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

Christmas Craft Paper

I know I’ve said it before, but now more than ever do you need to heed this advice- use CRAFT PAPER for wrapping this time of year!

Go ahead and refer back to my post this summer about Consolidating with Craft Paper.

Craft Paper Dispensor

Please people, don’t fall prey to those gift bags at Michael’s or rolls of paper at Target just because you feel “ahead of the game” and you got the best Santa pattern.  Stay calm, and craft paper it!  Get the kids involved.  Threaten them by way of their Elf!  (by the way, if you are reading this and it’s dark outside, move it! The Elf that is)  I promise that you will have a much better result by way of the Earth and Economy!

Go here for supplies…The Stand by Crate and Barrel plus Paper by Crate and Barrel.  One stop shopping and 15% off of SHIPPING using coupon code SAVE15!

Tis’ the season!

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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!

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Here come the houseguests!

School ends in less than a month (hold on while I cry and break out into hives at the thought of being henpecked for 83 days by my beautiful, sweet and loving children). So that means families everywhere will be on the move.  For my foursome that usually means an annual pilgrimage to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and one looong (hives are appearing again) car ride to the Florida Keys to visit family.  And somewhere in between all of that driving (and hives) and beach time we receive a handful of visitors here in our home town of Charleston.  It is the wonderful price you pay to live in this beautiful city.  Family, friends and one-offs alike call you up for a visit during the summer months so they can take advantage of our pristine beaches and award-winning restaurants.  Who can blame them?

Having said that, you had better be ready at the drop of hat for that phone call announcing a visit in, oh, 36 hours!!! I try to keep my house quasi-ready for those impromptu visitors.  If you follow these 10 simple steps it makes their stay at your home much more pleasant and reduces the amount of panic that comes over one who is unprepared!

Houseguests-Blog Post

1) CLEAN SET OF SPARE SHEETS– I always have a set of sheets ready to throw on our guest bed and a set available for a blow up mattress (especially when kiddos are in tow).  Since these sheets can sit stagnant for some time, place a dryer sheet in with them when being put away. Or  have a sachet next to them in the drawer or shelf.

2) EXTRA PILLOWS & BLANKETS-Especially for those cold AC nights in mid-July.  Nothing worse than freezing through the night while grasping at paper thin covers.  I’m cold just thinking about it. And plenty of pillows for propping up to read in bed.

3) FRESH FLOWERS– This does 2 things: 1. Let’s your guests know you went the extra mile and 2. Masks any pet odors that you may be harboring in your home.  You know the ones that you pet owners don’t know exist, but us visitors can smell a mile away? Subtle yet effective.

4) TOILETRY BASKET– We all know what a pain it is to fly with a collection of 4 oz. bottles of shampoo so be kind to your guests and have a mini CVS available in their bathroom.  It is so nice to freshen up upon arrival so please have on hand a selection of toiletry basics. If nothing else, a toothbrush! That is one thing they cannot borrow.

5) HOUSEHOLD CHEAT SHEET– This list contains the wi-fi password, gate codes, do’s and don’ts of the house and other nuances they’ll need to know about. It is additionally nice to put some magazines, maps and a list of a few recommended restaurants on their bedside table.

6) AMBIANCE CHECK– Make sure the lightbulbs in their room are working and that a nightlight for the bathroom is available (unless you want them wandering into your room at night).  And if you live in close quarters it might be good to have a sound machine available for them or else you might find yourself whispering to your spouse for 3 days.

7) EMPTY DRAWER AND CLOSET SPACE– It would be just plain rude if your guests had to work out their suitcase during their visit so please offer at least one drawer and a small amount of closet space including hangers

8) DECORATE SPARINGLY– This provides them comfort without clutter.  That was a nice way of saying that you should clear your crap out of the guest room.

9) MIRROR- A full length mirror and a make-up mirror (illuminated if you are feeling generous) are a very nice courtesy. Your guests will feel so much better if they are fully dressed when leaving their room to go out for dinner. Otherwise, they will be asking to use your bedroom mirror during their 32-outfit change and that is just a little too intimate and embarrassing.  Well, unless your guest is an old sorority sister and then it would be nostalgic.  But only then.

10) STOCK THE FRIDGE– I always try to ask my guests if there are any must haves (or have nots) that would make their stay more comfortable. Do they drink regular or decaf coffee? Do they have any allergies? Are they gluten-free like so many people are these days?

Well, you better get to it because, believe it or not, Memorial Day is in 2 weekends and we all know what that means…the first houseguests of the season!!!