Quick Tip Thursday – Kids In The Kitchen

If you have young children you’ve probably answered a few hundred thousand requests for plates, bowl, cups or milk or water, etc.  And while you adore those little faces sometimes your hands are busy with other things and stopping to get yet another cup of water makes you want to pull your hair out.

Try keeping some kid-friendly dishes down low so the kids can access themselves.  We keep ours like this:

They can get a plate while I cut the strawberries or a bowl while I grab the cereal from the pantry.  And the cups… I put the water dispenser in our fridge low enough that they can help themselves (while standing on a stool) and I don’t have to be involved. 

It’s such a small thing that helps so much.

We’re lucky to have these pull-out shelves but I found that plates and cups were always falling off to the side.  Adding these inexpensive baskets keeps things corralled a bit more.

Pardon The Dust

I’ve been noticeably absent from this blog for a few days now.  But I haven’t forgotten about you!  I have been busy getting some of my projects in order so I can share them with you soon.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of what’s taking up my time:

I hope you are having a fun and productive week!  For more frequent updates this week, stop by my Facebook page where I’m posting more real-time information.

Thirty-One

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my very first Thirty-One party.  What is Thirty-One, you ask?  It’s a great line of bags, baskets, purses, and other assorted carry-alls and accessories.  The fabrics are adorable and the products are functional. 

I’ve been invited to a few catalog parties but I had to see the products in person before I could decide if I liked them or not.  Seriously, I loved them.  I am anxious for the next 3 weeks to pass so I can get my goodies.  I restrained myself from purchasing one of everything in the catalog like I had wanted to and instead settled on 3 things:

Organizing Shoulder Bag – with 3 kids having my hands free is critical when we’re out and about.  This bag fits across your body and is just the right size for the essentials plus a diaper or two.

Organizing Utility Tote – Seriously cute.  And functional. This will be getting a permanent home in our car for all the things we need and sometimes forget to pack in the diaper bag – water bottles, diapers wipes, non-perishable snacks, sanitizer, etc.  I could have probably ordered 5 of these for different purposes.

Thermal Tote – Insulated to keep things cool. I anticipate using this for trips to the zoo and the park and everywhere else we want to take a few snacks that need to be kept cool.

Now, since I haven’t actually used these yet I can’t give you a full review.  But I promise to give more info once I get mine in a few weeks.  In the meantime, browse you can browse the catalog.  And if you want to order something I’m sure my consultant Yvonne would be happy to help or you can find a consultant in your area.
*Disclaimer: Suzanne and Delightfully Organized have not been compensated in any way for this review.  All opinions are entirely my own and expressed based on my experience.

Quick Tip Thursday

This is something I’ve pretty much just always done. But it occured to me last week as my husband asked yet again for me to remove a loose string that not everyone may do this.
Keep a pair of scissors in your bathroom!  I keep mine in the medicine cabinet.  They come in handy more often than you might imagine.  Usually I notice loose threads while I’m standing in front of the mirror. It’s so nice to just be able to clip it off right then rather than waiting until I go into another room (by which time I’ll have probably forgotten about it.)

Other uses for scissors in the bathroom:
* Opening the shink wrap packaging on razors, mouthwash, shampoo, etc
* Cutting off an itchy tag from a shirt

How would/do you use scissors in the bathroom?

By the way, if you write the word scissors enough times it starts to look really, really strange!

Information Clutter

Organizers talk a lot about physical clutter.  The stuff that fills up the space in your home, car, desk, etc.  But there is something else we talk about that doesn’t get as much notice most of the time… information clutter.

One source of information clutter is your email.  Buy something online and the next thing you know you’re on 6 mailing lists for sister sites.  I get “helpful” emails from my bank, retailers, alumni clubs, the church, etc, etc, etc.  It’s a lot.  I try to unsubscribe from those I don’t truly want to read.

In fact, if you are looking to save a little money then removing the temptation of the “HUGE SALE 50% OFF EVERYTHING” email from all your favorite online retailers is a great place to start.

But my current source of information clutter is on my smart phone.

Today I got a Twitter direct message. Here’s a list of all the ways I was notified of the message:
1. a text message from Twitter
2. a text message from Twitter through my “handsent” application
3. an email from Twitter to my gmail app
4. an email from Twitter via my “universal inbox”
5. a notification from my Twitter app
6. a notification from my TweetDeck app
7. a notification from my HootSuite app

Um, yeah… the message was not that important.  One of those would have been sufficient.  Two at most.  

So this afternoon I’ll be updating my twitter settings to remove a few of those. I’ll start with email & text notification since on my phone twitter can notify me directly I don’t need those additional outlets. 

The point is, clearing all those notifications from my phone took me probably 1 minute.  Not much time.  But if I get 10 messages a day, that’s 10 minutes of time just spent clearing something I’ve already read.  What clutter!

Where can you cut information clutter from your life?

Pimp Your Mixer

I recently discovered Shelley over at Wonderfully Wordy Vinyl Lettering and House of Smiths.  Her vinyl creations are adorable and fun.  Just looking through them all gets my creative juices flowing.

But when I came across this one, I knew I had to share it with all of you. 

{photo courtesy Wonderfully Wordy}

Vinyl Decals for Your Kitchenaid Mixer!  These really have nothing to do with organizing but they are so.darn.cute.  These are so going on my wish list.  My favorite is the Curly Sue.  Which is yours?

Declutter Challenge #20 & Downloadable File

It’s the last day!  Spring begins this afternoon and hopefully your home feels a bit more ready to welcome spring by being a bit lighter in the clutter department.  Today’s Challenge:

DONATE!

Gather up all those things you’ve decided you don’t want or need anymore and get them out of your home for good!

As you box and bag things up, make a list of what you are donating.  Keep this with the receipt you get from the place you donate and add it to your 2011 Taxes file for next year.  To help with this I’m offering my first downloadable file!  This Charitable Donation Worksheet is what I use to mark things down before I drop them off to charity.

Here’s how it works:

1. Click on the photo of  the document you want (with kids or child-free)
2. Download or print the document
3. Fill it out!
4. Donate your stuff.  Do this now.  Today.  Tomorrow at the latest. Don’t let the stuff stick around your house. It will continue to be clutter in your home until it’s GONE!
5. Staple your charitable donation receipt to the form.
6. File in your 2011 Taxes file (if you haven’t made one, now is the time)
7. Add the items from your list to your It’s Deductible account. If you use Turbo Tax, you can import the data into your taxes for next year. 




For families with kids





For families without kids

  Why keep a list of what you donate?  Well, if you don’t have a list, you can’t deduct the value on your taxes. And if you want to deduct you need to have a reasonably detailed listing according to the IRS.

What should you do after today? Print out a few copies of the document and put them on a clipboard.  Put the clipboard wherever your normally keep your stuff to be donated. Whenever you add something to the box or bag, note it on the worksheet.  Then you won’t need to do any work next time you have a full box to donate.  Just drop it off and file your paperwork.

Declutter Challenge #19

Just two more…. And today we’re back in:

The Kids’ Closet

If you have more than one child, try the other kid’s room today.  If you only have one child or your children share a room, head back into the closet again today.

And of course, if you are child-free, pick another room – like the guest room or office.

Declutter Challenge #18

We’re down to the wire!  Spring is right around the corner.  Are you as anxious as I am?  Just 3 challenges remain.  And today we’re checking out:

The Kids Closet

If you have more than 1 kid, just start in one room.  If you don’t have any kids, you get to pick a room of your choice – maybe the guest room or a home office.
The key for this room is to make this challenge for a limited amount of time.  You could easily spend all day working in here, but that’s not the goal for now.  Give yourself 5 or 15 or 50 minutes… whatever fits in your day.  Pick off the “low hanging fruit” – the things you can see immediately do not belong, no longer fit, you don’t like, etc.
If your child is old enough, get them involved in the process.  Let them know they can give their unwanted items to kids who may not have something like it.

You Should Be Reading

As we move forward into Spring, it’s a good time to keep life in perspective.

1. Keeping House by Nester @ Nesting Place – an excellent recap of what homekeeping and organization is all about.  It’s not about being perfect.  It’s about finding what works for you.

2. For When You Don’t Live Up by Emily @ Chatting at the Sky – Sister of Nester, Emily offers wonderful refreshing insight for a woman’s soul. 

3. Frost Yourself by Allison @ VAMH – This is an awesome, easy, inexpensive and attractive solution to jewelry storage.  Thanks for inspiring us, Allison!

4. Does Saying No Mean You are Lazy by Laura @ I’m An Organizing Junkie – We all need to know our limits and boundaries and embrace them.  Another great read on this topic is Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.

5. Paper Goodie Bags {tutorial} by Emily @ Jones Design Company – I have many talents but crafting is not at the top of that list.  However, I do believe that even I can make these adorable bags.

6. 30 Day Cut The Clutter Challenge by Jo-Lynne @ Musings of a Housewife – Apparently Jo-Lynne and I were thinking alike at making March a declutter month.  Her progress is inspiring.

7. The Gift of Laughter by Jill @ The Diaper Diaries – We all need a good laugh and the embedded video of Bill Cosby & his chocolate cake for breakfast is an all-time favorite around my house.

8. Decorating a Large Wall by Shelley @ House of Smiths – Sometimes we get so stuck in how things are that we can’t see how they could be.  I love the “style shift”