6 Ways to Fall Back Into Your Routine

Alabama mom Jena Willinghamm may have been onto something when she posted the now-viral photo of herself in a pool—cocktail in hand—while her three children stood behind her looking sad to be going back to school. As much as we love kids, keeping them occupied when they are out of school and not in camps or programs no short order. But each fall often blows in with new items for your to-do list. Out go summer Fridays and lax bedtimes and in come soccer Saturdays and hectic mornings. You may be surprised to learn that almost half of Americans say fall is the best time to get organized, according to a survey by SpareFoot. In fact, 45 percent of those surveyed said that fall months are organizing prime time. It makes sense when you think of it since at the same time students return to class many businesses are kicking into high gear after a summer slowdown says Amy Esper, professional organizer, move manager and co-head of In Order to Succeed in Sarasota, FL. Amy, the mother of three small children (all under the age of 4) considers fall to be the beginning of her family year since that is the time that that all the new routines kick in for her children as they enter their new classes and programs.

These six tips will help you get back into your groove and stay productive to have your most organized fall yet.

Get your family involved.

No person can keep a whole household organized by themselves; it’s just not realistic. Get your family involved in the organization process. Establish new fall routines with their input. If anything is being reorganized or repositioned, walk your family through where items should go so they can help put things away. Labels are crucial to make sure family members knows where things need to be put away. Use post-it notes until you have a chance to affix permanent labels. We love this portable Epson label printer – it even connects to a laptop for even greater productivity.

There are Apps for That

Hold the keys to a more organized life in the palm of your hand. The app store is full of downloads that help users stay on point. Three (free!) favorites: Todoist allows you to manage tasks and projects anywhere. At home, at school, at work . . .both online and offline and across 10+ platforms. Remember the Milk is another similar type of app that can help you get more done in less time. This powerful app allows users to create and prioritize to-do lists by due date, tag or importance. It syncs to Google Calendar, Gmail and other devices and lets users create groups and assign tasks. Running late? Ask your spouse to hit the grocery store and your teen to set the table. 30/30 launched on the premise that most tasks like checking e-mail and making lunches only take 5 to 30 minutes per day. Map out your day, set a timer and let the app say when it’s time to move on.

Create a Study Spot

Study SpotYour kid may have had summer assignments but the school year brings regular homework with shorter deadlines. To help your child stay on track, create a clean, well-lit and distraction-free space for homework. Short on space? Get our tips on creating a home office out of a spare room. Stock it with pencils, pens, rulers and paper. If your kid is a habitual screen-checker, consider not allowing devices in the room unless it’s required for the assignment. Here are five inspiring work spaces you can create in your home.

Set Bedtimes for Everyone

A stress-free morning starts with a good night’s sleep. WebMD provides good guidelines for age-appropriate bedtimes. If your child is having trouble getting back to a regular bedtime, try gradually scaling back the bedtime 30 to 60 minutes every few days until s/he is hitting the hay at an optimal time. As for you, the National Sleep Foundation suggests adults ages 25-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. The optimal time will vary from person to person, but researchers from Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley say that REM sleep cycles, the light phase of sleep just before which repairs the mind, typically begins after midnight regardless of when a person goes to bed. To ensure the body gets all the REM and non-REM sleep it needs, try to get find a bedtime between 8 p.m. and midnight. Experiment with a few different times and stick to the one that works best for you.

Prep the Night Before

Organized HallwayWith everything in its place, waking up and getting out the door should be easy… right? Unfortunately not according to most American parents. When the school year starts, 80 percent of parents feel it takes them longer to get ready in the morning than during the summer. And, nearly one in three feel it takes more than 20 minutes longer. When you have kids, back to school routines can make mornings stressful, making organization key to create more productive mornings. As cute as a morning fashion show is, figuring out what you and your kids are going to wear the day before can save precious minutes each morning. Make breakfast and prepare lunches the night before, whenever possible. Throwing together breakfast on the go and organizing lunches for the whole family can make a busy morning even more overwhelming. You may want to go the extra mile by helping your children neatly pack backpacks check assignment lists with them to ensure nothing is missing before bed.

Save a Little Summer

Vacation may be over, but don’t let leisure get lost in the shuffle of soccer practices and meetings. Book a massage, hit a favorite restaurant or just take five minutes a day to look at your favorite photos. Taking time for a breather can get your ready to tackle the next task (and, according to researchers, lowers depression). Keeping a summer mindset as long as possible is always something worth striving toward.

Protecting Your Investment With Couture Wardrobe Storage

Are your financial investments secured? I would imagine that they are in the same way that you insure your auto, home and other valuables. Fashionable individuals who make significant investments in designer clothing, shoes and accessories often may not adequately protect them thus leaving thousands of wardrobe dollars unsecured and ‘at risk’. If you have made a considerable investment in couture, then the wardrobe that you’ve built may be one of the most valuable, unsecured collections you own so why not consider a couture storage company such as Garde Robe.

What Is Couture Wardrobe Storage?

Couture storage services keep your high fashion clothing and accessories stored and secured. Services use museum quality archival materials. The idea is simple: storing your high end items keeps them safe, well maintained and readily accessible no matter where you are in the world. Experts who are familiar with proper care of your designer items will take charge of wrapping, storing, and securing your possessions.

Couture storage services keep your high fashion clothing and accessories stored and secured. Services use museum quality archival materials.

The idea is simple: storing your high end items keeps them safe and also allows you to have them out of your home. Chances are you are not wearing these items. You have access when you wish to wear items. Experts who understand exactly how to wrap, store, and secure your items for later use are in charge.

Why Use Wardrobe Storage?

Wardrobe Storage

High fashion warehousing offers several benefits:
Insurance. The inventory provided allows you to track and insure every item. In the event of theft or loss it is easy to provide the necessary documentation.

Keep a seasonal closet. Open up your space to only keep what is seasonal in your dressing room. Humidity and excessive heat will not interfere with the quality. Couture storage services are climate and humidity controlled.
Be ready to travel. Alert your storage valet of your travel plans and have items awaiting you when you arrive. For many of our well traveled clients, this has proven to be an invaluable benefit provided by Garde Robe.

Your Closet: Revitalized

Couture storage does more than just keep your couture safe, though. It is the perfect way to increase space for your wardrobe. At In Order To Succeed we know the importance of having a space that meets your needs. That said, our clients who live in apartments in New York and other cities understand that space comes at a premium and is often limited. Taking stock of your space and items and placing rarely worn couture pieces in a safe but accessible location opens up your closets and drawers allowing for less crowded storage for your clothing, shoes and accessories.

For clients wishing to reclaim additional closet within their homes we often recommend implementing the KonMari Method as a way to pare down  possessions. Keeping just what you truly need and love and then arranging items in an uncluttered manner.  This gives  clothes, shoes and accessories room to breathe while promoting an efficient process for finding and putting things away after laundering. In fact, the Konmari Method, professional organizing help from In Order To Succeed and selective off-site storage will be a powerful solution for simplifying the challenges of wardrobe management.

Increase Your Space for What you Need Most Often

Once you have removed the gowns, seldom worn specialty pieces and seasonal clothing from your dressing room you will find you have a significantly less crowded dressing room. It’s not a question of getting rid of these special pieces, just of putting them in a safe and accessible location that properly protects your investment.

A Collector’s Assistant

Working with professionals to gain couture storage means never having to worry about space. Storage is available and scalable.

Enjoy Easier Organization

When your at home wardrobe is well and beautifully organized it makes it a pleasure to switch over your seasonal wardrobes. Those of us who live in colder climates own bulkier layers, like woolen jackets and knitted cardigans which need not occupy prime real estate in our dressing rooms during the hot summer months. With proper planning these seasonal change overs need not be a daunting task.

Improve the Organization of your Clothes and Closet

Get on the right path by working with a professional organizer to move your couture items into storage and  establish order in your in home clothing, shoes and accessories. Our organizational pros will inspire you to edit your wardrobe regularly to remain at the height of fashion.

The Ripple Effect

Organizing your couture and daily wear will have an impact on the rest of your space. You’ll find new room, reduce clutter and spark joy, and apply the same techniques to other rooms in your home.

Garde Robe: The World’s Premiere Wardrobe Storage and Management Service

Garde Robe is the world’s first couture wardrobe storage and management service. It is a convenient solution for many of our space constrained NYC clients. Garde Robe’s raison d’être is simple: Provide garment storage for members’ precious haute couture, footwear, furs and accessories collections. Offer on-demand accessibility whenever, wherever.

“There is no shortage of high-end storage companies for one’s art, wine or jewelry collections,” says Adam Gilvar, president of Garde Robe. “However, Garde Robe remains the world’s first and only company dedicated exclusively to protecting and organizing one’s clothing, evening wear, footwear and accessories collections.  And truth be told, Garde Robe is much more than simply a storage facility.  Essentially, a Garde Robe membership is akin to employing a tech-savvy valet or archivist to care for your wardrobe,” Gilvar adds.

The Process

  • First, there is complimentary in-home wardrobe consultation.
  • Second, Garde Robe conducts detailed garment inspection, cataloging and professional photography. Members receive a condition report and garment care service recommendations. Upon request, Garde Robe schedules expert garment care services with vetted providers.
  • Next, Garde Robe prepares each item for long-term storage using archival-grade materials.
  • Fourth, archived items stored at the Garde Robe lofts. The lofts feature optimal climate conditions for textiles.
  • In addition, members use Cyber closet. View, search, create outfits and select items for ready-to-wear delivery.

Cyber Closet

Services

Archival Quality Couture Preservation: long-term storage of costumes, haute couture, vintage textiles

Seasonal Wardrobe Storage: off-season pieces kept in Garde Robe’s care, swapped seasonally or as needed

Travel Wardrobe Storage & Delivery: ideal for frequent travelers, multiple homeowners, pied-à-terre owners

Fashion Designer Archiving: collection management/preservation for design houses and institutions

Wardrobe Inventory & Photography: Cyber Closet lookbooks for insurance, styling, organization

The Garde Robe Experience

Cyber Closet makes it easy to track your wardrobe, in house and in couture storage.

The word Garde Robe refers to a collection of clothes. It roughly translates to “protect clothing.” The temperature-controlled, air-purified storage lofts provide ideal storage and feature material-damaging insect prevention. Members can rest assured their precious belongings are in the hands of experts.

Closets Magazine had this to say about the bespoke service, “The Garde Robe lofts offer a fresh alternative to warehouse storage centers and a convenient option for those who may not have enough closet space.”

Garde Robe is an Associate Member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and works in conjunction with professional organizers on closet organizing projects nationwide. In Order To Succeed is also a member of NAPO.

Is It Time To Organize and Protect Your Designer Wardrobe?

In Order To Succeed provides in home dressing room and wardrobe consultations. We provide the best options to clients for staying on top of their wardrobes. Contact us today to set up an appointment to gain insight into your wardrobe storage and how to best serve your fashionable investment.

Celebrate Earth Week With The Most Sustainable Companies

Shopping For Clothing and Home Decor Can Be Fashionable and Ethical

Why is it that we cringe at the term “hand me down” but drool over “vintage”? Sometimes a term has a bad connotation, like those terrible maroon corduroy pants that got passed from your older sister to you. Ethical consumption is a hot trend.  More people are falling in love with the idea of reducing, reusing, and recycling. In honor of Earth Day, we’ve got a round up on the best sustainable clothing companies and home decor shops. These brands will bring gorgeous, ethical products into your home. After the brand round up, check out our favorite tips for practicing sustainability.

Sustainable Clothing Companies in NYC

New York has always been fashion forward. Not just in looks but embracing all trends. These shops sell items that are beautiful and ethically produced.

Teich

Teich works with artisans making clothing and accessories from organic, natural, and vintage material. Their one of a kind items are  a blend of vintage and cutting edge.

Kaight

Cross the river to Brooklyn to check out Kaight. Fashionistas rejoice! Kaight sells the hottest rising designers who blend fashion forward with eco-friendly practices.

Most Sustainable Companies: Home Decor

Home decor is also trending toward sustainable products. Reclaimed and upcycled are two hot trends. Rather than create new items, artisans craft unique pieces using found items. Reclaimed windows and barn wood are two of the hottest ingredients in this trend.

Yorkwood Co.

The company’s motto “born on the streets” might not sound high end, but a look at their work paints a very different story. They reclaim wood from construction and other sites around New York. Yorkwood transforms found wood into gorgeous, custom pieces in both commercial and residential spaces.

Fallen Industry

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s there to witness it, chances are Fallen Industry will pick it up and turn it into something beautiful. This Brooklyn-based outfit is one of the most sustainable companies around. Fallen Industry crafts pieces that fit perfectly across a variety of design aesthetics.

5 Tips For Sustainable Living

There are lots of ways to run a sustainable household, here are five tips for sustainable living as well as links to read even more.

  1. Try Consignment. Stop feeling guilty when you open the closet and see a dress you only wore once. Learn about consignment so that someone else can enjoy the dress and you can find your next favorite.
  2. Make Donations. One blogger shared that she always saved ribbons and gift tags. During decluttering, realized it was time to let go of these items she was not going to use. You can post items on sites like freecycle.org. Or, better yet, donate items like these to a local elementary school or day care program. Gift wrapping makes for great art. If you have clothing and home goods to donate we recommend donating to the United War Veterans Council. Click the link to contact this organization who will pick up your donations.
  3. Practice Awareness. This post has great information on moving toward sustainable living. Our favorite? The Eco-Sabbath. Put aside time each week where you do not use machines, buy anything, or produce waste. Spending time unhooked from our consume/trash cycle makes us more aware when we start up again.
  4. Go Digital. Paper planners are beautiful but wasteful. Try to go waste free by using your smartphone and apps for scheduling, communicating, and everything else.
  5. Build Habits. Sustainable living doesn’t happen overnight. Spend time planning ways to shop at the most sustainable companies. Educate your family on the importance of the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) and set a goal to move toward sustainable living for a smoother, longer lasting transition.

In Order To Succeed provides expert organizational help to residential and commercial clients. If you are interested in learning how to declutter, organize and live better or in how to do these things utilizing sustainability, contact us to set up an appointment.

Considering Consignment? Tips & Tricks to Get Started Consignment

Consignment shops are gaining popularity among women who love the best in fashion.

According to Richard Wainwright of L.A.-based vintage pop-up A Current Affair the appeal of consignment shopping comes partly from the ability of consignment shops and dealers to respond quickly to new trends.

“ The traditional runway to retail calendar has a problem with response time,” Wainwright said. “We’re seeing collections 6 months before they hit the stores, and by that time we’re bored with them and excited about the next season. Vintage shop and dealers can respond much quicker to trends and curate an aesthetic that isn’t tied to a specific season.”

Besides curating a fashionable look, 16-18% of Americans shop at thrift stores in a year. 11.4% shop at factory outlet malls, 19.6% at brand-based stores and 21.3% shop at department stores. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering consignment.

What Are Consignment Shops?

Consignment shops use a specific type of buying and selling model. A “seller” gives their goods to the shop. Payment for their goods happens once sold. If items do not sell in a set amount of time, the items return to the seller.

Why not eBay?

Why not sell clothes and accessories on the Internet? There’s eBay, Craigslist and the hugely popular Facebook community sale sites. The difference is the curator and the customer. eBay charges significant fees for items. It also requires significant work on the part of the seller. There’s a gamble that an item will sell much lower than the seller would like if the auction doesn’t get much activity.

Craigslist is a free option for selling. People looking to score goods cheaply use it. It’s unlikely that someone is looking for a Hermès bag on eBay or Craigslist. Getting a fair price for that designer bag or dress, thus, is much more difficult. Facebook groups yield offers to pay far less for your goods than they are worth.

Consignment shops are in most towns, even small ones. Shop staff know their clientele and what they seek. Using a high end consignment shop means working with staff who know the actual value of your items. They want to make money which means that you, in turn, make the most for your items. You can reinvest in new and barely used high fashion products.

Consignment Shops Online

More consignment shops are popping up online. Ship your items for free to sellers who already have an online presence. With 80% of Americans shopping online you boost your earning potential considerably.

Why Consign?

Consignment has huge benefits:

  • Wardrobe Editing & Staying Organized. The average woman has over $500 of unworn clothing in her closet not counting accessories and shoes. Even if she is not interested in profiting from them that is space that is being taken up by unworn items. This can lead to clutter. It is difficult to stay on top of clutter when there is extraneous stuff in the way. The benefits of consignment are not just making money. It also gives your closet room to breathe and be better organized.
  • Ethical Consumption & Ethical Elimination. Consumers are aware of their buying and discarding habits. Consignment shops reduce waste. Instead of throwing items out, selling them through consignment allows someone else to use them. It also brings a return on the investment. Purchasing an unworn item already in circulation, or one that is gently worn, is the new recycling.
  • Stay On Trend. Consignment shops are perfect for the fashion forward. Keep an up to date wardrobe with the highest quality clothing for less money. An item that isn’t worn is consigned for a financial return. Reinvest this in your wardrobe.

Tips & Tricks for Getting The Most for your Items at Consignment Shops

If consignment sounds like something you’d like to try be sure to follow our tips to get the most return on your investment.

Make Smart Selections. Look for the high end items you don’t wear. This can be a gown you wore for an event, items you didn’t return, or a purse that looked better on the shelf than on your arm. Chances are you have clothing, jewelry, shoes, bags and more that fit this description.

Don’t Just Bring In Items. Whether visiting consignment shops, having a consignment expert come to your home or selling via online consignment shops there are steps to take ahead of time.

  • First, get items properly cleaned (steamed, dry cleaned, etc).
  • Second, be sure to ask the cleaner to check all fastenings, seams and give the items a sprucing up if necessary. For example, tighten or replace buttons if necessary.

Do Your Research. Don’t just go to the consignment shops closest to you. Research shops, online or in person, that carry items like yours. Is the shop visited by a clientele that would seek out items like those you are selling?

Time To Consign

Is it time for you to edit your wardrobe and make the most of the items you don’t use? Here are a few final thoughts.

Our Favorite Consignment Shops

New York City

Michael’s: The Consignment Shop for Women
  • Upper East Side/1041 Madison Ave
  • High end. No second or third tier labels. For example, they will take Donna Karan but not DKNY.
  • Items must be in pristine condition.
  • Nothing more than two years old unless Chanel, Hermes, Pucci
  • Seller receives 50% of the selling price which drops 20% every thirty days. At 90 days the selling price lowers to 50% of the original selling price.
  • They accept items via mail.
Eleven
  • East Village/180 First Ave
  • High end (Chanel, YSL, Prada)
  • Consider making an appointment if you’d like the buyers’ full attention. Eleven has an exceptional staff; it’s worth building a relationship with them if you have top labels to sell.
  • There is a buy on the spot option that allows for store credit.
  • Consign rate is 50% of Eleven’s sale price
  • Pro tip: do not judge them by their website, this place is a gem!
Fisch for the Hip
  • Chelsea/90 Seventh Ave
  • Celebrities love Fisch thanks to its selection of designers like Chanel and Gucci.
  • Appointments required when consigning.
  • They accept in-season designer items in pristine condition. They pay 50% of the price at which the item sells.
Encore
  • Upper East Side/1132 Madison Ave
  • High end. Encore prefers items that are within a few years old.
  • A contract states the starting price for your items. The duration of the contract is three months but there is an option to add one more month.
  • The seller gets 50% of the selling price.
  • Items less than $400 get marked down 20% after a month; those priced at more than $400 get marked down after 2 months.
  • Contracts with a fourth month get 50% taken off the selling price after three months.

Connecticut

Consigned Designs at 115 Mason St. in Greenwich; (203) 869-2165.

DWR Consignment Boutique at 33 East Ave., New Canaan; (203) 594-7376.

The label exchange – Fairfield
The shop is located at 1344 Post Rd. E., Westport; (203) 255-9099; facebook.com/DesignerLabelConsignments.

Our Favorite Online Consignment Services

www.therealreal.com
www.consignista.com
www.snobswap.com
www.tradesy.com
www.thredup.com
www.vestiairecollective.com

When you are ready to review your wardrobe to edit or declutter, contact In Order To Succeed for help.

 

Consigning Luxury Items the “New-Fashioned” Way

“It’s not a question of IF but WHEN hundreds of millions of people all over the world make re-sale their new healthy habit.” — Paula Sutter, former president of Diane Von Furstenberg

Re-sale, more frequently known as selling on consignment, is a very rapidly growing market estimated by experts to become a 25 billion dollar industry by 2025. Consignment shopping has gained popularity in recent years mainly due to the Internet and that it allows sellers access to global buyers. Shoppers are using online re-sale sites to find luxury designer apparel and accessories without the retail price tag. It’s a smart, efficient and cost-effective way to buy that Chanel handbag without the steep price.

Consignment purchases offer shoppers consumption without the elements that make consumers feel guilty.  Everything you buy can be re-sold making the opportunity more attractive and sustainable and consigning is a great way to make some extra cash. Seventy percent of the average American woman’s closet is unworn or gently used clothing, shoes and clothing and accessories and the average value of that unworn seventy percent has been estimated at $8500. This means there are dollars hanging in your closet so why not unlock that value and declutter your life at the same time. When consigning designer merchandise:

  • Items should either be new, never worn, or in excellent condition. Pricing is based on the value of your items and current shopping trends.
  • Once your consigned pieces sell you receive your percentage of the proceeds after the seller’s commission.
  • Using a consignment expert yields a greater return — definitely more than you would garner on your own.

We at In Order to Succeed have had very positive experiences working with Penny OLoughanane of Consignista, a Greenwich, CT based company. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Consignista offers convenient, premium concierge service — Penny will come to your home, gather the goods you wish to sell and take them away to photograph and upload to her website.
  • There is no need to worry about selecting, packing, and driving belongings to a consignment shop.
  • Consignista’s accepted designers list offers clarity upfront so you save time and energy in knowing what she is able to sell.
  • Penny knows the market and sets prices fairly so that you can make the most on your consigned items.
  • Consignista offers a program called “Closet For Causes” which allows you to give all or some of the sale to a charity of your choice.

We recommend that you give Penny a shout if you are ready to begin consigning men’s, women’s and children’s designer goods. She may be reached at:

203 422 9488
penny@consignista.com
http://consignista.com

Making Better Use of Your Time

Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” – Allen Saunders

24 hours can be a daunting limit for any average human being, but especially when you’re someone that wears several different hats and juggles many roles each day. You probably find yourself running on fumes more often then not, and even making understated jokes about how there is just “never enough time to get it all done”. We are all searching for ways to make the most efficient use of the limited hours we’ve been given in the hopes of being able to spend some precious moments doing what we enjoy with the people we love. It’s not easy being all things to all people, so we at In Order to Succeed® have done some of the research for you to help automate some of those monotonous every day tasks to simplify your life a bit. Automation done right can significantly increase your productivity, as well as help build wealth and maintain a happier life. Now that the summer is coming to a close, the kids are going back to school, and the ebb and flow of every day responsibilities are gaining momentum again, it is good to start implementing some of these best practices before life gets more overwhelming. Even with these recommended tools that will assist with clearing space in your busy schedule, you must also remember to set parameters, plan ahead, and focus on your goals. It is easy to get caught up in the anxiety of the ever-present stimulations of multitasking, media updating, email responding, over-booking, over-working, and constantly striving to achieve. It’s time to recharge your batteries a bit and make space for you to relax and be present. 

HEALTH

healthy lifestyleResting your mind and body is the first step all do-ers need to establish as a primary priority to keep the life/work flow moving forward and productive. Not only are you hindering your focus and concentration by trying to squeeze in more time to get things done, but your jeopardizing the quality of your work, relationships, mood, and overall health. Keeping your electronics on to answer “just one more” email, or do “5 more minutes” of research when you should be disconnecting and giving your mind a break, also suppresses the production of melatonin (the natural sleep hormone your body generates when it’s time to go to bed). With a non-stop mentality (as many of us are guilty of), you are eventually going to be running on empty and crash. That’s never a good outcome, and defeats the whole purpose of working so hard in the end. Taking the time to honor and respect what helps you perform at your highest level is of utmost importance. When it’s time to turn down for the evening, listen to what your body is telling you and give in to the sandman. 

ORGANIZE

With that being said, we understand that it’s easier giving that advice than it is to really take it, so set up a better organized structure, block your time, and prioritize so that the external craziness doesn’t effect your racing mind as much. Having an organized system for your day, and a decluttered environment both at home and work, relieves a lot of the tension that you feel when your in the midst of the chaos. Take it from our team of professionals, we see countless clients’ lives improve just by reaching out and asking for a little assistance once in a while to get the job started, and even more so getting it all done. From stacks of health bills and home utility invoices, to messy closets and randomized placement of dishes in the kitchen, the littlest bit of order can go a long way. 

IDENTIFY & ACKNOWLEDGE

Decluttering and organizingWe recommend first identifying where the points of disorder in your life are first, so that you can then execute regaining control one step at a time. Keep in mind, this process is all to help you relieve stress, not add it, so make sure you are looking at what there is to do with a realistic perspective and then map out your plan of attack. We find that blocking your day into segments (and even your personal projects) can help manage your own expectations, and help remind you to pull back when you are spending too much time on one task. Not everything goes as planned, even when you’ve planned it to a T, so it is good to have the rest of your agenda items mentally organized before the inevitable hiccups come into play. You can never be too prepared, so try your best and prepare for the worst. 

CLEAR OUT THE CLUTTER

Rule of thumb: if you haven’t worn it, used it, needed it, or wanted it in over a year.. it’s time to part ways. There is a bit of anxiety that always comes with letting go of things that you “might” use. If it’s paper, do yourself a favor and clear it all out! There are so many brilliant systems that will save everything important for you to access without taking up space on your desk. Evernote, our personal favorite digital filing cabinet, will do exactly that for you. Scan your documents, receipts, photos, notes, or bills right into Evernote by using the app itself or any other document recognition scanning program, and then shred .. shred .. shred the clutter away! You will never lose your files, and you can organize them however you see fit to access at a later time. 

AUTOMATE

Now begins the autopilot phase. How much easier do you think your every day life would be if you did not have to handle manually taking care of each task, may it be purchasing groceries, maintaining your household, scheduling your and your family members’ activities, remembering birthdays? The list goes on and on! These are a few automation tools we have researched to help these simple yet time consuming tasks run on their own without soaking up your precious time:

  • Amazon is a lifeline to some of us running around without a second to spare. Most people, while using Amazon regularly for countless types of purchases, don’t know about one of their best features… SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE! Select the items you purchase regularly (like household essentials), and then set how often you’d like them to be delivered. Once you do that, you don’t have to think about last minute orders or getting caught without toilet paper in a private moment. Amazon will schedule your shipments automatically, and on top of it, subscribers will get up to 15% off of the products as well as free shipping! Saving time? Check! Saving money? Check! Freeing up mental space? CHECK!
  • Grocery deliveryDon’t just stop there. If you’re like us, grocery shopping is rarely the in-and-out errand that we always hope it will be. It inevitably ends up consuming hours of your day each time you embark on the adventure. Have you ever thought about cutting back some of the time you dedicate to driving to and from the store, waiting in lines, perusing the layout of the land, adding countless things you didn’t intend on purchasing, loading up your car, and carrying the items into your home? It might be beneficial to try something different if you’re allocating time you don’t have towards accomplishing this fiasco every week or two. Many highly populated areas in the country have a national grocery store nearby that offers delivery services, and if not, there are countless other services that serve your area regardless. Try a company like Peapod, FreshDirect, or ShopFoodEx (which serves all 50 states), just to name a few. Read more about all of your options here in this LifeHacker article: How Shopping for Groceries Online Saves Time, Money, and Hassle.
  • There is nothing worse than losing a bill or realizing you haven’t paid an invoice too late and then getting slapped with fee because of it! It can be tough transitioning into an automated world at times because you’re not handling the physical writing of a check or placing the call to handle the balance yourself. On the flip side, setting your bills on auto-pay is a safety net that is truly priceless. Automatic online billing services can potentially prevent from damaging your credit or wasting more time and money that could be used elsewhere more desirable and enjoyable with your friends and family. We recommend giving it a shot if you haven’t already. You will eliminate the extra stress of remembering to pay each and every bill you are responsible for, such as banks, credit cards, utility bills, auto payments, etc. When you are working 60-hour 5-day weeks, you cannot afford to lose any of the time you DO have to yourself to instead have to spend it tracking down dates and providers to be paying your hard earned money to on top of it all. Wouldn’t you agree?? This way, you will ensure you never miss an important payment deadline that could very negatively effect you and your future.. it’s an easy choice to give yourself peace of mind. 

These options are just scraping the surface of what types of options that are out there that assist with eliminating the arduous processes you spend a huge bulk of your time on without even knowing it! Our team at In Order to Succeed® specializes in helping our clients manually organize and structure their lives, as well as maintain various diverse systems that free up their precious time. If you’re interested in learning more about our services or how we can lend a hand in freeing up your busy schedule, you can take a look at what some of our past and current clients are saying about us on our website.

Five Ways to be More Organized Parents

Being organized parents doesn’t just make your lives easier, it also makes your child’s life easier. Having systems in place both makes for a less-rushed life, saves time, helps your family avoid squabbles, and teaches everyone valuable tools that can be applied elsewhere in life. Here are five ways to be more organized parents across all the many areas of your life.

Have A Command Center

Kitchen Command CenterEvery family should have a command center: a place where everyone, including parents, figure out what is going on for the day or week, leave important paperwork, get supplies, and write down items for a shopping list. A good command center includes:

  • Color-coded calendars of activities.
  • A list of chores including who does what and due dates.
  • A place to leave paperwork that needs to be filled out (tests that have to be signed, field trips) and to place them once they’re ready to go.
  • Shopping lists.

For many parents visions of Pinterest-inspired projects in bright colors and multiple calendars are a turnoff — you work hard to make your home a beautiful, peaceful place. Your command center does not have to destroy the aesthetic of your home. It’s more about having a place where families can check in and focus for the day and week. Our favorite idea? Turn a closet into a command center to keep it out of site. You can add a lamp or stick up lights and use the back of the door for extra room. Get kids into the habit of checking it each morning, day after school, and at a designated time in the evening.

Organized Parents Have Analog Backups

Daily PlannerWe’re not suggesting you ditch your smartphone. Not at all! But having an analog method of keeping track of things is great for when you lose, drop, or forget to charge your phone. It’s also a quick and easy way to keep track of things when you’re in an area without service. There are two separate ways we recommend. First, a planner like the one that goes with Evernote (why not sticks with what works?) or a simple, beautiful planner like the ones made by Ink + Volt is a lifesaving tool. Not into a planner? Even just a simple notebook where you list your to do’s and other thoughts and then cross them off when finished is a great way to keep track no matter what kind of access you have to your phone.

Many women have jumped on board the trend of decorating their planners. If this works for you, great! We’re in the camp of using our planners as tools and not spending a ton of time decorating them.

Get Kids Involved

Jobs for kidsChildren should be a part of your overall organization plan. This teaches them good habits from a young age while taking a tremendous amount off of your plate. Organized parents include children to develop their sense of responsibility, make them better guests and students, and empower them to do for themselves. Here are ways organized parents involve the kids:

  • Assign age appropriate organizational tasks like packing lunches, checking the activities calendar and putting items in a good spot to grab them in the morning, placing papers awaiting signatures in the right spot (and picking them up).
  • Talk to kids about what they enjoy and how they can help. If you have a child who likes to write, make them in charge of organizing a grocery list. Have a kid who enjoys cooking — they can handle lunches. There’s no reason for everyone to do everything and by delegating organizational tasks based on interest you’ll avoid traffic jams and keep kids engaged.
  • Get Into A Routine. Everyone loves a routine — this is why parents who devote time to sleep-training their children end up getting more rest. Organized parents have times of day that they check and do things and kids should be brought into this to develop good habits.

Develop A Network

Humble bragging and competing for “Most Busy” have their place for other people. Smart parents, though, know that there is something to be said for how to having time for oneself, time as a couple, and time as a family. This can only be done by developing a good network of friends, neighbors, and family. When your child has an activity get to know other parents and set up carpools. Talk to friends or family with children of a similar age and schedule date nights where you drop the kids for a few hours (or overnight) and return the favor. Everyone wants a break and the best way to do it is find others who feel the same way and work together to schedule them.

Prioritize

Kitchen Command CenterOrganizing shouldn’t take over your life and organized parents know that prioritization is the #1 trick to being organized. That means that a huge part of your organizational routine should be determining and focusing on priorities. Here are the best places to start thinking about what’s really important.

  • Social Engagements. It’s okay to say no to things if you feel you’re stretched too thin. Instead of being the person who says, “Maybe” (stressing out your host) and then doesn’t show or, worse, saying yes and not showing simply go through all of your invites each week and decide which matter and which you have no desire/time to do. It’s okay to say no!
  • What things are the most important? Rank what matters and what you hate doing and you might discover interesting things. We had a client who had a gorgeous garden but when she thought about other interests and took time to rank things she discovered that she really didn’t enjoy it. Delegating or downright eliminating can free up time for other pursuits. It’s okay to give things up; even if it’s just for more play time with your children.

Organized parents find they breathe easier and enjoy life more than their disorganized counterparts. While things will always come up, it’s easier to manage life when you are organized.

Organizing Tips for the Busy Student

Pursuing an education while maintaining a productive and successful student life is not a walk in the park, but it will all be worth the stress and hard work in the end! We’ve rounded up a few tricks, apps, and hacks to help busy students of all sorts (and their parents) through the process of managing a new life of higher learning. From relocation, balancing a college curriculum and class schedules, to navigating a safe social life, and smart budgeting, we’ve got you covered!

Preparation

The first steps are preparing for the move to the new living accommodations and getting all of the necessities before you arrive. Check out this comprehensive College Checklist from Bed Bath & Beyond while you’re getting yourself ready for the big move. Their services allow you to place an order for items you need in advance. Go in to any store, ask for a barcode scanner, and add what you need while browsing, OR shop online, pay for your items, and then schedule the order to be picked up from the BB&B closest to your school. Piece of cake!

Bed

 

Learning

Textbooks and learning materials are a huge part of college expenses that’ll dent your (or your parent’s) wallets at the beginning of every semester. We found a Chrome extension that is designed to identify the least expensive option for any given course book right on your browser. Occupy The Bookstore will search top book sites like Amazon and Chegg to help you save hundreds of dollars while searching your school’s bookstore website, then overlay the very best deal on the same screen. Who’s up for saving some money?

Money

 

Finance

Financial awareness and spending within budgets are important life skills that are learned through awareness and consistent practice. Most newly graduated high school students are not gifted with the insights or comprehensive instruction prior to being sent off into the world to fend for themselves. Debt attributed to education costs is a major issue that many times, students don’t realize the weight of their burden until it’s time for repayment. Begin managing your finances or bills and track your spending with Mint to understand and prepare for the inevitable obligations and expenses of the “real world”. Don’t allow yourself or your loved ones be blindsided by debt or financially uninformed. See the Mint College Student Survival Guide for more tips and recommendations for building good credit and staying on top of your accounts.

Mint

Savings

Speaking of budgeting and smart spending, RoverTown is an increasingly popular app started by a duo of young entrepreneurs that provides it’s users hand-picked student discounts near campuses and various online stores. I repeat, free discounts for students, created by students! You can download the app on both your iOS and/or Android mobile device, or use just the web version if you’d rather browse on a computer. College is expensive enough. With RoverTown, college life doesn’t have to be.

 

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Organization & Productivity

Our next recommendation is a full scale curriculum, scheduling, assignment and productivity tool that has been featured on MSNBC as one of the most “Essential apps for college students”. With Studious, you can keep track of your schoolwork, manage your individual classes, add and edit assignments or exams, get reminders about meetings or due dates, send emails to professors from the app, take notes, scan documents, the list goes on. Need I say more?? Think of it as your second brain. Studious is available for free download on Google Play for Android, and can be purchased on iTunes for $1.99 for any iOS device (Studious for iPhone/iPad). Though the two platforms have different developers, they are essentially exactly the same thing with identical capabilities and features.

 

Organizations

Relax

Now that you’re settled in, organized, and (hopefully) studying your heart out, there is probably a good amount of stress on your plate while trying to juggle all of your new responsibilities. It’s very important to keep yourself balanced and healthy amidst your everyday activity. Stop, Breathe, & Think is an app we highly recommend downloading on your devices to help alleviate any tension you might be experiencing and get refocused on your goals. Mindful meditation might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but give it a try when you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or having trouble drifting into la la land. There is nothing wrong with having an outlet in the palm of your hands for a little “you time”, (even if it’s for only 3 minutes).

Relax

Safety

This next app is an absolute MUST for college students, (or anyone for that matter)! At the end of the evening after a night out with friends, safety is not always in the forefront of our minds. For your parents and loved ones, you can never be casual or thoughtless regarding your own safety. Don’t take chances that might cost you your health, happiness, or success, and always remember the tips you’re given at orientation about never walking home or navigating campus solo in the dark. With the Companion app, you can virtually walk your friends back to home base no matter where they are coming from. Help prevent campus incidents like so many that you hear about in the news, and urge your friends and family alike to add this incredible safety tool to their home screens. This app is free to download on the Apple App Store and Google Play – You can’t put a price on piece of mind! Here’s how it works from one of the creators of Companion:

“You can use the app with anyone in your contact book and they don’t have to have the app. You punch in the address or place you’re headed and notify one or several friends that you’re headed to that place. Once your friends are aware of your intended destination, they’re able to keep tabs on your route — if you deviate too far from a familiar path, or it takes you longer than expected to arrive, your virtual companions are notified with an alert.”

Safety2

For more information from our In Order to Succeed® team, please check out our latest blog regarding our Door to Dorm: College Moving Services: “In Order to Succeed® handles total move coordination, start to finish. Need help packing, recommending vendors or securing items from trusted movers and storage companies? We have plans and strategies for every step of any move, whether it is around the corner or across the country]”.

The Best Services and Apps for New Homeowners

Being a new homeowner is exhilarating and exhausting. With more space, projects, and a busy life – things can quickly slip into a disorganized state. At In Order to Succeed, we work with clients to stay organized by offering services like organizing but also provide the latest information on helpful apps, methods, and techniques to obtain and maintain a beautifully run home.

Services for First Time Homeowners

Getting off on the right foot — it’s important in every situation. From starting a fitness routine to a new job, having a routine on day one is helpful. But how do you do it?

Consider hiring a professional organizing firm to help you before moving. A professional organizer or team will help you get rid of things you don’t need and organize your packing so that moving in is much easier. They will also work with you to figure out what you actually need to pack and the best organization styles for your new place. Using size, habits, and aesthetics, a professional organizer can help you organize in a way that is obtainable.

Professional organizers can assist you with securing necessary pieces. New homeowners often struggle with moves because they have more room than ever. Or, for the young professional moving from college to an apartment, they don’t know how to use the space efficiently. A professional organizer can make suggestions about furniture and other pieces based on the space and layout.

Apps for First Time Homeowners

There’s a reason Apple’s tag, “There’s an app for that!” caught on. We love the ease that smartphones bring to our lives. There are some unbelievable apps that can make your life more efficient and productive. Here are the apps we love for new homeowners.

Resources for First Time Homeowners

The In Order To Succeed blog is full of handy posts to help you in your new adventure. We update the website regularly with the latest and greatest in organizing-related tips, tech, and more. Subscribe to our newsletter for quarterly updates on what we can do for you.

New homeowners should consider using a professional organizing service to help them move from point A to B in a stress-free manner. Envision a moving scenario that includes all the organizational support necessary to live abundantly. This is one of the most sound investments you can make!

 

Solutions to Common College Student Organization Challenges

Getting ready for college is emotionally tumultuous.  Kids don’t want to admit their anxieties and are busy spending that last summer with their childhood friends, parents are stressed about money and making sure that everything is ready.  In Order To Succeed is here to help you get your student ready for college life.  We reached out to parents and experts to learn about the challenges facing students as they move to college. Here is our advice for conquering this transition.  We’ll give you a hint: it all comes down to college student organization!

The Top Challenges of Moving Into A Dorm

We reached out to parents around the country to find out what their biggest challenges were when moving their students into standard dorm rooms.  No matter the region or college, many shared problems in common.

The Problem: Space at a Premium

Shannon M., successful attorney and single mom of three, lives in Southern Michigan.  She has moved her kids into rooms at Northern Michigan University, Western Michigan University, and Purdue University and says the challenge is always the same, “Floor and closet space is extremely limited.”  Needless to say, by the time she got to Purdue, Shannon had become a pro.

College Student Organization Strategy: Alter the Furniture

Most standard college dorm rooms are tiny by the average person’s standard.  And they generally have a set of bunk beds, two desks, and two bureaus.  Shannon says, “Lofting the bed is essential.”  She also recommends a loft shelf and hanging pockets for space saving.
  • Lofting a bed is one of the best solutions for small college rooms and helps beat college student organization challenges.  This opens up the room by quite a bit because once the bed is lofted, a small desk and fridge or drawers, or large desk can fit under it leaving room for shelving, a love seat, or other essentials.
  • The remaining bed can be lifted using cinder blocks or another technique.  Place storage bins or drawers underneath this bed to maximize the small room’s space.
  • Couches also fit beautifully under a lofted bed.
college student organization solution: lofted bedsNo matter the student’s taste there are lots of ways to loft a bed and gain extra space.

The Problem: Plugging In

Ian R., the former Creative Director for NBC Universal, was surprised to find that his Alma Mater, Bennington College, challenged him as a parent the same way the progressive school challenged his parents when they moved him in. “My parents were shocked at the outlet spacing and had to run out and buy a bunch of extension cords.  Same thing when I moved my daughter in recently!”  While the housing at Bennington includes three newer dorms, most students are in older clapboard houses that have the awful spacing found at colleges around the country.  With today’s student relying almost exclusively on technology this is a huge challenge when it comes to getting your student moved in.

College Student Organization Strategy: Strategic Juicing, Cord Hiding

Ask any travel writer their number one rule when traveling and they will likely give you the answer, “ABC.”  What’s ABC?  “Always Be Charging.”  When there are limited outlets it’s important to make sure that you are charging devices to avoid being left with no battery.  Of course, like Ian points out, extension cords can help however they look terrible.  Luckily, there are a few quick fixes to help.
  1. Create a charging station.  Use a power strip and some washi tape to create a simple charging station.  Plug chargers into the strip, use the washi to tape the cords to the back top of a desk or bureau and then plug in as necessary.  This is a cute way to add a pop of color while keeping cumbersome cords hidden.  Remember that devices should be charged when they are between 40-70% and that devices should rarely run all the way down (except for laptops).  If a device does run completely out of juice give it a full charge as quickly as possible.
  2. Organize cords.  For electronics like stereos, tvs, game consoles and everything else use a little washi on the portion of the cord closest to the plug and label the device to keep things organized.  Any slack in the cords should be taken in by folding and tying off with twist ties to avoid the big mess that often occurs.  Labeling makes sure that if students need to unplug one thing for another (say a tv for a hairdryer) they don’t plug something that requires being reset or that could be disastrous, like a fridge!

College Student Organization Solution: organize cords!

The Problem: Starting Off with Clutter

John C., a Princeton, NJ based CEO shared that he struggled with having too much stuff when getting to school.  Why?  Because he wasn’t aware of the measurements of the room.  Honestly, even knowing the measurements is problematic because many of us cannot conceptualize dimensions.

College Student Organization Strategy: Measure First

Like Ben Franklin said, “Measure twice, cut once.”  Don’t buy much before checking out the room and getting a good sense of what is actually available as far as space, how furniture can be organized, and getting a feel for the dimensions.  Measure everything from where you think you’ll place items to remaining space for tables, shelves, organization units and then make a mock up of your floor plan BEFORE you head out to the store.  Do shopping near the college so that you can easily make returns.

Expert Advice

We spoke with Rachael Class-Giguere, Director of Housing at Dartmouth, and she shared wisdom as only someone who deals with student housing issues on a daily basis at one of the country’s most prestigious colleges can.  Her advice supports John C’s experience and bears repeating, while also reminding students and parents of the very human element of moving to college, “Wait and shop for the extras once you are there and in the room.  So often families come with lots of things to personalize a room but there’s just not space for it all.  If you wait until you’re in the room, you’ll get a much better sense of what you really need and want, and can also work with your roommate(s).  Don’t start off on the wrong foot by taking over the room and leaving out your roommate!”