On Your Hands and Knees!

Sunday April 11, 2010

Week 12

Hello friends!  How was your closet organizing this week?  I am going to be honest, I am not quite done.  This past week I was completing a teaching assignment and just had a lot going on.  While I am not done, I am not stopping by any means.  Unfortunately I have gotten sick and am down for the count….fever, chills…yuck!  I am hoping to get everything taken care of this week.  I will also get this week’s assignment done as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to get down and dirty this week…..CLEANING!  I have to be honest, we have wood floors on the main level of our house and I know that wood floors are highly coveted, but I think they are quite overrated.  I can never seem to keep them clean.  In addition to that, I feel that our base  boards around the floors can never stay clean enough either….maybe it has something to do with them being white.

I also think a lot of the residual mess has to do with the fact that Jeremy had rented out our place for 3 years before we moved in.  Sadly, renters don’t normally think to clean the base boards.  This week my friends, we are going to pay attention to our often neglected base boards in the house!  First, take your vacuum your base boards.  Next, you will have to get down on your hands and knees!! Take a wet wipe to wipe down any loose dirt, dust, and grime that the vacuum did not pick up.  If you have any trouble spots that need tougher cleaning, I SWEAR BY the power of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  A quick word of warning is that it is made of a stripping material so please be careful when using it on colored/painted surfaces, etc.  Being that our cabinets and  base boards are white, we have no problems using the Magic Eraser.

Having clean  base boards really brightens up your floors!  After you have thoroughly cleaned your base boards, remember to vacuum them when you vacuum your floor to maintain their cleanliness.

By the end of the week, I will have posted closet pictures.  Now it is time for fluids, Advil, and rest!  Happy Sunday my friends.  Remember to take some time for yourself tonight! 





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Spring Cleaning!

Week 11 (technically 13)

April 4, 2010

Happy Easter my friends.  Whether you celebrated or relaxed today, I hope you all enjoyed this spring day!  My friends, it is time, the time I have eagerly been waiting for…SPRING CLEANING!!  Don’t worry, while I am uber excited about this, I am not going to go crazy in the first week.  We have a big project this week, but trust me, you will feel AMAZING when it is done.

Your mission should you choose to accept it (which I expect you to accept!!) is……CLEAN YOUR CLOSET!!

I am not just talking about straightening out, I mean an all out clean-fest!  Here is what I want you to do.

1.  Take a good look at your closet.  Is it organized in a way that is useful to you?  Do you spend time every morning searching through it for something to wear but cannot find anything?  Do you realize you have items in your closet that you never use and realize may never come back in style?  First item of business is to take a quick inventory before the cleaning begins.

2. Create three sections.  To begin cleaning, I need your to create three areas for sorting:  1.  A KEEP IT section.  These are the items you cannot part with and that you must have.  2. A KISS IT goodbye pile.  As difficult as this may be, I would like you part with the things that are just taking up space in your closet.  I want you to go through clothes, accessories, bags, shoes, etc.  I guarantee there are plenty of things that you may want to KISS goodbye.                         3.  KINDNESS to others.  I have no doubt that you have some great items in your closet that you just don’t wear or use anymore.  You know it is time to part with them, but the items are too good to go in the KISS IT pile.  This is where the KINDNESS pile comes in handy.  There are so many people in this world, especially in this financially difficult time, who could use some of the things we no longer need.  I want you to put at least 5 items in your KINDNESS pile…..honestly, I would love for you to do 10, but I think 5 is a good starting point.

3.  Commence CLEANING!!  Using your 3 piles; KEEP IT, KISS IT, and KINDNESS begin cleaning out your closet.

**Be forewarned, this could take awhile.  I want you to really think about the items you need and the ones you can part with.  This is amazing way to welcome in a new season.  A fresh start!!!!

4.  Once you have created your three piles, make sure to look up a local charity in the area where you can take your KINDNESS pile.  Look back to the websites I provided you with two weeks ago for some inspiration. 

5.  Reorganization.  Having a clean closet can really be an OM experience.  I may take my closet organizing to a level above most people, but the most important thing to do is find a system that works for YOU.  Here are some of my favorite closet organizing tips that I want to pass on to you.

  * Organize by style and color –  Some people choose one or the other, but I organize my closet by both.  I will post pictures when I finish my organizing, but you will see that my hanging clothes begin with my short sleeved items by color (beginning with white/cream and then proceeding with the colors in order of the rainbow ending with gray, brown, and then black)….Trust me, I know I may sound super OCD, but I find it helpful.  All I ask is that you don’t judge until your try it!  After my short-sleeved items come my short-sleeved turtle necks, them my long-sleeved items (You will see I own more cardigans than anyone should……I can’t help it, I LOVE me a cardi!!).  After my long-sleeved items, I have my long-sleeved turtle neck items, and then my collared shirts.   On my shelves I have my t-shirts, workout items, sweats, shorts, dress pants, etc.  Again these are organized by color.

*  Keep the items you use most often at eye level so they are easily accessible. 

* I read about a trick to use to make sure you are wearing the items in your closet.  Normally, when we hang up our clothes, the hanger hook faces the back of the closet (makes sense since that it is the easy way to hang it).  When you go to reorganize your closet, I want you to hang everything backwards so the hanger hook faces you.  Yes, it may initially be awkward to hang, but as soon as you wear that item, you can hang it back up the “correct” way.  At the end of 6 months or a particular weather season, I want you to look at the closet and see which items you have worn and the ones that are still hanging backwards in your closet…..can you KISS IT or put it in the KINDNESS pile?

Whew!!  I know I have given you a hefty task for the week, but TRUST ME, it will feel so good when you finish!  I will touch base with you all soon!!  Happy organizing!!



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Let’s Do This!

Week 10

March 28, 2010

You had a week off courtesy of my honeymoon, but get ready because I am back and ready to get this party started.  First, I must get something off my chest.  When we got home from our fabulous honeymoon, we left a land of calm and tranquility to return to our disaster of a home.  My goal was to have the house all cleaned and organized before we left for our honeymoon and needless to say, I slipped and it was a mess.  One thing I keep reminding you all of is to take one project at a time so things do not seem to be overwhelming…..wlle I was WAY overwhelmed by our mess this weekend.  I actually avoided everything yesterday, but I woke up early this morning with the mess on my mind.  I decided to follow my own advice and just focus on one thing at a time.  I tidied up the kitchen first, cleaned the basement, then began to tackle our living room.  I vaccumed all the furniture, floors, dusted, broke down boxes, and loaded up the car with boxes of items to donate.  I still have a lot to accomplish this week, but I have to tell you that I feel so much better than I did this morning!

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, let’s get down to business!  This week is an OM week.  We are going to work on taking care of ourselves.  To accomplish this task, we are going to turn it ALL off 30 minutes before bedtime.  To achieve this decompression time, I want you to turn off the tv, your cell phone, your computer, anything technologically stimulating 30 minutes before bedtime.  That means NO email, NO facebook, No blogs, No crime tv shows (this one really pertains to me because I am notorious for watching these shows right before I go to sleep and then I have nightmare).  Turning it all off will allow for our minds to quiet down and get our bodies ready for a peaceful transition to sleep.  During this time do something that is relaxing for you, read a book, do the crossword puzzle, write in a journal, meditate, get things ready for the next day, etc.  It is a time to turn off all that stimulates our minds and get ready to relax for the night!  Enjoy this week of relaxation because Spring Cleaning begins next Sunday!! 




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New Beginnings and Spring Anticipation!

*** I was so proud of writing this even after our crazy wedding weekend…..so excited that I forgot to post it and only saved it as a draft!  Better late than never!!

Hello friends!  Thank you for being so patient with me!  I know I did not post last week, but I GOT MARRIED!  We were a little busy last week.  I do apologize .  But, we are back in business and with spring just around the corner, it is time to get ready for some SERIOUS Spring cleaning!

March 15, 2010

Week 9 (technically 10)

Spring is in the air!  While I have no doubt us Chicagoans are in for another snowstorm, I am going to start prepping for spring.  This week, I want you to do the same.  While it may too early to bust out the flip-flops and shorts, we could start getting some things done.  I am hoping that we can pack away our heaviest coats, so get them ready this week for the dry cleaners.  These coats have been through a lot this winter, so don’t pack them away with all the salt, slush, and snow crusted on them.  While you are taking your heaviest winter coats to the cleaners, also take out your spring coats to the cleaners.  This way, when the weather does warm up, you will have your coats cleaned, pressed, and ready to go!  As your go through your winter and spring coats, take some time to think about donating your gently used coats to an organization such as…..

Good Will:  http://www.goodwill.org/

The Salvation Army:  http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf

Your Local Homeless Shelter:  Illinois homeless shelters — http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/illinois.html

If you have dress coats that do not fit or your do not wear, think about donating them to an organization that helps men and women get jobs.


Dress for Success:  http://www.dressforsuccess.org/ 



Please think about donating to these organizations or any organization in your area as your clean out your coat clutter!



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15 Minute Rule!!

February 28, 2010

Week 8

Hello friends!  We are two months into Organizing our OM’s!!!  We have some big projects coming up in March and I cannot wait to get to them.  Before I get too ahead of myself, let’s focus on our OM this week.  This week I am instituting the 15 minute rule!  Is this some sort of adult time-out?  No way!  The 15 minute rule is going to help us abide by the saying, “Do not put off until tomorrow what you can get done today.”

How many times have you said to yourself, “I will just finish that up tomorrow.” or “I’ll get to it later.”  I am guilty of doing it several times a day and I am really trying to end that and finish up things and prep for other things when I can.  A way I have been working on this is with the “15 Minute Rule.”  The 15 Minute Rule can be used at any time and multiple times throughout the day if needed.  Jeremy and I have been using the 15 Minute Rule after dinner.  We are notorious for chilling on the couch after dinner instead of cleaning up and putting things away.  Somehow it never fails that food we were going to save and put away “later” gets left on the counter or stove until the next day.  It is frustrating and a waste of money!  In order to end this, we started the 15 Minute Rule.  After dinner, we spend 15 minutes cleaning and putting stuff away.  It is also a great time for me to get my lunch ready for the following day, fill the coffee maker, etc.  The 15 Minute Rule can do wonders!  It is amazing how simply taking 15 minutes to do some things around the house can help things look clean and help you gain some mental clarity and calm.

We use the 15 Minute Rule to go through bills, fold laundry, tidy up, etc.  It is amazing what you can get done in 15 minutes!  It has helped us so much and I hope it helps you!  My task for you this week is to initiate the 15 Minute Rule at least once a day for this week.  Keep track of how much you get done and how great you feel!

Have a wonderful week!




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Roll With It Baby!

February 21, 2010

Week 7

I am channeling my inner Steve Winwood and telling you all to “roll with it baby!” This has 2 meanings…..one, I realized that it is Wednesday evening and I have yet to write my organizing blog for the week!  Instead of stressing out about it, I am just rolling with it and writing now.  I am pretty sure you will understand.  I am 2 1/2 weeks away from getting married and we have been working on preparing all the little details that will make our day fabulous!  Meaning #2….we are going to “roll” those kitchen drawers out this week and get them organized.

Organizing is not only about making things look neat, it is also about taking the time to assess and clear out the clutter.  When I reorganized our kitchen drawers, I was able to put a whole box together for donation.  I mean, who really needs 4 spatulas?  Less is more my friends!  Unless you really need it or use it often, find it a better home :o)

When organizing your drawers make things as easily accessible as possible.  Again, storage/organizing containers from Wal-Mart, The Container Store, or Target work great for drawer organization.  If things have a designated place, you will be able to see them better and make them more efficient.

When organizing your drawers, think about grouping them by category.  We keep our stored cooking utensils in the top drawer for easy access while cooking, our measuring cups and bowls (mini bowls) in the same drawer for easy access, and in our bottom drawer we keep lots of our serving and bbq items.

Remember, organize your drawers according to your needs!!  Take time to assess what you need and what you can throw away or donate.  Spring is just around the corner and I cannot wait to do some serious spring cleaning with you guys!!



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New Stuff=Organizing Opportunities!

February 14, 2010

Week 7

Hello friends!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope you are recognizing those you love and the special people in your life in a special way today.  I have spent mine helping my hubby-to-be nurse his hangover/lack of sleep from his bachelor party last night….so romantic!  Actually, we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.  I feel like it is more of a stress than an enjoyment.  I feel the same way about NYE.  All the hype and often a let down.  I have watched so many friends stress out about who they are going to spend these holidays with and what they are going to go.  I will tell you a little secret…..these days are just like every other day, you are just charged a lot more for things like flowers, candy, dinner, and alcohol.  There is so much hype and expectation that surrounds these dates that I have seen too many people in tears by the end because things did not pan out like they hoped.  On these kind of holidays I think it is most important that we take time to let the important people in our lives know how special they are to us!  Enough of my sappy soap box diatribe!

So as many of you know, my work on my OM did not goes as planned last week as I spent much of it down for the count and hurt.  Who knew something that looks so pretty and fluffy could hurt me so much.  I guess that is why there are terms for different types of snowfalls, “heart attack snow, widow maker snow, etc.”  Not so pretty now, huh?  Anyways, I am thrilled to say that I am BACK and ready to rumble….no, I will not be wrestling, but I would love to think of a catchy wrestling name for myself.  It would have to involve something with my elbows since they are seriously dangerous weapons…hmmm, I will have to think about this.

I digress though.  It is back to ORGANIZING this week people!  I had lots of downtime last week so I have been thinking of all sorts of nifty things we can over the next several weeks.  I am really itching to do some serious spring cleaning, but since we just got a foot of snow this week, I think that will have to wait until spring officially arrives.  Have no fear, I have plenty of fun in store for us until then.  This week we are going to tackle the kitchen!!  I love my kitchen, not only because we got fabulous new stainless steel appliances (which are so lovely and pain to clean btw), but because I LOVE to eat!  How did your work on your fridge go?  Are you finding it easier to manage what you have and what you need my arranging your items by category?  I hope so!  This week we are going to build off of that theme and tackle our cabinets!

The inspiration for this week came to me after I completely rearranged our cabinets to get rid of old stuff and make space for our fabulous new dishes, serving items, etc. that Jeremy and I have received at our showers so far.  I am IN LOVE with our new stuff.  We love entertaining and having people over and I am so happy to have the necessary items needed for hosting a simple bbq or a fabulous soiree!  Once the weather warms up, I cannot wait to have a bbq on our rooftop deck!  As I began cleaning out our cabinets that held our dishes, I decided why stop there when I can go through all of our cabinets and do some much needed organizing.  Jeremy and I moved into our townhouse this past July.  When you first move in somewhere new it can initially be difficult to decide where you want to keep everything so you just start putting stuff in places to get it out of the boxes.  As we spent more time in our home and lots of time in the kitchen, we have realized that our initial set-up may not have been the most functional for our cooking/baking needs in the kitchen.

When Jeremy and I first moved in together last winter it took awhile to get into a groove of figuring out how we each operated and what we needed to do to live in harmony….the answer, knowing I am always right!  Ha, I am kidding.  I would love to think that, but Jeremy will quickly point out that is not true in any way, shape, or form.  It quickly became evident that we operated very differently in the kitchen.  There was NO organization whatsoever in Jeremy’s kitchen.  I am not exaggerating.  I found an Iron Man DVD in the same cabinet as Crisco….what?!?!  I believe that everything in a kitchen (or any room for that matter) has its place.  I do not like clutter…shocking, I know!  I had a really difficult time understanding why Jeremy had to keep every appliance he owned on the small amount of counter space there was.  He said it was because a kitchen is supposed to be functional and by having his appliances out, they were ready to be used when needed.  I too believe a kitchen should be functional, but the Kitchen Aide mixer that gets used a couple times a month does not need to be out all the time.  So when we moved into our townhouse in July it gave up the opportunity to reorganize things.

As I mentioned before, I hate when kitchen counters are covered in appliances and clutter.  Aside from our toaster and coffee maker, there are no appliances we use on a daily basis and therefore should be put away.  For awhile Jeremy was on a morning smoothie kick so he kept the blender on the counter (as much as I hated it)….remember, relationships are about compromise)).  When the kick wore off, the blender went away.  Now that we are one month away from getting married, we are getting all sorts of fantastic new stuff and we are so excited to use it.  We have lived in our home long enough to know how we need our kitchen set-up in order to be functional and clutter free!  Everyone is going to organize their kitchens differently, but I think it is important to keep some things in mind when organizing:

* Like Jeremy’s says, kitchen are meant to be functional.  Your set-up should reflect a way that enables you to use your kitchen in an effective manner.

* Try to group like items together in cabinets or drawers and according to their appropriate need in the kitchen.  You don’t want to keep all of your stove top cooking items across the way from the stove, keep them in close proximity so they are easy to grab while cooking.

*Keep items you use most frequently in the front of cabinets and at a reachable height.  If you use a certain bowl all the time, it makes no sense to put it on the top shelf where you have to climb on a chair to get it each time.

*Keep your cooking utensils in a container or a drawer for easy access.  All of our spatulas, spoons, and other cooking utensils are in a stainless steel container next to the stove.  As much as I hate clutter, these are necessary to keep out in order to prevent my dinners from burning while I fetch them out of a drawer.

*If you live alone, you are able to set-up your kitchen however you want!  If you have a roommate, significant other, or spouse, involve them in the set-up process.  If you do more of the baking and your partner does the cooking, talk about the ways to organize the cabinets and drawers to best suit both of your needs.  If you do the eating and your partner does the cooking, let them have the majority of the say in how things are to be arranged.  You don’t want to go hungry because they can’t find anything.

*Try and organize by category.  Just like the fridge, I find that having a system for organizing your cabinets really helps in finding things you need to use to cook, seeing what you have so you don’t waste money, and using what is available so it does not spoil.  We have a set of our cabinets dedicated to our daily cooking needs; cereals, making lunches, rice and pastas for dinner, snacks for entertaining, etc.  We also have a cabinet for all of our baking supplies; flours, sugars, powders, Crisco, baking pans, etc.  Not only does it keep things organized, but it saves us time.  We don’t spend so much time looking for certain ingredients while we are cooking, we know exactly where everything is.  It also helps with clean-up because you know everything has its own space to be put away.

This week’s task provides a great opportunity to do inventory to see what you have, what you need, and what you should get rid of (AKA donate).  We were able to box up 2 large boxes of dishes and 3 separate boxes of various utensils and kitchen items that we no longer needed, used, or had been replaced by new stuff we received.  It was quite a process, but a very satisfying one!

Tonight, start with a task list.  Write down what areas you are going to tackle and when this week.  Don’t try and do everything in one night.  Remember, the key to sticking with this is taking it one step at a time.  Do not overwhelm yourself.  This will take some work, but you will feel great when you finish!!

I will be checking in each day and posting photos of how we reorganized our kitchen!  Think of it as practice for spring cleaning!  Happy Valentine’s Day my friends.  You make my heart smile  just by reading this blog! (This is where Jeremy laughs at me and rolls his eyes!)




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