Monday, August 31, 2009

Organizing Your Cleaning Supplies

With flu season fast approaching, I thought it might be nice to make sure that your cleaning supplies are organized and handy for you. When was the last time you took all of your cleaning supplies out from under the sink? How long have you had some of those products? Are they so old that Mr. Clean has hair?!?!?!? There's a cleaner for everything and if you bought them all your cupboard would be overflowing. The truth is that a lot of cleaners are multi-purpose and you can tackle two things at one time. Clean the counter and clean the mirror with the same product. If you really want to save on your household budget, pick all-purpose and multi-purpose cleaners. You can even mix vinegar and water as a dual purpose cleaner and use baking soda to clean your sinks and showers/tubs. Save specialty cleaners for really tough jobs, and only if your others don't work well. You may be surprised by how little you really need to keep your home clean.

After you have sifted through all of your cleaners and decided to on which ones to keep place them back under your sink in categories. For example: carpet cleaning products, dish detergents, all purpose cleaners and furniture polish.

Have you ever cleaned your vacuum or when was the last time you changed the filter in your vacuum? There are so my cleaning tools we assume are keeping our home clean but you might want to take a closer look and see if you need to clean the cleaner...

How about those brushes or sponges? I always keep two sponges in all the bathrooms and in the kitchen. To keep from wondering if one sponge was used on the counter or on the floor I choose a color for my counter tops and another for my floors. I use the same colors throughout the bathrooms and the kitchen, this way I don’t have to think each time I move onto a new room to clean. Who wants to use their brain when they are cleaning, if your like me you just want to get done and move onto something else....like ironing! Oh how I hate to iron!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interesting Organizing Article...

As all of you know I am a Professional Organizer and mother of two great boys. As part of being a Professional Organizer I am a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Now I realize you are thinking, holy cow, how cool is that?!?! Very cool!! I know you are going to find this very funny…we have a “chat group”! What this means is that we email the group questions about organizing certain areas, organizing ideas, neat products we have seen or used and interesting tidbits or articles.

Well today a fellow organizer, Stacey Anderson with Organized Innovations, LLC sent all of us an email about this article from TransWorldNews Home Organization Product Demand to Reach $8.9 Billion in 2013 . Here is a quote from the article “The sharp downturn in the housing market in 2007 and 2008 also caused many homeowners to adjust the way that they spend money on their homes, leading many to invest in built-in organization systems either to upgrade homes they plan to stay in or to differentiate homes that are being sold.” If you get a free moment read the article or email it to yourself and put the article into that great Reading Folder I suggested a few weeks ago! Yeah, I went there!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Toys, Toys and More Toys

I have mentioned before that going through your kid’s toys twice a year sometimes sparks new interest in lost toys. Doing this allows parents to “clear the clutter” of broken toys and fast food toys.

I am not suggesting you start throwing out all the toys or donating all of them. As a matter of fact my boys kept Power Rangers with broken arms to be the “bad guy” or looks like a good guy! I remember when McDonalds came out with their Master of the Universe action figure toy in their Happy Meals. OMG I called every McDonalds in Broken Arrow, West, East, South and North Tulsa asking which toy they had this week and schlepping all over to get two Happy Meals, sometimes three just incase one of them broke. These guys meant the world to the boys and after they played with them all over the house we made them into what we call “tub toys” and once a toy is a tub toy it is always a tub toy.

When the boys were littler we had toys in our family room and their rooms. So to keep things fresh, fun and exciting I would switch the toys around. I would take up all the Rescue Heroes, all the cars and the platform we had with them upstairs and bring down Little People. I brought down the car station, bus, garbage truck and all the people. The toys became intriguing now that they were downstairs instead of upstairs. Don’t ask me why, they just did. Give it a try!

Now that the boys are older and have other tastes I try to switch things up a little now too. We seem to be going through a WWE (wrestling, for you mom’s that have girls) phase and this past winter it was Nascar. We have a train table in each of their rooms. We bought them from Target during Christmas when you can find them on sale. I really recommend them for both boys and girls. Have you ever tried to play Pet Shop on the carpet? The dogs keep falling over! Anyhow I put whatever the boys are into onto the train table so that when they play in their room they are ready to go. Not only does it keep their toys fresh but sometimes just a little change peaks new interest and reminds them how much they do like to play in their room and use their imagination! Why not try, if you would like help you can always email at cleartheclutter@cox.net

Monday, August 17, 2009

Organizing Your Refrigerator

One of the last places to get organized in the kitchen is the refrigerator. Now that the kids are at eating at school, maybe now is a great time to go through your refrigerator. I realize cleaning and organizing your refrigerator may not be at the top of your list of fun things to do but it gets a lot of use and could you so much attention.

A simple way to start is to get all of your leftovers out unless of your course they are just from last night. I think we can safely say the Kung Pao Chicken from last week is not going to get eaten for lunch anytime soon. Next I would check all the expirations dates on salad dressings, mayo, mustard (yes mustard has an expiration date!!) and sour cream. After you have checked all of your foods with expirations dates move onto the fruit and vegetable drawer. From here move onto the meat and cheese drawer, don’t forget to look at the expirations dates. Here is a great resource for you from 3-A-Day ( http://www.3aday.org ) about organizing your refrigerator.

Now that your refrigerator cleaned out lets take a warm soapy washcloth and clean all the shelves. While you are doing this make sure to group things together that are similar. Just like when we organize closets we put short sleeves together we are going to put dressings together, mustard and ketchup and mayo. Have a section for your meat and cheeses, an area for yogurts, fruits and vegetables and drinks. This will also help you when are making grocery list. It will give you a quick inventory without having to move 100 things or just guessing what you need and getting home to find there are six containers of sour cream behind the orange juice you already had purchased last week. Happy Organizing….

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Email Folders Are A Must

I know I have mentioned the importance of organizing your emails into folders before but now that school has started this is really important to keep your family organized.

Most schools are emailing school calendars, special events, teacher notes and PTA updates. With our busy schedules and our inbox on over load we really need to be ahead of the game. My suggestion would be to have a folder for each child. If your child has an extremely busy schedule I would have sub-folders under their name one for school, another for sports and the last one for activities. More times than not, we receive information early and we don’t need to respond or even look at it until a later date. Instead of leaving in your inbox to clutter up your email, move it to the child’s folder for a reference.

If you are really diligent about checking a Pending Folder I would start a folder for things that you need to make a decision about at a later date or if you waiting on an shipment you purchased. An example would be if your ordered jeans from Old Navy and instead of leaving the shipment notification in your inbox move it to the Pending Folder. When your jeans arrive delete the shipment notification from the Pending Folder. An example of a later date decision would be if you were thinking about enrolling in tennis or golf and you received emails from the places you thinking of taking lessons.

An email folder I really like to use is my Reading Folder. When I am surfing the internet and find articles or information I really would like to read in more detail I email myself the link to the article. From my inbox, I move it to my Reading Folder. If you have friends who love to send you jokes or long emails about their trip to the grocery store I would move their emails to that folder as well and when you have time to read for a few minutes you are ready to go!

Monday, August 10, 2009

School Supplies…Why Not Check To See What You Already Have at Home?!?!?!?

It seems like just yesterday I was singing “Schools out, schools out who let the monkeys out?” and now we are starting back to school this week. YIKES!

Most schools have a required school supply list as long as your arm. Here is a novel idea…why not look to see what you already have at home? So many times we end up buying more supplies than what our children actually use at school. Often times they end up bringing home the unused items the last day of school. I realize that we need to keep some “extra” supplies at home but do you really need 15 folders, 11 glue bottles and 101 #2 pencils? Who knows maybe after your done shopping at home first you will cleared out a whole drawer or shelf!?!?? Just think of the fun!

The PTA at our school sells pre-packaged school supplies for each grade. This obviously makes it very easy on most mothers so that they don’t have to run around to several stores trying to find the 4x8 pencil box that is not to exceed two inches in height. I don’t know about your children but sometimes my boys like to “switch out” the pre-packaged folders or notebooks they received in the box and buy the color of folders they would prefer to have over the 20 yellow ones they got in their box.

I realize money is tight in everyone’s home but I was thinking after you went through your school supplies at home and bought the school supplies you need if you had extra or if you had a Power Ranger lunch box or Spiderman backpack that no one is going to use, why not donate them to Tulsa Teach Credit Union ( www.ttcu.com ) or Project Elf ( www.projectelf.org )? TTCU prefers to have new items to distribute to children but Project Elf helps all children throughout the Tulsa area from school supplies to socks and shoes. Both of them have great programs and I am sure if you checked with your school counselor you will find they would love to have whatever extras you have to give to children less fortunate as you and I. If you know of some other great places to donate school supplies please leave a comment for all of us.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Great Product for Organizing School Papers!


I was looking searching the web for some great organizing products for school and came across this great filing product for organizing school papers from my friends at “Buttoned Up” www.getbuttonedup.com I thought this might be nice to keep in your kitchen/command center so that you have your children’s school papers readily available and organized.

Can you believe school is just about to start? The boys and I are still in Minnesota and my brother is taking his kids on a trip after we leave because school doesn’t start until after Labor Day and still gets out Memorial Day Weekend!!! How does that work with all of their snow days?!?! This is just one more reason the boys want to move to Minnesota!

Here is some more information about School.files from Buttoned Up. If you are interested you may go to their website and purchase it for $19.95.

School.files™Homework, class trips, extracurricular activities- staying on top of all the things your children participate in at school is a big job. Get some help with the School.files™ from Buttoned Up. It is the perfect container for keeping all the information about their scholastic life at your fingertips. By Buttoned Up™.
Key Functional Features:

Durable file folder with compartments for three children
Each compartment contains five folders: stuff to do, stuff to keep, stuff to return, fun stuff, and calendars
Lightweight construction and notebook size make it ultra-portable

Monday, August 3, 2009

Have Your Children Pick Out Their Clothes the Night Before…

With school starting right around the corner isn’t now a good time to start letting your little ones become more self sufficient? Time is never on our side on a school morning so why not let your children pick out their clothes the night before and hang it on the doorknob of their closet door along with their underwear and socks?

You will be surprised how much time is saved if their clothes are already picked out and hanging. If their clothes are not on hangers just fold them up and put them in front of the closet door. Not only have you allowed yourself a few extra minutes in the morning you no longer have to listen to “what should I wear?” This will also help your children become more self sufficient and start learning a little time management! One thing we have done in our house is put a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts out the night before just in case the weather has changed from the forecast from the night before. This is really helpful during the spring and fall when the weather changes every 10 minutes.

You could even take this one step further and pick out your own clothes the night before. I promise with the morning rush, rush, rush having one less decision to make will help get you out the door much faster!