Showing posts with label Organization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Organization. Show all posts

Tips to Get Back to School Ready

Jul 28, 2014

I know many of you are getting ready to send your kids back to school in less than two weeks. We still have four weeks of summer left, but I decided to get an early start this year after realizing the store shelves were wiped out two weeks before school started. And, I might be a little bored now that I'm not working part-time any longer. Instead of throwing together things at the last minute I'm putting an insane amount of energy and thought into my kids wardrobe and school papers. I'm not sure how I feel about that. But, if you want to jump on my crazy train of organization then this is the post for you.

Clothes Shopping-Fill in wardrobe gaps instead of starting from scratch. $$$ saver too!

I start by making sure all of the clothes are washed so I know what I'm working with and weed out the ones with holes or stains. Then, I start to pair outfits. I was surprised at how many of my boys' items did not have anything that matched it and the disproportionate number of tops and bottoms. You can make a list, but it's best to take a picture of the clothing with your phone to have available when you go shopping. It might be a bit more time consuming, but it is a money saver. I would have never realized my youngest son only needed two pair of shorts this way, or the exact shade of blue shirt my older son needed to match his ridiculously expensive Nike Elite socks if I didn't have a picture.

Clothes Organization-No morning arguments, No wearing the wrong shirt on spirit day, No mismatched clothes, No messy drawers, and laundry is put away fast!

Yes, it's that awesome! I have shared this tip before, but it has worked so well that I have to mention it again. Each of my kids have a closet organizer with individual cubbies. Each cubby gets a complete outfit-top, bottoms, underwear and socks. Most of the organizers have five or six cubbies so you only have to pair outfits together once a week. I have my kids participate so we don't get into the "I don't want to wear this" argument. They can grab an outfit and dress themselves on their own while I make breakfast. Laundry is faster because the clothes are folded instead of hung up on hangers. They stay folded too since they aren't stacked in drawers for kids (or husbands) to rifle through. You also don't have to forget what color shirt your child needs to wear during teacher appreciation week or if their spirit shirt is clean since you organize it all before the week begins. Don't be intimidated by this high level of organization, haha. It's easy and it really works!

Sorry, I know this isn't the prettiest picture. I do have more than one outfit per cubby since I was going through my son's summer clothes when I took it.

Morning Hygiene Checks-No more sniff tests

It's ridiculous that I even have to do this, but it's absolutely necessary in my house. I know I'm not alone either!

Put toothpaste on your kids' toothbrushes first thing in the morning so you can see who actually brushed their teeth. My kids find it funny to blow in my face during a sniff test knowing full well they didn't brush their teeth. I'd rather just take a quick look at their toothbrushes. I also put my older son's deodorant out on the bathroom counter as a reminder to use it. Underwear and sock checks are a must here, too. Pray for me.

Paper Organization-All you need is a pinboard, white board calendar, wall file and a personal organizer/phone calendar

There are times I could tell by my sons' weighted down shoulders I didn't even want to open their backpacks...ever. But, you need to get to it before they do. If you don't, it will be strewn all over the house and you will find the notice about the important event under the sofa the day after it happened. It's like mail. Stand by the trash can and immediately throw out what you don't need. Put any important dates in your phone calendar or whatever organizer you use. I use my phone because paper doesn't give me auditory reminders. If I choose to ignore the reminder I make sure to re-remind myself at a different time. Take the important papers to one organization center. I need three things-a whiteboard calendar, a pinboard, and a wall file organizer. Important papers get pinned. Papers to keep get filed in the child's folder on the wall. Important dates not only get logged into my phone, but also on the whiteboard calendar so everyone in the family is aware. I go through the files at the end of the year to throw out what I don't need and keep what I do in the office drawer. For example, I only keep the last report card since the previous report cards are listed on it. Artwork gets pinned to each child's pinboard in their room and then gets put into a bin in their closet when the board is full. It really is easy and I'm not sure why it took me so many years to figure this out. I suppose I didn't realize how paper and the amount of events can become consuming, especially the more children you have and extracurriculars they are involved in. It's like managing a business!

This is from last year since I'm in the process of moving everything to the new mudroom. I like Pottery Barn's systems, too.

Build Your Own - Daily System Components - Espresso stain

Lunches-Save yourself the headache and prepare beforehand.

This usually goes well for the first couple of weeks and then I fall off the wagon. It's like exercising. You've just got to make yourself do it because it will be worth it in the end. Prepare lunches the night before, but also prepare what you can the week before. Use a vegetable drawer or a bin to separate what will be used for lunches in the fridge and the pantry. It's important so kids don't eat or drink what is reserved for lunches. How many times have you run to the store for juice boxes at 9pm? We have so many times. If you know you will give your kids carrots twice that week then go ahead and separate them out into Ziploc bags so you can just grab them when making lunches. I try to keep them from dipping into the lunch bins by having a snack ready for them when they get off the bus. I usually always have the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies and monkey bread on hand. They will never turn those down, but I also have crackers, cheese and fruit available some days. If they are prepared in a nice way my boys won't turn those down either. It sounds crazy, but even kids notice presentation!

This is a week of lunches not including sandwiches since those would get gross made more than a day in advance.

Last year's first day of school photo


I can't believe how much these guys have changed in one year! I'm going to miss them during the day, but I do need to pick up where I left off with projects around the house and I can only do that while they are at school. We're going to try and finish the mudroom before school starts next month since it will be getting heavy use then.  Thankfully, there's not much left to do so I think it will happen!

Mudroom Shelves and Paint Color Resources

Feb 19, 2014

Sorry, for the late post this week. My internet has been down for a few days. I honestly have no idea why it’s working now, but I’m going to type fast in case it decides to crash on me again. Thank goodness for cell phones to keep me on top of the most important things, like bill paying and emails.

Speaking of emails, I was contacted recently by Jena from Involving Color about featuring my master bedroom on her blog. You can see the post here. It’s very flattering to be featured, but what’s more exciting is finding her blog. It’s completely devoted to paint and paint colors. What’s even better is the way it’s organized-by room, by color, by brand. I’ve been using Pinterest and Google to choose my paint colors before I even walk into a store. Her blog is an easier resource to finding the perfect paint color. I hope you check it out!

On to the mudroom progress. The built-in shelves are finally in place. I can’t tell you how confusing this was to figure out due to the weird angles in this closet. Even more confusing was to explain exactly what I wanted to my husband, the one who actually builds things around here. You would think after 16 years of marriage we would be able to figure out what each other is saying, but what we have here is a failure to communicate. After attempting to talk about the plans several times with the kids interrupting every thirty seconds, we just gave up. On Saturday, he decided to just get it done while I was out of the house. He showed me what he did when I got home and I said, “This looks amazing!” He said he was mentally prepared for a fight because he figured it was wrong! Nope. It was exactly what I wanted all along.



I think he deserves a gold star for figuring out these angles!

We ended up walling off the space on the back right (the brown board on the right side). It hurts my heart a little to decrease any storage space, but only a hobbit could get back there with the sloped ceiling. Anything that ended up back there would have stayed back there…forever.


Here is a pic of it before we blocked it off. The ceiling height is a whopping two feet tall.


The shoe cubbies are also done.


Well, the far left one isn’t finished quite yet. At least we can use them. Now, if I could just get the kids to actually put their shoes in the cubbies we’ll be doing good. Oh, and they need to learn to shut the door so Mr. Mario doesn’t drag their shoes out and snack on them. I’m buying two new pair of kids shoes today…sigh.

To recap, here is a before picture.



Cleaned out.


And almost finished....


So, what do we have left to do? Obviously, the floor and the errant shelf on the left need to be addressed. We’re also going to build a shelf above the top coat hooks. The rest is just filling in the gaps with quarter round and lots of caulk. Then, it’s my turn to finish it off. I need to paint, replace the light, and add a few decorative touches. When I type it out it doesn’t sound almost done!

Five Easy Steps to An Organized Kitchen

Aug 22, 2013

I have organized and reorganized my kitchen cabinets too many times to count. Some areas stay organized and some are back to a chaotic mess within weeks. After almost ten years in this home, I've finally realized why and I've narrowed down kitchen organization to five simple rules.

1. Don't stack items you use regularly.


Instead of stacking items on top of each other, use a shelf to maximize space. This cabinet holds small kitchen appliances and has stayed looking just like this for the past two years.

I took this same concept and repeated it with the rest of my small appliances. I stole the other white shelf from my island cabinet and now it holds a tray I haven't used in years. I put smaller items and appliance accessories in it. Rarely used items, like my breadmaker, sits in the back.


2. Make it easy to get items out of the cabinet.

The white shelf above used to be in my island for bakeware. I stacked cookie sheets and cutting boards on top and baking pans underneath. Not only did stacking the cookie sheets and cutting boards create a mess, but I could not get them out because of the center cabinet beam. I had to find the right one, slide it out from underneath the other pans, and then turn it sideways to avoid the beam. I ended up putting a ton of nicks in the center beam that way.


I decided to use my saucepan lid holder so the cookie sheets can slide right out. I also don't have to stack them on top of each other any longer. Behind the center beam I stacked items I don't use often, like my Tupperware cupcake holder and springform pans.

3. Store items with the lids on.



I had a saucepan lid holder (that now holds the cutting boards and cookie sheets), but I never actually used it. Also, when the lids were separated I had to go through each one to find the correct one. What a pain!

Some may find an upper cabinet a strange place to hold saucepans, but it is so much better than having them in a deep base cabinet. I used to take out the pans in the front to reach the ones in the back. When I unloaded the dishwasher I just threw them in the bottom cabinet and shut it hard so they would stay. I know I'm not the only one that has done this!

The deep corner base cabinet now holds my bakeware. Lesser used items are in the back (actually never used items, lol). I use the three glass pans on top the most so I made sure I can slide those in and out easily. The shelf above (not pictured) holds my fry pans in the same way.


The other deep base cabinet in the corner holds serving ware I don't use often, which is why they are stacked. The holiday serving pieces are stacked together on the right. I didn't even know I owned some of these things!


More bakeware that is not stacked (minus the measuring cups) because I use them often. These are in an upper cabinet for easy reaching, too.


Outdoor serverware


4. Collate smaller items into bins.


Medicines are stored in one bin. I've had this one for years and only go through it when it gets full to throw out old meds. The only problems I had with this is when the band-aids would get loose and collect at the bottom.

I decided to put them in a separate container with the antibiotic ointment. Now, I can take this box to where the injured person is sitting. It's actually a pencil box I bought at Wal-Mart for less than a dollar. I have another box like it for batteries that you can see in the picture above.


Another bin holds things we use often-outdoor things, measuring tape, matches, super glue, pool stuff.


5. Stack lesser used items and store them in the top or back of the cabinets.


I have two sets of china on the upper shelves. In case you're wondering, all of those loose papers are recipes I printed out from the internet. If they're good I transfer them to a card in the recipe box. I obviously have a lot of recipes I need to try!

Everyone has different items and sized kitchens, but just following these few rules has helped me get and stay organized. The best part is you don't need to buy expensive organization items. All of mine were bought at Wal-Mart. Feel free to share your best tips!