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I am quite the It Takes A Thief junkie fan.  I love this show and the valuable information they give people. If you haven’t seen the show, the premise is that two ex-burglars case houses, get permission to “rob” the house on video, show the homeowners the video, then give them a home security makeover.

The first few weeks I watched this show, I couldn’t sleep at night because I kept hearing noises and it made me really jumpy!  Aside from adding to my personal paranoias, this show has given me a lot of info on how to make my home less attractive to a burglar.

Tonight’s show featured a man who collected …. well…. LOTS of stuff!  His entire office was totally wiped out and he really had no idea what items had been stolen.  For the police reports and insurance claims, you need to be able to give an accurate list of the missing property.

Enter Visual PackRat Pro!  If you are a collector, here’s a software program to help you track all your collectibles.  It’s so easy to let your collectibles get out of control.  Keep track of what you have – to protect your possessions and to keep your life organized!

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I like to keep a clean, organized house. It’s a trait I inherited from my mom. In fact, I became a professional organizer because I like to organize so much. However, I have a confession to make…

Should you ever visit my house, please, please, please do not look into my laundry room. There is nothing clean or organized about it. In fact, it is a source of much pain in my house. There is so much mess in there, I have gated it off so my 2 year old cannot “enhance” the mess. The pain literally comes from the dozens of times I stub my toe each day stepping over the gate (did I mention my pantry is also in my laundry room?).

The sounds of disgust my poor husband makes as he tries to locate something in that mess are also quite painful. While the toe pain has not pushed me to change my ways in the laundry room, the sighs and cursing that follow my husband’s entrance into the room have.

So this is my new mantra: I must be ruthless.

The laundry room is the dumping ground for everything that doesn’t have a home yet – the piles of stuff that I’ll handle “later.” No more. I must be ruthless – if I can’t think of a home for something right away, it has to go. If it has been sitting in a pile in the laundry room for any amount of time without me needing it, it has to go. If I think I may need it “someday,” I’m boxing it up and putting it in the attic. If I haven’t gone up to the attic to get it down within the next year or so, it’s going.

In being ruthless, I’m realizing a dream. I’ve always wanted a mudroom in my home, and now with a 2 year old loving the outdoors, I need one. Moving several thing around in the laundry room will allow room for a bench with shoe storage right inside the back door to our home. Plus, I’ll be able to take down the gate to the laundry room, allowing my children free access to the room without fear of bodily harm.

It’s been a lot of fun being ruthless. We’re giving a lot of things away, packing things up, and returning things to where they belong. You should see the space it’s cleared up! It’s such a freeing feeling… I wish I had done this a long time ago!

I challenge you to be ruthless. Whether it’s a room in your house, a junk drawer, or even your over-crowded schedule, be ruthless with the things that do not belong there. Be ruthless with me – and be amazed at what happens!

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My friends, who know me well, know that I have an eerie obsession with throwing things away. There are times I have to mentally wrestle with myself to not clear out things I actually use. But overall, I think it’s a healthy habit that everyone should develop an appreciation for (if not a love, like myself)!

Throwing away stuff is easy once you learn the basics. These are the rules I follow and can say that it makes my life much easier, more organized, and I sleep a little better at night. I do want to point out that I’m going to use the term “throw away” but it means either garbage, bags for Goodwill (which you need to take immediately), or recycle bins.

1. Every single day, empty all the garbage in the house. Go room to room. Gum wrappers laying around, the little cans in the bathroom, old newspapers, the half eaten banana on the coffee table… clear it out daily! Keep a handle on it and make it a habit. Before you tie the bag up, open the refrigerator and find something that needs to go. Eventually there will be days there’s nothing old in your refrigerator, can you imagine??

2. Once every few months go through all the clothes, underwear, shoes, etc. Anything stained beyond wearing that you won’t wear to clean or garden, toss. Socks with holes, toss. (If you’re a crafter, shred or cut for cleaning rags). If there’s something in your wardrobe you haven’t worn since 1987, get a therapist to figure out why you’re keeping it………….

3.  There is absolutely no reason to keep grocery store receipts from six months ago. There’s no need. So stop that.

4. When the Purging Bug hits you, go through your books and movies. Find the ones that you thought you really wanted and then realized you don’t really care about watching/reading it again. Bag up what you find and go trade them in for a classic book or movie that you’ll never get tired of. 

5. The golden rule of all things, your house included is “Quality over Quantity”.  Are the things that clutter up your house (aka life) things that you love? Do you use them? Or do they take up space? Do you fear empty space in your home, on your counter tops, under your sinks?  If so, why? 

I think one of the main things I focus on is the idea that space and organization is more than it appears. It’s time, it’s money, it’s peace of mind.  If I have 50 blouses in my closet and I wear less than half of them, there’s over 25 pieces of clothing I have to shuffle through and wrestle with to find the one thing I will wear.  It might seem like wealth, but it’s not.  Sometimes it might be, but a lot of times it’s just fear.  Fear of want, of need, of the “what if’s”.   But the most important thing about removing clutter and organizing your life is that it makes room in your life.  Room to breathe easier.  Room to rest.  Room to not have big choices.  Room to put out that amazing new vase you found without it looking like it’s on a table at a yard sale.  And that, dearies, is priceless.

 
 
 
 
 

 

I am the worst ever when it comes to consistently cleaning my house. I really stink at it. I recognize that this is a deficiency and I am really trying to overcome it.

In the past, I’ve polled my friends asking them how often they do certain chores like scrub the tub, clean the toilets, wipe the baseboards, wash the hardwood, scrub the linoleum, wash their bath towels, etc. If there’s a chore for it, I’ve asked about it! I’ve tried writing a schedule and taping it to the back of my bedroom door so I can see it every day. I’ve tried assigning one day to do all the cleaning. I’ve tried pop-up reminders on my computer. I’ve tried FlyLady. Are you sensing a trend? Nothing seems to work for me!

A friend of mine said it’s because I’m a perfectionist. I think it’s laziness and no real plan of action that works for me. I look at the work that needs to be done and feel so overwhelmed by it all that I end up opting for a bowl of ice cream and some America’s Next Top Model instead.

Realizing that I need “bite size” goals that keep me working daily, don’t overwhelm me, an easy system and still gets the house clean, I think I have found the solution!

Motivated Moms is a daily chore list, already written out for the entire year. One day’s list of chores might be: Change all the kitchen towels and wash them, clean out the 3rd shelf of the refrigerator, change linens in room #2, make all the beds, dust room #1. That’s really not a lot of work! But, it builds on other chores you have already done – like cleaning out the fridge. One week, you clean the first self then another week the second shelf. Instead of spending an hour pulling out all your food and tossing the bad stuff, then washing down the insides of the fridge, you spread it out so it’s not such an overwhelming task.

With the New Year well underway, I plan on getting started on this year’s Motivated Moms chore list asap!

Good luck!

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I love to scrapbook!  It has been a hobby of mine for years but I stopped doing it around the time my son turned one.  Why?  He became mobile.  It was impossible to work on anything while he was awake.  By the time he went to bed and I dragged all my stuff out I was exhaused and ready for bed myself. 

A few months ago I discovered a new way to scrapbook (new to me at least).  Digitally!

There are several reasons why digital scrapbooking works better for me:

1.  No supplies to drag out (with paper scrapbooking the prep time would take forever).

2.  I can stay much better organized (organization is always a struggle for me, but everything is in neat folders on my computer)

3.  It is so much cheaper!  There are so many designer freebies just waiting to be downloaded.  All you have to do is a little searching.  And purchasing digital kits is much cheaper than buying supplies at a craft store.  One kit can be used over and over again – as opposed to a piece of paper.

 All you need to get started is photo editing software – I use Photoshop Elements.  Google digital scrapbooking and get those creative juices flowing!

Do you know where your birth certificate is? Your passport? Your childrens’ birth certificates? Everyone’s social security cards?

Find them!

Put them all together either in a safe or in a bank safety deposit box.

Don’t have a passport? Get one! It’s a minimal amount of effort and you might need it one day for proof of citizenship.

As you might guess, I had a recent need for all these documents and it was a nightmare trying to gather them all. I was missing a social security card for one child, no birth certificate or passport for my husband, no idea where my own birth certificate was and, to make matters worse, the documents I did have weren’t kept together.

Even if you think you’ll never leave the country, get a passport. This year, there are some major changes happening with our borders and you must have a *passport*, not just a drivers license or birth certificate, to reenter the USA from Canada and Mexico.  I wanted to surprise my husband with an anniversary trip to the islands but he didn’t have a passport so we couldn’t go.

My domestic lesson for the week: Keep your personal documentation in order; you never know when you’ll need it.

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If you had family over yesterday for Christmas, most likely you’re dealing with a lot of leftovers — I sure am! We had a 15lb bird, lots of dressing and too many side dishes to name!

As we packed up the leftovers last night, I pulled out my handy-dandy label machine (you can get a good labeler at a big box store for around $25) and started putting labels on each container. I kept the portions to individual size and even wrote a family member’s name on some of them. For example, I know my three year-old son will eat turkey but not nearly as much as my husband. Small amounts of turkey were put into containers with my son’s name on it. No point in heating up a large portion, only using a small amount and then reheating the rest again at a later date.

Some of the containers went straight into the deep freeze. There’s no way we are going to eat 10+ lbs of turkey fast enough this week! Into the freezer for safe keeping – and easy access because they are all labeled!

And I must admit, it does give me a girlish thrill to open the freezer or fridge and see all those uniform containers, neatly labeled.

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