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Check Out This Smart & Affordable High School Graduation Gift!

Graduation season is fast approaching. As the open house announcements fill your mailbox, you’re probably wondering what you might gift these high school seniors… I have the perfect idea! My new Off You Go! Success Cards make a handy, relevant, and affordable graduation gift that will prepare teens for college life and beyond! affordable graduation gift

These are perfect as a stand-alone gift. They are also lovely when you want to give something tangible along with the traditional “card and cash.” They are perfect for both guys and girls. No matter their plans for next year (whether college, work, volunteering, or military), they need these important life skills before they leave the nest. These cards will guide them and get them there!

I created this set of 52 cards that can guide them through a series of tasks, skills and conversations to get them ready to leave the nest with confidence. These handy cards can help assess teen readiness and teach them how to be an independent and successful student when they leave the nest.

The cards share tips in these areas:

  • keeping tidy
  • identity theft awareness
  • money management
  • staying safe
  • physical health
  • nutrition
  • time management
  • transportation
  • social skills
  • social media savvy
affordable graduation gift

As a professional organizer and mother of two teenagers, I created these college success cards with the hope that the simple — yet necessary — life skills will help make any student’s “beyond high school” years a success! I’ve already had parents contacting me to purchase them not only for their own teens, but for their teens’ friends!

To see what they look like and to read customer testimonials, click here! 

This perfect, affordable graduation gift is available individually, but you’ll likely want to pick up a discounted 6- or 12-pack so you have plenty on hand for all your graduation parties this spring and summer! Take 15% off with coupon code SUCCESS15 through 5/31/17.

 

Make All Five Senses Happy in Your Organized Bedroom

All five senses should be activated in your organized bedroom for maximum rest and relaxation. Here are some tips to make sure your space touches on all five… Remember: While you’re sleeping, keep the bedroom quiet, cool, and dark!

Sound: Make it quiet. Remove all electronics from the bedroom so you don’t hear the beeping, ringing, or buzzing of your cell phone’s or tablet’s notifications. If you have hardwood floors, a large area rug can help absorb some sounds. Some people benefit from using a white- noise machine.

Organized Bedroom

 

Sight: Lighting makes a difference. Overhead light is great when you need bright light, but for evening relaxing and reading, install a smaller reading lamp on the nightstand or install wall- mounted lamps on the wall behind or beside either side of the bed. Also, the darker the room is while you sleep, the better. If your current window treatments don’t block out the moonlight (and the neighbor’s glaring porch light or street lighting), invest in some light-blocking curtains, shades, or blinds.

Scent: Your bedroom should have no scent, or a fabulous natural scent. Once the clutter is cleared, give the room a good vacuuming/sweeping, dust surfaces thoroughly, and wash your bedding. Open the windows to get some fresh air circulating. Clean smells great, but if you prefer a light scent, ditch the artificial room fresheners in favor of natural scents. You can provide these with an essential oils diffuser (available everywhere from Kohl’s and Macy’s to Amazon and Walgreens at a variety of price points.) Be sure to use only 100% natural essential oils in your diffuser. Or simply sprinkle some essential oils on cotton balls and place in non-visible areas.

Touch: Add a variety of tactile sensations to your bedroom. A soft rug on the floor is essential (or at least, next to the bed so your feet are happy to touch the ground when you wake up). Toss a small sheepskin rug (real or fake) over your reading chair. Add a variety of throw pillows to the bed (try velvet, chenille, furry, or anything textured for maximum impact) and/or a soft throw at the foot of the bed. And set the temperature to 60-67 degrees for maximum sleeping comfort.

Taste: Just for fun, keep a little dish of your favorite candy by the bedside. Wouldn’t it be lovely to enjoy a delicious dark chocolate just before bed? (Just don’t tell your dentist!)


Want to learn how to organize your bedroom to perfection? Join the Just Organize Yourself (JOY) Challenge. Open for registration through 4/1. Click here to register!

 

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.

high school graduation

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.

bedroom decorating tips

 

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!

shoe storage tips
 

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.)

 

fridgeafter-yogurt

 

  • 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.

 

fridgeafter5

 

  • 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

fridgebefore1

AFTER

fridgeafter-door

 

 

  • 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.

 

wrap up

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.

 

pinboard

 

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!

cat


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!


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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