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.

Family Dinners: Creative Solutions for Menu Planning

How do working mothers manage menus and meal planning? Working mom Leslie Kaufman's story (published in no less than the venerable New York Times) shares valuable strategies for feeding the family fast--and well.

We liked the menu planning concept of having four core dishes to save time and please picky palates:

I have four core dishes: meatloaf, pot roast, roast chicken and meatballs. I prepare the most basic, pared-down version of each dish. By now it is reflexive. I could do it in my sleep. Perhaps I have. My basic roast chicken is covered in oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and paprika, and that’s that.

Every week I make at least one of those dishes and leave it in the back of the fridge to do emergency duty, as in: “I am not eating anything stuffed with spinach. That’s disgusting.” And like a great friend, it never fails me in a crisis. It can be reheated as a meal, sliced for sandwiches, diced for a pasta sauce and used with cheese to fill a tortilla or a twice-baked potato.

Mom Puts Family On Her Meal Plan

Topics: 

Travel Tip: Custom Packing List

Packing for family travel? A packing checklist can save your sanity--and your vacation. Now it's easy to make a custom online checklist with the Universal Packing List.

An interactive Web page, UPL asks for basic travel information--dates, family members, activities, weather--and generates a comprehensive custom list to guide packing for family travel. Print it out, and you'll never again forget the sunblock!

Universal Packing List

Get A Handle On Paper

Real Simple describes setting up Systems for Managing Your Mail that will conquer a huge source of clutter and leave you free to enjoy the Spring and Summer days that are quickly approaching!

Their advice?

  • Create a workspace for handling mail
  • Make bill paying more organized
  • Manage Important Documents for easy reference
  • Create a system for Tax & Financial papers
  • Create a system for Magazines & Catalogs

For each type of incoming mail, RealSimple offers ideas and examples of creating systems and streamlining the process.

There are even forms for:

A Monthly Spending Plan

Topics: 

Be Prepared: 10 Day Survival Kit

Jeffrey Yago, of Backwoods Home Magazine, walks you through a list of supplies you will want to keep in your trunk in the event that you are stranded in your vehicle. All items pack up nicely in a small cooler.

Bonus? It makes a great emergency kit to grab during severe weather warnings, or in the need to evacuate.

10 Day Survival Kit

Pages