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.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Organizing Products I Use - Repurposed Furniture

As you know, I am a big proponent of shopping in your own home to find storage solutions. 

Years ago when our girls were small, we purchased several pieces of furniture for them from IKEA. They were inexpensive, durable, and had great storage. We still have a couple of those pieces and have repurposed them as office storage.

They don't match our office furniture, so we put them in our office closet so they don't clash and don't take up valuable office space. One piece is on one side of the closet, and the other one is on the other side of the closet, which has sliding doors. We can easily open drawers and doors for access to what we need. But when we don't, it's all behind the closet doors!


As you can see, the tall one holds office supplies - paper, labels, envelopes and such. Our printer and scanner live on top. My husband cut additional shelving out of plywood to create more cubbies for our supplies.

The other piece is short with drawers on one side and shelves on the other. It houses my husband's projects - bills, reading material and other items he uses often.

If you're needing additional storage, look around your home, attic, and garage to see if you can repurpose something you already own to meet your needs. 

Can't beat the price!

More on Repurposed Storage:
Turn Your Clutter into Storage - DIY Ideas
Organizing Products I Use - Shoe Organizers (but not for shoes)
Plastic Bags are Messy - Box Them Up!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Don't Sabotage Yourself with the "Evening Drift"

After a long day, it's easy to drift through your evening. Doing so, however, may end up sabotaging yourself later.

It's important to rest, refuel, and spend time with those you love. It's also important to be pro-active in using your evening well. By doing so, you'll be able to anticipate what needs to happen tomorrow, and you'll feel less overwhelmed at the end of the week.

Each week when you plan the next week's schedule, plan your evenings as well:

- Establish an evening routine consisting of several tasks that keep life on track. Some examples might include family time, bath times for kids, homework time, 15-minute clutter clean up for the entire family, loading/running the dishwasher, thinking through tomorrow's dinner, some personal time, a set bedtime, etc.

- Schedule household chores (load of laundry, cleaning task, paying bills, etc.) that can be done throughout the week. Doing a load of laundry or two during evening activities eliminates dedicating large chunks of time to it over the weekend.

- You'll also want to think through what is necessary for everyone to get out the door in the morning: breakfast, lunches, backpack/briefcase/diaper bag/purse loaded, athletic uniforms/gear, band instruments, school forms, choose clothes for tomorrow, etc. Create checklists to eliminate stress and forgotten items.

- Multi-task in low-risk areas: Fold laundry while overseeing homework. Dust while watching a TV show. Vacuum during commercials. Clean counters while on the phone. Studies show that multi-tasking during tasks that require thought or concentration produces poor results.

If by using your evening time well, you can squeeze in some tasks you normally do on the weekends, you'll avoid having a huge weekend to-do list! Encourage the rest of the family, if applicable, to do the same.

And then take time to enjoy your weekend!

More on Productivity:
Do You Have a Mid-Afternoon Priority Check?
Going Beyond the  To-Do List 

Creating Systems and Routines

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Organizing Summer Fun – 50 Ideas for Your Summer Bucket List

I found the most wonderful site that encourages you and your kids to connect with nature: Go Explore Nature! 

I did some exploring on their website and came upon their 50 Ideas for Your Summer Bucket List. Most of their ideas come with links and will inspire you to get out with your kids. Many are no- or low-cost and spark creativity in your children.

Some examples: a summer scavenger hunt, a cardboard box fort, a weather station.

Check it out!

More on organizing fun:

Planning an Intentional Summer for Your Child
Organizing Spring Break Fun
Organizing Summer Fun - Michael's Passport to Imagination


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Health Risks of Clutter

Clutter can create numerous health risks. The following article excerpts detail some of those. Quite motivating!

"Causes of death range from ridiculous mishaps to that of the terminally severe, be it through a slow rot spent in a space filled with junk—unable to function normally due to the mentally draining chaos surrounding you–or through an unexpected trip-and-fall caused by rubbish left lying on a bedroom floor.

When it comes to clutter, a lot of people do not realize how huge of a risk it poses to thousands of lives. Apart from the obvious foot impaling accidents, dirt in one’s home can also lead to peril, specifically on one’s health. To help you realize how dire it is for you to keep your household clean, we’ve compiled a list of facts that establish the health dangers of an untidy space, especially when it gets to a hazardous degree.

Fact #1: A cluttered environment can only mean one thing–stress

A disorganized dwelling packed with heaps of stuff scattered on every corner is visually, mentally, and emotionally tiring. It leaves one lethargic, hopeless, and bothered by overwhelming anxiety. When you’re space is cluttered, your productivity gets affected and you’re left missing deadlines, working longer hours, and losing important stuff.

Fact #2: Clutter attracts dust. Dust is both an allergen and an asthma trigger

And too much of it is unhealthy for kids. A dusty room makes one’s allergies flare up and is considered deadly for people with heart and lung disease, and also to those with breathing problems.

Fact #3: Pests call clutter home–Roaches, rodents and flies all thrive in nasty environments. The moment you stop cleaning your house, you’re instantly making it an irresistible breeding ground for disgusting pests to call their home. From moldy leftovers to dank mildew and grime, a cluttered household makes for a toxic setting where rats, mice and other bacteria-carrying insects live freely.

Fact #4: Apart from being fire hazards, stacks of paper and litter left lying on the floor are just accidents waiting to happen…

Ever felt what it’s like to step on a Lego brick? Painful, right? That could’ve been avoided if toys were put away. An organized space will definitely bring you peace of mind and lessen the occurrence of messy mishaps happening to your household. Another point to consider is that junk poses as serious barriers for emergency rescue personnel. ..."

Something to think about, isn't it?

More on health and clutter:
Statistics: The Health and Mental Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning
10 Types of Emotional Clutter
9 Ways to Enhance Your Health by Being Organized

Monday, June 24, 2013

DIY Under-the-Bed Storage

Here's a clever idea from Better Homes and Gardens

"Scope out old dresser drawers to repurpose as another kind of bedroom storage. By attaching casters to the bottoms of the drawers, you'll have a set of underbed storage units, making the space beneath the bed good for more than just dust bunnies."

More DIY storage ideas:
DIY Scarf Storage
Plastic Bags are Messy - Box Them Up!
What to Do with Those Dry Cleaner Hangers? - Make a DIY Shoe Rack


Friday, June 21, 2013

Wrapping Up the School Year

As the school year closes, it's a good time to wrap up end-of-year activities. Even if you don't have kids in school, many activities take a break for the summer - a perfect time to put closure on those activities.

If you volunteer, declutter and organize any paperwork for your position. If you are passing that position on to someone else, hand off that paperwork  so the transition goes smoothly.

If you've taken a class, organize your class notes and related material. Look over your notes for action points you want to take away from the class.

If you have school-age children, sit down together and look over school papers, projects and artwork you have saved. Determine an acceptable amount to save and work with your child to determine which masterpieces to keep. If you wish, make a scrapbook of the year.

If there are too keepsakes many for your comfort, take pictures of the rest and put them in a photo album. Or send them to relatives or soldiers. Or create placemats, lamp shades, collages, etc. with them.

Print photos you want to keep from this year and divide into categories. Or copy to CDs or DVDs or another medium. Organize according to activities. Remove these pictures from your camera to make room for your summer fun.

If you haven't done so already, evaluate summer clothes for the family. Get rid of those that don't work and fill in the blanks with new ones. While you're at it, if other clothes are outgrown, get rid of those also. Donate, hand them down - whatever, but get them out of the house!

Finally, celebrate the end of school! Make something special, decorate, do something silly, make certificates to celebrate milestones. Whatever you do, celebrate all the work each of you has accomplished during the school year.

More on wrapping up:
Planning an Intentional Summer for Your Child
Managing Paper, Part 2
Organize a Fun Activity List

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Turning Your Clutter into Storage - DIY Ideas

Alyssa Karas wrote the following article about recycling your clutter into storage. Love it!

"Creating a DIY storage solution is a great way to recycle and repurpose things that would otherwise go the way of the trash bin, and the end product will keep the rest of your possessions organized.
To choose materials to repurpose, get creative. 'When I see something that’s sitting in someone’s driveway waiting to be picked up by the trash... [it’s] almost like money in the bank,' says Hillary Dickman, who blogs about her home projects and green living at The Friendly Home website.

Here are three repurposing projects to organize your home that even DIY beginners can craft.

Gail Wilson used a discarded bi-folding door to create a magazine rack. Total cost of the project? Zero.

'It was a curb find,' Wilson says, who writes about her projects on her blog, My Repurposed Life. 'I just removed every other slat in order to give room for the magazines to hang.'

Wilson used a tool to achieve flush cuts on the slats, but you can get the same result with the claw end of a hammer. Simply snap the slat in the middle and then remove it from each side. You can also use a window shutter instead of a bi-folding door.

After that, Wilson spruced it up with some spare paint.

If you’re wondering where to find an old shutter or door, Wilson says it’s not as hard as you might think. 'I know a lot of people are embarrassed to do curb shopping, but I find the best way to ask for stuff is on Facebook,' says Wilson, who lives in Louisville, Ky. 'I’ll say, "I need an old crib," and people have this stuff! Your friends and family have this – they just don’t know you need it.'

With a pocket hole jig, some glue and a few nails, Dickman turned two old closet doors into a hall tree, which holds coats, shoes and other miscellaneous items. 'What it takes mostly is vision and creativity,' says Dickman, who lives in Colorado Springs. 'It’s not so much skill, it’s more about seeing how to put the pieces together.'

Dickman used one full-sized door for the back of the entry bench. She cut the second door into two long pieces, and then cut those again to form side panels, armrests, the bench and a drawer panel.

After assembling it, Dickman painted and distressed it, and she added a few finishing touches, like hooks and a decorative door knob. Since all of the wood was reclaimed, she spent only $53 on the project, which went toward hardware and decoration.

'When I see something that is usable waiting to go to the landfill, it breaks my heart,' Dickman says. 'I think of how full our landfills are, and I think, "That could be something beautiful and useful," and why would we toss it?'

Miki Steiner needed a way to bring some order to morning chaos, and she found a solution in an unexpected place: plastic soup bowls.

Using a utility knife, Steiner cut a hole in the bottom of plastic soup bowls. She spray painted them and then nailed them to the wall.

'I store all sorts of knick knacks needed before leaving the house like keys, sun glasses, gloves, gum, etc.,' says Steiner, who lives in Israel and blogs at her website, Miki’s Design. 'Instead of searching for these items in a rush every time I get out, it is all lined up waiting for me.'"

Are you inspired?

More on repurposed storage:
What to Do with Those Dry Cleaner Hangers? - Make a DIY Shoe  Rack
Organizing Your Bracelets - Go Vertical!
Organize Toys Using a Wire Garden Planter

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Organizing Products I Use - Shoe Organizers (but not for shoes)

I did a post previously about using shoe organizers in my pantry, and I'm doing it again! Our new house has high ceilings, so there's a potential for wasted space in the tops of the closets (gasp!)

Remember how we turned our laundry room closet into a pantry? I added shoe organizers to both sides to use up that space above the closet shelf.

I keep hard-to-store items like platters, my three-tiered dessert server (top left), baskets,  salad spinner, etc. I even put another shelf extender on the top shelf on the left for additional storage.

In the middle between the two shoe shelves, I stood large baskets and trays on their sides. They take up vertical space rather than horizontal space that way.

These shelves make the items I don't use very often accessible when I do need them those few times a year without having to unpack boxes. I love it!

I've used a different type of shoe organizer in our office - the kind that has cubbies. This picture shows the cubbies pretty empty when we first moved in, but they are filed now. It's a nice place to store business cards, phone attachments, ink cartridges, external hard drives and other small stuff we use often. As you may notice, we've turned the closet in our office into a storage area. More about that another day!

These shoe organizers are a great way to expand your shelving without having to build shelving yourself. You do have to put them together, but you don't have to start from scratch! And they are reasonably priced. I got mine at Walmart or Target for around $13 apiece.

Of course, you can always use them for shoes, too!

Such handy little things!

More on Organizing Products I Use:
Organizing Products I Use - Steel Shelving
Organizing Products I Use - Bakeware Organizers
Organizing Products I Use - The Arrow Clothes Hanging System

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Organizing Your Yard and Garden

I found some terrific tips for organizing your outdoor space. Hope you enjoy them!

"In the warmer months, we find ourselves outside more often, enjoying nature while playing with the kids and maintaining our lawns. But this additional time spent outside means more home and garden tools and more opportunity for a mess.

Here are some simple tips to keep your outdoor spaces cleaner and more organized:

Storage bench — Use a storage bench to keep your gardening gloves, tools and children's outdoor toys. Available in a wide variety of sizes and styles, you can find the bench that fits your decor. Plus, they offer an extra seating area when you have company.

Bundle cords — No one likes the unsightly appearance or hazard of cords. Before your gatherings, bundle together stereo and electronic cords that are exposed, as well as any cords that run across the lawn. Helpful products, such as Velcro One Wrap ties, keep your items bound tight and out of sight.

Paver pots — Use old pavers to create plant containers. Simply stack the pavers together making a square shape. The heavy weight of the pavers keeps the dirt and plant contained together.

Deck space — Use the space under your deck for additional, out-of-sight storage. Tuck plastic lidded storage containers underneath for easy access to children's sporting goods and toys.

Mesh bags — Pool toys, rafts and inner tubes need a space to dry off. Use mesh bags so these summer toys properly are properly dried, preventing mildew or molding.

Proper plant care — Stock up on essentials for a healthy garden, including the tools to make plant seedlings thrive, such as Velcro Peel Away seed pots. These pots make it easy to remove the pots without disturbing the roots, making transitions from pot to flower bed flawless.

Repurpose furniture — Turn old furniture pieces, such as old filing cabinets, into instant garage storage solutions. Take out the drawers of the cabinet and turn it on its side. Each empty drawer area provides a spot for large items like brooms, shovels and rakes.

Fence storage — Turn old coffee or paint cans into storage bins for smaller gardening tools like hand shovels and pruning shears. For easy access while in the garden, cut holes and use rope to hang around a close-by fence post.

Tires — Stack old tires on top of each other for an outdoor toy container that kids can easily access. Paint the outside to match the color of your house or whatever color you fancy."

Makes me want to go play outside - what about you?

More on organizing solutions:
Get Your House in Order - A Great Wintertime Project
Entry Closet Door Organizer
3 Steps to Organizing Your Closet

Monday, June 17, 2013

Organizing Summer Fun - Michael's Passport to Imagination

I always like to find opportunities for organizing summer fun for families each summer. Here's something that is starting at Michael's today and continuing for seven weeks: Michael's Passport to Imagination. Looks like a creative way to combine fun and learning for a great price!

More on organizing summer fun:
Planning an Intentional Summer for Your  Child
Organizing Spring Break Fun
Organizing Spring Break - Planning in Some Refill Time

Friday, June 14, 2013

Saving Time in the Kitchen - Cook it Once, Serve it Twice

Today marks 38 years being married to my wonderful husband! It has been a wonderful ride and keeps getting better! Now on to our post for today ...

Since my husband and I are empty nesters, I have been experimenting with new recipes to stave off cooking boredom. You certainly don't have to be empty nesters to get bored with what you're cooking, though. If putting a meal on the table gets to be tedious, here are a few ideas to make it easier:

Double your recipes. When I cook, I try to make twice as much, so I don't have to cook every night. Thankfully, my husband likes leftovers (more than I do!), so it works for us.

If your family can't stomach leftovers, you can still cook something once and serve it twice. Cooking extra meat gives you a head start on another meal - an entree salad, stir fry, fajitas, wraps, fried rice, soups, sandwiches, and more. You may want to remove the extras before you serve dinner, though, so there will actually be extras!

You can do the same with veggies as well. Add cooked carrots, cabbage and/or broccoli to fried rice. Add cooked veggies to a stir fry or soup. Serve a veggie platter one night and use the leftovers in a stir fry, salad, or soup the next night.

When I make rice, I usually make a large quantity. It can easily be turned into a pilaf the second time around, used in fried rice, or turned into a main dish by adding meat and/or veggies. My gluten-intolerant husband uses it for breakfast instead of bread. And, just reheating it in the microwave is an obvious option, too

Extra beans can be make a second appearance in salsa, salads, soups, vegetarian tacos, etc.

Cooking extra takes a little more time, but at least you don't have to start from scratch when it's time to put another meal together.

I try to plan my meals a week at a time in order to be intentional about using food twice.

Here's one of my favorite recipes in which leftover chicken and rice can be used: Cashew Chicken. It rivals restaurants!

Cook It Once, Serve it Twice @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogCashew Chicken (from my Hassle Free Dinners)

1 lb. Boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
4 Celery stalks
2 c. Carrots
1 Onion
2 T. Sesame oil
4 T. Soy sauce or Tamari
4 T. Chicken broth/bouillon
2 T. Cornstarch
4 T. Cold water
1 c. Cashews
Optional veggies: snow peas, green beans, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cabbage, red or green peppers

Microwave covered chicken on high 5 minutes or until no longer pink inside. (Or use leftover chicken.)
Slice celery and carrots; chop onion.
In wok or non-stick skillet, heat the oil on medium high and briefly sauté vegetables.
Add soy sauce and broth. Simmer until vegetables are just tender.
Dice cooked chicken.
Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and add to the simmering mixture. Allow to thicken.
Add the chicken and the cashews.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve piping hot over rice.
4 servings

More about saving time on dinner:
Hassle Free Dinners
Three Steps to Planning Dinner eWorkbook
Organizing Dinner - Double or Triple a Recipe

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Organizing for the Visual Person - Calendars

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm working with a visual person to organize her office. The important thing to remember if you're a visual person or you're working or living with a visual person: things need to be seen to be remembered. We talked about using magazine file boxes as a way to keep action items visible yet pleasing to the eye.

Today we're going to talk about calendars. One helpful option is for visual people to keep a large wall or desk calendar to remind them of upcoming events. It also allows the people they are working or living with to see what's ahead, too.

A spiral or notebook type planner is a viable choice, too, if it's large enough not to get lost or overlooked. That planner should accompany the visual person everywhere, so the calendar can be referred to and updated continuously.

Another option is using a cell phone calendar. The key for the visual person is to set alarms for calendar items. If an alarm is not set, the visual person may not remember to look at his/her phone calendar.

If you are someone you love is a visual person, it's critical to keep important items in the line of sight as attractively as possible. Visual people are motivated by beauty and color. And it's important to keep surroundings as clutter-free as possible, as clutter screams for attention, creating distraction - for everyone, but even more so for the visual person.

Have you found solutions that work for visual people?

More on organizing for visual people:

Office Organizing for the Visual Person - Magazine File Boxes
Managing Paper, Part 2
9 Ways to Enhance Your Health by Being Organized

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Peace-of-Mind Vacation Check List - What to Do Before You Leave

Here's an updated blast from the past:

In order to insure that your time away on vacation is relaxing and refreshing, make sure to take care of a few things before you leave.

- Make arrangements for your mail and packages. One option is to stop your mail through the post office. If you do this, you may want to ask a neighbor to watch for packages, as well. If you have one of those weekly papers that is delivered whether you want it or not - it's a sure sign that you're not home if it's sitting on your front porch for days.

If you don't stop your mail, get a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and watch for packages. Sometimes we hire a neighbor kid to pick up the mail and walk around the house to look for packages. UPS sometimes delivers to our front porch and sometimes to our back porch!

- Put your lights on timers. We have some that are programmable to go on at different times each night. It makes it look like you are home and there is activity in different parts of the house. We actually leave them on all the time, so if we're out for the evening, it doesn't look like it.

- Stop your newspapers. Most newspapers give you the option to donate your unused days to schools, etc. It's still helpful to have someone watch, though, as we've had newspapers delivered even when we've requested a stop.

- Make arrangements for your pets - a kennel, someone to come over and feed and play with your cat, feed your fish or birds, etc. There are all sorts of pet-sitting services these days, too.

- Make arrangements for your plants - either have someone water them or use a long-term watering system.

- Make arrangements for your lawn. A shaggy yard with yellow newspapers sitting around is an invitation to thieves.

- Pay your bills that will be due while you are gone and soon after you arrive home. You don't want to have to face bills as soon as you come home!

- Remove perishable items from your fridge and pantry. You may want to make a list of items you'll need when you return while it's fresh on your mind, so you don't have to think about it when you come home. Both milk and bread are freezable - just remember to buy milk with the screw-on lids and empty a little so it doesn't explode all over your freezer!

- Adjust your thermostats to save energy while you're away. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to reflect your absence.

- Give a neighbor your cell phone number or contact number - just in case they notice water pouring out of your house, or some other such emergency!

- Have a key made for someone to get into your house in an emergency.

- Look back at your house as you leave. We almost left our front door open once. And you certainly don't want to be wondering if you left your garage door open!

- While you're away, you may want to pick up a souvenir or gift for anyone watching your house, pets, or plants.

With all these details taken care of, you'll have peace of mind while you're away and can enjoy being refreshed and rejuvenated!

More on vacations:
Helping Your Child Organize Vacation Packing
Organize Your Family Vacation
Organizing a Family Reunion

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Financial Cost of Being Disorganized

Being disorganized costs time and money. Here's an article that details those costs:

"Have you ever purchased an item that you thought you already owned, but couldn’t find – only to have the missing item turn up a month or so later?    This may have happened to you; I know it happened in my house a few too many times.  My husband and I usually gave up looking for the missing tool, head phones, cell phone charger, or other item and went to the store to purchase a new one.   We promised ourselves we would organize the garage or the electronics closet.  After all, we were tired of spending money on items we already owned.

While this is only one example of the financial costs associated with being disorganized, I can think of several other instances that can cost money.  Paying late fees on bills or credit cards is fairly common for disorganized people.    Being charged a “no show” fee for a missed medical appointment because a reminder card was misplaced is another example.  Missing documentation necessary to file taxes can result in being unable to legally claim all the deductions you are entitled to, or penalties may be charged  if you file your return late.

These may seem like small amounts, but over time they can add up.  The equation is pretty simple; the more disorganized you are, the more money you may be losing. The calculation below actually adds some dollar amounts to the cost of disorganization and clutter:

Suppose you have a 1,500 square-foot house worth $300,000, every square foot in the house is worth $200.  If you have a 10×10-foot room you can’t use because it is filled with clutter, that’s a $20,000 storage room.  In terms of monthly cost, you’re spending about 7% of your mortgage on storage!!

The time cost associated with disorganization can add up, too.  If you spend half an hour a day trying to find “lost” items such as keys, clothes, paperwork, etc.;  that adds up to 3.5 hours a week, 15.5 hours a month, 182.5 hours – or seven full days — a year.  This is valuable time that could be better used to doing other activities that you enjoy.

If you decide you are through wasting money and time and want to be more organized, it’s never too late to start.   When my husband and I decided we wanted to become more organized, we followed a very basic strategy that I dubbed “SSO” or Strategize, Simplify, Organize!  We strategized (or I should say I strategized) on what we were trying to accomplish and where the problem areas seemed to be.  Did we have too many belongings?  Did we have inefficient storage or antiquated filing systems?  Were we emotionally attached to some of our outdated possessions?

In the simplify step we made decisions on what to keep, donate, sell, or discard (don’t forget donations may be tax deductible – a financial benefit!)

In the actual organizing step with developed new systems to control paper build up and messy closets.  For example, we open our mail every day and immediately shred any junk mail; we put our bills in a dated accordion file so we pay all our bills on time.  We follow the rule every that everything has its “home”.  If you use the measuring tape or Phillips screwdriver return it to its home.  This way it will be there for the next person looking for it.

Lastly, we pay attention and maintain the organized environment we created.  If we notice we are slipping, we’ll take an extra 10 minutes each day to get back to an organized state.  We’re enjoying spending less money and enjoying spending our time doing more of what we like to do!"

More on the advantages of being organized:
13 Tips on How to Save Money by Being Organized
9 Ways to Enhance Your Health by Being Organized
Interesting Clutter and Organization Statistics

Monday, June 10, 2013

Organizing Products I Use - Mail and Key Rack

When you walk in the door, you usually bring clutter with you - the mail, your keys, sunglasses, etc. It's important to corral that clutter before it gets out of hand. Here's what I chose to place in our laundry room, the entry to our home from the garage: the InterDesign York Lyra Wall Mount Mail and Key Rack. I got mine from Amazon for about $12.

Organizing Products I Use - Mail/Key Rack @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog

What a great place to drop off the mail until you have time to sort it. And no need to have that mad dash hunting for your keys! Keeps all that clutter contained.

Very simple, very useful.

More on organizing products I use:
Organizing Products I Use - Two-Shelf Organizer for Dishes
Organizing Products I Use - The Arrow Clothes Hanging System
Organizing Products I Use - Under-the-Sink Drawers

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My WordPress Blog

If you are following my blog here on Blogspot, you may want to switch over to my WordPress blog. I'm in the process of transferring my blog posts from here to there, and it will be my primary residence when that is done. 

Here's a link. When you go to the blog page, you'll find an opportunity to receive my blogs.

Do You Have a Mid-Afternoon Priority Check?

I'm an early morning person, and I start fading by mid-afternoon. Even if you don't have that problem, here's a great tip to help keep focused when things start getting fuzzy!

Do You Have a Mid-Afternoon Priority Check?Instead of waiting until the end of the day to assess your priorities for the next day, consider doing a mid-afternoon priority check. At 2 or 3 o'clock, look to see what is remaining on your to do list for the remainder of the afternoon. Look at your schedule for tomorrow and the week ahead so you can plan your priorities accordingly.

The advantages:

- you'll have a clear picture of what needs to be done by the end of the day and you can adjust your focus if necessary

- you'll have renewed motivation to ramp up your productivity so as to avoid working late

- you'll be less likely to discover last-minute tasks just as you were ready to end your work day

- by keeping the big picture in mind, you'll avoid getting bogged down on lower priority tasks.

A mid-afternoon reality check enables you to be able to maintain your focus and your productivity!

More on productivity:
Increasing Your Effectiveness at Work
Don't Let Interruptions at Work Derail Your Productivity
Going Beyond the To Do List

Monday, June 3, 2013

Another Efficient, Inexpensive, Safe and Natural Cleaning Agent

You know how much I love vinegar as a cleaning agent. It's cheap, a disinfectant, and can be used for so many things! I recently read the following article lauding hydrogen peroxide for some of the same reasons. Until now, I've only used hydrogen peroxide on my pierced ears and on injuries. I have a new appreciation for hydrogen peroxide and will be trying out some of these suggestions. Enjoy!

"Ever since I started using Hydrogen Peroxide to get rid of armpit stains, to clean cookie sheets, as a miracle cleaner in my kitchen and bathroom, and to make my own “oxi clean”…I ALWAYS have at least one bottle of the stuff under my kitchen sink, under my bathroom sink, AND in the laundry room.

This stuff is amazingly versatile! But it wasn’t until recently, after doing some IN DEPTH research on the subject, that I came to realize what a “miracle substance” hydrogen peroxide really is! It’s safe, it’s readily available, it’s cheap, and best of all, it WORKS! It works for a LOT of stuff!

Hydrogen peroxide should really be called oxygen water, since it is basically the same chemical make up as water but with an extra oxygen atom (H2O2). Because of this it breaks down quickly and harmlessly into oxygen and water.

Some other interesting facts about hydrogen peroxide: It is found in all living material. Your white blood cells naturally produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to fight bacteria and infections. Fruit and vegetables naturally produce hydrogen peroxide. This is one of the reasons why it is so healthy to eat fresh fruit and vegetables.

It is found in massive dosages in the mother’s first milk, called colostrum, and is transferred to the baby to boost their immune system. It is found in rain water because some of the H20 in the atmosphere receives an additional oxygen atom from the ozone (O3) and this H2O2 makes plants grow faster.

Next to Apple Cider Vinegar, hydrogen peroxide ranks up there as one of the best household remedies. Besides the obvious (cleansing wounds), did you know that it is probably the best remedy to dissolve ear wax? Brighten dingy floors? Add natural highlights to your hair? Improve your plants root systems? The list goes on and on! There are SO many uses for this stuff that I’ve started replacing the cap on the hydrogen peroxide bottle with a sprayer because it’s easier and faster to use that way.

I have compiled a rather impressive list of uses for 3% hydrogen peroxide that I hope will have you as thrilled and bewildered as I was!   
  • Wash vegetables and fruits with hydrogen peroxide to remove dirt and pesticides.

  • Add 1/4 cup of H2O2 to a sink of cold water. After washing, rinse thoroughly with cool water.

  • In the dishwasher, add 2 oz. to your regular detergent for a sanitizing boost.

  • Also, beef up your regular dish soap by adding roughly 2 ounces of 3% H2O2 to the bottle.

  • Use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash to freshen breath. It kills the bacteria that causes halitosis. Use a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.

  • Use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make a paste for brushing teeth. Helps with early stages of gingivitis as it kills bacteria. Mixed with salt and baking soda, hydrogen peroxide works as a whitening toothpaste.

  • Soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide between uses to keep it clean and prevent the transfer of germs. This is particularly helpful when you or someone in your family has a cold or the flu.

  • Clean your cutting board and countertop. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse clean. (I’ve been using it for this a LOT lately!)

  • Wipe out your refrigerator and dishwasher. Because it’s non-toxic, it’s great for cleaning places that store food and dishes.

  • Clean your sponges. Soak them for 10 minutes in a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a shallow dish. Rinse the sponges thoroughly afterward.

  • Remove baked-on crud from pots and pans. Combine hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a paste, then rub onto the dirty pan and let it sit for a while. Come back later with a scrubby sponge and some warm water, and the baked-on stains will lift right off.

  • Whiten bathtub grout. First dry the tub thoroughly, then spray it liberally with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit — it may bubble slightly — for a little while, then come back and scrub the grout with an old toothbrush. You may have to repeat the process a few times.

  • Clean the toilet bowl. Pour half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl, let stand for 20 minutes, then scrub clean.

  • Remove stains from clothing, curtains, and tablecloths. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a pre-treater for stains — just soak the stain for a little while in 3% hydrogen peroxide before tossing into the laundry. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to boost brightness. It’s a green alternative to bleach, and works just as well.

  • Brighten dingy floors. Combine half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with one gallon of hot water, then go to town on your flooring. Because it’s so mild, it’s safe for any floor type, and there’s no need to rinse.

  • Clean kids’ toys and play areas. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe cleaner to use around kids, or anyone with respiratory problems, because it’s not a lung irritant. Spray toys, toy boxes, doorknobs, and anything else your kids touch on a regular basis.

  • Help out your plants. To ward off fungus, add a little hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle the next time you’re spritzing plants.

  • Add natural highlights to your hair. Dilute the hydrogen peroxide so the solution is 50% peroxide and 50% water. Spray the solution on wet hair to create subtle, natural highlights.

  • According to alternative therapy practitioners, adding half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to a warm bath can help detoxify the body. Some are skeptical of this claim, but a bath is always a nice way to relax and the addition of hydrogen peroxide will leave you – and the tub – squeaky clean!

  • Spray a solution of 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide on leftover salad, drain, cover and refrigerate. This will prevent wilting and better preserve your salad.

  • Sanitize your kids’ lunch boxes/bags.

  • Dab hydrogen peroxide on pimples or acne to help clear skin.

  • Hydrogen peroxide helps to sprout seeds for new plantings. Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution once a day and spritz the seed every time you re-moisten. You can also use a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 32 parts water to improve your plants’ root system.

  • Remove yellowing from lace curtains or tablecloths. Fill a sink with cold water and a 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Soak for at least an hour, rinse in cold water and air dry.

  • Use it to remove ear wax. Use a solution of 3% with olive or almond oil. Add a couple drops of oil first then H2O2. After a few minutes, tilt head to remove solution and wax.

  • Helps with foot fungus. Spray a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry. Or try soaking your feet in a peroxide solution to help soften calluses and corns, and disinfect minor cuts.

  • Spray down the shower with hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and viruses.

  • Use 1 pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water to clean humidifiers and steamers.

  • Wash shower curtains with hydrogen peroxide to remove mildew and soap scum. Place curtains in machine with a bath towel and your regular detergent. Add 1 cup full strength 3% hydrogen peroxide to the rinse cycle.

  • Use for towels that have become musty smelling. 1/2 cup Peroxide and 1/2 cup vinegar let stand for 15 minutes wash as normal. Gets rid of the smell.

  • Use hydrogen peroxide to control fungi present in aquariums. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt your fish. Use sparingly for this purpose.

  • De-skunking solution. Combine 1 quart 3% H2O2, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon Dawn dish detergent, 2 quarts warm water."

More on cleaning solutions:

Spring Cleaning with Vinegar

3 Steps to Clever Cleaning
Clever Cleaning Tricks that Save Time and Money