If you are a busy Mom who has introduced the Elf on a Shelf to your family, and you are anything like me, you are already running low on ideas. While Pinterest-ing, I found a 30-day calendar of ideas that "Mommy's Craft Obsessions" posted. I like it because you don't have to following it religiously but at least it gives you a starting point.
Best of luck this holiday season Elf Hiders!
Looking for an easy solution for storing your hair dryer and flat iron? I found this handy over-the-cabinet door basket that can hold those items, and their cords, within arms reach. Check it out! It is currently being sold here for a good price and free shipping. Be sure to check the dimensions of your cabinet door prior to ordering. One website indicated that the product measures 13.5" tall x 11" wide.
Are kid's bikes and scooters littering you walkways in your garage? Give them a home! Buy a bike rack to corral them in their place.
Have you ever dreaded organizing an event because you know you will be completely overwhelmed with coordinating everyone's schedules?
Well, Doodle.com might be for you!
Per Wikipedia, "Doodle.com is a free Internet calendar tool for time management and coordinating meetings. Users are polled to determine the best time and date to meet. Meeting coordinators (administrators) receive e-mail alerts for votes and comments."
The best part about it is that it can interact with your calendar so you are always in-the-know about meeting date/time changes.
If you have an upcoming event that you are trying to coordinate, check it out. It might just save you hours of time and the associated headache.
Some of my clients have accumulated small collections of x-ray images over the years. If you have too, and are looking for an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of them, bring them to:
18 Corporate Circle
East Syracuse, NY 13057
They will recycle and remove the recoverable silver from them.
Fall is quickly approaching and if you have a garden, it's almost time to pull out those mason jars!
Here are a few ideas for using mason jars for organizing small unruly items:
-In the bathroom for cotton balls, q-tips, make up sponges, and make up brushes
-For art supplies such as crayons, pom poms, and buttons
-In the kitchen for cooking utensils on the counter
-In the pantry for pasta, rice, oatmeal, and quinoa
-In the office as a pencil holder
-For cupcake wrappers
-In the bathroom as a toothbrush holder
-In the kitchen for spices
-In the workshop for screws, nails, and nuts/bolts
-For sewing supplies like spools of thread, needles, and ribbons
-As a match holder with a piece of sand paper secured above the lid for striking
-As a keepsake holder
-In the basement for leftover paint
Is you email inbox cluttered with promotional emails every morning? Simplify with The Swizzle (www.theswizzle.com).
The Swizzle Sweeper helps you easily and securely unsubscribe from emails you no longer wish to receive and rolls up the emails you do want into an aggregated daily digest.
I use and love it!
As you begin to shuffle things around to prepare for a move, remember to put items that you would like packed together, physically together. Movers don't organize. They don't have the time or patience and don't get paid enough to.
When I am working with a client who is moving, we go through each room and remove anything that will be donated, recycled, or trashed. While we are working, we organize items together that will be stored in a storage unit or other location and BOLDLY label the items with labels that say something like "TO STORAGE UNIT." If we come across a bath towel in the basement, we bring it to the bathroom and put it with the other towels so they will all be packed together.
Your time and energy spent on this task will pay off tenfold when you are unpacking box after box.
I saw this very clever and very easy-to-make ski rack at a client's house and couldn't resist taking a picture. To re-create: buy 2 long pieces of wood and some dowels, drill holes in each piece of wood (the size of the diameter of the dowels), and insert the dowels. I am inspired to do this in my garage! See, you really do learn something everyday :)
Have you ever organized a room and wondered "How am I ever going to keep it this way?"
Here are a few tips to help you with maintenance:
-Every day (or every few days) set a timer for 10-15 minutes and do a tidy session. Remove obvious trash and have a basket handy to fill with items that need to go to other rooms. Relocate the items from the basket when the timer goes off.
-It is always more fun with a companion. Get your family involved in the tidy session (make it a game) or ask a friend to come over to help with the promise of tea and cookies after.
-Make "rules" to keep the space tidy. Do you have a rule that flat surfaces should be clutter-free at all times? Is there a basket near the door to collect items to go elsewhere? Have you committed to only keeping the last 3 issues of each magazine you subscribe to?
Organizing is only half the battle, it's maintenance that makes that lasting impression. Good luck!
Here are some out of the box scarf storage ideas:
If you are a visual person, like me, and want to see pictures, find me on Pinterest (search Elizabeth Bremer) and view my closet organizing "Board." Good luck wrangling your scarves!
I am not a card keeper (unless it includes a heartfelt message) but a word of advise.......hold on to birth announcements you get in the mail! They will come in handy when you are about to visit a friend and can't remember his/her kids' names.
You might be wondering where you should keep stuff like this?!?! I have a photo box with memory stuff in it. It includes souvenirs, concert tickets, notes, birth announcements, etc. When the box gets full I go through it (which is actually fun) and purge anything that doesn't drum up positive memories. If I can't remember where I got it or why I kept it, in the trash it goes!
I often find myself recommending drawer organizers to my clients. (You know, the trays that come with all different size sections.) The problem with them is that they slip and slide every time you pull out the drawer or push it back in.
Solution: Stick some mounting putty on the bottom and they will stay put. I have fallen back in love :)
One thing I love about my career is that I get to work with creative people. As you can imagine, when I work with a creative person, we both bring valuable ideas to the table (mine usually being function and efficiency oriented).
As a green organizer, I like to find new ways to use old things. You can imagine how many times I have used a bookshelf as a toy storage unit or used a dresser as a scrapbooking center. Truly innovative ways to turn clutter into useful or beautiful things (i.e., upcycling) is fascinating to me.
According to Wikipedia, upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. I found this photo on Facebook, someone used slides (like the kind we had back in the 1980"s that people used in projectors) and made a window treatment! Pinterest.com is awesome for upcycling inspiration. If you don't have an account, I highly recommend you get one.
A word of caution: only hold onto waste materials if you have a defined project in mind and time set aside for the project on your calendar, otherwise it just adds to the clutter.
Clutter is like mold. If you don't take action to get rid of it, it will continue to grow and will eventually be a hazard to your health.
When you purchase something, pay attention to how it looks when it comes out of the box or package. It is likely that the key to storing it in a nice neat way is how it was when you bought it. Think about a fitted sheet. Folding them seem impossible but when they are in the package at the store they are folded neatly with uniform corners and a perfect square shape.
p.s. If you wonder how to fold a fitted sheet, Marsha Stewart has a YouTube video that can teach you how. Just search "fitted sheet Martha" on YouTube.
When you are starting an organizing project, it is just as important to ask "What is working?" as it is to ask "What is not working?."
For inspiration on how to fix problems, model solutions after what IS working. An example of what to look for might be to notice whether items behind closed cabinets tend to stay more organized or those in open top bins on shelves.
I have two young children (ages 3 and 5). When I am cooking dinner I like to have them in the kitchen with me.
To keep them busy and out of each other's hair, I designated a cupboard as their "activity center." I asked for their help in designing the space. They told me the types of things they would like to have there and I determined how much of each category and what containers were appropriate. Getting them involved in the design gave them ownership of the space and I have found that they are more likely to return items back to their proper places when I do involve them.
On the top shelf, I used a magazine holder on its size to contain stickers (in a plastic pouch) and a folder for completed artwork they decide to keep. On the horizontal trays we have loose colored paper/construction paper and coloring books. My oldest daughter's journal is next to the horizontal trays on the right.
We have crayons, markers, and colored pencils in containers on the lower shelf. (My oldest wanted them separated by type.....like mother, like daughter.) I used another magazine holder for educational workbooks on the right. These are strategically placed somewhat out of view so the kids aren't using them as coloring books. (These types of workbooks are more for one-on-one time with me.)
This system has been working quite well. As the kids get older and their interests change, so will this space. For now we are enjoying cooking time bliss.
Here is a mini-project for you: the black hole (aka under your kitchen sink). My first suggestion is to consider the location of your trash/recycling receptacles. Are they conveniently located or do you have to leave the room to recycle a can? If you clear enough space under your sink you might want to consider keeping small trash cans for recycling there (see photo). Next, pull everything out and begin to sort and purge. Get rid of products you don't or have never used. Group remaining products into categories (e.g., carpet cleaners, dish soaps, window sprays, etc) and purge duplicates. Next, put what is left back under the sink or move it to other locations in the house as appropriate. Put products you use most often in the front and those less frequently used in the back. Good luck!
There is a point in some organizing project when you should stop and say "this is organized enough." If you over-complicate a system it often makes it too hard to maintain. Another side effect is that you may dread your next organizing project because you remember how much time and energy your last project took (aka: perfection causing procrastination).
The holidays are over and it's time to look forward to the new year. How can you turn dread into ease and enjoyment next December when it is time to pull out your holiday decorations? Before you just shove all your decorations in a box (tangled/non-working lights, broken ornaments, and all), organize and pack them like a pro now. It doesn't take that much more effort and you will thank yourself later, I promise.