My Organized Chaos: 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Laundry time

Yesterday I was finishing up some laundry and it got me thinking- there has to be a better process for this. If you are like me, you hate doing laundry. If it was sociably acceptable I would wear dirty laundry forever just to not have to wash it. (Try to hide your disgusted face.)

There are a few things out there to make this task alittle easier and I wanted to share a few:

Get a laundry sorter. I personally have one and I love it! I am able to separate out the different types of loads I am going to do before I start laundry and just grab and go when that load is next. I have mine kept in the laundry room at all times since it does take up more space than your typical hamper. Also I love that it has wheels for more accessibility. They range from $29 to upwards of $89. I have one I paid about $30 for and it works great.

Needing to dry something by laying it flat? I typically use the top of my washer or dryer to lay sweaters out to dry but it can get annoying since I have a top loading washer. I totally didnt know they made things to help with this. It's a drying stand. It folds up to not take up as much space and has a top to lay shirts on. Not sure how much room the top has for clothes to dry at the same time- but always an option to look into.

Pillow cases are you shoes best friend. Cleaning athletic shoes can be a pain but there are several tricks you can use to be able to wash your shoes in the washing machine. By no means am I saying this is the best way- just a way I have used and works good for me. Don't be putting those new Jordans in there- they cost way to much to do that. Trust me, I know. I work for Foot Locker :)
Anyways- It's best to take out the laces of the shoes to that they do not get tangled, however, this is not a must do. I typically just untie the laces and drop the entire shoe in a pillow case and they do not tangle. So, drop them in a pillow case and drop in the washer. They also sell bags made specifically to wash shoes in, but a pillowcase works just fine.You will want to use liquid detergent instead of powder. Powder can easily stick to the shoe and not wash out as well. I find it best to wash shoes with blankets or a load of towels. This will help prevent your washer from taking a beating by the shoes. Something important to remember- do not dry your shoes in the dryer! This may be ok for a bit for nasty old yard shoes you dont care about but not ok for your regular shoes. This can mis-shape them, melt part of them if the temp is too high and possibly cause colors from the pillow case to bleed into the shoe. It is always best to air dry the shoes. Usually takes 24 hours to dry so plan ahead.
Of course I am going to say having storage for your laundry essentials helps alot. I have several baskets in my laundry room that hold everything from dryer sheets, stain remover, and smelly good add-in's. I also set up my liquid detergent alittle different in that I put it in a very large mason jar that has a spout. I personally like this because I can see exactly how much detergent I have left (helps when I am making my shopping list) and I just think it looks better than the regular store bought bottles. I like that I can combine a new bottle with old detergent I am finishing out without having 2 bottles take up that space.
Another thing that is super helpful it somewhere to hang clothes that are drying. Some houses have this built in but others don't. If you are part of the population that does not, there is a simple solution- a shower rod. Use a shower rod between two walls or cabinets to hang clothes on. They are much cheaper than buying a shelving system and work just as well.
Hopefully this makes the art of laundry not so cringe worthy. I know my laundry room needs some updates so look for that in future blog posts! Until then I will just dream of having a laundry room like the ones below.......a girl can wish.....


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Long time, no see!

Hey! WOW it has been FOREVER since I wrote on here. I have definitely missed it! You know what happened? Life happened. Don't you hate that? :)    Really I have had a good couple months and the time seems to be on turbo boost. I got a new job (that I love by the way) and it has taken up a huge chunk of time. I also seem to have projects, games, or something going on every weekend (which I love also). I recently just threw an 80's themed party (random I know) but it was a blast and let me tell you- the outfits were insane. I will spare you the pain of seeing them on here :)

Ok-- let's talk organizing! I have been working on projects around my house lately because well if you own your own home, you know the projects never stop. Mark and I are in the middle of converting a very large walk in closet in our house to my very own craft room! I am super excited to have my own space to create, plus I think Mark is happy all my supplies will be in one place rather than taking over the kitchen table....and the dining room table....and the spare room....and the living room.....yea....  I will be posting our progress soon-let's just say it's got counter tops in it and is freshly painted a nice white. More to come!

Ok- what this post is really about (more for the ladies on this one): Purse organization. In these last few weeks of running around, my purse has seen it's fair share of receipts, pens, makeup, hair brushes, granola bars, wallets, loose change, and the list goes on and on. I love to carry large tote purses but the only down fall to them is it seems like they are the black hole of purses. I literally have to dig and shove things around to find what I am looking for most of the time. I wanted to look into how I could create alittle organization to my purse without having to get a brand new one. I wanted to share some things I found and am in love with!

Organizer that fits in your purse:
This things sole purpose in life is to sit in your purse and create more pockets to put items. It has mesh pockets on the outside so you can see your items like pens, phones, makeup, lotions, etc. It slips into your purse and even has a larger open pocket in the middle to hold wallets, cash, checks (if you still use them, and yes people still use them- I am one of the ones stuck in the dinosaur age)
Fold up hair brushes:
I have been know to carry my entire hair brush in my purse- that takes up a lot of room! These little fold up brushes are the perfect size to fit in your purse. They fold up to a smaller size and most of them even have a mirror included. Also there is multiple options if you want a variety to pick from.
Mini makeup case:
If you are on the run, sometimes you don't have time to put on all of your makeup before you head out the door. Or maybe you are fighting a bad breakout that week and may need touch ups throughout the day. You can easily go to Walmart, Target, Beauty Brands, Walgreens, etc to find a small bag to keep your make up in like the picture below. They usually cost a few bucks and work pretty well. You can also find pretty fugly ones like the cats one below....seriously, don't buy that one. Or I can't ever talk to you again...seriously, it's fugly. 
Moving on...some companies even create mini makeup kits so you don't have to lug your full sized makeup in and out of your house. This kit even includes brushes, eye shadows, blush, mascara, concealer, the whole nine yards. If you are like me I feel like I am constantly looking where I put my mascara. You can ever create your own DIY mini make up kit.

Mini flat irons and curling irons:
I have had a mini curling iron before but I just found out they have mini flat irons too! These little beauties run off of butane so they don't even need to be plugged in. They heat up quick and do the job just as well as regular irons. And- look how little and cute they are! Most common ones sold are by Conair and they sell replacement butane cartridges. By the way- butane may sound scary but it's really not. It's totally safe and is a colorless and odorless gas. It will not cause irritation to your skin but don't shoot it in your eyes....if I have to tell you that then you probably shouldn't be near a curling iron anyways :)   It is like most other gases and is under pressure so don't curl or iron your hair next to an open flame. I mean who curls their hair next to a fireplace anymore, that's so last year. The flat irons mostly run off battery and need to be charged just like some electric razors. Needing to run somewhere after work but don't have time to go home to glam up? Just carry these in your purse and give your hair a quick touch up!

Credit card, debit card and license holder:
These little wallets help cut down on all the clutter your normal sized wallets can bring. After credit cards, debit cards, licenses, membership cards, discount cards, gift cards and all other cards I can't think of right now- your wallet starts to look the size of a small puppy. Reduce the clutter with a small wallet that only carries certain cards that you use on a regular basis and leave the other cards in a separate wallet. These are also great if you are going to an event that you don't feel like carrying your whole purse with you- just take it out and slip it in your pocket.


Phone charger case and cords:
This has happened to all of us- we are somewhere and our phone starts to die when we really need it! Cords floating all over your purse can get tangled in everything and are really annoying to get free from the black hole. There are a few things you can do to solve this problem. 1. Get a cord organizer like the ones below to keep your cords nice and tidy all the time. You can even DIY by using a clothes pin. 2. Buy a case that will do the charging for you. Mophie makes a good case for this and they offer ones for IPhones and Droids. The case plugs into the bottom of the phone and when you charge your phone with a wall charger it charges the case also. Then when you are about out of battery you can turn the case on and it will charge your phone. 3.Another option is a case that charges by having a plug in attached to the back. It folds into the case and can fold out when needed.

Receipt organizer:
The dreaded receipts. You get them for EVERYTHING. Some of the time you keep them to check against your bank account, or maybe just in case you have to return an item but receipts can clutter a purse faster than anything else. Throw in a receipt (and coupon) organizer to keep those crazy papers under control. Remember those index card holders you used in class to study? Those work great for this!


Hope these tips help keep your purse (a.k.a. the black hole) under control!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Extra personal items and stock piles

Hey all! So I have done a post in the past about my bathroom and reorganizing it's drawers and under the cabinet. Check out that post HERE. Now, I love my bathroom and how it's set up but you really can't have EVERYTHING in your drawers and under the sink. (If you thought the items you see in the post are all I had, you are terribly mistaken. Really?! You thought that was all I had. Oh that's funny) I needed a place to put all the excess items.

I love a good deal and often times it means maybe buying things in multiple quantities to get that deal. No, I have not become one of those people that store enough extra items in my basement that could sustain my family for 400 years or the entire world for 6 months (aka Hoarders, Extreme Couponers, Doomsday crazies-- but man I would love to organize their stock pile....oh! and label it!.....and maybe organize it again.....ok i'm done). I do however have a small amount of excess items that needed to go somewhere. That somewhere ended up being my laundry room. I have an extra white cabinet with some shelves in it that serves as a perfect area for many things.

I have everything from personal care items, travel items, paper towels, TP, soaps, etc in this cabinet. It's nice to have all this in one spot-- cuts down on having to search!
So how did I cram everything in there? I used some pretty containers, a little adjusting and some creativeness.

Here is what the entire cabinet looks like: Notice the containers on the top and right- I'll explain those in a minute. I also use this cabinet for the over-flow I was talking about above. I currently have TP, paper towels, Kleenex, Lysol wipes, etc in the cabinet. It's super easy to run over to the laundry room when we are low on an item. I know not all houses or apartments will have the room to have a stock pile like this but sometimes you can get pretty creative with storage. Try out some options and see what works for you.

So, like I said, I have some cute containers with chevron print to help keeps the smaller like items together.
Some of the containers I have are for:
Pain Relief: ibuprofen, advil, etc.
Hair Care: Shampoos, Conditioners, hair sprays, etc
Hair Removal: Shaving cream, razors, etc
First Aid: Bandaids, peroxide, creams, etc.

To label these containers I used see-through washi tape and my label maker. Now it's easy to see what items the bins have and easily find which one I need to open. Another bonus of these containers is that they are clear on the bottom so I can see in them without opening them.

Remember that once the items are in the containers it doesn't mean you are completely done organizing. You might be happy with your organizing  at that point but you can always do the next step- organizing the individual containers! (I see that eye-roll you are giving because you are thinking I'm crazy- but let me explain.) (BTW- didn't your mother teach you that eye rolls are not polite? Rude!)

 Take my travel container as a perfect example. When I had all my travel items all together in the container, they were just kind of thrown about. I would have to go through and find which ones were shampoo or which ones were conditioner. Took longer than I had patience and when I am in the middle of packing I usually have my mind on 30 different other things at the same time. So to fix this little problem I used a simple solution- sandwich bags! I separated out the different types of travel items I had and wrote what they were on the bags.

So much easier to find items quickly! Plus it's been great with reminding me what items I need to bring so I don't leave behind body wash or toothbrushes.

Now go buy in bulk and rejoice! You now have the tools to have your own stock pile! Just don't call me if you end up on an episode of Doomsday Preppers or Hoarders. If you are on one of those shows then we don't know each other......seriously- don't use me as your phone a friend. :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Saving money-and keeping it organized!

Hi all! Today I wanted to talk about money. I try to give as many tips to use cheaper organizing solutions so they don't break the bank but sometimes organizing systems can cost a little bit of money. Since the economy isn't at it's most glamorous right now, you may be finding it hard to save money each month as a safety net or maybe for some bigger item you want to purchase.

One trick, which really isn't a "trick", I have found that helps me is saving in the form of cash. I am a very visual person so seeing something in my hand makes more of an impact than it being on a screen. If there is money in my account I'm more likely to spend it than when it's in cash in my house. Now I typically didn't carry cash in my wallet because that's super easy to spend--we will talk more about that later.

So say I am saving for a new car- if I am saving it in my bank account- that's great. But for my personality when I'm paying bills or out shopping and want to put more towards it but don't have the money aside for that- I may be guilty of taking a little out of that new car fund thinking "I'll put it back later, no problem!" What happens when I don't actually put that money back? The dream of a new car is even farther away. Ever done that? I'll admit- it happens. If you can manage all your money easily online or in your account-good job! Don't get me wrong- I do have a savings account- but I wanted a better way to save for several items at a time.

Another idea is opening another account to hold the money you are putting away- however, sometimes that costs more in fees. Check it out before you open one up. However, here is what I am doing to save for several different wish list items.

Like I said I am a visual person. I knew the best way for me to really, really, really stick to saving money was to do it with cash. So I set up a system that works great! It's super simple and keeps me honest. When I get paid I pay some bills online but money that is left over after bills, groceries, mortgage, etc- I use the extra money to save it away. Some of the things Mark and I are saving for are:
- Savings/Emergency Fund
-Vacation Fund
-New Car
-Home Improvement
-Pay forward on Bills

We have also started to use cash for things like:
-Date Night
-Personal Care
-Eating Out/ Bars/ Coffee
-Anything goes (basically a no question fund)

So it may seem silly and time consuming to pull the cash and separate them into jars, then buying everything with cash but there is a method behind my madness! When you budget yourself with cash it takes all the guessing out of it! Say you set aside $400 for groceries each month- if you have that out in cash, you will know when you need to pinch and save rather than buying food you really don't need. Same with something like a Date Night fund. Once the cash is gone, it's gone for the month- yes this means you might have to think of a cheaper date night here and there- but trust me it pays off! Also, if you happen to have some money left over, then you can decide what that extra money goes towards.

Storing this cash: Obviously you don't want jars of cash laying around the house- hello break in! So this is where some sneaky storage comes in.

So here are the jars I am using-

Now it's time to tuck them into a safe place. Here are a bunch of ideas for you (Some extreme and some pretty genius)- I won't tell you which one I used :)