Spring Organization: One Day at a Time

Spring is here, and summer is right around the corner! No one wants to stay at home and organize during the summer, so now is the time to do some spring cleaning and organizing and you will be ready for … Continue reading

10 Tips To An Organized 2014

Some of you may have made a New Year’s resolution to become more organized in 2014.  I personally am going to lose a few pounds, try to be more patient with my kids, and grow my fingernails.  These are pretty … Continue reading

Top 5 Organizing Products To Be Thankful For!

As the holiday season descends upon us, we will take time to celebrate and gather with the ones we love…..making it undeniably the busiest time of year.  Thanksgiving, being the first in the line up, has me thinking about what … Continue reading

“Poppin’ Tags” Part 1

The first time I heard the song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, I couldn’t stop laughing.  Thought it was the funniest and greatest song ever…don’t listen to it if explicit lyrics offend you 🙂  I guess they have … Continue reading

Recycling Made Easy….er

Today was recycling day in our neighborhood, and all of my neighbors proudly rolled their Big Blue trashcan recycling thingy to the curb.  If you are unfamiliar with this thingy, just picture your huge curbside trash can, but blue.  And … Continue reading

Creating a Family Drop Zone: How to Get it Done

As school begins, we start to get busy with homework and projects, but we are mostly busy with all of those after school activities.  You know what I am talking about.  PTA meetings, soccer practice, soccer games, flag football practice, flag football games, ballet, The Little Gym, and the list goes on!  Your leisurely summer schedule comes to an abrupt halt and the need for an organized after school schedule becomes imperative!  Since this is the first year that my little guy can actually participate in fun “after PRE-school” activities, and my daughter is in school all day, I have a new “game-on” time which is the 3:00 to 6:00 hours.  We need to pack those three hours with a little “homework,” fun outdoor activities, and a bunch of transporting and unbuckling of car and booster seats!

So, lately I have especially seen the need to create a sort of “command center” or “drop zone” in our home so that our whole family knows who is going where and who is doing what each day.  I also needed  a nice spot to place all of the items coming in and out of our home and make it look organized.  It’s the place where you put the lunch boxes, backpacks, shoes, papers, mail that you promise you are going to go through tomorrow.  I have been eyeing all of those cool “command centers” and luxurious entryways to homes in Pottery Barn and Pinterest.  Some have their own built in cubbies for each child, and some have awesome calendars, to-do lists, grocery lists, etc… all posted and displayed in the most organized and decorative way.  Let’s get real here…most people that I know don’t have that perfect spot in their home, so they are left to create one on a small wall or spot that may not be perfectly ideal.  That is my situation, and I decided to create my own drop zone in the most ideal spot in my home, which is actually my very small mud room/pantry/laundry room.  Let me begin by saying that even though I am a very organized person, I am not a very crafty person.  I do love a beautiful (and clean) home, but I am not going to create things from scratch and sit on my computer for an hour to make a pretty color-coded child calendar (although, I might like to do that if I had a lot more time on my hands and certainly if a client requested one).  Anyway, the thing is that you can get as fancy or go as simple as you want.    Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you to create your own command center.  But most importantly, if you add these 4 parts to your drop zone you will be well on your way to an organized school year:

1.  A spot for lunch boxes, backpacks, and shoes

2.  Calendar area

3.  Spot for papers for each child

commandcenter2

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

commandcenter3

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Photo Courtesy of Organize Magazine

Photo Courtesy of Organize Magazine

You can add as many things as you want to your drop zone/command center.  This last picture is of my simple but functional command center.   I also added my children’s chore charts and used some little Command hooks to tie some burlap and use clothes pins to display their artwork that comes home.  Notice there is a trash can there as well (which is where most of the artwork goes…not all, but most…Shhh! ) after it has been properly displayed for a nice period of time.

My simple drop zone

My simple drop zone

Attack of the Snackers!

My husband and I are in an ongoing battle over the kids’ eating habits. He thinks they snack too much leaving them not wanting their meals. And sees all of the excessively useless eating as the reason why we won’t … Continue reading

Back to School Already?

Believe it or not, the start of school is just around the corner.  Being a former teacher and school librarian, I get so excited about the start of school.  Since my daughter is starting kindergarten in August, this is the first year that I actually get to buy school supplies for one of my own.  I am such a nerd and bought all of her new kindergarten supplies in June.  Lesson learned though, I did spend a small fortune and will wait for sales and tax free shopping next go round!

So, before you start stressing about back to school shopping and getting those supplies in order, lets be sure to get the kids’ rooms in order!  Whether your kids are in kindergarten or in college, you don’t want your kiddos to start school with a cluttered and messy room, do you?

Maybe you are fortunate enough to have your kids in camp this week?  If not, just make it a fun project you can do together and get rolling!!!!

Here’s what you need to do:

1.  Organizing doesn’t have to involve a lot of money spent on products.  Whatever you do, don’t go out and buy a bunch of organizing products.  It will just add more clutter and cause you some unnecessary trips back to the store.

2.  Get rid of all of those small toys, stuffed animals, or whatever it is, that you really don’t need or your kids don’t play with anymore.  If your kiddo has a hard time saying goodbye to things, take this time to give a lesson on repurposing and giving to those left fortunate.  I know I have written this before, but one of my favorite Berenstain Bears books when I was little was the Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room.  I just loved when they cleaned up their rooms and ended up with all of those organized and labeled bins for their toys!  If your kids are young, read them that or Room Enough for Daisy, which is a picture book that teaches kids valuable life lessons like how living with less can benefit an individual and a community.  It also teaches them to appreciate what they have and that more is not always better.

daisy

3.  Separate like items and decide what you want to use to containerize.  This is the part where you can go shopping and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  They have tons of bins at The Dollar Store or you can go crazy and buy $50 beautiful bins at Restoration Hardware….the choice is yours!  I have found that it is easier to use products with an open top so you can just throw things in rather than using products with a closed lid.  For example, in my case, I have several cute pink baskets in my daughter’s room….one for mini fairies and princesses, Barbies in another basket, Strawberry Shortcake in another basket, etc… We actually have a separate little plastic four drawer container for American Girl accessories and clothes.  Be sure to label your baskets with a cute tag or you can even use pictures for little ones. Just remember that everything in the room should have a spot and those things always go in that spot.  If there isn’t a spot for something, it often also helps to have one big bin or tub for all of those random toys that don’t fit into a certain category…sort of like your kids “junk drawer.”  Check out our previous post on favorite products for toy “organization” for more ideas.  If you have too many toys and things around, get a big plastic tub with a lid and put the toys in there.  Stick that tub in the back of a closet and “rotate” the toys every month or so.  That way you don’t have too many things out and causing clutter all at once.

4.  You don’t need to save every little project from camp this summer and school last year.  I keep one archival box for each school year (I use the Stockholm Document box from The Container Store) and keep the art projects and other keepsakes in that box.  If it gets too full, it is time to go back through and reevaluate what to keep.  Arts and crafts are another whole post that we are going to revise and revisit soon, but for some ideas, check out our previous post on art storage.

Stockholm Boxes

5.  Start going through clothes that your child has outgrown.  Be thinking about the awesome sale Charleston Repeats that will be held in September.  Go ahead and register now so you are ensured a spot as a consigner!  I swear by this sale…make a lot of money every time I do it.  It takes some work, but it pays off in the end.  You can also sell those toys and other items you are purging at the sale!

Remember, our goal is to help you reduce clutter and keep things simple.  The less clutter you have around, the easier it is to clean and keep up with, thus reducing your stress and allowing for a happy momma!

DIAR Signature

What’s for Dinner?

I am not a cook…..a cleaner and organizer, yes!  I always have great intentions to cook healthy dinners for my family, but I usually end up coming home in the afternoon, entertaining children, and dealing with one child crisis after … Continue reading

Keep Calm and Wait for Carson

We have a guest blogger this week!  My mom, Carol Cassone, who has been obsessing over storing her silver for years.  She finally tackled that closet and did an unbelievable job (just like the mother of a professional organizer).  Really, … Continue reading