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  • 08/01/2011 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    by Jacquie Ross of CastAway the Clutter!


    After a long summer break, most children are bored and ready to go back to school, especially when it’s time for back to school shopping.  However, before you leave for your back to school shopping spree, you’ll need to get organized, so that you can have the best experience possible.  First and foremost, you’ll want to set a budget, and let your children know that you have one.  This will teach them a lesson in responsibility and they are less likely to be disappointed when they can’t have anything they want!


    Here are 8 tips to help you to plan a successful back to school shopping trip:

    1. Before you begin your back to school shopping spree, go through your child’s closet and thoroughly de-clutter and organize.  Donate clothes and shoes that they are no longer wearing.
    2. Take inventory of the remainder of clothes which can be worn during the school year.  This avoids wasting time shopping for clothes that they don’t need.
    3. Make a list of essential and basic clothing that they will need during the school year.  For instance, underwear, socks, t-shirts or sweat shirts, shoes, boots, raincoats, hats, gloves and scarves. Figure out approximately how many of each item they will need, and consider stocking up on extras to use later in the year.
    4. Keep in mind that you may not just be shopping for their day-to-day wear; you may also have to plan ahead for their after-school activity clothes too. Take into account what after-school activities they will be participating in and plan accordingly.
    5. Check the school’s dress codes so that you have up to date information before you go shopping for back to school. Otherwise, you may run the risk of ending up with a wardrobe full of clothes that your child can only wear on weekends.
    6. Check out back to school sales flyers and see if you can get a few things you need on sale. You may also want to check for deals online, and also take advantage of online coupon codes.
    7. Before you leave for your shopping trip, make an agreement with your child that they can pick out one or two outfits that they like.  This will make the trip a little more fun for them.  Of course, you’ll also need to remind them of your budget.
    8. During your shopping trip, you’ll want to wear comfortable shoes, shop smart, take advantage of sales and try to mix and match separates as much as possible.


    Finally, if your state has a Tax Free Shopping Week, take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity and plan the majority of your shopping during this week.  By planning and organizing your back to school shopping trip, you’ll feel more in control, less stressed and are less likely to overspend.


    © 2011 Jacquie Ross, CastAway the Clutter!  All Rights Reserved.


    Jacquie Ross is a professional organizer, life and family coach and award winning owner of CastAway the Clutter! A busy mom expert, Jacquie works with moms, families and busy professionals to clear their clutter, manage their time and run their households more effectively.  Learn more about her organizing and coaching services at www.CastAwaytheClutter.com.

  • 07/21/2011 3:05 PM | Anonymous

    by Barbara Boone of Productivity Solutions

     

    Everyone loves to go on vacation. You can feel the excitement and anticipation as the day draws closer. Is some of that excitement disguised as anxiety over getting everything ready in time? How can you avoid that anxiety? Here are some suggestions that you just might want to try.

    • Use a packing list. You may also customize your own list. Making one ahead of time and printing out copies for future use is valuable because you create the list in a time of peace and calm.
    • Lay out your suitcase(s) ahead of time in a room that has little traffic and low usage. How far ahead of time depends on you, your comfort level, and usage of the room for the suitcases. I generally lay mine out a week ahead of the vacation in my guest bedroom. I do this because I can calmly place things in the suitcase as I think of them. The first items I put into the suitcase are the staples of a vacation: pajamas, underwear, socks or hosiery. These of course are extra things that I am not currently using.
    • Think through your itinerary. Are you going to be doing any unusual activities that require some special clothing or equipment? If you can, put these items in or just near the suitcase so that you don’t forget them.
    • If you can plan your outfits ahead of time, do so. I put the tops and bottoms of outfits that I want to take with me in the room with the suitcase. As the departure day gets closer, I pair up the outfits and see if I want to add or subtract anything.
    • If you have your outfits laid out, decide what accessories you want to take with you such as jewelry. Planning ahead ensures that you won’t forget that favorite necklace that matches your blue dress.
    • Pack enough medications for your trip. It is always a good idea to include some extras in case you get delayed. I put mine in ahead of time so that I won’t forget them.
    • If traveling by plane, plan on how you will get to the airport. Make sure you have a back-up plan if things change.
    • If traveling by car, have your mechanic look over the car for routine maintenance.
    • Have all of your travel documents collected together in a container. This will make it easier to find them when you need them. I use a plastic badge holder with a loop to put over my head for my security information when traveling by plane. I can easily show them to the security people while I am holding my suitcase or purse.
    • Give your travel information to a close friend or family member. This tip is for your safety as well as the comfort of your family and friends.
    • If packing more than one bag, think about putting like items together. For instance, all shoes in the same place. If you are traveling to the beach and need to pack a beach bag, that can be done ahead of time. Make sure to include sunscreen, towels, flip-flops, bathing suits, sunglasses, and reading material.

    As the departure day gets closer, do the following:

    • Stop the mail/newspaper. This is a security precaution so that your home doesn’t look like you are on vacation from the outside.
    • Check animal boarding info if applicable.
    • Water plants or have someone come and do it for you.
    • Check your thermostat if you want to put it in vacation mode or turn it off completely.
    • Turn off the icemaker in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t overflow while you are away.
    • Tell close neighbors so that they can keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior.
    • Leave a light on somewhere in the house so that it appears that people are home.

    If you follow these easy suggestions, you will feel more at peace when you leave the house and you will enjoy your vacation much more.



    © 2011 Barbara Boone, Productivity Solutions. All Rights Reserved.


    Barbara Boone is a professional organizer and productivity consultant for small businesses. She specializes in paper management and file set-up to help business owners save time, money and space in order to be more productive in their offices. She is also a speaker for small groups and a published author.

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