simplify 101
Creative Organizing Blog

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October 25, 2006

my newsletter is stuck in cyberspace ...

OK ... so it's probably not technically cyberspace ... but I hit send 7 hours ago and it's still sitting there in queue on my mailing list provider's web site. Just had to share. Not that you're all sitting there on the edge of your seats waiting ... but I did promise it'd go out today and it hasn't yet. Now you know why. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe right after I go to bed. Who knows. :)

organizing Barbie!

Here's a sneak peek at my November newsletter, which is coming out later today. Not a newsletter subscriber yet? No problem. Sign up right here. And then, keep your eyes on your in box for more organizing tips and ideas. This month my article is just for all you scrapbookers! Hope you enjoy. Alright ... on to the sneak peek.   

Barbies, Barbies everywhere! What's a girl to do?

A reader writes: “My question is about storing Barbies. I have two girls, ages 6 and 3.5. Our house is overflowing with Barbie, her friends, along with all her "stuff"; shoes, clothes, purses, cell phones, lip-sticks, a convertible, furniture etc. Many of the pieces are really small and with our current system (a large plastic bin without a lid that just sits on the floor) all the little bits are at the bottom. Therefore, every time the girls play, the entire bin is dumped on the floor in order to find a matching pair of blue shoes. I need the solution to be easy and FUN so the girls will WANT to put the toys away but also something that separates the little pieces? I find that when I put their toys away in a cabinet they tend to forget about know that "out of sight out of mind" kind of thing? Only, I want them to remember that they have them to play with....any suggestions???”

I feel your pain! Placing small items in big containers turns out to be a big pain. Doesn't it? I discovered this when, after weeks of putting coats of polyurethane on my son’s maple toy box, we found ourselves with a jumbled mess of toys --- favorite Matchbox cars always on the bottom. Now, we only put the large items in the toy box, and smaller cars and such go in smaller shoe box sized bin drawers. The moral of the story, the more we can match the size of the item to be stored to the size of the container, the easier it will be to retrieve the items.

Now … here are some ideas specifically for Barbie and all her gear.

You could continue to use the large bin but store small items separately in lidded containers you store inside the larger box. Ask your daughters to sort the Barbie accessories into groups that make sense to them. Maybe they would like all shoes together, all cell phones together and all purses together, or perhaps they would rather have things grouped by outfit or color scheme or something else that may not be obvious to you but makes perfect sense to them. Then, once you have the various collections in place, go out in search of a storage solution that works for each collection. If you plan on adding to the collection over time, leave yourself some space to grow, or buy empty containers for the latest collections.

The containers for each collection could be as simple as clear plastic shoe boxes or clear food storage containers --- depending on the size of each grouping. You could also decoupage shoe boxes or other small cardboard boxes, adding a creative flair to your storage. You might prefer to invest in some divided parts boxes to keep small items separated from other small items.

Another option is bin-drawers in various sizes. Large drawers  for Barbie and her big accessories like her convertible or Dream House. Smaller drawers could be used for her teeny tiny parts like shoes, cell phones, purses, and lipstick.

As far as hiding things behind closed doors, you could try keeping just a few favorite Barbies in small basket that you leave out. This may keep Barbie in sight and in mind for your girls, reminding them of their other favorite Barbie things stored behind closed doors. Keep the behind-the-door items in easy reach and close to the room where they play with Barbie.

Use labels to help your daughters get everything back where it belongs. Add creativity and fun to your labels by using ribbon, colored paper and other craft or scrapbook supplies. Consider using a picture label by photographing the item or collection that belongs in each container. This will make it a snap for even your youngest daughter to participate in cleanup as well.

Visit my blog for more creative labeling ideas. Here are two posts to get you started:
Basic Grey tag label  and craft cabinet labels.

Let your daughters participate in the process of setting up the new storage system to give them even greater incentive for getting Barbie and her stuff back where it belongs after a day of play.

Good luck creating a happy new home for Barbie and all her friends!

Remeber, catch the rest of the newsletter by signing up here.

October 24, 2006

put your cabinet door to use!

How fun is this? One of my newsletter subscribers, Lori, who I met at a speaking engagement thought of me when she saw this great idea on a home improvement show. Wasn't that sweet of her? So, I just had to share the idea with you. Here it is ... and thanks again, Lori!

"I just saw a great idea on one of the MANY home shows I watch and thought I'd pass it along to you.  You might already have thought of it, but I liked it so much I'm sending it to you anyway. At the desk/message center many homes have today, they screwed a piece of sheet metal - something shiny and attractive - onto the inside of the upper cabinet doors.  Then, instead of taping stuff up inside the cabinets, they used little magnets.  Genius!  I've thought of cork board, but I like the idea of magnets and metal better."

The metal was a piece from a home store chain and she thinks they might even cut it to size at the store. How fun is that?

This would be great inside a spice cabinet too, using those fabulous little metal spice tins with clear lids. And ...think of the options for organizing scrapbook supplies with magnetic tins and hooks. Plus, you can get creative and make your own magnets. Too fun!

October 21, 2006

"bucket" classroom staying open ...

... for one more week. So if you missed the chat, the transcript is now available. (Much thanks to the great team at BPS for reopening the class room!) To find the transcript, just enter the class room, click on chat and there she'll be!

Speaking of Big Picture Scrapbooking ... I'm working on my next class this weekend ... more details soon. It's going to be a fun one. And more everything soon ... I've been soooo busy that I'm not blogging much and I miss it and miss hearing from all of you! Hope you're doing well :)

One more thing ... did you sign up for Heidi's class yet? It sounds like so much fun! Doesn't it?

Have a great weekend and keep making progress on your 12 week challenges! I'm making progress but it's stalled this weekend due to hyper-focus on the BPS class. Will report more soon. :)

October 18, 2006

did you have a Diva Day?

I hope you did! I had a Diva Day and it was just so fun. Danielle and Rayme were so great to chat with ... and the topic was ... well ... I could have rambled on and on for hours. (Don't worry ... I only rambled on and on for minutes ... not hours.) Be sure to listen in for a tidbit about a new project I'm working with a dear friend of mine. (Can you guess who it is .. oh ... you'll have to listen to find out. Surprises are so much fun.) And ... be sure to check out the special offer on "the happy scrapper" just for Diva listeners (and my great blog buddies, of course. The offer's right below Danielle and Rayme's picture.)

I'd love to have another Diva Day soon. How about you?

October 17, 2006

are you in my bucket class?

Hey, how are you today? I'm just getting ready for my live chat tonight as part for my "What's in Your Bucket" class on If you're in the class (yea you!) I can't wait to chat with you tonight at 7 PM Pacific / 9 Central. If you have any questions or topics you want to cover tonight ... post 'em here and I'll be sure to get you answers tonight! (Just getting myself organized, don't ya' know.) Chat with you soon!

October 11, 2006

Ideas for organizing hats, scarves, boots and gloves in a small coat closet

Ah yes, winter is just about here. Or maybe it is ALREADY here by the feel of it outside ... rustling leaves ... howling wind ... brrrr. Time to stock-up and organize all your winter gear! My daughter and I hit Target last night and loaded her up with the CUTEST hats, mittens, scarves, and so on. So fun!

But ah ... back to the organizing. Lynn asked for some fresh ideas to organize her winter gear in lieu of her current system. Here are some of my ideas. Would love to hear yours, too!

Put the space below your coats to good use with a pull out drawer system. Here’s a rather pricey but nifty option and here's the same idea at a little better price.

The inside of the closet door can make for great storage, too. You could string some clothes line and clip your hats, scarves and gloves to the line using clothes pins. (Don’t try this if you have little ones who could get caught up in the clothes line, deal?) You could also forgo the clothes line altogether and just attach clothes pins directly to the door. That'd be fun.

Or how about using some command adhesive hooks to hang small monogrammed bags with everyone's gear inside? Ah ... organizational bliss, yes?

When all else fails, I still love a good old basket for storing just about anything. How about a lidded picnic basket to corral your winter gear?

Or you could re-purpose a canvas sweater organizer with drawers to stash your hats, mittens and scarves and put your oh-so valuable vertical closet space to good use. (Photo is just of the drawers ... but you'll see what I mean.)

If your current system is working, maybe a new set of creative labels is all you need to freshen things up.

And I just had to show you this nifty solution for boots

Anyone have any more ideas???

Happy organizing!

October 06, 2006

"you're blogging about a lunch box?"

These were the words of my five year old this morning.

"Yep," I said.

"That's weird," she replied.

Hmmm ... I guess she's right. It is odd. It's odd that my five year old daughter knows what it means to blog. And, arguably, "lunch boxes" is an odd topic. But probably most odd of all: I think it's perfectly normal. Anyway ... here it is. The "lunch box" in question:


This falls into the category of a simple little solution to make an every day "to-do" just a notch easier. It's a bin full of lunch-making essentials: napkins, spoons, thermos, baggies, brown lunch bags, peanut butter, bread, crackers and other small snacks. This little gem, simple and "weird" as it may be to blog about, saves time. Everything you need to make lunch ... in arms reach. Love that.

And don't forget the label:


Have I told you about my friend the storage bin label? I love these labels. I use a printed template --- so I can pick the font and color. It makes nice, big, easy to read, reusable labels. Fun, isn't it? You can find them at Wal-Mart ... sometimes. Due to my complete love of this product, and the inability to reliably find it at Wal-Mart, we carry them in our store. The uses for these little gems is endless!

So ... it's a quick, simple easy project that will save you time each and every day. Have fun!


“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
~ unknown (by me, anyway)

I remember that saying from when I was a child. Perhaps it was on a ceramic mug or a poster. Maybe in a song? I don’t know, really, I just know that when I was a child I didn’t really get it. And yet, it stuck. I don’t know where it came from and still, I remember it today.

Today it fits. You see, today, my husband Jay is making a huge change in his life.

Today, at roughly 4:30 PM, Jay is walking out of the corporate world … forever.

Today we are taking a leap of faith.

Today we are believing in our dreams, in our goals, and in ourselves. 100%.

Today Jay is joining simplify 101.

Today is a big day.

For Jay and me this dream has been years in the making. I remember when we were dating (a long time ago!) we’d share our dreams of one day running our own business. Our ideas ran the gamut from running a bed and breakfast, to opening a gift shop, to buying an oil change or a Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise. (That one died real quick --- do you know how much those cost?) Our dream has taken many shapes and forms … and today is just another step along the way. After years and years of small steps in the direction of this dream, today, Jay is taking a big step. A momentous step.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What is your big dream? What would you do if you took a leap of faith and believed in yourself, your dreams and your goals 100%? Take a step today … a step of any size. Just take a step, today, in the direction of your big dream.

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