041514 • Out-the-Door-Box

land of nod

Ever try to walk out the door with an arm full of stuff to put in the car? Like library books to return, a tote for work, your gym bag, lunchbox, mail for the post office, etc? How do you get out the door with all your stuff or better yet, remember to even take what you need with you?

Well, even I surprise myself sometimes with my ideas and this one goes on top of “My All Time Greatest Moments!“  I created an Out-the-Door-Box a few years back.  Here’s how it works:


Using any container, place it by the door you most often use to come into and out of the house.  This container is meant to come in and out with you, so make sure you can carry it easily and it fits in the front seat of your car. Personally, I use a Thirty-One tote like this one.

Every time you think of something you need to take with you in the car, put it in the container.  It’s that simple.

So, say you are shampooing your hair and remember that Suzy asked to borrow your slow cooker.  As soon as you get to the kitchen, put the slow cooker in the Out-the-Door-Box. Need to take pants to the dry cleaner? Put them in the Out-the-Door-Box.  Add snacks to it, coupons you’ll need for the day, etc. Get the idea?



Then, when you are actually leaving the house, grab the whole box and place it in the front seat next to you. It’s magical, really.  You will have all those things with you that you needed.

When you return home, take the empty box back into the house to its designated spot, where it waits to be filled up again.

The out-the-door-box is such a simple solution to corralling all that daily stuff of life and will help you to corral all the little things that are coming in and out of the house everyday. It’s not a bad idea to an out-the-door box for each person of the family!


Bento Box by Rubbermaid

Bento Box by Rubbermaid

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040814 • How to Declutter & Organize Books

genre of books

Genre of books

This is an oldie, but goodie. I just went through my books AGAIN and purged about 20 from my shelves. Spring is a great time of year to donate anything, but get rid of books now to make room for summer reads this year! What’s on your current reading list? I’m reading “You Were Born for This” by Bruce Wilkerson and “Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart” by Kyle Idleman.

I love books and it seems like a lot of you all do too since the question of “How to Declutter and Organize a Bookshelf” recently came up.

I especially love books with paper and not the digital kind as much, which is why I still buy and keep too many (according to my husband).  But still, if you are going to keep books around you need a place to store them and stacks on the floor is not the solution!

So, before we talk about organizing a bookshelf, we have to go back to the basics of Organizing 101: get rid of stuff!  Getting rid of books is really hard for me, but the truth is there is a finite amount of space in every house and books can take up a lot of space.  I use these guidelines to help me decide what books to keep or donate.

1.  Would I pass it on or recommend this to someone?

2.  Was this book a life changer or just a good read?

3.  What’s the likely hood that I will ever read it again?

bedroom bookshelf

This is the bookshelf in my bedroom. These are all personal books, resources, and books I am currently going through.

Be honest with yourself.  Most of us never re-read books again even though we tell ourselves we will!  For me, if I wouldn’t recommend it or it wasn’t life changing (or helpful) than I donate it!  And a note on text books-no one wants them from you and you will never use them again!

Once you have decluttered your book collection you can organize the shelves.

My friend Jen over at Bella Home Staging has done an awesome two-part blog on styling bookshelves.  It’s a definite read because she comes at it from a visual and decorative angle.

Here’s the organizing angle.

1.  Organize books by genre, author, or topic (like business books with business books or Max Lucado books together or all books about parenting together etc.)

2.  Then within your categories, organize them by height for a clean, uncluttered look (see first photo).

3.  If you have soft sided books that don’t stand up well, use decorative magazine holders.

4.  Paper back books are not pretty to display, but if you have a lot of them and want to keep them, put them on a low shelf.

5.  Use baskets or decorative containers for tiny books, especially kids books.

6.  Remove paper jacket from hard back books for a clean library look

7.  Break up books on a shelf by adding decor pieces.  It’s much prettier to look at that way!

playroom bookshelf

bookshelf in Teen hang out room. Note baskets on bottom for video game stuff and movies

office bookshelf

Bookshelves in my home office. Note basket for magazines & magazine holders for soft sided books and papers

basket of books

Basket for small and soft books

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040414 • The Three P’s of Spring Organizing {video}

With Spring officially here it’s easy to want to do a lot of cleaning and organizing in your home after a long winter. You might look around and think of a dozen things that need to be done, but the reality is that you probably have the time and energy for 2-3 projects.

In this segment of Organize Your Life, I will help you get started with The Three P’s of Spring Organizing. Watch and see what they are and decide which project you will start with!

 1. Pick ONE Project:

 The most overwhelming part of starting to get organized is deciding what to do first.  It’s easy to look around at all that needs to be done and go into shut down mode!

  ·        Make a list of 5-10 organizing projects you would like to do OR

 ·        On index cards, write ONE idea per card or ONE thing you need a place for (see cards)

 Pick ONE of these to start and make a plan for this ONE thing only!

 2.  Plan it Out:

  ·        What do you need to make this happen?  What supplies? What kind of time (remember that it always takes longer than you think)?

 ·        Break it down into small chunks of time~30 minutes, 1hour, etc.

 ·        Will you need outside help like a handyman, painter, professional help?

  3.  Purge like Crazy!

 ·       Don’t try to organize clutter.  Purge first and then organize what is left. 

 ·        Get real with yourself…do you have room for this stuff?  Do you love this stuff?  What is the worst thing that could happen if you got rid of this stuff?What do you really use?

 ·        Remember that you can keep anything you want, but what you keep you need a home for it and need to be able to manage it. 


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040314 • Seattle’s Best Coffee-Giveaway + Free Sample

I received compensation for this post. All thoughts and ideas are mine.

Everyone knows I love coffee. Heck, it’s even in my bio on Twitter, so that makes it extra official. But over the years I have become a coffee snob and unlike my days in the Navy, where the coffee was thick like mud and 4 days old, I only like the good stuff now.

So imagine getting FREE coffee that is the good stuff? I was giddy with happiness  when Seattle’s Best Coffee sent me a goodie box of coffee goodness a few weeks ago!  It was filled with their House Blend coffee, which makes the perfect morning cup of coffee!

seattles best coffee

My favorite part of this? Seattle’s Best Coffee now makes their House Blend in K-cups for my Keurig. I can die now.

Did you know the House Blend was voted America’s Favorite? Even Duncan says so…

And Seattle’s Best Coffee wants to give FIVE readers of this blog a coffee kit that includes a bag of House Blend, a K-cup of House Blend, and a travel mug! Plus, if you go and Like their Facebook Page you can get a free sample of the House Blend too!

Follow the instructions below. The five readers will be picked April 21st and announced. Seattle’s Best Coffee will send you your coffee kit in the mail! Giveaway starts at midnight tonight, so be sure to check back.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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033114 • 6 Everyday Uses for Clothespins

6 everyday uses for clothespins.jpg

Forget all the fancy gadgets out there for organizing small things. All hail the clothespin! By nature, I’m not that crafty, so if you’re with me, here are 6 everyday uses for clothespins for the ordinary person (AKA the non-crafter). While these 6 everyday uses hardly cover then endless uses of clothespins, they are actually things I use them for! For one inexpensive bag of clothespins, you will probably have over 100 uses!

1. Hanging lost socks-

sock and clothespins.jpg

What do you do with the single sock while you wait for it’s mate to show up? If you put it in a drawer, you’re likely to forget about it. If you leave it in the hamper, same thing.

Just get a hanger and clip the abandoned socks to it. Hang the hanger somewhere in the laundry area and wait. Someday soon the other one will come clean and show up. (*snicker, snicker*)

2. A bookmark-

clothespin bookmark.jpg

Seriously, clothespins make the BEST bookmarks!

3. Cord clip-

clothespin cord clip.jpg

I absolutely LOVE using clothespins to keep my cords together. You can use them for all kinds of cords that need to be coiled up and organized. This fits great into my work bag and is easy to find with the clothespin. Works great with earphones, lamp cords, chargers, and blow dryer cords when you are traveling!

4. Memo clips-

clothespin memo clip.jpg

This is such an easy way to remember things as you walk out the door. Attach a piece of magnet onto the back the clothespin and stick it to any metal object. My door happens to be metal so that makes it even easier, but if you don’t have that, get a piece of galvanized steel from any home improvement store and nail to a wall. For around $5 you have a message center and you can use your clothespin with magnets.

I use this to remind myself and my kids of things we need to take with us on the way out the door-lunch money, notes, and other reminders.

5.  Food clip-

clothespin food clip.jpg

Don’t waste anymore money on other food clips. You know, the things that hold chip bags, bread bags, and cereal bags shut after they’re opened. Clothespins are awesome for this and so inexpensive!

6. Coupon and Bill clip-

clothespin coupon clip.jpg

One of my favorite uses for clothespins are for keeping papers together. I mostly use them for keeping coupons together when I go into a store, but I also love to use them to clip bills together. Clip a stack of bills together that you are going to pay on a certain date or just use them to hold all the bills together.

Easy to throw into your purse or tote bag and easy to find also because the papers won’t be scattered everywhere!

These are 6 of my favorite ways to use clothespins, but the reality is is that there are endless amounts of uses for a really inexpensive bag of them! I didn’t even touch on the multiple uses for craft projects. If that’s you, I would love to see what you do with them! Please share.


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