Laura - I'm an Organizing Junkie

10 Simple Solutions for Organized Living

Ten Simple Solutions for Organized Living
Is getting yourself and your family organized something you’ve been wanting to make happen for  awhile?  Something you wish you knew how to do or even just where to start?  When you look around a room and see clutter after more clutter, it can definitely be overwhelming.  Rather than give up and do nothing though, maybe what you need to do is try a different approach.  Let’s go back to the organizing basics!

Sometimes it isn’t so much about starting with this pile here or that pile over there but more a matter of introducing a few daily organizational habits to help keep the clutter and chaos from becoming more than you can manage.

Introducing these 10 simple solutions for organized living into your daily routine will set you up for organizing success and hopefully in no time you’ll be addicted to organizing just like me!  Come on, you know you want to :)

1. Utilize a list notebook

Often chaos ensues because we are trying to juggle too many things in our brains. We can’t focus on any one thing because we are trying to remember everything. It’s exhausting to say the least.

Grab yourself a notebook and just start brain dumping all that needs to be done. Be very detailed with this list because the more steps you list out, the less you have to try and remember. It makes a huge difference to your mental clutter even if you aren’t able to get everything crossed off that list in one day.  Read more about it here.

list notebook

2. Update your family calendar

Now take your list to your calendar (and if you don’t have a central family calendar that every family member can utilize, get one quick!  This one is my favorite.) Make sure your calendar is updated with appointments, school events, things to bring, etc.

For instance, if you need to bring cupcakes to school on Friday, add a note to Thursday’s square to pick them up or make them that day.

3. Menu plan for today

You may not be menu planning for the whole week yet, but you can menu plan for TODAY. Instead of waiting until the witching hour (isn’t that the worst!), plan what you’ll eat that night in the morning.

Check your freezer, pull some meat out, look up a recipe and you’re all set. 10 minutes of pre-planning will again allow you to stop worrying about it for the rest of the day and free up all sorts of head space. See the pattern here?

Mental clutter = overwhelmed

mpmhappy

4. Never leave a room empty-handed

One of my best tips for staying on top of clutter is to make sure you take something with you every time you leave a room. Do it as you go…dirty dishes, laundry, toys, mail, you name it. If it belongs in a room you’ll be going to or passing, bring it with you!

5. Assign tasks to your children

Too many moms are trying to do it alone. Get your kids involved. Start today. Assign them each one task off your list to complete. I know it’s often faster for us just to do it ourselves but the training has to start somewhere.

6. Create a donation station

Every home needs somewhere to collect the things we no longer need. Grab yourself a big box, mark it with the words donation station and let everyone know what it’s for.  More info on how to do it can be found here.

donation station

7. Add 5 things to that donation station everyday

Have every person in your household collect 5 things today to add to that donation station. Set a timer and make a game out of it. See who can be the first to collect their 5 things. Before you know it, that donation station will be full!

8. Create an “I’m Outta Here” shelf

Similarly you need an errand bin by your front door. I call it my “I’m Outta Here” shelf and it’s somewhere I can collect things that need to be returned to a friend, mailed, returned to the store, etc. This way whenever I’m heading out the door I can easily remember what needs to be done and tasks don’t get backlogged.

9. Do a 10-minute tidy before bed

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Do a 10 minute tidy each night before bed to set up your next day for success. Plug in cell phones, check and update your calendar, tidy surfaces, make lunches or whatever it is that needs to be done in order to start the following day on the right foot. It makes a world of difference!

10. Check your attitude

Finally, stop beating yourself up! Coming down hard on yourself does nothing except make you miserable. Tomorrow is another day. Celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small.

Happy Organizing!!

What daily habits have you implemented to stay on top of clutter and chaos?

For more organizing inspiration, please visit my handy dandy Start Here page.

Menu Plan Monday ~ April 14/14 Easter Edition

Menu Plan Monday for April 14/14
Hi friends, how did last week go for you?  Did you stick to your plan or deviate at all?  We had to switch things around a bit but that happens some weeks, I don’t sweat it.  I love how flexible having a menu plan is.  So my daughter’s 17th birthday last week went really great.  I shared some pictures on Instagram but for those that don’t follow me there here is a peak at a few of them.

I sent with her to school a wrapped present to open every hour.  She thought this was so fun.  Free printables are from Thirty Handmade Days blog.

birthday presents
Dinner was so much work but absolutely delicious :)  Recipe links were posted on last week’s Menu Plan Monday post.

birthday supper
birthday fun
I love celebrating birthdays, even my own! :)

What was your favorite recipe that you made last week?  Feel free to share the link with us in the comments.

My Menu Plan for this Week:

Monday:  Baked Tacos (family favorite!)

Tuesday:  Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic served with red potatoes and corn

Wednesday:  Buffalo Style Mozzarella Pork Chops served with rice and broccoli

Thursday:  Leftover buffet

Friday:  Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Saturday:  The Ultimate BLT Grilled Cheese

Sunday:  Easter Dinner ~  Slow Cooker Honey-Glazed Ham, Cheesy Potato Casserole, Spinach Strawberry Salad and Gluten-Free Blueberry Crisp for dessert

Have a great week and a Happy Easter everyone!

WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU PLAN THIS WEEK?  JOIN US!

Menu Plan Guidelines, banner selections and recipe helpers are here.

More family favorite recipes here.

Don’t forget to join the growing Menu Plan Monday Facebook Page!!

  One of my favorite menu planning resources:

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat


Freezer Friendly Labels

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home.

Today completes my mini-series on freezer organization. I want to show you three options for labeling the containers inside your freezer. I’ll be the first to admit that not everyone needs or wants to label their frozen foods. However, for those of you who invested your time organizing this area and want to put your system to good use, a label never hurts.

Freezer Friendly Labels
When it comes to creating freezer friendly labels, they must be able to withstand the low temperatures and hold up to the inevitable wear and tear of daily use. I also find it helpful if the label is easy to spot in a typically crowded freezer. In other words, something larger than what a standard label maker can produce.

1. Print & laminate your own:

This is a tried and true labeling system I use on a regular basis. I love a cute label or a fancy font printed from a home computer and laminated for durability sake. I’ve done this many times and the freezer is another place to incorporate the same method. After the laminating is finished, I attach my homemade labels with velcro sticky dots (as seen HERE).

Printing cute labels for the freezer
This method is relatively inexpensive and once laminated it’s very durable, even in the cold temps of a kitchen freezer.

If you want to make printed labels reusable; print them blank (like you see above), laminate them, and then use a wet-erase marker to write the category. This allows you to change your mind as often as you want. No need to re-print labels when you can just wipe clean and re-write. Be sure to use a wet-erase marker (not permanent Sharpie) on the laminated surface.

2. Containers designed with their own label:

Next up is a rare kind of label. I’m talking about the kind of container labels that come pre-existing. I touched briefly on it last time when I organized my friend’s top-freezer (HERE). We utilized a simple system on the bottom shelf of her freezer which included bins that already contained labels on the front (see picture below).

Labels and containers for organizing the freezer
For this container, you remove the plastic label shield and write in your category.

A great container for organizing the freezer and comes with a label too!
Between the price point and the pre-existing labels, these bins captured my organizing heart at first sight.

use pre-existing labels on containers in the freezer
If they catch your eye too, they’re found HERE.

3. Peel and stick reusable labels:

Finally, purchasing self-adhesive labels are perfect for almost any freezer container. I grabbed a package of these (see below) the last time I visited The Container Store and am highly impressed!

Check out this awesome label system, it can be used almost anywhere and is reusable!
They come in two different sizes, both showing your hand-written or computer designed label through a clear plastic pocket. Furthermore, they can be removed & reused elsewhere. That alone makes them stand apart from the average sticker label. White sticker labels can only be used once and leave a tacky mess behind if you choose to remove it. This Storage Identification System is highly versatile with it’s reusable capability and convenient pocket for easy-to-change labels!

Wanting things more organized, try out these amazing labels that are reusable!
In addition to being sold at The Container Store, they’re also found HERE and are quite handy for a large variety of labeling needs. I was leery at first to use them in a freezer situation, but the package claims they’re recommended for both temperature extremes. From the attic to the freezer, these may be my new labeling loves.

Awesome labels and very versatile
So far, they’re working great attached to my freezer bins. I haven’t noticed any curling at the edges or loss of adhesiveness.

Yet another way to label your freezer containers.
All in all, it doesn’t matter what you use. Although not the best long-term solution, even a simple sticky note can do the trick in a pinch. The point is, if you want to maximize your freezer organizing efforts with labels, then by all means find a system that works for your needs and your budget.

However, if labeling your freezer containers adds more stress to your life, then flexibility is the key to keeping your freezer organized. Use general bins, containers, or baskets to get the job done in a less structured manner. We all have uniquely individual organizing goals. Keep your situational needs in mind and if it includes a good label, then find what works best for you. Hopefully the three I’ve outlined here will get you off to a good start!

You can catch up on past freezer posts HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Rachel
In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughter. My two worlds collided and began shaping into a blog. Useful Beautiful Home represents the hours I’ve dedicated to managing my household as efficiently as possible. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours! Learn more about me HERE or visit me at UsefulBeautifulHome.com.

 

Linking up: Six Sisters StuffThirty Handmade Days, Your Homebased Mom, Skip to My Lou, A Bowl Full of Lemons

Friday Favorites: Underbed Storage, Simplify Your Life, Should You Buy It? + more!

my favorite organizing links ~ April 11/14
Howdy friends!  Here we are at the end of the week again and I’m ready for the weekend!  I’ve got a girls night out event at church tonight which I’m looking forward to.  I love getting together with good friends for some silly fun.

I hope you are enjoying this weekly favorites feature and seeing what posts I’m loving on.  Check out what I’ve got for you today and I hope you’ll be inspired to do some organizing of your own this weekend.  Whoot, whoot!

My Favorite Weekly Organizing Links:

Spring Clean Your Mind: 8 Steps to Clearing Internal Clutter ~ @ How Does She

Should You Buy It? A flowchart for smart consumers (includes free printable) ~ @ Squawk Fox

Underbed Storage and Organizing ~ @ Organize & Decorate Everything

How to Create a Command Center that Works for Your Family ~ @ Unoriginal Mom

When a Fresh Start Means Selling Your Stash ~ @ The Art of Simple

A closet organizer makes a huge difference! – Organizing a Shared Boys Bedroom ~ @ A Pretty Life

Ways to Simplify Your Life ~ @ Vintage Scrap Shop

Have a super weekend everyone!!

 

The Only Tool You Need to Organize Practically Anything

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Kalyn at Creative Savings.

The Only Tool You Need to Organize Practically Anything
Searching for organizing ideas on Pinterest makes me seriously giddy. But while I absolutely love browsing through all those beautiful pictures, inspirational DIY, and creative ideas, there always a small part of me that feels a little discouraged that I won’t be able to accomplish all the goodies I’ve pinned.

Not only am I short on time, I also don’t have an unlimited supply of money to spend on pretty cork boards or shelving units. Instead, I’ve found that the best {and only} organizing tool you really need is a simple basket.

From canvas, to plastic, to wicker – big, medium, or small – baskets solve all your organizing problems with a fairly small investment at the dollar or craft store. I love that they immediately de-clutter any space in a flash too.

Here’s how to organize practically anything with just a few containers, and find out which ones will be perfect for your space. You will love how easy it is to organize without feeling like you have to tear the whole room apart first!

1. Look for areas that have a lot of “little” items.

Maybe you’re not sure which areas require a basket, and which ones don’t. One glance into any room in your home and I’m sure you can find a stack, or stash that would love a little basket organization!

A pile of books on the end table would look much prettier, and more decorative, in a basket, while the pantry is a great place to combine small snacks into one container without the clutter of excessive and bulky cardboard boxes.

pantrycontainercs
Even a medicine cabinet, while you still need access to all your prescriptions, can be organized into baskets based on over-the-counter meds, cold and allergy, or daily vitamins.

For bigger items like blankets, or piles of shoes, baskets are the perfect “housing” to keep them from getting out of control and spreading across living room and entry way floors. And who can forget under cabinet storage? A flat bottom container is essential to contain cleaning supplies or tupperware bowls.

2. Note of the type of basket you’ll need.

One of my favorite pieces of advice is to never ever buy a basket that you think you’ll use, before figuring out if it will work actually work in your space….no matter how tempting it is!

I like to wait until I’ve organized each space based on how it works best for our family, then make a note of what kind of basket I’ll need, especially the size, before I go shopping. Honestly, it makes picking them out so much more fun, because I know they’ll fit seamlessly into our space.

You should also be aware of the kind of materials available for baskets, and where they work best. After a few weeks, I realized that a wicker basket holding my hairbrushes and supplies was not very easy to clean from dust and hairspray, but worked perfectly for little miscellaneous items that made their way into my kitchen.

Plastic containers are great for inside cabinets, the fridge, and freezer, while canvas baskets look very pretty in a home office or bedroom closet.

fridgebasketscs

3. Use baskets for continuous organization

Catch-all baskets are amazing for big messes that you don’t have time to deal with at that very moment. Maybe you have company coming over, or want to do a thorough deep cleaning session. It’s much easier to start with a blank slate by shoving everything into one basket, rather than try and work around it and organize as you go.

You can also easily carry the basket from room-to-room, dropping off items that belong in there rather than walking back and forth as you clean. Although, you actually might be surprised how much you don’t need to put back into the room after you organize it!

Any time I’ve run into an organizing problem, the solution is always to grab a basket. They are so versatile, can match any decor, and everything just looks so much better tidied up in one place!

What are your favorite ways to use baskets?

Kalyn
Kalyn Brooke is a full-time writer and blogger at CreativeSavingsBlog.com, where she gives a fresh perspective on frugal living, and the kick-in-the-pants you need to create a budget from scratch. She lives in beautiful Southwest Florida with her news-photographer husband and the most adorable bunny you’ve ever seen. She loves making to-do lists, reading good books, eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream, and pursuing big dreams….all carefully planned out, of course.

Linking up: House of RoseDesign Dining and DiapersSix Sisters StuffThirty Handmade Days, A Bowl Full of Lemons

Makeup Storage ~ I’ve Changed My Mind AGAIN

Hi there, so I wanted to talk today about my need for change.  I’m not one to change my mind on a storage solution just for the sake of it.  Something about a storage solution usually has to drive me a bit nutso before I think about finding another solution that does work for me.  I’ve talked about this many times before and today is just another example where I admit that what I thought was such a great solution really wasn’t.  It just didn’t end up working for me.

Remember this post where I showed off my new favorite makeup storage box and how excited I was about it.  Here’s what it looked like.

My new makeup case
Makeup Case bottom row
Nice right?  Totally except I just didn’t like having to open up the lid each time I wanted something.  Plus the two layers inside meant I had to remove the top tray to reach the stuff underneath and this was a problem because I never had anywhere to put the top tray down since my bathroom counter is so small.  Plus this solution just was too big for my needs.  Now that I’m finished with the experimental stage of trying to find makeup that works for me (yes I’m late to the makeup ballgame) I was able to weed through my stuff.  I have sensitive skin so what didn’t work for me I passed on to my daughter who didn’t thankfully inherit my diva skin.

So taking all these things into consideration, I knew it was time for a change, yet again.  So I walked my house looking for a substitution.  When you are an organizing junkie I go to my storage solution reserves first…I have two shelves of containers just waiting for their turn in the spotlight.  Yes I’m aware that this sounds crazy :)

However this time I found exactly what I needed in my daughter’s room.  Some of you will remember this review I did two years ago on the Stuff It from Clever Container.   As soon as I saw it during my walk about I knew I needed it for my own makeup situation but first I had to convince my daughter of that.  With a little persuasion and a new replacement solution for her to use (see how nice I am!), she agreed to let me have my way take it over.  An organizing junkie can be very persuasive when they want to be especially when it comes to containers that WE REALLY MUST HAVE.

So I did the swap-a-roo and now I so much more happy and less annoyed.  See it’s the little things.

Makeup Storage Stuff It
Makeup Storage
Now the Stuff It lives in my bathroom out on my counter with easy access, no fuss, no muss.  I love the easy access to what I need and of course I love the little pockets all the way around to keep like sorted with like.  As you can see there are also a few pockets in the inside as well.

If you find something isn’t working for you, change it.  Life’s too short to be annoyed by the little things.

This is not a sponsored post but if you are wanting to pick up a Stuff It, you would need to find a Clever Consultant in your area to purchase.  Unfortunately I don’t believe there are consultants in Canada yet.

What do you currently use to organize your cosmetics?  Do you ever change your mind?

Linking up: House of RoseDesign Dining and Diapers