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Creative Organizing Blog

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April 30, 2006

weekly challenge: create a fun basket for files and paperwork


If you aren't a fan of paperwork, handling mail, paying bills — this week's challenge is just for you. Let's make those pesky little tasks a bit more fun with a file basket decorated with ribbon labels for your folders. You'll be organized and motivated to tackle that paperwork in no time!


Head on out to Wal-Mart and pick up a wicker basket. This one is sized perfectly for 8 1/2 x 11 file folders and comes with handles, allowing you to transport your paperwork to a cozier work space. Next, make some fun "labels" using scrapbook ribbon, rub-on letters and paper clips. Simple and fun -- what could be better than that!


Remember, let us be inspired by you! If you take the challenge send me your pics or links to your blog so we can see what you're up to! Your projects are so fun for me to see -- and they inspire me! Check out this great clipboard project by Gretchen (fellow Big Picture Scrapbooking instructor.) Isn't it just fabulous?

And then look how busy Jeanette has been taking the challenge!

creative labels

altered clipboard

And be sure to check out the photo album of all the projects ... more to come soon!

April 22, 2006

my refrigerator ... a rare glimpse inside

So I tried to inspire you all with my creative labeling ... and surprisingly ... what was most interesting to many was the labels in my fridge. I will say, labeling the inside of my refrigerator has been life changing. No kidding. When you use something every single day, multiple times a day, it's a big thing to make it simple to use. And labels, quite simply, make life simpler.

But first ... I just have to share my dream refrigerator. Are you ready? OK ... follow this link  and click on the photo gallery. It's simply divine ...

OK ... back to the real world. Here's my labeled fridge.


A few things to notice ... before we see more pictures. 1) it's not perfect! To me, the point of getting organized is something much greater than perfection. It's to make life a little bit more fun, and a little bit easier ... so we have time to do things that make us happy. 2) If you zoom in really close, you'll see lunch-ables. I, by no means, advocate the eating of lunch-ables. In a weak moment at the grocery store, I caved in to my 7 year-old son's pleadings and treated him to just one! 3) lots of eggs ... we're dong a south beach diet of sorts ... so the eggs are in three places: where they belong, in the meat drawer, and on the overflow shelf.

In case you can't read the labels, here's what they are from top to bottom

left side / right side:
overflow / leftovers
eggs / meat (drawer)
soda / condiments (turn table - love this!)
veggies / fruit

My husband Jay really likes the leftovers area. It helps to designate a single spot for leftovers. You're more likely to look for your leftovers when the hunt is isolated to a specific area. Plus, when you run out of space in the leftovers area ... you likely have something that's old and needs to be pitched. It's as close to self maintaining as possible. The leftovers is right next to the overflow (the place I put things for special recipes or things that don't fit elsewhere (like eggs!) Sometimes the overflow overflows into the leftovers area ... and you know what? That's OK. It's good to have fresh spinach instead of leftovers, don't you think? Spinach is a super-food, after all. OK ... I'm digressing. Here's one more photo of my fridge:


Not that it needs explaining ... but this is the door! The labels on the door are as follows (from top to bottom):

left side / right side
butter / milk (it makes me very happy that milk fits on the door - it's the little things that bring me joy!)
salad dressing + salsa / cheese (in the other joy creating area of my fridge - the little pull down storage drawer on the door. Love this too!)
pickles + mustard
sweet stuff / basic condiments (sweet stuff being jelly, ice cream toppings and the like and basic condiments are ketchup and mustard (should have relish in there, too, need to pick that up at the store.) Note that the basic condiments are in a handled carrying basket - great for BBQ's and other outdoor eating events. Just grab the basket and you're good to go.)

OK ... so there you have it, my refrigerator. Who knew I'd be posting pictures of my fridge on a blog??? Renee made me do it. :)

(You would have done it, too, if Renee asked!)

April 19, 2006

Weekly Challenge: Infuse Your Labels With Creativity and Fun!

Do you get giddy when you label things? I can relate! I love labels because I see them not as organization gone too far, but as a critical component in the organizational equation. If you subscribed to my newsletter (thanks by the way!) you know I've even gone as far as labeling my refrigerator! Why you ask? Well ... the thing about labels is this. They remind you about the organizational structure even when the stuff being organized is no longer around. Refrigerators are a great example. When you take things out of the refrigerator because you (or your really hungry kids) ate it all up ... the organizational structure is gone. Labels keep the structure in place even when your refrigerator is empty and you need to make a trip to the store. What's more ... when you get back from the grocery store (and are tired like I always am after that lovely chore!) the labels take the thinking out of putting the groceries away. You know exactly where things go because the labels are there to tell you. OK ... so now you're convinced labeling is a necessity ... right?

Alright ... now let's make labeling FUN! Maybe not in the refrigerator but just about everywhere else, OK? Here's an idea to spark your creative juices ...


Let me know if you take the challenge and create some creative labels of your own. Send me an email of your fun and creative labels and I'll post them in the photo album. Can't wait to hear from you and SEE your creative labels!

April 10, 2006

Weekly Challenge: create a decorative clipboard!

I love clipboards. In my office ... at this very minute ... there are at least four. I also hang one in my pantry to quickly capture items we need from the grocery store. Then, I take my clipboard to the grocery store when I shop. (Here's a hint ... if you want to look organized ... take a clipboard to the grocery store.) I have yet another clipboard in my car for keeping track of mileage and dry cleaning coupons. Needless to say ... clipboards are this girl's best friend. (OK ... that's taking it just a notch too far ... but I do love the utility and practicality of the clipboard.)

But there's just one problem. The clipboard, function aside, isn't so much fun. I mean, the standard issue clipboard is brown ... how fun is that? (And remember, this blog is all about having fun getting things done, right?)

So ... here's the solution. What do you think?


This is just a regular brown clipboard embellished just a bit. I made this one for a designer show house I'm helping out with ... so it's a bit more subdued in color than if I were doing it for myself ... but I think the French paper looks pretty cool and will work great in the French country kitchen the designer is doing for the house.

So ... wanna make one? Here's how. Start with a piece of patterned card-stock slightly larger in all directions than your clipboard. Next, using a piece of scrap paper, create a template for the notch by the clip. Trace this onto the patterned paper and then, cut out the notch.  Apply a thin layer of decoupage onto the clipboard and position the card-stock into place. Let dry and then sand the card-stock edges using a foam sanding block. Next, apply a second coat of decoupage, this time on top of the card-stock. Let dry, and embellish with ribbons and a pen.

Have fun ... and if you make one, send me a picture!

April 08, 2006

Question About Using Drawers for Organizing

Q:  When you use drawers for organization what is the best way to make them work for you without putting a lot of money into dividers!  My drawers are 3", 5" and 7", I want to use my space wisely without more $$.

A:  For stamps I like to use the packaging from the manufacturer but rearrange the stamps by theme … so spring stamps go together, Christmas stamps go together, letters and phrases are together, etc. Assuming you still have the packaging you could reorganize the stamps into groupings that make sense to you, put them into the containers from the manufacturer and load up your drawers. Label the outside of the drawer so you know what’s inside. By keeping the stamps together in the manufacturer’s container, you’ll have the added bonus of a grab-and-go container if you crop away from home.

For ribbons and fibers, how about using a bull-dog clip to group ribbons together by color? Then, attach a small nail (assuming your drawers are wooden) to the back of the drawer to keep the clips in place. This system will also allow you to take out a group of ribbons for designing a layout or cropping on the go.

For other small items … look at the dollar store for inexpensive containers. Look for ice cube trays, muffin tins, ramekins or other kitchen items that will fit in your drawers but keep small items separated. You can also find inexpensive wire baskets at the dollar store which could be good for keeping frames and notepads contained and manageable.

Good luck!!

April 07, 2006

happy indeed

What a happy day! Then sun was shining here in southern Illinois and it was just the perfect spring day. But even better than that ... I spent the morning at CKC St. Louis ... a mere 11 miles from my home (how fun is that?) So ... here's a glimpse at the fruits of my day (I can't say labor ... it was way too much fun to be considered labor!) Happy_album

What a cute little make-and-take, yes? Here's a peak inside ... funny angle on the picture, but you'll get the idea.


Met Donna Downey, fellow Big Picture Scrpabooking teacher (she's just so nice!) and if you don't have any of her books, you must check them out. I have Decorative Journals and it's great! Tomorrow I'm taking Donna's class -- so fun!

But back to today. Last but not least:  I shopped. Check out the goodies I gathered up below. It was so fun to see buy some great products not readily available in my area. And even better ... I have some fun organizational projects planned which I'll be posting right here using some of the goodies below. So be sure to check back often.


April 06, 2006

Q: What are the advantages of working with someone when you organize?

A:  Having just reorganized the entire lower level of my own home – alone – I can tell you first-hand, working with a partner when you organize is a better way to go! When I work with clients, I always have a built-in helper (the client). Last week in my own home:  no helper. So even though I know how to organize, created an organizing plan for my space, and followed it step-by-step, I missed having someone there working with me. Organizing gets done much faster with a companion. You have someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of … someone to reminisce with when you come across precious keepsakes … someone to keep the momentum going … someone to reassure you that it will ultimately get put back together in time. I really missed my clients last week when I tackled my own space solo, because above all, it’s just more fun organizing with a buddy.

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