Monday, July 28, 2014

Household organization

I get asked all of the time, how in the world I keep my house to clean, whilst I work full time teaching, blog, craft and of course parent my beautiful children.  I think this all boils down to not only my quick clean up methods but my organizational skills.  I firmly believe that everything has its place and if you are not using it toss it or donate it or organize it. So I without further adieu here are my household organizational tips. 

I figure I will highlight a few rooms and then some random areas.  It is nothing too fancy but it is what works for our space and is relatively cheap to organize all of this stuff.

Living Room:

Our living room and kitchen are the central hub for our family, therefore there are always toys and sippy cups and shoes and random junk everywhere and I pick up these areas at least twice daily (naptime and bedtime). The pick up is quick and easy mainly because everything has its place.

  • Shoes go in the basket.  When the basket is full I just take it upstairs to the bedrooms and put them where they go.  
  • Remotes which seem to be a fun toy go in our nifty rotating remote organizer.  I kind of love this thing and it is easy to move all the remotes away from tiny hands when necessary.  I also keep charging cords in it.
  • Toys are the nemesis to every families life because they are bulky, noisy  and everywhere all the time. I purchased these square organizers for the play room, kids rooms and obviously the living room. Eyan has two drawers in the living room and Emmi has two.  They share the open spaces and each get a few large toys to keep out, as long as they fit in our designated toy area.I have found that ALMOST all of our toys can fit into these box organizers with a few exceptions.  Those larger few exceptions will either go on top of the organizer, or a shelf or in the play room (which by the way is super clean and organized too).   


I wrote about how I clean my kitchen quickly here and I am working on a deep cleaning series as well, but I figure a few people wonder what is going on in my cabinets.  So here you go.

  • Utensils: Little baskets in all our drawers are my favorite.  Keeps everything easy to locate and makes me so happy. 
  • Pots and Pans: I remember seeing somewhere (probably Pinterest) about how to store your pot and pan lids and saw that someone used a wire filing rack to hold their lids.  Yeah that totally didn't work for me, so then I saw someone use hooks and I was game.  I attached hooks to the inside of my cabinet and so far I am in love with this.  I used dollar store sticky hooks and they work decent.  I have had a few fall off, but nothing major. Oh and BONUS, those filing racks actually fit my pans really nicely, so I can stop putting paper towels in between them to avoid scuffing and scratching.
  • Mail organization:  Jason is terrible about bringing in the mail and putting it all over the kitchen, so I am immensely thankful for the fact that we have a built in mail/office area.  I sort mail immediately; trash the junk mail, bills and important papers in the top shelf and coupons in the bottom shelf. Once a month I pull all the bills and important papers and pay them and then file them in our filing cabinet. 

Laundry Room:

I am gearing up to redo this room in a yellow and Tiffany blue and am so so so excited, but until then this is my lame ol' country laundry room.  I would say about 95% of the time my laundry room is clean.  I know in many peoples house there are piles of laundry either clean or dirty and it ends up as kind of a dungeon.  I feel like the biggest reason my laundry room is always clean is that we have the laundry room on the same floor as our bedrooms AND, I only have 3 laundry baskets.  The 3 laundry baskets makes it very difficult for me to leave a load of laundry when I need to do more laundry.  Having the bedrooms and laundry  room on the same floor is crucial for me.  When we lived in our little apartment the laundry room was downstairs and I would almost never put the laundry away, it just sat in baskets forever.  Now I have no reason not to walk 12 steps to the nearest closet and hang up clothes.

  • Storage: Behind our laundry room door is a little storage space.  I keep larger cleaning items that I use throughout the upstairs as well as the pre-treating and laundry detergents.  It is all organized according to where it is used as well as what it is used for.  The top shelf if general random cleaning supplies, the middle shelf is ironing and floors, below that are pre-treating and dusting supplies and then detergent. 
  • Trash: I keep a LARGE trash can in here to empty the small cans in the bedrooms and bathrooms into as well as the lint trap.  That way on trash day the hubby usually has to grab the diaper pail and the large trash can. (Diaper pail is also in the laundry room)
  • Vacuum: We have a vacuum upstairs and downstairs which also helps motivate me to clean because I do not have to lug a vacuum up an down these darn stairs. 
  • Swimwear: Lastly I keep a tote full of CLEAN swimming stuff.  Suits, towels, floaties are all kept here.  That way all I have to do is throw it all in the wash and then no one cares if your suit is wrinkled so I just toss it in the tote.   

Random household areas:

Coat closet, outdoor toys, bathroom storage and shoes are all things that if not stayed on top of they can easily get out of hand.  My house is no real exception.  About every 3 months or less I have to go through these areas and reorganize.

  • Coat closet: We are lucky that our coat closet is so large.  I keep our travel luggage in here as well as all our coats.  The coats are organized by person.  We each have our own section so we know where to look.  I also have a basket on the shelf with hats and gloves (matching gloves are inside the hat which makes it easy to grab and go).  The large recyclable blue bag that you see hanging holds all of Jason and Eyan's baseball caps.  I also keep a vacuum in here. 
  • Kids area:  We have an area of our kitchen that is designated for our kids.  They have their separate dish cabinet, their outdoor toys and their craft drawers.  I just reorganized the outdoor toy section and put all the bubbles in a old shoe box, then put the kites, water toys and ball all together.  I love having these toys separate from the other toys for easy access for some quick fun.  Eyan and Emberlynn have their separate craft drawers that are age appropriate and are great for quiet time in our house. 
  • Bedroom closets:  I should have taken a picture of more then just shoes.  I have shoe organizers in almost everyone's rooms (baby girl does not need one yet for those tiny shoes).  I love them and they are wonderful.  I also organize ALL our closets by clothing type (jeans, t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts, business clothes, shorts, etc) and when I have time or am feeling slightly neurotic, I may organize them by color too.  
  • Bathroom Cabinets:  I wrote about how I quickly pick up our bathrooms here.  However, I never addressed the cabinet areas.  Almost every bathroom cabinet in our entire house has the following under it: toilet paper, toilet bowl cleaner, disinfecting wipes, paper towels and extra hand towels.  However, our master bath is slightly different because we have more space.  Jason has his side and I have mine. There is nothing too special about these.  I have little baskets under mine and Jason's for the smaller items like colognes, razors and make up.  I also have these great little wire things to hold my blow dryer and straightener!  LOVE THEM!

If you are just starting to get more organized and make your life simpler, the key is to start small.  Start with the smallest room in your house and organize it.  It may just be a closet.  Choose a new area to organize each week and work your way to the bigger scarier areas in your house.  Make sure to keep your previously organized areas clean to ease your stress. I will tell you that it gets easier the more and more you do and you learn to live with so much less.  My rule is that if you have not used it in 6 months you donate or trash it.  It really does work!

Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.  Have a great day!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Favorite 7/25/14

I cannot believe that Camilla  and I have been linking up with all of you wonderful people for 2 months now! I just want to thank each and everyone of you for linking up each week and sharing a little bit of your work and happiness with us.  Please continue to spread the word about this blog hop and make sure to visit a few of the folks who link up this week .

Each week we feature one of you as our Friday Favorite of the Week!

This weeks Friday Favorite is Sandra who writes beautiful inspirational posts all the time over at Sandra's Ark.  I adore her blog and look forward to her links each week.  Make sure to check her out and send her a little congrats for winning this weeks Friday Favorite!

Thank you so much for linking up last week Sandra!  Please grab your badge.

Grab our button people!  We are getting famous over here :)

Also, we are really hoping to connect with some of you on Google+.  If you would like, please link up your Google+ profile!  We would love to follow you!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back to Blocks #Review #Giveaway

Sometimes I spend so much money on these really cool toys with all the bells (literally) and whistles and then my child falls in love with a spoon and I wonder why the heck I wasted all this money.  So I was elated when Back to Blocks contacted me and asked me to review their 12 block wooden block set.  I knew my babies would love these and the fact that they are a quiet toy was kind of exciting.

First of all the blocks are made out of poplar wood and are perfectly sanded and shaped.  They were easy for Emberlynn and Eyan to hold onto and build things with.  I was worried that the 12 piece set would be too small for them to share, but they played very well with them and it was actually a perfect little started set. The blocks are also very lightweight which was nice when I realized that Emmi may or may not have been hitting the poor dog with one of the blocks.  These blocks are also 100% made in the U.S.A!  I love that little tidbit because it puts more money directly into our struggling American economy!

I mean look how much they enjoyed these awesome blocks!

One of my favorite things about these blocks is that they actually inspired Eyan to be imaginative and creative.  He came up with the cutest game that really tests your critical thinking and problem solving skills. 

The game goes like this:
  • One person puts all the blocks behind his/her back (block holder) and then puts their hands behind their back and grabs one block in each hand.
  • Another person (block selector) has to choose one of the hands from the block holder person.
  • The block selector person then has to try to build the tallest, sturdiest structure out of the blocks they are handed.
  • The trick is that the blocks have to be placed in the order you received them and the block holder person can get a bit tricky and hand you some of the tougher blocks to balance.
We probably played this little game for an hour until Godzilla baby destroyed our fun and needed a nap. 

Back to Blocks is a wonderful company and is offering one of my readers a small set of 12 wooden blocks, just complete the simple Rafflecopter below and GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happiness Lately

Whew, last week was insane with sponsored and promotional posts.  I apologize, but there were a ton of deadlines and I am working towards using this little space to supplement our regular income.  However, this is and always will be my ultimate space to share life's up's and down's and today I think I want to share what is making me happy lately.

First off, I am getting much better with my DSLR, the only thing that totally sucks is that sometimes the natural light in my house sucks and my photos are a bit dark.  I have been really working on the editing aspect and although I am learning, that is a huge curve.  These photos below are totally #nofilter!

My sweet sleeping Lily.  This girl just is a lover lately and has even been known to snuggle right up to Eyan while he is napping.

Oh our wild child!  Mia is still so beautiful, but darn this dog cannot stop fence fighting with our annoying neighbors dog.  Regardless of how many discussions and agreements we have had with said neighbor, nothing is being followed through with on their part, so unfortunately we had to buy a shock collar.  The fighting has pretty much ceased and I have only had to shock her 1x.  She understands the warning vibration and backs off.  We just need some peace and I am so fearful that Mia will kill the neighbors dog and then I would have to put her down that this is our last resort to create peace. 

Are you kidding me that I have a toddler and that she is this adorable?  I mean a sippy cup?  Those teeth? Her eyes.  GAH!  This one is going to be trouble and is already giving me a run for my money.  Her vocabulary and her motor skills have grown leaps and bounds in the last few weeks and although she is still so tiny she is just so fun and such a toddler!

This truck and my daddy and my boy.  This truck is my great-grandpas and my daddy had it repainted.  The interior was in mint condition and it looks so good.  Many camping trips were had in this truck and tons of memories.  My dad is passing this onto Eyan when the time comes and it makes me so happy.  

Cow Appreciate Day!  Can I tell you that I think I might spend next summer being super frugal for the fun of it.  After having a wonderful and fun day on 7/11, I was kinda hooked!  I loved participating in all the free stuff that 7/11 had to offer from free Slurpees at 7-11 to free meals at Chick Fil A just for dressing like a cow!  I am not kidding, I am already starting to look into this and doing a series next year and I am going to do two free and fun activities a week with my kids from here until I go back to work.

This boy.  He will always be my first baby and just makes me so happy daily. Lately he is just full of life and has such a gigantic imagination.  He adores play dates and snuggles.  I just want to hug and kiss him all day!

Hope we made you smile a bit today.  Happy day!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#Spellbinders Celebra'tions Collection #Giveaway

I am elated to bring you something that I just love to do and a little giveaway too!  


When I found out I was going to review the Spellbinders Celebra'tions Collection by Richard Garay I was elated.  I love scrap booking and papercrafts, so this was right up my alley.

Spellbinders was inspired by Richard Garay and his passion for paper crafts, event hosting and handmade greetings.  Spellbinders offers awesome crafts that are so easy to make and take from diecuts, to rubber stamps to embossing; Spellbinders has it all!

I was sent the Celebra'tions Collection with a couple examples and directions on cards and crafts to make. However, I had a particular event that I wanted to make a special card for and I wanted it to be more personalized.  My plan was to make a beautiful card for the new baby from my pseudo brother that passed away in late February.  They are having a boy and I was so excited to use the Celebra'tions Collection to make a beautiful, personal and colorful card!

The diecuts and pre-stamped items were beautiful and so easy to use.  The package came with everything I needed and made the card making process so easy.  All I had to do was find a little quote for the inside and that was easy!  I think my card turned out perfect!

Richard Garay and the wonderful people at #Spellbinders did not forget about you!  They are offering one of my awesome readers this adorable 15 piece clear polymer stamp set!  All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter below.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: The Spellbinders brand provided me with a sample of Spellbinders Celebra'tions Collection in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own. 

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