Easy Organizing

Out with the Old, Make Room for the New

Posted by on Nov 8, 2010 in Embrace the Urge to Purge, Featured, GOPACK Method, Holiday Organization, Mom Moments, MomSources™, Organizing Products, Problem-Solved!, Sanity Savers, What You Need & Where to Put It | 5 comments

Out with the Old, Make Room for the New

Pre-holiday decluttering…

It doesn’t matter if we’ve been naughty or nice, pre-holiday is the best time to declutter to make room for the slew of new stuff. Think of this process as a way to create a space for what’s on your holiday list. If you’ve asked Santa for some new books, consider purging some of what you already have. Or if you’ve asked for new clothing, now is a great time to create a place in your closet where those new pieces will hang. Let go of what you haven’t worn, doesn’t fit and you can’t see putting on again.

Here are some simple strategies for decluttering a few areas of the home:

Purge your books:

  • Donate to a Ronald McDonald House or retirement home. Facilities like the ones mentioned (there are plenty out there!) are always looking for age-appropriate reading materials.
  • Ebay your books—Perhaps you have a Collection of cookbooks or coffee table books that are no longer relevant to your life any longer. Books are heavy, so you may want to consider selling them to a local used bookstore, as opposed to online, especially if they are hard cover. And, put them together in collections, as opposed to posting (if you choose to go online) one book at a time.
  • Pass ‘em on—If it’s children’s books you’re looking to “give away” and your youngest child is older than your bff’s oldest child, offer the books to her. Of course, there will be the “special” books you want to save (I saved Good Night Moon, Oh the Places You’ll Go, and a few other treasured ones!) and you can carefully store those away with other keepsakes.

Make room for new clothes:

  • Donate to Good Will or National Kidney Foundation—This is one of the easiest ways to purge items from your closet! Get a bag, load it up, and drop it off. Done!
  • Consign—Selling items is a great way to fund future purchases, especially if you have a lot of designer clothes in your closet that were pricey to begin with! Find a local consignment shop, establish a relationship with the owner, and consign items regulary.
  • Offer to a friend—Perhaps you’ve put on or lost weight and you have multiple sizes in your closet. If there’s no intention of returning to the “off-sizes,” ask a friend who is one of those of sizes if they’re interested in the clothing pieces. Or gather your gf’s and have a clothing swap party. Perhaps you’ve had your eye on a friend’s dress and maybe she’s ready to part with it. Win-win!

Kids and toys:

Huge issue for parents! Whether we’re buying because our child says “I want” and we don’t want to disappoint or well-intentioned grandparents show up, hands full everytime they visit, ALL new PARENTS wind up with TOO MUCH KID STUFF!!! And, although we may be grateful for all that stuff, the BIG dilemma is: Where to put it all??!!

  • Storage is key and it needs to be effective storage, not where you’re chucking everything into a bottomless pit. You know, the big container full of stuff that your child no longer has any interest in picking through to find a treasure. I’m talking appropriate storage for particular items. For example, action figures need a smaller storage bin so the items don’t become an overwhelming sea of plastic for your child to deal with. Try containers such as crunch can totes, which are 12″ square and they have handles! Attach a tag to each one with the name and a photo (for kids who haven’t started reading yet) and not only can kids help clean up, but they can carry the tote to its rightful home once it’s full.
  • Limit the number of toys and books. I’m a big fan of rotatingtoys. For two reasons:
    1. Kids are overwhelmed when there’s TOO MUCH stuff. Limiting what they have to play with allows them to SEE everything…and allows you to have a place for everything.
    2. It’s like Christmas morning when you take out the toys kids haven’t played with in a while. This is a great on those cold rainy winter days when you’re stuck inside. Just make sure to put toys AWAY (rotate!) when you take out the ones that have been stored. Store toys in large clear containers to easily identify what’s inside. Put like items together. For example, all of the Loving Family Dollhouse accessories or the Power Rangers action figures in one container.

Memories last longer than stuff Consider giving the gift of an experience. We all love to have “stuff” in our hands, but when is enough, enough. Consider taking the family to a movie or a broadway show, skiing if you live in a colder climate, or to the beach if you’re in a warmer climate. Create a memory that doesn’t involve accumulation of more stuff. Take photos and make a memory book, which takes up a lot less space! Kids take their cues from parents. Now is the time to teach them the importance of spending quality time together, which is the key to solid lasting relationships.

Recently, I sent out a tweet asking what’s on everyone’s Holiday gift list…

Best answer…

May your holidays be filled with experiences and lots of happy memories!

Disclaimer: I’m not endorsing the B&W Zeppelin speaker (in fact, I’ve never used it) or any of the companies I’ve linked to in this article. These are only examples of ideas.

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How Morning Coffee Taught My Children Responsibility

Posted by on Nov 7, 2010 in 5-minutes-a-day, Easy Organizing, Featured, Mom Moments, MomSources™, Problem-Solved!, Sanity Savers | 6 comments

If there’s one thing that makes me jump out of bed, it’s coffee. Yes, “I’m Stacey, and I’m a coffeeholic!” I go to sleep thinking about that first cup of coffee in the morning. My two-cup minimum in the morning and a pick me up in the afternoon satisfies my coffee craving. The nicest thing anyone can do for me is to bring me coffee in the morning. Seriously, whoever does this, has my heart!

One day, while at my office, I announced to my coworkers that I was ecstatic because my daughter made me coffee and brought it to my bedside. One coworker asked: “How does she know how to make it?” I said with a frowny and confused look on my face, “I showed her how.” It was at that moment that I realized some parents continue to do for their children instead of teach them how to do for themselves…or others.

Now, I don’t teach my chicks how to do things that are solely for my benefit, like making coffee—although I have to say that was genius! I’ve taught the chicks how to do their own laundry, how to organize their rooms, how to do their homework (where to search for answers, etc.). These are all tasks that they need to know how to do to be productive adults. Besides, I’m getting too old and too tired to do EVERYTHING for everyone else. I take my kids food shopping and give them their own list. Hey, if they want a particular type of cereal, then they can walk over the the aisle and choose it while I pick up other items on the list! Or if they need some toothpaste and are particular about it, I send them to pick out what they want! It’s important to give kids the opportunity to be accountable for their actions; to take responsibility for their choices. Hey, if nothing else, if they make the choice and aren’t happy with it, they can’t blame it on me!

I’ll be darned if my kids are sitting watching tv while I’m preparing a meal. They set the table, they help clean up. It’s a group effort. Not to say I don’t have to oversee and give instruction, but as time goes by, they’ve caught on and take pride in their participation.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.  —Chinese Proverb

Some kids today act entirely too entitled. Parents cart them to and from expensive activities, allowing kids to not participate in daily upkeep of a household because they are hopeful that their child is the next Ashley Tisdale or Justin Beiber. My question: Who is going to do their laundry when they go to college? How will they know how to cook, or shop for that matter? My philosophy: If my kids are ill-prepared to take care of themselves as adults, and they’re knocking on my door after college, I haven’t done my job! Of course, I support my children in pursuing activities, but it’s balanced and they’re not overbooked. Do I hope my little chick will be the next Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? Sure. Do I take that hope and forget about teaching her the necessities of taking care oneself. No.

So parents, give your chicks simple tasks to start really being part of your team! If there too young to do their own laundry, show them how to fold. Kids love that! They love to play house, so give them some “real” housekeeping duties. My little chick has always loved to dust or run the dry mop all over the house. It may not get done exactly how I’d like, but it gets done…and I didn’t have to do it!

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An Inspired Place for Mom

Posted by on Nov 5, 2010 in 5-minutes-a-day, Easy Organizing, Featured, GOPACK Method, MomSources™, Organizing Products, Problem-Solved!, Room-by-Room, What You Need & Where to Put It | 0 comments

Updated: July 14, 2013

Make your workspace a place you love to be whether it’s writing a special note to a friend, paying bills, or signing permission slips.

Here’s the Shopping List:

1. Bella 3-ring Binders – Purple shown (available in 7 different colors) $55. each

Great for phone lists and schedules—anything you need to refer to but don’t want cluttering up the refrigerator! Easy to store and grab when you (or a family member) need it.

2. Marvel Padfolio – Eggplant shown (available in 3 different colors) $50 /

Try this instead: Work Inspired Padfolio $14

Take notes and look like a fashionista when you go to a meeting!

3. Bella Desk Blotter – Purple shown (available in 5 colors) $40

Make any desk surface look pulled together with a color-coordinated desk blotter. Great way to save the surface of a beautiful wood desk too!

4. Bella Leather mousepad – Purple (available in 5 colors) $20

A mouse pad is a must, so why not coordinate it with the color scheme of the room…and the desk blotter!

5. Thomas Paul 3-ring binder – Botanical $21

Try this instead: Bella Patent Leather 3-ring Binder $27.50

Add texture with a beautiful design. Add pocket dividers to this binder and use for bank statements and receipts.

6. Thomas Paul File Folders $12

Try these instead: Work Inspired File Folders $8.50

Filing is much more fun when the folders are pretty! And these file folders fit nicely in the Semikolon Folder Box (see below). File children’s special mementos such as report cards and A+ test!

7. susy Jack Work/Life Reminder Magnets $10

Try these instead: Color Dot Magnets $7.95

These fun “To Do” magnets are great for action items reminders.

8. Bella Pencil Cup – Purple $34

This lovely pencil cup coordinates nicely with the mouse pad and desk blotter (see above). Available in 5 different colors—this is the pop your office needs! This puts the fun in functional.

9. Galison Business Card Holder $15

Try this instead: Semikolon Business Card Holder $20.00

A special file for all the business cards you’ve collected. Who wouldn’t want to file and retrieve cards from this adorable container!

10. Semikolon Folder Box $32

A simple yet stylish way to keep you desk clutter to a minimum! Use the Thomas Paul File Folders to file projects and other “current” paperwork you need to access, but want to keep contained.

Don’t forget to use the GOPACK® Method to organize your office. These are the containers used in the “C” portion of the method!

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Do You Even Know You’re Stressed?

Posted by on Oct 23, 2010 in Easy Organizing, Mom Moments, MomSources™, Sanity Savers | 0 comments

There’s something to be said for a routine.

In my last post, Turning a Negative into a Positive, I was inspired by Jen Singer, who has a blog called Momma Said, when she tweeted “Blogging is like breastfeeding: The more you write, the more you produce.” This tweet, albeit comical and a little awkward for a man to read perhaps, lead me to write about how negative venting can snowball and actually make you feel worse and potentially wind up in a hole that’s difficult to climb out of. Jen commented on my blog entry about how after losing her Aunt Nancy to cancer, she found solice in organizing her home…that having control over something made her feel normal.

Stress levels can definitely be equated to whether or not we have control over such things as our surroundings, our finances, our relationships. Now, some of that we cannot control, of course. For example, the winter weather that creates a mountain of snow that’s difficult to shovel out of (albeit temporarily); or the economy, which we could have invested heavily in real estate and come to find out that it’s not worth what we had hoped; or in our relationships, we certainly can only control ourselves.

But let’s take the paperwork or the checking account that we could gain some level of control over, which will make us feel a little more at ease, despite everything else that’s crazy, or out of control to an extent, in our lives. Or the kitchen counter that becomes cluttered with the day’s mail (or the week’s mail, for that matter). We could set a routine to sort and file that paperwork and balance the checking account. These are routine tasks that help reduce stress and anxiety levels because you know where to find what you need, if you need it, and where you stand financially.

Question: Do you know where your birth certificate is?

If you answered, yes, how does that feel? If no, are you now in a bit of a panic knowing that you might need it and have no idea where to find it.

Point being, doing what we can to “control” (a word that has negative connotations for many) our immediate situation and surroundings. To know what you have in your checking and savings account or where the passports and birth certificates live. These sound like little things, but they’re actually big things when it comes to feeling in control.

Many years ago, I came across a list of items to keep in order that would help you to feel secure in everyday life. At some point, the list must have become less important to me and made it’s way to the shredder. Darn! I’ve started searching for it online because it was truly a good one! The essence of the list was to have some of the following items organized:

  • All passports and birth certificates in a fireproof box
  • Stash away $500 in cash, just in case
  • Have six months of living expenses in savings
  • Have no apologies left unsaid

There were many more points on the list, but I’m sure you get the idea that when our self and home are in order, anxiety is lessened…and, hey, we’re freed up to take part in the activities we enjoy!

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Turning a Negative into a Positive

Posted by on Oct 18, 2010 in Featured, Mom Moments, MomSources™, Problem-Solved!, Sanity Savers | 6 comments

Turning a Negative into a Positive

I used to think that venting was a good idea. That getting something off your chest was better than proverbially holding it in and making your vessel a toxic space. Well, I’ve changed my mind. Call it a woman’s right, being a Gemini, or what you will, but I’m keeping more and more to myself these days (the negative stuff, anyway).

So, why don’t I think venting is a good idea? It’s sort of like pushing a car with no breaks downhill. The car gets started and picks up speed and more speed and more speed until it eventually crashes and burns into whatever it hits. I do believe that venting has the same potential: The issue becomes bigger than it started just by giving life to it.

Over the years, I’ve read tons and tons of self-help books, books on spirituality and karma, books about recovering from this or that…and the only thing that seems to work for me lately is to know that if an issue is negative, to squish the emotion, focus on the facts, get the problem solved and move on! Otherwise, one can wind up not only sitting in the negative, but actually creating a negative space that can become very difficult to climb out of.

Now, if it’s something positive that needs a life and a space for growth, I’m all for it! It’s probably why I’ve made a career out of spouting the importance of being organized. Organizing is such a positive issue for me that it was necessary to give life to it. And, not only do I focus on the facts, but I focus a lot of energy on the emotion surrounding the positive effects of being organized.

I’m reading a book called “Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting: The Astonishing Power of Feelings.” It’s a NY Times bestseller that a friend and business associate of mine sent me. It’s not at all what I had expected, really. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to read that it’s about vibrating positive emotions. Some people may immediately say, oh that’s silly or too new agey, but I want to remind you of the phrase “you are what you eat.” I remember hearing that phrase many years ago and kind of poo pooing it, but if you think about it, it’s true: If you stuff yourself full of crappy, fatty food, you generally feel pretty tired and full. If you eat something healthy and nutritious, likely you’ll feel energized. It’s the same with feelings.

Jen Singer who writes the Momma Said blog, posted a thought on Facebook earlier today that, to me, goes along with the idea that if you focus enough energy, that’s what you get—good or bad, positive or negative. The thought was: “Blogging is like breastfeeding, the more you write, the more you produce.” Think about it!

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