Tuesday Tips and Tricks: Getting organized with one trip to the dollar store 


Have you ever paid attention to the bins and baskets aisle at your local Dollar General, Family Dollar or Dollar Tree? If you haven’t, you definitely should. 

For example, these little white baskets are 3 for a dollar. They are in use all over my house and they make excellent drawer organizers. Here they are organizing some hair bows in my oldest daughter’s dresser.


Next up are plastic chests of drawers. We use them in our bathroom vanities to give us a little more storage space inside the cabinets.


We also use the little plastic baskets as drawer organizers here as well.


Fabric drawers have many uses and are a steal at $4. Here we use them to organize our playroom.


Dollar Stores also have some pretty sweet deals on hangers. I bought the velvet coat hangers in this closet from the Dollar Tree and they have held up amazingly well.

Dollar store baking dishes Make awesome storage bins for your fridge. Plus, the glass ones are dishwasher safe. Plastic food storage containers work well for fridge bins, too.


The Dollar General stores have these awesome metal baskets, which I am using to store cleaning supplies. 


There are a number of different plastic bins available, which we use all over the house in a variety of ways.



These are just a few of my favorite dollar store organizing tools. Please comment down below to share a few of your favorites.

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Using an agenda as a bullet journal…and being more organized as a result


I used to create and print this eleaborate calendar. It was great, but too big and too bulky, and it wasn’t very durable. It was also time consuming to design and assemble.

Enter this pretty little $14 agenda from Anthropologie.

It has whole month calendar pages

And weekly pages as well.

There are also blank pages in the back, which I’ve used for a number of things. Some of them I have used to paste in my own pages.

And on others, I draw or write in whatever I need it to be.

Now that I’m getting into bullet journaling, I can see how these boring, handwritten lists will be much more eye catching in the future.

I met a girl at a teaching workshop I attended earlier this year who had a gorgeous bullet journal. She graciously allowed me to photograph it.

I am learning to use my agenda to organize the things I am scheduled to do, the things I need to do, and the things I want to do. I am also using it to set some goals and keep track of other things.

Each evening, I look back over my day and I look to tomorrow to get a good idea of what I need to accomplish. I also make sure I’m ready for the next day.

I am encouraging my readers to share their agendas. How do you use your agenda? What does it look like? Do you make your own from scratch or customize a pre-made one like I do? Please comment and show me your agendas.

Have a wonderful Thursday.

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Simplify your morning routine

No one in my house is a morning person. In fact, everyone in my house dislikes waking up early and getting out of bed.

You might say for this reason, our mornings are always rushed. Here are a few tips for getting yourself out the door in a relatively calm fashion, even when mornings aren’t your favorite time of day.


1. Be as organized as possible. Having to look for things not only makes you late, it makes you stressed. If you know where everything is, your day will start much easier.


2. Prep your outfits, right down to undies and accessories, the night before. Then you just get up, get ready and get dressed.


3. Set the timer on your coffee pot and eat a make ahead breakfast. Mufflets, pictured above, can be taken out of the freezer, popped in the microwave, and eaten on the go. Overnight oats is a good option too.


4. Put any bags you’ll need to take either in your vehicle the night before, or by the front door. This helps you to not forget things you need to take.

And lastly, don’t forget to look at your calendar/planner/to do list each night to see what you need to do the following day.

Have a wonderful day!

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Who cares about organizing….and why you should!

I try to do a post each week on organizing: usually I post about something I’ve organized, or I share some organizational tips I’ve learned along the way.

I am asked the following questions on a regular basis: why is organizing so important to you? AND why should I care about it?

As a teacher of middle school students, I have been able to observe that some people are naturally more organized than others, while others are extremely disorganized by nature. Those who are disorganized can become organized, but they really seem to have to work hard to change their natural tendencies.

Since childhood, I’ve been the happiest and functioned the best in an orderly environment, but some of my most used organizational strategies are things that I have had to teach myself to do.

Being organized has a lot of benefits, and some of them are even beneficial to your health. Surprisingly, organization is something that has been widely researched. Today, I’d like to share some of those things with you.

  1. Being organized creates a calming environment.

Having a place for everything and putting everything away makes for a more tidy, less cluttered environment. According to a study by Personality and Psychology Journal, women who had cluttered homes had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, not having a designated place for everything leads to losing things. Not being able to find something when you want or need it can make you stressed out and frustrated. This leads me to the next point.

2. Being organized saves you time.

I once read that the average person spends four years of their lives looking for things. I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that my days run much more smoothly if I don’t have to search for the things I need. I also know from experience when things are not located in a timely manner, it takes time to find them, and then I’m stressed and running late. When you are a working mother, you have to juggle getting yourself and your children ready in the mornings, and you actually have to leave. Time tends to be tight at our home in the mornings, and the less I have to look for, the better. I don’t want to be redundant, but I’ve already mentioned how having to locate something takes time and makes you frustrated. Wouldn’t it be so much better to spend that time doing something you’ll actually enjoy?

3. Being organized increases productivity.

Not only can clutter distract you and stress you out, it can also decrease your productivity.The Journal of Neuroscience said looking at too many things at once can actually overload your visual cortex and interfere with your brain’s ability to process information. Having an organized work space means that you can accomplish more things at a reasonable pace. I know from personal experience that if I leave my desk messy at the end of the day, just the sight of it will stress me out the next morning. This was starting my days off on the wrong foot, so I knew I had to tidy up my desk top at the end of the day.

Making to-do lists of things that need your attention help you remember your tasks, but it also feels really good to check off those completed items.

4. Being organized can save you money.

How many times have we bought something to replace an item we needed but couldn’t find? What about when you buy something you already have a lot of, because you didn’t know how much you already had? This happened with me in our pantry. Before I re-organized it, I got really slack about putting things away in the pantry. Then, I ended up buying several canned foods we didn’t need, because I couldn’t see the cans to see what was already there. We ended up with about 8 cans of corn, when we really only needed 3 or 4.

5. Being organized can help others in your family to become more organized.

Sometimes, modeling good organizational habits CAN help our children to learn the same ones. I say “sometimes” and “can,” because some children still require a lot of effort to become organized adults. I’ve also read studies that suggest being organized improves your relationships with others for many of the same reasons I’ve already listed above.

Because I cannot leave this post without offering some tips, I thought I’d share a few of those as well. To become more organized, start by writing down everything you need to remember or need to do. Checking off completed tasks truly does feel good. Also, when you’re tackling a big job, break it into smaller pieces. This actually helps you to accomplish the task completely, and it makes it far less overwhelming. My last piece of advice is to be flexible. Often, I have unrealistic expectations and I will cram too much into one day. It’s hard, but sometimes I just need to accept that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do. Rushing through a job just to get it done ultimately helps no one!

Have a wonderful week. I have some great organizational posts to share with you next week.

 

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An organized Christmas: planning binder

Every Christmas, I schlep my way to our shed and unpack all my Christmas Décor and get down to business.  While my ornaments and Décor are special and important to me, my  most valuable Christmas related item is my Holiday Planning Binder.

It’s a nondescript green polka dot binder, but I love it.

It’s not fancy in the least but it helps me so much.

When I find recipes and Décor Ideas in magazines , I rip them out and put them here for future reference.  I also made a few printables to help me get started.

For starters, a December calendar.

I use it to keep track of whom I’m sending Christmas cards.

There are checklists for party planning, decorating and traveling.

I use it to plan parties and celebrations.

I have included links to my free printables just for you. Enjoy, and have a Merry Christmas.  Just right click on the files below and save them to your computer to download. Thanks!

christmas-party-planner-sheet-copy christmas-party-planning-copy december-calendar recipe-card travel-checklist

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Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoiseaquifer and HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Organizing using the Target Dollar Spot 

​ First of all, I apologize for not posting yesterday. Do you ever just need a work day? I needed a work day yesterday to clean my house, do some yard work, and go to the grocery store. By the time I finished all those things, I realized I hadn’t uploaded my post. Sorry about that.

Earlier this week, I went to Target. We do not have a Target nearby,but we do have several within an hour range. I love the Dollar Spot and have found many neat and useful items there in the past few years.

One of the coolest things I found was this ruler framed chalkboard. How neat would this be in my classroom or in a craft room?

These peg board kits are only $5 and I almost bought one myself. I didn’t get it because I didn’t really have a place for it in mind.

Ruler hanging strips? Again, these could be awesome in your classroom, office or craft room.

I can think of lots of ways I’d use this $3 bath caddy.

The hanging pocket organizer and hanging cubbies are useful, too.

There are also jewelry organizers for small items. They had canvas fabric drawers as well but I didn’t get a picture.

I wanted one of these for my desk:

And a few of these for storing paperclips and such:

I came home with some pencils and watercolor note cards. If you’re a college student, a teacher, or an organizing fiend like me, you need to get yourself to Target. You won’t be disappointed. 

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate AddictThe Turquoise HomeA Place of My TasteThe Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My PinterventuresThe Lady Prefers to SaveThe Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish CottageBluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential MommyChristine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Auto organization: fold up organizers

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When you spend as much time in a vehicle as we do, AND you have kids, you’re bound to have a messy car. If you spend as much time in a vehicle as we do, you’re bound to get annoyed by the constant mess. There  were things we tried to do, but not all of them have been working. We used these bags and fold up fabric drawers for a while, but after so long, they began to lose their effectiveness. The bins didn’t keep their shape and things began sliding out of them every time we’d go around a curb.

A plastic bin makes a fantastic trash can. I empty it when I stop to get gas.

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A second plastic bin holds baby wipes, tissues, a phone charger, and sanitizer.

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And the center console holds our sunglasses. (not pictured).

My daughter had a handy dandy bag, but she seemed to have little time for what was in the bag and always carried a bunch more stuff every time we’d leave the house. Which then ended up not getting carried in and adding to the mess.

To combat this, I asked her what toys she wanted to keep in the van. I put them in an organizer, and put an empty bag in there for carrying toys back into the house that she brings along.

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Our “trunk area” is routinely full of this and that- the stroller, items to be donated (which then ride with us for weeks at a time) and stuff that needs to go in the house but never seems to make it there. I also used a fold up organizer in the “trunk”  to contain a small first aid kit, emergency baby items, changes of clothes, and our emergency car kit. Now the only thing back here are the stroller, the Boppy pillow and the bin.

 

 

The bin holds our small first aid kit and our car kit. Read about the car kit here.

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I’m liking the new car organization. What do you think?

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, The Turquoise Home, A Place of My Taste, The Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My Pinterventures, The Lady Prefers to Save, The Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish Cottage, Bluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential Mommy, Christine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Magazine storage

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

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In an effort to declutter this house and simplify our lives, I am going through our belongings and purging what we don’t use or need.

What I learned is I am a magazine hoarder. I started by going through all my magazines and narrowing my subscriptions down to four magazines. I then went through my stacks of magazines and kept only the last three months’ issues. I also kept some special issues, such as the Christmas issues.

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I then bought some magazine files from Ikea and covered them with some pretty scrapbook paper.

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I also purchased some Tim Holtz Ideology bookplates and made some labels for each magazine I subscribe to.

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I’d say the magazine files have helped my magazine hoarding problem significantly.

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, The Turquoise Home, A Place of My Taste, The Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My Pinterventures, The Lady Prefers to Save, The Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish Cottage, Bluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential Mommy, Christine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Organization: a new command center

The whole purpose of a command center is to help you manage and organize your home.

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When we first made our command center, it did a great job of organizing and managing our home. Over time, though, it was a different story. Oh, it was still nice, attractive, and useful, we just didn’t use it. We talked about it and we realized why we weren’t using it: the command center was located in our office, and we don’t walk by it unless it’s intentional.

We began looking around our home for a more traveled area in which we’ll pass by the command center several times a day. We don’t currently have a mudroom, but it is on our long term list of things to do. We didn’t want to put it in our living room and there isn’t a good place in the kitchen.

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One side of our pantry (the side that isn’t pictured above) doubles as a coat closet. We also park our shoes in here when we come in the door. I also have to go in there in the mornings to collect my purse and the diaper bag. It’s kind of like our “mini-mud room.” Therefore, the pantry seemed like the most logical choice.

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I started by moving the hanging rack down a bit to accommodate the command center. I also removed any unnecessary bags from the hooks- for instance, Emorie’s swim bag was still in here. The child is not currently in swimming, as it is February. Out it went!

I simplified the command center quite a bit, by reducing its size and making it function better for us. I sometimes felt the large command center we had before seemed overwhelming. The cleaning checklist was moved to the laundry room, since that’s where the cleaning supplies are stored. Just made better sense to me.

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Sorry about the boob light reflection in the glass 🙁

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All in all, I really like how this turned out! And it’s getting way more use as well 🙂 Send me pictures of your command centers. I’d love to see them!

Linking to StonegableWorthing CourtCedar Hill FarmhouseConfessions of a Plate Addict, The Turquoise Home, A Place of My Taste, The Happy Housie, The Blissful Bee, My Pinterventures, The Lady Prefers to Save, The Kolb Corner, Craving Some Creativity,  Let’s Get Crafty, Diane and Dean DIY,  Starfish Cottage, Bluesky Kitchen,  Potentially Chic,  McCall Manor, and Odds and Evans,  The Quintessential Mommy, Christine Everyday,  Little Miss DexterousDécor To AdorePoofing the PillowsAt Home With JemmaWhite Spray Paint,  and French Country Cottage!

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Organizing tools of the trade: Time management

I can organize a drawer with the best of them, but time management and organizing my time are not always my strong suits. Like many people, I’m very good at wasting time or just simply doing a poor job of managing my time. I’ve gotten significantly better at this in recent months, and I’ll happily share some of the things that helped me become better at managing my time. As always, I’m not an expert. I’ve still got a lot to learn. If you have things that have worked well for you, please feel free to share them.

1. The Home Binder-

It’s a monthly calendar, a budget tracker, a weekly calendar, a meal planner, and many other things all rolled into one. There are even sheets for project planning, shopping lists, and books I’d like to read. It has made my life significantly easier. I made this one, but I drew upon some home binders I found on various blogs and Pinterest to create something that would suit my needs. My mother-in-law graciously agreed to bind it for me. One thing I’d change- next time I’ll have Staples or Kinkos bind it instead of using three inkjet cartridges to do it myself. If you like this idea, but you don’t want to create it yourself, Jen Jones at I Heart Organizing has an amazing home binder you can purchase. 

2. Command Center

Again, I didn’t invent command centers. I wish this had been my idea, but just like the home binder, this is another idea I stumbled upon on the Internet and decided to make it more useful to my life and my needs. My command center contains a monthly calendar, a weekly calendar, a dry erase list of bills to pay, a weekly cleaning to do list, a menu planner, a bulletin board, and three bins for sorting mail.  For a more in depth look at my command center, here is a post about it. 
I  also do something similar in my classroom: one for me and things I need to do, and one for my students and things they need to remember. 
In addition to my command center, here are some other examples. These aren’t mine 🙂
One Creative Housewife: Time To Get Organized
Man Oh Man Command Center www.ciburbanity.com
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3. The Tried and True To-Do List! 
Honestly, this is probably my most-often used time management tool. I make to-do lists allll the time. I make them on a dry erase board at school to keep abreast of all my responsibilities and tasks. I use one at home to make sure I get everything done that I need to do and I don’t forget anything. I write out a list of home maintenance duties each year so I can make sure I get everything done that I need to do. You get the idea- the easiest way to make sure you get everything done that you need to do is to simply write it down. Seeing it all on paper helps you manage your time better, because you know exactly what needs your attention. 
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I hope you enjoyed this post about time management tools. I am going to be talking about time management smartphone apps next week, so please stay tuned. Thanks for reading, and remember to share any ideas that you yourself use for time management. 

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