Thursday, April 26, 2007

More Laundry Tips

To answer a few questions asked by mother goose...

Here' s a picture of the extra bins near my washer that I use for sorting brights and delicates. If a pop-up cube fit right I would use that but the dishpans do the trick, believe it or not!

For laundry rooms that are short on space you might consider this as a sorting option since they hold 2 loads of laundry yet are only 14"X14." You can buy a white one for white, a black for darks and a bright color for brights. Fun!
Note: The 3 bin sorters that are all connected and on casters are great but the ones like this that would fit in small spaces are not going to hold much. I bought a "cute" one at Target for a client that ended up being so small we thought the only thing it would be good for was doll clothes! We went with this sorter sold at The Container Store that was much better (I just noticed that it's still on sale--cool!). Just be careful not to choose a 3 bin sorter that is teeny tiny. Check your measurements before you buy!

I hope this helps. If not, keep the questions coming!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How to go from Loathing to Loving Laundry!

Well, I don't know if one can actually love doing laundry but it's worth a shot, right? :) Even if you just succeed in not loathing laundry that's saying something! For me it's all about the hampers. As strange as that sounds here are a few of my handy hamper tricks that made it possible for me to not dread laundry day--at least not quite so much. (*As I have mentioned before, there are only 2 of us in my household which makes things a little easier but I have helped many other families with children gain control over their laundry rooms using the same ideas.)

I have found that laundry routine can be greatly simplified by purposefully adding a few hampers to your system and giving the different types of hampers you use specific purposes.
For example, you might use wicker or decorative hampers in the bedroom/bathrooms to collect dirty clothes ...
and reserve the plastic less attractive hampers for transporting laundry to and from the laundry room.

You might use a crunch can style hamper for dirty rags/towels because they have a waterproof lining ...
and use mesh hampers for children because they are lightweight and come with handles making it so the kids can carry their own clothes to their rooms to be put away.
A 3-bin sorter or a set of larger hampers can be set up in the laundry area to collect dirty clothes until you are ready to wash. That way you always have all your hampers where they should be when they should be there.
My latest "pseudo hamper" addition is a small plastic basket under my kitchen sink that I toss dirty dishtowels and washcloths into. (I dry out my washcloths before they go in so they don't mold or stink.) Once the basket's full, into the washer they go. Very handy!

If you want more detail, this is how my many hampers help me get my laundry done. (FYI even though it's just the two of us I do laundry about twice a week.) First, clothes go into my wicker bedroom hamper. When that's full, the hamper gets taken downstairs by my DH so that I don't kill myself on our 2 flights of wooden stairs. (I have fallen before so I'm not ashamed to ask!) Once in the laundry room, I sort the clothes into whites, darks, lights, delicates etc. (I have many categories--more than you really need, but they make me happy!) When my laundry room sorting hampers fill up I know it's time to do laundry. I love this visual indicator! Once clothes are clean and dry I use a set of 3 plastic baskets to transport clean clothes back upstairs (3 is a good number because it allows me to do multiple loads in one day without have to run up and down stairs looking for an empty hamper). I like to hang dress shirts straight out of the dryer on a rod hanging close by and if I have time, I love to fold clothes straight out of the dryer into a hamper on the floor in front of the dryer--way less wrinkles at the end of the day. If I had children old enough to help, this is where I would use the small mesh cube style hampers with handles to sort clothes by child. Then they could carry them up to their rooms to be put away. I know, you're all thinking "what a great idea--in theory!" No really! One of my client does this and loves this system for her kids! So when all is said and done I put away the folded clothes, return my hampers to their homes (I store my 3 plastic hampers nested on my dryer in the laundry room when they aren't in use) and turn out the laundry room light...until next time
P.S. And for all you mom's out there with sock piles to the ceiling, my Busy Bee advice is buy fewer styles and colors of socks so it's easier to match them up and get your kids involved in the matching. As a former teacher I can tell you that they should be able to help with this by the time they are school age (or earlier depending on the child) but I admit that this might be a dilemma that would take being a mother of 3 to properly address! I'll ask around and get back to you! Ha! :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Action Papers: What to DO with them until you are ready to do something WITH them!

Do you have important papers, forms, receipts, coupons, brochures and even scraps of paper that you need to act on but no where to keep them until you find the time to get the job done? Are those papers all over your counter top or plastered to your fridge as a reminder of your many to do's that just aren't getting done? If so, you will be interested in a great system I use that helps me deal with my "action papers." All you need is 3 folders, all those papers gathered up and your planner/to do list ready to write some things down.

When I talk about "action papers" I am talking about the papers that you have to act on or do something with. To hold these papers until I am ready for them I use 3 folders labeled: "Have To", "Should Do" and "Could Do." As I file my action papers into these folders I am automatically prioritizing their importance. I also record the thing I need to do on my to do list. I use a Treo, but a paper to do list will work just fine as long as you make a habit of recording the things you need to do on a regular basis. You can keep a master to do list as a record of everything you need to do and then have a daily to do list where you write down just the things you need to do in one day. You can even keep your to do lists it in the front of your "Have To" folder. The important thing is to write your to do's down and make a habit of referring to it daily.

1. The "Have To" folder is for very important action items. It is used for the urgent matters and items that, if left undone, I (or a family member) will suffer a negative consequence for having neglected it. I would like to point out here that I do not include bills to pay in this folder. Bills have their own folder which is kept in my bill paying area. In the "Have To" folder you might put a form that needs to be signed and mailed immediately. Mine is actually empty right now which is my favorite part of using this system--it feels so good to empty that "Have To" folder.

2. The "Should Do" folder is for action items that I really should get done sometime soon but that can wait a little while because there is no due date or immediate negative consequence for not doing it. In my should do folder right now, I have a card to send my mom, a brochure for a tanning salon that I really should visit before going on my anniversary cruise in two weeks so I don't burn to a crisp on day 1 (but really I could just go white and use 50 SPF!) and the two credit card offers I am considering right now.

3. The "Could Do" folder is great. That is where things go that I would "love to do someday" or "would be nice to do if I have the time." I have a coupon for Let's Dish, a flier for a nearby nail salon, a sheet telling me how to update my Windows Media Player, some information on IRA accounts, and a renewal form for my REAL SIMPLE magazine subscription. All things that I could do but I won't be crying if they don't get done.

Melissa's Top 3 Reasons for Trying this System for 30 days:
1-It helps you learn how to prioritize your to do items.
2-It's flexible. You can change your priorities as the need arises.
3-It gives you a logical holding spot for things that usually just end up in piles or posted on the fridge because you need to do it someday but you just aren't ready to do it today!

Just remember to do what it takes to make it work for you and make it fun. You can use color file folders--Red for "Have To," Orange for "Should Do" and Blue for "Could Do." Mine are manilla because I find paperwork fun anyway! It's all about finding something that works for you. Good luck and keep me posted!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Scrapbooking Organizers

For those of you who love to scrapbook, or feel at least compelled to scrapbook from time to time as I do, you know it's not easy keeping all that fun "stuff" organized. If you are looking to get your scrapbooking supplies and paper organized, you will definitely be interested in the Retrospect product line offered by Smead. I have a couple of the Page Managers (top picture)and they are really handy. The Paper and Accessory Organizer (lower picture) is also great because it holds paper and also has a smaller pocket in front to hold stickers and other smaller items. Check out for more fun products.


Take a look at some of my organizing success! (Photos and text used with permission.)


Cluttered Desk


Clean and Clear of Clutter

Chaotic Shelf

Neat and Tidy Home Office

Client Feedback

I work out of a home office without any administrative support. I worked with Melissa to organize both my personal and professional effects as I prepared to relocate. I wish I had done it years ago. While organizing my office and paperwork Melissa identified my natural tendencies and created an organizational structure that was easy for me to maintain. When I began looking for a personal organizer, I mostly wanted someone else to come in and take care of the mess I had allowed to build up over the years. Working with an “uninterested” party during the purging process helped me lighten my load considerably. During the process Melissa provided me with simple intuitive skills that have not only allowed me to maintain my newly found order but help friends and family organize as well. I can honestly say hiring Melissa is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Kelsi Reeves