Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Clean Clothing Goes Where?

Having a lot of kids means having a lot of clothes, even if you do reign in how many outfits they each have.  Having a bunch of those kids in one room means a lot of those clothes have to fit somewhere in that room.

One problem we had with the girls was that, once their clean clothes were folded and put in their room, they wouldn't get put away in a timely fashion and the clean clothes would end up all over the floor mixed in with the dirty ones.

Telling them to put their clothes away didn't help, so I came up with the idea that I would put a laundry basket in their room and all of the clean clothes that came in would get put in this basket.  This way, they wouldn't end up all over the place and everyone would know where to find their clean clothes.

I'm sure you can guess the downside to this program.  Yep, week after week passes by and more clean clothing gets stacked on top of other clean clothing and never gets put away.  People start digging through the pile looking for that one thing and messing up everything else.  Once in a great while one of the girls will put away their clothes, but I haven't seen an empty basket since I don't know when.

Overall, I suppose it is still better than seeing piles of clean clothing getting strewn around the room, but in a perfect world, I'd like to see an empty basket at the end of every week.  Pick your battles, right?

If you're looking for a solution to this problem in your home, I'd recommend you give this a try and see if it works for your kids!

God Bless!
To see all the posts in this series, go here!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A "Neat" Scarf Solution

With six girls in this house, you know at least one of them is going to like scarves.  In fact, she doesn't just like scarves, she kind of has a buying obsession with them.

Seeing as how clothing storage space is at a premium for the girls in their room, we had to come up with a way to neatly store all these scarves so that they would remain neat and be easily accessible.  It bugs me to have things crammed into drawers because first of all, they get all messed up and secondly, you'll end up likely to wear the same scarves over and over again because the rest get buried in the big pile.

I credit my scarf-loving daughter with this solution.  In case you can't tell, she's hung all the scarves through the slats on her sister's bunk bed.  It also blocks her bed from the hallway view, which is kind of nice, too.

Not only does it keep the scarves neat, you can also find them easily and see what your complete selection is.  In addition to all of that, they serve as a colorful decoration to the room.  Remember, we can't hang things on the wall in our rental home, so this is a nice bright addition to their mess room!

Are you a scarf lover?  How do you deal with them?

God Bless!
To see the full list of posts in this series, go here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Keeping Your Purse Organized

Are you a big purse person or a small purse person?  Or maybe you're still in the diaper bag/backpack years.  Finding the right purse can make a big difference between being organized and having a garbage bag attached to your arm.

One of my daughters is finding out how much of an impact this can have on your life because she has a cute, small purse but now that she is out and about more, she is realizing how little it can actually hold and how fast it fills up.

For 16 years I carried various forms of a diaper bag and back pack.  It was silly to have a purse for my stuff and a bag for the current child(ren) in diapers.  When I was finally able to carry a purse again, I opted for a big one since it seems I like to carry a lot of things around with me.  The key to keeping it organized is going through it and sorting through the junk and papers at the end of each outing.  If I'm running around for a few days straight and I don't get a chance to clean my purse out, I just never know what I'm going to find in there.

On a side note, I have noticed a difference in the generations when it comes to keeping the checkbook register up to date.  Only one of my daughters is organized in that area.  The other two rely on their online banking screen to tell them how much money they have in their accounts.  One daughter in particular is horrible at keeping up with the receipts in her wallet.  She'll let a wad of them collect there, realize how far behind she is and then just throw them all out and look online.  In my experience, it is just easier to take a few minutes each day or so to go through your receipts, enter them into your register, figure out your balance and go on your way.  I use the online bank register to double check myself, and the bank, in case there is a mistake.

Anyhow, I digress.  Finding the right size purse for your needs will keep you on the organized track.  If it is too small, you'll be nothing but frustrated.  If it's too big, you'll end up with the contents of your house hanging off your shoulder, which will definitely hinder your ability to be organized!

God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, you can go here. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Storing Photos

This is the view that greeted me the other day when I opened up the doors to our coffee table.  This is where a lot, but not all, of our photo albums are stored.

After peeling back the layers, this is the mess I found.

After years of sitting in albums, our photos are falling out, the pages are ripping and everything is getting jumbled.  You know how it is, don't you?  The problem is, as we all get older, we're trying hard to remember which baby that is in the picture.  They used to be sorted nicely by year, but once everything starts falling apart and things get mixed up, I sometimes can't recognize which baby is which!  Horrible, I know.

This is one project that is at the top of my list when the kids are mostly grown and out of the house and I have a lot of extra free time on my hands (ha!).  I've thought about other options in the past, like cardboard photo boxes or plastic storage boxes, but as of yet have not invested in any of them.  My biggest fear is that one of the boxes would get dropped or knocked over and we'd have an even bigger mess than we have now.

Since I've gotten my first digital camera (about 6 years ago) I haven't really printed that many pictures out.  I have a separate hard drive just for my photos, but even that scares me.  I really need to get some printed out in the event that my hard drive blows up or something.  I can say that they are organized in a very systematic fashion on my hard drive.  Does that count for anything?

I told you in the beginning it wasn't all going to be perfect here.  This is another area where I just don't have it all together.  Unfortunately, I think it might be one of those things that I will regret having not organized after something bad happens and it is too late.

How do you store all of your photos?  Does it work for you or not?  I am definitely open to suggestions on this one!

God Bless!
To see all of the posts in this series, you can go here. 
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sending Cards in a Timely Fashion

(Coming in under the wire with this one!)  One thing I'm not very good at is keeping up with birthdays.  I love to celebrate peoples' birthdays, however, I am not very good at getting cards in the mail in a timely fashion.  

I have one calendar in my kitchen, that hangs on my fridge, that only has family and friends' birthdays on it.  You would think that that would be enough to remind me to get cards ahead of time.  Well, it isn't.  That calendar was my attempt at becoming organized about birthdays.  It hasn't worked.

Heaven forbid you should be on my card list and have a birthday or anniversary within the first few days of the month.  I usually don't see those until I flip the calendar and then I'm already too late.

Ideally I should buy all of the cards I need for the month about two weeks before the month arrives, but, well, that never seems to happen. 

We've tried making cards.  This way I don't have to get out to the store.  Still didn't work.  I just don't think we're creative enough to make that idea last.

I'm always impressed by people who send cards to our house in a timely fashion.  I'll have to ask them what their secret is. 

Any ideas on how to make this more organized for me???  If so, please share, as I'd really love to be able to stay on top of this for more than one month.

God Bless!
To see all the posts in this series, click here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

I Love My Lists!

By now you might have figured out that I am a huge fan of making lists.  It's kind of like a hobby for me.  Lists on pretty paper make me even happier.  I was so excited when I got my Kindle and I could get an app that looked like a piece of paper and then I could have notes on there, too.  Of course I have Evernote on my computer and my Kindle, but sadly have not gotten into the habit of using it.  I have sticky notes on my computer desktop in multiple colors :)

I have been a list maker since college when things began to overwhelm me in life.  It was at that time my mom, in one of those desperate phone calls home, insisted that I start making lists.  I've been hooked ever since.

I also find that as I get older, my brain doesn't like to retain as much as it used to.  In the morning, I will have a plan of all the things I need to accomplish that afternoon after we are done with school.  I really need to start writing them down then, because by the time I've schooled two children, answered questions from two more and dealt with whatever else may have come my way, I have forgotten what it was I needed to do.  After lunch I find my mind a blank canvas.  Ms 15 yo, who is a daily witness to this, just shakes her head and laughs.  

Other than that, I love to make lists!  I make them when we have a party, as you saw yesterday.  I have a grocery list on the fridge so that we can jot down what we need as the week goes on.  I also make lists when we have a particularly busy week so that nothing gets forgotten.  I have an ongoing list on my computer of projects that need to get done.  On my Kindle, I keep a list of things I need from Sam's Club and our food co-op.

Lists are good and helpful if 1. you actually make them and 2. you look at them and utilize them once you have made them.  They are a cheap and easy way to stay at the top of your game.

Are you a list maker?

God Bless!
You can go here to see all of the posts in this series.
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wanna Party? In an Organized Way, Of Course!

Both my husband and I have lived in the same area all of our lives.  The majority of our family from both sides still lives near us, too.  We both also happen to come from decent sized families that like to celebrate.

All of this means only one thing...big parties!  With seven kids, there is always something to celebrate and if there isn't, we throw a party just for fun.  When we lived out in the country we had a barn and every Fall we would throw a huge barn party.  It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.

It was during this time of the barn parties that I really became more organized about how to throw a party.  Now that I'm in the groove, I follow this same basic plan for any party we throw.

1.  I keep a list of everyone that is invited to the event.  This way, the next time I throw a similar event, I can just pull out the previous list and work off of that.  I'm also less likely to forget people, too!

2.  I keep a list of what food people volunteer to bring as well as what food and drinks we will be providing.  For most of our parties people usually volunteer to help out, so that is a nice bonus.  We never cater our parties because it would just be too darn expensive, thus, it's up to me to figure out how to feed a lot of people for the least amount of money.  Keeping track of the food and drinks in a list helps me to save money because I can plan everything out in minute detail and don't duplicate anything.

3.  The week before a big party I make a list of all of the things that need to get done both inside and outside of the house.  Any cleaning, shopping, errands and phone calls all get written down along with the day that they will be getting done.  Once they are finished, they get crossed off the list - and boy does that feel good.

4. Then, finally, the day of the event, I make one last list with all of the things that have to get done that day and who will do them.  I also make a schedule of events so that anyone who is helping me can see what time things are supposed to happen, the most important one being "WHAT TIME IS DINNER?"

I have found that the more I write things down, the easier the whole planning and implementing process is and the more likely things are to get done on time.  This way, too, I can save my lists and use them to begin the planning stages for the next event. 

We enjoy throwing big parties so I had to find a way to make it as stress free as possible.  This system seems to work well for all of us.

God Bless!
To see the full list of posts in this series, go here.