Neatsmart mantra: Make Your Bed

“If you want to change the world start by making your bed.”

Navy Seal Admiral Bill McRaven

Navy Seal Admiral Bill McRaven nails it in his commencement speech for the University of Texas. If you want to do great things (or just survive until you can go back to bed), make your bed. You’ll at least start of the day with an accomplishment.

Happy organizing!

End of school organizing

This is my book bag from high school. Yes, I still use it  which is why I still have it!

This is my book bag from high school. Yes, I still use it which is why I still have it!

School’s out! It’s summer! Now what?

Those of you with kids are well aware that school is out here in GA with everyone else finishing up this week in other parts of the country. Who doesn’t remember that awesome feeling when school finished and it felt like you had all the time in the world to play, relax, go to camp, swim, hang out with friends? It was magical!

Even if you’re not in school and don’t have kids that are, you can do these quick organizing tasks to have a more fun summer. Although it seems like summer will be here forever when you’re a kid, we adults know that the next school year is just around the corner–9 weeks to be exact. Sorry to remind you. 😦

Clean out book bag

I mean really clean it out! Take out the papers, pencils, ruler, books, etc. and turn it inside out. Shake out the bag outside and don’t be surprised at what comes out. 🙂 Take off any of the zipper accessories so that you’re left with just the bag. Check the tag to make sure but I’d put it in the washing machine on a cold water, gentle cycle and then let it air dry. Determine if this is something your child can use next year or if it needs to be donated. I’d vote for keeping it and using it another year if possible but I know these bags carry a heavy load and can’t last forever. Just go ahead and clean it out now so it doesn’t sit until school starts.

Clean out school binder

The 3-ring binders that you took out in the first step should be cleaned out of any old notes and tests. Have your child determine if he needs to keep anything for next year or summer school and toss (recycle) what you don’t need. Again, I would think seriously about re-using what you can next year and having a binder that’s already been cleaned out is a lot more appealing than an old, trashed one. You may have a hard time convincing them they can re-use it but remember Neatsmart’s mantra that clean stuff works better.

Put other school supplies together

If there are pencil boxes or bags, pencils, folders that will be used, make sure they are cleaned out and then put them back in the book bag. This way they’ll be ready for use once school starts. I know a lot of parents spend a crazy amount of time running around time once they get that school supply list but I’d be willing to bet some $ that they already have a lot of what they need. They just don’t know where it is. Keeping these items together and then putting the bag away helps clear out what you don’t need at this time.

Clean out your lunch bag

Neatsmart used a brown paper or small shopping bag in her school days so this is new to me. See, recycling has been around for a while! Follow the same steps and clean out the lunch bag(s) and put them with the school bag. Nobody wants to open up a lunch bag that’s a few months old that never got cleaned out!

In case you haven’t read it, Neatsmart has a great suggestion for how to organize essential school papers and this is a a perfect project to put together this summer. Get your kids to help make their own!

Let’s make room for beach towels, sunscreen, and flip flops! Enjoy your summer reading, camps, and vacations knowing that you’ve got a head start on getting ready for school in a couple of months.

Happy organizing!

 

Gaining clarity through organization

Limitless 2011 poster

I love this scene in Limitless when Bradley Cooper takes the mystery pill and gains access to 100% of his brain. Ignore the invalid science, bad language & gratuitous sex or just go to 3.45 to watch how his higher awareness brings clarity and clarity brings order, calm, and focus.

Happy organizing!

Embracing Minimalism?

hydrangeasThis is a thoughtful article about a book I am eager to read, Everything That Remains. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with The Minimalists and their mission to lead more meaningful lives not encumbered by the acquisition of stuff. That’a a pretty minimalist description so you should go to their website to get the full story. I’m definitely not doing it justice here. 🙂

I completely agree with their idea getting rid of anything in their homes that doesn’t have a function or bring them joy. The article posits that “getting organized” is a myth and just a ploy to continue mass consumerism. Is “clearing clutter” a canard to acquire more stuff? I admit I felt taken aback at reading this wondering if it applied to me. Do I help people clear clutter and get organized so that they can just have more stuff and have it look better? The answer is a resounding “NO” but I can see where they would think that. The top selling women’s magazine issues’ are typically the “getting organized” issues that are released throughout the year. Too often we are caught up in getting the new product (phone, It bag, car, ikat pillow or faux antlers, etc.) and not paying attention to what we already have and how it’s serving us.

What do you think of minimalism? Could you live in less space if you got rid 50% of your possessions? Could you live without a TV? Phone? Internet? I’m not sure I could and I’m not sure what that says about me. Hmmm. Food for thought.

Happy organizing!

 

The Wrong Clothes Taking Over Your Closet

DSC_0021Anyone who has met me and lots of you who haven’t know the phrase ‘you wear 20% of your clothing 80% of the time’ and most people upon hearing /reading that start nodding their heads in agreement. We all know that we have too full closets but what’s in them and how do you decide what to toss? Here is the short answer:

*Toss anything that doesn’t flatter you, suit you, make you happy, or have a purpose.

*And just so we’re clear, when I say “toss” I mean donate, give to someone else, sell, or otherwise just remove from your own closet. It does not necessarily mean throw away. Just because you are finished with something doesn’t mean someone else can’t use it.  Continue reading

Thoughts on Financial Freedom

This is where Neatsmart stores extra change.

This is where Neatsmart stores extra change.

Financial Freedom is a topic that impacts all of us at some point in our lives. When I was in high school and college, working as a hostess, waitress, and bartender I was acutely aware of how much money I had at all times. Counting cash at the end of the shift awarded me such pleasure because I could immediately experience the rewards of my labor. Being the organized person that I am, I would line up my bills and change by denomination, count it, and put it in order either in my wallet or stash in my bookcase but you could probably have guessed that about me. 🙂

Continue reading

Shout it from the rooftops: elfa Sale!

25% off elfa systems & installation at The Container Store in June!

25% off elfa systems & installation at The Container Store in June!

It’s always fun to share good news and today is no exception. I received a note from one of my favorite stores, The Container Store, letting me know that elfa(r)  is going to be on sale during the month of June! This includes the products AND installation. 25% off. Whoa.

Anyone who is considering a closet makeover, update, overhaul, or new closet construction should consider this seriously. I love elfa because it is completely customizable, highly functional, looks pretty,  and is of excellent quality. You can use it in your closet, kitchen, office, playroom, basement, and really just about any room in your house.

Last but not least, I have a coupon that allows you to go ahead and get the 25% off today! Neatsmart can certainly help you get your home, office, closet, and life organized and using elfa gives you a great foundation to maintain your customized organization system. If you have any questions about how we can help you with your organization goals, contact carrie@neatsmart.com today.

p.s. I was NOT compensated by The Container Store for this post. I just believe in their products.

Happy organizing!