How many times have you had to go back to school to find a homework paper or try to find school papers at home? This has happened several times in the past for our family. I am going to share a few tips with that will keep your kid's schoolwork organized so that your evenings run a little smoother.
It is time for school to start again. That means back to school shopping which includes school supplies. We received the registration packet for my son who is going into seventh grade along with the dreaded school supply list. Not only do I see major dollar signs but the list is a bit overwhelming.
Don't get me wrong. I do not mind purchasing class supplies such as hand sanitizer and tissue. However, the part of the list for everyday learning is a bit much. My son's 7th grade school supply list includes: 7 spiral notebook, 6 folders, 1 composition notebook, 2 one inch binders , 1 pack of loose leaf paper, 2 packs of index cards, 1 pack of colored pencils, 1 highlighter, 1 ruler, 1 pair scissors, 1 box fine tip markers, 24 pencils, Pens- Blue, black, and red, 1 flash drive, and 1 Texas instrument calculator. Students with organization and attention problems (a.k.a most seventh grade boys) can find organizing all of this class material and finding it for the correct class a bit overwhelming.
Backpacks are left in lockers at my son's school and the kids carry their books and supplies in their arms during the day. They can go to their locker between classes but have a very short time frame to do so. This means kids carry too much and drop much of it in the hall.
When my son was much younger we searched for ways to simplify his school supplies because it was all too much for him (and us) to keep up with. There were lost papers, books and notebooks left at school, papers that were crumbled up in the abyss of his backpack, and notes that never made it home. We took weekly trips back to school hoping that the door was still unlocked so that my son could retrieve what he needed.
I have done my research on organizing children and their school work. One of the best books that I have come across is The Organized Student by Donna Goldberg with Jennifer Zwiebel. This book has great suggestions for everyone. Below are are a few tips from this book and some of my own.
1. Use one binder.
The most useful advice from The Organized Student for my son was to simplify everything into one binder. You heard that right. Instead of notebooks, composition books, folders, and all that jazz, just get one large binder that zips. Use dividers with pockets and tabs to separate subjects. The pockets within each subject can hold completed homework. Some binders have a small accordion file in the front. Use this area to store graded papers until you get them home, parent and teacher communication, blank loose leaf paper, and even a composition book. Donna Goldberg also recommends using loose paper with reinforced holes. This is great for my son who had a problem with tearing his paper. When they use a single binder for multiple subjects your child only has ONE thing to keep up with!
Goldberg mentions that this method does not work for everyone. Binders may not work for left-handed people. There are other options listed in this book and other books for organizing students. The point is to find the simple method that works for your child.
2. Choose a home for your children's backpacks. Put hooks by the door, use a cubby holder, or put the backpacks in a closet. Just pick a spot and have your children start storing the backpacks there. No more running around looking for the backpack as the bus pulls up to the door.
3. The binder and other material immediately go back in the backpack when your child is done with their homework. You will have to drill this into you children and your husband for a very long time but eventually they will do it.
4. Does your child have a hard time picking out clothes in the morning? Or, does he change what you pick for him to wear? This shirt is itchy and another has an annoying tag. Have your child pick out his own clothes for the following week and put them together in a place you have marked for outfits.
My my son came up with his own solution to his clothes problem. He wears his clothes to bed. When my son was in second grade he asked if he could wear his school clothes to bed instead of pajamas. Don't judge! This small change has saved us thousands of minutes on school mornings. A smooth morning far outweighs a few wrinkled clothes in my book.
5. A second set of textbooks at home is very helpful for some children. The school custodian will miss you but you can ask the school to supply an extra set of texbooks if they have any. Or, you can purchase many textbooks online.
6. Homework is done immediately. I am a mean mamma, I know. My son would like to relax, eat a snack, and play Minecraft for a couple of hours (not happening) when he gets home from school. The problem with this scenario is that he does not want to go back to school mode. We have played this game before and no one wins. My son dallies around complaining and whining about doing homework until all hours of the night. My husband and I are frustrated with him because it would not take long if he would just DO the homework. So, when my son gets off the bus from school he does eat a snack. Then, it is time for homework. Guess what? He usually has his homework done in a few minutes with no hassle. Then my son has plenty of time to play outside with the neighbors, read a book, play a game for a little while, or whatever he wants to do before bedtime.
The Organized Student has other simple but great ideas for filing school papers, planning for project due dates and much more. Click on this link to purchase The Organized Student by Donna Goldberg . It is available in paperback and Kindle. I am not being paid by the author to include her book in my blog post. I am only sharing a great resource with the author's permission.
I hope that you can benefit from our family's school of hard knocks when it comes to all things related to organizing school work! If you implement any of these tips into your routine please send me a message to let me know how it works for you.
Keep it Simple Series :Part 3
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Keep It Simple Series : Part Two
I am from the south and we call our evening meal supper. You may call it dinner.
My point is why must they want to eat every night?! I could have a bowl of soup for supper every night. I would open the can and heat it in the microwave, in the bowl I am going to eat it out of. There would be so few dishes to do! My family, however, craves variety. While they will eat most anything, my husband and children do not like casseroles. We are a meat and potatoes family. This distaste for casseroles limits our meal possibilities. No tuna helper for us!
Meal planning helps me avoid the late afternoon panic of what to cook for supper. I also save money by not making last minute trips to the grocery store. Meal planning can also rev up your weight loss plan. While I do not always plan our meals my life runs a little smoother when I do.
Over the years I have tried several different methods of meal planning. I have paid for a couple of different subscriptions services. There were some strange dishes with weird ingredients that my family would not eat. I have tried matching coupons and sales to plan our meals. That method is very time consuming. The easiest kind of meal planning I have found is assigning a type of meal to each day of the week. I can be flexible in what to prepare but have a starting point. This one meal plan can be used over and over without coming up with a new menu. It is like a perpetual calendar.
I plan different kinds of dishes bases on our activities for the day. We eat lighter on Sunday night because we eat out for lunch after church. Wednesday nights are also church night so we fix something quick. Below is an example of this kind of meal plan.
Sunday - salad/ leftovers
Monday - pasta
Tuesday - beef
Wednesday - sandwich or rollup
Thursday - Mexican/Italian/Chinese
Friday - EAT OUT NIGHT
Saturday - chicken/fish
You do not have to have a complicated meal plan. If you want more variety than my menu example then make a list of meals for two weeks or four weeks. Then use that list over and over. No more thinking required. Meal planning is done. Forever.
I would love to know how you plan your meals! Comment or send me an EMAIL to share your ideas.
Part One : Simple Cleaning
I thought about this blog series when I noticed a pattern in my home. Over the years I have simplified a few items to help me maintain order in the midst of my chaos. I would love to take credit for these great ideas I am going to share with you. However, my collection of advice has been gleaned from several ladies over the years.
Do you love cleaning as much as I do? Okay, that is not true! I like to organize, not clean. Organizing is therapeutic for me. I am not great at keeping a cleaning schedule. There are several excuses I make about this. They are all true but are just excuses. But, there is something that makes cleaning a little easier for me.
Is it necessary to have a bathroom cleaner, kitchen cleaner, sink cleaner, floor cleaner, shower cleaner, and toilet cleaner? No, it is not. So, simplify your cabinets and save some cash. Just use one cleaning product for most all of your cleaning.
First, buy a few good spray bottles. Don't buy the cheap one from the dollar store. I have gone through a few of those. Then, buy a concentrated cleaning solution. I use lavender scented Pine-Sol. You choose the cleaner that you like. Pour some cleaner in the spray bottles and dilute it with water. Put a spray bottle in the kitchen and all the bathrooms. I also use it with a mop that you can use you own cleaning solution. I frequently get compliments on how good my house smells even after I just clean the kitchen counters.
Incorporate my one cleaner tip into your cleaning regimen. You will simplify your under counter space and save some cash.
If you would like some help simplifying the rest of your home then give me a call!
My husband and I have bought and sold a few homes during our seventeen year marriage. We have learned from our mistakes as sellers and from our experiences as buyers. When selling your home potential buyers try to imagine how they would live there. It is difficult for buyers to fathom living in some of the homes they tour. Clutter can get in the way of keeping your home clean and can also impact how long your home is on the market. Follow these ten tips to sell your home in a hurry and make a bigger profit.
1. Rent a storage unit. You are going to need to store excess furniture, books, seasonal clothing, extra toys, and more. Get a unit a little larger than you think you will need. That way you will not have to move your belongings from a smaller unit to a larger one. Trust me.
2. Take a good look around you. Have a friend who is not afraid to be honest point out what areas look messy. Most of us have too many possessions that crowd our home.
-Remove most of your personal pictures from walls and flat surfaces. Leave a few so that the space remains personal. Put away all of the mismatched frames, the corny studio portaits, and school pictures. Leave a family photo in a nice frame.
-Put most of your books in storage. Only keep out a few that accessorize well on shelves.
-Get rid of the knick-knacks. You will save time on dusting. And, no one wants to see your porcelain clown, wooden giraffe, pen, or arrow head collection. Really.
-Throw away all magazines. What are you saving (hoarding) those for, anyway?
-Toss the throws. That 70's show afghan on the back of your couch may be cozy but it is an eyesore. Put away all the extra blankets and pillows lying around your home.
-Clean up CDs and DVDs. If you do not have sufficient out of sight storage put these items in the storage unit.
-Most people have too much furniture in their home. Your space should be open and inviting. Remove extra side tables, odd and oversized chairs, microwave carts, old enterrainment centers that are piling up with odds and ends, lamps, buffets, china cabinets, and any other furniture that is not necessary. You want to create an open floor plan that is easy to walk through.
4. Bedrooms are a breeding ground for clutter.
-Pare down the books, magazines, toys, clothes, and memorabilia.
-Remove all of the pageant trophies, posters, and objects made at camp. Put them in the storage unit.
-Take down all of your little Picasso's artwork and put it away.
-Sports equipment belongs in a bin in the garage. A large trash can will hold bats, balls, helments, and raquets.
-Tame the toys. Just because you have kids people do not expect your home to look like Toys R' Us. If potential buyers do not have children they need to visualize the space as how they will use it. Store at least half the toys until the house sells. Your kids will get over it. Mine did.
-Create openness by replacing dust ruffles on each bed with a fitted sheet over the box spring.
-Your master bedroom should feel like a getaway. All dressers and nightstands should be clear of clutter. Remove anything that should not be in this room.
5. Spiff up the kitchen. The kitchen is one of the most important selling points of your home.
-Clear off the counters, even the toaster. Put it away when not in use. Buyers want to see that there is room for their things. If the cabinets appear crammed they may think there is not enough storage.
-Put those seasonal dishes, extra sets of china, duplicate casserole bowls, and appliances you hardly ever use in the storage unit.
5. Air out your closets. Buyers will peek in the closets. Closets should only be half full. Buyers want to envision all the extra room for their belongings. They do not want to see your massive shoe or vintage clothing collection.
-Put away your out of season clothes, projects, crafts, sewing supplies, and all other items that do not belong in a closet. Take them to your storage unit.
-Take extra sets of linens out of the linen closet and remove most of the coats from the coat closet.
-Clear out other storage closets. Remove things that don't belong.
6. Each room should reflect its original purpose. Have appropriate furniture in each room.
7. Bathrooms should be spotless.
-Counters should not have anything on them.
-Store toothbrushes and toiletries in a drawer.
-Put the toilet brush and plunger under the sink.
-Trash cans should have lids.
-Buy new towels for all the bathrooms to use when showing the house.
Your bathroom will look much neater when you follow these rules.
8. Potential buyers should not see or smell evidence of your pets. Move the litterbox to the garage and put all of Fido's toys and bed in his crate. Take the crate with the pet in it when you leave for the house to be shown. Believe it or not, most people are offended by pet odors. Have a person who is honest come over to assess the situation.
9. Clean out and organize the garage and attic. Buyers will be assessing these areas for their storage needs. Recycle containers should have lids. Just as you can use a large trash can for sports equipment, you can also store yard tools in a trash can. You want to create a neat, orderly area with plenty of open space.
10. Keep a basket handy. If someone is coming to look at the house you can throw your junk in it and put it in the car. Do not put the basket in the oven or bathtub because buyers DO look in those places.
Simplify your home with these tips so that you can be ready for potential buyers in a flash. Create a beautiful canvas that anyone would want to call home. If this process seems a bit overwhelming you can always give me a call. We will work together in person or using the phone and computer. I am here to help you all the way! Life. Simple.
The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and the birds are chirping. It is spring! I am feeling better with this warmer weather. Fibromyalgia and below zero Iowa winters do not mix. The winter gloom is lifting and there is a spring in my step! What to do with all this energy? Spring cleaning of course!
Several of my friends have asked for spring cleaning tips. I thought about writing a series of blog posts . Then I thought about the time and energy that we all want to devote to spring cleaning. So, I decided to make it quick and simple. Whether you do all your cleaning in one day or break your deep cleaning up over several days remember to make it fun! Turn on some music or listen to an audiobook (they are free from the library). Have a good time and think of how glad you will be to have a happy, healthy home. Remember keep it simple. To help you out click below for a downloadable checklist. Happy cleaning!
Attention deficit and autism affect many people and households. If you are one of these families things may not always go as smoothly as you would like. I know they don't at our house. We have four strong personalities in this family with four ways of thinking. My husband, son #2, and I tend to think things should be done in a similar way. Most of the time. Son #1 marches to his own drum. Or sings to his own tune at the top of his lungs while clapping his hands as loud as he can.
Sometimes my home is not a very peaceful setting. My 12 year old son's bedroom floor is littered with shoes, clothes, and hunting or fishing magazines. For years I have insisted that the shoes go in the closet. They never make it to the closet. Then, I get mad and explode and he gets mad that his room has to be my version of clean.
Reading has always been my escape. I read for diversion and I read for information. Not long ago I read an article about how ADD brains are wired differently. They don't think just like you or me. (Ok, maybe more like me than I want to admit.) Regardless, I want the shoes out of sight. However, my son may need to see most of his possessions to know where they are. He is very visual and this makes sense to me because I have the same tendency. Out of sight, out of mind.
To resolve the shoe problem put a milk crate it by son #1's door, and asked him to please put his shoes there. Guess what? Sometimes the shoes make it to the crate. It is not pretty but it is functional. And simple. Now we are both happer because I am not loosing my cool when I trip over his shoes. The shoe battle that occurs with less frequency. Now, why don't the clothes always make it to the hamper?! Alas, these things just don't matter to a 12 year old boy.
Git 'er done. Find a solution and move on. I am learning to accept that my way may not be the only way to do things. Most of the time just getting things done is good enough. Perhaps I can learn something from son #1 about what is really important. However, I will still have the compulsion to organize and clean his room!
I will be happy help you gain some peace and solve clutter issues with your tween or anyone else.
I am very excited to be working with Macaroni Kid of Cedar Falls on my first GIVEAWAY! Macaroni Kid is a great resource for family friendly activities. Emily, the Macaroni Kid mom editor, is such a joy to be around. She is sharing her knowledge of all the awesome family activities in the Cedar Valley for FREE.
Organized by Sunshine is offering an Organizing Package GIVEAWAY and coupon to Macaroni Kid subscribers. The package that includes a consultation, one hour organizing session, and follow up from Organized by Sunshine.
Also, all Macaroni Kid readers who enter this giveaway will receive a coupon of 50% off a one hour organizing consultation. To enter this organizing giveaway and get the coupon, go to Macaroni Kid site.
Life. Simple. Let's get started!
This past Christmas I found some cute pillow covers at a craft mart. I thought the red chevron pattern would pop with my red living room curtains. Because I guestimated the size of the couch pillows the covers did not fit. However, I had a couple of pillows in the basement that were the right size. The look turned out ok. It was still not what I hoped for. Now I had four ugly floral pillows, two teal and brown striped pillows, and two red chevron striped pillows in the living room. Also, add in another pillow I bought from a friend who makes custom pillows. Is this insane or what?!
My three year old son and dog loved the pillow situation. Pillows were usually all over the floor or stacked high on the couch. My living room was not going to found in Southern Living. More like Goodwill. I tried putting away the ugly floral pillows. There were still a lot of pillows to put back in place everyday. Then, I found the dog chewing up one of the corners of my red pillows. I was mad. Mad at the dog and mad at the pillows.
While picking up all of these pillows a thought occurred to me. I had been trying to get the "right" pillows to make my living room look "right", all the while failing to remember that I don't like clutter. Or throw pillows. Which are clutter when you have kids. Therefore, all pillows, except the one my friend made, have been put away in storage. I will not fight the battle of the pillows anymore. I won! It may not seem like much but in my world this decision has made a positive change in my day.
I hope this post inspires you to get rid of some of the pillows, knick-knacks, and other decorating clutter in your home. We should surround ourselves with beautiful treasures that we love. Don't waste time and space on things you don't like, even if it was a gift. Life is too important. Make yours simple. I will be glad to help you.
Lately I have seen many Pinterest pins and articles about organizing a wrapping station. There are lots of pictures of pretty, organized closets filled with an assortment of wrapping paper and ribbon on curtain rods. Gifts bags are neatly stacked and homemade gift tags are stored in labeled bins. As a natural born organizer my first thoughts are, AHHHHHH, it's beautiful! Then I come back to reality. Wow! That's a lot of stuff and space dedicated to....wrapping presents?! How often does this occur and how much do we really need?
A few years ago I found a way to save time, money, and space when it comes to wrapping gifts. Why buy expensive wrapping paper just to tear it up and throw it away? Now, I only use brown kraft paper for every occasion. Birthday, wedding, baby shower, and Christmas gifts are all wrapped in the same paper at my house. I don't buy expensive wrapping paper for every occasion. This kraft paper can be found at Wal-Mart or Target in the mail supplies for around $4 a roll. I use red ribbon for Christmas and white or blue ribbon for everything else. The one or two rolls of kraft paper are stored in a closet or under a bed. My ribbon, tape, and scissors are in a drawer. I don't need a whole closet full of paraphernalia dedicated to wrapping gifts. Now that I have simplified the gift wrapping tools there is no need to organize all of my supplies.
This kraft paper is great for travel because it is thicker than regular wrapping paper. You can spice up the paper with stickers, bows or have your kids draw a picture. Skip the card or gift tag and write the name on the gift with a marker. I love to save time and money by using the few wrapping supplies I already have on hand.
That's how we Southerners say Hi! This is Sunshine. Welcome to my blog where I hope to encourage you by sharing my passion for living a simple and organized life. As a wife and mom of two boys simplifying means less clutter and more happy time to spend with my family! I would love to hear your feedback. You may comment on posts, email me, post to Facebook, or Pinterest by clicking on the buttons at the top of my blog page.