Organized people

The amount of information available to people continues to grow at a rapid pace, as do the number of demands on our time. Organized people save time and money, and reduce their stress and frustration levels. Organizing systems help you deal with everything from your paper to your professional responsibilities and give you parameters on what to keep, what to toss, and where to take action.

Organize craft supplies on the cheap

Here's a simple idea for some craft supplies.  Group one type of craft together.  Layer the larger items on the bottom of  a clear tub.  On top of that, layer shoe box sized clear tubs.  This prevents a jumbled mess!

5 tips to corral the kids' craft clutter!

Toss flimsy boxes and put drawing and coloring tools into lidded boxes or bins.

Separate supplies for easier access.  We mostly use ziploc bags for this - which don't photograph well.  We have a bag for glue sticks, one for stickers, one for pipe cleaners etc.  All of those are corralled together into one cute cube.

Keep craft paper upright and together by standing up in a cube, sorted and stored in large plastic envelopes, accordian files or stacking trays.

Don't bother saving every free crayon!

Keep a vinyl tablecloth or newspaper with the art supplies!

Organizing your "needs action" papers

When Clever Container came out with their "Panic No More!" filing system I was so excited.  The most common messy issue I see in homes is paper.  Panic No More was designed to handle the ebb and flow of daily paper.  It's not a permanent storage system.  These files were created to be emptied and addressed every single day.

The Panic No More System comes with 25 color-coded folders, 25 peel and stick file labels, 6 labeled tabs and hanging file folders, and instructions.  It is quick and easy to assemble all of these supplies.  It costs $23.

After throwing away all the junk mail, and separating your catalogs and magazines you're ready to use this system.  Look through your piles a little bit and take note of what's actually there.  Here is how Clever Container's Panic No More system works.

Throw away anything you no longer need each time you touch something.

Panic No More (pink) which includes five categories ("Call" is hiding in this photo).  

Pay: put your bills in here, you could include some dividers numbered 1-31, and drop your bills in by date.

Important: Things that need attention: permission slips, checking something online, forms to make copies of etc.
Call: (or any correspondence: Doctor appointments to be made, the seamstress,etc., keep a to do list in here so you always know who you need to call.), or change this to a ToDo,
Newsletter: or if you blog and run a few facebook pages, this is a good place to store ideas.  If you send out a regular mailing, like through mailchimp, this is a great place to keep an outline of the topics you want to cover.

Funny Money (green)
Coupons: great place to keep them until you can “process” them.
Coupons Non-Grocery: Ulta, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and such go here.
UPC/Rebates: this is a good place to store box tops for education inside a baggie or envelope.
Gift Cards/certificates: also great for groupons and such.
Receipts: Use this file weekly.  Store your receipts here until you "process" them.
Food For Tho
ught (orange)
Meal Planning: Temporary place to keep this week’s recipes and plan here.
Shopping List: Keep your shopping list in here so everyone knows where it is.  This is also a great place to keep separate and specific shopping lists: Amazon, Melaleuca, Sams, Health Food Store etc.
Recipes: Store next week’s ideas or recipes you just clipped.  But this is temporary and these recipes need to be processed into your longer term storage.
Memories (purple)
Cards: Is it worth keeping and to file it?  Love it, use it or lose it.  Keeping a card you received you wish to reply to goes here.
Letters: If you need to take action in response file it here.
Photos: Store here before you put away in a memory box etc.
Now, this is where's I'd change it up. I'd actually just make one file for each of my kids as that seems to be the memory type stuff that lands in a pile.
Medical (blue)
Primary: Scripts, referrals, claim info - keep here until this claim is closed.
Dentist: This is a great place to store your treatment plan.
Vision: Keep your scripts and Doc contact info here too.
Prescriptions: Forms you have to mail, coupons for a pharmacy can go here and it's a great place to keep drug fact sheets here. Script refill information should go here as well.
Flexible Spending: Store forms and receipts for flex spending here.
Further Action (gray)
To be filed: anything that needs to go to permanent storage, Schedule time on your calendar to file or this folder will be out of control. report cards,
Phone Numbers: contact info you plan to keep and need to put into permanent storage can go here. you can also keep a hard copy of Doctor's contacts etc. here.
To Send: What goes out: bills, invites, what’s ready to go to the post office, or cards that just need addresses etc.  

kid's artwork storage

What You Need
One plastic bin per child, labels, children’s schoolwork and art projects, digital camera

Follow These Four Easy Steps

How To: Organize Kids Schoolwork Step 1
 Time Inc. Studios
1Buy one bin for each child and label it
Purchase as many plastic containers as you have school-age children. Choose deep lidded containers that are big enough to lay schoolwork and standard-size artwork flat. Label each bin with the child’s name and grade. If you wish, you can add the names of classroom and art teachers.

Tip: Select containers that come in different colors and designate one color per child.
How To: Organize Kids Schoolwork Step 2
 Time Inc. Studios
2Collect work in the bin
When your child comes home with art or class work, simply drop it in the bin, discarding anything you don’t wish to save.

Aha! The only surefire way to preserve your children’s most special works of art is to frame them using acid-free matting and UV-filtering glass.
How To: Organize Kids Schoolwork Step 3
 Time Inc. Studios
3Take pictures of oversized pieces
For items that can’t be saved—dioramas or collages made with food products such as macaroni—and for oversize artwork that doesn’t fit in the bin, snap a photograph, print it, and pop it in the bin.

Tip: Consider asking your child to hold or stand next to the art project you’re photographing. The resulting image will bring back even clearer memories of a particular time in your child’s life.
4Sort and store bin when school year ends
When the school year is over and you have the time and inclination, open the bin and leaf through everything you’ve saved. You can reminisce while deciding what’s worth saving for good and what can be discarded. When you’re finished, close the lid securely and store the bin with the label facing outward.

DIY morning menu chalk board

I needed:
An obvious list of breakfast options my family could easily choose from. 
I needed it to something I could change easily without having to re-write a whole list.  
I needed it to be easy to see - we are not morning people.

I had on hand:
An old cheap wooden tray I hadn't used in over 10 years sitting in my garage.
Red spray paint
Black chalkboard paint
Alligator teeth hanger thing for the back.

What I made:

We love it and it's working out wonderfully!
It keeps things simple and helps me feel organized.

How do you get through the breakfast rush?

well working appliances = simplicity

I mentioned to my husband last week that we either need to clean out the dryer vent or buy a new dryer.  I also mentioned that cleaning out the dryer vent was cheaper.  We added on to our home about 6 years ago and the vent had never been cleaned.  

We recently bought a new water heater at Lowe's and we both noticed a gadget that was designed to help you clean long dryer vents.  When my husband asked me to go back and get it I ran, as I know he does not enjoy being our handy man and this window of opportunity was small.  

The next day I was running errands and I came home to him using said gadget.  We were amazed when we opened up the shop vac.  It was so full of lint. He was so impressed he felt it was worth the time and effort.  

I'm posting this today to remind you to get this important job done.  Why is it important?
  1. You will cut down drying time if your vent is clean, which saves money and energy.
  2. Dyer fires - I don't need any more reasons!
When our appliances work well it helps us live more simple lives doesn't it?  It takes a lot longer to dry out your clothes on the line.  It takes a lot longer for a dyer to get your clothes dry if the dryer vent is clogged.  It's as simple as that.

Here's more info on how and why you need to clean out your dryer vent.

Here is the kit I bought:
And did you know there are a few ways you can recycle lint?  I simply used it as mulch in flower pots.  
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