Cleaning Tips and Tricks, Home Organization

Declutter and Organize the Playroom

The holiday season is moving in and when Belinda was little, it used to mean a time to declutter and purge her toys.  When she was little, she had the toy box my dad made for me when I was little.  It had a “secret compartment”.  Actually, it had a board halfway down to make it easier to reach things.  So, the toys which were on the bottom of the toy box were placed under the board.  As time went on, those toys were forgotten about so it was easy to move them out.

Here are some tips which might help you get the kids ready for a declutter and purge project with the focus on cleaning out and not getting new stuff!

1. START THE CONVERSATION

Start by watching what the kids are playing with and what they aren’t.  You will notice some things have not moved off the shelves or out of the coset for awhile.  Once you have an idea of what those toys are, start casually mentioning it might be time to let those go.  As a social worker, Belinda loved to help me at work by giving things to other kids who may not have things so it was always a great way to get her to clean out the toys.

Was I always right on which ones should go? NO!  There were times when I thought something should go and she had a totally different opinion.  As a result, her level of attachment to something made a difference too on whether it went out the door.

2. GO IT ALONE FIRST

There were days when I would start to declutter on my own in her room.  I got rid of things which really needed to go (think: broken toys, unsafe things or worn out, trash, etc.).   I didn’t get rid of things she was really attached to but more things I knew she would never miss.  Remember the toys under the “secret compartment” or at the bottom of a toy box.

3. ADD THE KIDS

On a set morning of cleaning, or as Belinda would say “not attached, don’t have a purpose – mom is tossing” – I would ask for her help.  She knew, most of the time, what’s missing pieces, or hasn’t worked for a while, or what she is not using anymore, etc.  As much as she hated cleaning, she did like an organized room since it wasn’t very big.

Depending on the age of your kids, this process can be different.  If your kids are really small, you may want to go through things yourself and only ask them when something is borderline whether to keep or toss. As they get older, they might help for a little bit and them move on to playing or something since attention spans vary.  Be ready to be flexible with your kids since each one will process things differently.

4. DONATE AND/OR SELL!

This was always the fun part.  Belinda liked to share her things with other kids who may not have as much or better yet, sell them at a local yard sale for some pocket money.  Times have changed and now things are sold on Craiglist or in Facebook yard sales or maybe even the occasional garage sale.  I will admit, my favorite is donating to the local church rummage sale or homeless shelter.  Check out the various options in your area and let the kids help especially if you are donation them to a local mission or organization.

5. TIME TO ORGANIZE

This was when we had the most fun.  It usually meant new paint for Belinda’s room and as she got older, she got to pick the colors.  Then it was all about making things easily accessible – to get things out and to put them away.  All this while making the very best of a small space.  We did closet organizers, and a loft bed which left lots of floor space to work with.

I really wish I had know about Thirty One back then.  From Your Way Cubes to baskets to totes and more.  A great way to organize things with practical, fashionable and durable products.

Here are some ideas:

    

Your Way Cube: Each Cube comes with side handles for ease of transport and either a clear PVC window or chalkboard panel on the side so you’ll always know what’s inside. Add a Your Way Cube Lid to allow for space-saving stacking and to protect items inside. Cubes are all collapsible when not in use. Holds up to 35 lbs.

Hang-It Pocket Organizer: This is a convenient catch-all for all the loose odds and ends. Use it to hold pencils, pens, staplers, paper clips, file folders and calculators in the office; note pads, mail, coupons, keys, batteries and flashlights in the kitchen; or gloves, hats, pet products, ice scrapers, shoe horns and more in the mud room.

Stand Tall Bin:  With 2 exterior handles and a sturdy frame, it’s easy to carry anywhere and capable of holding up to 50 lbs. Put one in each of your kids’ rooms for laundry or to store toys, games, play clothes or sports equipment, or place it in your guestroom to store extra towels, bedding, blankets and other useful items.

What is your favorite organizational tool works for you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Multi Task versus Productivity

monday morning

WOOHOO!  I really do like Mondays… Yes, I am one of those crazy people BUT it is because I love my business.  So, let’s talk about multi-tasking and productivity.

I always said “I am great at multi-tasking” but I always felt like I was falling short on productivity.  Despite my best efforts to lay out a plan and a timeline, I was always crunching things at the end.  So then my tag line was “I work better under pressure”.  Really, who wants to work under pressure?

Now as CEO of my own business, I occasionally find myself on this same hamster wheel.  I find that I spread myself too thin,  getting small amounts of many tasks done, but never quite finishing any of them.  In the end, I feel over-worked and under-productive, basically burnt out.

So my mission is to change the hamster wheel mindset.  Did you know that you can increase your productivity by 40% when you give yourself time to focus on one task?  You know what I mean, those squirrel moments.  We all have them, right?

So how do we get off the hamster wheel and increase our productivity?

1.  Put your phone far, far away.  

When I am in my office, I very seldom have my cell phone.  I have spotty reception in my office so why be frustrated  or frustrate others with dropped calls.

If you are one of those who have notifications for every app (Facebook, etc) alerting you –  STOP!  That simple notification in the middle of working on a project can leave you distracted and considerably less productive.  Put your phone across the room or even *gasp* turn it off which will reduce the risk of distraction. Why not let people leave a message and return their calls later after you finish the project?

2.  Notice patterns and set specific times

Think about your patterns. What’s your go-to distracter? Email? Updating your calendar? “Work”-related social media? Whatever it is, avoid the distraction by setting specific times during the day that you can check it.  Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek suggests checking your email 2-3 times a day, max. Give yourself specific times when you’re not working on other tasks.  This way you are present when talking to customers and team members without being distracted.

I close all  “tabs” on internet when I am working on something.  Better yet, if I am working on a project, I close the internet if I don’t need it.  When I consistently do this, it takes less time to get a simple project done because I am not distracted.

3.  Take a productive break

If you feel the urge to switch tasks, take a a little break – this will increase your productivity.  Now, that doesn’t mean make a call or run a quick errand.  Instead, take a walk or meditate for 10 minutes.  A real, mental break will give you the relaxation you  need and leave you with a more productive mindset.

4.  Set a timer

I only use this one when I am pushing to pick up the dreaded 500-pound phone but I may need to try it for some other projects.  Set a timer for your task.  While the timer is running, ONLY work on one thing.  When you’re finished, take a quick break to check social media, or whatever it is that normally distracts you

Set your timer based on your daily to-do list of the top 3 things you want to complete then set a time limit for each task.  This way you can properly plan out your day.

Who is ready to conquer Monday and spend the rest of the week being productive?  What is your best tip to increase productivity?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!