Double Take Organizing

"Making life easier!"


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A perfectly organized holiday season

The holidays are a very busy time for every family. If last year left you totally stressed out, here are some tips and tricks to make this holiday season the most organized one you have ever had.

winter snow

Cards

  • If you don’t already have addresses on hand be sure to round them up in the month of November and try to send them out by December 1st.
  • Everyone loves getting a card in the mail but if you have an extensive list, try to whittle down your card list to the people that matter most.
  • Photo cards are increasingly popular and can save writing out each individual card. If possible support a local photographer or small business that is able to do this instead of a big box store. Love these ones by Trinity Design.
  • If you are going digital make sure you have everyone’s email address ahead of time.
  • A neat card sending company you can also check out is Send Out Cards.

Decorations

  • Decide when you are going to put them up and put it on the calendar. This goes for taking them down too. If you carve out a specific amount of time for this it is more likely to happen.
  • Organizing areas of your home where holiday supplies are kept can make this much less stressful and make it easier to find items quickly and easily the next year. Spend hours untangling a light string anyone?
  • Make decorating a fun activity for the whole family by dedicating a specific day or weekend to the task. Listen to music, have hot chocolate, bake cookies and really get into the spirit.

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Presents

  • Make a list of everyone you have to buy for. Have a budget lined out and stick to it. If need be, give yourself a due date and don’t buy any presents after that date.
  • Buy presents that don’t clutter up your home. Family activities, lessons, sporting activities, a spa day, movie night or a play are great choices. Not to mention the effects on your mind, body and spirit that these types of presents can have.
  • Support small businesses where possible. These are your friends, neighbours and members of your community that will appreciate your support ten times more than big name department stores. They can then turn around and buy their families presents. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the spirit of the season.

presents

Holiday meals

  • Plan meals at least a week or two ahead if you will be cooking for a lot of people.
  • Give yourself extra time to prepare and refine lists.
  • Try to find a store that has everything you need so you only have to go shopping once.
  • As with presents, have a holiday food budget and stick to it.
  • If you have a huge family, enlist family members to help with preparations or even get dinner catered in. A little bit of cost may save your sanity later on.

Thanksgiving Feast

Wrapping and supplies

  • Make sure you aren’t buying wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and other present supplies for no reason. Be sure to check your stock from last year to make sure you aren’t rebuying supplies you already own.
  • Once again, by organizing the areas of your home where supplies are stored you can save yourself time and money once the wrapping begins.

Click here for more organizing help.

Happy holidays everyone!

Laura

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Baby on the way? Let me help make your life easier

Pregnant woman

Becoming a mom is a wonderful, amazing, exciting experience. It is also scary, frustrating and exhausting.

As a mom to a 4 year old and 18 month old I have been there. You give birth to your bundle of joy and then you go home and you are thinking, okay, now what?

I remember with my first child the first few months were very challenging. There is no parent manual that tells you what to do or how to figure things out. You talk to your mom, your grandmother, other moms, friends, teachers, read articles online and somewhere along the way you figure things out.

But what if there was something you could do before baby to make the transition to parenthood easier?

Enter me, the professional organizer.

Getting your home organized before your baby arrives can relieve tons of post-partum stress. When you are exhausted and getting used to the whole mom thing or taking care of more than one child the last thing you have energy for is to be searching for things. Life is already chaotic enough at that point.

Plus there is nothing worse than being at home and not having diapers on hand? Missing Dr’s appointments, which often have a charge if you miss the appointment or not having meals planned and you find you are living on fast food for weeks.

And did I mention I also do a safety analysis too? The last thing you want after baby comes home is a home with potential safety hazards that could be dangerous for you or your baby.

Another bonus, you can literally put your feet up while I do all the work. Bending at nine months is never fun!

If you have a friend, sister or co-worker that is having a baby and think they could use some help before baby comes please let me know. Gift certificates are available.

Please visit my website for more information on my new mom package and also like my Facebook page or follow my Twitter page for organizing tips, quotes and other organizing help.

Happy organizing!

Laura


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The Chore Chart

Being the organized mama that I am, I recently helped my daughter create her very own chore chart. My daughter will be celebrating her 4th birthday shortly so I thought it was time for her to have her very own mini to do list. It was very simple to construct and she even helped decorate it! Great tool and kept her busy for a few hours. Win-win!!

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Happy organizing!
Laura


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What the heck to do with kids toys! 7 steps to an organized playroom

Before I had children I had no idea how many toys I would accumulate. By the time my daughter was two years old we had enough toys to fill an entire room, which when you think about it is pretty crazy. From baby shower gifts to birthday parties to Christmases to other parents who wanted to get rid of their own toy collections and were so nice to pass them onto me, the toys just kept coming in. At one point I put half the toys in a box just to see if they were missed and my daughter never even batted an eye. It was then that I decided to donate.

Look what is this

So here’s the 1st step:

1) When someone gets your child a new toy, an old toy makes an exit, this is a great learning opportunity for your kids too. A person really only needs so much stuff. This applies to adults too!

Another organizing challenge for parents is to get your children to actually put toys away. I know what you’re thinking but it is possible. It is not always easy but if you keep at it kids will learn and they will learn to put things away. In order to simplify this for them here is step number two and three.

2) The toys that you do intend to keep must be stored in containers that the kids can easily reach. The 12 bin bucket organizer seen in many kids rooms and playrooms is a great option.

3) The containers must be clearly labelled so kids know where toys go. I love the idea of labelling with pictures instead of words for kids that don’t know how to read yet. Color coding when kids are older is also a good option.

This goes hand in hand with number two and three but step number four is,

4) Teach your kids to put things away after they are finished playing with them. Motivating your kids to put things away can be fun with games like Simon Says. Simon Says put the Barbie in the Barbie bucket for example or who can clean up the fastest!

Inevitably children will drag toys everywhere in the house EXCEPT the play room. So here is step number five.

5) At the end of the day, spend five minutes with your child to return toys to their home. Something that often works with my daughter is telling her, “You don’t want your other toys to be lonely do you, they’ll be so sad?”

Another option is to have toy bins in each room so that at least toys aren’t strewn everywhere in the house but I find that this doesn’t really solve the main issue, which is to go through and see how many toys you have and what can be tossed, sold or donated to charity. This brings me to step number six.

6) Before you buy your child a toy consider whether they really need it? Is it just going to make space in the bottom of their toy box in a few days or will they actually play with it for a long time.

And on that note here is step number seven.

7) If your child has a birthday or another celebration coming up, why not suggest activities like a zoo membership or swimming lessons in place of the traditional toy. Sports are great exercise for our i-generation and activities that you can do as a family are memories that will last a lifetime and get the parents moving too!

If you are reading all this and thinking, this is a whole lot of work! Here’s something to consider. Some people are naturally more organized but for most of us organization is a learned trait. Why not give the gift of organization to your children so that when they are adults they don’t need to hire someone like myself to come in and organize for them. You know the old saying, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”

Here’s to teaching your kids how to fish!!!

Happy Organizing!

Laura