Where Did 2012 Go? I can tell you....

The year 2012 was filled with many life changing events. My oldest daughter returned from Brazil after serving an LDS mission for 18 months, my second daughter got engaged in April and married in August, then my oldest daughter got engaged in September and married January 5th, 2013. Phew...that's where 2012 went and our pocketbook (does anyone ever use that word anymore?!) with it! Ha!

I could have gone crazy, being the organized, control freak that I am, however, I learned some valuable lessons during the wedding planning process.  I wish I would have known these earlier in my life, it would have helped with any event...even planning your children's birthday parties.

First, the event is their memory, not yours. During the wedding planning I had to remind myself of this when some decisions were made by my daughters that I necessarily wouldn't have agreed with. Over the years, raising 3 daughters, I have to admit I planned what I'd like for their weddings. As soon as I realized it wasn't MY wedding and not MY memories, I learned to let go and let them plan as they wanted. I think I practiced this once in my younger years when I let my son plan his 9 year old birthday party. He didn't want a fun, party themed cake, he wanted a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. He won out and it was a success! And continues to be a birthday tradition for him.

Second, I learned that nothing in the wedding planning was a reflection of me. That was a difficult one! Just like having someone walk into your home and see your child's messy bedroom. It's not a reflection on YOU! I whispered this mantra many times to myself and it worked.

Nothing will ever go perfectly, no one told us there would be scaffolding, but oh well, it was still a beautiful day! And the biggest reward is two new sons-in-law!

Mt. Timpanogos, UT
 Sacramento, CA


My Holy Grail!

This summer I was working with a client, organizing her garage. We were sorting through old books and she picked this book up and put it in the "give away" pile. I happened to glance at the book and I was so excited, I had found my "holy grail". I asked my client if I could buy it from her (I never take anything from my clients, though they try to give me all kinds of things.) and she looked at me like "why would YOU need this?!". She smiled and gave it to me. It was like I'd found my old wise friend.

I had read this book as a young mother in the 80's, and jotted down notes from this book on index cards. I returned it to the person that I had borrowed it from and she ended up moving away. I forgot to write down the title and it was a forever search for this book and it's contents.  Deniece Schofield is the author. It's not in print, but there are copies being sold on sites like Amazon.com.

What I loved about this book is the house cleaning system. I began using Deneice's system in 1989 and have used it ever since. It helped me to establish a cleaning schedule that I slowly incorporated into my children's cleaning responsibilities. It was a great system for me because I was a little OCD about keeping my house clean. It helped me to delegate out the house cleaning and do a little each day. That's the key, a little each day, you set up the system according to what you are able to do, and you still find success.

I would highly recommend this book! I haven't read a book that has the common sense knowledge that most people need when it comes to organizing spaces, especially in your home.

Confessions of an Organized Homemaker: The Secrets of Uncluttering Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life. Author: Deneice Schofield

Another organizing book I recommend is:
Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life Author: Julie Morgenstern

Happy Reading!


Who Doesn't Love IKEA?!

I love using bins to organize clothing items in my closets. There are so many varieties. I usually chose the ones that do not have the label holder built in and frankly, there aren't many that do. I purchased bins two years ago and wanted to find the perfect label holder. I tried all different kinds, even some of my own creation, still not satisfied. Then, recently, I was shopping at IKEA and happened to stumble on the perfect label holder for flat edged bins! I wasn't sure if it was exactly what I thought it was, I do not speak Swedish and I'm not good at reading hyroglifics. I purchased one package and opened them as soon as I arrived home....YES! It was exactly what I had been looking for. ( I wished I had bought more for me and everyone I knew that had this same problem.)

I printed out labels using Microsoft word, voila! It looks perfect. Everyday I see them it makes me so happy! (Doesn't take much to please me, the label holders were only $3 for 10. If my husband asks any of you what I'd like for Valentine's Day... ha!)

They are called ROJA @ IKEA. (A bit of trivia, IKEA is an acronym for the founders name, Ingvar Kamprad and the farm where he grew up (Elmtaryd), and his home parish (Agunnaryd, in Smaland, South Sweden)

Here are photos of my bins and wonderful labels. (**Disclaimer, I am not a professional photographer)

I used MS Word to print my labels. I could even make the parathesis match the color of my basket.

I find that bins are great for my husband and kids. No lids to lift, no drawers to open...
a recipe for success.

 I like to fold my t-shirts in a specific way so that the T-shirt logo can be seen. My kids and husband do have a preference on which one they wear for certain activities. Who would have known?! And it looks so nice in the bin or drawer.


Paper, Papel, 紙, Papier

No matter what country you live in "paper" is the biggest clutter problem. Most of my organizing clients have "Tackle Paper Piles" as their number one item on their list of things to organize.

Here are some ideas to stop the madness of paper piles.

It take a few weeks or months to stop the junk mail, but here are some things to do to start now.

RECYCLE: Don't take the paper into your house. Put a recycle bin close to where you enter your door after you've picked up your mail. Recycle, recycle, recycle! (Don't recycle any papers that have personal information on them.) Which brings me to my second point: A shred pile.

SHRED:  Make a "To Be Shred" pile. (This is a great little job for  your older children to do for you) Shred anything that has your social security number, credit information, anything that is personal information. Make sure this pile doesn't get ignored very long, or you'll have a big job ahead of  you.

STOP CATALOGUES: The best way to stop unwanted catalogues is to call the company direct and make sure you have the address label with  you. They may ask you information from that label to stop the catalogue.


GET A FREE CREDIT REPORT: This helps you to see what credit cards you have that you do not use. Some credit card companies sell your information to other businesses that will send you unwanted mail.

OTHER PAPERS: (Receipts, legal documents) Here is an IRS website to help explain what and how long you should keep records.

Happy Recycling!


A Quick Organizing Tip....from my house (car) to yours.

For those of you that have teenage drivers, this is a great tip, in case your teen every needs to find the insurance card and registration. (I hope they never do!)

This is a photo of my glove compartment in my car. I placed a clear adhesive label pocket, credit card size, onto the front of the compartment door and that is where the insurance card is stored. I also have a colored envelope with "Car Registration" written, in big letters, on the envelope in the glove compartment.

These label pockets are also great to stick on bins and place the label inside. When the contents change, you can change the label. The label stays clear and dry.   You can purchase the labels online at  www.allbrightideas.com.


I'm Baaack! Ready to get organized for the holidays??

Sorry I've been gone for so long. Even those that are organized can get thrown off schedule with events foreseen and unforeseen.

Can I just say that I'm so glad to see that some of my organizing genes have been inherited by my children? My second daughter started college this fall. Due to the scheduling of BYU-Idaho, she is off track in December, meaning she will head to school for less than 14 weeks and then she's home again. I think the strategy for packing is different in this situation and luckily she has winter semester off in a cold climate like Rexburg, Idaho. (Frankly, I don't think she would have fit in my husband’s Prius, with all her stuff, plus her winter coats and shoes!)

Months before she started packing for college, I had her keep a list of things she used on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. (Having my organizing genes, she loved doing this,which helped immensley.) She listed items she used for personal care, kitchen (she is in a cooking dorm), at her desk, clothes she wore, etc… This list became my prized possession, and bartering tool, just like the “Temple of Doom” and the whip was to Indiana Jones.

When it came time to make the official packing list, it was a simple task. We read down the list, perusing over the items, marking essential and non essential items. We came to an agreement on what we needed to purchase and gather, and then I pulled out the suitcase to pack and the two bins to fill. Believe it or not it was that easy. The bins she filled with items she could leave in Rexburg when she came home for winter break and the suitcase was for the items to bring home. She also had a big duffel bag to fit all of her bedding and computer bag for her laptop.

Advanced planning is the key……..and like packing for college, advanced planning can make the holidays easier.

The other day I started to think about the fast approaching holidays and made a list in my mind of what I needed to do before they were here. I wrote down those items and broke them down to essential and non-essential. The top of the essential list was “Make memories, not pies!” Why did I write that? It seems like every year after the holidays my husband and I always say, “I wish we would have made time to attend this holiday event or done this service, we’re going to plan better next year.” If we had put all of the food planning into planning our memory making activities, we would share more memories as a family, and our waistlines would be smaller.

I’ve got a plan on how to accomplish this this year. After we have eaten our Thanksgiving dinner and we’re all sitting around looking through the newspaper for Black Friday deals, I’m going to pull out the December event page of the paper and start marking the December calendar with every event we want to attend.

I’ll post that calendar on the front of our refrigerator for all to see. Each week when we have our family planning meeting, we’ll look to the calendar and schedule around those events. We’ll be planning so far ahead we will be able to invite friends to attend with us!

Hopefully, this is something you haven't thought about in organizing for the holidays. (All the other organizing tips for the holidays you can read in the magazines that are currently on the racks in the stores or on the web) I think tomorrow I’ll purchase a cute little holiday colored notebook to jot down notes on our holiday events, the “must sees” and the not so “must sees”.


Where does time go??

I was checking my last blogging date and I couldn't believe that it was almost two months since I have last blogged! Crazy how time flies! I did finish all my organizing projects while the family was away. They were quite happy to see all their "ducks" in a row. (Or should I say, their drawers, clothes hanging in the closet, dresser tops so clean and organized) You're probably wondering if they are still that way now that two months have passed.  I can honestly say "YES". Of course, with a little weekly maintenance from the "Organizing Ninja". The work has paid off.

My daughters and I have determined what clothes they haven't worn in the two months and that's not because the seasons have changed. We live in Seattle, summer won't be here until after the 4th of July. We were able to get rid of camis that they thought they would wear some day and haven't worn during this time. (I secretly put rubber bands around the ones I haven't seen in the laundry for a few weeks, and that proved my point when the day of judgement arrived. Ha!) I love it when that happens.

The past two months have gone so fast, we have sent our oldest daughter on a 18 month LDS mission to Brazil. Before she left, she again attempted to go through the bins that had her name labeled on the front. After spending full day of reminiscing she realized that half of the stuff she had saved she really didn't need anymore.  She downsized to two bins labeled with her name on them, and off she went with two suitcases for her new life in Brazil. That really makes one realize what it is that is REALLY needed.

I've made it through the Senior finals and ready to see my next daughter graduate from high school. She's already telling me not to put her stuff in a bin when she heads to BYU-Idaho, she will return in December for three months. Darn! I was hoping to convert her room into an exercise room. Ha!

I started a new list of to-do's and with Spring approaching I got busy with new and existing clients wanting to get organized before a moving date or summer's arrival. My list waited, client's projects were finished, and I started on MY list. Well, as life has it, my hand was injured and I haven't been able to do too much for the past week. But in situations like this you learn great lessons in delegation and prioritizing.

When unplanned things happen in  your life you need to ask yourself, "What is the most important thing I need to accomplish?" When you answer your question, you realize that not many of those "to-do's" were that important and most can be delegated to loving friends and family that ask what they can do to help. It's called eating some "humble pie" and letting others help you!

So while I'm sitting here at my computer thankful that I can type, a little slower than usual, I realize that it is a good thing to be organized before you happen upon life's little set backs, because that order and simplicity helps in times like this.

I'm sure Spring has hit in most parts of the world, so start with the little baby steps of getting organized. While you're getting out your Spring wardrobe and putting away the winter, stop and look at those articles of clothing that you don't remember wearing and give it to someone that may be able to next winter. Get ready to have the kids home for the summer, organize summer chores, activities, easy and quick meals to eat on a busy, hot summer's day. The best advice I was given as a young mother was to enjoy the Spring, don't worry about Spring cleaning because the kids will be home all summer and will mess it up, save it for Fall when they are back in school. Have fun with your kids, family vacations, build memories, not clutter!