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Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

Our 3 Pups

My family has a serious love for our pups – our place is home to three canines of all different sizes and shapes.   As such we have an abundance of leashes, collars, nail clippers and the like.  Our family is pretty active and our dogs are included in much of what we do so the minute we start looking like we are going to do anything dog related pandemonium breaks out.  Hunting around for someone’s leash or collar at that time is a riotous and frustrating affair.  Unfortunately that’s been the drill over the last couple of months.  We have had no designated place to keep all of our doggie paraphernalia and with a ten year old and a fourteen year old who are responsible for daily dog walks sometimes it can be very difficult to find where the leash was left last.

I decided to remedy this problem and began the hunt for the perfect organization gadget for all the dog things.  It turns out that this was no easy task.  Although I’m not the most organized person on the block there are certain things I can’t stand in my house; one of which is leashes hanging on the walls.   That said some method of hook organization wasn’t going to do it for me.  I also have very little space where I could place a basket that one of the mutts wouldn’t get into it and defeat my organization purpose so this was proving to be a very tricky affair to be sure.  Did I mention budget?  I was not about to pay for some specialized, custom, doo-dad either.

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, I was trolling another of my favorite spots, Home Goods and happened upon this dandy of a whatcha-majigger in the clearance aisle.  I must say I believe it was made just for me!

 

This gadget houses everything I need in one place but still closes up to hide the mess.  We mounted it on the wall low enough for the 10 year old to reach in (and put away).  I think it needs some sprucing up with a little personalization on the lid – but I’m still undecided on what I will put there.  Suggestions?

It never ceases to amaze me how a little effort and thought put into a small project can make me so happy!  Please share with me your ideas for pet organization – I’m sure there are many other great solutions out there!

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One of the biggest challenges I have been facing over the years is managing the bill paying process.  It’s not that I have a hard time paying bills, but I become overwhelmed by all the other stuff that goes along with it that creates such a mess in my house.  Well, I’ve decided the time has come for me to figure out a remedy for this problem and I’ve managed to work out some pretty cool solutions.

My biggest struggle was with mail.  In this “paperless” day and age can somebody please tell me why I have so much paper to deal with???  As I mentioned before I work full time so every day I come home to a new stack of mail on the kitchen counter.  It is usually sitting next to several other stacks of sorted mail pieces previously received that I need to do things with.  I have been in the habit of sorting the mail each day and throwing out the junk, but I still have bills, cards, school papers, coupons and other various pieces of paper that need action so I wind up with several piles of papers all over my kitchen counters – messy, messy!

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been trolling Good Will lately looking for bargains and I ran across this beautiful wooden bowl last week.  Bestill my heart it was $2.99!  (Can I tell you how much money I’ve spent on mail sorters of various sizes, shapes and colors that just don’t cut it?  I guarantee you NONE of them was $2.99!)   Right then and there I decided it was the perfect solution to my action mail stack.  This gives me one place to store the mail until I get working on it and it looks pretty while it’s on the counter.  Not to mention that it has a limit to its capacity so if it’s getting to full it’s time to stop procrastinating and get to work on those bills, etc.  Voila!  Solution numero uno.

After I attacked the paper piles on the counter I moved on to the secondary paper catch-all – my desk!  This is home to every printed receipt of online payment, check stubs, old checkbooks, bank statements and paid bills from the dreaded mail stacks.  Considering that I was in school the last three years this pile has grown into a Jabba The Hut monstrosity both on and below my desk.  Each time I look at all that paper with sensitive information that is potentially dangerous to expose I am overwhelmed at what to do with those things!   Daily it mocks me,

Heh, Heh, Heh, you are my kind of scum Solo.

So I finally manned up and tackled the beast last weekend, cleaning, sorting and putting away – but still, what to do with all that paper???  Well  it turns out that Office Depot has in-store shredding services for .99 per pound – who knew?!    If you keep an eye out they occasionally run free specials where you bring it in and there is no charge (even better!).  So I loaded up my paper in bags, tossed them  in the trunk and I’m heading off to the Depot.  Take that Paper Jabba!  Don’t underestimate MY power! : )

Well I must say all that weight off my shoulders was inspiring so I was spurred on to further neaten up my finances by creating a budget on Mint.com.  This is a safe and secure site that is super easy to create a budget by downloading your bank account and watching what you spend your money on.  Once you have categories set it will tell you if you overspend or underspend in that category and you can set up alerts to update you on your goals periodically.  Really nice program!  If you are interested check it out here.

How about you?  Any practical suggestions to neaten up your paper filled life?  I’d love to hear your ideas – do tell!  As for me I’m living in paperless heaven and enjoying every minute of it – and yes, my neatness has made me much less Shrew-like!

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Hello Friends! 

I’ve been very busy this week getting organized and have found some really cool Good Will treasures that I can’t wait to share with you soon.  First though I spent the day going through my biggest source of clutter and found a neat “Techy” way of getting rid of them.  Allow me to explain:

My biggest source of clutter is my books.  I am an avid reader,  I probably read about 5-6 books a month so you can imagine just how many books I have.  As a matter of fact I have so many that I converted my dining room into a library so I could have a place to store them.  Even doing that though they are spilling over into every area of my house so it’s time to reduce and share the love.

In my attempt to figure out how to reduce and recycle all these books I realized that I have bought so many used ones over the years and that got me thinking – why not sell MY books?  It turns out that it is very easy to sell your books on Amazon.com.  (check it out here)  So I set up an online store for myself and I am going to try and move these books out of the house by sharing them with others at a reduced cost.  I guess it’s like a virtual garage sale.  My site is called Read-Cycle and I hope to be able to reduce my stockpile of books over time.  (I’ll let you know how that goes).

Anyway I just wanted to share this idea as a way of recycling things and making some pocket change.  Obviously this isn’t a way to make a ton of dough but if I want to purchase more books I now have a way to pay for them and move them on to the next person to enjoy.

I’d love to hear from you about how you are reducing-reusing & recycling!  Leave a comment below!

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Hello!  Welcome to my blog!

I am so excited you are joining me as I endeavor to bring some practical organization to my active life.  There is nothing more fun to me than having a friend to share a project with to spur you along.  I hope you will stay with me as I navigate myself back from the brink of disorganizational disaster.

 

Now please don’t misunderstand me, I really do have the desire and the ability to be fairly organized however, I’m finding out that life is just so darn BUSY!  Are you with me?  It’s not that I don’t know how to put my things away or “create a place for everything and everything in its place” but I just really don’t have time to do it while I’m flying in from one thing and out to the next.  The last couple of years have been super busy for me and although things have slowed down a bit I’m still not wandering around looking for stuff to do, if you know what I mean. 

 

So I raised my head recently and discovered that I am drowning in a sea of chaos and I need to get a handle on things.  SO, I’ve decided to start with baby steps and take on something small to boost my confidence.   In my minds eye I hear Bill Murray whispering,

“baby step onto the elevator… baby step into the elevator… I’m in the elevator”

as I scan my house taking in the multiple possibilities for a first project.  Well I’ve finally settled on the perfect mini-project – the kitchen window ledge – and I can’t wait to share it with you!

My kitchen window ledge is the focal point of my kitchen.  I have grandiose visions of it looking something like this when I enter the room:

Or maybe something like this:

Unfortunately in my house the kitchen window ledge is the catchall for everything one (as in numero uno) doesn’t want to lose.  Most of the time it looks like this:

 

 

And apparently I’m not the only one.  Check this out.   Now in my defense I must say this is not all my doing.  I have employed my 14-year-old boy to assist in emptying the dishwasher and he has a habit of putting things up there he doesn’t know what to do with yet knows I will be looking for later – hence the large colorful bottles and their corresponding lids.  And my husband does the dishes (don’t hate me now – he got in the habit when I went back to school and I developed a severe dishwashing allergy since then ) but anything that doesn’t go in the diswasher winds up staying on the counter until it grows legs and leaves on its own.  Thus I have a menagerie of various odds and ends that accumulate in the general vicinity of the kitchen sink that I either don’t know what to do with, don’t want to lose or am too pressed for time (-ahem! lazy!) to walk up the stairs and put away.

But as I said this is a new day!  So I separated everything out and sorted it into piles – things to stay (left) & things to put elsewhere (right)

I found a nice container (in the plastics cabinet –  project for another day) for the dog treats and the kelp (for the old pooch) went into the dog food bin:

The dog gets this in her food daily as a vitamin supplement, this place to keep it eliminates extra trips to add it to her food – and why fight fate by insisting that the kids put the treat box back in the pantry?  This container works on the counter and may even encourage more treats to be passed out 🙂

In the end I wound up going a bit beyond the window ledge and had room to put some cards I recently received on display.  What do you think?

 

What a beautiful site ay?  But alas! I still have one thing left that I’m not sure what to do with (am I the only one this happens to?!)

I’d love to hear your suggestions on what to do with this – I don’t sew, but I feel like I can’t throw these away.  Any thoughts?

Well, that was a wonderful project to do after work!  I feel so much better I can almost pretend I don’t see this:

Guess what I’m tackling next?

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