Quick Tip Thursday

The holiday cards have started to arrive! 

I know how anxious you are to rip open those envelopes to see the newsletters and pictures inside.  But wait!  Don’t throw that envelope away just yet.  Once you’ve had your fill of Christmas cheer from the card, use the envelope to check you address book and make sure you have the most current address for your friends and family. 

Feel too rushed to do it right away?  Then set up a little file folder with the envelopes and run through them after the 1st of the year.

Quick Tip Thursday

Do you have an artificial tree that comes in multiple pieces?  Is it a challenge each year to find the cords and get each section connected correctly?

This year, when you are putting up (or taking down) the tree add labels to any cord that needs to be plugged/unplugged.  Labels can be in many different forms

  • printed labels from your trusty label maker
  • handmade adorable tags that look like ornaments
  • old bread bag closers that you write on

The keys to making it work are:

  • Make the label easy to see/find amidst all the branches
  • Make the label hard to remove (so it doesn’t get knocked off)

Next year when you drag that tree up from the basement you’ll get it lit on the first try (assuming you didn’t break any bulbs!)

Quick Tip Thursday

Do you have a huge frustration over socks in the laundry?  Do you hate matching them and trying to find the right mates?

With two kids we are overwhelmed with little socks.  But about a year ago I made an executive decision and have never looked back…

Both kids wear the same socks.  Plain, boring, white socks.  I’m sure my daughter would love to have some crazy pink ones but since she’s only 3 and I’ve never given her a choice, she doesn’t know the difference.  We buy one brand, one style, one color.  Then it doesn’t matter which kid’s drawer they end up in.  And matching is a breeze.  And if you are really a free-spirit you could even skip matching them and just throw them in the drawer unmatched.  Then just grab two when you need them.

(Remember… this principle can apply to adults too!)

Quick Tip Thursday

Ann Landers Golden Rules for Living

If you open it, close it.
If you turn it on, turn it off.
If you unlock it, lock it up.
If you break it, admit it.
If you can’t fix it, call someone who can.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you value it, take care of it.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
If you move it, put it back.
If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.
If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.

If only we could remember to follow these ourselves each day (and perhaps convince our family members to do the same) I imagine we would all have a life more organized.

Quick Tip Thursday

Cleaning your toilets. Not fun, I know. But necessary.
Like most people, I use a toilet bowl cleaner to give the toilets a good cleaning once a week (usually). But I also like to keep the bowl fresh between cleanings. Most any store with a housewares department sells very pretty toilet brush sets for $19.99 and up.
A cheaper solution, and one that works better in my opinion, is to use a simple container ($10) that matches your decor and an inexpensive toilet brush ($3). Fill the container with water and a small amount of liquid soap – like a hand-wash dishwashing liquid. This mixture will keep your brush a bit cleaner and gets off the gunk on the toilet. Wipe the toilet daily for best results.
Here are my toilet brush containers.
This is a vase that I no longer had a use for.

A crock designed to hold kitchen utensils.

Don’t feel bound by those flimsy and expensive brush options at the local home-goods store. Find something unique that fits your home and make it work for you.

Quick Tip Thursday

Does the end of dinner mean a mountain of dishes piled high with stuck on gunk and counters overflowing with ingredients both in their containers and spilled out?

In an ideal world we would clean as we go. Each dish and utensil would be carefully washed and put into the dishwasher immediately, leaving a clean kitchen when the meal is ready for the table. I’m not sure about you but I don’t live in an ideal world. Nor do I live on the set of a cooking show with a staff of assistants.

A middle-ground solution… as soon as you start your meal, fill one half of your sink (assuming you have a double) with hot water and a bit of dish soap. When you finish with a dish or utensil, just toss into the water. When your dinner is finished you’ll still need to rinse them and load the dishwasher but you won’t have caked on ingredients. The scrubbing will be mostly done for you.

Quick Tip Thursday

Vacation Reboot

About that summer vacation we just planned and packed for. How many times have you arrived back from vacation just to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done getting life back to normal? How long have you continued to live out of your suitcase for a week after your return?

This summer, when you get home, put away everything the same day. If you happen to arrive home in the middle of the night, do it first thing in the morning. I know it seems overwhelming but I promise your transition back to the daily grind will be so much nicer if you aren’t dealing with remnants of your vacation.

Take one hour to do the following:

1. Set the timer for 15 minutes (20-30 minutes if mom & dad need to unpack the kids stuff) and have everyone set off to their own room to unpack their stuff.

2. Throw in a load of laundry. If you think of it beforehand, designate a dirty laundry bag on your trip. Instead of having everyone repack their own suitcases with their own clothes, designate one bag to be the dirty laundry bag. As soon as you unload the car, take that bag to the laundry room and throw it all in to wash. (better yet, if you are staying with family or friends do laundry the night before your departure & come home with clean clothes.)

3. Sit down at the table for a quick break and an easy snack (microwave popcorn, a few pieces of fruit or cheese & crackers are good choices). Sitting at the table is key for this. If you let yourselves get comfortable on the couch in front of the tv you’ll be unlikely to get back up.

4. Set the timer for another 15-30 minutes (depending on whether your kids can help and how much stuff you packed) and get to work putting everything else away.

I’ll be surprised if your travel gear isn’t entirely unpacked and put away after this hour (aside from what’s churning away in the washing machine). If this one hour vacation reboot doesn’t leave you with everything put away you’ll be darn close. And you’ll be able to get back to your life with a sense of peace.

Quick Tip Thursday

Do you consistently forget to return your library books on time and end up with late fees?
Treat return dates like any other appointment!

As soon as you get home with those books, put a reminder on your calendar on the due date with a quick list of the titles due that day. Then when you check your calendar each night for your list of appointments tomorrow (you are checking your calendar every night, right?) you’ll be reminded to gather them up with everything else you need for the day.