Monthly Archives: October 2014

Christmas Checklist - October

Enjoy the holiday season: October Checklist

The holiday season will be here before you know it.  Would you like to enjoy the season a little more this year?  Consider getting a head start by doing some things during the month of October.  We’ve put together a checklist of items you can do ahead of time.

Things to Do Ahead of Time

  • Update holiday card addresses; determine number of cards to send
  • Select holiday  cards
  • Print labels for cards
  • Take (or schedule a date to take) pictures for holiday card
  • Start a Christmas List for gifts to buy for family and friends
  • Set a budget
  • Take inventory for wrapping paper, bows and bags
  • Clear a shelf or area to store gifts purchased
  • Work on fall cleaning to avoid major cleaning right before Thanksgiving

Things to Buy

  • Shop for holiday outfits for children – buy early for selection
  • Order return address labels
  • Order holiday cards

Dates to Schedule in Your Calendar

  • Get tree
  • Decorate tree
  • Holiday party
  • Holiday activities: Santa Express Train; Picture taken with Santa

These are just a few things you can do ahead of time, to make your holiday season more enjoyable.

Be sure to print our October Checklist so that you stay organized.

Christmas Checklist - October

Christmas Checklists – October


Here are a few additional articles you may enjoy:

Christmas Shopping Lists

Fall Cleaning Checklists

How to Declutter Your Home – Once and For All

Simple ways to organize gift wrap paper and bows

Toolbox: Printable Address List Tracker

Need a few more Christmas ideas, organizational tips, or printables?  Click here to check out our special tab dedicated just for Christmas.


How to Declutter Your Home – Once and For All

Is your house a mess?  Do you have a lot of clutter?  We’re here to help you get your house in order, once and for all.  Check out our tips, ideas and printable charts for decluttering your home.  Let’s get started.

Setting a Deadline to Declutter Your Home

Giving your house a good cleaning normally happens around these times:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • Family events: Memorial Day and Labor Day picnics, Birthday Parties

One of best ways to get your house in order is to host a party or a holiday gathering. Don’t run screaming just yet. If your house is a mess, you’ll need some motivation to clean it up. By hosting an event, you’ll have a date to work toward, and lots of motivation to pull things together.

Finding Your Motivation to Start Decluttering

It’s easy to procrastinate, especially when it comes to decluttering your home.  Try some of these tips to help you get going:

  • Watch a tv show while sorting items
  • Turn on some music while you work
  • Set a time limit: declutter for one hour.  (Once you start, you may want to work a little longer.)
  • Tell a family member your plans for the day.  You’ll be more likely to follow through, since they expect to see your progress.
  • Reward yourself with a cup of coffee or small treat once you’re finished.

Determining Where to Start

Sometimes, just the process of working through your spring or fall cleaning checklists is enough.  Other times, it is a particular area, like your kitchen, that needs attention. Still not sure where to start?  For more ideas, check out our special article:  House a Mess? Where to Start

Identifying the Problem Areas with our Printable Worksheet

You’ll want to identify the problem areas, and work on a solution.  What are the top three areas that would make a huge impact if the clutter was removed?

  • Is it a particular space that continues to amass trinkets and a hodgepodge of items
  • Is there a particular room in your home?
  • What area troubles you the most?

Click on the link below to print our Decluttering Worksheet.  Then write down your trouble spots, along with a few possible solutions.

Decluttering WorksheetDecluttering Worksheet

  • Do you have too much paper on the kitchen counter?  Maybe the solution is to set up a mail basket or system for receipts.
  • Do your children have too many toys?  Maybe it’s time to donate some, or set up a rotating toy system.  (Check us out on Pinterest for more details.)

Dealing With the Clutter

Whether it’s a kitchen counter or a living room filled with clutter, follow these basic steps for decluttering: Step 1: Grab a trash bag. Step 2: Identify items that belong in another room.  Group like items together:

  • Kid’s Room
  • Bedroom
  • Entrance
  • Desk

Be sure to toss items you don’t need anymore. If someone else could use them, start a bag for donations. We’ve even included printable signs for you to use when decluttering: Donate, Put Away, Trash, Shred.  Click on the link below to print.  Then cut on the dotted lines to make your signs.

Decluttering Signs

Decluttering Signs

Step 3: Put the items away in the correct rooms.  Toss the trash, and make a trip to your local donation center.

Organizing the Remaining Items

Once you’ve identified the problem areas, you’ll want to develop solutions. Here are some articles we’ve written on organizing particular areas of your home:

 Mail BoxToo much mail? Tips for staying on top of your mail

How to organize your receipts in bin

How to Organize and Store Your Receipts

Hand Me Down Clothes 2

How to Organize “Hand Me Down” Clothes

Shoes 5 How to Organize the Shoes in Your Entryway

Be sure to check our “Toolbox” at the top of the page. We have lots of articles, checklists, and ideas for organizing and maintaining your home.

Knowing the Tips for Success

There are just a few keys to successfully decluttering your home:

  • Clear a little bit of clutter everyday. The clutter didn’t happen overnight.  It won’t go away overnight.


  • Donate, donate, donate. You can also have a tag sale, but if it never comes to fruition, all you have done is made a pile of clutter someplace else in your house.
  • Try to make one organizational improvement every day, no matter how large or small.  One day, you might build a shoe rack.  Another day, you might set up a basket to hold all of your remote controls.  Once these systems are in place, they will keep the clutter under control.

Involving Family Members

Be sure to involve the people who are most impacted.  Can you guess when I run into the most trouble?  When I reorganize and move something, only to hear a question such as “Where are my socks?” or “Where did you put my garlic and pepper crackers?”  Do you see what I mean?  You can’t work independently on these projects.  It’s important to ask family members their opinion.  Or at the very least, give them a tour of the newly organized areas.  Labeling is also a huge help.  Here are a few success stories:

Issue 1: My husband was always asking for a new bar of soap.

Solution: While Spring Cleaning the bathroom, I added a clean, plastic bin labeled: soap, razors, and toothbrushes.

Success Story: He was looking for a bar of soap. He went right to the top shelf and helped himself!

Bath Travel Sizes Soap Toothbrushes Storage

Simple Tips for Cleaning and Organizing Your Bathroom

Issue 2: My husband was always digging through the refrigerator looking for his chicken sausages.

Solution:  I bought a small white bin at Walmart. I put all of his packages of chicken sausages in the bin, and back in the refrigerator.

Success Story: He was looking for the chicken sausages, and was tickled pink to have his own bin.

Large White Basket with Handle Issue 3: My son could never find the books he wanted to read.

Solution: We worked together to sort his books by topic.

Success Story: He was looking for a book, and found it easily with the new system.

Books - thickest Read more about how we did organized his books: Organizing children’s books

Added benefits: The leftover chicken sausages and the books tend to be put back in the right spot. 🙂

Here are some additional articles you may find helpful:

How to Keep Track of Your Charitable Contributions

Getting Organized with a Label Maker

Spring Cleaning Checklists: Room by Room

Fall Cleaning Checklists

Keeping Your Home Clean and Clutter-Free

Stomach Bug Supplies

Stomach Bug Strikes Again: Is Your Pantry Stocked to Handle a Stomach Bug?

Winter can be terrible for illnesses.  With a school-aged child, it seems like we contract something every other week: ear infections, pink-eye , the common cold, and of course, strep throat.

In January 2013 I read that a “Ferrari” type of stomach bug was making the rounds.  When I saw the story I chuckled.  That bug originated back in December, and I know this because I’m convinced it started at our house!  Yours truly was never sicker.  I was so weak and ill that we had to call in my mother-in-law to take care of the kids.

Anyway, after having the Ferrari of stomach bugs in December, I assumed that I was exempt from getting the stomach bug again.  Wrong.  It started again in March with the school-aged child who only had it for a day.  Then it spread to our two-year old.  Poor little one was sick for 5 days.  Of course, yours truly came down with it, too.  I cannot tell you how relieved I was to find all of the items I needed in our pantry.  We had everything from Gatorade to Saltines, Pedialyte and Pedialyte pops, and boxes of chicken noodle soup.

Is your pantry stocked?

Since the stomach bug can arrive at any time of year, make sure your household is ready.  Here’s your assignment:

Create a “Stomach Bug” section in your pantry.  Stock it with items that will help you get through the rough times.

Bland, easy to digest foods:

  • Crackers (preferably Saltines) (1 box)
  • Chicken noodle soup (one box  per person)
  • White Rice
  • Applesauce (unsweetened)
  • Gelatin

Clear Liquids

  • Gatorade (2 for each adult in the house)
  • Pedialyte (1 container per child)
  • Pedialyte pops (put 1/2 box in freezer today; keep one full box in your pantry)
  • Ginger Ale (to settle stomach) (small cans, or 6 pack of bottles)

Household Supplies:

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Toilet Paper (At least four rolls.)  This is not the time you want to run out. 🙂
  • Disposable cleaning gloves – for cleaning up after family members
  • A mask (if you plan to clean up and cannot handle the odor)
  • Hand soap

Does grape juice prevent the stomach flu?

When I told a friend of mine that our child came down with the stomach bug, she immediately told me to drink grape juice.  Apparently grape juice can prevent the stomach bug if you haven’t already caught it.  I never heard of this, but did find that a few people posted their success stories online.  I was desperate not to come down with the stomach flu, so I tried it.  Guess what.  It worked!  I didn’t get the stomach bug.  I was also careful to wash my hands often.  If you’re going to try the grape juice, the key is to drink it before you come down with the stomach bug.  If you’ve already contracted the flu, you won’t want to drink that dark purple juice.  If will only make you sicker, and make for a messier clean-up.  Sorry for the gory details. 🙂  From my own experience, cranberry juice also works.

Printable Stomach Bug Supplies Sign

Once you have purchased your supplies, be sure to create a separate area to store them.  You can even print the following sign to hang on your pantry shelf.  By labeling the items, you will be able to find them easily.  It will also make it clear that these items are not for everyday use.

Stomach Bug Supplies

Stomach Bug Supplies – Sign

Let’s hope that the stomach bug stays away from your household.  If not, at least you’ll be prepared!

Need more ideas?  Be sure to read these articles which have more tips, checklists and printables:

Medicine and Illness Tracker small

Medicine and Illness Tracker

Cold Virus Supplies - Sign

Are you ready for the cold virus season?

printable grocery list by department

Grocery List by Department – Make Grocery Shopping Easy and Efficient