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.

Do It Now! Tips To Get Ready For Back-To-School

Move over, summer--a new school year is coming!

With the start of school, families face new organization challenges.

School bells ring--and so do early-morning alarm clocks.

Paper piles swell as hand-outs and homework stream into the house.

Shorter autumn days bring a hectic round of sports, activities and events, and calendars fill with cryptic notes. Can the holidays be far behind?

Get organized now for the best school year ever! Use these ideas to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead.

Welcome to the Back-to-School Countdown

back to school countdown

A new school year is on the horizon! Time to prepare for back to school, with the Organized Home Back-to-School Countdown.

Over the first three weeks of August, we'll get organized, gear up and get ready to send the children back to school from an organized home.

Following an ultimate back-to-school checklist, the Back-to-School Countdown includes weekday reminders, free printables and inspiring articles to help you prepare for the first day of school.

Back-to-School Shopping Tips: Start Early and Save

save money on back-to-school

Ah, summer! Baseball and sunshine, lemonade stands ... and back to school?

Yep. Summer or not, it's time to think about ways to save money shopping for back-to-school clothing and school supplies.

Retailers are poised to begin back-to-school promotions the instant July 4th's fireworks cease to glow.

Savvy shoppers begin planning now to get the most for their back-to-school dollar.

Cash In: Start Now to Save Money for Christmas

Think Christmas ... in July? Sure--if you want to be prepared for a stress-free holiday season.

Starting holiday planning now makes sense ... and cents! Saving ahead for holiday expenses spreads the financial demands of the Christmas season over several months--and being prepared with a cash budget means you'll be less tempted to put holiday spending on credit cards.

Sister site Organized Christmas has some clever ways to start now to save money for a debt-free Christmas celebration:

Clever checkbook management can lead to a Christmas stash. When paying bills each month, "round down" the bank balance to the next even amount--say, from $967 to $900--by writing a dummy check for $67 and deducting it from the register. Don't cash it, but hold it for Christmas. Over a few months, those "round it down" amounts will add up to holiday funds.

Cash In! Do-It-Now Ways To Save Money For Christmas

Print An Activity Binder for Stress-Free Family Vacations

Here at OrganizedHome.Com, we love 3-ring binders. That's why we adore this travel tip for families with children: use free printables to create a kid's activity binder before traveling.

Use these links to print free coloring pages, word games, puzzles and activity sheets. Assemble a binder for each child, and add a zipper bag containing crayons, markers, pencils and game tokens to keep the kids amused for hours of peaceful drive time.

Find free printables for kids at these Web sites:

Kaboose.com Printables

PBSKids.org Games, Stories and Coloring Pages

TheKidzPage.com Coloring Pages

FamilyFun.com Printables

Travel Tips: Get Organized For Family Vacations

Summer's here and school's out: it's time to take to the road!

Family vacation travel can be enriching, enjoyable and exciting--but only if you're organized.

The family that fails to plan for summer travel can end up frazzled, frustrated and longing for the quiet comfort of home.

This year, get ready! Whether it's car trips, plane travel or close-to-home "stay-cation" trips, we've assembled OrganizedHome.Com's best, easiest tips to organize summer vacation travel.

Summer Cleaning Chore Checklist

Summer's here, hot, high and sweaty. Vacations beckon. The garden takes on a life of its own.

Busy families don't have much time for home chores these months.

School's out, travel's in and it's easy to let life slide on the home front.

Still, summer will run more smoothly if you keep tabs on these important areas in the Summer Cleaning Chore Checklist.

Our summer cleaning chore checklist list tackles hot-weather issues, summer health and safety.

Summer Cooking Tips: Cool Off in the Kitchen!

Who can imagine summer without summer food?

Steaming corn-on-the-cob, each kernel bursting with sweet flavor.

Burgers and barbecue. Ice cream sundaes.

The crisp red smile of a watermelon wedge, dripping with sweet juice.

There's a darker side to summer meals. Food budgets groan under the strain of substituting quick-cook steaks and chicken breasts for thrifty stove-top casseroles.

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