Saturday, November 29, 2008

7 Easy Ideas for Organizing Kids Artwork (Tip No. 10)

In school, kids are encouraged to create, draw, color, paint and build. These activities can certainly stimulate children, and help them grow.Very often, these masterpieces that your children create are brought home and proudly displayed. But what do you do when all of the artwork begins to take over your home? Here are 7 great ideas:

1. FIND THE DIAMONDS. Rather than keeping every single piece of artwork your child creates, sit down with your child on a regular basis and ask him to choose the one or two he likes best. By the end of the year, you should have no more than 5 pieces of artwork that your child believes to be his 'best' pieces. This will help keep the artwork under control, and will still give you an opportunity to save his creations for future memories.

2. A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS.Take photos of the artwork that your child creates and keep these photos in a scrapbook. This way, even if the artwork is discarded for space purposes, you'll still have the memory!

3. KIDS FILE STORAGE BOX. Office supply stores carry portable file boxes that hold hanging file folders. These generally have a cover and a handle for easy portability. Help your child create her very own filing system. Perhaps one file folder for 2nd grade artwork, one for 3rd grade artwork, and so on. Now, all the drawings, and any type of artwork that lays flat, will be kept safe and organized. You'll even be teaching your child filing skills! It's never too early!

4. KEEP IT CONTAINED. For other artwork that does not lay flat, the perfect container may be a large, plastic container with a lid. Your child will have a space for shadowboxes, and other artwork that won't fit into a file folder. Again, be choosy. If you keep every single piece of artwork your child brings home for the next 15 years, your house is going to be overflowing with it.

5. HANG IT. Get your child his very own artwork bulletin board so he can display his favorite artwork in his bedroom. When organized on a nice cork board, this really adds a nice touch to a child's room. Plus, your child can very easily switch one piece of art, with another.

6. SUPPLY MANIA. If your child produces a lot of artwork at home, she probably has tons of crayons, markers and other art supplies. Keep it all in a portable box, light enough for your child to be able to transport it from one room into the next. In addition, separate and organize the supplies into separate Zip-lock baggies before putting them in the box. This will keep everything organized and easily accessible.

7. THE PERFECT GIFT.Kids artwork makes the perfect gift for grandma, grandpa, sister Jane, Aunt Sue, Uncle Jim, and so on. Rather than buying gifts for your child to give to family members, encourage them to give their creations away as special gifts to special people.

REMEMBER! If you save the art in a keepsake box, scrapbook, or file, write down the date, event, and age of your child when the artwork was done BEFORE storing it, otherwise it is very difficult to determine when the little masterpiece's were created (believe me I've forgotten a few times and had to guess when the artwork was done). The 30 seconds of jotting down the info. before storing it will save you time and headache than waiting till later to write it down.
Tune in next week when I start my Ten Favorite Organizing Products!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Common Space Bandits (Tip No. 9)

Seeking less stress and more space? Here are 5 common space bandits that can take your space captive. Rally today, and get that space back!

1. Clothes-If you're like most people, the clothes you wear on a day-to-day basis come from a mere 20 percent of the clothes in your closet. In other words, 80 percent of those clothes are just taking up space and never worn. Go through your closet and remove jeans, sweaters, blouses, skirts, dresses, shoes and coats that you never wear. Donate them today. Your closet will be ready to store any outfits you feel wonderful wearing, and you'll be helping out someone who could be making use of those unused garments.

2. Appliances-Bread machines, juicers, griddles, mixers and other similar appliances are wonderful--if you use them. However, if you have some, or all, of these appliances, and you haven't used them in, conservatively speaking, a year, chances are, they'll never be used in your lifetime. Say goodbye to them today, and you'll be freeing up cabinet and counter space.

3. Magazines- Do you keep every single magazine that enters your home?If you do, you most likely have a few piles growing throughout your home or office. Try to go through your magazines and cut out and file, only the articles or recipes, etc. that most interest you. No sense in keeping the entire magazine, once you've read through it and have chosen those pages that you'd like to keep for future reference.

4. Mementos- While it's fine to keep some very meaningful things stashed away in a mementos box, if you've accumulated more than one or two boxes of these treasures, you may be going a bit overboard. Being sentimental is wonderful, but not when it's at the expense of your living space or storage space. Go through these boxes of stuff from time to time, and weed out the things that no longer have significant meaning to you. Commit to 1-2 boxes at the most, and you'll have lots of memories to look back on in the future, and lots of new space now!

5. Furniture- Is your home or apartment filled to the max with furniture you never use? Perhaps it was passed down from a loved one? Or maybe you recently made a move to a smaller place, but brought all of your big furniture with you. If it's not functional or you truly don't have the space for it, consider letting go. Imagine all the free space you'll have when it's gone.
May you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the day with the ones you love!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weekly Family Caucus. (Tip No. 8)

As a couple / family or individual, set aside time once a week to communicate and update one another or yourself on upcoming activities, plans, and desires for the week. Let this be a fun time to connect with each other and update calendars and lists. Clear and Simple ©

I can’t tell you what a difference this makes. I know in my house if we do not have a weekly caucus, things tend to get a little chaotic, appointments are forgotten, and things are scheduled at the same time something else is going on, etcetera, etcetera.

Sunday or Monday night is usually the best nights in our family to do this. It only takes about a half an hour on average.

So, create one, that’s right ONE Universal Calendar and post or hang it where everyone in the family sees it. I put EVERYONE’S activities on this one Calendar. I even add when Library books are due, when school reports and projects need to be done, and when I need to return DVD’s or games so I won’t get charged.

You may choose to have a personal planner or a Calendar in Outlook on your computer or even on your mobile device in addition to your universal calendar. Be consistent in updating all your activities from your universal calendar to these alternative places or keeping these Calendars are a waste of your time.

Also with this Calendar I have an extra page to put the following numbers:

Emergency numbers (police, fire, power, gas, doctor, insurance agent, etc)
Emergency Contacts (for the babysitter so I don’t have to write it out every time)
Our address, phone numbers (again for the babysitter)
Coaches names, Dance Teachers, etc.
School Phone Numbers and/or teachers.
Dad’s work Mom’s work or cell.
A list of my son’s favorite friends and their numbers
Retail / Grocery Stores we frequent
Restaurants where we get take out.
Local Pharmacy

This saves a considerable amount of time when all of this is located in one place. It took me about a half hour to add all theses numbers to an extra page on my Calendar. It has saved me so much time not scrambling to find the number I need.

When the average person in America spends 2-4 hours looking for things each week, spending one half hour and writing down all these numbers one time can save an enormous amount of time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

10 Minute Organizing Tricks (Tip No. 7)

Whoever thought you'd be able to get organized in just 10 minutes?! Here are a few simple ideas.

10 MINUTE CHORE BOX: Rather than spending hours organizing, and doing it all yourself, create a 10 minute Chore Box for yourself--and one for each family member, if applicable.Each person's box would contain specific chores or tasks that need to be completed. The chores are written on slips of paper, and take a maximum of 10 minutes each to accomplish.You can gear the tasks towards the person's abilities (e.g. while older kids can help out with vacuuming, a 3 year old may instead be responsible for putting away his/her toys.)Each day, as a chore is completed, that slip of paper is placed in a holding envelope until the Chore Box is empty. Then, when empty, the boxes are refilled, and the system starts over again. This also works well at the office!

10 MINUTE 'WHEN I HAVE TIME' GOALS: One of the oldest phrases in the book is, 'I'll do that, when I have the time.' Problem is, that time never seems to come.If you REALLY want to do something, the time can generally be found pretty easily. For example, if you just won an all-expenses paid trip to the land of your dreams, you'd probably find time to fit it into your busy schedule without much of a problem.So, it's time to begin fitting in those things you want to do, and 10 Minute Goals can help. Schedule 10 minutes a day to catch up on your reading, or to begin learning that foreign language, or to simply spend having fun with your children. Then, work on those goals when the schedule date and time rolls around.
10 MINUTE LUXURIES: Don't forget to schedule a few 10 Minutes Luxuries per day to do something nice for yourself.Sometimes the day is so rushed and chaotic, that it's easy to forget the really important things like family, health, spirituality, personal time and so on.Take that 10 minute vacation every day. You deserve it!
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