Taming The Trash With Organization: Cleaning out the teenagers’ closet

Getting rid of clutter and getting organized is an ongoing project around here, but my goal for the summer was to touch every part of the house and add the no longer wanted or used items to the yard sale pile.  The laundry room has been done.  That leaves quite a bit of the house left to go through, but yesterday I got with my oldest daughter and we cleaned out her closet and had a large stack of clothes for our yard sale.

This weekend I plan on working on the kitchen.  I know there are many things in some of my cabinets that I no longer need or want.  I also want to wipe the insides of the cabinets out and move some things.  I have been putting this project off for some time, but I am going to work on it a little at a time over the weekend.

I also plan on making a list or getting the pictures together that need frames.  I have quite a few pictures I want to hang, but I am in need of some frames.  Hope to show you how my picture hanging project is coming along next week.

How are you doing with organization and clearing clutter?  Have any ideas or suggestions?  Have you had a yard sale yet this year?  How did you do?  

 Making a habit out of living frugal …..

Taming The Trash With Organization: An Ongoing Project

Next week I will introduce project area 2 – my kitchen.  For now though you will have to take a look at a project that will be ongoing.  It is somewhat embarrassing ….. okay a lot embarrassing.

These two items are the only things on the walls in my bedroom ….. and they just got there in the past week or so.  Oh, it get’s worse.  My whole house is lacking wall decorations.

I’m not a big decoration person, but I do love some decorations and lots of pictures of family.  Since painting our living room a couple years ….. or more ago, I never got the pictures back up.  Since adding on our master bedroom, I have had bare walls …..

I do have good intentions.  Can’t you tell by the pictures leaned against the wall?

Now to my solution.  I’m trying to hang at least one item during the week.  I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s got to be better than what I had.  Small steps lead to change.  This is true in any part of our life.  One step at a time…..

Do you have a project you need to get at?  What helps motivate you?  

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

 

I have posted these notes and pointers before, but thought it’s great for my readers and myself to be reminded of some of these things as we tackle organization.

Organization Notes and Pointers

  • Develop a system that will work for you and that you will use.  If it doesn’t fit for you, you will not be motivated to use it.
  • A disorganized person can lose an hour a day looking for things they have but cannot find.
  • Chaos and clutter affect our moods.  If you wake up to order, you will have a more successful day.
  • Disorganization costs us by buying duplicate items, late fees, fees for missed appointments, and time.
  • Organization benefits us by saving us time, money and the peace of mind it gives us.  Don’t you just feel good when an organization project is complete?
  • Organization doesn’t have to cost money.  Use what you have; shoe boxes, stationary boxes, gift boxes, cereal boxes (make great magazine holders), box for one thing, lid for another and clean metal and plastic containers from food.
  • Label boxes and storage containers so you know what is in them.
  • To help brighten closets use paint and lights.  It will change the feel of the area for little investment.
  • In coat closets use containers for items like sports equipment and winter accessories.  Shoe racks are the best way to organize shoes.
  • Organize your desk quickly.  Keep things put up in the place they go on or in the desk.
  • Sort all mail right away and file it in in it’s proper place.
  • Put clothes away as you take them off or at least by the end of the day.
  • Keep school items in a place by the door for easy access in the morning before you leave.
  • Look at your next couple of days worth of plans the night before.  This way you will know what you have to do, who has to be where etc.  There will be less surprises. Hey, we are dealing with kids ….. there is always some surprise!
  • Make a list of accomplishments for your next day.  I love an index card for this purpose.
  • Always remember that little things on a regular basis are much easier on us than the whole pile later.

Taming The Trash With Organization: Project Area 1 and My Project For The Week

I just realized that I had never shown you the after pictures from Project Area 1 – The Laundry Room.  Since it has been a while, here are the before pictures:

Now for the after pictures:

I went through all the stuff from our camper and put it where it needed to go.  Most of it went into my yard sale pile, along with many other items from the laundry room.

Some of the things on the shelf are projects that are waiting to be tackled.  Hopefully I will get to them in the next couple of months.

I made a list in my notebook of things that needed to be done; paint, door or something to cover water heater area, new blinds (these are broken), paint the door, and new tile.

My Project For The Week

This weekend we are having a small get together for Madeleine’s graduation and I wanted the back yard to look nice.  This project has been on my list for some time, but I decided at the beginning of the week that it would be done this week.  I finally finished it up Thursday night.  I spent about an hour a day on it.  I find it’s easier to devote a little time each day to projects than try to get it all done at once.  If I spend all day on one project, the laundry, dishes and everything else piles up, which adds stress to my life.

I knew this project would take lots of elbow grease and a few days of work ….. and it did.  Did I mention that my back is a little sore too?

Well hold on for the shock …..

The before pictures of my flower garden:

Yes, I know it’s pretty bad.  But not anymore.

Now for the after:

I kept it frugal and spent $36.58 on these plants.  There is a hosta you can’t see behind the ac unit.  The large ones are perennials and I filled in around them with some pretty annuals.  I will try to hit the mark down shelves from here on out to fill in a little more if necessary.  Otherwise I can add more next year.

My dear husband had a day off work and he so graciously put up our fence to keep the chickens away from my garden.  I love for my chickens to wander during the day, but not near my garden.

Now to add a little humor to this post…..

Apparently the goat didn’t like me being in his fence or he was mad I let the dog out, but not him.  He kept ramming my lawnmower!

Did you get any organization done this week?  What project will you be working on next?  

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

Taming the Trash With Organization: Some Notes and Project Area 1

This week in the organization series I have some notes and pointers on organization and I am going to introduce you to Project Area 1.  You will get a look at my Project Area for the week, where you will see that I don’t have it all together ….. (had you fooled didn’t I) ….. and like everyone, I have my own areas I struggle with on a regular basis.

Organization Notes and Pointers

  • Develop a system that will work for you and that you will use.  If it doesn’t fit for you, you will not be motivated to use it.
  • A disorganized person can lose an hour a day looking for things they have but cannot find.
  • Chaos and clutter affect our moods.  If you wake up to order, you will have a more successful day.
  • Disorganization costs us by buying duplicate items, late fees, fees for missed appointments, and time.
  • Organization benefits us by saving us time, money and the peace of mind it gives us.  Don’t you just feel good when an organization project is complete?
  • Organization doesn’t have to cost money.  Use what you have; shoe boxes, stationary boxes, gift boxes, cereal boxes (make great magazine holders), box for one thing, lid for another and clean metal and plastic containers from food.
  • Label boxes and storage containers so you know what is in them.
  • To help brighten closets use paint and lights.  It will change the feel of the area for little investment.
  • In coat closets use containers for items like sports equipment and winter accessories.  Shoe racks are the best way to organize shoes.
  • Organize your desk quickly.  Keep things put up in the place they go on or in the desk.
  • Sort all mail right away and file it in in it’s proper place.
  • Put clothes away as you take them off or at least by the end of the day.
  • Keep school items in a place by the door for easy access in the morning before you leave.
  • Look at your next couple of days worth of plans the night before.  This way you will know what you have to do, who has to be where etc.  There will be less surprises. Hey, we are dealing with kids ….. there is always some surprise!
  • Make a list of accomplishments for your next day.  I love an index card for this purpose.
  • Always remember that little things on a regular basis are much easier on us than the whole pile later.

Project Area 1:  The Laundry Room

I’m showing the prettier picture first.  Then I will shock you with the rest.  It’s bad, really bad.

I have an excuse for this mess …..

There’s quite a bit of laundry after our trip out of town …..

and I had to empty many items from our camper we are selling.  The piles here are things I need to go through.  Most of the stuff was extra cooking items etc, so it went out to my yard sale pile.

This shelf ….. well there’s no excuse.  It’s the catch all of stuff to deal with later.  Yes, I have gotta work on that one :-)

I’m hoping to have our yard sale in a month or so.  That means it is time to get down to the clutter in my project areas.  I’m on a rampage to get rid of anything that doesn’t get used. It’s time to pare down.  Stuff just gets in the way.  If I don’t use it, I don’t need it.

I’m going to spend 30 minutes a day until this room is complete.  I have found that I just don’t have the time to tackle a whole room in one day.  It’s much easier to do a little bit here and there until it’s done.  Because life still awaits, laundry has to be done and food needs to be cooked and oh yeah ….. kids gotta have school.  Now it won’t be a fabulous transformation as the room needs a coat of a color paint and a door over the water heater, but it will be more organized.  I will share the after pictures in next week’s organization post.

What project area(s) do you need to work on?  Have and ideas or suggestions?  Have an idea for my water heater door?  I was thinking old shutter, but they tend to run high sometimes.  

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

 

Taming the Trash With Organization: Part 6 – Mail and Email

This week in our organization series we are going to talk about clearing the clutter of mail and email.  The best thing to do with mail is deal with it right away.  Open each piece and place it in its proper spot.  If it is a bill, put it with your bill binder, recording it’s amount on your budget sheet.  Junk mail should be trashed or shredded, whichever method you use, right away.  Many people keep the envelopes for note or to re use.  Just make sure you mark out other names etc and know it is against the law to use a prepaid envelope to mail something other than it was intended to be used for.  If you have papers or something that need to be dealt with soon, you can place these at the front of your household binder.

Dealing with hundreds of emails in your email can be very time consuming.  Learn how to find the unsubscribe option at the bottom of the emails.  I do this on a routine basis to clear unwanted junk email.  Do you really need to know every tome a certain store is having a sale?  If you are trying to follow a budget, this is a big budget buster waiting to happen. You will look for sales and coupons when you are in need of something, otherwise you don’t need it.

Staying on top of mail and email clutter will really make life easier, less cluttered and less stressed.

Come back next week for more in the organization series.

 

Taming the Trash With Organization: Part 5 – Important Papers

Now that you have your bills organized in one place, you need to get the rest of the important papers organized.  It doesn’t matter what you use or what it looks like, but the container you choose to organize the important papers needs to be large enough to hold file folders.

This is what I use:

The inside looks like:

It’s nothing fancy or beautiful.  It holds all different important papers and in the back I have instruction manuals and warranty information for household/yard items we currently own.  I also keep copies of our past tax returns in the back.

To get started grab all you important papers and sit on the floor with them.  Separate them into piles according to their topic.  This will help you figure out how to label your folders. Make your folder labeling understandable to you.  What one person labels with may not help you find your things.  I put my piles of paper in order of most used to least used and most bulky.  I then filed the most used stuff towards the front of my storage and the bulky and least used stuff towards the back.

You may want to consider a fire proof safe or safe deposit box at a bank for very important papers and items.  A safe can be a bit pricey, so it is something you should add to your list of things you need/want, and work it in when you have room in your budget.

Now that you have calendars, bills and important papers organized, you should be ready to start working on a budget.  Yes, I am using the word everyone but numbers nerds dislikes. I saw you cringe…..  A budget really doesn’t have to be that bad.  It’s what you make of it, just like anything else.  We will take it one step at a time just like organization.

Next week in the Taming the Trash With Organization Series we will begin talking about Clearing Clutter.

How do you organize your important papers?  Have any questions or suggestions?

Making a habit out of living frugal …..

 

 

Taming the Trash with Organization: Part 4 – Organizing the Bills

Organizing the bills could very well be the most important part of starting or maintaining a budget.  Without a simple organized system you may lose a bill, forget to pay bill or even suffer a late fee for paying a bill late.  Organizing your bills does not have to be complicated, a simple easy to use system will give you great benefits.

I use a binder to organize my bills.  Can you tell I like binders?  They are great at holding the things I need in an organized fashion.  I use binders for my household notebook, recipes, blog and bills.

My bills binder holds the bills to be paid in the front pocket.  I then use clear page protectors for the rest of the binder.  You could also use tabbed dividers with pockets too.  I did not have any at the time and keep forgetting to get a couple to hold some important papers.

The first page of my binder is what bills will be paid each week.  If you are just starting a budget, you may not have this done yet.  We will go over setting up a budget in a new series to start soon on budgeting.  Right now the purpose is to get all your bills together, and in one place.

I use a standard sheet that lists my bills that happen every month and divide them up by what week they get paid.  I do the same thing every month, so I just make multiple copies and use one each month to mark off etc.  I add any one time bills, or non-monthly bills in where there is room in the budget.  Some people find that using calendar pages and filling in which bills will be paid on what days works for them too.  Find something that will work for you.  If color will get you a bit more excited about the process of bill paying, use some pretty fonts and colors.

The second page of my binder is my financial goals.  This is where I keep the list of our financial goals.  Keeping it close helps to remind me what is next after accomplishing goals on the list.  I update the list as needed.

The next pages include things like my insurance policies for quick reference, my spending worksheets (more to come on that soon), and any other papers I might need to refer to during bill paying.

As you use your binder you will be able to figure out what works for you and make it more personal to you.  Not everyone uses the same methods, the point is to get things organized and save time when it comes to bill paying.

Be sure to join me next week as I start a series about Creating a Budget.  I will go over ideas for starting and maintaining a budget, and how to make it work.

How do you organize your bills?  What has worked for you and what hasn’t?

***Please remember I am not a financial expert or professional.  I post about what has worked for me and what I have learned from research and helping others.  I cannot be held responsible for any ideas expressed here.  You are to plan, read, follow at your own risk. For more read my disclosure/privacy policy.

Making a habit out of living frugal …..