Archive for the 'spring/summer' Category

Spring Cleaning, Really?

I LOVE spring. I look forward to it all winter. Many things come to mind when I think spring: light, clean, cool, Easter, outdoors, sun, open windows, longer days, flowers, and……. SPRING CLEANING?

I LOVE the IDEA of spring cleaning and actually having every surface of my home clean at the same time! But, I must say, I have 5 very good reasons NOT to spring clean. 5 acres, 4 kids, 3 cats, 2 goats, 1 dog and only one life, and this life is ready to celebrate and enjoy spring! According to wikipedia, spring cleaning refers to the,

Yearly act of cleaning a house from top to bottom, which would take place in the first warm days of the year, typically in spring, hence the name.

In the past, homes were heated by coal and wood fires and come the end of winter, there was a definite need to open up the house and clean out, top to bottom.

I have the desire to have every surface of my home clean. But, I don’t want to spend my days cleaning, during what can be the most beautiful time of the year! So, what is the alternative?

Rather than cramming all your heavy cleaning jobs into a week or two in the spring, have a year long cleaning plan. Create a check off list of ALL the jobs you wish to accomplish throughout the year. Think of it as spreading your SPRING CLEANING throughout 12 months, rather than 2 weeks. Then set aside 30-45 minutes per week to devote to heavy cleaning. With very little effort, you have set aside almost 40 hours (45 minutes x 52 weeks) which, practically speaking, is more time than you would devote to spring cleaning anyway. And best of all, you have a clean house AND you are able to get outside and enjoy spring!

Throughout the year, do the jobs that make sense for the season.

Then in March and April do only your spring jobs. They might include:

  • We will be opening windows soon and getting outside, it’s the perfect time to clean the windows, sills and screens
  • Clean off the porches and decks. Pull out the cushions and deck furniture
  • Switch out fall and winter clothes for spring and summer. Take advantage of this time to purge and lighten your load.  Any clothes that you haven’t worn in the past season should be tossed or donated, depending on their condition. To protect clothes that are being stored, remember to wash them before packing them away and then, make sure they are stored in a clean, cool, dark, and dry place. It’s also the perfect time to take note of any clothing needs for next fall and winter and take advantage of winter clearance sales.
  • Switch out the snow suits, gloves and hats for the beach towels, goggles and suntan lotions.
  • Finally, get outside and begin your garden projects!

Enjoy spring AND a clean house!

Happy (and organized) spring!

Cheryl

Originally Posted April 5, 2009

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We Talked. We Drank. We Got Organized!

This past Tuesday, I hosted my 1st ever Coffee and Conversation at Birdies Cafe.

Thanks ladies, for sharing that time with me. It was as I had imagined. Just a perfect opportunity to get women of different walks, interests, and ages together to encourage each other in our common pursuit of simplicity and organized living.

Yesterday’s topic was “Paper, Paper, Everywhere“. Yes, it is a universal problem!

Aside from discussing tips and habits for reigning in everyday mail and paperwork, we talked a bit about the overwhelming amounts of artwork that our little ones create. It’s a tricky, and often times, emotionally laden subject. We tend to feel that we have to save every single piece of artwork. As the months and years slip by, and with multiple children in the family, the artwork can take over! And when the volume is so great, it can become clutter rather than treasures.

When the artwork begins to overtake your home, it’s time to consider your options. The solution is twofold.

  • First of all you need to decide on a temporary display, what I will  call,  a “Creation Zone“, within your home. This might be in the kitchen, family room, playroom or your child’s bedroom.  When the creation zone is full of art, it’s time to take them down to make room for the next set of masterpieces.
  • Next, as you take down one group of artwork, simply pull out your favorites, your child’s favorites, or those pieces that truly show off your child’s personality and creativity and decide on a dedicated space to save these masterpieces. It can be as simple as a file box with hanging files for each year , a banker box with large envelopes for each year, or you can purchase an art file or or art box.

Mom’s (and Dad’s and Grandma and Grandpa!), check out these simple ideas for setting up a “Creation Zone” in which to display, cherish, and quickly and easily, change up your little one’s masterpieces…….

1. A tip from Tammy F. during Coffee and Conversation:

Gather all of your child’s artwork for the month (or the week, depending on the volume). Tape or tack them up on a wall and take a picture of your child in front of them. Next pick your favorites to save and store, and toss the rest. You are left with a chronicle of ALL their work, along with their current picture, and you have saved for the future.

Thanks, Tammy! This is an excellent tip that I will share with others!

2.  Check out this storage frames from Dynamic Frames.  This is a front-opening art cabinet with a latch. This frame can store up to 50 pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 artwork with the front piece being displayed. It couldn’t be any easier to display and change up your child’s artwork. It has a single bevel-cut mat and can be mounted to the wall vertically or horizontally, or it can be used tabletop with the stand that is included.

Easily Display and Store Your Child's Artwork

3. You can simply hang all your child’s creations for the week with clips along one wall in your home. Again, after this space is full, take out your favorites, and store them away, to make room for the next group of creations. Check out the 3 options below. Hang a curtain rod, equipped with  clips to hang their art. The picture below was posted on Make and Takes Blog, in an excellent article written by Heidi Smith of the Budget Wise Home Blog. Any clothes line with clip will work, or you can purchase the Work of Art Clips from The Land of Nod. Finally, try a simple cable system, as pictured below from West Elm.

Work of Art Displayed on a Curtain Rod

Work of Art Clips

 

It's So Easy to Display Artwork on a Cable System

3. Create a magnetic wall to simply display their artwork. It’s easy, quick, and fairly inexpensive. Magnetic paint is readily available at home centers. You can paint the area any color that you wish and trim it up with strips of molding, which can be nailed directly into the wall.

Make a "Creation Zone" with Magnetic Paint

Next, simply pull out your favorites, your child’s favorites, or those pieces that truly show off your child’s personality and creativity and decide on a dedicated space to save these masterpieces. Quickly and easily, create a portfolio with a file box hanging files for each year or a banker box with large envelopes for each year. Or you can purchase any number of products for a quick and easy solution.

  1. A quick and easy, home-made art portfolio:

A Home-made Art Portfolio

2. Check out The Art File from The Container Store. It is made of heavy fiberboard and has metal label holders on two sides.

The Art Storage Box

 

3. Finally, check out this expandable file by Alex Toys  made specifically for a  child’s artwork.

The options are unlimited. Get creative with your child, and design your own art portfolio!

Join us this Tuesday, April, 5th, as we tackle the subject, “Spring Cleaning, Really?”

I LOVE the IDEA of spring cleaning and actually having every surface of my home clean at the same time! But, I must say, I have 5 very good reasons NOT to spring clean. 5 acres, 4 kids, 3 cats, 2 goats, 1 dog, and only 1 life, and this life is ready to celebrate and enjoy spring!

So, come chat about the “how” of actually getting our homes in order, without being locked in our homes during what (is going to be!) a beautiful spring!

What:    Coffee and Conversation

Why:    To Get “In Order for Life”!

When:  Tuesdays, 9 AM, Spring

Where: Birdie’s Cafe, 233 East Main Street, Westminster, MD

Happy (and Organized!) spring!

Cheryl

Do the Great Exchange!

Spring is coming......

Happy Spring!

Spring is in the air (well, at least it was yesterday!).  Rest assured, it IS coming (and I can’t wait!).

But, wait we must. And while we are waiting, there are a few things we can do to prepare for it.

It’s time, once again, to do “The Great Exchange”. Make life easy on yourself and take an afternoon to prepare for spring and summer. It is the time of year to pack away the fall and winter clothes and equipment, and unearth your spring and summer apparel and gear.

Begin with your clothes. While you’re at it, take a few extra minutes to sort and purge before you pack your fall and winter clothes away.

Ready for spring

Do you remember the old 80/20 rule? It’s true! We do tend to wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. As you take the time to sort and purge you’re off season clothes, make it your goal to purge a higher percentage of your clothing so that you LOVE and KEEP what you will actually wear. Don’t you love it when you’re on vacation and you have a suitcase filled with all of your favorite clothes? It simplifies both your choices and your laundry.

 

If you’re having a difficult time figuring out if you should keep a specific item of clothing, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the item in good condition
  • Does it have stains or tears or is it too worn? Can it (or will it) be mended?
  • Is it still in style? Is it YOUR style?
  • Do I love it, or even like it?
  • Does it make me feel great to wear it?
  • When was the last time I wore this? If you didn’t wear it last season, you probably won’t wear during the next season!
  • How many do I currently own of this type of item? How many do I realistically wear or need?
  • Does it fit? If not, is it within a reasonable number of size ranges of my current size to keep it?

Now that you have determined which fall and winter clothes you will be holding on to, it’s time to consider where to store them. If space allows, simply move the off season clothing to the back of the closet, bringing the spring and summer clothes to the front of the closet. Then, rotate them back as the season’s change. Alternatively, you can move off season clothes from your closet to a spare closet. If you don’t have room within a closet, consider purchasing a freestanding closet to store in your finished basement, finished attic or guestroom. Finally, you can store your off season clothes in a bin labeled with your name and “Fall/Winter Clothes”.

Before storing away off-season clothes, take these 3 simple steps to protect them: Clean, Contain, and Repel.

  • Clean – Moths and carpet beetles are the primary pests that can cause damage, and they are attracted to natural fibers like wool and cotton. They also feed on organic stains. Always clean clothes before storing them away.
  • Contain – in a clean, dark and dry location, such as a closet, freestanding closet, storage box or bin to deter pests
  • Repel – Use all natural cedar to repel pests

It’s also the perfect time to take note of any clothing needs for next fall and winter and take advantage of those last winter clearance sales.

Next, switch out the snow suits, gloves and hats for the beach towels, goggles, and suntan lotions. Find a home for these items near the front door, where you will be coming and going all spring and summer.

Clean off the snow boards, skis, and sleds and store them away for the summer, while pulling out the volleyball nets, croquet and badminton set, lawn chairs, and charcoal.

Relax and Enjoy!

The spring weather promises to reappear, and when it does, you will be ready to enjoy it!

“The Great Exchange” was originally posted May 9, 2009

Happy (and organized!) Spring.

Cheryl

Got Jeans?? Habitat for Humanity Could Use Them!

Next Wednesday, April 21st, I will be heading to Columbus, OH for the 22nd, annual National Association of Professional Organizers Conference and Organizing Exposition, and I would like to arrive with a car FULL of jeans!

Got Jeans? Build a House!

Scott Roewer, of Solutions by Scott, has arranged to have a ‘denim drop box’ at the NAPO conference all week. Scott is seeking to collect 500 pairs of jeans, which is the number of jeans that it takes to insulate one Habitat for Humanity house.

It is spring and the weather is changing (for the better – I’m definitely a summer girl!), and it is time, once again, to do the “great exchange”. It’s time to pack away those winter duds, in exchange  for your spring and summer clothes. Most of us have way too many clothes. And most of us are much more likely to let go of some of our clothes if we know they are going to a worthy cause. Who knew there was such a worthy and practical use for your old, tattered, out of style jeans?

All the jeans collected will be shipped to California where they begin their transformation into Cotton Fiber Insulation. California-based Allen Company donates their resources to bale the denim. Next, the material is sent to JBM Fibers in Texas. JBM converts the denim back into cotton fiber. Finally, the cotton fiber will be sent to Arizona, where Bonded Logic Inc. makes it into UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation. It’s a lot of work for a cool product, which Habitat for Humanity will use in a new house built in New Orleans and the Gulf region.

Read more about this fascinating process and a denim drive organized last summer, right here in Montgomery County, MD, “Denim Donation Drive to Help Insulate Habitat for Humanity”.

So, my Westminster and Carroll County friends, call me, email me, swing by my house, and bring me those jeans! Or, we can arrange to meet at a convenient location.

Cheryl Osterhouse – cheryl@inorderforlife.com – 410.259.1466

Let’s fill up my car, help Scott collect 500 pairs of jeans, and insulate one Habitat of Humanity house with your old jeans!

Watch for “The Great Exchange” Blog Post, in the next few days, to help you in the process of purging the old, organizing the present, and making room for the future.

Happy (and Organized) Days!

Cheryl


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