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Cleaning & Organizing

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Well holy crap. I never imagined that there was a better way to close a box of cereal to keep it fresh. And it works on lots of other box tops!

We put our cereal into a container that actually fits in our cupboard, as the boxes can be too tall to fit.

But Becky Holden McGhee just blew my mind with her super simple, and crafty, solution to the improperly closed box! You can do this with a number of boxes for crackers, granola bars and so on!

Watch below!

A great tutorial on how to make your own dishwasher detergent. Washing soda is available via Amazon, but make sure you are buying a product with recyclable or reusable packaging!

Buying from Amazon is quite controversial right now because instead of supporting “Mom & Pop” stores, we’re basically buying from a billionaire. However, some things are just not available close to where we live so we have to make trade-offs. Sorry about that.

I have a great bathroom vanity with 6 drawers and one under sink cupboard. This gives us a tremendous amount of space for all our toiletries.

Here’s a 5 minute makeover for the drawer that contains my “personal” things and TP.

“Personal Things” Drawer makeover – Before

“Personal Things” Drawer makeover – After

And here’s the secret – Dollarama metal and woven bins! I love these things! I have half a dozen in various drawers to help organize and contain all our things.

Once you have the baskets, this is a literal 5-minute makeover! It took a couple tries to get the configuration right but it was still within the 5 minutes!

Decluttering is a simple-to-learn process, once you break it down into manageable steps. Tackling too much at once, or underestimating the time and effort it will take to “get organized”, can lead to frustration and a “throw in the towel” stance that will further add to your clutter and your anxiety.
By following the 4 simple steps of the SHOO™ Away Clutter method, you will map out a plan for success. Having a clear vision of what you want (more time, more space, less clutter, fewer things) and applying these 4 simple steps will allow you to achieve your goal.
Since there are a myriad of things that one could organize, we will follow the example of a bedroom clothes closet to illustrate the 4 steps to SHOO™ Away Clutter. The steps themselves are universal and can be applied to every situation and circumstance.
Step 1 – SORT
This can be the easiest and the hardest step at the same time. By breaking it down, however, the sort becomes simple and can proceed quicker than you might imagine.
Have 4 large boxes or bags ready for your clothing. Label one box as Keep, one as Trash, one as Donate and one as Other Home.
Use the “1-Touch Rule” – you touch it, you make a decision.
The Keep items are those clothes you wear regularly, love and fit you properly. Don’t be tempted to keep clothing because it might come back in style or because you may get back into them in the future. Keeping things that don’t fit costs you space, effort and attention. If you do need a diet incentive, keep one spectacular item and consider donating the remainder. Think of the fun you can have shopping once you reach your goal!
The things to Trash will be easy to identify – they are stained, ripped, or missing buttons, zips or closures. If you do a lot of craft work or painting, make sure you keep one set of “grubby clothes”. Please don’t make the mistake of saying “I’ll fix it and can wear it again”. If it’s sitting in your closet and is missing items, you are likely not going to all of a sudden find the time to get it fixed. If you can commit to getting the repairs done within 1 week of your purge, great – go for it! But you must commit and give yourself a deadline.
Items to Donate include anything that you haven’t worn for the past 6 months (1 year for seasonal items like overcoats, winter boots, hats and gloves), anything that does not fit properly (too big or too small) or anything that you just plain don’t like. Make sure that your donation items are in good repair.
The Other Home items are things that don’t, or shouldn’t, reside in your closet. These can include sporting goods, children’s items, kitchen items, etc. Put them all in a box or bag and distribute these items WHEN YOU ARE DONE. Resist the temptation to return things as you find them. Doing so takes your focus away from the task at hand.
Step 2 – HEAVE/HELP
Now that you have done your sorting, you can decide what to do with the items you have designated as Donations and Trash.
Charities and “Dress for Success” programs are always on the look out for good used clothing. Women’s shelters are another place where your donation items will do an immeasurable amount of good for those less fortunate. A quick look through the phone book or on the Internet will garner you a list of possible recipients. Some organizations offer to come to you home and pick up your items, so remember to ask if this service is available.
This is also to time to bag up the Trash items to put at curb side on your regular collection day. If you don’t have curb side collection, put the bagged items into your vehicle and plan to take them to your garbage depot on your next trip.
STEP 3 – ORGANIZE
NOW is the time to determine your storage needs. Since you have eliminated your unwanted items, this leaves only the “keepers” that need to be organized. You can now estimate how many containers you will need and what sort of storage will best suit your items.
To make the most of your closet, invest in a closet organizing system that will fit your space, or if you are handy, make one yourself. One of the tricks of organizing is to go up and make use of the wasted space at the top of a closet. Choose a system that supports double rods and offers full length storage. This maximizes your closet space.
“Occasional use” items can be stored in either their original boxes or in clear containers on higher shelves. A picture on the front of the box will allow you to easily identify the contents.
Clothing can be hung according to color and item (all shirts together with each color group together). Consider storing folded sweaters in a set of canvas hanging shelves. This prevents stretching. Again, organize by color.
STEP 4 – OPTIMIZE
This is the final step in the process. Live with your new “system” for a few weeks. See what is working and take note of what is not. Are your most frequently worn items easy to access? Do you need to rearrange some items? The optimize step is where you make the system work for you, individually. Tweak the system to eliminate any hassles. This makes the closet work best for the person who uses it most – YOU!

This article was originally published in April of 2005 and the method still remains effective today! I hope this can help you get rid of the clutter that’s creating stress in your life!