Embrace your inner minimalist at the office

 

Are you drowning in paper at work? Is your space littered with too many empty mugs or hand cream?  Do you feel disconnected, unproductive and disorganized? Do you feel it reflects on you professionally ?  Embrace your inner minimalist! 

Create a vision of who you are and your professional performance with the décor in your space.  Define what clarity looks like in your environment. Think of colors that are a reflection of your style.  Keep minimal personal photos and knick knacks.   Think through the books, the art, and even the awards you have placed in your office.  In creating this vision you can make a list of adjectives you want to embody as you change this space. 

Many companies have an existing record retention policy stating how long to keep paper records.  But sometimes we can create rules for what you will keep and how long you will keep it if it is a rough draft, old budgets, or even a former employees previous paper.   If you do keep the paper, decide if a notebook or file is a better location for you to find the information.   How did this office client eliminate so much paper? By knowing what to keep and where to keep it! 

Take time to maintain your minimalist style.  Start and end the day with routines that reflect this.   Bring your one mug to and from work in your professional looking bag.  End the day with picking up the paper and replacing it in your project slots.   Once her office style and routines were defined, my client was able to share  that “clutter means I am too busy and moving too fast.”    Being definite about your style makes maintenance that much easier!

 What does this office say to you?

Conscious Donation and Goodwill Industries

Many thanks to industy leader Lorie Marrerro as a cheerleader, educator and spokesperson for Goodwill.  Not only does Lorie challenge us to join her in a new movement of Conscious Donation, Lorie also shares with us information on what to donate.  My clients often ask me how to determine what to “bless others with”.  I encourage reuse of most items, except in the case of damaged or broken items. But even the smallest of items can be used by others.  

Lorie wants to “create a culture of Conscious Donation, and have people consider where they are making their donations of belongings as carefully as they would consider where they are making a financial donation.”  Going beyond an aweness, we want to be mindful of how our donations can make a huge difference locally.   For Goodwill, your donations create jobs.   Goodwill’s Job Connection Centers serve individuals who are unemployed or underemployed and are ready, willing and able to be productive citizens in meaningful, self-fulfilling jobs.

 In this post by Lorie, she shares what Goodwill takes.  These also apply to other donation resources. 

http://www.clutterdietblog.com/2010/07/donating-dos-and-donts.html

Another part of the Goodwill donation site is the donation calculator.  See what your donations do for people!

http://donate.goodwill.org/

So won’t you join us in conscious donation?  I am committed to it!

Last minute school organizing

It’s the last weekend before school, your back packs are packed, complete with pencils and paper.  Your kids’ new school outfits are laid out and ready for the first day.  You have lunch bags set on the counter, ready to fill.    So what is left to prepare or organize for the new school year?   Being organized means you have that last minute fun before the new school year.    Have a last minute fling with a day trip to Galveston,  family fun night of games, or just an inexpensive jaunt to a local park.   

Are you not ready and not so organized?  Put in a couple of hours of organizing and jump into the fun!  Your kids will remember this last minute fun more than you will stress over being unorganized. And next year it will be a reminder of why get organized – so you can  have more fun! 

On your outing, talk about what is going to make this school year the best yet!  What will each of you do to be great team members for your family? What will be your goal and what does it take to get there? What routines will help everyone achieve their goals for the new year?   The best part of family fun is the communication that happens, the sharing laughter and the time spent together. 

Not even getting ready for school?  Have your last minute fling next weekend!  Kids and families will be in their new routines and it will be less crowded than Labor Day Weekend.

 We all want to stretch summer to the end!

Back to School Preparation Checklist

Back to School Checklist

 

You and your kids are counting down the days until school begins again.  Start the year off right with some easy steps to prepare for the first day.   A little preparation goes a long way throughout the school year.

Appointments

It is time to schedule all those back to school doctor, dental and eye glass appointments. It can take up to 2 weeks so call now for the best time.  Many athletic departments require physicals and it is important to have an updated immunization record. Be proactive and get these dates on your calendar.  Remember to get an extra copy for your files too!  Schedule other groom essentials like haircuts and more too.

Paper

Before the new year avalanche of paper starts, take the last year’s artwork and corral it.  Using a Fed Ex Box large box, save only the “precious” items to store in the top of a closet.  Label the box by year (1st grade or 2009-2010).  Now you are ready for this year’s art.

Set up your command center for action papers.  Your command center holds all the very important action papers, including bills, kids papers from school  and other papers requiring an action. Add sections for papers that will be pending and filed. Each day open your mail at this station, recycle junk mail, shred potential identity theft papers and bring catalogs and magazines to a reading spot. By creating a specific work station for these papers, you are ready to act on them with an hour of weekly administrative time.

Closets

Clean out your kids’ closets before you shop for back to school gear.  Only keep what is fitting or a little larger.  Keep some warm weather attire for the beginning days of school.  When it comes to creating a system for storing the clothes, have your kids partner with you to create what works. Kids can maintain their closets or drawers if they are in reach and they have a good routine for this.  Have a laundry basket in everyone’s room to collect dirty and redistribute clean clothes too.

Academics

The first few weeks of school are all about refreshing skills and concepts. Do your kids need a little routine for the last few weeks of summer? Skill building books and free online computer games are available for writing, math and problem solving.  Make it fun with stickers and rewards for accomplishing and completing pages.

Morning and Evening Routines

The hardest part of getting back to school is getting back to the morning routine.  Two weeks before school begins, start having earlier bedtimes and wake up calls.  You can inch back bedtime for half an hour earlier each week until the week before school starts you are setting the routines in motion.   Practice getting up with an alarm too.   Hold your family meeting to review what works best each morning and evening during the school year.    Set in motion an evening routine where backpacks are ready at the backdoor the night before, clothes are laid out and everyone feels ready for the next day.

Make this your best school year yet by chatting with your family about their expectations and more.  Go around the table and ask each person to talk about what they want to accomplish this year.    Ask how each family member can assist another, in partnering about tests, sharing responsibilities or other aspects.  Create a team in making each person’s academic goals come true!

Heading off to college

 

college organizing

 

More than just getting your clothes together and buying your books, heading off to college is best done with great organization.  It takes some time, but it is well spent!

Start with a great list.  Think about the very small space you will be living in and sharing.   What is most essential for your comfort and success?  Everyone is different, but most agree that laptop, clothes, bedding, small refrigerator and a few other items are at the top of the list.  Keep this list handy so that you are not easily distracted to add more and more.   You will thrive in a decluttered environment and your space will be small.

Now that you know what you need, eliminate what you will not use.   We are blessed with an abundance of clothes, so let’s share these blessing with others.   Start with a serious sorting of what really needs to go!  You will clear space for the rest of the process this way.

Next gather your goodies together that are going with you.  View them all together so you can really see what you are taking.  Time to start gathering what you wil take in 66 quart tubs to travel safely to the new destination.  Be sure to carefully pack things that will leak or break.  Be sure to keep important papers like college registration documents and medical information in a special spot to keep close by.

Before you start unpacking, think through the space.   Think through all the activities you are doing in your room.   Note where the outlets and computer connections for technology are.  Where will you get ready in the morning?   Think through the game plan of where you will put on makeup, dry hair, do homework and entertain new friends.   Mark spots with post its where things will go.

NOW you are ready to shop!  Here are a few great products to help in small spaces.

It really depends on your space what you will need, but having command hooks to hang various items, using the back of your door for storage of all types, a desk top sorter for papers, drawer systems for your closet, in the room or under your bed, a way to contain your makeup and toiletries and a great laundry basket make a difference in keeping your college life in order.  These items are from the Container Store, but there are tons of selection at all your local retailers.    Think about your personal strengths of how you stay organized and choose products you love to help you!  Be sure to measure a space before you purchase items to be sure it will fit.

Having a great year at college is more than just learning academics, it is learning life skills too.  Organization is one of those life skills and make a difference now and later.