Planning Past the Tricks of Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year! You get to dress up, - maybe multiple times, - and eat tons of candy (even though you say it’s for the trick-or-treaters). There are several preliminary decisions to make before the fun night.
Costumes. Get your Pinterest skills going, and pick out a costume! Everyone wants to have a creative costume. Consider your favorite TV show characters or a twist on phrases like smarty-pants.

Scheduling hair and makeup appointments. Schedules usually book up quickly so make your appointment a.s.a.p. Check out salons and freelancers in your area; word of mouth is usually pretty key here. Getting assistance with hair and makeup can really up the ante of your entire look!

Decorations. Hopefully you put some decorations up already, but this is your last chance to add those finishing touches. Maybe the Chicago weather will cooperate so you’re not decorating in the freezing cold or rain!

Bringing a dish to a party. If you’re going to a party this weekend and you have to bring a dish, chances are they will have a lot of sweets. Perhaps you have an amazing dessert that is the talk of the party, otherwise consider bringing a fruit or vegetable platter. All that candy and sugar can become a little overwhelming. Whatever it is you decide to bring, set aside time to get to the store to purchase whatever you’ll need.

Leaving candy in a bowl. There’s always going to be a punk neighborhood kid that empties the whole bowl of candy into his bucket. You could leave your candy for your neighbors to pass out, leave the bowl, or not pass out any at all if someone won’t be home. Or, if you need to unload your candy stores on me, I’ll be happy to help you out!

Organizing for National Kitchen and Bath Month

The kitchen and bathroom are the two most frequented rooms in the house. Everyone touches and moves things around, so it can become a little chaotic. Create a system that suits everyone’s schedules, likes, and preferences.

The key to this, though, is having every person within the household contribute to organizing it. This way they will be more likely to keep the system flowing since they know why it was done that way in the first place. Plus, it is more convenient for them.


For the kitchen:
Start by discarding food that is old and expired, and make a shopping list of what needs to be replaced. Keep items that you want your little ones able to reach on the lower shelves. If there are things you don’t want them getting into, put them on higher shelves out of reach. Give everyone a whole shelf, section of a shelf or a cabinet to keep their food in. If you have multiple children, separate shareables into baggies and label them; everyone gets their share and you don’t get a headache later on.

For the bathroom:
For your cabinets, keep what you most often need towards the front. In households with children, any cleaning solutions should be kept safely guarded from their access. Consider keeping Items that shouldn’t get wet, such as toilet paper, tissues, cotton balls, and feminine products in an enclosed container. This keeps them dry from any sink splashes and humidity from the shower. Also, have a separate container with extras for guests: toothbrushes, toothpaste, facial cleansers, makeup remover pads, shavers, feminine products, contact cases/solution, deodorant.

If you follow these tips, family, roommates, friends, and guests will owe you a huge “Thank you!”

Creating Your Own Organizing Style

Cleanliness and organization have a certain expectation that comes with it. Imagine a clean room. Is it sparse with everything perfectly spaced out? Or, are there lots of things out - yet everything has a place? Everyone’s vision of “clean” is different; there’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s time to let go of the stigma that’s stuck to “clean.” If it’s nearly impossible for you to keep your home or office together, perhaps you need to reevaluate what your idea of organized is. It may look like chaos, but is it organized chaos? There’s a difference between knowing where everything is and your space looking like a magazine photo shoot. Don’t organize in a way that you feel is expected; organize in a way that works best for you.
There is no right and wrong way of organizing. The whole point of it in the first place is to help prevent you from forgetting and losing things; you know where everything is. Stop trying to live up to someone else’s standards!

Corralling Your Memories


The thing that makes stuff more than… stuff is the sentimental value that’s attached to it. Material possessions are a reminder of a different time that has come to pass; it’s physical evidence of your beautiful memories. But, you can still have those memories without the burden of all those things.

Collect all the things that are memorable: cards, pictures, movie tickets, concert tickets, jewelry... anything else. Pick a box or bin with a lid to store everything in to give yourself a physical limit. Whatever you can fit inside that box is what you’ll keep. Otherwise, you can toss or donate anything else. If there is still something you want to remember, take a picture of it so you can still have that memory without the clutter.

Finding Places for Donation

So you’ve finally gathered together things you don’t want anymore. They’re too good to throw away and now you have to figure out where to donate them. There are more places than you might think that would love to have your hand-me-downs.
        Donation centers: Whether it’s resale shops or non-profit organizations, there are places around looking for your donations. Try All you have to do is put in your zip code, and they’ll list places around you that will take your donations.

        Ask neighbors: They may know of places around you or people that are in need and could really use some of the things you no longer want. Neighbors are always a good source of information (along with that cup of sugar).

        Schools: Craft supplies are cherished in schools so if you have a smorgasbord of different things, they would love to have them. With less and less funding available at many schools, Anything extra you may have, even if it’s not in the greatest condition, is greatly appreciated.

        Library: This is where you can bring books and magazines. Don’t waste your own shelf space if you aren’t going to read those books anymore. Let someone else enjoy them.

Testing Your Memory

No matter how organized you may be, if you forget where something is, it negates your whole system. Be active and attentive to what you are doing and where you are putting something. If you’ve just created a new system, it will take some time to get used to new habits. But, if you keep at it, eventually you won’t need to think about it at all.
Adding labels on containers or folders will prevent lost time by going through everything. There are also ways to keep track of your home inventories. There is a free app called SCANPET for home inventories that can even scan barcodes. Of course, other systems exist, too. You can keep track of what you own and prevent overspending.

A key to staying organized and ahead of the game is to let other people know what your system is. They should know where documents are in case of emergencies.  

Trading Summer for Fall

It’s getting to be that time of year when your wardrobe should start reflecting the change in weather. Switch out your shorts for your sweaters. This is normally only done if you don’t have enough room and space to store your seasonal clothes with your year round clothes. There are different ways to pack away your clothes:

  • Extra drawers If you have space in drawers that don’t have to be used for storing other things, pack away your seasonal clothes in them. They will still be easily accessible, and won’t be a hassle to trade out.

  • Back section of closet space Hanging up your clothes and moving them to the back of your closet is another option. When there comes another seasonal change, all your have to do is slide them to the front again.
  • Garbage bags Perhaps you don’t have enough storage room in your closet or drawers. Neatly fold your summer clothes and put them in a garbage bag. Then you can stash it in the back of the closet or even in the attic to get them out of the way. Once you bring them back out though, be prepared to do some steaming to get rid of any wrinkles.

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