Have you organized all of your papers and created a system that allows you to find what you need when you need it? How about your family members, have they all organized their papers as well? It's important that it is easy for people to search for documents in cases of emergency, but also when it comes to important life situations. If something were to happen to you, would your family be able to search for the necessary documents in order to help in times of distress? Usually people are not prepared and it can be an unnecessary burden for those you love.
Paper is not the most fun to organize, but its good to paper shred and recycle what is no longer useful and free up more space. When I did my paper organizing when I first did the KonMari Method, I really dreaded it and the experience did not spark joy. However, after I finished going through all my papers I was really happy to be able to let go of my filing cabinet and free up more space in my home. Let's first start with paper organizing:
Physical Paper Organizing
You can start paper organizing by dividing all your papers into three main categories:
Act Now: Bills, Letters, Forms, and anything that needs immediate attention and to be dealt with soon.
Temporary Papers: Car Reminders, Warranties (with no life-time), Receipts (in case you plan to return or exchange),resumes, tax documents (only keep for a certain amount of years), memberships, and anything that you just need for a limited time (until you deal with it) and not forever.
Keep Forever Papers: Will, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Life Insurance, Mortgage, Property documents, anything considered legal documents of importance.
Once you have divided everything into these three categories, you should use the following to organize them:
Act Now: Magazine file box or tray
Temporary Papers: Folder with clear sheets, binder with clear sheets, file folders or an accordion folder.
Keep Forever: Clear Plastic Zip Case and keep within a fire proof case/box/security safe.
Once you have your papers in order, you can maintain the in-coming papers by inserting them into one of the three categories. Sometimes you may have more papers that will not fit into just one folder, so you can use multiple folders and keeping related papers together. Always label categories of papers and name of owner so that you can easily find what you need. Remember to deal with your papers right away so that the clutter is contained and you can find what you need when you need it.
Digital Paper Organizing
Once you have your papers in order, you will want to move on to digital organizing of your files and documents. You can also create similar categories within your laptop/computer files, so you can easily create your three folders and use sub categories of folders within those main three. You also want to have digital files of your papers, mainly important documents, so that you can easily find them in case of a fire, water damage or any lost documents due to natural catastrophes.
Are You Ready To Go Paperless?
Once you have organized all of your digital files and documents, you can organize your important documents so that they are safe and easy to find, but not just for yourself for your entire family. Imagine being able to retrieve important documents easily virtually from anywhere you are in times of need. There are actually three categories to organize your important digital documents into, they are:
1. Legal Documents: Social Security Cards, Marriage Certificates, Wills, Birth Certificates, Passports, Power of Attorneys, Estate Plans and Trusts.
2. Medical Documents: Vaccination Records, Medication Records, Health Benefits, Doctors Info.
3. Financial Documents: Investments, Banking Info., Pay Stubs, Bills, Tax Documents, Loans, Retirement Plans
You can also check out this app called Addmin, its a Swiss made mobile application that simplifies the centralization of your administrative documents in digital format, organizes them automatically and allows you to process them where and when you want, in complete security. Click on this link to learn more: https://addmin.com/en/about
Are you ready to get all the paper organized now? Hopefully these tips can get you started for more paper clarity both physically and digitally. If you need support and guidance on getting this done, feel free to contact me and book an appointment for a virtual or in-person session to help you declutter and organize your papers.
Home Improvement Tips For a Happy Home
We are all spending more and more time at home, and its important that we invest in ourselves and our space. If you're like me at all, this pandemic has been spent watching a lot of Netflix, so I rounded up a few home improvement tips based on my favourite Netflix shows. Check out these organization and design tips for a few of the most frequented spots in your home!
Our bedrooms are our sanctuaries. Introduce calmness and happiness to your bedroom by decluttering and enhancing the design with these ideas.
Organize: Follow the KonMari Method to tidy up your room! Ask yourself if every item has a place and discard if it does not spark joy. Take a moment to feel grateful for each item, and you will feel happier and lighter as a result.
Watch Marie Kondo on Netflix or contact me for a virtual KonMari coaching session.
Design: Natural light makes such a difference when it comes to your mood and health. Do not obstruct windows in your bedroom so you can enhance all the benefits of natural light.
The homes on Grand Designs always take advantage of natural light.
A lot of us have been working from home for quite some time now, and I find its helpful to give my work space a refresh every now and then. I like to utilize vertical space when organizing, and its also fun and easy to add new art to keep me in a good mood.
Organize: Hanging hooks, shelves, or pegboards expands your organization space and helps keep clutter off your desk. Less clutter will help you be more productive.
Watch Tiny House Nation for more vertical storage inspiration!
Design: Rotate out the art or decor around your work space. You can buy something new or just switch around the pieces you have in your house! Art in the home can help reduce stress and make you feel more positive.
Get inspired by Bobby Berk and his home designs on Queer Eye.
Lets be honest, everyone spends a good amount of time in the bathroom. Follow these tips inspired by The Home Edit and Selling Sunset for organizing and designing a bathroom you are happy to spend time in.
Organize: Streamline your everyday routine by creating systems in your bathroom. Group items by categories like makeup, dental hygiene, or showertime. Or if you share a bathroom, organize a station for you, your spouse, your kids, and any other family members like in my bathroom declutter!
Tune into Get Organized with The Home Edit to watch Clea and Joanna create organizing systems to your hearts content.
Design: Go for relaxation and spa-like qualities in your bathroom design. We are so often rushed in our everyday routines, our bathrooms should be a calm place to practice important self-care.
Aside from the drama, Selling Sunset features fabulous homes with luxurious bathrooms to inspire your own!
I hope you enjoyed these tips for improving and investing in a happier home! Throw on one of these Netflix shows for entertainment as you declutter or redesign. For more inspiration from these shows, see the visual courtesy of The Zebra below!
2. Create a wardrobe that is for your lifestyle today.
Clean out your closet and take your entire wardrobe out and choose to keep what you love and that serves you well, let go what isn’t for the person you are today. Start by gathering all of your clothes into one spot (like your bed) and choose what to keep or let go of, remembering to choose what sparks joy and thank items you decide to let go of. Create a group for yes, no or maybe and you can even separate items by bottoms and tops to organize while sorting. Since it’s spring, be sure to put winter accessories, coats, and boots away until next year (but not hidden away), and switch up with light jackets, rain boots, and everyday shoes. With an organized closet, and when it’s time to return to work outside of the home, you'll be ready for it and be able to get dressed in no time! You can even try a capsule wardrobe like Project 333, and you will save more time getting ready every day. Donation Centres are taking a pause on accepting items, so make some space at home to keep these items you plan to let go of.
3. With more time now at home, you can even try doing the KonMari Method.
Once you clean out your closet and deal with all your clothing, move on to other things in your home and go through the following categories: books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and finally sentimental things. Figure out what is still going to be a part of your home and life by choosing what sparks joy. Be sure to follow the order of categories, and just focus on one category before moving on to the next. When I work with clients I do a minimum of three hours per session, so that you will see results or a change. Dedicate a couple of hours or more going though each category and remember this is a process, it will take time to see an overall change but it will be worth it in the end. Start in the morning after breakfast so you have the most energy to do this. Think about your ideal lifestyle and use that to motivate you when organizing.
You can download my KonMari checklist from my website to help you get through your home.
4. Make time for self-care .
This is especially important when it comes to taking care of our own personal well-being and mental health. After deep cleaning and switching things up, relax and do some meditation or yoga, take a warm bath, read a book, and disconnect from screens from time to time to avoid the latest news and anxiety. If you have family, spend time with each other and play board games, cook a meal or bake something together and do some diy or craft activities. This gift of time is really something we have all been blessed with despite the virus.
5. Create a vision board with your partner or family.
Think of your own ideal lifestyle and what goals you want to achieve this year and put those ideas onto your board. You can also write down those goals, this way you will commit to making them a reality. Even with today’s uncertainty, it’s good to create goals to work on to improve your life. There are many free templates that exist online, but you can simply just take a blank piece of paper and write out words of things you want to work towards or even cut out images from magazines to make a collage of your vision. When you put your goals or dreams on paper, you are manifesting it and it usually can come true if you believe it and also work towards it.
I hope these ideas help you out with things you can do around the home. Remember to stay positive, stay at home and believe that this time will pass over and we will get through this. There is always a silver lining to everything negative that happens in life... and being able to stay home and have quality time with the ones we love but also for those who live alone, this will give you a chance to relax, reflect and connect with people you haven’t been able to in a long time.
Take care everyone.
My Bathroom Declutter
As a Certified KonMari and Home Organizing Consultant, I help people to simplify their homes and get organized, but also to learn to be mindful when doing the process with me. Even though I've done the KonMari Method in my own home last January 2017, I still need to let go of items in my home every year that have expired. As we all know, not everything we use lasts forever when it comes to products that we use in the bathroom. So I decided to start the new year by doing a good bathroom declutter, to make sure that what I still have is good to use for myself and my family.
What I love about the KonMari Method is that it has taught me how to realize and be aware of everything that I am using in my life, if it’s serving me and sparking joy (of course). It has also made my life so much easier, as I am able to quickly tidy and clean every area of my home with no wasted time. So my counters including my bathroom counter is clear of things and clutter so I can easily wipe down the counter top after using. As you can see I don’t leave anything except for soap on my sink.
I live at home with a family of four (including myself) and that’s made up of my husband, 9 yrs. old son and my mom who is retired. Everything you see in the bathroom is what we all use, my mom has products in her bedroom but the rest of us only have what you see in my bathroom. The photo above shows how the underneath of my sink looks like. Under the sink I have bathroom cleaning products on the right side, and personal bathroom products on the left side.
Here’s where the rest of my family’s bathroom products are in a standing cabinet unit. My products for taking a bath and shower are placed outside of my shower, so that I can remove water and can clean the inside of the shower easily. I know this is not always possible for every bathroom space (or necessary) but this helps us to avoid mildew from growing inside. Even though we have already simplified our things, we will discover what is still good to use with the declutter and KonMari process.
Basically when you start doing your bathroom komono (miscellaneous) declutter, you need to remove everything out so you can see how much you have, and then you can start going through all of the items. Be sure to check for expiry dates on the back of bottles or boxes and most things even though they spark joy, are no longer good to use. Sometimes you will see a small image of a container on the back of a product with the amount of months it will last after opening it. If you can’t remember when you opened the product or purchased it, most likely it’s already old. Products that expire are not good to use after the due date, as they won’t be of good to your skin, body or health. Our skin can absorb things very easily, and we don’t want to use products that will be harmful to our well-being. Also, remember that the money spent for these products should not stop you from letting go...they have already served you when you purchased it. Once you go through all of your items, you will return and organize them back according to the following: face care, skin care, hair care, hair tools, dental care, first aid, medical, feminine products and cleaning supplies.
Here is how our cabinets look after the declutter and I have grouped similar items together and created homes so that we can find things easily. My husband has the top shelf with just a few items to the left, the right side is our first-aid and medical supplies. The second shelf is all of my stuff which includes daily skin care, hair care and body care. The third shelf contains our cotton pads, q-tips, and hairbrushes. The fourth shelf has our tooth brushes, tooth paste and our family face wash that my husband, son and mom use. The fifth shelf has hair tools, my mom’s hair and body care. Finally the last shelf has extra bath sponges, containers for travel, bars of soap and feminine products.
The image above shows everything that has expired or is practically empty and all of this filled one shopping bag. I will dispose of the items properly emptying out ingredients and recycling the containers that can be placed in the blue bin. Then you should take inventory of what you need to replace so you can purchase what you need. The KonMari Method helps you to be a conscious consumer and then you become smarter at shopping and no more mindless purchases or wasting money. After this process, I discovered I needed to replace my skincare for my daily use including face wash, moisturizer and toner. I want to invest in good quality products that are good for my skin and my health.
I decided to invest in a minimalist luxury skincare brand that is locally made in Toronto, Canada and it’s called Graydon. As I get older, I also want to take better care of my aging skin and I think it’s so important to use products made of good for you ingredients. Graydon Skin Care products are all made of plant based ingredients of superfoods and extracts which I love. I will be trying this out for the first time to see if it will make a difference to my skin. I have suffered from acne growing up, and even as an adult in my thirties I still have some breakouts on my neck and chin especially in the winter. I’m going to show you all a before and after of my skin as well to show you the benefits of investing in your skin and yourself.
Here’s a photo of myself with no makeup and cleansed with Graydon’s Blue Majik® foam face wash and Konjac sponge. The Blue Majik® ingredient is actually blue-green algae, which is rich in minerals and protein building amino acids, and vitamins to slow down signs of aging, and will improve skin texture and firmness. After, I sprayed some Face Food Mineral Mist, which hydrates and locks in moisture while also protecting my skin from free radicals and environmental pollution. Then I used Graydon’s Full Moon serum (combats signs of aging) and Super Food serum (brightens, hydrates and nourishes skin) mixed together like a skin care smoothie and applied gently on my face. Followed by Berry Rich probiotic face and eye cream, and then finally Green Cream phyto-retinol clarifying complex cream on my chin and neck area only. Stay tuned in a month as I share my results after one month of using Graydon plant powered skin care.
You can check out my videos for my bathroom declutter
below, and also my new daily regimen using my new Graydon skincare.
Will you be starting your bathroom declutter for this year? If you haven't done it in a long time perhaps the time is now. Then you can start to invest in yourself and start using good products that will both benefit your face, body and well-being.
Check out my bathroom declutter in my actual home:
Then, check out my video on what I decided to replace after my declutter.
After my bathroom declutter, I noticed that I needed a new skincare line and take care of my skin with the right products. Invest in yourself and your well-being!
When you start living in a clutter-free and organized home after doing the KonMari Method, or even just living with fewer things, it makes cleaning your home so much easier. It’s so important to create a healthy environment in your own home so that the air you breathe is safe and you can avoid getting sick. I have always cleaned my own home, but as life gets busier I can only make time to clean countertops, wash dishes, sweep the kitchen and living room floors, and take out the trash and recycling on a daily, regular basis. However, general cleaning including dusting, vacuuming, and washing the floors, does not happen as often as I would like it to be. Being a busy parent living an entrepreneurial lifestyle, cleaning does not always make the top of my priority list. Did you know that 25% of Torontonians spend about an hour cleaning their homes each week? Only 33% of Torontonians pay for regular weekly house cleaning. Also, women find that household chores are their second-biggest daily stress (just after finances), and for men household chores are last on the list! Even though my house is in order, I am the main person doing the majority of the cleaning at home, which can be frustrating at times. Almost half (45%) of Torontonians feel the cleanliness of their homes has been the source of conflict in their relationship. So I decided to experience a professional cleaning service so that I can make better use of my time and have some self-care, by having an expert take care of things while I work during the day.
I discovered Adèle House Cleaning, a professional house cleaning service based in Toronto, as well as Montreal. Adèle uses a unique online booking system, with technology that caters to today’s busy clients like myself. I really like that you can easily book and pay for their services online, up to 24 hours in advance, and there’s even flexible and commitment-free appointments for people looking for one-time or continuous services. It was really important for me that the cleaning company I chose to use works with healthy natural products for the health and well-being of my family, and I was happy to know that Adèle uses eco-friendly ECOLOGO® certified products which means it has the highest international environmental certification, and that gives me peace of mind. The Adèle cleaning Pros are thoroughly trained and insured, so you know you are getting trustworthy and reliable people working in your home.
When it came to booking my appointment, it was user-friendly and everything was really simple to enter in and it felt like an easy process to make the appointment. When you first book, it asks you for your postal code and then what kind of home you live in to determine the service that would suit your home. I live in a typical semi-detached house in Leslieville, Toronto with three bedrooms, one and a half bath, kitchen, dining and living room with three floors. So the size of my home would mean my appointment would be approximately 3-4 hrs and 40 min. long. There are three service options to choose from, and I chose an “on-demand” service for just one time. You can also select a “subscription” option for weekly, every 2-3 weeks, or monthly services. If you do Airbnb or any short-term rental you can pick an option for this service which happens between 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day. You can include what times the Adèle Pro expert can arrive from the earliest to latest times and if you will be there or not and special instructions for entering the home.
When my appointment was confirmed, I realized that I didn’t enter the correct date that I wanted, so I quickly sent a message through their online chat and submitted my message. However I was able to figure out when checking my dashboard that I could easily edit and change the dates on my own, and it was quick to fix to change the date and get a confirmation instantly. I was relieved that I didn’t have to get on the phone to waste time to change this. I received an email notification to inform me of the change and also of when my Adèle cleaning expert would be available to come that day. You also get notification reminders of your appointment and your Adèle cleaning Pro will contact you via text message to let you know exactly what time they will arrive. It really feels like the Airbnb of cleaning services which I like.
On the day of the scheduled cleaning service, I decided to welcome the Adèle cleaning expert on arrival. When she arrived at my doorstep, she was really friendly and I instantly felt comfortable having her in my home. I showed her around my house and then provided my vacuum for her to use throughout the house, as this is required for them to do the work. Then I decided to work outside of home at a local cafe so that I could focus on my work and let her clean and work her magic! When I returned after 4 hours, she was just about finished and then she had me inspect the home before she left. I quickly noticed right away an incredible change in my home; it felt like the time when I first moved into my house almost nine years ago! Everything was shining, from my toaster, to the fridge, the faucets and mirrors (even the toilet!), which I haven’t seen shine and sparkle in so long. Everything felt so brand new and it was such a difference to see and even feel. I could even sense from breathing that my home was no longer dusty.
Getting a professional cleaning is like a whole new level of cleaning that I think I can’t even make my home sparkle in the same way. One thing to note is that the cleaning service is actually not a deep cleaning that does scouring or scrubbing down the inside of your oven or shower and it does not include tidying the "things"you have. Even though deep cleaning is not part of the service, you really feel and see the difference with getting your home a really good refresh. Click here: https://www.adelehousecleaning.com/house-cleaning-services/) to check out what’s included in the service. After my cleaning was complete, Adèle sent me an email for a cool meal box for three free meals delivered to my home so I don’t have to worry about cooking and I can save even more time, such a nice surprise! I would definitely consider using this service again, and to me it really felt like self-care for both my time and my home and is definitely worth the investment to experience.
If your interested to have the Adèle cleaning experience, visit https://www.adelehousecleaning.com/ and use my promo code Michele30 for $30 off your first cleaning (only valid for first-time users).
Lately people have been asking me if I know how I can help them start a digital declutter and get organized, and to be honest I have to admit that I am not totally decluttered in my own digital world. I think I haven't pushed myself to do a real digital declutter because it doesn't bother me since it's not physical and around me to see all the time. However, not being diligent in deleting files, especially image files, has caused me issues when my computer is slow or I run out of space on my phone when I'm travelling especially when I want to take more photos. I think this is definitely something that affects everyone in this digital age, so I decided to finally push myself to start a digital declutter and share how you can start doing this too. Here are a few ways you can get started with your digital declutter:
Track How Many Files you have
First off the only way to know how much you are sinking in digital clutter is to check how many files you have overall. I decided to start with the files I have on my laptop instead of my smart phone device, as my laptop is much older and gets slower to use the more I have huge files on my computer. It's good to get some real numbers to understand how much digital clutter you are dealing with. So here's the number of files that I am currently dealing with so you can see:
Images: 7, 148 (OMG!)
PDF Docs: 523
All I can say is damn, I'm a digital image hoarder! I do love photography and I have to really learn to go through my images and choose what I still need. I have transferred all of the images I have taken with a DSLR as well as all the smart phone devices I ever had since 2010. I have managed to let go of many printed photos and negatives in the physical world, but it seems there is just so much more digital images that I’ve accumulated with being able to take many good quality photos with my own handheld devices.
Create File Folders & Start Small
You should start the process with the folders containing the least amount of files to sort and delete, and then work your way to the most. I started to go through the "Documents" folder of my laptop which were all mixed up with files of work I have done for clients in my past marketing freelance work, and then everything else I have worked on in the past five years. The documents I have are mixed with files of resumes and cover letters, invoices, bills, receipts, confirmations, and only some files already in their proper folders. There are so many files just on their own in no "home" and just living in the "documents" section. I was very happy to delete the files of cover letters to the many jobs I had applied to (and never got the job), when I was laid off from my last corporate job back in 2015...it felt really good and so satisfying to let those all go! It's amazing how far I have come since that time. I created 25 folders to organize all my files, (not sure if that is too much but for now it helps me). Then I created one folder called "All Folders" on my desktop screen to store all those folders into, so visually they are hidden away in their new master home.
Take Your Time To Delete & Organize
Doing this digital declutter process will not be complete in one day, it takes time just like doing the KonMari Method in your home. I have spent approximately three hours just going through my documents and downloaded files, and I am no where near being done. If you start to get frustrated, then it's time to take a break, breathe and leave it for another day. For me it really helped me to create the folders (homes) to organize and sort through the files. As I was sorting, I could already identify which files could be deleted and let them go right away. I definitely felt the frustration when I realized how many more files I had to go through, and I reminded myself that this will not get done in a day. Take time to do this once a week, or every other week and you will get through it all.
Save De-Cluttering Photos for Last
In the KonMari Method, the Sentimental category is last for a reason and it should be the same for digital decluttering. I was able to place images in folders as I went through my downloaded files, but I know that I will have to do little by little every once in a while through my 7, 148 digital images! I know that's a lot to admit, but it's something I will work on as I am not yet a digital minimalist but I'm working on it. I have so many images that are a mix of personal and business (most are personal) and imagine if I had printed all of these images out that would be insane to go through physically. I think that is an important thing to ask yourself when doing your joy checks with digital images, does it spark joy enough for you to print? If not then let it go...I'm gonna try that.
Deal With Email De-cluttering After Computer Files
Just when I thought I only had to deal with my laptop files, I realize that emails are another huge digital thing to go through. I have three email accounts that I use, two personal and one for business. The reason I have two personal emails is because I still have one of my very first email accounts using "Hotmail"...and admitting that must have aged me! If I sign up for anything I like to use my Hotmail account, but also I have some friends and relatives who only know this email so I use it to keep in touch. The email declutter is also another lengthy process so remember that this takes time too. Create folders to organize your emails and treat this like the paper category of the KonMari Method when you deal with incoming mail...only have emails in your in-box that are for "immediate attention", then create a "pending/temporary" folder, then finally you can have a "keep forever" folder for those really important emails. Remember to un-subscribe to mailing lists that are no longer of interest to you, and only stay subscribed to emails that add value to your life so that you can take control of what comes in.
De-clutter Phone After Email
Once I finally have my laptop files and emails decluttered, organized and in their homes, I will move on to decluttering my phone. I would start with checking what apps are being used and not used at all, then delete what has never been used and then you can organize what apps are left on your phone. Always make sure you are only keeping apps that add value to your life of course. I have organized my phone using the colour folder app way of organization, and I have to say it has worked well for me. You just have to get familiar with what colour your apps are that are frequently used, so you can find and open them easily. I know I have my app situation under control, but again I have many images on my phone so I will tackle that more. I will do a little everyday, and I usually like to do this if I have no data or wifi and travelling on the subway train or just commuting in general. I have to remind myself to control the amount of photos I decide to take with my phone and if they are really worth keeping memories of.
I hope this gives you a good idea of how to get your digital declutter started. Then you can start to be more mindful of what images or files you decide to keep in your laptop or phone and get it under control. I will share a part-two of this blog about my life after doing my digital de-clutter once it is fully complete...I wonder how long it will take me? So stay tuned.
Summer is always hard to let go of especially if you live in a place with four seasons, it really doesn't last long enough. When September comes, it's that time again for parents with school aged kids to get back into routine again. As a mom to an eight year old boy going into grade four, I want to make life even easier for my son and myself when adjusting back to school. I'm sure there were many kids who felt some anxiety returning, it's just like adults going back to work after a much needed vacation...it's totally normal and I have to admit I felt it a bit too.
I wanted to share some tips at home that can make life easier when getting ready for school everyday and extra curricular activities for the kids.
Empty Backpacks Everyday.
When kids get home and unwind it's best to empty their backpacks right away and place items in their temporary homes until they get packed again in their bags. You will know if your child has any homework, or forms to fill, if their lunch and snacks have been eaten and of course if anything is missing! You can create a temporary home either in the entry way, mudroom, or the bedroom all depending on the space you have. You can even place a magazine vertical box or rack for your child's papers that need immediate attention in this area you designate as well. You really don't want to find a wet towel or bathing suit in their backpack from the time they went swimming, all wet and stinky!
Create a Snack Station.
When preparing what food to bring to school, get your kids involved in helping out with picking what snacks or lunch they would like to have. Create a snack station and make it easy for your kids to reach items in your pantry or the fridge and get your kids to help you out with packing their daily food. It will be good for kids to get use to preparing things the day before, or in the morning and gain some independence, and overall will make life less hectic everyday. This will allow you to enjoy your mornings having breakfast with your family.
Make Bento Box Lunches and Prepare the Night Before.
Having lunches placed in a bento box that include a variety of healthy and tasty items to eat will make lunch time more enjoyable for your kids, but are also so much easier to prepare and it's a win-win for both parents and kids. There are so many combinations of meals you can do in bento boxes from pasta, wraps, deli meats, cheeses, vegetables and fruits, hummus and dips with crisps (crackers, chips, pretzels) and more. Just simply drop the food items into the box and they look nicely presentable and fun for kids to eat up. Your child will be sure to come home from school with lunch and snacks all eaten (or most of it) and you can feel good that it's always going to be a good meal. If your too tired to prepare the night before, take a day to wash and cut up veggies and fruit in advance and have them in containers ready to place in the bento box. I know some fruits like apples or avocado will brown in advance so leave those fruits for the day of.
Have a Family Calendar App or Print.
It's important to have reminders for everyone when it comes to things that are happening in and outside of school. Keep your schedule and upcoming plans organized so that everyone is aware and prepared for things to come. There's a great calendar app called FamCal:Shared Family Calendar and family members can all be included to share the calendar with upcoming activities, tasks, shopping lists and events. If you are not digital savvy, you can always have a printed calendar in the kitchen where everyone can see what's going on, you just need to be sure to remember to write on it.
Steamline School Supplies and Designate a Homework/ Study/ Reading area.
We all know that in order to do work properly you need to work in a peaceful space that is clutter-free no matter what age. Make sure that your child can do homework or study with no distractions and it's best to avoid doing homework in the living room and in front of a TV. Get your child to either work from a desk in their bedroom, or use the dining table and have school supplies ready to use so that it's easy to get the work started. Have your child choose the school items that spark joy so that they want to work with these tools and then have them show gratitude to what no longer brings them joy and let it go. An area that sparks joy to work in will help your child to focus on what he or she needs to do. The same goes for a good spot for reading, you can either choose the same spot or create a reading nook for that time to practice reading.
Prepare Outfits In Advance.
Have you tried the KonMari Method with your child? I have done this with my son when he was only 6 yrs. old and then he did it again (on his own) a year later when he was 7 yrs. old. Now he has a streamlined wardrobe (and bedroom) with everything that sparks joy and it's easy for him to pick out his own outfits to wear everyday. If your child is still too young to try the method out that's ok, make it easy by having their outfits for the week all prepared on the Sunday before the week starts. You can have the outfits ready in a hanging closet organizer with days of the week labelled on each compartment, then your child doesn't need to even think just get the outfit, put it on and go. Remember if your child likes to pick out what to wear on their own, be sure to let them choose their own outfits to avoid any issues getting ready.
Here's my son and I on the first day of school, he's a big Naruto fan with his leaf village headband. This time he let me pick his outfit for the first day, but he had no issue with what I chose cause everything sparks joy! I usually let him pick out his own outfits everyday.
There you have it, some of my tips to help with life back to school more simple everyday!
This blog is not a sponsored post.
Spring Cleaning Tips
When it comes to spring cleaning, it's important to deal with the tidying part first (of course) before cleaning, because it will make cleaning much easier. As the tidying guru Marie Kondo says "Tidying is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature." In Canada (and most countries located much north of the equator), spring cleaning is the transition from winter to spring and preparing the home for enjoying outdoors.
Here are some tips that I have that you can use to get your spring cleaning started:
I hope these tips give you some good ideas on how to get your spring cleaning started. Hopefully you have continued doing KonMari throughout your home, but even better if you have completed it already, and then you can do spring cleaning with confidence!
Hey guys, I'm really happy that Modern & Minimalist has reached a milestone today and turned two years old on Instagram! I started my account when I was discovering minimalism and wanted to become one. Then I tried the Minsgame for a month and tracked my journey, it was a fun game but lead me to wanting to have even less. So I read "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo (which I had given as a gift to my mom in 2014) and then I decided to read the book, got inspired to do the method in my home and it changed my life! I was so amazed that I wanted to share this with the world. I found Marie Kondo's website and learned I could become a KonMari Consultant, and then I knew this was the work I wanted to do to help others live with more joy and less things! I have been really blessed to continue to live with more joy helping others learn the KonMari Method and transform lives.
So today I wanted to say thank you to all of you for following me on this journey and also to welcome my new followers.
2019 has just started, and the launch of Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method in a reality documentary series called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has been all the hype right now as it strategically released when people are starting to commit to 2019 resolutions and goals, it’s perfect timing.
There are eight different families in California, who are visited by Marie Kondo who helps them to confront their clutter-filled homes. Each family has a different home situation and reasons that prevent them from living in a tidy and organized home. They go through the KonMari Method of all five main KonMari categories: Clothing, Books, Paper, Komono (Misc.), and Sentimental items. Marie Kondo teaches them how to tackle the category starting with Clothing, and then leaves them homework to do until she returns to see their progress.
So as a Certified KonMari Consultant, watching this is so exciting because I get to see Marie Kondo in action, she’s the whole reason why I decided to become a KonMari Consultant of course! When I did the KonMari Method myself it changed my life and inspired me! Marie Kondo is also so adorable to watch and hearing her speak Japanese is so lovely to hear.
It’s so amazing to see the kind of work that I do by the tidying Guru herself, helping people transform their lives by choosing joy and teaching the method. However since this is a reality show, you don’t see everything that happens during the process and there is a lot more work that goes into doing the KonMari Method in your home.
When I do KonMari sessions with my clients, it really is just a one-on-one appointment with only one member of the home at a time. In the show Marie talks and works with the whole family, obviously it’s faster to do this way in a 40 min. episode, but in a real session I only work with one member of the family, so that there is no distraction going through the process and no judgment from other members. It helps to do it this way so that the client and I can focus.
So at the start of the session, I first check out the home and storage places to get familiar and know the clients pain points in-person. Then we sit together and I ask the client to talk about their ideal lifestyle and get them to write down some goals. While the client is doing this I greet the home, and I do just like what Marie Kondo does to greet the home, I kneel on the ground and close my eyes. Sometimes I have my eyes open and speak out loud, and I introduce myself and let the home know I am here to bring peace, joy and positivity and the method to the home. I know that this may seem weird for some people even watching it on the show, but this really calms the client (and myself too) because there will be a lot of work to do, but good work of course.
After the greeting, we start with the Clothing category and I get the client to gather all the clothes that they own in the home, (no one else’s clothes) and I help with this too. We usually work on the floor or on the bed, but usually the floor as long as there is a drop cloth or bedsheet underneath. I always spend five hours on the first session, going through each item of clothes, choosing what "sparks joy", and I work with the client and do “joy checks” which help him or her decide if they get stuck, and I help sort and take clothing that no longer sparks joy. The client will thank items that no longer spark joy and pass to me and I discard in a donation bag (client must be responsible for taking items out of home to donate). Sometimes I sit on the floor while this is happening, but mostly I stand (cause I’m pumped and excited) the whole time too! It takes a lot of energy both mental and physical to go through the process every time. I also do a folding demo and teach how to fold the clothing during this session. With the clothes that spark joy, the client folds all the clothes on his or her own on the floor. Then after we have been through all the clothes, I help temporarily store back the clothes. I give some homework to do like going through shoes, bags, hats, etc. but if there is time we go through this too. I do not leave the client until a huge amount of the work in this category has been done. What you don't see on the show, is each family go through the all the categories in order, as you must follow the right order in the method.
I return to the clients home sometimes the next day, or in a week (or whenever the client is ready for another session) but usually in a week. I contact my clients via email prior to the next session to give feedback and encouragement, cause we are like tidying coaches! When I come back to the home, I check the homework and see what the client has done and then we move on to the next category of Books, I spend about three hours with the client (if less we move on to the next category). Then I visit again and we work on the next category of Papers, this could take 3-5 hours but if we get through it fast we also move onto Komono, the biggest category with many sub-categories. The home will not look pretty at first but it’s part of the process and I am there for it all, going through every single item and the client has to be there too. Komono can take up to three or more visits (from 3-5 hours each), but it all depends on the amount of stuff a person has and how a person is in their decision making. We work very different from what you saw on the show, and even typical home organizers, where you can also leave while they work. After the sessions I also return things back temporarily because eventually we will make sure there is a “home” for every item.
Finally there is the last category which is Sentimental, this is going through the items of the home that have any emotional attachment like photos, scrapbooks, journals, keepsakes, gifts/ items from parents, relatives or friends, anything with a story or memory behind it. We will go through everything and store and organize photos so it’s easier to find and enjoy in an area of the home that they should live. Sometimes these sentimental items are in the home that can't even be enjoyed (or remembered). Then after all the categories are done, I go through the home and we see what storage we can use, usually there’s lots of empty containers and boxes left over no longer needed. Finally we make sure that there are homes for everything and that these items return to their homes after every use.
I get to know my clients really well because we spend a lot of time together and I learn about their lives, their past, their hopes and dreams, and the people they love and they get to know me too. I do this because I love connecting with people and making a difference in their lives. This experience is more than just decluttering and tidying the home, it’s learning to live with joy in every aspect of your life, appreciating what you have, it changes habits and behaviours, becoming more mindful, which will change and transform your life. You will gain the gift of time and learn to enjoy life more, and consume a lot less.
What you didn’t see, was that there were two wonderful KonMari Consultants working with the families behind the scenes they are Jane Grodem and Tricia Fidler, who assisted on the show. Those families were assisted by KonMari Consultants to get through everything in the home, of course it's a long process so you don't see that part but that is what we do...we support, motivate, encourage and teach our clients in a non-judgemental way to experience the KonMari Method, and our passion shines through on to whomever we work with. I am definitely proud to be a part of the KonMari community and so proud of Marie Kondo in the debut of her show, she is my inspiration!
So if you are interested in learning the KonMari Method and need the help of a KonMari Consultant you can obviously contact me if you live in the Toronto, Canada area or you can find a KonMari Consultant closest to you! There are 200+ consultants worldwide transforming lives through KonMari. Choose to live with joy always my friends, it will make life and the world so much better.