Thursday, December 31, 2009

Un-Decorating - Getting Your Holiday Decorations Organized

January is a great time to start getting organized since we’re all ready to get our homes in order after the hectic holiday season. Let’s begin on New Years’ Day. After the parade, and before the big game, start taking down the holiday decorations. This is a great time to organize those decorations so next year you’re not buying more of what you already own but can’t locate. You can find all kinds of organizing containers at home stores such as Target, K-Mart, or The Container Store. Clear plastic containers work best because you can see what’s inside.

Start by getting rid of any old, tired and tattered decorations that have seen better days and anything that didn’t get used this year. Organize your ornaments in plastic ornament boxes with dividers or wrap each ornament in tissue paper to keep them scratch free and unbreakable. Place each strand of holiday lights in separate small containers to keep them tangle free. Then store all the light containers in one larger box.

Designate specific containers for holiday decorations only. Use a label maker or self-adhesive labels to label the outside of each container and store all containers together in the garage or storage room. These simple steps will make next years’ decorating a snap.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Holidays ... and Remember ....

“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Fly Lady's Scavenger Hunt List

Here's a fun "scavenger hunt" list from The Fly Lady, a wonderful website about getting and staying organized. See if you can find some of these things in your house.

Click here to get started on your own scavenger hunt.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday - Is it Really Worth It?

I know many people will be getting up at the crack of dawn, or not going to bed at all, to be first in line for the "Black Friday" specials. Black Friday is the traditional day after Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza.

I'll admit - I've gotten up a few times to check out the specials at Target but I've never spent the night outside Best Buy or Walmart for anything. I hear that this year, especially, there won't be as many "Loss Leaders" as there have been in the past and that many stores will stay open all night to avoid the problems they had last year with crowd control and one unfortunate death.

What do you do on "Black Friday"? I know this year I'll be spending it snug and warm under the covers. Let me know if you find any great deals.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Being Thankful

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for my family and friends and all the wonderful blessings I've had in my life.

I hope everyone has a great holiday whether you're spending it at home or traveling. Be safe and go ahead and have seconds!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Countdown - Relax and Be Organized

Thanksgiving Pictures, Images and Photos

Here is a re-post of my Thanksgiving Countdown blog from last year.

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful, especially if you want all the traditional dishes on your table plus one or two more innovative items. Thanksgiving is the one holiday where we feel the pressure of serving all the traditional foods our guests remember from their childhood not to mention that everything has to be warm and ready to serve at one time.

Here are my guidelines to help make this a (less) stressful day:

10 days prior to Thanksgiving day:

Order your turkey now (either fresh or frozen) to avoid the last minute rush and to avoid getting a frozen solid turkey the day before you have to cook it.

One week prior to Thanksgiving day:

Plan your entire menu - from appetizers, drinks, and snacks to all the traditional dishes. Remember that people will arrive early to watch football and they will need drinks and munchies to nibble on while dinner is cooking. Most of the time, lunch will not be served since the Thanksgiving dinner is such a large meal, but people do get hungry. Try and serve a light and healthy snack around lunchtime.

Thanksgiving Week:

Gather together your table linens and make sure everything is clean, pressed and ready to set the table. Don't set the table now but it's a good idea to be prepared in case you need to purchase any new linens.

Pull together all the dishes, serving pieces and crystal that you will be using on Thanksgiving day. Wash and polish any serving pieces. I usually set everything on the buffet and cover with clean dish towels to keep everything dust free.

Pick up your turkey today if it's frozen. Start the defrosting process by placing the turkey in the refrigerator where it will thaw naturally for the next three days.

SHOPPING DAY! Shop for all the remaining items you need for the Thanksgiving meal - potatoes, stuffing ingredients, gravy, cranberries (fresh or canned), pie ingredients, vegetables, snack items and drinks.

Pick up your fresh turkey today and refrigerate promptly.

Start cooking! I usually prepare the pies and our traditional jello and fruit mold on Wednesday so there's not as much to do on Thursday. Cut up the celery, onions and any other items you like in your stuffing.

Set the table. Lay out your buffet the way it will appear on Thanksgiving night. This will ensure that you have enough room for the large turkey platter and all the other serving pieces. I put the dinner plates on the table rather than stack them on the buffet since this leaves more room for the serving pieces.

Thanksgiving Day:
Prepare the stuffing first if you are going to stuff your turkey. Otherwise, get the turkey in the oven. The time you do this will depend on what time dinner is being served. Plan on cooking the turkey 20 minutes per pound so if you have a 22 pound turkey, it will take approximately 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Check out Butterball Turkey's great website for more tips and suggestions.

Next up is the mashed potatoes. I use a wonderful recipe from Martha Stewart's cookbook that creates a creamy delicious dish. A tip I picked up last year worked wonderfully for me - when the potatoes are done, place them in the crock pot on low to keep them warm while everything else is cooking.

Sweet potatoes come next in the line. I don't usually prepare these but you will know from your recipe how long they take to prepare.

Stuffing is next on the list unless you've already prepared this dish. Keep the stuffing refrigerated until you're ready to cook it. Since I only have one oven in my house, this happens as soon as the bird comes out of the oven.

Next up - vegetable dishes. These can usually be cooked on the stove top or in the oven along with the stuffing while the turkey is setting.

The last item is the gravy. You can either make this from the pan drippings or buy it in the jar. Make sure it's warm and ready with the other dishes.

When the buffet is set and ready to go, put the pies in the oven to warm while everyone is eating the main course. Coffee should be ready to go as well - if you prepare the coffee maker ahead of time you only have to hit the start button after dinner while everyone is groaning about how much they ate!

thanksgiving Pictures, Images and Photos

Most importantly, enjoy the day spending it with the people you care most about in the world. Take a minute to remember what you're thankful for - good food, a roof above your head and friends and family who love you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Order your Turkey

Don't forget to order your Thanksgiving turkey this week if you want a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Metropolitan Home Magazine Closes

Metropolitan Home magazine closes

Posted using ShareThis

It's hard to believe that another home decorating/shelter magazine is going out of business. What's left?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Heard on the Radio

I heard this on the radio yesterday - it made me laugh and I wanted to post it here:

Be nice to your children, they may be picking out your nursing home.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Martha's Kitchen Must-Haves

In the November, 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living, there is a great article that outlines the essential kitchen tools and equipment for a basic kitchen set up. Click here to get to the article. This is a great reference when setting up your own kitchen or when trying to decide what to keep, what to replace and what to donate when organizing a kitchen.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Daylight Savings To-Do List

Tonight before you go to bed, be sure and set your clocks back one hour for daylight savings time.

I always use daylight savings time as a reminder to do the following:
Change the batteries in my smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; and

Flip over the mattresses on my beds

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

It's still hard for me to believe it's Halloween already. Weren't we just celebrating the New Year?

I'm wishing everyone a very Happy Halloween. Make it a safe night and make sure to take all that extra candy to the office to avoid eating it all yourself. My personal favorite's are Mounds bars. I'll try to follow my own advice when it comes to those.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Energy Saving

Unplug appliances when not in use to save on energy. Did you know that most appliances and/or electronics will continue drawing power even when switched to the "off" position as long as they're plugged in to the outlet?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Real Simple Quote for the Day

Ever felt this way?

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

―Phyllis Diller

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tip Tuesday: Keep Like-Items Together

Keeping like-items together makes it easier to see what you have and will prevent you from buying more than you need.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Earthquake! - Particiate in the Great Southern California ShakeOut Today

Earthquake Pictures, Images and Photos

At 10:15 a.m. today, millions of Southern Californians will be participating in the Great Southern California ShakeOut. The ShakeOut is a way for those of us here in "earthquake country" to prepare ourselves for future earthquakes in our area.

Please visit the Great Southern California ShakeOut website to learn more about what you can do to prepare for "the big one" - or even for "the little one".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tip Tuesday: Makeup - How Long to Keep and What to Toss

Here's a quick run-down of makeup items and tips for when and what to toss:

Foundation - After 6-12 months

Lipstick - After 1-2 years

Blush - Every 2-3 years

Mascara - Every 4 months

Eyeliner - Toss liquid after 3 months

Clean makeup brushes every 2 weeks in a gentle shampoo and water

Toss makeup sponges after 2 weeks

Friday, October 9, 2009

Book Recommendation - Blogging for Bliss

Blogging for Bliss: Crafting Your Own Online Journal: A Guide for Crafters, Artists & Creatives of all Kinds

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll notice the design has changed in the past few weeks. This is a result of reading my book recommendation today - "Blogging for Bliss - Crafting Your Own Online Journal" by Tara Frey.

This is a wonderful book for the creative and not-so-creative person who wants to personalize the look of their blog. There are lots of great ideas for layouts and ways to get them to work for you.

I'll admit, I'm not blog layout savvy at all and this book was just what I needed to give my blog a creative kick in the pants. Who knows, I just might change it again in the next few months.

Enjoy this book!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tip Tuesday - The Organizer's Mantra

I know this isn't really a "tip" but I wanted to share it with my readers:

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful".

~ William Morris

Friday, October 2, 2009

Product Recommendation - 10-Hole Scarf Hanger

I've noticed while shopping recently, that scarves are more popular than ever. But how do you store yours?

I purchased this 10-hole scarf hanger for my scarf collection and I love it. So I'm recommending it today to my readers.

You can purchase this item for less than $10 from or The Container Store.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Laundry Done Right

To avoid having detergent clot or stain your clothing, add it to the washing machine first. Then turn on the machine and dilute the detergent for a minute or so and then add your clothes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Calendars/Date Books/PDA's ....Use What Works Best for You

Whether you use an electronic or paper planner, make sure you make the most of it. Use the notes section to make to-do lists, list important items that need to be accomplished within a specific time period. Make a habit of looking at your planner each evening before going to bed to make sure nothing gets forgotten for the next day.

And most of all, use only one planner. Don't keep both an electronic and paper planner or multiple calendars scattered around the house or office.

Keep your planner clutter free. Avoid keeping loose papers or sticky notes inside your planner. Transfer data from those notes onto the appropriate pages in your planner.

Be honest with yourself and use the planner type that works best for you. I like the monthly planners where you can see the whole month at once. This works best for me when making future plans or appointments. No surprises when the whole month is staring you in the face.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Recycling Used Printer & Toner Cartridges

Staples has come up with a great recycling program for old printer and toner cartridges called the Ink Drop Program. Here's how it works:

When your ink cartridge runs out, drop a new one in your printer and mail us the empty one using a prepaid InkDrop envelope or mailing label. We'll get it and send you a replacement before you run out. We'll even recycle your old ones.

The service is free, even the shipping.

The only purchase you make is your cartridges. Once you're signed up and place a cartridge order we'll send your welcome kit with everything you need to get started.

Try it out and see how you like it. I think the best part is you always have an extra cartridge on hand so you're never caught without one.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

College Application Planning

Senior year is here for our daughter and, of course, now we're planning for college. We've visited many schools over the last few months and have narrowed down the choices to eight schools.

There is so much to know about applying to college. Each college may or may not have its own application process. Some schools use the Common Application - most with a supplemental application of their own. Other schools (Cal States, for example), have one application that is used for all of their campuses. You just check off the campus(s) you're choosing to apply to.

With these different applications come different application due dates. Last weekend, I purchased a large calendar which will become "application central" in our house. All due dates including applications, test scores, letters of recommendation, housing applications, etc. will be calendared here.

The College Board is a good source for compiling some of this information however, I have found some deadlines which were not included on their website so I recommend using your own. We're fortunate to also have a very hands-on college counselor at our daughter's high school. This isn't always the case so I recommend using some sort of master calendaring system in your college application process.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kangaroom - Creative Storage Solutions

If you want to try something completely different than the hard plastic and metal storage solutions out there, check out Kangaroom. Based on the kangaroos pouch, almost all Kangaroom's items are soft storage pieces designed to fold flat when not in use.

They have items for every room in the house - kitchen, baby's room, home office; as well as items for photo storage and travel.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Eliminate Junk Mail

If you're tired of all that junk mail clogging your mailbox everyday, The Direct Mail Marketing Association can help you. Their website shows you ways to remove your name from mailing lists and cut down on the extra paper.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Back-To-School Organizing Ideas

So, how did the first (or second) week of school go? If you're in need of more student organizing tips, check out Real Simple Magazine's "12 Easy Ways to Get Organized in the New School Year".

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Swine Flu Information - What You Need to Know to Make Your Own Informed Choices

Today I am sharing with you information I received from my school employers concerning the Swine Flu.

Local organizations continue to receive updates from the City Health Departments and other organizations about the impact of the H1N1 Virus (formerly known as “swine flu”) on school populations and the larger community. Although the most recent guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects a greater impact of the H1N1 virus than in spring of 2009, communities are still urged not to panic.

Here are some guidelines to follow for you and your family:

Children must remain home for the duration of an illness. Children with flu-like symptoms should remain home for at least a 24 hour period after they no longer have a fever or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. A physician should be seen for an illness lasting more than a day or two (and for a fever, 100 degrees or more).

Some positive health practices to consider for your family:

· Wash hands frequently (after using the bathroom, before eating, etc.) with soap and lather for at least 20-30 seconds.

· Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose.

· Sneeze or cough into a tissue or an elbow instead of your hands.

Additional CDC Recommendations/Information for Parents and Guardians of School-Age Children include:

· Flu-like symptoms: 100 degree temperature, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and overall tiredness. Some people may also vomit or have diarrhea.

· Plan for child care at home if your child gets sick or school is dismissed (for a minimum of five school days).

· Plan to monitor the health of the sick child and any other children by checking for fever and other symptoms of flu.

· Update emergency contact lists.

· Identify a separate room in the house for care of sick family members. Consider designating a single person as the main caregiver for anyone who gets sick.

· Pull together games, books, DVDs, and other items to keep your family entertained while at home.

· Consider getting your family vaccinated for seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 flu when vaccines are available.

Please visit the websites below for more information, updates, or answers to your questions about the H1N1 Virus.

· The Center for Disease Control and Prevention

· The US Department of Health and Human Services

· The California Department of Public Health

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day of School - Quote for the Day

Today is the first day the kids come back to school. Here's a great quote appropriate to today:

“A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.”

―Ever Garrison

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Benefits of Being Organized

Less stress - looking at clutter and messiness actually causes more stress in your life.

More time to spend with family and friends - the less time you spend looking for things among the clutter, the more time you have for the important people in your life.

Save time and money when you plan your errands - organizing your time away from home in a productive way saves on gas and wasted time. Imagine planning your errand runs in a large circle starting and ending at your home.

Time for you - you'll have time to take a class, get back to the gym or walk with friends. Sign up for something you've always wanted to do.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Organized Lunch Making

To avoid the last minute craziness of making lunches before the kids leave for school, prepare as much as you can the night before. Or, better yet, create small individual servings for the whole week so you can just grab what you need each day to put lunches together.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Student Organization Blogs Revisited

Because it's back to school time again, I would like to share my student organization blogs posted last year at this time.

Click on the blog title below to read:

Back-to-School - Student Organization

Back to School - Organized Homework Solutions

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Organizing Recommendation - Gift Wrap Cart

I am recommending the Elfa mesh gift wrap cart from The Container Store as one of my favorite organizing tools.

I love this item because you can gather all your gift wrapping supplies into one place - plus it's on wheels so you can take it wherever you do your gift wrapping.

Click here to see more about this wonderful organizing item.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Real Simple Thought for the Day

“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.”

―Charles Richards

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Still Own a Clunker? Read This

The Cash for Clunkers program ended yesterday. If you missed out on trading in your clunker for cash towards a new car, click here to read this wonderful article from The Auto Writer about charitable organizations that would be happy to take your clunker off your hands.

Tip Tuesday - Organizing Your Business Cards

Every six months, go through your business cards and discard those you no longer need. A great way to store your business cards is in a small note-book sized business card holder. I divide mine up by types of businesses - home care, medical personnel, etc.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

September is National Preparedness Month

Mark your calendars and take stock of your emergency supplies. Are you and your family ready to handle an emergency at your house?

Click here to get to the Ready website where you can read all about National Preparedness Month and how you can get involved. You can also read my blog post about earthquake preparedness by clicking here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ziploc Flexible Totes

I received a coupon in the mail the other day for Ziploc's new product - the flexible tote - which looks like a large blanket storage bag. I haven't tried them yet but am curious. Anyone out there have these? I'd love to hear your reviews.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tip Tuesday - The One In/One Out Rule

Whenever you purchase a new item, whether it's clothes, shoes, sports equipment, tools, books, etc., give one item away. This will help keep clutter to a minimum.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hoarders - A New Series on the A & E Network

Premiering Monday, August 17th is a new series on the Arts & Entertainment Channel (A&E) - Hoarders is an hour-long, reality television show about compulsive hoarding. The show airs at 10:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. central time.

Click here to get to A&E's website for more information. I would love to hear your comments after viewing the episodes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

College Bound? Some Space Saving Ideas for the Dorm

We've been touring colleges the last few months with our daughter who will be a senior in high school this year. It's been a real eye-opening experience seeing the variety of dorm room choices out there. That's why I've been wanting to share some great organizing ideas with you on ways to maximize the space in your collegiate's dorm room.

Here are some of the items I'm loving from The Container Store - especially designed for small spaces:

3M Command Classic Adhesive Hooks - these attach to the wall but don't require nails or screws and can be removed with no damage to the walls. Plus, they can be re-used again in a new space. These hooks also come in a brushed nickle finish.

Tint Stacking Drawers - these come in two sizes and seven colors and can be stacked or placed under the bed for additional storage.

Desktop Swivel Storage - a great way to maximize the space on your desk. This holds paper clips, rubber bands, and other small desktop items all in one place.

Grid Totes with Handles - great for taking to and from the bath - when you can't store your bathroom items in the bathroom. Comes in small and large sizes.

2-Drawer Mesh Organizer - store all your toiletries, cosmetics or cleaning supplies in these great organizers which fit in a cupboard or on a closet shelf.

Bask Shower Caddy - this three-shelf shower caddy is great for sharing with roommates and holds all your shower essentials.

I could go on and on but check out The Container Store's great line of products by going to their website or visiting one of their stores.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tip Tuesday - Eliminate the Yellow/White Pages

When you're searching for telephone numbers, use the internet instead of the space hogging Yellow and White Pages. Ask your telephone company to take you off their delivery schedule. Now you've got more space in that cupboard or drawer that used to be taken up with this large books.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Suitcases for Kids

Here's a wonderful way to recycle your old suitcases. Suitcases for Kids provides gently used suitcases for foster children who sometimes have to move at a moment's notice from one home to another. Many of these children have to move their belongings in black trash bags because they have no luggage.

Suitcases for Kids encourages you to donate your gently used luggage to your local Department of Social Services, Child Welfare Board or a Foster Care Agency in your neighborhood.

Click here to get more information on Suitcases for Kids.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Storing your Cutting Boards

There are many ways to store cutting boards - from stacking them in a cupboard to sticking them in a drawer. However, I saw this idea in a magazine and thought it was so clever because it brought together two items from completely different areas in the home.

Store your cutting boards in a file sorter like this one from Rubbermaid.
Place the taller cutting boards in the back, the smaller ones in front. It fits right on your counter which makes using the boards so much easier.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Real Simple Quote for Today

“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”

―Benjamin Franklin