Challenge Day 98: Get Frugal, Get Organized

get organized and save money

Here's a little challenge, now that it's yard sale season: try to find a yard sale without a stock of organizing products for sale.

Too often, we start a get-organized effort where we should finish it: at the store. Buying organizing products before we've done the heavy lifting of setting up activity centers, sorting and purging our stuff, and deciding where to pare down leads to that paradoxical result: organizer clutter.

Free Online Calendars from American Greetings

free online calendarAmerican Greetings' free online calendar sends birthday and event reminders, directly to your email or cell phone.

The online calendar even sends you eCard suggestions, for remembering special people on special days.

Keep track of important events, coordinate schedules and express your personal style - all with this free online calendar.

35 New Uses for Zipper Food Storage Bags

They're handy kitchen helpers, but can do so much more to organize life at home: zipper food storage bags!

Check in with blogger The Optimized Life for a list of 25 unusual uses for food storage bags. We liked this one:

"Turn a Ziploc bag into a pastry bag by snipping off a tiny corner. This allows you to frost a cake without any special tools.

Along the same lines, we'd add using a food storage bag to fill devilled eggs. Spoon the filling into the bag, snip a slightly larger corner, and heap the filling high! When finished, toss the bag for easy clean-up.

25 Uses For Ziploc Bags

RealSimple.com weighs in with ten more unusual uses for zipper food storage bags:

10 New Uses for Ziploc Bags

Conquer Chaos in the Laundry Room

Systems analysis. So weighty. So professional. So mysterious. Yet nothing can streamline an organized home like a well-crafted set of household systems. Today, we focus on laundry and clothing systems. What do they do? How do you develop them? What benefits will establishing laundry and clothing systems give to you and your family?

Chances are, you already have these systems in place. After all, a system is just a set of organized items, decisions or actions, designed to work together to achieve a common end. In terms of an organized home, a clothing system, for example, would be a set of related decisions, actions or items, designed to work together to supply family members with an adequate supply of clean, well-fitting and appropriate clothes.

However, there are systems, and there are systems. In a disorganized home, systems springs up unassisted. There's no thought or planning underlying them, so they don't work particularly well. Most of the time, the steps of the system are only instituted when things break down: there are no clean clothes, so someone does the wash. Yes, clothing gets clean, eventually--but there's tremendous waste of time, money, resources and family harmony built into haphazard systems.

Does this scenario describe your household's laundry system?

Sew Organized: Declutter The Sewing Room

The verdict is in: a big house is not the answer to the clutter problem.

Biggest culprit: CEO's sewing area. One small room. Two large closets face one another in the hall outside with facing mirrors. Perfect for storing fabric and supplies, and just the thing for checking fit and marking hems!

Except that who can pin a hem in the middle of this? Check out this unretouched photo to see the bitter, bitter truth!

Friends and Futures: A Double Household Notebook Tour

When blogger Elizabeth and her friend Kim took on the challenge to create household notebooks, they aimed high.

Deciding to create more than just a simple binder for household information, they envisioned their notebooks as "living books" that would help teach their daughters to keep house.

In these posts, Elizabeth shares her Foss Family Home Companion, while Kim outlines her Family Management Journal. Both notebook tours go further: they explain the thinking behind these two young mothers' decision to create order for their families, now and for the future.

Don't miss Kim's downloadable dividers and forms in Microsoft Word format. Check them out:

Elizabeth's Family Home Companion

Kim's Home Management Journal

Home Management Journal - The Basics

Home Management Journal - Housekeeping

Home Management Journal - Cleaning Forms and Lists

A Not-Notebook Solution: Home Management Whiteboard

If you're visually oriented, there may be resistance to the idea of a household notebook. Who wants to flip all those pages ... and what happens when you set the mail down on top of your daily schedule?

Clever blogger Jumping On The Bed has an in-your-face solution: a home management whiteboard. Using a large dry erase marker board, she juggles schedules, lists and information right on the wall. Check out her not-notebook solution for better home management!

Home Management Board

home management binder alternative

Free Freezer Labels to Print ... from Martha Stewart

Printers ready? Here's a super resource for freezer cooking: printable labels for frozen foods. They've got that Martha style, but come with a super innovation: an embedded calendar to make it easy to mark the "frozen on" date.

Martha advises using a full-page label paper to create stick-on labels, but it's simpler and cheaper to print on inkjet paper and slide the label between double freezer bags.

The printable is in .pdf format, so you'll need the free Adobe Reader to print:

Freezer Labels to Print

Such Treasures: Our Household Notebook

Need inspiration for your notebook? Check out this pretty and personalized household notebook from blogger Such Treasures.

Her hand-decorated cover, custom divider pages and thorough outline of binder contents make this a four-star notebook tour! Get inspired:

Our Household Notebook

our household notebook

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