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

Jewelry Organization: How to Get it Done Fast

One organizing dilemma that a lot of people seem to ask me about is what to do with their jewelry.  Well, you could have California Closets come in and build fabulous jewelry drawers like this into your closet, but that will cost an arm and a leg.  Read on for some easy and budget friendly jewelry organizing options that will help you get your jewelry organized in no time.

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First of all, before you start organizing or buying products, think about how you like to keep your jewelry.  Do you want to see it all right there in front of you each day, or do you want it on top of a dresser hidden away in a pretty box.  I’ll give you ideas for both options, but don’t forget about the most important part…. DECLUTTER your jewelry before you start the organizing  process.  If you haven’t worn it in a year (or possibly two), DONATE.  If it is a higher quality and in great shape, you can CONSIGN it.  You can also give your old costume jewelry to a little girl who loves to place dress up!

If you are the type that likes your jewelry neatly put away in a drawer or hidden away somewhere, there are great inserts that you can purchase and make your own jewelry drawer.  Check out liners like this at organize.com

jewelryinsert

If you have the room and the money, you could even purchase your own jewelry cabinet like this awesome one from Pottery Barn or a less expensive but equally cool piece like the Hayworth Jewelry Armoire from Pier One.  Also stacksandstacks.com  has over 100 pretty jewelry boxes to choose from and is a great site for any organizing products in general.

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Pottery Barn Jewelry Armoire

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Hayworth Jewelry Armoire from Pier One

If you are like me and like to have your jewelry out in the open where you can see it, this is my new organizing obsession that a friend told me about.  You mount it on the wall and It comes in three different colors.  I am definitely going to purchase one of these for my own use, and it will only cost you about $160!  By the way, if you have more jewelry than what will fit on this sucker, you have too much!!! PURGE, PURGE, PURGE!!!!!

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Angelynn’s Jewelry Organizers at Amazon

You can also purchase over the door jewelry organizers like this which a great use of closet space!

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Over the door jewelry organizer from BrylaneHome

Of course there are also crafty ways to organize your jewelry such as a do-it-yourself cute wall box or using cute vintage trays or dishes to store your jewelry.  We have been over this before, I am not crafty, so you will definitely not see this in my home….it sure is cute though!!!!

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iHeart Organizing

Happy organizing!!!

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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

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest

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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

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.

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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

It’s Summertime. Do you know where your beach toys are?

The Fourth of July has come and gone, but what remains are the memories of surviving one of the year’s most intense beach days ever! If you are like so many other families you had the pleasure of schlepping not … Continue reading

Consolidate with Craft Paper!

After recently helping a client  with her mudroom and having to create space for gift wrap, I was reminded of a great resource that helps you rid your house of so many unwanted and costly items.

Believe it or not, it’s CRAFT PAPER!  I could seriously write a book about the 100 uses of craft paper, but for the sake time, I will share with you my top 3 uses.

1.  GIFT WRAP– It is great for gift wrap.  You can stop hoarding those tacky gift bags and annoying sheets of tissue paper that are balled up in some box somewhere…I know you are proud of your collection, but it is so much more fun to give a gift using craft paper and add a simple ribbon or raffia.  I have my kids decorate the paper for their friends’ birthday presents, which gives it so much more meaning.  And when I realize I’ve run out of their cute gift tags by Bon Vivant I can scribble the “To & From” right on the paper.  You can also use it to wrap fresh flowers using the same decorating effect.

2.  KID ART– I always knew that kids were going to be expensive, but I didn’t know that approximately 1.2% of the budget was going to dedicated to owning a vast collection of coloring books.  We have jumbo pads, Melissa & Doug coloring pads and every single Disney character themed coloring book on the market!  And there they sit piled on top of each other with their pages half colored and ripped and stuck together all of which are deemed unusable by my 4 year old.  If there is even so much as a water droplet on a page it is trash in her mind.  So, we use craft paper. I cut only what is needed at the time.  Waste not want not.  And honestly, I have found that children are way more creative when given a blank sheet of paper than with a color by number of Strawberry Shortcake.  And when she is lacking direction, I put a vase of flowers in front her or a car in front of my son.  So fun to see their interpretation of things.

3.  TABLE COVERINGS– This ties back to #2.  I use it for all of the kids’ parties.  Instead of buying cheap table cloths or worse, have them ruin my nice ones with paint and fruit punch, I use craft paper.  You can dress it up with art work to coincide with a themed party or write on it the directions to a craft they might be doing.  I also use it as a tablecloth for the kids’ table during holiday meals.  For example, during Thanksgiving last year I used one of those cone thingys that holds gourds as the Crayon holder and the kids kept busy by playing tick-tac-toe and drawing pictures as we waited and waited and waited for the turkey.

I suggest that you keep a healthy supply on hand seeing as there are multiple uses for this trusty product.  I recommend buying a 36″ roll of white or natural paper,  which gives you about 1000 ft. to work with.  

craft paper

And to make things even easier, go ahead and spring for the convenient paper cutter (also in the matching size of 36″).  The cutter is great

because it keeps it contained and easily accessible.

Craft Paper Dispensor

Plus, think of all the money you’ll save once you stop buying all of the other products that you have just eliminated!  Go ahead, click and buy! I know you love the idea!  What are your favorite uses for craft paper? Let us know!

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