If you'd like some help getting organized as a mom, you've come to the right place! Read to the bottom of the post to learn about entering the giveaway that might help you get a bit (or lots) more organized.
Lea speaks practically and gives moms sensible ways to become organized AND help teach children responsibility and organization. We definitely have the TMS disease-Too Much Stuff! This book is easy to read, and Lea gives some very practical ways to help moms to be better organized while teaching their children the same lessons.
Lea teaches about the principle of Love It? Use It? or Need It? If something in your home does not fit one of those categories, it is time to get rid of it because you shouldn't keep something in your home that does not fit into one of those categories. Lea also encourages us to not try to tackle everything at once. I, for one, lose focus when cleaning very easily, and will try to take to heart her focus and finish to eliminate projects within projects.
I really enjoyed this book and anticipate reading it every few years as our family changes and our organizing needs adjustment. Yes, I liked Growing Up Organized: A Mom-To-Mom Guide that much. Ready to meet Lea? Here she is (her words in blue)! I had the opportunity to ask her some questions specific to our home. Maybe you have some of the same issues we do, so please read on!
“As a mom - and a professional organizer- I know what moms really want. They just want the kids to be organized. They’d like them to be ready for school on time and have what they need for the day. They’d like their child to drop their clothes in the hamper, their dishes in the dishwasher and drop their expectations that mom will be their personal organizer for the next decade."
“What I've found is that Moms are willing to jump in and try to get organized but they want advice on where to start, what to do next and a plan for how to get the kids to be organized. They wonder if they should start with bedroom chaos, toy clutter, homework struggles or deal with getting out the door on time in the morning. Growing-Up Organized gives you tons of organizing how-to advice and actually helps you plan a successful organizing project that ends with your child being more organized- rather than you, Mom, being the only organizer." Annette: How do you address sentimental or hand made items with the "Love it? Use it? Need it?" questions?
Lea: When sorting clutter, I ask people to keep only what they love, use or need. Sentimental items would fall in the “love it” category. If it is truly special to your heart, you should keep it. Setting some limits on quantity is a good idea. For example, it isn’t reasonable to think you can store every paper your child ever does. Instead, have a keepsake box for those papers that really speak to who your child is and shares some of their personality.
A: How should large kitchen items like a cake carrier, serving trays, pie plates, cake pans and all of those other awkward items be stored?
L: Storage decisions, while sometimes must be based on size, should most often be based on frequency of use. If you are an infrequent baker, then choose the back of a lower cabinet. If you bake often, an organizer rack for bake ware might help you maximize space. Similar to bookends, it will hold your many items upright and make the most of your cabinet’s vertical space. You can slide out one tray or pan without disturbing the others.
A: We have TMS, and our basement is a giant storage area. Unfortunately we don't have any shelves, though I do have items grouped together. Some of it is in plastic storage tubs, like baby and children's clothes, since we will likely have a larger family some day. I try to keep the kids' clothing in one stack and Christmas decorations in another, but really it tends to be explosive and unorganized. We also have large baby related toys like an exersaucer, baby swing, and others. What suggestions do you have for me for when I am ready to tackle the basement? Someday we do intend to have shelves, but for the time being we do not.
L: Boy, I really relate to this! I had an attic without shelves and despite my best efforts; it would get scrambled because I wasn’t the only one to return things to the attic. The solution is to create “rooms.” I used painter’s tape on the attic floor and marked off large squares, or “rooms.” Then I labeled the areas so items could be returned the correct spot. If tape won’t stick to the floor due to basement humidity, try creating signs for each grouping. They could go on the wall or even hang from the ceiling.
A: Plastic storage containers and casserole-type dishes are a nightmare to store in the cupboards. Any suggestions?
L: Before deciding how to store them, be sure you want to store ALL of them. Keep only the ones you really use and need. This especially applies to plastic tubs and lids. They seem to multiply like those wire coat hangers! Take them out and match the lids to them. Line them down your countertop. Ask yourself if you will every have that many leftovers at one time. Pare it down to a minimum.
For Casseroles: It can be helpful to use wire cabinet organizers – which create a wire shelf on your regular shelf. You’ll then have two levels for the casseroles to sit on.
For Plastics: One way is to use an extra plastic container to hold the lids next to the container. An under-the-shelf wire basket, which hooks on the shelf above, is a great way to store the lids directly over or under the containers. For the most part, the key is to limit how many you own and if you replace any, try to stick to one brand and shape so that all the lids always match all the containers.
A: How do you maximize the space in a small coat closet? We have a shoe rack, with two laundry wicker baskets on top. Yet it still overflows. We keep my purse, my daughter's backpack, and the diaper bag in the baskets.
L: It sounds as if you use the coat closet to hold the items you use daily when you leave the house. Great job! Try to continue that theme. Make sure that you use your small coat closet as your launch pad. A launch pad helps you launch out the door in the mornings. Therefore, if things are stored there that you don’t really use to launch out the door, then move those items to another location. Make sure to make use of the inside of the door. A clear pocket shoe bag can hold mittens, scarves and other things. Or, add two rows of coat hooks so that you can hook things on the door.
A: I've read that you recommend using baskets to organize a pantry. Do you also recommend that with a very small pantry?
L: Especially use them with a small pantry! A basket allows you to make the most of vertical space. For example, one basket could hold all of your types of pasta. Being able to pile them all in one basket maximizes your pantry. When you pile everything on a shelf, you can’t find anything but because the baskets hold a theme- and you label them- you’ll be able to find things.
A: I use my Kitchen Aid mixer, bread machine, and crock pot on a regular (weekly) basis. I keep the mixer on the counter top, Crock-Pot in the island, and bread machine on the floor of the pantry. Do you have any other suggestions for storing these large items?
L: I certainly don’t blame you for storing the mixer on the counter. Those things weigh a ton! The problem with some of the items you listed, like the mixer and the bread machine, is they tend to be tall. Larger lower cabinets should hold them but often a shelf is in the way. If you own the home, you might want to remove the shelf so that you can use the height of the cabinet. You can always store the shelf flat in the cabinet so it can be reinstalled if need be. It sounds as if you’ve a pretty good solution. The basic rule of thumb for kitchen countertops is if you use it daily or often, leave it out. If you use it occasionally, put it inside a cabinet.
Lea is offering one reader a copy of her book, too! If you live in the continental USA, you have the choice of an e-bookor print book. All other addresses can win an e-book! Thank you, Lea!
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To Enter: Giveaway is now closed! Thanks for entering. Leave a comment telling me what you need the most help organizing as a mom. Additional Entries: Visit Organize Right Now and tell me one thing you learned. (1 entry) Follow my blogs. (1 entry each)
Giveaway ends Wednesday, May 5 at 7pm (EST). Winner will be drawn using Random.org.
Thank you, Lea, for helping me be better organized and teaching my children, too! Thank you for the chance to review your book!