Friday, April 29, 2011

Lists & Forms Make The World Go 'Round

I have a problem.

There are more things I have to do in a day then there are hours to do them. And that's not even including the things I want to do!

I'm willing to bet that you have the same problem.

How do we solve it? Well, since I can't make more hours in the day, all I can do is give you some tried and true organization ideas to make the day seem longer.    

Today's topic: Lists & Forms

Lists have the ability to clear your mind of clutter, to remind you of what you are forgetting and to make your life seem easier. I use custom made lists for my grocery shopping, I use to do lists to fit more into my day, I use wish lists for things I want to remember to do once I have time.

Forms let you create order out of chaos.

Instead of making up all new forms for everything I need, my new go to source is the internet. Real Simple Magazine recently published all sorts of downloadable lists and forms you can use for everything from a family crib sheet to a sports equipment inventory. Click here to see them:  http://www.realsimple.com/forms Take a look, there are at least a dozen different types!

So, since they already did the work, I'm not going to. Instead I think I'll go check what's next on my Want To Do List.

be organizied.....Evelyn                                              

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. You can get a free sample download here too! be organized!.....evelyn

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How You (yes, you) Can Organize The Best Birthday Party EVER For Your Child!

Your child's birthday party should be a time of fun and excitement. After all, you're celebrating another year in your child's short life. Time for merriment! Time for cake!

Then how come as parents, we dread it.

Don't get me wrong, it's not the actual birthday that strikes fear into our hearts.

It's the ...............ba, ba ,ba bum........BIRTHDAY PARTY!


Yes, it's true - our offspring want to celebrate in the biggest way possible and invite anyone they have ever met in their life, including the store cashier and the little girl they just saw in the sandbox a few minutes ago. But we disagree, we would like just the family and maybe one or two well behaved friends. With their moms. And a few extra babysitters thrown in for good measure.

Well, relax. I'm here to tell you it can be done. At home. (yes, I just said, gasp!, at home). And inexpensively. And it can be fun. No - it will be fun. I promise!

Admit it, wouldn't you rather give your child a birthday party they remember, with them being the star of the show, instead of farming the party out to a birthday party mill where your child is just birthday party #7 - of that day?

You would, you know it. You want to go for the brownie points, you just don't know how.

Well, here's the how. It's all about organizing. Straight from the person who has given many, many successful parties without needing Valium at the end.

Your easy birthday party organizing steps:
  • Pick a theme. Get your child's input into this, but your vote counts too. And forget about "princess" or "cowboy" as a theme. That's not a theme. That's what's on the plates. A theme is "Fairies Delight" or "Rodeo". Pick a theme with some meat to it, something that suggests activities. It makes all your other decisions fall into place. And you don't have to do it alone. There are great books out there that give you themes and ideas. Games, invites, even what food to serve. I especially love the Penny Whistle Party Planning series. Get one, get two, get the whole series. They will make you a kid's party planning expert. All your friends will ask you to throw their kids parties for them. Just say no. Lend them the books instead.
  • Make the guest list. I'm going to be firm about this. Only invite the same number of guests that your child is turning!!!!!!!! I cannot say this enough. If your child is turning 3, invite 3 guests. 4, 4 guests. And siblings count as guests!!!! You will want to invite the entire class. You will want to show off your party expertise. This is not the time to do it. Do that with grown up parties, since grown up guests are generally better behaved, and you can drink wine.  DO NOT INVITE MORE CHILDREN THEN YOUR CHILD'S AGE. Am I being clear on that fact? Make a mistake here and your party is doomed.....doomed I say. There will not be enough Valium in the world after that.
  • Pick the date & time.  Mornings are good. Naptime is not. After naptime is iffy. Right before dinner is bad. Best time choice for small children? 10:00 - 11:30. Older kids? 2:00 - 4:00 
  • Plan the food. I am a big fan of cake and ice cream. And water. That's it. Yes, I know most parties serve pizza, hot dogs, veggies that no child actually eats. I;m suggesting you buck the trend. Go simple or go home. In your invite clearly spell out that cake and ice cream will be the only food served.
  • Make a list of absolutely everything you will need for the party; invites, plates, napkins, equipment for games. You don't have to buy everything, borrowing things is fine. Just figure out exactly what you need, (again, the books are great for this), and procure all the pieces. Include the birthday child on the expedition. Do not include the siblings. See, the "special birthday fuss" is starting already. Your child will love the special treatment!
  • Send out the invites. Hand delivery is fun and easily accomplished since you are ONLY INVITING A SMALL GROUP! Do not send invites to school. Under any circumstances. You are only asking for trouble.
  • Make a schedule for the party. An actual time line. Write it all down on a small piece of paper so you can keep it in your pocket on party day. Plan more activities then you think you will need. Small children do not stand around and chat. Activities = good. Down time = bad.
  • Get everything ready and assembled in one place. The key to a great party is to have everything you need right at hand. Party time is not the time to go hunting string down. Have all game items organized and available in one bin or box.
  • On your mark, get set, go! Party time!
  • Be willing to go with the flow once the party starts. If the kids are happy digging for pennies in the sandbox, let them dig. If you don't get to all of your activities, no big deal. Your schedule,(that's in your pocket, right?), is meant to be a time frame reference. As long as you are having cake somewhere near the time you anticipated, all is good.
  • I suggest you plan for present opening time at the party. The kids always love it, and (sneaky hint here) then you don't need to send out thank you notes since your child thanked them in person! (It's in the etiquette books, look it up if you don't believe me. An in person thank you trumps a note).
  • Before you know it, the party will be over, your child will be happy and all will be good in the world.
  • Since you didn't take the expensive birthday party mill route, you should have enough money left over for pizza for dinner. And a glass of wine. You deserve it. 
be organized!.....evelyn

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. You can get a free sample download here too!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How You Can Organize Moving & Still Keep Your Sanity

Today's topic - Packing up everything you own and moving it somewhere else. Easy as pie - right?

If there was ever a time to clean out and pare down, it's when you move. That's when you find out just how much clutter you have unknowingly accumulated over the years. Time to organize it and move it out!

Some basics:
  • Get rid of extra junk. Look at my list of other blog entries in the right column to help you clear out and declutter.
  • Buy boxes from a moving and storage company. All the same size. This way it's easy to stack them,and you fit more in a small space. Saves money when you pay by the square foot for transport.
  • Start packing way, way, way ahead of time and stockpile. When we moved we actually blocked off one end of a room with packed boxes piled to the ceiling!
  • Label the boxes with what room they go in, and give each box a number.
  • If you are moving yourself, and you are handling all the boxes, write briefly on the outside what is in them, i.e. china, linens, pots, etc.
  • If you are using a moving company, make a paper or computer list that corresponds to the numbers on the boxes. This way the movers won't be "tempted" to open the boxes. And you will have a list of what is in what box so you can find it later.
  • Make one box your "unpack first" box. Include in it things you need to feel right at home and things you need for the first night. That way you don't have to rifle through you boxes looking for your jammies.

A great source to turn to when moving is http://www.movers-edge.com. This site helps you out by giving you packing info, a moving day check list, mail forwarding forms, etc. And it includes a four week countdown to the big move!

That's it. Happy moving and I hope these tips help you have a well organized, stress free move!

be organized....evelyn

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. You can get a free sample download here too!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How You Can Get Free Babysitting - No Relatives Required!

The balance of life. You want to go out and have fun, the kids need you at home. You are pulled in two directions at once. And then there's the cost. A night out for a simple dinner and movie can easily run into triple digits. Don't forget the babysitter! Who can even organize all that?

While I can't help at all with the cost of dinner and a movie, there is help in the babysitter realm.

Have you considered joining a babysitting co-op?

I have no idea when or where this concept originated, but it's the best thing since sliced bread. If I wasn't a member of one years ago when my 3 boys were small, I don't think my husband and I would have left the house together at all. Ever.

Here's how it works:
  • Find or start a babysitting co-op near you. For info and logistics on how to start one, go to http://www.sittingaround.com. It was recently mentioned in Real Simple magazine.
  • You trade off sitting. You sit for one family, collect points (or sticks when I was a member), and then you redeem them for FREE sitting.
  • The benefits - did I mention FREE SITTING!!!
  • Your sitter is another mom, not a young teen, so she's more experienced.
  • The sitter can drive herself to your house!
  • The sitter doesn't have a curfew!
  • You can earn points by sitting in the daytime (disguised as a play date for your child) and redeem them at night (called a play date with your husband).
  • You know the sitter before she comes to sit. Usually she's a friend.
The mom sitter wins because:
  • She gets to be out of her house at night.
  • In a quiet house while your kids are sleeping.
  • She has no house to clean, no messes to pick up.
  • She just sits and enjoys the silence! Remember, she's left her house in charge of her husband, so it's kind of like a night off for her.
  • She's earning points to redeem at a later date.
This is a win/win situation if I ever saw one!

Now, some people say they feel uncomfortable with having an adult sit for them that they are not paying. Get over it. Treat it like a business transition it is, and everyone wins. Give it a try. For a bit of effort on your part, you can significantly decrease the cost of a night out.

Now go have fun!

be organized.....evelyn

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. You can get a free sample download here too! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Is Your Kid's Lunch Ruining Your Breakfast?

School Lunch. When we were kids it was never a big deal. Mom packed it, you ate it. But alas, like many other things today, what was simple has become complicated. Now there are zillions of options and opinions. What do the kids want? What is healthy? What is affordable? And most importantly, and usually the last considered, what is simple?

Don't worry - there is hope. I'm here to suggest a way to simplify and organize your kids school lunches so they are not the bane of your existence. But, like any good idea, you are going to have to make some sacrifices. Well, not you specifically. Your kids. And they might not even consider them sacrifices.

Have you been running a lunch counter for your lids every day? Have you been giving them options? Choice? If so - why? Do you EVER remember your mom/dad asking what you wanted for lunch every day?

Time to bring back the good old days.  I'm not suggesting you just put any old leftovers in their lunch. I'm suggesting that you sit down with your child and pick out a few acceptable choices for lunches. Acceptable for you in terms of cost, nutrition and ease of assembling, and acceptable to them in that they will eat it.

Here's my method for organizing kid's school lunches:
  1. Sit down with your kids and decide on two lunches. PB & J, ham & cheese, cream cheese on bagel - whatever. As long as it's something they like and nutritious. If you have multiple kids, maybe you will get lucky and they choose the same ones, But don't count on it.
  2. On Sunday, make lunch for the week. Yes, I said for the week. Make FIVE OF EXACTLY THE SAME LUNCH. Five PB & J, five ham and cheese, whatever. Make five of them. Yes, this means your child will be eating the same thing for lunch all week. Trust me. It's okay. The lunch police are not going to come after you. And, your child won't really mind in the long run. Expect some grumbling at first. But don't even tell them. Once they're at school the choice will be to eat something they like, that they also liked yesterday, or starve. I'm guessing they will eat. And surprisingly enough, most kids like this. They don't crave variety like adults do. They like the same thing over and over. After all, how many different types of food do they actually eat anyway?
  3. Wrap the sandwiches in foil, reusable bags, whatever. Put them in the freezer, with their name written on it. Yes, the freezer. I have never met a sandwich that won't last a week in the freezer. 
  4. Once a week make/buy dessert. I bake a batch of brownies, cookies, whatever and package them up into individual portions. Put these in the freezer also.
  5. Whatever else your child takes for lunch, put in one central location. Bags of pretzels, fruit bars, whatever. The idea is to have a weeks worth ready to go on Sunday, stored somewhere easily accessible. And you can freeze pretzels too if you want everything in one place.
  6. Get refillable metal water/juice bottle. It can be popped in to the dishwasher when needed.


That's it!

You are now ready for the best part. Picture this, it's Monday morning, the kids are getting ready for school, lunches need to be packed. 

  • Your job: Say clearly "Don't forget to pack your lunch".
  • Their job: they pack their lunch.

Since all the parts are there and easy to grab, they pack their lunch. And fill up their water/juice bottle. You are successfully transferring responsibility over to them, where it belongs. You are no longer chief cook and bottle washer in the morning. Your children are sharing part of the work load.

It's a beautiful thing........

be organized...evelyn


If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. You can get a free sample download here too! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why Is It Called the Supermarket When It's Anything But Super?

The supermarket.

It should be your friend, welcoming you into it's shiny aisles, beckoning to you to come squeeze the produce.

It used to be this way. The supermarket was a destination, a place to go to actually HAVE FUN! Not all that long ago, our moms and grandmoms would plan their trip to the market around a carefully constructed list, easing themselves into their appointed shopping day excursion. First, a balanced breakfast before the trip to the store. Then cruising the aisles, buying ingredients to make meals for the week. Followed perhaps by a lovely lunch with friends, and home in time to greet the kids by the time they walked home from school. Then an entire afternoon to create a well balanced dinner.

All before hubby walks in the door at 6:00 sharp.

I want those days back. I'd trade in an instant. Just to put the fun back into everyday events.

And I don't rush around half as much as other people . But I just came from a trip to the supermarket to pick up a few unexpected things, (last minute dinner party). And everyone there looked sad and unhappy. And hunched over their carts. What's that all about?

If you are looking to ease your shopping a bit, here are my down and dirty tips. However, I'm warning you - you're not going to like them. They're going to force you to change your habits, but I promise you'll be happier in the long run. And saner.
  1. Once a week, plan out 7 dinners. Take into account sports practices, school events, anything that would effect your cooking dinner that night.
  2. Balance out meat, fish, veggie options. Also check what you already have on hand.
  3. Make a shopping list of all ingredients you need to buy.
  4. Go to the store ONCE.
  5. Do not return to the store that week. If you end up needing something, figure out how you can make due with what you already have at home.
  6. repeat next week.
That's it. Very basic, but basic works. I know you're now running through your head all the reasons this can't possibly work for you. But try it for a few weeks. See if it doesn't make you a saner, happier person. What do you have to lose?

be organized!.....evelyn

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. You can get a free sample there too!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

To Snore or Not to Snore - That's so NOT a question!

Snoring. I can't think of one other word that evokes such amazingly strong responses from people. Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone's story is a story of woe. Loss of sleep, feelings of hatred.  Nothing good can come of it. At all. So, it's time to do something about it. It's time to organize your snorer.


Now, the snorer might by you. If so, kudos for doing something about your secret shame.  Or it might be your significant other. If that is the case, my heart goes out to you.  You were sold a false dream. Nowhere in the fairy tales where the prince and princess unite does it include the fact that the prince/princess snores. I seem to remember dwarfs snoring, but Prince Charming? Never!  So, I'm sure it came as a big surprise when you heard those first snorts and snuffles coming from your own prince or princess. Who are we to believe if we can't believe in fairy tales?


Well, enough about those dreams. Time to deal with the nightmare. I can relate. My husband was a snorer. And not a log sawing type of snorer, not the kind where the sounds came at some sort of a measured pace. No, he was a snorter snorer. You never knew when the sound would come, and when it did, it was loud and abrupt. 


Did he have sleep apnea I can hear some of you saying? Yes, he did. He went for the overnight test at the hospital and they verdict was yes - he doesn't get a restful night sleep. Like this was news to me.


He was fitted with the contraption that will help him breathe like a human being and get his beauty sleep. And by proxy, me, mine. Did it work? Well, yes and no - yes, he was able to breathe better, but no, he still couldn't sleep because now he was being asked to sleep with what amounted to a gas mask strapped to his face. And I was being asked to sleep next to what sounded like Darth Vader. A peaceful night ahead? I think not. Not to mention what it looked like. Very romantic. There are reason why Victoria's Secret doesn't sell these.


So, I researched alternative means. I love that term, alternative means. Usually means "let's try that old remedy our forefathers believed in that is much better for us, better for the planet and actually works". And this one did all that and more. What is it you may ask? Something so simple, so basic, so cheap and so miraculous all wrapped up in one. It is .........drum roll please..........The Snore Ring! 


Yes, the name is silly. But I ask you to just listen to me for a moment. Believe for a second if you could. Here are the details: 

  • The Snore Ring is a cheap piece of copper(?) 
  • My husband slips on his pinkie each night
  • By way of the ancient power of acupressure, HE NO LONGER SNORES!
  • AT ALL. I'm not kidding. 

All is quiet on the home front once again. Sounds like magic? Well, it is. Now, I have no idea why this works, and I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I'm just glad it does.


I can't guarantee results for you. I suggested it to some of my friends, and they say it didn't work for them. But I am suggesting you try it. For the low, low price of $19.95, life can be worth living again. Here's the link if you're willing to give it a go. http://tinyurl.com/4xr4vnh


One of my friends had no luck with the ring for her husband, but she tried The Mattress Genie, some sort of device that lifts the mattress just a bit and ceases the snoring. I can't vouch for it, but for her it was the magic cure. Here's a link for that. http://www.mattressgenie.com/


All I can say is that there are four happier, more rested people in the world thanks to these two devices. 


If snoring is your vice, try one of these solutions. It may just be the magic cure you're looking for!


be rested.........be organized.............evelyn

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. You can get a free sample download here too!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Can you be Green and Clean at the Same Time?

Earth Day is fast approaching. Anyone out there, besides me,  remember when it first started?

Growing up in the late 60's & 70's I seem to recall a big public service push for people to "save the earth". Seems like if more people had listened then, the earth would be in much better shape now. But Earth Day wasn't in style then. It was basically promoted by the crunchy granola type of personality, so as a result, main stream America wanted nothing to do with it.  My, how times have changed - and for the better!

Fast forward to today. Green is everywhere. Main stream America has embraced it and has taken notice. Green is now a viable option for your average family.

How can you be green and clean at the same time? Well, you can go old school or new school.

OLD SCHOOL: Make your own cleaners. This is much easier then it sounds. And really, really cheap. (Did I say really cheap? Dirt costs more then these cleaners!) Some ones to try:
  • all purpose cleaner: 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tsp baking soda, 4 cups of water, a few drops of essential oil (for fragrance). Mix in a spray bottle and use on everything.
  • glass cleaner: 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 cups water. Mix in a spray bottle and wipe glass with a lint free cloth.
  • scouring powder: baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge or directly onto the surface, like a bathtub. Scrub and rinse. Dissolves in water, so it leaves no chalky residue.
These three recipes are all you need to have a sparkling clean & green house for pennies. Literally, pennies. Mix as needed and you are good to go.

NEW SCHOOL: you can buy cleaners that are certified green. My favorites:
  • Seventh Generation Natural Multi-Surface Concentrated Cleaner. This stuff works great, smells great, and since it's a concentrate, you mix it with water, so a bottle lasts forever. And I mean forever!
  • Clorox Green Works Product Line. Easy to find, not too expensive, seem to work well. I buy the dish soap and use it as hand soap also. 
  • Dr. Brommer's Peppermint Soap. Have you tried this stuff? This one product can be used for everything, and I mean everything around your home. wash clothing? check. wash dishes? check wash hair? check. brush teeth? check. You can use it full strength or dilute it. If you are going camping, or cross country on a motorcycle (been there, done that) this would be the one product to take. And it's been green since w--a--y,  w--a--y,  w--a--y before being green was even a concept.
That should be enough to get you started. But if you would like more green cleaner "recipes", try this site.  Green Cleaners You can find concoctions to clean anything. And I mean anything.

Be clean, be green, be organized....evelyn


 If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. Also available on Kindle. be organized!.....evelyn

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Organize Your Mind When Your Brain Isn't Cooperating.

Mind control. Wouldn't it be great if we all had it? I'm not talking about controlling other people's minds, just our own! Sometimes it seems like one half of your brain is out to get the other half. You try and remember to buy milk, and your mind is remembering the name of your junior prom date. Why? Why, I ask? And more importantly, what can we do about it?

Luckily for us, (at least for me), there are some simple devices you can use to help your brain remember and organize the info it needs to. And get it out of your brain where it just keeps looping around. You can be as high tech or low tech as you would like. Ready? Here are some ideas to help:

  1. Lists. Can't get more basic then this. But you actually have to use them. Simply writing down vague ideas, or even concrete things to do won't help at all  IF YOU CAN'T FIND THE LIST! I know, seems basic, right. But get yourself a long skinny notepad, preferably one with a magnet on the back, and stick it on the side of your fridge. Easy to find, not easily visible to guests.
  2. Now use it! Write down a list of things you need to accomplish, and include a few things you want to accomplish. Something for you, like going for a walk, taking a long bath. It's important you balance the needs with the wants, otherwise your day has no joy in it, nothing to look forward to.
  3. The list doesn't have to be updated daily, weekly is fine. Whatever works for you.
  4. When you've completed something, cross it off! Pick a color pen or pencil you especially like, and use it to make a big line through what you've done. Instant gratification. It doesn't get much better.
  5. When you finish all on one list, begin a new one.
  6. If you want to keep track of what you've accomplished, keep the old lists in a folder. Look back on it whenever you feel like you are getting nothing done, going no where fast. It will remind you of what you HAVE DONE!
  7. You can go high tech with a list kept on your electronic device. Works for some people, but not for me. I need to manually cross out the done items with a big red pencil. Little things just make me happy!
That should empty your mind of all those pesky things you need to do, as well as make time for all those things you want to do. Congrats - you are now a master of mind control......

be organized!.....evelyn


 If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. Also available on Kindle.

Monday, April 18, 2011

6 Super Easy Ways You Can Organize Your Desk Without Going Crazy!

You know that sinking feeling you get when you walk into your office? I'm willing to bet it's not the work you are dreading, it's your desk. Think back to your first day when your desk was empty and welcoming. Well, it wasn't really your desk yet, because you hadn't set up shop yet or spread your mess around, but you get the picture. Remember that sense of happiness and how on top of things you felt? Read this, follow the easy steps, and you can get that feeling back again. Simply by organizing your desk.

The easy organizing steps you are going to do:
  1. Throw out all the trash littering the top of your desk. What were you thinking anyway, keeping trash on your desk? That old coffee cup, that mangled paperclip. Toss it all, and keep your trash can close by. Be sure to use it in the future.
  2. Recycle any paper you can. Ask yourself "What's the worst that can happen if I get rid of this piece of paper?" If you can live with the answer, recycle it. Shred it, crunch it up, whatever makes you happy.
  3. Get a baskets or bin. Decorative if you want. Put all the paperwork you need to look at in one - your "in" box so to speak. Jot down a time in your schedule to go through it. Preferably at the end of the day so you don't have to face it in the morning. Don't go through it now, it will only slow you down.
  4. Pare down your accessories. They only get in the way. Pick one or two that are meaningful to you and display only them. Think about the image you want to project to your associates or customers and only put out items that support your image.
  5. Go through your drawers, tossing anything you haven't used in the last 6 months. Chances are you don't need it.
  6. Take a deep breath and look at your desktop. Put your stapler, tape, calculator, whatever else you don't use constantly into your top drawer. Pull them out when you need them, put them away when you are done.
That's it! Take a look at your desk now. Looking less scary? Looking like the desk of someone who means business? That person is you. And you can keep it this way by following one simple rule. At the end of each day put your desk back in order. Don't leave any non essentials out. Don't leave work out for the next day, put it into a drawer. You deserve to be greeted by a clean and orderly desk, ready for action the next day. Congrats....you are now organized!

be organized!.....evelyn

P.S. If you find yourself craving more tips, get the free sample from my eBook, "30 Days to an Organized Home". One click on the title will take you to my website where you can request the free sample.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Best Organizing Tips for your Pets

Hello! Welcome to my blog where I will let you in on all of the best organizing tips for every area of your home! Organizing doesn't have to be hard. Attacking it just a little bit at a time is the best way to approach it. And, the dividends you will receive by having a neat and organized home (and life) will far outweigh the time you spent on these organizing tips. Ready - lets get started!

Today's topic: Organizing Your Pets

Pets, gotta love'em, but in all honesty, sometimes its like having a perpetual 3 year old in your home. And that's in addition to the other 3 year olds inhabiting your home.  As I write this my cat just knocked a stuffed bunny to the floor. Why? I have no idea, all I know is that I'm the one who's going to be putting it back. Add it to the list.

Anyway, pets give back lots of love, but they take a fair amount of work also. That's why it's important to streamline their "needs" as much as possible. The organizing tips:

  1. Unless your vet says otherwise, stick to dry food. It's usually healthier. Not to mention cheaper. Now some of your may be saying, but my cat/dog won't eat dry food, so I need to buy wet! That would be true if your cat/dog was buying the food. But face it, sooner or later they would eat whatever you put out. It's time for tough love folks.
  2. Store the dry food in a large decorative cubby near where they eat. When you bring the food home, just dump it into the cubby. Store the scoop in there also. Then, when it's time to eat, just scoop a portion out. And since it's right there, any family member can do it. Scooping is not a skill limited to you. Dogs may need some sort of fastener on top of the cubby so they don't open it themselves, cats usually won't put forth that much energy.
  3. Water. If you aren't around during the day, get an automatic water dish. Available online or at any store, this ensures a fresh supply of water at all times.
  4. Walking - give your dog some independence by installing a doggie door to the outside! What we did - our backdoor wasn't a good candidate for a doggy door since it didn't open up to the back yard. So, we installed the doggie door right into the side of the house! Inside it opened up to a closet. Outside it opened to a small flight of steps. We built the steps since the side of the house wasn't at ground level. This lead to a small part of the yard, fenced off from the rest of the yard. This system worked perfectly. Maggie, our dog, could go in and out as she wanted, we could close the closet door in case we wanted to keep her in, the backyard was still usable since she wasn't leaving "presents" all over the yard, just in her fenced off area, and we didn't need to get home to "walk the dog". Everyone is happy! We did need to do a bit of retrofitting to make the door fit into the wall, but not a big deal. Took a bit of planning, but the results far outweighed the effort.
  5. Litter box - my favorite invention - sifting litter bags!  I get them at Walmart. This is how they work -when setting up the box, you put all the liners from the package in at once. The bottom liner is solid, all the others have a honeycomb of holes punched in. When it's time to change the litter box, instead of scooping it, you simply lift up the top liner. The clean litter sifts through the holes, the solids stay in the liner, and then you toss the liner and contents away. Simple, quick, fuss free and 100% accurate. Why these liners are not the norm is beyond me! Here's a link if you have no idea what I'm talking about. sifting cat liners . Like I said, I find them in my local Walmart - a different brand and cheaper, so you might want to check there first. Just be sure they say sifting!
These tips should make the daily day to day duties of pet ownership a bit easier. Now go tell your pet you love them!

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. Also available on Kindle.

be organized!.....evelyn

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Best Organizing Tips for Your Car

Hello! Welcome to my blog where I will let you in on all of the best organizing tips for every area of your home! Organizing doesn't have to be hard. Attacking it just a little bit at a time is the best way to approach it. And, the dividends you will receive by having a neat and organized home (and life) will far outweigh the time you spent on these organizing tips. Ready - lets get started!

Today's Topic: Organizing Your Car

Some people treat their car like a member of their family. That could be good or bad. Good if you treat it like a favorite aunt. Bad if you treat it like an annoying little brother. Your car is your link to the outside world, and, as a result, your message to the outside would also. What message are you sending?

If your car is a mess, you are sending the message that you are a mess. If your car is neat and orderly, you are sending the message that you are neat and orderly. Which message do you prefer to send? I'm guessing you don't want to present yourself to the world as a mess. So, here are some easy tips to find your car again. Trust me, it's there somewhere under the clutter.

equipment needed: garbage bag, laundry basket, small cardboard box or plastic cubby
  1. As usual, grab a big garbage bag and remove all the garbage from your car.  Ask yourself why you are surrounding yourself with garbage. Get a trash bag for the car, use it, and empty it when it full.   Here's one of my favorite car trash bags. Make sure it is easy to empty, otherwise you are setting yourself up to fail. And it might be time to rethink the eating in the car gig. Not good for you, not good for the car. Just don't do it.
  2. Gather up everything that should be in your house, but isn't. Put it into the laundry basket. Carry it into the house and put it  all away NOW so you won't have to face it later. Get into the habit of whatever you brought into the car that day goes back in to the house at the end of the day. Train your kids and/or husband to do this also. Simple rule : If you carried it in, carry it out.
  3. Take a look in your glove compartment. Do you really need the pizza coupons that expired last year? I think not. Things that belong in a glove compartment: mini umbrella, maps, car manual, pen, pad. Things that don't belong in a glove compartment: old candy, old receipts, map of a state you've never been to and is on the other side of the country, expired coupons. Things that never are in a glove compartment: gloves. Go figure?
  4. If you have cubbies between the seats, clean'em out. Decide what needs to be stored there and get whatever you need to do it. CD's should be in a CD holder that stores a bunch of them, not floating around in their jewel cases. Same goes for cubbies on the doors.
  5. Take a deep breath and open up the trunk or whatever is at the back of your car. Take out everything. What needs to go back? Emergency kit, jack, box or plastic cubby to hold the reusable bags you bring into every store. You do do that right? If not, why not? My guess is that you never have the bags with you. Storing them neatly in the car solves that problem. Just get into the habit of going to the trunk/rear well before you go into any store and grabbing the bags. Before you know it, it will be second nature. And once home, after you unpack the bags, put them on the table next to the front door so your next trip out will result in them being put back where they belong. In the designated box/cubbie in the back of your car.
  6. One of my favorite additions to my trunk - a bag sorter. This contraption, which I originally got as a gift and had no idea what I would ever use it for, has become one of my favorite organizers. It folds flat when you are not using it, and easily pops open when you are. What does it do you may ask? It holds your bags upright in the trunk! Filled bags easily slip into the wells and stay upright all the way home! No more chasing items around you trunk when unpacking. And it's easy to fold flat again to reclaim your trunk. Here's the link:  trunk organizer
  7. Get in your car and drive to the car wash. Make sure they clean the inside of the car too. You can't beat the job they do for the money. Quick, easy, and it smells like a new car when you get back in!
That's it! Follow these tips and your car should be a great extension of you!

 If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. Also available on Kindle. And now BookNook.

be organized!.....evelyn

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Best Organizing Tips for Incoming Info

Hello! Welcome to my blog where I will let you in on all of the best organizing tips for every area of your home! Organizing doesn't have to be hard. Attacking it just a little bit at a time is the best way to approach it. And, the dividends you will receive by having a neat and organized home (and life) will far outweigh the time you spent on these organizing tips. Ready - lets get started!

Today's topic - In boxes in your email, your mailbox and your brain.

It seems like more and more we spend more and more of our time on upkeep of our mail. It used to be once a day via snail mail, then we added email, Facebook, Twitter and all other universes out there. Makes me yearn for the Pony Express! One interruption a day - sounds blissful doesn't it? Well, it's never coming back, so it's up to you to organize all the info that comes at you each day, not to mention the items you put on your own to do list. How in the world do you organize it all? I'm here to help.

Here are some of my tried and true ideas to tame the onslaught of "ins" we get every day. (Thanks Amy for the topic idea!)

  1. check your email a maximum of 3 times a day. Deal with the incoming right then, don't in essence "put it into a later pile". Just like you shouldn't do this with your snail mail, don't do it with your email. Send off any answers you can right then. Take a minute to unsubscribe from any spam before you delete it. It takes a few extra seconds right then, but it will pay off in the long run. Just because you signed up form something once doesn't mean you need to keep receiving their spam. Nip it in the bud and delete away. And delete any messages from friends that are no longer relevant. Anything you need to keep, move it into a saved file and weed through it often. Just think of email maintenance as something you spend a few minutes on each day and eventually you will be on top of it. Chip away at it a bit at a time.
  2. snail mail - open all snail mail over a recycling bin. Toss everything you can, sort what is left into piles. 
                                 1st pile - Future reading - magazines and such,        
                                 2nd pile - Deal with now -  dental appt. reminders, bills, etc. I'm not a fan of saving up all your bills and doing them once a week. Since so many are via the computer, it now makes more sense to just take care of them the same day they come in. And you never get backlogged. Try doing it at night right after you check your email for the last time.
                                  3rd pile - File - file it now, not later. And be sure to sign opt out of junk mail. click here for directions.

     3.To do lists in your mind. If you aren't working off a to do list each day, you should. It makes you much more productive and keeps you sane. But be sure to write it down. Free your mind from the constant babble of your list.I like to put it on a pad with a magnet on the back so it hangs on the side of my fridge. Easy for me to see, but not out in front of everyone else. And get yourself a big red pen or pencil so you can cross off things as you do them. You can keep the same list going for a few days. When you complete most the items on the list, just transfer over whatever remains to a new list. If you find yourself transferring the same item over and over, time to reanalyse that item. You are never going to do it. Can someone else take care of it for you? Or can it just be deleted? Be honest and deal with it. And then recycle the original list. The feeling you get from recycling that list is very empowering!

That's it! Those organizing ideas should help you take care of the "ins" in your mind and life.Remember, start small and add more as you can. Don't overwhelm yourself - slow and steady does it!

 If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. Also available on Kindle.

 be organized!.....evelyn

Monday, April 11, 2011

Best Organizing Tips For Not Saving Clutter in the First Place

Hello! Welcome to my blog where I will let you in on all of the best organizing tips for every area of your home! Organizing doesn't have to be hard. Attacking it just a little bit at a time is the best way to approach it. And, the dividends you will receive by having a neat and organized home (and life) will far outweigh the time you spent on these organizing tips. Ready - lets get started!

Today's topic: Best Organizing Tips for Not Saving Clutter in the First Place

I had an epiphany today.

Yesterday I posted an email to my friends about a kids swing we no longer needed and wanted to pass along. This was no big deal for me, something I do all the time. As we grow out of, or tire of certain things, I pass them along. This way the item can continue to be useful, lead a colorful life if you will. Regular thinking in my world.
This morning I received an email from a friend saying "didn't I want to save the swing for my grand kids?" This astounded me. Now, I realize grand kids might not be as far off as I'm thinking they are, (my oldest is 18), just the thought of saving anything for a future unknown date seems bizarre to me. And this is where my epiphany came in - Could it be that some peoples lives are cluttered with junk and unorganized because they are saving things for future unknown events? Now, to some this might seem logical. To me, this is completely illogical. Why take up space storing something you may or may not use at a date far off in the future?Amazing! I could no more save something for a future, unknown (unknown being the key word here) date then I could fly. This fact alone could explain why some people seem naturally organized and some aren't. Now, I'm not saying one way of thinking is better then another, (yes I am!) but I am saying that one way will definitely cause more clutter in your life.

So, here are my tips for avoiding that clutter:
  1. Only save items that you know you will use on a specific upcoming date. For example, buying Easter decorations when Easter is coming is good. Even buying them a year ahead is good since there is a specific date coming up. Jot down on your calendar what you bought and where you stored it so you won't forget. This is good planning and will save you from running around when the date comes up.
  2. Saving something for unborn grandchildren that may or may not be coming - not good. This only leads to stuff and more stuff you trip over. Now, if it is a sentimental item like a special bonnet or bib, fine. Just make sure it's only a few things. And that they are really, really, really special.
  3. When faced with some item you no longer need, ask yourself "Doesn't it deserve to be used by someone else?" I can't even think of a time when the answer would be no. Ask your friends if they need it, use Craig's List or Freecycle. Renew, reduce recycle are the key words for this decade. Join in!
  4. Remember, if you no longer need it, get rid of it and make room in you life for new things. Like space. And time. Basic principle in Fung Shui - how can you expect good things to come to you if there is no room for them?
That's all for now. I think I need to go put some item's on Craig's List.....

 If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. Also available on Kindle.

be organized!.....evelyn

Thursday, April 7, 2011

7 Ways To Calmly Get Out The Door In The Morning

Hello! Welcome to my blog where I will let you in on all of the best organizing tips for every area of your home! Organizing doesn't have to be hard. Attacking it just a little bit at a time is the best way to approach it. And, the dividends you will receive by having a neat and organized home (and life) will far outweigh the time you spent on these organizing tips. Ready - lets get started!

Today's topic: Getting out the door in the morning without stress. Face it, either you're an organized person or you're not. But if not, here are some basic organizing tips to get out the door on the average weekday morning.
  1. plan out what you are going to wear the night before. Hang it on the outside of your closet door so it's ready and waiting for you in the morning.
  2. limit your breakfast choices to a few quick and easy things. Oatmeal, cereal, breakfast bars come to mind. This is not the time for eggs, pancakes or anything that takes more then one minute to make. Save those culinary adventures for the weekends.
  3. have everything you need for the day right by the door you exit from. Library books that need to be returned, mail to post, items to drop off. Have it all in one big bag right by the front door. A bag you put together THE NIGHT BEFORE.
  4. anything you need to remember on a regular basis that can't fit into the bag, make a sign or cut out of the item and post it on the front door THE NIGHT BEFORE. We have a purple foam cut out of a violin. Whenever my son needs to take his violin to school, I put the cutout on the front door right above the door knob at eye level.. Our front door is metal, so I glued a magnet on the back, but tape would work also. This way we can't forget the violin in the morning, and family members who leave earlier won't trip over the it.
  5. pack lunch THE NIGHT BEFORE, or the Sunday before -  (this would be a good cutout item for the front door also.)
  6. take a minute to figure out what dinner will be tonight. Is there anything you can pull out of the freezer now and leave to thaw in the fridge all day? If so, do it.
  7. useful storage things to have by the front door:   mirror to check yourself in before you leave, basket containing sunglasses, a key rack, an outgoing mail cubby. Anything that makes your life easier in the morning is worth taking a few minutes to set up THE NIGHT BEFORE.
Are you sensing a trend here? I'll let you in on a secret - the best way to assure yourself a smooth morning to to prepare all you can THE NIGHT BEFORE. That way you have a bit of wiggle room in the morning to adapt for those inevitable things that will go wrong. Plan ahead to give yourself this room.

That's it for now. Try at least one of these tips and see if it makes your life easier. Start small and grow into an organized person! Then you won't need any more organizing tips! (just kidding)

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. Also available on Kindle.

be organized!.....evelyn

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Best Organizing Tips for Children's Artwork

Hello! Welcome to my blog where I will let you in on all of the best organizing tips for every area of your home! Organizing doesn't have to be hard. Attacking it just a little bit at a time is the best way to approach it. And, the dividends you will receive by having a neat and organized home (and life) will far outweigh the time you spent on these organizing tips. Ready - lets get started!

Today's topic - children's art work. When they were babies, could you ever imagine that your little bundle of joy would produce so many works of art? Even kids who aren't all that artistic seem to plow through reams of paper, producing one "masterpiece" after another. What's a parent to do? You want to honor the effort your child made, but exactly what do you do with all the results they produce? How do you organize it? Well, in my other life (my daily day to day existence), I am a children's art teacher. (Click on my other website to the right, Art Adventures Inc.,  if you want to know more.) So I speak from experience!

Sort and divide is the answer.

Here's are the easy organizing tips:

  1. gather up all the artwork.
  2. sort it out into piles - frameable, hangable and lovely to look at, but what do I do with it? (otherwise known as "I would trash it if I could".)
  3. frameable pieces - get some inexpensive frames with plastic instead of glass in the front. Walmart & Target are good sources for this. I prefer black frames because it directs your attention to the artwork, but choose what you like. Put the pieces in the                  frames and hang them in your house or gift them away. I hand all my kids artwork on the walls going up the stairs. Makes a colorful display. And when they get knocked off the wall, like they will if you have kids, they don't break because of the plastic in the front, not glass.
  4. hangable - LOVE THIS IDEA! - on an out of the way place,          steps to basement, mudroom, etc., trace the size of the paper most of your artwork is on directly onto the wall. Paint directly onto the wall a funky picture frame - wiggly edges, dots, bright colors, whatever strikes your fancy. Don't line them all up straight - tilt them this way and that. It adds to the whimsy of the display. Once dry, simply tape the "hangable" pieces up inside the painted frame space. Easy to do, fun to look at, and easily changeable when tired of the old. (You can recycle the old artwork when no one's looking and replace it with new. I guarantee no one with notice the old one is gone - AS LONG AS YOU REPLACE IT IMMEDIATELY WITH SOMETHING ELSE. Above are some examples of what I mean. The two shades of blue are the frame painted on the wall, the green is the actual art work.
  5. lovely to look at pieces - give them a new lease on life by proclaiming them gift wrap! This works especially well for childless relatives. Another chance to ooh and aah over your child.
  6. some organizing tips say you should store all your child's artwork in portfolios. I disagree. What good is the artwork if it's left in a dark, hidden place for years? Instead, take photographs of your favorite artwork and store the photo in a dedicated album. This way the piece gets to live out in the sunshine, and you have a memory of it locked safely away. The album can be a real hold in your hand album or one on your computer. Your choice. Don't do this with every piece - probably only those deemed "framable".
And remember - frameable pieces don't have to live at your house. They are a gift trove waiting to be gifted to relatives. Share the wealth!

There you go - you've conquered the piles of artwork, decorated your home, and knocked some items off your gift list - all at the same time. You deserve to be proud or yourself!

 be organized!.....evelyn

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Best Organizing Tips - review of My Book

    Woo hoo! My new eBook called "30 Days to an Organized Home" was just reviewed on the blog "A Mom's Take". The blog also offers a chance to win a free copy. Here's the meat of the review - and if you want to see the whole entry, just go to A Mom's Take.com.

    Back to regular blogging tomorrow!

    be organized....be happy....evelyn





    Organize with Evelyn Review & Giveaway

    Organize by Evelyn offers an ebook called “30 days to an organized home” Evelyn makes organizing your house easy and makes it a permanent change. As a mother of 3 as well as a pet owner she was able to come up with a solution that fit and actually worked. She says that for her, an organized life has lead to being able to spend more time with her family. This ebook is not just geared towards those with kids but anyone who could use help getting organized. She offers a free sample of her ebook so you can even preview the book. The ebook is backed by a satisfaction guarantee as well so you are sure to get a product you know has helped or your money back!
    I was given “30 Days to an Organized Home” ebook to try. I was excited right away as I love to organize and am always looking for more tips to help make my home more orderly. I used her kitchen methods to start with the area of the home that drive me crazy.  Above is Before and after pictures of the nook next to my fridge. You can’t see it because it’s blocked by the fridge unless you are in the area looking. So it has quickly become our catch all area. I used some of her guidelines and within fifteen minutes the area was headed in a new direction and looked great. I was really impressed and am looking forward to using more of her easy tips to keep my home more organized.
    You can find “30 Days to an Organized Home” ebook on Organizing With Evelyn website, it retails for $19.95.

    Win It!

    One A Mom’s Take readers will win
    a “30 Days to an Organized Home” ebook!
    Ends 4/14/11 at 9PM ET. Open Worldwide!