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.

Sorting

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?

keys

Lots of pens and markers

pens

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.

coins

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.


 

Pin It
Subscribe by Email

Clutter Can Cause Stress

Clutter In Your Home Can Cause You Stress

Clutter - we have all seen it, and chances are we all have it. Too much “stuff” for the space we have. What do you do with it? What do I keep, what do I give away? Where does it all go? Indecision on what and how and where to put everything is the source for the majority of people who have a problem with clutter.

clutter

How would you feel walking into this dining room? Relaxed, calm…ready to take on the world? I don’t think so. If you are anything like myself or most of the people I know (and no, they are not all professional organizers by the way) you would feel instant tension, stress and frustration. This family has not been able to eat at their dinner table for a very long time. The household was full of tension due to this living condition throughout the entire house.

Clearing out the clutter, the extra “stuff” and “fluff” that you don’t need and use, can clear out our heads. It can give you a calm and peace. Too much stuff in our visual field can put too many thoughts in our head of other things. Say for instance you have to go into the spare room to water the plant. You walk in and see a huge mess of things; instead of walking directly over to water the plant you think, “Oh, there is the shelf sitting on the floor that I have to fix and I almost forgot that I have to move that box of books up to Tommy’s room. But wait I can not forget to get those pictures over to Grandma Millies! Now what did you go into that room for to begin with? Oh yes…to water the plant that is crowded on the desk and is almost dead.”

clutter

Our lives are so complex in this world. Mail, e-mail, bills, taxes, work, family, lessons, sports, more bills, poor economy, cooking, cleaning, more bills, etc…
We already have so many things floating around in our heads and we are trying to keep them straight that we need a place that can be “de-cluttered”, feel peaceful and be relaxed. If it isn’t our homes, where will it be?

I know it can seem completely over whelming trying to think about how to get rid of it, how do I begin? There are people who are actually trained to help you. I know that money is a major factor right now, and if you do not have the budget to hire a Professional Organizer (they actually go through things with you and help you make those decision and work out a plan as to how a system can work) you can still find many resources that are free to help you.

The internet is one major free bookstore!! There are articles and web sites and blogs to read mammoth amounts of information on and gleam ideas from. If you go to your local library there are books that you can read to help you on organizing. There are TV shows (although not realistic in the time frame it appears to transform a room or home in)you can still pick up tips from them.

Don’t try to do it all on your own. Make this a family project and work together to discover that living in a home with “less” can actually give you a lot “more” than you imagined.

Subscribe by Email

10 Travel Tips To Help Dad When Mom Travels

Here Are A Few Travel Tips To Help Your Home Run Smoother While Your Away

As bloggers, many of us are now traveling to conferences and events frequently. I’ve heard several moms who need some travel tips to help their husbands have an easier time while they are gone. I use the term “husband” or “dad” throughout this post. It might be that the caregiver is your mom, or a sitter, relative etc. This is all applicable. So know that “husband” is interchangeable for whatever your circumstance might be.

travel tipsI wanted to share a few tips that seem to help my home run smoother while I’m away. I have to admit that my husband is pretty self sufficient while I’m gone, so I don’t have the issues that I’ve heard some moms have. (I say that and knock on some wood because I am traveling as this is posted). The kids I still have at home are also very self sufficient (11 year old triplets) and know our routine.

Several of these ideas take some preparation prior to your trip. Even though we are often stressed trying to get ourselves ready and it’s not much fun to do some extra work before we leave, it can often help things run smoother.  Keep in mind, if things aren’t too bad while we are gone, then going the next time isn’t going to be such a big deal.. right?

10 Travel Tips to help your home run smoother while you are gone.

1) Clean your home right before you leave.

If things are in order before you leave, then it might not seem as over whelming to your spouse. If the house is already a mess, then he will feel the pressure of cleaning too.

2) Pre-plan meals

Depending on your husband, and his level of expertise in the kitchen (or lack there of) have meals prepared ahead of time. Either frozen (with directions telling him when to pull them out to thaw) or in the refrigerator.  Label the meals and have a guide prepared with directions of how to heat them up.

3) Prepare lunches ahead of time.

You can even pre-pack the lunches if you have room in your refrigerator for that. Make sure you have purchased plenty of lunch supplies before you leave.

4) Have all the laundry washed and put away

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of my husband in the laundry room. He likes to “help”. Which in turn, means I have to rewash clothes that I’m not sure are clean or dirty. He tends to let clothes sit in the washer over night (and sometimes a couple days!) and you all know the sour smell that develops when you do that. So I generally re-wash anything that he has “helped” me with, once I get home.

5) Leave a detailed itinerary of the kids activities, sports practices and directions if necessary.

6) Leave a list of phone numbers, Doctors, Dentist, neighbors, car pool, babysitter, school etc.

7) Leave a list of the routine the kids are used to (if Dad,  doesn’t know)

8) Leave your itinerary and schedule of your events.

Husbands like to talk to us, and as busy as some of these conferences or events can be, they are already feeling left out (if any of you have had your husbands travel… you might know the feeling well yourself. My ex husband traveled a LOT and I relate very well when I hear one of my blogging friends say their husband is “needy” when they are gone). Both of you get skype and plan times that you know you’ll be at your computer and can skype with him and the kids.

9) Have a back up plan in place.

In case one of the kids gets sick, school is cancelled due to weather etc, someone misses a bus.Leave instructions with Dad and the kids as to what will happen or who will take care of the kids in these situations.

10) By all means… make sure the soccer socks are clean and laid out.

Quick story: On one of our trips to Vegas, where we were two hours earlier than home – Kim @CraftyMamaof4 hubby called her about 6:00 in the morning. Her husband and son were in a panic because they couldn’t find a soccer sock for his practice that day. We (@ZipporahS) were cracking up because she was so embarrassed that he woke up all of us calling that early over a soccer sock.  Moral of the story – make sure every piece and part to every thing you can imagine is clean, laid out, prepared, written down and posted before you leave.

More work on us? Yes… a lot! But the benefit would be not getting awakened at 6am with a frustrated husband looking for a soccer sock.

Subscribe by Email

Color Code Your Trash Bags to Declutter Your Home

August 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, How To Organize

Color Code Your Trash Bags!

Why in the world would you color code your trash bags?  Look how easy it is to distinguish which bag is trash to be thrown away and which bags are clothing that need to be donated?  If you have gone through a room before, completely reorganizing, then you know you are going to have a lot of trash and hopefully a lot to donate too.   This system takes the guess work out of which bag is which, once you are finished.

color code your trash bags

When you are de-cluttering it is easy to mix up things.  Here is a solution that can help with that.

I suggest getting a box of black trash bags, and a box of white trash bags.  You can also use clear trash bags for recycle.

Trash Bags – Color Code Them

Black is for trash that goes right to the trash can outside.
White is for donate.
Clear for recycle

It is to keep from getting bags mixed up in the clean up and clear out process. As you are loading things into the bags it is easy to think that you will remember what is where….but after you have loaded up several and you happen to take a break and come back to it, its easy to get confused.
You don’t want to accidentally throw away something that was meant to be donated and someone else could use.
I suggest the white for donate and not clear , the reason being -  you don’t get that bag out of the house the same day, it may give you time to reconsider what is in it and you may find yourself pulling things out to keep. Then you are defeating the purpose and you may not get rid of all the clutter you need to.
The clear for recycle because you can then see easily what is paper, what is bottles etc. when you go to take it to the recycle location. (Or hopefully if you are lucky enough…just out to your curb…we aren’t so lucky in our town to have curb side recycle yet. Pain huh?)  Update on that – we now have curb side recycling at our house. Our town has come out of the dark ages!
This simple solution for loading up different colored bags can make things much easier on the “getting out of the house” end of the process.

Subscribe by Email

Bissell Lift off Deep Cleaning System

May 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, Reviews & Giveaways

Happy to Review Bissell Lift Off Deep Cleaning System!

bissell

I used the Bissell Carpet Cleaner  to clean two different areas in my home. My front hallway had several spots and my poor stairs had been attacked by dripping Nyquil when my husband carried it up the stairs a couple weeks ago.

Video Review

bissell deep cleaner

I didn’t do any pre-treating of the stains because I wanted to see what the abilities of this cleaner were.   I’ll walk you through the process. I am going to talk to you in my terms – I might not hit all the awesome features etc – but I’m also not pulling this info from anywhere but from what I’ve experienced.

 

Front Hall Way Before & After

Before:
dirty carpet
After:
bissell carpet after
Steps Before:

Steps After:

Assembly

Not too difficult. It came all put together in the box, except the handle.  I attempted to put the screws in when I didn’t have the handle lined up right. The screws go in at an angle, so it is a little tricky. I had to have my husband pull it back apart and get it lined up right because I wasn’t able to do it. But once he did that (only 4 screws) it was good to go.

bissell deep cleaner

Features of the Bissell Lift Off Deep Cleaning System

  • The water heats once in the clean water reservoir.  You have to turn the cleaner on for about a minute, so it has time to heat up the water.  I left it on for a couple minutes, but I couldn’t really tell how warm the water was. The water tank did not get warm, and I never did put my hand down to feel the temperature of the water coming out. I did like that I didn’t have to worry about the unit getting hot though.
  • There are side brushes that I like so that you can get close to the edges.
    It works easily and is self explanatory.
  • The foot pedal in the back seems solid, along with the one on the side to lift off the smaller unit.
  • It is easy to fill the clean water tank and put add the Bissell carpet cleaner solution.
  • A small bottle of the Bissell carpet cleaner came with the unit
  • The lift off unit comes off easily and doesn’t drip water all over.
  • To snap the “lift off” unit back into place you need to use just a bit of force once on. I was hesitant to snap down the right side. The left side goes right on, but I was scared to push down very hard because I wasn’t sure it was lined up and I didn’t want to break something. But once I did, it went right in on the right side too.
  • Easy push button and it is easy to move the unit when in the full upright unit. It isn’t hard to push.
  • Even though I vacuumed my carpet before I started, evidently there was dog hair left behind. The carpet cleaner did not pick up the dog hair, it just wet it and left it in clumps.  I had to keep bending over and picking it up. That part was annoying and kind of gross.  I wish it would have sucked it up. If you have a dog that sheds, I would suggest double or triple vacuuming first.
  • Using the smaller hand held lift off unit was easy.  There is a long cord, which makes it nice when you are doing the stairs.

Clean up

Love, Love, Love how easy it was to clean out the dirty reservoir! My older small carpet cleaner that I’ve used for small stains was hard to clean out and I never felt like it got cleaned out all the way, because of the design.  But the Bissell is really easy and I felt like it was totally clean once I rinsed it out. Yay! It also did not leak dirty water when I took it off the unit! (another big plus! The other unit had to take off right in the bathroom because I knew it would drip yucko stuff before I could dump it)

Overall Opinion

Very good! Would I recommend it? Yes! My big points (other than it did a good job) would be that the lift off unit makes it really convenient. You don’t have to have a full size carpet cleaner AND a second smaller unit – it’s an All-in-one Cleaner.

It is very easy to use.  But one of my biggest “pluses” to this deep cleaner is how easy it is to fill the clean reservoir and even better is how easy and neat it is to empty the dirty one!

My negatives would be that it does not pick up the left over dog hair that my vacuum didn’t pick up, so I had to pick it up on my own (wet dog hair is really gross).   I also would like some place to hook the cord up on the handle when I’m using the vacuum. I felt like it was in the way a bit. I think because the cord is actually attached to the smaller unit, down low on the side.   But neither of those reasons would be reasons that I would not recommend this to others. Those are minor compared to the benefits this cleaning system has.

As an update, my sister went out and purchased this cleaner herself after reading my post. She has four Newfoundland dogs and needed something to help with her clean ups! Wow!

I’m very happy with it and appreciate that they (Bissell) sent me this Carpet Cleaner to review.  I was compensated with keeping the Bissell Lift Off Deep Cleaning System, I was not paid for this post.  But even though I received the cleaner, the opinion, pictures and video are my own.

 

 

 

Subscribe by Email

Home Organization

April 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, How To Organize

Home Organization – Where and How do I start?

Often organization of your home is too overwhelming for many people and they tend to not do anything.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

home organization

Start Small

You have to take a tiny piece and just start there.

You can’t think..”I have to clear this whole room”, you can start by saying, “I want to clear off this chair so I can sit down.” Then you need to start the sorting process.

Make Fast Decisions For Each Items

You have to make a lot of decisions, and you need to make them fast. If you spend 10 minutes trying to decide if you want to keep the smelly old backpack that your daughter used in kindergarten (she is now in college)..because you remember buying that backpack and you remember her first day of school and how she was scared, and you remember walking her there and how nice her teacher was and…..and….and….. You get the point. You need to pick it up and try not to apply the memories to that piece. You STILL have the memories, no one is going to take them from you. But keeping a backpack that is falling apart and smells because at one point in its long life it was left out in the rain and then got thrown in the garage…isn’t going to help you remember that day any better. You can take a picture of the backpack if that would help you to let it go. But you need to take seconds to decide. That helps you to take the memories out of the picture(at least a little bit).

Target Zone

But you just take one thing at a time and make a decision. Does this belong in another room? (If it does, put it in a box or bin that goes elsewhere. Don’t physically walk it to another room because you will get distracted. STAY IN YOUR TARGET ZONE!!! (That is the chair you are working to clear)
Do I need to keep this? – Do I love it? I can’t live without it.
Can someone else use this more than I can? Will it enrich someone else’s life?
Is it something that should be stored? (Christmas, Halloween decorations)
Is it something that can be thrown away? Broken items, missing pieces, worn out.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start small. Clear just that chair. Then if you have the time and energy (many times seeing some improvement can help to “jump start” your organizing engine.)
Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew….remember what your mom told you, “Take small bites so you don’t choke.”

 

This post has been republished from my original posting date of Oct 7, 2008
Subscribe by Email

Organizing and DIY Link Party – Week 14

Thank You For Linking Up to my Organizing and DIY party

organize and DIY
It has been awhile since I shared posts from those of you who have posted on my linky. I’m going to start doing that again.  I haven’t been commenting on your posts like I used to. I can make excuses about gmail and having to sign out of one account to get into another account to post…. which is a pain in the arse… but that doesn’t happen when I try to comment on all the post.  It has just been a matter of time, and how little of it I have. But I need to make it a priority.

You guys take the time to come here and post… I need to get myself to your posts and check them out! Thanks .. all of you who do come and link up.

Check out these posts!

Stephanie posted last week on her spring cleaning of her pantry. It looks great. You can find her entire post here: How Sweet It Is

Organizing and DIY

 

I love that Carrie has been working on a 12 week challenge in her house.  She already has a really organized space, but has revamped things and completed some new projects. It’s really inspiring. Check out the rest of her post My 12 Week Organizing Challenge Recap 
Organizing and DIY

Link up to my Linky Party! I’d love to see your Easter, organizing or DIY projects!

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (url code under button tab )
3) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or crafts or decorating are WONDERFUL!
4) No sales pitches or web sites.
5) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.
6) By linking up to my post, I might use your pic (with link and credit to you) next week in my post!

 

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list. If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple. If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s on this post please Click here 
This party will be open until April 15, 2012 at 11:59pm

Subscribe by Email

How to Organize

March 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, How To Organize

How To Organize In 5 Easy Steps

Do you often wonder how to organize a specific room? It is just too overwhelming to even start?

 

Organizing can be broken down into five main steps. Organizing a desk, room or home can be completely overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you do with everything? How much will it cost?

So often we don’t do anything because we don’t know how to do it, or it seems too “big” to do anything. But to do nothing accomplishes nothing.

Step 1: Pick your target zone.

Decide what area you want to work on first. Don’t say, my whole house. More like; I want to work on the desk in the corner of the family room. The hard part when you get sorting is to stick to that target zone. You can’t take an item into another room to put away, because then you will see something in that room that you want to move and you will lose focus.

Step 2: Set an appointment on your calendar to start your project.

Try to give yourself at least 2 hours to start your project. Hopefully if you haven’t started too big you can finish. Take “before” pictures. When you finish and take your “after” pictures, it will help to keep you motivated to not let it get back the way it was before.

Step 3: Have your supplies ready to start.

Do not go out and buy a bunch of organizational products. You do not know what you are going to need yet. You may have it somewhere in your home.
I suggest getting
1) Black trash bags for trash
2) White trash bags for donate (so you don’t throw away your donate bags.)
3) Boxes or clear bins
4) Labels – masking tape can do the job and a sharpie marker.
5) Your sorting lists

Step 4: Make Sorting Lists

Just get any piece of paper and a marker and write this on each one:
1) KEEP – Love it, wear it, use it, Can’t live without it
2) DONATE- Don’t like it or use it, doesn’t fit, it is still in good shape.
3) MOVE – It doesn’t belong in this room
4) STORE – Seasonal items, occasional use like camping or skiing equip etc.
5) TOSS – Trash, torn, broken, missing pieces, not in any shape for anyone to use.

Step 5: Start Sorting

Each item in the space needs to be decided on. You have to make fast decisions. Give yourself about 5-10 seconds for each thing. Do not sit and recall memories for each item, or start looking at old pictures. When you do that you are “personalizing” that item. The goal here in order to get through these things is to “depersonalize” the items.

 

Subscribe by Email

Organizing and DIY Monday Link Party – Week 12

Spring Cleaning Organizing and DIY

What kind of Organizing and DIY projects do you associate with spring cleaning? Anything?

We all have our favorite products to clean with. They might be store bought, they might be “green” products, not so green or home made.
Organizing and DIY

Odo-ban is one of my favorite cleaners. That is a smell that just says “clean” to me when I smell it. I’ve been using it for about 15 years now I think. (wow… didn’t realize it had been that long!)
To begin your spring cleaning you need to:

* Designate a time to clean
* Decide what is going to be cleaned
* Decide who is going to be doing what
* Have the proper supplies before you start

Give everyone in the family assignments. Down to the toddlers. They can help carry a roll of paper towels or use a wet rag and wipe off a low table. Even if it isn’t something that is real productive to you, it makes them feel important and let’s them know they can help mommy.

Link up to my Linky Party! I’d love to see your spring cleaning, organizing or DIY projects!

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link
3) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or crafts or decorating are WONDERFUL!
4) No sales pitches or web sites.
5) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

I also have a Pinterest Favorite Pin Friday Linky Party! Be sure to watch for that!

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list. If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple. If You Are On A Reader and Want to View
This party will be open until March 25, 2012 at 11:59pm

Pin It
Subscribe by Email

Homemade Laundry Detergent

March 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, DIY, Laundry room or Bathroom

Make Your Own Homemade Laundry Detergent!

I found the “recipe” on Pinterest to make your own homemade laundry detergent.  I wasn’t looking for a recipe and had never considered making my own. I’m not someone who would normally do something like this. But I haven’t been real happy with the detergent I’ve been using and I don’t want to spend the money I’d need to in order to buy the detergent I’d like.

homemade laundry detergentI decided to give it a go.

The Ingredients

ingredients

1) A bucket or large container
2) Plastic bag to line the bucket
3) Food Processor
4) 4 lb 12 oz Box of Borax
5)  4 lb Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
6) Oxi Clean 3 1/2 lb (This is a 5 lb container)
7) 3 lb 7 oz Box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
8) 3 bars of Fels-Naptha

I found everything other than the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda at Walmart. My Kroger store had the Washing Soda.

Line your bucket with the plastic bag

homemade laundry detergent

Open up your 3 bars of Fels-Naptha.  I’ve never used this before, so this was new to me.

fels-naptha

Cut it with a decent knife.

fels naptha

Don’t use the chopping blade, use the blade that slices.

fels-naptha

I ended up with some of these little balls of Fels-Naptha left at the top of the blade.

fels-naptha

Kind of looks like cheese doesn’t it?

fels naptha

In the bucket I then layered the ingredients. You don’t have to, but I thought it would just help mix them up a bit better.

homemade laundry detergent

The woman who made this said she has no problem with the Fels-Naptha dissolving and she uses cold water to wash her clothes.  There were many comments on her post and a few people had problems with it not dissolving.  One person said that after she mixed it all up she then ran it through her food processer again and then she had no problems with it.  So I decided to do that to begin with it.

Now is when you want to use the chopping blade.  I learned from a process of elimination.  This is what it looks like before….

homemade laundry detergent

This is what it looked like after running the food processor for about 45 seconds.   The process of doing this with all of the mixture took me about another 1/2 hour, but I think it will be worth it.

laundry soap

Here’s what it looks like all together.

laundry soap

I had a large glass jar and made labels out of chalkboard contact paper. I just used a piece of chalk to write on it (duh).

laundry soap

I thought it would be fun to put the recipe on the jar also… so I put it on the back of the jar.

laundry soap

The mixture filled this jar.

homemade laundry detergent

laundry soap

laundry soap

 

Now to try a load of clothes with it.  Use 1 – 2 Tablespoons per load.  I have a front load machine and the post I found this on said it is fine to use in front loaders. I normally use HE detergent.  She also put hers in the tub first, not in the dispenser. But the woman who ran hers through the processor again said it now would work fine in the dispenser.  So that is what I tried.  I usually use liquid, so I had to remember to adjust the setting inside my Front Load from liquid to powder setting.

I do not have a top load, but from the source where I got this recipe, it appears that you use the same amount as the front load. She mentions it doesn’t see like enough, but that because there aren’t fillers in this laundry detergent it is enough.

laundry soap

I did a load and used warm water. I checked the dispenser after the load and there was nothing left in it. I had a black shirt in the load and pulled it out to check it for any bits of fels-naptha on it.  Yay!

*Note – after several loads I started getting a yellow “ring” in the tray, so since then I’ve been putting the detergent directly into the washer tub before I put in the clothes. I haven’t had any problems with residue left in my laundry tub.

I think it looks so nice on my dryer, don’t you?

homemade laundry detergent

Now down to a bit of reality, this glass container sitting on my dryer looks nice – but my washer really rattles around, and in turn this glass jar rattled around… a lot!  It was too heavy to use on my wire shelf, so I adjusted.   This isn’t nearly as cute… but much more practical for my needs in this laundry room.

I peeled off the other labels and since I had just used chalk, of course I messed up the writing.  I used my chalk markers on this one.

laundry  soap

Cost to Make:

Borax  (Walmart)  $3.38
A&H Baking Soda (Walmart)  $2.12
Fels Naptha (all 3 bars) (Walmart)  $2.91
Oxiclean (I bought 5# instead of 3.5) (Walmart) $9.47
A&H Washing Soap (Krogers)  $3.29

Total cost $21.17

I also had to buy a food processer (I haven’t had one in a long time), but I know I’ll have that for future batches, so I’m not really considering it part of the deal in the cost.

I can only tell you what I’ve read on how long it lasts. 9 months – 1 year. If that is the case, then this will pay for itself within just a couple months for me.

 

I got this recipe from Pinterest, but her blog post is called Being Creative. 

Subscribe by Email

Organizing and DIY Monday Link Party

Organizing and DIY Spring Cleaning

Are you getting ready to do your spring cleaning and organizing this year?  Do you have a plan?  Have you thought it through?  If you plan ahead you will be more successful in what you are trying to accomplish.

organizing

How To Start Spring Cleaning?

Start your cleaning much like you start your organizing.

1) Set aside a time to clean each room

2) Get cleaning supplies, bucket of cleaner or spray (I personally like Odo-ban). Rubber gloves (because it doesn’t seem so gross to clean if you have on gloves). Trash bags – black for trash, white for donate.

3) Start in one place. This is a great time to sort through the clutter. Sort quick, clear off a surface and clean it well.

4) Be sure to clean your walls, inside drawers, baseboards, etc.

5) Have your family help you. Many hands can accomplish the task much quicker than just yours.

Link up to my Linky Party! I’d love to see your spring cleaning, organizing or DIY projects!

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link
3) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or crafts or decorating are WONDERFUL!
4) No sales pitches or web sites.
5) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

I also have a Pinterest Favorite Pin Friday Linky Party! Be sure to watch for that!

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list. If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple. If You Are On A Reader and Want to View
This party will be open until March 11, 2012 at 11:59pm

Pin It
Subscribe by Email

Donating

Donating Clothes & Toys After Christmas

You house just became a crazy place again didn’t it?  Now you have all these NEW things to find places for!  I will be many of you still have new clothes sitting in boxes full of tissue paper, still not put away. The drawers are full, closet is full… where will they go?

Toys sitting on the floor because the toy box or shelf is already over flowing with toys. Right?

Now.. I want you to be totally honest with yourself here.  I want you to go look at that closet, those drawers, those toys.  How many of those things have been sitting there, untouched for months? Maybe even years.  We all do it. We hold onto things.  That dress that looked so awesome, 50 pounds ago; that baby toy that we got and loved for your son that is now 10 years old. You know what I mean. It’s difficult to give things up.

Now, I want you to think about that family that has a father who lost his job, or that single mom who is working two jobs to help feed her three kids, that family that had a fire (probably in the news in the last week huh?) and lost everything.

donating                                                             (picture from google picasa)

Look again at your closet…. think about those who can really use those things…. look at those toys…. think about those kids who got absolutely nothing for Christmas.  Can’t you make some room in your house?

Selling Them?

I know of many people and hear many people who plan to sell everything.  I understand that, I get it – but… how long has that plan been in place? Have you ever executed it? Have you gotten that ebay store going like you keep saying you will?  When can you have the garage sale? In the summer… 6 months away?

Garage Sales - I have had garage sales in the past, I think they can be great. I can always use the money too. If the time of year is right, you have the motivation and time to do it… great – great… get ‘er done! If you can’t have one for months, then forget it.

I say – donate it and take the tax write off.  Help others and clear your house NOW!

Where do you donate?

Good Will
Local Shelters
Check with your Church or a local church
Check with your local Food Pantry
Check online for many resources

This is a food pantry that isn’t far from me.  I had a friend who used to work here. Most donate their time.  They had food that they gave out to those in need.

donating

They also have a clothing thrift shop.  As I remember anyone could come in and purchase the donated clothing & toys at very low cost and for families in need, things were free.

thrift shop

Here was the pile of clothing and items that people had donated that the staff had yet to go through for the day.  You can’t see, but that pile was up to about my waist. Awesome!

donating

When Donating 

Please don’t give them broken toys or toys missing pieces
No torn or damaged clothing (if you can’t wear it because of damage, others can’t either)

Donate and feel good, knowing you have just helped yourself and your family (by creating needed space, teaching valuable lessons to your children, helping with taxes, doing the right thing) and also knowing you are helping those in need.

Subscribe by Email

Hoarders Are People Too!

What Are Your Thoughts About The Hoarders On TV?

hoarding

Have you watched some of the shows on TV about hoarding? Had you known this condition existed before you first saw about it on TV?

What are your thoughts about hoarders? The people who live in those situations, those houses filled with junk? Would you want to be friends with them?

My guess is that there are hoarders that you know…. but you have no idea they are hoarders. They are usually very “normal” people. People you see everyday at work, at school, in the neighborhood but you have no idea that they have a problem.

This is the home of a client I once had. She was a very sweet, nice woman. She has many unfortunate events happen in her life that led up to this. No one knew her home looked like this. She had a full time job, was very involved in her church, but kept this a secret. She was too embarrassed to let anyone know.

She wanted help, she wanted to move past all the stuff and she knew she needed help.

I put out comments on Twitter about hoarding, for instance:

“You might be a hoarder if: You can’t find a place to sit down in your house because all your chairs have stuff on them. #hoarders”

I had a disturbing comment back to one of those tweets.  Someone said,

“I bet that show just makes your skin crawl! Those ppl are soooo gross! All those dead cats, rats, spoiled food….yuck!”

It actually made me cry. Now also realize that I had just come home from seeing the movie “The Help” and it was a disturbing movie portraying the treatment of the black maids had to go through back in the 60′s.  But it just made me SO sad that someone thinks of the people as “sooooo gross.”  I think specifically of the two clients that I had that were true hoarders. Both were very nice people… not gross. They just both had problems that they needed help with.

I commented back with this:

“Hard 2 watch but I feel 4 those ppl. They have real illness, I don’t think of them as gross, just their situation #hoarders

I think the hardest part about hoarding is that people don’t understand it is an illness. They do just look at the people who live in home filled with junk and often filth as “filthy people”.  They view the people simply as “lazy” and “gross”.

For the majority of hoarders, this condition has developed over time and their accumulation of “stuff” has grown over time.  It isn’t like they lived in a pristine home one day and the very next had stacks of stuff piled everywhere.  It happens gradually and gradually their defenses, their coping mechanisms build up so that they rationalize their situation as “normal”.

The illness has trapped them into a life where their “stuff” is their security, their safety net, their sanity. So that the thought of losing that stuff, is intolerable to them. They don’t feel they can cope in their daily lives without it.

What about people who smoke? It isn’t really the same, but you can draw parallels.  The smoking is the coping mechanism to help deal with stress. To go without cigarettes for some people is intolerable… they need them to deal with what live hands them.

I know they are completely different things…. the smoking just popped into my head when I was thinking of vices that people need to cope with everyday life.

Please try to watch those shows (if you do) with compassion, with empathy, and with caring for the people.  You can think their living environment is gross and filthy (usually it is), but don’t relate the grossness & filth to the person.

The woman who owned this home, got some other help (she was also receiving psychological help) from her church members I think. She wasn’t able to afford to have me (or any other Professional organizer) help her for long. I suggested to her to reach out for help from her church – they would be more understanding than she thought. There was no way she could do it physically by herself, even if the mental part of it wasn’t there. But she did receive help, was able to clear the things out and move into a smaller home like she planned. There is hope!

 

Subscribe by Email

Donate Your Clutter!

August 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, Donating & Causes, How To Organize

Helping Others With Things You Don’t Use

I tend to donate most of my unused or unwanted things to the Good Will store in our town.  I have to admit it is the easy way out, but I got the most enjoyment when the kids and I went to our local nursing home and took them stuff animals we had.

Dave gets me stuff animals (I love to get them!) usually once a year or so for different occasions.  I  display one, maybe two of them on my dresser in my room and then store the others in a trunk at the end of my bed.

Elise, like many young girls had many stuffed animals that she was ready to give up.  We called the nursing home first and asked permission, and then took over several animals to hand out around Valentine’s Day.
donate stuffed animals

It was a little uncomfortable for the kids and myself.  But it was a good uncomfortable. We were stepping out of our comfort zone, doing something we weren’t used to.  We had someone who walked us around and helped us decide which residences to give the stuffed animals to. I specifically asked for residents who did not have many vistors.

donate stuffed animalsWe had two different residents start crying. One kept saying… “Oh, this can’t be for me! This is too nice for me!” She began to cry and just hugged that stuffed animal.  I had a very difficult time not crying myself.

Wow…  the power in giving.

Think of all the things you have boxed up, packed up and hidden away.  Have you asked yourself why you are keeping it?

  1. Keeping it for your kids?
  2. Keeping it for memories?
  3. Keeping it because you feel guilt?
  4. Keeping it because you might use it one day?

I’m not saying to get rid of everything you have stored.  But I do want you to think about it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When was the last time you used it?
  2. Is it something you can live without?
  3. Is it something you think you will use each year? (holiday decorations, camping gear, skiing equipment)
  4. Do you really need to keep it?
  5. Could it benefit and help someone else, instead of being packed away in your house?

So you decide that you do need to get rid of some things, but how do you do it and who do you give it to?

First step it to go through and sort the items.  Decide what you need to keep and what you can give up.

Then decide where you can donate it.  Please only donate things that are in good shape.  No one wants your stained, torn or broken items.  When you take these items to a donation facility, they have to go through them. Guess what? They dispose of them. So help to save them some work.

Here are several suggestions:

  1. Donate to a local shelter
  2. Donate to a larger donation facility (Good Will, Kidney foundation etc)
  3. Donate to your church or a local church that takes donations
  4. Call your nursing home to see if they can use donations
  5. Check the internet to see if there are any disaster areas that still need donations (tornado ravaged, or hurricane, earthquake areas)
  6. Check with your local firehouse or city hall to ask if they know of any local residents who can use help.

If you feel that you can donate some things, but other things you can use some income for, here are a couple other ideas.

  1. Have a garage sale
  2. Take to a resale shop
  3. Sell on eBay

I have had several people tell me that they have parents who have aged and have either a home that needs to be cleared out or  a storage facility that needs to be cleared out and they have no idea where to start.

You can start with a local Professional Organizer in your area.  They might have resources, or know of someone else that helps to take care of those kinds of situations.

Think of others

Think of the good that your item (that hasn’t been used, seen or thought about in years) might do for someone else

Donate your clutter! It will do a body good (yours and someone else’s!)

 

Some of you may recognize the pictures. I have done a previous post on donating to this nursing home.

Subscribe by Email

Teaching Kids Responsibility with Chores

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Cleaning, Family & Friends, Products for Organizing

Giving Your Children Jobs Around The House

I strongly feel that kids need to take part in the family chores. I think our job as parents is to raise them to be independent adults. If they constantly have everything done for them, once they are on their own… they flounder around like fish out of water. They want someone else to do it for them. I’ve seen it time and time again.

A Few Points to Keep In Mind

1) Kids like routine
2) Kids need guidelines
3) Kids like to feel grown up
4) Kids like to help

Use these points in a positive Way
Routine and guidelines - Have a schedule for chores. Make a job board. This is one that I used to use for years. I have since revamped it, but this is a very simple one I like to show people.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  The first name magnets I made, I let the kids color their own.  They loved that.  But you could also go the other route and make printables on your computer and make them look vintage or something that matches the kitchen or decor.

I started this when the triplets were three years old. They couldn’t read, so I drew the pictures.  Even though some of the chores like vacuuming might have been more than a three year old could accomplish the way I might want the job done… it gave them a sense of pride to help. Of course I helped, and now at ten years old they know how to do it properly.

For me… I go simple.

chore board

I use a magnetic dry erase board that I purchased at a discount store.

You can put the magnets directly on your refrigerator – maybe you don’t have the wall space to hang a chore board, or you don’t want one hanging, or you don’t want to purchase one – you don’t have to!

I put the children’s names across the top and the jobs they are assigned that week, underneath their names. Depending on age and ability will determine how many chores and of what level they are per child.  During the school year my children get two chores per week. (Keeping their rooms clean, beds made and laundry put away are routine chores. They are not on the chore board)  During the summer when they are all home, they have three per week.

Making The Chore Board

Purchased a box of these magnetized stickers for business cards at the office store. They are a little pricey, but I still have plenty left and they are the perfect size and the magnets on them are really strong.  The sheets of magnet stickers isn’t inexpensive either, and I have found that you have to cut it and the magnet isn’t’ as strong.

magnets

Either cut paper to size or the backs of old business cards.  I like to write the chore (and picture of the chore) on the card before I adhere it to the magnet. Then just peel off the backing of the sticker.

And place your paper onto the sticker.  There you have it.. Easy Peazy!

job board

Cleaning Buckets – Feeling Grown Up and Making it Fun To Help

By giving them their own “cleaning bucket” it helps to make them feel more important. The younger ones can have something like this with just some cleaning wipes, a sponge and dust cloth.
If you color code your kids, then be sure to have their bucket in “their color” to keep them straight.

When they get to be a little older and can handle cleaning chemicals responsibility they can have something more like this.

cleaning bucket large

Keep it fun and colorful!  The more positive we go into it, the more positive results you will get from the children.

It doesn’t have to be difficult or pulling teeth in order to have children learn responsibility.  But I think as adults we have the responsibility to teach our children how to live in the real world… and that starts at home.  Personally I think it needs to start early.  We aren’t helping our children by doing everything for them.  We help them by teaching them how to do things for themselves.

 

Subscribe by Email

Wall Care

June 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, Crafts & Craft Rooms, Decorating, DIY

How To Clean A Chalkboard Painted  Wall

Chalkboard walls are tons of fun!!chalkboard wall

But they are also  messy!  Something I didn’t really think about when I painted two different walls with chalkboard paint.

The kitchen

chalkboard wall

The Entryway

chalkboard wall

I was getting ready for my son’s graduation party and had just finished painting the chalkboard walls two days before. I knew I had to do something to “cure” them.

Preparing the Chalkboard

1) Painting – 3 coats.  Make sure to measure the area you are going to paint to make sure you have plenty of chalkboard paint. The quart went pretty far, I still have some left after all I did.  Follow the directions on the can.

2) Cure – After it has completely dried.  Chalk up the entire board.  It is easiest to use the side of the chalk.

cure chalkboard

3) Erase and Use

How To Clean Your Chalkboard.

I’m sure you have lovely drawings all over your chalkboard

chalkboard wall 2

1) Erase using a chalkboard eraser. (Actually I grabbed a wipe board eraser at the store instead, so I still have to buy one)

erasing a chalkboard I wish you could have seen the chalkboard dust flying while this process was going on.

erasing the chalkboardGuess what you have now?  You have a lot of chalk dust all over your baseboard and floor.

chalkboard dustThen of course if it isn’t cleaned right away you have the kids and dogs walking through and tracking the chalkboard dust.  (not that I would know)

chalkboard dust

Now that you have erased everything, it is going to look something like this.

chalkboard wall I am guessing it would have come a little cleaner with an actual blackboard eraser rather than the dry erase eraser that we used, but you will still have chalk residue either way.

2) Use a rag and wet it, but be sure to wring it out good.

Wipe the wall down and let it dry.  It will still have a film on it when it dries.

clean chalkboard

3) Use a little bit of mild dish detergent or liquid soap and wipe it down again.

washing chalkboard wall

4) Rinse it with clean water again.

It should look much better.  Mine wasn’t quite dry when I took the picture, so there are a few streaks.

clean chalkboard

 

Suggestions if you decide to have a chalkboard wall in your home:

1) Have a dust buster near by
2) Realize it will get messy, so plan where you put your chalkboard wall
3) Use chalkboard markers only.
Although I found them to be much harder to use on a vertical wall. I had to go over the wording several times when I was writing the Congrats Tim on the front wall.
4) If you have children with allergies, consider the chalk dust first.
5) Plan ahead and it will still be fun.
6) If you can’t stand dust or mess…really consider your options before you paint a chalkboard wall in your home.

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe by Email

Planning Board

DIY Chalkboard & Dry Erase Scheduling Planning Board

planning board

Creating your own schedule board that is geared towards your children/ family doesn’t have to be hard. It can be a family communication board, weekly calendar, chore board for the kids, or combination board, or planning board like I created.

I made karate calendar / job board for the triplets.  Their karate schedule is different most every night. It also changes a couple times a year.

I started off with finding a frame. I had one that I really liked, was the right size, but the color wasn’t right. So… I spray painted it.

frame

Step one  – Prime and paint the frame.

This is what I used for primer.  I also got the Krylon paint.

primer

I used an Dover white gloss spray paint and it took several coats.

spray paint

Step 2: Gathered your other supplies

craft supplies

I had the frame, Chalkboard Contact Paper, 18″ x 6′ and the  Liquid Chalk – Works like a Marker Dries like Chalk – Set of 8 Earthy Colors ,a glue gun, an x-acto knife and cutting board and a ruler. I also purchased a long narrow magnetic dry erase board that fit half of the frame.

But I also needed a few other things.  I had purchased this Elmer’s Tri-Fold Foam Display board from Walmart for another organizing project I am planning in the future. I knew I wouldn’t use it all for that project, so this would work perfect. It is light weight and thick enough.

Elmers Tri-Fold Board

I also bought some small self laminating sheets.

photo laminating sheets

I had magnets that you can adhere your business card to.

magnets

Then I found those cute small clothes pins when I was in Walmart too. They were just too cute. I also bought 3 yards (I didn’t need all of that) of a thicker ribbon and some thinner robe like ribbon (for the name cards) along with white hooks.

Step 3: Measure the space that the Elmer’s foam board needs to be cut to fit.

First position the dry erase board where it will fit. Then measure to cut the foam board.
craftI used the X-acto knife to cut the foam display board. It made it easier than scissors to cut and you get a cleaner line.
xacto

Step 4: Cut the chalkboard contact paper to cover the Elmer’s foam board.

chalkboard contact paper

You don’t have to cover the back of the board too. Just bring around the edges and make sure you have a smooth surface on the front without wrinkles or air bubbles.

chalkboard contact paper

Wrap the edges under and then on the ends I did trim off some of the excess contact paper with the x-acto knife. I didn’t want to take off both layers, I just wanted to thin it down when I folded it over.

chalkboard contact paper

Step 5: Position the two boards into place.

I first cut a piece of ribbon that would cover up where the two surfaces meet and hot glued to the dry erase board.  I positioned it so that it was half off the dry erase board.

I put hot glue around the inside ridge edge of the frame where the boards would lay.

I then placed the dry erase board with ribbon attached into the frame (good side down).  I then put the chalkboard covered foam board into place. I first hot glued the edge of the chalkboard foam piece that would meet up against the dry erase board. Once they were in place I held it up without turning it over to make sure the ribbon was in place and then pushed on it to make sure it would adhere to the chalkboard piece.  This is what the back side now looks like.

craft

I also gave a squirt of some hot glue in between the crack where the two pieces meet.

hot glue gun

Turn it over carefully once it has dried and this is what it looks like at this stage. From here you can customize it.  You may want to leave the top blank for hand written notes or magnets. (See the ribbon across the middle?

communication board

Step 6: Put the screws in place.

I just purchased the small hook screws. I didn’t need to pre-drill them, I just positioned them and screwed three of them in the bottom, one for each of the triplets.  Then two across the top for the ribbon to tie onto to hang it.

hooks

Step 7: Make the Name Cards

I got out some of my old business cards and used those.  I put two of them together for a little thicker base.  Then I covered those in the chalkboard contact paper.

business cards

Once I covered three of those I cut the thinner ribbon to the length I wanted. I did bring it down the side of the business card to fully measure.

I then wrote each of the kids names on the chalkboard covered name card in the chalkboard markers. Be sure to let them dry completely before you complete the next step.

chalkboard markers I then opened up one of the laminating cards and placed the name card upside down on. I placed the string down along the edge of it and then covered the laminating sheet. Be sure to tuck the other side of the string down.

name card

Step 8: Make the clothes pin magnets

I again took one of magnets for the  business cards.  I covered the sticky side with a piece of the chalkboard contact paper.  I then cut it into two strips length wise. I then used the hot glue gun and glued the clothes pin onto the chalkboard contact paper covered side.

clothes pin magnet

I made one for each day of the week.  I only used Monday – Saturday on my board though. The kids don’t have karate on Sundays, so I didn’t want to crowd them.

Step 9: Make the small cards with the time on them.

I then cut up some of my old business cards in half. Covered those with the chalkboard contact paper and wrote the times on those.

cards

Step 10: Write the jobs on the chore board.

I put a number 1, 2 and 3 on there, because the triplets change seats at the dinner table.  They will have their seat assignment, and chore for a week at a time.

chore boardRemember if you mess up, you can use a wet cloth and erase .. and start over.

Step 11: Put it all together

The weekly karate schedule

clothes pin board


schedule

The top bow. It hides the hook that it is hanging from.

bow

The weekly chore board and seat assignment for the triplets.

chore board

The final project

planning board

Isn’t it cute?  I am really excited about using it.  It is going to go against a periwinkle wall when my dining room is finished.

 

I Love Your Comments!

I’m linking this post up to these lovely blogs:

Cherished Bliss - Craft and Tell Tuesdays
Bella Before and After – Amaze me August
Tip Junkie – Handmade Projects
A Bowl Full of Lemons – One Project at  Time


This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias. The pictures, project and thoughts are my own.





Subscribe by Email

Fire Protection

April 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, Family & Friends, Health & Safety

NFPA – National Fire Protection Association and Sparky The Dog

Spring cleaning is the perfect time to check on all those wires and cords. Hopefully you are moving furniture and cleaning and dusting all the surfaces of your house.  So don’t neglect the electrical wires!

You all know Sparky the fire dog right?  I had the pleasure of interviewing him (via email) to give you some tips on how to keep your home safe in regards to wire and cord safety.

Did you know that according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that extension cords that we overload can get really hot and could create real fire risk?  NFPA suggests that as part of our spring cleaning each year we need to check our electrical wires throughout our homes.

They also say that electricity is a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. It’s because we overload extension cords or plus, there is wiring not done to code, we have damaged cords or loose connections that can create these fires.

Sparky.org is a cute web site that has games and activities for children to do to learn about fire safety.

I created some questions that Sparky answered. Take a few minutes to read through them, there may be some info that you weren’t aware of.

 

sparky firedog

#1 Sandy: How do you know if your electric system is up to code?
Sparky: A home would be determined to be code compliant by  an electrical inspector.

#2 Sandy: What are some key things to look for when it comes to your electrical wires?
Sparky: Among many, damage or discoloration of a wire are both common indicators of an issue.

#3 Sandy: How do you know if you have too many plugs in one room if you don’t blow a short?
Sparky: This is something that typically needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.  If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows, it is usually an indication that the circuit is overloaded.

#4 Sandy: What is the best thing to do if you have something electric (for instance a lamp) that sometimes goes off by itself and there isn’t something obviously wrong (such as a loose light bulb)?
Sparky: Have it repaired by a qualified person or replace it.

#5 Sandy: Is it alright to plug an extension cord into a power strip?
Sparky: It is best not to plug an extension cord into a power strip.

#6 Sandy: If you run over an extension cord with a vacuum cleaner and it cuts some of the plastic, what is the best solution for the cord?
Sparky: Replacement is often the best solution.

#7 Sandy: Do you have suggestions for cord or cable organization? Are there any methods that can cause harm or danger to the wires?
Sparky: There are many varieties of cord organization systems available so it would be important to refer to the manufacturers’ recommendations for the product when selecting one.  Avoid any systems that would require putting cords against walls or furniture or running them under carpets or across doorways.

#8 Sandy:  What are the dangers of using inside extension cords outside or vice versa?
Sparky: Indoor extension cords should not be used outside because they were not intended to be exposed to elements typically found there.

In general, it is a good idea to call a licensed electrician if you experience any of the following:

·         recurring problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers

·         a tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance

·         discolored or warm wall outlets or switches

·         a burning smell or rubbery odor coming from an appliance

·         flickering lights

·         sparks from an outlet

·         cracked or broken outlets

#9 Sandy:  What are your tips for a good home safety plan for fire evacuation?
Sparky: Be sure to have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside every sleeping room and outside of each sleeping area.  Draw a home escape plan and discuss it with everyone in your household.  Practice the plan during the day and at night with everyone in your home at least twice a year. It is important to know at least two ways out of every room.   (More information on basic escape planning and a downloadable grid are available at www.nfpa.org/escapeplan

#10 Sandy:  What are some other tips you’d like to share when it comes to spring cleaning and fire safety?
Sparky: Key fire safety tips: Key Fire Safety Tips – From “A Reporters Guide to Fire and the NFPA

Subscribe by Email

Purse Organizing

Purses Can Be A Bottomless Pit!

“I know I put it in here?”   “It just has to be here!” “Where are my keys?”  Do any of those sound familiar?

When it comes to purse organization I don’t know if any method can be completely foolproof, unless you are never in a hurry, never just throw something in your purse and always take the time to put everything back perfectly.

I know that isn’t me, and I would bet it also doesn’t include 99% of you! lol

But, purses do not have to be hopeless. There are some really good ways to organize them.  There are many purse organizers out there. I have my favorite and that is what I will show you today when I clean out my purse.

Here is my purse “Before”  Things aren’t where they belong, there are receipts tucked in the sides, etc..

disorganized purse

I use a Butler Bag that I reviewed last year.  I still love it (although I’d like a spring color).  I like having a place for everything in my purse and this helps me do it.

Step 1: Dump everything out of it.

messy purse

Step 2:  Sort it!   (just like you sort anything you organize)

Do you use it?
Do you need it in your purse?
Does it serve a purpose in your purse?

purse organizingThis is pretty much of what I decided to keep.  Not the little buttons, and add in the coupon keeper and make up/medicine bag.

Step 3: Clean It

Then if possible pull out the lining of your purse and clean it.  Even if you are planning to switch out and use your spring purse now and store this (or donate it), you should still clean it thoroughly.  Get out all those cracker crumbs and loose pennies, gum wrappers etc, that get caught down in your purse.

clean your purse

Once you have cleaned it and sorted it, you can start putting things back in. My old pouchee was still in decent shape after a couple of years, but it was dirty and dingy looking.  I could have spent some time working to clean it up, but since I’m spoiled and I sell them, I just went and picked out a new hot pink one. lol

pouchee

Step 4: Reload it

I’ll be going over my pouchee tomorrow with you in detail and how useful it can be.   I start with putting my newly organized pouchee down in my purse.  I am showing you how you can switch out for a spring purse if you’d like….

pouchee

But in reality I am still going to use my Butler bag, so my pouchee will go back in it. I also cleaned out this medicine/makeup bag that I use in my purse. I have my ibuprofen, stomach medicine for my hubby, Benadryl, tiny sewing kit, Shout stain remover, etc.. in here.  I did clean out some things I didn’t need or that were expired.

medicine bag

Then I put things back in the slots I like them in. I keep my frequent user cards and gift cards in the lime green Card Cubby (which I’ll show you later this week) also hand lotion, gum, a phone battery charger and a little multi tool in this side.

purse organization

My husband calls my purse, “Your bag of many wonders”.  lol   I have my coupon holder (black long thin thing, a note pad, sun glasses, extra reading glasses, my medicine bag (off to left) my flip video camera, a high lighter, lipstick, pen.

purse organizing

That is one thing I really like about this purse, it has all the separated pockets.  Before this I have always looked for a purse with organizing pockets in it.  So that things can have their own places.

Designer purses are not important to me.  What is important to me is finding a purse that is usable and that has organization stamped all over it!

I then tuck my pouchee down in on the side. It has my three (yes…  one for joint account, one for my son’s support account and one for my business account) checkbooks, money, pen and my phone fits in it too.  Then my keys usually tuck down in the space to the right of my pouchee so I can find them easily.

organized purse

Keeping your purse organized doesn’t have to be hard if everything has a place.  Rather it is this purse organizer (pouchee) or another one, they are very handy and I do encourage you to try one.  Also using things like the Card Cubby or a little bag like I have my medicine in also helps to categorize and organize things.

Be sure to watch for the rest of my posts this week:

Purse Organizing – The pouchee (Part 2) *watch for the discount code to order one
Purse Organizing – Card Cubby (Part 3) *watch for the discount code to order one
Purse Organizing – All those purses (Part 4)

See my Readers purse organizing posts.

Randomly Robyn: Purse Purging

randomly robyn

Robyn also posted how she is organizing all her purses now.  She is using a sweater storage hanger.

Randomly Robyn purses

Good Enough Mommy: Healthy Back Bag

Good Enough Mommy

I want to see your purse organizing!  If you link up your purse post to my linky party and it is of your purse organizing, I’ll pull a picture and add a link to this post too!

I’d love for you to link it up to my Organizing Mission Monday Link Party
It will be open until March 27th to link to.

Organizing Mission Monday

I LOVE your comments!

I’m linking up to these blogs:

A Snob Comes Clean

Subscribe by Email

Disposing of Expired or Unused Medications

Guidelines for Safe Disposal of Expired or Unused Medications

Now that you have separated out all those expired medications from your medicine cabinets, what do you do with them?  Do you just pitch them in the trash can or down the toilet? Do you have to take them some place special, because that is a pain and no one wants to have to do that.

medicine

There are guidelines that are recommended by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for safe disposal of medication. See the FDA guidelines for safe disposal of medicine

* Check the bottle itself and see if there are guidelines there as to how to dispose of the medication. If it isn’t on
the bottle, you can check the enclosed information sheet if you still have it or you can check the web site.

* Most medications can be thrown in the trash. Take them out of their original containers. Put them into a plastic bag with something make them undesirable to animals and small children such as coffee grounds or kitty litter.  Seal the bag and throw it in the trash can (where animals or children can not get to it)

medicines in coffee

Be sure before you throw away a prescription bottle, to either scratch out your personal information or take off the label and shred the label.

prescription label

* There are some medications that should still be flushed down the sink or toilet according to the FDA. They are mostly medications that could cause real harm to children or animals if found and consumed.  The FDA is aware that there is concern over trace amounts of medications being found in the water. They feel this is more from people who excrete medications and that the medications going down the toilet are still the safest alternative.

See drugs that the FDA recommends Flushing down the sink or toilet here.

There are also some communities that have a “take back” program.  You can check within your own community for such a program. They have safe methods for disposing of the medications for you.

Be sure to use precaution when disposing of your medications!

Check out my other posts from this series:
Part 1 – Organize Your Medicine Cabinet
Part 2 – Organizing Your Medicine Cabinet – Expired Meds
Part 4 – Be Prepared for Illness

Your mission is to Organize YOUR medicine cabinets! I want to see them! Be sure to link them up to my Organizing Mission Link party!

Organizing Mission Monday

I LOVE your comments!

Subscribe by Email

Next Page »