January 30, 2011

Weekly Organizational Challenge #1 - Home Management Binder **FREE Printable**

I'm so excited that this was the first challenge.  I'm actually a little ahead of the game on this one.  A few years (yes, I said years) ago I took a class at Archiver's and made this cute binder. . . . . .  
 . . . but then it sat on my desk until just last year.  I ran across a few articles on home management binders and menu meal planners and I decided I should pull mine out and brush off the dust.  It already had the "bones".  I just needed to tweak it.  It's still a work in progress, as you will see, but it's getting there.

In front is a "to do" notepad 

The tabs are 
basic medical information
to do

I'm stll planning on adding a few others as I customize it for my family.

Contacts:  This page is a blank slate waiting to be filled out.  I found the printout online somewhere.  In this section is also a page for "my contacts".  These pages are for family numbers, friends, doctors, dentists, school, neighbors, and the babysitter.
In this section is also a page with mini pockets to hold business cards
Basic Medical Information:  This section is where I store my insurance information, medications/allergies, and doctor's contact information.  There is a small pocket where I store my kids immunization records.  As I'm looking through this it's seems to be a bit repetitive.  I also have some doctor numbers/info in the contacts section.  I may have to change these sections a little.
Menu:  This is by far my favorite section and was a main reason I started this binder.  I have a cover sheet with the days of the week.  Behind that I have a spreadsheet of all my recipe books and my favorite recipes.  I have them organized by book and type of recipe.  I list the book, the page number, the name of the recipe, and the main ingredients.  I also typed the name of each recipe and put them in individual post it notes.  We can choose our meals for the week, put them on the cover sheet and I can see at a glance if I have the ingredients I need.  The page number helps me find the recipe when it's time to cook.  I even color coordinated the tabs, green are from a recipe book and blue are just things I know how to do from memory or something simple like a vegetable, salad, or bread.  It was totally worth the time it took me to make and has made cooking dinner so much easier.  I also store a master grocery list, pantry list, and my dirty dozen - clean 15 list for produce.
Dates:  This section just has the months of the year with blanks to list important events (like birthdays) and have a 6th month calendar at a glance.  I put these back to back in a sheet protector and I can write on it and erase as needed.

To Do List:  This section has a few parts.  The first is an "errands to run" list.  I made this page on my computer and it has 6 lists on it.  I used my sewing machine with no thread in the needed to perforate between each list.  I can fill in the errands I need to run and then can tear it off so I just need to take one slip at at time.

Next, I have several lists that I put in sheet protectors so that I can write my "to do's" and erase as I complete them.  This way I don't need to keep printing new pages to use.  I have a "to do . . . today . . . this week . . . this year", Things to Organize, Sewing Projects, Gifts to make, and Projects
Housework:  This section has two lists in clear sheet protectors.  The first is a daily, weekly, monthly, annual cleaning schedule and chore checklist for "what kids can do at each age"  These printables came from EecutiveHomemaker.com

The last thing in my binder is another pocket where I store some additional tabs that's I'm considering adding.
As I said this binder is a work in progress.  I'm looking forward to checking out everyone else's ideas at A Bowl Full of Lemons to see what I can "borrow" for my binder.

**UPDATE**  New forms added to my binder.  I created these all in word.  I have a week at a glance one that is similar to the one you'll find on A Bowl Full of Lemons.  I also added:
A Babysitter Checklist (click here for your own printable)
Emergency Information
Medical Information
Weekly Household Cleaning
Still not sure I'm 100% finished but I'm getting there . . . . . 

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(¸.·´   Denise

January 26, 2011

I made it! . . . . . . well, almost . . .

I was a little nervous when my friend asked if I wanted to join the 21 day oganizational challenge.  I used to be sooooo organized . . . . then I got married and had kids.  Now I'm lucky if I can get anywhere on time with everything I need.  I really wanted to try to get back to my organzied life so I greed to take the challenge.  

I can honestly say that I'm so happy I joined.  I love the newly organized areas of my house!  I do have to admit that I didn't complete all the challenges.  My family got a flu bug near the end so I've been out of commission for about a week.  I still plan to organize my master closet, my photos, and my mail.  The toys challenge was a huge one for me and is an entire project in itself so that one will have to be completed a little at a time.

The last challenge was "my choice".  This was tough for me because I still have a long way to go before my house is complete.  I was very excited to see that A Bowl Full of Lemons is going to continue the challenge.  However, this one will be a little more manageable for me since it will be on a weekly basis.  I have to admit that trying to keep up for 21 days was hard and other areas suffered.  If you'd like to get more organized and have some great people to help keep you on track click the button below.  One of the best parts for me was all the wonderful comments and encouragement I got from complete strangers!  Can't wait to get started on the next challenge . . . .

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(¸.·´   Denise

January 25, 2011

Day 21 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "My Choice" (Denise)

Yeah, that's what I felt like after being sick for 4days. . . . but I think I'm finally feeling almost back to normal. . . . . . . . .  And then I saw today's challenge.  Yikes!  There are WAY to many things to choose from . . . . 
  1. The desk in my kitchen
  2. My kitchen island
  3. My nightstand
  4. Under my craft table
  5. Server #1 in my dining room
  6. Server #2 in my dining room
  7. My recipes
  8. TBD (I'm sure I can think of more)
I think I'm going to have to use this list as my own personal challenge and check them off as I finish.  It definitely won't be one per day because there are a ton of areas in my house that have been tossed aside and suffered these past 21 days but I'll keep you posted . . . . if there's anyone left who is still interested  :)

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(¸.·´   Denise

Day 20 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "Photos" (Denise)

Okay . . . . so I've totally fallen off the wagon . . . .but I fully intend to get back on as soon as I can get back on track from this flu bug my entire family caught.  This challenge actually won't be too terribly tough.  Most of my pictures are already organized into separate boxes for my daughter and son.  I just have a few more I need to date on the back and then file away and then I want to make some monthly dividers for each year. 

The catch is . . . . I take a ton of photos . . . . but I get really behind printing them.  I finally created a "photos to print" folder on my desktop and whenever I have a few minutes free time I put some in there that I want to print.  I even couple the ones I want doubles of so I can just choose "print 1 copy of each".  This way, when a discount or coupon for Snapfish becomes available I can just upload the ones I have ready to go and then start over from where I left off.  

I also need to organize my professional photos that are odd sizes.  Need to find a box to store them in.

Here are all my current printed photos. . ..
I dated the backs and sorted them into my son and daughter's storage boxes . . . .
I will eventually add monthly tabs.
Now I just need to sort through all these CDs to see what's on them, get them labeled, and get them into our safe deposit box.
Then I need to print some new photos since I haven't printed in several months . . . . and the whole process starts all over again.

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(¸.·´   Denise

January 23, 2011

Day 19 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "Master Bedroom Closet" (Denise)

I can't remember the last time I actually went through my clothes to purge.  My closet was bursting at the seams.  Here are a couple of before shots.  keep in mind my closet is a walk in but it goes back to the left so it's hard to get a decent shot but I did the best I could.
I started pulling out clothes I planned to donate.  I was shocked at how many things were hidden in there that I forgot I had.  Once I had most of it out I rearranged things and started putting it back in.  Here are some after shots.
This was before I added my clean laundry . . . . 
. . . . and after I added my clean laundry . . . .
It's hard to tell but the floor is all cleaned off except for my boots and slippers and I even have some empty shelf space on top.  I feel like I can breathe when I enter my closet now.  I LOVE it!!

And here's my pile of clothes and purses that's being donated to the Scholar Shop . . .
Shocking . . . . I know.

Now I just need to find the time to go through all my pairs of shoes and flip flops . . .
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(¸.·´   Denise

January 21, 2011

Day 18 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "Keepsakes/Momentos" (Denise)

I actually have keepsakes in several places.  I'd like to try to organize them a little better.  I have a rubbermaid tub for each child that I saved things like the outfit they wore home, their first christmas outfit, their first pair of shoes, their first toy, etc.  I've stored these in my sons closet for now simply because he has room. 

I also created a shadow box that has their newborn photo, the hat from the hospital and their first pair of baby shoes.  Here's a picture of the area where my keepsake is displayed.  (FYI:  My lampshade broke so I need to design a new one.  This is one of those with the sticky sides that you can paper . . . . just haven't had time to do it yet  . . . . also not positive how I want to do it.)

 Here is a close-up of the keepsake box.  It was actually a wedding present from my mom and dad from Pottery Barn.
In addition to these I have a basket in my kitchen with a file for each kid.  I store their papers as they come home each day.  Once the year is over I transfer the papers to their permanent home in a crate.  I wasn't happy with plain crates and boring green hanging files so I added some ribbon and covered each folder in scrapbook paper (12x12 pieces worked perfectly).  I also borrowed the idea from I Heart Organizing of matched labels and a cover sheet for each year.  Click on the link if you want to see or download her versions.  I downloaded her labels and then changed the colors to match my kids crates and I created my own cover sheet similar to hers (although I plan to store my inside the front of each folder since I decorated the outside with paper).  If you'd like a copy of mine just send me a message.
 cover sheet for my sons

labels for my sons (I have K-12, MDO, Pre-k 3, Pre-k 4)

 cover sheet for my daughters

 labels for my daughters (I have K-12, MDO, Pre-k 3, Pre-k 4)

I also have tons of photos in photo storage boxes, although I am way behind on them.  I have a stack of photos that I need to date and put in the boxes.  This is my goal for today since I'm planning on scrapping with a couple of friends tomorrow evening at Archiver's.  

I'll update this post more as I get more organized.

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(¸.·´   Denise

Day 17 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "Mail Center" (Denise)

This one will take me a while.  While I don't actually have a "mail center" I do have a desk in my kitchen.  I have some things that are working for me and some that aren't.  This will take a little while for me to decide how I want to organize it.  I'm going to go ahead and show a before picture (even though it's horrible) so that this will hopefully hold me accountable to finish it.  
The left 1/3 is mine and the rest is my husbands (including the bulletin board - one of my methods to try to organize him).  The lowest basket is mine, the middle is my kids and the top is my husbands.  I even put labeled folders but he just won't use them.  He prefers to pile things on the desktop and on the island.  Droves me crazy.  I am determined to find a solution for all this clutter.  The bins underneath hold bibs, burp clothes, and small containers I use for my kids bento style lunches.  The chart on the right is an chore chart that we need to make more use of and the cups on the shelf below it are the quarter reward/consequence system we have for my kids.  Let me know if you want more details on that.  The wrought iron basket below holds towels and washcloths. 

I've told my husband that I'm marking his stuff with the stickers that you see on cars on the side of the road abandoned.  After so many days if it's unclaimed it's getting "towed to the trash".  He didn't immediately jump on board with that idea . . . . . but I may have to use it  :)

More soon, I promise . . . . . 

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(¸.·´   Denise

January 19, 2011

Day 16 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "Refrigerator" (Denise)

I was so glad to see this on the list.  Mine REALLY needed to be cleaned out and I got lucky with the timing .  . . . . mine wasn't stuffed with food.  I pulled most of ti out, scrubbed the shelves, threw out a little and reorganized it.  I have so much room now and I know what leftovers we have.

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(¸.·´   Denise

January 18, 2011

Day 15 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "Medicine/Vitamins" (Denise)

This was another fairly easy one for me.  Most of my meds/vitamins got organized when I cleaned out my the medicine cabinet.  I don't actually have any medicine cabinets.  I have a large, extra linen closet in my master bath.  It holds all my extra bath stuff as well as meds.  I did also have a drawer in my vanity that had aspirin and OTC cold remedies.  Since I cleaned out this closet in a past challenge I had extra room.  I cleaned out the drawer, tossed a few things and moved the rest into the linen closet.  I forgot to take a before picture of the drawer.  We also have some vitamins that we take and these are organized in a plastic shoe box in my kitchen. To save some time I labeled the lids with a sharpie like I did with my spices so that I don't have to pull them all out to find the one I need.
Before I added the OTC meds from the drawer:
 After I added the OTC meds from the drawer:
 Not a huge change from the before picture but everything is in one place now and I have an almost empty drawer.  It only has nail polish and extra toothbrushes.

Here are the supplements that we take.  Since we take these every day with food I store them on a shelf in my pantry.

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(¸.·´   Denise

Day 14 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "Under the Bathroom Sink" (Denise)

I'm posting a day late because my computer wouldn't cooperate yesterday.  This challenge wasn't too bad.  I had already organized it somewhat.  I had a two tier basket system and some divided trays.  I just added a free standing shelf I had laying around to be able to store makeup and travel bags underneath and I put the makeup I use everyday into a green basket.  It's better but I may tweak it some more.  I just need to live with it for a while to see what I want to change.

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(¸.·´   Denise

January 15, 2011

Day 13 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "Medicine Cabinet" (Denise)

This one was fairly easy.  I don't actually have any medicine cabinets.  I just have mirrors above each sink.  Luckily I have a fairly large linen closet in my master bath.  However it holds everything from towels, to medicine, to kleenex, to extra candles.

I do have some stair stepped shelves in two places but everything was just thrown in there.  Once again, I blame my husband.  He buys everything in bulk (hence the 8 boxes of kleenex, 4 bottles of hydrogen peroxide, 6 tubes of toothpaste, 10 bars of soap, etc - although I have to admit that the body soaps and lotions are mine).  He is also lacking the organization gene so everything is just put in any open space.  I was mainly focused on the the lower three shelves and the floor.  I pulled out old items to dispose of and grouped all the like things together.  I have a ton more space now and I even cleared off some of the floor area.  
I'm really not sure where all the space came from because I really didn't throw that much out.  I did open all the multi-packs and throw away the packaging so that helped.

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(¸.·´   Denise

January 14, 2011

Day 12 - 21 Day Organizational Challenge - "Spices" (Denise)

Whew!  Finally, an easy one for me!  I have an awesome pantry.  It's VERY wide and VERY shallow so nothing gets lost in the back.  When we moved in it had sliding doors so I could only see half at a time.  One of the first things we did was replace the sliders with bi-fold doors.  Thanks to A Bowl Full of Lemons it's newly organized.  Since my spices are stored in there as well that means they're also newly organized.  If you want to see before pictures of the pantry and spices go here.

I have started teaching myself to cook better which means I have been using a lot more spices.  I bought a couple glass containers from the Container Store for my homemade taco seasoning mix, ranch dressing mix, and I need one more for spaghetti sauce spice mix (you can see the labels on them on the left).  I also have an awesome tupperware spice rack and then I bought a couple lazy susans.  Since I couldn't stand the spices up on the top rack I laid them on their side and wrote the name of the spice on the bottom with a sharpie.  I have a few other bulk spices that are just on the shelf.  I may add a basket to contain them in the future or a one tier lazy susan so I can get to the ones in back.  The only other thing I'd like to do is go through the spices in the tupperware containers and throw out any that are old or that I just don't use so I can replace them.

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(¸.·´   Denise