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.

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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.

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Source

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.

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.

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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!

The Benefits of Living with Less…and why you should purge your house right now!

The Benefits of Living with Less…and why you should purge your house right now!

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RIGHT Now. Drop everything and PURGE YOUR HOME NOW! No, I’m kidding. Sort of.

I know you read a lot about purging your home on my blog. Some of you are probably fans of living with less already, while others of you are scratching your heads and wondering how much more stuff I can get rid of and blog about it. #istillhavetoomuchstuff

I am currently in the midst of a whole house purge, but we will talk more about that later.

The truth is, living with less has a lot of benefits. Some are health benefits, some are financial benefits, and some are so good they don’t fit into any category. I’d like to share a few of those with you today, as well as some great advice for purging your home that I’ve collected over the years.

1. Living with less can be beneficial to your mental and physical health

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  • Living with too much causes your house to feel cluttered. A cluttered house feels chaotic, and makes it hard for you to relax and destress. Continued stress affects your mental state, as well as your physical health.  An organized and clean home evokes a peaceful feeling, and who doesn’t want to feel at peace in their own home?
  • This one is especially true if you have kids. More stuff=fewer places to put things away. Stuff that is left out in the floor becomes a trip hazard. Show of hands: who else has fallen over items left in the floor, or stepped on some hard plastic toy with your bare feet? (Lego moms, can I get an “amen?” )

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2. Living with less makes your home feel and appear cleaner

  • Living with too much makes it harder to find places to put things away. Having nowhere to put things causes your home to look and feel cluttered (see above).
  • A cluttered house also seems dirty even if it really isn’t. Having less stuff and less clutter makes your house look and feel cleaner.

 

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3. Living with less saves time

How does living with less save time? It means that you spend less time looking for things. It’s been said that the average person spends four years of their life looking for things that they are missing. Not being able to find your missing items makes you stressed.  Having less stuff means that you don’t have to sort through so much when you need something.

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5. Living with less saves you money

How is this? Well, when you make a conscious effort to live with less, you are much more intentional with your spending. Additionally, who here has ever bought something, only to realize you already had that same item at home? Living with less makes it easier to distinguish what you need- therefore keeping you from spending money on something you already have.

 

There are many benefits to having an organized and simplified home, with less stuff. Start with one room at a time and keep only what you need- donate, recycle or throw away the rest. I know many people who wish their home was less cluttered, but I don’t know anyone who wishes their home was MORE cluttered. Start today and you’ll soon see the benefits.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Coming soon: Characteristics of an organized home

10 Kitchen Organizers You CAN Afford

10 Kitchen Organizers You CAN Afford

I’m a sucker for an organized kitchen. There are a ton of ready made cabinet organizers available, but most of them are costly. I’ve managed to find a few nice cabinet organizers for an affordable price.

1. Dollar store pull out basket organizer from The Kim Six Fix

My kitchen sink cabinet is one of the hardest to keep organized. This cabinet organizer would be cheap and easy to make, and it makes a good use of the space.

2. Pyrex organization using pot and pan organizers from Kevin and Amanda

I own several of these organizers that I use to organize bakeware and pots and pans. They’re inexpensive and you can find them at most big box stores. They’re also pretty sturdy.

3. This DIY baking sheet organizer from Indulge

This could be made easily and cheaply. I could see this being in a cabinet above a fridge or microwave.

4. Use inexpensive baskets to organize a small pantry via Pinterest

You can buy these baskets from Target for a small amount of money. They have different sizes as well.

5. Use baskets in deep drawers to corral Tupperware and lids via BHG

My Tupperware cabinet is a frequent mess. If I had a drawer deep enough, I’d use this idea.

6. Use a mop holder to store spices via City Girls and Country Pearls

Tired of searching for spices in a crowded cabinet? This life hack makes use of the back of your cabinet door.

7. DIY silverware drawer organizer via Princess Pinky Girl

You could do this very easily!

8. Got deep cabinets? Create some in-cabinet drawers! Via Remodelaholic

You could build these fairly cheaply; much more cheaply than the ready made ones big box stores sell and install.

9. Use command hooks to organize pretty much anything via Two Twenty One

I use command hooks to organize our baking cups and spoons, but I really love the idea of using them for your mixer attachments.

10. Undershelf baskets will add cabinet space via Pinterest

These baskets are fairly inexpensive, durable, and you can find them anywhere. Take advantage of some tall cabinets with these!

So there you have it. 10 cheap and useful ideas for organizing your kitchen cabinets without spending a lot of money.

Have a wonderful weekend.

21-day organizing challenge: kitchen cabinet woes

My kitchen cabinets weren’t too shabby, since I’d just organized them last year. They were in need of a little attention, though.

Our kitchen sink cabinet was looking a bit cluttered and crammed full. I took everything out of it and wiped it out. I then moved the stool, candle tarts and dish towels back to their proper places.

Isn’t that way better?

Then, I tackled some other cabinets. I got rid of all the broken or stained plastic ware, and all the extra lids. I straightened our serveware cabinets

And I threw away and/or donated any outgrown baby items and straightened the girls’ cabinets.

Before:

After:

I straightened our medicine cabinet, and even added bin labels.

I also straightened our spices and seasonings cabinet.

Before:

After:

Other cabinets of ours just needed a little TLC but nothing major.

Our bakeware cabinet

Our drinkware cabinet

Entertaining cabinet

I hope you’ve enjoyed our kitchen cleaning extravaganza. And remember, there’s still time to get in on the #21dayorganizingchallenge! Just share your before and after pics on Instagram with the hashtag above!

Have a great week.