Monday, January 31, 2011

Organizing Photographs

 1. Computer
  •     Web Albums. Picassa is my favorite. There are others though. Read some reviews on them , choose one, and go for it! The huge pro for this one is that your photos won't get lost if something were to happen to your computer. An this is the cheapest option.
  •      CDs. I used to back up all my pics on CDs in the event that my computer ever crashed or got stolen. The thought of losing all my pics kept me up all night. Now they are all backed up online. But, if you're not going to do that, CD's are an option. Just put them in a fire proof safe in the event of a fire.
2. Albums
  • Good old fashioned albums! There's something comforting about having the hard copy of things. Pictures are the same. So, if you print those pictures off your camera, be sure to stick them in the album right away...otherwise, they collect and become an overwhelming mess to deal with later on. 
  • Back them up! I still recommend to have a web album or CD of your photos even if you plan on printing them all and putting them into albums. Imagine how tragic it would be to have a fire or flood and lose all those sweet memories. I know it's a lot of work and hopefully it will be a waste of your time. But if something does happen, you will be grateful for the backup photos.
  • Tips:
    • Don't feel like you have to do the project in one sitting. Break it up so it's more manageable and fun.
    • Toss any that are blurry, too dark, too light, or are doubles. Be picky about the pictures you put into the album. You really don't need 25 pictures of your daughter swinging at the park. Choose the best ones and either toss the rest, mail them to family members, or store them in a box.
    • Label them - be sure to use an appropiate pen if you write on the back of the pictures. Don't forget to label the album binding. I have 5-6 photo albums on my shelf that I have to take them all down and look through them to find the event I want. If I had labeled them, it would be easy to pull the correct album the first time.
    • Don't get albums that stick. After several years, it may be hard to get your photos out should you desire. Get the ones that slide in a plastic sleeve.
    • Sort them:
      • either by date or by category (nature, family, pets, etc.)

Good luck with organizing your photographs! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Create More Storage with Jars - Food!

Another use for jars: Foodstuff.

This is from my sister's kitchen and I love it. Display pretty food on your counters or in your pantry in glass jars. Short on space? Get jars that stack. And whatever you do: Be sure to label. Don't want to reach for the sugar for the cookies, only to discover it was actually the salt. Not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Create More Space with Jars - Kids Craft Items

Another use for jars: Craft items for kids.

Here's what I like about this. It's plastic, so it won't break. And it's not a bag. My girls have a craft bin that has loads and loads of baggies in it. It works ok. However, when the toddler joins my big girls, the bags get torn open. But, toddlers can't open jars as easily. Hence I get to stay one step ahead of my toddler.

And it's reusing an item that would otherwise get tossed (in the recycling bin, but still...repurpose is better than recycle). I may be switching to jars in the near future.

Monday, January 24, 2011

6 Tips for Organizing Your Bathroom

Follow the tips that work for your space to regain sanity and order in your bathroom: remember that it is one of the most used rooms in the house!

1. Counter tops - Try to keep your counters as free from junk as possible – store everything that you don't use daily in a cabinet or drawer, only keep it out on the counter if you use it daily.

2. Drawers – Use drawer dividers to keep small items - floss, makeup, nail clippers, jewelry – in order and easily accessible.

3. Bulk purchases – Don't waste active storage space on bulk purchases – keep those 3 gallon refill bottles of shampoo and 64 rolls of toilet paper somewhere else out of the way.

4. Cleaning supplies – Save time on cleaning day by storing supplies – tub and tile spray, toilet cleaner, glass cleaner – in a bucket under the sink or on a closet shelf.

5. Storage containers - Use plastic see through storage bins to sort items that are underneath your cabinets. Consider putting a hanging shoe organizer on the back of the door for extra storage or everyday use items that you don't have room for on the counter. Think about the walls - add shelves or suction cupped holders to create more space.   

6. Medicine cabinet - Go through your medicine cabinet (and make-up while you're at it ladies) and throw away everything that has expired or you no longer use. Fight the urge to keep it just because you "might need it someday".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Create More Storage with Jars

This idea is from Good Housekeeping. Screw the jar lids right into the shelf. Fill your jars with small items that you need to find a home for. Then screw those on the lids. Easy and cute!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Simplifiy Your Life by Home Ecomony - Soap Pumps

Being a good home economist can simplify your life tremendously by saving time, energy, and money.  If you make things last longer, you don't have to drive to the store to replace them as often - saving you drive time, shopping time, money, and the energy it takes to go to the store. So, one way to be a good home economist is...

Use less pump soap. If you have kids in the house, you know what I a kid pump some soap in their hands and they use a lot. It's not really their's the way soap pumps are made. They go down so far  and I'm convinced manufacturers' did this on purpose so you go through soap faster and have to buy more quicker.

Quick, easy, and cheap remedy - a rubber band. Tie a rubber band on the neck of the pump and it won't go down as far. You can more than double the life of your soap bottle.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Create More Space with Hooks - Day 3

Does your kitchen not have a good spot to hang potholders or towels? Get a hook like this at a hardware store and add instant space for those items.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Creative More Space with Hooks - Post 2

Remember that S Hooks can be the best little tool there is. Add them to any already existing bar to create instant storage. Or install bars in rooms where you need more storage and add the hooks to create it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Create More Space with Hooks - Post 1

This week's creative storage idea: Hooks. Think beyond hanging hats, coats, and keys.

I like how this is so easy to install and so handy to keep kitchen things organized. But, also think other rooms. Would something like this work in your bathroom cabinets? How about in your pantry? Think outside the box with this one!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Do You Know the Difference Between Uncluttered and Organized?

Whew. The holidays are officially over. I don't know about you, but my house seems to take a beating during all the celebrations. My wrapping station is crazy again. My desk is full of things I don't even remember putting there. And there are toy manuals all over my house.

Now is a great time to talk about the difference between uncluttered and organized. Did you know that you can have a very organized space, but still FEEL unorganized? Chances are it's because it's a cluttered space. You have too many things!Yes, all your red shoes may be together, but do you really need 7 pairs of them? I know you enjoy coffee, but do you really need 40 mugs?

Americans don't need half the things we have in our homes. And often times those things that we think bring us joy, actually don't. When you walk into an organized room that still feels chaotic, it doesn't much matter if the chaos is organized.

So this year, work on learning the difference between organized and uncluttered. Being organized and uncluttered brings a peaceful feeling into your space...not only because you know where all your belongs are, but because you don't have too many things. So, unclutter your life this year and enjoy a more simple and gratifying life!

Enjoy these pictures of organized clutter:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Three Things To Do With Stuff

Need to get some clutter out of your house? Here my favorite ways to do just that:
  1. Give
    1. Freecycle
      1. I love Freecycle. It's a group of people in your area who give stuff to each other. It's that simple. You join the group. Then you post items either via the website or email that you are giving away. Likewise, you can ask for items that you are looking for and also ask for items that others are getting rid of.    
    2. Charity 
      1. Clothes - Some people have expressed concern about what to do with clothes that are not fit to be worn again...they don't want to toss them in the trash since synthetic materials don't decompose. Well, I have good news. Take it to Goodwill. They give any torn or stain clothing to textile factories who then reuse it.
      2. Be sure to write any donations off on your taxes!
    3. Friends
      1. Don't forget to think about your friends and family when bringing items out of your home! But be thoughtful about it. Don't give a dozen mugs to your friend who already has 46 of them. Don't offer your old dirty Lazy Boy chair to your brother who doesn't need an old dirty chair. Some people have a hard time saying "no thanks" to things that are offered to them, even if they don't need or want them. So, then you're just passing along the problem to someone you love. 
  1. Sell

    1. Consignment
      1. I love this option for those with kids. I consign at Tot Trade Charlotte. Now, it's work. But it's also worth it, especially if you have big items to sell. There are also consignment stores where you take your items. My experience is that you get more consigning them at a sale. But, keep the time in mind. It takes some time to tag all those clothes and toys. Dropping them off at a storefront is much easier. There are also consignment stores that have nothing to do with kids. One of my favorites is South End Exchange.
    2. Craigslist
      1. This is another option to sell your more valuable items. I currently have a Rolling Laptop Bag for sale. It's quicker than consigning items, but it can come with hassle as well. You have to take pictures of the item and upload them to your computer (this is hard for some know who I'm talking about...those of you who have 500 pictures from two years ago still on your camera). You have to repost your item if the listing expires. You have to worry about the safety of someone coming to your home to buy the item (I always recommend meeting in a different public location). But, sometimes it's the best venue to sell your items. And in my opinion, you make the most money this way.
    3. Ebay
      1. I don't like this option. It's too much of a hassle to list items, shipping is always a hassle, etc. But, some people love it and make money. And it may be the best way to sell those rare items.
    4. Yard Sale
      1. LOTS of work. Unless you have a lot of things (like a moving sale or estate sale), it's best to donate the items and write it off on your taxes. Less work and less stress. One of the only benefits I can think of is that it helps you meet your neighbors.
  1.  Repurpose
    1.  But don't hoard. Just because that peanut butter jar is a great jar doesn't mean you need to keep it (since chances are that if you like to repurpose things, you already have 5 peanut butter jars sitting somewhere waiting for a project).
    2. Keep the time into consideration. I would love to save some of my kids old clothes to *someday* make into a quilt. Yeah...not ever going to happen (I'm not crafty). I'd love to save milk jugs to turn into bird feeders. Also not going to happen. My life is too full of other things to be crafty...that's just me. So, find what you have time and energy for and what you don't. 
    3. Have a purpose when you repurpose. Don't do it just for the sake of saving something from the landfill...because if you really don't need the item or don't like the item, your house becomes the landfill.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How Many Mugs Do You Own?

Do you have a coffee mug addiction? Not sure? Go to your kitchen and count your mugs. How many do you have in your cabinet? If your answer is one of the following, you have a mug problem:

1. I'm embarrassed to say the number out loud.
2. Don't talk to me about MY coffee mugs. Go count your own mugs, buddy!
3. But I may need them all one day!
4. Listen lady, I'm not getting rid of any of my 40 mugs...they are all special to me!

If you answered similar to number 1 - get rid of some!! Repeat to yourself: My kitchen is NOT a diner. My kitchen is NOT a diner.

If you answered similar to number 2 - you're in denial. Go ask a friend to come help you count and please don't get mad at him or her when they tell you that you have too many.

If you answered similar to number 3 - read on, friend. I know that you like to keep mugs in case you have company over and you need extra. Fine. I get that. Just don't keep them in the kitchen. Box them up and put them in a deep dark closet. A garage. A basement. Whatever makes the most sense for your home. Rule of thumb for the kitchen: If you haven't used it in a year, it doesn't need to be in the kitchen.

If you answered similar to number 4 - I get ya. I know that people give mugs to others. A lot. But, there's still a limit to how many sentimental things we can keep. Here's what you need to do to help gain cabinet control back:
  • Sort through your mugs. Donate all the ones that don't mean anything to you. Put back the ones that are the most meaningful to you. Repurpose those in between. Put a mug on your desk for pens. Plant  flowers in some and create a beautiful arrangement on your porch. Turn one into a candy bowl in  your living room or guest room. Keep your tooth brush and paste in one.
So, really...go count your mugs and purge if you have too many. Remember, you can only drink from one at a time!