This blog post was inspired by a question from our dear Facebook friend. Thank you!
"I need container advice on storing first aid supplies and excess toiletries (extra toothpaste , deodorant, shampoos, etc). Right now it's in two large open topped bins! We buy extra stuff because we can't see what we already have! HELP!!!!!"
Any organizing has to start with purging. Painful it might be, but necessary. Look through your bins for anything that is past its expiry date and discard it. Return any expired medication to your pharmacist.
Group medication, first aid supplies and toiletries by their kind. Shampoos together, pain killers together and so on. Seeing everything in groups will give you an idea on what size of containers you need to purchase.
Here is how we organize our family medications and extra toiletries.
Have you decided to organize your kids' LEGO? I won't sugar coat it for you, it does take time. But, once you get the sorting part done, it'll be breeze. I promise.
The "To be sorted" bin takes the LEGO blocks of the floor which is appreciated by everyone, especially the adults. And the kids? I've found out that once the LEGO is organized the kids play more often with it and they are much more creative.
Winter is certainly not giving up this year, but the calendar says it IS over; so fingers crossed, the pleasantly warm weather will come soon. And when it does, it’ll be time to pack away the winter clothes.
Don’t delay the steps 3 and 4 until winter arrives again. It is much easier to remember now which pieces of clothes you haven’t worn the whole winter, which of them are too small or too damaged and will need to be replaced.
After you wash and machine-dry your clothes, let them air dry for a day or two before storing them in a bin to avoid any trapped moisture.
Use plastic bins rather than cardboard boxes. Cardboard absorbs water causing mildew, mold and the unpleasant musty smell in your clothes.
Sort and store your winter clothes by family members, or have one bin for the kids and one for the adults.
Make sure to label ALL the bins.
Enjoy the spring!
I was updating our LEGO spreadsheet recently (yes, you've read it right, I record all our LEGO sets into a MS Excel spreadsheet) and found out we had 26,607 pieces. Throughout the years of collecting all this sets, our LEGO organizing solutions have evolved from a single box, through more sophisticated Mastercraft Parts Organizer with adjustable compartments, to a drawer tower system. In order to free up some shelf space we had to "archive" a couple of LEGO sets, which involved searching for every single piece of particular LEGO sets and storing them in a lidded container (all labelled, of course).
You don't have to be as far as 26 thousand LEGO blocks to feel overwhelmed and being fed up with the excruciating pain after stepping on another small piece of very hard plastic (usually followed by a shower of unrepeatable words).
» 2-hour LEGO organizing project for $79*
» 4-hour LEGO organizing project for $149*
*HST Included | Cost of organizing products not included
A friend of mine was planning a 10-hour road trip with her three kids. Since she knew I travel each year to Europe with my two boys she asked for my trip survival tips. Even though travelling by plane and by car has some differences, there are a couple of things that apply to both.
1. Pillows and Blankets
I always appreciate pillows and blankets while travelling. They keep you cosy and warm. I found that more tired we get, more cold we feel. Small pillow and a fleece blanket for each child will work great.
2. Small Snacks and Water
Plan to have a lot of small snacks (sweet, savoury, fruit and vegetable) to feed your little ones and to keep them occupied. Have everything pre-packed in small containers, separated for each child.
Have a water bottle ready for each child and for yourself. If travelling by car, purchase two four-litre water jugs for refills. Juice will give your kids energy, but can make them more thirsty. Either dilute it with water or limit it to one juice box per child.
3. Games, Music, Audio Books
Games are always a great way to keep your kids busy. Bring some pipe cleaners for a car friendly craft. Visit your local library to borrow a couple of kids' audio books. Listen to music on your radio or just sing your favourite songs.
4. Surprise Wrapped Toys
Your goal is to keep your kids from asking the "Are we there yet?" question. Purchase a couple of small toys or shop your own house for toys that your kids haven't played with for a long time and wrapped them. Kids love unwrapping things and you will value every second they are occupied.
5. Garbage Bag
Bring a garbage bag or a little garbage can with you. You don't want all the wrapping paper and snack leftoverson your car floor. Tidy car will make your mind calmer.
6. Stick to Your Routines
For me personally, sticking to routines is the most crucial thing while travelling with very small children. If they're used to having lunch at a certain time, plan to have a pit stop to feed them. Do you always read them a book after the lunch, then sacrifice a little bit of your travel time and read to them.
If possible, plan your trip well ahead of time to avoid any stressful situations. If you're calm; so will be your kids. Where ever your travel, have fun and stay safe.
There is always some kind of season at the stores. We go from Canada Day to Back to School, then from Thanksgiving to Halloween and from Halloween to Christmas. The next coming is Valentine, but what about now? Now, it's the Bin Season. The first pages of store flyers, the shelves at the stores, all filled with bins. Why is that? New Year's resolutions! Most of us will have "Get Organized" on the resolution list and what do we do? We go to the stores and purchase bins of all different sizes and hope that this is the year we finally check 'Get Organized' off our list.
The reality? We find out that the bins we purchased are either too small to fit our stuff into, or too big to fit the storage space. Suddenly, the storage solution that was supposed to help us get organized becomes clutter itself. Don't take me wrong, as a Professional Organizer I am all for bins and baskets to contain our belongings, but their purchase should be the last step of the organizing process.
What are the steps of the organizing process? "Group ... Home ... Contain"
After de-cluttering you are left with the things you are going to keep. Group those like with like, by season, or by activity (e.g. Thank You or other cards together with a pen and postage).
The busiest time of the year is almost upon us and we are hardly thinking about getting organized. Soon we will be rushing from one store to another, than on our way to get the tree, ornaments, holiday floral arrangements. The organizing thoughts will probably come back on December 31st when we start making our New Year’s resolutions. But, Christmas is a giving season and just a little bit of organizing will help not only us, but those in need as well.
When the time comes to bring the decorations out, put some holiday music on, grab an empty box, bag or a bin, and label it “Donation”. For each of the items, ask yourself following questions: Does this still suit our space in terms of size, style or colour? Does this carry a huge sentimental value to me or to someone in my family? If your answers are "No", place the item into the "Donation" box. Once your "Donation" box is full donate it to your favourite charity, give it to a friend or Freecycle it.
At the end of the process you simplified your life and brought joy to someone. Putting the decorations away at the end of the Christmas season will be a breeze since you are going to store only the things you truly love. Choose your storing solutions depending on how many things you are keeping. If you need more than one bin think of how you will group items together. For example: "Indoor Decorations", "Outdoor Decorations", "Everything for Christmas tree", and "Wrapping supply and Christmas Cards".
*Photo source - Microsoft.
One of the tips you will hear from a Professional Organizer is to group like items together. It is one of the main principles of organizing, but it doesn't mean, that you have to store all of those things at one place? I would like to show you that keeping food containers in three different spots in my kitchen actually makes me more productive.
As you can see, storing our food containers together would make me much less efficient, as each time I would have to go through all of them to find the ones I need . Before you start organizing your own space or organizing your client's space, if you are a Professional Organizer, make sure you ask enough questions to understand your/your client's routines.
My husband is very handy and does all the renovation projects in our house. I might not be as handy, but I wanted to contribute to our home improvements as well; so I decided to transform our utility closet. I thought since it has door that can be closed I'm in no danger. Well ... I made some mistakes along the way, but I learned a lot and now I would like to share the results with you.
... and here are some detail pictures
I know, cookies have nothing to do with organizing, but I HAVE to share this recipe with you, especially since the pumpkin season is almost here. Everyone that ate those cookies wanted the recipe and, they will tell you, they're worth making. I can't take the credit for the recipe though, it's from Joy the Baker site that my friend told me about and where you will find tons of other goodies to make.
So go ahead, make a batch and before they cool down do a little bit of organizing; so the cookies can be your reward. Enjoy!
2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup sugar (I use only 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
Icing sugar (optional)
Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside. In a large bowl mix eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and lightened in colour (1 - 2 minutes). Add oil, pumpkin, vanilla and mix on low speed until blended. Mix in flour mixture with a fork. Blend well. Mix in chocolate chips. Place 1/4 cup balls of dough on baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart (I use a measuring cup for this). Bake at 325°F for about 15 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are firm to the touch or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out dry. Sprinkle with icing sugar.
You can add walnuts or pecans to the dough with the chocolate chips at the same stage. You can add 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce + 1/4 cup of oil (instead of the 1/2 cup of oil) to give the cookies a fruity flavour.
As your life changes your organizing solutions might need to be revisited; so they keep serving you well. With one school-age child, a designated shelf and a pile of school papers worked great for us. A couple weeks ago my younger one started Junior Kindergarten and our School Shelf was in need of update to accommodate his school papers and books.
DE-CLUTTER - I went through all the papers and decided which ones will be archived, discarded, or kept on the shelf.
THE SOLUTION - I was inspired by my older son's last year classroom where each child had all their school papers, agendas and books in a labeled magazine holder.
MEASURE - I measured the height of the shelf. If you were ever buying magazine holders you know that they come in many different sizes and some of them would have been too high to fit our School Shelf.
FIND/PURCHASE and LABEL - Now it was time to find the magazine holders. I purchased two blue ones at Walmart. They are sturdy, have the perfect height and a label slot on the short side. Exactly what we needed. I used card stock paper and a permanent marker to create the labels.
Here you can see the before and after picture of our School Shelf. Visit my Facebook page and share your own school organizing strategies. Happy Organizing!
Today’s blog is dedicated to freezer organizing. I would like to show you how to organize your freezer in five easy steps, but before we start, let me share with you a ‘cool’ idea for labelling your frozen goods.
Nowadays, most freezer bags have an easy to write on area that gives you space you describe the content and record the date. But, does jotting down today’s date make sense? How helpful will it be in a couple of months? I suggest changing the strategy and print an EXPIRY DATE instead of today’s date. At a glance, you will know by which date the food item or meal has to be used.
How do you determine the expiry date? Use the table at the end of this post to find out for how long can certain food item be kept in the freezer. Then just add the number of months to today’s date and record it onto the label.
You will find the expiry date strategy especially helpful for your weekly or monthly meal planning. And now it's time to move on onto the five easy steps for organizing your freezer.
1. Empty your freezer and wipe the inside clean.
2. Inspect all the frozen food and discard anything that is too old and/or unrecognizable.
3. Group the food you are keeping into categories. For example:
4. Label each bag or container. The label should include brief description of the item and an expiry date. (Follow the table below to determine the expiry date.)
5. Find home for each group. For example dedicate one basket or shelf to frozen raw meat and another one to dairy products.
*Table content source: Kenmore freezer appliance; Food storage guide for 0°F / -18°C
Your freezer works the best when fully packed. Too much empty space causes higher energy consumption and therefore higher energy bill. Fill bags with ice cubes and place them on empty shelves or in unused baskets. You can as well use plastic bottles filled with water. Water expands when frozen; so leave about 1/4 of the bottle empty.
We are family of LEGO lovers ... all of us. So are you? Then you understand the challenges of its organizing. I have prepared for you a step-by-step guide on how to organize your child's LEGO set instruction booklets in case you don't store them together with the LEGO set.
You will need:
Feeling adventurous? Label each binder envelope with the 4-digit set identification number that can be found on each instruction booklet.
You've been there ... LEGO pieces all over the place. You tidy them up and by the end of the day the floor is covered again. You keep asking yourself, how on Earth do I get my kids to keep the LEGO organized. Well, don't ask yourself, ask them. As with any organizing project, to set the system right you have to know how the person using the system thinks and works.
So, ask your children how they play with their LEGO. Do they like to build the set, then take it apart and build it again, or are they rather coming up with their own creations?
Do you have your own LEGO organizing strategy?
Chloe Wilson (Get Set Organize) lists 26 ideas for LEGO storage containers.
Meal planning with Canadian Living is so easy. Plan your meals for a week, a month or the whole year. Add your own items, pick from your Canadian Living recipe book or search Canadian Living website for their recipes. Print your week’s planner and your shopping list and you’re all set. Bon Appetit!
Are tons of kids' artwork projects laying around the house and you feel guilty to throw out even one precious piece? Take a picture to store the memories, not the paper. Organize the photos in your computer by child's name and a date. And ... don't forget to backup the files.
Use the pictures to create a photo book for your little artist's birthday or for their grandparents. They will love it! Happy Organizing!
Featured article: I’ve just saved myself a lot of space and guilt!!
Transform your child's closet into a beautiful space that will encourage them to stay organized. Get inspired by this short video from Rubbermaid. Happy Organizing!
Four o'clock strikes and you have no idea what to cook for dinner. Then you see a recipe you like only to find out you don't have all the ingredients. It is definitely stressful situation and there is a way how to avoid it ... RECIPE SWAP ... Meal Planning with a friend.
Over a cup of tea
It's always nice to get together with a friend for a cup of tea or coffee. Why not to take a few minutes and write down a meal plan for the whole week.
Computer or Pen-and-Paper
If it is not possible for you to meet with your friend, write the weekly meal plan by yourself and pass it on to her/him. Your friend will do the same and right away you have a meal plan for 2 weeks.
Statistics say we spend over two hours every week searching for misplaced items. Disorganization robs even more of our precious time. Just think how much of your time you spend deciding where things should be stored; so you can find them later.
Not being organized costs you the "Searching" time and the "Where-do-I-put-it-?" time. If everything had its own "home" then finding things and putting them away would be a matter of seconds.
What would you do with the time you saved? ... Hmmm ?!?
Purging is essential for keeping your home organized. Purge ... does even the word scare you? What you are probably afraid of is making tough decisions about what stays and what goes. Let's make it a little bit easier for you. The only things you will need are:
* bucket or garbage can lined with a garbage bag (use the bucket or the garbage can; so you don't have to lift and hold the garbage bag each time you are placing something in it)
Walk through every room of your home. That includes bathrooms, closets and a pantry. Your goal is to weed out any obvious garbage (some of which will belong to the recycle bin) and things that, without any hard decision making, can be donated, given away or consigned.
Don't forget to look into drawers, utility and linen closets, and under bathroom and kitchen sinks. Make it part of your house cleaning routine, or schedule the walk-through at least once in every three months.
This No-Brainer Purge will feel liberating and maybe, just maybe, you will make some tough decisions along the way. Happy Organizing!
Do you keep telling yourself: "OK, this is it, this is the weekend I'll finally organize the pantry!", but you never get around doing it? Here is a little motivational video for you (by Rubbermaid) to get you started.
In the video they talk about getting everything out of your pantry, then checking the expiration dates and getting rid of anything that is past its date. My suggestion is to have your compost bin ready and as you are taking things out check for the expiration dates right away; so you don't have to handle the same item twice. Have fun and Happy Organizing!
Donna Smallin in her book Organizing Plain & Simple says: "Leave your 'campground' cleaner than you found it.", and she explains that you should never leave a room without improving its appearance. This is such a simple habit you can take on. Start today!
Before leaving your bedroom close the closet door, going through the family room, pick up the old newspaper and throw it into a recycle bin. In the kitchen, place your coffee mug into a dishwasher and straighten a chair. Those little things will take you only a few seconds, but they will add up and soon your home will be neater and you will be motivated to do even more.
Donna Smallin's book review: Organizing Plain & Simple
I am sure you asked yourself this question before. The answer I often hear is "You start where it hurts the most." My tip though would be - START SMALL! Don't try to organize the whole garage or the basement, start with just one small drawer. It won't take you long to organize it and seeing the results will motivate you to go on and tackle the bigger projects.
Watch this two-minute Weekend Organizing Projects video by Rubbermaid with tips on how to de-clutter and organize your entryway, the junk drawer and the bathroom vanity. Happy Organizing!
Christmas is almost here. Just a couple days left to finish the shopping and wrapping and baking, and cooking. Sorry, I didn’t mean to stress you out! Instead, I would like you to stop for a moment and join your kids in their room, or wherever they play. The anticipation of Santa bringing the presents is high now and that will make it easier for your children to part with some of their toys.
Help each child to pick out three to five toys they would be willing to donate. Together you can bring them to your favourite charity, your daycare provider, doctor’s office, hospital, drop-in center, etc. Be sure to call them first to find out if they are accepting such donations at this time. If there is still some hesitation on your child’s part, talk about the toy first. When they got it, from whom, how much fun they had playing with it, and then take a picture of the toy with your digital camera for your child to remember. Have fun and Happy Organizing!
Looking for just a little bit of paint or stain to do a few touch-ups around your home, visit the Paint & Stain Reuse Depot located beside the Household Hazardous Waste Depot in Milton Ont.
Halton Residents can pick up or drop off usable paint and stain there. So, why to buy the whole can of paint if you need just couple of ounces.
Residents of other regions please contact your Waste Management office to inquire about such a service being provided by your municipality.
Source: Halton Hills Region - WasteLess News 05/2011
During the organizing process you sorted out the "stuff" and decided what you are going to keep, donate or throw out. The items you were going to keep have found their new homes and now it is time to take care of what will be leaving your house. If you reside in Halton Hills Region, this page will help you find locations where to donate or recycle. For those living outside of Halton Hills Region, please use a web search to find recycling or donation centers close to your home.
If some of your things are still in a good condition you may decide to consign them. Check out the links on the right hand side of this page to find out more and to search for a consignment store in your area.
So, you have decided to organize your kitchen. You are planning to entertain your friends and you know that organized kitchen will save you so much of your time and effort. Yes it is true, but only if you organize it ahead of time. By organizing, you are going to create a new system in your kitchen either by yourself or with a help of a Professional Organizer, and it will take some time to adapt to the changes. We renovated our kitchen two years ago and there are still times I go to the fridge to reheat my dinner. Give yourself at least three weeks to grow into your new space.