Power Tools For An Organized Home

Who among us hasn't squandered a happy afternoon in a store specializing in organizing products?

Drifting from aisle to aisle, we make a mental list: this for the bathroom clutter, that for the computer desk.

All is bliss until we consider the bottom line. Specialty organizers can be costly! Someday, we vow, we'll get organized at home, but for now, budget realities step firmly on organizer dreams.

Stop the presses! Over the years, these top tools have proved their value, and they cost a fraction of the price of specialty products.

Kids and Chores: Chilling The Chore Wars

kids chores

When it comes to kids and housework, the blasted terrain is familiar: a dirty house, balky children, and frazzled, frustrated parents.

Tired parents try it all, from chore charts to screaming fits.Canny children engage in housework sabotage, selective hearing or childish irresponsibility to duck assignments.

The noise levels--and stress levels--rise along with the stacks of dishes.

How to negotiate a peace on the issue of children and chores?

Try these family-tested strategies to calm the conflict and gain the goal.

What's Your Clutter Personality Type?

clutter personality test

It's silent. It's sneaky. It creeps about in corners: clutter! When the state of the house aggravates you to your last nerve, it's tempting to launch an all-out battle in the war against clutter.

First, though, know your enemy!

There are as many reasons for household clutter as there are clutterers. As Pogo says, "We have seen the enemy, and he is us!"

Take aim on your household's clutter problem by going to the root of the problem: your own thinking.

What's your clutter personality ... and which of these internal voices strikes a chord?

Paper Chase: The ABCs of Household Paper Management

organize household paperwork

The tax man cometh ... and he'll be here soon! Do you know where your tax records are?

Chances are, they're swimming in a stack of paper ... somewhere.

Rafts of paper flood into the average home each day.

The mailbox discharges letters and bills and bank statements. Briefcases explode with professional journals, pay stubs and calendars. School backpacks unload children's artwork, meeting notices and sports schedules.

Wipe Out! Make Your Own Cleaning Wipes

homemade cleaning wipes

Who doesn't love commercial cleaning wipes?

They're wickedly convenient--but also wickedly expensive and often contain harsh chemicals.

The alternative: make your own refillable cleaning wipes!

Homemade cleaning wipes are easy to make, economical, and contain only those cleaning agents you select. Use them in the kitchen, the bathroom, or for cleaning windows.

Put homemade cleaning wipes to work for you in your organized home with our easy instructions and cleaning recipes.

Cut Clutter in the Kitchen

cut clutter in the kitchen

Open the kitchen cabinets ... and you can tell it's time for a kitchen declutter!

Pudding mixes perch on top of the cereal, showering down onto the head of a sleepy, squawking teen each morning.

To reach the oatmeal pan, you must shove aside a stack of pizza coupons, the bread machine pan and a glass jar of pickles.

The top of the refrigerator is a greasy, dusty jumble of unfinished crafts projects, the dog's leash, empty prescription bottles, broken toys and fast-food drink cups.

Get Organized: Tap the Power of Planners

Imagine a genie, a butler, a secret servant at your fingertips.

Someone who remembers everything: when your kindergartner got his last round of immunizations, the name and number of that other Mom in the soccer carpool, what your second cousin named her latest baby.

Every home manager needs this informational paragon, but no one has to scour deserted beaches for a jeweled bottle.

This secret servant is called a planner--and every home manager worth her gym socks needs to have one.

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