Friday, September 28, 2012

Organizing Ideas for the Weekend #2

Time for another quick organizing tip!  This one comes courtesy of The Frugal Girls.

I'm working my way through several years of my kids' artwork, schoolwork, and memorabilia to purge as much as possible and organize what I decide to keep.  It's SO tough throwing things out that your kids made!  So when I came across this tip I knew it would help me moving forward.

Jenny suggests taking a picture of your child holding his or her precious artwork and then you can keep the picture (and the memory of the child at the age it was created).  These pictures then take up a small space on your computer's hard drive or or a data stick, rather than bins or boxes of papers in a basement or attic or garage.  And you connect the items with the memory of how proud your child was and how cute he or she was at that age :)

This will be a big help moving forward!  Thanks for the great idea Jenny!

As for the bins and piles from the last few years, I think I'll just take pictures of a bunch of the creations and that should {hopefully!} make it a little easier to get rid of them.

If you have things that have already started to pile up this fall, take some time this weekend to take pictures of your kids with their work.  Then you can go through their old things and decide what you want to keep and what you want to take pictures of and throw away.

I won't be tackling those bins and piles of artwork and memorabilia this weekend because we're going away but I will definitely continue working through them soon.

What do you do with your kids' creations and work and memories?  Am I the only one that has a hard time parting with them?   Do you have any tips for making it easier to discard these items?  I look forward to reading your ideas and suggestions in the comments!

Happy organizing and have a great weekend!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

31 Days of Organizing Tips (Introduction)

Have you seen lots of "31 days of ... " series on blogs?  I have and thought it was a great idea to blog every day for a month on a particular topic.  I recently discovered that this idea originally came from The Nester (well maybe others did it before her but she's certainly made it popular the last few years).  She's hosting a 31 Days blogging party for the month of October.  Read this post to see how this all came about and check out some of the 700+ bloggers who did it last year.

Now if you've been following my blog you know that consistency in posting has not exactly been my middle name :)  So when I first heard about the 31 Days idea I thought it would be great to do, but I knew there was no way I would keep up the pace of writing a blog post every day for a month on an organizing topic.

So, I dismissed the idea of doing a 31 Days blog series.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

From Overwhelmed To Organized on Pinterest!

Well, I've been saying for a couple of months now (June Review and August Review) that I want to start a Pinterest account for the blog and I finally did it!  Come check out the From Overwhelmed To Organized Pinterest boards.

I've been pinning lots of things to build up my boards and I'm finding people I want to follow.  It's not very big yet but ya gotta start somewhere right?!  Let's just say it's a work in progress.

I've pinned all the posts from the From Overwhelmed To Organized blog onto a board called "Blog Posts" {I know, not very creative but I'll pretty it all up once I get everything more established}.

I also pinned a bunch of organizing ideas from some of my favourite organizing bloggers and I'll be going through more bloggers as well as my favourites list, my bookmarks, and my Evernote notebooks to pin the links I've been saving in those places.

Most of what I'll be pinning will be organizing ideas and I've set up boards for various rooms or spaces in the home.  I also set up boards such as "Organizing Tips" for general tips, "De-cluttering/Purging Tips & Ideas" for ideas on how to eliminate or reduce clutter in your home, "Storage" for inspiration on how to best store items, and "Labels" for links to various labels you can use when you're organizing.

Just for fun I added a board called "Purple" for all the pretty purple pictures I come across and a board called "Things That Make Me Smile" because sometimes I just need to smile and gain perspective again :)  {Maybe you do too sometimes?  If so check out that board!}.

There are so many other amazing {non-organizing} ideas out there that I will also have boards for things like recipes, crafts, and decorating so I can pin things that I want to try or that inspire me.

Some of these boards don't have a lot of pins on them yet but I figured it was easier to set up my boards the way I wanted them right away than to have to reorganize them later when I get too many pins in a particular category.  I want to keep them organized so you can easily find what you're looking for {go organizing blogger organizing her Pinterest boards :)}.

There's a button at the top of each post on the blog to make it easy for you to pin that post.  It looks like this:

It's actually been there since I started the blog and it's been so neat knowing that people have been pinning my posts all along.  This is actually from the Purging and Storing Leftover Paint post.  I can't believe 767 people have pinned it!  Now I get to join in the fun and pin pictures and posts that I love when I'm reading all of your blogs!

I added a button on the sidebar to follow the blog on Pinterest so you can see all the organizing ideas I'm pinning or search for ideas when you're starting an organizing project.

I'm so excited to start this new adventure! So many of you have been encouraging me to jump in and I can't wait to see what I've been missing :)

If you're on Pinterest, please leave a comment with your link so I can follow you!  I'd also really love to hear any tips you have for any of us "newbies" starting out :)  Thanks!

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Organizing Ideas For The Weekend

I love passing on organizing ideas to you on my Facebook page and my Google+ page so that you can implement them in your homes and lives.  There are so many great bloggers out there who share what they do to keep their spaces organized!  {And I'm not even on Pinterest yet...I know there will be even more amazing ideas there!}

I'm starting a series here on the blog called "Organizing Ideas for the Weekend".  I'll be sharing photos and links to some of the great organizing tips and tricks I've seen.

These will be ideas that you can do quickly and easily, but that will give you a lot of "bang for your buck".

To start us off, this week's tip is from Heather at Laptops to Lullabies.  She made these easy closet dividers out of craft foam and labelled them with a Sharpie {click the link to get the full tutorial}.

Simple and quick!  What a great way to keep types of clothes or sizes of clothes organized in closets!  Thanks for the idea Heather!

For more organizing tips, please follow From Overwhelmed To Organized on Facebook and Google+.  I post different content on each one so make sure you're following on both so you don't miss anything!

What organizing ideas are you implementing this weekend?

Have a great weekend and happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

No More Toothpaste In My Sink!

Do you hate having toothpaste all over your sink or counters because your kids either put too much on their toothbrushes or because they can't handle the tube very well?  I sure do!  No matter how often I clean our bathroom, the sink and counters have toothpaste on them as soon as my kids brush their teeth.

I was tired of nagging them to clean it up or teaching them how to be more careful with the tube.  And at 8 and 5 they are old enough to be brushing their teeth without me putting their toothpaste on their brushes {plus I just don't have time to be doing that!}.  Oh, and I should mention, all 4 of us use one bathroom upstairs so it gets messy quickly and it's not a mess I can ignore because I see it...multiple times a day.

I wanted a solution but really, what options were there?

A few weeks back we went to the Canadian National Exhibition (the C.N.E. or the Ex as we usually call it around here) and one of the things we always do is go through the "At Home Pavillion".  It's like a real live version of every infomercial or "As Seen On TV" demonstration you've ever seen.  We love watching all the demonstrations!

And I'll admit we usually get suckered into purchasing at least one amazing product that will "change your life" :)  Sometimes it makes a huge difference but often it's not as great once you've got it in your home (especially if you forget all the features that you were shown - sometimes we've actually watched the demos for products we've bought in previous years to remind ourselves how to use it!).

Usually our kids hate this building and beg us to hurry on to something more exciting.  But for some reason this year they were quite intrigued by a lot of the products.  Nothing like having 2 more people trying to convince us to buy something!  It led to some good discussions on marketing and finances and how we don't need everything out there.

We have gotten better each year and we weren't really planning to buy anything this time.  Until we saw it.  The thing that will change our family's toothpaste usage forever!  My son and I were quite intrigued but I walked away after the first demonstration (trying to stick with the plan to not buy anything).  But my son kept bugging me.  We circled back later with my hubby and daughter too.  She also loved it.  Hubby was not as impressed.  We walked away again but both kids kept talking about it.  Hubby reminded me of a few reasons why it may not be the best thing since sliced bread (I need him to help keep my perspective a lot of times!).  But the kids were not relenting.  We started thinking about ways it would help and in the end hubby gave in we bought it.

So what is this fantastic product?  Here's a picture...

I LOVE IT!  You just stick your toothbrush in and push against a little lever and it dispenses toothpaste in small quantities without messing with the tube.  No more toothpaste on the counters! And now my kids have less toothpaste on their brushes so they use it all while they're brushing and there's very little left in the sink (and what is there can easily be washed away).  So no more blobs of toothpaste in the sink!  Plus it hangs on the wall so it's one less thing on the counter.

Here's how it works inside for those of you who like to know that kind of stuff:

I don't know the status of this product in terms of patents.  There's no real info on where it's manufactured and where you can get it.  Guess you'll just have to go to some Home Shows or Fairs to get one.  Or maybe it will be on TV infomercials soon.

{Update:  A reader mentioned that she saw lots of these on Amazon.  I checked it out and both and have this one and other types of toothpaste dispensers.  Just search "Toothpaste Dispenser" on Amazon and you'll find several options to choose from.  Thanks for the tip Sue!}

The other reason I really wanted to purchase this toothpaste dispenser was that it also came with a toothbrush holder that hangs on the wall.  I've never been really happy with how our toothbrushes are organized.  Here's our previous system.

We have a typical toothbrush holder that came with our bathroom set but none of our toothbrushes actually fit in the holes so it's useless.   {Why can't these two industries communicate with each other and either make skinnier handles on toothbrushes or make bigger holes in toothbrush holders?}  Anyway, we've been using the cup from our set, but it gets kind of full with a tube of toothpaste and several brushes.  And more often than not someone just leaves a toothbrush on the counter, making more of a mess.

Also, picture 3 clear plastic disposable cups with names written on them with a Sharpie sitting on the counter in the same areas.  My hubby and kids use cups to rinse after they brush and we've experimented with various cups in the past.  What we found worked best was disposable clear plastic cups.  They each have their own and we write their names on them with a Sharpie.  They use them for a couple weeks and then when they start to get kind of grungy looking we recycle them and get new ones.  Not the most environmentally friendly solution and definitely not pretty in our bathroom.  (I was embarrassed to even show them in the "before" picture but use your imagination!)

So, on to the "after" pictures.  Here's what everything looks like now:

This holder is fantastic!  Any size toothbrushes can hang there.  All of ours fit nicely...even my spinbrush.  I like it a lot better now... less stuff on the counter and much less mess!

Once we finish up a few more tubes of kids' toothpaste we'll switch the kids to whatever toothpaste we use.  For now we have the kids' tube in the dispenser and ours on the counter.

Here's my daughter using the toothpaste dispenser.

It puts just a little bit of toothpaste on the brush without overflowing and making a mess!

{Sorry for the pinkish colour of the sink.  There's no natural light in our bathroom and the flash reflected too much so this was the best I could do.}

I recently found the cute little coloured plastic cups that you saw above in the "after" pictures.  They were 8 for $1 at the Dollar store.

They're non-porous which is great because one of the many types of plastic cups we originally tried absorbed too much of the toothpaste.  And these are dishwasher safe so I can clean them as often as I want.  Plus I have a spare for each person so I don't have to fit the washings in between brushings.

I'm really excited (in case you couldn't tell!) about all of this.  No more mess (from toothpaste anway!).   No more nagging (about toothpaste at least!).  Less stuff on my bathroom counter.  And it looks so much cuter!  Can't beat all that.

How do you deal with kids and toothpaste?  How do you organize your toothbrushes?  And do you know why they make toothbrush holders with holes that are too small for a lot of the toothbrushes on the market?

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Jars, Jars, and more Jars!

I am starting a series called "I Love Freecycle!".  I'll post from time to time about things I've given or items I've been gifted on Freecycle.  It will be dedicated to all things Freecycle.

I've mentioned before how much I LOVE Freecycle.  I've given away lots of items after decluttering various parts of my house (especially when we cleaned out the garage!).  I've also picked up some amazing things along the way (like our entertainment unit and our TV stand).

If you're not familiar with how Freecycle works, it's kind of like Kijiji or Craigslist except that everything is free.  People post things they are giving away and other people respond to receive those items.  You can also list things you would like to receive and people reply who would like to give away those items.

Here are 3 reasons why I love Freecycle:

1.  Freecycle is a great way to help you clear clutter from your house.  Knowing someone else will be able to use the items you are giving away makes it easier to part with them.  It's a little more personal than donating your things to charities (not that there's anything wrong with donating!).  
2.  Freecycle also helps you when you are organizing your home.  Many people can't afford to spend a lot of money on furniture or storage containers and then they end up not organizing at all.  Freecycle lets you find what you need for free so there is one less excuse to keep you from getting organized!
3.  Freecycle keeps tons of stuff out of landfills that would otherwise be destined to go there.  Before finding out about Freecycle I would have just thrown out some of the things that I've given away on Freecycle and I know lots of other Freecyclers were the same.

OK, enough about why I love Freecycle in general.  Let's get to what I wanted to share for this first post in the series!

Lately, I've been keeping my eye out for organizing products like baskets, bins, and containers.  I asked for a few things that I saw, but I wasn't given any of the items I requested.  But that changed yesterday, when I picked up these:

About two dozen jars and lids!  For free :)  There were a few larger Mason jars and a lot of medium and small Bernardin jam jars.  And just look at how pretty the lids are:

There are some regular plain old jar lids too but I love the pretty patterns on these!  There are even a bunch of extra lids that were still in packages (I guess the person who Freecycled them to me must have bought extras but then never used them - I can relate to that!).

So you may be wondering why I'm excited about all these jars.  It's not really jam-making season (and if you've been following my blog or know me at all you may have noticed I've never mentioned making jam!).  I did make jam a few times several years ago, but no, I'm not planning to use these for jam.

What else can small or medium jars be used for?  Here are a few ideas I've seen:

1.  Craft supplies - beads, buttons, yarn, string, paint brushes
2.  Hardware - screws, nails, nuts & bolts, small tools
3.  Leftover paint - small quantities like I had in my post Purging and Storing Leftover Paint
4.  Cosmetic supplies - cotton balls, Q-tips, make-up brushes
5.  School supplies - pencils, pens, markers, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, rulers
6.  Drinking glasses - for parties, baby showers, special occasions, or just whenever because they're neat :) 

I will likely use some of these jars for the above items as I continue to organize the rest of my house.

But, the main thing I'm planning to use them for in the near future is my kitchen.   I'm planning to organize my kitchen cupboards and pantry and will use these jars as I do.

I've seen so many pretty pantries and kitchen cupboards with beautiful matching glass or plastic canisters and it makes it so much easier to see what you have.

But buying lots of canisters is not in my budget right now.  I really wanted to do something though instead of having lots of different bags and boxes.

So, I'm going to use these jars and several mason jars that I had left over after we made our Gifts In A Jar gifts for the kids' teachers in June.

I'll put baking ingredients, boxed goods, snacks, etc. in my jars.  It will help keep everything fresher and will allow me see when I'm getting low on something.  And it will look more uniform than all the various bags and boxes currently in my cupboards.  Plus, those lids will help make everything even prettier :)

Stay tuned for the results... [Update: click these links to see how I used some of these lids in my pantry, some of the small jars in my desk drawers, and some of both the lids and jars for simple Christmas gifts!]

In the meantime, here's one more pretty picture!

What kinds of things do you use jars for?

What's the best thing you've ever found on Freecycle (or a thrift store/garage sale)?  Let me know and maybe I'll feature you in a future post in the series!

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

August Review (AKA "I'm back!")

{This post was nearly ready to go 5 days ago, but somehow I lost most of what I wrote because my computer crashed, and for some (still unknown) reason, Blogger didn't autosave.  Since then it's been a whirlwind of last-weekend-of-summer and back-to-school activities.  But finally today I went back to salvage what I had written and made up tried to remember the rest!  So, here's my August review post!}

Wow... it's September!  Where did summer go?  I must say I have loved this summer and fully plan to continue enjoying every last bit of it that I can!  Fall doesn't officially start for a few more weeks, despite all the fall crafting and decorating posts I've seen lately :)

Well, you may have noticed that I didn't blog much in August so there won't be a lot to review here in terms of blog posts.  I wasn't planning to take a "blog break" but a lot of things about this summer were different than I had expected.

The key thing that happened that we hadn't anticipated was that my hubby worked every weekday for the entire summer.  He's a relief letter carrier for Canada Post and after not working for 3 straight months after his initial training this spring, we didn't know what to expect for summer.  We figured he's get some work (and we hoped he'd get a lot for financial reasons!) but we didn't expect he'd work every single day.

He was a trooper...especially in the heat and humidity that we had for nearly the entire summer here.  But it meant no mid-week day trips as a family and a lot of inside (air conditioned) evenings and weekends so he could rest and regain his strength.  And it also meant I was the sole stay-at-home parent this summer for the first time ever (I worked full-time up until the end of last summer).

If you remember at the beginning of the summer I wrote a post called "Organizing Our Summer" and I said that I was stretching myself a bit to not plan out and organize every minute of our summer.  I wanted to savour the moments as they arose and enjoy being home with my kids.  I think I accomplished that goal.  But in doing so, I chose to not spend time blogging.  I didn't really intend it to happen or for it to be as extensive as it was, but as the summer progressed I realized how precious this time with my kids was and blogging was one of the things I chose to give up.

Even though I wasn't blogging much in August, it was still quite a busy month with social media and blog-building activities.  And some of my usual categories for reviewing the month still apply.

So, here's a quick recap of the month.

Most Read Post:

The most read post in August was once again Gifts In A Jar. Thanks again to The Happy Housewife's Christmas In July series where it was featured!

Most Commented On Post:

This title goes to Google+ For the Blog.  This is largely because it's the only post this month but I also think Google+ has been gaining some popularity among bloggers this month.  

My Favourite Post:

Well, not much to choose from here :)  Obviously this goes to Google+ For The Blog as well.   But I also really enjoyed getting to know more about Google+ this month.  It was a learning curve as expected at first but I'm getting the hang of it and I have enjoyed getting to know people that I wouldn't have if I wasn't on Google+.  For people who don't know what Google+ is, it's Google's version of Facebook, but has the added benefit of improving where you show up in Google searches.  I've seen a definite increase in referrals to my blog posts from Google searches since I've started using Google+.  

Other Posts From This Month:

Clearly nothing to put in this category this month!

Previous Months' Posts That Were Popular This Month:

1. Garage Clean Out Part 2 continued to be well-read this month.  Summer is a time that many people organize their garages and hopefully I was able to provide some tips to help people make their garages less overwhelming.

2. Organizing Our Hall Closet was popular in August again too.  With such a hot and dry summer we barely touched a lot of the things in that closet but we made great use of the basket of BBQ tools!

3. The Purging and Storing Leftover Paint post was also viewed quite a bit again this month.  Pinterest breathes new life into this post every once in awhile.  

Highlights This Month:

1.  Starting a Google+ page for the blog and beginning to build it up.  44 people have circled the blog's G+ page and over 500 have circled my personal G+ page.  That wasn't the goal (I really didn't want to use my personal page initially) but I found out that I can't invite or circle people from the blog's G+ page (until they circle me first) so I've been reaching out to people on my personal G+ page and inviting them to circle the blog's G+ page.  I'm amazed at the number of people who have circled my personal page so I may have to rethink having both pages :) If you're on Google+ and haven't followed the From Overwhelmed To Organized G+ page yet, you can click here to do that!  I try to keep the content different on Google+ and Facebook so people who follow in both places won't get duplicate information.

2.  I doubled the number of people who like the From Overwhelmed To Organized Facebook page and there are now over 150 fans!  If you haven't "liked" the From Overwhelmed To Organized page yet, I'd love for you to do so.  I share organizing tips and articles as well as share some of the projects I'm working on before they turn up on the blog.  I love interacting with people here.  Thanks for all the "likes" and comments this month!

3.  I hit another milestone on the blog this month in terms of pageviews.  I reached over 1000 pageviews for My Daughter Has Too Much Clothing! this month.  I'm also approaching 20,000 total pageviews.  Again, these numbers may not be impressive compared to some blogs but I'm so happy that people are interested in what I write about.  And while I don't do this for the numbers, it's nice to see growth to motivate me to keep going :)

Goals From Last Month:

1. Start a From Overwhelmed To Organized Google+ page.  Done!

2.  Spend time building up my "circles" on Google+  Also done (but I will continue to do this every month).

3. Incorporate tips for readers to help you move from overwhelmed to organized too!  Well, with only one post I didn't really do this.  But, I did share lots of tips and organizational ideas on Facebook and Google+.  

Goals For Next Month:

1.  Start a From Overwhelmed To Organized Pinterest page.  I'm really excited about this one!

2.  Post 2-3 times per week as well as a weekly "quick organizing tip" post.  {Any suggestions for names for this weekly feature?}  

3. Spend time getting to know new people on Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+.

So that's my look back on the month of August.  Stay tuned for posts in September on my son's room, our kitchen, and back-to-school organization.

Once again, I am so grateful that you have taken the time to join me on this journey from overwhelmed to organized!

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!