Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post Holiday Stress Syndrome; 8 Steps to a Speedy Recovery

OK...I don't know if there is such a thing as Post Holiday Stress Syndrome, but there should be a name for the craziness in my household that takes place from December 26th up until around my birthday. (That's January 9th if you're taking notes. We won't talk about how old I'll be.)I don't typically get too stressed before or during the holidays. It's the aftermath that usually hits me hardest. Not only are things more out-of-sorts with all of the stuff, but there's something a little depressing to me about the un-decking of the halls, so I tend to procrastinate with this task. I have learned a few tricks over the past few years that have helped me recuperate more quickly. Here's my 8 Step Recovery Process to help curb that Post Holiday Stress Syndrome:

  • Go through clothing, toys and other household goods before the gift-giving season hits to reduce and eliminate unwanted or unused items and prevent overload. (Sorry...ummm, maybe you can use that one next year!)

  • Set up a large box or plastic bin for each family member to separate and store their unwrapped gifts while in transit and until they find their permanent spot. Once emptied, use the plastic totes to store holiday decorations or off season clothing.

  • Plan upcoming menus using holiday leftovers and freeze some meals for those evenings over the next few weeks when cooking is out of the question.

  • Break down the post-holiday clean up into steps. Work on one small project at a time, like un-decorating and putting away the holiday dishes.

  • Spread the cheer. While leaving your Christmas tree up until February may be a little embarrassing, snowmen until St. Patty's Day (at least in some climates) isn't completely out of the realm of possibilities. Work on putting away the most season specific items first, then move on to less distinctive decorations.

  • If holiday overspending has got you down, the best way to face it is head on. It's time to review your budget and determine how much extra you can apply to pay toward your outstanding balances until they are paid off. Better to tighten the belt now for a few months than to still be paying on holiday bills this time next year.

  • If you have multiple credit cards, once one is paid off, apply that regular payment to another card in addition to what you were already paying. You'll multiply your efforts and get rid of debt even quicker. (This tip works great all year round!)

  • Finally, take some time for yourself. This time of the year can be just as stressful as the holidays themselves, if not more. We're all so busy this time of year, we often forget ourselves. It's a great time to take up a new hobby, start an exercise program, curl up with a good book or just catch up with friends.

Taken as prescribed, these tips will help you make a full recovery, with little or no side effects. Care should be taken as some of these tips (especially the last one) can be habit forming and should be used under the supervision of at least one other person for the maximum benefit. Use of alcohol and exposure to direct sunlight are optional and could possibly intensify (or inhibit) the effects of the recovery process. Individual results may vary.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Product Review-File Tote

I was recently asked to review a new product and I was thrilled to oblige! First, let me say that I've been looking, literally for years, for something to carry files on the go, but that was stylish. I never found one that suited me. Okay, maybe it's like going to be my personal mission to make it known that organized people don't have to be all about function and that fashion is important, too. (It's a good excuse to buy "cute" organizing stuff, anyway!)

So, when the people over at Jamie Raquel asked me to preview their new, fashionable--and extremely cute I might add--LifeSTYLE File Tote, of course, I jumped at the chance! They sent me the cool lime green one (one of my favorite colors!) and I was very impressed with the construction. THIS tote is STURDY! It holds hanging files, has cell, pen and pda pockets.

I waited patiently for a chance to use it. My day finally came when I had to load up some files for a presentation. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I realized how great this file tote was when I made it there and back without losing a single file or without having the tote fall over in transport. If you knew my driving, you would understand that this is near impossible! But they all made it there, thanks to the strap that secures your files in place.

Two big thumbs up for this new product. It was exactly what I'd been looking for all these years, but never found in any store.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back to School Basics

While most of the kids are back to the books, it seems like a good time to review some basics for us parents. Here are some ideas I use to help keep my kids organized when it comes time to head back to school:
  • Set up a place for the kids to deposit papers that you need to review, like an in-box (ideally this will located near the point of entry).
  • Install hooks at the entry way for book bags and coats.
  • If you keep special papers, keep them under control with a simple document box. Be sure to review them at the end of each school year and weed out those that seem to have lost their "specialness" over time.
  • Keep school notes, phone lists and schedules for activities in a central location. I use a 3-ring binder for this and keep it near the kitchen phone.
  • A few simple prep steps on Sunday evening can help ensure a more smooth week; pick out clothing for the entire week, prepare lunches for the next day, review after-school activity plans and arrange to do household tasks for the least busiest days.

Even the best laid plans can't always prevent chaos from showing up every once in awhile, but maybe with the help of some of these suggestions, you can rest a little easier knowing that winter break is only a few months away!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Frazzled Female

So, I've been invited to give a presentation on organization to a group of women tomorrow night for their series on 'he Frazzled Female', in hopes, I suppose, that my insights on organizing can bring them enlightenment on how not to be frazzled. This is something I'm finding quite humorous right about now because I am that quintessential "frazzled female" at this given moment!

I have one day this week to prepare for this short presentation and another unrelated, all-day event for over 200 women, where I'm giving two presentations. One day. That's tomorrow. And low and behold who gets called for jury duty? ME. And when am I supposed to report? TOMORROW. Isn't the legal system grand?

What you may also find humorous to note...I'm a part-time paralegal! What goes around comes around, I guess!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Clear Some Clutter and Stash Some Cash

Garage sales, tag sales, yard sales, rummage sales; whatever you call it in your corner of the globe, like it or not, it can be a great way to unload some clutter. The thing about these types of sales is that it's a toss up. You can sit out there all morning and make a whopping dollar-fifty, or worse yet, not even recoup your advertising costs. You never really know if the weather's going to be a factor or if the traffic will bring the just-right customers through who are looking for what you're selling. As a whole, I find donating items throughout the year is the best route to go, but sometimes a sale is in order (like if you have a large amount to get rid of all at once).

But, if the time has come for you to unload some of your treasures on unsuspecting neighbors, there's definitely a right and wrong way to make the most of your sale. Keep these things in mind:
  • Be willing to negotiate on price. Some people just like to "haggle". If you think you have something of considerable value, check out the going price on ebay or amazon so you know what you're dealing with.
  • Don't be offended if someone offers you less than your tag price. Keep in mind that for some people, it's the "thrill" of the bargain. Some people will just always try to talk you down, even on the 50 cent shirt you only wore once.
  • Organize your goods by sections, like a store; toys, clothing, electronics, kitchen items, etc. Your customers will enjoy looking longer and more looking = more money!
  • Have plenty of change and bills on hand as well as bags, newspapers for wrapping fragile items, a notebook, pen and calculator.
  • If multiple people are selling things, use a different color price sticker for each person. You'll know immediately who to credit for the sale.
  • See if your neighbors want to have a community sale. You're more likely to attract a larger crowd of customers and you can split the advertising costs.
  • Check local codes, regulations and neighborhood covenants. Some areas require permits to hold a sale. It's also a good idea to post a "not responsible for accidents" sign, just in case.
  • Don't stash things away for more than 6 months in preparation of a sale. My mom would hold on to things for years just for her next sale. These were usually the thing that didn't sell from the time before. Sorry, Mom--had to go there.
  • This brings us to our final tip: Immediately pack up leftovers and drop off at a local charity or arrange for them to pick up. If you were willing to part with them before, you should be fine with letting them go to a good cause. Your "compensation"? Creating a more organized living space. If you still have an item or two that is very valuable, consider taking it to a consignment, resale or pawn shop or listing it on the internet.

Having a sale can be a lot of work, but you can make some of your money back from past purchases and it sometimes makes parting with things a little easier. Use your profits to treat yourself to a day at the spa, dinner and a movie, a weekend away or something you've been wanting to buy. You deserve it!

Do you have more great garage sale tips you've found helpful?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sorting It Out

Earlier I showed you pictures that might disgrace any other professional organizer, but I'm not your ordinary organizer! I know the best way for me to help you is to show you. And if that means showing you my mess, then that's what I'll have to do. I know it won't look like this for long though, so I'm ok with biting the bullet and allowing you in to take a peek.

We've learned that the first step in the SOS Method is to SORT. So, that's where I started when I began to tackle this "junk" room. Keeping in mind that most of the items that were being stored here were designated for my garage sale, it was easy to quickly sort what staying and going.

We did end up having our garage sale, but because of our town's immense flooding last week, it wasn't a very big turn out. So, we're holding it over for another weekend. I did get all of the garage sale items moved out of the room though and boy, what a difference!

The items on top of the desk are what we're keeping, not that they'll all end up in this room, but those are the things I have to find room for somewhere or futher weed out. The desk will end up going as well. The rest of the room is a now a blank slate except for a couple of spare coats hanging in the closet.

The items that are being sold next weekend will be sorted into groups so that garage sale customers can more easily browse. Maybe I'll have to post tips on organizing a garage sale too. More to follow on further omitting and storing of the remaining items and finally getting this room into shape in preparation of making it a bedroom in posts to follow...right now I'm pooped!

Feel free to post your own SOS projects and link up here. Also, time is running out to sign up for the special drawing so go here to find out more!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Don't Use That Kind of Language Around Here!

Recently when my 5 year old daughter and I were on our way home from town, she exclaimed from the back seat, "I didn't know "pee" was a bad word!"

Not being a family who has ever actually refrained from using the word "pee" I replied, "pee's not a bad word, honey."

She proceeds to correct me, saying "It is, Mommy. "Pee" is a bad word around here." By this point I'm really not sure what she's talking about and am about to shrug it off as something she's heard from other kids or at the sitter's. Then she points out a sign as we drive past..."See that sign has a "P" with a line through it!"

Friday, June 13, 2008

Total Room Makeover

So far we've looked at small and medium SOS Projects. I've showed you how I used my SOS Method to complete these organizing projects. They've been fairly simple and quick to complete so far. This one is going to take several posts to show my progress because...well, because I can't do it all in one day. That's why. You'll soon understand why.

Here's the background on this room: it's in our lower level of our split level home. It's been used as a craft area, a play area, almost a study area, a general storage area and most recently a garage sale staging area. Our hope is for it to be converted into a bedroom for our "pre" teen daughter who currently shares a room with her 5 year old little sister. Not a good mix.

These pictures are the room in its pre-garage sale state. I've been stock piling things over the last few months in preparation for this huge sale. I actually prefer to donate items to charity throughout the year and don't typically recommend saving items for a garage sale that may or may not come about, but I had a larger than normal amount of stuff to unload because we're redecorating and remodeling. It also helps with the cash for new decor! see why my progress will need to be posted in stages! You literally cannot walk through this room. It's been a dumping ground for the past several months. But that's OK. I can see my goal. And I'll still follow the same path to get there as I did my smaller projects: my SOS Method. No worries! Check back to see how I'm coming along.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When the Waters Recede

Our beautiful town is now declared to be a disaster area. We've had so much rain dumped on us in the past few weeks that the rivers, creeks and lakes have swollen past capacity. We've had "floods" before, but nothing like this. "The Hundred Year Flood" has surpassed that of the flood records of 1913 and we have more rain in the forecast. It's sprinkling now, as I write this and has been raining steadily throughout the night.

Wednesday night we lost power for over 7 hours. We have a basement with a sump pump and have not been able to afford making a generator or battery back-up a priority purchase. With no pump, the water began to seep into our lower level which is finished. We actually had just installed wood laminate flooring on more than half of it a few short months ago. Maybe the back-up system should have came first, but we were just too optimistic in thinking that we could catch any potential problems in time.

We were able to borrow a generator, but not before more than half of the flooring had gotten wet. So now our brand new floor and all of our hard work seem to be for naught. The water has gone, our pump is now working and keeping up with the ever-increasing demand. But the floor is ruined. It's beginning to buckle and pop up at the seams. But, we're one of the lucky ones. We lost some flooring. Many more people lost nearly everything.

There has been mass flooding all over our town and in the outlying areas. The river has claimed more than two people so far, along with many, many homes, cars and jobs. Nearly everywhere that you can get to, you are able to see the effects of the widespread devastation that has taken place. Many roads are still impassible. Many people are still trying to pump water from their homes in an effort to salvage what is left. Belongings are piling up in driveways and along curbs. People are being brought to their knees in tears, distraught over the hardships this has caused.

But, my town is resilient and we pull together as a community. As the waters recede, I count my blessings and know that we are fortunate to live in such a place and that tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our Kitchen Pantry

Yikes! Our pantry has gotten out of hand recently. I knew it was time to tackle this project again, but I admit I'd been putting it off. I wasn't discouraged so much that it had once again become disorganized. I've learned that being organized doesn't mean you never have to re-organize. I've come to accept that there's maintenance that goes along with it. It was just one of those "have-tos" on the bottom of my list. At first glance the pantry may not appear to be in too bad of shape, but I couldn't find anything and was constantly moving things from side to side trying to see behind taller items. So it wasn't working for me any longer.

Lucky for me, just as with any organization project, I knew right where to start. My SOS Method: Sort, Omit and Store.

After assessing the situation I figured it would be best to work from top to bottom. I began removing items and placing them into groups on my countertop. (I wish I would have thought to snap a picture of this stage...sorry!) Thinking in terms of the way I would use the items in cooking helped me to know what categories to SORT them into. I began removing and grouping baking items, drink mixes, sauces and condiments, canned goods and so on until the shelves were clear.

The next stage was to OMIT things I didn't need. For some of you this may mean expired items or food of questionable freshness. I usually keep up on this pretty well, so I didn't have anything too old to throw out. I did have some things I could combine, like pouring the new bag of sugar into the caniseter to save space.

A couple things I decided were better off moved to another location. Like the foil and plastic baggies found a new home in a nearby drawer with our paper plates. It's funny, I've always kept my foil and baggies in that exact spot in the pantry for over 15 years. It just never occured to me before today that they made more sense a few feet away. Be on the look out for those sort of things. Many times we get stuck in the same pattern and overlook more convenient storage options. If you're not sure, try it for a few weeks and if you don't like it there, move it back.

Next, I needed to STORE the things I intended to keep. I took a look at my different groups and mentally divided my shelves to come up with "zones" for each group. I decided I also wanted to try some plastic baskets to try to help keep things in the groups I'd worked so hard at sorting. I had a couple on hand that I had taken out of a previous re-organizing project. So, I began placing items back onto the shelves, placing some of the smaller items into the baskets.

I did end up purchasing two new baskets in a larger size for some of our sauces and baking items. But it was easy picking those out at the store because I knew what I needed when I got there. I knew from using my 3-step process, how many more baskets I needed and what size. I didn't hit the store without a plan only to come home with too many or not enough of the right kind of storage product.

One important thing you should know about this project: I only got rid of or removed a total of 4 items. This reorganization project was accomplished by utilizing the space (even as small as it is) to its best potential. I spent right around $5 on the two baskets and about 3o minutes total on the project. That's it! I finished off by adding some labels to the baskets with my label maker. Take a look around your home and see what you can tackle using the SOS Method. I'd love to see your success stories here! Please leave us a comment! I've also added a Mr. Linky if you want to post to your own blog. If you haven't registered for my SOS drawing, visit my initial post to find out more!

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Desk Needs Help

I cannot believe I'm showing the world what my desk looks looked like just a few days ago. This is our computer desk. Everyone in my family uses this desk so it sees ALOT of stuff. Bills, banking, two home based businesses, school reports, occasional kid clutter (you know, misc. toys and hair accessories, that sort of thing), get the idea. Stuff goes on here.

Let's go on a little tour, shall we? You'll notice a myriad of papers, my "Polar Pop" addiction indulgence (in my defense, I really have cut back), computer, keyboard, etc. You can't really see from the picture, but there's also some things that don't belong in the "office" area. Even the area under the desk did not escape, as it had been used as storage space during our recent home improvement project, where anything and everything got "stuffed" under it and had not yet been relocated.

Using my SOS Method I began to Sort items into groups. Papers to be gone through, filed, discarded, receipts to be entered into our checking program, coupons that I'd clipped and my recipe project (putting favorites on the computer) all got sorted into piles. Anything that I came across that did not belong went into the shoe box over to the right. Things that already had a home on the desk (pens, paperclips, etc.) got put back to rights. Pictures that somehow made their way to the desk, but never to the wall were put in a pile to be hung once the project was complete. This is important, I DID NOT let my guilt take over and stop work during the sorting process to hang up photos that have been sitting there for weeks. Many times we make the mistake of getting side tracked during organization. This is how projects don't get finished.

Next was the Omit stage. Now, I've become accustomed to omitting during the sort and as a separate step. You'll get more used to this as you become comfortable with the process. So, if you find things during the sort that you definitely want to get rid of, put them in the appropriate place (trash, recycle, pile, etc.) But it's always a good idea to look through your keep piles after you're done sorting to try to omit more. I usually work with a trash can, recycle pile, donate pile and shredder depending on the job.

After omitting everything that I was going to be able to, I began storing the remaining items into their appropriate or new homes. I was lucky in that I already had all of the storage items I needed, it was just a matter of putting things in them. This would be the point though if I was lacking anything, that I would begin making a list of things I needed like drawer organizers, storage totes, file folders, etc.

Storing things always comes last. Don't try to determine what you need at the start of your project. You're apt to either keep more stuff than you normally would because you just bought the jumbo size tote or make extra trips to the store because you underestimated your needs. Here are some things that I use to help keep my desk space organized. Don't let the before pictures fool you...these things really do work when you haven't spent the last few weeks being lazy!

My desk doesn't have drawer space, other than a filing drawer, so I have to be creative with the storage space. I found a small drawer divider insert for under a dollar that fits perfect into this wicker basket. I liked the basket because it concealed the plastic, but you could just get a divder and call it a day. It all slides under the space below my computer monitor and holds paper clips, staples and all the little odds and ends.

A canvas bin takes the place of another drawer and holds computer cd's, cables and such.

A literature sorter helps me use the vertical space to the best potential. I can store printer paper, special paper, even a calculator, paper trimmer and extra business cards, which proves you don't always have to use things to store what they were intended.

And the finished product....

How can you use the SOS Method to spruce up your space? Try it on your next organizing project and let us know the results. You can post comments, or link to your own post on your blog using Mr. Linky. Don't forget the prize drawing. Read about it here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sendin' Out an SOS

If you haven't read my initial post on this new series I'm doing here, catch up on the details in the first post here. While you're there you'll want to be sure to register for the upcoming drawing by linking on the Mr. Linky on that post. (This is the only way you'll be registered in the drawing!)

One thing I found when helping people get organized was that most of the time, they had no idea where to start. That's when I came up with an easy to remember acronym. It's what I call my SOS Method and it stands for Sort, Omit and Store. And this simple, easy to remember approach can be used when beginning any organizing project. Over the next few weeks I'm going to show you how I use the SOS Method in my own home, step by step. I'll post project updates from small (drawers and shelves), medium (like closets) to large areas (whole rooms) so you can see how this method works with any type of organizing project. You're welcome to comment and/or link up to your own blog with your own SOS projects as we go along.

Here's a breakdown of the steps I use:

1. Sort. Whether you're facing the unknown contents of your junk drawer or the entire mountain of clutter in the spare room, you're going to start with sorting. Sort your items into categories; like with like, similar use with similar and so on. You should be able to find easy to recognize categories for all of your items. While you're doing this keep your eyes peeled for anything that you're sure will be going in the trash or passed along to donation or another area of your home and set those aside.

2. Omit. Go back through all of your items and further remove anything that doesn't fit into the plan of your newly organized space. You may choose to omit items by donating, selling, throwing out, recycling, relocating or passing on to someone else who you know would want the item. Please check with them first before deciding that you are just going to show up at their door with your cast-offs! Sometimes we have the best intentions, but our idea of a treasure is not always someone else's.

3. Store. The items that you've decided are keepers need stored. Sometimes you have all of the storage products you might need. Other times you have to improvise or head to the store to purchase something more fitting and functional. Before you make a trip to the store, make sure you take any measurements you might need. For example, take measurements of your drawer for a new drawer divider, or the shelf height for storage bins.

Keep your specific types of storage needs in mind, like; CD storage, magazines, office supplies, clothing, etc, so that you're not just shopping blindly. Have a purpose in mind and a plan. The internet is a great way to get a good idea of all of the organizational products available without spending a lot of time at the store.

Once you've used the SOS Method, you'll never be at a loss as to where to start or what to do next when you're organizing. Sort, omit, store...remember it, use it and get organized!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ready to Take on Bigger and Better Things?

We've been working on Take 5 Friday projects for awhile now, I thought it would be a good time to throw in some bigger organizing projects. Plus, I'm doing some major overhauls in some areas of my house, so it's a good time for a little show and tell. I'm baring it all over the next few weeks, so to speak. Yep, even I have areas that get chaotic and cluttered. Didn't I tell ya, I'm not perfect?! So, it's time to reorganize, and guess what? You're coming with me!

We'll be putting Take 5 Fridays on hold for just the next few weeks until I get through my projects. But, by all means, if you're up to doing both, you can always do some Take 5's too or work back through some of the past weeks if you joined in late.

But, I don't want to do this alone. I have to have some of my friends with me! If you're up to taking on some of what I'm calling SOS Organizing (more on why in a later post), leave a link below. Those who have signed up here will be in the drawing for a prize (haven't decided what yet) at the end (haven't decided when yet)...Don't you just love how decisive I am?

Remember: You have to leave a Mr. Linky at least on THIS post for the drawing because it will drive me crazy trying to account for everyone at the end if you all link on different posts. You don't have to commit to weekly posts or links unless you want to, but I would like to have your comments on any project you've accomplished when I post mine. If for nothing else but so I know you're out there! I'll try to remember to add a Mr. Linky to each project for those who want to link to their own blog post.

There you go, I'm sending out my SOS! Who's in it with me?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Take 5 Friday - The Monsters Under the Bed

Welcome to Take 5 Friday (even though it's Saturday). Sorry, I'm a day late in putting this up. If you took me up on the challenge for this week, I hope you made it out safe and sound from under the deep, dark depths underneath your bed. Did you find any monsters hiding under there or some over grown dust bunnies?
My bed was absolutely empty...honest! But, I have to admit, the only reason is because we just got a new bed a few weeks ago and I swore I wouldn't be putting the under-the-bed storage totes back. I'm going with this whole new feng shui thing and stuff under the bed promotes restless sleeping. So, it's totally clean under there!
Now, my youngest daughter's bed is another story. There's the kids' disassembled baby crib and an under-the-bed storage container full of clothes to grow into. I also found some of those pesky socks. Maybe this is why she wakes up grouchy...she doesn't sleep well. Hmm....maybe there's something to this feng shui. Which brings me to my oldest daughter's bed. Clearing out this one has me stumped because the only thing under her bed is her little sister (bunkbeds)!
How did you do this week?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Great Giveaway

Lara, my friend over at The Lazy Organizer is giving away two sets of Organizing Bags on her site. These come in various sizes so you get to try the whole variety. I'm so excited to be able to share this giveaway with my readers because I love these bags! And I've never found anything like them in the stores. So, this is a great opportunity for you to try them out. I've found all kinds of uses for them at my house...everywhere from the car to my purse. They're even great for helping the kids get organized, and anything that can do that gets my vote.

All you have to do is visit her site, leave a comment on her post and you're registered, that's it! Here's the catch: Lara is expecting her fourth baby and is down to the wire, ready to go at any time pregnant. So, time's running out and the contest will be over this Friday (unless she's too busy having a baby or something sort of important like that). Good luck!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Take 5 Friday Challenge

I hope you're prepared...brace yourselves. This week I want you to brave the unthinkable. I want you to venture into long forgotten territory. Yep. You got it. I'm challenging you to clear the clutter from under your BED! Or your kid's bed. Whichever you feel brave enough to tackle.

Don't be scared. Just remember you DON"T have to commit to a long, grueling organizing session. Take 5 Friday is all about quick, 5 or 10 minute projects. So take a few minutes to see what you've got hiding under there (precaution should be used when looking under kid's beds!) Toss out what you immediately see is trash. See what you can find that belongs elsewhere; those long-forgotten dishes from your teenage son's midnight snacking, your daughter's "I dont' have a thing to wear" clothes, that stack of magazines from your last "sick day".

See how much you can get done when you "take 5" and report back here on Friday. Pictures are optional, but please post a warning statement if they're too scary!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Your Big Give

This week's Take 5 Friday followed on the heels of finally dumping some of that extra trash and challenged us to get together at least one bag or box to go to your charity of choice. I'm anxious to see how you all did with this challenge. Was it difficult to come up with one bag or did you find yourself doing even more?

How did you rate? Please feel free to post your comments and/or link to your own post.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How to Know When It's Time to Clean Out Your Closet

Just in case you have ever wondered if there was a fool-proof way to know that it's time to clean out your closet and/or update your wardrobe, I have provided this guideline below:
  • You're sorting through your clothes closet, reorganizing some purses and articles of clothing
  • Your 5 year old is by your side "helping" you
  • You come across a skirt you haven't worn in quite a few years
  • With a critical eye, you debate whether to keep it or donate
  • Your 5 year old asks you if that was the skirt you wore when you were a grandma

Yes, this is a sure sign that this article of clothing is ready to go to Goodwill.

For the record, after a quick glance in the mirror to see if I had any extra gray hair or wrinkles, I assured my daughter that I have NEVER been a grandma. I'm taking the donation box to Goodwill right after I'm done playing BINGO.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Take 5 Friday Challenge

Last week we worked on clearing out some trash. I challenged you to quickly go from room to room and toss at least one large bag full of trash. This week, let's take it one step further and see if we can't fill a box (or large bag) of useful items that can be donated to a good cause. In honor of Earth Week, let's recycle our unwanted things and let someone else put them to good use, instead of cluttering our homes.

By all means, if you still have LOTS more to toss, you may want to challenge yourself to get another bag or two together, but while you're at it, why not keep a look out for those things that can be passed on to someone who needs them?

Report back here on Friday to share your successes (or hangups!) Remember, this should be a quick sort process. If you have to think on something too long, it's ok to set it aside...for now!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Takin' Out the Trash

Well, it's Friday. How did you do with this week's challenge? Some of you have already commented that you found more than you thought you would or that it felt very "freeing" to remove that bag (or two) from your home. Some of you found trash and things to donate and you get bonus points! (If we were giving points, in which case you'd get double! But since we're not, you'll just have to settle for my sincere congratulations!)

Even as organized as I try to be I was easily able to come up with most of a large bag of "throw aways" and some more items to add to my garage sale pile. Yippee! So, how did you do? Feel free to post your comments here and/or use the Mr. Linky to link back to your own post about Take 5 Friday.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Take 5 Friday Challenge

OK, I know that I'm throwing this challenge out there kind of late in the game. But I have faith in all of you. YOU can accomplish this's so easy, yet many of us just look past it everyday. We overlook this so often that we become oblivious to it.

I'm talking about the things laying around our homes that are obviously destined for the trash bin but somehow don't seem to make it there for one reason or another. I want you to take a LARGE garbage bag and spend 5 or 10 minutes going room to room tossing stuff that is obvious trash.

This may sound simple, but trust me, you'll find more than you think. Your goal is to fill up your bag. This may seem more like cleaning than organizing, but think of it this way, you don't want to waste your precious time organizing things that need to be thrown out anyway. So think of this as a first step.

Come back here and let us know if you met your goal. Were you able to get just one bag full? Two? More?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yes, I'm Still Here

You know that it's getting bad when your readers begin to leave comments on your blog like, "Are you ever coming back?" Yes! I'm alive! I'm back! I'm ready to BLOG! And I have missed you all so much! I have to share my last week and a half...I didn't intend to be MIA for this long. Maybe a day or two tops, but I even missed my own Take 5 Friday post for cryin' out loud!

My husband and I dove head-on into a home improvement project that turned into about ten. First, we tore up all of our carpet in our living room and the vinyl from the kitchen. Then, we proceeded to put my knees and legs through sheer torture as we installed wood laminate flooring. While my husband is used to this type of work on a daily basis (he owns his own handyman/home improvement business), even he felt the wear and tear of an extra long weekend and late nights moving furniture and laying flooring.

Because I was the "low man on the totem pole" I had the all important task of prying out staples from the sub floor. (Next time I get to be the boss!) Well, they do say the basis for any good job is in the prep work, so I guess I can take most of the credit for the floors turning out as nice as they did.

I think the hardest part was just finding space to temporarily house things. Even though I thought I planned it all very well, I still felt like my life was in turmoil as we moved our belongings from room to room. Most of the time we had rain or threats of it, so we couldn't really take advantage of using outdoor space to move things. Although, our stove was on the back deck for a few days so I did manage to get out of cooking! At least there was that welcome break.

Well, we finally got everything back to rights and I could take a breather in my new, wonderful space...until...da, da, dum...he decides he has this past weekend free, too. So, we might as well get started on the floors in the lower level. Sure! Why not. I'm finally beginning to move my legs freely again. No sense in letting them get back into their pre-stretched state. Then I'd have to go through all that pain again.

Next, it's painting and carpeting in the upstairs and tile in the baths. So, if I go missing for several days, come find me. Chances are I'll be stripping wallpaper and pulling out more staples. If you want, I can put you to work, but you'll have to start, you know, at the bottom.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Always Be Prepared

This week's Take 5 Friday challenge we took a cue from the Boy Scout's..."Always be prepared." It seems no matter how organized I am, there are just some days that I never know what to expect. It never fails, when I'm in a really big rush, that's when someone will inevitably lose a button on their pants. Or discover a small rip in the seam of their favorite shirt that they just had to wear because they already had it all planned out with Friends A and B. So, this week I decided to plan ahead as much as I could for these little un-planned morning mishaps.

I found an unused small basket to serve as my emergency mend-it kit. I filled it with various sized buttons. You know all those spare buttons that come with new clothes...this is a great place to store them. Then, I threaded two needles; one with black and one with white thread and knotted the ends. I stuck the needles through a small slip of paper so they wouldn't get lost. I added a small pair of scissors, some safety pins and voila! Now, I'm ready to sew on a button or fix a small hole in a moments notice...that's sew easy!

What about you? Were you able to come up with a 5 or 10 minute project that can help you be better prepared for the little things life throws at you? Share your Take 5 Friday project with us. If you're new to Take 5 Friday, please read the guidelines about posting. Thanks for joining us!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Take 5 Friday Challenge

This week's Take 5 Friday challenge will follow the Boy Scout motto--"Always be prepared". But, I'm leaving this week open to your imaginations. OK. I'll give you a few ideas to get you started.

You can prepare a "breakfast center" with bowls, spoons, cereal, etc. on a tray for quick and easy breakfasts. You can finally get around to putting together that first aid kit you've been meaning to do the day you brought your child home from the ER with 6 stitches. You could prepare for a less stressful morning routine by helping your children lay out their clothes for the rest of the week. You get the idea.

So...let's get started then post back here on Friday with your successes (or failures so we all don't repeat the same mistake!)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Organization is Like a Brand New Purse

I was enjoying an afternoon this weekend with a group of ladies, learning some new scrapbooking techniques, when I was able to see first hand how most people view organization. One of the women, whom I had only met a few times before, was actually leery to sit next to the "organizing queen". I don't know, maybe she thought I would secretly be grading her workspace or something. I really hope I don't come across as that rigid and structured!

At one point in the various conversations, the subject came up again, so I said, "Will this make you feel better? Just look at my purse!" Then I whipped open my oversized bag to reveal its contents, happily "dumped" into my new purchase. See, I just bought it last week and I was so thrilled when I got my new bargain home, I just threw everything into it with no rhyme or reason. Not to mention that it doesn't really have enough inside pockets to actually organize anything, so I really don't have much choice about how things go in there. Not the most logical purchase on my part, but apparently I wasn't shopping with that side of my brain that day.

Anyway...she let out a squeal of joy and a sigh of relief, saying that did make her feel much better about sitting next to me. (I was hoping it was just my charming personality not the fact that I, too was capable of being messy.) I thought how funny it was that little 'ol me could strike fear and intimidation into people!

"And it doesn't bother you that your purse is a mess?" she asked. And the truth of the matter is, no, it doesn't. Eventually it might, when the newness of my shiny, black, patent (fake) leather, oversized-so-my-butt-looks-smaller-bag wears off (yep, it's a proven fashion illusion). But right now, I'm still basking in my 70% off purchase that I will happily spend a few extra moments rummaging through it to find my keys.

Organization is kind of like that new purse. You know you desperately want and need it but sometimes it seems just out of reach, like when the object of your infatuation is still marked at $99.99 and your budget is less than half that. If you are patient, it will usually go on sale. Just like if you're diligent and patiently work at it, organization will eventually come. It likely took you awhile to get disorganized, it won't get undone overnight. Have patience.

Sometimes you need to try something a little different. Don't be afraid to shake things up a bit. When I came home with my new purchase, my husband thought it was a little too garish, but I've gotten more compliments on that bag, and I like it. Sometimes with organization you have to think outside the box. Conventional solutions may not work for you. You're the one who has to live with it day in and day out. What worked for Suzy Homemaker down the street may not work for you.

And just like with my purse, good things happen when you let people take a peek into your home or life. It shows you're not afraid to be you. It puts people at ease, lets them know you're human. It lets others know you're someone who can accept them for who they are, messy purse and all.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Returning Next Week

For all you Take 5 Friday readers and participants, Take 5 Friday is "taking 5" this week. I'm going to be MIA the rest of the week and it will be difficult to post and/or respond to you. Rest assured it will return next week for your reading pleasure! Thanks for your support!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Medicine Cabinet

So this week I went to work on the medicine cabinet. You might have read in the challenge post earlier this week that I put up a freebie for the entry with the oldest expired medicine. (Don't forget, be sure you email me with your entries by Friday evening. I'll draw a winner on Saturday for a copy of my book The Organization Prescription.)

Since I'm obviously not entering my own contest I can share mine. I'm happy to report the oldest thing I found in our medicine cabinet expired 08/17/05. I didn't think that was too bad. I'll post some pics of how I keep our medicines organized later on Friday. I just wanted to get a jump start on this post so you can get in your entries for the drawing.

Keep organizin'!

Updated to add: Congrats to Avlor. She emailed me with the oldest medicinal remedy in her cabinet and will win a copy of my book, The Organization Prescription. Thanks for participating!

I promised pics. Here's my medicine cabinet, which is actually in my kitchen. For those of you who have your medicine in the bathroom, you may consider another location as heat and moisture (like from a shower) will cause the medicine to go bad/lose their potency. I sort our medicines into categories (like cold & allergy, children's, adults, etc.) and keep them separate in small plastic baskets. It sure helps when you're fighting a cold to have to just look in one place for quick relief!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Take 5 Friday Challenge

You can thank my friend Dr. Leah over at Transformation Revolution for this week's Take 5 Friday idea. She suggested to me that we tackle the medicine cabinet and I took a look at mine. Sure enough, after this past cold and flu season, it looked like it could use a dose of organization! (Sorry, couldn't help that one!) So, this week, take a few minutes to peek inside your medicine cabinet, and maybe your first aid kit if you have time. Toss out expired prescriptions and take note of anything you might need to restock. Come back here and share your progress on Friday.

Let's give you some extra incentive this week. I'll be giving away a copy of my book "The Organization Prescription; Your Immunization to Disorganization" to the person who finds the oldest expired item in their cabinet. How fitting is that?! Here are the rules:

  1. Email me with your oldest expiration date (to keep the entries a secret) by this Friday.

  2. On Friday post a short comment on the Take 5 Friday post, then link up using Mr. Linky.

  3. Post your project on your site, and link to Organizational Enlightenment.

  4. I'll email and announce the winner on Saturday, March 29, 2008 for those participants who emailed me their entry.

Good luck and see you back here on Friday!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

10 Interesting (?) Things About Me

I've recently been "tagged" and honestly, this is somewhat new to me. The rules state you have to share some things about yourself, no problem. And then tag other "bloggy" people. This is where I get hung up...I don't know that many bloggers yet! So, I decided, I still wanted to share some little known things about me even if I didn't end up tagging others. So here no particular order of weirdness:

  1. I have just recenlty let go of my obsession preference to have the folded edge on the bath towels face in the same direction in the linen closet.
  2. I used to change the toilet paper roll in other people's houses if it was on the "wrong" way. You're going to think twice before you invite me over now, aren't you?
  3. I generally don't like taking baths. I prefer showers. I can't get it out of my head that I'm wasting time if I take a long soak.
  4. I have made it my personal mission to drive more often when we go places as a family since I found out my youngest daughter thought "girls weren't allowed to drive boys around".
  5. My husband thinks I've made it my personal mission to drive him nuts.
  6. I sometimes have an uncanny ability to picture a person in my head and then run into them a few minutes later. (Just for the record, this is not always a gift...there are some people that you'd just rather avoid!)
  7. If we're driving by a house at night and the blinds are open, I'm checking it out to see how they decorate/live. This is why it's good to have my husband drive. You're going to think twice before you leave your blinds open now, aren't you?
  8. When I was little, I had a short-lived habit of biting my toenails...gross, I know, but I was 3, people! I've outgrown that now...I can't put my feet up that high. I'm really going to regret sharing that one.
  9. I don't like eating in a restaurant by myself, but I'll go to the movies alone.
  10. I've never flown in an airplane, but I did go up in a hot air balloon once at a fair.

There you go. Ten little known things about me. This little exercise in self-discovery just made me realize I'm more quirky than I thought. I'll find out after posting this if I still have any friends after they read #2 & #7...and maybe #8.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Take 5 Friday - The Mom Taxi

My van had started to look like a caravan for wayward things instead of a mode of transportation for people. The front (my domain) wasn't too bad, but the dash looked like it hadn't seen a dustcloth in the the 3 years since I'd bought it. But, whoa! One look in the middle section where my two adorable kids sit and I knew it had to be done.

Until you actually SIT in the back from their vantage point, you don't really see all the stuff kids can cram into those side pockets! I actually even have to open the driver side back door every day when I help my littlest in and out of her carseat and I still didn't notice!
I figured the best line of defense in this case was to empty everything into a grocery sack and have the kids sit down and determine what was going to stay and what would go. I tossed the things that were clearly trash and wiped off the front dash. That took all of ten minutes and the van looked so much better for it. I would have still felt I'd accomplished something even if I'd have stopped there.
But, the great thing about these ten minute projects is that sometimes when you do have extra time, it inspires you to do more. I got out the shop vac and vacuumed the floors and the kids' seats where bits and pieces of snacks had accumulated...yuck!
What happened to that bag of stuff? I brought it inside, gave them their assignment. I heard everything from "that's not trash" to "but I need that for something to do". I'll fill you in...we live about 20 minutes from any location that we frequent and we haven't been on a "trip" that takes longer than an hour in over 3 years. They don't need anything to keep themselves that occupied. By the time we've reached our destination, they're still too busy squabbling with each other over the last thing they were arguing about when we left the house. All that stuff is NOT going back into the van!
The bag is still sitting in their room...waiting for one of them to cave and start putting their things away. I guess they didn't "need" that stuff after all. They're at their grandparents' this you think they'd miss it if it "disappeared"?
What about you, did you tackle the junk in your trunk this week? Or maybe another, small but meaningful organizing project? Share your story with us here! If you're new to Take 5 Friday, please read the guidelines before posting. Thanks for participating!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Challenge

Now that warmer weather is finally here (I hope, although it's currently rainy), I'm itchin' to clean out my van. I try to keep it fairly clean as we go by keeping a trash basket in between the back seats and carrying a tote bag to bring things back into the house. But every once in awhile, it deserves (and needs!) a quick clutter busting session.

So this week, your Take 5 Friday challenge is to get in there and clear out the junk in your trunk. Toughen up and tell those fast food sacks to hit the road and the the kids' gear to take a hike. If you feel really energized you can drag out the vacuum, but the most important and first step is to do the quick sort and toss. See how much you can accomplish in 5 or 10 minutes, then report back here on Friday to let us know how you did.


Wow! Over a week since my last post! Where did the time go? I'm not entirely sure. It was like the week was over before I knew it and I didn't even have time to get in last week's Take 5 Friday post. I don't even think I turned my computer on more than twice last week.

Ah well, we all need a break from the norm every once in awhile and for no reason in particular...last week was my lazy week. But, I'm back!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Desktop

So this week I challenged you (and myself) to focus on cleaning up our desktops...and I don't mean the horizontal space in front of me as I write this post. I mean our computers themselves; the desktop, the hard drive, those temporary internet files, old emails; all those files we save that clutter up our inboxes and computer.
I have to admit, this one wasn't as fun or satisfying for me as most of my organizing projects, but it needed to be done. I keep up pretty well on my emails, deleting as I go. So I usually only have about a dozen in my inbox at any given time. But I did have some old files that I was able to chuck and I like to delete my temporary internet files every once in awhile to keep the system running smoothly. If you've never deleted your temporary internet files, you can find some easy to follow instructions here.
Did anyone else attempt this or another Take 5 Friday project this week? (You can still post any 5-15 minute organizing project you completed, even if it wasn't this week's challenge idea). Notice I said 5-15 minutes; think "coffee break" time here. It doesn't have to be exactly 5 mintues and you'll find that you'll get faster at organizing the more you do. Have fun with it!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Take 5 Friday Challenge

For this week's Take 5 Friday project I'm going to look no further than my computer. While we may take the time to clear our actual desk tops, we often forget our desktops. Got that? We're talking computer clutter, new age "junk mail", over stuffed file folders...or worse yet, no files at all. Where every electronic document we've saved over the past 5 years is haphazardly stored on our desktop or in unknown locations on our hard drives.

So, this week take 5 or 10 minutes to do a quick purge of the clutter from your computer. Add some file folders, delete some emails, empty your "trash". Then, come back here on Friday and let us know how you did. Trust me, your computer will thank me for it!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Makeup Bag

So, how many of you were up for the challenge this week? I gave you the "assignment" of clearing the clutter out of your makeup bags (or whatever you use to corral your arsenal of beauty products). I actually use a plastic caddy with a handle. I stow it under my bathroom cabinet when it's not in use. So it doesn't have to be pretty, but it does need to be organized so I can get ready and get out the door fast.

As I was emptying the contents of mine, I did find some things that were alot older than I expected. I had some eyeliner that I'm pretty sure was around before my oldest was born...dare I say 11+ years ago!?! Yikes! But no funky teal-colored mascara or iridescent lip gloss. Whew! That would be a blast from the past!

I tossed the out dated, worn out items and one item I bought but didn't like. You'll notice I have a small bag (blue one) in my caddy. That's now reserved for everyday makeup (eyeshadow, mascara, coverup, and 2 lipsticks choices). I found another small bag (black one)that I added to store my "special" makeup, like some of the more dramatic eyeshadow and highlighting powder so it's out of my way of everyday use.

How did you do? Did you find anything over 10 years old? Older? How 'bout anything that brought back memories of the 80's??? It's amazing what we can do to get better organized in just a few minutes. How did you do this week? We'd love to hear your results! If you're new to Take 5 Friday, please read the short list of helpful guidelines before posting.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Add Some Ambiance

We've covered sight, smell, taste and touch. Sound is the final sense I wanted to add more of to put a little heart into our home. Now, my kids already add plenty of their own sounds, but I was thinking more along the lines of calm and soothing sounds. So I went in search of a water feature. I found one like this at a local store (got it for $5 on clearance!! But you can usually pick them up for around $20)

I put it on my bedside table. I gotta say, I was worried the sound of trickling water would be sending me back and forth to the bathroom most of the night, but so far it hasn't. :) It's so relaxing and this one's lighted so that it looks like flickering candles. When I brought it home and set it up, my husband came home, caught sight of the flickering "flames" and went sprinting upstairs because he thought the bedroom was on fire! I was, of course, laughing my head off very concerned that I had needlessly scared him. So, you can see this is a great way to add some "spark" to your bedroom!

Pillow Talk

Texture and fabric can add so much to our homes. I love pillows and they combine both of these elements. Pillows instantly add a level of "homey-ness" and comfort to a room. I was shocked though at some of the prices I saw when I went out pillow shopping recently! It was nothing to see decorative "throw" pillows going for $30 or more. I'll tell you one thing, if I pay that much for a pillow, I'm sure not going to be throwing it or letting anyone lay, lounge, sleep, sit or wallow on it!

So, I settled for my old standby; decorative pillow covers. I've made decorative pillow covers in the past and they're great because they're removable so you can put them in the wash and they don't get all "smushed" like regular pillows. You can slip them over cheap pillow forms from a fabric store or update your look by covering your old existing pillows. Plus they are super easy to make.

I'll work on posting a tutorial on how to make these easy pillow covers and post it soon. Darn...might have to make some more so I can get some good pictures during the process!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Take 5 Friday Challenge

Becky over at Boys Rule My Life was up for a little challenge. She suggested that I issue an "assignment" this week to give you some ideas on a specific project to work on for Take 5 Friday. I thought it was a great idea. So...whatcha think? Are you up for a challenge?

This week I think I really have to work on my make-up container. I know there's some out-dated stuff in there and some products that I really didn't like, but just never took the time to get rid of. So, it's time to do some sorting and purging.
Let's make this challenge fun. Posting your before and afters are great, but also give us the scoop on how long you've been holding on to some of this stuff! Have you had that blue eye shadow since the first time blue eye shadow was "in"? Are you guilty of still hanging on to that tube of teal green mascara or irridecent lip gloss from the 80's?

Come on! 'Fess up and join in the fun! Let's clear the clutter outta those makeup bags and join us for Take 5 Friday to post your results! If you're new to Take 5 Friday, you can catch up on the guidelines here. It's a quick and easy way to get organized with projects that are designed to be completed in the time it takes for a coffee break (5-15 minutes--not those hour long type of breaks!) See you back here on Friday!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Super Fruit Bowl

We've talked about how appealing to the 5 senses can help you add heart to your home. It's not that hard to figure out how to incorporate sight, touch, scent and even sound into our decor. But, taste is something we don't always think about adding into our home decorating scheme. I spent some time thinking about this and decided that even the simple act of placing a bowl of fruit (or even some tempting chocolates) on a nearby table is enough to bring some sense of "taste" into our homes. It seems to add this casual "help yourself" atmosphere to our spaces.

I recently added a bowl of fruit to our kitchen table. Instead of keeping the fruit in an out-of-the-way spot on the counter, having it displayed not only looks nice, it prompts the kids to want to snack more healthy. See, I told ya we don't always eat like this! The kids have been at the fruit all week. These left over bananas will end up in a loaf of banana-nut bread in a couple days and I'll try rotating the types of fruit we add to keep them from getting bored.
If you put some thought into it, there's a way to add a little heart into your home in any room with even the simplest of things. How do you added that special touch to make your home more comforting and inviting to your family and friends? Feel free to share your comments and posts here!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Kids Drawers

Drawer dividers are great...but they need to include at least a PG 13 rating. They just don't work well for kids. Kids get frustrated with the exact-ness required to put things neatly into them (let's face it, so do some adults). So, how do you keep those drawers straight without acting like the clothing police? Two words: mini crates.

These small storage crates from Sterilite are great. They "lock" together side-by-side, and they fit perfectly in my kids' drawers. I spent 5 minutes this week and made a HUGE difference in how my daughters put away and find their own clothes. Now that's a great return on investment of my time! Plus, they were less than a dollar each!

Before (left), my daughter's socks and underwear were mixed in with her pj's. Now (right), she has a separate crate for undies, one for socks and another that will be rotating (tights in the winter, swimsuits in the summer). It's amazing how much extra space it actually gave her because the crates keep articles more compact.

I did this in my oldest's drawer, too. But she would just "die of embarassment" if I showed you all her panties! All this in only 5 minutes! How about you? What did you accomplish in the time it takes for a coffee break? Share your posts and comments here. If you're new to Take 5 Friday, please read the guidelines before posting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Give Away

As you've probably (hopefully) read, I've declared February "Put Your Heart Into It" month. I've been busy bringing warmth and comfort into my home to ward off the cold, dreary weather outside. Well, as part of the month long celebration, I promised some give-aways. And seeing how it's nearly the end of the month (gesh!) I thought I better get my act together!

So, here's the first one: it's a book from Hallmark called Keeping Life Simple: 7 Guiding Principals, 500 Tips & Ideas by Karen Levine. Now, this book was originally published in 1996 (gee, was the reference to pay phones a clue?) but much of the information is very timeless in ideas for bringing simplicity to our homes and surroundings.

So, here's the deal. Leave me a comment here about something you've done to put some heart in your home this month with your blog link or your email. You can put your email address in this format: soandso[at]thisandthat[dot]com so the spammers don't pick up on it. I'll figure it out! I'll choose a winner this Friday and post the update here. Good luck!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Mom's Work is Never Done

I'm attempting to corral the kids into bed when I notice a mirad of coloring utensils on the living room floor. I return to their bedroom and send my youngest downstairs with the instructions to pick up her pencils.

I realize now that maybe I should have been alittle more specific, because she happily returned with her little bag filled with all of 5 pencils which she promptly dropped off in my bedroom. Don't ask me why. They apparently belong in there along with my oldest's hairbrush, their discarded pjs from this morning, a pair of slippers and a stray stuffed animal.

Meanwhile, in the living room, the remaining crayons and markers sat there, lonely for being left behind. At this point I figure I might as well do it least they'll get in bed that much faster! (Isn't that what it usually comes down to?) So, they're off to bed and I'm left holding the bag, so to speak...and picking up the markers, and crayons, and oh, yeah the coloring books. Let's not forget those.

I think "My work here is finally done for the night." Little did I know I had things to do in the bathroom before I could find some peace. When I flip on the light I'm greeted by the sight of what else? More markers, right next to some of those socks. I'm somewhat dismayed by this. Not because the fact there are markers in the bathroom...but because there's not a single thing to color on in sight!

Believe me, I checked every hidden inch of wall space and no masterpieces were to be found (whew!). I guess I can just chalk it up to another one of life's great mysteries. At least now I can take a well deserved break. I think I'll turn in early...right after I write this post, check some emails, catch up on my favorite blogs, pay some bills...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Take 5 Friday - The Snack Basket

First, I have to say: you must know that we do NOT eat all this junk food on a regular basis. Really. It's just that with the Valentine's holiday and then Girl Scout Cookie orders just coming in, we REALLY have an overload of snack food. The basket I keep for our stash became overly full under the UNUSUALLY (and I stress this) large amount of junk food.

So, I dumped everything and did a quick sort, taking out the Valentine cards, pencils and other non-food things the kids had brought home. I separated each of their candy stash into plastic zipper seal bags. I made sure the chip bags were all secured (Note handy office binder clip closure. Love these!) and just tidied it up. As if they weren't appealing enough, now these snacks are downright irresistible.

I have a rule at our house. Whatever leftover candy is still in the basket by the time the next holiday rolls around gets tossed. In otherwords, if there's Christmas candy come Valentine's day, it's outta there. This works pretty good. But looking at it today I could just tell that this basket was not going to hold out until Easter. By the way, just so you know, I wasn't looking in the basket for anything in particular. Nope. Not me. Just looking, that's all. And I most definitely wasn't even thinking of taking that last peanut butter cup in the bottom of my daughter's Valentine's bag!

What's your Take 5 Friday project? I'd love to see your before and afters! If you're new to Take 5 Friday, please read guidelines before posting.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Finding Sancutary

I found this great blog by Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary. She shares small things we can do each day to create sanctuary in our homes. This was the perfect site for me to get some great ideas to add some heart into my own home this month. I'm sure Rachel Anne won't mind if we borrow some of her ideas! She makes it so easy with small, manageable projects each day. Thanks Rachel Anne!

Copyright 2007, Christine Rice

You are welcome to use any of the information or articles from my blog for your own newsletters or ezines, just be sure to add the following copyright notation:

Christine Rice, Professional Organizer and owner of Organize It Today helps people discover "organizational enlightenment" with the help of her newest book, A Life Less Cluttered: Expert Secrets to Your Own Organizing Epiphany. Visit her website at to find out more about her services and products.