She’s So Organized: Conquer Catalogs and Magazines

Magazines and catalogs can make even some of the most organized people insane, they can take over your home and if you are anything like me drive you absolutely crazy!  I’ve struggled for years to manage the hundreds of catalogs and magazines we had in our house and spent way to much time and money trying to find solutions to hide them.  My husband is a bit of a reader,  ok that is a bit of an understatement.  Below are some tips that I personally use to conquer the catalog and magazine clutter.

1) Divide and conquer – When you get the magazines and catalogs or magazines from your mailbox,  immediately recycle the ones you don’t want.  Put the ones you are keeping in an accessible bin or basket designated for the incoming magazines and catalogs.

2) One comes in at least one goes out – Once a week take the magazines or catalogs from the designated bin and replace (recycle) them with the old ones.

If you keep up with this at least once a week it doesn’t become a chore and its not so overwhelming. Trust me!

3) Rip out articles – After you are done reading,  rip out the articles you like and put them into a personal notebook with sheet covers, and recycle the magazine.  A lot of times we end up keeping magazines because we like a couple articles and most of the time we forget about those articles and never see them again.  If you keep them in a folder, that important article doesn’t get lost and you don’t have to worry about storing the magazine.

4) Go Paperless – We have a huge advantage today, we have this wonderful thing called technology.  Most Magazines are now available online or through tablet applications which will allow you to save money, trees, space and your sanity.  In our home, we have been able to eliminate all of our subscription magazines (which was around 12!) by using the iPad.  We also get all of our newspapers this way as well.  This wonderful tool has brought so much peace to my home  :).

Hope these tips help and bring a little peace to your home as well.

She’s So Organized: Label Pictures

Pantry Labels - Used Index Card, Scrapbook Paper, Punch and Binder Clips

Toy Bin Labels - Used Ribbon, Scrapbook Stickers and Gift Tags

She’s So Organized: The Art of Labeling

Being organized is very helpful but without the help of labels, you may know where everything is but no one else has any clue.  Labeling provides people in your household as well as people outside your household direction.  It helps limit the number of “Where is?? ” and helps others put things back where they belong (which can be huge!).  I admit I have a problem, I am a bit of a label addict…ok maybe extreme.  The other day my husband mentioned that he could clearly see the push pins in the draw, and asked me if it was really necessary to label them. Of course my response is Absolutely!!  You don’t have to label everything in your house like me, but think of some of the big things that would really save time in your household if you labeled.  For example, maybe a cubby for your family’s shoes, toys that need to be grouped together, drawers or bins which items are hidden from view or to high to see inside.  Labels are quick, easy tools to save you time and a lot of headaches.

I know sometimes the thought of labeling can sometimes be a little blah…but labels don’t have to be boring looking.  You can make labels more interesting and bring out a little of your creative side.  I have been able to find a lot of ways to make labels more visually stimulating with just using some simple tools (index cards, scrapbook paper, a scalloped punch, ribbon, and some binder clips) around the house.  I plan on posting these examples to the site this week, but until then have fun labeling!

In regards to my addiction, I plan on working on it.  It is one day at a time! 🙂

She’s So Organized: My best friend Amazon.com

A large part of staying organized is time management and one of my biggest assets recently to saving time is my best friend Amazon.com. Working full-time and having two boys (three if you count my husband :)) at home I am all about saving time and energy!  We are avid users of Amazon.com, to the point where we probably get at least 2-3 shipments in a week.  I’m sure the UPS driver loves us!!  We order all of our paper supplies (paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags etc..) and receive 15% off and free shipping through their subscribe and save program.  This allows me to get all the supplies I need on a recurring basis, for cheaper than I can find it in stores without ever having to go to the store (LOVE THAT!).

I also found out that if you are a Mom and need diapers and wipes, signing up for Amazon Mom (which is free) gets you free shipping for the first three months plus 30% off diapers.  Also, as along as you spend $25  in baby products per month allows you to keep the free shipping for up to a year.  Of course, if you are needing diapers like we do there is no problem with that.  Another thing I found out was if you are a subscriber of Parenting.com, most issues now have a 20% off coupon or this month’s had $10 off, so I’ve been able to save 50% off diapers.  I have done a lot of research and Amazon.com is extremely reasonable on their diapers before these discounts and they deliver!
Another great tool that Amazon.com offers is the Universal Wish List.  This is a plug in to your Browser tool bar which allows you to add any item you find on any website to their Universal Wish List.  Now I have one Wish list on Amazon.com which keeps track off all my “wishes” from multiple sites.  So rather than 50 different wish lists on 50 different sites I have one list that I can reference back to.  Making my life more organized :).

She’s So Organized: More “Outside the Box” Ideas

A couple other ideas I have used in my house…

I use this in my son's nursery on his changing table to store those easy access baby essentials (diaper cream, thermometer, q-tips, cotton balls, and brushes). I also have something similar in my older son's bathroom to store his bathroom supplies.

I use these to store my baby bottles in the pantry, so much better and cheaper than what is already out there. I have one shorter one for my small bottles and one taller on for my larger bottles. Works great!

She’s So Organized: Think Outside the Box

There are a lot of products out there made specifically for meeting an organizational purpose but for a lot of reasons (not enough space, too expensive, etc..) they may not meet your personal organizing needs.  You don’t need to be limited to just “organizational” products or what a product says it can organize.  I have found a lot of products out there that aren’t designed for a specific need but work much better or are cheaper than the products designed. The next time you look for something to say organize your jewelry, your gift wrap, or say ties….challenge yourself to think outside the box.  Just because it doesn’t say it is designed to fit your organizational need(s) doesn’t mean it won’t work!

Below are some examples:

1) Ribbon rolls: Use a sock drawer organizer or don’t have much space, use an over the door shoe organizer.

2) Hair and makeup brushes: Use a tool or silverware caddy, there are some very nice silverware caddys out there that are nice enough to leave displayed on your counter top. Below is one that I use to organize my cosmetic brushes, hair brushes and skin care.

3) Craft Organizer: I saw in a magazine the other day for a craft organizer someone used a “Bucket Bag Organizer” found at most hardware stores to store their gift wrap and tools.  They used the bucket to store all their gift wrap and the pockets under the bucket to store their scissors, tape, ribbon, etc..  Love it!! You could also use these for storing kids craft projects.

4) Scarves, hat and gloves: If you are limited on room to store your scarves, gloves and hats use an over the door shoe organizer or one that hangs on the  rack.  Hang it in a closet close to where your family leaves, this is great for easy access so you can put them on right before you leave and when you get home they go right back.   The over the door shoe organizer is a great  product that can work for organizing a variety of things.

5) Jewelry: I have seen a lot of articles using decorative bulletin boards which are great for displaying and organizing your jewelry.  If you don’t care about displaying your jewelry boxes and just need a way to neatly organize your jewelry; tackle boxes,  small craft organizers, or tool boxes can work great to organize your small jewelry.

Have fun and always think outside the box!

She’s So Organized: The Feared Storage Area

This year I was finally able to put my Christmas items away easily and stress free, which in years past was definitely not the case.  Usually I would spend hours sorting through baskets and bins trying to figure out where things went and having to step over or move items that were in my way.

I decided to blog today on tips to establishing organization in one of the toughest areas (at least it was for me).  After months of dealing with a storage area that I could barely walk into and definitely couldn’t find anything because everything had just been thrown in for “later” organizing.  One day I finally had enough and could no longer look at this disaster area and I began the nightmare of sifting through the clutter.  Of course once I started, I began to feel overwhelmed and started stressing that I had started something I wouldn’t be able to finish.  Once I began to feel overwhelmed I focused on what I ultimately wanted to accomplish and started to visualize what the room would look like and how I would feel without the clutter. Unfortunately it did take me longer than I hoped but the end results were very satisfying for me and my husband.  My husband even commented on how he actually enjoyed going in there, which of course made it worth the hard work!

Below are some of the tips I found to be helpful.

1)  The first step in clearing out any room that is extremely cluttered (like this area was) is to focus on one thing at a time. If not it can become too overwhelming and you become so overwhelmed you just quit.  Also, don’t always expect to get it all done in a couple hours, a day or even a week depending on how much you have to sort through. For some jobs, like this it can take a while especially if it is done right but the rewards can be well worth it plus it doesn’t have to be cleaned out again if done right.

2) Focus on what we you could throw away and give away and remove these items out of the room and out of your site…they just take up room that you need to move and to organize

3) Determine what items could be moved to another room, garage or attic space ?  Again move these items out the room and out of your site….the less clutter the less likely to get frustrated and quit.

4) Clear smaller out items off the floor and put into bins for later sorting into categorized bins

5)  Hang as much of the large items off the floor or place leaning up, make sure to leave space for your bins that will store the smaller items such as holiday decor, memories, sports items, etc…

6) Determine how many bins you will be able to store, don’t go to the maximum because you will need to make sure you have room for new bins.  You may have to clean out more items if you are not able to fit everything . Determine a category for each bin based on the stuff you need to store and number of bins, you may need to consolidate two categories. Make sure to label each bin very clearly with the category name or names, so that you and others can easily identify where items are. This will also help you to stay organized in the future.

7) Purchase and put up shelving like the ones below, these are great for Storage Areas (if you have room) to hold the determined number of storage bins.  Shelving allows you to see your bins and easily get to your items, like the one below.

If not I recommend purchasing storage bins with wheels that stack together.  This makes it much easier to access.  Storage Bins should be clear if at all possible and I like to have color coded ones for holiday items which makes them easy to identify.

 

I hope this helps!