Monday, November 30, 2009

Decorating in an Organized Style

Can you believe Christmas is going to be here in a few weeks? I swear I can still smell turkey in my house! Not only did I not go shopping on Black Friday, I didn’t finish decorating our house for Christmas. Football won my vote on Friday!

I love decorating our house for Christmas. With that being said, I like to decorate in a organized style. I am not artsy fartsy, shocking I know…I am very methodical about how I do things and I like to accomplish my tasks in a timely manner.

To save time and effort for me, I take pictures of my Christmas decorations in each room so that when I pull out my decorations I don’t have to try and remember how I did it last year or worse yet try to come up with some fantastic new decorating idea. Besides balance and having everything symmetrical is very important to me. Who would of guessed, uh!?!? I have found taking pictures really saves time and there is no guess work involved.

As you put up your Christmas decorations take some of your current decorations down so you home does feel so cluttered or dare I say it…like a “blue light special” going on in your family room. Enjoy the simplicity of your Christmas decorations.

If there are a few items left over in you holiday supply that didn’t get used this year and they are not a “special” ornament, we have a beady eyed Santa that my husband had as a child that scares me so he stays protected and never comes out! If you happen to have extra Christmas ornaments or decorations now would be a great time to donate them. Sadly there are many families this year that are struggling and would love to have your Christmas decorations. Just a thought…

Monday, November 23, 2009

Don't Worry, It's Not the End of the World

It’s Thanksgiving week and the house does not need to be organized in order to eat turkey. As a matter of fact, the closet can be stuffed and so can the turkey. I know you would love everything to be perfect but it doesn’t have to be. Let it go, focus and what really matters and enjoy the preparation of Thanksgiving.

You have invited family and friends into your home to celebrate Thanksgiving and you have so many things to be thankful for this year. I say if any of your friends or family start snooping through your closets or even mention that you have a little clutter…no pumpkin pie for them!!!

I am asking you to relax, let it go, enjoy and put a smile of your face…company is coming and your house doesn’t need to be perfect! Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Organize Toys Now, to Make Room for More Toys?!?!?

No, I am not kidding…have you looked around your house? The toys are taking over your entire home and Christmas is right around the corner. How will all the new toys fit into their bedroom or playroom? They start out in a bedroom or playroom and before you know it, they've spread to every room in the house. It's almost as though they multiply or come to life at night like Toy Story and invite friends to come for a sleepover!

If you take the time to organize the toys now, this will help give you some gifts ideas for Christmas and at the same time make room for all the new presents. The key to organizing toys is finding a “home” for all the toys. Children can learn to put toys away if the method is simple and easy.

Start by clearing the clutter. Gather all the toys together in the room you choose to have their toys instead of the whole house. Sort the good toys from the junk and either donate the things that are in good. If you happen to find new toys, now would be a great time to donate them for Toys for Tots. Repair any toys that are meaningful to them and throw away things that are trash.

Sort toys into appropriate bins and storage. Toys that are alike should go into the same bin. Power Rangers in one bin, cars in another…if you have girls Barbies in one, Little Pet Shop in another, you get the idea. One little addition I would like to add is make sure if that you keep toys close to each other if your child plays with them together. For instance if your daughter always has Barbie take care of the pets from Little Pet Shop, keep the bins side by sides so that clean up is quick and easy.

If you feel that you need to a label your bins and your child is not reading, print pictures from the toy stores; laminate the picture and velcroe it to the bin.
If space is a problem in their room. Try hanging toy organization tools on doors. Over-the-door shoe hangers are perfect for organizing small toys, stuffed animals, Barbies or even Match Box Cars.

I use Ziploc Bags to store “accessories” from Barbie, G.I Joes, for organizing the pieces they don’t play with very often. Not only is less of a mess to clean up but hopefully your feet won’t get anymore on those small pieces. Boy does that hurt, I swear Legos are the worst on your feet! I would suggest you place the bags in a bin on a top shelf and get them down when the child asks for them. So many times, they just want to play with the person and really don’t want to change out guns or shoes.

Rotating toys is a great way to keep children entertained and interested in playing with their toys. Every month or so, rotate the bins so that your child has something new to play with.
Designate a time once a week for room cleaning. Everyday, your child should put their toys away, but once a week they could make sure that all of their toys are in the rights spot to prevent a future mess. "A place for everything and everything in its place."

By Michelle Lehman, Organizing Solutions “Clear the Clutter”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Recyling Your Tennis Shoes!

Oh my goodness, this is the coolest thing ever! I just learned about this very cool program by Nike ReUSE A SHOE that recycles athletic/tennis shoes in any condition, or any other brand and turns them into sports surfaces! They collect shoes from partnering retail stores and other shoe recycling centers.

The shoes are taken apart in three sections. The rubber on the bottom, the sole of the shoe and the fabric of the shoe and they place them onto three different conveyer belts to get ground up. After it has been through the “Nike Grind” they use the material to make running tracks, tennis court's, basketball courts and play grounds. How cool is that?!?!?

This is from their website to give you better details of the Nike Grind process….

“No matter how your shoes are processed, the end result is the same – three high-quality Nike Grind materials ready to be put back in the game:

Nike Grind Rubber, made from the shoe's outsole, is used in track surfaces, interlocking gym flooring tiles, playground surfacing and even new Nike products, such as the outsoles of the Nike Pegasus or the Jordan XX3. It’s also used in trim items like buttons and zipper pulls.

Nike Grind Foam, made from the shoe's midsole, is used as a cushion for outdoor basketball and tennis courts, as well as futsal fields.

Nike Grind Fiber, made from the shoe's fabric upper, is used in the creation of cushioning pads for facilities like indoor synthetic courts and wood courts. “

Maybe now would be a great time to organize your shoes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Organizing Your Gift List

I don’t know about you but we don’t have any trees with money growing on them. I keep looking out our back door but still no money trees. I know several of you will be attending the 918CouponQueens Black Friday Workshop tonight and will get great tips on how to save money this holiday season. I would like to back up a bit to make sure that you purchase things that you need and not just because it was a great deal.

So many people have a gift closet or gift tote of over bought presents. I will tell you I am probably the worst offender when it comes to my boys. We will make a list, I will check it off and then I keep seeing “extra things” that I think the NEED to have, I ended over buying every year.

I realize if we all had the financial opportunity we would buy gifts for everyone down to the school crossing guard. Sometimes we have to make choices and maybe this year we need to cut back a little so that we are not overwhelmed with the credit card bills in January. This is going to require some planning and budgeting so you are not scrambling the week before Christmas and just buying something to buy it.
Take some time to sit down to make a gift list of everyone you might possibly want to give a gift too. I would suggest if you don’t have a money tree in your backyard, you put a $ amount by the person’s name so you can have a budget for your gifts. If you have budget of $1000 for everyone and your $ amount by each person is adding up to $1300, you need to do some trimming and I don’t mean the Christmas tree.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your list and budget, go ahead and choose the people that are most important to buy a gift for. Maybe this year you could bake cookies for some people on your list instead of buying a gift. You could ask your siblings if they would like to draw a names in place of everyone buying something for everyone to help save money. We used to buy for our sisters and brothers and found out that all we were doing was exchanging gift cards, now we just buy for our nieces and nephews.
Once you have your list written out and your budget in place, now is the time to put the 918CouponQueen's suggestions into action. Look for deals, coupons and rebates to save money. Save all of you receipts in one envelope marked Christmas gifts. Nothing is worse searching high and low for a receipt to find you have lost it and can not return the gift.

Do you enjoy gift buying Christmas gifts, or do you find it stressful? How do you make sure you stay in your budget?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Get Your Refrigerator Ready for Thanksgiving

I mentioned last week that now would be a good time to get your menu started for Thanksgiving. I would like to take it one step further and let’s make sure your refrigerator/freezer is ready for Thanksgiving as well.

If you are going out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday or even if you are hosting Thanksgiving, now would be a great time to do some refrigerator organizing. Try not to buy to a lot of food that will not get used in the next couple of weeks or that will rot in your refrigerator while you are away.

Maybe the next two weeks you could have a “clean out” the refrigerator and pantry menu. Make meals out of what you already have at home to allow room for the turkey that will be in the refrigerator. Just buy perishable groceries that you need such as milk, fruit and vegetables and use of what have already have in your pantry and frig. Not only will you being using saving time at the grocery store you will be saving some money and I think we could all use a little extra money these days.

Before you head out of town, make sure to check your refrigerator. If you have any extra food that you know will not get eaten and it has not been open, take it to your local food pantry.

Tips for an Organized Thanksgiving

I realize Halloween just got over but why not get ahead of the game this Thanksgiving? If Thanksgiving dinner is one of your responsibilities for friends and family now is a great time to plan ahead. If you are one of the lucky ones that gets to go visit family and have Thanksgiving dinner severed to you than there is no need to read this blog, unless of course you just love my tips!

Here are a some tips to help with Thanksgiving Dinner:

Start off by making a menu of what you would like to serve for dinner and deserts. After you finish making the menu, make a grocery list that coincides with what you plan to make dinner. I am sure the 918CouponQueen would suggest that we keep our eyes open for sales and coupons from your grocery list to help save money! I would also suggest that you do not wait until the last minute to buy your turkey, nothing worse than going to the grocery store and finding out they are out of turkey! I know this from a past experience I had when we were first married…Cornish Hen anyone?!?!?

As the host of this great festivity decide who should bring a dish to help decrease some of your responsibilities. My boys always like to make homemade Pumpkin Pie but my mother will bring her famous Apple Pie from Minnesota. Since she is traveling and loves to help I ask that she brings dinner rolls, her pie and of course her homemade recipe for stuffing. If anyone else is coming add them to the “dish list”, you could have them bring salads or sweet potatoes. In the end, your menu should be filled with things you feel you could tackle without feeling overwhelmed and at the same time giving you time to enjoy the day!

A couple of days ahead of the Thanksgiving, go over your menu and see if there is some prep work you can do to help save time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. Even just chopping onions, parsley or washing potatoes will help you get ahead of the game. One thing I do as I am preparing Thanksgiving Dinner is I run my dishwasher after I have finished making everything and everything is baking. This helps me get ahead of washing dishes after dinner. I like to get the big mixing bowls and pans out of the way so that all that is left to wash after dinner is the dishware. Hey, I want to watch football too!!!!

If you have a tip or even a great Thanksgiving recipe…we would love to know! Gobble, Gobble…

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Let’s Put the Halloween Decorations Away…

I know, I know it’s only November 2nd, but I hate to be the bearer of bad news…Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Start by gathering all of your Halloween decorations, books, CD’s and DVD’s into one room of your home. If you don’t have a storage tote, grab a box or large trash bag to store your items.

Now would be a great time to double check all the decorations or books to see if any repairs need to be made before the next holiday season. My poor Jack-O’-Lantern needed a dentist this morning….nothing a little hot glue couldn’t fix. I can not begin to tell you how much I love my hot glue gun!

As you go through your Halloween things decide whether or not it is worth saving for next year. Is the item tired and has seen better days or are you so sick of picking up the sticky tongue off the wall? Now would be a great time for it to mysteriously drop in the trash can ever to be seen again….just a thought!

This may not interest you, but when the boys were younger I would preserve some of their holiday artwork. I wouldn’t save every piece but I would grab one from each of them and use laminating sheets to keep them safe. I display the artwork on our garage door entering our house from the garage. They laugh every time I get them out and display them prominently for the entire world to see.

Speaking of this, I just pulled out our Thanksgiving books and a couple of hand print turkeys made from the boys when they were in pre-school. One says, “I am thankful for paint” the other one said, “I am thankful for Power Rangers”. Boy do they grow up fast!