Category Archives: Organizing

Post-it Home Collection Review {video}

Post-it Reminder Tags

Post-it Reminder Tags

Whenever I run across products that I think you must ABSOLUTELY know about, I share them with you! While shopping at Target yesterday, I ran across this new collection from the Post-it people at 3M. Originally this collection was only available at the Container Store, but now it’s available to the masses like you and I. The Post-it Home Collection has about 10 different items in it that will help you jog your memory and keep things organized for you!

Watch the video to see my two favorite pieces from the collection, but be sure to visit their website for the full she-bang.

What do you think about this new collection? Leave a comment & tell me which one you think you’d use the most! Happy Organizing!

 

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How to Store Memorabilia

organize and store memorabilia

One of the most requested things I get asked is to organize memorabilia.  You know, all that stuff you are going keep for memory lane. There are a gazillion ways to store keepsakes but I have my favorites. Here’s how to store memorabilia without needing a storage unit for it!

What do you do with….

Johnny’s first gluing project in Pre-K.

Suzy’s 2nd grade math worksheets.

Ben’s attempts at writing a full sentence in first grade.  And on.  And on. And on it goes…

First, lets set up some guidelines for deciding what to keep and what is not a treasure at all.  It’s really very simple.

1.  Anything that is an original creation.  Not a worksheet, not a macaroni gluing project, not a graded math paper.  None of that unless it’s like the most outstanding thing you have ever seen or some huge accomplishment from your little one.

2.  An award.  I love awards and people work hard to earn awards, so I say keep all awards.

3.  Photos.  But I’m going to talk separately about photos in another post, so I won’t say much here.

4.  Any special prize or heirloom that you love.

OK, that gives you a lot of wiggle room to keep stuff.  Remember though, when it comes to keeping stuff for your kids, you are really keeping it for you.  They don’t want a box of stuff from childhood on their wedding day.

These are my two favorite ways to keep memorabilia.  There are dozens of others containers to use, but after doing this dozens and dozens of times, I have come to love these. In addition, I have found a new app called Keepy that I think is worth checking out!

plastic storage bin with lid

plastic storage bin with lid

Yes, this is a plastic storage bin from Wal Mart.  You see them everywhere.  This is my favorite size, a 19 gallon bin.  Easy to find a place for it and it won’t get too heavy.

Put it somewhere that is easily accessible.  Get one for each child and adult in the home.  Put a label on each one.  Whenever you decide to keep something, simply open that person’s bin, slip the memory-thing in there and you are done.  When the bin fills up, get another one.

When you are using the above criteria to judge what to keep, you will be surprised by how much you don’t keep!  My twins are almost 14 and between the two of them, we only have 4 bins.  That’s because I am aware that whatever I keep I have manage, and well, I don’t want to manage a lot.

Next is a beautiful line of archival quality products from Exposures.  I’ve talked about this company before because they make fabulous products and have a huge variety to choose from.  Here is there basic memory box line, but go to their website to see all the choices.

Exposures storage boxes

 

These don’t hold as much as a plastic bin, but they are more decorative and you could actually add your photos to your memory boxes because these are made with photos in mind.  Meaning, light protected and acid free materials.

This new app, Keepy, allows you to save, record, and share photos all digitally. That means you can take a photo of artwork, drawings, or other keepsakes and then record digital details about each piece. Check out this video.

That’s it.  I told you it was simple.  The biggest mistake I see folks make in this arena is that they think everything is a treasure to keep and end up keeping too much or stuff that ends up being junk. Be wise in choosing what you keep and go with Keepy to make it all digital.

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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:

original-thirty-one-tote

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?

east2eden.co.uk

east2eden.co.uk

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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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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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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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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Half Hour Organizing Project #1:Organizing Tax Files

half hour organizing projects revisited.jpg

Most of you have done your taxes already, but there are a few stragglers like me that are still pulling it together! In 2013 I did a series of Half Hour Organizing Projects and the very first one was on taxes!

Since April is almost here and that always means tax time, I thought we would revisit the idea of organizing for taxes! This short video will show you how to get it together now so you can get your taxes done and that next years taxes will be a snap!

Click here if Video not displaying

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Spring Organizing Tips

spring organizing tips.jpg

They say it’s spring time. By “they”, I mean the calendar people, but it surely doesn’t feel that way around these parts. Still, I can’t ignore the winter clutter that has made it’s way into my house and I’m ready to do some spring cleaning and organizing!

We often avoid spring cleaning and organizing because we simply don’t have hours and hours to dedicate to a project. So, year after year we let areas of our home go untouched. Here I share will 5 Spring Organizing Tips that will help you no matter how busy you are!

These 5 areas can be tackled and organized by the time summer hits and it won’t take you more than 30 minutes at a time to do it!

1. Paper-

Take all paper older than 1 month (with the exception of bills and really important documents) and toss into a box. Tape it shut and write the date on it.

Store it until the end of the year. If you haven’t needed it all year, toss or shred contents.

2. Email-

Take all emails that are older than 2 weeks and move into a “holding” folder in your email.

Give yourself 2-3 months to see if you have needed any of them. If not, then take the plunge and delete them! Try the new unsubscribe program, Unroll.me to help you get rid of some of your newsletter and advertising emails.

*The next 3 projects need a timer set for 30 minutes*

email clutter

3. Refrigerator & Freezer(s)-

Toss out anything old, expired, & rarely used. If the timer goes off after 30 minutes, quit and schedule another 30 minutes to finish in your calendar.page1image12592 page1image12752page1image12912

In your next 30 minutes, clean refrigerator shelves and drawers with a warm soapy dish towel.

In another 30 minutes, do the same in the freezer.

Inside-the-Refrigerator1-600x398

4. Garage-

Start by tossing out old paint, old chemicals, and anything you can see that is obvious trash to you.

In another 30 minutes, pick one corner to continue the purge and toss process. When your timer goes off, quit! Keep repeating this 30 minute process until the whole garage has been gone through.

5. Closets-

Grab a paper grocery bag or small laundry basket.
For 30 minutes toss anything you don’t want into the bag.

Repeat this process until you have gone through the whole closet. Don’t bounce between different closets-stick to ONE closet until it’s complete.

Once you have finished ONE closet, donate the bags.

You are now ready to organize what’s left! Buy containers, hooks, & shelves and organize it.

Don’t feel pressured to do ALL these things. Pick one or two and start there. And don’t forget to get your family involved.

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5 Tools to Organize Your Life {video}

organize your life

Getting organized isn’t just about things and rooms. It is also about time and to-do lists and schedules and getting things done. In this segment of Organize Your Life, I share 5 Tools to Organize Your Life that includes 4 apps for your smartphone and computer and one old-school way!

1. Clear App- {list making}

Life is messy. Keep it together with Clear, an amazing new app for list-keeping that is unbelievably simple, quick and satisfying to use.

  • Personal to-do list
  • Shopping list
  • Quick notes list for phone numbers and things
  • List of movies to watch, or books to read
  • Guest list for that party
  • Bucket list for those big life goals

2. Momento-{journaling}

Like having a digital diary.

With Momento in your pocket you can write your diary ‘on the go’, capturing moments whenever you find the time. A beautiful interface coupled with powerful tagging, makes it quick and easy to write about your day and browse moments from your past.

 3. Time Planner-{productivity and planning}

TIME Planner is an activity planning app that brings diversity into your everyday life. It helps you organize and fill your day with tasks of different nature, covering the most significant categories such as Health, Home, Work, Rest, Study, and many more.

  • Create tasks with different categories and colors
  • Add actual time frames to each task
  • Ability to evaluate productivity based on actual vs. planned amount of time

4. Evernote-{capturing everything!}

Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web. It does has a dozen features to capture almost everything in life, but my VERY favorite is the NEW feature is it’s Post-it Note camera feature

  • Take a picture of the Post-it Note
  • Text is searchable and auto-titled
  • Set different colors to be automatically organized
  • Any Post-it Notes can be used, but 3M came out with a color set just for Evernote.

5.  Plain ‘ole Paper Calendar-{Daily planning and to-do’s}

Yes, even though I have an iPhone, and iPad, and a Mac laptop, I still use a paper calendar to jot down thoughts, ideas, and a daily schedule every week and then again, everyday.

I also take scratch paper and make a daily checklist that I carry around with me! Check out how to do a Brain Dump.

 

 

 

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Wonder Hanger Review {video}

wonder_hanger_review

Ever wonder if the As-Seen-on-TV products really work? I tested out the Wonder Hanger and their claim that it “triples closet space.” Take at look at what I thought about it and if it’s worth spending your money on! This Wonder Hanger Review will help you decide!

I think the Wonder Hanger set is great for small spaces, but my two concerns would be:

1) They can only hold lighter weight clothing like shirts, pants (not denim), and definitely children’s clothing. Heavy clothing will cause the hangers to sag and break quickly.

2) Over time, the plastic may dry, crack and break.

Each box comes with 8 hangers, but it would take several boxes to do a full closet. Still, it does save some space along the rod of a closet and can be a benefit if you have a tiny closet. Let me know your thoughts and if you have ever used the Wonder Hanger in your home!

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