The 21-Day Challenge: Organize Your Whole Life in 3 Weeks!

The 21-Day Challenge: Organize Your Whole Life in 3 Weeks!

Every January for the past three years, we gear up for a little “routine refresh,” if you will. We tackle all regularly used areas of our home and perform a purge and an organization tune up.

While the 21-day challenge may seem intimidating, consider this: make it work for you. Don’t do an entire room at a time. Do one small section, or drawer, or closet. Or start with the worst part of that room. You can do as much of this challenge or as little of it as you’d like. It doesn’t have to be major and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. And you can also repeat it as many times as you need 🙂

Organizing doesn’t have to be stressful and it doesn’t have to be time consuming- it does have to be helpful. Here are the challenges list, if you’d like to play along. If you do take the challenge, I’d appreciate it if you’d post a pic on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #ons21daychallenge.

Happy organizing! For the next three Saturdays, I’ll share my progress with you.

Have a wonderful weekend.

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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!

 

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.

Organize your fridge: a stress-free approach to simplifying your kitchen

Organize your fridge: a stress-free approach to simplifying your kitchen

Our fridge was pretty well organized, but like most organized spaces in our home, it was starting to get a little out of hand. This happens to the best of us, but I have good news. With these tips, you can get your fridge organized quickly and easily.

1. Group like items together

I grouped these dairy items together in an acrylic container because not only are similar, but because their containers are also similar.

Our bottom drawer is used to store sandwich items, such as cheeses and lunch meats.

Kid snacks are all stashed together.

As are salad items

And dairy/ condiments.

2. Put items in clear containers so you can see them.

How many times have you forgotten about perishable food items and only rediscovered them when they were expired? Clear containers help you see what’s in your fridge. I am the world’s worst for forgetting about fruit and veggies in the crisper drawer, so having these things on eye level helps as well.

3. An unused crisper drawer is a space-saving place to stash canned drinks.

They still roll around a bit, but not as much than if they were loose in the fridge. Plus, you have more room in the fridge for other things.

4. Stash things you use the most in the front, and things you use the least in the back.

No one likes knocking over everything when they’re trying to reach something else.

5. Use place mats or Fridge Coasters to catch spills or stickiness

See those handy dandy flowered mats in my fridge? They’re cheap shelf liner. It grips the fridge and doesn’t slide around, and it wipes clean with a wet cloth. Plus, it’s cute. Win, win, win.

6. Take a moment each time you grocery shop to clean out any expired items.

When you are restocking your fridge with fresh groceries, this is the perfect time to do a quick check for any expired or spoiled items. I also like to take this time to wipe down the inside of the fridge with a wet, soapy cloth.

These tips help us keep our fridge clean, functional and organized, which makes cooking a lot easier. Plus, you spend less money on grocery day, because you aren’t spending on items you already have.

How do you keep your fridge organized and clean?

Have a wonderful 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.

img_1629

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!