Your closets, of all places, seem to be in continual need of care and attention. Getting organized here is not always that easy to do for a number of reasons.
Generally, we have an easier time buying new clothes and putting them up in the closet than going through our old ones and throwing them out. It’s amazing how attached we can become to an old shirt we haven’t worn for years. Or perhaps you think that someday you’ll fit into those old jeans you looked so great in when you were 20.
The closet also usually has the advantage of a closed door to hide the mess and clutter. If your friends or family stop by for a quick visit it’s easier to just throw your things under the bed or into the closet to worry about later. Unfortunately, it’s not always to easy to go back and straighten up the mess. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
This is really an unfortunate way to treat your space, especially when there are closet organizers available that will allow you to completely redefine the storage for your clothes and shoes. You can then create a space that you can really be proud of, and you might even rediscover some clothes you forgot you had!
The first step to really get you started is to be honest with yourself about what you truly need to keep. This de-cluttering process can be quite liberating after you’ve eliminating a lot of the excess stuff that’s crowding you out of your closet. Don’t be afraid to throw out that 10-year-old sweater just because it cost you $100 on an impulse buy. If you haven’t worn it in a few years you likely won’t anytime soon. Pass it along to someone else you know who might like it or donate to your local charity.
Next, seriously considering getting some professional help from a company like California Closets. You can get a design consultation from someone who is trained to help you develop an organization setup that is custom to your specific space and needs. If you have a terrific new layout that completely fits your situation and looks great, you’ll likely have a much easier time keeping it clean and organized.
Avoid the Landfill: How to be Green During your Spring Clean
There are so many things to love about spring. The warm sun, the singing of the birds, the smell of freshly cut grass and blooming flowers all draw us out of winter hibernation and into the outdoors.
However, there is one thing that we all dread as spring arrives — spring-cleaning! All the scrubbing, dusting, sweeping under your kitchen rugs, vacuuming and wiping make us want to go back to bed and throw a duvet over our heads, once and for all.
As the weather gets warmer, the scum on our windows, floors and walls become obvious. Sadly, there’s no other way to get around them but to resort to some elbow grease.
While spring-cleaning make our homes livable, getting rid of some of our old stuff means adding waste to landfills. Here are some ways on how to spring-clean your home without adding to your carbon footprint.
Salvage old stuff.
Clearing clutter is the first step to having an organized home. If you have plenty of clothes stuffed in the closet, now is the best time to sort through them. Anything you haven’t worn in the last six months to a year should be placed in a box and donated.
Worn out clothing can be recycled by sewing them into new clothing or accessories. Use old neckties as belts. Cut the sleeves of an old T-shirt to create a sexy halter top and reconstruct the sleeves into a headband or pillowcase. You can also recycle an old pair of jeans into a purse. For clothes beyond repair, you can cut them up into smaller pieces and use them for cleaning windows and floors. That way, nothing goes to waste.
Create treasures out of junk.
If you have a keen eye for details and a good hand for designing, why not put your creativity at work and make your own craft projects? Make tote bags out of newspaper, a clutch out of candy wrappers, and earrings out of soda cans. You can even make money by selling them online or locally. Etsy is a good place to start if you have a knack for creating handmade goods out of recycled materials, but you can sell your masterpiece anywhere on the Internet these days.
Being good stewards of the earth means thinking of smart ways to recycle waste, including electronics. As new gadget designs come out practically every quarter, we need to come up with ways on how dispose our old contraptions without dumping them in the incinerators. Unfortunately, not many people see direct returns for all the efforts they put into recycling, which is why some companies offer cash in exchange for old electronics.
Cell for Cash and Gazelle are two companies that pay for every cell phone you turn in for recycling. For other items that you may have already been recycling, RecyclingBank gives incentives like food and pharmacy gift certificates.
Trade your old stuff.
Give your old items a new home by swapping them for something else you need. This will help you clear your home without adding garbage to the landfills. Several non-profit organizations encourage individuals to place their items on the list and another person will take that item free. The same rule applies if you need something and don’t want to shell out money for it. Hold a garage sale if you want to make some money. If you find that physically exhausting, list your items in Craigslist and wait for some DIY-ers to haul your old stuff into their homes.
Refurbish your furniture.
Tired of looking at the same old sofa you’ve had since your college days? Why not refurbish it and give it a new life instead of turning it into firewood? Many upholsterers and antique dealers would gladly salvage old pieces of furniture and transform them into new works of art. Revamp your furniture by having them upholstered. If you have the skills, create your own slipcovers to extend the life of your furniture. Not only do you save money, you also get a new look for your home.
Clean your lighting fixtures.
Save money on lighting by wiping them clean. Dirt that has accumulated over the months on light bulbs lessens the illumination they bring. Use a dry cloth or an old handkerchief to wipe the fixtures. This way, you lengthen the cycle of your bulbs and you save money by not buying new ones.
Use recyclable storage boxes.
Storage boxes come in different styles and sizes. For something that truly never goes out of fashion, use empty old boxes in keeping clutter out of sight. Get your old TV box and fill it with old magazines, clothes and whatever old stuff you have at home. Plastic storage boxes may look pretty with all the sweet colors they come in, but they also add to landfill waste once disposed.
Green spring-cleaning your home is possible by looking for creative ways on how to dispose old stuff without necessarily throwing them away. Reduce your carbon footprint by recycling most of the items you have at home.
Jessica Phan is a designer for Balsamhill.com a purveyor of high-end artificial Christmas Trees. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area is perfect for her because she has a wide range of interests, including Art & Design, Fashion, Photography, Painting and Thrift Store Shopping.
There are countless methods that people use to stay organized, and busy moms and dads looking to organize their families have a host of methods, resources and tools to utilize this seemingly foreboding task. Some people like to make lists and utilize paper planners, chalkboards or inspiration boards. Increasingly, however, mobile phones are able to do so much and so quickly that it’s becoming the go-to tool to get organized in our hectic lives.
We’ve featured a few useful family table apps–and some of these might be appropriate for cells phones–but there are other tips that can be specific to a mobile phone to stay organized.
Considering mobile phones are updating at a rapid pace, it’s quite possible you’re in need of a new phone. A lot has changed in just the last few years that might have rendered your old phone a bit obsolete. First things first, consider a new phone and ditch last year’s model. You might wonder, “Can I sell my phone in order to make a little extra cash to put towards something new?” The answer really depends, but if your old phone is still useful, in good condition and not too old you can probably make a little money to put towards something new.
Once you’re up to date, utilize all the power and flexibility your new phone has to offer. Before you get to apps, use some of the native features your phone probably already has. These include features like specific ringtones for different contacts, special alarms, timers and reminders as well as text recorders and notepad features. Once you find a specific function you really like, do some hunting to improve on this.
Generally speaking, there’s probably a great app for free or for a small charge that improves on something you could really utilize to get organized. Apps can be useful for keeping to-do lists handy, jotting notes and maintaining calendars. Try some that might be useful, but don’t get carried away. Too many bells and whistles can easily overwhelm you and ultimately be counterproductive.
We’ve had a few discussions on spring cleaning here at Organized Families, and we pretty much all agree it’s not the most enjoyable task in the world. Nevertheless, it’s pretty much a necessity in order to get your house cleaned and de-cluttered. In addition to that yearly task, just keeping your house clean and free from junk is an ongoing concern for all families looking to get their families organized and household in order.
A lot of families like to tackle these chores themselves, but it can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. In fact, sometimes it’s nice just to have some professionals get the job done right so you can focus on other more important parts of your family life. It’s a popular misconception that finding someone to clean your house or fix things for you is a time-consuming chore. However, a recent survey shows that although most people think it will take an hour or more to find and book a maid to clean your house, it actually can take less than a minute if you use the right service.
The folks at Handybook home cleaning can help take the stress out of both cleaning your home, but of also finding the right service for the job, be it cleaning your house of finding a handyman. You simply fill out your zip code and the service you need and you’re on your way to less stress and a clean home.
The online booking system is super easy to use and the platform is secure and confidential. The service providers are thoroughly vetted so you can be sure you’re going to have a reliable company with high standards provide the work. The process is simple from beginning to end, and what’s best, you get to stop worrying about working through a never ending spring cleaning checklist and let a reliable professional get the job done right.
Family planning and organization is really the focus here and we try to stay concentrated on those tools and resources to really help with this goal. We have featured some very useful computer programs, tablet applications and phone apps, all geared to getting things organized and putting your family on the right track. We do, however, like to have a little fun now and again.
If you want to have a little fun and relax from these organization tools and resources, and if you like to play games, you might want to consider free slots on Facebook. It’s the perfect way to unwind and give some fun slot games a try. You might not be able to hit Vegas or Atlantic City as often as you would like, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play some great slot games.
The graphics and interface for this slot app on Facebook is pretty remarkable. I started playing for a bit and really had a great time, getting quite caught up with the game and the action. I shared the app with a few of my friends and family and they also had a good time playing. The game became really quite addicting and I spent a good bit of time on it.
It’s obviously important to use your time wisely and plan accordingly to organize your family and get things planned and scheduled. However, you need a little down time to unwind and relax. Considering the assorted ways we use our time online, including a lot of the useful apps and programs, not to mention printable chore charts and other fun worksheets, there are more than enough ways to stay busy online. But, you never know if you’re just going to be disappointed or not. With the free slot app on Facebook, you’ll at least know you can have a good time and get your slot machine fix in.
I’ve spent a bit of time here featuring useful printable tools and worksheets including checklists, chore charts, menus, planners and other helpful organization tools. I also try to pass the word when I find some useful printables from others that might be of use to my readers.
The folks over at Scholastic have a great selection of printable worksheets including different math sets for different grades and other focused sets like their Pre K Lesson Plans. They do offer a limited number of free resources in each category, but the bulk of their offerings come as part of their premium subscription. In fact, you get access to the entire line of Pre K to 8th grade in all different subject areas like Science, Math, Language Arts, Reading, Arts, Holidays and so forth. Really a handy box of tools to have for any teacher, including those with home schooled children.
I’ll definitely be featuring some more useful printable tools throughout the year, including some great worksheets for back-to-school time as well as chore charts and other useful checklists. A lot of these will be free and functional but I will also point out deals like these that are affordable and extremely useful for particular groups like teachers and stay-at-home moms.
Although the economy has certainly been in the dumps these past few years, all the news is not completely bad. Consider one of the very few consequences of this recession that are actually favorable to a homeowner–the ability to refinance your mortgage. Due to falling interest rates, the simple fact is that refinancing can save you money and help you get a little relief with your finances.
For the past couple of months, interest rates on new mortgages as well as refinancing continue to sink lower and lower. If you’ve been waiting to refinance, or if you had really not considered it yet, now might be a great time to do so. You can run some numbers through a mortgage calculator and figure out just how much money you can save. You’ll probably be surprised to see a couple hundred dollar savings a month or more, depending on your current loan rate and mortgage balance.
Clearly part of organizing your family includes getting your finances in the best shape possible. This obviously includes a detailed budget so you understand exactly where your money goes and how to best allocate your resources in the best way possible for your family. Once you’ve done this, you should definitely lay out where you can save money on either unnecessary expenses or those for which you’re overpaying.
The amount you pay for your home mortgage is likely your largest expense and quite possibly the best place to shave off a big chunk of your monthly expenses. It might take a little effort to get your paperwork together and apply for a refinance, but you’ll probably be happy you did so. Low interest rates like the ones we’re seeing lately won’t last forever. In a few years when rates are much higher you’ll certainly be proud you took the time to lock in a rate that is so low.