Often my clients have huge amounts of books and reading references, but have no idea how to organize them. This is especially true when they are trying to organize a business. Let’s admit it, books are hard to part with. If we insist upon keeping our books, I suggest setting them up in a logical order or develop a system so you can locate a book at a moments notice regardless how big your library is. I guarantee this will help in your productivity and stress level.

A good place to begin this organizational thought process is in childhood. If we teach children to organize their books at a young age, as well as de-clutter the ones that are no longer age appropriate, (and the stuff that accumulates amidst the books) and maintain their library, not only will they read a lot more, but they will not have to hire an organizer as an adult to assist them.

Children need only learn to put their books on a shelf in a way where they can remember what book is in what section: by topic, favorites, series, color, or size. The most important thing is to involve them in the process, and teach them how to maintain it so things don’t get out of balance.

Books Organized by an 8 year old

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

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We often feel it is important to organize our offices or our main living areas in our homes. Although this may be true, it is also important to focus on our children’s areas WITH our children by our sides so we can teach them skills of organizing, de-cluttering, and maintaining once finished.

If we teach our children these skills at a young age, then we will have more free time in our future to maintain our own areas. The result is balance at home and at work. Our children will also have a more productive, less stressful life.

One easy way to include children in organizing is by addressing their shoes. Shoes can be easily matches and neatly put away. You can help them develop their own system as well: by color, style, season or favorites.  The key is to include them in this process, and encourage them to maintain it

Shoes Organized by a 5 year old client

 

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

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Organizing applies to all areas of our lives- whether it’s organizing a business, maintaining a home, or de-cluttering a garage. ‘Stuff’ accumulates, it often multiplies, and it becomes disorderly.

As adults, we at least have an idea of what must be done to accomplish order and experience a productive life. We can implement systems that meet our needs. We can maintain our environment.

Children often do not have these skills. Not only do they not know where to start, they also have no clue where to put things once they begin.

You can assist them by taking bite-sized steps alongside of them.

Often girls have a lot of hair accessories. This is a simple area to begin with. Hang a thick ribbon on a wall or over a door in the bathroom. Have them put their clips and bows in tiny piles according to color. Then have them clip these to the bow in and order that makes sense to them: dark to light, most worn color, favorite color, size. Encourage them to maintain this area so at least their morning routine can be one of predictability and balance

 

Hair Bows and Flowers Organized by my 8 year old client:)

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland,OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

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Children often accumulate a lot of books, which is wonderful. To encourage life long readers, I recommend having children organize their books (or bookshelves) on a regular basis.  This aids in helping them be more organized at school, be organized at work some day, and also helps them to create systems that work for them in many areas to come.

The first step is for you and your children to inventory what books they have.  De-clutter the papers and extras often shoved in with the books. Decide if all books need to be kept.  Often times due to space constraints, my clients rotate books.

Once you decide what books will go on a shelf, or in a case, figure out how you will arrange them. Some folks enjoy doing it by color, others by still, and still others by subject matter. There is no right way to organize books (just as there is no right way to organize any of your ‘stuff’). The key is to make is useful for your children.

Next, ask your children to put their books away after they are used to maintain this areas.  I usually have my children go through their bookshelves 4 times a year. Often we donate ones that they have grown out of to our local library, the school library, or a to a shelter.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

Bookshelf- Getting Creative

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Often children are eager to please, and can learn organizational skills at a very young age in simply putting away their toys. When these skills are acquired at a young age, it helps tremendously in organizing a business, maintaining a home, and helping them to have a productive life. The more balanced they can learn to be at a younger age, the more time they will have for a fulfilling life as an adult. Often my clients tell me that they wish they had learned organizational skills as a child.

The first thing to do is to get them bins or boxes.  You need not spend a lot of money, and they need not match.  The purposed of this exercise is for children to help group items (dolls, blocks, balls) and to decide where they will ‘live’. Once a bin is decided for a topic, I encourage children to label the bin or box.  This is a great way to teach them their letters, and to help them read or write.

The next step is to maintain this system that you have created.  Have children pick up and put their things away where they belong.  Each night for a few minutes they can participate in this task.  Occasionally, you will need to go through and declutter their ‘stuff’ to make certain toys are age appropriate.  Donate what you no longer need.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

 

Chalkboard Labels for toy boxes

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Children, like adults, often need to be taught how to keep a timely schedule or a calendar.  In order for them to be organized in school, in a business someday, or maintain a home on their own, it is our job as parents, mentors or caregivers to guide them and support them in this process so they too can have a balanced and a productive life.

It is important to remember that often children’s schedules can get cluttered just like ours. Be aware of over-scheduling your children as well as bringing too much ‘stuff’ into their lives.  As a side point, clutter comes in many different forms.  It can appear in what they eat (too much processed foods or fast foods),  too little sleep (because  of a cluttered schedule), too little exercise (again, over-scheduled), as well as too much media.

As far as a calendar or a schedule goes, I find it easiest, at least for younger children, to have a good old fashioned wall calendar that the whole family looks at on Sunday night, or whatever night works best for you. Encourage children to look at their week, and to write down any activities that they have coming up.

This encourages accountability, and helps in preparation for the whole family.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

Family Calendar Example

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Children, like adults, often need to be taught how to be organized. It is very important to do to prepare a child for organizing a business, maintaining a home, and having a balanced and a productive life.

I encourage all parents or caregivers to first teach children de-clutter their ‘stuff’ first. This means helping them part with useless objects or things that no longer serve their current needs. They may either donate, sell or toss/recycle these items.

When all of the ‘stuff’ is moved out, have them decided what goes where. The important point is that all things are put away in categories, and all items have a ‘home’. This is the first step in creating a system.

The last step in this process is encouraging the to put things back into their ‘home’, and maintain their environment. Each weekend I have my children straighten everything. During the week I just have them do a quick sweep of laundry, toys and books.

Remember to offer encouragement and praise from time to time. Soon it will become a part of their daily lives.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA. Missy’s blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household. If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link. If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

Before

After

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I spent my morning helping my 11 year old son ‘get organized’. As I sat in his school auditorium at 7:00AM giving him emotional support as he finished his Social Studies Homework, I decided to write my next blogs on ‘teaching children organizational skills’.

Children must learn skills as early as possible so they can organize a business, maintain a home or a business, and live a productive and balanced life. If you don’t teach them now, it it likely they may lead a chaotic life of too much chaos and too much ‘stuff’.

One of the most important thing you can teach is scheduling, time management, and planning. Although my son has been focusing on this, the consistency of his routine was compromised yesterday. In school they had to practice for an orchestra concert for the last two hours of the day. This required getting on a bus and going to the High School.

The result? His daily planner was left in his Advisory Board Room, instead of being taken to his locker, as he went from Advisory to the bus. After school he went to swim team, then directly to the concert. We got home late, and he went directly to bed. This morning, he realized that his assignment was not done, and he had no idea where his planner was.

He was upset and flustered. He voiced that he had not been organized yesterday, and he had no idea where anything was. He asked my assistance. The key in this scenario, is that he identified that he was dis-organized and felt chaos. He also asked for assistance. (identified a need)

We went to school, re-traced his steps, found his planner, and he completed his homework. He also cleaned out his locker of cluttered papers and jackets and sent them home with me.

He concluded that he would bring home his planner this evening, and show the details to me so he could re-group.

Imagine if we all learned these skills at 11 years of age!

12 Year Old Client- who felt it was important to be organized

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

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After having purged and decluttered your closet, it is now time to setup systems and organize what is left.  Your closet should have free flowing energy. It should make you feel energetic, balanced and happy when you go into it or open the doors. Getting dressed for work should automatically put you into a productive frame of mind.

The first step in this process is to determine your clothing categories: tank tops or camis, short sleeve, long sleeve (you can sub categorize here with casual and dress clothing), jackets and blazers, dresses, jeans, crop pants, slacks, ties, scarves, shoes, boots. Some people don’t have enough space so they rotate with the season. Some keep some of these in dressers, regardless, group the things in your closet that live there.

Next, purge more if you can. Decide in what area or region it will reside. Ideally hand everything on matching hangers (the non slip ones are amazing for continuity), then put in your closet according to color. Light to dark, left to right on the right side. On the left side, colors often go right to left, light to dark. The back wall is your choice. If you only have one wall, then hang according to what hand you are and how you move the clothing yo link at them.

Ideally all clothing is facing the same direction.  The same concept goes for shoes. Styles are grouped and arranged by color.

Please note, some clothing designers do not agree with this approach. They feel it is too limiting in creativity. This may be true for you if you are not a creative dresser and too ‘matchy matchy’. If this is the case, you may hang in groupings of what matches, or outfits that go together.

Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link.

 

Organized Closet

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Become more organized – OR experience a De-cluttered Calm Life

Become More OrganizedMissy Bystrom, professional organizer of over 25 years give you her insights and ideas on how to live a more balanced, and less cluttered and chaotic life. No workbooks, no ‘step-by-step’, just a simple common sense approach you can listen to and follow at your own pace. Listen while you are driving or at home, and get ready for a calm, balanced life!


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