Monday, October 25, 2010

Best Tip Ever!!

I was asked to give a presentation last week. I was so excited and to my surprise there were 75 people attending! It was one of the worst presentations I have ever given!!! There were two people that went ahead of me that gave a five minute commercial about their businesses and both were having difficulties with the microphone. You couldn’t hear a word they were saying or it would be this loud static noise. I know you are wondering where am I going with this, hold on…I promise it gets worse before it gets better!

Now its my turn, remember there are a ton of people with several round tables and everyone is spread out. The microphone does not work at all now! I keep trying to get it to work and it kept falling off my jacket. It was a disaster! I completely lost my train of thought, I was rambling much like I do on my blogs and on top of that I was screaming so people could hear my ramblings!!! I was all over the page and no one really had any questions, I think they were just scared for me or scared of me…I’m not really sure but either way it wasn’t pretty!

So here is the great part…someone asked my how to organize their linen closet. Their sheets were always falling over and didn’t look nice in the closet. They said their fitted sheets were always in a big clump. My answer was…”Fold your fitted sheet as best as you can, fold the top sheet and fold your pillow case, than place those items inside the other pillow case and fold over the extra material so you have a square pillow case with “its belongings” inside of it.” They loved it!!! They even clapped and smiled!!!! As any good speaker would do I wrapped it up and ended on a good note!!

As I was leaving several people said they loved the idea about putting the sheets inside the pillow case that they hadn’t thought of doing that. I realized I had never told any of you this great idea. It helps keep your sheets organized and it allows you to “fold good enough” because no one will see it in the pillow case and your linen closet will look organized!

If you ever need a speaker for your meeting, I promise I will do better, call me I would love to come speak at your gathering. Please just make sure the microphone works or people are close together so I don’t have to scream!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Organizing Your Computer Before School Starts...

I don’t know about you about I am not ready for the boys to go back to school. I’m NOT ready for summer to be over!!

Before you start setting all the alarms in the house for 6:00 a.m. let’s get everyone’s computer organized and ready for school. Let’s clean out your Mail Folders and start new folders, let’s purge your hard drive so that your computers run faster and last but no least lets get rid of some of those old documents or temporary files so you child can make new documents for school.

Purging your hard drive:

Every time you surf the net you add “cookies” these can pileup and slow down your web browser and other programs. Nothing is worse than trying to look up a subject that you child brought home for homework and it takes 15 minutes to download the page…sure they would be patient and you would stay calm.

Here are a couple of options to delete your cookies:

Internet Explorer

1. Once your browser is open, select the Tools menu and click Internet Options and select the General tab.
2. To delete all cookies, in the Temporary Internet Files section, click Delete Cookies and press OK.
3. Multiple cookies can be selected by holding down the CTRL key while clicking.
4. Press the Delete key.
5. Press OK on any dialog boxes that appear.

1. Go to the menu labeled "Safari"
2. Select the sub-menu "Preferences..."
3. Select “Security”
4. Select the "Show Cookies"
5. Select all the remaining cookies showing in the window and click "Remove All"

I like to do a “Disk Clean Up”

1.Go to “Programs”
2.Select “Accessories”
3.Select “System Tools”
4.Select “Disk Clean Up”
5.Select “from all files”

A good way to get your programs running faster on your computer is to do a “Disk Defragmenter”

1.Go to “Programs”
2.Select “Accessories”
3.Select “System Tools”
4.Select “Disk Defragmenter” this process will take some time but you will notice a HUGE difference.

Mailbox…How much mail do you have in your inbox?!?!

The first thing I would suggest is delete all of your mail you no longer need! I like to set up folders for each of the boys. In the folder I have sub-folders: School, Sports and Extra Cur.
If you have folders all ready set up from last year delete all of the mail you no longer need. You may want to save one email from a past sport incase you want to try and get the same team together for this school year.

Any time you receive an email about your child’s classroom or information you might want to look at as a reference move the mail to your child’s file folder. This will help to keep you inbox under control and easy to find email addresses or time of events if they are kept in their own folder.

These are just a couple of ideas to help you get you started if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sending Your Child to College in an Organized Manner!

I can’t believe school is literally right around the corner! I thought I would write my next two articles about getting your high school graduate off to college organized and ready to take on the new world.

Have your him/her make a list of what is most important to them to bring with them to college. This will help you have a grasp as to how much they have and what you have left at home to make room for you new craft room!

From the list you can see how much they want to bring and this will give you an idea visually how creative you need to be to get everything to fit in their dorm room. If it is possible make sure they resist the urge to over pack and keep out of season clothes at home until they are needed. I found a great list to start get the process started so that everything is not so last minute.

Separate your list into what you will be bringing from home, what you can purchase in your new town. Some of your new items may even be ordered online and shipped directly to their dorm. This may help if your child is going to college out of state. Keep in mind whether you are ordering something new or bringing something from home that they are easily disassembled and easy to take down at the end of the school year.

My next article, I will show you some great ideas to help organize your their dorm room and utilize every little bit of space!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too Much Vacation "Extras"?!?!?

Have you noticed when you get back from vacation you somehow bring back more stuff than what you took on vacation? I swear we needed an extra suitcase to hold all the brochures our youngest son wanted to bring home so that he could play “Disney World Worker”!

Sometimes even before we go on vacation we start accumulating brochures, after brochure, after brochure because were just not sure where we want to go and we might as well hold onto it just in case we decide to go there ‘someday’… I understand that sometimes it’s nice to hold onto a brochure or two to remind us of trips we might want to take but if your drawer is exploding from vacation brochures or travel magazines, now might be a great time to “clear the clutter” and just save the most important one or two brochures for that trip someday.

As with any vacation you take you always manage to pick up a few momentos along the way. I know my purse was stuffed with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck…MOUSE…can you hear the song!?!!? So anyhow…

As soon as you got home from your vacation, start your laundry or for a special treat to yourself take it to a laundry service this one time so that you are not so overwhelemd. To clean out your purse from the trip, turn it upside down on your kitchen counter and start tossing out brochures, candy wrappers, tickets, food, or maps from a local area and other signs of a vacation.

When you get home its best to completely empty out your bags, suitcases, toiletry bags and wallet. If you purchased small travel bottles of shampoo or soap wash them out so that are ready to be filled again. Keep the toiletry bags stocked for your next trip. Stick a note in your suitcase if you ran out of something or if you wanted to remember to bring Qtips or whatever for next time.

Now what do we do with all those hundreds of photos you took on vacation!?!?! I feel another blog coming on!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Organizing the Play Room

Whether you call it a playroom, gameroom or toy room it is all the same to a child, its an area to play and run around! It is where they go to get out ALL of their toys and leave them ALL over the floor for us to pick up. If this rings true in your home, I might have a couple of suggestions to help keep the some of the toys at bay.

When a client calls me to organize their playroom my heart races, I LOVE, LOVE organizing playrooms or kids rooms. The main goal of organizing your children’s toys is understanding “how they play”. I know that sounds strange but work with me for a moment.

If you have a girl that have Barbies, Bratz Dolls and Polly Pockets…you automatically think…keep all of them together or close to each other because they probably play with them together, right? Well what if Polly Pockets are the only ones who takes care of Little Pet Shop and the Little Pet Shop is all the way across to the other side of the room? And what if Bratz Dolls don’t even play with Barbie because their head is bigger than Barbie and Bratz Girls play with all the horses that you have in you son’s bin mixed in with the farm animals? See where I am going with this?

If you understand how your children play and what they play with together, you can set up zones so that the toys aren’t scattered across the room. If she is going to play with the Bratz Dolls and horses…she is going to have to dig through the Barbie Dolls and the farm animals to get to what she wants. Which means the farm animals and Barbies are going to be all over the floor.

Here are some zone or bin suggestions for you playroom or child’s room:
Kitchen and baby doll area
Dress Up Girls including wands, jewelry and shoes
Dress Up Boys, including swords, construction gear and spy gear
Books, games and puzzles
Actions figures (if you have boys ask if Power Rangers and Star Wars can be mixed or have two separate bins)
Barbies, Bratz and Polly Pockets (again ask if they can be together if they should have separate bins)
Blocks, Legos, Connects

What you are trying to create in your playroom is an easy way for your children to find what they are looking for and an easy way to PUT THE TOYS AWAY when they are finished playing with them. If the cars are scattered across the room to get to the car track then put a bin of cars next to the track.

I love the fabric bins from Target. ($6.99 each) They work perfect on bookshelves, cubbies or even next to a car track or a doll house. I know this sounds strange but sometimes we “over organize” in the play room. We keep jewelry in separate bins of bracelets, necklaces, or rings instead of one bin of jewelry. What four year old is going to want to separate all the jewelry to put it away? She would rather scoop it all up and dump it in one bin! If you have a son that plays with G.I. Joes but doesn’t play with the swords, guns or helmets that they come with, then put the accessories in a Ziploc bag on a shelf in a closet out of his way. Why stick them in the bin to have them all over the floor waiting for you step on them if no one is going to play with them?

To keep your playroom fresh and fun rearrange the toys and zones twice a year. I like to do this right before summer break and right after they go back to school in January. This allows my to “sift” through the junk without them noticing some of the broken happy meal toys are missing.

If you want to really live on the edge you could start to sing the “Pick Up Song” after they are finished playing…pick up, pick up, everybody, everywhere do your share!!! Just a thought….

Organizing Games and Puzzles

Our family loves Pizza and Game Night! Nothing is worse than sitting down to a little pizza and setting up a game just to realize that you are missing a ”few” pieces to the game…kind of takes the fun out of it!

So let’s get these games under control and while we are at it get the cards and puzzles organized as well.

If you have a huge storage closet for games, you are so lucky!! All I would say to you is categorize your games by age group, such as pre-school, teen or adult games. Make sure you keep adult games on the top shelf so small little hands don’t accidently open the game and use the pieces in her Barbie House never to be found again. Keep the pre-school games at their reach so they can play with them even if the family isn’t playing a game. Many times my youngest son will just make things up with the games and play by himself.

Now onto the rest of us that make due with what storage we have or should I say don’t have! Start by simply stacking the game boards (only) together on one shelf. You could label the boards if you don’t want to turn them game side out. With the small pieces and instructions to the games place them in labeled Ziploc bags. Here is where I would buy the easy close Ziploc bag and spend a little extra so it will be easy for everyone to open and close the bags. Now place the storage bags in a storage tote or box to keep them falling all over the shelf. This will take up so little space, you will be shocked! If you have games that need to stay in their original box because it is part of the game no big deal you will have room left to spare!!!

Tips for everyone no matter how much room you have for games:
- Reinforce the original box with tape to keep it lasting longer
- Put all the small pieces from the board game in a Ziploc bag to avoid the scattering of these pieces if the box is accidently dropped.
- Place the board game box side by side on a shelf like books so that can easily access them and they won’t smash other games.

If you have more puzzles than space, cut out the picture of the puzzle and place the picture and puzzle pieces in a Ziploc bag. Store all the puzzle bags in a tote or shoe box.

Our card games get used all the time and the card box becomes well…let’s just say it is no longer a box. I cut out the picture of the card game, take out the instructions and place the cards in a…c’mon you know what’s coming…yes a Ziploc bag!!! Again I put them in a storage tote (shoe box size) or you can use a shoe box whatever is handy!

These are just some simple ideas to help keep all your games, cards and puzzle together and all in one place. Have fun playing….Maybe you can start a Pizza and Game Night in your house too!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Shoes and More Shoes!!

Shoes, shoes, glorious shoes, who doesn’t love shoes!??!? I don’t know if you remember the movie “Overboard” or something like that with Goldie Hawn in it but she had the best shoe closet ever built on that boat that I have ever seen!!! Now unless you have live in a mansion or have a separate shoe closet away from your clothes you are like everyone else out there trying to make more room for more shoes without getting rid of any shoes!!!

I know you….I am exactly the same way!! I keep hoping somehow my shoes will fit on the shelves and shoe racks I have without it being too obvious that I have WAY too many shoes. But can we really ever have too many shoes…NO!!! That would be ridiculous, we just need to find a better storage solution! We are definitely NOT clearing the clutter this time!!

So lets make this simple, find all of your shoes…check under the bed, behind the sofa, in the garage, in your children’s closets, and don’t forget your husband’s side of the closet. Make sure you have all matches, sometimes but not every time we have a lonely shoe because the dog ate the other shoe. If that is the case, please have a proper burial service for the remaining shoe. He cannot go on with out his partner.

I realize we LOVE, LOVE all of our shoes but if there are some shoes that might be a little out of style…you know which ones I am talking about. The 1980’s are calling they want their shoes back!! And if you have those ugly mud kicking boots still around that you haven’t worn since you were on your uncle’s farm twenty years ago, now would be the time to retire them as well.

Now you have all the “real” love, love shoes left!!!!

Try to determine which shoes are obviously seasonal shoes. Take the shoes that are not going to be used for this season, and place each pair in a shoe box or a tote for storing. Now if you really want to get fancy, you can take a picture of the shoe and tape it to the front of the box so you know what is in the box or we can safely assume you know what you have and where it is at all times, right?

I have tried several shoe organizers and all work well but you have to find what works best for you and your closet. I like over the door shoe hangers for flip flops or flats, nothing heavy or bulky. LIf you have shelves place the shoes on them toe, heel…this give you an extra pair per shelf!!! When placing your shoes in the organizer, place the shoes you use most frequently at the most accessible spot. Place the shoes you use less frequently at the least convenient spot.
Some people like to sort by type of shoe: flip flops, tennis shoes, heels, wedges you get the picture…others by color.

You need to figure out which one works best for you. If you wear a lot of black shoes or if you wear heels almost everyday to work then I would sort by heels. You want the shoes you wear the most to be the most handy. Leave your Cinderella Slippers towards the back of the closet unless you plan on going to the ball soon.

When the current season ends, exchange your seasonal shoes for the ones stored away. Place your current season’s shoes in their own shoe box for storage. Arrange your new season’s shoes in the shoe organizer using the same system as you did before.

Don’t you just love shoes!!! Now you can just sit in the closet and admire all your glorious shoes!!

Author Michelle Lehman of Organizing Solutions "Clear the Clutter" Michelle is a Professional Organizer in the Tulsa area. Her articles have been featured in the Tulsa World, The Oklahoman, and The Chicago Post-Tribune & Chicago Sun-Times. Michelle appears on Newson6 KOTV and Fox23 News This Morning giving organizing tips and recommendations.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Please Help This Family in Tulsa!

To those who are concerned about the future of Darla and her son Dustin.
They are both blind. Darla was recently unexpectedly widowed. She was left with financial burdens and she and Dustin will soon be without shelter. Darla is a fantastic massage therapist, she is awesome. She really knows how to work out the tension and knots. You can reach her at Hands of Health currently located just north of Spirit Bank at 48th & S. Harvard. The office number is 832-4705
If you know of anyone needing a therapeutic massage, please send them to her.
C & J School Uniforms is sponsoring a “fund-raising” Garage Sale on Sat. May 8th to help them.
All donations of items for the garage sale can be dropped off at C & J in the Fontana Shopping Center at 51st & S. Memorial by the fountain. Any financial donations of $1, $2, or more can also be dropped off at C & J or mailed to Tulsa Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 267, Tulsa, OK 74101-0267. Please be sure it is noted on the envelope or check for Darla M. If you have any question please call Joyce at 610-7470.
The garage sale will be held in the north parking lot of Fontana from 8am – 1pm.
Darla will be available during the garage sale for 5, 10, and 15 minute chair massages; SPECIAL RATES
5 min for $3, 10 min for $6, and 15 min for $9, cash only.

Everyone probably has at least 5 “treasurers” in their home they could donate. NO items are too small or too large. Please consider helping this family.

To those who are concerned about the future of Darla and her son Dustin.

They are both blind. Darla was recently unexpectedly widowed. She was left with financial burdens and she and Dustin will soon be without shelter. Darla is a fantastic massage therapist, she is awesome. She really knows how to work out the tension and knots. You can reach her at Hands of Health currently located just north of Spirit Bank at 48th & S. Harvard. The office number is 832-4705

If you know of anyone needing a therapeutic massage, please send them to her.
C & J School Uniforms is sponsoring a “fund-raising” Garage Sale on Sat. May 8th to help them.
All donations of items for the garage sale can be dropped off at C & J in the Fontana Shopping Center at 51st & S. Memorial by the fountain. Any financial donations of $1, $2, or more can also be dropped off at C & J or mailed to Tulsa Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 267, Tulsa, OK 74101-0267. Please be sure it is noted on the envelope or check for Darla M. If you have any question please call Joyce at 610-7470.

The garage sale will be held in the north parking lot of Fontana from 8am – 1pm.
Darla will be available during the garage sale for 5, 10, and 15 minute chair massages; SPECIAL RATES
5 min for $3, 10 min for $6, and 15 min for $9, cash only.

Everyone probably has at least 5 “treasurers” in their home they could donate. NO items are too small or too large. Please consider helping this family.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Organizing School May?!?

I know you are asking yourself if I have lost my ever loving mind? I haven’t, I have an idea to help save a little money for school supplies for next year. Your children are getting ready to get out of school soon. Before you start dumping their school supplies in with their artwork supplies, find out what they might need for next year and put the supplies in a safe area away from little hands that might dump the new markers in with the old ones.

So many times our children will bring home unused notebooks, folders and pencils from the last day of school. Recycle this years supplies for next year. You may still end up buying a few school supplies in the fall for next year but at least you are a little bit ahead of the game and you saved a little money!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring's that time of year

I don’t know about you but besides changing the sheets on the bed every week…spring cleaning is about one of the last things I want to do! Oh yeah..and washing windows!!!

Since spring cleaning is not on my top ten list, I like to tackle it in small does. I believe if you repeat your movement over and over, you could do it in your sleep. Kind of like driving you just turn on your auto pilot, so that is how I tackle spring cleaning. I try to be on auto pilot while cleaning. For instance, if your baseboards need cleaning, clean all the baseboards in your house instead of cleaning one room at a time. Anything that can be completed over and over in each room or close to is what I would start with before tackling individual tasks in each room.

No matter which room you’re in, keep in mind you need to do these five steps.
1. “Clear the Clutter”
2. Dust from top to bottom
3. Wipe everything down
4. Vacuum or wash the floor

Here are some “repeat” things that can be completed in each room or close to it.
1. Washing the baseboards, door jams, window sills, doors, and walls
2. Cleaning windows (I personally would hire a service!! YUCK!)
3. Dusting the corners and ceilings for cob webs

After you have taken care of the spring cleaning basics for each room, take a note pad and write down the things that need to be done in each room of your home. Take one room at a time, this does not have to be done overnight! It can go into summer, no one is going to come into your home and double check your spring cleaning status and write you a ticket if you haven’t finished it by the end of May.

Here are some ideas for individual rooms in your home.
1. Scrubbing the kitchen cabinets, appliances, and the backsplash behind the stove
2. Wipe out the refrigerator and freezer
3. Scrub the entire bathroom from floor to ceiling. If you saw the movie “Daddy DayCare” you know why I included the ceiling!!!
4. Flip mattresses on your beds.
5. Change air vents and clean the ceiling fans.

These are all just a few ideas, you need to do what you think is best for your home and heck your windows may not even need cleaning…by the way if you want to clean extra windows…call me…mine are begging for a good cleaning!!!
Happy Spring Cleaning…remember to pace your self.

Author Michelle Lehman of Organizing Solutions "Clear the Clutter" Michelle is a Professional Organizer in the Tulsa area. Her articles have been featured in the Tulsa World, The Oklahoman, Chicago Sun-Times and The Chicago Post-Tribune. Michelle appears on Fox23 News This Morning and The News On 6 KOTV giving organizing tips and recommendations.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting Your House Ready To Sell

First Step….”Clear the Clutter”!!! We have been looking for a house for over a year and a half and in this time I cant tell you how many homes I have looked at on the internet and in person that have so much “stuff” that you can barley tell if they have wood floors or carpet. I can look past the “stuff” but most people can not see past the clutter and turn around and leave. You want people to look at your house as though they could see themselves living in your home. Speaking of which, it is no longer your home…it is a piece of property you are selling. Now is the time to stop thinking of it as a home and stop treating it like home…you are trying to sell it in a timely manner. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will sell it!

On our search to find a home in any school district with a pool at a reasonable price (hint, hint if you are getting ready to sell one, email me!). We love our house, love everything about it but to put a pool in our fairly big backyard would be too expensive because we have a slight hill so that is why we are on our home search. Whether you are looking to down size, up grade or just change your back yard, selling your home can be over whelming.

I have been in homes with a litter box in the pantry, trash cans filled with so much garbage it was falling out, dirty clothes on the floor, one of my favorite is a plug in air freshener in every room and closet…just wondering what smell were trying to cover up!?!?!?! I am so glad that we don’t have to move by a certain time and I can look at my own leisure or I would be in a huge amount of trouble! Most people only have a few weeks so you have to make a huge impression on them as they enter your house.

If you want to make the most out of selling your house, here are some simple steps I would suggest before you put it on the market. If you have time or energy for a garage sale before you put it on the market now would be a great time to gather all your things for the sale. Take one room at a time and go through every drawer, shelf and with in the perimeter of the room to remove garbage, put things you would sell or donate in a large trash bag or box, move from room to room. Ask yourself, “do I want this in my new house, do I even want to pack it!?!?!” Don’t make the garage sale a big deal, just sell it to get rid of it!! Don’t price the little stuff just make tables of “everything on this table $1 or 6 for $5” and so on…only price big ticket items. The purpose is to get rid of the stuff not to make a million dollars.

After you have cleared out all your rooms of wanted stuff, now take a good look at each room and ask yourself, do I have too much furniture in here, too many family pictures, are my cabinets stuffed? If you have an attic, or family member who has an attic or if you can afford a storage unit for a short time, store some of your extra furniture somewhere else while you are selling your house.

Take a quick look at closets, cabinets, pantry and your laundry room. Take a moment to spruce up your cabinets, straighten them up, label a few things. If you have a small pantry try to eat your pantry down so that it doesn’t look like it is over stuffed and too small. In your laundry room, make sure you counters are cleared, dirty laundry is in the washer or dryer for hiding purposes. One more thing, check is to make sure your lights are all working and are bright, nothing worse than opening the master closet to a small dingy closet, but if it is small and organized with a bright light…well you get the picture. They say don’t judge a book by its cover but in this case people are judging your house and remembering it…do you want them to say to their husband or wife “remember the stinky house, the litter box house, or the house that was so clean and bright”?!?!?!?

By the way after you have gone through your house from top to bottom (of course I am assuming you have already fixed obvious mechanical things) now give it a good thorough cleaning and I mean a good cleaning. Wash doors, door jams, dust (should be a lot easier with less stuff!), vacuum, clean windows (or hire someone to clean them, like me).

I don’t know if your house will sell quickly but I can guarantee you it will sell faster than if you had just thrown a sign up in the front yard! Next week I will help you pack up your house so that when you move in…it will be a breeze!!!

By Michelle Lehman with Organizing Solutions “Clear the Clutter

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Organizing the Garage

Are you one of those people that can not fit a car in the garage? Do you close the garage door so quickly hoping that no one sees all the “stuff” in the garage? If you answered yes to any of these questions or if you just need to get your garage organized this blog may interest you. I think it is time to “Clear the Clutter”!

I realize if you can’t find a home for some of your “stuff” it is going to end up in the garage. And if you are like me, I don’t have attic space in my home to hide some of that stuff. So let’s see if we can’t organize the things you have in your garage so you can at least get one car in the garage and maybe even have a little space left to walk around.

Take everything out of your garage and move it out on the front lawn. (make sure rain is not in the forecast) By removing everything you are organizing your garage it will allow you to take really good look at the space. You will be shocked how much bigger it looks.

Take out the trash, recycling and donations Decide what items are no longer useful, damaged, or missing pieces, etc. and fill up garbage bags. Recycle all the things you can like newspapers, magazines, glass, aluminum, or paint need to be recycled or disposed of properly. If you take off the lid of a paint can and let it dry out completely you can throw it in the trash. Look around for a few items that are in good shape but you just don’t use anymore.

Clean your garage from top to bottom. Wash the walls, scrub the floors, and if you have windows…pull out the Windex! Sort items by categories think of your garage as would inside your home. These are categories I would start with, sports and equipment, lawn and garden, automotive supplies, tools, recycling, tote for shoes (on the go shoes I call them or outside shoes: old sneakers, flip flops, taking dog for walk shoes etc.)

Time to figure out where things go in your garage. If you have the budget and the room to buy shelves or hooks for some of your things to help organize everything, that would be great, If not, grab some totes from inside your house and some extra garbage cans and some nails. I have used totes to keep the boys basketballs, footballs, and other sport stuff in to keep it separate. Another idea is to use an old laundry bin that has three sections. You could have one for balls, one for bats and the other for accessories. I had an old entertainment center that I couldn’t give away with a “free” sign attached to it as part of my organizing solution. It hold my husband’s fishing supplies, lanterns, baseball gloves, chalk, and a bunch of other things…all while looking very attractive! LOL! Use an extra garbage can to hold rakes, shovels, and other lawn equipment. If you can hang any squirt bottle on the lip of the can that are used to kill weeds or fertilize flowers. It doesn’t have to be pretty it just has to work for you and the fact that the lawn equipment and supplies are together that is all that matters. If you like tools hanging on the wall and now is not the time to go out and buy something, use nails as a holder. Nail two nails into the wall to hold hammers, one nail to hold wrenches, two nails close to hold screwdrivers (you get the picture).

Organizing your garage gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. In most cases it’s the first thing you see when you get home and the last thing you see before you leave. Who wants that kind of memory or “hello” when you get home!?!?!?!?

Monday, March 8, 2010

It seems as though our kids have more crayons, markers, coloring books, and stickers than they can possibly use in one life time. I thought I would give you a couple of ideas as to how to keep all of their artwork “stuff” organized or at the very least accessible to them without making it a huge burden on you.

I am have been very blessed with a large laundry room. I keep a three drawer Sterilite from Wal-Mart. Here is a link as to what I am talking about but mine is not the wide one, I have the narrow one. They are about $15 at Wal-Mart.

Here is what I keep in mine:

Top Drawer: I empty all of their crayons and put them in a large Ziploc bag. I use a large bag (gallon) so that they don’t have to be careful to squeeze them all into the bag, they can just toss in and pick up quickly. If you use a smaller bag, they have to make sure they get them in a certain way, this will waste time picking up and frustrate your children. I do the same thing (large Ziploc bag for each) large markers, skinny markers, colored pencils + sharpener, pens & pencils in one + sharpener, and a bag to hold glue sticks, tape, scissors. All of the gallon Ziploc bags on in our top drawer. I have a big bowl on our kitchen table so that if they come across a dried out marker they throw it in the big bowl rather than putting it back in the bag, this way I know when they need new markers.

Middle Drawer: I fill this will a large Ziploc bag holding all of their “loosey goosey” stickers. I put all of their coloring books, sticker books, and activity books in this drawer.

Bottom Drawer: I fill this with white paper, construction paper, and notebooks.

I love the rolling cart because they can zip it out by the kitchen table, take out what they need to do their artwork. After they are finished they can put everything away really easy and roll the cart back into the laundry room.

So let’s say you not as lucky to have a big laundry room to have the cart. I have put these carts for clients in the coat closet or kitchen pantry. Still no room? Here is another idea…Use my same organizing ideas but instead of a three drawer rolling cart. Use one plastic bin to hold all of the things in the top drawer. Since space is limited I would suggest using magazine holders to hold the middle drawer and the bottom drawer. You may want two magazine holders per drawer (one for coloring books the other for stickers & activity books) one for white paper/notebooks & the other for construction paper. Here is what I mean by a magazine holder from the Container Store on sale!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Organizing Your Bed Linens

• Before placing linens, be sure to dust and wipe shelves. I stick a dryer sheet in my linen closet to keep it fresh smelling (and my coat closet).

• Divide linens into categories. For example, place bed linens arranged by size. Or organize them on a separate shelf for each of your bedrooms. I keep two sets of sheets for the boys. Two sets for us and then I keep two extra for guests or sleepover friends.

• Keep sheets and pillow covers sets together.

• Rotate sheets for even wear by putting freshly washed linens at the bottom of the stack and using sheets from the top of the stack.

• If space allows, store extra or out-of-season comforters, blankets, and coverlets on lower shelves.

• To help organize smaller items, consider using baskets, bins, and boxes to sort items as well as keep them contained.

• Keep a basket of fresh toiletry supplies for each bathroom in one central location. That way you can see at a glance what needs replenishing, and products won’t take up precious space in each bathroom.

Keep in mind, if you replaced your comforter because you no longer liked it, holding onto it will not make you like it later. If you are not going to use it for a soft bed for someone who is going to stay over, now would be the time to sell it or donate it. Don’t forget the matching pillow shams, curtains, and bed-skirt!
By Michelle Lehman with Organizing Solutions “Clear the Clutter”

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Let’s Make Some $$$$ Selling Your Clothes

It’s that time of year again….time to clean out those clothes closets. I bet each of you have at least $100-$200 or more worth of clothes you could make from consigning your clothes or selling them at JBF Sale (February 28-March 6, 2010).

Two great consigning stores that I like is Bearlee New in Broken Arrow (93rd and Aspen/145th) and The Children’s Closet in Tulsa (32nd and Harvard). Bearlee New sells women’s, men’s and children’s clothing so that’s why I go there plus I have always been happy with the money results. They are always have customers. A good friend of mine loves the Children’s Closet for selling children’s clothing. If you know of some great consignment stores, please let us know!

The easiest way to find clothes to consign is to go through all of your closets when most of your dirty clothes are in the hamper. Why you ask, because if your dirty clothes are in the hamper, that means you are currently wearing them! Hopefully you closets are still packed with clothes…right…you don’t have too many clothes do you? You know we only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.

Here is what you need: grab a bunch of dry cleaning hangers and go from closet to closet. Start with the kids closets first. Here is what I do, I start with my oldest son’s closet first because if any of his clothes are too small, I let my youngest son decide whether or not he wants them. More times than not he doesn’t want any of his clothes but you never know!

With the first child’s closet & dresser drawers quickly scan the clothes that are in the closet and dresser drawers. Don’t forget to go through everyone’s swimsuits and shoes!! Sort into three piles:
1. Too small (hand me down or consign)
2. Not sure if he still likes, hardly ever wears
3. Donate or use them as park clothes (we have a huge park with a creek that runs through it so we use old clothes to play in the creek, hence the term park clothes)

Now take your too small clothes to your next child’s room that you want them to see if they would like to keep. Put the donation clothes in a box or bag. Leave the “not sure” clothes on your child’s bed for them to give you a yes or no to after school. Use the same procedure for this child but instead add the clothes from older child as part of the 2nd pile of not sure clothes after you go through his closet. This way he can say yes or no to the hardly ever wear clothes from his closet and the older child’s hand me down clothes.

All clothes that your are going to consign place onto dry cleaning hangers and keep your good hangers. Presentation is everything, your clothes will look nicer hanging than pulling them out of a trash bag to consign. Any clothes that your consignment store is not interested in, take to a donation store…no need to bring them back into your house…NO ONE is going to wear them!

Your closet…be honest with yourself. If you haven’t worn in it in the past year more than likely you are not going to wear it. I know sometimes you think, you just never know, but I am telling you, you will make more money selling your clothes when they are in style than waiting three years to sell them later. Plus you not going to wear it, so it is just going to sit in your closet for three years and collect dust, choose $money$... not dust!!!

With your husband’s closet be kind, don’t get rid of all of his ugly golf shirts…leave some in his closet so you can make fun him!!! LOL! Just kidding, use the same principals as you did for your children, three piles and let him make the decision with a little guidance from you of course!!

Now go make some extra money!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

In Case of an Emergency

I hope and pray that none of you will need to have this information handy but I thought to be on the safe side I would share I tip that I got from someone or some show, probably Law and Order SVU! Love that show!!!

One of my friends got a new iPhone for Christmas this year. She had to manually enter all of her phone numbers because her sim card was old and was not compatible for the iPhone. I told her that I didn’t know where I had heard this but instead of putting your husband’s name in your contact list to actually use the word “husband cell” and “husband work”. So many times we have an enormous amount of contacts and if you were ever in an accident and were not able to tell the police officers your husbands name this is a quick and easy way for them to find the information to contact someone for you. I know this sounds so simple simon but I had never thought about that, how would they know if Tom, Dick or Harry is your husband’s name?

Another suggestion would be to enter “emergency contact” if you are a single parent. If you have children with a cell phone, make sure they enter “mom” or “dad” into their contacts.

I hope this tip helps and maybe it worth sharing with your friends and family, you just never know…

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to Start Getting Organized

If your New Year's resolution was to get organized, now is the time to “Clear the Clutter”! Getting things organized won’t happen overnight but with small changes you can start creating habits that will help to keep the clutter away.

• Create structure in your day. If you are always spinning your wheels and feeling as though you are getting nowhere, try managing your time with a plan. Don't over-schedule your day.

• Change your morning routine to help you get ahead of the game. Whether that means unloading the dishwasher, doing a load of laundry, getting meat out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner or getting up earlier to improve your morning routine. Doing an extra thing in the morning can make a huge difference in the evening.

• Get a calendar or planner. Whether you prefer digital or paper having a calendar is a must for everyone. Start and end each day checking your calendar for today and planning for tomorrow.

• Sunday’s . I have mentioned this before, Sunday is a great time to write out your calendar, make meals ahead of time, wash lettuce or fruit for the week ahead. You will be amazed how much better Monday morning will feel when you take a few extra steps on Sunday.

• Controlling the mail. Try using online banking, set up automatic payments for your utilities or add payees to your online checking account. Make sure to mark “paperless statements” so your mail can be reduced. Not only will you find you are paying your bills on time, you will have less paper clutter around your home.

• In with one new, out with one old. Try to be aware of what you have at home and what you really need. So many times you have just replaced something that is lost amongst the clutter and if you knew where it was you wouldn’t need to replace it. Having a place for everything is essential to being organized.

• Start a “donation box/bag” in your garage. Donate household items you don't use, clothes, games, and toys. This will help “Clear the Clutter” while helping someone else in need. Regularly go through your things and weed out the excess. When the box or bag is full drop it off at your nearest donation center.
Creating some of these small changes above can not only improve the way you feel, it can help you become more organized. Take 15-20 minutes to straighten up your home at the end of the day. Remember to only touch things once, if the doll doesn’t belong in your bedroom ask your child to take it to her room. If you have brought bills in from the mailbox and you pay your bills in the office, take them to the office not the kitchen counter. If you put away and finish up what you're doing this will help maintain order in your home.

So many people want to "get organized," but that can feel overwhelmed. If you start with small and simple habits you will find these can make significant changes in your home.