Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Month of Tips

While on The Clutter Diet Blog, I saw that there was a posting called Start the New Year Right: 31 Simple Tips for 31 Days. I clicked on the link in this blog and it took me to a January 2010 calendar. This calendar has one simple organizing tip for each day. Each thing is an easy 15 minute or so task designed to help get you more organized and decluttered by the end of January. By having a small task every day as opposed to many tasks once a week, decluttering seems less daunting and difficult. Thanks Lorie for this great breakdown!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Great Products at Fry's!

Jake and I were shopping at our neighborhood Fry’s grocery store in Prescott Valley and saw that they had a whole aisle just for natural household cleaners! They had Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products, Kiss My Face, Holy Cow, Howard Natuals and many other products.

Seventh Generation makes paper towels, diapers, dish washing detergent, laundry detergent, household cleaners, etc. They use 100% recycled paper and plastic, they use no chlorine, and make phosphate free cleaners.

Mrs. Meyers makes many different home cleaners in “aromatherapeutic” scents such as lavender, lemon verbena, basil, and more. They even have baby products. They are earth friendly and cruelty free. The products are biodegradable and have all natural ingredients.

Kiss My Face has natural and organic facial cleansers and products, soaps, and cosmetics which have no artificial colors, no unnecessary chemicals, have not been tested on animals, and have no animal ingredients.

Now I have stainless steel appliances and I love the way they look. However, I do not like cleaning stainless. It isn't easy. I've used many different types of cleaners you can find in a store. I've also tried olive oil which gave it a beautiful shine. Our dog Nico love the oil too and he licked our refrigerator leaving tongue marks which took about a month of cleanings to get off. I found a product called Howard Naturals stainless steel cleaner. It is a vegetable-derived cleaner with yummy fragrances such as "Energizing Grapefruit-Ginger." I used it tonight and it is wonderful! No streaks and a high shine. They also have a wood cleaner and polish and a wood preservative that I would like to try. There is a granite and counter top cleaner and even an upholstery cleaner. All of the Howard Naturals products are earth friendly, kid and pet safe.

Holy Cow cleaners are great (see my other blog and the posting titled "Holy Cow!" on October 22, 2008). They come in 4 formulas ranging from all purpose to degreaser. These products are "biodegradable and non-hazardous and contain NO solvents, NO VOCs (volatile organic compounds), NO toxins, NO alcohol, NO ammonia, NO harmful oxygen-based bleach cleaners, NO citrus-based products which may dissolve rubber or plastics, and non hazardous, so it's safe for you and your family as well as for your animals" and from experience, I know they really work! You can use them on almost anything such as granite, jewelry, carpet, and even degrease engine parts!

I’m so excited that our local Fry’s has started carrying these products. You can find them in the center of the store in the aisle with the organic grocery items.

I feel like this is a huge step in the right direction.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A New Goal

It has been 54 days since my last posting. Sad huh? Where has all the time gone? Well, this holiday season has recked havoc on my house and organizing. A lot of what was organized is no longer. It seems as though a lot of time was wasted looking for where I put things such as gift bags, wrapping paper, and Christmas gifts I bought months ago. Of course I put them all in a safe place where I would know exactly where they were. Yeah, didn't quite work out that way.

My goal last year was to conquer all of my projects by Christmas and I am sad to say, I did not achieve my goal so I am setting a new one. It is going to be smaller and less menacing. My new goal is to have my library closet (aka Mary Kay closet), office closet, and guest room closet organized and decluttered by March 16th. That way, my birthday, March 17th will be nice and clutter-free. After my birthday, I will set another goal. Eventually, I will have my whole house organized and decluttered, maybe by the end of the year and that is OK with me. I have a lot to do and not much free time. I can live with taking a full year to get my house perfect. I heard once, "You will never FIND time, you must MAKE it," and that is so true. "For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned." -Unknown

On a blog that I follow called The Clutter Diet Blog, I saw a posting dated December 22nd that I really liked called, "Ten Simple Ways to Be More Organized in 2010." This gives simple and practical ways to get organized. I subscribe to The Clutter Diet and I really do like it. Lorie Marrero really breaks down these daunting tasks into manageable "meal plans" each week. There is also a discussion board where you can post your questions about problem areas and professional organizers will respond to you and help you out. You can read all of the postings and get ideas from other people's questions and answers as well. I recommend this program to anyone wanting some guidance on decluttering. For about $15 a month, I think it is a bargain.

I'm trying to go green whenever possible around the house. On Real Simple I found an article called, "How Green Are You?" There are a lot of small changes that can really add up to big changes for our environment. I hope to become a mostly green home soon.

I think that I am also going to start blogging about ways to save money around the house. For $25 a year, yes a year, I signed up on a website called Practical Saver. A woman named Kara from our church started this website. On it, she posts grocery store ads and points out bargains. There are homemade gift ideas, bargain products, a discussion board, and links to other sites on the website. She shows a video on how to cut, organize, and use coupons on each shopping trip. I know other women who have used these techniques and actually save more money than they spend! I want to be like that. I'm not very good at this saving money thing yet, but I will be and I'll share my tale with you. While picking a new background for this blog, I noticed that The Cutest Blog On The Block had a "free coupon" section. I clicked on it and it took me to a page with quite a few links to free coupons and samples.

I am revisiting some of my favorite organizing blogs and websites and becoming more excited and motivated to reach my March 16th goal. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Too much…

So I have not organized much lately. For some reason it seems I can’t even keep my house clean. Jake and I clean, and it’s messy the next day. I need to figure out a way to manage our stuff. It’s a vicious cycle I tell you.

I still have high hopes for my upcoming projects. I have great ideas for them, but I just have to get my butt in gear and do them.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

24 Hours in a Day. Really?

Do you ever feel like you have more things to do than there are hours in the day?  I do. If you really think about it, there are 24 hours in a day. 8 are spent at work, 8 (if you’re lucky) are spent sleeping, and that leaves 8 for all of your extra stuff. That seems like so much time but it never actually ends up a full 8 hours. How much time do you spend getting ready for work? How long does it take to drive to and from work? All of that eats up at my free time. Bummer huh?

How can I maximize my efficiency during my “8” hours of free time? Of course one answer is to be more organized so that my activities are more streamlined. Another is to break up your chores throughout the week so you don’t have to spend your whole 8 hours cleaning, doing laundry, and grocery shopping on your weekend.

What are your ideas?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Project #3- Master Closet (Part 1)

Well, I am working on our closet. It is a really big closet so it is really full. My plan of attack is to fold all of my sweaters and put them in some baskets on one shelf. I need to organize my shoes (and get rid of some) in some way that makes them all fit. I want to group all like types of clothes together. I have a small dresser in there and I need to reposition it so it doesn't take up so much floor space. We have some extra stuff on the very top shelf. This stuff can all come down and go somewhere else. I can put things we rarely use up there.

I'm hoping Jake will work on his half of the closet. Maybe he will We'll see.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Ultimate Goal

I was doing some thinking today about this blog and what my goals are. I know I listed my projects and when I wanted to be finished with them. But what happens when they are all done? Am I just going to be done? Is organizing ever really done? Probably not. I think it's like cleaning the house... never finished. It will become easier with time, but for the most part, I will always be able to organize something more or better. Right?

I would like to continue with this blog as long as I can still type. I want to become the kind of woman whom everyone knows is organized in every part of my life. I want to be a blog that many people read on a daily basis (ok in reality maybe weekly). I'd like to come up with my own organizing and decluttering ideas. This will be a very big challenge for me.

My first challenge to you is to make a comment every time you read a posting. I have two great friends who always make comments and I can't tell you how much I look forward to that. It keeps me going. I check my blog, almost on an hourly basis, after updating to see if you have read it yet. Thank you.

The second challenge is to click on the button on the top of the right margin and follow my blog. My goal is to get at least 10 comments for each posting and to have at least 20 followers. I don't have a date to end this goal. I think it's one that will need to be modified (hopefully the number will need to be raised) and will go on forever.

Let me know what you think.

My New Diet

I found a great organizing plan online today. It is called the "Clutter Diet." It is a program that sends you "meal plans" for the week. They include a main dish- such as organizing your closet and 2 side dishes- which are 10-15 minute jobs. A sensible snack takes about 5 minutes and then of course there is dessert which is your reward for the week. You can post questions on a message board and get advice from professional organizers. It is $4.95 for the first month then $14.95 each month after that. There are discounts for paying for a year up front.

I think this will be a great investment.

Impromptu Project

Well, one chapter in Organize Now is how to organize your email. Even though it isn't one of my projects, I did it today. I have to admit, I feel great. It was very liberating to get my inbox down to 3.

I use Gmail for most of my emails. It allows me to label each message I get and put it in a corresponding folder. It then allows me to color code each folder which in turn, color codes the label. So, when you glace at your inbox, your messages will be color coded with each group it belongs to.

I made sure I labeled all of the stray messages that have been staring me in the face for who knows how long. I then made new folders and put them in the correct one. I was able to clear all 400 messages from my inbox in a short amount of time.

Organize Now suggests that when you want to reply to an email, but you don't have the time, hit the reply button then immediately save it as a draft. After that, erase the original message from you inbox. This keeps the message in a "To Do" folder of sorts, you can come back to reply when you have time, and you inbox stays clean.

I always like when I have a clean inbox. It makes me feel like something is clean and organized. It's not overwhelming with all of the messages demanding attention.

Let's keep it this way.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not Much Done...

My next project is the office closet. It is a large walk in closet. I have so many ideas for it. I plan on having an area for my craft and scrap booking stuff, an area for all of our gift wrapping paper and ribbon, and an area to hold all of my past issues of magazines (because you never know when I'll want to read that one story again). However, this weekend has kind of been shot because of this whole "we may get a barn, we may not" thing. Just got word today, he wants $8,000 more to deliver it plus extra to put it back up and he wants the money now. No thanks. Sometimes a good deal, just isn't.

Anyway, needless to say, this weekend has kind of been a waste when it comes to decluttering project #3. I'll try to do some tonight and maybe some tomorrow morning. We'll see.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Project # 2- The White Desk (Part 2)

Well, project # 2 is done, however, the desk is no longer white. It is a light, sage green.

We had old mail, work papers, and just everyday stuff piled on it. I took all of that off. I laid all of it on the floor and tried to do it that way. As you can see, the boys were trying to help me. How can I tell that face he was in my way? I made piles out of all of it: "Toss," "File," and "To Do."

I also took off all of the hardware and spray painted it. Spray paint is my new best friend. It is so easy to get a great look. I used a hammered bronze color and I love it. I used an empty box of manicotti shells and stuck all of my screws into it to hold them upright as I sprayed them. I sprayed the key hooks also. Next, I took my leftover green paint (from the 2nd time we painted the kitchen) and used that to paint the entire desk. It did take 2 coats so it required some time to dry. The color is "Restful" by Behr. It is a Kitchen and Bath finish so it is a little shinier than a satin but less than a semi-gloss. I thought this would make it easy to clean when the time comes.

I bought a few wire desk accessories and probably spent about $30 on those, but aren't they so cute?!?

This project has always been one of our biggest problem areas so I'm so relieved that this is decluttered.

I'm 2 projects down, 10 projects and 16 weeks to go. Right on track.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Organize Now"

I was at Joann's fabric store this morning and found a book called Organize Now: A week-by-week guide to simplify your space and your life by Jennifer Ford Berry. Of course, I had to buy it.

I went out to my car and flipped to the table of contents. It sounds great! It has 52 weeks of organizing different things in your life from specific rooms, to your purse, to your bills, to your pets. I'm going to pick my way through the book and not go in order since some of them don't apply to me (i.e. my pregnancy or nursery). It seems as though each topic is only 4 pages long. That makes it seem very easy and quick.

Jennifer Ford Berry has a website you can check out and a blog.

I will be using this book to help me organize my house and find Simplicity.

If you decide to challenge yourself to declutter as well, I already highly recommend this book. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Project # 2- The White Desk (Part 1)

I've been working on our "catch all" white desk. I'm not finished yet, but I wanted to give you a little glimpse at what's to come...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Project #1- The Pantry

Since it was my inspiration, I saw it only fair to have my messy pantry as my first project. As I type, my kitchen is littered with most of the contents of my pantry. I keep trying to make my blog look nicer and nicer so I don't have to go and finish it. But the time has come.

Obviously, the first thing I did was pull everything out of my pantry and laid it out. Although this part was very overwhelming, it allowed me to see what I had. Next, I grouped everything together by type of food such as a side dish or snack, soup or condiment. Then I slowly started to put things back in the pantry, one grouping at a time. A great idea that Jake had was to take all of the glass jars I've been saving (they don't accept glass in our recycle bin) and use them to hold stuff. What a great idea. I used mine to hold rice, beans, lentils, popcorn, and other dried goods. Not all of my jars had the labels removed, but it's easy to do. Just soak the jar in hot, soapy water for 15 minutes or so and they should rub right off.

I put the appliances I use the least on the top shelf of the pantry while using a decorative basket to hold extra accessories such as blades for the food processor. To wrangle the wild cords on these I use empty toilet paper rolls. I learned this from my mom and I love this idea.

I grouped together breakfast foods, such as cereal, oatmeal, pancake mix and syrup. I organized my canned goods by kinds of food and alphabetically. I put snacks in a small bin and put them on a shelf- the healthier snacks on a higher shelf, therefore easier to grab.

To eliminate some of the clutter that half empty boxes create (contrary to how it sounds, I am an optimist), I emptied them into either clear containers such as plastic ones to hold cereal or Ziploc bags. That way, I can see what is in each and know when I'm getting low.

I did take this opportunity to get rid of some stuff. I took some canned goods that I knew we wouldn't eat and set them aside to donate to a food drive. So when it looks like there is fewer stuff in the pantry, there is, but not a lot. I took the broom and put it in the laundry room, where it is much better suited. I had a small bag that holds plastic shopping bags and I put a small nail in the wall to hold that. I have another nail to hold my aprons.

I didn't have to go out and buy anything for this decluttering. I had all of the plastic bins and baskets. I think they wouldn't be very expensive if you needed to buy them. Some of the bins I had I got at Target, back with the large plastic storage bins. The brand is "Itso". They have cubical type organizing systems and the boxes I used came from there. Baskets are cheap too. I especially like the ones at Joann's fabric store- they are almost always having a sale on them.

The next project? Our white desk we have near our front door where we drop everything.


Welcome to my decluttering and organizing blog. You may know, my husband Jake and I bought a house at the beginning of the year. We are unpacked (mostly) and settled in quite nicely. However, our stuff isn't organized at all and some things are just downright cluttered. I make lists of what I want to do, how I want things to look, and how organized I could be but it just never happens.

After seeing the movie "Julie and Julia", I was inspired to challenge myself to become better at something. After a long night of thinking, and looking at my messy pantry, I decided that organizing could be the way to go. I'll get my house in perfect order and make new habits as well. I decided to blog about all of this and maybe make decluttering easier for someone else also.

Wish me luck!