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. 

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Organizing and DIY Link party – Week 8

Link Up Your Posts or Get Some Organizing and DIY Ideas

You can find some really awesome organizing and DIY ideas if you just look around the internet. I went back to the Better Homes and Gardens site and found some more neat ideas for you guys.

organize and DIY button

Make a cute bathroom set that will match perfectly. Just grab a couple of those terra cota planters that you can find at garage sales for practically nothing and decorate them. You could use these for many purposes other than in the bathroom.

Better Homes and Gardens

 

A screen door transformed into kitchen storage – I LOVE this! I don’t have a kitchen it would work for, but would be so cute in the proper place. Take an old screen door and paint it, put in plexi-glass and some screws and you have a perfect storage area that looks great.  This could also be really useful on an screened in porch.

Organizing and DIY

Look carefully at this towel rack. It is the back of an old chair.  There are shower knobs at the top to hang the shower brush off of.  Really cute.

organize and DIY
Share your DIY, crafts, decorating, organizing projects!

You can find the link for my button on my top “Buttons” Tab. (right now I only have the Organizing Mission Monday button, so it is fine to continue to grab that) 
1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
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3) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or crafts or decorating are WONDERFUL!
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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 Feb 26, 2012 at 11:59pm

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Closet

June 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Laundry room or Bathroom

Organizing a Small Linen Closet

The kids have a very small closet in their bathroom. We use it for their bedsheets, and a few bathroom supplies. But it is always a mess.

I have decided the kids can not get a set of sheets our of a closet without making a total disaster of the closet.  Take this for an example

linen closet - messy

I don’t know if they needed a set that was at the bottom of a pile or what. But sheets are everywhere. Looks like the top sheet for the  purple set is way up in the first aide basket. Go figure?

linen closet

There is actually a laundry hamper under there.  What happens frequently (and totally ticks me off) is that I’ll get a clean bedsheet that has fallen off the shelf and into the laundry hamper. So of course I get to wash it again.

linen closet

When I took the colored cubby’s out of the entry hallway, I was trying to think of a use for them.  I thought of this closet! It has been on my “To Do” list for some time, and now was as good as any!

I took advantage of the fact that the kids know which colored cubby is their own.

launch pad cubby

I folded the sheets (as I have seen on someone else’s blog) and folded up the top sheet, the bottom fitted sheet and put them both inside the pillow case. So they can pull the whole set out in one fluid motion!

I then put their own sheet sets in their own cubby!

linen closet

There is no real need to label these since the kids know their colors (my kids are color coded)

linen closet

I reorganized the supplies. I took all the first aide supplies out and have made a separate box for that and located it else where. That freed up some top shelf space.  I used baskets we had on hand. I didn’t buy anything. The toilet paper supply is in the large basket and their deodorant stock is in the left small basket. When I did my couponing a couple years ago, that was one thing that you could get basically for free (or under $.50 each). I still have several left.

linen closet

I am very pleased how it turned out.

linen closet

This will help the kids keep it neater, I will do less “clean sheet” laundry and it put these cubby’s to very good use.

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Organizing Mission Monday – Link Party Week 14

Organizing Your Purses for Spring!

organizing mission Monday

Are you ready  to take everything out of your purse and do a “Spring Clean” on it?  That is what we’ll be working on this week.  Watch tomorrow as I do the run down. So start thinking about those purse clean outs.

purse clean out

But today for Organizing Mission Monday link party I want to show you some of what I thought was really cool from last week.

See  My Featured Bloggers For This Week.

Check out how Susan from Homeroad took this board.

Homeroad

And turned it into this memo board with junk (as she calls it) from around her house.

homeroadSee how she does it in her post called Junky Old Memo Board.

Stephanie from Create Order worked on her linen closet, dresser drawers, under her sink and pantry in her post.

create order linen closetShe also organized her medications and other products in this clear bins. Love this.

linen closetBe sure to stop by and see the rest of what she organized on her Create Order: Days 4,5,6 and 7 post.

Melissa at Juice Box Dreams organized her daughters huge assortment of hair ribbons using an clear shoe organizer.

ribbon holderShe organized by season and colors.

juice box dreams ribbon holderYou can see the rest of Melissas post called The Trouble with Tribbles or How To Contain 1,750,001 Hair Bows

I also featured those bloggers who posted their medicine cabinet reorganization posts at the end of my Organizing Medicine Cabinet Part 1 post. Stop by and see those too! You all are also welcome to pick up my Featured button for your blog!

Be sure to stop by both of my featured bloggers today and give them some “comment love”

For those of you who were featured this week, please pick up your button (code below the button) for your blog!

Organizing Mission Monday

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Link up to my Link Party

Link up any organizing or cleaning post to my link party!!

But this week I encourage you to start working on your purses! I will be having a blog post tomorrow on how I did that, so be watching!!

Organizing Mission Monday

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Rules

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog

2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)

3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it

4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning

5) No sales pitches or web sites.

6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.

8) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Be sure to check out my list of link parties

If you have a link party.. please link it up! Underneath the daily buttons there is a list of text links I have compiled too! (Many more there!)

If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple.

This will be open until Sunday March 27th.

I LOVE your comments!!

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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!

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Expired or Unused Medication

I Bet 95% of You Have Expired Meds In Your Medicine Cabinet!

It is just one of those things we don’t think a lot about, until we need it.  Expired medications aren’t usually harmful to you, they are just not as effective. But in some cases, such as severe allergies, having a medication that isn’t is not as affective can be harmful because may be preventing a life threatening reaction.

When you clean out and organize your medicine cabinet, I want you to look at the expiration date of every medication in it. The expiration dates can be in a variety of places.

expiration date

Sometimes they are hard to find.

expiration dateSometimes they are hard to read

expiration date

Don’t forget to check prescription medications too. See.. this one was expired!

expired medsThis one too.

expired meds

Here is my pile of expired medications from the cabinet above my coffee maker.

medicine

Here is my pile of expired meds from my two pantry baskets. Pretty bad huh?  But not unusual at all.

medicine

Even when some people go in and organize or straighten up their meds, they don’t think about looking for expired medications.

It is a pain to look for the expired meds!!  Trying to search all over the bottle for the expiration date. Then if you can read it without a magnifying glass your also lucky!

So how can we help solve this problem?  Simple!

LET’S SEE THOSE EXPIRATION DATES!!

Get a black sharpie marker and some sticky labels.

As you are organizing, go through each item and if it isn’t expired, you need to put the expiration date on the medication using your sticky labels and sharpie marker.

I had some clear Avery labels and decided to use those.  I first tried just writing directly on the medications label, but it was that slick plastic label and the marker didn’t go on nice, and even once it was dry, I was able to just wipe it off with my finger.  The label it didn’t do that.
label

When you place your label onto your medication bottle, be sure not to cover up vital information (directions and doses or concentration of the medications)

medicine labelIt is so much easier to see.

expiration date

It is just so simple! Depending on the bottle itself, you can just write directly on the surface if it writes easily and won’t wipe off.

medicine

As your medications come into your house from the pharmacy, as you go to put them away, get that sharpie marker (that you have kept right with your medications) and mark the bottles before you put them away.

There are times that the box that has the medication is where you will find the expiration date and it isn’t even on the bottle itself. I didn’t find any like that in my stash, because I don’t save many boxes…. but you won’t have any problem if you label them right away. The simpler you keep it, the more likely you will be to comply and actually keep it up.

But isn’t this much easier to see?

medicineLook at the ones I keep above my coffee maker.

medicineWhen the dates are easy to see, you will be MUCH less likely to have expired medications.

medicineWouldn’t it be nice if the drug companies did this for us?  If they won’t put them large on the bottle and easy to see and to find, wouldn’t it be nice then if they at least provided a sticker or had a surface up near the top of the bottle to make it easier for us to label them ourselves?  I sure think so!

Be sure to see the rest of my series:

Part 1 – Organize Your Medicine Cabinet
Part 3 – Disposing of Your Expired or Unused Medications
Part 4 – Be Prepared for Illness



Your mission is to LABEL your medications with EXPIRATION DATES! I want to see them! You might have another idea that could help us all.. please share it!

Be sure to link them up to my Organizing Mission Link party!

Organizing Mission Monday

I LOVE your comments!!

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Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

We Often Don’t Think To Organize Our Medicine Cabinets!

Do you remember when the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet was?

My medicine cabinet is actually a couple different medicine baskets.  I keep one in the pantry on the top shelf and our more frequently used medications in the cabinet above our coffee maker.

But I was in desperate need of organizing and cleaning our medicine baskets too! Just look what came out of the cabinet above the coffee maker!

medicine

This is what the pantry basket looks like.  Oh.. this is bad. (By the way, my pantry has since been organized too and you’ll get to see that before too long.

medicine

What a mess!

medicine

1) First thing you need to do is pull out all of the medication from the cabinet, basket or where ever you store them.

2) Then you need to clean the area that you have removed the medications from.  Often medicines can be sticky, so there very well might be some sticky residue where the meds were kept.

3) Go through and separate the meds. If you don’t use them or they are expired then you need to get rid of them.
(I will be going over expired meds tomorrow and how to dispose of meds properly the following day)

4) Once you have determined what medications you are keeping, decide where they are being kept.
Is the medicine cabinet/basket out of reach of children and pets?
Is the medicine cabinet/basket accessible to you?

5) Load your medications back in after they have been cleaned off if sticky. If they are infrequently used medications or duplicate medications, then you will want to store those either in the back or in another cabinet if there isn’t room in the main one.

6) Important!!!  I want to bring up a point I just learned about. ( Today’s date is actually April 11, 2011 and I am adding this point in.)  I learned through Jen at I Heart Organizing that medication storage is also very important. She had a guest post on her blog from a Pharmacist.  The Pharmacist noted that medicine cabinets are found in your bathrooms, but you should NOT be keeping your medications in your bathrooms. Why? Because of the humidity in the bathroom. Medications should be kept where it it low humidity and stable temperatures according to Melissa C the Pharmacist. The other thing she mentions is that above the stove or refrigerator is also not good because of the heat that these appliances generate.  Looks like my pantry is the best option. You can read the rest of the post if you go to Jen’s guest post from Melissa the Pharmacist called Medicine Cabinets are NOT for Medicine.


medicine
Decide how you want to organize your meds.  You can keep the children’s meds separate from the adult meds. You can keep them separated by individual or by the kind of meds they are.  Since my kids are now older, I don’t have many meds just for kids anymore. So I keep mine separated into most frequently used medications and least used or duplicate medications.

medicine

You don’t have to have fancy containers, fancy labels in order to organize your medicine cabinets. If you want to buy or make cute labels and buy nice baskets…. more power to you – but I want you all to know that you can keep things simple.

Tomorrow I will talk about how to handle expired meds and on Thursday I’ll tell you the best way to dispose of your expired or unused medications.

Be sure to see the rest of my series this week:

Part 2 – Expired Meds & labeling
Part 3 – Disposing of expired or unused Meds
Part 4 – Be Prepared for Illness

See How My Readers Have Organized Their Medicine

I want you all to see this picture.  Linda from Never Boring did a post on her cabinets.  She used clear zipper bags to organize her medicine. Thanks Linda for sharing this with us!

organizing medicine

Robyn from Randomly, Robyn also reorganized her medicine cabinets.  She did two of them, and went through and got rid of her expired meds.  Then she used baskets to organize them. Thanks Robyn!

medicine cabinet

Good Enough Mommy organized her medicine cabinet and one of the things that she added to her method of organization was also writing the name of the medication on the top of the lid.  She uses a basket method like me and it made it easier to see what the med was down in the basket.

Good Enough Mommy

Kia from A View From Here also organized her medicine cabinet. She realized most everything she had was for pain. She also noted that in the UK they do not flush any medication, they are to take it to their GP’s office or a chemist or pharmacist for them to dispose of. (Thanks for that info)

DaNita from Delightful Order always has the cutest organizing ideas.  Check out how she did her medicine cabinets on her post called Moving the Medicine Cabinet.  She is focusing on location of her medicine cabinet.

delightful order meds


Thanks goes to Courtney from Detroit Mommies for inspiring the series this week.

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!!

I’m linking this post up to:

Handy Man, Crafty Woman Wicked Wednesday Link Party

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Cleaning – Reviewing Mr. Clean

Everyone Knows Mr. Clean Products!

Mr CleanOrganizing is my thing.  Cleaning… well… isn’t as much. (hate it!)  Yes.. you do clean when you organize, but the general house cleaning… and deep cleaning are no fun for me. I do wish that i was a bit OCD about it (only a little) and kept on top of it like I would love to.

I will admit that my husband got me the best early birthday present ever! I had a (almost entire house) deep cleaning done professionally.  There were 4 people that came in my house and were here from 9am-7:30pm!  Honest!  Everything… vents on walls, lamp globes and shades, behind the washer & dryer and refrig and oven! They did the windows!  I have been so busy and my house needed it… and I was getting more and more frustrated because I couldn’t get it done.  I’m not superman…. I can’t do it all!

I recently was asked to review a couple of Mr. Clean products. Mr Clean.. Mr. Clean… (can’t you just hear the song in your head?  Ok…if you can’t it’s because you aren’t old enough.. sigh)

Mr CleanFirst thing I did was the downstairs bathroom.  It needed it.

Mr CleanThe first thing I noticed was the smell. I even looked at the bottle again. Oh..that is right it has Febreze in it! That is why it smelled so good.  Clean with a fresh smell… ahhhh..

Mr CleanDon’t forget those pesky tools you hide behind the toilet…

Mr CleanIt says that it kills 99.9% of bacteria…. that I like!

Especially when cleaning these areas.

mr clean

Now upstairs to the master bath.  Here is something that I have been using daily.. but not too fond of at the moment… lol

Mr Clean

The shower track. Oh… what a pain that is to clean. But how nice it is to have clean.

Mr Clean

They also sent me a Mr Clean Magic Eraser bath scrubber.  I love these things! They are amazing!

Mr CleanThis is bigger than the normal Magic Eraser, and has the little texture to it. Plus a curved edge to help with the grip but also makes it easier to get in the corners.

mr clean magic eraseThis also came with that nice scent of Febreze!  The other thing that I liked about it was that it wasn’t falling apart when I scrubbed hard. That was the only negative thing about the Magic Eraser was that it kind of fall apart as you were cleaning.

mr clean magic eraserThis is one area of our shower that gets so much soap scum. That bar of soap drains down the side and leaves a terrible soap scum.  I love that I have the new Magic Eraser Bathroom scrubber to keep on top of it.

A clean bathroom is a happy bathroom.. is a happy mom!!

Disclosure: Mr Clean sent me 1 bottle of the Mr. Clean with Febreze Disinfecting Bath Cleaner and 1 box with 2 Mr Clean Magic Eraser Bathroom Scrubbers.  I was not compensated in any other way for this post. (other than a clean bathroom) The pictures and the thoughts are my own.

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Organizing Under the Sink

Easy and Efficient Under Sink Storage

What have you tried to store under your kitchen sink? The space is different in each house depending on where the water lines and disposal end up.  You are lucky to get one skinny container on one side of the cabinet.

Then there is the mix of cleaning products; dishwashing liquids, powders and tablets; trash can liners; rubber gloves; and assorted scrubbing doo-dads. The shapes and sizes are a nightmare to organize and contain.

When you are in a hurry, something is bound to topple over.  Gooey spills, dishwasher detergent powder, and spider webs conspire against you to make a sticky, dirty mess under there!

Let me offer a few suggestions. You are free to mix and match to come up with a solution that fits your unique circumstance.

  1. Store only what you use in the kitchen here. If you have an adequate pantry or space in your laundry room, keep the majority of your cleaning products there. This also helps cut down on the danger of poisons a child can reach (locks are necessary, but should not be the only safeguard!)
  2. Move trash bag liners to your plastic wrap area. These boxes should fit in the drawer on their side.
  3. Cover the floor of your cabinet with a rubber mat or shelf liner. The spills and grit will be easy to clean with a wet sponge. Once that cheap particle board gets wet, it is never the same. A pristine cupboard looks good when you get ready to sell.
  4. Use a slide out container with a stable bottom. Choose solid plastic, mesh, or metal stripping that is less than ½” apart to avoid tipping.
  • A 6 qt plastic shoebox with no lid will do for the side of your cabinet that has the most head room.  This is the frugal organizer’s option.
  • The Rolls Royce of pull-outs for the tall side is the 11” X 21” chrome Lynk Professional Kitchen Under-Sink Rollout Double Drawer.  There is an 11’ X 18” version as well.

Once you make these changes, you will be surprised at how easily and efficiently you can access everything you need from your now beautiful under sink storage!

Martha Clouse is founder of Organized For Life, a professional organizing company.     After moving 11 times in 20 years as a military wife while raising four children, Martha shares with you what she learned “under fire” about coping with change, using time to your advantage, and how to create a calm oasis out of chaos.

To learn more about setting up rooms for maximum utility while retaining a spacious feel, the basic systems you need in your home office to guarantee productivity, how to save an hour a day consistently, and to receive access to the free e-booklet “60 Tips to Get Organized NOW!”, visit Organized For Life.

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Baskets can Organize your Laundry Room

They can add some color too!

Aren’t these fun baskets?  They were the solution for me in my small laundry room.  Theses were an “impulse” buy.  I was in Target and spotted the lime green laundry hampers and decided they would look so fun in my laundry room. Then I saw these smaller baskets that matched and decided to outfit my laundry room with them.

They serve a great purpose and brighten up a room that isn’t the funnest to go into.

I’ve used these photos before..so you may have seen them, but here is my full (small) laundry room.

I linked this blog post up to:

Totally Organized Tuesdays
A Bowl Full of Lemons 21 Day Challenge

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Baskets can Organize laundry for your kids

Zillions of uses, fun colors…what’s not to love?

I saw these  laundry baskets at Walmart and loved the colors!!   They were only $2 each….SO ….I had to get them for the kids to help me organize their laundry!!

I picked out 5 of them, each in the kids colors.  (I color code my kids – I’ll do another post on that this week)  The experiment I wanted to try was to use them for their own laundry baskets.

Normally what I have been doing, is when laundry is completed,  I take it out of the dryer and fold/hang up the clothes. The folded clothes go into a big laundry basket.  Those baskets are carried up to the top of the stairs.

Once the laundry baskets are upstairs, then I sit down on the floor and sort the clothes into the kids separate cubbies that are at the top of the stairs. They then put them away.

I decided if I am ever lucky enough to move and have a larger laundry room or better yet…get to design it (such a wish!)….I wanted to have built in larger cubbies for each member of my family. Then I could fold and put into their cubbies and they carry them up themselves and put them away.

So….my alternative – take these baskets in the kids colors and sort their clothes into their baskets right out of the dryer.  Then they take their laundry basket up and put them away. This idea only costs $10! ($2 for 5 baskets)

Here is the key to making it work. They HAVE to put the clothes away and bring the basket right back down…so I have it for next time I do laundry. They already have a taller laundry hamper in their room that works for their dirty clothes…I want to keep these just for their clean ones.

Note: December 2010 – I had a reader let me know they were unable to find these baskets in their Walmart or online. I also looked and was unable. These might have been promotional for the back to school (college) push.  Let me know if you find them somewhere…. so we can let others know.  Thanks!

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Organizing the Bathroom

June 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Laundry room or Bathroom

Need some ideas to Organize your room? Send me your Pictures!

This is a photo I got from a friend on Facebook. She said she was having a terrible time organizing her master bathroom.  This is a metal unit that goes over her toilet.  You can also see a little bit of the wooden corner shelf.  She sent me some other pictures too, so I had an over all view of the bathroom…and the wall space that was open.

When I give suggestions…I don’t go the “extreme makeover” way. I try to think very conservative in what I’m asking you to do. I am not saying….call a carpenter and completely over haul your bathroom. I try to work with what you have and suggest items that are very reasonable.

These are the suggestions I gave her:

Wall over toilet paper holder -

Take down your corner shelf.  Use shelves on this wall instead.  You can go up close to the ceiling for storage. Utilize as much of that wall as you are able.  I would use adjustable shelves…you can find them at Lowes or some place like that. Just board and bracket shelves, or you can go a little fancier like these at The Container Store.  You can get the white or black ones …or you can get wood and paint them. Just keep in mind they will be in a humid environment. Be sure to measure well. Be aware to not get your shelves too wide – you don’t have to worry about hitting your head or shoulder when you go potty!   LOL

Use small baskets on these shelves to store and separate your supplies. t

Use a Slim Cabinet beside your toilet if you have the space.   I use one similar to this and love it.

Option for under your sink.

Over the toilet – I don’t know if that storage rack is doing as good a job as separate shelves could do.  I think I would suggest more board and bracket shelves rather than what you are using now. You can adjust them to fit more things.  There is a lot of wasted space on that wire rack..in between the shelves.  But if you want to keep using it…then I would see if you can find something to make a 2nd level on the middle shelf to utilize more of that space.  Or you can use something like the option I showed for under your sink and have a couple slide out drawers.  If you watch my vlog below on the pantry..you will see where I had a wire shelf  but wanted to have more space. So I added another wire shelf by creating a solid surface on the bottom wire rack so that my top wire rack could sit on something. (This is the money saving way to do things)

Another option if it wasn’t too wide would be to use something like this cubby unit on your wall.  You can hang it and roll towels to store in the cubbies. Or put baskets and dress it up where you can store hair supplies, bathroom cleaners, toilet paper etc.. Here is an example of how I used cubbies in my office.

Behind the door:

I would use some kind of over the door organizer like this.  It can be great to hold all kinds of supplies….shampoo, conditioners, blow dryer etc.  Here is a vlog I did on my pantry. I know it doesn’t seem to make sense….but I want you to see the over the door unit that holds cans. I also want you to note the wire on wire shelf “fix” I came up with.   My only concern with that would be if the items are too tall and you close the bathroom door…things might fall out.  So you would have to either find one with higher sides or use it for shorter items like creams and hair supplies. It could work great to clip bracelets or necklaces too …just thinking.

On the wall behind the door – You could remove that towel bar and hang another clear over the door organizer. Or you could hang hooks for multiple towels or robes.  Or you could arrange several towel racks and store clean towels on them that would look neat.

I bet if you take out that corner cabinet ..you can find another space to use it. I think you will get much more function our of that wall space.

So here is the deal. I’d love to help you!  If you have a room or place you would like some advice on. E-mail me pictures….I want to see all of the room….the wall space, the floor space too.  Tell me what your trying to accomplish in this space…and maybe you can get some ideas for your home too.  What I’d really LOVE to see..would be the after pictures.

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Bathroom Organizing – Part 5

Accessorize to Organizing

There are many different items you can find to organize any room of your home. The bathroom is no exception. Do you have to spend a lot of money to do it? No way. You don’t have to buy all new cabinets or completely overhaul your bathroom (pimp your Bathroom….new show? LOL). If you are able to get a few items then it is great. There are many things that can help. I am just going to show you a few that I have in my own bathroom.

The above item is something I reviewed. It is called the Belles Dangle Organizer (the contest is closed) I hung it over my soaking tub. It was an area wall in the bathroom that I wasn’t using, but it comes in real handy now. It is directly behind the sinks. I keep my most worn accessories here. I have a jewelry box for my other jewelry. This is the fun stuff.

This is an item that I bought years ago and love. I did do a post on this slim cabinet last year. I had several responses asking where I got it. I couldn’t find this exact one, but The Container Store has several varieties. I use the bottom drawer as a trash can.

Of course the ever present (in many showers) shower organizer. There are many kinds to choose from. There are some that go in the corner on a pressure rod…or this kind. The only problem with these is they can be known to slide down the shower head and drive you crazy. But it makes a nice place for those bottles of shampoo, body wash etc.

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Bathroom Organizing – Part 4

Look behind your door for more Space.

Be sure to use the space behind the doors. You can use a shoe organizer. There is room for cosmetics, hair products, extra shampoos or lotions.
There are other over or behind the door products you can find. It might be hooks for your robes or towels. But it doesn’t have to be something you use in the bathroom. You could use this pantry over the door organizer.

Of course you wouldn’t want cans in your bathroom ( at least I dont’ think. LOL) …but you can use it to store soap, hair products etc.
But don’t hesitate to look for ways to use that space.

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Bathroom Organizing – Part 3

Use those Walls!

If you are looking for space in your bathrooms, don’t forget to use those walls.  It might be in the form of shelves, hooks, hangers or medicine cabinets…but do not neglect them.

Here are a few examples of how you can use wall space to your advantage.

This is in my downstairs bathroom. It is a small half bath with a pedestal sink ( so there is no cabinet storage there).  I can keep the essentials here with extra TP and hand towels. In this bathroom we don’t need storage for toothbrushes etc.

Here is another option for a shelf for storage.

This of course could be used for many other items, but it serves this purpose in the master bathroom.

The kids have this shelf/cabinet in their bathroom:

This is also over top the toilet, although it does not go down to the floor like the other.  My oldest son uses this for his things.  The next oldest has the medicine cabinet. The triplets have a shelf on the colored pegboard wall…OK…I’ll show you that too because it can make good use out of a wall.

When we got married and Dave’s 4 kids moved in, there was only 1 towel rack on this wall. I knew that was not going to work for 5 children.  So I decided to get peg board and paint it.  Before I did that, I went online and found this colored plastic pegboard and the hooks and accessory trays too. (I just looked for the site and couldn’t find it…so if anyone does go hunting and finds  - please leave a comment for others) I did a post on this early last year on solutions in the kids bathroom.

But each child has a tray and hooks for their towels and a robe. It works great!

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Bathroom Organizing – Part 2

Organizing your counters

Ideally, it would be wonderful to have your bathroom counters completely clear. But realistically …. it rarely happens in the bathrooms. But try to limit the items on the counter to the things you use daily. If you only use it once a week or less than that, try to make drawer room for it.

Considering that your first step was already to sort through your items to keep what you really need (throw out those old lipsticks and mascaras.)

There are many different organizers you can get for your counters. Above is one that I use for my makeup. I also have a smaller one that I use.

I also use some of my Longenberger baskets (although I think these might be my knock offs) for Q-tips and a taller one for our toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Whatever method you use to organize your items just keep these tips in mind:
1) Sort through your items and dispose of old cosmetics or items you don’t use.
2) Only keep on your counters what you use daily or every couple of days.
3) Don’t keep duplicates of items out on the counters

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Bathroom Organizing – Part 1

Bathroom Organizing Can be a Challenge

Is your bathroom a “walk in mansion?” or is it a tiny sink, toilet and shower without much storage?  I would venture to guess that most of us are of the latter.  Bathrooms can be difficult to organize.  Some have very little storage available and there might be an entire family trying to use one sink.

I want to share a few suggestions I have over the next couple of days…and hopefully you will be able to pick up a few things that might make your organizing a little easier. At least that is my goal.

Sorting

As with any organizing job…the first step is to sort.  You may think that you don’t have anything you don’t need in your bathroom.  But I would bet that you will surprise yourself when you go through your things.  Here are some sorting tips if you need a refresher.

What about that suntan lotion that is less than half full from last summer (they say not to keep them too long).  Or that bath set that your 5 year old got you from the dollar store 5 years ago that you feel guilty throwing out (but you know you will never use).  Go through..you will be surprised.

I actually did some needed sorting myself before I took these pictures. I was able to get rid of a full bag of stuff.

Under the Sinks

You want to be able to utilize as much of the space under your sink as you can.  The pipes are always a challange.  But you can use wire racks to make double layers as I did in the above picture.

I love using baskets and bins. I always say to use clear ones if possbile. That way you can see really quickly what is in them.  I have my big bottles of shampoo and conditioner off to the left because they are too tall.  I have my other supplies that I will use in the baskets.  Do NOT keep expired medicines, lotions, etc… Throw them out if they are too old. Do not keep things for sentiment value (bubble bath that Aunt Mary gave you but you hate the smell). If it is perfectly good and you can donate it…then wonderful. If not..pitch it. Unless you have plenty of space to store it. But if you are struggling to make space for your things you need….don’t waste that space on something you don’t need.

There are plenty of places to get organizers for under the sink. You can check Walmart, Target or other discount stores. There are plenty of options.

Tip: Measure your space, height, depth and width before you go.

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The Laundry Process

April 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Laundry room or Bathroom

Laundry – Don’t you Love it? lol

laundry

laundry

I am going to share the laundry process I use at my house.  It is simple and straight forward, but it works.

I have to admit that I am surprised that I hear some people say they don’t use hampers or laundry baskets. I guess I wonder where they gather their dirty clothes.  How do they transport them from the bedrooms to the laundry room?   What do they do with the clean clothes when it is clean? Do they fold it right away? Fold it in the laundry room? Sort it? Who puts it away at your house?

This is the method I use and have used since I had a family.

Laundry Hampers

Each person has a laundry hamper in their bedroom. There is also one in the kids bathroom. Dirty clothes go in them. (or around them as kids will do…What? You can’t hit a basket with your dirty clothes?  ….that usually works). Oh…and I discovered Sock Sacks which I love. I did a review on these last year and we still use them and I think they are great. Each child has their own sock sack. Their name is on it. All their dirty socks go into it.  Then you zip them up and toss them in the washer/dryer. No more sorting. Each childs socks are already separated. I just put their sock sack into their cubbies and they put them away.

Sock Sacks

Sock Sacks

Laundry day (or multiple days at our house) each child brings down their laundry basket. Since the 2 boys share a room, one brings down their hamper and the other brings down the bathroom hamper.

I sort the clothes into the the laundry room hampers to be washed.  You can see my video I did on my laundry room here.

Laundry room aug 2009

When they come out of the dryer, I hang up clothes right then and fold the other clothes and put them into laundry baskets.

Carrying up laundry baskets

Carrying up laundry baskets

Then we carry up the laundry baskets.

Laundry cubbies

Laundry cubbies

I then sort the clothes into the kids cubbies and they put them away in their drawers.  I didn’t always use this cubby idea. I used to have smaller laundry baskets that each child had. But this house is smaller than my old one and we just don’t have the room.  I had this small area at the top of my stairs and this worked great.

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Laundry Room Hampers

Laundry Room Sorting Hampers

How many of you use sorting bins or laundry hampers in your laundry rooms?  This is something that I would have a hard time managing my laundry without.  I can understand for those of you who do not have the room to have them, but many times you can make the room, even when you don’t think you have it.

Why use Sorting Bins?

Instead of bringing all your dirty clothes down and throwing them in one big pile, you can sort your clothes into color groups that you wash.  I have 7 hampers.  Whites, jeans, reds, light permapress, dark permapress, towels, and  extra (misc – like pillows or delicates).

I bring all the laundry down and sort it. Then spend the next day or so getting it completed.

Sorting Bins

Sorting Bins

I don’t have the space.

My laundry room is not a very big room at all.  But I made room, by pushing my washer/dryer all the way up against one wall. That gives me the space to put 4 of them down one wall. Then the other 3 sit out into the middle of the room in front of the washer & dryer.  (I have changed it up just a bit from this pic. I did have 5 down the one wall, but when they worked on my washer/dryer I haven’t been able to get them push over as far as they had been & I can only fit the 1 white one in the back).

Make the space

Basement – Some of the homes I have had I made it work.  I had one house with my washer & dryer in the basement.  In that house it was easy, I threw down a few rugs and used my laundry hampers as “boundry walls” of my laundry area.  This was a zone the kids stayed out of while playing and it made me feel like it was my own space.

Closet washer & dryer – I also had a house that had a washer and dryer in the upstairs hallway. It was just in a folding closet.  What I would do is to have my hampers & I would stack them when not in use. I had room in my bedroom closet to keep the several hampers stacked when not using. Then on laundry day I would get those out and use them in the hallway to sort my clothes. As the hamper was empty I would simply stack it inside another one & would reduce how many were out.

Another option would be to use the hampers in each person’s bedrooms.  Just have them bring their laundry hamper out of their room full of their dirty clothes. Dump all the clothes out and you have your empty hampers to now use as sorting bins for the day.

There are folding hampers that can work but I don’t like them for long term.  I think you need something sturdy that will hold up. I have also tried the ones that have like 3 netted sorting hampers that fit together with a PVC pipe kind of thing. I do not like these. They are always falling apart. If you want to use something like this, then I would suggest paying a little more and getting something made with sturdy metal that won’t be falling apart.

I think using sorting bins will make your laundry day go much easier.

I linked this post to:

A Bowl Full of Lemons

Delightful order

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Bounce Dryer Bar Review

If You Don’t Want To Have Dryer Sheets All Over The Place You’ll Love These!

 

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This is something really cool if you have not seen it yet.  I received a Bounce Dryer Bar when I was at BlogHer. It is this bar that you stick inside your dryer. It works for 2-4 months! You don’t have to use dryer sheets anymore. I know it isn’t a really big deal, but finding those dryer sheets stuck to clothes, they end up falling out of the trashcan in the laundry room and you find them all over.
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I put this first one in my dryer in August. It came unstuck once and I put it back on. But it came off again a few days later and some little pieces broke off it. It had only been on about 4 1/2 weeks. I contacted them and they sent me replacements!
I have had the 2nd one on since October 9, 2009. So it has been almost 3 months now. It is still doing great, still looks like there is plenty more on there and has not fallen off at all. Time will vary of course according to how much laundry you do. But hello….there are 7 of us that I do laundry for, so do you think I have that dryer on daily? You better believe it!

Just peel off the adhesive on the back and place it on a flat clean surface inside your dryer

Just peel off the adhesive on the back and place it on a flat clean surface inside your dryer

I would say the only negative I have is that in the winter when it is so dry on some items (not all, just some sweaters, and sheets) there has been a little static. Not enough that I feel like I need to put in an additional dryer sheet…but enough to say it doesn’t completely get rid of all static. I didn’t notice it at all before December.
Consider this. Price is around $6-7 for one. Seems like a lot, but when you look at the price of dryer sheets for 4 months…you are saving money too!
But guess what…I am SOLD! I will be using these far past when the ones they gave me are gone.

Update 4/5/12 – I am still using these and still love them! The one I have in there now has lasted me at least 6 months. awesome!


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