What would Sandy Suggest? – Mel’s Desk

December 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices

Let’s Organize it … Shall We?


I have had many people ask me to help them figure out what to do in their rooms.  It is difficult to really organize via virtual means, but there isn’t any reasons I can’t give some suggestions as to what I think they could try.

mel office from hall

Mel from MamaBuzz is the first willing participant…. lol  She would like some help with her office. She said she and her husband share this space. But because they have been just using it lately for putting “stuff” in it.

First off let me say that this room doesn’t look bad at all.  I am seeing some really positive things that I want to mention right off the bat

1) Love the shelves on the wall.

2) The file drawers are being utilized. Looks like the one might be part of the desk unit, and if not, it it tucked in nice so that it isn’t taking up extra space.  The other one may be too big to go underneath on the other side.  But even so, it is being used as a surface.

3) I see several organizing elements here, the scrapbook/craft organizer on the left and the vertical file unit on the right hand part of the desk.

From this shot the main problems I am seeing are:

1) Clutter on the desk top

2) “Stuff” on the left on the  floor and more “stuff” on the right hand side of the picture.

Even More of Mel's DeskLet’s take a closer look at this part of the desk area.

First off I see several things that don’t belong on a desk.  It looks like there may be an apron, or some kind of cloth bag that is yellow, black and white.  I am seeing a calendar that hasn’t been changed since November, Christmas cards in front of the keyboard and a basket full of things that I bet aren’t even used.

I would suggest:

1) Sorting through all the items on the desk.  Go through the steps..

Keep – Do I use it, Love it and Need it?

Donate – I don’t like it, or use it..but it is still in good shape  (Christmas cards can be donated too!)

Move To another Room – Does it belong in this room. If that is apron, I’d say no.

Storage – Season items that do get used but only once or twice a year. (i.e. Christmas decorations, camping gear)

Pitch/Recycle – Trash, broken or torn items. Can’t be donated.

2) Decide if that vertical file has been working for you.  Are you keeping it up?  Or did you start it and never went back to it?

3) Go through that basket and decide if it really is serving a function in that location – or is it just serving as a dumping place for little things?

4) I’m not sure what is behind the vertical file. It appears to be some kind of printer or something. If the vertical file system works, I would move that calendar and basket and move the vertical file in that location against the wall. That will free up some desk space.

5) The rest of that clutter needs to be sorted and moved off the surface.

6) If that is a printer, is it hooked up and working?  Is it used?  If so.. then it stays. If not, then move it off that space.


The objective here is to keep the zones for items that Mel uses daily.. closest to her chair.

“A Zone” would be the things she uses daily that need to be within reach.

“B Zone” would be things that she uses every few days.  Out and accessible, but it is ok to roll the chair over to them or stand up to reach.

“C Zone” would be things that are used maybe once every 1-2 weeks

“D Zone” would be things that should stay in the office, but are ok to store.

more of mel's desk1) Here again she needs to sort first.  There are games that need to go with the kids toys and games.  Looks like a tin from Christmas goodies etc.

2) The craft area looks nice. The question would be: Do you use this for your crafting?  If so, than fantastic. If it has been 2 years since you touched it, then it is time to think about at least packing it up and storing it until you have the time to work on it.

3) I see my stethoscope! LOL  So funny, that is exactly like the one I have lost at my pediatricians office.  Mine is a light purple, and last time I saw it, it was in my locker.  Ok… back to business..

4) Keep the scrap booking if you use it.  I see another machine there, maybe a circuit cutter or laminator?  If it is used, then great.

5) If it is used frequently, leave it there. If not, would it be possible to put on top of the craft organizer?

6) The pink tray that appears to possibly be an “in” box on top of the craft organizer.  First off.. is it an “in” box.  If so, would it be possible to mount something on the wall as you walk into the office for bills and incoming papers?  It might make it more convenient and get that surface freed up.

7) The little black basket beside the craft organizer. What is that being used for?

8) I think most all of this just needs to be sorted through, and relocated, pitched or donated.

Next week we are going to tackle another area of Mel’s office.

Mel – Please pick up my button and put it on your site for participating in the first, “What Would Sandy Suggest” series. If you would like to be featured on What Would Sandy suggest, then please leave a comment and email and we’ll chat.

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New Year’s Goals

Do You Make Goals for the New Year?
New Years

Resolutions or Goals?
Which term do you use? Why? Does it matter to you? I know many people hate the word resolutions. But why? Because they never keep them?

New Years Goals

I personally use the word goals? I’m not sure why. I don’t have a problem with the word resolution. But I do think it is a good time to make goals for the year.
It is the beginning of something new
It is fresh
You can forget about what you didn’t accomplish last year (if that is the case) and focus ahead.

I think it is a great time to make new goals.

Here are my suggestions:

Get a piece of paper (or computer as I am going to do) and write out the things that bother you. What you would like to change.
It might be weight, exercise, organizing, cleaning, finances etc…
Then write a list of realistic goals.
Now.. write what you plan to do to accomplish each of those goals.

Now take that list and keep it with you (and make a copy to save). Work on those goals.

At the end of next year it is good to get the list from the year before out and see what goals you have or have not accomplished.

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 2

December 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Organizing & DYI Monday Link Party

Link Your Organizing Blog Posts to Share!

organizing mission monday

I was thrilled that so many of you linked up to my new link party the first week! Thank you! I have been fun this week going through your posts and looking at other linking parties. I am working on making a large reference list of linking parties on both this blog and also my Chat with Sandy blog.

I have also started a linking party on that blog. That one is open to most all blog posts. I am fine with linking your giveaways or your linking parties up there.

I wanted to share with you 3 really inspirational posts that joined my link party. I’d love you to use my “Proud to be Featured on Organizing MIssion Monday” button if i featured you.

Under the Stairs Toy Closet by DaNita of Delightful Organizing

Look at what she did with this space under her stairs. I think this is SO cute!!  I know I would have loved a little secret fort/toy area like this when I was a kid.  These are pictures from her post.. please go and visit to see all the pictures and read how she did it.

Here is the before picture of the space.

delightful order
This is back underneath.. all cleaned out and ready to go.
delightful order
Here is the “After” picture!! Isn’t it cute? Look at that wall… and of course the cubbies.. {I love cubbies}
delightful order
This is a picture to see back in…. wouldn’t a child love this?
delightful order
Now…. all the way back in…
delightful order
LOL… I think I might want to hide out there myself!!
Be sure to visit her at Delightful Order and see the rest of her post. Thanks for linking up!

Cheap DIY Bathroom Drawers  by Christin of Pregnant with Power Tools

Check out Christin’s great way to utilize the space underneat a bathroom sink to the max! I’m impressed!

Here is the “Before” picture of under her vanity sink and how it looks like so many of ours.  With the pipes that hang down, it can be hard to organize that space.

Pregnant with ToolsNow look at what she has done.  Now…. you might wonder where she bought this cool unit that is in this next picture…. but…. yes… as the name of her blog.. She made it!!  Totally Cool!!!  Handy Man.. or Handy Sandy I’m not…

pregnant with tools Isn’t this great?   Now… check out Christin’s blog post called Cheap DIY Bathroom Drawers where she shows you how she does it… step by step.

Typical Tuesday : More Fun Ways with Chalkboard Paint by Roberta of Con*tain*It

Roberta found some Chalkboard labels that she could stick on things and write on for cute labels.  She decided that she could make them herself by using chalkboard paint. Here are some of her finished “handmade” labels.

Con*Tain*itHere is what the process looked like making them. She said it is really easy to do too.

con*tain*itAnd some more neat things she used it for.

Con*tain*itSo check out both her blog posts…More Fun Ways with Chalkboard Paint and the tutorial on how to make them 6 Fun ways with Chalkboard Paint .

Please pick up your “Proud To Be Featured on Organizing Mission Monday” button if I featured you.

Please link up your  organizing, cleaning, DIY organizing project blog posts!

Add the name of your Blog post and the html below. Simple as that. (but let me know if you have any questions)

Please link back to my Organizing Monday Link Party.  {smooches!}

Grab my button or use a text link to link back to me.

This link party will be open until Sunday night 1/02/11.  Feel free to come back and add more post through the week.

I am linking to! This list will grow too, I’m still working on a big list of all of them!  If you would like your link party on my list and don’t see it, just let me know.  Also… be sure to check out my other link party on my Chat with Sandy blog – Wicked Sweet Wednesday. You can link up just about any blog post including your link parties or giveaways.
Thanks for being patient… I have my linky tool working now! Thanks!

I liked this Post to:  Sumo’s Sweet Stuff – Market Yourself Monday

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Organizing Office Caddy

December 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Products for Organizing

A Cute Gift Idea

mighty mini bagI wanted to share this idea with you.  I didn’t think of it (but I wish I had). A girl I work with at the pediatrician’s office made this organizing office caddy for the 4 ladies she works with at the front desk for Christmas.  As she was saying, they are always losing their scissors, or pens …. wait – maybe not that they are losing them, but maybe that someone else borrowed them?  lol  I am sure most of you who work in an office space understand that!

But she came up with a way for them to have their own little organizing caddies and not have to worry about “losing” their office supplies to another area of the office.

migthy mini bagsShe found these cute little bags at LTD.  I think she said she paid somewhere around $6. More than likely it was $6.99. I looked and could not find them any longer on there.  I did find the Mighty All Purpose Utility Bags at this site.  I know you can find things very similar around.  From Neatnix they have their stuff buckets etc.. that might work too.

mighty all purpose utility bagsOnce you find a bag, then you get to fill it with all kinds of little office goodies.

office organizing bagShe got little staplers, hand sanitizer, staple removers, scissors for them.  Then she added other office supplies from the office supply such as an extra roll of tape, high lighters, extra staples, office reminder cards and phone message notes.

mighty mini bagEach of them has a name on them to keep them straight and of course they can personalize their own with whatever supplies they want.

office organizer bagsIf you have people to buy for at your office.. or your husband has several people to buy for – this would be a great idea.  Teachers would also love something like this!  Of course you can always make an extra for yourself!! Because they are so darn cute!

pink organizer bagHave fun thinking of ways to use something like this!!

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Gift Wrapping Station

Have Your Supplies In One Location

ribbonsWhen it comes to time to wrap a gift.. do you have to go in 10 different places in the house to get the supplies you need… if you can even find them all.  Organizing your gift wrapping supplies does not have to be hard at all – or expensive.

There are a zillion different ways you could do it and about as many organizing solutions. I’m going to show you what I do.

gift wrapping stationNothing fancy or Martha Stewart worthy here.  I have an unfinished basement and I keep this nestled in between some shelves. I have a wrapping paper holder and then I have 2 small craft carts stacked on top of each other.

gift wrapI prefer to buy my wrapping paper in the rolls instead of the sheets.  I guess I have never liked the creases in the folded paper. (Actually I have never really about it before I wrote this post.. lol)

gift wrapI also like to get the wider (or in this picture  – taller) wrapping paper to wrap bigger boxes without having to piece-meal them together. The plastic storage container that I probably got from either Target or Walmart has a white tall lid. It would work for the shorter rolls, but not the bigger ones. After keeping it around for awhile, and realizing I was never going to use it.. I pitched it awhile back.

gift wrap cartThe plastic cart is a 3 drawer (2 shallow and 1 deeper drawers) and 1 open space cart. I have the wheels off these and stacked 2 on top of each other when we had to reorganize our basement to move Dave’s Man Cave down.

gift wrap ribbonI just have the ribbon on top of the cart. I am not a big ribbon user (hangs head in shame…no big fancy packages here) so have just 3 rolls on top is not a problem while wrapping for Christmas. I’ll put them in one of the lower storage areas after Christmas.  These green clips are actually designed for wrapping paper rolls, but they are for a bigger roll of paper than I have right now. They are holding that loose end of ribbon from dangling.

gift tagsIn the top drawer I have gift tags and greeting cards.  Keeping all the cards and labels in one place makes it real easy.

gift wrap tissue paperTissue paper is in the bigger drawer. Right now it looks neat, but you know when you get a gift bag with all that tissue paper in it? It is all crumpley and can tend to take up a lot of space, so I use the deeper drawer.

gift wrap suppliesMaking sure you have the correct supplies handy all the time is important.  When we are wrapping a boat load of gifts like at Christmas it’s easy to do. But, get an extra set of supplies to keep in your gift wrap cart all the time. It makes it so easy if you have to wrap a quick gift to have everything you need, right at your fingertips.

gift bagsGift bags can be a pain to organize.  I use the lower open part of the cart for gift bags.  With this unit you could possibly fashion a hook of some sort on the waffle grid like side of this craft cart.

bowsSince I have 2 carts together, I used the bigger drawer on the 2nd cart and keep my bows there. When they are this full they can tend to pop out when you open the drawer, but for the most part it isn’t a problem.  We just refilled this in anticipation of all the wrapping.

I usually sit on the floor (I do have carpet on my unfinished basement floor) but you can put up a table for bigger wrapping jobs. But both of these units are very easy to transport. So for my Christmas wrapping I usually just carry them upstairs and use the dining room table.

If you have a cool – well.. it doesn’t have to be cool (mine isn’t cool , it is practical) gift wrapping station, please link it to my “Organizing Mission Monday” link party! I’d love to see it!

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 1

Link Your Organizing Blog Posts to Share!

Sandy's organizing mission monday

Monday’s can be productive!  So I decided to have a link party called Sandy’s Organizing Mission Monday!  Let’s find missions at the beginning of the week to inspire us!!    I wanted to begin a blog link party that you could find lots of really great organizing ideas from in one place!

I recently realized that blogging link up parties were a big thing. I think I was behind the times!  A friend of mine began a new Organizing blog called A Bowl Full of Lemons and was telling me all about them. I knew of blogging carnivals and meme’s because I did a couple awhile back… but I hadn’t heard the term link parties and really hadn’t seen any.   So…. I started looking into them and realized they are going strong and it’s easy to  link up your blog posts… no real strings attached.  (although linking back is a really sweet!)

I found some great photography, great organizing tips and really neat DIY organizing projects. I thought it would be fun to share with you and I’m excited to see them too!

I am going to plan on featuring several of you who link up as featured posts each week on my Link Party.

Please link up your  organizing, cleaning, DIY organizing project blog posts!

Add the name of your Blog post and the html below. Simple as that. (but let me know if you have any questions)

I’d greatly appreciate if you’d  link back to my Organizing Monday Link Party.  {smooches!}

Grab my button or use a text link to link back to me.

This link party will be open until Sunday night 12/26/10.  Feel free to come back and add more post through the week.

Check out some other Organizing Link Parties I am linking to! This list will grow too!

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Decluttering Toys Before Christmas

December 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, Cleaning, Family & Friends, Playroom

Where Will All The New Toys Go?


If you declutter the kids toys before Christmas hits – it is much easier to find places for the new toys after Christmas.

I had someone make a comment this week that prompted this post.  She said that she will have to find room for all the new toys that will be coming in at Christmas.

I’m sure that is how many of you think when you think of all the new toys, etc… that come in.  Toys from Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles and of course you.

It is a simple solution, but not one that many people do. It can also be hard to do…. want to know what it is?

Here you go….  Get rid of toys NOW…. and make more room.  Simple as that.

One in – One out!  But do it ahead of time…. get the “Out”  ….out now and it will make bringing in the “In” much easier.

The advantage there is to clearing out the older toys now is that there hopefully will be some other children that will benefit from it on their Christmas morning!

Decluttering the Toys

Go through the kids toys (personally I prefer to do it when my kids aren’t home – I’ve never yet had them be upset because I got rid of a toy) and clear out toys they don’t use.

* If you have a toy box – look at the bottom.
* Get rid of broken toys (don’t donate those please – it just makes more work for the people who volunteer when they have to throw it away).
* Stuffed animals usually always need to be cleaned out.
* Be careful not to keep a toy just because you know what was spent on it. Keep it only if they really play with it still.
* Try to decrease by as many toys as you can estimate that are coming in.

It can be hard – but it is necessary if you want to keep a handle on the amount of “stuff” in your house.

But also keep in mind  that kids get overwhelmed by too much stuff.  We might think that you can’t have too many toys – but in a child’s eye – that is their “stuff”… their “clutter”.  So… think to yourself how you feel when there is too much “stuff” around… why would we think that a child wouldn’t feel the same when there are too many toys around?

Less is more – It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent if you don’t have as many toys as your neighbor… honest!

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Organize your Car

Decluttering Your Car

Car organizing
Our cars can get so messy… so fast – can’t they? We are in and out of them…. carrying school papers, drinks, food, groceries, etc…. Getting out of the car and getting just the necessities is common. Our hands are full, we are racing here and there and things accumulate.
So – we have to clean them out….frequently – to keep them under control. Right?

Make the same rules for your car. If you don’t need it, clear it out. During football season for the kids, I keep a canvas folding chair in the back of the car – but as soon as football season is over, that comes out and gets hung back in the garage.

I just wanted to share just a couple things you can do to help keep some of that little “junky” but necessary things cleaned up.
I have the above little organizer above my driver visor. It holds pens, a little notepad, some extra business cards and an extra pair of reading glasses. It also has a glass breaker/ seat belt cutter that my husband bought me.
CD car organizer
I use this CD holder on the passenger side visor. If I find that I am getting more CD’s accumulated in the car than I have slots for in the organizer – guess what? I take out some of the ones that I’ve listened to for awhile and put in the new ones. Then I take the older ones back into the house and put them away.

car organizingThis is in the center console between the seats.  It is a little cubby area.  I’m looking down into it in this picture.  In the tissue box I put extra napkins that I get from fast food restaurants.  I also have a few other things in there, hand lotion, some gloves etc… But be sure they are things that you use… and you don’t just shove everything in there.

car organizingUtilize those nukes and crannies of your car. This is in the door of my car.  Good place to tuck the umbrella, a book for when you are waiting for a child to come out of a practice or school etc..

first aide kitThis is a first aide kit that I got from Toyota when I went on their tour. It is a really nice little one – but packed full of things.  I keep it in our little car. (In my big car I have the pink organizer in back that has my first aide kit)

There are all kinds of organizing products to use for your car. Keep in mind that just like anything else – Organizing products will not organize you!  You have to use them properly for them to have any benefits.  The same goes for your car. If you are going to buy something to organizer your car – use it.  If it doesn’t work… get it out and either give it to a friends or donate it.

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Organizing Your Car – Prepare for an Emergency

Is Your Car Ready with What You’ll Need in an Emergency?

Of course hopefully you never have any kind of emergency while in your car – but let’s be realistic… people do all the time.

Car organizing

Not necessarily an accident – but what about your car breaking down, or running off the road in snow/ice, a dead battery or someone gets a minor injury.

Do you keep supplies in your car to help cover those things?

You may be saying – “Are you kidding? I have so much other junk in my car, I don’t have room for anything extra!”  Or it might be something you’ve just never thought of before.

I remember when I was in high school. My mom made me put a shovel and some sand in the back of my Toyota wagon because it was so light weight and slide around in the snow and ice.  She wanted to add some extra weight to the car, but also for me to have the sand if I needed it.  I did end up using it in the high school parking lot. There were about 3 cars and we were all stuck on the ice. There were boys trying to push the cars out, but no one could do anything.  Then I told them I had some sand and a shovel… even though I not a popular girl in school… at that moment you would have thought I was homecoming queen or something.  It worked…. they threw the sand under the tires to get some traction and they all got out.

The above picture is what I have in my car.  I have a kit I bought from TomBoy Tools that is made for woman. It has pink jumper cables in it, a tire gage, gloves, and LED flashlight – and it’s in that cool organizing bag! (Yeah… I love it!) I also have a blanket, a portable shovel, a plastic bag, paper towels and a first aide kit.  I just made my own and put it in some of the pockets of the organizer. But I have a pre-made one for my other car.

Think Snow/Ice and Cold

What if your car went off the road and either your cell phone didn’t work there, or it would take AAA a long time to get there. There are some things that you should have to be prepared and stay warm from the elements.

– A blanket
– A small shovel
– Sand or Salt
– Gloves, hat, boots
– Coat (of course! – but you’d be surprised!)
– Water

Car Breaks Down

– Jumper Cables
– Flashlight
– Tire Gage
– Flares
– The above “Cold Weather supplies” if it is cold or even cooler
– Spare Tire and Tire jack


– Exchange information
– Insurance card
– First Aide Kit
– Blanket
– “Car Breaks Down Supplies”

These are just the basics – What other supplies do you think are necessary?  Do you have them?  How do you have them organized in your car?  Do you think these items are necessary?  What are your thought?

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Christmas Card Donation

Do You Save All Your Christmas Cards?

Christmas card

If the answer is yes…. may I ask why?

Because you thought you were supposed to?
Because you want to remember who sent you a card?
Because you enjoy going back and looking at them?

There are many reasons people save cards. But think to where you are storing them.
Do you have plenty of room for them?
How often do you actually go through and enjoy them?
Are they neatly organized by year so that you can find cards you are looking for?

My guess is that most of those answers are “No”.  More than likely they are scattered in a few different places, or thrown in a big box. They might even be musty smelling by now.  You haven’t gone through them in years…. I’m I close?

I would like you to consider some options.

1) Donate your cards – There are several places that take card donations.

St Jude Hospital accepts card fronts.
Cancer Research Foundation also accepts card fronts.
Your local nursing home might have craft programs
Your child’s art teacher or pre-school, church youth program, local recreation center or adult day care center. These are all places that use them for crafts.  They can recycle the fronts of the cards.  They might use them to make gift tags or other cards.

2) Recycle them instead of throwing them away

Be sure to put them in your recycle bin if you are going to throw them away. If you are in the mood that you just have to get them out of the house now, and you don’t have the time to take them to a nursing home etc, and don’t want to or have the funds to ship them to a donation center…. don’t beat yourself up. It’s ok. Just put them in the recycle bin. They will still go to good use.

3) Crafts

Please don’t keep them yourself for crafts unless you KNOW you will use them within the next couple of months.  We are all good at saying, “Some day I will get to this, so I want to be sure to save it now”.   Donate them instead.

4) Put only the special ones in a Card Memory Album

If there are some really special ones – maybe from your mother who has passed on, and she has written a personal note – then save it. But pick and choose the really meaningful ones. There are actually greeting card albums – called “Card Memories“. I did a review on one awhile back. Heather who created this album designed it so that the card slips in and is in an “open” position. So that you can read the insides.  I would suggest for those cards that you feel you have to keep – purchase something like this and place those special cards someplace that they seem special. Then you can enjoy them.

christmas cards

5) Take pictures of them

If you want to remember them and have some guilt pangs about donating them, then take some pictures of them. Put them in groups and you will have digital memories – more than likely you will see the digital pictures much more often than you looked in that box anyway.

6) If you keep the cards to remember who sent you cards the previous year

That is an easy one. Just either make your own list of who you sent them to and who sent them to you on your computer. Or they have little card address books that have places to mark that down in.

7) They have pictures on them or in them. I can’t throw it out.

Again, think about those pictures. If they are pictures of people that you really think you need, then keep only the pictures.  But if you are keeping those pictures – plan to get them into an album.  If you have good intentions, but you still have Christmas pictures of families from 1982 that you “plan” to get into albums… well, you get the idea.

Here is an idea – for those families that you get pictures from each year and you want to watch them “grow” up in the pictures?  Then put 2 or 3 of them together…in order of the years – snap a picture to keep digitally of them… and then discard the actual picture. You have it saved…it’s ok to throw out (recycle) a picture.

Getting rid of your clutter in those boxes of old cards is one way that you can help others.  Donate….

I linked this post to these Great Link Parties

1) Keeping it Simple
2) Making the World Cuter Mondays
3) House of Grace
4) The Gypsy Corner – Three or More Tuesday

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