Kids, clean your own mess!

February 28, 2011 § 13 Comments

Now that I have a very capable 4 year old on my hands, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can no longer let her get away with not cleaning her room. I am a crazy-organized mom so I actually prefer to do it myself. Nothing drives me more up the wall than blocks mixed with princess shoes mixed with strawberry shortcake— all in the same bin. I mean, how can she play like that?!? But really, there had to be a system that she could relate to so that her toys stayed picked up AND in a spot where she could find them again.

I don’t know about your 4 year old, but mine can’t read yet. So, I decided that putting pictures on every bin would enable her to know the correct spot for things. I even went as far as to use the actual toy in the picture so she wouldn’t be confused. I also added the written word with it so she could begin to recognize the word with the picture.

I am happy to say that after showing her how, she has really caught on to this concept. It is actually has become a game for her— sorting things in the bins that match the picture. YES!!! I’ve attached the labels below that I used. They print correctly on Avery 8160 labels or compatible ones. I just used pictures from the ToysRus site, so it’s probably not very legal to actually call these a printable. So, they are on my page and I am not calling them anything… just an example to do with as you wish in the privacy of your own home. 🙂


Supplementing Your Life

February 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

These days many people I know, inlcuding myself, visit alternative doctors. I have been going to these kinds of doctors since I was 17 years old. It’s funny how similar all the ones I have been to are– smarter than anyone I have ever met, yet some of the most disorganized people around. I really don’t know how they do it. Personally, I can’t think “smartly” if all of my paperwork and other items aren’t organized neatly into piles and folders.
Many of the alternative books I read are this way too. They have great information, but it’s hard to apply the supplements they suggest because the information is all over the place. And there is A LOT of it. Whenever I get home from a visit or read a book, I feel very overwhelmed with the task before me– to figure out how to apply what I just learned. 
Overwhelmed.
This is not a good place to be when it comes to your health. That is why I designed a chart to help manage vitamins and supplements all onto one page to make it easy to grasp. Since it is a free, printable file available here, you can print it off as many times as your supplement routine changes. I know mine changes quite often.
Here are some more ideas for your vitamin routine:
Obviously, you can buy holders for sorting pills by the day. I ended up buying 4 of them so, during my more intense supplement treatments, I can fill them up and label them according to Morning, Noon, Evening, and Bedtime. I also bought the kind that separate so I can pop off a day and carry it with me to work. In my supplement routine I have a bunch of homeopathetics and liquids that make things a bit more complicated. For me, I bought a really cute tray from anthropologie and placed all of my supplements for the week on it. I keep all of the refills in the cabinet above, but with the pretty tray it actually looks good sitting on my counter. Every Sunday I take 5 minutes and refill everything according to my Supplement worksheet.
I have also learned, after just cleaning out my vitamin cabinet, that vitamins have expiration dates too and you shouldn’t keep them around too long. I cut down on 75% of the clutter in my cabinet just by throwing away all of the old pills. Yes, it gets very expensive… but good health is priceless.

What is your brain style?

February 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

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Source: yasmeanie

With all types of organizing, there has to be some common foundation for the process. For example, one way is through color. This is probably one of the most popular ways since most people are very visual. The idea is that you assign each color a certain meaning, and then organize according to your perimeters. I do this with my home office files– red is auto, blue is banking, yellow is utilities, etc.

Another way of organizing is through numbers. Just like color, each section of what you are organizing has a certain number attached to it. This can also be applied to shapes, fabrics, letters or any identifier that readily stimulates your memory.

The key to organizing for YOU is understanding the way YOUR brain works.

I remember when I started my accounting job. All of the spreadsheets were already created by someone else and I was adding onto them. For the life of me, I could not read them. I would get confused and frustrated and put numbers in the wrong spots, create columns that already existed, etc. (Which, for an accountant, is really bad stuff!) But to the person before me, they made perfect sense. That is because we had different brain styles.

My brain is pretty focussed in that it basically only responds to color and shape. Like when I read a magazine, I never actually read it. I look at the pictures and read the big quotes pulled from the articles, but that’s about it. I am drawn to the visual. When I took my accounting spreasheets and made them look beautiful, with proper spacing and color identifiers, everything fell into place and undstanding them became easy.

Others of you are on the opposite spectrum. If you actually made it to this point in the blog by reading every word, that is a good sign that you are one of these who focus on the meaning of things and are more detail-oriented. You can organize with words and numbers and do not need the visual stimulation to stay on top of things. This doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy things looking beautiful, but you don’t NEED it. For this type of person, organizing can actually be quite easy because a few stark white labels with “Times Roman” wording written on them might be all you need to function. How nice for you 😉

There are others ways a brain can respond: through sound or touch or even emotion. They key is to find which one of these you identify with most and then create your own “organizing style”. If you can successfully do this, you might manage to stick with keeping things organized instead of jumping from system to system and always feeling like nothing you do is working.

Take a moment and examine the way you think. Do you need colors to help your brain out? Do you need to use pictures of hearts, kitty cats and newborn babes because you are emotionally driven? How about different textures and patterns to keep your stuff in order? Or maybe words and numbers speaks clearest in your mind.

Follow your brain’s natural pattern to success.

Oh Bookshelves…

February 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

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source: Decor Pad


source: Windsor Smith

I don’t know what is it about built-in bookshelves that make a home feel complete.

Perhaps it’s knowing that there is depth to the home– that the people who live there have a passion for something or a knowledge of something that others can discover when they come to visit. Or maybe it is just the beautiful rainbow of colors and ideas that make a home feel loved and lived-in. Whatever it is, it makes me happy.

If you can find an empty wall to add a few shelves, and then fill it with meaninful books and treasured family heirlooms, you will create a space that’s comforting and stylish. It is also great for organizing and ridding your house of clutter. Just make sure you only keep around books that inspire you, that you read, that you want to pass along, or that have meaning. The rest can go for some cash at your local half-priced books.

New {PRINTABLE} Pantry Labels

February 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last time we discussed pantry organization. It’s feels so great to get everything in order, but how do you keep it that way? If you live with other people, you know the hardest part is getting everyone on the same page as to where things go. You can have everything organized until your husband (although lovingly) helps you clean and puts everything back in the wrong spot. Thus begins the spiral downwards to right where you started.
Change all of this with small, stylish signs pointing you in the right direction. Use as few or as many as you need— just enough as a reminder to keep things the way you intended. And the best part is, you can hang them anyway you want. They were designed to be printed on Avery 8161 labels so that you can peel and stick them. But, you can also print them out on sturdy paper and tape them on, or make them cute by giving them a hole punch and hanging them with a ribbon. So many fun options!
Take a look at the shop for all of the titles and options you can choose from!

The Pantry… It’s time.

February 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

 

I’ve put it off long enough. I just found a plate of homemade Christmas cookies in my pantry… gross.

The last few months of my life have been a non-stop juggling act of so many fun things, and in an effort to enjoy life a little bit more I’ve said YES to all of them. It’s been a blast, but boy has my house suffered— particularly my pantry. You see, most of these fun events end up happening at my house. My husband is one of the most social people I have ever met and we entertain very large groups of people weekly. In the hustle and bustle of it all, I’ve ended up throwing things in my pantry at will and dropping things without picking them up and letting the recycle bin overflow onto my shelves and overall just making an absolute mess. T

his is not something someone who writes an organizational blog should be sharing. And here’s the even worse part…. I’m going to post a picture:

But the fact is, sometimes I let things go just so I can organize them again, haha 🙂 or at least that is what I tell myself. So, during what I am entitling “The Record Breaking Ice Storm of 2011”, I had some time to get organized while I was trapped in my house for 4 loooooong days. (people in Texas do not drive at the hint of frozen precipitation).

Here are my tips for organizing a pantry:If you take anything away from this, let it be my first tip: Decide what your most healthy food options are and put them on the shelf that is eye level with you. Not only that, but prepare them in any way that you can so that they become grab and go. I say this because 99% of us are trying to lose weight or maintain a size, and we want to snack healthfully. The best way to do that is to make healthy foods easy and accessible. Go as far as making a basket of already portioned out snacks and put them right in front of your nose. It takes the search work out of the equation when you are dying of hunger. I always do this right when I get home from the grocery store. If I don’t do it then, it doesn’t get done.Secondly, put all of your candy and other temptations on a shelf that requires a stepladder. Outta sight, outta mind, requires too much work when you’re lazy, enough said.Thirdly, take all of the environmentally friendly grocery bags out of your kitchen and put them in the trunk of your car. That way they are all ready for the grocery store whenever you need them and you have more room in your pantry. Next, I like to put all of the snacks my children are allowed to have at anytime (not junk food) in a basket on the lowest shelf. That way, they can get the food themselves and I can be lazy. Now, I have a daughter who always asks before she eats something (I’m sure that will change in the next few years), but for little ones it works. It makes them feel like they can do something all by themselves and that goes a long way in their brains.

 

 

 Here’s another tip: Throw out all of your plastic storage containers and replace them with glass. First of all, it’s pretty. And pretty stuff makes you happy. But mainly this tip is for health reasons, because studies** have found that plastic seeps chemicals out into the foods it contains. Plastic is all around us and hard to avoid, but we might as well fix any area we can control. I went to Ikea and bought their glass containers because they were the cheapest I have found. For my pantry I use 6 large containers and 6 small ones. That pretty much covers the foods I would normally store in plastic. 

 

My final tip for the day is to keep a bowl of clothepins nearby (unless you have a place to clip them to) so that you can easily use and reuse them for closing bags. I’ve tried all the fancy bag closers, but I end up going back to clothepins everytime. They are cheap and they work. And then they break, but you just bought a package of 100 for the price of 3 “chip clips” so who cares! Those are my thoughts for Pantry organization. I have designed some printable labels for the pantry that should debut sometime in the next week or two. Be on the lookout! A pretty pantry is a healthy pantry!

**I picked one article online. This does not mean I fully endorse this website. There are many articles on the harmful effects of plastics.

Moms with Stickers! **New Printable**

February 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

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My daughter is in love with stickers. I think most kids are. They love the idea of getting a prize for something they’ve done right. (and I’ve quickly learned that candy is a baaaad idea…)

That’s why I have decided to implement the reward chart in my own house. When looking around for one to purchase, I was overwhelmed with the complexity and “un-coolness” of many of the charts I found. And, I wanted something I could restart every week or so… without using those darn erasable markers that never erase. Oh and it would be so cute to have my child’s name customized on it… So, I designed my own!
One thing I wanted was a chart that only focused on a few things at a time, but could be interchangeable with new tasks. Kids seem to respond better when they have a few issues you can focus on. Because of this, I designed a blank chart and then separate labels (see link for label options) that you could change out with the tasks you were focusing on. I came up with the normal kid tasks that seem to be what most moms deal with, but these are completely customizable if you would like! There are also a few blank ones for you to write in your own special ideas.

So here’s the plan:

1. Download the files from the website. *There are pink and blue color options.
2. Print off a few copies of each. (sidenote: if you don’t feel like going out and buying labels, just print them off on regular paper and tape them on… or use stickers!! Your kids would love that 😉
3. Pick the 5 areas you would like to focus on for the week and stick those on the chart.
4. Display in your child’s special place where they can admire their accomplishments.
5. Enjoy your perfectly behaved new child! (if only it were that easy…)
Yes, it might not be that easy– kids never are, but a little structure can be fun and rewarding.

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