When school starts students are more motivated than ever to have a successful year. Technology has become immensely helpful in it’s ability to give students access to information as well as to help keep them organized–if they so choose! Today’s back to school Website Wednesday Choice is iHomework. It’s a terrific little App that keeps track of all homework assignments by class, by date and by grade. You can view all assignments–even the ones you wouldn’t keep in a daily planner that are due weeks in the future. It’s a great way to stay organized and on top of all your assigments. You can also choose to input grades as they come in and know exactly where you stand in each and every class. The app works perfectly fine with the new OS X Mountain Lion and it also syncs over the cloud. It can be used on any mac device. You can sync the computer at home along with an iPod or iPhone. Check out iHomework at the App Store!
Back to School
It’s back to school time, our friends at Right@Home have included some of my tips in this terrific article on how to get back to school organized. Check it out…
Going back to school (or work) after the lazy days of summer can be challenging even for the best of us. Professional organizer Monica Friel admits the deluge of back-to-school paperwork and mail can feel overwhelming even to her.”It’s hard for me to keep up with it all,” said Friel, a mother of three children. “I can imagine what chaos can ensue when there aren’t systems in place.”But don’t worry. Right@Home™ is here to help. We consulted not only Friel, who owns and operates Chaos to Order™, but a collection of other moms who shared their tried-and-true secrets for mastering the fall frenzy.
Take time to transition
Don’t let the school year sneak up on you. When you’re scheduling your last summer vacation, use one of those days off work to get your house in order for what’s ahead.
Bump up bedtime
Beginning in early August, Cindy Richards, editor of TravelingMom.com, moves up her kids’ bedtimes by 15 minutes a night and wakes them up earlier as well.
Set up a storage system
Clean your coat closet or streamline your mudroom to create space for the kids (not you) to store their backpacks, jackets, sports and music equipment, and other back-to-school gear. It’s important for everything to have its place.
Plan for the paperwork
Friel suggests creating one file per child to keep important papers as well as artwork. During holiday breaks, go through the folder with your child and keep what’s necessary. At the end of the year, put the file in a keepsake box with room for the years ahead.
Organize the school supplies/work station
Richards and her kids take inventory of last year’s school supplies to see what can be used for the upcoming school year. They’ll recycle old notebooks but keep any unused pages as scratch paper. Then new and old supplies are kept in a storage space near where the children do their homework.
Be a digital diva
Use today’s technology to your advantage. Input all important dates, sporting events and club meetings onto a compatible calendar (try Google Calendar, iCal or iCloud), and sync your phones and computers so everyone can see the same schedule. Friel also creates a digital photo album for each child.
Communicate with the kids
To make sure everyone knows that day’s schedule, Friel writes it on a dry-erase board placed near the kids’ coats and gear.
Get the kids in the habit of hanging their coats, organizing their backpacks and homework, and putting stuff away. “As parents we’re so in the mode of doing it for them,” Friel said, but it’s important for kids to take responsibility.“I tell them my job is to work my way out of a job,” she said, adding that she recently de-stressed her morning routine by no longer telling her son to get up for school and letting him get up on his own.
Enlist weekend help
Encourage responsibility into the weekend by making chores fun. Friel recommends checking out free interactive chore charts on goalforit.com,or writing chores on ping-pong balls or popsicle sticks and letting kids choose a ball or stick to determine their chore. Back to school is a great time to put new routines in place, she noted.
For more great tips and ideas for getting organized, join Right@Home. Its a great online destination for helpful cleaning and organizing tips, delicious recipes and coupons for SC Johnson home care products.
- Take the time to sort it all out. Go through everything you have and decide if it stays home, goes with or goes out. Remember, you can’t fit 10lbs. of potatoes in a 5 lb. bag!
- Plan your space. www.designyourdorm.com is a great site to plan the space in your actual dorm room with lists and accessories of all the items you could possibly need specific to your school.
- Create a list of what you’ll need. Many stores have good checklists of all the things you might need, but remember they want you to buy as much as possible. Here’s a good comprehensive checklist which also links you directly to your school’s suggestions and where to buy things in the area.
- Coordinate with your roommate. Avoid duplicates by making decisions about ALL the items you could possibly share, and where to draw the line.
- Information share. Realize that college information goes directly to the student, so make sure the lines of communication are open as to how bills will be paid and deadlines will be met.
- Plan your time wisely. Your time is pulled in many directions at college, so make a weekly plan of how you will best manage your time and schedule accordingly.
- The countdown has begun. Planning, sorting, purging and packing can’t start soon enough. Carve out time daily to check things off your list.
In order to be successful in college, organization is imperative. Starting college can be a fresh start to a better organized life.
The unofficial end of summer is upon us as we approach Labor Day weekend. Kids are back to school and all schedules are amping up. Now is a good time to take a look at your household schedule and make sure smooth systems are in place. In the Friel household we use electronic calendars and sync them with our phones, but not everyone is old enough to have a phone or use the electronic calendar. So I keep a daily events calendar on a dry erase board in our mudroom/back entryway. This is a great way for everyone in the house (wired or not) to know what’s going on. You may choose to show a week at a time, that can work well too. I’ve just been in the habit of writing out the activities daily. When schedules get really busy you may opt for a daily view and during slower times you can switch it to weekly. That’s the beauty of having a plain white dry erase board, make it whatever you want–if it’s a special day, you may just want to save it for a big, “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations”. However you use it, a dry erase board prominently placed near the most used entry of your home is a great way to help keep your family and their schedules organized.
Below is an article written by our client BJ Marshall about her experience with Chaos To Order and how she not only got more organized, but she found the ultimate bargain in doing so!
Bargain hunting is a borderline-addiction for me. There’s nothing like scoring a deal on something I love (or even just like a lot). In fact, my husband officially banned me from the TAG Warehouse Sale after the year I had to make two trips to fit it all in the car.
This summer, I discovered the mother of all bargains—finding something you already own but didn’t know you had. Snagging this great bargain took a lot of hard work, though. And it involved one of my most dreaded household tasks: organizing.
A couple of years ago, I saw a show about an environmentalist who worked for the City of Chicago and lived an extraordinarily green lifestyle. What impressed me most was not the “gray water” system in his home, in which the water he used to brush his teeth made its way to the toilet for a second use. It wasn’t the fact that his wife used cut up cloths as baby wipes. It was his storage closet. read more…
In order to have an organized space, you need to have a place to put all of the items you have. I have an 8 year old daughter who loves art, reading and playing with a multitude of “little” things. We moved into our house when she was two and the space was perfect for her then, but as she has grown, so has the accumulation of stuff!
Since I’m always talking to other people about how to put their own stuff in order, it was time for me to practice what I preach with my daughter. Her room seemed to be a sufficient in size, but the problem now was where to put things. Remember, if you want easy access and organization, everything needs a place to belong. Clean up time is a whole lot easier when you know exactly where to put things. So we decided to remove a dresser on one wall and replace it with a desk, but not just a desk because, after all, how much stuff is going to fit into three drawers of a little desk? I consulted with my friend and awesome designer at Closet Works—Sue Tinker. We decided to create a desk surrounded by bookshelves, not just for her books, but also for her many knick knacks and collectables. In addition to the desk, bookshelves and drawers, we also added space for a bulletin board to hang the most recent drawings and creations. The result was the desk in this photo, she and I both love it. My daughter now has the perfect place to sit and color, read, create etc… and I have the perfect storage solution to finally organize all of her “little” things!
Very soon the kids will be heading back to school and now is a great time to get organized. Before the start of the school year, it’s important to have your kids feeling prepared and ready for the year ahead. Go through their closet item by item (with them preferably), asses what their needs are and make purchases accordingly. It’s also a great time to organize the rest of the room: desk, bookshelves, cluttered corners etc… Make sure they not only have supplies ready to go to school, but also a good place to work at home with everything they need to get their homework done. August is the best time to purchase school supplies, stock up now for the year. Before shopping, gather all the school/office supplies you have lying around the house. Place them in a container and assess what you need from there. Avoid going to the store and purchasing before you know what you already have, this is how clutter is created! Remember to keep one item at the desk, and extras of that item in a container elsewhere. When you run out of something, you go to the container to refill. This can cut way down on clutter at any desk.
Not only is this a great time to get the kids organized, it’s also a great time of the year to do planning. Schedules are coming out for school and extra-curricular activities. Input all activities and schedules you receive into your calendar ASAP. Take a look at the calendar you are currently using. Is it working for you and for your family? If your writing so small that you can hardly see, it may be time to switch from a week at a glance to a daily calendar, or vice versa. Electronic calendars are great, if your kids have iPods, they can sync to your household calendar and contacts. if you use an electronic system, everyone can have the family schedule on hand. Re-asses what you’re using and make sure the system you have going into the school year will work for you.
It’s easier to keep up with the demands of school and all the related events when you’re organized. Get systems in place now, clear space for incoming backpacks, books and supplies. Good organization at home can lead to better learning in the classroom.
Kids are just getting back to school and this is the perfect time for parents and children alike to get organized. We at Chaos to Order know that when kids have a sense of order, they are more likely to be successful students. If you have a child between the ages of 5 and 15, have them tell us what they do to be more organized in school. It can be related to desk and locker organization, or about time and how they plan their day. We will then pick a winner, based on the usefulness and creativity of the organizing tip. The winner will receive free tickets to Disney on Ice at the United Center on September 8, 2009. Please send your tips and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, September 4, 2009. Let’s hear those organizing tips!
By now most kids are back in school, or just getting ready to start. This is the time of year when organizational systems are put to the test. For my family, school started this past week and the deluge of papers and mail is amazing! I’m a professional organizer and it’s hard for me to keep up with it all, I can imagine what chaos must ensue when there aren’t systems in place. Here are some steps to keep the “flow” in your household:
Backpack/School Stuff Storage: Having a convenient place for kids to store backpacks, book bags and transient school stuff is a must. A closet shelf or cubby is best. Hooks for coats, bags etc. are also a necessity. If you want your entry to be functional, you must have places to store these items. In my last house, I had a small entryway with stairs to the basement right at the back door. Since there was no room right nearby, I created a “school stuff room” at the bottom of the stairs. It was complete with bench, hooks, bulletin board, shelving, even a homework table. Once the kids got in the habit of walking down the stairs to unpack, my back door was no longer a traffic jam.
School Year Files: Create a file at the start of each year for your child’s current grade. Keep all important papers in the file, adding new papers at the back of the folder. At the end of the year, sit with your child and go through the papers determining what to hold on to and what to get rid of. Then put the file in a bankers size keepsake box. Over time, you will have a nice organized keepsake box of each school year.
Family Calendar: This time of the year there’s a million dates to add to the calendar. Sports and clubs are starting and the school usually comes out with dates for the entire year. Spend some time inputting all of these dates into your family calendar (I use iCal and my iPhone, it’s awesome to be able to sync our phones and computers so everyone can see the same schedule, and be reminded of upcoming events).
Bulletin Board:A centrally placed bulletin board with important messages and events is also a great way to keep everyone in the household informed as to what the day’s activities are.
Now is the perfect time to get systems in place and routines created to have an organized year ahead!