Organization

Wear, Wash, Fold, Repeat: How to Streamline Your Laundry Routine

When it comes to simplifying the way you do laundry, you have to first consider the way you think of laundry.  For most of us, laundry is a dreaded chore, but why is it so overwhelming?

 

What if I told you that there was a way to love your laundry routine?  Would you believe me?  Become a former skeptic with these 5 painless steps that will revamp your routine!

 

  1. Make your Space Unique:  Maybe you are completely dreading laundry day because you are doing laundry in a depressing dungeon of despair.  If your laundry room could use some sprucing up, slap on a vibrant coat of paint or add in some colorful organizational bins.

 

  1. Make your Space Functional:  If you’re drowning in bottles of detergent, sticks of stain pre-treaters, and items that simply don’t belong in your laundry room, this step is crucial.  Put products in order according to how often they are used.  If they are never used, ditch them.

 

  1. Decrease the Personal Burden:  Everyone in the household contributes to dirty laundry, so laundry duty shouldn’t have to be your own personal war zone.  Labeling baskets can teach even toddlers to sort their own laundry with ease.  If your kids are over 5, you can start adding laundry to their personal chore list according to their personal maturity level.

 

  1. Increase the Frequency:  If you hate doing laundry, it may just mean that you are going too long between laundry days.  For singles and couples, once a week is normally enough, but a family of 6 is obviously going to need to do laundry more frequently.

 

  1. Maximize Productivity:  If you still feel the sting of laundry day, use the time wisely. Put on some fast-paced music, listen to an audio book, or catch up with an old friend on speakerphone.  Folding requires 2 hands, but isn’t particularly brain stimulating, so feel free to multi-task when possible!

 

Washing clothes doesn’t have to be a dreaded part of your regular housekeeping checklist.  Make the most of the task!

 

What’s your favorite way to get the laundry done without losing your sanity?   Leave us a comment!

7 Creative Ideas for Organizing Your Child’s Toys

If you have children then you most likely have toys in almost every room of your house. Also, you are probably familiar with the routine of going room to room picking up (or stepping on!) random toy objects with no idea where to set them down (without adding to more toy hysteria).  In this blog I have a few solutions that help ease the clutter and even organize your child’s’ toys, no matter the location!

  1. Old rinsed out soup cans (with smooth edges) make great storage spaces for crayons, markers, colored pencils and more!
  2. Apply a magnetic strip to your wall (you can buy stick on adhesive magnetic strips that can easily be removed without hurting your wall) to stick all of your child’s toy cars/other magnetic toys
  3. Hang garden baskets on the wall to store stuffed animals, makes for a cute display as well!
  4. Use an old spice rack as a book shelf! You don’t necessarily  have to keep all of your child’s books in one place, place these throughout the house to have books readily available to read (and put away)
  5. Ultimate toy organizer-over the door shoe holder. Oh the opportunities! If you like to keep things organized, great! the multiple deep pockets are good for many uses, but if you are like me it is just extra space to place randoms toys that are on the floor, and easy to hide behind the closet door!
  6. Built-in storage space. A window seat with storage is nice, yes, but built-in-storage doesn’t have to be a huge expense. Browse Pinterest.com  for endless DIY hideaway storage ideas for your whole house!
  7. Clothes Hamper/Tub. Purchasing a few clothes hampers could be very wise investment. Purchasing a large, wide/tall clothes hamper and placing it in the corner of your living room/den allows you/your child to keep/dump random large toys such as stuffed animals, toy balls and bats, etc. (tip: purchase a clear or mesh type of hamper, so your child doesn’t end up dumping the whole thing out just to find barbie)

I wish I had a solution for keeping Legos in control, I am still working on that one 😉

The 10 Minute Rule for a Clutter Free Home

Its easy for things to get moved around, cluttered and left out throughout the day. With busy days and just getting caught up in life in general, it is quite easy for this to happen daily. However, in order to keep a straightened household you’ll need to go room-to-room and de-clutter.  Enforcing a 10 minute pick up rule daily for yourself and your household will alleviate the build up in your house and reduce the time it takes to clean your house in the future!

What is it? A simple, non complex rule that even your young children can follow. 10 minutes of a quick brush through the house twice a day (morning and night) picking up out of place personal items and putting them back where they belong (make it easier for yourself – get a big bucket or container to make carrying items to and from less hectic). You can even make it a fun challenge for everyone by setting a timer, the trick is to only spend 1-2 minutes in each room.

Less clutter = Less challenge for the cleaner!  You will find cleaning less of a challenge when things are neat and in order. You will be focusing on the cleaning with less distractions in your way, making it more of a breeze. If you have hired housecleaning help having a picked up, organized home will likely save you some money too!

The most important part of the pick up rule is setting aside some time. If you constantly tell yourself you don’t have the time to squeeze at least ten minutes out of your day then you may find yourself in a house that is constantly cluttered.

Read more about the 10 minute pick up rule and find other great tips here : http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2013/02/daily-cleaning-101-step-6-10-minute-pick-ups.html

Tips to keep your whole family organized this school year!

Sadly, summer is passing us by and school is starting. For many a new school year isn’t just buying back-to-school gear and changing schools, especially for families on the go. A new school year means a change of schedule and order. Keep things in line by keeping it simple! RealSimple.com has a wonderful article with tips and tricks for making your busy school year much simpler. Here are some of my favorite tips to ensure your family has an easy transition this school year:

Before School

Motivate your kids to get out of bed!-  Make a new rule, the first person who is fully dressed and in the kitchen gets to choose what the whole family eats for breakfast (give a few choices, to avoid anything too extravagant or disgusting!)

Avoid the drama- does your little fashionista take up most of her morning in front of the closet? Avoid the drama by having her pick a weeks worth of clothing on Sunday! Hang the outfits on hangers according to the day of the week.

Don’t forget to brush those teeth!- Avoid sending your child back upstairs to brush their teeth last second! Stash an extra set of tooth brushes in the kitchen or hallway bathroom.

After school

Prevent muddy mess- Instead of tossing dirty shoes aside or in the closet, place a plastic serving tray by the front door to control clutter and prevent mud and puddles from ruining your floor or carpet.

Keep track of activities- Get a dry erase calendar and hang it in the family entryway. Assign each family member a color to easily keep track of daily/weekly activities and appointments.

Check out http://www.simplify101.com/kids-organization-tips/back-to-school-organizing-tips/ for more tricks & ideas!

Breaking the Habit of Clutter: Keeping Your Living Space Tidy in a few Simple Steps!

Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country. – Margaret Thatcher.

Home is a sanctuary. I know I probably refer to homes as such a place often but nothing has more truth. After a long and hectic day at work, I look forward to retreating back to my sanctuary more than anything else, however, like many, I often come home to a cluttered home, and simply add on to it more and more after each rough day. I admit it, I am not one to want to hop on the chores after work, but I’ve come to realize I am more relaxed and feel better about how I am living when I surround myself in a clean and tidy home.
If you share living space it is important to get on the same page as everyone. Hold a family meeting to discuss the importance of a clean living space. Aside from the overall benefit of a tidy home, explain the other pros of keeping home clutter free:

  • It is impossible to clean a house properly with clutter everywhere, it makes it especially hard if you hire a house cleaning service. All personal items, trash etc removed from main living areas and put in an appropriate place reduces clutter and makes it easier to do a thorough clean.
  • The ability to keep better track of your personal items. It is especially important to have a tidy house in the off chance your house gets burglarized, knowing everything has a place makes it easier to do a quick inventory after a burglary or saves you the hassle of searching through the house for your headphones.
  • Reduce stress! There is no need to get angry over missing the first few minutes of your favorite TV show because you are searching for the remote, no need to get frustrated when cooking in the kitchen because random clutter crowds your counter space. Make it clear to everyone in the house that if they all work together then a tidy, clutter-free home is possible!

Your Clutter-Free Home Action Plan:

  1. Plan, discuss with everyone what their responsibilities will be, including everyone keeping track of their personal items. If you have children in the house write up a chore list (or add on to your existing chore chart) with simple instructions (i.e; collect all trash in living area in the a.m., put away any out-of-place personal items in the afternoon  ). Next step would be put the plan in to action.
  2. Work together, start off in one area of the house and do not move on to the next until said area is complete. Remind yourself and others that everything has a place. Everyone should already know of a designated place for their belongings, however some training may be involved to make it a habit.
  3. Once everyone has gone through every part of the house and claimed all personal possessions, do a quick walk-through of the house and pick up and throw/put away any trash or left-over random items (i.e; bills on the living room table, dishes on the counter, vacuum cleaner in the hallway etc).
  4. Encourage and Reward! Aside from the rewarding feeling of walking into an orderly home, motivate the whole house with little rewards, and if needed some consequences, while introducing the new clutter-free regime. Reward with little things, such as extra computer time for the kids if they kept track of their personal belongings all week or did not have to be asked to put away  their items. Create consequences (i.e; if you are constantly asking your child to pick up his or her video games in the living room, put them away in your closet for a week) to prevent bad habits from lingering.
  5. Finally, once you have transitioned into a house-that-is-serene (instead of a house-that-makes-you-scream) you may want to consider (if you haven’t already) hiring a house cleaning company to help keep your home at its best (and so you can relax and rest!).

Click for a House Cleaning Quote

5 Tips for a Smooth Move

1. Color coordinate – Designate a color for each room in the new home, such as yellow for kitchen, orange for dining room, etc. Apply colored stickers on the box near the box number. In your new home. Put a matching sticker on the door to each room. The movers will know where to put everything when they arrive at the destination.

2. Number and Log – Number each box, and in a spiral bound notebook keep a log of the contents of each box. You’ll be glad you did your first night in your new house when you can’t remember where you packed the toothpaste!
3. Personal Boxes – Use brightly colored storage tote boxes, one for each person. Let each family member fill theirs with items they’ll want ‘right away’ in the new home — a set of sheets, a towel, a couple of extension cords, a phone, nightlights, address book, pens and paper, keys, kleenex, and travel cosmetic case, and so on.

4. Declutter as you pack – Going room by room, declutter as you organize to pack. Take three empty cardboard boxes and mark them “Keep,” “Throw Out,” and “Give Away.” Beginning in the first room sort through every shelf, drawer, and bin, sorting the contents into one of the three boxes.

5. Hire us to clean! (You knew that was coming!) – Moving is stressful enough! You unpack, we’ll clean. We will even guarantee your cleaning deposit back! Give us a call at 215-2224 and ask how!

The Big Purge – Reducing Clutter by Reducing Stuff

Most people just plain have too much stuff. Do you really need 12 potholders and two potato peelers? What about the book you read once 8 years ago (there is always the library,) the old VHS tapes filling your bookshelves (there is always Netflix,) or the shoes that hurt your feet too much to wear – but darn it if you didn’t spend $80 on them and they are cute! Sound familiar? As you sort through a lifetime of accumulated possessions, ask yourself:

1. Do I really love it?
2. Do I use it regularly?
3. Do I have more than I need?
4. Can it be easily replaced?
5. What is the worst thing that could happen if I get rid of it?
If it is not necessary to your daily life or something that has deep sentimental value to you, get rid of it. My favorite place to purge is http://www.freecycle.org.

Post it online, have someone pick it up off your doorstep, usually in the same day.

Another area most people could use to purge – the cleaning supplies cabinet! The average household has 20+ bottles of various cleaning concoctions, when really there are only four basic products needed to keep a house spic and span –
a good all-purpose
a scouring powder
soap
a bottle of vinegar diluted with water.

For more information on making the switch to natural cleaning, book a free workshop through All Star Cleaning Services, or call about our free booklet.

7 Tips for an Organized Home

  1. Keep a donation box in an easily accessible place at all times (mine is right by the door in my garage.) When it gets full, drop it off and start a new one.
  2. Keep a set of basic cleaning supplies (all purpose, scouring power, soap) in every bathroom and in the kitchen, and a stash of cleaning rags. You’re more likely to do a quick wipe if you don’t have to walk downstairs for the spray cleaner!
  3. Designate a shelf in your refrigerator specifically for leftovers and nothing else to prevent them from getting lost in the back and turning into science experiments.
  4. Conquer your paperwork piles once and for all – a good desktop scanner + Evernote will change your life!
  5. Reuse bread ties to label your cords, and twist-ties to corral them!
  6. Store folded sheet sets inside of one of the pillowcases, to keep them together and keep your linen closet tidy.

Tips to Stay Organized Going Into the Holidays!

Ah, it’s that time of year again, when you get all the Halloween decorations put away, put up the Thanksgiving decorations, clear out the candy wrappers (there are still a few under the sofa with the dust bunnies!) and make way for the turkey. Whether that means homemade table settings a la Martha Stewart, or just de-spotting the wine glasses and making sure the tableware matches, November means the beginning of the Holiday Season, a time of joy and an influx of stuff.

And if you’re anything like me, you’re dreading the influx of stuff. One of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season is to get rid of some unnecessary objects before bringing in the next wave of toys, games, and lovingly-knitted sweaters from Grandma. Consider going through the playroom with your kids and asking them to choose one or two toys that they no longer play with to give away to charities for needy families. Tell them that new toys will be that much sweeter to receive when they’ve done their part to give. Mom and Dad can do this too, getting rid of clothes, shoes, and that much-beloved but never-used set of golf clubs taking up space in the hall closet.

Another great way to make your house holiday-ready is to prepare in advance for the gift wrapping onslaught. Prepare a box, bin, or basket for yourself, containing all the necessary tools for wrapping, including scissors, tape, wrapping paper, ribbons, and little cards. When the time comes, and you’re out shopping desperately for that last perfect gift, rest assured that everything you need to make it look effortless is waiting at home for an easy wrap.
If you’re entertaining this holiday season, make sure to have all your linens washed and ironed and your serving dishes accounted for before the big meal. And it never hurts to give your home a little extra love and care so that, like you, your house is looking its very best for the Holidays. Don’t forget to contact All Star Cleaning to make your house as beautifully clean as it can be!

Eco-Organizing for the New Year – 5 Ways to Limit Clutter

  1. Limit junk mail from entering into your home in the first place. Simply register your preferences with the DMA (the direct mail association) and your name will be removed from the majority of direct mail lists. Go to www.dmachoice.com. Cost is $1.
  2. Opt out of prescreened credit card offers. This will limit the amount of junk coming into your home, prevent identity theft, and extend the life of your paper shredder too! Go to www.optoutprescreen.org.
  3. Do you really need 5 phonebooks when you have quick and easy access to the internet? Go to www.yellowpagegoesgreen.org to opt out of phonebook delivery.
  4. Sign up for electronic statements through your bank, utility company, cell phone company, credit card companies, and anyone else you do business with who offers this option. Most companies make years worth of statements available to you online, so there is no need to keep hard copies. If you don’t trust the companies to do your bookkeeping for you, it is still quite easy to download all of your statements onto your hard drive, and back up onto a thumb drive.
  5. On a similar note, sign up for automatic debiting or electronic bill pay for as many of your bills as possible. It is easy to set up, saves paper, saves stamps, and saves time! What’s not to love? Just set it and forget it.

 

By limiting the inflow of paper into your home, you will cut down on clutter and save more than just a few trees in the process:

Fully grown trees needed to make a ton of paper?  24

Gallons of oil needed to produce a ton of paper?  380

Cubic yards of waste taken up by a ton of paper?  3

Gallons of water needed to produce a ton of paper?  7,000

Kilowatts of energy needed to produce a ton of paper?  4,000