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Helping Kids Become Organized by Rosanne Larkins


Helping kids become more organized today is often thought of as invading their space, cramping their style or adding undo pressure to an already crazy schedule of academics and extracurricular activities. Instead we need to think about this process as preparing them for what is to come; in their further education and their future career. It is a parent's responsibility to teach/guide their children to be organized enough to accomplish their goals. Understandably that will not be the same for all. But there are some real differences we can make to give our children the tools they need to be successful in life just as we do to make them successful in sports and other extra curricular activities.

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The ABC's of Organizing Kids - Spring Cleaning

As the weather starts to warm, our thoughts turn to spring cleaning.  Here are a few things you can do to help get off to a good start.

 Review fall/winter clothes for each child and purge anything that will no longer fit next year.  If clothing is hung on a high and low rack by season, this is a good time to swap the racks to put the spring/summer items closer to your child's reach.
 Review shoes and toss out or donate what is worn or no longer fits.  Don't forget to look in the dark corners of the closet, cars and garages!  Recycling may also be an option if the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe drive is held in your area.  ...

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posted on: 4/7/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


The ABC's of Organizing Kids: Z is for Zero

In organizing our children or ourselves, we can never have zero effort left to do.  We sometimes think/dream that if we can just get it all organized then we will have nothing to do.  The reality is that it is a continuous process.  Don't be alarmed.  This is not to say that it cannot make your life and the lives of your children much, much easier. 

Once you have things in order, or even if you are trying to figure out which place to start in the process of getting organized, pay attention to the things that bother you or are not working the best they can be.  It is from these observations and notes that your solutions will emerge.  Expecting that there will be zero left to do is what sometimes gives us a false sense and we just let things go to a point that we get overwhelmed.

This falls in the category of preventative maintenance.  It is like getting the oil changed in your car.  You may have the best car, great performer, comfortable, etc., but if you don't maintain it you will end up with costly time consuming expenses.  The same applies here.  As you use an area take a moment to put things back.  Make those small changes when things are not working quite right.  These minutes at a time can prevent hours and many dollars of cost later.

If your systems do not allow you to put things back in a few minutes or maintain them easily then this is another trigger or message to you to make a change in this area.  For instance if you have mail coming in the door and your process is to make a pile to bring upstairs to another room to file, you do not have a system that is easy to maintain and that is streamlined.  Remember that piles, stacks and other clutter are postponed decisions; actions that we just cannot take at this time.   What helps tremendously is to have a trigger for decision making and purging.  For instance, if you have monthly catalogs that come in the door, you can create a file in a convenient location to hold the latest copy of each catalog that you may order from or think you will.  When the next one comes in the door, you can simply remove the old one and replace it with the new one.  You have a place for them and you now have a system for how they will be maintained that does not require any real thought process.  This is a system that you can now use and maintain easily.  You can then periodically see which ones you have not ordered from, purge them and ask to be taken off their distribution list.   Helping children use this process for papers that come home from school can be a big benefit to you and your children.  The trick is to create a system that will allow you to take the necessary action without having to put it off to another time.  ...

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posted on: 3/31/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


The ABC's of Organizing Kids: Y is for Yesterday is Gone, Focus on the Future

We all dwell on things in the past to some degree, but many of us spend way too much time regretting an action or outcome in the past or wishing we had done something differently.  This topic is really where we can make a great change in our time management and use this knowledge to reinforce the proper things for our children to spend their time focusing on.

Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing every day and expecting a different result".  We must understand and teach our children that we must adjust our thinking when the result of what we do is not what we want.  We spend much of our time reacting to the poor planning on other people's part than we do on those things that are really...

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posted on: 3/24/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


The ABC's of Organizing Kids: X is for Have High EXpections for Children

I think most of us eXpect great things from our children but I thought it was worth discussing.  Let me first say, that I realize that there are special cases where our expectations need to be tailored a bit to deal with unique situations. 

Our children very much want to meet our expectations and if we set our expectations high or low they will try to achieve what we expect.  By our setting the bar high at a very early age, I believe we can really help them achieve more.  Every child is different, so meeting expectations will be different for each child.  I don't mean that every child should be expected to do the same in all areas nor that our expectations are always achievable, but that they...

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posted on: 3/17/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


The ABC's of Organizing Kids: W is for What is it Worth?

When we think of what to keep and what to discard we must think of what it is worth.  What things are worth fall into the category of either monetary or emotional value.  These values are not always in concert with one another.  Sometimes things that are very valuable to us in an emotional way have no real monetary value; like the things that are young children make for us on those special occasions.  Sometimes things with high monetary value have no emotional value; like an expensive piece of art that is not a style we appreciate.

Really understanding these concepts can greatly help us in making decisions on what to keep, what to discard and hopefully in some cases what to buy, take or bring home to begin...

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posted on: 3/10/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


The ABC's of Organizing Kids: V is for Visualize.

I am often asked how I help people part with things.  Part of the answer is to help them visualize what they want the area we are working in to be and/or how they want to use it.  It is hard to part with things when you are just looking at each item and what value they might be for you.  But, when you see those items as an obstacle to having a space the way you want it or to use it the way you would want to use it, this process is much easier. 

If you had a basement full of "stuff" that you have been keeping for whatever reason; you might not really see the value in going through these things and getting rid of them.  But, if you visualized this room as a recreation room, an exercise room, a den, a craft room, a bar, or whatever you are dreaming of, you would now look at those items in your basement as things that are standing in your way and of much less value.  We can stifle ourselves with stuff in a way that we cannot see the benefits of new things coming to us.  You can help your children visualize things in the same way.  If they want an area in their room to sit and read, layout games to play, add a piece of furniture, they would also see that they need to remove things in the same way.   

Visualization can also be of great help in focusing on goals.  If your child wants to be a great soccer player, a ballerina, an astronaut, you can help them make a vision board.  This is a board where you place pictures of goals you want to attain.  This keeps our focus on those goals in a very visual and present way and allows us a much greater opportunity to fulfill those goals.  Visualization is a very powerful tool.  You may have heard of people who actually visualize their performance in sport or other area of competitive nature and by literally walking through the process in their mind visualizing it, they have practiced in a way that benefits them as if they were actually there.  The majorities of us are visual learners anyway, but for any of us, seeing what we want and using that focus to remove our obstacles (physically or mentally) will greatly help us achieve those things we want to in life....

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posted on: 3/3/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


The ABC's of Organizing Kids: U is for Use Our Time Wisely

We discussed setting priorities earlier.  Utilizing our time wisely is very much tied to this same subject.  How can we better utilize our time and how can we teach our children to do the same?...

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posted on: 2/25/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


The ABC's of Organizing Kids: T is for Toss What You Don't Use, Need or Love

Clutter is of course the first thing most people think of when they think, "Get organized".  This is usually discussed in the context of getting rid of things.  There is no magic formula that says there is a certain amount of "stuff" any of us should have.  Your goal should be to have an environment that does not cause stress and is healthy, comfortable and productive for you and your family to live in.  It should be a safe, happy, and stress free environment.  The amount of stuff that can be around you to accomplish this is therefore dependent on you and your personality.  Some people can function very well in a less than organized area and some cannot function at all. ...

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posted on: 2/18/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


The ABC's of Organizing Kids: S is for Setting Priorities

When we end a day knowing that we have worked really hard but do not feel like we have accomplished what we really needed to then it usually means we have not managed to do the most important things to us.  This is where setting priorities is so important.  We can work very hard to do things right.  Sounds good doesn't it.  The problem is that doing things right does not mean we are doing the right things.  This is an important concept to teach our children.  The expression work smart not hard, sort of describes this as well.   What can we do to teach our children this?

First they need to understand the concept of setting priorities.    We all have things we want to do, things we are asked to do and things that we might feel like we have to do.  Some tasks we have no control over like emergencies, but many we do.  First, we must analyze ourselves.  What is "really" important to us?  What do we have control over?  What are our goals?  These are the things that help us determine how to prioritize the tasks which should consume the time in our days.  When we align our true needs or core values with what we spend our time doing, we are setting priorities and are able to achieve inner peace. 

If learning to better play an instrument for example is really important to us but we do not set any time each day to practice we have not properly set our priorities and are not being true to values.  If we feel like we want to be healthier and get more exercise and do not schedule any time during our days and weeks to exercise we again are not setting priorities for what we feel is most important.  It is up to us to review the things that are on our "plate" each week and determine what of those are really most important and put them at the top of the list to do when we have the most energy and creativity to accomplish those important tasks.

What makes this simple sounding concept so hard?  First knowing what is really important to us is an ongoing and changing vision; we must create this vision and revisit it regularly.  Second we must be proactive in setting the time aside each week to review the tasks and make sure they are in alignment with our vision. Third, we must try to stay as much in control and focused on our goals so that we can minimize the distractions and perception that we cannot do what we have our mind set to do. 

Remember, as Stephen Covey, once wrote, we can work really, really hard to climb the ladder to success but if we are not setting our priorities to be in alignment with our true core values, we might just find that our ladder is on the wrong building.  We want our kids to understand this concept and process so that they can apply it to what is most important in their life....

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posted on: 2/11/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


The ABC's of Organizing Kids: R is for Reduce, Recycle and Reuse

As an organizer most people expect that I will tell them to just throw everything away!  It is not exactly my goal.  My goal is to help you reduce stress and add peace & productivity to your life by simplifying things around you.  Simplifying comes in many forms.  I am very concerned about the environment so reduce; recycling and reuse are always a consideration when working to get more organized.   It is important for us to teach our children about these concepts as they will continue to live with this continued environmental issue.  How can we teach our children more about them and how they can help us become more organized?

The concept of Reduce means teaching two things.  First, do we need it in the first place?  Do we have something else that can do the same thing?  We live in a gadget crazy society where there is always a new invention to do something but CAN WE do it with something we already have?   Second is looking at product packaging.  Much of the clutter brought into our homes is packaging (some that require a chain saw to open).  Some of the packing/containers are recyclable and some are not.  When we are choosing between buying certain items/brands teach your children to think about the materials they are bringing home and do they have a place for them to go? 

The concept of Recycling is to take things we do not need and instead of putting them into the landfill we put them someplace that can convert them into something else that can be utilized.  This is probably the most familiar concept to our kids.  Depending on what is in your area, your kids can learn to recycle paper, aluminum, glass, cardboard, ink cartridges, cell phones, batteries, telephone books, magazines and the list goes on and on.  Here are a few statistics to inspire you in this area:

 To produce each week's Sunday newspapers, 500,000 trees must be cut down.  ...

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posted on: 2/4/2008 9:00:00 AM  by Rosanne Larkins
category: Family


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About Rosanne:

Rosanne Larkins, Defining Time & Space Professional Organizing, Helping people put peace into their life through simplifying things around them. Reduce stress through creating order, save money knowing what you have, save time knowing where to find things.



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