Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keeping Mementos

These are my grandfathers canes. When he died, the canes were passed onto my dad. They could have easily found their way to a basement, attic, or garage for storage. But, they didn't. They are being displayed.

Sure, not every sentimental item can be put up on a wall or out on display. Nor should they. But if you have an attic full of sentimental items, take a look to see what you can turn into art. It adds a little something special to your home. And unclutters your attic at the same time, even if only by one item.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Multiple uses for file boxes?

See that black file box? It's being repurposed. Toss out the papers that were in there and add some pasta. It's such a pain to stack pasta boxes because the ones on the bottom are then difficult to get to. Enter the file box. Put one in your pantry or cabinet and you create more vertical storage.

Monday, October 25, 2010

And the Winner is....

Thank you to all those who participated in my first contest! Keep reading my blog for another chance to win!

Congratulations to Trish R. who guessed it correctly! My favorite organizing tool is the trash can! Disclaimer: be sure to recycle.

I love the trash can because it's a great way to keep the clutter down. I immediately throw out junk mail. I toss out odds and ends around the house. I throw away some of the kid's art projects because I really don't need 10,000 samples of their art. I love to throw away things more than anyone I know. And for all those skeptics out there: no, I've never regretted throwing something away. I've never thrown away something I actually needed or wanted. And I always recycle what I can. You should try it. It really does simplify your life!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Contest Time!

Welcome to my first contest! The first person to post the correct answer wins a $10 gift card to Target!

Here's how this works:

1. Answer this question: What's my favorite organizing tool?
2. Post your guess as a comment on this blog post.
3. Contest ends on October 31, 2010. If someone guesses it before then, the contest is over!

Good luck!

Jump Start Your Project

I just got this roll of wrapping paper from someone. I could have easily just added it to my pile and moved on with my life. However, I'm letting it jump start me to organizing this crazy, out-of-control space of mine (see, even people who love to organize get cluttered!).
The under the stairs closet that keeps my cleaning supplies and gift wrapping.
Whew. Now that's better.
I'm being vulnerable here people, showing my mess!
And much better.

So, instead of continuing to add items on top of items...let that newest addition give you a jump start to simplifying your space.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Product Review: Expanding File Folders

I love these! I used this past weekend at a client's home to help her organize her files. These wonderful file folders expand on the bottom, making enough space for bulky paperwork. The next time you organize your files, be sure to go buy a packet of these. It makes it so easy to get paperwork, magazines, etc. in and out of the cabinet.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cooking in Bulk

And this isn't even all of it!

A dear friend and I bulk cook once a month. Here's how it works and why it simplifies my life:

1. Organize. Our very first meeting we talked about the types of food we like, who's house we'd do it at, and worked out child care (thankfully, her kids are old enough to babysit mine while we cook).

2. Recipes. We do 3 recipes every time we meet and make sure that we multiply the recipe enough for each of us to come away with 3 servings of each recipe. There are lots of cookbooks with great freezer recipes. Go to the library and check some out. Buy the books you like or just copy the recipes. My favorite book is Fix, Freeze, Feast by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik. Another tip: you don't need the recipe to be a freezer recipe to freeze it. Walk through the frozen food section at the store and for the most part, what they freeze - you can freeze.

3. Shop. We split the shopping. We mostly shop at Aldi's and Costco because they carry items cheaper than Harris Teeter or other grocery stores. We figure out the total and split the cost evenly.

4. Cook. We spend one morning (typically 3 hours) cooking. We do prep work ahead of time (like chop veggies, cook meat, etc) so it's basically just the assembly that we do that morning.

5. Freeze. We put our meals in the freezer (making sure they are labeled) and they are ready to go.

Bulk cooking has simplified my life more than any other thing I've blogged about. I serve inexpensive, healthy (for the most part), quick meals that all I have to do is take out of the freezer.

Caveat: You have to have the freezer space in order for this to work. We bought an extra one on Craigslist for a great price. And I'm convinced we've already paid for it with the money I save by cooking in bulk. Don't have the space for an extra freezer? Ask around! Maybe one of your friends has an extra one that's not full and you can use their freezer in exchange for a meal!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Client's Office Organization

I spent this past weekend helping a client get her office organized. She was a self-proclaimed paper pack rat. She knew she needed to go through it, but she said that at some point it got too overwhelming to tackle.

It's much easier going through clutter with someone else. We took the weekend and put order and beauty back into her office...which now she can use again!

Desk Before:
Desk After:

 Closet Before:

 Closet After: 

Filing Cabinet Before:

Filing Cabinet After:

Bookshelves Before:

 Bookshelves After:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Where Are My Dumb Keys!!

Here they are. Nicely organized and labeled. You can get this box or something similar to it and mount it on a wall. If you have a ton of keys. If not, just get a hook and hang it on a wall close to where you come in the house. Don't want to nail something in your wall? Put a bowl close by the entrance door and designate that as your key drop off spot. Whatever your system, be consistent and try to ALWAYS put your keys away in their correct spot.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

His, Her, and Their Coat Closet, (Final)Tip 5

All of this was in my closet that doesn't fit any of my children. What a waste of space!
Tip 5: Go through it! A classic organizing mistake is to "fix it and forget it" (who else is seeing that infomercial now?!). Once you organize something, you have to revisit every so often to maintain. I go through mine when the seasons change. That way I won't clutter up the bins with items that aren't being used. Purge the items you haven't worn in two years. 

What are some of your coat closet organizing ideas?  Post a comment so people can have more tips!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

His, Her, and Their Coat Closet, Tip 4

Tip 4: Closet Doublers. It is a simple thing that I bought a while ago that has enhanced my closet space and given me my sanity back. I used mine in my children's room so they could reach their dresses. But, you can use this in the coat closet to create more space...either for adult items or kid items. And since some people use their coat closet floor for other items, closet doublers are a great alternative to using baskets on the floor.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

His, Her, and Their Coat Closet, Tip 3

A picture is worth a thousand words. This is a Martha Stewart closet. Literally - right off her website. And I think it's beautiful. And for those of you who have the time and money to do something like this, more power to you. But, I just don't. However, I can glean a tip.

Tip 3: Hooks on the door. This is very doable. I like the idea of putting hooks on the inside of the door for extra hanging space. Just be sure that there is enough space to close the door after you hang your items on it. Having doors that close is a very small way of adding peace to your life. If the doors are always ajar, it makes the room seem more cluttered than it really is.

Friday, October 1, 2010

His, Her, and Their Coat Closet, Tip 2

Tip 2: Bins for the floor. I used to hang my children's coats up on the rack. Every time they needed a coat, it was up to me to get it. That got old pretty fast. So, on the floor they went. Each child gets their own bin and now has control over getting their own coats. Do you have older kids who can reach the coats up top just fine? Use the bin on the floor idea to hold sports equipment, backpacks, shoes, or other items that are unsightly at the door.