Finding Places for Donation

So you’ve finally gathered together things you don’t want anymore. They’re too good to throw away and now you have to figure out where to donate them. There are more places than you might think that would love to have your hand-me-downs.
        Donation centers: Whether it’s resale shops or non-profit organizations, there are places around looking for your donations. Try donationtown.org. All you have to do is put in your zip code, and they’ll list places around you that will take your donations.

        Ask neighbors: They may know of places around you or people that are in need and could really use some of the things you no longer want. Neighbors are always a good source of information (along with that cup of sugar).

        Schools: Craft supplies are cherished in schools so if you have a smorgasbord of different things, they would love to have them. With less and less funding available at many schools, Anything extra you may have, even if it’s not in the greatest condition, is greatly appreciated.

        Library: This is where you can bring books and magazines. Don’t waste your own shelf space if you aren’t going to read those books anymore. Let someone else enjoy them.

Testing Your Memory

No matter how organized you may be, if you forget where something is, it negates your whole system. Be active and attentive to what you are doing and where you are putting something. If you’ve just created a new system, it will take some time to get used to new habits. But, if you keep at it, eventually you won’t need to think about it at all.
Adding labels on containers or folders will prevent lost time by going through everything. There are also ways to keep track of your home inventories. There is a free app called SCANPET for home inventories that can even scan barcodes. Of course, other systems exist, too. You can keep track of what you own and prevent overspending.

A key to staying organized and ahead of the game is to let other people know what your system is. They should know where documents are in case of emergencies.  

Trading Summer for Fall

It’s getting to be that time of year when your wardrobe should start reflecting the change in weather. Switch out your shorts for your sweaters. This is normally only done if you don’t have enough room and space to store your seasonal clothes with your year round clothes. There are different ways to pack away your clothes:

  • Extra drawers If you have space in drawers that don’t have to be used for storing other things, pack away your seasonal clothes in them. They will still be easily accessible, and won’t be a hassle to trade out.

  • Back section of closet space Hanging up your clothes and moving them to the back of your closet is another option. When there comes another seasonal change, all your have to do is slide them to the front again.
  • Garbage bags Perhaps you don’t have enough storage room in your closet or drawers. Neatly fold your summer clothes and put them in a garbage bag. Then you can stash it in the back of the closet or even in the attic to get them out of the way. Once you bring them back out though, be prepared to do some steaming to get rid of any wrinkles.

4 Tips to Starting the School Year Right

Summer is over, and the school year is here. Practice with and teach organizing to your kids by starting a routine. Kids mimic the environment they’re in, so if it’s chaotic then they feel crazy. Create order and stability with these easy tips.

1.     Plan lunches. You can either do this the night before, or plan out the whole week on Sunday night. Depending on if it’s grab-and-go types of food or if that sandwich will be soggy by Tuesday, this will be what fits your schedule and lifestyle best.

2.     Plan outfits. Make it a habit to check the weather the night before. Dress them accordingly, and teach them what is appropriate in certain kinds of weather. Especially with the moody Chicago weather, it is better to have an extra layer you don’t need, than need it and not have it.

3.     Pack their backpack the night before. You might have seen a trend so far here! Many things can be done the night before. Their backpack is no exception. Have everything tidied up so they aren’t rushing in the morning and slowing you down for work!

4.     A designated place for schoolwork at home. Rid yourself of that dreaded feeling when you realize there was paperwork you needed to sign or a project your kid waited to do last minute. Having a place where your child can put all their schoolwork will teach them organization and time management. Plus, you can see their progress and prevent a habit of procrastination.

End of Summer

The end of summer is nigh, but the chaos of it lingers. In order to start the school year and fall season right, you’ll need to go through that chaos. Here are some tips for what to do with that summer clutter.

1.    Swimsuit you never wore. Get rid of something that you never used. That slightly ill-fitting swimsuit needs to go since you never wore it. There’s no point in having it hang around if you never really got to enjoy it.

2.    Beach toys you never used. Donate beach toys you never played with. Your kids may have had fun with them in the past, but if they didn’t use them this past summer, then they should go.

3.    Tons of tubes of expired sunscreen. Throw away expired sunscreen. Even if it’s near full, it doesn’t have the same protective properties once it’s expired.

4.    Outdoor toys the kids never played with. Sometimes even if a toy is brand new, the kids don’t play with it for whatever reason (even if you thought it was really cool). Toss the toys if they’re broken, and donate them if they’re perfectly fine.

M9JT8O48O0.jpg

Tips for Managing Mayhem

This week is National Simplify Your Life Week. There are several areas we can all make a little less complicated. Below are some tips to simplify different areas of your life.
        Things you can completely discard. Decide what things you can get rid of. Go through desktops, drawers, bookshelves, and cabinets. If you haven’t used something in the last 12 months, and don’t plan on using it during a different season, then get rid of it. Throw it away, recycle it, or donate it.

        Volunteer position you don’t enjoy. Volunteering should be for causes you care about with people you enjoy spending your time with. If it’s not everything you want it to be, then don’t feel bad for not volunteering anymore. Replace that time with somewhere else you can volunteer or a hobby you enjoy. Your free time should be spent doing things you love.

        Eating takeout. Do you feel like you need to make dinner from scratch every night? Make it easier for yourself by having takeout one night a week.

        Limitations on someone that’s draining. Sometimes it’s people that make life a little messy. Communicate to them that your time and energy needs to be limited. Trying to help someone out is not wrong by any means, but unless they start taking initiative, it’s not helping anymore, but enabling.

        Asking for help. You don’t have to do everything on your own. Know your own limitations. If you’re starting to feel stressed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. For your personal life it could be as simple as hiring a babysitter or a pet sitter. And, if you need extra help with work, consider hiring an assistant or intern.

3 Tips for Shopping for the Dorms

Finally getting some freedom from your parents and you want to show them you can adult? Being prepared to live in the dorms is a mental as well as a physical feat. Everything is officially up to you to finish and follow through. Here are some ways to shop, and get your dorm ready:


1.    First, talk to your roommate. You’ll want to make sure you’re not bringing doubles of anything, and find out how much they are willing to share. Be honest with your lifestyle, and how you usually keep your room. You should both be prepared for the frustration that comes with sharing a room, but try not to judge on the way they organize; there is no right or wrong (unless there’s leftover pizza boxes that are starting to stink).

2.    Prepare a budget. Based off what you and your roommate decide to get for the dorm, you should next plan your budges stress on your (parent’s) wallet. Any budget is reasonable and based on your search skills, you can find items that fit within it.

3.    Resale shops are your new best friends. It’s fun shopping for your own place but in all reality, that stuff doesn’t need to be brand new. Dorms are a transition. You’ll be helping the environment by reusing items. And there may be family things you can use, which is a connection to home, like the cupcake pans you used to use while baking with your Grandma.
t. You don’t need to worry about getting really high quality, long lasting items. This puts les

4.    Bring a list. Once you’ve decided what you need to get, write it all down. Put the list in your wallet so you always have it with you.  Then when you’re out and you see a good deal on something, you’ll know if you really need it. It’s easy to go overboard when shopping for your dorm, but stick to that list and you’ll have a great room.

Site design by Ryan G. Wilson Amy Trager, © 2006-2015