Back to School Already?!

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3 WAYS KIDS USE ORGANIZATION SKILLS TO LEARN

(By Amanda Morin, Understood for Learning & Attention Issues)

1. Following Directions

Following through on directions requires kids to do two things: focus on what needs to be done and come up with a game plan to do it. Both of these require mental organization and planning.

2. Literacy Learning

Literacy, requires a number of organization strategies. For kids to read books and write, they have to keep track of many things at once: characters and their relationships, plot, sequences of events, supporting details and the main idea. If your child struggles with organization she may not be able to gather all that information and organize it. Labeling organizing containers within your home is a great way to help kids learn letters and words!

3. Learning Math

Kids have to use organization skills to learn math because it’s a very organized subject. There are rules and procedures to follow all along the way. Math also involves organizing information based on relationships, such as sorting things into groups by size, color or shape.

5 Things All Organized People Do

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1. THEY ARE CREATURES OF HABIT
Organized people are consistent. They set a routine for themselves and they stick to it. This means, they do the same things at the same times every day. 

2. THEY DON'T PROCRASTINATE
Organization is best done a little bit every day. The more you procrastinate the bigger your to-do list gets and the harder it gets to accomplish each task. It's a vicious cycle. Organized people understand this and use it as motivation to stay on top of their to-do lists. 

3. THEY REDUCE CLUTTER
Organized people declutter their homes and their lives frequently. The best way to cut back on clutter is to implement a "give one, get one" rule. This means that every time you bring a new item home, you must donate an old one.

4. THEY MAKE LISTS
Organized people write everything down. They keep to-do lists, shopping lists, packing lists, and more! Writing these things down allows them to declutter their mind without worrying about missing a deadline or forgetting a meeting.

5. THEY MAKE TIME FOR THEMSELVES
Organized people set aside time for themselves every day. Even if it's only 10-15 minutes. Organized people are able to prioritize their time and create space to decompress and relax. This "me time" is essential for preventing burn out.

Spring Cleaning Tips!

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"Spring has sprung, The grass is riz, Wonder where the flowers is?" Ogden Nash

Isn’t it amazing how every year after the snow melts (or sometimes before!) the same thing happens? Spring shows up again. However, where you might be seeing daffodils, tulips, and sunshine, I’m seeing cobwebs, dust bunnies, clutter, and dulled windows. That’s because this season has “spring cleaning” written all over it for me.

Organizing and cleanliness are very tightly linked. Let’s face it, if a space is dirty, no amount of organizing is going to make it look good. And while the regular cleaning we do to keep on top of the daily build-up works great, there’s nothing like a full-on swan dive into the bottomless pool of spring cleaning that really gives us the opportunity for a fresh start.

Here are ten seasonal cleaning tips that will make your house look like a million bucks - and might even make you glad you dove in for the deep clean!

Set Yourself Up for Success

  • Grab a bucket or caddy and stock it with all the supplies you need before you begin; microfiber cloths, multi-surface cleaner, abrasive powder, squeegee, duster, rubber gloves, etc. Don’t ruin your momentum by having to retrieve something from somewhere else.

Break Out Your Ladder

  • Start with your ladder or step stool right beside you so that you can easily and safely access tough-to-reach areas. Use an extendable pole if needed for awkward corners.

Work Top to Bottom

  • Begin at the top of a room by dusting ceiling corners, light fixtures, and fans and work your way down by cleaning walls, windows, and surfaces before vacuuming up all the dust you’ve dislodged. If you do it the other way, you’ll have to vacuum twice.

Recruit the Family

  • If you have kids, plan a family cleaning day where everyone has his or her job--set up a garage sale, use teams to move furniture, get everyone to purge winter clothes before they get packed away. Involving children empowers them to learn these habits at a young age. Plan a fun event at the end as a reward.

Purge, Purge, Purge

  • A spring clean is a fabulous time to get rid of stuff. Pay attention to things that haven’t been used or moved since the last time you cleaned them. Bring a donate box and a trash bag into each room as you’re cleaning, and talk yourself into letting things go.  Ask yourself: Do I use it, do I love it, do I appreciate it?

 Consider Systems

  • While taking this up close and personal view of your space, think about what systems you might use to further streamline and organize. How can I best maximize the space that I have? Is there a better use for an existing piece of furniture? Use this as an opportunity to make improvements. You have more space than you think.

 Do the Things You Never Do

  • Vacuum under & behind furniture. Clean the fridge. Wash or dry clean curtains, and wash or dust blinds. Break out a lint roller, and take it for a spin over the lampshades. Dust light bulbs. Clean under the beds. Wash windows. Clean tops of cupboards. Scrub light switch plates and floor vents. Look for areas that don’t get much cleaning TLC during the rest of the year, and make them your priority.

Pace Yourself

  • A thorough spring clean can’t be done in a single day--especially if you don’t have extra hands helping out. Be methodical. Plan certain tasks for certain days, and do them over a couple of weekends or several evenings. Give yourself the time you need so that you don’t succumb to overwhelm.  Remember, a lot can be accomplished in thirty-minute blocks of time.

Make It Fun!

  • Crank up the tunes. Listen to an audio book. Open the windows, and let the fresh air in. Have something special in the fridge to look forward to when you’re done. Do whatever it takes to keep you on task and motivated.

Take care of and take pride in your belongings.  Stay on top of scuff marks, dust, paint touch ups, loose hinges, or any small fixes as they happen.  Same goes for hiring a handyman to do any bigger jobs you don’t want to take on. Keeping things in tip-top shape in your home will save you money and time. Who doesn’t want more time these days?

Remember those spring flowers we talked about at the beginning? When you’re finished, buy yourself a massive bunch of tulips or daffodils, put them in your best vase, and set them up on your newly polished table. Then sit back in a sunbeam, and enjoy the view.

Happy Organizing--and Happy Spring!

How LUCKY are YOU to have all this STUFF?!

With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, we encourage you to take some time to reflect and be thankful for all the STUFF we are lucky to have!  Are you managing your possessions with thoughtfulness and efficiency?  Are you feeling burdened by your belongings?  The tips to give you a jump start on appreciating what we are so fortunate to have.

3 tips to jump start control of your stuff:

  1. Only keep and display what you love and appreciate.

  2. Keep your flat surfaces clear.

  3. Take 10 things to a donation center today!  Spread your luck!

Sheryl's Personal Experience - Relocating Her Mom

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2016 brought a major move for my mom giving me a new perspective dealing with the emotional side of relocation. Los Angeles was home for my mom, Cissy Coberly Hadley, for 77 years; except for 4 years of college at Berkeley. While we always respect the emotions of our clients who are moving, it is different when it is your parent. Until the last few years, she never thought that she would leave LA, my brothers and I never thought she'd leave LA; after all, three generations of Coberlys were born at the same hospital in downtown LA. It's never too early to start preparing for a move, and my mom is always ready months ahead of time for everything. She easily gets rid of things she doesn't want or need, which makes my job easier! She officially hired Org & Relo to execute her move since even the most exciting of moves are always stressful and chaotic.

Despite her hiring professionals (my brother, John, works with me and for this important move, we brought Bill in too), the reality of all of our emotions of her leaving friends & family behind, downsizing to 680 sq ft from 1800 sq ft, moving from a house to "life care community" in Santa Barbara when she really didn't want to yet, was daunting.  Fortunately, for her children, she made a wise decision to relocate as the opportunity arose for a great unit, when she is physically and mentally able. Adding to the overwhelming emotion of this life change, are the tasks of going through family albums, history, laughing about childhood memories, treasures, and really prioritizing what's important to have around you in your home since memories are really in the mind. Then, there is finding a new grocery store, pharmacy, your way around town, and of course a restaurant where they all know you (what fun is it if the bartender doesn't say hi when you walk in?!). We got her packed up, movers loaded the truck, said goodbye to Los Angeles, drove up the coast to Santa Barbara, and had her unpacked, organized, and art hung in 1 1/2 days. Then John, Bill & I jumped in a UHaul to the Bay Area to drop off furniture & family heirlooms from my mom for their own homes to enjoy.

Although I have done this for 12 years, it reinforced the emotional experience that moving is for the entire family.  Thank you to my brothers for all their hard work and ideas to help our mom settle in. Even though she has daily adjustments to a new town and way of living, it felt like a home!

January Home Maintenance Tips

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Now is the time to go through all of your files. Who says you have to wait until the Spring to get some cleaning done?

  1. Clean out your filing cabinets. Go through your 2016 files and archive what you need for taxes and shred documents which you no longer need, less clutter - the better!

  2. Organize your home improvement files. Review warranties and check on recommended maintenance for your furnace and appliances.

  3. Sanitize hard surfaces such as countertops, laptops, TV remotes, etc. Wash your children's stuffed animals. It's cold and flu season, after all.

Back to Basics

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Back to Basics

  1. Shoes! Store shoes heel to toe. This allows you to see heel height, toe style and color for quick selection. Check out the products we love for additional shoe maintenance and storage.

  2. Clothes. Prioritize you clothes to better utilize the spaces within your closet. Store your most used items at eye level, less used items just below that and least used items up high.

  3. Bags and Purses. Hooks are a great way to organize your bags and purses in order to keep them off the floor as well as maintain a shaped arm strap.

  4. Finishing Touches. Little, but impactful adjustments like coordinating hangers, labeling and incorporating additional lighting to your closet can make all the difference.

Products We Love

Maintain Your Boots through the Summer

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Aqua Boot Shapers! These are especially great if you have limited floor space. Maintain your boot shape and quality, while leaving floor space for flip flops and sandals. Purchase these at The Container Store.

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8-Section Shoe & Handbag Cubby. This cubby is also ideal for boots as well as large handbags. Call us today for the closet of your dreams! Purchase this steel, stackable cubby at The Container Store.

Behind the Scenes at Org & Relo - Meet John Hadley

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Being born in Los Angeles, CA, was not my first choice, but were it not for that, I may never have met my sister Sheryl.  Along with our younger brother, Bill, we had a pretty good, carefree childhood – playing in the streets, going to the beach, and attending school.  Well, two out of three isn't bad.  Like most kids, we had a mother and father, which is probably where a lot of our habits and organizational skills came from.  (Our mom’s grocery list was always mapped out by aisle – pretty impressive.)

A big portion of my younger years were spent at the beach, where I discovered my love of the ocean and waves.  I didn't start surfing until I was 15, but in my mind I surfed every day.  Thirty years later, that feeling hasn't changed and has taken me around the world and introduced me to interesting people and cultures.

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Sadly, life isn't all surf.  There is another four-letter word that changes the direction of everyone’s life: Work.  Early on, I worked in the neighborhood for an older (at 13, everyone is older) man who was no longer able to prune his roses, pull weeds, or get around very well.  My job was to do what he told me and listen while he regaled me with tales of the first school buses in California.  At the time he was 84, which puts his birth year in 1896.  I listened to history lessons (World Wars I and II, air travel, television) while learning how to prune roses and other shrubs.

That summer set me on a course for life. I continued to work for him and others in the neighborhood and then began working for a landscape contractor.  From there I made my way to Morro Bay, CA, a humble little beach town on California's central coast and very close to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, the college I attended while studying horticulture.  Life was good – surf, school, work, surf, study.  Okay, four out of five isn't bad.  When I wasn’t surfing and studying I was helping older folks in their gardens and working at furniture moving companies.

After graduation I trimmed trees until I landed a job at Jordan Winery in Healdsburg, CA, as the head of horticulture.  I packed my bags and headed for Sonoma County, aka wine country.  At the time, I had little knowledge of the area and its beauty and opportunity.  I arrived and stared at the acres of lawn, hedging, flowers, landscaping, and the big, giant chateau modeled after the great French chateaus.  It was, frankly, overwhelming, but like any project one step at a time makes it doable.  And then came the managers’ meeting where the powers-that-be decided that the new guy could take on the olive orchard.  Who knew where that would lead?

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Before it could lead anywhere, a series of classes and a crash course in olive oil, olive trees, and olive management ensued.  With no experience in food science, I became part of the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) tasting panel for extra virgin olive oil.  Yes, in order for olive oil to be truly certified “extra virgin,” a panel of tasters must determine that the olive oil is free of defects from a taste perspective.  The California olive oil industry was just starting at this point, so we were all learning from each other.  It was a very exciting time and a great group of people to meet. I stayed at Jordan for nine years making their first eight vintages of olive oil, keeping the grounds, growing vegetables and cut flowers, and doing occasional garden tours.

About the same time I left Jordan, Sheryl was getting Org&Relo off the ground and needed some help in California.  I was free and figured I had moved furniture back in school and should be able to do this.  Day One on my feet taught me something – pulling weeds is way easier.  But I liked it.  I liked it, the same way I had enjoyed working for all the different people throughout my life.  I was able to help them get their homes and offices weeded.  I had always been a fan of systems and order, so it was pretty easy to transfer that skill to this new line of work.  (Back in college when I loaned a friend a pair of socks he couldn’t get over how systematically my drawer was set up.  I thought that was normal.  Twenty-five years later he still gives me a hard time.)

Organizing, it turns out, is very much like gardening.  We arrive at a job and determine what needs to be accomplished.  To the client, the task is amazingly difficult with no clear starting point.  To us, the job is broken down categorically, and we know where to start.  The completed job frees clients to take on new habits they can continue for years to come.  Like working in a clean garden, it is easier to work in a clean office than a messy one.  Everyone feels better.

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These days, along with working at Org&Relo, I also run an olive oil company, Merchants & Millers, continue to do landscaping, keep up with the surfing, and work in my own garden growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  Even life at home is organized (I may be the only guy you know who can fit every single dish from even the largest dinner party into the dish drainer every time).  I have, of all the crazy pets, a cute little LaMancha goat named Bella.  Everything that I don't use from the garden, Bella gets.  As a prize, she gets to go out on the SUP (stand up paddleboard) with me along the Russian River. People often say, “What kind of...um, is that, um...a dog?  Oh! Oh my gosh, it's a goat.”  I usually direct people to her Facebook page: Bella the Goat.  There you can see her newest buddies, two little chicks named Chick and Petee.

See you on the job or in the water,

John