How to Get Everyone in the House to Clean Up the Mess!

clean up© Andrivy Popov/123RF

Struggling to have a clutter-free home on your own, with another adult, or with teens and young kids in your living space? Perhaps this is an impossible task because you think your family’s DNA isn’t capable of picking up, throwing out or straightening up? Think again with these fun, effective tips from a Parisian home organizer who finds joy every day to make life easier.

Do YOU have a hard time getting started tidying up or want new ways of doing it? Start small! A 10-minute project completed is better than a 3-hour project never started.

  • Turn on the music! Choose soothing music if you’re anxious, or upbeat music if you need to be energized to organize.
  • Use accessories, like an alarm clock that sets you free after 20 minutes of sorting.
  • Treat yourself to something you enjoy once the job is done; call your best friend or treat yourself to a little nap.
  • Create your ideal home on a vision board, bring it to the place you’re decluttering right now to help you work towards what you want.
  • Take before and after pictures. Keep them at hand, so you don’t fall back on your bad habits.
  • Put on the pressure: invite friends over. You don’t want them to see your mess, right? So you know this will motivate you to organize and tidy up! Plan ahead of time, and only take care of the places your friends will see. Keep all other room doors closed for now.
  • Show the world how well you’ve done! Send like-minded friends your (before and) after photos.

clean up© Elnur Amikishiyew/123RF

How to manage with ANOTHER ADULT who doesn’t have the same criteria as you:

  • Take a mental check of what he/she does.

Let’s say you’re thinking of your husband. What does he already do for the family? Take your kids to the park at the weekend, look after the kids so you can have a girlfriends’ evening out, take care of paying the bills? All of this is great! You can do a happy dance for what he already does.

  • Upgrade your equipment to make chores easier and faster

…because chores are a bore, right? For example, take a robot vacuum cleaner that cleans the whole apartment while you’re away doing something else. I can assure you it’s worth the expense!

  • If needed, start small, but do ask

If he’s resistant, be patient. First, pick 2 or 3 chores you really want him to do, and ask for him to do those. I hear a lot of men, once their partner is having a breakdown say “Why didn’t you just ask me?” Well, ladies, ask on! You’re a team. Happy wife, happy life – you’re doing him a favor by ensuring no cranky overworked wife lives in his home!

  • Don’t be bossy, criticize his work or play the martyr

This would push anyone away, right? Talk about this subject when he is relaxed and not distracted by something else. Going for a walk together, or sharing a bottle of wine, or beer can help create a relaxing atmosphere. And it will help him come into this with an open and positive mindset!

  • Make a list of tasks

You can list all the tasks that need to be done, and with your partner, each chooses what they prefer to tackle. When possible, delegate the rest to a housekeeper, your children (see advice below), or the nanny (when you hire your nanny, tell her that putting toys away will be part of her job assignment). And if they aren’t as organized in the house as you are, make them visual lists, like: “Empty and fill up the washing machine while you wait for your toast and coffee.”

  • Just don’t do it

Your kid is calling for you in the middle of the night, just don’t move, wait! If your spouse is now awake, he will get up if he thinks you’re sleeping. The same thing with the dishes, I just don’t do them, and never will. I already have so many things on my plate (pun intended!), I won’t budge, I know deep inside, the fact I don’t do it is right. If I take that extra task on, I won’t survive the week, which wouldn’t be of help to anyone, now would it?

  • Recognize and encourage your husband’s efforts

By telling him what a difference it makes (don’t hesitate to do this while you’re around other people, he will be very proud!), or by any other way you choose. And make the effort to put aside time for you as a couple, so he feels this new dynamic is good for him and worth the effort.

How to get your CHILDREN to do chores to lighten your load:

Don’t aim for perfection! Your child’s skills will improve over time. With little ones it’s best to do the work together; they’re keen on sharing activities with their parents. It will take more time, but their participation in the coming years will be precious!

2- 3 year olds

  • collect toys
  • help feed pets
  • put napkins on the table, spoons and tableware that doesn’t break
  • take dirty clothes to the laundry basket
  • wipe the ground or a low piece of furniture with a small cloth

4-5 year olds

  • help make beds
  • set the table
  • water the plants
  • help do the shopping and store groceries away

6-8 year olds

  • declutter toys, and keep their room or their playroom tidy
  • make their bed
  • sort the laundry
  • put clothes away
  • Fold trousers, socks and shirts
  • do simple cooking chores
  • help wash the car

9-10 year olds

  • wash the bathtub and sink
  • help prepare meals
  • wash the dishes
  • load the dishwasher
  • declutter their closet
  • clean the floor with a broom and a mop

11 and older

  • plan meals and prepare certain meals
  • wash the laundry by using the washing machine and the tumble-dryer
  • wash the car and vacuum the inside of the car
  • do the grocery shopping

clean up© Katarzyna Grabowska/Unsplash

How to help your TWEEN/TEENAGERS tidy their room

If you ask adolescents why they don’t sort their room their answer will generally be one or several of these: (Please don’t laugh!)

  • They are worried their room will be in the same state again within a month.
  • They are too tired, stressed from school, homework and sports and just want to relax and rest.
  • They don’t understand why parents care that much, they’re the ones living there.
  • They don’t have enough storage containers.
  • They need privacy.
  • They feel overwhelmed by all their stuff and don’t know where to start.
  • They have a hard time focusing or disciplining or motivating themselves to do it.
  • They don’t want to spend the time doing it.

This is why they need help and clear guidelines!

Declutter! Any teenager can understand that having less stuff means having less to manage. Here is how personal stylist Anélle Coetzee advises you and your child handle her/his wardrobe:

“Ask her/him: Does it fit? Is it in good condition? Have you worn it lately? If you saw it in a shop today would you buy it with your own money? Will you need it again (sportswear/ equipment) and will it then fit?

clean upAuthor’s son selects books to give away and declutter his room. © Laetitia Ronsin

Let them throw out any clothing they don’t like to wear, don’t need, or doesn’t fit as it will only take up space and not get worn!

Is it for this season (summer/winter)? Have storage space allocated for out of season clothing.

Is there anything you need such as your own laundry basket/ better lighting/access to a tall mirror, etc)? Make sure they have appropriate storage: containers/dividers.

Maybes or sentimentals get packed away to be relooked at in 6 months’ time.

How to get everyone involved and keep it up in the long run? Encourage them to determine their own tasks and set up their own timetables, provide storage space where needed and pat everyone on the back for making the effort. Bring in a professional organizer to help you get started if the task is so overwhelming.

A clean home greatly contributes to joy every day! What are you going to do for your Home Sweet Home today?

How long should you keep your papers and documents in France?

home and office organiser

Despite technology leaps, worries about deforestation, and the space it takes in your home or office, business and every day activities in France still generate an enormous stack of papers and documents!

This list is by no means exhaustive, but the rule is: if in any doubt, keep it.

Why not print this article and keep it visible in the front of your files? That way, you’ll remember to have an annual clear-out.

WHILE GUARANTEE IS VALID AND BEYOND

  •   Bank statements and pay-in slips
  •  Car purchase papers
  •  House and vehicle insurance contracts
  •  Invoices and receipts for repairs or services
  •  Receipts for work or repairs to property
  •  Invoices for household goods with guarantee
  •  Estate agents’ fees and commissions
  •  Insurance compensation claims (longer for medical compensation)

1 YEAR

  •  Loan repayments (30 yrs from final payment)
  •  Phone bills
  •  Car repairs
  •  Chimney sweeping certificate (needed for fire insurance)
  •  Construction and building work
  •  Local taxes (foncières and habitation)

2 YEARS

  • Medical records
  • Xrays
  • Water bills

4 YEARS

  • Divorce papers proof of payment of taxes
  • Passports and identity documents income Tax returns
  •  House and property deeds tax rebates
  •  Salary, pay and social security payments slips (at least until you retire) 3 YEARS
  •  Life insurance policies television licence
  •  Inheritance documents

5 YEARS

  • Wills and testaments rent receipts and contracts
  • Birth and marriage, death certificates (not just your own – parent’s certificates too) electricity and gas bils
  • Diplomas and qualifications life insurance premiums
  • Military service papers

10 YEARS

  • Cheques to pay in (maximum before paying in)
  • Mortgage papers (10 yrs after final payment)

30 YEARS

  • Insurance cancellation papers
  • Employment contracts (until you retire) insurance premiums other than life insurance
  • Cheque stubs doctors’, dentists’, and chemists’ bills
  •  All pension papers, medical prescriptions
  •  Receipts for payment of: motoring fines
  •  Hospital bills, social security payments
  • Notaire fees

 

The information in this article is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, professional or financial advice. For the French government’s official document go to (in French):   https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F19134

How decluttering can benefit your life

Have a hard time decluttering unopened mail, clothes and long-forgotten toys?

Here are reasons decluttering is good for you:

1.  You will be more efficient.

Effeciency comes with not having to try too hard to getting things done. Let’s take an example: keeping up with healthy habits. Decluttering your kitchen will often help you to make for enough counter space and well organised cooking wear which will help you prepare meals and eat at home, rather than choosing a processed meal.declutter

2. You will live in a healthier environment.

How can a cluttered surface possibly be wiped clean? In a decluttered home it is easier to remove dust and toxins from the air– which can improve allergy symptoms. It will also prevent you from twisting your ankle rolling on a screwdriver you left behind.

3. It will boost your confidence.

Dr. Robert London, a psychiatrist based in New York City, says decluttering may also help you feel better about yourself because it’s something of an accomplishment.

4. You will unwind and sleep more easily.

A Princeton University Neuroscience Institute study showed that people with a cluttered home felt increased exhaustion as a result of expanding mental energy on stress that’s caused by their messy environment. When you want to relax or sleep, clear your bedroom of projects you need getting done ( laundry that needs sorting, or a document you have to bring back to work tomorrow).

5. It will save you time.

Because you now have less things, and a place for each object in your home, you won’t repeatedly loose 5 minutes looking for your tax document, your child’s medical certificate, your keys, your wallet, your phone (you name it!), and you will be on time more often (your family will thank you for that!). You can then have time and space available for the things you like doing (like listening to a good oldy on the long forgotten disc player).

6. It will save you money.

Too much unopened mail might mean a lost or unpaid bill, which can cost you a lot in the end. And having too much stuff might lead you to buy duplicates, some unusible because past their due date, which adds to the clutter.

7. It will help your social life.

Are you reluctant to let the delivery man get a peep into your home, and don’t dare invite friends and familly over because of the stuff piled up everywhere? Sort and let go, so you can let people back into your life!

Going through your things a little bit at a time, and only keeping what you use and/ or love is well worth it! Write a list of a few things you would like getting done at home. And start with baby steps; every day or every other day tackle a 5 to 15 minute task, like a drawer, checking your first aid kit, or decluttering kitchen counters.

A little bit at a time brings results for joy every day! 😉

 

Organize working from home!

Working from home can be a challenge. Here are a few things to think about to help you organise your space:

Can I have an entire room,  just a desk area, or is there no place I can dedicate completely to working from home?

When will this space be used? Rather in the evenings or during the day? If it’s during the day, move closer to a window. For the evening choose the right lighting so as not to tire your eyes.

Who will be at home while I work? Can I work properly in the living room if my roommate or spouse, or children are there? Or do I need a fallback solution to concentrate and / or make phone calls?

Who will use this office?

Working from home, what material do I need? A computer, printer, filing room, supplies, electrical outlets, wifi connection, billboard, books?

What will my work schedules be?

What are my goals? Once I know what my goals are, I need to list what my tasks to do are this month, this week, and today.

Personally I adopt the solution of the flying office. That is, I only take the material I need (usually my computer, my diary with my to do list, and my phone), and I move to the best place;

  • when I need all my files, to sort mail for example, I settle in front of my bookshelf, where all my files are easily accessible.
  • if I need to isolate myself from the rest of the family I use a side table in my room,
  • during the day I sit at the dining room table bathed in natural light,
  • and in the evening I put my flying desk in my storage bookcase, out of site, out of mind in seconds!

So even with little space I can work efficiently from home, without cluttering my living space. And I can move on once I’m done! Come on, it’s time for apéro!

 

How to sell your house or apartment fast and at the best price!

Staging will help you make an excellent first impression! And that is essential to attracting buyers, whether it be when they search online and look at your photos, or actually visit your home. That’s why you need to read this article, to learn how to successfully home stage your home to sell it fast and at the best price!

Just because you’re leaving this home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be giving some money, time and effort to making it more appealing. Home staging is all about making the most of your particular space without spending a ton of money or making major changes, and can go a long way in getting offers rolling in! 

Having a home the way you like it, and staging to sell, can be very different and worth considering. Here are the three most important elements:

  1. Get rid of the problem spots:
  • Declutter, downsize and simplify! Bring each room down to its basic furniture. The 3 chairs, extra cupboard, big doll house, armchair, and dressing table in your daughter’s room just create confusion in the visitor’s mind. It is crammed, which gives the impression it is too small, even if it is a big room in m2! It could be the right time to get rid of things. It will also make your move that much easier.
  • Repair! Go around your home and make a list of what has to be repaired. Call in the professionals if needed. You don’t want potential buyers to think “trouble” when they see a leaking tap.
  • Paint to neutralize or refresh! Bold colours can be too much for some individuals, and a particular colour may repel them. It can also be too style-specific and inhibit their vision of the house. If there once was a water damage, now’s the time to repaint the wall or ceiling. Give these areas a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint.
  • Get rid of bath rugs, shower curtains, or drapes than have seen brighter days! You can get new ones you will then use in your new home.
  • Remove “you” from the home! Some people get stuck on the homeowner’s décor, and don’t go past it. Make room for a buyer to imagine themselves in the home. Remove family photos, children’s artwork, or any collections. (You can start packing them away, you’re leaving, right?)
  1. Know your buyer!

Who is the most likely buyer for your home? Stage accordingly! If it’s a family, turn your sports/computer room back into a bedroom, so parents will remember it as a room, and will add it to the number of rooms they have seen, and have the correct number in their mind when it’s time for them to make a decision concerning your home.

  1. Bring out the WOW!

Now you want to accentuate the positive to impress any potential buyer and have them eager to make your home their own!

  • Clean and tidy is how you need your home to be! Clean the windows to let all the light in!
  • Tend to, or add plants! They bring life and colour to your space.
  • Appeal to the senses and the aesthetics! The smell of a cake baking in the oven or of fresh flowers speaks of warmth and happiness. Add beautiful accessories such as soft cushions, lavish throws, matching towels, pretty candles and luxury bed linen.

This will attract a potential buyer to the vision you have created – situated between our real lives and our aspirational ones – that’s what sells!

If I can assist you in homestaging your property for a quick sale at the best price, please feel free to get in touch: Laetitia Ronsin 06 62 33 65 05, or write me an email.

 

 

 

 

 

Teens, how to live your best year ever!

Teens : How to live your best year ever!

Being a teenager is a fun, but challenging time, isn’t it? You manage a lot. Through a few easy steps, you will be able to stay on top of your schoolwork, room, friends, social media, sports and ALL of your activities!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all you have on your plate, don’t worry- you’re not alone! Being organized and managing time better are skills that can be learned at any age.

Bedroom:

If your room looks like a tornado hit it, don’t be hard on yourself. Rather than focus on what it looks like, think of how it makes you feel. Are you embarrassed to invite friends over? Are you frustrated because you can’t find what you need? The motivation to change must come from you.

Here are some simple steps to get started. Turn on your favorite music, ask a family member or a friend to come and help. Or play a much loved film or series in the background. Make it fun and the time will fly!

1.Declutter: A little bit at a time (you can set your timer for 15 minutes), or all in one go, go through each of your things and ask yourself: Do I love it? Do I need it? If you answer no to both questions, the item is clutter and needs to go! Consider donating items that can still be used to a younger sibling, a friend, or a local non-profit.

2.Set up zones: Make a list of what you need to do in your room and create zones to meet those needs, for example:

  • SLEEP (Rest Zone- bed, nightstand, clock)
  • HOMEWORK (Study Zone – desk and supplies, chair, lamp, book shelf and books)
  • GET READY FOR SCHOOL (Dressing Zone- dresser, closet, mirror, vanity)
  • EXPRESS YOURSELF /DISPLAY ITEMS (“Me” Zone- posters, photos, trophies)

3.Sort and put away “keep”items: The items you decide to keep should fit into one of your designated zones. Keep like things together in containers so they are easy to find. For items you don’t need to access often, like out of season clothes or accessories, put them in the least accessible places, under your bed or at the very top of your closet for example. So your day to day things are in the easy to get spots!

Time/Schedule:

  1. Determine priorities: What are your priorities- schoolwork, social life, sports, family time? Make a list of your top 5 priorities. Then make sure you’re spending your time according to what’s on your list. If one of your priorities is to improve your maths grade, but you are spending little or no time studying, you’ll need to put more time into your schedule to do so.
  2. Use a planner: To learn to better manage your time, start to think of it as something you can actually see. Set up (on paper or digitally) your typical week including all the activities you have each day in blocks of time, for example: school 8am-4pm, judo practice 7pm-8pm. This will help you visualize when you have free time to slide in other activities you need or want to do.
  3. Have a to do list: Having the ability to see what you need to do takes away the pressure of having to remember everything. List your tasks for the day (homework, chores, etc.). Next to each item in the list, estimate how much time it will take to complete. Find slots of time to schedule your to do items in your planner. You can make it fun by color-coding, green for school items and blue for activities and sports.

Try one or all of these tips. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and will be motivated to do more. I promise you’ll be glad you did it!

 

How to find the perfect present !

Have you ever noticed that your loved one (be it your spouse, a family member, or a friend) just doesn’t seem to appreciate your presents that much?

Maybe it’s time you got better at speaking … your love languages!

Inspired by Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.

For you to feel your love tank is full, what is it you, or your loved one needs the most?

You can each get acquainted with the 5 love languages below and share your results.

  • Words of affirmation

Does the person you want to show your love to feel more loved mostly after hearing a compliment or thankfull or encouraging words? Bring him or her to a magical place like down the Pont Neuf, at the very front of the island, on the edge of the Seine at sunset. Sit him or her down, and say everything you appreciate in your loved one, or read it out loud if you prefer using a special card!

  • Quality time

If you are longing for an uninterrupted conversation where you can both connect, you can have a meal together in a special place of grandeur. The time span is perfect and the new context will highten your spirits and help you connect. The idea here is listening to each other. Ask questions in a real desire to listen to your partner’s feelings, thoughts and desires. And let your souls converse. My father took me to Café Le Zimmer a few years ago, and I still keep that out of the ordinary memory close to my heart!

If doing something fun is what you are looking for, suggest going to an event; a burlesque dancing show or class with your girlfriends  at https://www.olalaparty.com Get your partner to invite you to a fun evening to watch the “How to become a Parisian in one hour” show! Or share a part of French history by taking your collegues, or older children to participate in the escape game called “le cachot de la Bastille” with Gamescape Paris.

  • Receiving gifts

If someone is excited by gifts, whether they be expensive or not, or even made or found, it’s that they probably see them as a visual symbol of love, the fact you have been thinking of them.  If you find it difficult choosing a gift, ask family and friends if they have an idea of what kind of presents that person usually likes, and what are his or her passions at the moment. I have a friend who loves Le Creuset cookware above all! Because she says all their items are so pretty, whatever you bring to the table in them looks delicious and perfect! Her husband remembers this, and she is overjoyed each time she gets something new from their catalogue! Her main love language clearly is receiving gifts!

But someone who is usually critical or uninterested by presents, might just have another primary love language. Read on to find out what it is!

  • Acts of service

If someone is performing an act of service for you, they are taking action to getting things done and weight off your shoulders. This can go from chores to solving one’s most demanding problems. If you don’t have time or the ability to help someone get untangled with what they are struggling with or need assistance with, but know it would bring them joy, why not get them a gift certificate to start them off in the direction they want to go? Are you at a turning point in your life, but feel the clutter in your home is pulling you back? Want your family or friends to treat you to a session with a home organizer, they can go to www.joyeveryday.fr/en. You could give a good friend the luxury of a session with friendly Personal Stylist Anelle Coetzee to learn to mix and match what he or she have in their wardrobe to feel more energized.Or do you want help getting your goals met in 2018? Those dearest to you will be happy to help you get there by getting you to meet personal and professional coach Marianela Gonzales.

  • Physical touch

In the middle of all the hustle and bustle of your busy life, do you need to unwind physically?  If you are looking to treat yourself, get a massage in the intimacy of Sandrine Nicolas’s parisian apartment. On leaving her rooftop view apartment, in her street, grab some warm gluten free bread or croissant at Bakery and Patisseries Chambellan, they are so good, famous French chefs Joël Robuchon et Alain Ducasse order for their restaurants there! Or if you want to bring a friend or your partner to a divine spa that is so exclusive you will have the impression you have privatised it, go to l’Echapée in Paris! They offer a big warm 35°C pool and whirlpool in a beautiful and cosy space under a glass roof, hammam and massages.  You can also have lunch there, and they give you a bathrobe, extra towel and flip flops. Wednesdays and Thursdays are for women only.

Found your love language(s)? Merry Christmas!

Marie Kondo’s most interesting idea :

Mary Kondo wrote the bestseller book the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

She says that you must first think of what makes you happy in life, to find what you want for each room.

For my part, I need to be able to spend time with my son and my husband. That’s why we keep a bare minimum in our living room, so that our son can play next to us. Our son loves reading, and we have created a reading space in his room for down time in the afternoons or just before bedtime.  And  nested between cushions, with books right at hand, it makes for great relaxing time!

What is your dream life, and how can your home help you make it happen?