Beyond Marie Kondo: Next Steps for Student Organization

There is no doubt about it: Marie Kondo has revolutionized personal organizing. Her calm, relatable, and judgment-free methods—as well as her assertion that our possessions should “spark joy”—have clearly resonated with tens of thousands of people. (The popularity of her how-to book and her Netflix show leave no doubt!) As organizing consultants, we applaud her success and are grateful her efforts to demystify what it means to live a truly “tidy” life—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While most of Kondo’s fans are adults, children and teenagers can benefit from her methods. However, helping young people get organized presents unique challenges. If you’ve tried to “Kondo-fy” your child with little success, here are some practical suggestions that might help restart the process.

The Well-Organized Aren’t “Born That Way”

In the nearly twenty years I’ve been working with students, I have found that, for most of them, the decision to “Get organized!” is not their own. Most often, they are told to do so by the adults in their lives: their parents, their teachers, or their coaches. While well-organized adults are surely well intentioned, we often forget that we were not, to paraphrase Lady Gaga, “born that way.” We have all developed organizational methods that work for us over a lifetime of trying, failing, and trying again. And even though those methods might indeed be wildly successful for us, we cannot—and should not—simply try to force them onto others. Instead, we must help the young people in our lives to discover what works for them.

In their 2017 article “Social and Emotional Learning: Introducing the Issue,” Stephanie Jones and Emily Doolittle define social-emotional learning (or “SEL”) as learning that leads to “attention and the ability to solve problems; [positive] beliefs about the self, such as perceptions of competence and autonomy; and social awareness, including empathy for others and the ability to resolve conflicts.” While much of the research around SEL involves partnerships between students and teachers in the classroom, we can employ many of these SEL methods to help our kids get organized.

Keep on Movin’

I’ll give you an example: organizing your child’s workspace can be one of a parent’s most aggravating tasks—but not if you let your child put things at hand by him or herself. And remember that, although many of us were programmed to sit at desks and “study” until we learned what we needed to know, research teaches us that many children literally cannot learn while sitting still.

Recently, one of my seventh-grade students came to me for advice. He was having trouble memorizing his Spanish vocabulary words. He told me he thought he was doing everything “right” by sitting down at his desk and flipping through his flashcards. But, when it was time for the quiz, he couldn’t remember anything.

I reached into the drawer of my own desk and handed him a roll of blue painter’s tape. “Find the biggest empty wall in your house,” I suggested, “and tape the notecards to the wall. Then, when you’re studying, walk back and forth past the notecards, memorizing as you go. If you can’t remember some words, move those cards to a different part of the wall and spend a bit more time there. But talk to yourself. Move around. And don’t try to sit. Sitting still to study doesn’t work for you.” I knew that this student, a star soccer player, demonstrated exceptional grace, control, and focus on the field, so asking him to approach studying the same way he approached playing soccer might help. The next afternoon, he told me that he’d aced his Spanish quiz—and he’d gotten his studying done in half the time.

If you decide to undergo a workspace reorganization with your child, don’t just think about the desk in front of her. Look at the walls in her room. Could you use some Command Strips (a professional organizer’s best friend!) to attach a few bulletin boards to the far wall? How could you and your child work together to rethink her space? To set him up to achieve? And to get rid of the physical and mental clutter that gets in the way?

Making Marie Kondo’s Methods Work for You

How To Get Your Children OrganizedUnderstanding that young people must find their own methods of organization does not mean that there aren’t wonderful tips to take from Ms. Kondo. For example, her suggestion to organize by groups of items is great. If you have a teenage daughter and a garage full of athletic equipment, what better way to spend a Saturday morning than sorting her stuff into four piles: keep, donate, hand-me-down, and toss? Your middle-school-aged son might have loved those Minecraft shirts when he was in fourth grade, but now that he’s 13, his younger cousin might love them more. And how cool would it be if, as a coach or teacher, you challenged your team or your homeroom to a “cleaning spree” over the weekend, with donations going to a local charity?

But children and teenagers often have trouble telling the difference between something that brings them joy in the present (and that they can use!) and something that holds a fond memory. Yes, that baseball bat may be too small—but, Dad, remember when it hit the winning home run? Sure, I don’t use those old binders anymore—but, Mom, remember when Ms. Tatsch gave me an A on that project?

When confronted with these difficult (but honest) questions, it can be very easy to give in to avoid an argument. But, when we’re all drowning in stuff, “giving in” isn’t a viable option. Instead, I’d suggest using that item as the beginning of a conversation: “I know that bat is really special to you. But it takes up space in the basket, and someone else might love it. Can we come up with another way to remember that game?” Most of our children live their lives online these days—a photograph of that bat or that binder (posted to Instagram, of course!) would preserve the memory and provide the physical and mental space to grow. (I’m also a huge fan of repurposing items as pieces of art—and what a great project for a rainy day!)

Marie Kondo’s principles of organization are wonderful places to start, but that’s what they are: starting points. Each of us responds best to our own methods, and for young people—who are still learning what works for them—it can be important to test different methods. It’s terrific that Ms. Kondo has opened up this door and turned so many people on to organizing. Now we just have to ensure that, like a New Year’s resolution that only lasts three days, we can find our own pathways…and help the people we love find theirs, too.

Ben Gott is an Education Specialist and Organizing Consultant at In Order To Succeed

3 Tips on How to Help Your kids Succeed in School by Getting Organized

Tips-to-Help-Students-Succeed-Study-Blog-3

As the end of the school year approaches we know to anticipate end of term projects and final exams.  As parents and former students ourselves we understand that along with these increased demands comes stress and the disruption to normal routines.  These changes can be particularly unsettling for your student and your family. While it is ultimately up to your child to figure out which practices work best for them to keep up with the current situation of things, you too can contribute your quota to their drive for success.

Students need a balanced environment to thrive, more so at this time when their senses are stoked, and nerves rattled.  As a mom or dad, who’s aiming to be supportive, fostering a conducive environment that functions as a place of refuge – so to speak, is one of the most essential steps you can take to complement your son or daughter’s efforts towards success.

 


The First Part of Creating an Organized Environment is as You Might Have Guessed – Getting Organized! 

The notion of final exams and its attendant complexities can mount pressure on your student and cause them to be disorganized. It’s not unusual to see your child’s room muddled in a heap of clutter, and while this can be justified as stemming from a lack of time, it is actually unhealthy and known to cause a significant drop in productivity because it in very literal terms, muddle the brain’s ability to perform optimally. As a parent, this is where you step in. Help your child create schedules and timetables that reinforce a balance between work, play and positive social and environmental interaction. Sure, they may be trying to rack up extra study time to cover all aspects of their syllabuses, but that doesn’t mean everything else should be relegated to the back burner.


Eating Healthy Requires Preparation

Tips-to-Help-Students-Succeed-Study-Blog-1A nutritious and balanced diet is the body’s own octane booster to heightened performance. Fats are linked to a higher incidence of aggression, depression and heart disease. To prevent the onset of these conditions  (which are already a risk given the heightened levels of stress),  it is essential that you enlighten and educate your family to the dangers of an unhealthy diet. Keeping your home stocked with an assortment of nutritional foods and snacks that they enjoy is also super important. 

Moderate the Tech Exposure

Technology can be potentially detrimental to your kids and adult children, most especially when there’s a need to focus and burn the midnight candles, and there is research to corroborate this fact. Back in the days, study time was ‘study time’ there were no mobile phones, no notifications or calls to put students off. Today mobile phones and computers are required for most assignments.  They are integral part of the study environment but along with them comes unwanted distractions and noise. That’s not to say this is entirely nocuous but the key to technology (as is with most other parts of life) is moderation. Limit just how long your kids can be tethered to their technology or television and place an enforceable embargo on how much time they spend on their devices. Your kids should know that time spent online is valuable time – their efforts should be directed at making the most use of it.

In addition to these, don’t forget the importance of positive reinforcements. Your child needs all the encouragement he/she can get. So while you go about tuning the environment, don’t forget to rub it in with bits of the ‘you can do it’ and the ‘keep focused.’

To learn more about how to creating an organized home environment that enhances student performance on final projects and exams, please email or call us today!

School Days: your Progress Report

School days are upon us!  Our children are expanding their minds, meeting new friends, and preparing for their bright futures.  There are lots of worries being shared, tons of new experiences, and plenty to keep up with – for both kids and parents!   We want to send our children to school so they are not just  prepared but EXCITED for the days ahead.

If it’s not yet obvious how important sleep is, Harvard http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep has some new information.  The first thing is to get yourself and your kids in a routine that gets everyone to bed on time and ready to tackle the day.  If you haven’t yet read our blog about getting mornings off to the right start – start here!

I find myself telling my child the same thing we tell our clients: get the chores out of the way efficiently so we can focus on the fun stuff!  There are proven ways to life so that you can spend time on the important stuff – like checking your kids homework & getting them to bed on time!   We recommended these products to simplify life and maintain control

1. Pre-sharpened Pencils

http://m.target.com/p/up-up-pre-sharpened-no-2-wood-pencils-24-ct/-/A-15023951

What a simple thing.  Whoever thought of this ingenious timesaver deserves a huge high-five.

2. Stuck On You Labels (now 30% off!)

Additional tip: Use your last name only and/or make the colors gender-neutral so you can recycle labeled objects and use for all your kids.

3. Multi-purpose Bogg Bags.

Go from school to soccer practice, to swim, to wherever – it all fits in here.  And, this rinses easily so no more staring at a canvas bag wondering if it will ever get clean.

http://boggbag.com

4.  Lunch Bots

Reheated your leftovers in the morning and there’s lunch.  This is a nice break from a cold sandwich especially during the winter months.

http://www.luckyvitamin.com/p-221217-lunchbots-insulated-thermal-3-5-high-x-4-5-wide-pink-16-oz

5. Share your google calendar.   You can customize what you want to share with your significant other, kids, babysitters, assistants, colleagues – anyone with a free google account.  Set reminders for everything.  No more hearing “I forgot” (and no more saying “I forgot!”)

https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/37082?hl=en

6. High school and college aged students have apps designed just for them – check out more here!

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/27/technology/personaltech/video-feature-some-back-to-school-tools-to-download.html?em_pos=large&emc=edit_nn_20150828&nl=nytnow&nlid=71301384&_r=1

Here’s to a great school year!

What works for you?  Leave comments on our Facebook page to share yours!

P.S. – If family and school stress is keeping you up at night, please call us.  Our organizers are ready and waiting to help families maximize their time together.

Plan Smarter for Mother’s Day 2014

“The phrase ‘working mother’ is redundant,” says author Jane Sellman. Whether they leave home to go to a job or stay home with the kids, they work harder than many people acknowledge and they deserve recognition on Mother’s Day. It’s a given that you’re obliged to plan something special for your own mother, but what about the other women in your life? Should you recognize them too? And how can you make your own mother feel extra special? Consider these helpful tips for making this Mother’s Day memorable for all of the amazing moms in your life:

Order flowers now

You don’t want to be a part of the angry mob at the florist on Mother’s Day itself. If you’d rather deliver your flowers in person, have them sent to your own home and spruce up your arrangement before heading out. Flowers are a Mother’s Day staple, and every woman deserves these lively beauties. It’s also extremely thoughtful to schedule deliveries for friends and family members who are less likely to receive some this year. But don’t procrastinate! The longer you wait, the higher the shipping costs get. That’s one more thing to check off your list early.

Consult the troops

They say “mother knows best,” but it would be a little counterintuitive to ask your mom or wife for help planning her own celebration. Instead, make sure you get some input from everyone around you about what gifts she’s been eyeing, restaurants she’s been swooning over, or new fad she’s into. Ask dad, siblings, friends, and even her own mother if possible. Even if you’re fairly close to your mother, two heads are always better than one.

Make breakfast more unique

Breakfast in bed is an always-appreciated way to start mom’s day, but you can do better than bacon and eggs. Personalize her breakfast with fun cookie cutters to make her breakfast truly different from every other mother’s that morning. You can use letter-shaped cookie cutters for “MOM” pancakes, and have fun cutting fruit into springtime shapes like butterflies, dragonflies and flowers. Get creative and make your arrangement a work of art.

Get the kids in on it

Your two-year-old could scribble on a piece of construction paper with crayons and it would still bring grandma to tears. A fun way to work together would be have the children draw simple pictures with their names next to them, and then have these images printed onto dishware like plates and mugs. There are tons of stores that provide this service, from Wal-Mart to shopping mall kiosks, but you can also make your own. Simply buy some water-transfer paper at your local crafts store, and then scan and print your children’s artwork onto it. Trim around the image and follow instructions for adhesion, then just spray with varnish. (Note: DIY dishware is just for decoration.)

Pinterest: Ten of Our Favorite Professional Organizer Pinners

What is it about Pinterest that is so addicting? Since its inception in the fall of 2011, the social media network has taken the world by storm. Each time we log on to our In Order to Succeed Pinterest account we’re greeted by beautiful pictures of DIY artwork, home décor, organized homes and offices and so much more. It’s easy to spend an hour or two on the site. In the past year, we’ve seen more and more professional organizers on Pinterest. The best pinners have frequent updates, build relationships with other pinners and have visually appealing boards full of useful information.

Here, in no particular order, are ten of our favorite professional organizer pinners:

  1. GetSimplifizedOrganizing
  2. Laura (I’m an Organizing Junkie)
  3. Getting Organized Magazine
  4. ButtonedUp
  5. Lorie Marrero / Clutter Diet
  6. Sensible Organizer
  7. Helena Alkhas
  8. A Bowl Full of Lemons
  9. Chaos To Order
  10. NAPO National

Are you on Pinterest? Follow us and we’ll follow you back. And don’t forget to share your favorite professional organizers on Pinterest in the comments.

Prepping Your Kids for Summer Camp

By Ryan McTavish

Fireflies don’t bite, but bedbugs do. This summer, kick the kids out of the house on a good old fashioned camping trip. Pack a bag with the essentials- bug spray, clean underwear, and enough comic books to keep the bears up at night. If this is your child’s first safari, have no fear. Here’s a list to get them ready for the outback. Just remember camp labels if you ever expect the gear to make it back to the garage, however. Camp and clothing labels list your child’s name and even a phone number, so perfectly good camping gear is never condemned to the summer camp’s lost and found.

Don’t Pack and Run:
Pack early. Don’t wait until the last minute. You’ll likely come up with new things to add as you pack, and you might need to hit the store for a few last minute add-ons. Don’t realize the rain jacket has holes a half hour before the Humvee is supposed to hit the highway.

Initialize and Brand:
No, you don’t need to brand your kid with an identifying tattoo, at least not until they’re 18. It’s a good idea to mark the child’s clothing with clothing labels, however. You can get personalized labels for any kind of stuff, backpacks, clothes, toys and even gadgets. They feature creative, cool designs so your child won’t feel like such a dork having parents that care. You can get camp labels for gear.

Dry, Warm Boots and Rain Gear:
A warm, dry pair of boots and rain gear is essential for any camping trip. Mother Nature’s wraith reins, and when it does, a warm pair of feet and dry clothes stays in the woods longer than cold, wet ones. If you want your own personal parent vacation to last, make sure your kid is outfitted with proper footwear. Keep them out of the house and camping with the deer for as long as you can get away with.

Sufficient Clothing:
Be prepared for all weather and conditions. Unless it’s a backpacking trip, it’s better to over pack than under prepare. Pack plenty of clothing, especially sweat shirts, and encourage the child to dress in layers. Use clothing labels to make sure it comes home. Really, camp labels in general are a good idea, as unchecked gear ends up in the hands of wild bears and wandering moose a lot more often than you’d expect.

Ryan McTavish is the author of the following article about tips for prepping kids for camp, including using camp labels and clothing labels.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ryan_McTavish

Follow In Order to Succeed  on Facebook and on Twitter.

Preparing for Summer Camp Tips

By Ryan McTavish

Fireflies don’t bite, but bedbugs do. This summer, kick the kids out of the house on a good old fashioned camping trip. Pack a bag with the essentials- bug spray, clean underwear, and enough comic books to keep the bears up at night. If this is your child’s first safari, have no fear. Here’s a list of summer camp tips to get them ready for the outback. Just remember camp labels if you ever expect the gear to make it back to the garage, however. Camp and clothing labels list your child’s name and even a phone number, so perfectly good camping gear is never condemned to the summer camp’s lost and found.

Don’t Pack and Run:
Pack early. Don’t wait until the last minute. You’ll likely come up with new things to add as you pack, and you might need to hit the store for a few last minute add-ons. Don’t realize the rain jacket has holes a half hour before the Humvee is supposed to hit the highway.

Initialize and Brand:
No, you don’t need to brand your kid with an identifying tattoo, at least not until they’re 18. It’s a good idea to mark the child’s clothing with clothing labels, however. You can get personalized labels for any kind of stuff, backpacks, clothes, toys and even gadgets. They feature creative, cool designs so your child won’t feel like such a dork having parents that care. You can get camp labels for gear.

Dry, Warm Boots and Rain Gear:
A warm, dry pair of boots and rain gear is essential for any camping trip. Mother Nature’s wraith reins, and when it does, a warm pair of feet and dry clothes stays in the woods longer than cold, wet ones. If you want your own personal parent vacation to last, make sure your kid is outfitted with proper footwear. Keep them out of the house and camping with the deer for as long as you can get away with.

Sufficient Clothing:
Be prepared for all weather and conditions. Unless it’s a backpacking trip, it’s better to over pack than under prepare. Pack plenty of clothing, especially sweat shirts, and encourage the child to dress in layers. Use clothing labels to make sure it comes home. Really, camp labels in general are a good idea, as unchecked gear ends up in the hands of wild bears and wandering moose a lot more often than you’d expect.

Ryan McTavish is the author of the following article about tips for prepping kids for camp, including using camp labels and clothing labels.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ryan_McTavish

Follow In Order to Succeed  on Facebook and on Twitter.

Essential Kids Summer Camp Checklist

By Andrea G Stein

A kids summer camp can be a great experience for children and their parents. After you have made the choice of which camp to send your child to, it’s time to plan for the actual camp program. How will you know what your child really needs? Most summer camp programs will send a welcome packet including a list of what to pack, whether it’s a summer day camp or an overnight program. In case they don’t or if you want to be fully prepared, here are some tips for creating a camp checklist.

For day camps, you would want to include swimming gear, like a towel, swimsuit, swim shoes and sunscreen. Add in hat, filled water bottles, sandals, an extra set of clothing, hat and maybe a lightweight rain slicker and sweatshirt and your child should be prepared for whatever heads her way.

If your child is on any regular medication or has an allergy, make sure the summer camp nurse knows about it and you have registered those medications. Include detailed instructions on how the medication should be administered and when they need to call you.

Some summer day camps provide lunch and snacks, others do not. If they don’t they you will need to pack a lunch every day in an insulated lunch snack – include an ice pack to keep the food cool. Avoid sending peanut butter, nuts and chocolate as snacks since these are common allergy triggers for kids – and the chocolate will melt.

And don’t forget to have snacks handy in the car when you pick them up after a long day of camping. Your children have been busy, busy, busy and waiting until dinner time will likely be too long.

For sleep away camp programs, the same basic list of items is needed except more. First off you will need to know how long the camp lasts, and whether or not your kids will have the chance to do laundry. If not, pack twice as many pairs of underwear and socks as days in the camp. For other clothes, a good rule of thumb is one t-shirt and shorts for each day of camp, a few sweatshirts or fleeces for cool nights, two pairs of pants, two sets of pajamas, flip slops, sneakers and several bathing suits.

And don’t forget the toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, comb and a hairbrush. Include two sets of washcloths and towels. Include toiletries such as shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, biodegradable soap, hairbrush and comb, two wash cloths and at least two towels. Include a plastic bag or carrying case to get these things to and from the shower. Other items might include bed lines, pillow, sleeping bag and a blanket, as well as a flashlight with extra batteries.

Most camps won’t allow cellphones, video games, or music players, so check and see what your camp program’s rules are. You might want to throw in some books or puzzles for quiet times and rainy days. And don’t forget to label everything with your child’s names or initials. A waterproof marker or fabric labels work well too.

With a little bit of planning, your kids summer camp experience can be a great one. When they’re well prepared – thanks to you, your kids can focus on having tons of fun – the whole point of camp.

Andrea Stein is the founder of GirlMogul.com, an online community for tween girls to light up their girl power. Download your Free Guide GirlMoguls Rule the World – How to Raise a Successful Daughter in a Dangerous World at www.girlmogulmom.com today.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Andrea_G_Stein

For more tips follow In Order to Succeed  on Facebook and on Twitter.

10 Professional Organizers to ‘Like’ on Facebook

Quick self-promotion: If you haven’t yet liked In Order to Succeed on Facebook, do it now. You’ll find time management tips, productivity tips and of course organizational tips from In Order to Succeed’s professional organizers and project consultants. Plus, you can ask us all your questions and we’ll do our best to answer them.

O.K., now that the self-promotion is over with, it’s time to talk about some other professional organizers. We love our fellow organizers. They are an inspiration to us and are constantly sharing great advice. Here are 10 professional organizers (in no particular order) we think you should ‘like’ on Facebook.

  1. Julie Morgenstern Enterprises
  2. Blissfully Organized LLC
  3. The Organizing Guru
  4. SoBe Organized
  5. Organizing Goddess, Inc.
  6. IHeart Organizing
  7. Innovatively Organized
  8. Memories Organized LLC
  9. Organized Home
  10. The Organized Mom

In Order to Succeed is a full service Professional Organizing firm providing Home and Business Organizing Solutions, Moving/Relocation Coordination Assistance and Time Management help to people throughout New York (NY) and Connecticut (CT) and across the US.  Our Professional Organizers, Relocation Specialists and Productivity Experts will make your home and office more efficient and attractive.  We can help create a zen-like, less stressful environment giving you the time and calm to focus what you enjoy. For more information visit www.inordertosucceed.com.

10 Professional Organizers to ‘Like’ on Facebook

Quick self-promotion: If you haven’t yet liked In Order to Succeed on Facebook, do it now. You’ll find time management tips, productivity tips, and of course, organizational tips from In Order to Succeed’s professional organizers and project consultants. Plus, you can ask us all your questions and we’ll do our best to answer them.

O.K., now that the self-promotion is over with, it’s time to talk about some other professional organizers. We love our fellow organizers. They are an inspiration to us and are constantly sharing great advice. Here are 10 professional organizers (in no particular order) we think you should like on Facebook.

  1. Julie Morgenstern Enterprises
  2. Blissfully Organized LLC
  3. The Organizing Guru
  4. SoBe Organized
  5. Organizing Goddess, Inc.
  6. IHeart Organizing
  7. Innovatively Organized
  8. Memories Organized LLC
  9. Organized Home
  10. The Organized Mom

In Order to Succeed is a full service Professional Organizing firm providing Home and Business Organizing Solutions, Moving/Relocation Coordination Assistance and Time Management help to people throughout New York (NY) and Connecticut (CT) and across the US.  Our Professional Organizers, Relocation Specialists and Productivity Experts will make your home and office more efficient and attractive.  We can help create a zen-like, less stressful environment giving you the time and calm to focus what you enjoy. For more information visit www.inordertosucceed.com.