It’s that time again.  Spring clean-out is around the corner.  If you want a little motivation to get moving, I highly suggest checking out Project Simplify from Simple Mom.  Over four weeks, you get a little kick in the pants to target an area that needs some TLC.  I did this project last year and still remember the bags of clothes to donate coming out of my closet.  It was refreshing.  But I also had an infant so I was also just a wee bit sleep deprived.  This time around I have all my favorite pins in my Organization Board all ready to go for inspiration.

Although the sleep deprivation hasn’t totally changed this go round, I am pleased to see Tsh is sharing the “hot spots” ahead of time so I can plan accordingly.  I’ll be sharing my progress at the end of each week and then there will be a link up of similar posts on the Simple Mom site where you can get loads of other organizing idea.  It will be a major “pinning” party over there.

Here is the schedule of hot spots if you want to play along

  • Week of March 5: Kids’ stuff- toys, clothes and the like
  • Week of March 12: Kitchen and/or pantry
  • Week of March 19: Closets, countertops and drawers
  • Week of March 26: Choose your own adventure- you pick your most-needed hot spot. 

I’m reading Tsh’s book Organized Simplicityto get some new ideas for the kids’ toy area.  I need to figure out a better strategy for our basement set of toys.  (This is the link to the Kindleversion which is free for Amazon Prime members)

If you are in an organizing mood, you may want to check out Tsh from Simple Mom’s One Bite at a Time.  I’m reading this weekly and enjoying tackling some manageable challenges each week.

I ordered some chalkboard contact paper today to work on a new label idea.  There will also be a giveaway for Naked Binders during the course of Project Simplify to help inspire you to get organized.

What’s your Hot Spot you want to see on this list?

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This was the last week of Simple Mom’s Project Simplify. The “hot spot” for the week was my choice. I decided to finish dealing with some paper clutter still lingering from week 2.

This was my folder of current paperwork that I needed to keep handy. It hangs out in my kitchen, along with a stack of magazines.

I choose a Carolina Pad binder in the Whimsical Flower print to use as my home management binder. I found it at my local Staples store. Inside I have started tabs for the following:
-menu planning
-childcare info (daycare, babysitter notes)
-YMCA info
-library (checked books list, events calendar)
-coupons (online shopping ones generally)

I made my labels with sticky noes so I can make adjustments if I need to make changes in the next month. The other folder I started contains all of my magazine clippings. There are sections for crafts, holidays, blog articles, and future house ideas.

I hope this will be helpful and I can share more details go forward. I realize that staying on top of things helps me be green. I can create my menu plan with the current circular and not purchase what I don’t need. I can plan entertainment for our family for free without purchasing anything. I also don’t need to turn on the computer to pull up one address or phone number.

Do you have a home management book? What am I missing?

I thought this would be easy. I’m always in my kitchen so I figured I would be able to declutter my problem spots throughout the week for Hot Spot #4 in Project Simplify. No such luck. Two cabinets were cleaned out, but I still need to conquer the balance.

The snack cabinet before was not organized well and still had some random candy canes inside. There were also some expired BBQ sauce bottles too. I am making my sauces/marinates from scratch now so I wasn’t surprised to see certain things had expired. The cleaned up cabinet actually has some extra space now.

I loved the suggestion on Simple Mom to stock bulk purchases in glass jars.
Here is a shot of my pantry reusing some glass jars I had on hand.

The next cabinet to attack is the baking one. Since I have started cooking more real food, my ingredients have increased slightly. I need to relook at what should be in this cabinet and what may need a new home. I look forward to reading the other posts to get more organizing ideas.

If you have suggestions for organizing your baking supplies, I’m all ears!

*Remember to enter to win a unique tote from Jitesh Patel’s The Tote Bag book. Check out the previous post.

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In week 3 of Project Simplify I worked on organizing the toy area of our basement. In the before shot, you can see the havoc a two year can cause with kitchen accessories and blocks.

We don’t have a great system for all the many play things, as seen in this shot.

The space is shared with our office area so it’s distracting when the toy area gets so messy.
After a thorough clean up, there is now space to play, including room for the baby to stretch out for a cat nap!

I am using containers we already had in the house to contain the toys. I sorted through the kitchen stuff and limited it to the nice wooden food and the Green Toys accessories.

If anyone has a favorite way to organize books, I would love to hear it.

Can’t wait to see next week’s hot spot! Stay tuned for next week’s results.

Our “mail table” is the catch-all in our house.  Despite our best efforts to recycle daily all the junk mail and catalogs, the pile keeps coming back.  The mission to tackle the Paper Clutter in the house in week 2 of Project Simplify was going to be a challenge.  However, I was very motivated to sort through everything since I have been looking at it while nursing my infant for the past six weeks.

Our Mail Table Before
I realized that our mail “box” is not working well.  Now is the time to set-up our home management binder.  While sorting out the clutter, I was able to identify the key categories that pile up.  They include receipts, inspiration tears from magazines, coupons and more.  I found Mandi’s VLOG from Organizing Your Way very helpful to explain how she tackles her magazine pile as I find mine can turn into a mountain very quickly.
There was a lot of little clutter hot spots that I tried to deal with this week as well…
Wallet Clutter~ all cleaned out now
I also sorted through some kitchen clutter that includes many recipes printed from the blogs I read.  My mission is to do a better job of keeping track of recipes that I make and enjoy so I can make them again.  Maybe I need a rating system to decide if something should make the recipe box!
Here’s a shot of the sorting in progress. I wrote down all the things I need to action on Monday.
Lastly, here’s an After shot of the mail clutter.  I’m much happier with it until I can get a new system in place.  I’m looking forward to checking into more links to get some good ideas.
Can’t wait to see next week’s Hot Spot!  It’s great having a focus for the week.
If anyone has a great mail organizing system leave me a link!

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On Monday, I was excited to check Simple Mom’s site to find out where Project Simplify was going to start.  The starting point is our Wardrobe, which is quite a challenge for me at the moment.  My closet is a cluster of pre-baby, maternity, and post-baby clothes.  The project gave me motivation to start attacking the craziness that existed every time I opened the door.

I spent the better part of the week pulling clothes out that I never wore in between pregnancies.  A large number of the items were more formal attire that wasn’t needed since my office switched to business casual.  I was able to gather two garbage bags full of clothes to be donated to our local Community Council.  The proceeds will help to feed local families in need.  I also collected all of the annoying wire hangers from the dry cleaners to return to them to recycle.

I also pulled together a large section in my closet of clothes to bring to a local consignment shop.  I have an appointment next week so there’s no turning back now.

  “clothes for consignment shop”
This challenge gave me a change to shop in my closet, as I found things I forgot I had.  I also used this opportunity to practice what I preach and repurpose other items.  My multiple pant hanger became a scarf hanger, which all get much more use than my formal hanging pants.
“new use for a pant hanger”
I’m excited about the progress I made this week, and looking forward to getting some containers to further organize my closet.  Now that I have cleared out the excess, I know exactly what containers are needed.
“After shot~ more to come”
There is only so much that can be done when you are home on maternity leave and have a very hunger 5 week old.  He is the priority, so I don’t fault myself for not completing the task to my usual standard.  Who can’t resist snuggling on the couch with this little guy?!
Can’t wait to check out others before/after pictures and also find out next week’s Hot Spot!

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Creative uses for excess wrapping paper ideas
As the holidays come to a close, do you have piles of random wrapping paper scraps? Maybe it’s time to create some storage space in the attic and use up some of the random pieces you have been saving.

There is a great picture gallery on the now defunct Whole full of ideas of what else you can do with the leftovers. It also serves as an inspiration to buy prettier wrapping paper that is less holiday specific so you can get more life from it, and use it year round. Some other easy ideas are:
  • Cover your table with the opposite side of the holiday wrapping paper and let the kids go to town coloring such a giant canvas
  • Laminate some flat pieces and create cute placemats for the kids
  • Create a banner to use in the winter or save for the next holiday season
  • Line your drawers
  • Shred for packing needs
  • Build a Christmas cone pine tree
  • Celebrate holiday photos and use wrapping paper as a mat
If you need ideas of how to organize your gift wrap and tissue paper, I shared an easy project of how to sort through it all and make it so much easier to quickly wrap a gift before the next party.