Make Going Back to School Better with These Budget-Friendly Ideas


Make Going Back to School Better with These Budget-Friendly Ideas


Sometimes, kids are less than excited about returning to school. It’s a common problem, and thankfully there are some ways you can help your children feel ready for the new year. Try these money-saving ideas for getting your youngsters started off on the right foot.


Dress for Success


Do you dread dressing your youngster for the school days? If putting together an outfit leads to high drama, Today suggests creating some favorite ensembles with your youngster and doing a photoshoot. You can allow your child to select outfits based on the collection of photos, which you can save on a tablet or smartphone for routine viewing. Why does it work? Kids are usually trying to have control over their circumstances, rather than trying to express their fashion sense. With that in mind, giving your child a say in the selection can assuage theatrics and eliminate those last minute, clothing-related disasters.


However, before buying new outfits for your kids, look for promotions and cashback offers from Macy’s, coupon codes and discounts from Kohl’s, and deals and sales from Old Navy so you can save money on your purchases. If you want to save even more money (and your child doesn’t mind second-hand clothing), check out local thrift stores for even more savings.

Create a Study Zone


Setting up a designated study space designed with your child in mind can help with school-related anxieties and battles in a number of ways. It’s an opportunity to organize the area to suit your child’s needs and study habits. You should tailor the area to how your child focuses best and with all necessary school supplies close at hand. It’s also a chance to give your child ownership in the space since your youngster can provide input into the selections for outfitting the area. With that input can come enthusiasm about using the space!


Pottery Barn Kids suggests including an appropriately sized desk so your kid can work comfortably, and along those same lines, you should select a chair that allows your child to sit with her feet touching the floor. Make sure there is some storage, and lighting should be bright but without glare. One idea is to set up the space near a window for natural light. Include all the little things your child needs, from pens and pencil sharpeners to scissors and notebooks, and do your research to ensure you find the best school supplies for your child. Retailers like Pottery Barn offer terrific items for your child’s workspace; start by researching discounts, coupon codes, and other money-saving options via websites like RetailMeNot.


Organize Your Resources


Setting up a calendar (even a free one online) with important dates can help you keep on top of your kids’ schedules throughout the school year. You can note conferences, test dates, events, and other information. Along those same lines, setting a schedule for your child’s days can help you both stay on track. One idea is to start the new schedule a few weeks before school even starts. It’s a chance to get into the swing of things and can alleviate some of the stress of transitioning. You also should make some notes with contact information, whether on your calendar, the schedule, a notebook, or just in your phone. Keep handy the teacher information as well as school and counselor data. Maintaining lines of communication can be a key to resolution if your child remains resistant to school. For example, some experts note that children might say they “hate school” when they really mean they are being bullied. If meltdowns and tantrums continue, you can schedule an appointment to address ongoing concerns. 


Smiling Faces and School Days


Going back to school doesn’t need to be traumatic. Look for ways to make things easier on your child, on you, and on your budget. The academic year can be drama-free with these smart and simple strategies!

5 Organizing Tips to Make This School Year Less Stressful

The school year can be stressful. Do you ever feel like you are loosing papers you need? Do the children forget homework or items for extracurriculars? Is the house a mess? Here are some tips to keep your space in order. 

Creating systems for the items you hate seeing scatted throughout your home will help decrease your stress.  

Examples of these items may be backpacks, shoes, homework, books, snacks, socks, borrowed items, toys, etc. 

Here are 10 organizing tips you must implement; 

1. Purchase hooks for the backpacks. 

2. Cork or magnetic boards for miscellaneous papers that need attention. 

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3. Wall files or baskets for homework. 

4. A bin for library book. 

5. A bin for borrowed items or friends stuff they left at your house. 

Identify these systems in your home & I'll be back with more! 

 

How To Quickly Break In Your New House So It Feels Like Home

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How To Quickly Break In Your New House So It Feels Like Home

 

Moving into a new house is a bittersweet life event. With the sentiments of leaving an old place come the possibilities of starting fresh in a new one. It’s also a lot of work, but it’s well worth it when you consider the new memories you will make. While it may take some time to break the habit of calling your old place “home,” there are some things you can do to quickly settle in and make your new house feel like home. 

 

Unpack a box or two per day

 

While it’s possible to make your place feel homey with your moving boxes still lying around, it definitely helps to have them gone. Rather than stressing yourself out with a marathon purge over the weekend, however, commit to unpacking one or two boxes per day. If you have a large family with lots of stuff, make a quota to unpack five boxes or one room per day. Just choose an amount to meet each day and stick to it. Reward yourself for following through by going out on the town or doing something fun. If you chip at your mountain of boxes a little each day, you’ll be surprised by how quickly it dwindles down. 

 

Tackle essential maintenance tasks

 

 

 

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There are several easy maintenance tasks to tackle in your new place that you can do yourself. First of all, change the locks. You won’t feel secure until you know exactly who has a key to your house. Then, you can get to cleaning before all the furniture is in place. Set up a supply zone that has everything you need (cleaners, buckets, rags, brooms, mops, etc.). Make sure to clean all the hard-to-see areas, and replace all the dusty filters in the vents, dryer, fridge, furnace, etc. It’s also worth the investment to have professionals clean and service your mechanical equipment, such as your cooling and heating systems. Once you’ve given the house a good cleaning, you can start painting the walls and ceilings. Painting is a doable project if you have the time, and it’s a great way to personalize the rooms in your home. 

 

There may be some maintenance tasks that are either above your pay grade or just too time consuming. For example, any electrical, plumbing, or structural issues should be done by a professional. It can also be worth the money to hire a general contractor to do extensive work such as renovations or remodels. The average price to renovate or repair a home in Tampa, FL, is $4,000 - $8,809. If you go through the numbers and decide you can budget for replacing the tile, adding an outside patio, or knocking out a kitchen wall, renovations can go a long way in helping the new house feel like home. 

 

Gradually decorate

 

 

 

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Decorating is another great way of breaking in your new home, and a lot of it can be done without burning up your checking account. When decorating your new place, the important thing to remember is this: Don’t do it all at once. Take your time to accumulate and personalize your home; otherwise, you’ll end up impulse buying. If your house is a little bare, enjoy the process of building from a blank slate. Adding different levels of lighting is a quick way to bring ambience into your home. Also, start to establish your home’s signature scent by burning candles, adding plants, making a stove-simmering brew, or any other tactic of creating a superb olfactory experience. Furthermore, set up your favorite entertainment devices during the early stages of the move-in. Not only will it make your nights more comfortable, but it will come in handy when you unpack.

 

Moving into a new place is the perfect opportunity to start new memories. Though it takes a lot of work, it will prove to be worth it when the new place is well established as your home. To quickly and happily settle in, remember to unpack a little each day, tackle essential maintenance projects early on, and make decorating a gradual process. 

 

Photo Credit (#1): @davidhellmann

Photo Credit (#2): @speak_memory_

Photo Credit (#3): @nativemellow

SOS: Simplify Replacing and Renewing Your Passport

Renewing your passport is easy; print the form, include your expired passport and mail it in.  Applying for a passport for the first time or after you turn 18 is not so easy. 

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Here are the steps you'll take.

1. Renewing (DS-82)

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/renew-by-mail.html

2. Applying for the first time (DS-11)

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/requirements/forms.html

3. Lost or Stollen (DS - 64)

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/requirements/forms.html

Where to take your application if your are doing this for the first time; you can make an appointment if you want.

 http://www.hillsclerk.com/about-us/service-options-and-locations

What to bring with you: 

Bring with you your ID, old passport, birth certificate, photo of yourself from walgreens, two checks & a credit card

  • make a black and white copy of your application and fill out before you arrive at the court house
  • fees for applying ($120)  

 

Audio Instructions: 

Purging Unused Paint

When purchasing a new home often homeowners are welcomed by a garage corner full of paint cans. 

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Not attractive! 

Many of these cans may be dried up or a color you’re not interested in using to touch up. 

Here are solutions for you to rid your garage of the clutter.  

If the cans are full call Habitat for Humanity. 

 +1 (813) 239-2242

If the cans are less than half full buy kitty litter to dry up the paint. Pour litter in, leave 2 inches of space from the rim,  let dry over night and discard two cans at a time in your trash. 

https://amzn.to/2LbFZpV

 

To organize the paint you keep for touch ups I recommend labeling very clearly the name, finish, number, brand, room it belongs to and year purchased!  

 

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I hope this helps!

Office Organizing Tips

Home office organizing  

 

Before

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Start with large items and work down to small projects like paperwork and photos.  

1. Identify unused furniture, art, accessories & schedule a donation pick up!

Salvation Army 1-800-728-7825. 

2. Gather all loose photos and sentimental papers from around the office. Purchase stackable bins to organize. Label clearly.

Sterite http://amzn.to/2yzOtQt

3. Time for paperwork. Gather all the paperwork. Start by separating into year. From there create stacks in each year for auto, finance, health, home, insurance, school, tax. Shred any unnecessary receipts and insurance policies. Purchase hanging folders and label clearly. 

Files  http://amzn.to/2uJOgd7

 

After  

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Custom Closets Design Tips

When designing a custom closet here a a few common organizing mistake to avoid? 

1. Shoes

How many pairs of shoes do you own?  

If one pair takes up about 5-6” of width on a shelf how many inches of shelf width (space) will you need to accommodate all your shoes?  

 

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2. Mid hang 

Women, how many dresses do we own that we need mid hang not long hang ? 

My recommendation is to do shelves above or shoes shelves below this midhang section to maximize your space. 

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Pantry Organizing Tricks

Is your pantry over crowded? Can you find what you need when you need it? 

You’d be shocked to know that 20% of what is in your pantry is most likely expired. We see it all the time.  

This statistic and reality makes organizing the pantry the easiest project in your home. The discarding decisions are made for you. Throw out what is expired. You may feel guilty, that’s normal. Don’t be down on yourself though, you are purposefully making a life chance that will avoid this result in the future. 

 

An organized pantry will increase your efficiency when cooking, grocery shopping and cleaning. You will save money in the long run, because you will have less waste. I promise. 

These chalk labels above are a few examples of how Simplicity likes to get started in a space. 

Here are the products you will need to get started. 

Medium baskets for each food category with a label. This will make the sorting so easy. It’s like a matching game. Look for expiration dates after each category is separated :)  

 

medium baskets 

 http://amzn.to/2uVn4mQ 

chalk labels 

 http://amzn.to/2GDA5Zp

 

If you have any questions along the way post them on the Simplicity facebook page,  https://m.facebook.com/sorganizing/

 

Happy Organizing! 

Jewelry Organization

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Statement necklaces are hard to keep organized laying down in a drawer. Storing them on an IKEA rod organizer with hooks is a great solution.

Often these rods are used for storing pots and pans on wall space in a kitchen. The opportunities to use these rods and hooks are endless.

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Another good way to use them is in a playroom to hold little baskets of colored pencils, markers, crayons, etc. 

 

 

 

Similar product to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01755QCRC/ref=sspa_mw_detail_1?psc=1

 

Try using rods in your home and office and let Simplicity know what you think! Post pictures of your project on our Facebook page.  

 https://m.facebook.com/sorganizing/?ref=bookmarks

 

Happy Organizing!  

 

 

 

Master Closet First Organizing Project

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The Master Closet is an easy space to start. Don't pull everything out in your closet at one time, Start with white tops. Any top that's white, I want you to pull it out of the closet and lay it on your bed in three different categories: white casual t-shirts, white nice tops and white winter tops. You're going to go through these shirts and find ones with holes or stains, too small, too big or yellowed then discard. Bag up the items you don’t need, put them in your car and take the old clothes to the local charity.

Doesn't that feel so much better? Your closet is a little lighter already. Great job on your first project. Once you feel comfortable going through your white shirts, you're going to go through the rainbow; red tops, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, gold/silver and black. Build your confidence with tops, little chunks at a time. Do small projects at a time until you feel confident with more at once. Feeling overwhelmed is no fun, so take it slow and steady!

 

Junk Drawers

Junk Drawers. . . We all have them! 

Here are some easy tips for organizing your drawer in 5 mins. 

1. Purchase drawer organizers from the dollar store .

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2. Find a clear working space.

3. Dump the drawer out.

4. Separate contents out into categories in the dollar store organizers.      

ex: paperwork, change, writing utensils, cutting tools, adhesives, felt, home improvement, tools, etc. 

5. Play Tetris . . Arrange the organizers in the drawer any way you wish! 

Great job; go tackle another junk drawer :)

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Declutter & Donate on ABC

What a joy it was to be on the Morning Blend with Natalie & Carley discussing two of my favorite things; Decluttering & Donating. 

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We all hold on to things for different reasons. Whatever the reason, items can clutter our space and mind, causing anxiety and stress. At Simplicity our goal is to help our busy clients identify what items they need, discard the rest & implement organizing solutions that work for their lifestyle. 

Discarding can be a scary task, but it brings about great freedom. 

You may hold on to items because you know how much money you spent  or because you feel guilty. . maybe it was a gift. 

Money and guilt should not be a good enough reason to keep items around that serve you no purpose & create stress in your space. 

Giving back is more fun when it is personal. Many charities in Tampa Bay have specific needs which means you can rest knowing your belongings will live another life and bless someone else in need!

Charities Simplicity loves!!!

1. Vintage Thrift Store

Proceeds benefit the Ybor Dream Center, an after school enrichment program with an emphasis on leadership and integrity. 

What items? All household items (furniture, clothing, toys, yard equipment and so much more) They will pick up big items from your home! 

Contact 813-265-4151 

2. Dress for Success

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Assisted over 20,000 women dress professionally for interviews to further their careers. They also  support women through career development. 

What items? Women's business attire

Drop Off Locations: https://dressforsuccess.org/affiliate-list/

3. Urban E

 

Need a place to recycle unused electronics? This is the perfect place. 

Contact: 813-501-9346

4. Humane Society of Tampa Bay

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Who doesn't love animals? Your worn-out linens, towels and pillows make a great bed for the puppies and kittens at the Humane Society. 

Wish List: https://humanesocietytampa.org/wishlist/

Drop off location: 3607 N. Armenia Avenue Tampa, FL 33607

 

Travel Organizing Tips for Men

It’s time to focus on the men. Let’s talk about your suit jacket and dress shirt. 

What is the best way to pack a suit in a carry on? 

1. Suit Jacket 

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Step 1 & 2: Hold the jacket up by the shoulders looking at the back.

Step 3 & 4: Tuck the Left shoulder inside out. Take the Right shoulder and insert into the Left. (Still look at the back of the jacket.)

Step 5 & 6: Get the lapels to overlap (Right side of the jacket should be tucked inside the left.) 

Step 7 & 8: Fold once horizontally & pack on the top of your carry on (last item in).

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2. Dress Shirt

Step 1: Lay shirt face down on a flat surface. 

Step 2: Fold the right sleeve 2/3 of the way over on the left sleeve. 

Step 3: Fold right sleeve at the shoulder, lining the edge of the arm up with edge of the body of shirt.

Step 4 & 5: Repeat steps 2 & 3 for the left sleeve.

Step 6: Take bottom of the shirt and fold horizontally up to the collar.

Step 7: Flip shirt over so you can see the collar. Button the top button.

Lastly pack a steamer for those last minute touch ups! 

Https://m.bedbathandbeyond.com/m/product/joy-mangano-my-little-steamer-go-mini-reg-hand-steamer/3277448

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I hope you found these tips helpful! Next week, learn where to pack your socks, tie and belt.

Mail Organizing Tips

We still get a lot of snail mail. This mail requires attention. Here are three ways to simplify your mail organizing process. 

1. Go paperless with companies that give you an option. Ex: bank statements, credit card statements, investment statements.  

*** If you do this make sure to once a year download and save to your computer the year end statements for your record.  

 

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2. Recycle 90%

90% of the snail mail we receive is junk. Practice immediately sorting through the mail when you pick it up from the mail box. This will save you a lot of clutter down the road. Keep only what you need and recycle the rest.  Ex: coupon books, magazines, advertisements 

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3. Pay Bills, Reconcile then Shred 

Pay your bills right away, wait for the transaction to show up on your credit card statement then shred the invoice.  If you need the invoice for a tax write-off scan the invoice and save to a desktop folder labeled 2018 Deductions. 

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I hope your found these simple mail organizing tips helpful. Next week will be about organizing your computer desktop! 

 

Master Closet Organizing Tips and Tricks

 Jewelry organization    It is helpful to see your costume jewelry. Hanging it on the wall will increase how much you use the jewelry you own. 

Jewelry organization  

It is helpful to see your costume jewelry. Hanging it on the wall will increase how much you use the jewelry you own. 

 Step stool    It’s hard to reach the top shelf. Help yourself out by purchasing a step stool. 

Step stool  

It’s hard to reach the top shelf. Help yourself out by purchasing a step stool. 

 Shoes  Need extra shoe storage ladies? Try hanging a towel rod six inches from the ceiling and hook heels over that you don't use often. Men, try installing floating shelves. 

Shoes

Need extra shoe storage ladies? Try hanging a towel rod six inches from the ceiling and hook heels over that you don't use often. Men, try installing floating shelves. 

 Hooks everywhere    I love wall hooks and door hooks. It is great for holding purses, towels, bathrobes and workoutclothes you want to air dry. 

Hooks everywhere  

I love wall hooks and door hooks. It is great for holding purses, towels, bathrobes and workoutclothes you want to air dry. 

 Baskets   Use plastic or wicker, whichever you prefer to store winter, beach, alternate sizes and keepsake items. 

Baskets 

Use plastic or wicker, whichever you prefer to store winter, beach, alternate sizes and keepsake items. 

 Sterilite medium and deep baskets work well in every space.   http://amzn.to/2uVn4mQ    http://amzn.to/2vJIbsZ

Sterilite medium and deep baskets work well in every space.

http://amzn.to/2uVn4mQ

http://amzn.to/2vJIbsZ