Organize Now! – Week 4

So week three is done now. I’ve found that I accidentally left my planner in the car though, and never seem to have brought it back into the house… don’t fret! I’m bringing it in tomorrow. Things are really going to change (two days a week anyway) as my oldest daughter will be starting preschool this Thursday. I’m not sure exactly what that’s going to entail… but hopefully she’ll make some new friends and get ready for school.
There’s not much else to say about week 3…

So on to week 4!
Yet again it’s another fairly boring week. So this should be quick. To be honest, I have accomplished more just by setting my mind to it than I have because of this book so far. It’s good to get your life organized, don’t get me wrong… maybe it takes others a full week to do these things? But seriously… this week is about organizing my cleaning schedule, something which I already accomplished 3 weeks ago when I had a few moments in the morning one day.
So I’ve already gone through and figured out my daily, weekly, monthly chores for the different rooms around my house.
I made a bare-minimum list for 4 days a week. I have decided that I will do this bare minimum list once a day, so if I sweep in the morning, and then one of my kids drop a few cheerios on the floor, that’s tomorrow’s problem. This way I’m not cleaning ALL of the time, but yet my house still remains reasonable-looking because I’m not getting so frustrated at my lack of a spotless house that it builds up. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays get a little extra tacked on, like putting away laundry, bringing out the recycling/garbage and those extras.
I’ve begun taking 15 minutes a night before bed to tidy up. I usually do this about 30-45 minutes before bed though, that way I can relax for 15-30 minutes again before bed. In these 15 minutes I usually refill and run the dishwasher, give a quick wipe to the kitchen surfaces, and pick up any stray toys that the girls missed. It just makes it that much nicer every morning when I wake up.
I do extra cleaning whenever I can, like I just recently did my porch, my bookcase, the top of the entertainment center, the top of the wardrobe, basically a large portion of the clutter-holding surfaces. I fit this in to my 15 minutes at night usually if I only spend a couple minutes putting a few dishes into the dishwasher.
The rest of these things are already done. Quick little things, like switching to an all-purpose cleaner, keeping disinfecting wipes in the bathroom, etc. Those are all pretty good little ideas.

Hm, guess this week was quick!

Talk to you soon! I’m starting my weekly weigh-ins this Thursday, so stay tuned!

Organizational Update

So this is the first post in reference to the “Organize Now!” book that I got myself while I was up in the city. I’ve thumbed through it numerous times and finally put my foot down and basically told myself that it’s time to start doing it! So here it goes, week 1. This should be fairly easy, so I’m actually going to do what I can here on the blog since most of it is writing things down.

The vision I have for my life:
This is such a toughie, I imagine so many things. I would love to earn an income being a teacher, a counselor, a landlord, a photographer, a farmer, etc. The list really does go on. I’m so undecided and have no idea what I want to become. My days would be filled of fun, love and laughter. I’d wake up early, have some time to myself, get my kids ready for their days and we’d go on fabulous adventures around town! I would live more, and worry less.

In the next 56 weeks, I want to accomplish the complete organization of my life and my house (mostly my house!) I cannot live like this forever, I need to be able to live in a house that functions much better than this one. I need to be able to easily walk through my hallway, and be able to find those damned things I put away for future use and then turn around and buy more of. I want to sit down and make a schedule that gives me the ability to workout, eat healthy, and lose some weight. I want to spend more time bonding and loving my children than I do cleaning up everything.

I’ll start going to bed earlier. Starting tonight. We’ll be going to bed at 11, unlike our usual 1 or 2 in the mornings. My ending plan is to get my bedtime pushed back to about 10:30, that way I should be able to wake up at 6:30 and get a good start to my day. The kids only have to get up around 7:15 when we start getting them into daycare/activities so it should work out. It’ll give me enough time to do at least a few minutes of cardio and just to sit down and breathe.

I think I’m just going to count this blog as my journal. It catalogues my life events and whatnot, so I might as well. I have other journals on the go which are more focused on notes for my future generations to read, so this should suffice to get my ideas, thoughts, emotions and whatnot written down.

The rest of the things this week will focus on small steps towards making my life a little more sane. It includes scheduling a few 2 or 3 minute breaks just to take a breather, scheduling some exercise time and limiting the amount of television we watch. The last one there is of considerable importance in this household. I want my children to be more focused on childhood activities than the t.v. Now that I finally have my boyfriend’s work schedule for the rest of the week, I’m going to head off and actually plan out those days!

I’ll let you know how the rest of the week went next Monday when I move on to week 2!

For now though, I’m off!

Reorganizing the “Under-the-sink” area

Do you dread opening the cupboard doors underneath your sink? Is it the massive clutter of cleaning products, or the pile of unsorted garbage bags that scare you away? Do you look at that space and wonder how to make the most use out of it? Well, so did I. Sadly enough, there weren’t many pictures or ideas about it that I could find on Pinterest, which is why I decided to make my little venture into the area the first organizational blog post. I’m terribly sorry for not adding any “BEFORE” pictures, but I’m sure you can all imagine the insane amount of build-up that lies in that area. To be honest, I don’t much like documenting the before, but I promise to work on that so that you guys can see what the actual improvements are to the areas that I’m working on.

This project probably took me about 2 hours of actual work, not including the time it took to locate and buy the new items.

Step 1: Empty out the entire space! I had someone watch my children in another area of the house for safety reasons while doing this, and I’m going to suggest that if you have little grabby-fingers around, you do the same. This is a really critical step though, so please don’t skip out on it or skimp. I took every single item out and washed down the area.

After it was emptied.

After it was emptied.

Step 2: Toss the things you don’t use. I seriously had some cleaners in there that hadn’t been used in over 5 years. I kept them because I always thought that maybe, maaaaybe one day I would use them… but come on. I think a general good time is about 6 months. If you didn’t use it when you did either your fall or spring cleaning, or any time in between. Toss it. It’s taking up precious space, and you don’t need it. One of the harder choices was to toss my old dish rack. I mostly run the dishes through the dishwasher, so there isn’t much to be washed. I had an older thick dish rack, that took up almost an entire cupboard. I found a little lime-green folding dish rack at a clearance sale when our local Zeller’s was closing down. Probably the best choice I made in this respect was purchasing that new dish rack. If you can toss your old one, I suggest you do so. There’s only so much space below your sink!

Step 3: Measure everything! I measured the areas underneath the pipes, underneath the built-in cupboards, between the pipes and the built-in cupboards, the height of the area I had to work in, and the width. Write them down so that when you go shopping for any organizational pieces, you’ll be able to make sure things will fit in place. The last thing you want to do is get home and find out that “oh-so perfect” rack won’t fit unless you put it in slanted…

Step 4: Begin the actual organization of the area. I bought a shower rack (that is supposed to hang behind the shower head), a short width-adjusting rack, a three-tiered rack and a sink basket. Because of my set-up, it was easy to figure out where to put the new things I had bought. The last thing to do was to decide where to put everything.

Step 5: Putting everything back in place and finding everything a home. This is obviously a very important step, and it’ll probably take the longest to do. The way I handled it was to figure out how often I used the item, and put it in a place according to that. I started by putting all of the lesser used cleaning products into the sink basket, that way when I’m doing any serious cleaning I can just pull the whole thing out and it’s portable. The second thing I did was put the stuff that gets used every little while away. Vacuum bags, garbage bags, recycling bags, etc. I put these all easily within reach. The key with these items was to put them somewhere where they wouldn’t get covered or buried so that I could avoid having to go searching for them when they were needed. Lastly, it’s time for the everyday items. I put these on my most commonly used shelf, as well as on the shower rack. That way I simply open the cupboard door and have everything I use constantly at my fingertips, which also makes it easier to put it away.

Everyday use area.

Everyday use area.

Left-hand side of my area. Medium-use items.

Left-hand side of my area. Medium-use items.

Two weeks after original organization.

Two weeks after original organization.

I found that this area needs to be “tidied up” about once every month or so. It’s generally only me that uses it, so I tend to put things away in the right spot. Although I have found that when my boyfriend uses things, I need to clean up after him a little more than I would like, lol. It’s okay, at least it means he’s helping :).

Hope this helps you out!