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August 27, 2010

Wide open weekend…

Ahhh…I love today. It’s Friday. It’s sunny. It’s remarkably cool for an end-of-August Friday afternoon. It’s quiet and I have space to think.


And, here’s the best part:  we have nothing planned for the entire weekend. Nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch. (Woohoo!!!)


And so I sit here basking in the possibilities, enjoying the sunshine, open widows and cool breeze, pondering how we’ll spend the glorious wide open weekend ahead.


I have a project percolating around in my head that involves this cute salt and pepper shaker from Pottery Barn.


This is the same cute salt and pepper shaker that I didn’t buy when I was at Pottery Barn earlier this summer because I knew it would go on sale. This also the salt and pepper shaker that I didn’t buy when the clearance catalog came out because I thought I’d get back to the store before they sold out and then I’d save even more—no shipping, you know what I mean? But then I didn’t get back to the store and the salt and pepper shaker was no longer available on the website. Yep, this is the same salt and pepper shaker that sold out online.


So, then this became the salt and pepper shaker that I just had to have, because you know, sometimes we just really want what we can’t have even if it’s not rational. So, I called Pottery Barn and the very helpful lady gave me the phone numbers of various stores that, at that time, still had the salt and pepper shakers in stock. I called these numbers in an attempt to track down my very own set of the coveted shakers. And I did. (Whew.) My salt and paper shakers were in a store in Chicago, until I ordered them over the phone and had them shipped to my home. In the end, I saved a couple of dollars over what I would have paid if I bought them the first time. I lost a bit of sleep, but now I know how much I really wanted these salt and pepper shakers. So now, that little project that’s percolating around in my head…well it could be a really fun thing to do on a wide open weekend.


So maybe, just maybe it’s the perfect thing for a wide open weekend. But then again…maybe I’ll clean the carpets. Or maybe I’ll list some things on Craig’s list. Maybe I’ll go to the farmer’s market. I’ll definitely do some laundry. But for now, I just want to sit with this feeling of a wide open weekend. They are, after all, about as rare and precious as…well…a certain set of salt and pepper shakers…


Happy weekend to you…

August 20, 2010

happy friday + last chance to save!

Happy Friday my friends! I just wanted to let you know that this Sunday is your last chance to take advantage of early bird savings on two popular online workshops.


Organize Your Closet begins September 23, 2010

If you’re looking for quick and simple ways to transform your closet into an organized and supremely functional space, this is the workshop for you! In just two short weeks, you’ll learn how to completely organize your closet, making it easy to find and access all your favorite clothes. Say goodbye to jumbled piles of shoes, clothes, and purses, and say hello to closet organizing bliss. Want to see what others have accomplished in this workshop? Read this post.


Wil-itso bin-c

Organize Your Paper Clutter begins September 21, 2010

That paper mountain growing on your countertop represents a loss of freedom, a loss of control, and a nagging feeling in your gut that something important isn’t getting attended to. There is a better way! With the right paper organizing systems in place—those created with you, your paper, and your home in mind—you can free yourself from paper clutter and the stress that comes along with it. In Organize Your Paper Clutter, you’ll learn a step-by-step process enabling you to decide if you need a piece of paper (and for how long!) and how to organize it so you’ll find it again right when you need it! Your piles (and your stress!) will be replaced by organizing systems you love, and feelings of confidence, relief and peace of mind!

I hope to see you online in September! Have a great weekend. :)

August 19, 2010

Get Organized for Back to School: Set Up a Homework Station

This post has moved to our new organizing blog. Go there now to see Get Organized for Back to School:  Set Up a Homework Station.

August 18, 2010

back-to-school to-do list: an update

So we did it. We made it through that crazy time of year known as “get ready for back-to-school.”  And wow, what an emotional roller coaster it has been! I love all the preparations and make quite an event of back-to-school. Both kid’s bedrooms got an organizing intervention and the craft cabinet was converted into a homework cabinet. We carved out time for one last trip to the swimming pool, along with one last (summer time) trip to our favorite Frozen Custard place. And I made quite a nice dent in my original back back-to-school to-do list.  Here’s the official update.

  • Update the calendars with school holidays and events. I went to do this and noticed my current wall calendar (a blank one that you fill in yourself) will only get me through September. So I took the opportunity to upgrade the family calendar. Want to take a peek at my new one? Can’t wait until it arrives! I’ll keep you posted.
  • Declutter and organize the kid’s dressers and closets. Check!
  • Create shopping lists and shop for school supplies and clothes. Check!
  • Clean out the family reference binder…and add this year’s paperwork. Check!
  • Take Collin to get his shots. Check! (Thanks, Jay.)
  • Organize the laundry room for school-year gear. Check!
  • Order new backpacks and check to see if the kids need new lunch boxes. Check! But it seems Collin’s new backpack is too small. May need to send it back and get a bigger one.
  • Set up this year’s school paper / artwork binders and a smaller incubator. This task is next in line…
  • Sign up for the next round of lessons and classes. Check!
  • Go to my nephew's wedding. Check!
  • Go to the end-of-season baseball party. Check!
  • Enjoy every minute of it…because I know when summer is gone, I will miss it. Check…and boy was I right. It’s awfully quiet around here today…

So now we’re settling down and settling in. I had forgotten what a complete emotional roller coaster this time of year is. (Is it just me?) Collin is at a new school this year, so there was a whole new set of unknowns for him. And then there’s the typical excitement about which friend got which teacher, and which friend is in each class, etc. And then there’s the actual moment of sending them off to spend the day with someone else…once again. I’m always happy after the first half-day when the kids come home and report in. I know they’re going to be okay before they go, but I always like it when I really know they’re okay in their new places. 

I’m now looking forward to creating new routines and schedules. We have a nice little lull before the fall activities and lessons kick into high gear…and I’m definitely going to savor every moment of this calmer, slower pace.

How is your back-to-school prep coming along, or in what ways are you winding down for the summer? I’d love to hear from you.

August 10, 2010

Winner announcement…and other fun stuff!

Thank you again to everyone who participated in Freebie Friday. What fun that was! I really enjoyed reading all of your to-do lists, and found them really motivating. I just wanted to get up and go do some organizing! Lot’s of fun and rewarding projects on your to-do lists.

I’m excited to announce the winner of the spot in Organizing 101:  Learn How to Get Organized. This morning selected Kimberly who posted on August 09, 2010 at 08:10 AM. Kimberly said:

i've just started 'couponing' which leads to 'bulk buying' on really good deals...which is great, but now i have to make room for it. so, this week my goal is to clear out (toss, donate, find a new home for) a closet shelf for my own little 'store' :)

Congratulations Kimberly! I look forward to getting to know you online in the weeks ahead!

Catalog Photo-cropped If you aren’t Kimberly, there’s still time to get in on Organizing 101 and tackle your projects alongside a group of fellow classmates with similar organizing goals. This workshop teaches you an organizing process you can use on many of the projects on the to-do lists you shared. We start small with a project such as a junk drawer, bookcase, or small closet (like your pantry, a bathroom closet, the hall closet, your linen closet, or a small utility closet). Then, with that victory under your belt, you can move onto some of the larger projects on your to-do list such whittling down your craft supplies or your organizing your kid’s toys, or tackling a storage area such as your attic, basement, or garage.

If you’re moving to a new home, or merging households, or simply want to tackle a bunch of different projects in your home, this workshop guides you through the process of putting together a plan so you can prioritize your projects. The workshops bite-sized action steps makes it easy to begin making progress right away, instead of waiting for a windfall of time to get started. You’ll also learn how to select the correct storage containers for your project and how to set up your spaces so they’re functional. Plus, you’ll learn simple strategies for keeping your spaces organized going forward. And of course, we’ll explore ways to make your spaces look great, so you enjoy being in them and are even more motivated to keep them organized going forward. 

Now, if organizing your paper or setting up effective paperwork systems is on your to-do list, we will be running Organize Your Paper Clutter one more time this year. So, stay tuned for that! And if your clothes closet or organizing your wardrobe is on your to-do list, keep your eyes open for Organize Your Closet this September!

Hope to see you online in one of these upcoming workshops!

August 06, 2010

It’s Freebie Friday—and everyone wins!

Comments are now closed. Thanks everyone for participating!

For today’s freebie, two things are up for grabs. First, one person will win a spot in my upcoming session of Organizing 101:  Learn How to Get Organized, which begins next Thursday, August 12th. (This is the final session of this workshop for 2010!)

Whether your home needs a complete organizational overhaul, or you have just a room or two that is outside of your clutter comfort zone, this workshop is for you. You'll find out how to clear the clutter and create an organized space you’ll love. You'll learn the process I use to organize spaces with clients and in my home, and you’ll apply these concepts in your own home. You’ll start with a small project such as a bookcase or junk drawer, which will allow you to put into action all the steps of the process—from decluttering and selecting storage containers to learning how to maintain the space going forward. Armed with this new firsthand knowledge, and the support of me and your fellow workshop participants, you’ll be ready to move onto bigger and more involved organizing projects. By the time the workshop ends, you won’t just know how to get organized you’ll have some organizing projects checked off your to-do list, too. Now, won’t that feel good?

To enter for a spot in Organizing 101: 
1)  Leave a comment sharing what organizing projects are on your to-do list.
2) For a second chance to win, either link to this giveaway on Facebook OR tweet this giveaway with a link on Twitter. Then, leave a second comment telling me where you mentioned this giveaway.

Post your comment by Monday, August 9, 2010 at 5:00PM US CST.

Try-it-for-free For the second freebie—everyone wins! For the first time ever we’re giving you the chance to sample one lesson of two of our online workshops…for free! If you’ve heard me blog about my online workshops before, and thought that sounds interesting, but I do I really need that? Or Hmmm…I wonder what those workshops are all about? Would they work for me? Then today is your lucky day! You can find out firsthand what goes on in our online workshops absolutely risk free and free of charge!

For one week, you’ll get the ultimate taste test of either Organizing 101:  Learn How to Get Organized or It’s About Time my brand new time management workshop that begins next Tuesday, August 10th, or both! Click here to learn more about this special offer. But hurry—this offer ends Monday, August 9, 2010 at 5:00PM US CST. I hope to see you online soon!

August 04, 2010

back-to-school organizing ideas: stocking the lunch bin

I’m definitely in the get ready for school mode now. Last night Kailea and I put the finishing touches on her school papers / artwork binder for last year, and we did the back-to-school closet clean out. Our local children’s charity picked up two bags of Collin and Kailea’s clothes this morning (woohoo!) and we’ve started the clothes shopping list. So, preparations are under way.

Lunch-making-mini zone Next up, is restocking the lunch bin. I’ve blogged about our lunch bin in the past, and truly, this is one big sanity saver for me during the school year. It saves a bunch of time every school day morning because everything needed to make lunch is corralled together in a handy mini-zone. Since my break from packing lunches is about to come to an end, it’s time to get the lunch bin well stocked with food, new lunch boxes, and reusable storage containers.

One of the main reasons I pack my kid’s lunches is that it can be a healthier option than buying lunch at school. But it still takes some planning and label-reading to make sure we’re choosing healthy options. Some of our current lunch time standbys include organic granola bars, grapes, cheese cubes and wheat crackers. I’d love to make homemade cookies to pack along with their lunches, but often my schedule just doesn’t have the breathing room.

Ice-box-bakery So, I was really excited when the folks at Ice Box Bakery contacted me about their all natural cookies and offered to send me some samples to try. The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies were really yummy, and best yet—super simple to make. All you have to do is slice and bake them, something that even the busiest of us can squeeze into the schedule. (Check here to see if these cookies are available in your area.) So that’s one idea for freshening up the lunch bin…but I’d love more ideas. (You can only get so much mileage out of granola bars, grapes, cheese cubes, wheat crackers and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.)  

So how do you handle lunches during the school year? If you pack lunches, I’d love to hear what you put in your kid’s lunch boxes. Thanks for sharing! (My kids thank you, too!)

August 02, 2010

Excuse me, but have you seen my summer?

I seem to have misplaced it. Last time I checked it was right here…and now, well, it’s just about gone. And I find myself scratching my head, wondering where it went. And then, I remember…

  • Three Saturdays of my summer went to baby showers and a wedding shower.
  • One Saturday went to a family reunion.
  • Three Saturdays went to trips to the farmer’s market and two Saturdays went to canning tomatoes.
  • Twenty-three evenings and Saturdays went to Little League baseball games.
  • Two days went to driving to Michigan and back.
  • One Thursday went to the beach in Michigan.
  • One Tuesday afternoon went to registering for Middle School. (Hello? Middle School? Already? How did that happen?)
  • Countless mornings went to driving kids to camps.
  • Eighteen evenings went to guitar lessons.
  • And countless hours went to getting ready for “It’s About Time...

And now…it’s down to the two week countdown until school begins again.

I’d love to say that it’s been a relaxing summer…but it hasn’t really been a relaxing summer. Fun? Yes. Relaxing? No.

I’m grateful for the time spent with family and friends—and for the spontaneous trip to Michigan. I’m grateful for extra time with my kids this summer…but I’m ready for back to school. I thrive on routine…and summer does everything in its power to dismantle my routines. I’m ready for routine.

And so, the preparations for back to school shall begin. In the next two weeks I plan to…

  • Update the calendars with school holidays and events.
  • Declutter and organize the kid’s dressers and closets.
  • Create shopping lists and shop for school supplies and clothes.
  • Clean out the family reference binder…and add this year’s paperwork.
  • Take Collin to get his shots. (Poor kid!)
  • Organize the laundry room for school-year gear.
  • Order new backpacks and check to see if the kids need new lunch boxes.
  • Set up this year’s school paper / artwork binders and a smaller incubator.
  • Sign up for the next round of lessons and classes.
  • Go to my nephew's wedding.
  • Go to the end-of-season baseball party.
  • Enjoy every minute of it…because I know when summer is gone, I will miss it.

So how about you? Is your summer flying by, too? Are you looking forward to back to school, and if so, what's on your back-to-school to-do list? I’d love to hear from you!

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