Tuesday, December 12, 2017

10 Commandments of Organizing Toys

10 Commandments of Organizing Toys


1. Take inventory of what you have.

2. Determine what you need.

3. Get rid of items no longer needed.

4. Make toys and games easily accessible.

5. Store them in a closed area such as a cabinet or closet.

6. Put like items together.

7. Separate into smaller units.

8. Eliminate acquiring.

9. Clean out yearly.

10. Pick up and put away every day


Monday, December 4, 2017

Thoughts about Organizing Toys

Organizing Toys

            Toys are everywhere. It seems that no matter what I do, they take over the house. I am embarrassed to have company because they would be sitting on the children’s toys. I have bought bins for the toys, but I can’t seem to figure out what to put in what bin. I have attempted to organize the toys, but it never stays that way.
      These are all comments from parents who are struggling to put some kind of order into their houses. With a little ingenuity and persistence keeping toys, games and craft supplies organized can look eye appealing.
            There are two distinct philosophies for where to keep toys:
1. Keep them in the child’s room
2. Keep them in a common area (or toy room)
            Before deciding which method you are going to use in your house lets look at some of the issues that you need to keep in mind. (See advantages and disadvantages chart below)
            Whose responsibility is it to keep track of the toys? Until children are around nine years old, they do not have the mental capacity and level of responsibility to take care of their own toys. This does not mean that they cannot put away their toys; they just need guidance and supervision. The ultimate responsibility for keeping toys organized and good shape is on the parents. No matter how much we want to put the onus on the child, they are not the ones who pay the bills and run the household.
           No matter how many children you have, they all need learn to respect the property of others, whether it is the property of their siblings, their parents or their friends. If you have one child and are not planning to have more children then it doesn’t really matter about preventing arguments about sharing toys. However, if you have more than one child you face the challenge of democratically having your children share toys with each other.
Are there toys that they treasure and want to keep sacred? Is your child territorial about certain toys? Some children appreciate every toy they have and take very good care of their toys. Others can’t be bothered taking care of their toys. When one is broken they move onto the next. If they can’t find a toy, they play with something else.
How much money do you want to spend on new toys? Are you willing to dish out money for a new game because your child lost all of the pieces to one you already have? Do you want to buy more than one of each toy so each of your children will not feel slighted?
            Keeping all of these questions and issues in mind now you can think about which solution is better for you. I recommend a hybrid. Keep the majority of toys in a common area and only keep special toys in the child’s room. As children get older and can handle more responsibility, they tend to bring items in their rooms so they can play with them alone and keep them special. They key is to only let them take in what they can be responsible for themselves. Remember that they have school and other responsibilities including keeping their clothing and personal belongings in order. Although, you and they may think they are old enough for keeping track of all of their toys, they still need guidance.
You can set good intentions with them to put away every day, but they won’t. If you are not going to go into their rooms on a daily basis and make them clean up the toys, clothes and other items that make it to their floors, then the toys shouldn’t be in the bedroom. When you don’t pick up and put away everyday, the mess gets too overwhelming and the problem gets compounded. Remember that a bedroom is a place to rest and relax. If it is too cluttered it is too stressful.

So you’ve decided to keep the majority of the toys in a common area of the house, so you can monitor them. Follow the 10 steps to organizing your toys, games and crafts and stay organized forever.

  1. Take inventory of what you have. Don’t physically write a list of the items like you would in a store or manufacturing plant. Collect everything from around the house that is considered a toy and put it on the floor in one location (maybe the floor of your living room).
  2. Determine what you need. Are there games that you love to play? When you look at them all together you can begin to see themes. For example, you may notice that you have an overabundance of action figures but action figures may be the toy that your children play with the most. So you definitely need action figures.
  3. Get rid of items no longer needed. Weed out toys that the children have outgrown. Sometimes the toys are age appropriate, but the child doesn’t play with them. If you think they will not have an interest in that toy, then get rid of it. Trash games and toys that have broken or missing pieces and warped or moldy boards. Donate duplicates of games. What you think you need, weed again to cut the amount keeping in half. Give children a chance to use their imagination. Sticks and rocks have made great toys for many years. 
  4. Find a home or spot for everything that you are keeping. When considering a home, keep in mind that it is easier to manage if everything is in one place. Also keep in mind to make toys and games easily accessible. Children are more likely to keep the items put away if they able to take out and put away by themselves.
  5. Make it easy to remain neat. Store items in a closed area such as a cabinet or closet.  If you have open shelving, bins are good to store smaller items or items that belong in sets. Many stores have attractive straw baskets so you aren’t stuck with all plastic bins in the middle of your home.
  6. Put like items together. By sorting and grouping, children as early as two years old can put away toys. Some examples of like items are: jigsaw puzzles, games, dolls, sporting equipment, transportation, blocks, and spy kit items.
  7. Separate into smaller units. In some cases, after you have all of the like items together, you should separate them into smaller units. For example, if you are organizing all of the craft supplies you will want to further sort them by markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.
  8. Eliminate acquiring. This is easer said than done. Although you may not be able to control what others give your children, you can start with yourself and think before you buy something. Does my child have time to play with this?  Does my child have a similar toy? Where am I going to store this? Try the one in, one out method. If you put that toy in the house, what toy can your remove from it’s place. Or if you are brave, go for the two for one deal. Two out, one in. As far as others, you can ask that they give savings bonds or gift certificates instead of toys.
  9. Clean out yearly. Select an occasion such as an upcoming birthday, holiday, or summer vacation to do your annual toy and game clean out. When you are cleaning out realize that tastes have changed since the previous year. Also, keep in mind that you need to save room for new items that will be consistent with this year’s tastes.
  10. Pick up and put away every day. Each day, children should take out what they want to use and  put it away when they are done. If you are consistent with your reminders to them, it will become automatic and it will only takes 15 minutes at the end of every day to put all of the straggler toys and tidy the common toy and game area.




Advantages
Disadvantages
Keeping Toys in Bedroom
Keeps stuff special for child

Out of common areas

Sense of respect and responsibility for the child
Room gets too cluttered

Harder to clean up when mixed with clothes and personal items

Bedroom is for relaxing and sleeping and one can’t if there is too much stuff and too many distractions.

Keeping Toys in Common Room
Everything is in one place – all in one place you can monitor

Less likely to break and  loose pieces, less money on new toys

Take out what they want to use and put away when done. To be done every 2 months or so
Mom usually is now more responsibility

Fights over whose toy it really is

Someone may breaking something that someone else loves




Monday, November 13, 2017

Shared Spaces: Rules to Follow when Living with Roommates

Shared Spaces: Rules to Follow when Living with Roommates  

When deciding if it is best to live alongside other people, it is important to understand all that will need to be done in order to live successfully. Having regulations set in place while also keeping a steady flow of new ideas and changes will create the best environment for an organized home life. The following 4 bullet points outline the most important subjects to focus on when living and sharing spaces with others:

I. Setting Rules:
The house or apartment you all live in should have a concrete set of rules to follow. Examples include:

  • Always be home by 11 pm
  • Turn off all lights before going to bed
  • First one up starts coffee for the rest

II. Dispersing Chores:
Create a Chore Chart so that everyone can participate in simple housekeeping of the shared space. Examples include:

  • Doing your own dishes/ laundry
  • Keeping your own personal space/ bedroom neat and organized
  • Take out recycling/ trash on appropriate days

III. Owning a Calendar:
Keep a calendar of important events that everyone shares or knows about open to everyone to write on whenever

  • Dates out with friends
  • Church events
  • Rent due

IV. Paying the Bills:
When paying bills, one person should take ownership of being the leader in making sure that everyone contributes

  • Having set dates for everything due
  • Saving up everyone’s money
  • Pitching in the help with others if low on rent


When you share spaces with another person (or people), one person needs to be designated as the “caretaker” in charge. That does not mean that the person can boss everyone around, but it is that
persons job to assure that everyone is participating in cleanliness of common environment. Each person needs a personal space in any of the following:

  • bathroom
  • kitchen
  • common area. 
  • Also, each person needs a “transition area”. This is a place where they can put keys, coats, and boots, items that go in and out most every day. It is a place where others can leave items for any of the other people living there to notice. It must be big enough to hold at least a bag and outdoor clothing. It is not a junk pile. In other words, items should not be there long enough to collect dust. Being able to maintain a welcoming and working environment will help to keep the spaces in which you live with others clean and efficient.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Why Keep Clutter?

Why Keep Clutter? (aka stuff)

I have worked with many people on downsizing and taught workshops on the topic. Downsizing can be difficult as well as rewarding when accomplished properly. Clutter in your life can distract and detach yourself from what is really important or what you are trying to accomplish in life. There are a variety of reasons for keeping clutter in and around your home and life, and most times they are for reasons that can be fixed. When asked the question ‘why do you keep stuff’, people have answered with some of the following:

-          Just in Case
o   This indicates in a lack of trust in the future, but the more you can learn that life will take care of you the more it will
-          Identity
o   If you throw out the things in your life, you feel you are throwing out a part of yourself
-          Status
o   It is indication that you want to feel worthy of approval from others
-          Security
o   You are nervous about letting go of things and want to protect everything you own  
-          Territorialism
o   The desire to possess things comes from ego and the want to strive to own and control things
-          Inherited Clutter
o   Other family members approval or dislike can heavily weigh on you for getting of rid of things given to you by said family members
-          Belief that More is Better
o   Not having enough in the past can lead to hoarding of things in the present
-          Scrooge-ness
o   The want to make sure you get your money’s worth
-          Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
o   Wanting everything to be perfect all the time, even if it means never getting rid of things
-          Suppressing of Emotions
o   Having objects to surround yourself with can distract you from emotional, physical, or mental health
-          Inability to Decide
o   Simply not being able to make personal decisions of what to keep/ what not to keep


If you can identify yourself with any of these reasons, may be its time to consider decluttering your own life. Address the reasons one by one, and don’t be ashamed of them. Ask for help, using resources like Hoarding Task Forces or Cluttering Groups. Decluttering is important in life so you have room to delve into our own wants and needs without having too much stuff get in your way. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Eliminating Clutter

Eliminating Clutter 

When trying to decide whether or not to keep an item, use the following checklist to understand if you really need it.


Check all that apply:


I may need it later.

It holds sentimental value to me.

I do not want to waste it.

Someone gave it to me, and I don’t want to hurt their feelings.

It helps me remember something (trip, year, etc…).

I like it.

It is broken and needs to be fixed.

I’m going to write a book on this topic or experience someday.

The plant may come back.

To throw away a gift from a long lost friend ends the relationship for good.

It is my visual history and identity for my life.

It will solve another problem.

I over-bought, over-prepared, over-estimated and now have to live with it.

The activity is important but there is no room to make a zone.

I want to sort it but feel overwhelmed.

I want to sort it but need an entire weekend, maybe even a week.

I love it and it loves me.

If I love it, why not buy more?

I may need these notes for a future class.

In case of emergency, I may need this.



Think about the sorting process.  When keeping an item, do you want to have a range of reasons from positive (logical) reasons to keeping something to negative (illogical) reasons?


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Feminine Side of Organizing

The Feminine Side of Organizing

During the process of correcting my postural alignment, my ability to focus has been changing. I have had days of dizziness, forgetfulness and plain old lack of drive to pick up my stuff. On these days, I have observed that I am more relaxed on the left side of my body. During one session, I could literally feel my left cheek and neck melting. As they melt, I am realizing how tight they were to begin with. What does all this have to do with organizing?

Organizing requires the ability to think in a linear progressive fashion. If I complete this task first, it will produce this result. Then I will be able to do the next task. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) this could be characterized as Yang or male energy.

Naturally women are more yin. They think circularly which makes them great multi-taskers. They can hold one baby one lap and have another one in tow and cook dinner all at the same time. This different way of thinking is good in some environments more than others. In the linear/business world, it has struggled to find a place. The women who naturally have more yang energy have been the ones to survive the business world.

I have been one of those women but it came at a cost. It has stagnated by yin or female energy. Now that the frozen in energy is coming alive, it does not know how to act in the business world. I have been finding it more difficult to switch from the soft energy of yin to the hard energy of yang. In the past, I did not give too much thought, I just suppressed the softness and plugged along.

As I think upon some of the women I have encountered in the business world and meditate on their struggle, I realize that what make them who they are as women is what their bosses may call “inefficient” or “unorganized”.

How can organizers set up systems that allow women to remain soft, nurturing and empathetic and all the other qualities that make them women?


The true answer is to only have them be responsible for the volume of work they can handle. We need to re-think the role of women in the workplace to allow them to do what they do best and bring the soft feminine energy to others.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Seedless Watermelon

Seedless Watermelon

Seedless watermelon represents the state of the world today. Watermelon engineered to make it easier for people so they do not need to remove the black seeds (because it is just so much extra work).
There is a cost. Taste. If anyone remembers seeded watermelon then they also remember the sweet taste. Seedless watermelon, like other genetically modified foods, loses something in nutrition too. 

Maybe it is proven (I have not really looked it up) but I believe that this unnatural sate of watermelon could not be as good for our body as the one that has grown to full maturity.

How does this relate to organizing?

Don’t try to change something that is already good.


If you have a process that works, leave it alone. If the flow of the house works, leave it be. Spend your time on fixing the things that are not working.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Get Un-Tired

Get Un-Tired

As people get older they claim that they are out of energy to accomplish the things they set out to do when they were younger. They got side-tracked by life. So I suggest, instead of giving up on those things, get un-tired.

This is a symptom of being in “the matrix” or technocratic drudgery that people get sucked into. They go to work by driving or taking the train. They use computers in their day-to-day life. They get home and use electronic devices to get food on the table just so they have time to “relax” in front of a computer screen or television screen. It is the same thing day after day.

If a person unplugs from the matrix, they get a glimpse of what life can be like. If you have not had the opportunity, let me help you imagine it.

You wake up naturally when the sun rises because you went to sleep when the sun set. You did not stay up late the previous night. When you wake up, you are greeted by your loving family. No one is grumpy because they did not have their morning coffee. You all go about the next few hours at a leisurely pace preparing for the day. Then you go about your daily tasks. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you begin to feel fatigued. You greet each living creature with gratitude for being in your path that day and for the lesson they provided.

You get the picture.

How do you get there? Make conscious choices about your actions. If you think you have a lot to do, use a task list and prioritize. Pretty soon you will notice the list growing because you have not accomplished everything on the list. You have chosen the slower pace.  However, you will be able drop items off the list that are no longer important.

The decisions that you make on what to accomplish in a day will begin to be about food choices or loving acts to your family.

This process could be an ongoing battle for some people because this tired/busy lifestyle started at such a young age.


We need to teach our children how to live this way from conceptions so they truly know what “un-tired” feels like.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Forward Motion Towards a Minimalistic Lifestyle

Forward Motion Towards a Minimalistic Lifestyle

Forward motion has been a continual topic that has been brought to my attention by massage therapists and energy workers. What is causing my hip flexors to be stuck? Is it an issues from birth? Or did it develop in my teen years when I started taking care of others without giving care to myself?
In order to solve my dilemma of how I am not moving forward I looked up “forward motion” and came up with this definition – the act of moving forward towards a goal. I have to keep reminding myself of what my goal is. Stated again:

Live a minimalistic lifestyle.


There are many roadblocks that continually get in my way but that is not what life is about. I have to find balance between movement and stillness (aka doing and being). Some of the struggles I face are a result of past life choices. I am not complaining about them, I am reminding myself that I need to continue to untangle the web so I can get my daily existence to a point that suits my vision of a minimalistic lifestyle.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Study Skills Checklist: How to Ace any Class

Study Skills Checklist: How to Ace any Class

ü  Focus on the Time of Day- Studying at midnight will not help you, both for the exam and physically. Studying at a more humane hour, when the sun is up, is best for your brain to receive and understand the information you are focusing on.

ü  Break it up into Small Pieces- Cramming right before hand is not the way to go. Studying small chunks of what will be on the exam will help you maintain the information better and more clearly. If you have days before the exam, make sure you stretch studying out and over the few days in order to obtain the most information.

ü  Create a Space to Study- Have a designated place wherever you are to study, so that you go there every time. Whether it be the library, a desk in your house, or a corner of your dorm room, make sure it is only there for studying so that you can get in the zone and focus.

ü  Find out What the Teacher Wants- Don’t just assume the test will be a certain way based on what other teachers have done in the past. Your best bet is to ask the teacher all the questions you have to get the clearest picture.

ü  Create a Plan- Setting up when and how you are going to study immediately when you are given the date of the exam will give you solid goals to follow and reciprocate through with.

ü  Have Rewards for Yourself- Rewarding yourself for studying makes your brain more active in the studying process. Having little rewards every once in a while will keep you engaged and focused, like a gummy bear every page. Only after you have studied and accomplished a great amount can you reward yourself with something bigger, like an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

ü  Have Consequences for Yourself- Along with having rewards, if you don’t actually accomplish your studying goal, consequences must be made. Obviously you don’t want to be too tough on yourself, or you won’t be motivated to study anymore. Taking away a treat or deciding to stay home instead of going out are good solutions.

ü  Slow Down and Calm Down- Staying calm and following your study plan is the best way to rid yourself of exam day jitters. By following a clear and concise plan, you in turn will feel confident for any test or exam. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The ABC's of What to Bring to College

The ABC’s of What to Bring to College
 

A
-        Acne/cleansing wash and acne cream
-        Address book
-        Alarm clock: very important! J
-        Allergy medicine: Claritin or Benadryl or other anti-histamine

B
-        Backpack/messenger bag
-        Balls: Basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, baseballs, tennis balls
-        Bandages and Band-Aids: for sprains and cuts
-        Batteries, especially AA
-        Bicycle, helmet, LOCK
-        Binders
-        Bins or boxes for storing papers/folders
-        Blanket: fleece or thermal
-        Bleach
-        Board games (Monopoly, a chess or checkers set etc.)
-        Body lotion
-        Bookcase: find a slim, tall bookcase if you’re pressed for space. It’s good for organizing text and literary books; of course you can store anything on it-- from food to board games to boxes of cleaning supplies. Great storage. If it’s a shorter bookcase, you can put decorations atop it-- pictures, a vase etc.
-        Broom or short-handled brush with dustpan (if you don’t care for vacuums or Swiffer)
-        Brush: get a good scrubbing one for cleaning grout/tough stains
-        Bucket: get a sturdy one for use in cleaning/mopping
-        Bug spray (to keep your skin from those awful mosquitoes etc.)
-        Bulletin board with pins

C
-        Cable/wiring organizer: for your computer wires
-        Calendar: to keep track of the date and days; dry-erase calendars are awesome for scrawling in important events and then erasing for the next month
-        Calculator or graphing calculator
-        Camera-- at least a disposable one
-        Can opener
-        CDs
-        CD cases, or soft-cover CD folders which are more space efficient and easier to carry
-        Cereals, cereals, cereals
-        Chair: a comfortable one, not a desk chair, but more of a reading/relaxing seat. Try the:
a) butterfly chair
b) Egg chair or
c) the classic beanbag
-        Chair cushion: if you don’t want to bring or buy a desk chair, buy an attractive seat cushion for the chair that the college provides
-        Chips
-        Clothes: make sure you bring a variety of clothing for a variety of temperatures
-        Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are amazing, easy to use and leave a good scent
-        College-rule line paper
-        Colored markers and colored pencils
-        Comb or hairbrush
-        Comforter
-        Computer-- Laptop or Desktop or Notebook.
-        Conditioner (hair)
-        Contacts
-        Contact lens case
-        Contact lens solution
-        Containers: small plastic or mesh containers for small accessories (paperclips/tape/white-out/jewelry/makeup)
-        Cordless Phone and/or Cell Phone: very important!
-        Cough drops/lozenges
-        Cotton balls: many uses, including for applying/wiping off make-up, applying antiseptics to cuts and wounds
-        Cotton facial pads: for applying or removing foundation and other make-up, also for applying facial lotions, toners and astringents
-        Curling iron (hair)
-        Curtains: if your dorm room doesn’t provide curtains, an attractive set of curtains can help bring color and life to your room

D
-        Day planner, day runner, agenda etc.
-        DayQuil/NyQuil
-        Decorator’s Lamps: these are pretty, inexpensive ways to light up your room and add color
-        Deodorant (can’t forget that!)
-        Desk chair-- colleges provide a desk chair, but it often isn’t as nice as the one you probably have at home. A good desk chair that swivels and is on wheels is great
-        Desk lamp: many stores sell extremely inexpensive and colorful desk lamps
-        Desk organizers
-        Diskettes
-        Dry-erase markers
-        Drying rack (for wet laundry-- dryers are often all occupied by the time your clothes are clean from the washing machine, so a drying rack might be helpful)
-        DVD player or VHS
-        DVDs or Videos

E
-        Eating Utensils: inexpensive utensils OR disposable plastic utensils will do: packs of disposable OR two to four inexpensive sets of knives, spoons, forks, cups, mugs, plates, bowls
-        Erasers (Staedtler erasers are amazing!)
-        Eye drops

F
-        Fabric softener for the dryer
-        Facial lotion (especially if you’re in a colder climate and your skin will tend to dry out more easily)
-        Favorites books
-        Febreeze: excellent to temporarily rid clothes (and blankets, pillows, etc) from odors
-        Files and expandable filing folders
-        Flashlight
-        Floss
-        Folders-- with pockets and three-prongs
-        Folding chairs/tail-gaiting chairs/folding lawn chairs-- any easy, folding chair that you can quickly prop open for guests or haul down to the game for tail-gaiting is a plus
-        Footstool (if you’re vertically challenged)
-        Foreign Language Dictionary: for whatever language you’ll be taking in college
-        Fragrance: perfume or cologne, or body sprays
-        Frisbees!
-        Fruit
-        Fruit juices

G
-        Gatorade and other sports/electrolyte drinks
-        Glasses
-        Granola bars
-        Graphing paper

H
-        Hair dryer
-        Hairbands/hair pins for ladies
-        Hairspray/sculpting cream
-        Hammer
-        Hand-held electronic games (Gameboy etc.)
-        Hand and feet cream (Neutrogena makes the effective and inexpensive Norwegian formula
-        Headphones-- very important-- both to block out annoying sounds from your roommate or keep music your roommate doesn’t like to yourself
-        Highlighters
-        Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol

I
-        I-Pod or other music player (MP3, CD player)
-        Internet access software/wiring
-        Iron
-        Ironing board

K
-        Kleenex or other facial tissue

L
-        Laptops and desktops: for work/studying, but plays your music and DVDs as well
-        Laptop case
-        Laundry basket: a lot of people prefer the sturdy plastic baskets to laundry bags. Can hold folded clothes better as well
-        Laundry Hamper or Bin: hampers are always useful; some of us use canvas bins with handles to toss wet towels and dirty clothes in; others have large mesh or canvas laundry bags (folding hampers are great if you need space)
-        Lip balm
-        Lint-roller
-        Loofah/sponge or wash towel

M
-        Make-up (a lot of more low-maintenance girls I know often just go with the basics-- foundation or tinted moisturizer for covering up flaws, mascara and lip gloss or a lipstick)
-        Manila envelopes (for papers or reports that you don’t want folded)
-        Map-- of your country, your state, the world, your college campus
-        Masking tape
-        Microwave
-        Milk
-        Mini-fridge or Micro-fridge
-        Mints or minty gum
-        Mirror-- a good mirror, from full length
-        Mouse
-        Mouse pad
-        Mouthwash
-        Multi-vitamins (especially vitamin C, when you’re trying to keep your immune system up around cold season)
-        Muscle Relief: Icy Hot Patches or Thermal Patches for aches
-        Musical instrument/music books

N
-        Nail clippers
-        Nail file
-        Nail polish remover
-        Neosporin
-        Nightstand: if you’ve got room, nightstands are nice-- put a small lamp and your reading books atop it. Looks pretty and if it has drawers, it offers more storage space for whatever you’d like.
-        Notepads

O
-        Oxi-Clean

P
-        Pack of playing cards
-        Pain and fever relief-- Tylenol, Advil, ibuprofen
-        Paperclips
-        Paper towels
-        Pencils
-        Pencil case/container
-        Pencil Sharpener
-        Pens: regular blue, black and red; have at least one, nicer ball-point pen as well
-        Photos and picture frames
-        Pillows
-        Popcorn
-        Pop-Tarts
-        Post-its
-        Power strips (because you’ll only have so many electrical outlets)
-        Printer Paper (white)

Q
-        Q-Tips: tons of uses-- for cleaning the insides of your ears, for applying or removing make-up, etc

R
-        Radio/stereo
-        Ramen/Cup Noodles
-        Razor, shaving cream and aftershave for males
-        Reusable water bottles
-        Robe
-        Rolls of coins or your laundry card
-        Rubber bands
-        Rug!: to add attractiveness to the bare tile or wood floor of your room-- and keep your feet warm when you slip out of bed winter mornings

S
-        Safe or lockbox for valuables: jewelry, watches, etc-- actually, any box with a lid will do to store your valuables in, just as long as you don’t leave your bracelets, watches, rings etc lying around
-        Shampoo
-        Sharpies or any other permanent marker (thick and thin)
-        Shaving lotion, gel or body wash for shaving
-        Shaving razor
-        Sheets: at least two and preferably three different sets of sheets for your bed, often college beds are extra-long twin size
-        Shower caddy/tote
-        Shower shoes (flip-flops)
-        Soap or body wash
-        Soap container: it’d be best to have a container for it, so the other items in your tote won’t get soppy and sticky. Bed Bath and Beyond has some handy plastic soap cases with latches
-        Spiral notebooks
-        Sponge: get one for cleaning dishes, another for cleaning your dorm/bathroom
-        Stapler and staples
-        Straightening iron (hair)
-        Sunglasses
-        Suntan lotion
-        Swiffer Dry: extremely easy to use, quick and easy to clean - just dispose of the cloth after use; hard to pick up more than lint and hair, however
-        Swiffer Duster: excellent and easy to hold and maintain
-        Swiffer Wet: use like a mop, very easy to use and leaves a great fresh scent
-        Swim goggles

T
-        Tape dispenser and clear tape refills
-        Tapestries: hang them up on the wall, above your bed, etc.
-        Teabags
-        Three-hole punch adapter
-        Toothbrush
-        Toothbrush case
-        Toothpaste
-        Towels (at least two sets each of bath towel, hand towel, face towel etc.)
-        Trash Can
-        Tree Floor Lamp
-        TV
-        Tweezers

U
-        Umbrella- a good, sturdy one

W
-        Washcloths or washrags: use old ones for rinsing or drying dishes, and cleaning floors
-        Water bottles
-        Waterless hand sanitizer
-        Whiteboard with dry-erase markers
-        White-out or correctional fluid (I prefer the rolling, tape-dispenser-like white-out)
-        Windex

-        Writing Basics: a writing style book, a dictionary, a thesaurus