Links I Love

While the boys are napping, I’ve FINALLY been able to go through my Google Reader to catch-up on blog posts for the past two weeks – yikes! Over 1,000 unread! Between Little Dude in the hospital with pneumonia (he’s better now – thanks!) and my surgery, I just haven’t had the time to blog hop. Now that I got my fix I want to share with you some of my faves.

How about some natural skin care recipes from my pal Carrie.

Laura explains in plain english how to meal plan.

My friend Jim from Rubbermaid posted an audio you just have to hear about how to get organized around the house.

Ivy teaches us how to max the use of our fridge and lessen food waste.

Mandi guest posted at SimpleMom and debunked some organizing myths for us.

And finally there are classifieds for parents of special needs children to find or get rid of supplies.

1, 2, 3 Tidy! Quick Tips For an Organized Home

It doesn’t matter if you are a working mom or not, organizing your home can be a daunting challenge.  Whether daily or weekend cleaning is your strong suit, it seems the harder you work, the more clutter you find, especially if you have children. Here are some quick tips for an organized home.

1. If your children attend school, prepare their lunches at night. This will save lots of time in the morning rush.
2. Use a magnetic board; place it on your refrigerator, and list the food items you will need for your next shopping trip to the supermarket.
3. Buy some jumbo storage boxes to organize your closet. Add some additional hangers that support more than one piece of clothing. Some of the home shopping clubs offer space saver hangars and storage units which are affordable, and can turn any closet into an efficient space-saving unit.
4. Get rid of the piles of magazines, newspapers, and advertisements which have been accumulating in your home. Keep the current issues, and throw out the rest.
5. Organize your kitchen cabinets, and line them with Con-Tact paper.  Your cabinets will be easier to clean by simply using a damp sponge.
6. Throw out anything outdated from your medicine cabinet. If you also have a bathroom cabinet, line it with Con-Tact as well, and re-arrange the items inside.
7. Do you have jewelry scattered on top of your bedroom furniture. Purchase a jewelry box containing several drawers. You’ll never lose that earring again!
8. Encourage your children to clean their rooms.  Develop a reward system which will not only give them an incentive, but will teach them to be responsible for their clothes and toys. Buy different colored storage boxes for their toys!
9. Arrange all of your cleaning supplies in a closet or basement. Use hooks to hang brooms, dusters, and mops. If you have a few shelves, place all of your cleaning detergents, light bulbs and other household items on them.  This is not only a good organizational method, but you’ll find everything you need in one place.
10. Buy a CD rack and place all of the scattered CDs into one space. Perhaps a unit combining CDs and DVDs would be more suitable.

When your home is organized, you not only feel better but seem to be able to accomplish more, right?

Now Recruiting!

Domestically Challenged Boot Camp is now looking for recruits! If you feel that you are ‘domestically challenged’ and need help – this program is for you.

Many online programs provide steps and suggestions for improvement, but the problem is that they don’t help connect these wonderful new habits to a step by step process of integrating those good habits into real life. This is what Boot Camp is designed to do!

Women tend to be real sensitive about their homemaking skills, so if you feel like your sinking it can be very hard to take the first step and say ‘I need help’. Domestically Challenged Boot Camp provides a level of privacy that is hard to find in most coaching and mentorship programs.

And member ship is your’s for my introductory price of just $29. Don’t wait – this price will increase in a week!

Click here! www.thehouseholdhelper.com/domesticallychallengedbootcamp.html

Keep your chin up soldier – a clean and orderly home is just weeks away!

Quick Tips for Organizing Your Home office

Even with limited workspace with a little creativity and the right equipment, it is possible to have an efficient home office.  Decide what you absolutely must have, based on the needs of your business. Remember, needs not wants.  Beyond basic office supplies such as paper and pens, most people only need a computer, printer and a filing system but his of course is dependent on your type of business.

Paper clutter can be a major problem.  Get rid of it and get organized.  Throw junk mail away immediately.  Don’t even take it to your office or desk.  Keep a trash can or a recycling box, near the door, especially for junk mail.  Don’t let paper clutter your desk.  If you don’t have room on the floor for a filing cabinet purchase a hanging file system.  These types of filing systems are designed to hang from a hook on the back of a door.  It can easily be hidden in a closet this way.  Labeling each pocket based on your needs, such as bills to pay, copies of receipts, and tax deductions (even if you aren’t sure something is deductible, save the receipt and check later) will keep your desk clutter free and keep you better organized for tax time.

Scan and save documents you don’t need on a daily basis but still want to keep for reference.  Whether you saved them to your hard drive or on discs, they can be easily printed should you need a hard copy.

Keeping office supplies organized and clutter free can be a bit of a challenge but a few simple storage containers can keep the clutter to a minimum.  Purchase a drawer divider that has compartments for different sized items.  If you need something you can carry supplies in when away from your office consider a child’s school box or art supply box.  It’s a nice inexpensive option. Keep your pens from taking over your desk by frequently checking your pens and throwing out any that are dried out.
Lack of space for an office can be an issue but one that can be overcome.  Some people have successfully converted a large closet into an office area.  You may not have a window view, but with a light installed, and a couple of filing cabinets and some counter top scrap in the closet, you’ll have a nice work area.  Once you are done working for the day simply close the doors.

If desk space happens to be a major issue, opt for a laptop rather than a desktop computer.  It will allow you more desk space and a little flexibility should you need to take your information with you.  Fortunately these days printer are becoming more compact and are often combined with a scanner, copier and/or fax systems all in one.  With some price comparison a good deal can be found.

Easy Time Management Tricks for WAHMs

Many people assume that work at home moms have it easy; however, if any of those people have ever lived a day as a WAHM they would know it isn’t so simple. There are children to take care of, a house to clean, a dog to walk, groceries to buy, dinner to cook and dishes to wash. Oh, and then there’s that business to work!

It may not be easy, but it isn’t impossible, either. By using some simple time management tricks, a WAHM can find time to “get it all done!” One thing every WAHM should have is a planner. Schedule your family time first! Then schedule in the time you are going to work your business. Once you have your “work time” scheduled, make it a priority to stay focused on your business during those hours. It is very easy to procrastinate when you are a WAHM.

If your work requires you to do lots of different tasks, try to group similar tasks together. For instance, if you are in a direct sales business and you have a team under you, designate one day to be your “training day”. Instead of helping various team members throughout the week, schedule all of your mentoring sessions for one day. Set aside an hour in the morning and an hour in the late afternoon to respond to email and/or return phone calls. By scheduling that time in, you will find that you are able to get more work done and feel less scattered.

You might also consider outsourcing some of your activities. If you find that you are spending too much time on responding to email, returning phone calls, or updating your website, hire a virtual assistant to do those tasks for you. This will free your time up to work on your business, and by spending more time on the parts of your business that actually bring in money, you will be able to increase your profits.

You can also save time by setting aside a block of time each week to do your “regular” errands, such as grocery shopping. If you plan your meals for the week and go to the grocery store once, you will save lots of time during the week by not taking those daily “quick trips to the market”. And while you are planning your meals, try to schedule a few “cook once, eat twice” days. For instance, you can plan on having spaghetti on Monday and tacos on Tuesday. So, on Monday, brown the hamburger you will need for both days. On Tuesday, half of your work will already be done. And if you are making a meatloaf or lasagna, make two and freeze one for later.

Most importantly, do not feel as if you have to do it all by yourself. You are not a super hero. If you have a spouse or significant other, ask them to chip in on household chores. Children love to help out, and depending on their ages, there are multiple things they can do. And when it is all said and done, don’t forget to take out some time for yourself. Everyone needs a break– WAHMs included!

6 Steps of Getting Organizing

If you haven’t listened to my PodCast lately, you don’t know that I’m discussing de-cluttering and getting organized. (Subtle hint to go listen)

For this weeks Saturday Six, I’m going to share with you the 6 Steps of Getting Organized. My PodCast shows are more in depth, but the point of this post is 6 – right? This list is the basic steps you need to follow.

  1. Plan: create a list of what you want to organize in your home and what you need to organize. Next to each area/room on your list, estimate how much time it will take to do it.
  2. Devote Time: again you need to plan your organizing projects, so figure them into your schedule. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 2 hours, make time in your schedule to devote to organizing.
  3. Stay Focused: once you start working on an organizing project, do not leave it. Do not leave the room you are working on to go put away the stray items you picked-up while de-cluttering. Just keep them in a box until you are done, then you can put those items away.
  4. De-clutter: get rid of all the obvious clutter in the room you want to organize.
  5. Sort and Purge: when you pick up an item, you need to decide if you will keep, trash, donate or sell it. Make a decision and stick to it!
  6. Group: anything that is staying in your area should be grouped with like items. This make storing easier.

Rinse and repeat.

A couple notes:

  • Numbers 5 and 6 can be done at the same time, and you may find that once you do number 6, you’ll do number 5 again!
  • Bring your cleaning supplies with you – once you put every thing away and get rid of the items you are not keeping, take the time to dust and vacuum. It should only take a few minutes since you’ve just de-cluttered and organized!
  • Reward yourself! After each area/room is completed, take the time to celebrate. This might be going shopping for the organizing bins and gadgets you want or as simple as taking a nap (which is what I did after I organized and cleaned my master bedroom!)

Episode #3 – 1/14/08

Routines and Clutter and Organizing – Oh My!

How and where to start getting your home organized.

Resources Mentioned:

Episode #1 – 12/31/07

Cara introduces herself and shares her struggle with organizing and clutter. Then she jumps right in at the beginning – How To Get and Stay Organized.

Download Cara’s special report: Keep Your Home Tidy With A Housekeeping Routine (pdf file)

New Years Resolution: Get Organized

When you have kids, it sometimes seems like organization is a word from a foreign language. It’s hard enough to keep the house in good enough shape to walk through, never mind having a place for everything and everything in its place. But if we can maintain a system of organization, we can avoid a lot of unnecessary stress.

Resolutions are a helpful motivational tool for anything we want to achieve. If we want to be more organized, making a resolution to do so can help us stick to it.

What’s the Best Way to Organize?

The best way to organize is to come up with a system that works for you. Everyone organizes differently, and a system that works perfectly for you may be terribly confusing to another mom. As long as it makes sense to you and the kids can understand it, it’s fine.

Although different things work for different people, there are some things that we should all consider when trying to get organized. Here is some food for thought:

* A good organizational system probably won’t happen overnight. It takes careful thought and planning. Starting out small and working your way through each room is effective and won’t stress you out.

* You’ll need containers. Clear ones are great, especially when you have kids, because you can see their contents without dumping them out. Plastic rolling drawers are inexpensive, versatile and convenient. They’re wonderful for craft supplies, toys, accessories, pet care items, and more.

* Storage ottomans are ideal for living room storage. They’re roomy, and they double as furniture. These can be used to store magazines, games, craft supplies, or anything else that is often used in the living room.

* If you want the kids to help keep things organized, it’s important to keep your system simple. Try to keep smaller children’s things at a level where they can get them out and put them up easily. Labels can help kids remember where things go. For kids who can’t read yet, use pictures.

* Don’t forget about vertical space. Shelves can help you make the most of the space you’ve got and make organizing easy. Tall shelves also give you a place to keep things that you’d prefer to keep out of the kids’ hands.

* Be prepared to get rid of some things. If you haven’t used it in a couple of years or more, you probably don’t need it. Throwing out or donating extraneous items makes it much easier to keep the things you have organized.

Getting organized is hard work, but once it’s accomplished it makes life so much easier. But don’t just resolve to get organized. Resolve to stay that way!

For step-by-step techniques to get your home organized, check out my new resource Home Organization for busy Moms.

How Does Supermom Get It All Done?

Supermoms -we’ve all met other moms who seem to have it all together. Do you ever wonder how they do it? Well, the trick isn’t a trick… they just do it. How they do it is another question. It always seems that we can never get caught up, and things just get piled up, despite our best intentions. The key is to get organized and develop new good habits.

Changing habits won’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual process and takes time. So, first you need to organize your time, but once you are organized you will save a lot of time in the long run. Plan to tackle one thing at a time. Don’t try to do it all at once, because you’ll get overwhelmed and give up. Start with the easiest job, so you have a sense of accomplishment that will roll over to the next project. Once things are organized, set up daily maintenance for each area of the house.

Start with clutter. Get rid of things that have been piling up, like junk mail, paper and other things you just don’t need. Then take a look at each room and see what belongs and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t belong in that room, put it in a box to be sorted and placed in the right place later. You can even have a box for each person in the family and put things in it from each room as you go through the house. Then they can put all their things away.

Many of us have clothes and toys that haven’t seen the light of day in ages, so by going through them and either having a garage sale or giving them to charity, you can cut back on the amount of stuff that needs done. The less you have to put away, the more time you have to spend on fun things.

Organize your shopping trips. Making a shopping list is a start, and many people forget to make one. They either come out with a lot more things than they wanted, thus blowing the budget, or forget one important item and have to go back again later, wasting time. Many people have even started using a grocery store’s website to pre-order their groceries and some even offer a delivery service.

Another great way to help save time is to cook meals ahead of time. There are many recipe books that are designed for freezer meals. You cook several meals at once, freezing them to be reheated later. This saves time and if you buy the ingredients in bulk, can save you a lot of money. Slow cookers are also a great way to help save time. You throw the ingredients in earlier in the day, let it cook all day and then dinner is ready with very little work.

Dividing up the housework is another way to help get everything done. Even young children can help do some things, with guidance. The earlier they learn to help, the easier it will be later. Make a chores chart and remind everyone that this will help make time for the family to do the fun things they want to do.

It may seem daunting at first, but just like anything worthwhile, it will take time to reorganize your house into a smooth running home that everyone can enjoy. If you think organizing your home is an impossible task, here’s the simple solution you’ve been looking for! Home Organization For Busy Moms provides you the step-by-step techniques to finally get your home organized and keep it that way.

If you think meal planning is an impossible task, here’s the simple solution you’ve been looking for! Meal Planning For Busy Moms provides you the step-by-step techniques to save time and money by meal planning. Another great resource brought to you by The Household Helper.

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