St. Patrick’s Day Inspired Organizational Tools

Since it’s a fun day for celebrating all things Irish I thought we could review a few fun, functional and green-colored tools for organizing your home.







And just for fun…

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Declutter Challenge #17

Just 4 more days left until SPRING!!!  Hooray!  Are you getting worn out yet?  Hang in there with me a few more days.  You’ll feel so much lighter when things are decluttered.  Today’s challenge:

Laundry Room

Whether you have a room, a closet or a corner of the basement for laundry, it’s time to make that spot as happy as can be for your laundry needs.  Now, few people really love doing laundry but we all have to do it anyway.  Make your space one that doesn’t totally frighten you away.  Take 10 minutes today and do a quick sweep of your laundry area and get rid of anything that doesn’t belong or needs to go.

And you might even want to toss a load in while you work!

Declutter Challenge #16

Today’s challenge might be a bit harder.  Not because of volume, but attachment.

Your Collection

{Photo via iStock}

Most people have at least one collection of something.  It might be stamps or figurines or strollers or {ahem} diaper bags.  Doesn’t matter.  We’re going to cull the masses a bit.  This might be tough.  These are things you have collected into a grouping.  But do you really LOVE them all?  I’m betting there are a few that were gifts from people that heard you were into owls (or whatever) and bought you the ugliest owl item they could find for 10 Christmases in a row.  Don’t keep things just because they are part of the theme despite the fact that you don’t like them.  Keep what you love.  Make your collection something that brings you joy.  If you are only able to get rid of one item I’ll be proud of you!  It’s the effort that counts at this point.

Oh… if you have more than 1 collection, I’m only challenging you to take on one of them.  But if you want to do more, I won’t stop you!

Declutter Challenge #15

We’re keeping in the theme of reading materials and moving on to:

The “Library”
Strahov Library, Prague
{via iStock}

Now, I’m guessing most of you don’t have a “Beauty & the Beast” castle style library (and if you do, please invite me over for a week of perusing!).  But you probably have a bookcase or 5 with reading materials collected over a lifetime of reading. 

The challenge: decide what you’ll really read again and/or want to keep for some kind of sentimental value.  I recently rid my bookcase of a few books from college that I had never actually read.  They were great philosophy type books and I wanted to be the type of person who would read them for pleasure.  But I had to own up to the fact that I am not.
Now, in full disclosure, I still haven’t rid my bookcase of my advanced mathematics text books from undergrad. While I will very likely never have a need for them again, they are such a part of who I am that I cannot yet bring myself to get rid of them. However, I have limited the space I allocated for books and only keep the amount that will fit in that space.  So if you have some books you don’t really need anymore, don’t worry… just make sure they are given the proper amount of space and not taking over your entire room.

Declutter Challenge #14

Are you tired from this weekend’s purge?  We’re going to slow down a bit today and take a bit of a breather.  This is a 5-15 minute challenge (I hope!)

The Magazine Stash

If you don’t have any magazines you have a free day (or you can pick something else).  If you’ve got a stack of them lurking somewhere, time to cull them.  I know, I know… there’s a great recipe in this one that you are going to try.  And that one has some cute ideas for your son’s next birthday. 
Your real challenge for today… being honest with yourself. When was the last time you actually made a new recipe from a magazine?  Last week?  Okay, then clip the one you want, put it on your menu plan for this week.  Last year decade?  Um, yeah… you want to be the type of person who cooks fabulous new recipes from magazines but, um, you’re not.  Toss it.  If you really want it later, it’s probably available online.  And I know you’re internet savvy enough to find it because you are reading a blog.
So be ruthless.  Get rid of the ones you’ve read.  If you do decide to pull out a few pages/articles then make sure you have a place for them.  Better yet… add the information about the product/article/recipe/url to your Springpad notebook and come back to it when you have time.

Declutter Challenge #12 & #13

This weekend we’re hanging out in the

2nd Scariest Place In Your Home

Take the momentum from Friday and keep it up.  Three 15 minute sessions should leave you with a much tidier space than you had before.  Three 60 minute sessions and your probably getting close to sending your pictures in to Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

Good luck!  And if you find anything especially cool, weird, strange, scary, funny, or outrageous, let me knowI’d love to see a few pictures of what’s lurking in your space!

I Remember When

My dad is back guest posting again!  Hooray!
This is a great idea for all of us to consider, regardless of whether we have 20 years of memories or 80.  Capturing those memories for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren is priceless.  I know so many of you are already doing this via blogging and that is fantastic.  But if you’re not a blogger (or if your blog is on a “topic” like this one) consider starting a memory scrapbook…
*************************************
Everyone has a book in them.  This is a firm belief that I have had for some time.  We all have life experience memories that we can recall and which are certainly worth recording.  It could even be argued that it is more than just casually important that these remembrances be recorded so as to not be lost forever.  Family history and facts are being lost every day.  Things of the past, not recorded, are slipping away at light speed. Much is being recorded about the now, but the richness of who we were 20, 30, 50, 60, years ago is not being recorded.

So how do we get these rich memories into a book?  Most persons will find the thought of doing an autobiography frightening.  It is just too much to imagine that “I will do my biography.”   Not even a possibility for most of us.

Let’s consider the need here.  The real need is to not lose the memories.  So, why not just record the memories.  And the memories don’t need to be in any time framed order to start with.  You could go back and group memories if you desired, but that’s for later as you see the need.

Try starting with this first question:
What is my very first memory?


Here is my answer:

My very first memory is of when I was 3 or 4 years old.  My brother who was 11 months older than me, and I, were playing outside in the dirt with a couple of tiny little metal trucks.  We were playing outside of our house. It was attached to the back of our fathers little neighborhood grocery store, Roy’s Grocery. It was the summertime.  I know this because I remember the dirt was really dry and dusty and we were both only wearing summer shorts; no shoes, no little t-shirts.  A thing that I remember is that, at a point, he pulled the trucks away and wouldn’t let me play with them anymore.  I am not sure why, but they were his trucks and I was smaller and we were not playing together anymore.  I don’t remember the feelings that I had, but I do remember experience visually. This was in the summer of 1948 or 49.

This memory and all memories are part of our life experience.  In some small, small way it’s part of who I am.  It’s even part of what our culture was and is.  The memories will belong to all of us, if we can pass them along.

Some tips
Try at first to stay away from those bad memories that are not ready to be put into words on paper.  That could come later as you become more comfortable with reaching back into the past. 

Try not to link one memory to another.  Include an approximate date.  Each memory should be able to stand alone.

Try to keep memory records to only one page per memory. You are drawing out the book within you.  You are not writing a book.

Try to do one memory every day.  Two or three would also be OK. Don’t try to do it all really quickly.

Print each page as you complete the memory. Proof the page and make changes as desired. Seeing the memory in print will be different than on your monitor.

Gather the pages into a three ring binder and keep them for your children and grandchildren.  Take the idea as far as you wish.  Just get started!

Who knows?  Maybe someday your memories will be more important than you could have guessed.

Take care and be blessed!

Jon

*************************************
Suzanne here…
I’ve got to tell you, reading this small little moment from my dad’s past was so special for me. I could picture it in my mind and it’s something I’ll now take forward with me into my future with my own children. 
A few additional tips:
* Not everyone is comfortable writing. If not, you could use a web cam to make short videos of your memories.  What great fun for your grandkids to see you speaking in your own words about your life. 
* If you blog your memories you can later turn them into a really cool book quite easily using something like Blurb Bookify.
* Add pictures if you have them. Or go back and add them later.
* Hand write a few of the memories.  Our handwriting is our unique mark in the world and seeing something penned by your own hand will be especially dear to your loved ones.
I wish you the best of luck as you embark on your adventure of sharing your history!

Declutter Challenge #11

By now you hopefully have a pretty good pace of getting rid of things you no longer need, use or want. At least I really hope you have a rhythm going because this weekend I’m going to challenge you a bit more.  It’s three days of “Pick Your Poison.” 

Right now, picture the most disheveled, messy, unorganized, afraid-to-open-the-door-for-fear-you-might-be-crushed room/cabinet/closet.  Got it?  Don’t go there.  Think about the place in your home that is one level less fear inducing.  Still insane but doesn’t send you into a full-blown panic thinking of your mother-in-law opening the door.  That’s the place we’re going to tackle. 

The 2nd Scariest Room/Closet/Cabinet In Your Home
In case your wondering… for me it’s the closet in our office/guest room.

This is a 3 Day Challenge.  Unless you are just entirely bored for this upcoming weekend with no commitments (and probably no kids!) this is not a pull-everything-out-and-put-it-on-the-lawn exercise. This is a 15-60 minute per day challenge.  If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, spend that amount of time each day.  You can probably achieve a ton in just a quarter of an hour.  If you have a little more time, spend an hour.  Do not freak your spouse out by making your whole house an “under construction” zone for this.  Do what you can in the area in the amount of time you have allotted.  Include a few minutes for cleanup in the allotment.  Set a timer if you need to or do it during nap time so you have a built-in kid timer. And if you don’t get to everything today, no worries, we’re going to come back on Saturday & Sunday!

Remember…
Trash/Recycle anything that’s:
*broken beyond repair
*broken and you don’t have the skills to to fix it
*trash

Donate anything that’s:
*still in good condition but no longer of use to you
*things you can’t remember using in the last decade
*things that don’t represent who you are as a person/family

Keep anything you:
*love
*use
*have a place for

No get hoppin’… there’s stuff to be vanquished!

Declutter Challenge #10

Hopefully after yesterday this one should be nice and quick!

The Shower/Tub

It’s time to get rid of anything in your shower that you don’t use or don’t like.  Have 6 kinds of shampoo bottles with 1/8″ of product left in the bottom of each?  Resolve to use them up over the next few days or toss them out if you don’t like them anymore.  Ladies… old razors that are past their useful life?  Toss them (where the kids won’t grab them and play with them!)  Any bottles that are empty and poofs/loofahs/scrubbing tools that no longer perform need to go as well.

The shower is the first stop most of us make in the mornings.  Try to make it a place that doesn’t stress you out!

Declutter Challenge #9

We’re staying in the bathroom today and diving in to look at what might be lurking….

Under The Sink

Are you like me?  Do the cabinets under the sink tend to collect all manner of miscellaneous stuff.  Mine is full of jewelry I never wear, old hair accessories, makeup samples and, well, I’m not sure what else.  Time to get in there and start reclaiming the space. 

Things to get rid of:
* products you don’t use/like
* jewelry & hair accessories that haven’t been in style in this century
* makeup that’s too old to use.  Yes, makeup has a shelf life.
* anything that really doesn’t belong in the bathroom at all

Now if you have old accessories you can donate them or you can donate them to your kids! If you have a daughter I bet she’d love to have a few scrunchies and bangle bracelets and shell necklaces to add to her dress-up box.  Just make sure she’s not too young for any small parts.