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Declutter tips

10 Tips for Decluttering Your Home for the New School Year

I was cleaning out my basement this weekend and so I can totally relate and understand the research that shows that the average American home has 300,000 items in it. That’s why it is a good idea for everyone to use the season of preparing for a new school year to get the home in order.

Decluttering expert Tracy McCubbin, founder of dClutterfly, has 10 tips and tricks to declutter and organize your home in preparation for kids to go back to school, including:

  1. Before the onslaught of this school year’s crush of homework and artwork, make sure you have decluttered last year’s!
  2. After a summer of “I’m bored” you’ll have a great idea of what toys your kids really play with.  Time to donate (or toss if they are broken) toys that didn’t get touched. And don’t forget the holidays (more stuff) are just around the corner.  3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally.
  3. Did summer reading lists create a glut of books in your home?  Time to do a purge of the books that won’t get read again or won’t ever be read.  Also, return the overdue library books! Insert book drive center
  4. Running around in bathing suits and sprouting up like weeds means your kids have outgrown a lot of last year’s clothes. Time to do a deep dive on their clothes and donate the clothes they don’t wear or can’t fit into any more.  Plus you’ll then have plenty of room for back-to-school clothes shopping.
  5. Most kids get new backpacks for the each school year.  If last year’s pack is still in good shape, think about donating to a local nonprofit that works with foster kids. Use this an opportunity to declutter backpacks, duffle bags and suitcases.
  6. Everyone is back at or has moved on to a new sport so back to school is a great time to get rid of old sports equipment. Oftentimes, teams collectively donate used equipment to teams and schools that don’t have big budgets so maybe put together a cleat drive?!
  7. Pool, River, Lake or Ocean … have all wreaked havoc on your towels. Once everyone is settled in their new schedules, pull all the towels out and see which ones can go. Donate to local animal rescue.
  8. Tackle your garage. 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and after a summer of everyone home, the garage has become the dumping ground. Tackle this before winter comes! And remember, this is probably one of the biggest jobs on the list .
  9. Constant snacking has probably turned the kitchen upside down. It’s time to return order and systems back to the kitchen.  And maybe a purge?! Sort through food storage, top but not bottom … out! Broken or cracked plates … gone.
  10. Next year think about doing this decluttering while the kids are at sleep away camp!

4 Weekend De-Clutter Tips For Families

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Weekend is the best time to work on your Spring Cleaning projects. Here are four things to consider for today or upcoming weekends to organize your home with tips curated from the Goodwill of Chesapeake to help you out.

1. Clean out the closets. You never know what you are going to find. As you dive into the deepest corners of your closet, our suggestion is to focus on one category at a time: clothes first, shoes second. Put the keepers in their new permanent places before moving on to a new category. Be vigilant. Unless it holds deep meaning, donate it or toss it.

2. Create piles.Create one pile for trash (sweater with spaghetti stain), one for donations (sweater that you’ve only worn once), and one for keepers, which you will organize later. Better yet, make it a family affair. De-cluttering really can be a fun activity. Ask each person in your family to gather every item of clothing that they own and pile it in a designated area.

3. Get rid of gadgets.You replaced that desktop computer with a laptop a couple years ago, but the dinosaur still sits in your home office. Let it go.  Many Goodwill shops accept computers, printers, monitors, keyboards, mice, portable DVD players, and other electronics. By donating your computer to someone in need, you are giving someone a chance that – due to illness or other barriers – may not have otherwise had one.

4. Don’t neglect the kitchen.If you have five identical baking sheets, or an unruly coffee mug collection, you can stand to lose a few things. Remember, all of your donations make a difference. Think about the greater good. If you’ve never used that salad spinner that Mom gave you, thank her for the gift and pass it along. A lot of drop off locations accept cookware, glassware, small appliances, and tablecloths in good condition.

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Follow These Back to School Declutter and Home Organization Tips

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It’s the start of a new school year in my home and I’m determined to make sure we have a smooth, clutter-free and positive school year.

As an avid believer in  and the positive impact of having a decluttered and organized home, I believe having an organization system and clutter and junk free home are essential for ensuring positive energy flow and clear thought.

I highly recommend that parents use the beginning of a school year as another excuse to get organized, not just for the school routine, but the family home in general.  So even if you did Spring or New Year cleaning, use the late summer/early fall to re-organize your life and priorities as well.

Even if your kids have already gone back, you can still get started. Here are some declutter and home organization tips that I’ve put together that I hope can help get you through the year.

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Clean and Declutter the Kids Play, Work Rooms and Nursery.  Limit the number of toys and books in the kids room. Get rid of old broken toys. Give away old books and toys to the Salvation Army, Good Will or another family member with children younger than yours. Keep only a few of the favorite story books and the toys your child or children play with regularly. Don’t let them know you’re getting rid of the stuff they don’t even play with. They likely won’t even know it and you don’t need the headache of having them plea for you to keep it.

Infuse Calming Scents in the Home.  I’m a also a big believer in aromatheraphy and that scents guide the mood. Buy Glade or some other brand’s plugins to keep the air fresh and clean smelling. You can burn candles when you’re home or if you’re an incense type of person, those work too.  Consider using those with essential oils or scents such as chamomile, rose, vanilla and lavender. They are calming scents.

Thoroughly Clean the Room. Wash and Wipe down the walls, baseboards, windows and floors — with natural cleaners. Repair wall

holes, cracks, squeaky windows, peeling paint. A clean home is great for fostering clear thoughts and just clarity, in general.

Set up Calendar and Chore Lists. Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you shouldn’t be doing all of the cleaning and upkeep. Set up a chore sheet for the refrigerator for after school chores. Also, start a new family calendar for keeping up with back to school nights, upcoming field trips, sports activities and other events so everyone knows what’s going on. If you’re the family manager as mom, you shouldn’t be the only one aware of what days are soccer practice.  Sitters, your spouse and house guests should too. Also, a chore list is great for keeping up the principles of feng shui which are all about clean spaces.

Keep Toys Dedicated to ONE area of the home (or maybe two) Avoid the chaotic mind that comes when you have toys and other things sprinkled in every nook and cranny of the home. Toys should be kept only to the play room, the kids room or one area of the apartment that is quartered off and situated with a toy chest, storage bin or some place where you can quickly toss all the toys hanging out all over the house. The tough part may be to stick to this one simple rule.
When the kids are not playing with a toy, there is really no need for it to be taking up space on the kitchen table or creating a tripping hazard for you or a guest. Either you, your partner or trained kids if they are old enough should make a concerted effort to gather all errant toys and keep them in the designated area.
It seems pretty intuitive, huh?
Over time, it will become a habit or second nature and you will find toys are not strewn about as much anymore. I do this with other areas of my home and life.  All papers, books, newspapers, invoices, magazines are usually put away in our home office.  All clothes go in a hamper, closet or bedroom.  Dishes, cups and silverware discovered anywhere in the house are picked up and taken in the kitchen.
Think of this mantra:  “There is a place for Everything and Everything in its place.”

Organize the Paper Trails. Each year, families accumulate reports, information from school, permission slips and the such. It will get mixed in with bills, receipts, warranties and other paper that come into your life.

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This Home Organization plan will make it easy for you:  Get a binder or two and dividers or one of those mega accordion file folders with tabs and divide them in the following categories:

School Category

  • Car maintenance schedule/Receipts
  • School schedules and holiday list
  • Lunch menus
  • School information page
  • School reading lists
  • Summer Camp and programs information
  • Medical information sheet for each family member
  • Emergency directory
  • House-sitter information sheet
  • PTA newsletters and rosters

Health Categories

  • Prescription drug record
  • Health insurance information

Home Vacation

  • Travel packing checklist
  • Before-we-leave checklist
  • Vacation idea list

Home Renovation

  • Home renovation contractor lists
  • Contracts and Bids
  • Warranty information
  • Utilities/services directory
  • Home decorating ideas

Home Business

  • Business records
  • Tax Documents for Business
  • Consultants and Independent Contractor records
  • Liability Insurance
  • Business & Office Equipment registry

Financial

  • Tax Documents for Personal
  • Big Ticket Items receipts
  • Life insurance information
  • Budget/spending record
  • Bills to pay

Hope these Declutter and Home Organization Tips are helpful to you as you get yourself and your family organized for the season! Good luck!