Tips for Reducing Post-Holiday Clutter

tips for reducing post-holiday clutterThe holiday season has officially come and gone, leaving us with an abundance of memories with friends and family, bellies full from homemade meals, and the delighted squeal of the children when they excited rip into brightly colored presents.  Something else the holidays have left behind?

Clutter…So. Much. Clutter.

While the process of organizing your home after the holidays may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be! With a quick call to the A New England Nanny team (518-348-0400), we can schedule a professional housekeeper or home-organizer to come to your residence, and we’ll help you cross that “Reduce Clutter” resolution off your list.

Eager to get started? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you with one of the most daunting parts of your house – the kids’ rooms.

Before you start this project, here are a few things you’ll need:

  • The name, address, and hours of operation for your local charity center or drop-off location of your choice. Please keep in mind that while donations are always appreciated, the items need to be in a good, clean, and useable condition. Many facilities do not take dirty, damaged, or extremely outdated items, while others do not take stuffed animals, undergarments, or board games. It is always a good practice to check their website or speak with a donations coordinator for a list of acceptable items.
  • Cardboard boxes or large, clear, garbage bags.
  • Packing tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Clear storage containers, preferably with latching lids
  • Paper and pen, to keep a list of your donations (if you are donating to a 501c3 and plan to write the donation off of your taxes).

A gentle reminder: what seems unimportant to you may be very important to your child. If your child is able to help clean their room, limit your expectations to their given attention span, and utilize their energy while you can. Ask them to pick out their 3 favorite stuffed animals and put them on the bed, or make a pile of books that they’d like to give to some new friends, etc.

If their room looks like the photo at the top when you start, take a deep breath and try not to get overwhelmed! According to Montessori Method of Children’s Education, children enjoy being able to find things quickly and easily, but it is necessary for them to be “meticulously arranged and available for use in an aesthetically pleasing environment.” While the worlds “meticulous” and “child’s room” don’t typically go together, it is possible to implement some of the strategies of the Montessori Method at home.

  1. Using masking tape and a permanent marker, label three large bags as follows:  Keep, Trash, and Donate. If your child is old enough to understand and make decisions, ask for their help! Broken toys, used-up art supplies, and books which are ripped apart/chewed on/missing pages should go right in the trash bag. Toys which are in “like new” condition, games with all of their pieces, and stuffed animals which need new loving homes, can be donated. Clothing that is still the correct size, toys that are played with often, and sentimental items, should be kept.
  2. Clothes should be sorted by size, and then by season. If possible, fold clothes that are out of season and pack them in the cardboard boxes (if they will still fit when that season comes around again). Be sure to label each box with “Size/Season” before putting them in storage. Clothes that no longer fit should be written down on your donation list and put into the “Donate” bag, or a cardboard box labeled “sizes x-z” with “DONATE” written on the box as well.
  3. Once you’ve separated the clutter into the three categories, remove the trash and bring the items to be donated to the donation center. The sooner these things are out of the house, the more room you will have, and the easier it will be to see the progress you’ve made.

reducing post-holiday clutterAfter the items that you aren’t keeping have left the room, take a moment to figure out what causes the most clutter in the area. Are there toys which have a lot of little pieces (foam darts, building blocks, doll accessories)?  If so, dedicate one of the clear storage containers with a latching lid to that specific purpose. You can apply a strip of clear moving tape to the front of the container and the top of the lid, then write the contents on that tape. This allows you to reuse the container by simply peeling off the tape at a later time. Having the smaller items in clear storage containers allows the child to see what they are looking for, without having to empty a solid colored box upside down (and creating a huge mess in the process). For younger children, this will also make clean-up a responsibility in which they can participate. They will be able to see what’s in the boxes, and group like items together.  (Remember to enthusiastically cheer when they do this – the bigger your reaction, the more likely they are to repeat the behavior!)

tips for reducing holiday clutterDoes your child play with and collect stuffed animals? Perhaps it’s time to invest in a stuffed animal hammock to hang diagonally in the corner of a room. Or if you’re up for a creative challenge, you can search for plenty of “D.I.Y Stuffed Animal Zoo” tutorials on Facebook (and while you’re there, be sure to “like” and “follow” A New England Nanny). While creating a stuffed animal zoo may seem like it would take up a lot of space, you have to determine which takes up more room and causes more of a mess – the zoo, which would store all of the stuffed animals, or the animals themselves when they are strewn over the room while your child digs for that one particular stuffie that they would like to sleep with on any given night.  With stretchy vertical ‘bars’, your child will be able to see which one they’d like, take it out, and put it back themselves.

Once you’ve completed the steps outlined above, there should be less clutter, less mess, and less stress for you and your child. It is much less of a daunting task to repeat this process several times a year, or at the very least around the child’s birthday and again around the new year – both of which are typically periods of growth and incoming clutter (gifts) for your child to enjoy.

We’ve got Dads and Grads Covered!

dads and gradsIt’s that time of year again, when we celebrate not only the father figures in our lives, but also the young ones who are moving on to college or beyond. If you’re looking for some help with planning a Father’s Day or graduation celebration, here’s how we can assist.

Father’s Day
Let our caregivers give dad some relief from parental duties. Take him out to dinner and we’ll handle the babysitting. Does he want to golf or fish but you can’t watch the kids or a senior loved one? Well now he can catch a big one and still have peace of mind knowing that his family is well cared for.

Graduation
Need help getting the house ready for a graduation party? We have housekeepers, party planners, and organizers on staff to ease the demands of putting a fun bash together. We can also send a chef to help cook and serve food! And if you need someone to watch any babies or young children during your party, we have you covered. Just let us know what you need and we’ll handle it.

Contact us at (518) 348-0400 and let us know how we can help!

Get Organized with our Featured Staff Member!

housekeeping servicesDo you ever feel like you’re so unorganized because you just don’t have the time to get organized? Do you know you could be using the space in your home or office better, but aren’t sure how to go about it? Then we’d like to you to meet Camilla, our featured staff member.

Here’s how Camilla describes who she is and what she does:

Organizing homes and doing interior decorating has always been a passion of mine since I was a child, and I have continued to live out this passion into my adult years. As I grew into a young adult, I went on to college and received my B.S. degree in Marketing Management, another major interest of mine.  After graduating from college, I wanted to add to my creative portfolio so I went back to school and took various classes in design, photography, and oil painting. My education served as the perfect background to enable me to work in a variety of positions on both the strategic side as well as the creative side of marketing and communications. While I have led companies in positions such as a Chief Marketing Officer and VP of Marketing/Communications, I’ve also had the pleasure of art directing creative teams of graphic designers, photographers, and videographers.

Over the years as I have worked with clients one-on-one and it has given me great pleasure to live out my passion for organizing homes and interior decorating, where I apply many of the same visual and organizational skill sets from my marketing and communications career.  Through my work, I have helped people function more efficiently, making their lives easier to manage by helping them utilize space to the maximum through experience and creative solutions. I believe that an organized home and office unclutters our life, therefore creating effective time management, and ultimately balance and harmony, not just within our homes, but also within ourselves.  And the end result is that clients feel their lives are simpler and less stressful.  

Sound like something you need? Give us a call and let us connect you with Camilla so you can see how she can help you get organized! Contact us at (518) 348-0400 to learn more about this service or to see how else we can help.

 

Celebrate Our 25th Anniversary with 25% Off!

celebrating 25 years with 25% offIt’s hard to believe that we have been in business for 25 years, but here we are, still serving the Capital Region as the only fully licensed and insured household placement agency in town. And as our way of saying thanks to all the families we’ve worked with over the years, we have a special offer for you.

Are you looking to hire a part-time or full-time nanny for the summer or when school starts up in the fall? Need a babysitter for a date night? How about some help cleaning the house for a graduation party or other get-togethers? Sign up for temporary services and get 25% off your membership fee, a savings of over $30!

Looking to hire a long-term nanny? Sign up for long-term placement services and receive 25% off your application fee – that’s a savings of over $55!

Contact us now at (518) 348-0400 to take advantage of our 25th Anniversary savings.

Open Interviews for Nannies, Babysitters, and More!

aneninterviews

Try it Before You Buy it!

ANENpostcard---try-itDo you know someone who needs child care, senior care, housekeeping, or any other service we offer? Are they a little hesitant about spending money with a company they aren’t yet familiar with? We have a brand new promotion that may provide the solution!

The first time that they use us for any of our temporary services, we will waive both the membership and agency fees (a $122 value). They can just pay the caregiver directly* and then enjoy the peace of mind we provide!

To book a trial day or for more information on rates, please have them call (518) 348-0400 or email us.

* 4-hour minimum per shift. Hourly cost based on the service requested. After trial day is completed, annual membership fee will apply to future use of services. One trial per family.

Need Some Extra Help for the Holidays?

holiday helpThe holiday season can be stressful enough, let alone if you are having a holiday party and/or visitors staying with you. But luckily we can provide you with some assistance!

We are happy to introduce you to Kanika, our newest staff member! Kanika specializes in assistance with planning, organizing, and executing parties and other events, along with clerical work. Do you need an extra set of hands for your upcoming holiday party? Kanika is your girl! She also has banquet experience and can easily help with prepping, cleaning, and serving food.

Kanika can also handle clerical jobs such as data entry or any other type of office work. If you need extra help with your home office or place of business on a temporary basis, Kanika is ready to pitch in.

She currently attends Maria College, and we are very excited to have her as our newest staff member!

If you would like to book Kanika for holiday party or office assistance, please contact Melissa at 518-881-0202.