Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Organized for 2011

Like I mentioned last week, 2011 rolled in with energy and sparkle. There are a lot of things I want less of in my life - screen time, stuff (raise your hand if Joan's home tour made you want to purge the junk in your life), sugar - but there are some things I want more of, chief among them being organization. I want more order, more systems, more routine. Anne and I chatted about this and thought, who better to approach for organizational tips than our own readers and guests?

And we were right. You guys are full of great ideas. We're excited to share them. Here's round one:

I love what Kalli shared about labeling and organizing photos. Scrapbooking seems like a losing battle, but record keeping is important to me. This seems adequate and do-able:

My mom always took the time to write on the back of pictures she had developed and you know what? It's awesome to know those details because holy cow, do you forget. I know a lot of us in this digital day and age have thousands and thousands of pictures, I know I do. Whenever I download, I always try to either label my folder with the date and event or label at least a couple of the important pictures, (esp. when my babies are small, there's a big difference between 8 and 4 months) and then quarterly I try and actually print out a good chunk of them, at least the ones I love, and stick them in albums (with the info on the back). I also upload all my photos to photobucket and organize the folders by date and occasion (like winter 2010) so that in case my hard drives and backups fail I have it all online. Thanks to having a baby 3.5 months ago and being largely pregnant all summer I'm sort of behind on this project, but I'll catch up. I love going through my mom's photo albums because all the information is right there on the back of the pic, I know my kids will too, so it's important to me to keep up with this stuff.

Melanie of Mel's Kitchen Cafe on recording memories and milestones for our children and also organizing recipes and favorite ideas from magazines:

1) With my four boys, I love to keep track of the funny things they say and do, their milestones, concerns, favorites (foods, activities, books). But it is overwhelming to try to write it all down and stay organized. What I've started doing is keeping a post-it note (I'm addicted to those babies, by the way) with each of their names written at the top stuck to the side of my fridge. Four post-it notes right in a row. Since the kitchen is the central hub of my life, it is the best place to keep them. When something note-worthy happens with one of them or I have an impression of something I want to write down, I grab a pen from the messy junk drawer by the fridge and quickly write it down on the correct post-it note. About once a month, I take a quiet minute in the evening after the kids are in bed and update their individual journals from the info on the post-it notes (I type up their journals in Word and keep them saved on the computer). It helps me not stress about getting on the computer right that very second (which is sometimes impossible to do) to make note of the cute thing they did without forgetting...and in the end, I'm able to keep track of all the wonderful (and not-so wonderful) things they are doing and learning.

2) I subscribe to a few lovely and divine cooking magazines. However, after a couple of months, I feel like the stack has piled up and I have forgotten which recipes I've bookmarked to try...meanwhile the stack of magazines has overtaken my precious pantry space. So I started a 2-inch ring binder for the recipes. After 1-2 months of pile up, I quickly snag the magazines, rifle through the pages and rip out the recipes that are calling my name. I use my three-ring hole punch, give them a little squeeze and place the page(s) in the binder. To be honest, I don't even organize the binder according to recipe category, I just stick them in there. When I am planning my 2-week menu, it is the first place I go to look for new recipes. When I've tried one and have posted it or typed it up, I pull out the original recipe in the binder and toss. I've used the same method when I used to subscribe to Real Simple and Martha Stewart. I have a handy-dandy binder in my craft closet with all the cute ideas from both magazines and I shuffle through it quite a lot to get ideas. It's so much easier than keeping a stack of magazines around and looking through each and every one.

Tysha of Little Red Wagon Photography had this great space-saving tip for DVD storage:

First, we take the DVD out of the case.
Second, we toss the case.
Next, we put the DVD in a CD storage album (like this one).
Lastly, store on a shelf or in the cupboard of TV console.

That way - everything is in one place - a place which takes up much less
space than a ton of cases - and is easy as pie to organize into sections
(ie "kids" movie, exercise, etc.) and then we don't have to worry about
our two kids (2.5 and 11 months) wreck havoc by spilling out all the cases
etc. It works great!

I've also heard of people storing DVDs, in their cases, in photo boxes -
so they look pretty and not as tempting to little people high up on a
shelf ;)

And lastly (for today), Miggy of This Little Miggy Stayed Home, sent us a link to a great post she put together about some things she does to stay organized - things like keeping a bottle of spray-n-wash in her little girl's room so she can treat stains before they go into the dirty clothes without having to run down to the basement laundry room. And "keeping separate cleaning supplies under each bathroom and kitchen sink...sprays, sponges, rags, cleaners--in each major hotspot." Love that idea; the job is much more likely to get done when all the supplies are handy. Read more of her great ideas here.

More to come, stay tuned...

Thanks for these great ideas.
Have an organizational idea you'd like to share at Bloom?

E.mail us: aplacetobloom at gmail dot com.


Melissa said...

I DO want to purge. I'm realizing that because I am very capable of organizing matter, that's what I continue to do. I organize what we have. It's time to purge some as well. Organizing can only go so far; when you have too much, it's time to let go!

Joan said...

The sticky note idea is awesome. I actually 'write' cute things my kids do/say down in my phone and then transfer them to their journals later.
Also, the picture mess is a problem I think everyone has! It can be overwhelming to categorize them later--best to do it along the way.
Thanks for the tips everyone :)

Abbie said...

Great ideas! Ah! I love this tip sharing stuff. This is what blogging is about. Bloom rocks my socks!

Everyday Art said...

What fantastic ideas! I never thought of storing my DVDs in a CD case--the room you could save is astounding! And the sticky note idea is great. I've been writing the things my kids do/say on a calendar but I don't like all the mess. I'm definetly adopting that idea. Thank you for sharing!

Oligera said...

I Lover this Blog. Great ideas!