Wednesday, December 25, 2013

just do one thing

“Don’t plan your whole life out; just do the next thing.”

I can’t find exactly where this came from, but I’ve seen it floating around the internet for awhile. It really struck me because although I am a natural planner, sometimes I get so wrapped up in the “big picture”, that it is detrimental to “now”.

It kind of goes hand in hand with the saying “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” 

Everyone has at least one "project" they keep putting off. It could be the basement, a spare bedroom, or your closet. It seems like such a giant task, that you keep putting it off until you “have time”.

If you just did ONE thing right now, it might not seem significant. But each time you find yourself with a spare moment, dedicate it to the giant task you have in front of you, and either A) you will get it done, eventually or B) you will find that it really isn't as time consuming as you imagined.

We moved last month, and in the process I found sooo many papers that I needed to just do something with. I kept putting them in a file box haphazardly, and I couldn’t find anything when I needed it. I thought to myself “I really need to get a filing system to keep this paper clutter under control” and I told myself I would just wait until I found what I wanted and then I’d deal with the paper.

I got really frustrated the other day when I couldn’t find a coupon I wanted, so I said to myself, “I have to find this coupon, so I’m just going to kill two birds with one stone and sort through this paper!!” Half of it was garbage, and my current filing system was able to handle the rest.

I will keep looking for a new filing system, but I can take my time and find exactly what I want at a good price. (check out this post on one of my favorite blogs, i Dream of Clean)

CHALLENGE: Think of the project you have been putting off the most, and find ONE thing that you can do right now. Set a timer if you have to, but JUST DO THE NEXT THING. J
Monday, December 23, 2013

a simply organized kitchen

Out of all the rooms in our house, I feel like the kitchen is definitely the easiest and fastest room to get out of control. I do my best to go to bed with a spotless kitchen, but in less than 24 hours it can look like I haven't cleaned in a week!!

After moving in four weeks ago, I think I have determined the best "place" for everything, and have everything in it's place :)

I thought I would share my process to help you get your kitchen organized and simplified.

1. Start with a completely clean kitchen (or as clean as you can get it).

2. Empty all cabinets and drawers and categorize everything. Here are my categories:
  • cleaning supplies
  • medicine & first aid
  • junk drawer
  • towels
  • utensils
  • baggies, foil, and plastic wrap
  • baking
  • dishes
  • glasses & cups
  • spices
  • pots & pans
  • small appliances
  • breakfast & beverage cabinet
  • food storage cabinet
  • kids cups & plates

3. Place each category in the most logical place. Think about which area you use the items in, then which space makes the most sense. Use post it notes to "place" the items first if you need to.

4. Containerize your items as much as possible to prevent "avalanches" when you open a cabinet, and make it easier to put things back where they belong. Dollar Tree and the Target Dollar Spot are the best places to find a variety of containers and bins.

5. Try to keep your counter as empty as possible. Only keep the items out that you use on a daily basis, such as your coffee pot. 

I'm hoping to score some after Christmas deals to get my kitchen and dining room decorated. I am thinking red & turquoise!!

Linked up:
Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Monday Funday

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

have you heard of minimalism?

About a year and a half ago I heard the term “minimalism” for the first time. Wait a minute, there are people in the western world who actually TRY to live with as little “stuff” as possible?! This sounded very intriguing to me for quite a few reasons.

1.       Less stuff, means less money spent
2.       Less stuff, means less to clean
3.       Less stuff, means more enjoyment out of the things we do own

I began reading an eBook that I got for free on my Kindle about living with less, and I have to say it was very eye opening. I actually TOOK NOTES for the first time since college.

There were so many concepts that I didn’t realize I had already been floating around in my head, I just hadn’t put them to use in my life and home.

The first place I started was in my kitchen. I think this is probably the most common room for excess “stuff” in people’s homes. Think about it. How many mixing bowls do you ever use at one time? The answer is not the same for everyone. The answer for me is 3, and only a few times in a year. For my mom, it could be 6 or maybe even more sometimes. She bakes often, and in large quantities.

How many items do you have that can complete the same task? Do you need a quesadilla maker when you already have frying pans? Do you need a food processor when you have a set of knives? Again, the answer is not the same for everyone. I do not need a large food processor. I have a small two cup food processor that works just fine for the rare occasion that I need it. I could actually probably go without it completely, but it doesn’t take up much room so I am okay with keeping it.

Some people might say, “Why have a microwave or a toaster when you have an oven?”

This is taking it a little too far for my family, I think my husband would flip out if I got rid of the microwave!!

I had already done a pretty good purge of our kitchen, but during our recent move I decided to really ask myself if we TRULY needed each item I was packing and unpacking in our kitchen. I found that it was easier to purge when I was unpacking, and could see how much space these things were taking up in our new home.

One unexpected perk of minimalism in the kitchen is that there are less dishes to do, even though I may have to wash some items more often. I don’t have an extra mixing bowl to dirty, so I have to wash a dirty one first. Writing this out it doesn’t seem to make much sense, but I am finding that I have less LARGE loads for my dishwasher.

Challenge: next time you are unloading your dishwasher, look at each item and ask yourself if you have any duplicates that you do not need. Once you fill a box, take it to your car and drop it off at Goodwill next time you are out. 
Friday, September 13, 2013

High Five for Friday

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Another one bites the dust!! I'm so ready for the weekend, no plans, just planning on hanging out with my little man, probably getting crafty :)
I want to make a point to do a H5FF post every week, I think it's a great way to appreciate the little things in life. This is definitely the kind of post that isn't written with the intention of fascinating readers, it's just a little snapshot of my life preserved on the interwebs for all of eternity!!!!!

1. One word. Breadsticks <3


2. Tuesday night I was rummaging through some boxes, and Killian asked if he could have one to make a rocket ship... he is so freakin' adorable!! So we got out all the markers, crayons, and stickers we could find, and made him his very own rocket ship :) Since then, he has attached wheels and "blasters", so I'll have to post an updated picture soon :)

3. I came home from work Wednesday night to this beautiful table setting, and dinner prepared by my husband to celebrate our 3rd anniversary.

4. It was delicious, and we finally enjoyed our bottle of Michele Chiarlo Moscato d'Asti, which is by far the best wine I have ever had... which is saying a lot because I usually HATE wine.

5.  I get Starb's on Fridays... mmmmm.
Monday, June 3, 2013

My Cleaning Caddy

**Originally seen on my former blog, Organize ME!! and written for The Cherry on Top blog
Even though it feels nothing like Spring yet, I am sooo ready to open my windows and get some fresh air into my home!! Open windows are a must when I’m spring cleaning. I love making my own cleaning products, I have found a DIY recipe on Pinterest for just about any product you can imagine. But I do work full time, and I’m not going to lie, sometimes I’m just feeling too lazy to make them myself. I’d rather spend the energy I have on checking off my spring cleaning list rather than making my own cleaning solutions.
Whether I buy or make my cleaning solutions, I try to get everything I use at Dollar Tree. 99% of their cleaning supplies work just as good as the name brands, and seriously, it’s a dollar. It makes me sick to pay 3 times more at Walmart to get the same job done!!
Here’s my real secret to getting a lot of cleaning done in a short time: my cleaning caddy.

It is soooo cute, and handy!! Housework stinks, so you might as well make the most of it J I keep it stocked with everything I could need, so I don’t have to stop and search for something and get side tracked. These are my must haves:
·         “Swiffer” dusters*
·         Magic erasers*
·         Windex*
·         Coffee filters*
·         Disinfectant spray*
·         Spic n’ Span* surface cleaner
·         Carpet & upholstery cleaner
·         Rags
·         Furniture spray*
·         Canned air
·         “Electronics” cleaner**
·         Microfiber cloth
·         “Pledge”
*These products can be bought at Dollar Tree. I was so excited when I found the generic magic erasers, they are the exact same and now I don’t have to use them so sparingly!! I can use them on EVERYTHING J The “Swiffer” like dusters are a steal also!! I haven’t found a carpet & upholstery cleaner that I like very well, so I do go for the name brands on that.
**Hopefully you know that you shouldn’t use any old cleaner on your electronics, but the specialty stuff you find in the electronics department is soooo overpriced. You know what it is?! 1 part rubbing alcohol, 1 part distilled water. Put it in a spray bottle and wipe away with a microfiber cloth!!
I like to use coffee filters from Dollar Tree to clean my windows and mirrors, and I use old white socks or cut up t-shirts as cleaning rags. I also make sure to have these handy:
·         Broom
·         Mop
·         Vacuum
·         Steam cleaner
·         Carpet shampooer
·         Boxes for sorting
I always make sure I have a box for trash, items to sell, items to donate, and items that belong elsewhere. It’s best to just throw everything in the box and deal with it when the cleaning is done, or I get sidetracked and never finish the job I started with.
Only you know what tasks need to be done in your home, but check out my Spring Cleaning board on Pinterest if you don’t know where to start. Typically though, think “Start high, finish low”. Start with dusting the ceiling fan and corners, and work your way down to shampooing the carpet.
You can order my cleaning caddy in 5 different patterns from my Initials, Inc. Creative Partner, Missy Noel (click here for her shop). It’s called the “Get a Grip” and can be used for so much… a diaper changing caddy, craft caddy, clutter catcher, the list is endless!! Personalization is always free and they have so much to choose from, I’m addicted. She does home and catalog parties, so book one now to earn some free products, just be sure to tell her I referred you J
Sunday, June 2, 2013

Family Art Gallery

**Originally seen on my former blog, Organize ME!!

I am one of those mom's who wants to save everything... I have overcome that urge in some areas, like clothing, but "artwork" is another issue!!

My art "file" may look like a box full of scribbles on copy paper by a 1-3 year old, and that's exactly what they are :) Scribbles and memories of sitting at the table and seeing the proud look on Monster's face when he colors or paints me something beautiful!! 

I don't like the clutter of covering the fridge with new pictures every week, but love looking at my son's displays of creativity... I went to Pinterest for some inspiration!!

The frames are from Dollar Tree, with the glass replaced by scrapbook paper. I spray painted clips to match the frames, and hung them on the wall with Command Picture Hanging Strips, my most recent obsession!!

The "Happy Birthday" plaque was made by my amazingly crafty mom, Missy, and it was a Christmas gift. She pre-filled a tag with each family members birthday, and gave me plenty of extras.

TA-DA!! What do you think?

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DIY Planner

**Originally seen on my former blog, Organize ME!!

If any one object could describe organizing to me, it would be a planner. I have had dozens of different kinds, both printed and electronic. I like being able to customize my planner to my needs, but I also want it to be somewhat cute :) During the month of January tons of bloggers have been featuring their planners, whether it be a fancy one or homemade one (that still cost a pretty penny). I decided that I wasn't going to find anything that I LOVED, so I decided to make my own!!

I love this planner because I can print ANYTHING I want and put it in there, exactly where I want it. I chose the Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ 1" binder in the 5 1/2" by 8 1/2" size. The 3-ring style saved money because I didn't have to buy a special punch, I just use the one I already have.

The pouch was improvised... Once I had my planner complete I wanted somewhere to keep my supplies, and I had this plastic zippered envelope that I got from Staples awhile back for $1. I just 3-hole punched it, and I was set :)

It keeps my highlighters, Sharpie pen, Post-it notes, and Post-it tabs handy.

To organize my planner by section I used dividers I already had, similar to these, also by Martha Stewart.

Then I filled my planner with FREE PRINTABLES!! This part actually took the longest because I knew EXACTLY what I wanted, and I wasn't going to settle until I found it :) There are literally THOUSANDS of free printables on Pinterest, for literally anything you can think of!! Check out my Printables board on Pinterest.

The cheapest planner that I might have liked to purchase was AT LEAST $25... if I would have gotten something I LOVED it would have started around $50. That's just ridiculous to me... so here's what I spent:

I had everything around the house, and when I bought the Martha Stewart products I used a 40% off coupon on each of them. A little over $15 is a great price, and the ability to customize it perfectly (and for FREE) is priceless!!


**Originally seen on my former blog, Organize ME!!

Contrary to what my 10 year old self believed, cleaning is not simply moving stuff around. Sometimes life gets so busy, that one (or several) rooms in our house become a dumping ground, and they get out of control fast. Where do you begin?!
1.       One of these things is not like the other...
Remove everything that doesn’t belong in the room. I have a basket in my living room that I use only for this purpose. 

My first floor is pretty small, so I just go from room to room, looking for everything that belongs upstairs, and put it in my basket. If I actually go as far as putting everything away I’ll get side tracked, so I just put it at the bottom of the stairs until I’m finished cleaning.

2.       Everything that goes up, must come down…
If you really want your hard work to be EFFECTIVE, you have to start high… if you have to dust vents or corners, do that first. Then breakdown each room into smaller areas, starting with the highest “area”. Remove everything from the highest surface and dust, sanitize if necessary, polish if needed, and generally just make sure everything is neat and tidy. When I am cleaning my bookshelves, I take everything off and clean one shelf at a time, then dust each item as I put it back.

Do this until every surface has been dusted, then it’s time to vacuum. Don’t be a lazy vacuum-er!! You have to move things!! Do the furniture first, then the floors. You have to go in one direction, then in the opposite direction. Then use your hand vac or detailing attachment to get the little corners and crevices that the vacuum can’t get. My husband says he has never seen someone take so much time vacuuming, but I don’t do it every day. So if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right!!
3.       Get ready for your close up…
Now it’s time to make everything pretty. “Stage” the room for visitors. Now that the clutter is out, arrange the pillows, turn on your Scentsy warmer, open the curtains, and take a break!!

*my delusional dream living room*

Quick Coat Closet Organization

**Originally seen on my former blog, Organize ME!!

With winter almost officially here, one of my biggest pet peeves is coming too... coats all over the house. It really bugs me when the coats are all over the living room and dining room, even though I do it when I'm being lazy too. I REALLY wish we had a bigger entryway, or even a mudroom, but we rent a townhouse so we have to work with what we have. We have a small closet on the main level and even though it's not right by the door, it's a good place to store shoes and coats. 

It was in quite a disarray, and had become a catchall "junk closet". 

My steam cleaner, my husbands toolbag, Monster's snow cone maker, some shirts, my sewing machine, and vacuum... most of those things should really go somewhere else. So EVERYTHING came out, and it only took me about 5 min to get to this...

Yes, Lotso stays. Monster says that he has to go in timeout in the closet when he's being mean... he has a big imagination.

There really isn't anywhere else for the vacuum to go, so it stays. Yes, Monster has way too many coats, but they are all so cute :) I moved our shoes and boots out of the cluttered doorway and into the closet. I keep them in the Jumbo Eyelet Tote, it's a Clever Container product I sell. I got the small bins up on the top shelf from Walmart I think, we've had them awhile. They used to be under our entertainment center, but I like that they match the shoe tote. There is one for each member of our household, to keep gloves, hats, scarves, etc. I think I should label them, though. I have to make a return at Staples, so I will probably get these Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ Brown Kraft Labels

This little makeover was completely free, and only took a few minutes. Hopefully it will make getting bundled up easier for the whole family once the cold really hits :)

Leave a comment telling me how you organize your coats and shoes!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

don't let comparison steal your joy

Here's to blog #3!! First "A Mom, a Man, and a Monster", then "Organizing ME!!". The first time around, I felt like I was all over the place. It was my first blog, and I wanted to blog about a million different things. Organizing is my passion, so I thought that "Organizing ME!!" would be more focused and I would ALWAYS have something to blog about.

This time around it's just me, ashton renee. I am only going to blog when I want to, about whatever I want. Whether it's something awesome Killian did, my new favorite lipstick, or my latest organizing epiphany.


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