Category: <span>Organizing</span>

laundry room 2

Our laundry room has been on my to-do list for 19 months. It was a horrible golden color and was our catch-all for dirty clothes (of course), unsorted mail, shoes, puzzles, batteries, tools, cleaners, and dust. I finally went to Lowes and bought a gallon of Olympic “Zen” paint and got to work. Before work I cleared the room of everything, and as soon as I got back home I spent two hours painting. That’s all it took – two hours! 19 months…. I have always wanted a utility sink in a laundry room, and thankfully this house had the hookups already. It was a week long project because what simple plumbing project is actually simple and quick? But we did it!

laundry room

My least favorite house-hold task is laundry. I don’t mind the washing, because I detest piles of dirty clothes. Folding, however, is a beast. So my tendency was to let the clean clothes sit in the dryer as long as possible and close the door on baskets of clean laundry. Having a room that is an eye sore and full of clutter, is an invitation for procrastination and denial. Yesterday, I went back to Lowes and got this planter for $3.88 and planted a few Golden Pothos to make the room more inviting and zen-like (see a past article on house hold plants here: http://cleanchaos.org/cleangreen-decorating/). I’ve transformed the laundry room into a place that invites me in, rather than invites the chaos in. Redecorating and reinventing a space in your home doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, and it doesn’t have to wait 19 months. It can cost as much as a gallon of paint, a few hours of your time organizing and painting, and a new plant.

Happy cleaning (and laundering)!

 

Cleaning Decorating Organizing Uncategorized

So, I did do some detail action yesterday, but I did not blog. You are just going to have to believe me when I say it was ca-razy. In the past 34 hours we’ve dealt with colds, missed naps, busted lips, 22 time outs, and . . . strep. That’s right strep. No fever, no symptoms, but low and behold my difficult toddler was flaming with strep. I may or may not have bought him a new $3 truck because I felt oh-so-guilty for those timeouts in the midst of silent strep. :-/

Day 3: Linen Closet

Our linen closet has been in a state of disarray since Jeff was born. Jeff, my 2 year old. I am not kidding. Here is a “before” shot:

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetThat pile of bottles in the middle, that’s our medicine cabinet. Clearly it takes me an hour to find what I’m looking for when an illness arises. Cortisone cream? Sure no problem, let me look through EVERY medicine acquired since our wedding day.

True to my word, I spent 25 minutes taking everything out and organizing it. I divided it into sheets, pillow cases, towels, hand towels, comforters, and meds. The meds I actually separated into a storage container that was previously holding baby onesies. I separated those into Rx, OTC, and children’s. It’s not perfect, but it’s progress!

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Organizing Tip:

The more specific you are when finding a place for items, the better your system will be. For example, if you are organizing your laundry room, you may start out by designating a place for household cleaners and laundry detergents. It’s a good start! But what you’ll find is your space can still get chaotic. A better approach (and one that takes a little more effort on the front end) is to designate places for detergents, stain removers, bleach, commonly used cleaners (like your cleaning caboodle), carpet cleaners, appliance cleaners, etc. It makes it easy to find what you need and easy to know where new items should go.

 

Day 4: Under Kitchen Cabinets

Ok, this is about to get real. Here is your warning to not look below if you are easily repulsed. You cannot see underneath our kitchen cabinets when standing, and this is an area that I have not cleaned since we moved into our house. We bought our home when I was pregnant with Jeff, and we were doing projects until he came. This area . . . well, I did not get to. I am so sorry.

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I spent 10 minutes cleaning underneath all of them, and the result was not magazine worthy, but it was okay baby you can eat off the floor worthy.

photo 2(16)10 minutes. And I waited 2 years to do that? Sheesh.

Happy cleaning!

Oh . . . and watch out. Your entire family may have strep and you not know it. Kidding. Sort of.

Cleaning Organizing

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Tips From Your Realtor

When you decide to put your house on the market, most realtors will give you a list of goals for your house, which probably consist of:

  • Walls painted a neutral color
  • Reduce family photos to create more neutrality
  • Reduce clutter and move it into storage
  • Create a welcoming front doorway/walkway and make any necessary repairs
  • Reduce closet clutter and organize
  • Use this in-depth checklist for more tips

Tips From A House Cleaner

Speaking from a house cleaner’s point of view, I would add these suggestions:

  • Beds made (always)
  • Floors picked up and vacuumed (keep bins around for easy toss and store – you can find really neat wire and metal bins for under $15 at places like Marshall’s and Lowes).
  • Kitchen counters and appliances cleaned and wiped down (SINK EMPTY and wiped down)
  • Bathroom mirrors cleaned, counters cleaned, and showers free of mildew
  • Scent. Okay, many realtors will tell you to bake cookies or light candles. I say throw this in with “don’t spray fragrances.” This may be just a personal thing, but I would shoot for NO scent. So, empty ALL trash cans before viewers come, make sure the disposal is cleared out (pour vinegar down to help), and all toilets flushed. Also, if you have pets, make sure your vacuum bag is or filter is clean, otherwise it can smell like you just vacuumed and pet hair is burning.
  • Keep blinds and curtains open to allow light. I am a HUGE fan of natural light and you want your house to appear bright. Also, it will allow you to see areas that need a quick dusting/wipe down (Swiffer, baby).
  • If you don’t have time to mop, just look around for any stuck-on food, trash, etc, and use a wet wipe to clean.
  • If you have time, clean any entry-way windows with a glass cleaner and squeegee.

Tips From A Home Maker

Speaking as a home maker and as someone who spends way too much time thinking about houses, I would say make your house feel like the viewer’s potential home. This may mean rearranging rooms. Try to think in terms of spaces. People are looking for the places they are going to spend their lives, so create rooms that allow for the maximum use. Brainstorm what it is you love when you visit B&B’s or friends’ houses. You may not think you have a special laundry room or space for an office, but I guarantee you there is potential for more in every home.

Spaces for:

  • Cooking
  • Creating/Crafting
  • Business
  • Reading
  • Relaxing
  • Visiting
  • Laundry
  • Cuddling babies
  • House guests (guest room/bath)

Another tip specifically for small spaces is mirrors. Mirrors are great for making a small room seem bigger. And try to arrange furniture in a way that flows with the room. As you walk through a room, try to keep it balanced and allow for easy access. And of course, if you would like help maximizing and staging YOUR space, then call me! I would love to help.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetBest of luck in selling your home!

Cleaning Decorating Money Organizing

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetIf you are like us, every evening when Ben gets home our conversation goes something like this, “We need to mow the yard, and do laundry, and we have GOT to get your retirement account set up, and we should listen to a sermon together, and I need to clean the bathrooms, and I think we are due for a date night . . .”. And then the only thing we accomplish is getting the boys to bed and getting the kitchen cleaned. We have seriously put off setting up my retirement account for months. We talk about it several times a week. So I came up with a system. I don’t know if this is on Pinterest, but it should be!

How It Works

Basically, we have our days written out and then we have our category pins. We try to plan out the week on Sunday, and choose one category per day. Ben has a master reminder/to-do list that he keeps on his iPhone, and we check his list each night to see what things apply to that category. As the week progresses, if you need to switch, no problem. Ben had the idea of using magnets, but we had clothespins on hand. Being able to move the categories around is fun and faster than writing it out.

Our Categories

  • Groceries
  • Budgeting/Business
  • Home+Garden
  • Repairs
  • Laundry
  • Sermon
  • Movie
  • Family Night
  • Date Night
  • Blogging
  • Organizing

Why It Works

Having a long list of tasks is overwhelming to think of every day. Having large categories allows you to compartmentalize and focus on one area at a time. It’s not stressful. It’s actually a relief. Need to pay bills and do online banking and also need to weed the garden and clean the windows and grocery shop? Tonight’s Monday, so all we need to do is get the groceries. Tomorrow is Tuesday, we will sit down and budget then. Ben and I know that the typical time for us to accomplish the category is when the boys are in bed. We have a set time to do our tasks. If we cannot finish a category, no problem. We can move the pin to another day in the week, or rest in knowing we will get the rest of the budgeting done next Tuesday.

We talk a lot about not having time for things. I understand being in chaos mode. We are hitting the terrific/terrible-two’s, and it’s a roller coaster. But the truth is we do have at least some time each night. Strategically planning a time to do specific categories of tasks helps to knock items off the list quickly. We have a family night and date night on the schedule every week.

PLAN FOR FUN!

Hope you have a productive week, and as always, happy cleaning!

Efficiency Hacks Money Organizing Parenting Stress

photo 2(8)Let’s face it. Without a working system, we can quickly become overloaded and overwhelmed with paper, even when most of us subscribe to electronic versions of it. Piles of it come daily – bills, advertisements, information we need for our records, etc. Not to mention the papers that come home in backpacks – instructions, reading plans, trip details, artwork. For those of you who work for yourself and have to keep track of every single receipt, payment, and document, organization is a must. Every person needs a system that is easy to use and maintain. I will be explaining my system and why it works. But like I’ve said before, organization is great because it can be altered to fit your exact style and needs.

photo 1(8)My System

I’m going to explain my system for sorting and why it works. Each time I get the mail (and I mean it – EACH time), I sort through it right then, dividing it into the appropriate place. I promise you I spend less than 20 seconds doing this. Immediate sorting guarantees two things: 1. That you will not forget something that needs your attention (bills, RSVPs, etc) and 2. That you will not get overwhelmed with a giant stack of paper each week.

Immediately Sort Into:

Recycling

On your walk from the mail box to the house, you know what’s trash (a zillion credit card offers, ads, etc) and what’s important. Don’t bring the trash inside. Just don’t do it! We have a recycling bin beside our back door. TOSS it then and there! Looking through it once is enough.

Bulletin Board

For those things that you will need to remember (save the dates, upcoming events, recitals, field trips) pin them on your bulletin board. Add them to your Google Calendar. Use Siri and set your reminder immediately. However you choose to keep track of events, do it. I also pin up any coupons if I know I will use them.

Inbox

I keep my inbox on my desk. This is where you put those things that need your action – bills, checks, etc. You don’t need to act right then, you only need to place them in the inbox. You know these things need your attention in a timely manner, so you will not forget them. I recommend having an inbox for each adult in the home. I am responsible for my inbox, my husband is responsible for his.

To Be Filed

This is where you put those things that do not need your action, but do need to be saved for your records – information regarding insurance policies, mutual funds, tax information, etc. This is also the catch-all for items that were previously in your inbox and have been completed. You’ve paid the bills in your inbox? Then move them to your to-be-filed basket.

When You’re Ready to File

I suggest filing when your to-be-filed bin becomes full. For some that may be quarterly, and for others that may be monthly. It just depends on the amount of incoming paper.

To Be Shredded

These are documents that are no longer needed, but have personal information on them. I suggest having a specific box for shredding. We keep our “Shred” pile for times when we want a fire in the back yard. 😉

Current Filing

These are documents pertaining to any active policy or account. I like to use regular file folders in a file box. If you do not already have a filing system, begin  by sorting documents into their appropriate accounts or categories. Once you’ve gone through them all, you can put them in a folder and label. Alphabetize in box.

Archive

Your archive should be a separate filing box that is for anything from past years, but still pertinent (i.e.old tax returns). Your files in this box should be alphabetized as well.

Kids

My kids are not yet to the age of coming home with trees of paper yet, but I understand it’s a fiasco. I’ve also spoken with many who are overwhelmed with their child’s artwork. I would suggest having another file box specifically for your kids. I would keep those papers you deem most important. For other items I suggest taking a snap shot with your camera and keeping in Dropbox or Copy or something like that. There are a lot of cool apps and programs out there for making digital collages with kids’ masterpieces. But I will say, it is okay to recycle some coloring sheets. I know our kids are especially special to us, but all their handiwork is not. 🙂

What You Need

If you are wanting to start this type of system, just obtain the following items to get started (you may have things around the house already that can be used).

  • Basket for mail
  • Bulletin board/calendar/Google Calendar set up
  • Inbox bin (per adult). Trays work, too.
  • To-be-filed box
  • Packs of file folders
  • Filing boxes for current filing, archive filing, and kids (you can get these super cheap lots of places and I’ve found cool ones at Target for less than $7)

Now, for those who are years behind (decades even) in filing, and this post overwhelms you, or if you would just prefer to have some help, CALL ME. I will aid in initiating a system targeted towards your needs, insuring easy and doable maintenance. Let me personally help you! (See my Page on SERVICES)

Efficiency Organizing Stress

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Since we all have different schedules and personality types, I’ve come up with a couple of options as far as cleaning schedules. Some folks would rather do a full house cleaning once every 1-2 weeks. Others would rather work on one area each week day and avoid having to do the whole top-to-bottom cleaning at once. I’m also providing a Daily Household Tasks Checklist that you can refer to for routine upkeep. And these are just a guide, so alter the plans to fit your style and needs! Happy Cleaning!

Daily Household Tasks Checklist

Daily Cleaning Checklist (PDF Download)

Weekly Whole House Cleaning Checklist

Weekly Cleaning Checklist (PDF Download)

Mon-Fri Cleaning Schedule

Monday-Friday Cleaning Checklist (PDF Download)

Cleaning Efficiency Hacks Organizing

There are many times I look at a REAL Simple Magazine and wish I could have a home makeover. I instantly want to go to TJ Maxx and get something that will drive my husband crazy, like a new lamp. But I do find that organizing chaotic areas in our house gives me even more satisfaction, without burning a hole in my pocket.

Here a few BEFORE shots of some problem areas in our house that needed a quick organizing makeover. I spent only 30  min on the laundry room and one hour on the boys’ closet. Very doable!

Laundry Room/Pantry

We have no pantry, so our laundry room can quickly become a ridiculously messy space.

photo 1(6)photo 2(6)After the boys went to bed, I spent half an hour throwing out stale food, recycling grocery bags and boxes, and putting randomly placed items where they belong. The end result was:

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photo 3(4)photo 2(7)

Boys’ Closet

I think the photos will speak for themselves. I will say, Jeff loved having all the things pulled out of the closet. So much to explore! What’s the saying? You have to make a mess to fix a mess…

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photo 1(5)photo 3(3)

I spent one hour taking everything out, sorting through clothes, making a “donate” pile, and consolidating our diapers and wipes (you buy all that in bulk when you have two in diapers!). I also moved the changing table into the closet. Here’s the AFTER:

photo 4(1)photo 5Maybe you can find an hour this weekend to give a small area an organizing makeover!

Organizing

First, I want to thank every visitor for the amazing turnout during the first two days of my launch! So far, one request has stood out from the rest: “Give me a top to bottom cleaning plan!” I’ve heard you loud and clear! We have one coming down the pike shortly, but before you create an efficient top-to-bottom cleaning plan, you have to do one important thing.

ORGANIZE

Organization does NOT mean everything is always in place. All organization means is everything HAS a place.

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Mail, shoes, toys, stuffed animals, cleaners, toiletries, medications, magazines, books, etc. just need to have a home. Everyone can organize based on what makes sense to them.

I like to group items based on where I use them. Shoes always coming off in the living room and not the doorway? Put a shoe bin where it’s most conveniently accessible. Do your kids have a problem with not putting away trash upstairs? Put a trash can in every room to encourage them throwing it away. Laundry piles out of control? Put a hamper wherever your family tends to shed layers. Organize using sensible tactics for your family. And have fun doing it! Go to the container store, or Ikea, or Big Lots, ha! Get on Pinterest and build your own boxes!

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But if you want cleaning to be easier, items in your home need to have a home of their own. That way you’re not spending double the time picking things up. Think of ways to gather the chaos off the counter, off the floor and out of the way. Expose your house so we can get cleaning!

 

Cleaning Efficiency Organizing