Happy New Year!
Are you ready for tonight? Big plans or just laid back and relax with family? Dave and I do not have any kids home tonight, but we are just going to go to an early dinner and movie. Hopefully we can stay up until midnight!!
New Year’s resolutions are a source of much discussion. Some people say you should never make resolutions because you will never keep them, other people say you should.
I believe that it is a great idea to make goals for the new year. I don’t know if I want to say resolutions because it sounds so permanent. “I resolve to do this!!”.
But I think the beginning of something new (2009) is a good time to give yourself goals for the new year in what you would like to accomplish financially, mentally, spiritually and physically. So where does organizing come in? It can fit into almost all of the categories. To be organized and know where things are makes things move smoother, makes you feel better and makes your family happier. You ultimately end up saving money because you aren’t wasting time looking for things or spending extra money re buying things you can’t find.
Take some time tomorrow with pen and paper in hand…find a quiet place to be by yourself and just sit and think what you would like the new year to bring. Is it losing weight (my goal last year and I have lost all but 3 pounds of my 50 pound goal), getting in shape (one of my goals for this year), saving money this year or reorganizing that room that you can’t open the door into!
Be realistic! Don’t give yourself a goal that you know you can’t accomplish (finding the perfect man and having 2 babies before July!)
Organizing your thoughts for the new year can bring things into focus to start off fresh!!
The creator of the pouchee, Anita Crook also developed this Console Caddie. It makes a great tote to carry things in and out of your house to your office and back again. It is also good to just keep in your car to keep things organized.
One of the Doctors I work for loves the large black one. He puts his Iphone, physican phone sheet, pens and I am not sure what else in it and says he loves it to carry things from his office, to his car and then to his house.
There are 2 sizes. They are both 5 inches tall (not including the handle). The larger one is 8 1/4 inches (long enough for a checkbook) and the smaller length is 7 inches.
They are a heavy leatherette fabric in either black or tan. The handles are stable and it has a gusseted bottom to be able to stand up when full.
Inside has credit card pouches, lipstick or pen pockets, a divided middle, pouches on both sides for all your odds and ends.
Pros: *Great size to keep all your little gadgets from falling all over the car.
*Has separate pockets to keep things organized.
*Can work as purse organizer or separate mini purse.
*Can use it to organize other areas other than your car.
Cons: *Only comes in black and tan and not other fun colors.
Use Christmas as a great time to Sort!
Christmas is over and you have lots of new memories, presents along with bags of trash, boxes and things out of place!
I think this is one of the reasons that we get the bug to get things cleaned up and organized. It can also add to the sadness that can feel after all the excitement and anticipation is over.
Grab a white trash bag (for donate) and black trash bag (trash). As you are taking the clothes to put away in your drawer, take 3 minutes for each drawer and quickly go through and pick out the things you have not worn in over a year, or that is too tight or too big and load into the white bag. If it’s torn then put it in the black bag to throw away. If you are seriously going on a diet and realistically think you can fit back into some clothes within the next 6 months, then make a pile for those clothes to go into a bin. Label that bin with a date for 6 months from now and if in 6 months you are not close to getting into them, donate them.
If you have 6 drawers then you have just gone through your dresser in less than 20 minutes.
One way to get through some sorting without taking all day and being too overwhelming.
1-2-3…Get Organized Mini Books
by Beverly Coggins
Beverly Coggins is a professional organizer and has written several mini books to help people get organized easily. These are easy to read books and are brief but cover a magnitude of information! Her years of experience as a professional organizer gives her insight and many tips that can help even an experienced organizer.
She has mini books and ebooks available. Here are a few of what she offers:
*Three Steps to Time Management in the Office
*Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student
*Three Steps to Decluttering
*Three Steps to Downsizing to a Smaller Residence
and many more.
Each book is divided into 3 chapters. This is the general breakdown.
1) Saying good-bye to unnecessary items
2) Rearranging your area (whatever area she is writing about)
3) Maintaining the system or area and keeping it organized.
*The books are colorful and fun to read
*They are full of good information
*The are simple and not overwhelming for anyone.
*Even a child would be able to read and understand them.
*They are so cute and small that someone might feel they aren’t getting a full book of knowledge when they first receive them. (This isn’t really a con because once they read them they will realize how much valuable information is actually in this small book. More than enough to organize the job they wanted!!)
Beverly has offered for me to give you a chance to win 3 of her mini books!
Three Steps to Organizing your Kitchen,
Three Steps to Organizing your Child’s Room
Three Steps to Organizing your Office
To buy these and many other items you can visit Beverly’s web site at
Blended Families = Blended Traditions
There are so many Christmas traditions and when you put two families together there is going to be some “overlapping” of traditions. If you are remarried and have children when you come into the holidays there is even more to consider. Your kids have done it the way you have brought them up too…your traditions. (of course)
Dave and I found several traditions, some that were completely opposite, and some we agreed on right away.
I always hung our stockings on the fireplace mantel and “Santa” filled them and that is where you found them in the morning. That is how I grew up and my boys grew up. Dave on the other hand always had his stockings left on his bedroom door handle. He and his sister could open their stockings and play with what they had for a couple of hours until their parents woke up. Then they could go downstairs. I didn’t like that one at all because I want to enjoy every part of Christmas morning with the kids, even opening the stockings. So we compromised. His kids and Tim put their stockings on their door knobs. My older boys leave theirs on the mantel. But the kids come wake us up when they wake up and I come in (with my camera of course) to watch them open their stockings. So it works out for all of us.
The other one is how you open your gifts. Growing up we all just tore into our gifts at the same time and it was utter chaos. Once I had kids I never liked that, I wanted to see the kids open everything. Dave feels the same about this one. We go around and have the kids open their gifts one at a time so we can all enjoy it.
We have breakfast first because the morning takes longer. But I love it this way!!
The Stockings were hung by the chimney with Care..In hopes that St. Nickolas Soon would be there.
Just a few stockings hung! The rest of the mantel is not decorated yet…one thing I am behind on. We had planned to be in another house by now, so many of our things were packed to move. I have not gotten all the decorations out this year, but will get a few more out to do the mantel.
Things don’t have to be perfect. I am not stressing over the fact that I do not have all my decorations out. We have lights outside, the tree up and a few of our favorite Christmas decorations out. You know what…I don’t think the kids will notice or even care. We aren’t having any big party here this year. My Dad and his wife and my brother will be over and if they have complaints….oh well.
I think we get so concerned with what we think we should do in other people’s eye that we can ruin the fun for ourselves.
I worked yesterday on the goodies that I make every year. We have the the gifts bought and wrapped. The Christmas picture and letter went out on time. We will have a wonderful time even without the whole house decorated.
I am going to enjoy my Christmas time with my family and not stress that the decorations aren’t perfect. I hope you can do the same this Christmas and we should all remember that Christ is the reason for the season and that this time is to be enjoyed with family, and not ruined because we are stressed.
With all the new toys coming to invade your house (from you, Grandparents, gift exchanges at school etc…) can your house handle them? Do you have the extra room for them to have a place to go? Will you be trying to figure out where to put all the new ones?
Try the “One toy in…One toy out” rule. For each new toy that comes into your house, find one toy that can be donated (or thrown away if its broken) to go out.
This can be done with or without the kids. You know your children. If they are ones who are going to pitch a fit and say they they can’t possibly get rid of ANY of their things…then it is better to do it while they are not home. Don’t pick out their favorites that they still play with. Find those ones that are underneath a pile that they haven’t seen in months (or years) and get rid of those. Chances are they will never miss them. My children never complained or missed a thing that I got rid of over the years. HONEST!!
If you have children who have a heart for helping other children, then it may be good to involve them in the process. (Although it is probably the kids who have the difficulty giving up their things who really should be learning that other kids can really use the toys more than they can.) They will realize they are helping other children and will enjoy it. The triplets are good about this. I usually go through without them, but when they realize what I am giving away they talk about how much the other kids will enjoy using it.
Don’t continue to pile on more toys just because YOU have an attachment to them. Kids can only use and play with so many things. Less is so much more in this area.
I love personalized Christmas ornaments. I have been purchasing a family ornament every year since my boys were little. I usually find them at Christmas craft bazaars, but the last 2 years I have not found anyone selling them at the ones I have gone to. The malls have a little place you can get them now, so that helps. The one with the fence and snowmen is my new one for this year. Finding one with 8 kids (or characters) is really hard to find (I did last year…the one with all the bear faces on it.) This year I was able to find one with 5, so I just had it made for the 5 kids we have at home.
I almost forgot…the most fun about them is how excited the kids are each year to get them out and find each year and put them up. There are many others they like putting up too, but they always love the dated yearly family ornament the best.
What is your Christmas ornament tradition?
Labeling Christmas Gifts so No Guessing presents Before they are Opened!
I don’t know about you, but we wrap many of our gifts and put them under the tree before Christmas eve. Then we bring out the rest of them after the kids have gone to bed. How do you keep your kids from being able to figure out what certain give away shape and size gifts are? I have been using a plan that I heard years ago and it works great!
Make Up Goofy Pseudo Names.
Make up fake names for your kids and label the gifts that way. You have to make a key for yourself (and don’t lose it!!) ahead of time. If you have 4 kids I pick out 8 names. I give them each 2 names so they will have no chance on figuring out their gifts. It may look something like this:
1) Joe – Dasher / Mary Poppins
2) Drew – Batman / Spiderman
3) John – Snow White / Elf
4) Tim – Belle / Hulk
Don’t make them gender basis either. Give the boys girl characters and the girls boy characters. That will throw them off even more!
My boys have been used to this since they were small. Dave’s kids just started it 5 Christmas ago when we were first together. They think it’s great and keep asking if we are going to do the “names” again on the presents.
That is my job today, to wrap gifts and come up with the code list. (That’s the hardest part for me coming up with 16 fake names)
I decided to get some gift cards this year to do my own shopping with. Why? Well, our high school has a program for the marching band that if we shop at our grocery Kroger’s then 5% of what we spend on our Kroger card (that we refill and use like money) will go towards our own child’s account. So that when band comes around next year and we have to spend like $250 on the mandatory summer camp and all the other expenses that add up to over $400 per child (and we have 2 in band), then we will have some money in their accounts. Ok..that was long winded. So I went into Kroger’s to get some gift certificates so I could get some credit for our sons. I bought some for Target and Kohl’s and another one that I can’t say in case one of my kids reads this. I went promptly out to do some shopping. I did go to the unnamed store and had no problems. Then I went into Target and did my shopping. I went to check out and my cards did not work. I explained I had just purchased them and there should be no reason they shouldn’t work….here are the receipts! Well, I was told that the Target store has a 24 hour wait time on their cards from when you can buy them and when they can be used. I had no idea…but guess what….it says it right on the cardboard holding the card. Look at that little circle in the upper right hand corner that says $50, well around that $50 in small print it say, “This card will be activated 24 hours after purchase”. Yep…says it right there. Did I look at that…nope. Did it tick me off…yep…is it my own fault…yep. (Darn…can’t even blame anyone…LOL)
So I thought I would tell you.
We have all heard all the other precautions when buying gift cards. Make sure there are no expiration or percentages off (if not used by a certain time etc..)..but this was a new one to me. So I wanted to pass it on.
Look for deals like this though. If you plan ahead you can save on gas, earn money for causes etc. But it takes some planning. (at least 24 hour ahead for Target).
We all have those night when you wake up with all those thoughts swirling around keeping you awake. If you are anything like me you need to write them down so that you know you won’t forget them in the morning. But to actually get up out of bed, turn on a light (you don’t want to wake up your husband)and find a pen is too much trouble. So you lay there thinking about it over and over again so you will be determined not to forget it in the am. (which many of us do anyway).
Here is a solution to that, Notes in the Night. Judy Warmington came up with this to help solve just that problem. It’s a note pad with a pen that lights up.
You click the pen once and it is a regular pen, you click it 2 times again and it lights up. Then you can write in the dark without having to wake up your husband. Problem solved.
1) Small and convenient to keep at your bedside.
2) Pen lights up so you can see in the dark.
3) Can store in the cute bag it comes in.
1) Not sure how long the light in the pen works.
2) Can’t think of any other cons…
To Purchase go to The Organizing Specialist
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Are you starting the “Christmas Panic Dance” yet?
Feeling the pressure of having to “get it all done” within the next 10 days?
The cookies to be made, shopping to be done, Christmas cards to go out, dinners to plan, wrapping to be done, etc…
Most of us are feeling some of the pressures. There are expectations….you know.. for Christmas and it is hard to keep up.
We have to realize that we can only do what we can do. We aren’t super human, we aren’t all Martha Stewards…so we may not get it all done. We need to prioritize. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea (or wine) and make a list of the things that HAVE to get done. Usually shopping is one of those. Then concentrate on that first. Decide the next important thing and so on and so forth. So that if something has to go, it is the last few on the list. Decide if there are some ways you can cut down on some things. Maybe you don’t have to make all 8 cookie recipes, just make 2 and double them this year. Maybe you don’t have to go to all of the Christmas get togethers. Ask for help! Let your husband help you…..”gasp”… or your mother or friend.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself! Try to relax a little and enjoy the holiday season yourself! It’s ok if we aren’t perfect!!
These handy little holders for your cables are wonderful!
They are simple and work great. I have them on side of my little mini office by my couch. They have sticky backs and stick right on the surface of the cubby. I have a power strip just below on the floor and it has my cell phone charger and PDA charger plugged into it. Then I have these two (most used) power cords hooked up through these little holders and they are right where I need them every evening when I need to plug them in. So convenient! I think I found these at the Container Store but I have also seen them at Target.
Make a Christmas List Before You shop
Christmas list….we all need to make them before we get out into that crazy, sale driven, deal making shopping world!
I guess I would think that everyone would make a list, and I would bet that most of us do. But I do know people who just wing it. They go out to do their shopping and have an idea of what they are going to get the 23 people they have to buy for.
It’s just too hard to keep it straight. To remember if you got Johnnie black socks and Rubin an X-box 360 and you need to have about the same amount to give each one.
It’s simple…just write down everyone you need to shop for. If you have ideas or know what you plan to get them…write it down under their name. When you find it..mark it off. If you find something different or new…write it in. Very simple and will help you tremendously.
This is Doe with her Christmas list for the dollar store. She had her pencil with her to mark off who she bought for. Cute huh?
Here is another thing that I love! I have it on my couch right next to my mini office! It holds my calculator, pens and other odds and ends on one side. On the far side that hangs down I put all my related connector cords. The one for my camera to my computer, my PDA connector and also my camera charger. I have some head phones in there too that I use for my laptop. If I want to listen to a CD about organizing or watch a DVD on my laptop while the tv is on..I just whip out my little headphones and I am off to quiet zone.
I got the red because I have the red leather couch and it seems match real close so you don’t really notice it. But I am too practical anyway, so I don’t really care. Hee hee It just lifts right off if you want to have company over and want it to look nicer.
My Mini Office
This is my mini work station beside the couch, where I always sit, in the family room.
I have my bills in the right cubby, bills paid and things to be filed in the middle and on the right as you see my stapler and tape. On top I have a notebook I use daily to plan my day and extra paper. There are also some papers in there that I used to track and make sure some things were completed. In the drawer I have my stamps, envelops, return address labels, hand lotion and some other odds and ends. You can kind of see on the left of my work station I have a plastic …oh wait, I will take a picture of it because I love it too.
I have scissors, pens and pencils. My letter openers, paperclips. Then I have Q-tips and fingernail clippers because I am always seeing dirty ears and long fingernails on the kids and I want to take care of it when I see it!
So I have my little home away from home office. I do have a real office in the house, but I like being out with the family.
Oh..my laptop that I am currently working on sits on top of my workstation when I am not using it.
I am going to be organizing a closet for someone today and I found these closet dividers at The Container Store that I am planning to use.
She has 2 girls and they have plenty of hanging clothes. The baby has many different sizes hanging in her closet and they are all on store plastic hangers. I plan to use the same colored plastic hangers for uniformity and the plastic dividers to divide the different sizes. I think it will improve the look of the closet and the functionality of it.
How do you keep track of who’s socks are who’s?
I just read about someone else and how they kept track of their socks. I posted a comment on her blog about how I did it, so I thought it makes sense to share that with you!
With 5 children to sort socks for…its not always easy. I try a couple of things. As the other blogger suggested, I try to buy different kinds of socks for the kids. I do try this to an extent. The problem I have with it is that the next time I go to buy them, I can’t find the same ones for each child on sale again, or more likely I forget which ones I get for each child if there are several kinds.
“The dot system”
This is a system my girlfriend told me about and it works great.
The oldest living at home gets 1 dot on his clothes. The next oldest gets 2 dots. Next is 3 and so on. Elise is our only girl, so I just make an “E” on hers and that is because I need to keep straight which clothes go back to her mom’s house and which stay with us.
With the dots, when your oldest is able to pass them down to the next child..you just add 1 dot and then its the #2 child’s clothes. (I DO believe in hand me downs!)
It’s an easy way to quickly identify clothing. Our 2 oldest at home right now are 14 and 15 and close to the same size. We also get them some of the same shirts (school t-shirts etc) and so it makes it simple to keep track.
In the picture you can see 3 dots on Zach’s sock and 4 dots on Alex’s sock. Drew’s shirt has 2 dots on it.
It makes life much easier when it comes to sorting the laundry.
Laundry rooms do not have to be dull boring places that we dread having to go in and crawl through the piles of dirty clothes!
We may always have to climb through piles of clothes (but I hope there is some organization there)..but it doesn’t have to be dull and boring!
Painting or wall papering is one option. But that can be hard to do because you have to move out your washer and dryer and its hard to do without that room for even a day. Another option is just using fun colorful baskets. You can get all kinds of colors now for baskets. I found these at Target.
I have a very small laundry room and when I first moved into this house my now husband (we were dating then) came in and put these shelves up for me. I at first just had some boring white baskets on them…but spotted these and had to have them!
It just gives enough color to make me feel a little better about going into that place of never ending dirty clothes!
The pouchee – Ultimate Purse Organizer!
I discovered the pouchee about a year and a half ago and have loved it ever since. Anita Crook is the woman who invented this wonderful purse organizer. Her son gave her a designer purse for Christmas in 2004 and she knew she wouldn’t use it because it was one big open purse and no pockets or dividers. So she decided to do something about it. Did she ever! This magnificent purse was designed so that you can put all your essentials into it and then transfer it from purse to purse when ever you want to change purses to match your outfits. Going from a purse to a diaper bag, gym bag or pool bag are several other ways it can benefit you. I also carry mine by itself into stores if I do not want to save my shoulder and not lug my entire purse in. Teenagers think they are really cool and little girls love the little mini purse!
You do not have to be a purse changer to enjoy this pouchee. I change purses myself twice a year…spring and fall. But it keeps everything organized in my purse and soooo easy to find!! I am never digging for my cell phone or checkbook!
Dimensions are: 7 1/4″ length 5 1/4″ height 3 1/2″ wide (expanded)
Divided pocket inside
Side Pocket inside for bills or coupons
Zipper pocket inside for change or anything you want to stay personal.
Two pouches inside for lipstick or extra pens
Outside front has 5 credit card slots and a pocket for glasses etc.
Outside back has 2 pockets that fit cell phones, notepad, sunglasses
Outside back also has a pen holder
2 ring holders to carry it with – fold down to stay out of the way.
There is a magnetic closure
It has a flat bottom so that it can sit on its own.
The pouchee comes in either cotton fabric or leatherette. There are 14 cotton and 8 leatherette colors to choose from.
You can easily store:
*Check book (I have 3 in mine!!)
*Reading glasses or sunglasses
*Money and change
*And so much more!!
Keeps your purse organized!
Easy to switch purses!
Use as a purse on its own!
Now you can buy it or win it!!
Get your entries in by Wednesday December 10th by 8pm and you can be the lucky winner of this really great purse organizer!!
To purchase go to Organize with Sandy pouchee tab
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