weekly organizing Tips

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Category: Uncategorized

This Blog is Moving!

Hi Followers and Organizing enthusiasts. This blog is moving! We wanted to integrate it directly into our website so now you can find us at:

http://www.beautifullyorganized.ca/blog

By the way there is a new vieo for the right week organizing series. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then hurry and come over to check it out…

This blog will stay up until March 2 and then it will be taken down and everything will be at: http://www.beautifullyorganized.ca/blog

Happy Organizing!

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Camping to Reconnect

Camping

It’s funny, when I am at home I feel like I’m always going 100 miles an hour. I work, play and live from my home. There is always something to do. So when my husband and I were asked to go on a camping trip we jumped at the opportunity. We relish the outdoors and being able to spend uninterrupted time together.

As I was preparing for the trip I decided this was perfect to fit into my happiness project. I am focusing on the relationships in my life and specifically my marriage. I have promised to take any opportunity to reconnect and be with friends and family in a meaningful way this month… and always.

The thing about camping is once yo get to the site you are set. You have everything you need for meals, sleeping and hanging out. There is no hussel or need to “do” things. It’s a total relaxation fest. However, making that possible takes a little bit of work.

I would highly recommend camping to anyone, even if you don’t think you would like it, you will. If you take time to prepare it could be the best mini-vacation you’ve ever had.

To help you get started I have included a Camping Checklist. This will give you a great place to get started.

Friday, I will post my camping video, which is packed with tips and tricks to help you reconnect with the people you love most in the great outdoors.

Take the plunge and go camping. You will feel better, lighter and recharged when you get home, I promise.

Happy Organizing!

Organized Travel is Happy Travel

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You have probably given your summer travel plans some thought. Booked tickets or even mapped out a road trip, check out this post for more tips on road trips.

Staying organized during a trip is essential. The travel days don’t have to be slammed, crazy, intense, yelling at your travel companions, losing important documents or missing your flight. Granted, there are some things that are out of your control, but I can give you a few tips and tricks to simplify and organize your travel.

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First, keep all information pertaining to the trip in one place. I like to keep everything in one place online or in an app. I don’t go anywhere without my phone and at the touch of a button I can pull up electronic boarding passes, hotel and rental car confirmations, restaurant reservations as well as directions and sometimes even the menu. My favorite app for this exact purpose is Tripit. Send it the confirmation emails and it will create an itinerary for your trip – seriously! Click here to find out more information.

If you do not like to keep things electronically consider a clear plastic folder that attaches closed. You want to make sure the documents inside are safe and secure. The clear plastic will help it stick out in your suitcase and withstand the trip without getting ripped and tattered.

Ok – so you have the details and information of the trip stored in one place. Now, let’s talk about the suitcase. Be versatile in your outfit choices. Bring a pair of shoes for multiple outfits, have a mostly neutral base of black and white t’s and jeans with a few accent pieces to change up the look day to day. If you are traveling for a week or less you should be in a carry-on. It saves you money from baggage fees and you don’t risk losing it.

Set your suitcase out one week before the trip and add items to it as you think of them. Otherwise, you will forget it.

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A few packing tips:

Packing your suitcase is so much easier when you have just done laundry – give yourself enough time to fit this in.

Always roll items. They take up less space and keep them relatively wrinkle free

Keep all toiletry items in a plastic bag. Sounds obvious, but don’t get lazy and skip this step you will regret it.

Don’t pack something you haven’t ever worn before. Also, if you don’t enjoy wearing something at home you won’t enjoy wearing it on vacation either.

Stuff socks in your shoes. Save space and it will keep their shape

If you must check your bag never check: your toothbrush, deodorant, medications, your keys, your pajamas and an extra pair of underwear

Along the way, take 5 minutes everyday to journal about a special moment, a tour guide that made you laugh, a favorite meal. This will be a special piece to look back on. Write yourself an email everyday and keep it online in a folder to look back on from time to time. I promise this will be a better keepsake than the mess of maps, brochures and cocktail napkins you’ll stash in a bag when you get home.

Organized Travel 4

I hope you have a fabulous summer full of organized stress free travel!

Happy Organizing!

 

photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net and my old passport

Repurpose Leftovers into New Meals

Holiday dinner

It doesn’t matter what you celebrate around this time of year, it seems that most of us will cook or attend a dinner party at some point over the last few weeks or in the weeks to come. There are always leftover and there are only so many turkey sandwiches you want to eat. I’ll keep it simple today and let the experts show us some creative and really yummy options for your holiday leftovers.

Jamie Oliver’s Turkey con Chili

Click Here for the Recipe

Gordan Ramsay’s Turkey Pot Pie Soup

Click Here for the Recipe

Giada’s Turkey and Pancetta Pot Pies,

Sauteed Green Beans, Tomato and Basil with a Parmesan Crisp,

Potato, Orange and Arugula Salad

Click Here for the Recipes

Ina Gartner’s Turkey Hashed Browns

Click Here for the Recipe

Ina Gartner’s Roasted Vegetable Soup

Click Here for the Recipe

We wish you and your family a very happy and healthy new year!

Happy Organizing!

Post Party Organizing

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You had your friends and family over the celebrate the holidays or the new year and now you are left with half open bottles of wine and appetizer plates covering every surface. The worst part of the party – clean up!

Here are tips and tricks to make it easier, ideas to repurpose the leftover and even ways to use the mess to your advantage! 

Good luck! Enjoy the party

Be prepared before the party by:

Starting with an empty dishwasher, empty before guests arrive

Line the trashcan with three or four bags so it’s easy to empty the garbage during the party, if necessary

Keep the clutter out of your way. Think about a week of 15-minute projects leading up to the party.

Think about renting your dishes or using disposable, bamboo is an environmentally friendly option.

Have multiple stations set up for food and drinks so peple mix and mingle

Don’t forget coasters. Lay them around the tables so your guests don’t have to go searching.

Leftover Wine – pour leftover wine into ice cube and store them for future recipes that call for wine. 

Flat Club Soda – Use it to water houseplants or your live Christmas tree. 

Fallen needles from the tree – repurpose them as sachets for your drawers or take the needles outside to use as mulch in the garden. You can also use small springs as decoration on packages.

Ribbon from hostess gifts – you can repurpose the ribbon for packages and presents you are giving.

Cheese – If you have a small amount of a variety of cheeses, why not create your own cheese fondu. It could be interesting!

Water rings – rub in non-gel toothpaste then buff off with a clean towel. 

Carpet StainsClick Here to check out this cool stain kit to erase any unwanted reminders of your party last night, thank you Martha.

We wish all of you a very happy holiday season! Enjoy the party.

Happy Organizing!

Clear Clutter for Charity

There was an article in the Star a few weeks ago about where to clear clutter for charity. One of the biggest challenges of organizing – what to do with the things you no longer want or use.

I thought it was a great list and as we begin to move in for cooler weather and decide we have too much stuff – here is a list of places that will happily take it off of your hands.

Canadian Diabetes Association – 1-800-505-5525 to schedule pickup

Or Click Here to find out more information   

The Diabetes Association will use your donations to fund their and support diabetes research.

What they accept: Appliances, Bedding, Books, Clothes, Electronics, Toys, Sports Equipment

Children’s Book Bank – Drop off at 350 Barkley St.

The Children’s Book Bank provides books to children in low-income neighborhoods.

Furniture Bank – 416-934-1229 to schedule pickup or drop off

The Furniture Bank works with shelters and agencies to provide furniture to abused women, refugee families and at-risk youth.

What they accept: Appliances, Furniture

Habitat for Humanity – 416-755-7353 to schedule pickup or drop off

Habitat for Humanity builds affordable housing and depends on the donations of gently used and like new building supplies.

What they accept: Appliances, Furniture

Jessie’s, The June Callwood Centre for Young Women – 416-365-1888 for drop-off info

Jessie’s offers services and support to women ages 18 and under who are pregnant or have children.

What they accept: Baby gear, Toys

New Circles – 416-422-2591 for drop-off info

Provides new and gently used clothing to low-income families and new immigrants. What they accept: Clothing

Click Here for more info

Oasis Clothing Bank – 416-751-0553 to schedule pickup or drop off

Proceeds provide support to addiction recovery programs.

What they accept: Appliances, Bedding, Books, Clothing, Furniture, Electronics, Toys, Sports Equipment

Pegasus – 416-913-2544 for drop off info

The proceeds from Pegasus support programs for adults with developmental disabilities and autism.

What they accept: Kitchenware, Books, Clothing

Woodgreen red door family shelter – 416-915-5671 to schedule pick-up (for a fee)

The items from this Organization benefit clients moving out of shelters or families or abused women.

What they accept: Clothing, Furniture, Kitchenware

These have all been added to my website at: Where to Donate Stuff

Happy Organizing!

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Where to find motivation to start the next project…

Often many find the hardest part of a project is finding the motivation to begin. When feeling overwhelmed with clutter, it may seem impossible to start. Even organizing one drawer, one day at a time may seem pointless at first. Organization has to start somewhere, and even doing the smallest things can have huge impact. Below are tips to help motivate you to being organizing your home.

Tips:

Just do something – I often find that if I start with something I immediately feel better. It doesn’t have to be huge,  a small drawer, your purse, your front hall closet are all excellent places to start.

Create a list – Walk through your home with a notepad and write down all the projects you would like to complete, work to break them down into smaller more manageable steps

Reward yourself… often! – It makes it more fun. Make a reservation at your favourite restaurant; buy a nice bottle of wine or maybe a movie night with the kids. Get the kids involved too and they can create their own rewards.

Set a timer – Don’t set an infinite time limit on your organizing session. Start small, 15 – 20 minutes and then from there you can build on the time you spend organizing.

Get other people involved – Have an organizing party with family or friends (maybe you have a friend that loves to organize). Invite them over, turn on some music and make your favourite snacks to create a fun atmosphere.

Set a dinner date – I find that when I have a deadline, I tend to work harder to achieve my goal. Throw a house party or plan a special dinner for your nearest and dearest. You can include them in the celebration or just keep it to yourself and marvel in the work you accomplished!

Organizing doesn’t have to be tiresome; it can be fun and rewarding. All it takes is a little bit of motivation like a deadline to get the ball rolling. Happy Organizing!

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Cut Kitchen Clutter

Are you tired of buying something only to find it hidden away in the back corner of your cupboard? Or what about finding that one cookbook with that delicious cheese cake recipe? The kitchen is the heart of the home, filled with life and activity. If it is not set-up properly it can turn cooking into a hassle. A well-organized kitchen will help to keep the days running smoothly.

Tips:

Evaluate everything in the kitchen – How many sets of silverware or colanders do you need? How much are you really cooking and are you holding onto things because you feel you need to?

Cut back on cookbook! – Instead of using traditional cookbook, take advantage of online sources. The recipes are endless and there are no books to store. I particularly like:  Epicurious (www.epicurious.com) and Food Network (www.foodnetwork.com)

If you want to improve your skills in the kitchen, check out Top Chef University (www.topchefuniversity.com) – learn to cook and have access to hundreds of recipes

Organize your kitchen into zones – cooking zone, baking zone, storing zone, serving zone. Organize the cabinets around the zones with the items you’ll need in each. Zones will increase the flow of the kitchen, which will in turn increase the function of the kitchen.

Put together ready to go kits of things to cook or bake regularly – if you make cookies a lot, put all the ingredients you use (non-refrigerated items only) and store them in the cabinet together. When it’s time to make cookies pull it out and quickly whip them up, same goes with soups, pasta, and breads.

Last, but not least, buying in bulk isn’t always the answer if it’s taking up a lot of room and not necessary.

Hopefully the above tips will help to make dinner and meal times a breeze.

Happy Organizing!ImageImage

Back to School

It’s September and the kids are back at school! The rush hour traffic is back at full volume, meaning it is more important than ever to have a smooth morning routine. Nothing is worse than realizing at 8:15am that there are no juice boxes for lunches and a pen cannot be found to sign that late permission form.

Hopefully the first week back went smoothly for all, if not here are a few tips to streamline the morning and evening routine. With these tips, the kids will be back into the swing of things in no time:

Hang Hooks – They are perfect for school bags, purses, items that need to leave with you in the morning. Hang them by the door for easy access

Homework station – Fill small plastic drawers or bins with everything you need to work through household paperwork or your child‘s homework, pencils, ruler, calculator, colored pencils etc. Simply put it away when you’re done for a portable work center.

Put a calendar on the fridge – Layout the family‘s schedule so everyone knows where to be and when. You can also easily schedule activities for the family without having to consult with everyone first.

Packing Lunches – Place a bin in the fridge with all the lunch items you’ll need to pack your child’s lunch. Take the bin out in the morning or the night before to pack the lunches. You’ll also know right away when things need to be restocked.

Pre-portion Snacks – Pre-portion your child’s favorite snacks in portable containers. They can pull them out after school or you can grab them quickly and go on the way to after-school activities.

Managing Paperwork and Art – We want to treasure our little one’s masterpieces, but it’s simply not possible to keep everything. I recommend getting a bin, under the bed bins work great, and fill it up with art projects and school papers. Go through this at a preset time. Once a month is good or once a quarter. Decide which pieces to keep and take pictures of the others. You can keep an unlimited digital archive for memories.

Hopefully the above tips help to ease the transition from a summer of fun into a successful school year. Happy Organizing! Image

Get Out of the Door Faster

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The morning. Not my best time. I am getting better though and I find my best mornings are the mornings I feel prepared and ready for the day. However, I am still not a fan of getting up early so I’m learning to simplify my morning routine. Here are a few tricks I use to get out of the door faster in the morning. 

Wash my hair the night before – I save so much time washing my hair at night and spritzing a bit of water in the morning to style if needed

Simplify my makeup – I swipe on a loose powder, blush, mascara and I’m out the door. Squeeze on lipgloss and I’m ready to take on the day. Or I might skip it all together

Pack a healthy breakfast/lunch or snack – this keeps me from the temptations. I like whole wheat toast with peanut butter, a protein yogurt, cereal with milk (Solutions has the BEST togo cereal containers) or a turkey sandwich

A handheld steamer – It can work wonders in a few minutes and have you always looking your best

Pick out your outfit the night before – save time and energy and always look your best

Set an alarm for 10 minutes before you have to go – collect yourself and head to the door

Create a “departure zone” – leave everything in this area that you need when you leave: purse/briefcase, keys, phone, sunglasses, subway tokens, change for parking, letters to mail, money to deposit etc. etc.

The morning doesn’t always have to be a struggle.

Happy Organizing!