A Reflective Day

Today I’m doing a post unrelated to organizing.  September 11th is a major day of reflection for me.  I was only a few blocks from the Towers when they fell.  They smacked against our building and turned a beautiful, stunning fall day into a nightmare.  The streets surrounding our office looked like a war zone.  For many days after, I remained in shock and unable to leave my apartment.

About a week or two after the attacks, we were allowed back to our office building.  On the first day back, the subway was packed and moving around was slow.  As we emerged from underground and began climbing the stairs out of the subway, someone from behind me yelled, “move it, get going, I’m in a hurry”.  A man in a suit in front of me turned around and simply stated, “you are alive, be grateful that you are in this mob”.  Enough said.

Thanks to all that sacrificed so much on that day and on the days ahead for me, for my children and for our freedom.  You will not be forgotten and I’m forever grateful.

Perfectly Savvy Finds

I published a post earlier this week with a few simple steps to help you get started on organizing your kitchen cupboards and shelves.  Your Savvy Finds this week feature some wonderful tools to help you get the job done.

Purchasing these items won’t give you a magically organized space.  You must do the work of editing and organizing first.  The Savvy Finds below will help you maintain your organized cupboard as long as you don’t over buy and you find a proper home for everything.

What’s hiding in the cupboard?

Now that the kiddos are back to school, it is time to focus on organizing something not associated with a backpack, kids clothing  or back to school lists.  Enough already, let’s move on!  What do you have lurking in the depths of your cupboard or pantry?  Is it time to do a little sort, shuffle and purge dance in your kitchen?

Here are a few ideas and tips for organizing your cupboards;

1.  As always, the first step is to clean it out and edit.  Check expiration dates and get rid of things that you can no longer use.  Also, donate unexpired items that you won’t use to a food pantry.

2.  Use glass or clear containers to store opened items such as sugar, flour or pastas.  Don’t crumble half used bags in the back of the cupboard where they can’t be seen.

3.  Use elevated shelves for the back row so that you can see what you have and items won’t get buried or lost.

4.  Use lazy-susans, pull down spice racks and handled totes to allow for easy access.

5.  Most important – don’t over buy.  Normally if a product is priced 2 for $5.00, you can purchase 1 for $2.50.

6.  Empty the shelf or cupboard completely, wipe it down and replace items with “like” things together.  Baking goods together, spices together, cereals together.  This will make it much easier to see what you need before going to the grocery.

7.  If it seems overwhelming, then take it one cupboard or shelf at a time.

Perfectly Savvy Finds

I know you’ll love thinking about my Perfectly Savvy Finds this week.  The topic = organizing your purse.  The solution = lots of fun options.

The first step to an efficient and easy to navigate purse is to edit, edit, edit.  Don’t carry more around than you absolutely need.  My purse contains; phone, 1 lipstick, 1 small brush, wallet, tissues, handi-wipes, business cards, 1 pen, small hand sanitizer, cell phone and an epi-pen for my daughter.  I don’t really need anything else.  I fit all the accessories listed above in a cosmetic case that I transfer easily from purse to purse.

I have a few examples below of organizers that can transfer from purse to purse with ease.  I know many people use, (and like) the Purseket.  It wouldn’t be my first choice, but I can definitely see the draw.  My favorite tip comes from organizer MJ Rosenthal, owner of An Organized Life.  MJ uses clear cosmetic type bags so that she can see what is in her purse and what she’d like to transfer.  Simple and brilliant.

I’ve included some examples below.  Have a great weekend and please send me some pictures of your organized purses.purse organizers

Christmas? Really?

I spent a relaxing morning catching up on some work and reading blogs, email, Facebook etc…  My jaw about hit the floor when I stumbled upon a post where the blogger was urging their readers to begin planning for Christmas.  Trust me, I’m all for thinking ahead and planning, but Christmas?  Certainly there might be situations where you need to begin thinking about the holiday season.  If you travel then it might be wise to look for airfare, or perhaps setting aside a date for your party.  This particular post was focused on party and meal planning for Christmas and I do feel that for most people this is too far ahead to begin planning.  Back to school and a busy fall are enough for me and I certainly do not need to add holiday pressure to the mix.

Here are a few suggestions for dealing with the present while still being able to keep an eye on the months ahead;

1.  Sit down at the start of each school year and make certain all the dates are entered into a family calendar.  Most schools have an online calendar to reference so that you can enter school events, holidays and conference dates.

2.  Toward the middle of each month, take time to look at the month (or two) ahead.  Are there special events that need to be planned, do you need a sitter, do you have conflicting dental or after school appointments?  Make a list of everything that needs to be sorted/fixed for the upcoming month.

3.  SYNC – my husband and I are able to sync our calendars.  I have his work calendar and he has our home calendar ALL TOGETHER.  The sync happens automatically (MobileMe I love you) so it is one less thing on my list.

4.  Every Sunday look at the week ahead and every night look at the day ahead. There’s still time to put out the fire if you double-check what lies ahead.

What happens in your home?  Do you plan way ahead, or take it a month or two at a time like us?  Keep in mind that planning is a wonderful skill to have, but you also need to able to roll with the changes and let life happen.

Perfectly Savvy Finds

Hi Everyone,

Your Savvy Finds this week feature an assortment of the latest and greatest lunch boxes for back to school.  When I was a kid I had my trusty Wonder Woman lunch box.  Things have certainly changed.  There are a number of eco-friendly options, and I’m particularly interested in the KidsKonserve sandwich bags.  Have fun with my selections and send your kids back to school toting healthy lunches in style.

Savvy Spenders – Back to School

We are making a grand effort at our home to cut back where we can and question whether or not we really need what we are about to buy.  Through a new series, Savvy Spenders, I’m trying to teach my oldest daughter some lessons about responsible consumerism.  Thankfully we are not forced to be making these choices.  However, I really want my kids to learn the importance of spending wisely because someday they will benefit from the lesson.  The instant gratification of the $5.00 toy should make way for college savings or donations to the local food pantry.

I recently put our new focus to the test during back to school shopping.  My first step was to go online and find coupons for clothing stores.  I told Sophia that we were only going to shop at those stores.  I had a 40% off for Justice, a $10.00 off for JCPenny and a fantastic Groupon for the Gap equal to $25.00.  We made a point of finding sale items whenever possible while still allowing Sophia to select items that she liked and would wear.  Our total savings including coupons and sale items was roughly $150.00.  The greater lesson here is that Sophia is beginning to look at what things cost and thinking about what she really needs.

I asked Sophia if there is anything she’d like to share about our shopping day today and she said, “even if you have to shop with coupons, you can still find things that you like to wear”.  She also said that, “back to school shopping is really fun”.

What does your family do to save money for back to school shopping?