Organizing Kids’ Clothes

This guest post is written by Meredith Delap, an amazing organized mom who inspires me!

When it comes to staying organized with our small childrens’ clothing, there are so many challenges.  If you can somehow manage to figure out a laundry system that works, you still have to deal with the ever-present problem of outgrown clothes.  It is shocking how quickly my son’s onesies start getting too tight to snap and how a modest skirt on my 4 year old all of the sudden becomes a mini skirt.  It’s something we all have to deal with ALL the time, it’s not like you can organize once or twice a year and be set. 

What’s tricky about this is that it’s not clear cut where things either fit or don’t fit – there are varying degrees of fitting-ness.  All you moms know this, there are the items that fit perfectly (today at least), the items that are a little small but she can still squeeze into it so it works, the jeans that only fit if you roll the waistband and cuffs up, and often the items that you’ve received as hand me downs that kinda fit but are really a tad big.  Now, it really isn’t a problem when I’m the only one making clothing decisions, but when my husband is helping out in the evenings or weekends (or my fashionista 4 year old is picking out her outfit) I am often saying “That doesn’t fit anymore!”  or “Don’t put those jammies on Sam, they’re way too small!”  To which my husband responds, “If they don’t fit, why are they in the drawer?”  Good question. 

So I try to stay on top of this issue by going through their wardrobes often, definitely with each season change and sometimes a few extra times too.  I pull EVERYTHING out and lay it on the bed and put back in the drawers only the clothes that fit or still have room to grow.  What’s unpleasant about this task is that things have to get so much worse before they get better…..but I guess that’s true of most organizing projects.  It’s amazing how nicely everything fits back in once I pull out the things they weren’t wearing.  And I like the independence it gives my preschooler because she can find something to wear and I know I will be happy with her choice (because it won’t be her favorite pink fleece snowman sweats in size 3T when she currently wears a 5T.  She would wear those high water pants if they were still in her closet). 

The outgrown clothes go into boxes and storage for me because 1) we aren’t sure if we will have another baby or not 2) my husband and I both have several siblings that may have kids in the future and we would like to share with them our over-abundance of baby/toddler clothes.  Once we know our family is complete and we have shared the good quality clothes with our nieces and nephews, I plan to give everything else to friends who want hand-me-downs and donate what’s left. 

This is just one of the many things we have to stay on top of to keep our homes running smoothly.  I think it’s important though because it sets the stage for clothing organization early on.  I’m trying to teach my kids that we treat all of our things nicely and take care of them, and for clothes that means hanging them up or folding them and putting them away.  My daughter is pretty used to a (usually) tidy closet now and I like to think this will help her as she gets older and her clothing becomes more of her responsibility.  Or maybe I’m in denial and just don’t want to think about those messy teen years ahead.  And the verdict is still out on my son, who is not even 2 yet….he may be a major slob and have my pulling my hair out.  Oh well, we can always call Gigi – one of the perks of having a professional organizer for a mother-in-law!

Teachers Team up to Organize

This weekend I worked with a team of teachers to organize a storage closet they shared.   The closet had become totally unfunctional, being blocked on the floor with extra supplies and other clutter.    I had high hopes for this project, but the teachers exceeded my expectations! In 2 hours they had cleared the clutter completely!  How did this happen?

Start with a common goal. Together we defined what was clutter and what was not. Donations were designated for charity or other schools. 

Put a team plan in action. We divided the room into areas for specific content.  We labeled each section of the floor for  math, language, science and geography . One teacher stood at each spot to assess keep or donate.  The donate piles were labeled charity or school.  Runners took items from the closet to the designated areas.

Many hands make for light work. Ten teachers arrived that day ready to make a difference for their school.

So how did we accomplish so much? We stayed on task, partnered, and made excellent decisions. As you can see from the before and after pictures, now the closet is ready for more materials. 

How will it stay organized? Each teacher knows the new rules for what to keep, each teacher has their own shelf for their materials, and we labeled each area to know where to replace materials. 

Have a big project at work? Set the date, gather the team, set the goals, and go for it!

Green Organizing Baby Steps

Reduce, reuse and recycle are the buzz words for all of us.   Everyone is recycling these days! It is no longer just a trend.  It is what we are focusing on as we are all away of the limited resources and overconsumption.  How do we take this to the next step in green organizing? Here are a few baby steps for being even more environmentally friendly.

Set up your command center with a recycling bin right there.  How easy this makes recycling!  Have a paper and a shred bin right at that spot.  

Turn off your computer each night and lights during the day.  Save energy and money!  Check out this site for the costs and savings.  Thanks to the for this enlightening post!

Wash laundry with full loads of clothes. Using this sorter, you can see when it is time to do a load.  This keeps the load together, ready to go.

Establish a regular routine for recycling.  Have a bin for plastic, a space for paper, and a garbage can for aluminum.  Set these up in the garage right near the door.  Take your recycling out to the curb or to the center weekly.

Eliminate electronics and make money too! Here are several resources for selling electronics.

What baby steps are you taking for green organizing?

Eva’s Note

Not sure what this note is? My four year old grand daughter Eva wrote it last week for herself. It says “choir.”  She said to her Mom and me, “I want to be sure I remember that I have a choir performance on Sunday.”  She wrote several of these notes through out the week to herself, each more adorable than the next.

There really is something to modeling organizing! Eva sees her Mom, Dad, Paps and Gigi (that’s me!) write notes to ourselves to remember things all the time. She sees us make lists for grocery shopping, dinner menus, recipes, and dates in our calendars.  It was very natural for her to want to help herself remember in this way.

 Eva and her mom decluttered her closet last week too. Eva brought her outgrown clothes to a friend at school to share.  She was especially excited to share a pink tutu with a dance friend.  Eva is already starting to recognize how to organize her closet!  

 Next time you are thinking about your family and getting organized, remember how powerful your actions are.  Moms often ask me how can they help their children get organized.  It is all about your being a role model for all types of organizing.

What powerful actions are you sharing with your family?

Be a Natural Delegator

A guest post by Leslie McKee, my colleague and blogger at


Everything gets better with delegation.  Some people struggle with delegation because they feel that they are imposing or asking for help.  I am a natural delegator.  I see it as a form of collaboration.  My immediate response to a new task or project is to break it into smaller, more do-able parts. When I am doing that, I’m immediately thinking about how I can incorporate other people’s skills and insights.  Bringing other people in automatically makes it more social, fun and adds accountability.  I find that people are flattered to be considered an expert or simply recognized for what they do well. 


In business, as an organizer I realized early on that I simply could not organize Pittsburgh single handedly, but I could definitely be a resource to help!  Finding resources is one way to delegate.  In that process relationships are often built.  I always just ask, even when I know it might not be a great fit, because it often leads me closer to answers and progress.  It also opens the doors for people to ask me for help as well. 


I find that the delegator has to be a giver as well.  It is not about giving everyone else jobs while they watch you do nothing.  It’s important that the delegator connect with why they should be taking on the responsibility that you are delegating.  This is especially important at home.  I get cooperation because I’m fair and it’s clear that we do things that ultimately benefit the whole family.  So here are some step to think about when delegating:


1.      Break it down and decide if this task is a good one to delegate

2.      Consider who might help you.

3.      Consider why they might want to help you.

4.      Decide what parameters you need to put in place.


Try to find areas where you are a natural delegator and where it works in your life. Then see if you can add that to more areas.  You will usually feel more supported, find yourself doing more of what you do best and create a life that comes together nicely.

Principal for a Day

I am a lover of learning and an eternal student. I love everything to do with school! I was grateful, humbled and excited about the opportunity to be principal for a day at our local elementary.  The day started with the magical words, “Mrs. Delap is here for Principal for a Day”. And off we go to visit kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade classrooms, learning labs and more.  What I learned was beyond my most magical thoughts!


As a former kindergarten teacher, I come with my biases. Play fair, be kind, work hard and listen carefully are all my inborn mantras. Imagine a school where communication and high expectations are part of the culture. Technology is there assisting with all sorts of learning, whether it is visual, auditory or kinesthetic modalities. Parents come to help in each classroom, feeling welcome and a part of the learning process. This is what I saw during the day.  Kids were involved, learning, and doing.  They were immersed in language and math.  


Teachers are individualizing education on both ends of the spectrum.  Not only are there gifted programs, but the school houses a special unit of Severe Communication Disorder programs for autistic students.  Teachers partner and plan as groups, adding their own flavor in their own classrooms.  Everyone comes together with their strengths to make this school exemplary. 


When asked what parents can to do best assist their kids in school preparation and success, the staff and principal mentioned learning social skills, organizational skills and study skills are the highest priorities.  Our school promotes a culture of caring, getting along, organizing your paper and time, and studying effectively.  Each month the scohol hosts a Coffee Talk about school success. 


Of course there will always be challenges in our school, especially with funding. This elementary sponsors many fundraisers. My small gift to them was a gift certificate for an upcoming school silent auction. 


Thank you Humble ISD Foundation for the opportunity to be a part of our thriving and vibrant education system. And yes, I did promise the teachers a raise and give the kids a half day of school!  It was one of the best days ever to be an educator!

Being Resilient

We live in a crazy world!  Difficult times come and go and we need ways to handle the stress.  Learning to navigate these tough periods can make all the difference. Being resilient means we bend and bounce back.  Some people are naturally more resilient, but we can learn behaviors that help too!

Be optimistic. Having a sunny outlook helps us manage a crisis between.  Create a habit of positive, half full glass thinking by being grateful and appreciative of what you have.  

Be spiritual.  With a strong belief and a faith family connection, you are better equipt. 

Be playful. Enjoying experiences, finding goofy fun at tough times, and laughing are all ways to get through a tough time. 

Be gracious. Be organized enough to be thoughtful of others. 

Give back.  The benefit of nurturing others is great.  Find a cause you are passionate about and commit to participating in it.   

Stay connected.  Resiliency depends on relying on others too! We need partners to match our strengths and weaknesses.  Recruit resources to help you move forward in all you are doing.

We are all learning resiliency in our current times.  What steps are you taking ?

Being Mindful of Multitasking




Lots of new multi-tasking statistics are bringing into focus this productivity concept. Studies have shown that each time someone makes a “task switch,” or multitasks, their productivity is actually reduced by 20 to 40 percent.   While previously thought to be a great tool, now multitasking  is glaringly not so! 

Mindfully focus on one task at a time.  Start by prioritizing to be sure this task takes highest importance.  Purposefully stay on task by creating a “power period”, a 45 minute time you work on a single project.  Successfully working on one project  makes you feel accomplishment, lowers  your stress and lessens the load of the total projects.   


Eliminate distractions by creating an effective environment.   Turn of the computer, stop texting, and turn off the tv.  Really give yourself the opportunity for undistracted work.  If a call comes, use your technology to the fullest and let it go to voice mail.  Create your optimal environment with soft music, scent in the room, and a clear desk.  A clear desk invites creativity, productivity and efficiency. 


Make phone connections and relationships count.  During a call, be sure to be “on the call” not just on the phone. We are always trying to do one more thing while talking.  Make that person and the call more important than the distractions.


Are there positive uses of multitasking?  Double time two low priority tasks and get them done!  This includes pairing folding the laundry or putting away dishes with background television or having administrative time while listening to music.  These little incentives can help you finish up a less than interesting task.      

 What are your favorite ways to get just that one thing done?


Delegating and Team Building at Home

delegating and team building

You come home after work and start the 2nd shift.  There’s always more to do than time to do it.  Gather your family around you and think delegate, a.k.a. team building!


There are a few ground rules that apply at home, that don’t apply at the office.  The complexity of family relationships makes delegating at home more challenging than at work. But it is not impossible.  Truly applying team building makes this happen!


Begin with the family motto of “we’re all in this together!”  Start with a family meeting to talk about what this means.  Keep it simple but think through all the responsibilities at home and create a list of the options.  There are lunches and dinner to make, groceries to buy, laundry to do, lawns to mow, toilets to clean and more.  So getting a list together that hits on the most important tasks is a starting point.  Here is where we start being creative!

·                 Works from family members’ strengths. Who is great at what? Give your family jobs they do well rather than struggle with.

·                 Give the chores different point values by “difficulty” of completion.  Bathroom and toilet 3 points, kitchen clean up 2, dusting 1.

·                 Create partnerships to complete the chores, such as mom/sister make the dinner, dad/other daughter do the dishes.  It is always more fun with a partner.

·                 Set a time everyone does the same task.  Set the kitchen timer, turn on the high energy music, or sing the clean up song. 

·                 Set a standard of completion everyone agrees on.  What does it mean to have the dishes “done” or the laundry “complete”?  Set a time frame for completion. Emptying a dishwasher after the dishes are piled in the sink defeats the purpose. 

·                 Put aside your perfectionism.  Encourage your family to do their best job, even if it is not to your standards, the manner in which you would do it or at the speed you would do it.   

·                 Affirm each family member’s contribution each week.  Praise goes a long way in getting things done.

·                 Create a chores chart and post it in a common space.  It is the chart that reminds the family, rather than the parents.

·                 Incentivize your family’s work.  Incentives can be whatever works for you, but the simpler the better.  

·                 Use this method for every day responsibilities and upcoming family events, including holidays, birthdays and special occasions.

·                 Make it fun!  Everyone wants to work together when the atmosphere is relaxed and happy. 


 Great resources are available on including lists, charts and more!  How does team work happen in your family?

Clutter Support Group Forming for Spring 2010

Have you had a life long struggle with being organized?  Need support from a community of people who are equally overwhelmed?  Don’t know where to start? Looking for accountability and resources to help you live the life that truly want in live? Need an affordable organizing solution?’s Clutter Support Group is a six week, 1 ½ hour program where members support each other in their organizing journey.    It begins on March 2 and ends on April 6 and the fee for membership is $120.  In our weekly meetings we will discuss organizing strengths and decluttering techniques. Starting the third session, we will begin reading and discussing Making Peace With Things in Your Life by Cindy Glovinsky.  Each member will have a small project they are working on for the duration of the group.   


·                   Have a confidential place to share goals and challenges with consistent support

·         Learn organizing strategies for your home or workplace.

·         Collaborate with group members to create systems and routines and work for you.  

·         Champion others and be affirmed in their and your quest for organization.


For more information or to join the group contact Ellen at  Enrollment is limited so contact Ellen today!