Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Minute Challenge

Feeling overwhelmed by a messy home? Don't know where to start? Try the 5 Minute Challenge. Set a timer for 5 minutes and stay in ONE room. (That is KEY.) You'll be amazed at what you can straighten and pick up. If you find items for another room, put those items near the door but do NOT leave the room. When the timer goes off, put those other items away. Then decide if you want to do this again in another room. You'll find that a focused, but quick run through of the main living areas, will perk up the home in very little time, and perhaps even motivate you to do more thorough projects!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Organizing a Cabinet

We're nearly "finished" with our book on organizing, and I think I'm getting the bug for straightening things out in my home. Once you get started, it's easier to stay motivated.

Over Thanksgiving, I decided to organize a large cabinet in my home office. I had intended to do two, but only got to one. But thats okay!

Basically, the cabinets had become collection spots for lots of "stuff." So I removed everything from one shelf or section at time, putting it on a table set up in the room. (See the photo of all the stuff to sort through!)

Then I wiped down the shelves, and returned items little by little, discarding or putting in a "give away" bag things I didn't think I'd need. I did NOT do detailed sorting. For example, a have a number of CD-Roms and DVDs that I probably could have discarded. Since they did not take up a lot of space once arranged neatly in a CD holder, I decided to avoid the mental energy it would take to decide what to do about each one. I also kept one bin of miscellaneous technology items such as cords and SD cards. You see, my personality handles details to a certain degree, and then I get tired and overwhelmed to pursue deep details. So I am content with having things reasonably contained. Then if I get the urge, I can take one container at a time and really sort through it. That wasn't my purpose in this project, particularly since it was also time to do some Christmas decorating.

Several days later, the cabinet was much better. I had freed up space, grouped things more logically, and even found items I could repurpose for better use elsewhere. For example, the miscellaneous technology items mentioned above had been in a three drawer plastic organizer, which would have better use on my craft table. Thus, I transferred those items into one bin and moved the drawers to the craft table. For the win!

Organizing doesn't have to be overwhelming, if done in small parts, if 1) you start with an empty cabinet/section, and 2) you only sort and make decisions in a way that matches your natural bent.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mini Vac

I recently purchased a mini vacuum cleaner. Of many household chores, vacuuming is one I dislike the most, but yet like the effects of, too. Part of the problem is that we have a bulky canister vac that is hard to drag around the house.

So, I purchased an inexpensive hand/stick vac that is lightweight and easy to use. This won't replace the power of a good vacuum, but it will be easier to grab to clean up dust, cat hair, and various particles quickly and perhaps inspire dragging out the larger vacuum more often.

Sometimes it takes a simple tool to help you feel more equipped for keeping things picked up. What are some tools that you use?

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Next Day Prep Checklist calls it the before bed routine. Others think of it as planning for tomorrow. Whatever you call it, the routine you go through to prepare for the next day is critical to staying organized and stress free. Here are some tips to make it effective for you.

Pick the time of day that works best for you. A before bed routine is great IF you are at least somewhat of a night person and have the energy to do the thinking and prepping. But what about if you are more of a morning person like me? Then a dinner hour routine may be better. While dinner cooks, do the prep work for the next day.

Include on your list the things that stress you out the most. Do you get most frustrated in the morning because
your technology isn't charged (i.e. phone, iPod, iPad or laptop, etc.) or because your outfit isn't picked out
Maybe you can't stand to leave the kitchen a mess. Whatever most stresses you, make sure this item is on
your "next day prep" checklist.

Prepare for more than one day in advance. If you are making sandwiches, for example, why not make a
couple more if it's the type that can remain fresh? For example, you can freeze peanut butter and jelly or
peanut butter and honey sandwiches for use the rest of the week.  When picking out one outfit, why not pick
out two or three?
Everyone's "next day prep" checklist will be different. Make it unique to you. When you wake up the next
morning, you'll be glad you did it!