Monday, September 14, 2009

Toy Closet Re-do, Check this out!

Four months ago I declared that my children's toy closet was a diseaster. It was so un-organized when I first posted the picture back in April that I had physical reaction to the mess. It got worse, if you can imagine such a thing. It was so bad, that we couldn't close the door anymore and when the kids went in there to get something, I stopped what I was doing to listen for the crash and the dreaded "MOM!" To avoid further injury, I decided to clean that death-trap of a closet out.


When completed, we had 2 tall kitchen bags of garbage and 4 boxes of toys that we are going to put in a garage sale this weekend. Because garage sales occur so flippin' early, I am not a fan of getting up early on the weekends I don't "do" garage sales, I "do" Craig's List instead or make donations! I am curious to see what kind of turn out we have because I promised the kids NEW toys with some of the money we make. Bribery does work when organizing a toy closet with your kids. Once they knew they could buy MORE toys, they allowed me to put a lot more stuff aside for the garage sale! Of course with visions of new Transformers and American Girl Doll clothes dancing around in their heads!


Let me know of your organizing celebrations or obstacles. I have heard from many of you on how much you like this blog, so I thank all for reading!

Let me know which posts have inspired you to organize a space, I love to hear your stories! email me now

Tip of the Week:

Remember that organizing doesn't have to be painful or expensive, you may even make a few bucks on the deal if you decide to have a garage sale after you declutter!

.... Life is Simply Amazing with a little Organizing!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

You would like to get organized, but where on earth do you start?

That is a GREAT question and there are really a handful of answers to consider. You could start with the area that drives you the craziest, for example, start with the kitchen cabinet that you have to slowly open so nothing falls on your head. You know the one you shut quickly to stuff everything back in? You could also start with the most used space, such as your “command center” in your kitchen because this is what everyone will see once entering your house. Or, you could tackle the smallest space first (linen closet perhaps?) or start with one draw in your dresser and see how that feels. If it feels good, do another drawer and then another. If you hate it and find it dreadful, take a break and tackle another drawer another time. There is no rush to organizing your spaces, no one is going to come in and rate your efforts 1-10 (with ten being excellent) and make you do it again, unless you are married to an organizing nut such as myself. (Kidding, I don’t rate my husband’s organizing skills. I may be a nut but I am not an idiot!)

Personally, I like to keep the main areas of the house clutter-free. In my house that means my kitchen and living room, which is what you see upon walking in the front door (thank goodness!) In fact, I have to re-do my junk drawers because they are jammed which in turn means that stuff is sitting on the counter top. (biggest pet peeve of mine!) My 3 year old just discovered that he can reach the junk drawers and I have to figure out plan B for pens, pencils, markers, crayons and scissors. (Note to self: Get this done tonight after he falls asleep!)

The first step to any organizing project is to get started. You should get rubber bands, snack and sandwich size zip lock bags and a Sharpie pen.

This is what I do when I look in a junk drawer that needs to organized:

1. Grab the garbage cans-both the recycle and the non-recycle cans
2. Take the drawer out and empty it the contents completely
3. Place all the paper in a pile
4. Put all pens, pencils and all other writing utensils in a separate piles
5. Find all like items and place in a pile (all business cards, scraps of paper, coupons, schedules and so on)

Now, go through each pile and throw away the stuff you don’t need or no longer work (such as business cards that you can enter in your Outlook or batteries that don’t work, the one earring that has been in your drawer for 5 years and keys to your old house)

Once you have gone through the contents of the drawer and thrown items away in the appropriate piles, the fun starts. The simplest solution is to rubber band pencils, pens, crayons in individual bundles. Paperclip paper that you want to keep and put working batteries in a snack sized zip lock type bag and so on. Make sure you label the zip locks bags with a Sharpie, this helps tremendously if you are the not the only one who uses the junk drawer.

To take the rubber band and zip lock bag idea one step further, run to a dollar store and get bins to place in your junk drawer. This will hopefully reduce the amount of organizing touch-ups you your junk drawer will need in the future.

To make the organizing jobs more bearable, turn on your favorite movie and watch that as you tackle the first job. I turn on my iPod and crank out some great music and try not to sing out loud—I get some of my best work done with great "tune-age" in the background. Even better, hire me to do it for you. It is therapy for me, and instead of me paying a therapist, you can pay me! (Shameless Plug!)

Did this recent post help you? Do you have questions or comments for me? I invite you to email me at any time with your thoughts, feedback and inquiries. Click on my name and you should be able to send me an email. Email Camille NOW! Or

Until next time, keep reading for Simply Amazing Organizing Secrets and Cost Effective Organizing Tricks!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Prep Your List and Get Out of Dodge!

So maybe not get out of Dodge, but at least get out of the grocery store in record time! How annoying is it when you get home from the store and you realize you forgot the major ingredient for dinner? Ugh--close to nails on a chalkboard!

To avoid circling the grocery store a zillion times or forgetting a major item that you need, create a list. Not just any ol’ list, but an organized list! Hopefully, this blog post will save you time money and frustration.

If you shop at a large grocery store such as Wal-Mart or Target Superstores, you know how convenient it is to buy all your household, health and beauty and groceries all in one place. I often shop at these places to save time, but not always money, unless you are a coupon clipper; which is an old habit that I just re-introduced to myself. Even though the stores don’t double or even triple coupons anymore, I still have saved $20 to $25 off products that I would have purchased with or without a coupon. That’s fun. That alone justifies any other item (that wasn't on your list) you may have thrown in the cart (so guilty).

Grocery Shopping/Meal Planning/Coupon Usage
Figure out what you would like to prepare for dinners for the week. For example:
Monday: Chicken, rice and vegetable (need brown rice, have chicken in freezer and need veggie)
Tuesday: Turkey sausage, angel hair pasta, salad (need turkey sausage, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, strawberries)
Wednesday: Tacos (need tortillas, cheese, salsa, ground turkey, taco seasoning)
Thursday: Bagel Pizzas (need bagels, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, veggies, have sauce)
Friday: Burgers, corn on the cob, French fries (need buns, ketchup, cheese slices, corn on the cob—have fries in freezer)
Need to bake cupcakes for bake sale: Cake mix, powdered sugar, no salt butter (need all) paper/foil for cupcakes

From the planned meals, you can make your grocery list based on the aisles as they are set up in the store. Then, go through your planned meals and plug in what you need for each meal into the appropriate aisles. If you are a coupon clipper, go through your pile and figure out what you can use for your next trip. Remember, sometimes it is cheaper to buy store brands on certain items then to use a coupon for a name brand. I agree that in some cases, that the name brand is better, so use caution going the all store brand route!


(c) = I have a coupon for this item.
(s)= A staple item. This is almost always needed from the store.


Cake mix (c)
Powdered sugar
Foil/tin cups

Tortillas (these are sometimes found in the international aisle, where I shop most often, in the bread aisle.)
Sandwich bread (s)
Bagels (c)

Rice Krispies (c)
Special K (c)

Diet Coke 2 liter x2

Wheat thins (c)

Unsalted real butter sticks
Yogurt (s) (c)
Cheese Slices
Milk (s)
Eggs (s)

Condiments/Salad Dressing
Ketchup (c)
Rasp. Vinaigrette (c)

1 1b of brown sugar ham (s) (c)
1 lb of baby swiss (s) (c)

Drink Mixes/Juice
Store brand lemonade/like crystal light (s)
Gallons of H20/ x4

Steam fresh veggies x3 (corn, broccoli or mixed veggies)
Frozen mini pancakes (s)

Heath & Beauty
Ibuprofen (store brand gel tabs)
Kids Allergy Medicine (c)
Body wash (c)
Toothpaste (c)

Rice (sometimes in another aisle depending on your store)
Taco seasoning packet

Turkey Sausage (1hot, 1 sweet)
Ground Turkey x 2 (tacos and burgers)
Pepperoni slices

Baby spinach (one bag)
Grape tomatoes
Corn on the Cob (8 to 10)
Grapes (s)
Nectarines (s)

If you would like to email me to get your own grocery list template, do so now and I will email one over to you (for free at no obligaton)! It doesn't take much effort to live a Simply Amazing Organized life!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Before and After Photos--Check This Out!

One of the readers sent their own before and after shots of a pantry reorganize she did over this past weekend. SO MUCH FUN!

See the photos yourself!
PLEASE send me your before and after photos of your re-organize celebrations!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Spice Containers

Remember my dilemma regarding spice containers? Dilemma solved!

Lea Ortner (real name!) told about the containers that her chef husband uses at home! She described the containers to me and I found them online at this link:

This is my new favorite site...and my mother-in-law seems pretty happy with what I found for her! Mission accomplished! Now to decide which containers to another dilemma!

Friday, June 19, 2009

To DC or Not to DC...That Is The Question!

When is clutter, clutter? Clutter is relative; my perception of clutter is probably unlike many other's perception of clutter.

When should you DC(De-Clutter, get it?)? That is the question....below I have some simple suggestions as to when DC should/could take place.

You should DC when:
  • When you have a physical reaction to a mess, such as my toy closet (which, by the way, has NOT been done yet!)
  • You open your cabinets and stuff falls out
  • Can't ever find what you are looking for
  • Can no longer park your car in your garage
  • Your garage is a fire hazard
  • Mold is growing on food in your fridge
  • The potatoes in your pantry are sprouting
  • You have magazines in plastic that are dated July, 2001
  • Your child gets food poisoning from an outdated frozen Go-Gurt that you had in the freezer for 2 years (No joke, I know someone this happened to, and NO, it didn't happen at my house....but it did happen in this neighborhood!)

I DC constantly. I have children who grow a size or more each season. So, I keep a "no longer fits" bag in my daughter's closet. When she puts on something that no longer fits her, she throws it in that bag. When the bag is full, we give it to a friend or donate to a charity.

I also DC my fridge each Thursday or Friday night. I do this for a couple of reasons. One, I have a side by side fridge. (Not my first choice, but it LOOKS nice!) Two, the garbage gets picked up on Saturday morning. Even though I can manipulate the shelves in the fridge, I still don't seem to have enough room. So, any leftovers that are in the fridge come Friday night get tossed. Any fruit or veggies that are in there for more than a week also are thrown out.

Besides the "too small bag" in my children's closet, cleaning out the fridge on a weekly basis, I DC my home office. This is my "command central" for all the paper that passes through the house. Not only do I go through the mail, bills and kids school projects I run a speaker management business. I house all kinds of speaker materials, projects, books and files. I keep a file on each speaker and their projects, I maintain an electronic and paper file for each. Why, do you ask that I still keep paper copies in 2009? Perhaps, it might have something to do with my (self-diagnosed) OCD, but my intent is to always have back up in the event my computer crashes or my files mysteriously burn. So, every Sunday night after the kids are in bed, I sneak down into my office and DC my little heart away. This is my way of getting myself organized for the week. I create my work to-do list, my personal to-do list pay bills online and file away items that I need to keep.

I feel that I almost always have a DC project going on. The next project that I have planned is to DC my closet. I recently got rid of all the clothes I no longer wear but I have since accumulated more "stuff." I am going to add another rod to hang clothes on (my closet is more tall than wide so the only way is to go up) and that will give me some storage space below for shoes...which by the way, is the bulk of my "stuff" that I have recently accumulated! I don't have pix yet of this project but I will post them when I get this project done.

Until then, keep reading for Simply Amazing Organizing Secrets and Cost Effective Organizing Tricks!

***NEW FEATURE: You Tell Me!***
I have one challenge that kind of has me stumped. My mother-in-law recently asked me if there was a way to store seasonings/spices that made using them more convienent yet kept the flavor locked in. She often buys seasonings/spices in bulk (think of buying seasonings from Costco) and doesn't like to pull the large bulk sized container out each time she needs it.

What type of containers do you store your seasonings/spices in? (I believe she is looking beyond Zip Loc bags as a solution!)

Please send me your ideas...I am at a loss with this one!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Simple and Affordable-Kooi Garage Re-Organize Project



I am so happy to show you the before and after photos of our garage. Jeff put up shelves and the kids and I de-cluttered!

Some of you have asked if Jeff was on board with the re-org and he was. He actually started the project, put up the shelves, bought matching bins!

We donated over 7 bags of toys & clothes and 3 car seats to Maggie's Place. They were thrilled and we were even more thrilled to see our gently used items go to a place that could really use them!

Total Cost of Project: under $500 for shelves, brackets (more expensive then the wood used for shelves!) and bins.

Total Investment of Time: 14 hours tops...Jeff spent more time waiting at Home Depot to get the wood cut and running to Lowe's to get the brackets. You would think one place would have all that he needed, but no such luck.

Special Note: I would love to hear from you. Please email me or comment on my blog with your organization challenges and obstacles! If you would like to show the world your organizational celebration, send me your before and after photos and I will post them on my blog!

Home organization projects shouldn't break your bank. Keep reading for cost effective tips and tricks to keep your space Simply Amazing.