7 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Family Organized This School Year

There are a couple of topics that win the title for “most requested” when it comes to creating content. It’s probably no surprise since you’ve likely seen the commercials and been inundated with ads and store sales pushing products and reminders, but back to school season is a big one over at Rachel and Company. I definitely see a rise in requests for clients asking for help around the home to get organized for the upcoming school year. As a parent, I totally get it! There are lists of products to buy, clothing and supplies to get prepared, and maybe even a rogue backpack or two left to unpack from the last school year (hey, no judgement!).

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College Dorm Room Essentials + How to Stay Organized During the School Year

While my girls aren’t heading off to college for many years (thank goodness!), I’ve had a lot of requests for a post focused on organizing for college students. The transition from home to the dorms, along with the schedule and responsibility that comes with being a college student, is a huge transition for both the student and the parent, and with that comes the need to be properly organized. So, whether your kid is heading off for their freshman year dorm or moving off campus to a small apartment, these tips will help to maximize small spaces, create routines, and serve as a guideline for what to pack/what to leave home.  

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What I learned about myself while my girls were at sleepaway camp

My girls went away to sleepaway camp this summer for four weeks. At times it seemed like a lifetime—I hit the “refresh” button on the camp website searching for pictures of them way too many times each day and (more often than I care to admit). At other times, I couldn’t believe that time had passed so quickly. But, now they are officially back at home and over the four weeks that they were gone I realized that I learned a lot about myself.

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The one organizing product I can’t function without

I depend on lists to keep my personal life, family’s schedule, and work priorities in order. Truly, if it’s not written down in my planner there is a very high chance that I won’t remember it. Are you the same way?

I’m a list maker through and through, and that includes writing out my TO-DOs that can be crossed off throughout the day and writing out the appointments and commitments that I have coming up. As a way to manage and limit the amount of mental clutter going on in everyday life, I’m a huge proponent for getting all of that information—the chaotic schedules, deadlines, appointments, whatever you have on the running list of where you/your family needs to be—down in one place that you can reference throughout the day.

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How to be an intentional shopper (and my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks)

I’m not a big proponent of “stocking up” on products just because something is on sale (especially when there is the potential to expire and it doesn’t really fit your needs), but when I come across a deal that coincides with my needs or daily essentials it makes perfect sense to me to make the purchase. I look forward to certain sales, like the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, because I know that every year around this time I am able to replenish and replace my tried-and-true favorites that I use daily. The sale is officially open to non-card holders (like myself) today and I’m excited to cross off a few items from my wishlist.

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12 areas to declutter in 10 minutes or less

“If I had more free time then I could finally get organized.” I’ve heard it once, twice, thousands of times (literally). And I get it! Life is chaotic and there never seems to be enough time to get it all done. But, there are ways that we can manage our daily routines and free up time to chip away at the overall goal of becoming more organized. With this approach, you're making organization more a part of our daily routine rather than one-time event, which has proven to stick and is easier to keep up with.

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ON MY SUMMER TO-DO LIST: SENTIMENTAL STORAGE

I’ve mentioned before that sentimental storage is the most difficult category to declutter, and as an organizer I’ve learned that what’s sentimental to one person is not necessarily the same for another. I have clients who have no problem donating or selling a household of their grandparents furniture, but they won’t budge on discarding an old college sweatshirt in their storage unit (even if they forgot that they had it in the first place!). I see, hear, and am witness to a lot of people’s personal items, which includes the sentimental items that are near and dear to their hearts. I think that there is a misconception that getting organized equates to…

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HOW TO GET ORGANIZED BEFORE A MOVE OR RENOVATION

As a professional organizer, I’m often asked what season is our busiest. While every season has a reason to be busy (i.e. back to school, holiday prep, spring cleaning, etc.), we always see an influx of questions and requests related to upcoming moving and house renovation projects. Last week we kicked off the official first days of summer with a two-week packing/unpacking/organizing project, and we’re looking forward to helping other busy families with moves, renovations, and overall home organization projects over the next several months.

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How to stay sane and organized on a summer road trip

In a couple of weeks my husband and I will be headed on a long trip to pick up the girls from summer camp and go on a family vacation. I’ve been on my fair share of 2- and 3-hour rides, but we’ll be tripling our time spent in the car each way (my husband’s idea) and I’m already playing tetris in my mind thinking about everything that we’ll be bringing (and picking up once we get the girls) and how we’ll get it all to fit.

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5 AREAS TO GET ORGANIZED THIS SUMMER

I’ll admit it: I skipped a lot of spring cleaning this year. Maybe you did too? With my girls heading off to sleepaway camp in a few weeks, I knew that I would be focusing my energy on touching literally every bit of my home and getting it organized (plus, it will serve as a nice distraction from how much I miss them!). My husband is thrilled that with our free time I am going to be organizing our home from top to bottom (ha!) but I reminded him that I am not aiming for perfection with this decluttering yet just trying to make a dent in the things I didn’t get around too during spring cleaning. The summer months are the perfect time to open the windows and tackle the areas that have been on the to-do list.

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HOW TO ORGANIZE A BEACH AND POOL BAG

As soon as Memorial Day hits and the warm weather is constant, our family spends the majority of our free weekend time at the pool. Whether you’re a pool-goer like us or you’re planning a fun trip to the beach this summer, an organized bag is a must-have to corral the essentials. So long are the days where I could just toss in sunglasses, sunscreen, and a good magazine for me and call it a day. If you’re a parent like me you know that we double as pack mules and some days it feels like we’re carrying everything but the kitchen sink in our totes.  


While I can’t necessarily lighten your load, I am here to share with you how I organize my bag so that the essentials are always easy to find and so that I can have everything I need (and some things that I might need) in one spot.

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How to Get Your Kids Organized for Sleepaway Camp (and make sure that they write you every day!)

My girls are heading to their first summer of sleepaway camp this year, which has brought a lot of emotions (they’re beyond excited, but Jon and I already miss them!). Once we made the decision that they would be headed out for a month of adventuring and lifelong memory-making, it hit me that there would be a lot to get done to prepare. I’ve packed my kids for plenty of family travel and quick trips, but never for such a long time period, so it was time to get in full-on organizing mode!

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The online store that has completely changed the way that my family shops

When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, I was given a list of things that I could no longer eat, ingest, apply to my skin, etc.*. To say that I was overwhelmed would be a vast understatement, as the list was not only extremely long, but also included a lot of ingredients that I wasn’t familiar with. After further research, I realized that the ingredients that were found in my shampoo, lotions, storage containers, down to the type of cotton balls I use were no longer safe for me to use. Around the same time of my diagnosis, I saw an ad on Instagram for Brandless. Have you heard of the company?

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4 Ways to Organize Your Playroom to Inspire Creativity

I remember years ago during one of the first days of summer after my girls had started elementary school I heard the dreaded words: “I’m bored”.

As adults, it’s common to walk into our closet and complain that we have “nothing to wear”. I’ve been there, my clients have been there, and chances are you’ve been there on a regular basis as well.

See, for kids, their version of our closet complaints is oftentimes their play space. So many options, but for (what seems like) the majority of the time nothing seems appealing. More than likely, there are dozens of toy options at their disposal and yet as parents we hear the dreaded “I’m bored!” more often than we would like. It can be frustrating to stare at a room full of puzzles, board games, dolls, legos, and more, and  think about how they can’t find something to do, but it’s possible that it’s not what the options are but how they are being stored. Yes, believe it or not organization--or lack thereof--could be the culprit behind your kid’s boredom.

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End of year gifts for your A+ teacher

Is it just me or does it feel like I was just talking about back to school organization? How are we only one month away from another school year coming to a close! I’m probably a broken record at this point, but where does the time go? Before I know it my girls will be packing up and heading off to camp for the summer (don’t worry, packing lists and prep on that topic are going to be on the blog soon enough), but I’m trying my best to stay focused on the now. I know that once summer comes that means farewell to our school routines, after school activity drop-offs, and evening quizzes of spelling words that I can barely pronounce!

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My Favorite Design and Organization Hacks for Your Small Space

Have you ever felt that your home’s square footage--or lack thereof--was keeping you from getting organized? While I can’t help to change the footprint of your home, there are many ways that design and organization can help to maximize the usable (and visual) space in your home. Take a peek at the tips below and let me know which design and organizing hacks you are going to use to transform your small space. I promise you that even the smallest hacks can be life changing and change the way that you live and operate in your small space.

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6 Yard Sale Tips to Create a Better (and More Profitable) Experience

I remember years ago when I hosted my first yard sale. The neighborhood was hosting a big event where you can go between driveways to shop, making it the perfect opportunity to clear your home of unwanted items once and for all. My girls were excited and ready, because with yard sales meant a lot of fun, like lemonade stands, learning about money, earning money, and finding new homes for old things. I had organized all of our items into boxes, did an insane amount of decluttering (okay, a little more than usual), and what happened? It rained.

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Client Before and After: Personalizing the layout for a busy working parent

If you don’t love your closet then you can probably relate to the “band-aid” fixes. You know, the products that you think will solve your problems and while they might work a little bit, sometimes it’s the closet itself that needs to get re-done.

We recently redesigned our client’s closet because--like many of our clients--she knew that there had to be a better layout which would make it easier for her to keep up with. The thing is, not all closets are created equal. Some closets have a combination of long hang and short hang, shelves and shoe racks, but more often than not is a closet perfect for your needs without a little bit of tweaking.

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5 Desk Organization Tips to Boost Productivity

I’ve noticed that having an office space that is beautifully designed and organized isn’t just a trend. Companies seem to be taking the time and are investing more in their employees and their surroundings by bringing in experts to create better work environments. From how the furniture is designed to the office, companies have taken notice of the positive impacts that organized office spaces can have on their employees and their productivity.

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PAUSE BEFORE PURGING THESE CATEGORIES

As a professional organizer, I’m always asked if I “make” my clients get rid of stuff while helping them declutter. In case you’re wondering the same thing...the answer, in short, is: absolutely not. In recent years there has been a growing interest in minimalism and a greater emphasis on “less is more”, but before you jump on the bandwagon and rid your home of anything that doesn’t bring you joy, take a moment to carefully review a couple of categories before letting them go.

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