Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tiny little tips around the house that speed up housework: Avoid Crisscross Organizing

This tip is especially for all you busy Mom’s out there.  Crisscross organizing is a term I use to explain what happens to Mom’s when they scatter their efforts over multiple rooms in their home which results in not one room completely clean and organized.  Compartmentalizing the clutter in your home can be daunting, hence the reason the crisscrossing occurs in the first place.

Instead, for noticeable and impressive results, work to clear the clutter ONE room at a time, even perhaps one area in the room at a time.  If you find things in the room you are working on that belong elsewhere, stick them in a bin or laundry basket so when the whole room is finished, you can easily distribute those items to their appropriate homes. This eliminates  your urge to organize other things in other rooms in your home because you are waiting to distribute the items that belong in the other rooms or areas of your house until you are entirely finished in one area.  That was a mouthful to say!

You’ll be amazed how much quicker the clean-up goes if you follow this tip!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tiny Little Tips that speed up the Housework: Streamlining the Silverware in the Dishwasher

Image result for flatware clipart
I know what you're thinking, silverware on an organizing blog?  There are drawer inserts for those!  They don't get disorganized!  You're absolutely right,  they don't get unorganized in the drawer. But they do get thrown into the dishwasher every which way you can imagine.

One day while I was loading my sister in law's dishwasher after a family party, I asked her if she had a certain way she loaded the dishwasher (some of us do, some of us don't). She said the only thing she was particular about was how she loaded the silverware basket.

Here's how she does it:  Each slot in the dishwasher basket that holds silverware and other kitchen utensils is designated for one particular utensil. Meaning, the forks all go in one slot together, same thing with the knives, spoons, etc.  That way when she empties the silverware basket from the dishwasher, it takes a matter of seconds rather than minutes to put the silverware away because they are already grouped together and don't need to be sorted when put away.

Since then, I too have been taking the time to separate the utensils into "like" items when I load the dishwasher.  Sure it may only save a few minutes, but a few minutes here and there can add up to more like hours at the end of the day.  Try it, you'll never go back to the old way of unloading your utensils from the dishwasher!

Next up tomorrow; do you criss cross organize? I bet you do!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Favorite Organizing Products 2.0: Snap-Up Office Storage Boxes

These Snap-Up Boxes are one of the smartest storage options around.

Click on the picture below to buy directly from The Container Store!

(From the Container Store) "These clever boxes fold flat when not in use, then assemble in seconds to provide roomy, protective storage. These File Boxes and Record Storage Boxes are designed with the home office in mind. The Check File Box is perfectly sized for personal checks and legal-size envelopes. The Record Storage Box has roomy dimensions to accommodate both letter and legal size documents."

I use these to store all kinds of lightweight things.  Because you can label each box, your closets and open storage shelves become streamlined and clean and all items are easy to access.  The items are contained in the box where they are easily assessable to everyone. 

This is it!  The last of our Favorite Organizing Products 2.0.  Next up, simple easy time saving tips for around the house!  Happy Organizing!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Favorite Organizing Products 2.0: Canvas Bins

These canvas bins are great to "contain" items that clutter shelves.  I use them for all kinds of things!

Click on the picture to buy directly from The Container Store!
  • I use them for folded laundry.  Each member of the family has their named tagged to a bin and they are required to put away the clean laundry in the bin.
  • I use them to contain odd sized items in the laundry room.  
  • I use them for small toys .
  • I use them for extra office supplies.

What I love is the fact it has a little window where you can clearly identify with a label what you are using the bin for, which is KEY to keeping things organized in your home. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Favorite Organizing Products 2.0: 2-Drawer Stackable Organizer

This is another product I absolutely LOVE!  It's perfect for the medicine / linen closet. Best part of it all is it's on sale at The Container Store right now for $6.99 each.

Click the picture to buy directly from The Container Store!

As I mentioned I use these in my medicine cabinet to store medicine and other related items. I really  like them because I can see what I have which helps me avoid duplicate purchases. These also would be great in a pantry where some of those hard-to-store items can be contained to one place.  

You're going to love these!  They are great!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Love the show Hoarders? Then you will LOVE the new A&E show Dirty Money.

New show featuring Matt Paxton (from Hoarders) called "Dirty Money" on Saturday, June 18th @ 1pm EST (3pm MST) on the A and E Channel.

I have cut and pasted this from the following site that gives you more info: 5 Decisions Away 

"Matt Paxton and his team of loveable misfits at Clutter Cleaner are the kind of guys who will tackle any clean up, no matter how extreme. Whether the township sees your 4-acre car collection as more junkyard than museum, a storm has ripped the roof off your house and soaked everything inside, or you inherit 80 years of your parent’s belongings–Matt will clean it all up. And he’ll do it all for free. But there’s a catch. He only gets paid if he finds enough valuable goods to sell for cash. Follow Matt and the guys on an unbelievable mission that ends not only with the reveal of a cleaned up space, but a tally of how much Matt was able to make on his finds and whether or not his gamble paid off."

This is going to be a GREAT show.  Set your DVR's to watch it Saturday June 18th on A and E.

Favorite Organizing Products 2.0: Fellows Shredder

I have had a lot of different shredders in my day.  Too many to be honest. A few years back I went on a crusade of sorts to find the BEST shredder for the money.  The Fellows Shredder shown below is the best one on the market!

Click on the picture to buy!

It has a great motor and it takes a lot for this machine to overheat.  I have put 12 pages in this thing and it barely labors to shred them.

Best part is that Office Max has them on sale right now so NOW is the time to buy!  Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Favorite Organizing Products 2.0: NEAT Receipts

I copied and pasted these descriptions form the Neat Receipts website.  These digital scanners are super user friendly and make things simple and easy to scan and put in the appropriate file!  These are amazing!
Click on the picture to order!!!!
NeatReceipts is a mobile scanner and digital filing system that helps you manage all of your paperwork on the computer. Includes our NeatWorks software that identifies and extracts the important information from receipts, business cards and documents and automatically organizes it for you. All scanned documents can be searched by keyword so you can find exactly what you need.
The patented NeatWorks software gives you an easy-to-use, intuitive application to manage all of your business and personal paperwork.

Key Features:

Scan in receipts to:
• Save digital copies of receipts and records of vendors, dates, and totals
• Create expense reports and manage business and personal expenses
• Keep track of expenses for tax time (records accepted by the IRS)
• Export data to PDF, Excel®, Quicken®, QuickBooks®, TurboTax®

Scan in business cards to:
• Keep digital images of cards and contact information
• Capture name, address, company title, etc.
• Create your own searchable contact database
• Export data to Outlook and more

Scan in documents to:
• Create searchable PDF files
• Edit text using copy/paste
• Organize and store in your digital filing system

New in Version 4.0:
• The Quick Scan Center lets you scan documents from a system tray application
• The Inbox organizes all of your scanned items and lets you verify and then file the information
• The application interface has been redesigned to be faster and easier to navigate

It works where you work.
At less than one pound, NeatReceipts is perfect for the road, home, or office.

Click on the picture to order!!!!

NeatDesk is a scanner and digital filing system that intelligently organizes and secures all your important information on the PC.

Transform your workspace into a space that works.
At work or at home, NeatDesk declutters your workspace, providing a central “inbox” for all your papers—ready to scan when you are.

All-in-one scanning.
The removable input tray can scan both sides of up to 10 receipts, 10 business cards, and 10 documents at a time—or even a single, 50-page document.

Key Features:

Scan in receipts to:
• Save digital copies of receipts and records of vendors, dates, and totals
• Create expense reports and manage business and personal expenses
• Keep track of expenses for tax time (records accepted by the IRS)
• Export data to Excel®, Quicken®, QuickBooks®, TurboTax®

Scan in business cards to:
• Keep digital images of cards and contact information
• Capture name, address company, title, etc.
• Create your own searchable contact database
• Export data to Outlook and more

Scan in documents to:
• Create searchable PDF files
• Edit text using copy/paste
• Organize and store in your digital filing cabinet

Nearly all of your paper can be scanned into this software.  The rare exceptions are things you need the original copy of life insurance declaration pages, titles, etc.  If you are ready to go paperless, this is your first step toward that goal!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Favorite Organizing Products 2.0: Poly Envelopes

Have you seen these in stores and wondered what you would use them for?  I have a bunch of things I use them for and I love them!

Click the picture to buy directly from Office Max!

Most office supply stores carry these and a few discount retailers.  I love that I can see through them and that they are slip and can be carried in a purse or easy to take with you.  Here are some of the things I use them for:
  • Stamps
  • Return Address Labels
  • Stickers
  • Business Cards
  • Bank Deposits
  • Envelopes to be Mailed
  • School  Reward Tokens
I take these with me in the car when I need to make a bank deposit or need to mail envelops too. That way everything stays together and you can keep both hands on the wheel.

I know these little envelopes are super simple.  But that is another reason why I love them!  Happy Organizing Shopping!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Favorite Organizing Products 2.0: Velcro Fasteners

I have had clients laugh at me with my love affair with these groovy things.  I can't help it!  They're awesome!  

Got a box full of chords that are all tangled together?  These straps are your solution!  I use them all over the house to roll up cords that would be a mess otherwise.

These straps come perforated on rolls in various lengths and colors. Simply tear them off the roll as you need them. Besides working great, a wide variety of available colors allow for easy identification of the most complex wiring scheme when you create a simple color legend.  They're magic if you ask me!

 My iron and hand mixer are so much easier to store with these straps!  I've seen these straps at Wal-mart, Home Depot, Office Max, Lowes & Crafts Stores.  Enjoy your Friday!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Favorite Organizing Products 2.0

While improving my blog I realized that the last time I did my "Favorite Organizing Products" posts was way back in '09.   Since then I have found so many new organizing products I love so it's time to share more of the jewels with you all. Here we go!

The Desktop File (cue applause)
Click on the picture to order directly from The Container Store.
This little gem will keep you sane!  I do a lot of what I call "Family Command Center" organizing jobs.  The kitchen counter seems to be the catch all for every one's paper.  My house is no different.  Frustrated with the problem at my house a few years ago, I sought out a way to combat the paper clutter in my kitchen. I have since implemented it in many homes with fantastic results and super happy Mom's.

There are 4 levels to my house. My office is on another level than my kitchen and my kitchen is super  small for the scale of the house.  The entry from my garage is also in the kitchen.  So when we come home, everything is dropped on the kitchen counter. Receipts, School Papers, Mail, etc.

I would try to gather it all up and take it down to the office to be filed but because my office is on the lower level more often than not the papers would pile up for several days.

My solution was this desktop file.  There are many styles to chose from this is from The Container Store but you can also find them at office supply store and places like Target and Wal-mart. The Container Store has by far the best selection. I carry this file down to my basement and file what needs to be filed and I also filter through the rest of the folders and discard anything that is no longer needed.

Here is a sample of some of my hanging file folder tabs:

  • To do/ To Call
  • To Read
  • To Shred
  • To File
  • Phone Lists / Numbers
  • Coupons
  • Menus
  • Magazines
  • Store Ads
  • Receipts
  • File for every person in the Family
  • Business (if you run a home-based business, this is a MUST)
  • Temporary (School lunch menus, Concert Tickets, etc)
  • Someday Maybe (A wish list of things you want and need a place to put the information)

This list is just a guide to follow and hopefully gets your brain going thinking about different subjects files you would put in your desktop file. 
    As you can see the desktop is not large on purpose.  When it gets overstuffed which is usually once a week, it's time to empty things out.

    The convenient thing about this is you literally pick up the box and carry it where you need it.  In my case I have a archival file in the office for things like receipts, health insurance statements, insurance, etc.

    Make the desktop file something you enjoy looking at.

    I banned the ugly olive green hanging file folders years ago in favor of more colorful attractive files.  You can find them in every color you can imagine and if your local office supply store does not have the particular color you want, you can easily get in online and have it shipped right to your door.

    This is one of my favorites and I guarantee if you implement it in your home, you'll love it too!

    Organizer Tip:  If you can find a way to organize things where they are dropped or dumped, it will be much more likely that the system you create will stay in place.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Step 4: Kids & Chores. Kids & Chores: Using a timer during chore time. The best 5 dollars you’ll ever spend!

    There are fancier timers ones made exclusively for kids with ADHD and then there are the simple 5 dollar timers you buy at a supermarket.  If you have a child or you yourself suffer greatly from ADD/ADHD it is a worthy investment.  For the rest of us, the basic timer will do.
    First off, don’t sabotage yourself.  Don’t set the timer for 20 minutes and tell your child you want their room spic and span at the end of the 20 minutes. If the room seems like a gigantic mess for you as an adult, you can only imagine what it looks like to your child.

    This means that you, yes you the parent will have to take part in following throw with the chores.
    •     Start small:  Set the timer for 5 minutes and tell your child to only pick up their dirty clothes or perhaps just their books. Breaking things down into “like” items does wonders for your child’s brain.
    •  Once they have cleaned up all the books, set the timer again to cleanup all the Cars, Barbie’s, Trains, Lego's, etc., always by category, not all at once. Set the timer in small segments and continue to have them work on cleaning in categories of "like" items.
    •    You will find they enjoy being timed and "beating the clock".
    •   Before you know it, they will have things cleaned up in less than half the time it would have taken them otherwise. Breaking it up into small projects with "like" items also helps the child understand how to break down the mess in their minds so it's easier to clean. 

    Why is this technique so effective? Because timers and buzzers turn gray areas into black and white — no ambiguity allowed. A buzzer turns now into 1, 5, or 10 minutes — not when the next commercial break occurs. And as you’ve probably learned from your own kids, just give a child some ambiguity or a shade of gray, and you’re a sitting duck for an argument or a problem!

    Depending on the amount of children you have, you may want to present each child with their own timer. The buzzer is theirs to use to help them to move faster in terms of getting out of bed on time, bathing, brushing teeth, completing homework, and anything else that needs some putting the pedal to the metal. Show them the Mom or Dad timer also and explain that you’ll be simultaneously setting yours so that they won’t be able to stop their timers in order to give themselves more leeway. In discussing this, don’t worry that you’re putting a sneaky idea in their heads — most kids figure it out the first day on the timer system.

    Review the program. Summarize what will be timed and what will not, as well as stating the consequences attached to not beating the buzzer. A suggested consequence would be the loss of television privileges in the evening if the kid didn’t beat the homework buzzer earlier in the day or no playing with friends the next day if the child dawdled too much and didn’t come to the dinner table in a timely manner. Be creative and think outside of the box — use what works with the individual child.

    Falling off the Wagon
    Admit it we’re all human, myself included. So yes, if you fall off the wagon of doing chores for a few weeks it just means you’re normal and life has been busy. Many of my clients faithfully use the timer system for the first month or two and are awed at the new, obedient children who are now residing in their homes. Then the parents get lazy for a few days... The timer becomes misplaced in a drawer, and trust me, the kids notice that it’s no longer being used. If they see that you are not on top of timing the problem areas in the day — watch out! Some children will continue to respect your priorities, while others will begin to slack off. If you see this process occurring in your house, it’s time to rifle through the kitchen drawers, find the buzzers, and restore the timer system. There may be a few grumps and groans from your children, but it will work again and you’ll be a happier, less frustrated parent.

    Well, that's it for the chores for now.  Good luck and let me know what system works best for you.
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