Friday, January 28, 2011

Keep up the challenge....

So, Toni is going to keep us going on our organization with weekly challenges! Don't forget to join in the fun! See her blog for details!
*A Bowl Full of Lemons*

Organization helpers

OK, so Toni asked us on the last day of the challenge {which no, I did NOT finish, but I did make a list of the ones I had to do still...ugh...the laundry room and fridge being two of them...dreading those...., but I promise to share when I am finished!} share some organization tips that help us! So here's mine:

I use a dry erase calendar that I love love love...easy to change and add...

but I needed a calendar that showed the next few months for upcoming events and appts. I made the inside of the pantry the calendar section. I put our year calendar, as well as the boys' lunch menu, class photos and school district schedule. Easy to find, but out of sight.

I started my household binder and bought a cute basket to store on my kitchen counter with a bucket of dry erase pens and regular pens (i.e. out of reach of my children).

I also added my perpetual birthday calendar, as I want to be better at recognizing birthdays. My household binder stores phone lists, restaurant menus, medical info, future events, school info, kids' activities....all the of the stuff you'll need to run the household.

My little drawers inside of the pantry that stores batteries, matches, calculator, rubber bands, odds and ends. I LOVE that I know where I can find that stuff when I need it! (No pic)

My library bookshelf. I designated one section of our bookcase for library books only. I know where they are and never have to search for them. I even keep the kids' library books there.
I moved my scrapbooks into the family room instead of a shelf in the office where only I see them. The kids love pulling them out to look through them. Here's one shelf:

I have 2 other shelves. One of the best things I did (adapted from Stacy Julian) was take the pics I develop and put them into nice leather albums with photo sleeves so we can look through them, instead of sitting in plastic boxes waiting to be scrapped. I actually need to go get some more. I got 2 for $20 at Costco a few years ago. Need to see if they have more! I don't scrap as much as I used to, so I'd like us to see the pictures!

Coming first giveaway. If you have boys, you'll probably like this (though little girls might like it, too!). Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The challenge continues....

Working on the challenges:

Here's the spices: don't need to clean out...yet.

Here's my bathroom drawers before: (yuck)

The last pic shows my freebies/cheapies cabinets: when I was on my big couponing kick last spring I stocked much so that we haven't needed to buy shampoo, deoderant, toothpaste, soap, body wash, razors, etc. since April. The cabinets are really thinned out now, so I better go shopping! Time to bust out the coupon binder!
Anyway, added some baskets, threw out a trash can full of stuff (OK, so it was a tiny bathroom trash can, but still!), organized make up in one basket, lotions in another, and voila:

Tackled the medicine cabinet (this house doesn't have medicine that odd?), and we house our meds in a higher kitchen cabinet away from little hands. See my Shaklee Vitamins?
Love 'em! (Not sure what that gunk is on the wall...not gum or anything

I put kids meds in one basket, and adult stuff in another. All clean!

To be honest, I haven't checked to see what the challenges are this week...I will catch up, I promise! (Though I LOVE your blog, Toni!!!).

Here's what we've been doing....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Playroom Clean up

OK, so I finally tackled the playroom yesterday. It looked like this (THOUGH I will say it honestly never looks like this, I just let it go and didn't make the kids clean up all week since I knew I was redoing it....this is terrible, I will agree)

Our playroom is supposed to be the dining room, but our kitchen is big enough for our table, and we all eat in there I converted this area into the kids' area. I took all the toys out of the boys room (to keep their room cleaner). Kendall still has her dollhouse and babies in her own room (need to organize that room, too!).
So, here it is.

I took out the toy organizer (what do I use that for now?) and brought in the bookcase from the boys' room that matched the other bookcase in here already. I threw away a ton of toys/missing game pieces and put some in a donate bag. I used the tubs from our toy organizer so I didn't buy any new ones. I still need to go buy another cartridge for the label maker so I can label the tubs: Little People, cars, musical toys, animals, dinosaurs, people, flashcards, games, puzzles, etc. I had one tub that really is ETC. because those toys didn't fit into the other categories. The boys had fun looking through the toys and picking out the tub to play with.
I plan to work on the other challenges today and tomorrow, need to really hit the laundry room one, but think I will skip the spices (that cabinet is fine, I find my spices easily).
Happy Weekend!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reviews of Organizing Books

So, I have an addiction to books...if you are my friend on goodreads, you know that. I also have a slight addiction to organizing books. So, in the spirit of all the organizing going down, I thought I share some of my favs:

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider: if you know the simple mom blog:, then you will like this short book. It is broken down into 2 parts: the first gives tools and suggestions for living a simpler life (money, time, schedule, clutter, life goals). I love what Tsh has to say, so I really enjoyed this section. Living simply is something I want to strive for, and we're making progress, I think. The second half is her plan to decluttering your home. It's a 10 day plan, if you go all out for it. I don't have the time to do it in 10 days (maybe summer), but I'm taking suggestions and currently following Toni's schedule (the challenge!), which is more do-able for me, at this time. But a good resource to have. I bought a copy, and I'm glad I have it!

The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark. This is a library check-out, which I have renewed to the maximum....bummer. It's completely different from the other books...but I like it a lot! She helps you see things in "zones" in your house, and that clutter is a result of not being organized in those zones: homework, bill paying, laundry, etc. Basically, set up stations, and organize those stations, and your house will be more orderly. I am enjoying this, though I have not attempted her "plan" that she advocates in her book.

Organize Now! by Jennifer Ford Berry. This is a week by week book to organize yourself, your house, your finances, etc in a year. I bought this and made it to about week 5...but I think I will pick it up again. If you like following checklists, you will love this book! (Looks like the amazon link takes you to new and improved!)

It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. You know Peter, right? The TLC organizing guru, been on Oprah, etc. Love him! This book is more of the reasoning behind why our homes are cluttered. He leads you through thinking about your things and why we hold onto things. This is a great book to read before starting a big organizing kick because you will look at your things differently. I held onto a lot of things that were my Grandma's (she was crafty), but things I didn't really need or like anymore, but they were hers. Peter helped me to see that when you get rid of something that belonged to someone special, you aren't getting rid of the memories. Sounds simple, right? Raise your hand if you have things in boxes you can't part with yet....I threw away boxes of "stuff" I saved for those reasons.

Absolutely Organized: A Mom's Guide To a No-Stress Schedule and Clutter Free Home by Debbie Lillard (not pictured)
This is a tiny little book, but full of sensible, good ideas for dealing with the children's stuff: toys, clothes, memorabilia and dealing with everyone's schedules. I got a lot of good tips from this book. Checked this one out from the library, but it's on my paperback swap wish list.
So, there you go. I have a few more books, I'd like to check out, like:
Peter Walsh's new book and
One Thing at a Time

What about you????

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hall Closet clean out

OK, so one day behind (but oh this felt good)...the Hall closet! Holds coats, games, bags, snow and winter gear, summer gear, and who knows what else. It has become my stuffing ground...

During...spread out in the hallway...while making tacos...
And afterwards..voila! I am happy with how this turned out. Put the winter gear into the big red tub, put mittens and hats into the clear tub,

straightened the games and puzzles (we have to keep them up this high when you have small children and small pieces), and even, so happy, fit the vacuum.
So now it can be hidden instead of always out! I moved the summer gear to a blue tub for the garage. I even used a special hanger to hang my bags!

The pink hanging thing (LOL) is from Ikea, and it's supposed to be for Kendall's closet. I stuck it here, threw in scarves and hats, and am envisioning a place for swim goggles, sunscreen, etc. in summer. The boys have one in their closet for soccer gear, baseball uniforms, etc.
Today's challenge: the TOY AREA....that will have to wait until I can literally attack the playroom...this 3 day (whoo-hoo) weekend. I have some major work there (and hopefully some willing 7 year old and 5 year old helpers!).

Grateful for:
Family dinners: Cindy and Charlie took Joe and me out for dinner last night to celebrate (belated) Joe's birthday. YUM!

My label maker...seriously....I am in love! I'm already out of my first cartridge!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

2 in one day?!?

OK, think I am caught up...for now!
#1 Dresser: Here is the before, dusty, with socks to be matched on top...
Clothes semi-organized inside.

We also have a TV stand/dresser in our room that stores the kids' DVDs, Joe's hats, pajamas, and workout gear, and some books that don't fit on the shelves. It doesn't need to be organized inside, but I'm sharing because it is super dusty and needs cleaning, too (though now not sure why I am sharing that, though maybe because Sally shared her microwave...haha! Just kidding, mine looks like that, too, until I get my Shaklee on it!)

And AFTER: Not really showing the insides because...well, you probably don't want to see my undergarments and pajamas, right?!) But trust me, they are organized. I'll share my t-shirt drawer with my oldie but goodie Cure concert tee looking up
(it was a gift, I haven't been to a Cure concert...yet!)
And dust free:

Then #2: Linen Closet
Before, semi-organized, even labelled with my label maker:

And after: even more organized with family quilts on top and my King sheets tucked into my pillowcase (saw that idea somewhere, to tuck sheets into pillowcases to keep sheets together and organized).
(I KNOW it still looks a little messy in the picture, but it's not, I swear! Maybe I need to buy tubs after all to put the sheets in, but I am happy with this!)

All done, even snuck in a jog there. But ask me if I started report cards yet and that's a NO. Oops. Good thing I have a week! Happy Sunday! Hope you at least got some rest!

Catching up!

So I did the under the sink challenge last night (AND in a stroke of good luck, the pantry was already done...I did that right after Christmas, so I am happy about a day already done! Scroll down a bit for those pantry pics). And I had a sweet helper while her brothers were at a slumber party for cousin Tyler.

Here's the before...gross...and the vases mixed in...

And here's the after...much better! I put the "green stuff" (Shaklee, Seventh Gen) in the green basket...get it?? I am so clever..not! LOL! I need some more Shaklee, need to try some other cleaning supplies, though I LOVE the Basic H2! That stuff is the best! I also moved the vases to a new home. The pink basket holds the sponges and Magic Clean erasers.

Other updates:
Grateful for books (some of what I'm currently reading), sleeping children, yummy California burritos at Victoria's, having a girl, and when my sweet kids receive awards: Go Cooper-he got Writer's Hall of Fame!

Other news...still doing my 29 this! LOVE looking around to find someone to gift...last night had a nice 30 min. conversation with my Grandpa on the phone...I rarely call him, but I plan to start calling him every weekend to chat. I know he's a bit lonely! The call was my gift to him, and I felt so happy afterwards! I've heard many people finish this challenge and want to keep doing it. I think that's me!
On Day 5 of my 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels...and I am starting to finish the workout and NOT feel like I will collapse. In fact, I did a few more sit ups after last night's viewing...Catch me in 30 days! Whoo-hoo!