Thursday, July 30, 2009

Start Simple Habits

I am in Minnesota with the boys visiting my family wishing I had brought more jeans!!! The forecast for today is rainy and a high of 67 degrees?!?!?!? Allegedly this is a very cold summer but I swear I don’t ever remember it being this cold at the end of July. To think my boys want to live in Minnesota....I would have to wear a sweater 24/7 365 days a year. And yes I only brought one sweater for the trip and I have worn it everyday! Enough about me, let me grab some hot chocolate here and then give you some ideas on how to start simple habits in your home so you feel a little more organized.

I realize that getting organized is not always a priority on top of that, you don’t always have extra time and when you do have the little bit of extra time organizing is not at the top of the list. What about starting with a few simple habits so that you feel a little more organized and in the process your children are learning some good organizing habits?

More times than not everyone tends to leave their dirty clothes on the floor of their bedroom or their bathroom. Why not implement a rule that everyone needs/must pick up their dirty clothes and put them into the hamper? If getting the clothes downstairs to the hamper seems to be a huge problem it can be easily fixed by buying an additional hamper for upstairs. You could even go so far as to buy a three compartment hamper so that they sort the clothes for you by lights, darks and towels. Oh the fun they could have by sorting!

I know the mailman brings too much mail and it seems to pile up on your counters all over the kitchen. Maybe you could stand next to your trashcan and recycling bin before you even walk into your house and sort the mail so that you only bring one fifth of it into your home. Not only are you eliminating some of the huge piles but now the mail that is in the house is mail that needs attention.

At night the two things that I like to start in our house is the dishwasher and the washer. I like to throw a load of dark clothes in at night and the first thing in the morning right after a hit the start button of my coffee machine I put the dark clothes into the dryer. We start the dishwasher at night to help us go to sleep, the noise of the dishwasher blocks out any barking dogs or kids who are outside playing still at 9:30 at night! Just kidding sometimes on the weekend we make it to 10:15, I know we are crazy!

These are just some simple ideas to help you and your family get into good habits and at the same time help you get a little more organized. I hope all of you are staying warm, I have to go find my big warm fuzzy slippers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Organizing A Sewing Room


I can barely sew on a button let alone hem a pair of pants. So what makes me think I can organize a sewing room? Organizing is about finding a solution to a problem. Whether you like things in alphabetical order, light to dark or by category it is all a form of being organized. The same will follow through for a sewing room. I have seen several sewing machines covered with a pile of material, patterns, and clothes to be mended. More times than not this is not how sewers like to work. Most would rather work in a neat, organized sewing room where everything is in its place and you have room to work.
Looking at this from an organizing perspective rather than a sewer, my first question would be, would you look for your patterns alphabetically or by project? If you use a lot of patterns, you will need a file box with file folders. If you choose to organize by project instead of alphabetically you will have to categorize your patterns. For example: quilts, dresses, skirts, tops, dolls, pants, curtains and so on. As you are categorizing your patterns or putting them in alphabetical order make sure they are patterns you intend to sew. If you do not plan to use that pattern, try trading it with a friend or sell it on http://www.illooklocal.com/ or even eBay.




Material is another problem for most sewing rooms. You buy it because you love it, and then it sits. There are a couple of ways to organize material. One way is the filing box or cabinet by color or by fabric types. For your odds and ends pieces I would keep them together by color then put them into large Ziploc bags.



Buttons, snaps, zippers and ribbons can usually be found in all the corners of a sewing room. A couple of ideas for snaps and buttons would be tackle box containers, ice cube trays or little jars with lids. I have seen one person use a tie rack from her husband to hang her ribbons and use safety bins to hang her zippers from another tie rack. Sometimes using what you have makes the best organized storage unit and on top of that it will save you money!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What’s For Dinner Tonight?


Do you find yourself asking that question on a daily basis? The average American eats out 3-4 times per week on average. I don’t know about you, but our family could not afford to do that week after week. Not only would money be tight but so would my jeans!
I like to plan my meals out for the week and I write our menu plan at the bottom of each day of our family calendar. I start by opening up my pantry and then going to my freezer. If I have an abundance of chicken...can you hear the song...”I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight” sorry couldn’t resist. Back to the chicken, I look in my pantry to see if I have rice or pasta. If I do, I could make all sort of chicken recipes. When I need a new idea from our typically Chicken and Rice I go to www.kraftfoods.com, www.campbellskitchen.com and www.rachelraymag.com for some quick and easy recipes. Continue to go through your panty and freezer to make complete dinners, you will be surprised if you start making a menu plan from what you already have at home you will save more money at the grocery store!
Getting your meals organized means finding simpler ways to do things so that you can get more things done. Give it a try and see if you don’t save a little extra money, have a little more time at night to play with the kids and top of that feeding your family healthy homemade meals.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Recycling Your Computer and Phone Can “Pay” Off

So many times in homes I find old computers, monitors and cell phones. Sometimes people hold onto them just incase their new phone is not as great as thought it would be, sometimes there is someone in the family that THINKS they can use some of the old parts from the computer. I am not pointing any fingers to anyone’s husband specifically but you know who they are. If you could get money back on your phone and computer why not give it a try?

Greenphone will pay you for your used phone or phones. Go to their website at www.greenphone.com and check the list for your old phone. If its on the list it will also tell you how much money you can expect for selling it to them. You can send your phone free of charge and they will check to make sure it is in working condition. If all is good with your phone, they will send you a payment. If your phone is not working they will recycle it safely for you. It is a” win/win” for your electronics drawer or junk drawer.

Now let’s tackle that upstairs closet or that “area” in the corner that is commonly referred to as Dad’s stuff. Check out www.myboneyard.com an electronics recycling company where they recycle old electronics. All you have to do is go to their website and follow of a few steps by entering your computer information. Within minutes you will find out how much your computer is worth. You can also send in your computer free of charge and keep track of it online. Who knows, maybe out of this whole deal you will end up with some extra money, space and less things to dust!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Finding Time to Read Your Magazines


I can’t tell you how many homes I have been into to help people control the paper clutter. Always located at the bottom of pile are magazines. We order magazines with good intentions, hoping to find that little bit of time to just sit and read while soaking in the tub. Reality check, you will never have that much time!

First let’s look at which magazines you are ordering. If you subscribe to Bon Appetit or Everyday With Rachel Ray you should do one of two things. If you are really set on keeping the magazine in tact, place it with your other cookbooks. Instead of standing them up so they constantly fall, try laying them down and stacking them with the binder facing out so you know which magazine it is. Another idea if you like standing them up is to place them in between two large cookbooks, essentially they become bookends. One more idea is to purchase magazine holders. This one is from Amazon.com and is priced at $13.99 used and $18.99 new If you are willing to tear out the recipe you want from the magazine to save space then cut the recipe out and file it in your recipe holder. That could be a binder or a recipe box.

Now for the “fun” magazines…People, Vogue, Oprah and all the other magazines we buy hoping to find time to read. I have never had the opportunity to read at the pool until two years ago and let me tell it is a whole new world now for me! I keep a magazine in our swimming bag at all times. Another couple of spots I like to keep magazines to read whenever I have an extra couple of minutes is in the car and the wagon I take down to our park. I keep a couple of magazines on the side of the front car seats to read while I am waiting to pick the boys up from school, practice or even if I am early to pick them up from a party. It is amazing how much of your magazine you can read in five to ten minutes. As for the wagon, our park across the street from our house is huge and has a creek, sand area and so on. In our wagon I keep shovels, nets, pails and a magazine to read! If you have a neighborhood park and your children are safely playing on their own in plain sight, this is a great opportunity to read a little.

Now that I have given you all this extra time to read magazines…start grabbing them and putting them in spots where you think you might have an extra five to ten minutes. Happy Reading…

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I’m Organized and Structured But I’m Still Fun!

This is not going to be my typical blog on how to organize this or that. I am not going to tell you about some great organizing product I came across the other day either. Instead you are going to read about me and my day today.

I guess it started Tuesday night when I friend of mine called to catch up. She is one of those friends I love to banter with back and forth. As we are talking on the phone they are heading into Wal-Mart when all of a sudden she says to me, “Oh my goodness I have found the perfect gift for you!” She starts laughing showing her children and I can hear them laughing! She is trying to tell me what they are laughing about but she can hardly speak because she is laughing so hard she is crying! She is picturing me wearing the “Slipper Dusters” and they cant stop laughing! From what she tried to say is you slip them on your feet and dust your floors. Funny thing is, I think I would like them!

I looked up “organized” on www.dictionary.com and found the definition to be “having a formal organization or structure, esp. to coordinate or carry out for widespread activities”

Yesterday we had planned to go to Tenkiller State Park to go swimming. Planned to me means that I have scheduled when we were going to leave, what I was packing for a picnic lunch and when I planned to be home all in my head. Of course the boys knew of the plan to go swimming at the lake and they were excited to go.

As you all know, it was raining yesterday morning but I am optimistic and I want to stick to the plan…I think the rain will move out besides in Oklahoma wait ten minutes and the weather will change. An hour and half later it is still raining and doesn’t look like it is going to clear up. I move to Plan B, except I don’t have Plan B planned, the weather man said it was suppose to be nice today so I didn’t plan a Plan B.

Instead of staying home and renting a movie, here is where the fun part of me comes into play…we took a road trip to Pops on Route 66 by Arcadia! We took an hour and half road trip to buy some unique flavors of pop and go out for lunch. While we were there we visited the one and only Round Barn in Oklahoma! See I’m fun, I live on the edge not everything in my life needs to be scheduled I can go left instead of right.

So I am feeling pretty good about being a Mom who gets out and about even though it wasn’t on my calendar. I live on the edge, I am not completely black and white not only do I have some shades of gray sometimes I have some pops of yellow! As we were driving home there is an area on I-44 that I do not get cell phone reception so when we got home I saw I had a voicemail.

I am listening to the voicemail in complete astonishment…I am thinking…what…a casting agent from “World’s Strictest Parents”? He goes on to say he loves to start with Organizers because they have found they have most rules and structure and make great Strict Parents! My mind is racing thinking who sent me this prank, I’m not that crazy…it was my friend, there she goes again trying to make fun of me. Nope couldn’t be that easy, I get an email from them right there in my inbox “World’s Strictest Parents”. I was so proud of myself how I live on the edge yesterday wiped away in one phone call and email!

Surprisingly enough I don’t qualify for the show because I don’t have a teenager still living at home. If any of the 918moms have a teenager and would be interested in trying out for the show, give me a call or send me an email so I can hook you with the casting agent. My number is 918-740-1215 and my email is cleartheclutter@cox.net If you need some pointers on how to be organized, structured and a little OCD I can give some pointers!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Stay Organized Away From Home!

We went out for lunch today and happened to notice a family sitting across from us with a new baby. After my husband and I strolled down memory lane we noticed how organized she was and ready for anything that might occur in the restaurant. With this in mind, I thought I would give some a few ideas to make your life more efficient on the road. As a new mom, it's important for you to be organized so you can focus your attention on the never ending list of things to do. For some, this comes easier than it does for others. You may be used to making a list and getting things done, but when you have a little one, lots of unexpected “surprises” arise that make it difficult to even finish one thing on your list.
Here are some ideas to have ready in the car and your diaper bag. You will feel more organized if you are armed and ready for what ever life throws at you or baby spits up at you!
Diaper Bag: The Diaper Bag is great to haul things for you baby but you don’t necessarily need to bring it into every store or restaurant you visit. I used to just throw a diaper, wipes, extra passey and a toy into my purse so that I didn’t have drag to bags and the infant carrier. I kept the diaper bag in the car for when I need to pull out the heavy artillery. If there was a “blow out” I would rather go out to the car to take care of matters then drag everything into the bathroom, but that is just me.
· Diaper Wipes/Toddler Wipes – They should be in every room of your house. I use them to clean the carpet, counter tops, bathrooms and for the obvious dirty little hands and faces.
· Diapers & Diaper Rash Ointment – You never know when it will flare up again.
· Extra Outfit – Just incase clothes, you can never be too safe!
· Toys – A couple of toys that just stay in the diaper bag so they seem new to the baby.
Car: Your car is not only a means of getting to and from but is a house on wheels. You need to make sure you have everything you may need while on the road without over loading it with unnecessary things. You'll want to have an extra Ziploc bags for dirty diapers.
· Diaper Wipes – Did I mention I love wipes?!?
· First Aid Kit – Band-Aids, Neosporin, Hydrocortisone & Cortaid for bug bites
· Books – I keep books in the back seat pockets for the boys to read/look at while we are driving. I try to switch them out periodically and hit the library to have a new choices.
· Snacks – You never know when they might need some crackers to help hold them over until lunch or keep them busy while you finish running your errands.
· Formula – I kept a single serving dry formula packet along with a bottle of water and an extra baby bottle for an emergency.
· Clothes – I found having two boys you just never know what kind of trouble you can find when you are out and about! I always kept a change of clothes, jackets and swimsuits in the car. They were clothes I bought at garage sales, nothing fancy just something to throw on in case we ran into a splash pad or a muddy creek. I know this won’t surprise you but I kept an extra outfit for me too, you never know when some of that mud may get on you!
· Take Out Menus – Sometimes it is impossible to make dinner that night even with the best of intentions. Instead of driving to a fast food restaurant I have found that many restaurants with “To Go Doors” do not cost that much more and if you can combine it with a coupon it is the same price as fast food but healthier for your family, that is if you didn’t order the cheese fries.
At the end of the day, empty the trash from your diaper bag and car. Replenish any items that were used and above all don’t forget to have fun this summer!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Utilizing Dorm Room Space




One of the most important things to remember when you live in a small space or even a cubical at work is to build vertically. Utilize your space from floor to ceiling. If height is not on their side invest in a step stool that collapses, so that they may utilize all of their space.

I love to use rolling carts (use with or without wheels) to organize dorm rooms. I have used several to stack on top of each other to make a dresser, a make shift kitchen area to store silver ware, paper plates, pantry items and dishes. Here is an example:


One of the most practical, but least utilized, spaces in the bedroom is under the bed. By using under-bed storage bags or bins, you can easily store out-of-season clothing if your child is out of state or has an abundance of clothing they insist on brining. Remind them they only wear 20% of their clothing most of the time! Another great space is closets. Most closets are poorly planned, so install extra rods or here is that great space for the rolling cart dresser. Don’t forget to use the over the door shoe hanger for extra space to store jewelry, cd’s, HBA items and so much more. Use every closet that has space to add a over the door shelf or shoe hanger for extra storage.

Obviously they will want to bring their stereo and if they are really lucky a flat screen TV. Instead of buying an entertainment center for their dorm room build shelving for equipment, books and cd’s. Buy ottomans with storage inside, instead of chairs for extra seating and this will give them even more storage space!