Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Preventing the Freezer Avalanche - An Unusual Storage Idea

Hope you had a nice Memorial Day Weekend. We recovered from the graduation party we gave for one of our foster daughters. And we defrosted our freezer. Doesn't that sound like fun? We grilled some burgers, too!

So back to the freezer. While we were taking out all our food, I got an idea: why not stack things vertically rather than horizontally? Then you can take something out without everything on top of it falling out. Here's what I mean:

I put chicken and cheese on the top shelf. Beef is on the second shelf with all the ground beef in one section.

Pork, fish and pizza rolls are on the third shelf. Veggies and baking stuff are on the bottom. 

Bagels and breads which we use more often, go in the door, because they're easier to get to.


Pecans, walnuts, and almonds live there, too, because their packages are not nice for stacking.

I got rid of old food, which lightened the amount we have. So now I can easily find what I want without having food crashing down on my toes. 

How do you arrange your freezer?

More on freezers:

Get Organized Month - Clean out the Freezer

Preventing Freezer Burn

Spring Cleaning Your Food


Monday, May 30, 2011

Win My Books!

Happy Memorial Day! A day to remember those who have and do provide freedom for us! Thank you to our troops!

Just a quick note today. Rita over at Rita Reviews is giving away some of my books:
- Three Steps to Time Management for the Stay-at-Home Mom
- Three Steps to Organizing Your Office
- Three Steps to Planning Dinner.

Go on over and enter to win!

More on my books:
1-2-3 ... GetOrganized

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Most Efficient Way to Retrive Email - File It or Search It? IBM's Study

IBM conducted a study of 345 long-time email users to see whether it's more efficient to organize email into folders or simply search for an email when you need it. These email users conducted over 85,000 refinding actions - scrolling, searching, and filing of email into folders.

For a while I have been leaving my email in my inbox, deleting those emails I don't want, following my daughters' example.  I do admit though, that it somehow feels wrong to have thousands of emails in my inbox. 

Here's what IBM research found:

"There are direct technical implications of our results. Search was both efficient and led to more successful retrieval, in part supporting the search-based approach of clients like Gmail." 

So there you have it. It's more efficient to leave your inbox chaotic and search when you need something. So stop twitching and save yourself some time! If paper files were so easy!

More on efficient computer use:

Organizing Your To-Do Lists Online - 12 Great Choices

Wireless Printing - No Clutter, No Hassle

Trivial and Strategic Interruptions


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 2

Our first attempt at the garage removed several things: recyclables, donated items, and trash. 

Since then, we found more items to donate and loaded the car again! 

Today's task: create functional areas. The functional areas in our garage are: 

- tools and such located in a work area in the corner of the garage.

- garden area located in an old cabinet with open shelves on the top and shelves with doors on the bottom.

- toys are kept on a metal shelving unit and in a plastic container. The plastic container holds those items we may want to transport easily - basketballs, footballs, frisbees, etc.

- gasoline and other hazardous materials in locked cabinets.

- long-term and miscellaneous storage on built- in shelves.

- wall storage where we keep snow shovels, rakes, a regular shovel, broom, etc. 

- bikes used often.

- bikes used less frequently.

Some things to consider when choosing functional areas: 

1. Make seasonal items more accessible now and off-season items less accessible. For example, move your snow blower to the back of the garage and bring the mower, etc. closer to the door in the summer.

2. Make prime real estate (middle areas - not real high and not real low) where you keep the things you use the most. Long-term storage can go on the uppermost shelves, as you won't be needing it, for example. 

3. Think through where each task is best done. Do you require electricity? Is there adequate lighting? 

Don't think about storage yet - wait until you know what you need to store, first.

More on organizing the garage:

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 1

Shadow Boarding the Tools in Your Garage

Finished the Garage!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Organize Inexpensive Summer Activities for Your Kids

Summer is looming! One of our foster daughters got out of school May 20 (she's a senior), one gets out of school May 31, and the other two get out on June 3. 

What to do when money is scarce and time is long? Trisha Navotny over at 24/7 Moms was kind enough to let me use some of her ideas for summer fun on a budget. I've added some of my own ideas, as well.

- "Movies  at Regal and AMC.  Be sure to check your  local movie theatres to see if they have summer special s going on." Locally, we have a Cinemark 10 in Canton, OH that has dollar movies and $3 3D movies.

- "Free Reading programs – Chuck e Cheese, Barnes and Noble, Half Price books." Libraries also offer reading programs, competitions, and story times.
- "Go to a fast food restaurant ... for an Ice Cream or French Fries or other dollar menu treats.

- Make your own playdoh.

- Factory tours - You can find local factory tours in your area by visiting Factory Tours USA.

- Home Depot offers a free kids workshop the 1st Saturday of every month.   Click here for more information.

- Lowe's offers monthly free grown and build workshops for kids.  Click here for more information.

- Lakeshore Learning  Every Saturday free.  Click here for more information.

- Target FREE Museum Days.  Click here for Museums near you.

- Free Tours of local places like your Radio station, TV stations,  Newspaper  or Fire station.

- Free Vacation Bible Schools.  Call your local church for dates and times.

- Kids Bowl Free pay for shoes only - Sign up at Kids Bowl Free 

- Kids Eat FREE - Find local restaurants where your kids can eat free when you purchase an adult meal. Theses two websites are a great resource: My Kids Eat Free and Kids Meal Deals."

- Memberships are a bit costly at first, but provide free trips for a year. We have memberships at the zoo, a historical society with several different venues, a science museum and more. Most of these memberships have reciprocal members across the country. So you can use these memberships to get into the zoo near where you vacation, for example. 

More on fun in the summertime:

Organizing Summer Fun When Everyone is Bored: Outdoor Decathlon

Organizing Summer Fun When Everyone is Bored: Treasure Hunt Dinner

Organizing Summer Fun When Everyone is Bored: A Random Act of Kindness


Monday, May 23, 2011

Organizing the Garage - A Little at a Time, Part 1

We need to tackle our garage, but we'll probably need to do it a little at a time - know the feeling? So I'm going to write several blog posts that will break this big job into some bite-sized pieces.

Start with removing several things:

- Recyclable items. We keep several boxes just outside the laundry room door in the garage where we can throw paper, cardboard, etc. Our trash service picks up bottles and cans, but does not pick up paper products or plastic bags. 

Over the winter we had collected several bags of plastic bags, hoping to take them to the humane society when our girls volunteered there. It didn't happen. 

- Items to donate. We had also collected several bags to donate to Goodwill. We loaded the plastic bags and the items to donate and got rid of them all in one trip.

- Trash. Even though we have a trash can in the garage, it's amazing how trash just accumulates, isn't it? 

Just by getting rid of these items, it clears out quite a bit. So if you have some of these items to remove, load them in your car and do it now!! If you have a large quantity, keep working at it until this step is done. 

Great first step!

More on decluttering and organizing the garage:

Spring Cleaning the Garage - Storing Hazardous Materials

Shadow Boarding the Tools in Your Garage

Storage for Your Garage


Friday, May 20, 2011

College Survival Kit - A Practical Graduation Gift

Whenever one of our foster daughters graduates from high school and is going to college, we make up a "College Survival Kit" as her graduation gift. I start with a large shower caddy and fill it with items I know she'll need while at school.

I stand my Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student in the back section of the caddy or use my new flashdrive version (email me if you'd like one). 

Then I surround it with a bunch of fun stuff. Here are some ideas of what to include:
- scissors
- a can opener
- one setting of silverware
- a mug
- a plate
- a salad plate
- a bowl
- a glass
- a screwdriver set
- index cards
- a glue stick
- super glue
- measuring cups and spoons
- candy
- a granola bar
- instant oatmeal
- a chip clip
- a squirt gun :-)
- a first aid kit
- a sewing kit
- a pop-up mesh laundry basket
- a stain stick
- a flashlight

Most of these items I get from the dollar store. 
My graduation gift baskets have been for girls, but you could use a small trashcan or other storage container for guys. For either gender you could add coffee or restaurant gift cards if you wish.

Then I place the container in a gift basket bag and tie it up with colorful ribbons. I print up a personalized card on my computer, "Jane's College Survival Kit," for example, sign the back, punch a hole in a corner and slide a ribbon through it and tie it onto the package.

Our girls have come back to us and have said they used everything in their kits! Our foster daughter who is graduating this year has already asked if she is going to get one. It's such a fun gift to give, and it keeps on giving!

More on college prep:

Cutting Costs on College Textbooks

Helping Your High School Graduate Make an Intentional Plan for Transitioning into College Gracefully - 2010

Review - AgendaWorks Planner


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Downsizing and Consolidating Files

Lately we have been downsizing and consolidating our files. When we first moved here to Ohio from Maryland, we had crate after crate of files. Both my husband and I had done quite a bit of teaching and speaking, so we had all sorts of resources.

After six years here, we decided to tackle this project. First of all, we went through the files that were inactive - mostly topical on various interests of ours.

It's amazing how time and the internet give perspective on old files. Almost anything we had on paper could be found on the internet and was more up-to-date. 

We recycled boxes and boxes of paper. 

Next we moved to our "active" files - those we have in our file cabinets. Again - recycling and shredding massive quantities of paper. I managed to get my files down to two file drawers.  My husband is shooting for four - he obviously has a lot more files than I do. His is still a work in progress. 

This is one of my least favorite jobs - going through papers and filing. But it feels good to have it done - lean and efficient. It also reminds me what I have and where it is. Of course it's not that hard now, since I only have two file drawers!

We put the last five years' tax returns in the file cabinet and stored the rest. Did you know that you must keep all your tax forms? You only need to keep supporting information for the last seven years, though. 

Documentation regarding real estate you own must be kept for seven years until after the property is sold.  

Our archived tax returns are in our store room - we know where they are, but we don't need them in our office, taking up valuable real estate. 

If you have a looming amount of files to go through, start small, a little at a time. It's amazing how much you don't need. And it's actually fun to relive some memories from days gone by.

More on filing:

Creating an Incoming Paper Hub

Taxes - Knowing Which Papers to Keep/Toss

Three Steps to Organizing Your Office

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Helping Your Kids Turn Their Clutter into Cash

All four of our girls will be leaving our home sometime during the summer. Three will be going back to family and one will be going off to college. Two have already been going through their things, organizing them and getting rid of things they no longer want. Women after my own heart! Speaking of kids decluttering, that's our topic for today.

Does your child have too many toys or gadgets, but is requesting something new? Here's a way to motivate him to declutter as well as move him toward his goal: help him sell outgrown toys, books, etc. and put that money toward his desired toy or gadget. 

Some ideas:

- Help your child have a yard sale to get rid of unwanted items.

- Consign her toys at local consignment shops or StorkBrokers. Both of these will charge a fee, StorkBrokers' being 6%.

- If you're eBay savvy, you can sell your child's stuff there. Without too much trouble, you can also sell on Amazon, too. Both will charge a commission. 

- You can also place ads on Craig's List or in your local newspaper. Be careful to follow all the safety suggestions for Craig's List.

- Your child can swap his items with another child at places like Zwaggle, Swap It Now, or thredUp.

There are multiple benefits to this concept:
- Your child's room is decluttered.
- Your child is learning the concept of earning and saving for something she wants.
- Once your child's room is decluttered, introduce the concept of one item in, one item out. If something new comes into his room, he must get rid of one item in exchange.
- Who knows, you may have helped generate the entrepreneurial spirit in your child! 

Alternatively, you could reward your child with the new item if she successfully declutters and donates her unwanted items to charity. 

More on toy decluttering/selling: 

Garage Sale Tips to Get Rid of that Clutter

Helping Your Child Declutter Toys Before Christmas

Three Steps to Organizing Your Child's Room

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What Your Computer Desktop Says About You

The following article by Samantha Murphy appeared in TechNewsDaily, based on an unscientific survey Hunch did on its 700,000 members. Some interesting finds:

Credit: Dreamstime

"Computer users with messy desktops are more likely to be liberal, educated city-dwellers who are career-minded and good at math, while those that keep their computer icons neat and tidy are more likely to be young tech-savvy suburbanites that say their personal life is more important than work. At least according to a new survey.

A new study by Hunch.com — a site that makes recommendations based on preferences, ranging from which car you should drive to which vacation or college choice is best for you — suggests your computer desktop says a lot about you, from education level to political views. (The web-based survey is not scientific because, among other limitations, it was not based on a representative sample of the population.)

Hunch used 80 million answers to questions that it asked its 700,000 members to predict particular demographics, personality and other characteristics based on their computer desktop. The report found that gender plays a role in whether or not a desktop is clean: Men are 13 percent more likely than women to have neat desktops compared to women.

Education is also a factor, as messy desktop users are 7 percent more likely to have completed a four-year college degree and 19 percent more likely to have completed a graduate degree.

People who live in crowded cities are also more inclined to keep a cluttered desktop (42 percent), while those that keep it clean are 9 percent more likely to live in the suburbs and 13 percent more likely to live in a rural area.

'Messiness seems to skew two ways; someone may be messy because they use the computer for various endeavors, which could explain why CEOs are more likely to have messy desktops,' Amanda Green, lead author of the Hunch report, told TechNewsDaily. 'On the other side of the spectrum, some people are messy because they don't know how to get organized. They're not that comfortable with their computers, and they may not really rely on the computer enough to let the mess bother them.'

Those with messy desktops — self-described entrepreneurs who are 12 percent more likely to have a stronger aptitude for mathematical concepts and numbers — said that work is an important part of their life and sometimes puts their personal life on the back burner.
Not surprisingly, a person with a messy desktop is more likely than someone with a neat desktop to have a disorganized closet, the report found.

However, neat people, who tend be more tech-savvy (such as knowing how to use external hard drives and how to back-up their computers), are 5 percent more likely to put their personal and social life first and 10 percent more likely to say they work just to pay the bills."

More about desks: 

Kick Your Clutter to the Wall

Visual or ADD Organizers - Keeping Your Desk Organized

Three Steps to Organizing Your Office


Monday, May 16, 2011

Organize Your Ear Buds

Do you or members of your family have trouble keeping track of your ear buds? Here's a solution from BudTrap:

It slides into your earphone jack yet preserves the sound. No more lost ear buds! Quite reasonably priced, too.

More on organizing technology:

Clean Up and Organize Your iTunes with Rinse

Guest Post - Leveraging Technology to Get Organized: 4 Clever Tips

The Nook Digital eReader - Downloads and Organizes School Textbooks

Friday, May 13, 2011

Need Some Shelving? Clearance Sale at The Shelving Store

As you've done some spring cleaning, you may have discovered that you need additional storage. If you're in need of shelving, The Shelving Store notified me of their May-long clearance sale, 15-50% off. Thought you'd like to know. 

They offer shelving kits for the living room, garage, kitchen, and more.  Closet units are available, and design help if you need it. They even have lockers for the kids.

More on storage:

Droog Straps - A Unique Storage Design

Kick Your Clutter to the Wall

Don't Make the #1 Organizing Mistake

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's New: an ATM for Recycling Cell Phones

How many old cell phones do you have lying around? It seems that almost as soon as we buy a phone, it's obsolete!
ecoATM is making it easier for us to recycle our cell phones. The ecoATM is similar to a regular ATM, but has the ability to evaluate your phone and determine its value. You can either get cash, a trade-up coupon, a gift card or you can donate it to charity.   

Currently these new recycling kiosks are located in California, Kansas, Florida, and Washington, but hopefully they will spread quickly to the rest of the country.

Here's how it works:

More on recycling phones:

Recycling Cell Phones to Our Soldiers

Get Organized Month 2009 - Decluttering Your Electronics

More Eco-Friendly Recycling

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Overcoming Procrastination - Schedule those Appointments!

As a foster mom for four teenage girls, part of my job includes making doctor, dentist, dermatologist, orthodontist, optometrist, etc. appointments. 

Sometimes I'm not as kind to myself. Last week I made three appointments I've been putting off for months. I've heard of some people who make all their annual appointments at the beginning of the year. I like that idea, but didn't do it. So now it's done! And it took me all of 15 minutes!

What about you? Do you have appointments you've been avoiding? We all have good reasons: it costs too much, mammograms hurt, colonoscopies are scary, it takes too much time, a root canal is no fun, I have to take off all my clothes, and on and on.
Take a few minutes and get it over with! You'll be so glad you did.

More on appointments and procrastination:

Five Ways to Prevent Procrastination from Zapping Your Energy and Productivity

Scheduling Appointments

Save Time and Clutter by Making Decisions


Monday, May 9, 2011

Garage Sale Tips to Get Rid of that Clutter

Spring not only brings spring cleaning and decluttering, but garage sales! If you're thinking about having a garage sale, organize it in such a way that you'll make the most from it! The following post is a result of combining a couple of posts I've done in the past on garage sales.

According to a recent Ebay, Inc. survey, the average household has $3000 worth of clutter! Now that the weather is turning nice, you may want to cash in on that clutter with a garage sale or selling on Ebay.

From personal experience, unless you have some furniture or large items, it may not be worth your time to have a garage sale. Take a tax deduction instead, and donate it to your local charity.

If you are up for a garage sale, though, start collecting clutter! Put an ad in the paper, listing any special items that may draw buyers. Make sure to register your garage sale if your local officials require it. Your local newspaper ad section usually has the info you need to do so if it is required.

Put signs on busy intersections near your house. You can find garage sale signs with stands at your local Home Depot. Just fill in the pertinent details, using big fat letters. Make sure to take them down afterward.

If you have large items or lots of stuff, arrange with a local charity to stop by the afternoon of your sale to take your unsold items off your hands.

The best thing you can do to ensure good profits at a garage sale is make sure all the items are clean, clean, clean.

Make it easy for your potential buyers to see your stuff - if they can see it as they are driving by, they are more likely to stop. Use card tables and other raised surfaces for display rather than placing things on the ground. Put tablecloths on tables, even if they're just plastic ones.

Hang clothing, don't pile it on tables or leave it in boxes. Try to organize by type (boys, girls, men, women) and even further by size. Arrange items attractively to entice buyers. My mom even puts jewelry on the hanger with an outfit she's sell, with shoes below.  

For pricing, it all depends on quality. If it's nearly new, mark it slightly above half of retail. If it's slightly used or worn, then just below half of retail and so on. 

If items are new, leave the price tags on so people can see what a bargain they're getting. If you can find pictures of items in Sunday newspaper ads, attach those, too.You can use Salvation Army or Goodwill prices as a guideline. Theirs are pretty close to garage sale prices.

Group like-priced items together. Have a $1 table, a $3 table, etc. This eliminates having to put stickers/prices on each item. Make a list for yourself of items on each table. Sadly, people will switch stickers or lie about the price. This will give you a reference point should this happen or should things get placed back on the wrong table.

Display jewelry on plastic mesh canvas you get at the craft store. It's easily seen and less likely to be stolen. For pierced earrings, attach the backs through the holes in the mesh. Use twist ties to attach bracelets or necklaces.

Have your garage sale items organized so all you have to do is set it up in the morning. Be prepared for diehard garage salers to arrive early. Be prepared to haggle. And make sure you have plenty of change and plastic bags.

After your sale, make a list of all the items that didn't sell and immediately load it into your car and take it to a charity if you didn't arrange for it to be picked up. Don't let it go back into your house!

More on garage sales:

A Giveaway Party - A Garage Sale Alternative

Getting Exposure for Your Garage Sale

Declutter Any Room in 3 Weeks

Friday, May 6, 2011

Gift Registries for Graduates

We're familiar with gift registries for weddings and babies, but did you know your graduate can register, too? One of our foster daughters is graduating from high school this year, and she registered at Target.

Not only did she register for bedding, a microwave, iron, coffee maker, etc., but she decided to register for some not-so-typical items like laundry detergent, shampoo/conditioner and such. 

As a struggling college student, those will be expenses she'll have to incur each month. And it also gives some less expensive gift options for her teenage friends.

It only took us about an hour or so to walk through the store as she selected items she'll need for college. Now, if her graduation party guests want to know what she needs, it's so simple!

More on preparation for college:

Cutting Costs on College Textbooks

Helping Your High School Graduate Make an Intentional Plan for Transitioning into College Gracefully - 2010

Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Soles4Souls Wins 2011 Organizing Excellence Award

"The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) announces the winners of the 2011 Organizing Excellence Awards, presented at its 23rd Annual Conference and Organizing Exposition held in San Diego, California. 
Soles4Souls, the international shoe charity based in Nashville, Tennessee, was honored for the incredible organizational effort required to successfully coordinate the collection and distribution of more than 13 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes in more than 125 countries. By encouraging and facilitating shoe donations, Soles4Souls provides relief and support to those in need around the world while helping people de-clutter their homes for a good cause. 

NAPO will continue to partner with Soles4Souls in 2011 through a contest in which NAPO’s 4,000 members will compete to collect one million pairs of shoes before the 2012 Annual Conference."

If you'd like to help out, contact your local NAPO chapter or a NAPO organizer near you.

Source: NAPO press release

More on donating your clutter to good causes:

Donate Your Bikes to Youth Bike-Refurbishing Programs

Donating Business Clothing for Job Interviews

Get Organized Month 2009 - Decluttering Your Electronics


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to Live Graciously with Messy People

Believe it or not, I was a slob as a teenager. I can still hear my father walk up the stairs, open my door, and say, "Bev, you're grounded!" because he couldn't see the floor of my room. Honestly, I had much more important things to do than keep my room neat and tidy. 

That changed as I got older and got my own place. Now it bothers me to have things out of place because it accosts my senses.

But I could understand when my girls' rooms were messy or now when our foster daughters' rooms are messy. It doesn't mean, though, that we just go on in messiness. We have regular cleaning times when they need to clean their rooms and bathrooms. In the meantime, I encourage them to put things away so they can find them or walk across their rooms without getting injured. 

They are also responsible to pick up their belongings, put away what they took out, or clean up what they messed up in common areas by bedtime. Otherwise, it goes in the "yellow bucket" a Rubbermaid container in our coat closet where earrings, stinky shoes and socks, important papers, etc. all go to live until someone can't find their stuff. 

In all of it, though, I try to remember some things were more important than pristine or even acceptable rooms. When my own daughters were teenagers, they were involved in great things: youth group at church, sports, service organizations, etc. In a perfect world, it would all happen - good activities and a clean room. But in reality, I had to choose my battles. And having a continuously clean and tidy room was not worth battling over.

And I try to remember that the state of their rooms is not a reflection on my mothering skills. For me, it definitely takes more effort to graciously allow their rooms to be in disarray than to become Sergeant Mom, demanding clean rooms at all times. I try not to twitch.

One of my biggest pet peeves is being taken for granted. And that makes me feel like a maid. And that makes me angry. So I have learned to calm down and say what I want in a nice way. "Would you please put your dishes in the dishwasher?"

There's a balance. Home is a refuge if it's pleasant and peaceful. Visual clutter is not peaceful. But it also needs to be a place where people are comfortable. The challenge is figuring out what works for you and your family or roomates. I hope what I've learned along the way is helpful to you.

More on decluttering:

Get Organized Month 2009 - Family Five Minute Challenge

How Personality Style Affects Organizing - Sensing/Intuition

Declutter Any Room in 3 Weeks

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Portable Storage Units

Are you moving, and want to use portable storage units (like Pods)? Or just need an easy storage option? You have a lot of options:

Units Portable Storage 




Portable Storage Units

More on moving: 

Short-Term and Long-Term Moving

Finding Charities that Will Pick Up Your Clutter

Moving Tips 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Simplifying Holiday Decorations

Over the weekend I got caught up on some organizing projects for myself. One that has been bothering me is holiday decorations - not Christmas, but holidays since then. I try to change centerpieces and placemats each month to fit with holidays or themes. 

I consolidated winter and spring decorating items into one large plastic container - snowflakes for January, Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, and Easter. Since I reorganized it, I put Easter on the bottom, since I'll need that later than the others. I donated everything but the things I really love.

We will not be foster parents forever, and by downsizing and simplifying a little at a time, it will be a little easier when we move on. We have no plans to move, but moving is such a big job, anything we can do now will help!

I stack my placemats in the order of when I'll use them. I'm using Spring placemats now. So Flag Day/July 4th are now on top of the stack, then watermelons, then sunshine placemats, etc. When I get ready to use them, I just need to pick the ones off the top. 

Changing the theme every month is as much for me as it is for the girls - it's an easy way for me to be creative, and it creates an pleasant atmosphere for the girls. Most of them don't come from environments where there is much beauty. And beauty is therapeutic, and I need all the therapy I can get!! LOL!

I'm in a constant mode of simplifying, reducing, and downsizing. A little at a time is bearable!

More on downsizing:

You Can't Downsize Memories

The Advantages of Downsizing

Three Steps to Downsizing to a Smaller Residence