Monday, February 25, 2008

A junk drawer by any other name...

As promised, I will reveal my newest love.

My Handy Dandy Notebook (In honor of my son’s newest love, Blue’s Clues.)

I put together a binder this month with all of the important stuff that goes on in our household. Schedules, daily tasks, menu planning, school info, medical info, food allergies, business cards, important phone numbers, finances, fast food menus, store coupons/fliers, our local “MINT” coupon magazine… all contained in one handy dandy binder. It is put together to be easily updated whenever I feel the need. I think this is going to be my new best-friend.

If you would like help setting up you own system for storing paperwork, you know where to find me.

Now, are you ready to clean out some REAL clutter???? Let’s tackle that junk drawer!

What ends up in there anyway? Junk! Expired coupons, batteries, spare pens, tools, coins, small toys, phone books, loose screws; you name it and it can be found in there. I have fairly shallow drawers, but there always seems to be quite an accumulation in there. The rule in our home is that ONE junk drawer is allowed. That drawer has to be dealt with on a regular basis. If there is room for a utensil divider or small basket, that can help curb the junk. Phone numbers are not lost on scraps in the abyss. Business cards are filed by category and easy to view. Coupons and store fliers now have a home in the Notebook of my Dreams. It is easy to see when things expire and there isn’t enough space for too much to “pile up”.

What kinds of things have you found in your junk drawer?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Getting Things "To-Done"

Hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day celebrating with someone you love.

Lately, I’ve been spending time thinking about how to make the home a more efficient place. I turned my attention back to my own thoughts on zone organizing. I have a “To Do Zone” in my home, and I couldn’t think of a better way to explain this myself, so I’m quoting Helen Buttigieg of Neat fame.

* Have a “To-Do” Zone

Most of us keep an on-going ‘to-do’ list but what about the materials that are required for many of those tasks, like the gift you still have to wrap or the library book you have to return? They often end up strewn about in different parts of the house. It makes it much easier if all the physical items you need to take action on are located in one place. Consider designating a bookcase, shelving unit or extra closet as your ‘to-do’ zone to act as a temporary holding tank for work still in progress.

© Copyright 2007 by Hellen Buttigieg, We Organize U. Reprinted with permission from the We Organize U Newsletter. Visit

My personal “To Do” zone is the wet bar area of our home. This area would be an otherwise unused space but, with the addition of a hutch, it has become the perfect spot for my office (and my pre-schooler’s art space). What area in your home are you under-using that would make the perfect space for your to do zone?

Next week I’ll fill you in on a very important new member of my “To Do Zone”.

And while we’re getting things done, are you ready to clean out some REAL clutter?

It’s time to take 15 minutes and….. Clutter Sweep the pile of catalogs and magazines that have been piling up. I just realized that my basket is full and many of the things lurking below the surface are from the Christmas Season. YIKES! That is not the gift that keeps on giving.

Obviously, catalogs that you have no intention of ordering from can hit the recycle bin. All stocked up on bedding and drapes? Say good-bye to the home catalog. (This is a general rule. You do not have to keep and peruse EVERY catalog that comes into your home. Those that are not useful to you can be tossed before they ever make it through the front door.)

Next, check “order by” dates and immediately toss the expired catalogs. Don’t worry, they will send you more.

Finally any magazines that you have already read may be tossed as well. You have read it; let it go. Magazines that you are keeping can be put onto your bookshelf while stored in a magazine butler for display, protection, and ease of access. If you are saving a magazine for one particular article/recipe, consider removing only the part you want and filing it away or putting it with your weekly menu.

Ah, now there’s breathing room for the new catalogs and magazines that will bombard your mailbox. Come on. You know it is just a matter of time.

Next week: The product that is changing my life.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cleaning, Relaxing, and 15 Minutes to a Happier You

Someone asked me this week if I had a cleaning schedule. This question has, of course, spurned hours of my deliberating about whether or not I need one. My decision has been made and yet I still feel the need to ask you, friends. Do you have a cleaning schedule? I guess I had not really thought about it, but I do have a mental schedule. I do bathrooms, grocery shopping, and laundry on the same days each week. My kitchen, like yours, is a constant chore. I am blessed to be home much of the week and am able to do major chores on the weekdays so that I can spend weekend time on large projects or having fun with my family. I never really thought of it as a “schedule” per se. I know what needs to be done when, and I do it. How about you?

Did you have a good time relaxing this week? I sure did! What did you choose to do? I hope you will continue to do nice things for yourself. It is a great way to reduce stress, heart rate, and blood pressure!

I promised to tell you what I did this week with my fifteen minutes. (Elli has been prodding me this week and waiting for this blog today, so I’ll tell you all now.) For some reason there has been a lot of focus on my feet lately, so I gave myself a mini-pedicure. That’s right folks, my wee little piggies are now all gussied up in their finest “Holy Pink Pagoda” finery! (Who comes up with these names?) As I was digging into my under-sink cabinet for all of my tootsie needs, I realized how long it has been since I went through all my cute little baskets and organized under there. This, of course brings us to this weeks, 15 minutes of real cleaning.

Are you ready to clean out some REAL clutter?

Empty out the contents of your under-sink cabinet. Do you have bottles of half-used-never-wanted, or unopened-unloved shampoos, hair products, scrubs, and lotions? I sure did! It is time to say good-bye. You aren’t going to suddenly love it or need it next week just because it has been sitting there longingly waiting for you. It is time to toss it! Get rid of all the expired stuff under there too. Yes, dear friends, cosmetics expire and lotions will smell funky when they age. (When in doubt throw it out!) If you have been buying in bulk and it is causing you storage issues, you may want to reconsider whether it is worth the bulk purchase. Give the cabinet a good wipe out. Pay attention as you put things back into the cabinet. Make a mental inventory of what you have so that you won’t overbuy. (If you have no mental capacity, like me, you may even want to put a little inventory sheet on the inside of the cabinet door.) I now have only shampoos that I love to use. Hooray! Next time I am looking for “Holy Pink Pagoda” I will know exactly where it is. It is, of course, next to “Brisbane Bronze” in my handy little nail tote. May my piggies (and yours) never be neglected again! (Two more cabinets to go. I feel lucky!)

Valentine’s Day is this Thursday!!!!!!!!!!! Don't forget your sweetie!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Resolutions, Taxes, and a Fun 15 Minutes (I promise!)

How are you doing with your resolutions? I hope you can still remember them. Don’t give up!!! If the original resolution wasn’t working for you, why not revise it and try again? If you were planning to work out six days a week and you aren’t able to do it, revise your plan for just one or two days a week. Maybe add a day each month until you are at your ideal goal.

How am I doing? I am twelve pounds lighter (and counting). Thank you for asking.

The deadline for receiving W-2 forms in order to do your taxes (or have them done) was Jan 29. It is time to gather all of your receipts, 1099s, and other documents. Start compiling them now instead of waiting until the last minute. Put documentation together in a box or folder. Call now and make your appointment with your tax adviser. Making this appointment now serves a two-fold purpose. First, now you have a personal deadline for getting all of your forms together. Second, you will have no excuse for stressful procrastination. Wouldn’t relieving any of the frantic tax rush be a positive move?

This is usually the point where I ask you if you're ready to clean out some REAL clutter. This week, it’s time to Take 15 Minutes…

And do something for yourself! Give yourself a quick mani/pedi/facial. Relax with a book/magazine. Close your eyes. Breathe. Spend a few extra minutes in the shower. Linger over your morning coffee/tea. Clear off the treadmill and give it a 15 minute run for its money. Whatever it is that makes you feel rejuvenated, take the time to do it this week. I’ll let you know next week what I chose. What are you going to do for you?