Posts filed under ‘Organization’

Prepping for vacation…a few tips to make it a little easier.

Well, it’s that time of year.  Vacations for many families are the norm, and tearing your hair out whilst packing and loading are pretty much standard.

As always, I make a list of what we need to bring, a menu plan for the week while we are gone, and a grocery list for when we get there.  This year when packing, I decided to expand on my clothes basket technique.  For the last few years, we’ve been packing all of our shoes in a clothes basket to take to the beach, and it worked fabulously.  So, I figured maybe I would try it for other things, too.  I loaded one with beach towels and a bag of pool toys/sunscreen, one with food.  They are very easy to stack in the car and super easy to unload upon arrival.

I also clear out my fridge, pack up all of my partially eaten cereal, chips, cookies, and crackers and we polish them off at the beach.  (My family didn’t even complain when we ate pasta, Craisins, sunflower seeds, bacon, and yogurt for a few days for dinner prior to us leaving. )  Then, when I get home, I do a large grocery trip and my pantry is cleared of all near-empty boxes.

I also wash all the sheets, dirty laundry, and towels before we go, as well as vacuum and run/unload the dishwasher.  How awesome it is to come home to a nice clean house!

Don’t forget to turn down your AC, have someone get your mail, water your plants, and keep an eye on your house.  Have fun! 

“Enjoy an organized life!”

July 16, 2010 at 9:08 am Leave a comment

A new website that will help you get organized and stay that way!

It’s time to ditch the sticky notes and little scrap pieces of paper flying all around your house and purse!  A friend (Thanks, Kim!) sent me a link to Cozi, an online organizing site that will help you synch your family calendar, manage your ‘to do’ list, send you reminders, and help you make your shopping lists.  You can tap into it from your phone or computer or even call in to a toll-free number, and they will read you the items on your shopping list.  Now how’s that for service!

Check it out an “Enjoy an organized life.”

July 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

Summer Survival Trick: Make the kids earn their video game time!

It seems like last summer my boys wanted to lounge around in their pajamas forever and watch TV only to be followed by:  “I’m bored.  Can we play video games?”  It was a battle everyday to have them read or do workbook pages.

So, this summer I knew I had to get smart and start off on the right foot.  Having a new puppy has helped tremendously due to the fact that we are taking him for a nice long walk every morning which gets us up and dressed WAY earlier than in summers past.  

Next, for my new strategy.  I told my boys if they wanted to play video games, they would need to earn their time by reading.  They can read up to an hour each day and earn up to an hour of video game time.  (My oldest actually is reading about an hour and a half now, even though he knows he’s only going to get an hour of game time.)  And, in reality, they are not even using their whole hour each day.

It is working like a charm!  Why didn’t I think of this last summer?!

June 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm Leave a comment

Evernote: A great way to keep track of info!

We all have bits of information we need or want to keep, whether it’s a recipe, a photo, a phone number, a business card, etc.  Several fellow professional organizers highly recommended a free website, Evernote, to help you keep track of all of these little pieces of information that can drive us crazy!  Ditch the Post-It notes all over your home and office, and give it a try.  Imagine, all of your pertinent info in one place…genius!

It is apparently very easy to use, and you can access your info from just about anywhere, including your phone.  Check it out…I’d love to hear your feedback on it!

June 23, 2010 at 9:16 am 1 comment

New puppy = Disorganization at its finest.

Well, I never thought it would happen to me, but chaos finally reigns on some level in my household.  We added a new puppy to the family last week, and, whew, does my life feel like it is spinning out of control.  Just wanted to add some realism…even a professional organizer’s life gets turned upside down once in a while.

No schedule, little sleep, doggy stuff all over the house, newly designated ‘do your business’ flip flops, baggies of treats, rolls (and rolls) of paper towels…I could scream!  It’s definitely bringing back memories of having a newborn (minus the flip flops).

Of course, I shopped ahead, preplanned a housebreaking schedule, had a crate training plan, and so on.  But, guess what?  Aside from the shopping ahead (which turned out to be really helpful), all of my best laid plans have completely flown out the window.  Aside from organizing all of the supplies to make things easier, I have decided I have to accept temporary chaos.

But, I am going to fight hard to regain my order, and you can too, no matter what state you are in.  Know that order in everyone’s lives ebbs and flows at different times, so don’t give up and panic.  Make a ‘to do’ list to keep your sanity and before you know it, things will get better (that’s what I’m telling myself, anyway).

“Enjoy an organized life!”

June 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm 1 comment

Handmade Signs for Every Occasion

You absolutely have to check out The Back Porch Shoppe on Etsy.  My friend sent me the link because she has an awesome large wooden vintage letter “G” at her house that I was admiring.  Of course her oh-so-crafty husband made hers for her, but she said they modeled it after the one on this website.

They have adorable handmade signs for nearly every room in your house, wedding signs, house number signs, etc.  These would make great wedding or baby gifts, too!

“Enjoy an organized life!”  

May 21, 2010 at 6:57 am Leave a comment

Great price on P-Touch label maker at Costco

I was at Costco today and saw they have a P-Touch label maker for around $28, including two tape cartridges and batteries.  This is a great deal!  If you don’t have a label maker, I highly recommend the P-Touch.  (I found it in the office supply section.)

“Enjoy an organized life!”

April 20, 2010 at 7:08 pm Leave a comment

Quickie of the Day: Clean out your freezer

We all hate to do it…sort through the unmentionable, unidentifiable freezer-burned items in our freezer.  But, at some point, you’ve got to take the bull by the horns and dig in and do it.

I like to take everything out a shelf at a time, assess the contents of the freezer bags/storage containers/boxes/partially-eaten bags of veggies I drag out, chuck anything that looks frightening, and put the rest back in.  I try to do this in an organized fashion (i.e., put items back on shelves in categories like veggies, smoothie ingredients, breakfast items, meats, frozen breads, desserts, etc.).  It makes it so much easier to find things.

And, while you are at it, put a Sharpie marker/freezer tape in the drawer near your fridge so you can mark the bags and containers with what date you froze the item.  That way you know just how long something has been lurking in there!

Take a look at my previous post about how long to keep food items.  That may help you decide what to purge.

I’d say, “Have fun!”, but I know that’s just understood.  Who doesn’t like a good freezer purge every once in a while.  Enjoy!

April 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm 2 comments

Chalkboard labels and wall decals

I love making lists and keeping a family calendar in my kitchen, but I am finding that the combination of white boards and cork boards just isn’t working for us.   I love the idea of a chalkboard, but absolutely can’t stand the mess.  I saw the chalkboard vinyl calendar in the Pottery Barn Teen catalog, which I loved but couldn’t afford.  I did a little poking around on the Internet and found that chalkboards ain’t what they used to be!  Enter “the chalk marker” and repositionable chalkboard vinyl.  Voila…you get the fun of chalk without all the dust! 

I found more than a few websites that carry unique products at a great price.  Use your creativity…there are so many things to choose from!  I especially love the repositionable pieces of chalkboard vinyl.  You can use them alone on a wall, or cut them to fit on the front or inside panels of one or two of your cabinets.  There are so many sizes available, so you can tailor them to suit your needs.

I would suggest the following uses for a vinyl chalkboard:

  • A family calendar (use a different color chalk marker for each kid or activity, etc.)
  • Menu planning
  • A shopping list
  • Memo notes to your loved ones
  • Reminders for yourself
  • A to-do list
  • Put them in your kids’ rooms for personal reminders
  • Use them on a playroom wall for your budding artists

Check out Chalk Ink for some great products and ideas.

I also found a great website, Chalky Doodles, that sells really cute chalkboard labels for all of your baskets and bins (as always, I am on the hunt for creative and fun organizing ideas).  Super-cute and easy to use.  I would use a chalk marker on these to alleviate the dust created by regular chalk.

Also, check out their chalkboard decals.  For those of you who want a little style, there is a really neat one that looks like a picture frame.  This would be perfect in a kitchen on a light colored wall.

Have fun browsing!

“Enjoy an organized life!”

April 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

Meal Planning Website for Friends in Need

My friend just sent me a link to a website that helps you plan meals for loved ones and friends who are in need of a helping hand due to illness, etc.  I know there are several out there, but wanted to pass on the link in the event you are needing such a service.  It really makes it more manageable for those who want to participate without inundating the family in need with phone calls.

Whenever I coordinate meals for someone, I always ask if there are allergies, food preferences, kid preferences, what time they want the meal delivered, do they want it hot or cold, etc.  Usually, every other day is plenty due to the amount of leftovers.  I’ve also found it nice to bring/coordinate lunches like chef salad with the ingredients packed separately like a salad bar, or provide breakfast food.  Many times other family members are around, and it is nice to provide food they can pick off of for a few days.

Check out the link:  www.takethemameal.com

Thanks for the tip, Katie!

April 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm Leave a comment

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