My Organized Chaos: July 2014

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 :)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Organization in your car- prepare for winter

Hey all. My name is Allison and I like to organize. Just thought I might introduce myself again since it's been a century since I last posted!! (Not sure why I had to introduce myself like I was at an AA meeting. I'm half expecting someone to say back to me "Hi Allison" in unison.) Wanted to say sorry for the MIA behavior but I got a new job! That's right- a J.O.B. I'm super excited about it and it's going great so far!

Anyways- that's not what this post is about. It's about organizing your car and preparing for winter! I know I sound like a loon talking about preparing for winter-but honestly it is the perfect time to do so! Winter stuff is on sale and there are some great deals out there.

Think about the essentials you need out on the road. Of course you need things like an ice scraper, gloves, flashlight, etc. You might also want to look into some more supplies that will help you out in any situation.

Below is what I have in my car and each item has come in handy many times. You certainly can put more items or less that I do--but I thought I would share mine!

Here is my kit- pretty cool huh? Here's what all I carry: (from left to right)
1. Small towels and cloths - To help clean up spills or wipe away dust
2. Ice scraper (x2- you can never have enough!). Btw- they make some that fit like a glove and keep your hand nice and warm. Click HERE to check them out.
3. Sweatshirt. Always carry one! Never know when it will get chilly or worse when you are stranded and your car won't start. You know what that means-no heat!
4. Car emergency kit. I got this as a gift a long time ago and I'm super glad I did. It's got everything from jumper cables, rope, caution cones, tire inflator, flashlight,etc. Check out some HERE.
5. Blanket. Again - No heat=bad. Blanket=good.
6. Re-useable shopping bags - Save some plastic and use your own!
7. Flashlights - I carry one that requires a battery and one that turns on when you squeeze the handle.

There you have it! My mighty little kit! Also- you can't really see it but I have another ice scraper and an umbrella stuck behind my kit.
I put all these items in a car organizer- which is super convenient. If I want to take these out of my car for any reason- it just lifts out in a sec. Check the one I got from Harbor Freight HERE. There are also some other variations of different organizers- found HERE.

I also keep a few other things in my car that come in handy:

1. I have a cover for my front window to cut down on the heat in my car in the summer. Anyone that has lived through a Kansas summer knows it's REALLY hot.
2. I also have a "trash can" in the car to help keep it clean. By trash can I mean I use a cereal storage container and put a trash bag in it. It seals tight and snaps shut so if it spills over it's no big deal. Plus it's not to big and doesn't take up a ton of room.
3. Wet wipes - I use these ALL the time. I constantly run out of the house and forget to wipe makeup off my hands from putting it on, or I eat something sticky and need to wipe my hands.

So there you have it - my car organization kit(s). I have used every item in my car and some multiple times. When you are in a tough spot, having items in your car can be a real life saver. So go! Go buy winter items in the summer like a crazy person! :)