Organization: Switch-a-Roo Time

Organization: Switch-a-Roo Time

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

The birds are chirping, the toads are croaking, and the temperatures are in the high 60s. Woo hoo!

Spring is peeking around the corner which means it’s switch-a-roo time.

Yep, time to switch our family’s clothing from sweaters, jackets, and pants to tank tops, capris, and swimsuits.

Though we still keep out some long-sleeved outfits for those cold mornings, I will need to start making the change in the next week or two.

To stay organized and to keep the mess to a minimum, I follow this organizational system for switching out my children’s clothing:

1. Prepare to organize my children’s clothing

2. Purge any soiled or worn clothing from winter

3. Pack up clothing and shoes to keep and any donations

4. Place spring clothes from bins into closets, dressers, and bins

5. Preserve the remaining items by putting everything away safely

As Paul and I are able to keep both our winter and our summer clothing housed in our closet and dressers year round, we do move our clothing around a bit to make getting to flip flops and short-sleeved shirts a tad easier.

In the next few weeks as you embark on switch-a-roo time, remember that extra outfit you stash in your vehicle, the coat closet downstairs, and/or the sports backpack that is sure to have a couple pairs of socks. I list these items more to remind myself as these are spots where I find items after putting everything away.

Enjoy these last days of winter as we wrap up the cold weather activities and prepare for days outside. Switch-a-roo time is coming along with warmer weather, visits to the park, and neighborhood walks. Happy preparing!

Question: How does switch-a-roo time look at your house?

Organization: Changing Containers

Organization: Changing ContainersTo say I have an obsession to organizing might be an accurate conclusion. As I clean our home, I am constantly reorganizing. Some projects are quick and simple while others are time-consuming.

My goal is always to improve the systems we have in place. As we change and our needs change, so do our organizational systems.

As I was doing yet another load of laundry in between sweeping and vacuuming our floors, I picked up 3 balloons twice within 5 minutes. These balloons that my children play with often just would not stay in the established container.

Seeing that the balloons were falling out again, I decided that something had to change. I was wasting time picking up the balloons because I did not have a space that kept them in place. As I did not need a drastic transformation, I decided to go a bit bigger by changing containers.

Going from a wide tote to a narrow tote, I was able to stack the balls and balloons into a tighter space. Having everything together rather than cascading down the hallway, I have finished 2 additional loads of laundry without tripping over roaming balls and balloons.

By spending 10 minutes changing containers, I gained at least that much time in picking up stray balloons. In using time wisely, spending a few minutes addressing problem areas saves time in the long run.

I’m thankful for this change. Though no one else in our family has noticed, I see a big difference each time I switch out the laundry.

Organization: Changing Containers Organization: Changing Containers

As you recognize irritating systems in your home, stop picking up those items repeatedly. Realize that addressing how it is organized and maybe changing containers might solve the source of your irritation. Happy organizing!

Question: What are you organizing in your home?

Organization: Kitchen Cabinets

Organization: Kitchen CabinetsSickness looms in my household. As the only healthy one, I am doing my best to isolate myself while running drinks upstairs, keeping food available, and continuing the loads of laundry.

While I was digging in a bottom kitchen cabinet for another water bottle, I was getting frustrated because the lids were all over the place.

I just needed one bottle with a matching lid. But I guess that was too much to desire because I ended up unloading the cabinet to find one. Since I already had part of the cabinet unloaded, I just decided to organize this cabinet again.

The last time I organized it was back in 2011, and we have added a *few* items to this cabinet. We also have two children in school, so we have increased sandwich containers and water bottles.

Bottom Kitchen Cabinet

As I unloaded the cabinet, I matched the lids with the bottles and containers. Trashing a cracked pitcher, 2 extra bottles, a spare lid, and a plastic container, I placed as many smaller water bottles on the top shelf that would fit.

The larger containers rested on the bottom of the cabinet, and I stacked the tea pitchers. I had a few extra small water bottles, so I needed to rearrange the upper kitchen cabinet that housed more bottles for school.

Organization: Kitchen Cabinets

Upper Kitchen Cabinet

Reaching only the bottom two shelves of this cabinet without getting a step ladder, chair, or stool, I concentrated on these two shelves. I combined the stacks of cups on the second shelf which took less than a minute.

On the bottom shelf, I matched the lids with the bottles, added the straws to the sippy cups, and stacked the water bottles.

Organization: Kitchen Cabinets

In using time wisely, I took about 10 minutes to organize two kitchen cabinets which will save me time later in finding a matching bottle and lid. Though I took a few minutes to get on track, no sickie was left stranded without a drink in the creation of this organization project. 😉 Happy organizing!

Question: What small project are you organizing that will save you time later?

Organization: Christmas Wrapping

Organization: Christmas WrappingIn winding down 2013, our family keeps our Christmas tree up through the New Year. We enjoy sitting by the lights in the evening as our nights are later without the early morning school schedule. Though our tree is still up, most of the gifts have found a home and our Christmas wrapping organization continues.

After the unwrapping and opening of gifts, we usually have a pile of bags, boxes, and containers. In stretching our dollars, we reuse most of these items. As I check for tears and names written on the gift bags, I toss any unusable items and organize the ones I can use again.

Keeping our Christmas wrapping organized into 2 totes and 1 container, I choose to purge, sort, and take inventory before storing them away.

Purging our Christmas Wrapping

Any items that are ripped, broken, or crunched get trashed. As multiple family members add and remove items from these containers, some of the items get crammed or ripped in the process. Ridding the containers of these items leaves room for other items that will get used again.

Organization: Christmas WrappingSorting our Christmas Wrapping

Though I keep one tote for baby, birthday, and all occasion wrapping, sometimes the Christmas wrapping gets placed in the wrong tote.

By sorting the bags and boxes, I can accurately keep all Christmas items together while separate from the birthday and baby boxes and bags.

Taking Inventory of our Christmas Wrapping

With all the items purged and sorted, I can see where I need to replenish our supply. As I am out shopping, I can snag some more gift sacks and gift tags at low prices knowing I will need a few more for next year. Knowing that I need these items removes any doubt when I see a great sale. I know that I need them, so I can pick them up to replenish our supply without wondering if I will have too many next year.

As the Christmas wrapping only comes out during the month of December, I find the best time to organize these supplies is before putting them back into storage. My time is best spent after the hustle and bustle of the gift giving, and I have gathered all the items for storage.

This organizational system holds our items for next year’s celebration. With our Christmas wrapping purged, sorted, and inventory taken, we can refill with the after-Christmas sales or wait until next season. The totes keep out bugs and water to protect our investments for years to come while keeping our Christmas wrapping organized.

Before packing all the items away to deal with next year, take a few moments to purge, sort, and take inventory. This way, you can keep an eye out for items you need and bypass items you already have organized. Happy storing!

Question: Do you organize your Christmas wrapping before, after, or not at all during the season?

Organizing: Stop and Do It!

Organizing: Stop and Do It!

Photograph Credit: Flickr (Josh Lowe)

I know it is fall, but I’m in spring cleaning mode. The brisk air has rejuvenated me. With my living room and dining room cleaned, I am concentrating on my kitchen.

As I was organizing my pantry and consolidating to save space, I was adding items to my shopping list. If I found our supply low on an item, I jotted it down. As I make out my grocery lists, I will check the deals for the items on the list.

Having run out of garlic powder recently, I had placed the empty container on our counter to replenish. When organizing the pantry, I sorted through the extra spices and found a full container of garlic powder to substitute for the empty one.

While rearranging and taking inventory, I found many of my spice containers on the rack less than half full. Since stopping to find a needed spice while cooking is not convenience, I try to always keep a backup of each spice I use.

I purchase spices in containers that usually don’t fit on the spice rack. So, I refill my small spice containers kept on the door of my pantry with the larger supply.

In using time wisely, I stopped cleaning and organizing to refill the spice containers to save time when cooking and needing those spices. I stopped because if I passed it, then I knew I would forget to come back. By stopping and doing, I got it done.

Now my spice containers are full, my pantry organized, and our products consolidated. With the pantry done, I’m on to more cleaning and organizing in the kitchen to get my home in order before the holidays.

As I come to a project that needs to get done, I will stop and do it! Getting it done is another item off my to-do list and saves me time later. 😉 Happy organizing!

Question: What do you do when you get to a project in the middle of another project?