Brainstorming holiday presents? Here are a few gift options, all of which are kind to you, your budget, & the planet.
Each idea also reduces clutter, either directly—like giving your used clothing to seasonal drives—or indirectly: e.g., event tickets don’t take up space or require gift wrapping.
Binder pencil cases are inexpensive all year round, but especially now, when back-to-school supplies are on clearance.
It’s a great time of year to stock up on cases for your home, office, car, gym bag... you name it!
The cases are perfectly sized for your:
My priorities, in order, are ensuring that the child feels safe, content, valued for who they are, and /then/ whatever the organizing task may be.
Many people wonder if all organizers are like Marie Kondo, the multimillionaire personal organizer of Netflix and authorial fame. The short answer is no--and, without saying anything negative about Kondo, diversity among professional organizers is a good thing!
Different people need different organizing solutions, and sometimes that means a different organizer. As with any personal service, no single individual or approach will be a good fit for everyone.
Here are some hallmarks of my philosophy:
I enjoy working with children and teens: their energy, ideas, and novel perspectives inspire me! I also value knowing that these organizing and executive function capabilities will serve them throughout their lives.
It's a lifelong gift, to help your child(ren) learn to use their innate personality traits for their success. My services are one way to give that gift.
I value the success of children from all backgrounds and am happy to discuss a sliding scale discount with you.
Please check out the full text of this rave review from a pleased client (posted with permission):
"My husband and I have had great success enlisting the help of a professional organizer [Steven] to assist in making sense of our respective home offices. Imagine our surprise, however, when our sons started asking if Steven (our organizer) could please come and help them with messes in their own rooms.
They were literally begging us to invite him over, as my husband and I looked at one another quizzically. “Well, why not?” we figured. These were good skills for someone to grow up with!
So Steven came on a Sunday and spent an hour with each of our children. And it was like watching a miracle worker.
He sought early buy-in, worked with their individual personalities, turned the project into a game for my little guy, and taught my oldest the difference between items used for 'play; versus 'display.' Talk about giving language to things I really hadn’t ever thought much about before."
Zero Waste DC is a wonderful resource. Type in any unwanted items--e.g., hangers, old clothes, outdated electronics--and the site tells you how to dispose of them in a safe, eco-friendly way. The site even includes links to local charities that will accept your item(s)!
Zero Waste DC also provides a massive Google Docs spreadsheet, listing stores and nonprofits where you can shop for used items, donate them, or get items repaired.
Finally--and my personal favorite--you can even play a DC-specific, online computer game (no downloads or special gaming system required!) to learn more about disposing of unwanted items. This is a fun way to teach your children about recycling and being kind to the earth. Check out the screen capture below!
Liberate your silverware organizers from the bounds of the kitchen! :) Try expandable silverware organizers (also known as utensil or flatware organizers) throughout your home.
Goodwill often has silverware organizers for sale. If you can't find them, look for silverware itself: the organizers are usually shelved nearby. Goodwill can be a great choice: less impact on your wallet, and on the Earth!
Frantically searching for your screwdriver or scissors is a source of stress and irritation. Knowing where things are, by contrast, helps you stay calmer--and frees up your emotional energy to be more patient and present!
*As always, no compensation was received for linking to these products: they're merely examples, not endorsements.
#CarbonDatingYourCarryon #DidYouKnow #OrganizationObservation
You can often make a pretty good guess about when a work/school bag was manufactured, based on what technology it was designed to hold.
Does your bag have a pocket for a portable CD-ROM player ("Discman")? An iPod pocket? A laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, both? A zip-up case for wireless headphones?
None of the above, because none of those technologies had been invented yet?
Older bags can still be useful: those padded Discman pockets are just right to prevent a sandwich from getting squished! :)
Ensure that every bag, regardless of its age, is meeting your or your child's current needs.
A site like ebags.com or backpacks.com can help you get a sense of your options and filter bags by your exact preferences: everything from whether the bag includes a water bottle pocket to if it can fit your 17" laptop.*
Can you find what you need in your bag, quickly and easily? Is your bag supporting you in staying organized?
If not, consider #donating the bag and re-evaluating what you actually carry.
I can help you think critically about both your possessions and options for transporting them.
[Your donated bag likely has the perfect number, size, and arrangement of compartments... for somebody else!]
*No endorsement of either site is implied.
Labeling your cords, cables, and chargers (CCCs, for brevity!) is a great way to save yourself time and frustration.
When you're peering at a jammed surge protector, all of the plugs can look identical--and you don't want to accidentally unplug your printer instead of your laptop charger!
Labeling chargers can be as simple & inexpensive as writing the device name on a piece of masking tape, then wrapping tape around one end.
For cords and cables that connect electronics to one another---e.g., components of a home entertainment system--label both ends.
You can purchase an inexpensive, more durable labeling method: I use Kableflags and like them, but there are many comparable products. One limitation of Kableflags is needing to write in small letters to fit the info recommended below.
For truly top-notch CCC management, label not just the name of the device ("laptop"), but also brand and even model: "HP Stream laptop," "Dell Inspiron 15 laptop." Also consider adding the owner's name.
If your household has multiple laptops, this will come in handy. Parents, especially, can prevent sibling squabbles and save valuable time!
Even one person can have an old and current work laptop, plus a personal laptop: 3 chargers! Then add CCCs for tablet, phone, and music player, not to mention printer, desk lamp, shredder...
Be kind to your future self: #CorralTheCords!
*I did not receive any compensation for mentioning this product.
Sometimes, people mistakenly assume that getting organized requires purchasing lots of storage supplies.
While purchasing new bins, boxes, etc. can be fun, it is definitely not your only option!
Many household items that would otherwise go to waste can be re-purposed for organizing. Reusing items for organization is an all-around win: it saves you money, keeps non-recyclable items out of landfills, and reduces the energy costs of processing recyclables!
Some ideas to get you started:
Steven Cohen is the owner of Streamlined by Steven, a professional organizing company serving Washington, D.C. and parts of Maryland.