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Successful Summer Scheduling

Its summer time now, and a big adjustment to schedules is required for parents with school-aged children.  I remember the best times of my childhood were in the summer.  So now as a parent I try to create an enjoyable, yet active environment for my kids over their break.

I asked my followers on Facebook to share summer activity ideas, so I will be including the ideas in this post. Thanks everyone for writing it with me!

Keep these 5 things in mind for making your summer break fun and successful for everyone:

1- Reserve 2-3 days of the week for “away from home” activities.

 

Designate set days of the week so that your children can know what to expect.  For example, I have Wednesdays set aside for “beach day” with my kids.  Here are some ideas that were shared on Facebook: beach, pool, library, road trips, Children’s Museum, Splash Pad, and berry farm.

2- Have some activities in mind for the days you don’t leave home.

The housework still has to get done somehow, right?  One of my kids’ favorite things to do is play dough.  So timeless!  Here are some other ideas submitted:  scavenger hunts, spraying each other with the water hose, neighborhood walks, blowing bubbles, making homemade milk shakes, and “food fight and running the dishwasher with Palmolive to make suds” (sounds messy but fun!).  Most children LOVE crafts or just the means to create something, and that could be done once a week.  You do not have to be creative to help them with this, look on Pinterest and you will find PLENTY of simple ideas.  You wouldn’t believe the things my children have created with pipe cleaners (and that it bought me an hour of time I needed to get things done!).

3-  Encourage your children to read and read with them. 

Try making a trip to the library once a week so they can check out books that interest them.  Then encourage “down time” right after lunch where they can sit, rest, and sharpen their little minds.

4- Spend time with friends.

Include another parent with children the same age in your activities throughout the week.   Its good for kids to be around peers their age, whether or not they have siblings.  Then you can have some good “adult time” too while the kids play!

5-  DON’T over-schedule.

I think most children thrive on structure and enjoy having things to look forward to, but it is “summer break!”  That’s why we only have 3 days a week at the max of leaving home for an activity. There needs to be room for children to explore and spontaneously make a castle out of paper cups, or spend an hour watching and studying the lizard they caught because they are so proud of themselves.

It also would be helpful to check into local summer camps and VBS, I know there are great ones here in Wilmington!

Have a brainstorming session with your kids to find out what they are interested in, and then plug the activities into the calender together.  Keep it simple, yet active and fun!  Remember to be flexible and allow room for them to just “be.”

I would love to hear what summer activities YOU have planned.  Please share!

Melissa

Get Organized.  Simply Live.

Transformed Workspace Part 3

I’m excited to show you what happens when Melissa comes into a cluttered, restless workspace.  If you have not been following this story, check out Part 1 and Part 2 first to feel the full effect!

Last week I shared what we used for storage – the existing bookshelves.  They already had a few gorgeous baskets, so the only things purchased were some cute bins to bring in some color.  Some small and some large for varying needs.  I must show the picture again!

 

Here are some Before/After pictures of the desk.  I will let them speak for themselves

 

 

 

Because the desk did not have any drawers or cabinets, we utilized the adjacent bookshelf for storage.  This simple mason jar worked perfect for holding writing utensils on the desktop

 

We used this existing paper tray, and came up with a new strategy to work through the “to do” pile

We also cleaned up this fabulous board (and the desk being clear makes it accessible again!).  Love the pictures of her family.  Did I mention my client is an excellent local photographer?  She recently did a family session with us that I will absolutely share a photo from in the future.  Check out her website hereTimeless Fotographie

 

The table now looks so inviting and ready to be used for family meals.  It also is available for art projects and such, but because everything now has a “home”, things can easily be put back in place and there are no more piles!  Oh, and did you notice the change in curtains we used to lighten up the room?  The white looks so peaceful and clean.

 

As always, thanks for reading!  I hope you feel inspired to tackle that workspace or call me to come help!

Melissa

Get Organized.  Simply Live.

Transformed Workspace Part 2

I’m so excited to share Part 2 of the workspace transformation with you today!  Do you remember this desk from last week?

You can read about the challenges we had to work with and see before pictures here.

I want to first show you first what it looked like when we did the toughest and most important step – pulling everything off the desk.  We moved everything to the table and created separate categories for what needed to be used in this space.  We found a new home for anything that did not belong in the space.

That’s a lot of stuff that needs to go somewhere that is NOT the surface of the desk.  It was bookshelves to the rescue!

My client already had 2 awesome shelves from Ikea, and they were partially empty! We used the one beside the desk to store business related files and office supplies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a bookshelf on the opposite wall, still in the same room.  We utilized this one to store art supplies, sheet music, and other personal items that are used in this space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ADORE these fun bins she found at Target!

 

You’re probably wondering what’s left on the desk since we found a HOME for everything, aren’t you?   Come back next week for Part 3 – the final reveal of this workspace!  I will have TONS of Before/After pictures for you!

Thanks for reading!

Melissa

Get Organized.  Simply Live.

June 5, 2013 - 10:10 am

Kathie Kennedy - Can’t wait to see part III! Our little home office space is a thorn in our side! Hopefully this will give me ideas! You are so good girl!!

June 5, 2013 - 10:46 am

Simple Spaces - Kathie, thank you so much. I will post part III next week – look for it on Tuesday! I hope this does fuel some inspiration and ideas for you!

September 25, 2013 - 3:35 pm

Transformed Workspace Part 3 » Simple Spaces - […] a cluttered, restless workspace.  If you have not been following this story, check out Part 1 and Part 2 first to feel the full […]

Transformed Workspace Part 1

I’m going to share a project with you over the next few weeks that was fun and definitely challenging.  Challenges make me excited!  It didn’t take as long as you might think though (anyone have a guess on how long it took start to finish?).   My client is a photographer/artist/musician.  People who major in the right side of their brains fascinate and inspire me!  In addition, she is a busy (and wonderful mom).  She recently moved her office to her home and needed some help reforming and organizing her workspace.

The following images are all BEFORE

 

There is the starting point for you!  Check back next week where I will be sharing how we began and the strategies we used in the process!

Have a great week!

Melissa

Get Organized. Simply Live.

June 11, 2013 - 10:07 am

Transformed Workspace Part 3 » Simple Spaces - […] comes into a cluttered, restless workspace.  If you have not been following this story, check out Part 1 and Part 2 first to feel the full […]

Cut the Chaos

I was recently asked to write an article on organizing for a newsletter at a local church (so honored I was asked!), and thought I’d share it with you on the blog.  5 simple and important things to remember in achieving and maintaining order in your home.

 Living in physical chaos can lead to emotional chaos, and vice versa. Clutter in the home can steal joy, time, and even finances.  Living from a place of order can help us respectably steward our possessions (and relationships!).

 Getting organized can be OVERWHELMING when you are looking at all of the chaos, up close, all at once.   I’m all about keeping it simple and real.  So here are five of the most important things I can think of when it comes to getting and staying organized.

 1.  Give every possession a “home.” 

I don’t know where it originated, but I love the quote “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  Everything in your home needs a place to live.  I mean EVERYTHING.  Make sure the entire family understands where everything “lives” too, so that the order sticks and can be maintained on a daily basis.  There comes a time when “life happens” and you have to let go for a few days (or weeks), but if you know where everything goes it makes the process of reorganizing so much easier.

 2.   Take an extra 3 minutes or less now to save you the extra 3 hours later. 

Make it a habit of putting things in their spots right away.  When you walk in the door put your keys, purse, mail, etc. in its assigned place.  When you take your clothes off at night, put them in the hamper.  If you have young children, take the extra time to teach them to clean up & put away their toys after they play with them (I’m still working on this one myself!).  The bad habit of leaving things “where they lie” costs tons of valuable time later. 

3.  Give your tasks time limits.  

Whatever the project is whether at home or work, determine a set amount of time that you will spend giving it attention.  Try to avoid the urge to multitask and jump into something else, give your attention fully to one thing.  Then when the time is up, move on to something else!  This especially helps if there is a project you’ve been putting off because you don’t want to do it, or you just don’t enjoy organizing!

4.  You don’t have to do this alone. 

Grab some friends or family members to help. Take turns working on each other’s homes! Outside perspective is so important.  You may consider hiring a professional organizer to help you get a plan in place, and even walk with you through it step by step.  We can provide space solutions you never thought possible.  I love when people unveil their chaos to me, because what I see is potential.

5.  It doesn’t have to be perfect. 

My home is very well organized, but it is far from perfect.  The above image is from my mudroom/closet that is not completely where I want it to be.  I have 3 young and very wild boys.  We are in the process of renovating and decorating our house (and have been since we moved in almost 2 years ago!).  We are going one step at a time so I have to make do in some spaces while they wait for their turn.  Also, I have 3 kids (did I say that yet?).  They are not robots (which I’m very thankful for) but I’m trying to guide them into the ways of returning things to their homes. The kids’ shoes may not always make it into a cubby in the closet, but I get excited when they at least make it to the closet! 

Do the best you can and give yourself grace!  One space at a time, one step at a time.  The hardest part is getting started.  After that, the momentum will carry you.  Don’t forget to have fun in the process!

Thanks for reading,

Melissa

Get Organized. Simply Live.