Organize your Office Desk Drawer

Start Simple! Organize A Drawer

Organizing can become so over whelming to many of us, that it’s easier to look at an entire room and all of the mess, and say – “it’s too much, I can’t do it.”  But if you focus your efforts on something small to organize, like your desk drawer, it’s a start… it will motivate you to keep going.  The feeling of accomplishment you get from having an organized and cleaned out area is awesome!

organize office drawerOffice desk drawers can very quickly become a “catch all” for all kinds of things.  This is my desk drawer as I opened it to do this post.

There is some organization there, but I want to to show that organizing your drawer doesn’t have to be scary or “too big” to do.

organizeI used baskets and also just the plastic trays that the sharpies came in.  But it needs some freshening up.  You don’t have to go out and buy expensive supplies. The boxes your checks come in work great. These baskets are from the dollar store.

organizeLOL.. look at all the mini hand sanitizers!

office drawer before Then in this front built in tray…. there is a whole bunch of little “stuff”

So this is what you need to do

Take everything out of the drawer

cleaning out the desk drawerThen clean the drawer.

dirty drawerAnd this is a long narrow drawer, so I had to get it all the way out.

All the little crud and bits and pieces that get back in the corners.

Grab what ever products you use to clean with and a clean rag and clean well.

I’m use OdoBan for a lot of different cleaning projects. It is the smell of clean to me. I also just realized it was green. I had no idea, I’ve been using it for years.

Once you have cleaned…. then you sort the items.


1) Keep – You use it, love it and Need it
2) Donate – You don’t use it or need it and it is in good shape then donate it to others who can use it.
3) Move it – It doesn’t belong in the office. (for instance a child’s wallet – or that little hand held fan in my desk drawer)
4) Trash/Recycle – If you don’t use it, and it isn’t in good enough shape to donate – then trash or recycle it.

This is all the little stuff that came out of the front little tray

I mean really…. do I need all these hand sanitizer?  And what good are they doing in my desk drawer?  They are all half full.
hand sanitizerThen of course you always end up finding loose change anytime you clean don’t you?

changePicture hanging supplies

Tacks and paper clips

thumb tacksAnd doesn’t everyone have a couple of stray keys?


Lots of pens and markers


For the pens, pencils and markers go through the exercise that I described in this post I just posted yesterday on pens and pencils organizing.

Now go through and take the items and distribute them where they belong. Do you have a bank somewhere on the main floor of your home for loose change?  I have one on top of my refridg and another one in my laundry room.  Any change that goes in here goes towards the family vacation fund.


If you have things like hand sanitizers or hand lotions in your drawer. You don’t need as many as I have here. hand sanitizers

Consolidate them into 1 or 2 containers.

hand sanitizersI had 2 containers that had the rubber holders on them, so I poured the others into those and got it down to two containers.

hand sanitizerThen I put them where they would do some good. One went on my purse and the other went on my bookbag.

hand sanitizer

If there is a key that belongs in the office (for a safe, desk drawer or locked cabinet) make sure you label it.

labeled keys

Separate your pens from your pencils, from your sharpie markers, from your highlighters. Just be sure they all work properly.

sharpie markers

After you have gone through and sorted out what doesn’t belong in your desk drawer you can put your drawer back together.

I did not go out and buy anything for the drawer. I just used what I had in the drawer… I want you to realize that you don’t have to go out and buy a lot of things to organize.   We always find excuses not to do things, I want you to know that you can go in and clean out…. sort….clean…..put back  ANYTIME!  You don’t have to wait to go buy things!

Now… put things back in.

I did something a little interesting here.  This drawer goes back really far and I have problems with the baskets sliding back into the drawer.  I could go and buy a really cool fitted desk drawer organizer, and I could have ravaged around my house for more organizers… but I also want to show you… your organizing can take place in about 30 minutes.

So…..I used a ream of paper that I had stored underneath the desk to put in the very back of this drawer to help keep things from sliding around so much.

** Great tip from a reader Daren. Daren said to use pieces of velcro underneath the baskets or trays to hold them in place from sliding! I love that! Never even though of that. I’ll be trying that one for sure!

I had extra room in the drawer after I cleaned it out, so I moved a couple things over from another drawer that had too much in it. The tapes from a labeler, some extra staples and thumb tacks. I also put my nursing hemostats and tweezers in here. I do use the hemostats for things like taking out knots in cords etc…so I actually do use them in my office.

Here is the final product.30 minutes…. and a reorganized and clean desk drawer.

Now it is your turn!  Go take just a little bit of time and organize that drawer!


This post was revamped from it’s original post date of January 27, 2011.


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Exercise Tools – Nike FuelBand vs FitBit

Do I Like To Exercise? No – But I’m Going To Learn To Love It!

Do I Need to Exercise? Absolutely… big time!


I’ve gone through so many phases in my life, and even on this blog, where I’ve started to exercise and get in shape. I’ll do good for awhile, and then I tend to fall back into my old ways. I think there is a part of me that doesn’t think I can ever be one of those “in shape” people. I know that sounds dumb, but after watching my mom struggle off and on for years with exercise (Jack Lalanne and soup cans.. for some of you who might remember), I just have this block in my head – that I’ll never be that person out running a marathon.  Do I have a desire to run a marathon. Nope. Would I like to be able to run for a few miles? Yes!

I have a zillion excuses, I have plantar fasciitis and my Podiatrist said that walking should not be an exercise for me. The nearest club is over 1/2 hour away and my work schedule won’t allow it. My heart rate goes into the 200’s when I try to jog. Oh… there are more, believe me. But I have to break through those.

At the beginning of this year I decided I have to get 70 pounds off.  I did it in 2008, I used Jenny Craig and took off 50 pounds, but I went off their plan and slowly gained it back.. plus another 20 pounds. Menopause hasn’t helped either… along with sitting on my butt for at least 12 hours a day working.

When I lost my 50 pounds, I wasn’t exercising. This time I have to do both. Now I have the fat arm stuff happening, the big belly.. (I never knew your boobs could touch your belly when you sit certain ways! lol) As always my hips, legs and butt are huge. There are things I never have experienced before. I was always very thin growing up.. and this extra 20 pounds in the last year has thrown me over the edge. I’ve had to buy new fat clothes, the backs of my arms will bother me because things are too tight. It’s the pits and I feel gross.

Nike FuelBand

Part of my inspiration is because I feel terrible.  The other part is watching all my co-workers at Collective Bias show all their pictures of running and working out on Path and Facebook. This company is so awesome to work for that they gave us all Nike FuelBands this Christmas. How cool is that? John Andrews and Jay Thornton both got a Fuelband and liked it so much for themselves, that John decided to get them for all 50+ of us.  For a company to care so much about it’s employees, that they REALLY want to see us healthy. That is just one of the reasons I love working at CB. Not because they gave us a cool gift, but because they really care about us. They want the best for us. Love that!

nike fuelband

This is really neat. I love the look of it. It comes in a white/clear one or a black/clear one.. or this solid black. You get fuel points for your activity. If you are walking or working out, doing laundry etc. It also tells you how many steps you’ve walked, calories burned and what time it is.  You set a goal and you work to meet it each day. The little red dots at the bottom.. go across as you work towards your goal. They get green when you are into the good zone. Then you can share on Facebook or Path your progress and compare with your team. That is where Collective Bias has been really productive with this. There are several runners at CB, and many of us that aren’t, but they have had fun with sharing their fuel points with everyone. It shows the path they have run, or walked. It syncs with your computer and your phone, so you can easily track what you’ve done.

I think this is an awesome tool if you want to get in shape. If you want to track your progress for the day, have competitions to see who can get the most fuel points or just track it yourself. It is a great way to inspire exercise. You want to get more fuel points to hit your goal for the day.


Before I knew I was getting one, I had asked Dave for a FitBit for Christmas. He got me one, so now I have both tools. I also got one for Dave for Christmas. He’s been using it and is happy to show me how far he does walk at work everyday, inspecting the job site he manages.

exercise fitbit

They are both awesome tools to tracking your exercise and activity. I highly recommend them both. The FitBit is small and clips onto your clothing. Dave wears his clipped inside his pants pocket. I wear mine clipped to my bra. It tells you your steps for the day, calories burned, time of day and a growing flower for your progress. It has an automatic sync (this model of FitBit at least) to your computer and your phone. You can also share with your friends and post to FB or Twitter.  Very similar features of the Nike FuelBand.

What it does do that is different, than the Fuelband  is that you can track your food intake and it also tracks your sleep. There is a wrist band that you slip the fitbit into. It comes out of the rubber clip you see above and easily slips into this Velcro wristband. Then you just hit the timer to start it. In the morning you turn the timer off. The wristband doesn’t bother me at all to sleep, although I did see on a few people who reviewed it, that they didn’t like it.  I like being able to see my sleep patterns. I was surprised I woke up as much as I did through the night.

exercise fitbit

This also has an alarm feature on it. It will wake you up in the morning. I have yet to figure out how to set that, but I think I saw a way, and just haven’t taken the time to try that feature out yet.

This is what the dashboard looks like. You can earn badges for your accomplishments. Climbing stairs, steps, miles.  You can see where I did my short work out in the morning.. where the yellow spikes are.


The feature I like the best with this FitBit is that I can track my food intake. I picked a program of easy, medium or hard (I picked hard) in order to lose my weight. It has me losing 2 pounds a week, so that I’ll hit my goal of 70 pounds in August of this year. It then calculates your food intake (you plug in the food and there are many options that come up to pick from. If those don’t fit, you can enter your own food item with the portion and calories.) and exercise for that day.

It tells you how much more you can eat for that day… or if you’ve gone over your calories for the day. Several times when I’ve gone over, then it has inspired me to go up and do more exercise.


For me, because I am trying to lose weight along with the exercise.. the FitBit is a better exercise tool. It has been more inspiring to me due to the calorie intake feature, than the Nike FuelBand.  If your main goal is the exercise and getting in shape, then I think the Nike Fuelband would be ideal. I think the guys like the look of the FuelBand.

The FitBit One that I have is $99. I got mine for Dave at BestBuy. He got the one for me online.
The Nike Fuelband is $149.

I can highly recommend both of these exercise tools, and I’m very thankful to Collective Bias and my husband for giving them to me. Neither one expected or asked for a review – I just wanted to share part of my big inspiration for exercising and losing weight.

So far since January 1st of 2013, I’ve lost 8 1/2 pounds. What I was thrilled with, was that it also included a six day trip to Bentonville, AR for work, and I’ve always gained weight when I’ve traveled before. I’ve always had an attitude of “I can eat whatever I want when I’m traveling, because it’s too hard to try and eat healthy”.  But not this time. I exercised 3 of the 4 available mornings I was there with Debba from Girlfriendology. Of course she was far past me in her running and exercising abilities, but she was great encouragement and  inspiration while I was there.


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ZeroWater Filter Pitcher Review

January 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Amy, Blog, Health & Safety, Reviews & Giveaways

A Great Water Filtration Pitcher That Removes It All!

By Amy Trauntvein

We drink a lot of water in our house, but hate the way water our tap water tastes.  It contains a lot of chlorine and not only can you taste it, you can even smell it!  Not very appetizing even if you are really thirsty.  We do have a filter on our refrigerator water dispenser and even though is works at taking our the “swimming pool” flavor, it still tastes pretty metallic.  So when ZeroWater asked me to try out and review their 5 Stage Water Filter Pitcher, I of course accepted!  It even comes with a water “tester” that can detect any solids in your water.  A good thing to have on hand so you can know when your filter needs to be replaced.  This is the 6 cup pitcher.  It has a smartly narrow shape that helps it fit nicely in the fridge to keep cool.


The ZeroWater filtration pitcher is perfect for those who relish owning innovative tech products, and/or have a palette for great taste. Moms, dads, health & fitness fans, tech fans, and food & cooking lovers will enjoy hydrating better with ZeroWater filtration products.

All you have to do it take off the lid and fill the upper chamber with tap water.  It does take a few minutes for the pitcher to fill because of the 5 different filters the water goes through, but it is definitely worth the small wait.  The water tastes pure and clean, nothing to mar the taste or make you wonder what is in your water.


ZeroWater filtration pitchers use dual ion exchange technology to remove 99.9% of dissolved solids, leaving you with great-tasting, pure water. The pitchers are designed with space-saving convenience in mind and the one hand pull-and-pour spout makes it easy to pour into any glass or bottle.  ZeroWater pitchers deliver great bottled water taste without the waste and cost, also making it the smart choice for those striving to minimize their use of bottle water at home. In addition, Good Housekeeping has featured ZeroWater as outperforming other filter-pitcher brands.

ZeroWater’s new 6-Cup and popular 10-cup pitchers are available at, Meijer’s, ShopKo and Bed Bath & Beyond for the suggested retail prices of $29.99 and $36.99 respectively.

I love my new ZeroWater pitcher and am finding not only myself, but the rest of my family drinking more water since it tastes so clean and fresh.  My kids are actually bypassing juices and sugared drinks more often to drink a glass of water.  To me, ZeroWater is worth purchasing as it filters out more solids than any other filtration pitcher on the market.


I hope you will check these cool water pitchers out and see how they work!  *Even though I was compensated with the ZeroWater pitcher for this review, all pictures and opinions are my own.  Love to all!  ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Homemade Caramels Recipe

January 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Amy, Blog, Food

Making Homemade Caramels, It’s Easier Than You Think


My family loves homemade caramels.  They just can’t compare to the cellophane wrapped squares that you find in the grocery store.  Don’t get me wrong, those store bought ones are great if you want to make caramel apples, but if you want some amazing, soft, decadent eating caramels, there’s nothing like making them in your own kitchen.  When we have caramels in the house, my youngest thinks she can live on eating caramels alone she loves them that much!  And even better, they really aren’t that difficult to make.  The key to good caramel making is to stir constantly.  Otherwise all those sticky sugars can easily burn if not continually moving it around in the pan.  It really only takes about 15 minutes of actual cooking/stirring time so it’s really not that bad.  Let’s start with the recipe that I like to use.

Homemade Caramels

1 cup Brown Sugar (make sure it is soft with no hard chunks)

1 cup White Sugar

1 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 cubes (1 cup) Butter (salted butter is fine)

1 cup White Corn Syrup

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 cup Chopped Nuts -optional (any kind of nut you want, I use pecans)

I also use a good candy thermometer for my caramels.  It is not required and will show you how to test the caramels for doneness without one, but it does make caramel making easier and takes the guesswork out of it.  I bought mine at Target for about $10 a few years ago when my last one gave up the ghost.  This kind is great because it has a clip on the back to hold it onto your pan, the markings are easy to read and the actual thermometer doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan to give you a false reading (the bottom of the pan is hotter than the actual candy cooking).


First, if you are using nuts in your recipe, chop them up before you start cooking.  That way they are ready when you need to add them and you won’t end up burning your caramel while it waits for you to chop the nuts. Don’t chop them too fine, leave some good chunks.


Now you’re ready to cook!  Using a nonstick (works much better for sticky caramel as it won’t stick to the bottom of your pan and burn) pot on medium high heat, add both sticks of butter and melt.  I like to melt the butter first before adding any other ingredients.  Once the butter is melted, dump in both sugars, condensed milk and corn syrup to pan and stir until combined.  Save out the vanilla and nuts.


Bring to a boil and continue stirring.  Once boiling, add the candy thermometer to your pan.  If you don’t own one, it’s ok, skip this part.  Keep stirring…


When it has been boiling for a good 10 minutes, you will notice it turning a darker brown.


Start watching your thermometer and cooking to between “Soft Ball” and “Firm Ball” or 244-246 degrees F. Mine is just about there…  I’m not a fan of caramels that pull my teeth out so this is where I cook it to.  If you like a firmer caramel, cook right up to “Firm Ball” or 2 degrees above, 248-250 degrees F.


*Testing Caramels WITHOUT a Candy Thermometer- If you don’t own a candy thermometer, this is how you can test to see if your caramels are ready.  Get a small bowl or a short wide mouth cup that is big enough to put your hand in.  fill it with cold water and set to the side of your cooking caramel.  When your caramel starts turning color, pull a bit our with your stirring spoon and drip into the cold water.


Move the caramel around with your fingers for a few seconds until it’s cool and pull it out.  If it holds shape and feels like the consistency you want in a caramel, it’s probably ready.  If it doesn’t hold shape, keep cooking and testing until you are satisfied.  It goes pretty quick, so you’ll want to “test” every couple minutes if not more.  Good thing though, every time you “test” you also get to taste!  It’s a bit messy, but kind of fun and yummy!  Even though I use a thermometer, my kids beg to “test” the caramels this way just like when I was a kid and got to be my mom’s “tester”.


Now that your caramel is done (almost firm ball, or holds shape when cooled), take off heat and stir in vanilla and nuts.


Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 pan (I like to use glass).  Let cool completely (4-6 hours).  I made a double batch, one with nuts and one without.  To do this, I poured half into a pan before adding the nuts, then stirred in the nuts and poured the second half into another pan.


Let cool completely, 4-6 hours then cut into bite-size pieces and wrap.  I like to use waxed paper pieces, but you may also use plastic wrap.


Now you can enjoy these little pieces of paradise and suddenly become everyone’s best friend if you decide to share the little puppies!  I hope you have fun making your own Homemade Caramels and let me know how they turn out.   I would love to hear from you!

Love to all!  ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Increase Space In Your Kitchen With Ikea Expedit Shelves

January 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, Kitchen, Products for Organizing

This Ikea Expedit Shelf Works Like A Pantry

I have a pantry, but I wanted some more space to help ease the load in my pantry and cabinets. I’ve mentioned before, I have a fairly small home. I do not have access dishes or pots and pans (come on… really…. me?) but things can get crowded and I wanted a solution. Here were some of my inspiration photos I found on pinterest. When I made my newest plan to reorganize, I added two new Ikea Expedit Shelving units. One in the family room, and this one in the kitchen. I painted the wall that leads from the family room into the kitchen deep brown. I also painted the perpentual wall adjacent to it brown (the wall you see in this picture). I love the white against the deep brown.


ikea expedit

I really didn’t take much out of my pantry to put on these shelves. I did clear out room in my some of my cabinets and put items from the pantry into the cabinets, so in a round about way I increased my pantry space.

I also purchased two of the slide in door units that fit the expedit shelves. this allows me to have two cubbies that are closed in. I have wine supplies in this side. The other side has plastic cups, plates and silverwear for picnics and such.

ikea expeditI also found these little metal shelf units while I was at Ikea.  I measured and found out they would work so that I could split the space and not have wasted room.

ikea expedit

I pulled out some of the baskets that I had in my pantry and used them to store items I had in my cabinets. Baking items, mostly.

ikea expedit

I’m thrilled with the extra room I now have!

ikea expedit

This is a solution that works great for me. I know I’ll have these shelves if we ever have to move. If need be, I can move them and use them in another room also. The unit just fit in this area.  The door on the right leads to my laundry room. The light switch for this “eating” area, that we only have a small table for the triplets to eat and do homework at, is on the wall. You can see it just behind the one basket (2nd cubby down, far right). We don’t use that light all that often, so it’s not a problem that it’s within the unit. On the other side, there is still enough space that our trash can fits just fine.

ikea expedit

Just so you know, this is not a review or promo post for Ikea. I have several of the Expedit pieces and wanted to show you how I utilize them.

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Awesome Photo Blanket

January 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Holidays & Special Events

Look At The Photo Blanket My Boys Got For Me!

My four oldest boys couldn’t stand to wait until Christmas Morning to give me my gift. They were so excited to give me the photo blanket they  had made for me.

photo blanket

I couldn’t believe it. They started unfolding it, and as soon as I saw there were family pictures on it.. the tears started flowing. As I’m sitting there trying to take it in, of course one of my first reactions was to grab my camera and then my phone and take pictures of it. lol (Truly a bloggers legacy).

They worked hard to make sure this photo blanket was perfect, picking up events from the time I met Dave and beyond. They worked hard to make sure that everyone was in the same amount of pictures evenly. They originally had our serious family photo for the bottom right pictures and then decided that our “goofy” one was perfect.

This photo blanket is one of the most awesome gifts I’ve ever been given. Isn’t it great?

I’ve had several of you ask where they got this photo blanket. I’m not actually sure where they got this exact throw, but I’ve seen them in a couple different places.

Walmart has them. The one that seems the closest is a 50×60 size that is 100% cotton. It says you can have up to 30 photos on the “Photo Collage Woven Throw”.  It also looks like you can customize them with a title. It can also be washed in cold water.What it says right now on the site (1/12/13) is that you can buy one and get one free ($99 cost for one).  I have no idea how long that deal goes on, but you can check. Obviously they must do it once in a while.

Hopefully that is helpful to you. Thanks!


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Creating Space In The Family Room With Ikea Expedit Units

Have A Smaller House And Need More Space?

I love using cubby wall units. I’ve used the Ikea Expedit shelves for several areas of my home. In the garage for my bedroom, mud room and in my actual office, that I don’t really use anymore (I have gone back to my mini office in the family room, to be near the family).

Now I have gone out and gotten a couple more of the large 5×5 Expedit units. When I make the drive to Ikea, I usually have a big list; since it is over two hours away from me. On this trip I bought two of these! I got a white one for my kitchen (that post will be coming) and I got this one for my family room. I painted the wall deep brown that is on the long end of my family room that runs into my kitchen.

ikea expedit

The other thing I did with this unit was to put it on casters. The reason I did that was two fold.  One, because this unit is large, when it is in “guest” mode (I’ll explain in a min) it covers a heater vent. This will still allow that heat to escape and not be completely covered up by the unit. The main reason I put it on casters is so that I can easily move it when needed.  You see, I again have created a mini “office” to work.

This is how the unit is the majority of the time. It is scooted up so that I can access the cubby units for work.

ikea expedit

It works great for me. I have my essentials at my finger tips.

ikea expedit

I know that it doesn’t look the best when people come to visit, so I also have a “guest” mode.  When we have guest over, I can simply pull the unit over on the wall so that it isn’t up beside the couch.

ikea expedit

This works great for me. I also have a smaller 2 cube unit that I have as a side table. I have one of the bins on the top of it that I use for my trash can. Below it I have a portable file that I can access.

side table

It’s a solution that works great for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a decorating diva, nor will I ever be. I am very practical with what I need and cost. These units are very sturdy and work great for what we need them for.

This is not a review that I did for Ikea Expedit Shelves, nor did I get compensated in any way for it. I just used them, love them, and want to share what works for me.



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