Friday, March 27, 2009

Moving in the Future? Start packing now!

Knowing that moving again is in my near future, either because we get this house sold or rent it out, I find myself thinking about what to do to make the move easier. I know the worst thing to do is to jumble things together in hopes of sorting it all out on the other end. I also know that anything that isn't in a container is difficult to move. So, I've decided to tackle packing way in advance by getting things into containers as much as possible and planning which containers to use where. 

1. Clothes: I already got rid of our dressers in exchange for plastic drawers that are stored in our closets. These are so great when moving because they're already packed. I'll need some tall moving boxes for hanging clothes and shoes.  (This is probably a good time to pare down my shoe collection.)

2. Cosmetics and toiletries: I haven't gone through this stuff in at least six months. I'll need to do that, and then locate some large zip lock bags to pack it all in. Then it can all go in my suitcase.

3. Office supplies: I think I'll use the zip lock method here as well.

4. Filing: I am unusually behind in this department. This will be my largest task. I need more folders. I hate too keep buying file boxes. I think I'll rubber band and pack up old files in a plastic storage box and set up new ones. It's the loose papers that need to dealt with.

5. Kitchen: This is the worst stuff to pack because it is so breakable. I think this time since I'm moving such a short distance, I'll just take it in my car. Wine boxes with inserts in them are helpful too. I'll ask my local pub owner.

6. Garage: This is by far the worst area to pack. Ours is filled with our construction company's tools. I've decided to leave this to the guys!

Wow! I feel better already. Now that I have a plan, I can tackle one area at a time and then when it''s time to move, I'll be ready to go.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Keep it Simple!

The current economic conditions have created the need for me to substitute teach, but I am actually having a great time! I keep getting long term situations where I really get to know the kids and really get to experience real teaching. I just spent the last week in second grade and the kids were just so sweet! I did however, walk into quite an organizational mess, which I of course, took upon myself to sort out.

There had been another substitute for the previous two weeks.  The desk and teaching table were piled high with junk mail, notes from parents, corrected papers, uncorrected papers, and long  notes from the previous sub and the teacher in no specific order.  I spent most of the first morning sorting all of this out, I got some folders from another teacher and just put like items together - a basic organizing strategy. 

There was no way to decipher from the previous substitute's notes where the kids had left off and there were no lesson plans as the regular teacher was really sick, so I simply asked the other two teachers on the team where to go next and we were off. After school, I corrected the six inch tall pile of homework left by the previous sub and filed them in the kids' take home folders. 

I was there for a week. When I left, I pulled out all of the teachers editions and put post its where the returning teacher would likely continue, I left a one paragraph note and a grid that showed exactly what we did, when. So now, all of her systems were back in place. She could just walk in and teach without reading a long note from me or looking for things.

That's keeping things simple. It's not hard. Folders are a great way to organize a messy desk. You don't have to decide what to do with everything, but at least then you can find something if you need it.  And, short concise communication is always best in any business.  It's difficult to get important facts from a long narrative. A chart or list is always easier for the reader. 

So be a filer, not a piler and keep it simple!