Monday, June 1, 2009

From Kasey at All That is Good comes Friend Makin Monday.

Today's task is to share as few or as many everyday, little tips that you use to make your lives easier. You know- all those special tricks you might have to cook, clean, raise kids, work in the yard, and on and on!

Well, Kasey, you caught me at my worst, because I feel so unorganized right now. But perhaps in sharing some of the tips that I have used, and coming up with a few new ones, I will get organized again. There's always hope - it's our last week of school, which for most people means that they will become MORE busy after their kids get out, but I will be less busy because I will no longer be homeschooling - yahoo!

1) To keep clutter to a minimum: I bought 3 little compartmentalized plastic bins with handles, and I wrote on them: Upstairs, Main Floor, Basement. Whenever I find something lying around - such as a toy, a barrette, a pair of kids' scissors, or whatever - I put it in the appropriate bin. When the bins are full, the children have to take the bin, sort out the contents and put everything away. The compartments make it easy to put small things like earrings in it without them getting lost.

2) I have a yard sale every year! I keep one or two HUGE rubbermaid bins in my basement storage room. Whenever I come across clothing that has been outgrown, toys that are no longer in use, or any household item that doesn't suit my needs any more, it goes in the bin. If I have enough stuff in there for a yard sale, I have one! Of course, there are often objects too large to fit in the bin, but I keep them in the same general area. This year, during Lent, I actually purged my yard sale bins and gave all the items to St. Vincent de Paul. And I often hand down my youngest daughter's clothes to a friend who has 3 younger girls. BUT, guess what??? My yard sale bins are still bulging at the seams. Time for a yard sale!

3) Laundry: I fold laundry in my bedroom. I sit on my bed, fold laundry and watch Dr. Phil. The kids know what I mean when I say it's "laundry and Dr. Phil time." I have 4 small laundry baskets, one with each child's name on it. As I fold laundry, I deposit the items into the appropriate basket. Then I put the baskets in their rooms. They are supposed to put all their clean laundry away before bed (this doesn't always happen - we're working on it). The girls have to put ALL their laundry away, including socks, underwear, pj's, etc. For the 4-year-old, I only put shorts and shirts in his basket so it's easy enough for him to put away.

For stray socks, I have a canvas clothespin bag (sans clothespins) that I put all the unmatched socks in. When I'm folding socks, I dump it out to see if I have any matches. Any unmatches socks go back in the bag. If I don't see matches for a sock after a month or so, I either throw the lonely socks away or put them in the craft bin for sock puppets.

One more laundry tip: If you ever have a really tough stain, try soaking the clothes in warm water and Oxi-Clean. It often takes several days, but the stains WILL come out. I've gotten out mustard, blueberry, and grass stains. I don't have a soaking sink, but I have a small bucket next to my washer which I use to soak stained clothing.

4) Children's school work and art work: Being a homeschooler, I see EVERY piece of work my children ever do. It's often difficult to decide what to keep and what to throw away. But I finally came up with a system. At the beginning of the year, I buy a 3-ring binder for each child and I label it with the child's name and grade for that year. Every month or two, I go through their work and decide what work is really exceptional - whether it's a perfect math test, or a beautiful piece of art work - and I put it in the binder.

True confession time: If there are LARGE or 3-D pieces of work and there is no space for it, I take a digital photo. I have a file on my computer just for the children's art work.

Finally, this is my plan, but I've only done it once or twice. I take the children's best artwork and put it in a frame and hang it up. I buy cheap frames at thrift stores or yard sales so I have them on hand for art work. As of right now, I have a gigantic box of frames, photos and artwork that I haven't gotten to in years. This is my next big project. . . .hopefully I'll get to it after school is out.

Thanks, Kasey, for this fun idea. I will definitely be reading other people's posts to get more ideas on how to get organized and make my life easier!


  1. Jen great tips....

    I like you tip about the school work!

    Happy FMM...

  2. I like the idea of all the bins. I try to do that and just wind up with piles of stuff in the wrong place. at least it is consolidated.

  3. I love idea #1, and love the laundry baskets with the kids names on them. I make piles but they always fall over ;). I need to get each kid a small basket-thanks for sharing!!!

    ;) Carisa

  4. Great ideas on laundry and school/art work! Thanks for them, I have written them down so I can copy them!

    Happy Monday!

  5. Love your comments phrase :) Thanks for the tips!

  6. I love the idea of the bins- I just thrown kids stuff on the stairs every couple of days and make them pick it up.

    And last summer, I framed 2 of my daughter's best art work and she was so proud of her stuff hanging on the wall.

    Have a super week!


  7. I love your clutter-minimizing tip! What a great way to get little things put back in the right spot. And what great chores for your little ones!

  8. Wow, lots of great ideas! I have bought the 4 baskets for each child's laundry but haven't put them into use yet.

    I also take pictures of their pictures :)

  9. Taking pictures of the giant artwork is a great idea! Everything is a good tip.

  10. Love the tip about the school work! I have two baskets the boys put their stuff in. Then in the summer we go through it. But I just threw it into a bin. I need to do the folders!

  11. I also do the taking photos of the artwork! I love the Dr. Phil and laundry time :)

    Have a great Monday!

  12. I do kind of the same thing with the garage sell stuff, but I don't think mine's as organized as yours! I like the idea of the different laundry baskets for each child, but mine aren't old enough yet. An idea to tuck away!

  13. I love your tips, especially about the yard sale items. Smart, very smart. Thanks for the tips!

  14. Hi Jen!

    Good tips. I SO need to have a yard sale. My house is cluttered up and it is driving me nuts. I couldn't think of anything good to post about this - sad isn't it? But it has been good to read everyone's tips!


  15. Great ideas! I will definitely be keeping some of those in mind! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Jenny - Your tips are REALLY excellent! I'm impressed! I CANNOT get rid of the socks. I've got socks from when Lydia was Anastasia's age....but I KNOW if I toss it, the other one WILL show up.

    I need to do a yard sale, too.... Would you be interested in letting me join you? Or is that too complicated?

  17. What's up with all the comments??? Wow.

    Great tips. I need to be motivated to get this place tidy.


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