Monthly Archives: January 2010

From Trash to Treasure!

A great thing about getting organized and sorting through all of the stuff you already own is that you can often find new purposes for old things.  One of the most fabulous trash to treasure finds I have is an Altoids Case.  Altoids cases are perfect for storage!  They can hold safety pins, bobby pins, ponytail holders, rubber bands, push pins, gift cards, etc.!  It is like a two-for-one deal….you get fresh breath from the mints and then have a fabulous little storage container once you finish.  Now that is a win, win situation!  Getting organized does not mean spending lots of money, we can often repurpose something we already have and save ourselves some money!

Happy organizing!

xoxo

d

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Getting Down to Business

January 24, 2010

Week 4

Hello friends! Can you believe it, this is week 4 of Organize Your OM! I just want to say, YEAH FOR YOU!!! It is hard to believe this is week 4 already! I truly believe the key to keeping a resolution and achieving a goal is to take it one step at a time and not overwhelm yourself with something too difficult right away. Now that you have the idea of what we will be doing this year, I hope the fear and anxiety has subsided and you are feeling a little more calmer and organized this month! Last week we focused on our OM so this week it is back to work!! I really hope that all of you are establishing a Sunday night ritual. Obviously it does not have to be the same thing every week, but make sure to take some time to do something you enjoy on Sunday evening so you have a bright and positive outlook on the week ahead, even if it is going to be a challenging one. I am a big fan of the Sunday spa night because I get to scrub away the previous week and start over with the week ahead. Speaking of scrubs, I LOVE my sugar body scrub from Ulta. A little bit goes a long way and it makes my skin so soft and smooth.

Now let’s get down to business! This week’s task is to tackle your junk drawers, bathroom drawers/cabinets, and medicine storage. I have chosen to group these items together because we tend to let things pile up in these areas and it is good to purge and declutter things that may have gotten jammed in the back of a drawer.

Let’s start with the infamous junk drawer. We all have one (maybe more). These drawers are a catch-all for the necessary and often unnecessary in life. There aren’t too many places where you can find batteries, coupons, gum, and playing cards in the same space. The junk drawer is a great place to start our organization for the week. Knowing you have one “go to” drawer in the house can make things much easier. All of my organization this week is going to use drawer organizers and/or additional shelving storage. I will also be paying homage to one of my favorite stores this week, The Container Store! The Container Store is my Nirvana. I actually get giddy when I walk in the doors! The drawer storage items are sold individually so you can mix-and-match according to your needs. Check out this link:

http://www.containerstore.com/search/result.htm?query=drawer+organizers&x=0&y=0

There are many sizes, colors, and styles to fit your decor and budget. I am going to show you how I have used them in my home. Our junk drawer is in thee kitchen and we keep everything from pens, markers, parking passes, batteries, gum, playing cards, etc. in this drawer. It could very easily be a mess, the organizing things makes everything easier to find and much more accessible.  Below is a photo of how I have chosen to organize our junk drawer.  You will see, it is not perfect, that is not what this is about.  It is about organizing what we have in a way that is useful for us!  Perfection is so passe!  If you spend your life striving for perfection you will never be happy.  Like I have mentioned before, I tell my students, Practice Makes Progress!  Progress to me is about bettering myself and what is around me.  We can always make progress!

You will notice that I have chosen to use some drawer organizers from The Container Store to divide the drawer up into several useful areas.  We have storage for our pens, tape, chip clips, flashlight, etc.  We have a lot of stuff in our junk drawer, but the organization makes it much easier for us to find what we need!  Now, on to the bathroom!!

We have three drawers in our bathroom.  The top drawer is for our most common items; toothpaste, floss, glasses, contact case, ring holder, etc.  Our second drawer is for all of my lotions, potions, and whatnot.  The bottom drawer is used for my hair accessories.  What I learned organizing all of this is that I own WAY TOO MANY ponytail holders!  They are officially on my list of things I am no longer allowed to buy!  I used many of the same drawer organizers that I used in the kitchen in our bathroom.  I was also able to use small squared organizers to hold my many ponytail holders!

Now if you are thinking to yourself, if Danielle has all of the drawers for herself, where does her fantastic  husband-to-be put his things?  Have no fear, we have a storage cabinet above the toilet so he has plenty of room for all of his manly grooming products.  As I now move on to cabinet storage, you will also notice it seems to be only for my stuff.  We have double sinks, so I am just showing one set of cabinets!

I am a HUGE fan of extra shelf storage.  Being able to easily grab things on two levels versus one really help when organizing.  Also, if you try to group items by use that also helps because you will always know where to look for something.  I keep my body lotions in one area, my hairspray in another, and my feminine products in another….yes I have no shame and ladies, you all know we need a place to store these things so don’t be embarrassed!  In our linen closet I have also created a shelf for medicines, sunscreens, and first-aid items.  These are also grouped by category making it easy to rummage through in the middle of the night.  We also have a lot of friends who live out-of-town, so when they come and stay with us, they can easily find what they are looking for.

Well my friends, there you have it….your task for the week!  I wish you a stress-free week and happy organizing!  As always, let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or things you would like to see tackled in a future post.

xoxo

d

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TGIAF….Thank goodness it’s ALMOST Friday!

Is it me or does this week need to be over already?  I know for most of us it was a 4 day week, but even that has not seemed to help!  I think many of us are coming down with a case of the Winter Blah’s!  I live in Chicago and I have a feeling it is hitting us so hard because we were jipped on having a real summer last year.  I keep trying to remind myself that in about 8 weeks the weather will (hopefully) start getting better!

Something that has made me feel better this week is my stretching!  I try to picture myself on a beach while stretching and pretending that I am warm.  It doesn’t really help, but at least I am trying.  For those of you who are new to the world of stretching, meditating, and yoga, I wanted to let you know that the February issue of SHAPE magazine (On newsstands now with a blonde Katherine McPhee on the cover) has a no sweat beginners guide to yoga!  I wanted to pass that info along in case you wanted to check it out!

Also, if you have an interest  in trying yoga or Pilates, put your zip code in a Goggle search engine (or whichever search engine you prefer.  I happen to believe the guys who created Goggle are absolute geniuses and I am forever grateful to them)….sorry, I digress….Put your zip code into the Goggle search bar along with “free yoga” or “free Pilates” class.  Often times these studios will offer either a free or community donation class where you can donate as much as you would like to take a class.  This is a great way to expose yourself to something new without it taking a hit on your wallet.  Just a little something you may want to look into this weekend.

I am sending you all happy and warm thoughts!  If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, just let me know!

xoxo

d

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Sunday plus one day!

I must apologize.  I know I said this blog would be updated every Sunday and here it is, Monday, and I am just posting now.  The reason I am delayed is that I had the most fabulous and busy weekend with our first wedding shower and my bachelorette party.  Having the ladies you love (and your brother) in one room makes for a fabulous time with very little sleep 🙂  So I apologize, but I am hoping that you understand.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let’s get this party started!  Here we are in week 3 already!  How is everything going for you?  I hope you are finding this helpful and maybe even fun.  I know for me, having things cleaned and organized makes me feel so much better.  I feel calm and clear-headed.  Since you have spent the past couple weeks working on getting things physically organized, I want to take this week to work on organizing our OM.  This blog will rotate with 2 weeks of physical organization followed by a week on inner organization.  Here is your OM assignment for the week:

* Keep a notepad or notebook by your bed:I have always been a very Type A personality and I would spend countless nights awake stressing over upcoming things and what I have on my plate.  My mom used to tell me to leave all my stresses on my nightstand when I went to bed and then I could pick them up in the morning if necessary.  As corny as this sounds, I will still “leave” my stresses on the nightstand before bed so I can get a good night sleep. Another way I am able to turn my mind off for the evening is by keeping a notepad on my nightstand where I can jot down things I need to remember to do the next day and other tasks I need to tackle.  This way I can relax knowing that it is all written down and I won’t forget anything when I wake up in the morning.  Having a restful sleep is so important for keeping your OM in check.

* Meditation/Stretching: If you are anything like me, the thought of sitting quietly and turning your thoughts off is nearly impossible!  But, it is important to try. I have found that the way for me to meditate and clear my head is by stretching.  This can be done at any point in the day and can also be done several times throughout the day.  It is great to stretch in the morning because it gets your blood flowing and helps you get ready to tackle the day ahead!  I often stretch with my students after lunch or if I see that they are losing focus and feeling agitated.  Taking a few moments to stretch and focus on your breathing throughout the day can help reinvigorate you and refocus your mind in order to make it through the home stretch.  My favorite time of day for my big meditation and stretching is at the end of the day as I am getting ready for bed.  Stretching before bed removes the stress and tension that has built up in my body throughout the day and while I am stretching I am able to just focus on breathing and nothing else.  So, as you see, my method of meditation may not be the most traditional, but it is what works for me.  The important thing is to find something that works for you!  Your form of meditation may be flossing your teeth (which  you should be doing everyday anyway!!), or reading a chapter of a book, or sitting quietly.

This week, not only do I want you to continue working on your task list and staying on top of your mail, I want you to focus on your OM.  This time of year can be rough for those of us who live in cold and cloudy climates.  We need to take time to check in with ourselves and make sure we are relaxing and taking care of ourselves.  Happy Monday, have a fabulous week!

xoxo

d

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

Week 2

January 10, 2010

Hello all!  I hope your first full week of 2010 was wonderful.  How was week 1 of getting organized?  Not too bad right?  I told you I would ease you into this and not overwhelm you.  Did you complete you task list for the week?  Are you gearing up for week 2 of your Sunday night relaxation ritual? It is time to get this party started so here is your first “official” Organize Your OM assignment……MAIL!

MAIL

Mail can be a wonderful thing!  It makes my day to get a new magazine or card from a friend.  But, mail can also put you in a foul mood with the amount of junk, junk, and MORE JUNK that comes in the mail.  I guarantee if you did an experiment this week you would find that the majority of the mail most of us receive in one week is junk mail.  It drives me crazy!  If you feel the same way about junk mail that I do, get excited because I am about to rock your world 🙂  YOU can put an end to your junk mail!!

Follow these simple steps to eliminate the amount of junk mail you receive at your home:

* The website, privacyrights.org has a very informative section on how to reduce your junk mail.  If you click on the following link and follow the steps listed on the page, you can significantly decrease and possibly eliminate the junk mail your receive.  http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs4-junk.htm

I am giving you this task as an assignment for this week because it can take a little while to get through all of the necessary steps.  Here are some other things to work on this week as well in regards to organizing your mail:

1. Purchase a shredder! Since the goal is to go through your mail on a daily basis, you do not need a huge shredder.  I purchased a compact model from Staples called the MAILMATE.  It works perfectly for light shredding because it’s compact and the container has an easy grip handle for emptying out the paper once you have completed your shredding.  Keep in mind, shredding a lot of material can get messy, so try and do your shredding near a garbage can.

2. Establish a mail organization system. Whether you are the type of person who likes bins, wall units, drawers, or folders, establish a system for sorting your mail into piles; bills, his/hers/ours, junk(recycle).  This way if you are too busy on a particular day to go through the mail, at least it is not piling up in a heap on the coffee table or counter.  Make sure to determine whether something can be thrown out, recycled, or needs to be shredded.

3. Think about going paperless. People can be very divided on the idea of paying bills online.  Personally, I love it.  It is quick, convenient, and there is no unnecessary paper, postage, etc. This week, look into what bills you have and which of those you can begin to pay online (if you do not already).  If you already pay your bills online, make sure you are still not receiving paper copies.  If you are worried about going paperless because you are afraid you will forget to pay the bill, NO WORRIES!  See if you can set up an automatic payment method for the bills you are paying and if that is not an option, set a reminder on your computer, phone, calendar, etc. to remind yourself of when a particular bill is due.

Well my friends, that is your new task for the week, tackle your mail!  Now remember, just because we are starting a new task this week does not mean that what we did last week is over.  This is a NEW task IN ADDITION to what you started last week.  This week you will continue with your Sunday Relaxation Ritual, you will continue to follow the task list you created last week, and you will also work on your mail task as well.  Do not let the addition of something new overwhelm you.  Remember, we are creating a new schedule that needs practice and patience.  In my professional career, I am a teacher and I tell my students that “practice makes progress!”  We are not looking to achieve perfection.  Organizing is in no way about being perfect, it is about establishing a system that provides a clean and organized atmosphere for your home and your OM!  For each of you, this system will be slightly different and that is okay!  The best thing I can ask for is that you try everything I put out there and tweak it so it fits your life and lifestyle.  I wish you a wonderful week.  As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  I will touch base with you later this week to see how things are going!

Xoxo

d

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How is your week going?

Hello friends!

Now that we have reached hump day, I wanted to check in and see how your week is going.  Did you make your task list?  Did you start a Sunday relaxation routine?  Are you loving the idea of organizing your life in 2010?!?!?  I have been a very busy girl this week.  As I mentioned in my first post, I am no expert, I learn by doing.  Well, let me tell you how much I have learned this week!  Before I “assign” a task for you to complete, I try it out myself.  This way, I am able to see what works and what needs to be tweaked.  It has been a lot of work, but the results are definitely worth it!  I wanted to share with you my task lists I created…..just so you see I REALLY AM doing this too!  In true Danielle fashion, I have a couple of task sheets; 1 is for the weekly tasks I need to complete such as laundry and dusting. The 2nd list is for the little things that come up that I need to complete such as appointments, emails to send, etc.  I also bought a fabulous hot pink planner that has a monthly and weekly planner section so I can stay organized on the go!

Here are monthly and weekly task lists!

I hope you are all having a wonderfully organized week and are trying to stay as warm as possible!  Talk to you soon!

xoxo

d

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This is just the beginning!

Week 1

January 3, 2010

I along with millions of others worldwide made resolutions to better myself in some way or another this year.  And just like millions of others worldwide, this new found resolve to better myself with last for a solid couple of weeks until life gets in the way and I get too busy to stick with my resolutions.  Does that sound familiar to you?  Well guess what, if you stick with me I guarantee we will be able to keep a resolution for an entire year!!  Does the thought of a year overwhelm you?  Try to think of it as only 52 weeks…..that better?

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Organize Your OM!  This blog will help you organize everything from your home to your OM in 2010!  What does the word OM mean you ask?  Well, OM (the O is long), represents the union of mind, body, and spirit.  Let’s be honest, sometimes we need more help organizing our own personal sanity than our storage closet and I am here to help with it all.  Am I Martha Stewart, NO WAY!  While I love me some Martha, there are very few people in this world that could live in accordance with her standards.  I like to think of myself as a sassy modern day 1950’s housewife who can bring home the bacon and fry it in a pan!  In layman’s terms, I work, cook, clean, and try to do it all without smudging my lip gloss.  This year I am going to help you do the same…..gentlemen, you can leave the lip gloss off (or keep it on if you prefer).

Here’s the deal, I am no expert.  I learn by doing.  Each year I promise myself I am going to get better organized.  By normal standards I am a very organized person (for the most part).  I am a total Type-A personality and I have no problems admitting it.  Lists, symmetry, and order are musts in my life.  But, like everyone who starts off the year with good intentions for their resolutions, I cannot seem to completely follow through with my resolution to get myself completely organized.  This is where you come in.  See, this venture of mine is quite selfish.  I know if I put this out there and ask you to do it, I cannot just talk the talk.  I must walk the walk.  Now that I have laid my plan out there for all of you to see, I am accountable for sticking to my resolution.  I invite you to take this challenge with me!

Let’s Organize Our OM together!!  I promise it won’t hurt and it is going to be so much easier than you think.  The problem with keeping most resolutions is that we aim too high too soon.  Is it bad to make big goals, no way! The problem is that they often become so overwhelming to maintain that we give up.  I say NO MORE!  We are going to stick this out together.  I have broken Organize Your OM in 52 weeks of tasks….I will not be using the words ”chores” or “homework” in this blog because those are often seen as ugly words.  I am going to set some task goals for each week and you will have the entire week to finish the task.  See, one task in 7 days, not so shabby right?  I am going to start small and work my way up.  Like I said, resolutions often get thrown by the wayside because they are too overwhelming, not this time!  This week is going to have a few small tasks I need you to complete as we get ready to delve into our first project next week.  Here is what I want you to do this week…..

Home: Create a weekly  task list.  Basically it is a chore list, but since I have designated the word chore as ugly, I am referring to it as a task list.  I am sure some of you are thinking this is very juvenile, but one of the ways to ensure complete organization is establishing a routine.  Cleaning and organizing should not feel like work, it should just be part of your daily routine.  The more you stick to a routine, the fewer tasks you will seem to have because you are staying on top of things.  This is why I need you to create a weekly schedule.  Whether you purchase a planner, calendar, or print something off your computer (you can access free downloadable templates at http://www.pdfcalendar.com/monthly/), get  something to write your schedule down on.  What should you include on your task list?  It is up to you, but here are some suggestions:

*Laundry Schedule: Schedule you clothes for once or twice a week depending on how many people you do laundry for.  Also schedule time for your sheets, towels, etc.

* Bathroom cleaning schedule

*Vacuuming, dusting, floor washing, etc. schedule

*Grocery list/ meal planning:  Having a meal plan for the week will make shopping much smoother and will lessen the potential for unnecessary items to end up in your cart.

*Bills: Whether you send in checks, pay online, or have automatic bill pay, make sure you schedule that into your task list to ensure all of your bills are paid on time.

*Exercise: This blog is not only about organizing your home, we must not forget about our OM!  If we are out of whack, none of this other stuff will get done.  It might sound silly, but unless you already have a designated time to go to the gym 3-5 days a week, you MUST schedule it in.  This will be a major challenge for me because when it comes to working out I always find a reason to be too busy to schedule in a workout time.  Not anymore.  I also have a wedding to be ready for in 2 ½ months so it is crunch time….ha, get it “crunch” time.  Ok, I promise to try and leave the corny jokes to a minimum.

For some of you simply writing in the tasks you need to complete on a certain day will be enough.  For others, I would recommend that you also include a time to accomplish these tasks.  Once you get used to a schedule, then you can be more flexible with the time.

I would like you to try and get this task list completed today, Sunday.  My tasks for the week will always be posted on Sunday to give you the whole week to work on them.  I will then follow-up throughout the week with any questions, comments, concerns, and updates on our progress.  This week, I am going to ease you into everything.  Remember, I said I am going to start small and work our way up.  I want you to create your task list and STICK TO IT this week!

OM: Like I have mentioned a few times now, taking care of yourself is just as important (if not even more important) than taking care of the space around you.  For your OM task this week, I want you to create a Sunday night ritual.  I know I used to get the “Sunday Blues” a lot.  It is very common.  You have a great weekend filled with friends and family and then comes Sunday; the day your try to get all of the cleaning done and prepare for the week ahead.  This can stress many people out as they begin to think of all of the work they have to do, errand  to run, meetings to attend, etc.  The work week hasn’t even started and you are already stressed out….and that is where the Sunday Blues come in.  I say NO MORE!  I want you to establish a Sunday night ritual.  I want you to do whatever makes you calm and happy.  For some it might be downloading new music, reading a book, going to a movie, or surfing the web.  For me, I have a home spa night.  I take a night hot shower or bath, give myself a facial, deep condition my hair, do my nails, all sorts of girly things.  This is what is relaxing to me.  I feel refreshed and ready to take on whatever the week may bring.  I also try to get to bed early on Sunday’s to give myself some extra time to read a book or magazine.  I want you to establish something on Sunday nights that makes you happy, feel refreshed, and ready to tackle the week ahead.

See, does that sound so bad?  I think not!  I am so excited to start this journey with all of you.  If you have any ideas or questions about things you would like to see featured in this blog about organizing your home and your OM, let me know.  We are in this together!  I wish you a Happy New Year and good luck this week!

Xoxo

d

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