Archive | January 2013

Keep/Sell/Give/Toss Method

We approach all organizing with the same method. We employ this method every season change, and any time the kids get a lot of new things (i.e. Christmas or birthdays). What method is this? Keep/Sell/Give/Toss.

This method is simple. When sorting through anything  – a room or a drawer – set up three separate piles. Keep is for everything you want to keep. You will sort through placement for those items later. Sell is for items that have value that you no longer need. These are items you will list on eBay, CraigsList, or sell in other ways. Give is for items you aren’t selling but still have useful life. These items will be given to a friend or charity who can benefit from having them. Toss is for the items that are out of useful life. These are broken or ripped or in some other way damaged or are just things that cannot be sold or passed on to others.

Set up space for each category. If you are organizing a room or a whole house, be sure the space is separate and labeled so that things don’t get in the wrong category. Go through everything in the space you are organizing and place it in one of the 4 categories.

Once everything is in a category, start by throwing away the toss pile. Next, bag up the give pile, labeling the bags based on to whom or where the items will be given, and put the bags in your car. Thirdly, photograph everything in the sell pile and get the items listed for sale. Then box those items up for shipping or delivery. Don’t seal the boxes until you have a shipping label for them. You don’t want to forget what is in them.

At this point you should only have your keep items left. This pile will get sorted a second time. Go through it and take anything that does not belong in the space you are organizing to the correct room or area. For example, we found a cup in our child’s room when we got a new bed and organized it for her. That was to be kept, but clearly not in her room. It was taken to the dishwasher.

Now you should only have items that belong in the space left. Clean your space and put your keep items away. Now you have an organized space with less stuff, and hopefully a little extra money in your pocket too.

Medicine Cabinet Must Haves

Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet is a lot like having a well-stocked pantry – it is essential for you house to run efficiently. If you must leave the house to pick up medicine or first aid items when someone is sick or hurt your home will not run effectively. Here is a list of items to keep stocked in your medicine cabinet at all times:

First Aid:

  • Bandages (Band-Aids®) in a variety of sized from small circles to large one for scraped knees. 
  • Triple Antibiotic cream (Neosporin®)
  • Pain-Relieving Cleansing Spray (Bactine®)   medicine cabinet 4
  • Burn Cream
  • Hydrocortisone Cream (anti-itch)
  • Gauze
  • Medical tape
  • Alcohol (wipes or in bottle)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Disposable gloves (these protect you from bodily fluids)

Other Medicines & Supplies:

  • Accurate Thermometer 
  • Aspirin (DO NOT give this to children)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) for adults and appropriate product for children in your house (infant, junior etc)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil® ) for adults and appropriate product for children in your house (infant, junior etc)
  • Antihistamine (Benadryl®) for allergic reactions
  • Cough Medicine (Delsym®)  for only coughs for adults and appropriate product for children in your house
  • Cold/Flu medicine  for adults and appropriate product for children in your house
  • Cough drops
  • Calming throat spray (Chloraseptic®)
  • Decongestants  for adults and appropriate product for children in your house
  • Eyedrops
  • Saline drops (for noses)
  • Antacid (Tums®)
  • Anti-diarreal (Imodium®) for adults and appropriate product for children in your house
  • Laxatives
  • Simethicone drops (for gas relief)
  • Anti-fungal cream (life for athlete’s foot)
  • Yeast infection cream
  • Tweezers
  • Zinc Oxide (Desitin®) for rash relief

Saturday Project: National Chocolate Cake Day

January 27th is National Chocolate Cake Day. This is a holiday I cannot pass up celebrating! So for this Saturday we are making a decadent chocolate cake. Here are are some great recipe ideas for Chocolate Cake Day!

Extreme Chocolate CakeChocolate-Cake-Day

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Layer Cake

Cocoa Buttermilk Cake

If you have a great chocolate cake recipe, share it in the comments!

Week of 1/28 Menus


Breakfast Menu:
M: Omelets
T: Whole Wheat Pancakes
W: Eggs
Th: Chocolate Chip muffins
F: Egg burritos
S: French Toast
S: Scones
Dinner Menu:
M: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn
T: Chicken tender salad
W: Spaghetti, salad
Th: Chicago Style Pizza
F: Nebraska Beef Buns, peas
S: Roast (beef) with carrots and potatoes in the slow cooker
S: Tacos


Room-by-Room Organization: Laundry Room

Alas, we are to organizing the laundry room. A room where you likely spend more time that you wish. But having an Laundry Roomorganized laundry room (or space) and an organized process for doing laundry can greatly reduce your time investment in the process.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to get the kids involved. By age 9 all my  kids can do all the laundry!

For the basics, check out Organizing the Laundry Room. Once you have the room organized, create a laundry schedule that works for your family. Ours hasn’t changed much in 10 years. Why? It works!

When you have the room organized and the schedule established it is time to take on some other organization and money-saving laundry room projects. Consider line drying all your clothes. It will cost you a little time, but save you a lot of money. To make up for the time spent line drying clothes, check out the 7 Time-Saving Tips for Doing Laundry. For fun and whimsy (because every room needs a bit of whimsy) consider adding a ladder on which to hang clothes to dry.

Once you have the room looking and running the way you want, jump into the money-saving ideas of making your own laundry soap  and fabric softener. And check out these tips for getting stains out and making your own stain remover.

Room-by-Room Organization: Office

office-organization-ssThe office can be one of the hardest rooms to organize. That is because it is often not really a room! We make an office out of a desk in our bedroom, a trunk in our
family room, a desk in our kitchen, a laptop on our bed…and it can go on forever! This is the space where you pay your bills, where kids do homework, where you finish projects you had to bring home with you, make home school lesson plans, and deal with all the other family business.

So how do you organize a space that may not even be a room? And what about all the “stuff” that gets done in the office? Here are some tips:

Start by Organizing Your Bills. Once you get your bills in order a lot of the rest of the office (and life in general) will flow better. This includes balancing your checkbook, getting out of debt, and saving money. Check out 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Financial Outlook for more help.

Once you bills and finances are in order, move on to organizing the “stuff” of the office. Consider re-using things like cans, ice cube trays, or even baby food jars to keep staples, binder clips, tacks, etc. organized. Add silverware trays to desk or cabinet drawers for storage of pens, pencils, scissors, etc. If your office has a door or closet use and over-the-door shoe organizer for supplies.

Remember the Habits of Highly Organized People! Don’t let your office desk or space become a collection area for papers. Sort the mail daily and put everything away where it belongs. Consider using the rule of threes  to separate and organized paper into folders or drawers for financial (receipts, bills, etc.), file (anything that needs to be filed), and frugal (coupons and other money-saving offers).

Once your desk and office stuff are organized, move on to the rest of your family papers. Organize your medical records and file them appropriately in your office space. Be prepared for emergencies with a Family Emergency Binder and Plan.

The project of organizing your office space can take an investment of time but it is well worth it!  If you spend 15 minutes a day plus 3 hours on the weekends you will have put 20 hours into this project in one month! With 20 hours you can definitely get your office space and papers well-organized.

Saturday Project: Fingerprint Art

Today’s project is simple and indoors for two reasons…1. Most people are having cold and/or snowy weather right now.   Fingerprint art  2. I blew out my knee and need something to do where I am sitting.

I have been looking for a project that would display something unique about our family. Birthdays? Anniversary? Well those aren’t completely unique as others are allowed to be born or get married on the same dates as my family. Finally it came to me – fingerprints! Totally unique to each of us.

So using this great tutorial, we are making a print similar to the picture               Dad+Mom = kid1 kid2 kid3

Enjoy art that is uniquely your family!

Week of 1/21 Menus


Breakfast Menu:
M: Eggs
T: Chocolate Chip Muffins
W: French Toast
Th: Snickerdoodle Muffins
F: Egg McMuffins – egg sandwiches on English muffins
S: Whole Wheat Pancakes & bacon
S: Cinnamon Rolls
Dinner Menu:
M: Chicken Noodles – combine chicken, carrots, celery and seasonings in 6 cups chicken stock in the slow cooker and cook on high for 6 hours. Prepare package of egg noodles or Chinese chow mien noodles as directed. Add to slow cooker and serve.
T: Stir Fry
W: Spaghetti, salad
Th: St. Louis Style Pizza
F: BBQ, veggie sticks
S: Beef Stroganoff, peas
S: Panini, veggie sticks


Room-by-Room Organization: Bathroom


The first step to an organized bathroom is a clean bathroom. Start by emptying the room of everything. Then follow these simple bathroom cleaning tips. Before you start to put anything away, remember rule #7  of Habits of Organized People – keep flat surfaces clear.

Once your bathroom is clean, you can start organizing.

Consider using pencil boxes to hold things like make-up, brushes,  hair accessories, and other collections of items.

Reuse yeast or baby food jars to hold cotton balls, q-tips, and other small items. Use other glass jars as toothbrush holders and even glasses.

Put an over-the-door shoe organizer on the door to hold things like hair products, curling irons, extra soaps, even cleaning products. Consider cutting these organizers in half and using Command Adhesive or Velcro to hang the smaller organizer inside cabinet doors if you don’t want them out on the bathroom door.

Add dishwashing bins under sinks to hold towels or other toiletries. These can even be used to hold all items used on a daily basis. Then all your daily items are in one place but the bin can be put away under the sink as soon as you are done using it so the counters stay clear.

Room-by-Room Organization: Bedroom Closets

DSCN1325A key to an organized bedroom is an organized closet. And before you ask, no you don’t need to buy expensive closet organizing systems. A few simple tweaks and tips can get your closet in shape quickly.

As you might expect, my favorites of the over-the-door shoe organizer and dishwashing tubs make appearances in closet organizing too. Most homes today com equipped with a bar or wire shelving for hanging long items. However, that is a fraction of most people’s actual clothing and is more than useless for small children.

Check out these simple tips for Closet and Clothes Organizing to get your closets into shape.