Starting school…..getting organised! Eeek….!

Well, the time has come for my eldest little darling to start her exciting adventure of becoming a school girl.

I’ve been counting down the weeks and days until she starts, and have been seriously researching the best ways to ensure we are fully organised and ready, on the lead up to school and beyond.

Im a newby to this, so it is a whole new world that I’m entering.

I’ve pulled together what I feel are top tips, to make this journey as smooth as possible for us as a family.

Im sure there are hundreds of tips out there, so Im excited to learn about different ways to keep us organised and would love to hear from you in terms of how you keep yourself organised (and sane!) during the school weeks.

Labels

I have become a big fan of the school labels “Petit Fernand” – not only are they super practical, they are also absolutely gorgeous in terms of design and colour palette.

https://www.petit-fernand.co.uk

My eldest little darling chose exactly what she wanted right down to the font her name is in.

I’ve chosen the iron on versions and I have to admit I absolutely HATE ironing. I know, I know, I should love it, being as Im an organised lady, but I just cannot face standing up ironing every item under the sun! Mr Darling does his own (always has and ALWAYS will!) and, so far, all my little darlings’ clothes are pretty much folded/hung as soon they are dry – so no creases! (I wear non iron clothing too!!)

Due to my phobia of ironing I’ve found an ingenious way to iron on the school labels – my beloved GHD straighteners! They work a treat and it saves me being on my feet for hours. (I can even do it whilst sat down in the evening catching up on the latest GOT!)

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Breakfast

Breakfast in our house consist of me encouraging a healthy option every morning – everything is in containers ready for my little ones to help me out.

Unfortunately Weetabix and porridge every morning is just not going to cut it for my little lady. She adores Grandmas home made jam on toast, but this is an absolute no-no for me before she goes to school! (the sugar content makes me want to cry!)

As some of you may know, we have a chalk board in our kitchen where I put up all our main meals for the week. This keeps me fully organised in terms of what I’m cooking each evening for everyone.

Due to my eldest darling having school meals every week day, her slot on the board is now going to be taken up with breakfast options. Every Sunday we will sit down together, and she can decide her breakfast for each morning. I am hoping that this will cut out the dramas of not being allowed toast EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING!! She will have it there, in black and white, and will know exactly what is coming up each morning. (Plus this gives me the opportunity to organise any ingredients the night before, saving us precious minutes in the morning!)

Picture Schedules

I have seen a lot of these recently through my research on “how to get school organised”.

They are flash card style pictures, that children follow each morning, to get themselves ready. For example – wash face, brush teeth, make bed etc etc.

I think they are a truly lovely idea and a great way for children to start to get themselves organised. You can easily purchase these online, but I think it will be great fun to make these. If it’s home made, it can then be tailored to each child.

My favourite so far is the below image. Adorable and very easy to make!

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Uniform

This may be an obvious for some, but every evening we will be laying out the clothes for the next day.

Its a simple process and outfits can either be block hung together in the wardrobe, laid out on the floor/chair, folded in the drawer together – anything as long as you and your children know where it is and it is ALL TOGETHER!

Anything that saves time and effort – Im on board!

 

Alarm Clock

If you are always rushing around in the morning, losing track of time or generally always late – then this one is for you!

Set an alarm clock at regular intervals during your morning routines. If you hear it go off you know you need to be putting shoes on/brushing teeth/finding car keys etc.

This can be totally tailored for you and your routine – but I swear it will work wonders for ensuring you’re ready and out the door on time!

After School Station 

I’ve been to many a clients’ house and seen piles of shoes, book bags, homework just amassing in a cupboard/on a kitchen surface etc.

Being who I am, and being a tidy freak, I will absolutely be implementing what I have seen as an “After school station”.

This is basically a place in the house where school bags are hung up, shoes are put in a basket, homework books sorted etc. Once my youngest little darling starts school, she will have a space right next to her sisters too.

These can be personalised and need to be easily accessible. I’ll be utilising our spare wall in our utility room, but if you are short of space, this can easily be implemented on the back of a door.

The “station” needs to be somewhere your little ones can access too, as it is a place for them to put everything away, organised and ready for the next day.

I have seen so many different versions and obviously they need to be tailored to your home/space, but the picture below is similar to what we will be implementing, but with basket attached for school shoes. (I will post pictures once it is up and running!)

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After School Activities

Screen time is such a big topic at the moment and I am VERY aware that over the school holidays my strict allowance has wavered!

I know that my little darling is going to be exhausted after school, especially for the first few weeks, but I am determined not to let her flop down in front of the TV as soon as she gets in.

TV time in our household is at 4.30pm, for 30 minutes (whilst I prepare tea and regain my sanity!) – anything before that is a no no.

What I am planning to do is setting up an activity of some sort, on the table, ready for when she is home.

This can be anything that is of interest to your child, it could be drawing paper and pens, bunchems, happy land figures, feathers and glue, a new library book, colouring book – anything that sparks their imagination. I am truly hoping that this will be enough interest for my little darling to not nag about watching TV.

 

I am pretty sure I will be adding to my list over the next school term, and I absolutely know that some of these tips aren’t rocket science! It just about preparation and maintaining an organised home.

As its our first school adventure, I want to make sure I am focused on my eldest darling and how she is getting on, rather than rushing around every morning not knowing where things are and generally in a slightly stressed state before the school run (and beyond!)

Please do share some of your top tips with me. As I said, Im a total newby to thislifestyle of having a school child, so anything to make the process easier is great news for me!

I hope you enjoyed reading and as always, if you ever need any assistance in organising or decluttering your life – I’m here to help!

Rachel x

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Children’s Artwork – To keep, or not to keep? That is the question!

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I’m sure all of us parents have been in this situation. Our little darlings have worked so hard on creating a beautiful masterpiece and hand it to us with a huge, proud smile on their face.

Or, they come home from nursery/school with a huge painted daffodil/spaceship/cow/fish/squidge (please edit accordingly!!)

What do you do with them all?

If we kept them all, our houses would be overflowing with art and craft projects.(Well, mine certainly would be anyway!)

How do you decide? What do you keep? Where do you keep them?

I have come across a lot of clients who have boxes filled with their children’s artwork and it’s such a difficult area as to decide what should be kept and what should be recycled.

I can honestly say, I would never make that judgement call for a parent. It is such a personal thing and each picture/piece of artwork can summon up lots of emotions or memories.

I personally keep anything that has been drawn/made for a special occasion, such as Mothers day cards, Easter picture, Christmas painting etc. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?!) my eldest little darling has a full on obsession at the moment with drawing and colouring. She will draw atleast 25 pictures a day, and that is absolutely no exaggeration! After the fifth picture of a Rainbow Ogre, I know that although these are beautiful pictures for the moment, neither myself or her will worry about where they are in years to come and we really do not need to keep them all.

These pictures are enjoyed in the moment and then recycled each week.

Any that I find to be super special, or that my eldest darling is particularly proud of (these are mostly art pieces made at nursery) – I display them on my pinboard in my kitchen. (The same pinboard that featured in last weeks blog that I use for all my bills too – it makes it much prettier than just starting at “PAYMENT DUE” letters, that’s for sure!)

Anything else that we do keep, at the moment, is stored in a spare drawer in my dining room dresser.

I am still in the early stages of artwork and I know that as she and her sister starts school, these art pieces will become more special and not as easy to let go of.

The method that i will be putting in place is the following:

  1. Decide what to keep – as said, this is a truly personal process, but you do need to be as ruthless as you can, try to just keep the pieces that spark joyful memories.
  2. File what needs to be kept in a ring binder folder (Using clearly labelled tab dividers and plastic wallets) – this file can then be stored away in a cupboard and will not be taking up valuable space within your home.
  3. Store any incoming pieces together, whether that be in a magazine folder, my spare drawer (if it’s still spare by then!), or a pretty box. These will need to be looked at at the end of EVERY month. It will need to be put on a monthly to do list to keep it up to date and clear.
  4. The rest will be framed/hung and I will rotate this on a seasonal/monthly basis (depending on what the artwork is!)

Below are some great ideas as to what can be done with pieces that you really want keep.

  1. Art book – This is my absolute favourite idea and i will definitely be doing this, once I actually have enough artwork that we will be keeping! One of the best companies out there is Doodle nest – http://www.doodlenest.co.uk  They transform your children’s artwork into an absolutely beautiful coffee table book. You send them all the artwork (in a box they provide), they then have designers that photograph, edit and layout the book for you. The results are absolutely beautiful and will last a lifetime. If this isn’t an affordable idea for you, you could do something similar yourself. Using a digital camera, you could create your own photo book. It can be a fun project to complete with your children.
  2. Curtain Rod – This is a great way to display pieces that can be accessed by your children. Using a curtain rod attached to a wall in your children room, you can add metal clips and be able to display key pieces and interchange them. It means there is a constant change of decor in your childs’ bedroom (which I think they would love!), plus it’s less clutter in the rest of your home as it’s contained to one room.
  3. Art wall – embrace every piece that you want to keep and have one wall that EVERYTHING goes on. Really make it a feature wall, and be creative with it, (Pinterest have some amazing ideas!), but if you are after something more subtle, you could use the back of a door or a wall in a room that isn’t used a much. (I would personally use my utility room – it’s a room that I personally use a lot (thanks to my washing machine being situated in there!), so I as a Mummy can appreciate the little masterpieces, but it’s not showing as clutter throughout my home!

I truly hope that’s given you some inspiration and ideas as to what to do with your little one’s artwork. Whilst I’ve been writing this, I think I have at least 5 new pictures to look at now! (Thanks to my eldest little darling!)

If there is a subject that you would like me to blog about, please do comment or message me. I’m always happy to share my ideas.

As always, if you do need help to declutter and organise, please do get in contact. I cover The Midlands, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, London and beyond. If you need me, I can be there!

Have a great week everyone.

Rachel

The Declutter Darling x

 

 

Drowning in paperwork??

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Paperwork.

Whoever you are, wherever you live – nearly everyone has a daily amount of paperwork being put through their door.

This always seems to be an issue with a large amount of my clients.

Even if you have an amazing filing system, if you aren’t on top if it, it can soon start to mount up and take over your house!

A filing system is only really half the battle. I am a firm believer of sorting, recycling, shredding as soon as it comes into your house.

Im sure some of you really don’t believe this is achievable – but believe me – it truly is!

I’ve gone to some clients’ houses and there are rooms full of boxes and boxes of paperwork.

Old bills. Car details. Junk mail. Take away menus. Whatever it is – if you don’t tackle it then and then, it becomes clutter. Which can then start to stake over a side, then a drawer, then a box, then two boxes, until it just become too much and gets shoved into the spare room to collect dust and grow as clutter!

The system we have put into place in our home works for us, and as a busy family of 4 – it’s a must for us!

So, here are my simple rules to follow:

  1. If its junk mail, put it in the recycling bin straight away. If you can’t access your recycling then and there, have a specific box, bag (something small that fits into your decor/room) and make sure you empty that into your recycling bin EVERY SINGLE EVENING! (It’ll take you 30 seconds to do this – seriously!)
  2. Take Away Menus – we keep ours in a plastic wallet in our kitchen cupboard. Any that we know we can access their menus online (which in todays world is about 90%!)  are recycled straight away. This is a great tip to keep clutter out of your cupboards.
  3. Bills – Any that need paying, if we can’t action the bill then and there, we have a pin board in our kitchen that they go. This is a constant reminder as it is there, the board is looming over our daily breakfast table to pay it! Once paid/actioned, they go straight into our filing trays, ready to be shredded or filed.
  4. In-tray – This is where we put any paperwork that we absolutely MUST keep. This will mainly consist of any items that we cannot access online, such as MOT certificates, Birth certificates, House deeds etc. This In-tray paperwork is then filed away in our small concertina file, which is clearly labelled for each area of our lives,  for example – House, Car, Healthcare, Certificates etc. It lives in the top of one of our wardrobes, neat and out of the way, but easily accessible. (I was truly thanking my system a few weeks ago when we had a flood and I needed to access information ASAP,  with 2 little ladies in the house and hubby at work!)
  5. Shredding – this is a tray kept underneath our In-tray. Any documents that have our address on, we shred. If it only has our address on, but nothing else personal, I usually just rip off the address part, put this in our shredding file and recycle the rest of the paper straight away. I’ll admit that our shredding isn’t done daily, but it is a weekly part of our system.

If you follow these basic rules, I absolutely promise you, your house will not become inundated with paperwork. It’s not rocket science, it’s a simple process to keep your home that little bit more clutter free.

Nowadays, nearly all bills, payslips, insurance details etc can be found online. As long as you are aware of who your suppliers are for your house, car etc (a simple excel spreadsheet can sort that one out!) then you really don’t need any of this paperwork.

You can live (just about anyway!) a paperwork free life!

I hope this has inspired you to go thorough your own paperwork now and input your own system for your home.

In my next blog I’ll be talking about another aspect of paperwork that seem stop be EVERYWHERE when you are a parent  – the dreaded nursery and school artwork!

Please do comment on how you keep your home paperwork free. if you need any help to maintain a clutter free lifestyle, please do get in contact. I’m always happy to help out and have a great declutter session, whether that is in Leicestershire, The Midlands, Berkshire, London or beyond!

Have a great week!

Rachel x

The Declutter Darling

My first blog post….eeek!

So, here I am. Writing my first blog as The Declutter Darling.

So many questions were running through my head before I started this blog.

What should I write?

What will people want to read?

Will people even like it? (or even read it?!)

I’ve finally overcome my blogging fears and so here it is.

Let’s start with a bit more about me and what I do.

My name is Rachel Burditt, also known as The Declutter Darling. I live in South Leicestershire and run my own decluttering and organising business.

Im originally from Berkshire, hence why I also have a decluttering division in the South.

I moved to London to study Fashion, met my husband (who is from Leicester) and we eventually moved up to the Midlands and settled in Lutterworth, a small market town in South Leicestershire.

I have worked in fashion and also recruitment for many years before having my two little crazy ladies.

As like many mums, I really didn’t want to go back to an office job after having my two children, I wanted to do something for me that I was passionate about.

I have had a passion for organising ever since I became a property owner in my early twenties, this passion has progressed to a hobby over the years and after following numerous amazing professional organisers via Instagram, I bit the bullet and made it my career and so The Declutter Darling was born!

I have so many wonderful clients, who vary so widely, this is a part of my job that I really love. It might seem a cliche, but I am a people person and love to find out more about each individual client I have.

One day, I might be organising the wardrobe of a Footballers wife and the next helping out a working mum to declutter and organise boxes of outdated paperwork.

I adore helping people reach the calmness that a good declutter session can provide.

I am a fan and follower of Marie Kondo, and put into practice a number of her declutter and organising techniques. I am also a realist and understand that perfection cannot always be attained, 100% all of the time. I am a working mum and know how hard it is to keep your home in order, I want my clients to know that i have these struggles too!

So, that’s me and what i do.

I’ll be posting every week with decluttering tips and what I have been up to.

If you would like me to blog about anything more specific, please do comment and let me know. I’m always happy to share my thoughts on any decluttering and organising project as well as sharing my experiences with different clients.

Please do get in touch or comment below if you would like to book in a declutter consultation with the Declutter Darling, whether that is in Leicester, Berkshire or London.(Im also more than happy to chat to you if you live outside of these areas!)

Have a great week everyone.

The Declutter Darling

xx

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