Back to School Organization Tips for All Ages
backtoschool2jpg

Summer is flying by and believe it or not, back to school is right around the corner. Here are a few back to school tips that I hope you will find useful. One thing to keep in mind is that parents or students can buy the finest school supplies but if there isn’t a schedule or organizational habits in place, students may not succeed to the best of their ability. Start this school year off with strategies in place and keep it going throughout the year!

Create a Command Centre, as it is a one stop spot for mail, family schedules, school forms, and other important information. This box should be used as a short-term filing system. Put file folders in the box, label them accordingly, and each day when you receive an item, file it (rather than putting it in a pile somewhere and forgetting about it). Don’t let the items pile up. Go through them at least twice a week. Take out what is needed, action the items, and if needed, put them in a larger filing system, for example, a filing cabinet in your office.

command centre

Source – http://lovelycraftyhome.com/2011/01/19/new-year-new-organization/

Create a homework space that is quiet and where you will feel relaxed, but not too relaxed that you will fall asleep!
2014-08-10 12.15.02

The next few tips are for Elementary School Age Children (Young Children)

• Go through your children’s dresser drawers and closet and let go of clothes, shoes and jackets that are too small or worn. Make a list of items that are needed and donate any items that are not too worn. Shop for what is needed.

• Make sure to get the list of school supplies from your child’s school ahead of time. Go through the list and see what you already have and what you need to purchase. Go shopping early. Don’t leave it until a few days before school starts. You may not find what you are looking for, and you may be able to avoid those crazy line-ups.

• Have your children go to bed earlier at least a week before school starts so they can get used to the routine of going to bed earlier. Also, start waking your child up earlier so they can get used to the earlier morning routine.

• Do a practice run of all the things you would like them to do before they go to school. Getting dressed, making bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth etc. It will give you an idea of how long it will take your children in the morning to get ready for school.

Plan ahead lunches and snacks – Make up a schedule if you wish, make lunches ahead of time, or prepare snacks in zip lock bags. Do what works for you, but you will find it less stressful and such a time saver in the long run.

lunchbag

Enquire about school bus stops and times, immunizations, and any identification that may be required.

• Make a note to update the school with any changes of information – change of address, phone numbers, emergency contact etc.

Label – Be sure to label all your children’s belongings with their name to help prevent them from being lost – lunch bag, backpack, shoes, jacket, mitts, hats etc.

The following are tips for Middle School Age Children and Older

• Depending on the school, they may require the purchase of binders or duotangs. When purchasing binders, I recommend purchasing the 1 or 1.5 inch and one per subject, rather than the larger ones that you can put several subjects in. The larger ones get too heavy to carry. In each binder, divide into 4 sections and each section should be labeled with the following:
Notes
•Homework
•Handouts
•Tests/Quizzes

When the student is no longer working on a section of study and the test has been given, clear that section out of the binder. It will leave room for next section and won’t be too heavy to carry. If the notes are needed for final exam, put in a safe place to study later. Make sure to label the file!

• Buy a Daytimer – And I am talking about the old fashioned hard copy daytimer. Yes, you can still schedule important dates on your electronic planners if you wish, but having a day planner that you carry with you at all times is great. You can grab it and write down assignment due dates, when tests are held, and you can make a plan on what homework you will cover each day of the week. It is easy to use and it works!
dayplanner

School Supplies – I am not going to list what school supplies are needed in this blog, but will mention a few items that you should always have on hand.
Box of pencils – if they are not sharpened, sharpen ahead of time, so they are ready to go
Erasers
Box of pens
Coloured pens/markers/pencils
Highlighters
Hole punch
Hole reinforcement stickers
– Pages get lost when the holes rip. Always have these on hand
Ruler – Not just for measuring – Underline important words or heading – Looks nicer and is a memory enhancer

I have many more tips for back to school, including homework organization, how to organize school supplies, study tips and more. Feel free to contact me for a free telephone consultation, I would be more than happy to help.

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer, a member of the Professional Organizers in Canada, and the proud owner of Second Set of Hands . She helps reduce her clients stress level and gives them more free time by coaching, organizing, decluttering and helping her clients in many different ways! Need a helping hand? Contact Kathy!

Kathy Second Set of Hands

Second Set of Hands

613-454-5706
info@secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca
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7 Father’s Day Gift Ideas
Happy Father's Day

Father’s Day is around the corner and here are a few gift ideas to help celebrate the special day! You will notice that I couldn’t help but include a few items that will help keep Dad organized!

1. Diaper Dude Messenger Diaper Bag – What a great way to keep your child’s belongings all organized and in one handy place, AND, it is not pink or baby blue! It even comes with an insulated bottle holder and a changing pad. Comes in various patterns and styles, including military style. Found at various locations including Amazon.ca $99.99 to $119.99

diaperdudebag

2. Revolving Motorized Tie Rack – This motorized tie rack holds 64 ties and various belts. No tools are required and it even lights up. How cool is that? Brookstone $49.99

Brookstone automatic tie rack

3. Mr Coffee Mug Warmer – If you have a father like I do, who loves his coffee, this is the perfect gift. Just plug it in and it is good to go. Keeps your coffee nice and warm and never gets cold. Can also be used for other liquids like hot chocolate, tea etc. Bed Bath and Beyond $9.99

coffee cup heater

4. Wenger Evo Wood 10 Knife Set –  Everything your father will need and organized in one set. Love it! Features Include: Large Blade, Patented Locking Screwdriver, Cap Lifter, Wire Crimper, Can Opener, Nail File, Nail Cleaner, Reamer, Awl, Corkscrew, Toothpick, Tweezers, Key Ring. You can even personalize it by engraving it with your own personalized message. Things Engraved $56.00

knife

5. Gift Certificate to your local Butcher. What a great way to stay local and also be able to have your father pick out his favorite beef, poultry, pork etc.

 

6. Gift Certificates to his neighbourhood car wash. If there is one that washes the inside of the car, as well as the outside, even better. Dad will feel spoiled knowing he can have his car shiny and cleaned when he wants to.

 

7.  Jerry Can/Trail Can Utility tool box – Keep tools organized in this Utility tool box that you can carry around your home. You may not be able to carry gasoline in it, but it comes with two removable drawers, screwdriver storage slots, and non-slip liners to keep items from shifting around. It also has a locking lid which stops items from spilling out. You can find this item on ebay and amazon.ca. Cost is approximately $189.77.

Trailcan

 

Prices of products listed above may change and are of my opinion only. I do not get paid for mentioning these products.

 

I would like to wish all fathers a very special Father’s Day!

Kathy McEwan  

 

Second Set of Hands helps clients with gift ideas, shopping, gift wrapping, and delivery. If you would like help with special occasions, please contact us for a free telephone consultation.

613-454-5706

Kathy@secondsetofhands.ca

www.secondsetofhands.ca

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day

A week today will be Mother’s Day, and many of us are undecided as to what special gift to give our Mothers. Mother’s day is a celebration to all Mother’s to say thank you for all that you have done and for being that special person that we could always turn to anytime we needed advice, wisdom or a shoulder to lean on. So what do you get your Mother this year for Mother’s day? Although flowers are always nice, here are a few unique ideas that you can do for you Mother on Mother’s Day!

1. Second Set of Hand’s gift certificate – I couldn’t go without mentioning that Second Set of Hands provides gift certificates. Let your mother decide which service she would like, whether it is virtual assistance, home or office organization, errand running, personal shopping, downsizing assistance, etc. We rarely say no to a request, so whatever you mother wants, we will be more than happy to help her in any way we can!

Gift Certificates

Gift Certificates

2. Scrapbooking – Create a Scrapbook. What a wonderful way to have a keepsake picture made into a beautiful piece of art. You can purchase scrapbooking materials at local craft stores or some of the big box stores. You can also use websites like Shutterfly or Moleskin to create your book.

Mother's Day Scrapbook
via: www.scrapbook.com

3. Family Tree – Surprise you Mother with a family tree. This may be more time consuming but if you have the time, what a wonderful way to have your mother reminisce about her family. Try to get old photos of as many family members as you can and put the photos where the names are. It will turn out to be quite a masterpiece and a conversational piece at the same time.

4. Sweets – Saying Happy Mother’s Day with a special cake, cupcakes or cookies are always a nice treat. Besides going to your local grocery store, you can always try something new and exciting by special ordering from one of your local bakeries. Sweet Clementine’s is one of Ottawa’s finest bakeries that specialize in custom order sweets for events and occasions. You can check out their facebook page for more pictures of their amazing treats!

Sweet Clementines Sweet Clementines Cookies

https://www.facebook.com/SweetClementines/

5. Just Ask! – Don’t be afraid to ask your mother what she would like, or what she would like to do for Mother’s day. You may be surprised by her request. Some mothers may want to go to the spa, or out to lunch while other may just want to go for a walk, or drive by their old neighbourhood where they once grew up. It is her day, so make it special!

I hope all you Moms have a wonderful Mother’s Day! If any of you want to share what your plans are for that day, or what you ended up doing, please feel free. I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,
Kathy!


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kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Kathy McEwanOwner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada
Tel: (613) 454-5706
www.secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca/blog
www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa/
Second Set of Hands

Weekend Tip:

Turn all your clothes hangers backwards and after you use an item, hang it back the right way. After a certain length of time, normally a year or two at the most, if your hanger is still turned backwards, time to get rid of that item. Make sure you write down the date you turned your hangers backwards. The 1st of a month is an easy day to start. So what do you think? Do you have items that you wonder, ” When was the last time I wore this?”


Get Rid of Old Clothes

Get Rid of Old Clothes


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kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Bye for now,
KathyOwner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada
Tel: (613) 454-5706
www.secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca/blog
www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa/
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Weekend Tip:

Keep business cards out of sight and organized by putting sheet metal on the inside of one of your kitchen doors and use magnets to hold the business cards. You can also use this area to add a note pad, grocery list, a to-do list etc. An alternate choice could be corkboard and pins. So let’s get organized!


Appointments and Business Cards

Appointments and Business Cards

 


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kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Bye for now,
KathyOwner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada
Tel: (613) 454-5706
www.secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca/blog
www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa/
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WEEKEND TIP!  Litter Boxes

What a great way to cover up cat litter! I saw these two Litter Boxes on e-bay but have seen them on other sites as well. Which one do you like best and would you use them? Source: ebay. Name of products not known


Litter Boxes

Litter Box

 


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kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Bye for now,
KathyOwner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada
Tel: (613) 454-5706
www.secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca/blog
www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa/
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Weekend Tip!

Now that the warmer weather is around the corner and I can’t wait to get into my flip flops, what do you think of this DIY idea for flat shoes and flip flops?


Shoe Organization

Shoe Organization

 


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kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Bye for now,
KathyOwner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada
Tel: (613) 454-5706
www.secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca/blog
www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa/
Second Set of Hands

I was able to drop off a large number of bags for donation to the Shepherds of Good Hope (serving the poor and the homeless) thanks to a very generous client that is downsizing. They were thrilled when they saw how many bags there were, and thanks to my client, there will be a lot of happy people. What a pleasure to work with such a kind and generous client!


Clothing Donation

Clothing Donation

 


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kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Bye for now,
KathyOwner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada
Tel: (613) 454-5706
www.secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca/blog
www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa/
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Weekend Tip!

I was given this cute box full of chocolates for Easter. Thought the box was so cute, I am now using it as a holder for my office desk. The power of recycling!! Thanks Emma you are awesome!


Chocolate Box

Office Pen Holder

 


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kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Bye for now,
KathyOwner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada
Tel: (613) 454-5706
www.secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca/blog
www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa/
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8 Top Downsizing Tips
8 Top Downsizing Tips!

Moving can be a very stressful time, but add downsizing to the situation, and it can be even more stressful. Whether you are an empty nester, senior, or someone who is in a 3 bedroom condo moving to a studio apartment, there are lots to consider when downsizing. Here are 8 Top Downsizing Tips designed to make the process easier.

1. Make a list of all the big items that you really want to keep and then evaluate your wants versus your needs. Your list should contain items that you feel you really want to keep, but then go back over it and decide if there is anything on that list that you really do not need. If you are able to cut back on your list, that means less packing, less items to move and more living space at your new home.

2. Start going through your personal belongings at least 3 months before your move. Don’t wait until the last minute. Take an hour each day, or a half day per week and go through those packed closets, drawers or cupboards. Kitchen utensils, mixing bowls, and Tupperware are areas you can tackle early and won’t mind letting go. If you have lots, keep what is necessary. The garage is another area that you can focus on. If you are downsizing to a condo or retirement home, you will not need the snow blower, lawn mower, gardening tools etc.

3. If you are feeling overwhelmed, then focus in one area. Downsizing can be very emotional and overwhelming. If you have the feeling of not knowing where to start, then start with one room, one corner, one drawer, one closet, one cupboard etc. Once you are done in that area, you can move on to the next. It takes time but you will get through it.

4. Let go of specialized items that are rarely used. If you collect items that are rarely used and are often kept in storage, now is the time to let them go or perhaps keep one of those special items. For example, Christmas hand towels or glassware. Instead replace them with year round glassware and hand towels.

5. Recycle, donate, sell, or if you have to, put in the garbage. Only put items in the garbage that are broken or that are of no use to anyone else. Auctioning off your items is an option if you have several items, or calling consignment stores and antique dealers to see if they would be interested in your items. If you want to give your items away, you could have an Open House for friends and family members and let them know you are giving away certain items. Don’t feel offended if they do not want your older furniture or knickknacks. Another option would be to donate your items to your local charities such as Salvation Army, Value Village, or Women’s Shelters.

6. Not sure what to keep? Ask! If you are having a hard time deciding what to keep and what to let go, then ask a second party. Your friend or family member will be honest with you and let you know if they think you will ever use that item again.

7. Ask for room measurements of your new home. Ask the landlord or real estate agent for the measurements of the rooms in your new home. Draw a floor plan of the items you will be using. This is the best way to get an idea of what size furniture you should use. If moving to a retirement home, have a family member help you with the measurements.

8. Use color coded stickers or numbers when packing. When I bought my first home, I put numbers on the bedrooms, and numbered my packing boxes with the corresponding bedroom numbers. I remember the movers saying how easy it was for them to do the move and it was easy for me as well. I used numbering for just the bedrooms, but you can use it for all rooms. Another option is to use colour coded stickers.

Check back for more tips and useful information!

kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Bye for now,
Kathy

Owner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer and Moving Specialist
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada and the Institute of Challenging Disorganization

It was a family members birthday recently (my one and only sibling), and at the very last minute, I found myself without a birthday card for her. It was then that I realized that I better practice what I preach. Although I did have some cards on hand, they were not organized and therefore I was left scrambling at the last minute. Well I am glad to say I shouldn’t have that problem anymore! Yippee!

I went shopping and bought myself a cute decorative box. Luckily, I brought a greeting card with me to measure because buying a box that was the right size was actually harder than I thought.

Greeting Cards Box

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I added a oval shaped sticker and the words Greeting Cards using sticker lettering.

Greeting Cards 2

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I added a sunflower for colour, but you can add any decorations you like, or keep it simple with just the Greeting Cards label

Greeting Cards 3

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I bought a large assortment of greeting cards and separated them with labels. The labels were made using card stock and stickers. I placed plastic behind the stickers for added durability. By the way, I was pressed for time, so I did not use my printer to print off labels which may have looked nicer than the hand written versions. However, our cards should be hand written and not signature stamped, so I guess there is nothing wrong with hand writing the labels as well. Some might say it looks more personable.

As you can see, the above picture shows two different styles of labels. I am sure you can find other styles as well. I chose the one on the left, however, I am not sure why as I usually go for the more simple or modern look.

Greeting Cards 4

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I am now ready for the next time I will be needing a greeting card. Does it ever feel good to be this organized!

You too can be this organized. Take an afternoon one day and make one!

If you would like one of these boxes but don’t think you have the time to make one, then feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to make one for you. They would make a perfect birthday gift, a gift for a senior citizen, or anyone else that has a hard time getting out to a store to buy greeting cards.

Bye for now,
Kathy

Kathy McEwan is a professional organizer and member of the Professional Organizers of Canada.

Second Set of Hands is a concierge and personal assistant service that provides errand running, personal shopping, home and office organization and just about any service that is legal, ethical and moral.

Contact Second Set of Hands today via email if you would like to subscribe to our promotions and get our blog sent directly to your inbox. Also, feel free to contact us for a free no obligation quote, or if you have any questions. We would be more than happy to help!


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kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Bye for now,
KathyOwner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada
Tel: (613) 454-5706
www.secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca/blog
www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa/
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Do you have an old tv armoire that you do not use anymore and thinking of selling it or giving it away? If so, after reading this blog you may want to reconsider. There are many ways of refurbishing old armoires into functioning spaces!

If you do not have a tv armoire, and would like one, you may want to check out your local consignment shop. Armoires are often being dropped off at consignment stores, and have been, ever since the beginning of flat screen televisions.

Check out the following 6 amazing transformations of tv armoires!

Old Armoire

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This Linen Closet is Fresh and Clean! Love it!
 

via countryliving.com

Armoire

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Store crafts in this old tv armoire! Close the doors to keep it looking clean and tidy!
 

via twopeasinabucket.com

Office Armoire

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This office is fun and stylish! Love the addition of wallpaper!
 

via bhg.com

Change Table Armoire

Change Table Armoire

TV armoire transformed into a change table!
 

via Ashley edge
http://edge-designs.blogspot.ca/2010/07 … ovely.html

Bar Armoire

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This bar is classy and functional! Add a mirror, porcelain shelf, wine rack shelf, and stemware hangers!
 

via ths.gardenweb.com

Kids Armoire

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This kids area is practical and unique! The chalkboard paint on the doors adds character and kids love it!
 

via kidspacestuff.com
These are just a few ideas of how you can refurbish your tv armoires into functioning spaces. If you don’t have a kitchen pantry, you can always use your tv armoire for added kitchen storage. Or you can use a tv armoire as a clothes wardrobe. Add a pole and hang clothes. Use the drawers for clothes, belts, scarves and jewelry.


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kathy second set of hands organizer 2 Bye for now,
KathyOwner, Second Set of Hands
B.A., Professional Organizer
Member of the Canadian Organizers in Canada
Tel: (613) 454-5706
www.secondsetofhands.ca
www.secondsetofhands.ca/blog
www.facebook.com/secondsetofhandsconciergeottawa/
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