An Organized Holiday:Christmas planning binder

An Organized Holiday:Christmas planning binder

christmasplanningbinder

Have you ever made lists for Christmas? Making lists is something most of us already do without even really thinking about it. But did you know you can create a binder to help you organize and simplify your Christmas season?

I keep a binder with a December calendar, shopping lists, recipes, grocery lists, address lists, and holiday to-do lists. I also include any pictures or magazine features I want to utilize. I use tab dividers to keep the binder organized and easier to use.

tabbed dividers
$4 at Staples

I used this cute, green polka dot binder to store my Christmas printables and goodies.

green_polka_dot_3_ring_binder-rb393dfe319b74603871c0775810254c8_xz8my_8byvr_540.jpg
$25 on Zazzle.com

I decided I’d share my handy printables with you all today. Below you will find recipe cards, holiday planning checklists, contact lists, and more. All are available to you for free, but you may not use them for commercial use.

Christmas checklist - Copy

Christmas checklist- BLANK

christmas party planning

Blank Christmas party planning template

Christmas Party Planner Sheet

Christmas party planner

Travel checklist

Traveling checklist

Christmas contacts - Copy

Christmas contacts

recipe card

recipe card

I hope your holiday season is off to a great start! Check back Friday and Saturday for some wonderful Christmas-related goodies!

 

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Organized pantries: a Pinterest Roundup

Organized pantries: a Pinterest Roundup

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My pantry is a hot mess right now. I’m almost lost when it comes to deciding how to handle it, which is out of character for me. I did what any self-respecting working mama would do…I hit up Pinterest! The ideas I gathered on Pinterest were so awesome, I knew I had to share with you all.

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I was drawn to this picture because this pantry and mine are similarly shaped. I love the baskets and glass, and how the food items are stored and grouped. This makes for a very cohesive look.

Source: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

This is a smaller pantry. My pantry is a walk-in, but there are so many ideas from this picture I can use. I love those baskets the fruit is stored in, and I really like those jar labels. This person really made a great use of the space, too. There’s a lot of stuff in this pantry, but it doesn’t look cluttered.

Source- The Container Store

Those matching containers. Those baskets! Those storage bins! The use of space! Do you notice a trend here yet?

Source- HGTV

I like all of the same things about this pantry, but I especially like how this pantry is organized using materials you can find in any store. You wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to do this, either.

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What about this lovely pantry doesn’t say “farmhouse?” I love everything about this. Those labels and wire baskets are super cute!!

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Here’s another small spaces pantry. I liked this one because I liked those leather-look tags and aged labels. Aren’t they cute?

They say our Pinterest boards are a good indication of what we want our own home to be like. Based on my Pinterest roundup, it seems my pantry needs a little more organization, a more cohesive look and I need to make better use of the space. Stay tuned: next week I’ll show my pantry…in all of its chaotic, messy glory.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

Managing paper clutter

Managing paper clutter

School has now started back for both my oldest daughter AND me. If you glance around our kitchen and living room right now, it’s evident we’ve gone back to school. How? The piles of paper.

Paper, paper everywhere and none of it spendable. In all seriousness, the paper piles were getting on my nerves and I knew I had to get rid of them.

1. Start with your existing paper piles

The first step to managing those paper piles is to sort through them.

Go through those papers and get rid of any that aren’t needed, and put away what you need to keep. We utilize several folders in our house: one for school papers, one for bills, and one for work related items. Anything else is shredded or thrown away.

2. File your bills

We have two places in which we file bills: one for bills to pay and one for bills that have been paid. We keep our paid bill stubs in a binder for a year and then we shred them.

3. Go paperless, when possible

Manage other paper clutter by stopping it at the source. Switch to paperless billing when possible, and remove yourself from junk mailing lists.

4. Dispose of junk as soon as possible

Don’t keep unwanted junk paper around…just shred or throw away that unwanted paper as soon as it shows up.

How do you handle paper clutter?

Have a wonderful weekend.

Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

I blinked in June and suddenly, it was August. I’m not sure where summer went, but wherever it went, it left quickly. My oldest daughter starts school next week. The school supplies have been purchased and the school clothes have already been washed and put away. But what else can we busy Mamas do to ensure we are all better organized for the coming school year?

1. Plan ahead

Plan out outfits, meals, and even lunches. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible. Make lists of everything you need to do and buy in the coming week and review it often. The better prepared you are, the better you will handle those unforeseen circumstances that pop up and stress us out.

2. Write everything down

You can’t remember everything and you don’t have to try. The minute you hear about a meeting or event, write it down. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to forget it. The other step is to refer back to your calendar at least weekly to see what’s coming up.

3. Do a “back to school” dry run

Wake up early one morning before school starts and drive to the school at regular time. This will help you become familiar with the traffic patterns, the route, and will help you anticipate any hazards or obstacles that may make you late. Of course, there will still be unforeseen things from time to time, but having driven the route once before helps put your mind at ease.

4. Set up a logical routine and stick to it

Does homework come with tears and tantrums in your house? Having a set “after school routine” can take some of the fuss away. Set the expectation early in the school year that homework is done as soon as you walk in the door and stick to it. I always tell my daughter that it I better to get homework out of the way first thing and then you no longer have to worry about it. Having set morning routines can also eliminate some of the morning rush as well.

5. Wake up earlier than you think you need to

Who likes being in a hurry? Not I. When I’m hurried, I get stressed and I end up forgetting things. Which stresses me out even more. Waking up earlier allows you more time but also allows you time to eat breakfast. Studies have shown eating breakfast improves brain function and helps sharpen your focus. It’s hard to concentrate on anything when your stomach is growling!!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a fabulous first day of school.

An organized craft cabinet

An organized craft cabinet

I bet you’re thinking, “Well, that picture doesn’t look very organized.” You’re right. That is the before picture. Now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you how a sheet of pegboard, some bins and baskets, some lumber, and some spice racks totally changed my creative space.

I keep my craft supplies in a tall TV cabinet that I bought on Craigslist for $100. I have for a long time wanted a Workbox, but at almost $2,000 a pop, I just can’t justify the expense.

wb3_WRP.jpg

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So I make do with my $100 Craigslist special. I love this cabinet, as it just looks like a piece of furniture in my office…but I didn’t love how chaotic and disorganized it was.

I really didn’t love it the night I opened the cabinet and a can of stain fell on my foot. 😡

And the cabinets on the bottom?

They weren’t too bad, but not too great, either.

Just like a lot of things in our house, the craft cabinet started off great but then fell into disorder. Boo.

I decided even if I can’t have a Workbox, I can borrow some of the ideas I like from it. One of those was storage in the door. I’d already attempted this, but not too well.

I immediately decided pegboard would be a cheap and easy way to do this. I bought pegboard, a set of pegboard baskets, a set of plastic pegboard bins, and some plastic pegboard hooks.

I knew I’d have to mount the pegboard on 1x4s to keep the screws from going through the outside of the cabinet. Luckily, I had some left over from a recent project.

I added pegboard to both cabinet doors and painted it white.

I then added our bins, baskets and hooks. I hung up washi tape and ribbon using dowel rods. I repurposed those spice racks I had used before.

I also added a shelf inside the actual cabinet.

I already had the boxes and bins.

Let’s take a look at that before and after once more, shall we?

Before:

After:

It’s not perfect and it could still improve, but at least my toes are safe from wayward cans of wood stain.

Comment below and show me your creative spaces!! And have a great weekend.

Closet Recharge: making your kids’ closet grow with them

Closet Recharge: making your kids’ closet grow with them

My oldest daughter’s closet was kind of a hot mess.

closet 1

Well, more than kind of. It WAS a hot mess. It started out great, but as her clothes got bigger (and she did, too), her needs began to change. I decided her closet needed a bit of an upgrade. Since her boxes and organizer shelf were still in great shape, it didn’t need to be a big upgrade.

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The first thing I did was order her some new hangers. Now that she is older, her clothes were falling off the child sized plastic hangers. I’d flip through her closet and the clothes would slide right off.

I purchased a pack of fifty velvet hangers from Walmart.com, and also a ten-pack of the same hangers with pants clips for her jeans and skirts. For fun (and to make them match her boxes), I ordered them in hot pink.

pink hangers

Pink Velvet hangers

Now that her clothes were no longer falling off the hangers, and her hangers were all the same size and width, her closet already looked tons better.

closet 2

I also removed anything that did not fit, or was out of season to give her more space. Afterward, I began to think about what she needed to store in her closet. She is a little fashionista, so there are plenty of scarves, hats and purses that needed a home.

She also doesn’t wear pantyhose or tights that often anymore, so we really didn’t need two baskets for those.

When I finished purging things, I put all like items together, and updated her basket labels. When I finished, I had this:

Organized

A closet that meets her needs and is pretty to look at as well.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Make it Monday: How to create fashionable storage boxes from ordinary shoeboxes

Make it Monday: How to create fashionable storage boxes from ordinary shoeboxes

I apparently have a shoe buying problem.

shoebox upcycle

With two little girls who like shoes as much as I do, I don’t see it getting any better. My husband isn’t impressed by the shoe buying, nor is he impressed by my shoebox-hoarding. I just knew I could do something cool with them.

I’ve wanted to reorganize my train wreck of a craft cabinet for awhile now, so I thought these would make cute storage boxes for my supplies. I raided my craft cabinet and found chalk paint, antiqued book plates and some paint brushes. I pealed all the stickers and tags off the boxes and wiped them with a dry microfiber cloth.

shoebox upcycle 2

I gave the box lids two coats of green chalk paint. Keep in mind anything chalk painted usually has an ugly phase. Don’t let it deter you. Just wait 12 hours and apply a second coat. The picture above is after the first coat- see how streaky and thin the paint looks?

And that massive green blob at the bottom is where my unattended (only for a minute, I promise) grabbed my paint brush and paint I’d left out and got to work. A word of caution: put paints and brushes out of the toddler’s reach when you’re not using them. I’m lucky that’s ALL she painted.

green box

I then applied two coats of paint to the bottom of the boxes and allowed them to dry.

green box 2

I then attached these antiqued bookplates to the box fronts. I already had these in my stash, but you can find them at Hobby Lobby.  Side note: if you are having trouble poking holes in the shoe boxes to attach the brads, I’ve found using a grill skewer works well to poke through the cardboard layers.

When I finished, I had three sets of cute little storage boxes.

shoebox upcycle 5

And with these, I loved the bottom of the boxes and opted not to paint them. I love how they turned out! They’re pretty enough to display on a desk or bookshelf.

shoebox upcycle 4

Next time you buy shoes, don’t toss the box. Get yourself some chalk paint and book plates, and make some cute little storage boxes.

Have a wonderful week!