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October 12, 2012

Let’s Get Organized for the Weekend

Happy Friday my friends. I hope you had a terrific week. It was a good week here. I feel like I got a bunch of stuff done, both at work and at home, which feels good. And now I’m looking forward to the weekend ahead. Here’s what’s on my lists this weekend.

 

Checklist-copyright-simplify101Fun

  • Spend Time with Kailea. We will either be driving up to Normal, IL for the State Cross Country meet to cheer on her teammates, or we will be going to watch a black belt test at her Tae Kwon Do school. Or we may try to do a bit of both—depends on the weather forecast and start time of the belt test. Either way, I’m looking forward to spending a good part of Saturday with my girl.
  • Run 3 Miles. Okay…so I mentioned in my Monday check in that I was falling behind on my 43 miles in October goal. Well…I’ve made good progress this week, logging in over 9 miles so far. If I run at least 3 miles on Saturday or Sunday, then I will once again feel like this goal is in reach. Whew.

 

Finish

  • Laundry. As always, right?
  • Plan weekly meals + grocery shop.
  • Organize and edit cross country photos.
  • Make progress on at least one current project. I have a bunch of options ;) and will let inspiration be my guide.
  • Send some cards. By the way, this week I finished the thank you notes that were on last weekend’s list. Yay!

 

I think it’s a plan. (Considering Saturday could be spoken for time-wise, I think this is plenty to do on Friday night and Sunday!) What’s on your to-do list this weekend?

 

Have a terrific weekend!

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October 11, 2012

Home Storage Solution: The Canvas Bucket

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about a bucket. (It’s been a while since I’ve come across a blog-worthy bucket.)

 

But all that changed last Saturday, when I found this little bucket.

 

Canvas Bucket Target

 

She was sitting all alone in the makeup aisle at Target. 

 

(Not my Target, mind you. My Target sells far fewer storage solutions of any kind ever since the introduction of "banana madness". What’s banana madness? That’s my term for Target’s decision to turn every store into a grocery store. This seemed fine on paper. In fact, when they were making the transition I would excitedly exclaim “the bananas are coming!” to my family members. I was giddy about the change. I thought it would mean fewer trips to the store, because I could pick up bananas and other grocery items while out doing my Target run. But when the bananas arrived I realized the introduction of bananas (and all of the other grocery items) meant essential-to-me-items like favorite storage solutions had moved out of my Target! So now, instead of fewer trips to the store, I have to make trips to much farther away Targets when I need essential storage solutions like ITSO bins. This is exactly what I was doing when I came across the cute little canvas bucket.)

 

You can imagine, these days when I find storage solutions that I love at Target…I get very excited! Which is exactly what happened when I saw the canvas bucket. Since I’m not one to buy something unless I know what I’m going to use it for, I racked my brain for an excuse…I mean legitimate reason…to purchase this bucket. And then it hit me: I could use the little bucket to store my knitting stuff!

 

Threshold Canvas Bucket Target

I typically knit in the family room on “the big chair,” but recently I have been knitting before bed…to help me relax and fall asleep more easily. My cute little canvas bucket will make it simple to transport my knitting projects between rooms. And so the bucket hopped into my cart and we lived happily ever after. (Or at least we plan to.)

 

Organizing Takeaways:

1) Canvas buckets are a fun home storage solution that can be used for a variety of storage needs. Consider using them to store and corral knitting items and other craft supplies, stuffed animals, toys, laundry or dry cleaning.

 

2) When you’re out shopping for storage solutions, think about how you will use an item and what problem it will solve for you, before putting the item in your cart. Containers without a purpose can become a source of clutter just like any other unneeded or unused item in our homes.

3) Canvas buckets can be used for a bunch of home storage needs. They're light weight and portable, and can be found in a variety of styles and sizes. Here are a few that are catching my eye right now:

 

Cuffed Fabric Bin from The Container Store  

I love the colors of these but really, they had me at Reisenthel. (I love their products.) These would be fun in a kid’s room corralling small items like hair accessories, small stuffed friends, nail polish, or lotions.

Cuffed Fabric Bin Container Store

Raccoon Bucket from The Container Store  

Wouldn't this be super cute in a young child’s room storing toys or laundry, or in the nursery storing baby care items? I think yes. 

Raccoon Bucket Container Store

Crunch Can from The Container Store

These could be used throughout the house from the laundry room, to the bedroom. My daughter has a couple of these in her bedroom storing stuffed animals and we use another one as her laundry hamper.

 

Round Crunch Cans Container Store
Threshold Basket from Target

Target calls my beloved canvas bucket a basket. While I found mine in the makeup aisle, it didn’t belong there. I found others in the bath towel section of Target, but I couldn't find this item online. So if you're interested in this bucket, head to Target and then head to the bath towels department. 

  Threshold Canvas Basket

4) Target is still a great place to buy storage solutions, especially at the bigger stores.

 

5) If you're looking for other home storage ideas, check out my home storage solutions pinboard on pinterest

 

What do you think of canvas buckets? Are you using any in your home? And how about banana madness? Do you love having the grocery items at Target or are you missing favorite items that they no longer have space for? Thanks for sharing!

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October 10, 2012

Professional Organizing Services in St. Louis

Did you know that I offer in-home professional organizing services in the St. Louis area?

 

No?

 

Well…you’re in good company. Last summer I got a phone call from a prospective client who said “Do you still do in-home organizing services?”

 

“Yes, I do” I said, wondering why she was asking. We talked about my service offerings and decided my services were a good fit for her project and goals—so we booked a session.

 

Green-polkadot-bin-500

 

As soon as I hung up the phone, I went straight to www.simplify101.com to take a look at the site through the eyes of prospective client. My conclusion? It was no wonder she wasn’t sure if I did services anymore! As we added new service offerings to our site—such as online workshops—the in-home services got a bit overshadowed on the site. It really wasn’t clear at all that I still do this! But here's the real irony:  I created my online workshops based on my experiences organizing with individuals in their homes and through my organizing coaching program. 

 

ClutterBin-320That client session laid the foundation for a few changes—changes to my website as well as changes to my service offerings. I decided to start offering service packages which will benefit my clients in a number of ways. My in-home service packages now include pdf versions of my online workshops and gift certificates for future online workshops. This means that after a client and I finish up an organizing project, the client will have a comprehensive resource guide to understand at a deeper level the process we used to organize their space. It's like I'll still be there with them even after I leave, which will make it easier to tackle future organizing projects and maintain order. This is a huge obstacle for people when they're thinking about getting organized—the worry that they'll invest time and money in the project and won't be able to keep it that way going forward. (Worry no more.)

 

Like before, when you work with me one-on-one via my in-home organizing services, I'll spend the time to get to know you and figure out what works for you. We'll also get to the root cause of your organizing challenges, and implement storage solutions and customized organizing systems that will make it easy to stay on top of things going forward. You'll get your projects done faster than you ever imagined possible, and we just might have some fun along the way, too. ;)

 

Follow this link to learn more about my St. Louis professional organizing services. (Or if you're outside of St. Louis, you can learn about my organizing coaching services.)

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October 08, 2012

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a terrific weekend. For me, this weekend kind of took on a life of it’s own. I did a whole bunch of things not on my original list and did way more laundry than I had anticipated. It was nice—got lots done and did a bit of relaxing, too. Here’s my update:

 

Fun

  • Boot camp. Check! Sadly though there was no running this week, which I was banking on. So I’m a bit behind on my 43 mile goal for the month.
  • Go out with Jay. We decided on dinner out. It was delicious, relaxing and fun.
  • Knit. I didn’t knit, but I did find a cute canvas bucket to hold my knitting stuff. (Does that count?)

 

Done

  • Take the kids shopping. Check!
  • Organizing project. Check! Loads of fun.
  • Send thank you notes. I didn’t get to this, so here is my new goal:  have this checked off my list before this Friday’s Finish It Friday post.
  • Plan meals for the week and shop. Check and thanks Jay for shopping. ;)
  • Laundry. Okay…I did so much laundry this weekend. I even hand washed about six sweaters (which falls in the category of what was I thinking?) And then there were loads and loads of other laundry...and there’s still more to do. I think it just kept multiplying on me when I wasn’t looking. Does this ever happen to you?
  • Change over closet. This was an add-on to-do. I was really energetic and motivated when I got home from boot camp…and so I did the seasonal change out of my wardrobe. Nice to have that done.
  • Clean out the refrigerator. This is usually part of the Sunday grocery shopping…but last weekend we shopped on Friday and the cleanout didn’t happen. And then this Sunday the kids and I were gone after the grocery shopping (which is when we usually eat up the remaining left-overs from the week) so the clean out didn’t happen this week, either. This just shows how even the slightest change in routines can really throw off your organizing systems!  

 

I think that about wraps it up for me. How was your weekend? Did you have loads of fun and get some stuff done, too. I hope so. Can’t wait to hear about it!

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October 05, 2012

Let’s Organize Our Weekend Plans

Hello and happy Finish It Friday to you! I hope you had a terrific week. Are you ready to organize your plans for the weekend? Here’s my list.


Checklist-copyright-simplify101Fun

  • Boot camp.
  • Go out with Jay. Dinner? Drinks? Movie? Not sure yet…
  • Knit.

 

 

Done

  • Take the kids shopping. It’s time to get some new clothes…that fit!
  • Organizing project. I’m working on a team organizing project this weekend. It will be fun…but will definitely fill a good portion of my weekend bucket, which is why there isn't much else on my list this weekend. :)
  • Send thank you notes.
  • Plan meals for the week and shop.
  • Laundry. It's in pretty good shape at the moment...so I'll just need to do a load or two. 

 

I think that's it. As of the moment it's a cool, rainy Friday morning. It feels like a good weekend to get some stuff done. :) Hope you have a great weekend!

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Kitchen Organizing Myths Busted

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The final session of my Organize Your Kitchen online video workshop for 2012 started yesterday (and there's still plenty of time to join). In anticipation, we’ve been talking about kitchen organizing on our Facebook page for the past couple of weeks. We asked our Facebook friends what they needed in order to have the organized kitchen of their dreams. While a few friends said they needed a miracle or an extreme home makeover, most of the responses revolved around the issues of time, money and space. While those can be real obstacles, they can also be myths that keep us from reaching our organizing goals.

 

If you want to get more organized—whether in the kitchen or elsewhere—and feel that time, money or lack of space is preventing you from reaching your goals, following are myth-busting ideas to help you.

 

Worth the Investment

Think of organizing in terms of investing. Yes, it takes time, effort, and sometimes even money up front, but once you’ve created an organizing system that works for you, that investment keeps paying you back time and again. This is especially true in the kitchen. Have you ever opted for take-out or costly convenience foods because you don’t enjoy being in your kitchen? Or, maybe you went out for dinner because you weren’t sure what was in the refrigerator and pantry, making it too cumbersome to pull a meal together. A disorganized kitchen makes it harder to do everything. And there really is a fine line between what’s simple enough to do that we do it consistently, and what feels just a notch too hard (so we opt for something easier.)

 

But consider this. A simple storage solution like a Lazy Susan can make it easier to keep track of the food in your pantry, cupboards and refrigerator. The 18" Lazy Susan's I use in my pantry (shown below) are currently $14.99 which is less than the price of Chinese take-out for my family of four. The take-out is gone in less than 20 minutes...but the Lazy Susan will keep making life easier for years and years to come. Bottom line:  when your kitchen is organized you can save money week after week because you’re more inclined to eat in and there’s less chance of food going bad in the back of the pantry, cabinets or refrigerator. 

 

Discovering Space

I am no stranger to small kitchens, so I fully understand that small spaces can be challenging. Sometimes it feels as if the only solution would be a bigger space. But through organizing my own kitchen, as well as helping countless clients, I have discovered you don’t always need more space to organize any area in your home—even the kitchen. You can make things better, just by rearranging where things go and by evaluating what things you need and use, and which things are just taking up precious space. If you have items in your kitchen that you use just once a year, these could be stored in another area of your home, freeing up valuable real-estate in your kitchen for things you use everyday. Plus, by utilizing simple storage solutions, you can maximize the space you have. Finally, small kitchens can be ultra-efficient when they’re organized to support how you use the space (another great time saver!)

 

Organized pantry
 

Motivation + Time

Getting motivated, staying motivated or coming up with enough time, energy or willpower was another kitchen organizing obstacle our friends shared on Facebook. It can be hard to muster up the time and energy to organize your entire kitchen in a single day, but if you tackle it one drawer, cabinet or shelf at a time—it’s very doable. With a bite sized approach, you can fit the project into even the busiest of schedules. In my online workshops I emphasize the idea of creating organized habits by making progress on your organizing projects for as little as fifteen minutes a day. This approach is effective because it is much easier to find fifteen minutes of time (and motivation!) to work on a project than it is hours or even days. Often, once you get started, organizing and decluttering feels so good you want to keep going! Often we wait for motivation to take action. But what if we try switching this around: Take action and the motivation will follow.

 

What are your obstacles to organizing your kitchen? Do the ones listed here resonate with you or is it something else altogether? Thanks for sharing!

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October 03, 2012

Welcome October

Ahhh…hello October. I’m so glad you are here. August and September were rough. And now you’re here and there’s something different in the air. There’s crispness, for certain, but it’s more than that. It’s a renewed sense of purpose, focus and…could it be…enthusiasm? Yes…that’s it. I remember that feeling. I’m glad it’s coming back.

 

I always love the start of a new month. But this month, I was really excited to turn over a new page…start down a new path. This weekend I went through my project lists and to-do lists. I have to admit I hadn’t looked at them in months. It was weird…to see all the stuff I was doing and planning to do…before I went into the fog. And it was weird to realize that I was actually in a fog. It seems like my birthday (May) was when the fog started to roll in, and yet, at the time, I didn’t realize it was happening. But it seems like everything changed right around my birthday. Everything I had been doing and had planned on doing just kind of stopped. And I went into a fog.

 

Fog

For my birthday this year my Dad sent me a card and a check. It was really nice, but also really out of character. He was always so great about sending birthday gifts…special things he had picked out for me or chosen from my list. But this year he didn’t have the energy to shop. I wasn’t concerned about it, really, I had expected he’d be more tired for this round of chemo. But I didn’t think that this would be the trend…that he would get more and more tired and weaker and weaker... And what’s weirder, still, is that I didn’t see how it was affecting me. I know that part of it was summer, which has a rhythm of disruption all its own…but the biggest part of it was the emotional tug of war between my desire to hold onto hope and the need to accept the inevitable.

 

But now, it’s October. I feel the fog lifting. I look at my project lists and I think…yes, that sounds fun. I see challenges posted online, and I think yes, I can do that! I can feel myself looking forward…anticipating what lies ahead. And it feels good. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this month…

 

43 miles for Jonathan. I saw Becky’s challenge to move 43 miles in honor of her brother Jonathan who recently passed away. He would have been 43 this month. I decided to sign up and run 43 miles this month because I did the math and it seems doable. Plus, I always slack off with my running after doing a race, so this will be a nice motivator. Most of all I signed up to run in honor of Jonathan and of course, I have another special someone who I’ll be running for this month, too. It feels good to recommit to something and to run for a purpose. I also love the idea of heading into the holidays with a nice fitness habit already in place. This feels like a win on many fronts. (I'll keep you posted on my progress...)

 

The pumpkin farm. It’s an annual tradition, our trip to the pumpkin farm. And I’m really looking forward to it…time to spend outside in the crisp, cool air…time with my husband and kiddos…time to take in all the goodness of fall. Fires in the fireplace. I think it’s going to be cool enough for this real soon…I can’t wait!

 

Pumpkin-farm

A Halloween visit. My stepmom and sister are planning to come for a visit at the end of the month. This visit is an annual tradition, though in years past it’s been my dad and stepmom who came for Halloween. I’m so grateful to my sister for carrying on the tradition this year. I know this will be hard – the hardest holiday I’ll have to face since it is the one holiday that I consistently spent with my Dad each year. But I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to jumping over this hurdle and even more so, I’m looking forward to seeing my sister and stepmom. We’ve been through a lot together recently and I miss them.

 

Fall leaves. I look forward to seeing this outside my kitchen window.

 

Fall-leaves

Knitting. I love to knit this time of year. Long, cool evenings, are the perfect excuse to curl up on the couch and partake in knitting therapy. It also makes me feel close to my dad. A couple of years ago I went to visit him in early November. I was knitting a scarf then, and he was thrilled I was knitting. His mom was a knitter, too. I think of him in a happy way when I knit...and it relaxes me and helps me sleep. Good all the way around. By the way, I’m still knitting scarves, but I may venture into some dish towels later this fall. (I know, I'm living on the edge!)

 

It feels good to be looking forward and moving forward.  

 

What are you looking forward to this month? What do you love about October? Thanks for sharing!

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October 01, 2012

How was your weekend?

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was good and I did pretty well with my list. Here’s my update:

fun

  • boot camp. Check! Luckily there was lots of running this week, and a bit less strength exercises than sometimes. This is good since I have been running. So I do have some slightly sore muscles…but it’s not as bad as it could have been. Whew. ;)
  • cross country meet. Check! Just one left for the season. I will miss cross country so much! 
  • dinner with family. Check!

done

  • baby shower. Check!  
  • update my project lists and to-do lists. The list of possibilities has been organized…though no decisions have been made.  
  • laundry. Check! There wasn’t enough time at home to finish…but things have moved along nicely in the laundry department.
  • plan next week’s meals. Check!
  • grocery shop. Check! We did this on Friday since we were gone all day on Sunday for the shower and dinner with family. Glad it isn’t a lingering to-do for today. 

The weekend is a wrap. How was yours? Thanks to everyone who joined me for Finish It Friday this week. See you again on Friday. :)

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