Sunday, January 27, 2008

Those Socks are Tricky

It's not so much the dryer eating socks that baffles me anymore. In fact, I don't think this phenomenon has occurred in our household for quite some time. I finally got a new washer and dryer a couple years ago and apparently the sock monster that resided in my old set went with it. (Won't he be surprised when he finds he's in the middle of an appliance graveyard and not a sock in sight!)

But this mystery does involve socks. They're tricky little things, you know. And it's not just the little kid socks. It seems to plague my husband's socks as well. When socks are shed at the end of the day, they seem to want to lie among the dirty clothes in little wrong-side-out balls, prompting me to have to put them back to rights before I load them into the washer.

Now, I know for sure that this mystery cannot be because my family takes them off incorrectly. Because I'm fairly certain that I've told them time and time again that if they pull their socks off from the toe, this will not happen. They are all well aware of my plight, and I'm sure they can grasp the idea that if socks are in a little ball, they do not get cleaned and dried properly. Still, the socks end up coming to the laundry room all wadded up.

No, I'm convinced there has to be a mean-spirited sock fairy lurking somewhere in our home who's goal it is to drive me nuts. Surely my family would not make this extra work for me. Would they?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Mailing Center

This week's Take 5 Friday project takes us to my mailing center. This is an area of my home office cubby that I use to store mailing supplies (not incoming mail...that's in a different area). My mailing center has been pretty well established for quite some time now, but it was starting to look like, well, a mess. So I thought it was about time to put it on the Take 5 list of things to do. I was having a hard time finding things easily and when you run across .39 cent postage, you realize it may have been awhile since you last cleaned it out. I resorted everything into categories; labels, envelopes, thank-you cards and stamps and tossed or relocated items that didn't belong or weren't usable. Then, I re-stored them in separate compartments of this upright sorter.

Looks much better and more functional, don't ya think? The best part about designating a mailing center is that you always know where to find things when you need them and where to put things away when you're picking up. If you don't already have one, you can easily set up your own mailing center similar to this one in just a few minutes. Just pick a logical spot that fits your needs (usually the kitchen or home office area), find a nice container to house everything and equip it with all of the items you need for mailing.

Take 5 Friday is all about finding things we can do in just 5 minutes time that can help us get or stay better organized. What 5 minute organizing project did you work on this week? Post your own Take 5 Friday project then link to Organizational Enlightenment so we can all share and receive helpful tips with each other.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Talk About Tuesday - Tote Bag

Finally! I've been waiting to post something on The Lazy Organizer's Talk About Tuesday blog and I finally have done something worth talking about! Keep in mind, I am not a seamstress by any means. I've sewn some pillows, some curtains, some other small crafty-type know, things that barely require a somewhat straight line. But this was a first for me. It's a reversible tote bag. I found the instructions over on Chocolate on My Cranium. I wanted mine a "little" bigger so I could use it to tote stuff to and from the van.

So, I just made some adjustments to the dimentions to get the size I wanted.

Yep, that looks about big enough!

Head on over to The Lazy Organizer to see what everyone else is talking about!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Take 5 Friday - Get Hooked Up

This week's 5 minute organization project takes place in my two daughters' shared walk-in closet. Seems that little girls have lots of accessories! They also had a large expanse of useless wall space.
In just 5 short minutes it was turned into a very useable storage spot with the addition of some hooks. What's great about these hook sets is that there are a total of 8 hooks mounted onto a wood strip, so that you only have to put 2 holes in the wall for each section! Each daughter got a set of hooks. I gave them ideas for what to hang up and my work here was done. Plus, my 5 minutes were up.


When I returned a short time later to inspect their progress, I found they had wisely used the talents their mom gave them (ahem) to hang their robes, some small purses and belts. My oldest, realizing that she had a grand total of 22 belts (yikes!), actually took it upon herself to cut that number in half. I'm so proud of her [dabs at eyes].

See! Look what you can do in just 5 minutes! What's your Take 5 Friday project this week? If you're new to Take 5 Friday, please read the general guidelines here. You'll also notice that I've now added Mr. Linky below to make it easy for you all to join in!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mr. Linky's test

This is a test of the Mr. Linky broadcast system...this is only a test.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shameless Sales Pitch

Today I'm throwing all caution to the wind and posting a shameless sales pitch. I really want to set a record this month on my book sales. I'm not ashamed to admit it. See, I want to be featured as "top author" in the realm of Lulu, my book printer.

If you've ever saw the photo of my book (over there to the left) and thought "hmm...I bet that book, 'A Life Less Cluttered' could really help me become the organized person I've been dreaming of", then now is the time to get a copy of your own (e-book, paperback or hardback). If not for me and my quest as top author, then think of all of the reasons you have to become better organized. Better yet, think of all of the times you've tried to become more organized, but fell short. (I warned you this was a shameless sales pitch!)

Many of you have made it your goal or resolution to work on your organizing skills, but the place to start is with the traits of organized people. That's where you really start seeing changes...and results. That's why this book is different. It focuses on addressing those issues within ourselves before you tackle a mountain of chronic, reoccurring clutter. This book helps all of those tips and to-dos of organization really sink in and take hold. Buy a copy today and begin living A Life Less Cluttered! Need more convincing? Read the review on Organizing Junkie's product reviews.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Take 5 Friday - My Sanity

Welcome to Take 5 Friday. Feel free to leave your comments. If you'd like to join in and link to your own Take 5 Friday post, please check out the guidelines for posting.

Our mornings and bedtimes have been very chaotic lately and it occurred to me that the main reason was we had fallen out of our regular routines. This makes for a very frustrated mom and cranky kids. I decided to print out some guidelines to help make our day start and end on a better note. Now, the logistics of the timing took some pre-thinking, but I'm pretty good on the clip art, so it only took me about 5 minutes to put together a kid-friendly version.

One side note: I am not a strict, stick-to-the-schedule-to-the-letter type. I don't want anyone thinking I'm going to be standing over my kids with a stopwatch, blowing a whistle. But I'm hoping this will at least keep them on track with steps to follow. The pictures will help my youngest, my oldest can stay on track and hopefully Mom will keep her sanity!
Edited to add: I realized after I posted this that the sheets wouldn't stay nice and neat for long. So, I put the two pages (morning and evening schedules) back to back and slipped them into a clear, plastic sheet protector. I'm happy to report that this morning's activities went off without any major setbacks!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sparkbook- Organizational Inspiration

I can't take credit for this idea. It was on Home Made Simple's website, but I wanted to share it with you. It's called a Sparkbook. It's not your typical to-do list or planner. It's a tool to help you visualize the things that you want to accomplish, a place to jot down inspirational stuff, goals, ideas and more. I made mine with things I already had at home and it took me all of 15 minutes. (That's mine, there on the left) I used paper from my scrapbooking supplies to make the tabs and printed clear labels to make for nice, neat dividers. I used a blank book I'd picked up awhile back because I liked the color, so I knew I'd enjoy using it.

You can customize your's with tabs that suit your own needs, including things like: Home, Family, Personal, Career, Inspirational, Financial, etc. I'm going to include pictures of things that inspire me as well. Kind of like a portable visualzation board without taking up the wall space!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Take 5 Friday - My Purse

I've been noticing lately that it's taking me longer to find things in my purse and I think my right shoulder has begun to develop a "drop" due to the weight of it all. So, I figured this week it was time to just grin and bear it and do a total overhaul.

Best thing to do is to start by dumping everything on your kitchen table. Right during the middle of breakfast is the best time. It just makes it so much easier when you have the kids rummaging through the contents of your purse. Take an inventory of the items you find in your purse just for comic relief, if nothing else. Mine included things like:

  • 5 lipsticks/glosses (necessary due to different shades)

  • 1 daughter's Disney Princess chap-stick (confiscated due to the breaking of the cardinal rule of rolling up too far)

  • 3 tubes hand lotion (it may be dry winter weather, but why would anyone need this many is even beyond me)

  • 2 sets of keys

  • Bills/mail to be dropped off

  • Note pad (but not a pen in sight)

  • MP3 player

  • Palm Pilot

  • 12 assorted discount/reward store cards

  • Cell phone

  • Wallet

  • 1 Piece of daughter's partially chewed "hot, hot, owww hot!" gum in wrapper

  • Business card holder

  • Coupon for Bath & Body Works

  • Current choice of reading material (in this case The Pillars of the Earth...highly recommended)

The only thing in the whole mess that I can say was organized was my lipsticks because I had previously put them in a Teeny Tiny Organizing Bag. I decided I could do without 2 tubes of hand lotion, my book (for today because I wouldn't have time to read it while I was out) and the chewed gum. I dropped off the bills/mail and spent the coupon (on more lotion none-the-less) and my 4 year old took back her chapstick with the promise to abide by the rules.

I think you'll agree it looks much better and at least I'm walking upright now! What can you do in 5 minutes to be better organized? Post your comment and link to your own Take 5 Friday post to join in. Come on...I can't be the only one having all the fun!

Thursday, January 3, 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.

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.