things that don’t spoil easily in this area. Condiments, soda, juice, and open bottles of wine are good in the door. Milk and eggs are not.

 

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  • Generally, the bottom shelf is the coldest, so store your meats (in their original packaging) here. That also helps keep any drips from contaminating foods underneath them.

 

  • Fruits and veggies give off different types of gases, so don’t store them together. Vegetables go in the crisper, fruits in the fruit drawer. Cold cuts and cheese can go in the deli drawer.

BEFORE

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AFTER

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  • Designate one shelf to store leftovers, and store them in clear containers so you can easily see what you have.

 

  • Do a five-minute tidy-up the evening before garbage day, purging anything expired or past its prime.

 

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Take 30 minutes today to tidy up your fridge using these easy refrigerator organizing tips. Just a little effort today will lead to healthier eating and less stress! Today’s post was sponsored by Storables. Would you like to win a free gift from Storables?sinkbasketSimply comment below with either a) the grossest thing you’ve found in the back of your fridge or b) your favorite fridge organizing tip. You will be entered into a drawing to win the above pictured suction cup sink basket!


 


Sneak Peek — Professional Organizer’s Home Office

I love working from home. I mean, really, there is nothing better than being able to work in the comfort of my own house. No commute, no need to dress up, no clock to watch. Just me, my yoga pants, a steaming hot latte, and the quiet I need to run my business.

 

home office

 

As the owner of Time to Organize for the past 15 years, my business has morphed over time. Instead of spending all my time with clients, I now handle more of the office management tasks… taking new client calls, scheduling sessions, communicating with my team member, and handling bookkeeping and marketing tasks. I also offer marketing services to other professional organizers around the country, such as writing and designing websites.

Since I spend so much time in my office, it needs to reflect who I am and what I love. So I painted the walls a soft robin’s egg blue. I love birds and flowers, so of course, those were taken into account when I decorated. These two paisley Suzani chairs are from World Market, and the garden stool is from Wayfair.

 

home office

 

An Ikea Expedite cubby system (expertly put together by my hubby) keeps my stuff neat and organized. The sisal storage boxes, magazine holders, small media boxes, and larger cardboard storage boxes are also from Ikea.

 

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I keep paperwork to a minimum, printing only what is absolutely necessary. Those papers are kept in four small desktop filing boxes (from Target). Magazine files hold back copies of Real Simple Magazine and adorable 3-ring binders (Target) help me organize other categories of paperwork. I go through the file boxes annually to weed out anything no longer relevant.

 

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Even though I’m more Type A, linear, organized, and symmetrically-inclined, I do have one space in my office that is creative, messy, and very freeform. It’s my large bulletin board, where I pin magazine cut-outs full of design and organization inspiration. Yep, it’s messy, but I love it.

 

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I often have a friendly visitor in my office space to keep me company. What more could a girl need? So there’s your sneak peek inside my efficient home office. I’d love to hear about yours! Want to check out 16 more inspirational home offices? Wayfair.com has a great showcase of these neat spaces. Just click here!

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Paper Overload? Set Up Your Command Center!

dreamstimebinder_889249What would it feel like to organize your home joyfully? Join our fourth JOY Challenge, and find out! We will be setting up a Household Command Center to help you get a handle on your busy family’s paperwork and activities.

If you’re like most people, your kitchen is the hub of your home. Papers come in (lots of them), papers go out (hopefully on time), appointments are made, notes are jotted, and bills are paid. But if you don’t have a centralized space to contain these papers and ideas, you are likely in the midst of chaos and confusion.

If this sounds like your home, don’t fret. You just need to set up a handy Command Center! But why do it alone, when you can join an online community of others with the same goal? The JOY Challenge offers step-by-step directions to organize a specific area of your home. With our handy guide and online resources, you will learn how to set up a compact file box for your most-needed paperwork, create a message center for your household, set up a reference binder, get office supplies at-the-ready, and much more.

When you join, you’ll receive the following benefits: JOY Step-By-Step Organizing Guide Let It Go! Disposal, Donation & Recycling Guide Access to our private JOY Challenge Pinterest page Access to our private member’s only JOY Challenge Facebook group An assortment of fun little downloadable freebies and prize drawings throughout the challenge Personalized answers and suggestions to your organizing challenges.

Whether you’ve been stalling out on a specific organizing project, or want to get your entire home organized in the coming months, this challenge will get you there with a smile on your face! JOIN TODAY! The Challenge will start October 1, and you’ll have a full month to work at your own pace.

Click here to learn more!


Tips to Get Kids Organized For School

Getting organized is more than eliminating clutter and creating neat storage systems. One of the most important areas of organizing is task management. It’s never too early (or too late) to teach kids how to get and stay organized with schoolwork. The skills they learn now will carry over into high school, college, and ultimately, their careers and home management as adults.

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Establish a great homework routine. With your child, determine the best time for daily school work and stick with it. For some kids, it will be right after school. Others may need some downtime to play, and then it’s time to hit the books. The most important thing is to stick to the schedule so your child knows what’s expected.

Set up the space. Have a designated study area, such as the kitchen table. But for unique assignments, allow for some flexibility such as moving to a rocking chair for reading chapter books. Create a school supply box and keep it well stocked with supplies (paper, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, ruler, sticky notes, calculator, etc.) so kids don’t have an excuse to get up.

Make sure you know what’s going on at school. Instruct children to unload their backpacks as soon as they come home. Have them hang up their bags in a designated area (try a coat rack, pegs on the wall, or a wicker laundry basket near the front door). This allows for easy access the next day. They should bring homework to the designated study area. Check in each day so you’re aware of their workload and take special care when they seem overwhelmed.

Encourage the use of lists and planners. The older kids get, the more homework and activities they’ll have. Teach them to manage their tasks with the use of simple lists or a planner/calendar of some sort. Office supply stores sell ones with cute kid-friendly designs, or use computer lists (or even smartphones) for techie kids. When they learn of upcoming assignments, tests, or events, they should write them down in their planners.

Encourage color coding. Color affects our mood and memory. Let kids pick the colors of their folders and notebooks to correspond to different classes. If green reminds them of science, then they’ll know instantly to grab the green notebook when looking for their science notes.

Do you have questions about getting your kids organized for the school year? Comment below, or send an email to sara@timetoorganize.com.


Super-Quick, Feel-Good, Get-Organized-Now Tips

Take these small and easy steps to make your home look good. You’ll love how it feels! Then, let the momentum carry you to try larger organizing projects.

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Make your bed — first thing — every day. Start your day on the right foot, and you’re sure to continue putting things in their proper spots all day.

Clean your kitchen sink. Sprinkle baking soda and lemon juice, and scrub with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse and dry. Polish the faucet to a shine. Now, throughout the day, immediately put dirty dishes in the dishwasher or wash them by hand so you can continue to admire your sparkly sink!

Assess your cups and bowls. How many mugs and cups do you really need? Pull them all out of the cupboard, pick your top 20, and donate the rest. You’ll never miss them. Do the same with your  Tupperware. Match the lids with bottoms and toss anything missing its mate.

Create an errand box. Put a crate or basket by the front door. Deposit into it anything needing to go out.  You can add items that need to be returned to stores, library books and movies ready for return, and borrowed items that need to find their rightful owners. Take the box with you each morning and see what you can get rid of that day.

Give your purse or bag a makeover. Dump everything out, and toss expired coupons, old receipts, scraps of paper, and used tissues. Then, use a small see-through pouch or zip-top bag to hold personal items (lip balm, comb, bandages, dental floss, etc.) Keep an envelope for current coupons and receipts. And keep your wallet, check- book, and keys in a handy, easy-to-reach spot.

Give these quick and easy tips a try today!


About Sara

Sara Pedersen, Professional Organizer helps busy Twin Cities families organize, simplify, and discover time to do the things they love.

She brings a unique mixture of compassion, humor, creativity, and common-sense to each client session. She focuses on not only creating useful spaces, but transferring organizing skills so her clients can maintain everything after she leaves. And because she also loves to also create beautiful spaces, she adds a little “oh la la” where ever she can.

Sara lives in Shoreview, Minnesota, with her husband, two children, and tabby cat, Mulligan. When she’s not working with clients, she enjoys finding new and creative ways to organize and decorate her home! She also loves to dig in the garden, take evening walks, eat chocolate, and explore the North Shore of Minnesota. Please contact Sara at sara@timetoorganize.com or 651/717-1284 for more information.

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