Category Archives: Organization

Back to School Time

Back to School Time = Have an Organized Plan Time

Tis the season … Back to School season, that is 🙂

Yes, friends, it’s that time of the year again … and with it brings a myriad of feelings from anticipation/dread to stress/relief … and anywhere in between.

While my kids are no longer attending school, I remember that it can be a stressful and expensive time of year. I, personally, always felt better when I had a good plan. As a homeschooling family living on a single income:

  • I tried to set aside some money each payday during the summer for school supplies and textbooks/curriculum.
  • I attended conferences to get new & fresh ideas from other parents.
  • I tried to have my school year ‘planned out’ by mid summer, so I could be on the lookout for great prices on the curriculum I planned to use for the upcoming school year.
  • I tried to find used textbooks at Homeschool Used Curriculum Sales. Many times, I could buy used books from other homeschool families in my coop.
  • I also searched online for used books.

Some of my favorite websites were eBay.com and Half.com. I’ve found some good deals on some Facebook Groups pages and on Craigslist. I also like vegsource.com and homeschoolclassifieds.com. I have purchased, as well as, sold on both of these linked websites … it isn’t very hard 🙂 These two sites also have a convenient ‘want to buy’ tab. If you are in the market for any high school level curriculum (yes, I’m still emptying my last homeschool bookshelf), I am currently selling some Rosetta Stone and AO LifePacs foreign language and ABeka language arts items … check them out at the links above 🙂

Could you use some help with planning your Back to School schedule ~ lesson plans ~ school supply shopping ~ online research ?

Contact Tracy Helps You ~ I’ll come alongside you to help get it all figured out … then you can breathe a sigh of relief & focus on enjoying the last, long dog days of summer with your family 🙂

How I Organize Christmas Ornaments

5 Tips To Organize Your Christmas Holiday Decorations

 ~ Merry Christmas in July ~ 

Our family had the tradition of celebrating Christmas in July. We would put up the smaller pre-lit tree, decorate it with all the ornaments my 2 children have received over the years. Santa would bring each guest a gift from the Dollar store. I would make a big turkey dinner with all the fixins. It was fun … but I think this tradition is sadly coming to an end. My “kids” are now adults and have busy schedules that make it hard to all of us to get together 🙁

5 Tips to Organize Your Christmas Holiday Decorations

1) I use old egg cartons to store and keep my small ornaments safe without having to wrap them each individually.

2) I try to keep the ornaments in the boxes that they came in if possible. The really old, family keepsake ones I wrap in tissue or bubble wrap. For the fabric and/or plastic ones, I try to organize them into similar groups and store them in large Ziploc baggies.

3) The living room is where the majority of my decorating takes place. I store the decorations in bins according to the area they will go. I only bring the bins in for the area I plan to work on. That way they aren’t just sitting there, cluttering up the room until I want them.

4) I always start with the bins containing my artificial, pre-lit tree ~ don’t judge ~ and the ornaments bin. The next bin I bring out contains the stocking, garlands and wreathes. Then I get the bin with the Nativity, followed by the village and finally the bin holding all my Christmas pillows and throws.

5) I also use a separate bin (or bins) for each additional room I decorate, for exp. one is labeled kitchen – one is labeled bathroom … yes I decorate these rooms ~ again, don’t judge :), this way I can only bring the bins I need at that time.

I hope you can use some of these tips and ideas to organize your holiday decorations. Contact Tracy Helps You if you’d like some help to organize your stuff 🙂

How to Organize & Repurpose a Closet into a Pantry

How To Organize & Repurpose A Closet Into A Useful Pantry

You know I love to organize ~ I thought having an early 60’s, vintage kitchen would be so quaint. When we bought our house a few years ago, I had no idea how hard it would be transitioning from large, sunny kitchen into a small one. We had only 4 small upper cabinets, 1 under the sink, and 1 under the cook-top. There was hardly any counter space especially when I set up the dish drainer because, of course, there was no dishwasher. We eventually got a stand-alone style dishwasher. We had to move the refrigerator across the room since the dishwasher needed to be next to the sink. We used a freestanding island positioned up against the wall (next to the frig) as additional counter space. Continue reading

Organized Toys

Getting Organized ~ Kids Toys Storage Tips & Ideas

Back in the old days, a.k.a. when I was a little kid, toys storage was a wooden toy box … all or most of my toys fit in it. To be truthful, I had a little cradle where my dolls “slept” when I wasn’t playing with them and a small bookcase.

In the 90’s, when my kids were little, they each had a big, plastic Little Tykes toy box. Both my children were a little spoiled (ok … a lot spoiled) by very generous grandparents. If I remember correctly, they had more toys than they knew what to do with. The toy boxes were always so jam packed, that the lids wouldn’t fit. I started supplementing the storage space with square laundry baskets. I noticed that they mostly played with the toys in the baskets, and not with the toys in the toy box. I finally figured out that the toy box was overwhelming for them … they couldn’t find what they were looking for without pulling everything out. Continue reading

Office Assistant Clerical Work

Personal Assistant to Help with General Office, Administrative Clerical Work

Do you have your own business? Could you use some office help? There is an incredible amount of time consuming work involved with keeping your business records organized. Even though so many things can now be digitalized on your computer, you still have to spend time “filing” your documents and reports into electronic files. You need to have an easy system in place to be able to locate those documents at a moments notice. Of course, there are still paper copies of things to file away for future purposes as well. As a personal assistant, I’d be happy to help you … I can take over some of the more mundane tasks of running an efficient office for you 🙂

Some ideas to get you thinking …

  • Courier Service – I’ll deliver your important packages in a professional, yet friendly manner (no offense grunted “sign here” FedEx driver)
  • Shredding – I’ll shred your stacks of documents, in your office with you present, using your shredder and you will dispose of the shredded material as you choose
  • Mass Mailing – I can fold, stuff, label your Holiday Cards or Customer Special Offers
  • Scanning – I’ll scan your paper documents and save them into their appropriate files on your computer system
  • Presentation Packets – I’ll assemble your printed material into packets to pass out during your meeting or presentation
  • Receptionist/Temp Help – Is your receptionist on vacation or out sick with the flu? I have decades of customer service experience in various industries … I can fill in here and there answering phones and greeting clients / customers for you.
  • Data Entry – I’ll enter all your info into spreadsheets for you so you can create reports to analyze and compare statistics for your company – or – do you need to create an opt-in email list for your upcoming email marketing strategy? (or help organize/clean up your existing contacts)
  • ????? – How can I save you valuable time? Is there something more specific to your particular business that you could show me how to do? I’ve been told that I’m a quick learner 🙂

 

Give Tracy Helps You a call … I’m open for suggestions of how I can help YOU.

OSLC Spring Garage Sale

Spring Cleaning + Organizing = Charitable Donations

Well, the calendar says it is officially Spring, even if the snow on the ground begs to differ. Spring cleaning for me involves organizing along with actual cleaning. This is the time of year that I try to go through closets and storage areas to try to downsize and organize.

Many times in late Fall, in my hurry to tidy up for holiday decorating, things seem to get shoved into closets, drawers or under beds. You know that saying, out of sight ~ out of mind? Well it comes into play a little too often at my house 🙂

Each April, my church holds an annual garage sale (from donations from the congregation and the surrounding community). After operating expenses, the proceeds go to help several charitable organizations in our community. It has always been a successful and highly anticipated event. I usually volunteer by helping sort through and organize the donations and by working as a cashier on the actual day of the sale.

About a month or so beforehand, I usually start to get motivated to sort through my stuff for items to donate. I start a mental list of possible items ~

  • clothes we no longer need or use
  • books I’ve already read
  • home décor items
  • pieces of furniture
  • kitchen utensils and small appliances
  • movies and CD’s 

Then I plan a schedule to start sorting through and organizing the various closets, cabinets and bookshelves. I box up the items for donation. Then I’ll wipe down and clean the shelves before putting back the items that I’m keeping.

It always gives me a sense of accomplishment to tidy up and re-organize the cabinets and closets. I also really like the feeling of giving … of my time and my treasures.

This year’s sale is on April 12th … come check it out and say “hi” 🙂

Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets

Tackle Spring Cleaning Early ~ Kitchen To-Do List Update

It’s the first day of March ~ so here’s an update on my early kitchen spring cleaning challenge I gave to myself.

First I’d like to apologize for posting so sporadically lately … I’ve been feeling a little under the weather for the last couple of weeks. Nothing major, mostly just feeling worn down and dealing with sinus issues 🙁

That, coupled with my perfectionist / all or nothing mindset, well … lets just say I felt like I couldn’t post about my kitchen progress because I thought because I didn’t keep up with my own expectations, that I had failed.

I’m working on trying to wrap my brain around a new outlook (we’re all a work in progress … right?) for life ~ Something is Better than Nothing 🙂

So, here are SOME THINGS (from my earlier kitchen to-do list post) that I did accomplish in February …

  • Emptied out, wiped down, and re-organized the inside of the cabinets
  • Scrubbed and de-greased the outside of the cabinets
  • Cleaned the oven and microwave
  • Washed the windows and curtains
  • Cleaned the ceiling fan

So … this is where my new mindset needs to kick in … I accomplished SOME THINGS from my to-do list 🙂  It’s not done perfectly (something has already spilled over and splattered in the microwave), but it’s better than nothing ~ There is still plenty of time and plenty to do for spring cleaning 🙂

Does anyone else suffer with an all or nothing mindset ? How do you deal with it ? Please share your ideas and thoughts … 
Plastic Tupperware Containers to Sort and Organize

Update on My Tackle Spring Cleaning Early List ~ Kitchen

It has been a week since I posted my list of tackling spring cleaning early goals. During the week, I worked on re-organizing my cabinets. I started with my Tupperware cabinet … it was a mess.

  • First, I emptied everything out on my table.
  • Next, I matched each plastic container with its lid. I have no idea how this happens, but I seem to have a few bowls with no lids and a few lids with no bowls … again, I really have no idea 🙂 So, I got rid of them (recycle bin). I also got rid of a few that were in really bad shape … they get all stained and pitted, yuck.
  • Then, I decided I wanted them to belong in a different cabinet. They were shoved onto a top shelf before. Their new location has more room. Also, I now have the lids stored in the same cabinet as the bowls. I had them stored in a drawer and they kept falling behind and getting jammed. I used a wire basket to stack all the lids to (hopefully) be easier to find.

    Newly Organized Tupperware Cabinet

    Nice, neat and tidy plastic storage containers and lids.

  • I also decided to divide the containers into everyday leftover/storage size and the larger/serving sizes and stored them in a different cabinet.
  • I then took out all my dishes and glassware to wipe down the shelves before putting them back. I tossed a couple of coffee mugs and a plate that had a chip in them.

    Newly Organized Dish Cabinet

    My neat and tidy dish cabinet … now that I look at it, maybe I’ll raise the coffee mug shelf up another notch 🙂

Boy … on my list it was only a couple of sentences, but it sure was a lot of work 🙂  I’ll work on scrubbing and de-greasing the outsides of the cabinets another time, after all, we still have another 5 or 6 weeks of winter left (if you can believe the groundhog). I’m happy to have my plastic containers more under control … now if only the other members of the family will help in keeping the cabinets organized 🙂

How are you doing on tackling your spring cleaning chores? What is on your to-do list? Give me an update … we can encourage each other 🙂 Let me know if you’d like Tracy Helps You to … help you.

 

Early Spring Cleaning - Kitchen

5 Things on My "Tackle Spring Cleaning Early" List ~ Kitchen

Please accept my apologies for complaining so much about the weather last month 🙁

I’ve decided to stop whining and get productive.  I’m starting some spring cleaning early … hopefully I can be done (or almost done) by the time spring actually arrives 🙂

My plan is to spend the month of February deep cleaning my kitchen.

  • Cabinets/Counters – clean/degrease the outsides, wipe down /sanitize the insides, re-organize the contents, wipe down, de-clutter & organize counter tops more efficiently
  • Frig/Freezer completely empty out and throw away expired items, thoroughly clean and sanitize shelves, organize shelves more logically, clean off the top of the frig
  • Stove/Oven – thorough cleaning & scrubbing using lots of “elbow grease” to get rid of those really tough baked on stains casino online
  • Floor – wash on my hands and knees (like my Grandma taught me), getting into every corner and scrubbing the grout of the tile
  • Walls/Windows/Ceiling Fan – wipe down walls, clean/degrease backsplashes, wash windows (inside only – it’s February in Chicago, people … lol), change the curtains, clean/degrease the fan blades

I really can’t stand all that gross, greasy dust that accumulates on every surface in the kitchen … I hope to be able to stay on top of this chore every month, so it doesn’t get so out of control in the future 🙂

Who wants to join me on getting an early start on our spring cleaning this year? I’m thinking that if I spend my time productively during these “cabin fever”, winter months, I can actually spend lots of time outdoors enjoying the spring weather without feeling guilty for blowing off my household responsibilities 🙂

Many thanks to  http://www.manylittleblessings.com & http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/ for co-hosting List It Tuesday / Top Ten Tuesday 🙂

photo by: BooleanRadley
My Perpetual Calendar

Journaling With A Perpetual Calendar

I’ve always wanted to keep a diary. When January 1st rolled around on the calendar, I would make a resolution to document my days. I always had the best of intentions, but after only a few weeks it faded into the background of my busy days.

One of the gifts I received when my first child was born was a “Baby’s First Year” calendar. It had little stickers to place on the days he reached milestones, as well as ones to note doctor appointments, etc. I really enjoyed having a separate place to record all his “firsts”. When my daughter was born a few years later, I purchased another one to save all her important dates too. I found myself referring back to my son’s calendar, remembering going through all the same developmental stages with him.

Then I decided to use my regular wall calendar in the same way … without the cute stickers. I put everything on that calendar, combining the whole family’s schedules. As the kids grew older, my calendar pages really filled up with all their activities and school schedules.

I have saved all these calendars. Over the years, usually during the week between Christmas and New Years, I have gotten into the habit of paging through these old calendars. I usually go through and write birthdays on my new calendar at this time. Sometimes I’m looking for a specific event, other times I’m looking through them to be reminded of old memories and reminisce.

This year, I’ve decided to try to combine my hope of keeping a journal with documenting events on my calendar. While browsing on Pinterest, I came across the idea of a perpetual calendar. Each day of the year has it’s own card. Each daily card would have several years worth of events that happened on that date. The idea being that I would write a quick sentence or two about my day on each card. Then the next year, I’d write my short journal entry on the same card as the last year. Over time, I would be able to look back over many years, all documented on the same card for that date. I’m hoping that since it’s only a sentence or two, I won’t feel overwhelmed by trying to come up with profound thoughts while staring at a blank page in my journal. Some days will have exciting entries, some days will be boring … but they all add up to life 🙂