Are you hosting Thanksgiving and planning to do a quick cleanup of the main areas of your house before guests arrive? Hosting is a great motivator to sweep through your house, gathering everything that’s out of place (Hello, kids’ toys and husband’s shoes!) and returning them to their rightful homes.
What if there’s kind of a lot of stuff out of place and you don’t have time to put it all away before Thanksgiving? Do you use the “throw it all into a hamper and hide it in a closet” method?
That’s not a terrible method as long as you remember to include putting everything away in your post-Thanksgiving clean up. A messy pile loves company (chaos begets chaos) so the longer you leave things in that basket, the more likely other things are to pile up around the house and in the basket.
After you’ve finished the Thanksgiving dishes, grab that basket and get to it!
You might find you need to assign new homes to some of the things so they’re easier to put away in the future. You might also find that the new home is in someone else’s house, in which case you can put those things right into your car and drive them over to the donation center the next time you’re out!
Yesterday, I did a spot for our local NBC-10 station about the latest organizing craze, Swedish Death Cleaning. Click here to check it out!
I like to change my purse with the seasons, using a more compact and colorful one in the summer and a slightly larger and darker colored one in the winter. Whether or not you change the actual purse, this is a good time to take a look at what's in yours and get it organized for the coming season.
This is a great 5-10 minute organizing project.
P.S. If you often lose your keys in the depths of your purse, use a carabiner to clip your keys to the strap and you'll never have to search for them.
Here in New England, the weather is starting to change from summer to fall (even though Thursday's forecast is 78 degrees!). One quick thing to take care of right now is to put away the summer sunblock, bug spray, and other summer cosmetics.
Round up the all the sunblocks in the house and check them all, tossing any that are nearly gone, nearly expired (or will be by next summer), or just gross from beach sand and grime.
Do the same with the bug sprays. While you're at it, test the sprayers and toss any that are malfunctioning (sprays a little trickle or has to be pumped 10 times before it will spray).
Gather any other summer cosmetics such as those bottles of ear drying liquid, mosquito bite spray, aloe vera, etc. Check these too to make sure they are full-ish, not expired, and in good condition.
Put everything worth keeping into gallon-size plastic freezer bags. If you don't have much, put it all in one bag. If you have a lot, sort it by type and use one bag per type. Store the bags near your summer accessories (beach towels, bathing suits) or near your luggage so it'll be handy when you pack for that beach vacation you're taking this winter. (You're taking me with you, right?)
Wandering through Ocean State Job Lot today (a favorite store, but beware because it can be tempting to over-buy) I spotted this: my favorite kind of jewelry organizer!
This is very similar to the organizer I use for my costume/everyday jewelry, but at half the price I paid.
It can either stand on the floor or be hung on a wall or on the back of a closet door, as I have mine.
What I love about this organizer, is that I can see all of my jewelry at a glance. No need to open multiple drawers or boxes.
So, if you're in need of a better storage solution for your jewelry, hustle on down to your nearest Ocean State Job Lot and see if they still have these in stock!
Want to save a little money, reduce your errands, and cross some tasks off the list of things you have to remember (but always forget)? Use Amazon Subscribe & Save!
Most of us already use Amazon to order all kinds of household goods, but by using the Subscribe & Save feature, you can group items you need to reorder into scheduled deliveries, saving as much as 15% on each item.
I schedule deliveries every 3 months, but you can choose the schedule that works for you, from monthly to every 6 months.
Some of the items I put on my list are things like toothbrush heads (every 3 months) and refrigerator filters (every 6 months). Why? Because you're supposed to change those things on a regular basis, but I could never remember when I'd last changed them. Now, I change them when the new ones arrive. This also saves space in my house because I don't have to store them (or remember where I stored them!).
Here's what's currently on my Subscribe & Save list:
Basically, anything that you use up on a consistent basis, don't want to spare space in your home to stock, need to remember to replace regularly, and want to save money on is a good candidate for your Subscribe & Save list.
What ideas can you come up with about what to put on your Subscribe & Save list?
For most children in the U.S., school is about to start up again. It can be a tricky transition for the whole family, but here are some things to keep in mind to smooth the process.
1. Start going to bed and getting up earlier – not just the kids, but you too! Everyone will be less stressed after banking some good sleep.
2. Have a screen time and device plan in place. If you’re like most families I know, summer rules about screen time and use of electronic devices can get kind of lax. Now is the time to remind your kids about the school-year rules so you don’t argue about it later. Not sure what rules to set? Start with some basics such as no TV/video games on school nights (Sunday through Thursday), devices must be garaged on the first floor at night (the kitchen or entry area are good places), and no social media or texting in the morning (unless necessary to communicate homework or carpool plans).
3. Organize the entryway and homework areas. Getting these ready in advance – and having the kids help set them up – will help everyone remember that these things have a designated home in your house and don’t belong scattered all over the place. Don’t yet have designated homes for these things? Have the kids help to choose places to put their backpacks (This “buy-in” will help them maintain the organization.) and work with them to set up a homework station stocked with pencils, pens, erasers, highlighters, paper, a ruler, index cards, etc. Your homework station can even be stored in a box or bin so that it’s portable. (Something like this Really Useful Box would work well.)
4. Review school-day logistics with your children: what time they need to wake up, what time the bus or carpool picks up, where the bus stop is, what their after school activities are (and when they start), who picks them up and drops them off, what their lunch plans are (buy or bring), and anything else you can think of that will help your children remember how the school day works.
Now you're ready to get those kids off to school. Don't forget to take a first-day-of-school photo for your memory book!
(Click here to read last September's blog about how to organize those kinds of things.)
Do you have an old Kindle e-reader (or two?) that you aren't using anymore?
A client of mine recently upgraded to the latest Kindle and wondered if there was a school that could use her older model. I did a little research and came across the Kindle Classroom Project www.kindleclassroomproject.org. San Francisco teacher Mark Isero provides each of his high-school students with a Kindle to instill in them a love of reading and encourage them to become avid readers.
Even though the Kindle Classroom Project is based out of California, it's pretty easy to ship Kindles because they fit well in a USPS small flat-rate Priority Mail box. Before shipping, just fill out the donation form on Mr. Isero's website and he'll get back to you with the address.
One small caveat: he doesn't take the very oldest model Kindles, so check the donation form to see if your model is listed.
Don't have a Kindle to donate but still want to support the Kindle Classroom Project? Donate money for books to be added to their Kindle library!
Looking for an easy way to reduce the dreaded task of filing? Go paperless!
Whenever possible, whether it's utility bills or bank statements, sign up for the paperless option. Don't worry, your statements and account information will all be available to you online, but you'll no longer have to handle and store the paper files.
You'll still be able to reconcile your bank statements and keep track of payments because the statements will come to your email address. If you really feel the need, you can file these digitally in a special email folder. At least that kind of filing takes just a click and doesn't take up any physical space.
Want to streamline things even further? Sign up for automatic payments of recurring bills. You'll be given at least several days' notice about exactly how much will be deducted from your bank account or charged to your credit card, so you have time to transfer the funds as needed. You'll never be late on a payment again!
.August is right around the corner and, for parents of school-age kids, that means back-to-school time.
Get your family ready with this handy, printable checklist from Smead. If you prefer not to print it to cut down on paper clutter, just save the PDF file on your computer or phone. It's a pretty thorough list, so you won't forget any pesky little tasks.
The checklist breaks down the tasks by when they should be completed, so you can simply glance at the chart to see what you need to do this week or this month.
[NOTE: One thing I disagree with on the timeline is buying supplies 2 weeks before the start of school. Most parents know that stores begin featuring back-to-school supplies in July, so if you wait until mid-August, stocks will have been pretty depleted. Why not get that task out of the way as soon as possible?]
Using a checklist like this will make it easier to get ready for school while still holding onto the summer fun.