Monday, April 4, 2011

Springing into Spring- Week 1 -Organization

To kick off our April series, called Springing into Spring, we're having a guest blog from my dear friend, Heather. She has written on the topic of organization! (a topic very near and dear to both of our hearts I do believe. *smile*) The rest of this week, I'll be having a few other blog posts written on this topic as well. We want to be well organized in our homes and our lives as we kick into Spring and Summer! Without further adeu- Here's Heather!

Organization... next to Godliness?

They say that cleanliness is next to Godliness, right? Well, why not organization too? After all, in my mind, having an organized house is half the battle in having a clean house! And with spring and summer coming quickly, the last thing you want to think about it organizing and cleaning inside right? I am always anxious for that first great weekend when I can plant flowers and start getting the yard all picked up from the winter! So here are some tips to getting and keeping your house organized for those spring and summer months.

First off let me say that I tend to be a little bit anal when it comes to organizing! I think Sarah gave me this topic because she knows how I am, haha. I picked up this lovely trait from my mother and grandmother. My husband on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It doesn’t bother him that his keys and wallet are sitting on the dining room table when no in his pocket, or that his shoes are piled up in a corner next to the couch. However for me, if I see or know that something is out of place or not organized, it stays in my mind until it is fixed. This in turns, makes my mind feel cluttered and gets me feeling antsy inside. When that feeling gets to be overwhelming, it calls for immediate action, no matter what time of day (or night for that matter, haha). So many a weekend or evening I am dragging my husband through an organizing fit. Poor guy, haha. However, that feeling you get when you know everything is where it is suppose to be and everything is clean, it is amazing and well worth all that work!

So let’s get into some tips and ideas for staying organized.

Number 1 on my list is having a menu plan. I know, I know, we aren’t organizing a closet or cleaning out the basement easier with this one, but think about it. A lot of your time in the day is spent on making meals, especially if you are a stay at home mom. The first few years of being married, I flew by the seat of my pants in this department. Then I found Laura’s blog I’m an Organizing Junkie. She hosts a weekly Menu Plan Monday link party and she has a whole section on her blog with menu planning tips, lists, etc... I fell in love! Now I can’t imagine myself not menu planning. If my menu plan somehow goes off track, it really does make me feel stressed throughout the week. So here is what I do. On Monday, or sometimes Sunday nights, I sit down with my paper, pen, and a few cookbooks and devise my menu for the week. I also make a grocery list during this time so I know what I need to get. At the most I am spending 15 minutes to half a hour on this. Then, the rest of the week I don’t even have to think about it. There’s no standing in front of the pantry trying to figure out what in the world I am going to make for dinner! It’s all listed out on my refrigerator and all the ingredients I need are already in the house. No last minute trips to the grocery store to get a item that I don’t have. Just think of all the time I have freed up for myself!! It is wonderful!

Number 2 on my list is baskets. I love baskets; if they weren’t so expensive I would probably have them in every room in my house. If you don’t have the money to buy baskets, use plastic bins or even cardboard boxes. My laundry room is where I use this the most. We have a cabinet in there where I keep all of my cleaning supplies, pet items, and just other needed items. So I have a basket for each theme. The top shelf has a basket for bathroom cleaning supplies, and another for laundry items such as dryer sheets, strain removers etc... The next shelf is for pet products and dusting items. So you get the idea. Each basket has a specific area that it contains. Then when I need to replace something, I know immediately what I need, I don’t have to go searching all over the house to make sure it’s not hiding somewhere. The one exception I have to this, is keeping bathroom cleaning products in each bathroom. We have a two story house so keeping items upstairs in that bathroom keeps me from having to drag everything I need upstairs in order to clean the bathroom. And that brings me to my next tip.

Number 3, keep items where you use them the most! You wouldn’t keep all your clothes downstairs if your bedroom is upstairs right? So just apply this to everything you use! Keep bathroom items in each bathroom (cleaning supplies, toilet paper etc...), keep all of your kids toys in an area where they play the most, keep all of your electronic items near the TV. My husband has an xbox and we also have a Wii. So you can imagine all the controllers and game items that build up. I have a basket (I told you, I love baskets!) behind the TV to hold all of our remotes and all of our games and dvd’s are underneath in a self unit.

Number 4 on my list would be utilize those rainy days that keep you inside. With springtime on it’s way, we always have plenty of these days here in Ohio. In fact, as I am writing this, it is one of those really icky rainy days. Keep a mental note of the areas of your house that you want to organize. Or if you prefer, make a list and keep in on your refrigerator. Then when you have one of those days that keeps you inside, tackle one of the items on your list. Today, on my mental list, I am going to be tackling underneath the sink in one of our bathrooms. It has almost become a junk drawer of everything bathroom and personal hygiene related, so today I am going to tackle it and organize it. And yes I already have a container in which to do that with! :)

The last tip on my list, number 5, would be to have a random 10-15 minute organizing binge each day. If you have kids, this is a great way to get them involved. You can make it into a game and have a competition with it as well. Start your timer and see how much you can get put away in it’s proper place in 15 minutes. Offer a reward to your kids for who picks up the most items! If you did this 6 days a week, every week, imagine how much time you will save yourself in cleaning time! If you waited to pick up your house until the last possible minute one day, it could take you forever! I am going to tie in a 6th tip with this as well. Set up a schedule for the week of cleaning. This is still a work in progress for me. I tend to wait until Thursday or Friday to try and clean and pick up the whole house for Sabbath and the weekend. Then it takes me twice as long on these days to do what could have been a lot less if I had scattered the work throughout the week. So sit down for a few minutes and figure out what days would work best for cleaning the bathroom, then cleaning the kitchen (thoroughly, not just the daily wiping the counters and unloading/loading the dishwasher) etc...

I hope these tips have helped you get idea of things to work on and also making it easier for you to enjoy the warm weather and outside in God’s beautiful creation this summer! I can’t really claim sole responsibility for these ideas today. Reading Laura Wittmann's book Clutter Rehab - 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and love it! You can find her book on Amazon and in book stores. She is also the author of the blog I’m An Organizing Junkie that I referenced earlier. Please check out her site and book for tons of helpful tips and ideas! Thanks, Sarah for having me guest post on your lovely blog! Sarah and I have been adopted sisters now for a little over 10 years. We met online, then in person and have stayed very close over the years! Since we both had brothers, we have adopted each other as the sisters we never had! :)

Profile: Heather is a fellow blogger over at Golden Reflections. When she isn’t blogging, cooking or organizing, she works as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in a local public school. She is married to her wonderful husband, David for 5 years. They have 3 rambunctious dogs and 1 cat. Lord willing, children will be in their future soon so that Sarah’s children will have adopted cousins. :)

1 comment:

  1. Good tips! I'm a pretty good organizer myself, but there are always little corners that could use a bit of extra help.