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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Organizing Products I Use - Two-Shelf Organizers for Dishes

Organizing Products I Use - Organizers for Dishes @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogAs I told you in a previous post, I have a weakness for dishes. And I love to entertain. So the combination could be a little scary if it weren't for space-saving organizers! My new favorite is the Grayline 40126, Large Two Shelf Organizer. I bought four of these gems from Amazon and use two in each cabinet. They were about $22 each, a pretty reasonable price for making me smile for years!

Organizing Products I Use - Organizers for Dishes @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogYou can see my star cabinet here on the left. I bought these stars and stripes dishes one year after the Fourth of July at half price.  This was the year I was having stars as a Christmas theme, so perfect! (I no  longer have Christmas themes, as I started accumulating too much stuff!)

But I love these dishes - great for the Fourth, Memorial Day, birthdays (stars for the star), and Christmas. I found star glasses at another store and collected some star baskets, a sugar and creamer, napkin rings, and a large star bowl.

In the past, I've had to stack these and store them in different locations. I'm so happy that I can keep all my star stuff in one location and be able to find what I need when I need it. I had a little extra room and stored some party plates in the extra space on the left.

Organizing Products I Use - Organizers for Dishes @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog
I also have a tulip theme running through my house, and purchased tulip china when we first returned from Kenya. My mother-in-law gave me tulip serving dishes one year. I've never been able to store them all together until now. The plates are white with embossed tulips - not expensive, but I love them!

So back to the organizers - what I enjoy about these organizers is that they really max out space in cabinets that are high and deep. Things are easy to get to without having to unstack anything. The only thing that would have been better is if both organizers could have fit horizontally against the back wall. But I didn't find any that worked. Nonetheless, I'm very happy with how they've allowed me to store an abundance of dishes in a small space.

If you love dishes like I do, these organizers may make you smile, too!

More on Organizing Products I Use:
Organizing Products I Use - Bakeware Organizers
Organizing Products I Use – The Arrow Clothes Hanging System
Organizing Products I Use – Under-the-Sink Drawers

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Office Organizing for the Visual Person - Magazine File Boxes

I'm sorry I haven't posted for a few days. My husband's father passed away, and his memorial service was over the weekend in Pennsylvania. It was an uplifting, celebratory time and a chance to see many dear friends and family.

Changing subjects dramatically, I'm working with a business owner to organize her office. She is visual and needs to be able to see her action items, or it's "out of sight, out of mind." 

There are a number of options available to her, one being magazine file boxes. It's an attractive way to store papers, receipts, etc. without looking messy. Items to be added can be dropped into the appropriate box easily.

Here are some cute magazine file boxes that I felt were inspiring:

Office Organizing for the Visual Person @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog

Aren't these adorable? They're from IKEA. These are also available in blue, black and white. Rattan, mesh, wood, and steel magazine file boxes are among other IKEA options.

Office Organizing for the Visual Person @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog

This set from Fellowes has six different colors - another great trick for the visual person. Each color can represent a different category. And color is motivating and inspiring. These boxes have the labels on the open side of the boxes, which I'm not particularly fond of, as the contents show, looking cluttered. You could always make your own labels and put them on the other side, though.

Office Organizing for the Visual Person @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog

These cute red ones come from The Container Store. They also have matching letter trays, storage boxes and file folders. Just makes you want to get organized doesn't it?

Whitmor provides a more whimsical look with bright plastic boxes. I love the colors, but don't like the fact that you can see through the plastic, though, again adding visual clutter.

Office Organizing for Visual People @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog


And here's a mahogany magazine file box by Rolodex for a more elegant look.

Another idea: If you want to customize magazine file boxes to match your decor, you can always get plain white ones and decorate accordingly.

We'll talk more about organizing for the visual person in future blog posts.

More on office organizing:
Three Steps to Organizing Your Office
Managing Paper, Part 1
Managing Paper, Part 2

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Increasing Your Effectiveness at Work

There are a number of things you can do to stay at your peak effectiveness during your work day. Experiment with the following:

- Take the breaks your employer offers to you. Go for a walk, go outside, climb a few flights of stairs - move! Just a few minutes of change refreshes your mind and your body.

- Multi-tasking is over-rated. It seems that all the hype about multi-tasking over the last few years has proven to be bad advice. The studies I've read recently show that people who concentrate on their task at hand do it more quickly and more effectively than those who multi-task.

Doing a couple of tasks at the same time which require little concentration is always a time saver - just make sure you don't sacrifice quality for "efficiency." If you have to redo a task, it's not saving you time.

- Create boundaries for yourself. Don't volunteer to help someone else at the expense of your own duties. Don't let others waste your time. If you are in a noisy area, close your door or wear headphones to reduce sound if it's acceptable in your workplace. Go to a different location to work in quiet if possible.

- Eat. If you are running low on fuel, you will not be able to function properly. Have a healthy snack during your breaks.

- Drink. Keep yourself hydrated. Our well-known coffee cafes make their coffee three to four times stronger than regular coffee, and if you get a specialty coffee it's loaded with sugar. Stop for one on the way to work, and expect your energy to crash in a couple of hours as the caffeine and sugar wear off. Better to have some green tea. Or water!

If you need more help with time management at the office or organizing your office efficiently, see our books on those topics.

More on work efficiency:
Three Steps to Organizing Your Office
Three Steps to Time Management at the Office
Three Steps to Time Management

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An Easy Way to Send a Meaningful Graduation Gift

Looking for a meaningful high school graduation gift? If you have high school graduation gifts to send, I have an easy solution for you.

An Easy Way to Send a Graduation Gift @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog
Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student is now available on a flash usb drive or as a download.

Help your high school graduate prepare for college - what could be more meaningful than that? And the usb drive has extra room on it for your student to use for classes in the fall.

We can send Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student directly to your gift recipients. Just write in their names and  email addresses/addresses in the comments section of your order.

Another idea: when I give a local graduation gift, I make a college survival kit (a shower caddy filled with college necessities plus my college usb drive). For more information on making a college survival kit, see the link below.

More on college:
College Survival Kit - A Practical High School Graduation Gift
Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student
Organizing the College Application Process

Monday, May 20, 2013

Helping Your Child Organize Packing for Vacation

Helping Your Cild Organize Vacation Packing @1-2-3GetOrganized.comCan you believe it's vacation time already? If you help your child get organized beforehand, things are more likely to go smoothly without trauma and drama.

Before you start packing for vacation, do some preliminaries first:

1. If you are flying, check with your airline for current luggage allowance/weight and carry-on restrictions.

2. Count how many days you are going to be gone (including traveling days).

3. Knowing how often each child is likely to spill something or get dirty, add an appropriate number of outfits.

4. Consider where you are going. Check the weather ahead of time so you know if it will blazing hot, rainy, or have some cool temps. My first trip to Montana in May required me to buy a coat, closed shoes and long pants for the snow!

5. Make a list for each child and for yourself or a generic list which can be used by everyone. Whichever you choose, each person should have a list. Create your list on your computer, so you won't have to reinvent your list for every trip - just update it, if needed. We used to travel quite a lot, and having a packing list kept us from forgetting important items.

With list in hand, each child can put together the appropriate number of outfits, including socks, underwear, hair accessoriies, and jewelry as needed. Have your children stack each outfit on their beds so you can check to see if they match and don't have holes or stains.

Armed with gallon ziplocks, place each outfit, socks, underwear, and accessories in one bag. Squeeze all the air out to save room in the suitcase, and mark the bag with the child's name on it. Sure makes it easy when it's time to get dressed - the entire suitcase doesn't need to be rifled through to find an outfit for each child! And you don't end up at the end of the week with non-matching outfits.

Make sure you leave one outfit out for the day you begin your vacation. :-)

For those with children still in diapers, you can toss an extra set of clothes in the diaper bag and use the ziplock for soiled clothes if needed.

Have a backpack for each child in which they can pack items to entertain themselves. Make sure they realize they must carry their own backpacks so they don't overload them and make them too heavy. I always tried to purchase some small toys, games or activity books - one for each child for each day - so they would have a surprise to look forward to and reduce the boredom factor, especially on long car trips.

Bring along some Dramamine just in case someone might have a tendency to get carsick.

I aslo tried to have some car games in mind to make time go faster - alphabet/sign game (look for letters of the alphabet on road signs), 20 questions, etc. One summer my brother and I made a list of all the Dairy Queen, Dairy Marts, Dairy Kings, Dairy-ettes, etc. on our vacation. We could rattle them all off for years afterward!

Audio children's books are a lifesaver! We listened to many children's classics on our long trips - Tom Sawyer, Gulliver's Travels, etc. Children's music is also fun. And if you have a DVD player in the car, it makes time fly. Just don't overdo it - you want to have some quality time as you travel with your family.

If your children are old enough, buy a small scrapbook for them to fill with postcards and mementos of their trip. Provide them with a means to take pictures, whether it's a phone, camera or disposable camera. Bring along crayons or markers so they can draw pictures of their activities each day.

Helping your children get organized before vacation empowers them, reduces your workload, and makes for a more pleasant trip!

Happy traveling!

More on organizing fun:
Three Steps to Planning Your Child's Parties
Organizing Spring Break - Planning in Some Refill Time
Organizing Spring Break Fun

Friday, May 17, 2013

Organizing Products I Use - Spice Organizers and Turntables

Even before we moved, I knew I needed to do something with my spices. The little grocery store I go to sells locally grown spices in small plastic bags. I love that they are locally grown and that they are much less expensive than bottled spices. However, those little bags get messy, even if you containerize them.

My solution? Little plastic bottles I bought from Uline. Yes, I had to pay for the containers, but only once. Now I can refill them as needed without the cost of the bottles. I used my label maker to label each container.

I was shocked at the number of spices I had! To prevent cooking boredom, I have been trying out a lot of new recipes, hence new spices.  Some of them are on my Pinterest, if you care to check them out.
Organizing Products I Use - Spice Organizers and Turntables @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog

Next I bought a stair-step spice organizer that expands (got it from Amazon). And no, I didn't organize them alphabetically. Maybe I should. Haven't gotten there yet. :)

You can see the finished product on the right. I did keep some of my bottled spices, especially those  that I like to shake out - red pepper flakes, for example. But when they run out, I might transfer them to my Uline containers. I still have a few unused ones.

Organizing Products I Use - Spice Organizers and Turntables @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogNow what to do with all those oils and vinegars? Since my cabinets are very tall and I'm pretty short, I opted for turntables on the second shelf. I have three: one for oils, etc., one for tall spices, and one for vinegars and such. The turntables make all those ingredients readily accessible without needing a step stool.

My mixer and canisters are on the counter, making it a convenient baking area. Measuring spoons and cups, spatulas, whisks, and bakeware are in cabinets and drawers below to save steps.

I love having many of my cooking ingredients available in one place and easy to see and reach. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted for a price I didn't mind paying, but I'm so happy with my choices. It's worth researching different options until you find what you want.

I smile each time I open this cabinet.

More on organizing the kitchen:
Three Steps to Organizing the Kitchen
Organizing Products I Use - Bakeware Organizers
Redbook: Clever Storage for Plastic Wrap, Foil, and Reclosable Bags

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Clever Cleaning Tricks that Save Time and Money

Hate to spend money on expensive cleaning products? Or you've run out of some of your favorite cleaning supplies and don't want to make a trip to the store? Here are a few ideas for substitutes:

- Smelly drains - to clean drains, pour a hot, strong solution of salt water down the drain (1/2 cup salt for every quart of water)

- To deodorize food containers and shoes, stuff a balled-up piece of newspaper into lunch boxes, thermoses, plastic food storage containers, and shoes. Let them sit overnight.

Clever Cleaning Tricks that Save Time and Money @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog- Out of paper towels? Clean windows with coffee filters. They leave no lint or residue.

- Out of coffee filters? Use a couple of paper towels.

- Clean stainless steel with olive oil or a vinegar solution (half vinegar, half water).

- Use the above vinegar solution as a regular household cleaner. It's a disinfectant, and it's natural and safe around children. I keep mine in a spray bottle. Cheap, too - $2-3 per gallon!!

- Instead of caustic, abrasive cleaners, make a past of lemon juice and baking soda.

What are your clever cleaning tricks? I have a cleaning problem that stumps me - my coffee maker is silver but not stainless steel. Can't get rid of the opalescent spots. Any ideas?

More on clever cleaning:
A Perfect Solution to Organizing Your Housework
Three Steps to  Clever Cleaning
Green  Spring  Cleaning with Vinegar

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Cleaning Your Attic

Spring Cleaning the Attic @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog 
Spring is a wonderful time to attack the attic - it's still cool enough to be able to tackle this decluttering job! You certainly don't want to wait until summer. And the timing is perfect - you may find you have enough for a yard sale. Now that's motivating, isn't it?

Start by walking around your attic to take a mental inventory of what you have there. Designate corners for each category - Christmas, other seasonal decorations, keepsakes, off-season clothing, suitcases and traveling accessories, home repair supplies - whatever categories represent your life.

Now that you have designated certain corners for the categories you have stored in your attic, it's time to sort.

Start in one corner of your attic. You may want to surround yourself with several boxes - one for each category plus one for giveaways. As you sort each item, ask yourself:
- is it necessary?
- have you used it in the last year?
- is it important to you or someone else?
- could someone else use it?

If you absolutely must keep the item you're sorting, place it in the appropriate box. Have a trash bag nearby for those things that don't even qualify for giveaways.

Work your way around the attic. You may discover additional categories as you go. You may also find items in your attic which would be better used elsewhere in your home. Be creative - are there some keepsakes you want to keep that could serve as storage containers in your house? Your mother's tea cups could hold jewelry in your dresser drawer, for example. A trunk could hold toys or linens.

Place each box in the corner you have designated for that category.

Now that you've decluttered and sorted, you're ready to look at your storage needs for your attic.

Evaluate each category to see what would best house those items. Do you need large clear storage containers for linens? Do you need small boxes for books? Do you need a place to hang out-of-season clothes? Do you need shelves, drawers, hooks, etc?

Before you go out and purchase storage containers, look around your house, basement, garage, etc. to see if you already have such storage. You may have an unused dresser that would work for storage if it were moved up to the attic, for example.

Label each container with the contents so when you're hunting for something, you don't need to open every container. If you are using clear storage containers, write your list on a piece of paper and slide it down the side of the container so you can read it without opening the box.

When you have completed your attic cleaning, celebrate! Good job done!!

More on spring cleaning:
The Health and Mental Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning
Spring Comes to the Rescue of Winter Depression and Clutter
Spring Cleaning Relationships

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DIY Scarf Storage

Thread scarves though shower-curtain rings attached to a hanger for wrinkle-free, easy-to-see storage. Another idea from Redbook.

More DIY organizing projects:
What to  Do with those Dry  Cleaning Hangers? - Make a DIY Shoe Rack
Organizing Your Bracelets - Go Vertical!
Organizing Toys Using a Wire Garden Planter

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hoarders Plead Guilty to Child Cruelty

I've read about people dying in house fires because their clutter wouldn't allow them to get out or be rescued. This is the first I've read about hoarding becoming child cruelty. The following details an English couple narrowly escaping prison because of their excessive possessions.

"A couple whose obsessive hoarding cluttered the house until their four children had to eat their meals on the stairs, have narrowly avoided a prison sentence.

A man aged 47 and his partner aged 46 were described as 'slovenly' yesterday by a judge who had been shown pictures of their home. Piles of clothes filled the bedrooms, and toys and bric-a-brac picked up at car boot sales made conditions cramped throughout the house.

The couple, from Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey in Central London to four charges of child cruelty by providing inappropriate living conditions for the children between September 2007 and September 2011.

Judge John Bevan said that the couple appeared to blame each other and told them that they were lucky not to have been sent to prison.

'The evidence demonstrates, and one only has to look at the photographs, that you were slovenly,' he said. 'The photographs are dreadful. There was nowhere to eat food other than on the stairs.'

Police and social workers who visited the three-bedroom terrace house found the children eating their meals on the stairs because the kitchen was so cluttered. The children, who are all aged under 16, cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Judge Bevan told the father: 'As an ambulance technician, you should have known better.'

Addressing the mother, he said: 'You were addicted to car boot sales and clutter. The children were unkempt and untidy. Despite claiming you were suffering depression, you were not prevented from going to car boot sales and making the situation worse and worse.'

They were given six-month suspended prison sentences and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work each, in what is believed to be a first such ruling related to hoarding.

Charles Ward-Jackson, for the prosecution, said the house was 'extremely untidy' but that it was clean. The couple ignored repeated warnings after social workers visited the house on a number of occasions.

Judge Bevan said: 'He has got money problems — she seems to spend it all at car boot sales. She shows a number of characteristics common in individuals who hoard, frequently shopping, visiting car boot sales on a weekly basis.'

Bozzie Sheffi, representing the mother, said that her client suffered from depression and was exhausted.

The couple had appeared in court after being bailed, and Judge Bevan told them: 'You can count yourselves fortunate that you are leaving by the same door you came in through.'"

More on hoarding:
Are You Turning into a Hoarder? Find Out.
5 Causes of Disorganization
Hoarding - There are No Easy Answers!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Organizing Products I Use - Bakeware Organizers

Organizing Products I Use - Bakeware Organizers @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog

Organizing Products I Use - Bakeware Organizers @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogOur new house has a lot of cabinet space, but it doesn't have one of those tall skinny cabinets for my cookie sheets, jelly roll pans, wire cooling racks, and pizza pans. So I created my own space by buying Copco Bakeware Organizers at Amazon. The only cabinet tall enough to store these pans was under the sink - not the ideal, but it works. 

Organizing Products I Use - Bakeware Organizers @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogI used another one in a different cabinet for cutting boards. (Sorry my pictures are not very bright!)

Organizing Products I Use - Bakeware Organizers @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogAs you can see, to the right of the cutting boards, I store my large pans in a Honey-Can-Do KCH-02165 Cushion Coated Steel Wire Plate Rack. I'm sorry to sound like an advertisement, but I wanted you to be able to find them should you want them. They are available on Amazon, but I've had mine for years and I think I got them at Walmart.

Organizing Products I Use - Bakeware Organizers @1-2-3GetOrganizers.com/blogI use another one in my pantry to store pie pans and cake pans. What I love about all these organizers is that things are stored vertically. I don't have to stack my bakeware on each other, and I can take out one item at a time without having to rearrange the entire group.

In the past I have even used these plate racks to store some of my plates! I love to entertain, and dishes are my weakness, so I have quite a collection. But I have found another plate rack I adore, which I will show you soon.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don't Fall Prey to Guilt-Ridden Clutter

Don't Fall Prey to  Guilt-Ridden Clutter @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogHave you ever given in to the thought, if I buy this, I'll be a better .... ? Even though it doesn't really fit with your reality? If I buy this new set of knives, I'll cook more. If I buy these new gardening tools, I'll work more in my garden. If I buy these new dishes, I'll entertain more.

Tempting, but it usually doesn't work. Before you buy, ask yourself if it's really something you want to do, if it fits with your lifestyle at present.

Are you guilt-tripping yourself with "shoulds?" I should cook more, I should have a lovely garden, I should have more people over. Why torture yourself? Be who you are, enjoy your giftedness, and shine at being yourself! Do those things you were created to do!

Resist assuaging your guilt with new purchases. It will save you money and clutter!! Enjoy looking at them while shopping, but give yourself the freedom to say no!

Maybe you'll never be a great cook, or gardener, or entertainer. That's ok! But maybe you're a great artist, mother, or carpenter. Make room in your home for things that reflect your talents, not your guilt-ridden aspirations.

More on decluttering your life of unnecessary clutter:
Align Your Life with Your Design
Clearing Out Emotional and Physical Clutter
10 Types of Emotional Clutter

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Where to Recycle Your E-Waste in Bozeman

It's a pain to get rid of old computers, printers, and other electronic equipment, isn't it? It's nice to be green whenever possible, so when I was looking to find a place to recycle an office printer, I started researching how this could be done here in Bozeman.

Where to Recycle Ewaste In Bozeman @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogI was told that on Earth Day weekend, such items could be brought to the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. But I discovered that they are no longer doing this.

Gallatin County offers e-waste recycling. I'm including information from Gallatin County below on recycling e-waste. They also list several additional options to recycling these products, one of which is Staples. When I asked an employee at Stapes if they charge for recycling, he said they did not, contrary to what the county states below.

However, in all the cases, you must take or mail your electronic equipment. This was not too appealing to me, as the printer to be recycled was big and heavy.

My solution? Dumpnjunk! Dumpnjunk will recycle your e-waste for free. Even though their website states a specific day of the month to recycle e-waste, they collected the printer the next day. And they were even kind enough to haul it down a flight of stairs at no charge.

They will also remove the remains of your spring cleaning for a fee. So if you need to get rid of your junk without making a trip, Dumpnjunk just might be your solution, too! I found them very easy to work with.

If you prefer to dispose of your e-waste yourself, here are options listed on Gallatin County's site:



Logan Landfill


Monday - Saturday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.  No appointment necessary.


Household = $27/ton, Minimum of $5.00

Commercial = $48/ton, Minimum of $5.00


Logan Landfill


Special Instructions:

The e-waste should be separated from the rest of the load and will be disposed of separately.  Please tell the Scale House Operator when you arrive that you have e-waste to drop-off for recycling.

When recycling e-waste, protect your privacy

Before recycling your computer, consider erasing the hard drive to protect your privacy and security. Simply deleting files from your "recycling bin" does not permanently remove them from the hard drive, and with some work, they can be reconstructed and accessed again. Free software known as "erasers" or "disk sanitizers" are available online to systematically write 1's and 0's over all of your data on the hard drive, this will render any personal data on the drive unreadable. Visit MT Department of Environmental Quality for free software that wipes your hard drive clean.

Other Disposal Options

Costco Trade-In Program gives you cash cards good for purchases and pre-paid shipping to recycle your used electronics.  Sign up on the website, send in the equipment, it will be evaluated and then you'll receive a gift card in the mail.  For laptops, cell phones, LCD monitors, digital cameras, mp3 players, blu-ray, gaming systems and more.

Dell and Staples Launch Free E-Recycling for Dell Customers. Consumers may now recycle their Dell brand computers, monitors, mice and more at any Staples branch for free.

Staples in Bozeman will accept any brand computer monitors, CPUs, printers and fax machines for fee.  Keyboards, mice and speakers are accepted for free.  Staples 

Office Depot in Bozeman sells shipping boxes at various prices which you take home and fill with your e-waste.  Then, bring the box back to Office Depot and they will ship your e-waste to a recycler.  

More on recycling: 
What to Do with those Dry Cleaner Hangers? - Make a DIY Shoe Rack 
Managing Paper, Part 1  
Need Some Christmas Cash? How to Sell Your Old Phones, Equipment and Gadgets 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring Cleaning Your Car

With all the snow we get over the winter, we are continually tracking muck into our cars. I'm so happy that spring is here, which means when we clean our cars they might stay that way for a while!

It's time to swap out that winterizing kit (blanket, ice scrapers, hand warmers, etc.) for spring and summer items: sunscreen, bug spray, outdoor toys, water, etc. If you carry a set of extra clothes for your child, you may want to exchange winter clothing for spring or summer clothing. It's best to keep such things containerized, as they can become missiles in a sudden stop.

Take a look throughout your car to see if you have outdated or unnecessary items - old maps, empty CD cases, nonworking pens, etc. Make a clean sweep of the car, removing such items.

Check your car registration and insurance card to make sure they are current.

Make sure your emergency kit is up-to-date: jumper cables, extra washer fluid, flashlight, flares. I keep mine in a plastic container in the back of my car. I also store my reusable grocery bags there, too, so they're not drifting all over the car.

But our biggest struggle is clutter. I read recently that women are more guilty than men when it comes to car clutter. Whatever the case, it's easy for that clutter to collect! Here are a few ideas to tame that trend:

- Ask each person in the car to look around them when leaving the car and throw away any trash they see. When we had foster daughters, they drew the line at other people's tissues, however! If you have a trash can in your garage, it makes it that much easier.

- Make a rule that if you bring it into the car, you must take it back out. Even if your kids are eating something on the way to school, they need to take it into the school when they go. Finding two yogurt containers upside down in the cup holder is not pleasant!

- I'm not a good waiter. So I try to remember to use the time while stopped at a light, waiting for someone, etc., to pick up trash and clutter. When we travel, I try to remove trash each time I get out of the car for a break.

- When we get snacks while traveling, I ask for a bag which we can use for trash.

Spring Cleaning Your Car @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog- If you have children who like to bring toys along in the car, limit them as to number. Just make sure it's not a container with a jillion little toys inside! Consider getting a back-of-the-seat organizer to hold your child's snacks, drinks, toys, books, etc.

- If you allow eating in the car, opt for dry snacks rather than gummy ones. They are much easier to clean up with a vacuum and less likely to get enmeshed in the carpeting or upholstery.

- Make sure drinks have lids, especially when stored in cup holders on the door. Slamming the door and an open drink is not a good combination!

- Keep what you need readily available: sunglasses, phone charger, tissues, paper, pens, fingernail file (Yes, I file my fingernails while waiting at lights, too! I told you I was not a good waiter.)

- As you do your errands, consider using a basket or green shopping bag to carry your items from the car into the house - you can do it in one trip!

It's nice to start out fresh for the spring and summer months! And nice to be prepared for fun ahead with an organized, clean, and equipped car!

More on spring cleaning:
Statistics: The Health and Mental Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning
Green Spring Cleaning with Vinegar
Spring Cleaning Relationships

Friday, May 3, 2013

Organizing Products I Use - The Arrow Hanging System

As we were preparing to move, I was concerned about the lack of space in our new laundry room to hang clothes coming out of the dryer. We have just enough room for the washer and dryer and that's it! So I started investigating!

Organizing Products I Use - The Arrow Clothes Hanger System @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogOrganizing Products I Use - The Arrow Clothes Hanger System @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogThe solution I liked best is the Arrow Hanger AH12/R Instahanger Clothes Hanging System. I got mine from Amazon for about $18 apiece. What I love is that it's very compact when not in use.

The metal rod holding the clothes is very sturdy and can hold several pieces of clothing, even heavy jeans! I got two of these - one for each of the side walls of the laundry room. So when I'm taking clothes out of the dryer, I put mine on one and my husband's on the other - just makes it easier when putting clothes away.

I have loved finding organizing solutions that work in our new home! Stay tuned for more ...

More on organizing products:
Organizing Products I Use - Under the Sink Drawers
Organizing Products I Use - Steel Shelving
Bags Are Messy - Box Them Up!