Staging Advice from Professional Organizers

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

As part of our Simplify business, we offer staging services. We know that in today’s climate the housing market is pretty crazy, but it never hurts to spend that little extra attention to really push your listing over the top. We know what looks good in homes and what helps sell houses, and we have had great success in partnering with realtors to help homes sell faster.

To give you a better idea of staging services, let’s go room by room and share we typically do for staging clients. These are typically a four-hour block, and we bring in our expertise without the costs of additional materials.

First location: the kitchen. Kitchens need completely clear counters. This means nothing out – no soap, no scrubs, no towel holders, no coffee maker. Put every single thing away! Don’t worry though, this is for pictures and showings. Clear counters are not something that you have to live with long-term when selling your home. The reality is that clear and clean spaces help potential buyers see themselves in your home. I also pick up extra rugs around the house and put them away. Unless it is only a few hours old, most rugs in kitchens and bathrooms look used or dirty. We always remove them. Not having rungs in a space also makes the area seem larger in pictures.

Living Rooms: Our next tip is fairly well known, even if you haven’t sold a home before. You should remove or minimize the personal details on walls. This includes pictures of your family and faith-based decor. You do not need to remove every item, but multiple items or anything distracting to buyers should be put away. For wall decor, it is better to have less than to have too much.

When staging living rooms, be open about configurations. Don’t be afraid to move furniture and try something new. We redo living rooms all the time by re-configuring or removing some furniture. Many clients have an abundance of furniture in their living rooms, and each extra piece will make the space feel smaller. Th focus should be on making areas feel and appear larger with less items.

Secret tip: we typically do not worry about garages when staging. They’re not something that a potential buyer would scrutinize. Potential buyers are aware that you are moving and that anything extra that is taken from the home goes to the garage.

Bathrooms: These are a lot like kitchens. When staging, we put everything away, clear the counters, and make sure that each inch is clean. We usually keep towels hanging, but remove soaps and rugs.

The last bit of advice is to think about where a photographer will stand to take pictures of your home. Try taking a few pictures yourself. Once a picture is taken you can see the details in a whole new way. This can help to highlight a detail you may have overlooked.

Good luck staging and have fun! Call us if you need help.

Steph, Kristin and Sara

A Practice in Letting Go

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I usually provide advice regarding starting or maintaining organization, but today will be a little different. We are going to do an exercise together and talk about letting things go.

Start by thinking about what is currently stressing you out. What things are on your to-do list today? Like most of us, I’m sure your to-do list is massive and overwhelming. Let’s take some deep breaths together and let it go. Cue the Frozen soundtrack.

We are raised and groomed to believe that life must be perfect at all times, but let me tell you-that is a lie. We cannot be perfect all the time, and we are not even close to being capable of that. People are messy. Life is messy. It’s time to take a breath and accept that messiness. I love the serenity prayer for many reasons but my favorite part is to “accept the things I cannot change.” We all can use this important reminder.

As an organizer and a mom, I know first-hand that it’s impossible to try to do it all. Social media tricks us into believing that perfection is possible, but we must acknowledge that it’s not. Families are complicated and so is life. Accept it. Do the best that you can and move on.

Once you have taken deep breaths and accepted what you cannot change, you are ready for the next step: do what you can to make life easier. This may not be the season of your life where you have it all together. Lol – most aren’t! However, it could be the season for you to take control of what you can do.

My greatest suggestion for making your life easier is to have less stuff. Clear your things and you will clear your mind. I promise that it is infinitely easier to organize/clean/pickup when there are less items to manage. If you are looking around right now thinking, “minimizing is going to be impossible”, now is the time to start.

Before
After

I recently read about a great idea for a minimalism challenge! The author suggested trashing, donating, or selling an equivalent amount of things to the day of the month for one entire month. On day 1, you only have to pick one thing to trash, donate, or sell, but by day 29 you have to find 29! We are a society of materialism, I’m considering this challenge myself. It’s time to take back control over what comes in and out of our homes.

I encourage you today and every day to stop yourself, take a breath, and live your life to the fullest. Life is too short to try to be perfect all the time.

Have a great day and happy organizing (while embracing your best!) 

~Steph

Organizing Your Fridge: Tips from Professional Organizers

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Let’s talk about how to efficiently organize your refrigerator. The fridge is one of the most used appliances in a home. Each day it is opened numerous times, and the ability to find what you need easily can be life-changing. You will save time, know what to restock at a glance, and eliminate the waste from buried items spoiling. Organizing the most used spaces in a home will lead to the biggest impact, and the fridge is a great place to start.

Step 1: Clean it out
Start with a thorough cleaning. Be sure to wipe everything down and toss any foods that have expired. You can also toss foods that your family no longer eats. There is no need to spend time organizing items that you don’t want to keep anymore, and this is true for every space in your house.

Step 2: Categorize
Start by grouping your items. Are you a family that loves condiments? Do you have a constant influx of leftovers? Do you need a space for meal-prepped ingredients? These are things to keep in mind as you organize. In my family, we meal prep often and sometimes save leftovers, but they just have a short stay in the fridge before getting thrown away. (Why can’t my family eat leftovers!? lol!) We also need room for multiple salads that are eaten throughout the week. Other product categories to consider are condiments, sauces, canned items, produce, or relishes. Keeping these categories in mind aids in creating zones for different types of foods in your fridge.

Step 3: Be mindful about organizational product
Product should be used sparingly. I really mean this, especially in the fridge! Most people do not have a giant chef’s fridge, which is almost double the size of a normal fridge. Even if you do have one, it’s important to always think of the available space while organizing. We typically create different bins for dairy, fruits, veggies, and sometimes kids’ products. We also ask clients the same questions as in Step 2 above. Questions such as “do you need a leftovers area, and/or do you order from a delivery service that you’ll need to save room for in the fridge?” Not everything will be placed in a bin or on a turntable (yes, these work great in the fridge!), but knowing what needs a container will be helpful. This brings me to my next question…

Before
After

Step 4: Measure
It is crucial to measure your fridge shelves before you purchase any containers. For example, there are several different sizes of turntables. There are also different types (with sides and without). If you have room for a 10 inch turntable but you purchase an 8 inch you’re not only limiting the number of items that will fit, but you’re also losing usable space behind the turntable. It is equally important to avoid purchasing products that are too large. If you purchase a 12 inch turntable but you aren’t filling it completely, then it can lead to wasted space. The same is true for bins. If a bin does not extend to the back of the fridge, items will inevitably get lost behind the bin. Measure and be intentional about what you have in each container.

Step 5: Label
The final tip is to add labels. In both my own fridge and in our clients’ refrigerators we add labels directly to the bins or drawers. It might seem silly or unnecessary, but it really helps things stay in the right spot. For example, in my home we eat a lot of berries so I have a drawer labeled for those. Humans are creatures of habit and all families have their “go to” items that are purchased week after week. Make room for those regular purchases whether it’s berries or some other food, and a label will help everyone in the home keep items in the right spot.

Happy organizing!

~Steph

Maintenance Organizing: what it is and why you need it!

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Today let’s talk about the importance of maintenance organizing, its’ many benefits, and how it can keep you organized for life.

First of all, what does maintenance mean when it comes to organizing? Organizing is not a one-and-done project. It is a constant effort, and this can derail a lot of the good intentioned families that we work with. Some clients want to spend a day organizing, get it done, and check it off their list. Unfortunately, especially if you have children, there is always going to be a constant influx of items coming into your space. Kids bring home things from school things, celebrations bring an influx of supplies and gifts, and even day-to-day activities lead to accumulation. You must have a system in place for everything that finds its’ way into your home, and you have to make the time to manage those items. That said, everyone can find themselves stuck with not having the time or capacity to give to managing the incoming items. This is where Simplify comes in. We help get your house in order and then keep it that way.

What do we actually do?
When The Simplify Team comes on a regular schedule, we are methodical in all that we accomplish for you and your family. In addition to straightening, organizing, and putting things where they belong, we also take care of laundry and put it neatly away. You would be amazed at how many of our clients say that Simplify’s visits are literally make the difference in their sanity. I have a client who was recently presented the opportunity to go back to work full-time, and as a mom and a wife, she said that the defining factor for saying yes to this business opportunity was having Simplify come weekly. She felt confident to grow her career, because our team is helping manage her home. Her testimony to our service made me cry tears of pride and happiness because that is really what we do. We help people gain their life back. Maintenance organizing might be that factor that you are missing in your life. We offer a discounted rate for maintenance visits and get to know you and your home preferences on a personal level. We can be that special someone to help do little things (that are actually big things).

Are you ready?
Why get on a maintenance schedule? The why really has to do with you. Are you tired of handling all.of.the.things on your own? Are you struggling to keep up with tasks around the house? We actually pride ourselves in being titled, Productivity Specialists.  We will help clients return items, drop off donations, and truly help with anything and everything on your to-do list. It is our passion to help and get things done.

We would love for you to become a maintenance client! Please reach out to us if you have any questions, or for a free quote.

We’re here for you,

The Simplify Team

How To Organize Photos

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Hey guys! I am coming on today to talk to you about organizing your pictures. Photo organizing is very important as your collection can quickly get out of hand. If you’re my age or older, we went through years of printing pictures. Many of my clients in their 30s and above have a mass of printed pictures that they don’t know how to store. Today’s blog is going to give you some tips to tackle it yourself. 

Tip #1: Make some time

Block out a good amount of time to handle the job. Picture organizing takes time. It’s not something you can just hand off to an organizer to take over. There are some organizers that focus explicitly on photo collections, but in my opinion, it takes somebody helping alongside you to go through each photo individually. There’s no other way around that, unfortunately. 

Tip #2: Determine your process from the start

How are you going to organize the pictures? Will you organize by a specific timeline, in chronological order, by family member, or by location? I’ve even organized by state, and it worked well for my client. She had moved around throughout her life, and we created a box for each state that she lived. You can also organize by events, such as family trips. Your organization method will depend on what your photos contain and how you want to access them in the future.

Tip #3: Identify and document your photo categories

Fast forward a year from now: if you are looking for a specific picture, mentally walk yourself through the system to locate that photo. You have to plan a system that will make sense to you both now and in the future. Let’s say I took a picture of my son when he was two, and I want to find that one specific picture of him messily eating an ice cream cone. I need to figure out where I would have put that picture to be able to find it again. Is that going to be in the family vacation binder, or are we going to put it in boxes where I have to dig through the “Luke” box? Will I even want to dig through the box of pictures for that specific child, or should I separate out the pictures into favorites instead? Maybe this particular picture is a favorite, so I keep it in a separate area. Another option to consider is how you’re going to store them. Are you going to keep them in photo boxes, or are you wanting to transfer them to albums? There is so much to consider! This is why having a plan is essential! Make a list from the start and physically write out these questions to determine how you’re going to organize your pictures. In addition, create categories ahead of time. These categories can shift or change during the process, but creating categories at the start will give you the framework to move forward when sorting photos. 

Tip #4: Be realistic about what to keep!

You can always scrap it altogether! I know this is silly and may not seem like the best advice, but ask yourself, “when am I going to look at these pictures?!?” Answer it honestly. The answer for most printed photos is typically ‘never’. Fortunately and unfortunately, because of phones, people do not pull out their boxes of pictures to reminisce. To counter this problem, I am in my 8th year of using a photo book company to help categorize our pictures and keep them accessible. Every year I make and print a photo book – our family yearbook – using an online service. I personally love Chatbooks, but there are many different companies that provide a similar product. Chatbook connects to both my social media accounts and my phone chronologically, so our family yearbook starts in January from the previous year. I go through every single month and determine how many pictures I want to include. I can also add the date or a caption! It’s insanely easy. For example, our book for 2021 took me about two hours to create. That might seem like a lot a lot of time, but the value that my children get out of these books is worth every minute and every penny spent on them. My children grab the books all the time and share memories with the pictures. Now that Emma can read, she will read the captions on the pictures and it’s just so rewarding. My biggest tip is to spend time creating meaningful books of your memories. If you’re interested in ordering your own Chatbooks: click to start yours! (affiliate link)

These are my photo tips from a real professional organizer and a real mom.

I hope you guys have a great day. Happy organizing!

~Steph

Ring in the New Year with an Organized Home!

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

If you have set a goal to get organized this year, congratulations! Wanting to get organized is the first and most important step.

To help you achieve this goal, we have collected some of our favorite quick and easy organizing hacks. These tips will transform your space with small wins, while providing a sense of accomplishment to encourage you further. As you organize, keep in mind that our homes should not be regarded as storage units. Try to keep what you use and save what you love, but there is no need to hold on to those items that you “may need someday…”

Begin with a drawer

Pick one. It can be any drawer in any room. You can even start with the silverware drawer. 

  • Take everything out and clean the space. 
  • Toss or donate anything you no longer need or do not use. We promise this is easier to do in small batches. Analyze just one item at a time. 
  • Assess your drawer containers if you have them. Does the insert keep items tidy and contained? If not, it may be time to look into an upgrade. Here is the one we use (affiliate link), also pictured above!

The Container Store offers a station in each store to measure out different containers in a simulated space. It’s #genius! Measure your space, analyze what you have, and only purchase what you need. 

After
Before

Spruce up your fridge

It might seem daunting, but it is not nearly as difficult as it looks! Focus on cleaning and the organization will naturally follow. 

  • Take everything out and clean the space. Most fridge drawers are completely removable. 
  • Toss or donate anything that you no longer need or do not use. 
  • Look at EVERY expiration date. These are not merely suggestions from the manufacturer; it is also an excellent indication of how long you have owned the item and whether or not you are still using it. 
  • As you toss expired items, make a list of those that you would like to replace at the grocery store. 
  • Assess your items and think about whether it could become a category. For example, we are a ‘sauce’ family! Everything that we eat comes with a sauce. To accommodate this, I created a separate area for condiments in our fridge. 
  • Add a turntable. This is my ultimate suggestion for the fridge. Turntables can be life-changing, and they will make it so much easier to access the back areas of your fridge. Here is a great option:iDesign Turntable with Handles (affiliate link)
  • Bonus points for labels! You can even use a chalk marker, like this set (affiliate link), to write temporary labels and re-write them as contents change. 
After
Before

Linen Closet Upgrade

The most crucial tip for linen closets: toss, toss, toss! 

We can’t tell you how many clients have sheets that are over 10 years old. Even more have sheets that they do not use or sheets to beds that they no longer own (such as twin sheets, but the twin bed is long gone). 

  • Donate unused linens ASAP. Did you know that animal shelters use bedding for incoming animals? This can be an excellent, tax-deductible solution for your old bedding. 
  • Toss anything that is torn, stained, or old. Goodbye! Simply following this step can eliminate half of the items in your linen closet. 
  • Find a way to contain various linen sizes. We love using simple bins like these from The Container Store (affiliate link), but you can use almost anything. The number one suggestion is to add labels. If you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before the sizes are mixed together again. 

Good luck, friends! Be sure to tag us on your organizing journey! 

Home Organization: Sharing a Common Goal


Today we are going to help you navigate a tricky situation. You might be trying everything in your power to get organized, but your spouse, partner, or child is opposed to the process. There are typically three reasons that we encounter conflicting goals when it comes to organization: money, upkeep, and benefit. When organizing, we always try to ensure that everyone is on board and if not we identify and appeal to their opposition. We always want the process to be enjoyable and sustainable for as long as possible.  


First Opposition to Organization: Money
The first rebuttal to getting organized or hiring a professional organizer is financially based. They don’t want to pay the cost, and this is usually because they don’t understand why the spouse/partner is looking for help or needs to invest in storage solutions. 

In many of these relationships, we find, that the partners have opposite organizing personalities. For example, an organized person partners with someone who isn’t as organized, and they both struggle with why the other person is not exactly like them. In a lot of these relationships, organization is a desire that often gets ignored because it isn’t worth the struggle or the stress. We encourage clients in this situation to understand that it is that it is always okay to ask for help. Asking for assistance is not a sign of weakness or inability. Most organizers can scale their services to meet a budget, helping both parties feel comfortable with the investment. 

When you book with The Simplify Team, we discuss project needs and budget goals. There are always ways to stay within a certain budget. This can mean starting with a specific block of time and limiting the amount of product used. For example, booking a flat four hours of organizing is more affordable than you may think, and clients are consistently amazed by how much The Simplify Team can complete in a short period of time. We always strive to be clear and transparent about the financial aspect of organizing. We do not ever charge more than is necessary and our main goal is ALWAYS to help. Period. We also provide tips on consignment to help balance the cost of organizing. 

Ultimately, organizing means you will know what you have and where your things are located! This is a huge time and money saver. When you know where to find next season’s clothing or that extra set of product you bought on sale, you will avoid wasting money rebuying items that you already own. 

When you consider all of these challenges: the time lost searching for items, the money spent re-buying, and the stress added to your relationships, the total cost of organizing is much more worthwhile. 


Second Opposition to Organization: Upkeep
Many people that struggle with organization don’t believe it is possible to maintain that level of order in their space. We hear often that it is specifically a waste of time to organize their children’s items. Clients will comment, “Gosh, I really want the playroom done, but my kids are just going to ruin it that same day.” This is not true! Yes, even children’s spaces can be organized! 

Consider a daycare or a school, the items in those spaces are organized. Different classrooms will always have varying levels of organization, but kids rise to the expectations that are given to them. If they can learn where they are expected to put pens/pencils, they can learn where their toys belong. 

The primary difference at home is that they might not have an explicit answer for where something “belongs.” If there is not a specific place for dolls/cars, a child will not know where to put those items. When this changes, children learn where to put their items. Categorizing, labeling, setting expectations – all of these things make a huge difference in the long-term outcome. 

Another tip is to create a routine for upkeep. All schools/daycares do this. When it is to time to wrap up an activity, children are instructed to do a quick clean-up with clear instructions. This not only helps with maintaining organization, but it also teaches responsibility as they care for their space. 

Yes, you can maintain organization of even the most difficult areas. It takes effort, and possibly a few tweaks in routine, but it is definitely possible. 

Labels are another game-changer. They make all the difference in every area of the home. It’s something you would have to deliberately ignore if, for example, a container is labeled ‘bread’ and you choose not to place bread there. Labels make a world of a difference when used properly. 


Third Opposition to Organization: Why? 
Some people just don’t see the benefit of organizing. These people feel like they know where things are, their environment doesn’t stress them out, and they are just not interested. When encountering this type of attitude, our response depends on who has this opinion and what their relationship is to the client. 

If this person is a spouse/partner, and they are opposed to organization because the benefit is unclear to them, the discussion turns into a happiness plea. Explaining why you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by disorganization will communicate your need or desire for a change. Your household members need to know how organization, or the lack thereof, impacts you personally, mentally and emotionally. 

We are all different. We have to do what enables us be the best version of ourselves. If disorganization is standing in the way of that, you need to be clear that it is not about the clutter – it’s about the impact the clutter has on you. If that message isn’t well-received, you can go the route of all of the above. “Paying a professional organizer will help me save money by not losing items, re-buying things we have, and purchasing items due to stress.”

We hope this helps get everyone on board with your next organizing project. Whether you are tackling it solo or with the help of a professional, it is always best if everyone that uses the space is as on-board and welcoming of the change as possible. 

Happy Organizing,
The Simplify Team 

Decision-Making While Organizing

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I was in a client’s home today, and it made me think about the decision-making aspect of my job. The client was having difficulty making decisions. It was challenging for her to identify what to keep and what to donate. It truly is the unspoken “hard part” of organizing. It can be so hard to decide what to do with an item, and if you keep it then where does it go? This indecision can be debilitating for so many people and is often a roadblock to getting your space organized. Today I am going to give a few quick tips to help with decision-making while organizing. 

Tip #1: Take away the pressure.
You do not need to fear your decision! A decision is not the end of the world. It can be undone and/or re-decided. For example, for a client we assigned a drawer to be the “tools” drawer. The client questioned why I selected that specific drawer, and we discussed my thought process. Ultimately, even if that drawer doesn’t end up being the “right” drawer for the client, it can be changed quickly and easily. Drawers can be swapped. The decision to cull three separate tool drawers into only one tool drawer for this client was more important than overthinking the location of the drawer.

Tip #2: One decision at a time.
Have you ever heard the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”  It is the same for organizing; you have to focus on one decision at a time. One thing. One goal. Put blinders on and focus on one shelf, one drawer, one “do I keep this…” and then move on to the next. By tackling multiple items or spaces at once, you will become overwhelmed. Please know that I do not discredit the weight or heaviness that comes with making these decisions. It’s not always easy, but I want you to focus on the fact that you can do it! You can make a decision about one item. One decision at a time will add up as you progress, and it does get easier.

Tip #3: Call in support.
Know when you need a helping hand and reach out for assistance. This might be a professional organizer, but it doesn’t have to be. If you struggle making organizing or purging decisions about your things, call in a friend or family member to help with the process. You know in your mind who would be the one to call…lol. We all have that friend/family member who is a keeper of all the things – don’t call them! Call your honest, realistic, minimalist friend who only keeps the important things, and set some boundaries before you begin. If I can tell that a client is struggling with decision-making, here are some sayings that I use to help with the process:

“We can stop when you are feeling overwhelmed.”
“Let me know if you need a break or to refocus on another area.”
“If you want to keep something, it stays…no questions asked.”

Good luck and happy decision-making!

~Steph

Managing the Mundane with Ease

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The topic of tackling everyday chores came to me today as I was doing the dishes. I HATE washing dishes. It is my least favorite task. I wish that we could use paper products for everything and never dirty any dishes, because I truly hate them that much. To overcome these feelings, I am going to share some of my tips for making mundane tasks feel less annoying. 

Tip #1:
The first tip is to NOT let the chore get out of hand. It always is 100% worse to procrastinate dreaded activities until the last second. If you despise laundry and wait until everyone is out of clean underwear LOL, it is going to take much longer to get all loads of laundry finished. If you complete a little at a time, you won’t be forced into your least favorite jobs.

Tip #2:
Figure out a way to multitask while performing the routine task. For example, while I am doing laundry, I go into the guest room and put on my favorite Bravo show to watch while sorting and folding clothes. The show itself makes the activity more entertaining. Folding is a somewhat mindless activity, so I don’t need to be mentally zeroed in while I do it. The show also makes the time go by faster because I am getting something done while catching up on shows I enjoy. Need to move around the house to complete a chore? Download a podcast or audiobook; it is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. 

Tip #3: 
Set a timer! I use this trick with my children as well, and it is a miraculously simple tool. If you struggle with a task, set a timer for ten minutes and instead of finishing the job completely, you work within your time limit. Tell yourself, “I am going to pick up this room for the next ten minutes…whatever I get done, I get done.” It works y’all! It’s incredible. All of my clients report that the timer tip helps them feel more productive and successful. Ten minutes out of your day is not a lot of time, but ten minutes spent devoted to one task is manageable and life-changing. You can get so much done within this time frame. The key is to be hyper-focused on doing exactly one task. If you get distracted easily, lower the amount of time you set on your timer. 

Tip #4:
Get others household members involved. For example, my littles have been practicing helping with laundry and are doing a great job. The key to allowing help is to let go of some of your expectations and adjust your standards. When my kids put their laundry away, it is in the right drawer. Period. That is a success. 🙂 Will it look like I organized their drawers? Not always, but the chore is done. Let go of some control, ask for help, and be open to help. Your household is a family unit, and everyone helps to add to the health and happiness of the home. 

Tip #5:
Have trouble getting distracted while doing household tasks or just need some extra hands? We can help you be productive. We offer a program called maintenance organizing. Maintenance organizing means that we come routinely (weekly, biweekly, monthly, or seasonally). Organizing is not a “one and done” activity. We can help unpack pantry foods, tidy rooms, and re-sort closets. We also help with seasonal decorating and take-down after the holiday! If you need a little extra help from our team of experts, let us know: Click here to book.

These are my tips for getting through those everyday tasks with a little more ease.  

Good luck and happy organizing!
~Steph

Back to School Tips from a Professional Organizer!

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

It’s that time again! I cannot believe my little girl is going into 1st grade! It’s cliche to say, but time does pass so quickly. Even though this is only my second year sending my child to school, I have ten years of experience as a teacher and know how important it is to start the year on the right foot. Here are a few tips that I have learned as a mom, professional organizer, and former teacher.

1. Labels!

These are life. Especially in the lower grades and Pre-K, labels can help save you time and money. I personally use the company Name Bubbles, and I am obsessed with the durability, customization, and cost of these labels. I use them on everything that I buy for my kids. Pro-Tip: Keep some extra labels around for field trips, shoes, or any other items that are purchased throughout the year. 

2. Create a set “drop zone”.

You do not have to have a custom mudroom, but you do need to think ahead about where you would like to create your routine. I promise it helps to think through these steps: When you come home, where do kids typically put their bags? Is the current system working? If not, how can you adjust this system to alleviate some of the morning and after-school hassles? For us, this meant adding hooks and a bulletin board by the garage door. Even if we do not come in through the garage, I make sure to remind my children that bags are put up by that door. Even at age five, Emma was able to follow the process and it was a huge help! We never lost a backpack or spent precious morning moments searching for school items. Sometimes all you need is a few hooks to create a system. The other key to “drop zones” is consistency, especially in the beginning. Remind kids each day where their shoes, bags, or clothes go, and it will start to become a habit…eventually. 

3. Go through your kids’ clothes before the school year begins. 

Eliminate early morning issues by weeding out clothes that are too small, stained, or otherwise ruined in some way. This has been the biggest help for my children and my clients’ children as well. If you take out clothes that cannot be worn, it makes getting dressed so much easier! 

4. Rethink your routine.

Many of my clients have children in private school, and often we create a separate closet for their uniforms. It might seem silly, but it saves so much time keeping uniform pieces together! No one needs an actual coat closet in Texas, lol, why not turn it into the school uniform closet? Or use that closet for school bags and supplies? When you start to think outside of the box, you can rework your routine and reduce some of the daily stressors in your life. 

5. Stock up on extras but don’t go crazy.

Your child will most likely need extra pens/pencils throughout the year, but you don’t need to overbuy much else. I frequently find long forgotten school supplies in clients’ homes. This can be a waste of space and money. If you do want to stock up on supplies, make sure to put them in a place where you will remember what you have. I’m all for a good sale, but try to only buy what you will actually use. 

I hope these tips help you and your families to have a successful school year!

Love,

Steph