Clean and Organized

The heart of housekeeping

Recycling

Confession time here. I'm a bad recycler. Sometimes I do okay; other times I close my eyes, assuage my guilt by telling myself I recycle more then the average person and toss things that could just as easily be recycled. Actually, not just as easily and that is the problem isn't it? Recycling isn't as easy as throwing away. It takes a bit more effort and some of us have a hard time getting started and keeping going. A good friend of mine tells me it is just a matter of organization and, after all the tricks I have learned in the last year, I'm beginning to believe her.

So how does your personal recycling center measure up? Do you have nice neat buckets and bins? Shelves and drawers? Or is your recycling area an unrecognizable, bad-smelling heap?

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Organizational Musings

I have a love/hate relationship with New Years. I love the idea of a fresh beginning, but loathe the feeling of failure that often comes in February (or sooner, depending on the resolution). Since I turned over my organizational leaf last fall, I see no reason to set myself up for another big change. Instead, I will evaluate my progress and think about goals.

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Know Your Tools: Vacuum Cleaner Care and Feeding

A faithful servant standing at the ready to help sweep away life's messy edges--that's how most of us view our vacuum cleaners. For the most part, it's true. The vacuum cleaner doesn't ask too much of you in order to clean up spills, pet hair, house dust, and general dirt. However, you can enhance how well your vacuum performs its work, keep it running smoothly and extend its life, saving you money and time.

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Zen and the Art of Clutter

Clutter. Disorder. Disarray. I have come to respect these words, in the same way that one enjoys a Lewis Carroll poem.

I have a friend who is an incredible housewife (stay at home mom and domestic engineer). Everything is always in its place: Floors were swept; bathrooms spotless; dishes done after every meal. She has a beautifully landscaped yard, and cooks dinner, from scratch, every night. Her children's clothes have no holes in the knees, and are always clean, wrinkle-free and put away. Her needlework projects are always finished, and are prominently hung around the house. She is always home when her kids get home. There is always something simmering on the stove and friends are always welcome.

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Organizing for Emergencies

Wherever you live, you should be prepared for a disaster. For most people, a plan for a one to two month supply of everything to make your family's life livable should be sufficient. The way I started was to list what our family did and ate for a week. Don't change anything. The last thing you'll want to do during an emergency is learn what to do with the 50 lbs of soy beans "someone on the web" told you to stock up on. I certainly don't want to be experimenting with new foods and supplies in the dark, so to speak.

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Where Do I Start?

Is your house cluttered? If you answered "are you kidding?" you're not alone. I have what I call a horizontal filing system--stacks of papers, magazines, photos, lists, and catalogs that cover almost every table and countertop in my house. It's a constant battle, and it's one I wage in minutes stolen between naps, meals, and play. If you're not sure where to start in your home, try one of these quick ways to battle the clutter.

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Waitress as Organizational Guru

As the mother of three small children, I am always looking for ways to get the house cleaned quickly, and the clutter organized, so we can go play. While talking with my sister one day, we both came to a revelation that has changed both our home and work lives. It had to do with what is not always considered an honorable profession, but one that helped both of us work our way through school. No, not that! Read on!

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Top Ten Organizing Resolutions for the New Year

Now that the New Year is here, I have been thinking about some of the things I want to accomplish this year. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that my biggest opportunity is just accomplishing more things in the year 2000. I don't want to have a list of another 10 things to do if I haven't accomplished the last list!

Here are my top ten organization resolutions.

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Vinegar: (Almost) the Only Cleaner You'll Ever Need

Most cleaning products fall into one of two categories: toxic or expensive. While both types will clean almost anything (or at least, anything within their limited range of capabilities), there's a third option. It's inexpensive and not at all poisonous to humans. It's multi-purpose as well--one container will take care of laundry, kitchen cleaning, even bugs and weeds. This "miracle cleaner" is vinegar.

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50 Tips for Keeping Up Appearances

I was in the housecleaning business for 35 years, both residential and commercial, in New York City--Ram Cleaners, Inc. I was so busy I had an unlisted phone number and only accepted repeat customers or people they'd refer.

The reason I was so popular is that my motto was "To have a satisfied customer, I have to be satisfied first." That means the house or apartment had to be spotless when I left. After 35 years, I learned how to get that spotless cleaning job done very quickly, and I now pass these time- and money-saving tips on to you.

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Top Ten Ways To Simplify Your Life Right Now

Considering voluntary simplicity? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

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Throw It Out!

When faced with clutter, some people just don't know what to do with it all. They can't bring themselves to throw stuff away--they might need it some day! If you're one of those people, here are six guidelines I've developed to help you get a handle on things.

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Stop Being a Pack Rat

Pack Rats desperately need more room, but can't bear to part with their stuff. There are boxes of old records, books since grade school, reams of old, outdated paperwork, various decades of clothing, piles of magazines, calendars and planners more than 10 years old, old board games gathering dust, toys from children that have moved out on their own years ago, plus that horrible artwork from dear Aunt Martha, taking up every last nook and cranny of space. I've known Pack Rats that are literally possessed by their possessions!

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Spot's Spots

Our pets give so much to us. Unconditional love, endless excitement when we come home, a warm purring presence in our lap...hair on the floor, on our clothes, and in our food, occasional liquid outpourings, scratched furniture.

But we love them too and wouldn't live without them. When the inevitable happens, how do you deal with the mess? I'm going to confine my remarks to the messes created by the average dog or cat. If you've got an iguana roaming your house, you know more about cleaning up after it than I do. But I've had one furry mammal (or more) since I was five years old, and that adds up to lots of paper towel rescues.

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Small House Organizing

I walked into this house and knew it was right. After an apartment, to have a 1400 square foot house to my husband and myself seemed like heaven! It appeared huge, and although we didn't have decent furniture or the finances to afford any, the lovely cedar walls, the quaint porch, and the adorable tiny kitchen made it feel like mine right from the beginning.

That was 16 years ago. Since then:

  • It no longer feels spacious, given two teenage daughters, two large dogs, one old cat, one dove, a divorce and a second husband (this one 6'4").
  • The kitchen has been redone and now feels much bigger.
  • And the house is still just right. Well, most of the time.

Throughout the years I have struggled with what has become a tiny space, and have struck a kind of balance between my house and my home life; I have chosen to make a home that is warm and welcoming, comfortable and easy. In exchange, I settled for some clutter and shelving.

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Shoestring Organizing

As a professional organizer, it's my job to help clients find balance in their lives. But most of us don't want to invest much time or money to accomplish this goal. Some of the best organizational tools are very inexpensive and can be found at most discount stores. Often developing a personal system involves just a bit of creativity rather than a substantial investment in a professional product or service.

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30 Quick Tips For a Spotless Kitchen

Time it took you to connect to the Internet: 2.8 minutes.

Time it will take you to read this article: 16.5 minutes.

Time it takes you to deep clean your kitchen: 48.6 minutes.

Whoa! What else could you be doing with the time it takes you to thoroughly scrub and sanitize your kitchen?

As homemakers, we spend enormous amounts of time in the kitchen. Both pleasurable tasks such as baking and unpleasant duties such as cleaning, consume time and energy, valuable resources for any woman. Expedient solutions and clean-up tips can help minimize the time used for chores and maximize the time spent in more enjoyable pursuits.

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Organizing Small Living Spaces

When space is at a premium, you need to take advantage of every scrap of it you can squeeze out. It is possible to find "a place for everything" even in tiny living quarters. And these tips can apply to the biggest mansion, since stuff seems to expand to fill whatever space we do have.

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Organizing Crafts

One of the biggest organizing challenges is craft items. If you're like me, you have way too many projects going at once: Projects your purchased years ago for "some day," and projects you continue to purchase on top of all your UFOs (UnFinished Objects). Many of you have more than one type of hobby and that doubles or triples your UFO load. Hopefully the following tips will help you cope with too much to do, too little time to do it.

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