Monday, June 13, 2011

Keeping it Organized - A Simple Fix

Yes, I know I've been absent lately. Let me put the last two and a half weeks together for you with one simple picture:

No, that is not really me. But yes, that is how I've been feeling.

I've been stressed. I love all of the aspects of my life, but sometimes when they all pile up at once, it gets to be a lot. My days start at 5am, and most days I literally don't stop moving until I crawl into bed at 10pm. Here's a sample of a typical weekday for me and Jim:

5:00am -Wake up. Wake the baby, feed the baby her bottle, shower, do hair, get dressed, feed baby breakfast, clean kitchen while baby eats, walk dog, feed dog, feed cat, change baby, pack car, leave house at 7:15. Drop baby off, go to work. Work hard until 4:30. Pick baby up, come home, walk dog, make dinner, eat dinner, feed dog dinner, play for 45 minutes, give baby bottle, tubby time, put baby to bed. Jim studies. Kristina edits/manages photo business. 10:00pm - turn off computer, close text books, brush teeth, crawl into bed, collapse.

Man, that's exhausting just to read.

When life is crazy, things stack up, and you live in a tiny 960 square foot ranch with a husband, baby, 80lb dog, and cat, you have to find ways to keep life together. For me, our lack of space is a real thorn in my side. There is ALWAYS something in my way. And in a small space, you have to have small things. A small kitchen table. Small countertops. Little floor space. Staying on top of the clutter is key, and is something I've really struggled with since Molly came along. There just hasn't been as much time as there used to be.

A few weeks ago we were at Target, and I stumbled upon two small things that have made a huge difference, in both my stress level, and the clutter.

Our house, sadly does not have a mudroom. Instead, you walk directly into the kitchen. Consequently, the mail and all of our junk from the day, goes directly on the table. I picked up this really cute mail sorter, and it has made such a difference. Each day we get the mail, and it immediately is sorted into my pile, and Jim's. We are each responsible for our own slot, and mail is no longer lost in the mix, forgotten about, and best of all, is no longer on the table.

I got a bit crafty and made fun "K" and "J" labels for the slots in each pocket.

The organizer is placed on the wall in the kitchen, just as you walk into the house. This way it's easy to remember to use it, and since we walk by it so often, the things in there are not forgotten.

I also picked up this really fun magnetic organizer for the fridge. It's dry-erase so you can use the slots for whatever you'd like. I always have piles of things on top of the fridge that need to either be filed, or looked at later, so now they go into here. It's an easy way to organize the things that belong downstairs when we don't have time to go downstairs and file them.

This is just a start, but so far, my table has stayed clean, and the top of my fridge isn't overloaded with piles. It's funny how just a tiny change really can make a big difference in stress and time.


  1. Oooh, great idea for the mail Kristina!

  2. I am a firm believer in cubbies for the entire family (we keep ours by the door on a shelf on the wall), the dry erase calendar on the fridge is an incredible help as well. Everyone has their own color of marker to help even more (I add what is dinner to each day as well so my hubby can get dinner started if I need to feed the baby)! I also keep a small calendar in my purse as well with the same info on it. That way if I'm out, I can write it down right then (b/c I will forget.)When I get home I can put it up on the fridge so EVERYONE knows what is going on (communication is so important with a busy family). I also keep a grocery list on my desktop (from Microsoft word) and add things to that quickly throughout the week. It's separated into sections (ie: produce/frozen/beverages/etc.) It's much easier to pop open your laptop than find a pen and paper and then find a place for that list which will somehow disappear the next time you go to look for it. Recently, I made a chore chart for each kid and 1 big family chore chart (also found in word). Everyone has a special task everyday and the tasks are rotated so 1 person isn't stuck doing the same task every day and that way on the weekend, there is less to worry about. The hardest part is making sure everyone is doing their part. Laying out clothes and preparing bags the night before also helps if you have enough energy. With little ones, always keep a big bag full of extras in your car, that way if your diaper bag is missing something or you needed more than you thought, you can take a quick run to the car. I have a bag in the car with an extra outfit for everyone (just a shirt for me in case the baby spits up something fierce), wipes and diapers, blankets, a few baby outfits/pj's. As for potty training, I have a portable potty with liners in the car too. With a newborn and a toddler who can't hold it very long, this is amazing to have! Saves you and your big kid the tears or wet pants. I keep a box of tissues in the van so they can wipe. It's always good to keep a first aid kit in the car too. With kids, bandaids are a must have all the time. I'm super limited with space as well. I use baskets and bins on the top of the closets and under the crib/beds like I have OCD or something! I'm sure I have more but I gotta get #1 to softball practice!

  3. Granite is the ideal material for kitchen countertops or any other countertops, because of its hardness and durable nature. It is one of the most sought after material that combines its natural beauty along with durability to give a stunning look to your kitchen.

  4. good tips Kristina! We do not have an entryway either so the papers are EVERYWHERE in the kitchen and it's a constant source of frustration for me too.