Spring Cleaning and Organization with Dollar Tree

Over Spring Break we had guests. While our house is clean, it was definitely disorganized. I had reorganized the pantry and kitchen drawers not long ago, so it was my mission to organize some of the other areas of our home including the kids’ rooms, the front bathroom, and the living room.

The wallpaper I chose.

I headed over to Dollar Tree to grab some organizational items. If you haven’t checked out Dollar Tree lately, they have a great selection of baskets, totes, and boxes with lids to help with organizing your space.

I also checked out their peel-and-stick wallpaper to do some DIY bathroom decor.

I picked up a few square frames, removed the artwork, covered it with the peel and stick, and placed it back into the frames. It took less than ten minutes and it was super easy. The best part: they look really cute.

To make our bathroom countertop look a little nicer, after scrubbing it, I put down an edged mirror (also from Dollar Tree) and placed 6 battery-powered faux candles in different sizes on the mirror. 

I also bought a small two-drawer container to corral all of my hair ties and for Qtips. I decorated the top with decals meant for a glass jar. I think it turned out great.

I placed a basket on top of the toilet tank and filled it with an extra roll of toilet paper, wipes, and new washcloths. I scrubbed out the shower, placed down a shower mat (from Ross), and restocked the front bathroom shower with shampoo, conditioner, 2 body washes, a new pouf, a new back scrub brush, exfoliating gloves, and my absolute favorite body scrub from Tree Hut: Moroccan Rose (which does not smell like roses). I also spent time organizing the HBA stockpile under the front bathroom sink, condensing boxes, and half-filled bottles, and removing unnecessary packaging to make storage easier. I also went through the first aid kit and discarded all of the old, expired meds, ointments, and bandages that are no longer adhesive.

The kids love to draw and there are pencils and pens all over the house. I picked up a three-pack of small baskets and placed 2 of them on the kitchen tables, filling one with pencils, and the second one with ballpoint pens. Hopefully that will solve the “MOOOOOOM, where are the pencils???” Quandary.

Heading into the kids’ rooms, I reorganized Margaret’s room with a few baskets and plastic boxes with lids. The headband/hairbow situation had gotten out of hand, but it was easily wrangled with a plastic box with a lid. Now everything is all in one place. Same with underwear and socks. Separated into two baskets and stored on top of her dresser, which has been upgraded and moved into her larger closet. Yes, her room has two closets- one is very small, and basically is only used to hold clothes that need to be hung up. 

Back in the living room, I needed better storage options for our fidget/stim basket and masks. I upgraded to black woven baskets. We still have masks at home (for use when we go to crowded places or when we are feeling under the weather and need to leave home- Target Drive up, anyone?). These weren’t from Dollar Tree, but Dollar Tree Plus and Family Dollar both sell them. And yes, that’s a plastic shoe box with a lid from Dollar Tree next to them- Full of crayons.

So that’s how I spent the 1st three days of my Spring Break. Getting my home organized- It has made finding things a lot easier.

Kitchen Reorganization on a Budget!

We’re at the point in kitchen renovation where we need to put the kitchen back together. I was tired of eating out of the myriad boxes in my living room.

Being on a budget, I looked for simple and easy ways to make our kitchen work better for us. Our pantry is long (about 1 meter) and narrow. It’s such a pain. So much of it is inaccessible.

I cleaned out a bunch of the clutter as I unpacked the boxes. My mom gifted me these cool white baskets (which you can find on Amazon here).  She previously used them to store fabric. I put my label maker to good use and labeled the white baskets with the following categories:

  • Soup
  • Sauces
  • Baking Goods
  • Rice and Noodles
  • Oils and Fats
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Canned Goods
  • Soup
  • Snack Box
  • Snacks (I use this for the overflow of snacks)

I also reorganized the spice cabinet, and I’ll be moving some of the bulk spices to these glass jars from the plastic bags they came in probably later this week.

Moving on to all of the drawers in my kitchen. Yeah. Nine Drawers of various sizes. I lined them with Contact Paper from Dollar Tree– which BTW, is so much cheaper than Amazon or the big box hardware stores. I also lined the cabinets that hold our dishes. I did not line the pantry shelves- They are really long and narrow and I can’t reach all the way to the back.

To contain all of the STUFF in each drawer, I picked up some of these skinny drawer organizers, and the drawer organizers in the picture, which are wider and medium-sized.

The Silverware has a drawer caddy (not shown in the photo, but it goes in the empty drawer), but the rest of the drawers were just a disaster. Now the cooking utensils will be corraled, the batteries rolling around the junk drawer will be contained, and all of the yummy drink powders and drink concentrates (like Mio) are corraled.

So for less than $50, I was able to reorganize the kitchen and spruce it up a bit.

After the kitchen is done and the water heater is installed, we’re having a cleaning service coming to do a post-construction clean up. There is drywall dust all over my freaking kitchen and living room. It’s so gross.

Parents Helping Parents: Behavior Resources at Home Class

download.jpgOn February 22, 2022, the Santee School district is presenting a behavior training with a “Make it, Take it” for behavior resources at home.

Visual Schedules: Children benefit from increased structure and predictability. Help take the stress out of your daily routine by providing
your child with a visual schedule.

Behavior Contracts: Contracts help keep kids on track and reduce family battles. Let us help you create one for your home!

Zones of Regulation: Help teach your child how to identify how they’re feeling and then utilize a co teach them about self-control.

Positive Reinforcement: Learn how to shape your child’s behavior with positive discipline. This will help to reinforce behaviors we want to increase in the home.

Santee’s Behavior Team Come meet Santee’s behavior team and find helpful strategies to implement at home. You’ll leave with individualized strategies and resources that you can begin implementing right away. You’ll have access to three team members to help you create individualized systems for your child! Listed above are just a few of the strategies you’ll go home with!

This event is free- If you have any questions, or wish to RSVP, contact the school district office at (619) 258-2300

Date & Time: 2/22/22 9:30am-11am
Location: Santee School District 9625 Cuyamaca. Santee, CA 92071

Tryazon Event- Organize the Kids’ Clutter with Deflecto!

Tryazon has another really cool party/event opportunity- perfect for families that are homeschooling, distance learning, or are a teacher in school.

Clean up the kids’ clutter while fighting germs with Tryazon Featured Party opportunity, from Deflecto. Featuring a diverse line of antimicrobial storage and organizational products for kids specifically designed for the art, craft, and education markets. Deflecto’s kids storage now includes SteriTouch® an antimicrobial agent used to inhibit the growth of odor-causing microorganisms, mold and mildew. Durable, stackable and washable storage to keep parents and teachers organized!

Tryazon has100 hosting spots open for this opportunity! Those selected get to receive a party pack valued at $75+ with a variety of Deflecto products to share with friends and family! Learn more and apply here.

If, you’ve never heard of Tryazon (pronounced Try-uh-zon ☺), Tryazon is a service dedicated to getting innovative products into people’s hands and mouths, in fun settings like the party we had today. They offer excellent product samples and savings for all who participate.

February Fundraising Program at Mabel’s Labels – Earn 30% off Sitewide

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Is your school or scouting organization looking for a contactless fundraiser? Schools and other organizations still need to fundraise and keep kids safe during the pandemic.

Mabel’s Labels fundraising program is an easy and practical way to raise funds for your school, daycare, team, camp or organization while ensuring kids’ belongings stay out of the lost-and-found.

• No sales pressure and no set end date. Just sign up and make 20% commission on all sales!
• No distribution or sorting! Supporters order online and Mabel’s Labels sends their labels directly to them.
• Quick online ordering for your supporters, plus FREE shipping.
• Free digital and hard copy flyers to help promote your campaign.

*30% off coupon valid through July 31, 2021*

View more about the fundraising program here!

 

First Week of College, and Beyond!

b6f6f1732d17e562c91f423e089bd0b7

I survived the first week of college! After ::cough 17 years cough:: a long time, it’s quite an adjustment getting back into the swing of studying, doing homework, and all of the other things that go into being a mom, wife, blogger/Influencer, and special needs advocate for my big kiddo.

I wanted to share with you some things that have helped me, and the family adjust to the change.  It’s just two classes, but that’s 10-12 hours a week of studying, reading, and homework outside the classroom, and that time comes out of the time I previously spent with the kids, working on the blog/social media, petting the cat, ya know, mom stuff.

Bitty is now going to preschool two days a week. Our city’s Parks and Rec department has a drop off preschool two days a week. It’s approximately $150 for 8 weeks, which is a great price, and she is in a class with 13 other kiddos her age, several of them she knows from her daily visits to the local YMCA Child Watch. While she is at preschool, I have three hours to work on school work. It’s amazing to be able to read and work on my homework in peace. If you need a few hours to get work done, check your local Parks and Rec department for this type of preschool.

Family: As someone who has family nearby, having my family able to help out with school pick ups and therapy drop offs, it is a Godsend. My parents, brother and sister-in-law have really stepped in and helped us with the kids and house. Last week Miss Sally (my car) needed new front and rear brakes, and two new tires. Thanks to my Sister-in-law, niece, and my parents I didn’t have to walk home with Bitty (5 miles with a 3 year old- No thanks) or call an Uber.

Schedule: As a family, we have a shared calendar on iCal, in which I put all of the kids appointments, weekly commitments, birthdays, deadlines. In addition, I also have a calendar (this one) in the master bathroom on my cork board. Yes, I have a cork board in the master bathroom next to the vanity, so we can see whats on the schedule for each day.  Having everything in the palm of my hand (on my phone), and in a place that is visible to us (calendar) has really helped keep us focused and on task.

Remembering my Skill-Set: I’m not reinventing the wheel here. To maximize my productive time, I make sure to use my previously honed skills: Meal Planning, Meal Prep, setting out everyone’s clothes the night before, making lunches the night before, organizing areas of the house to help us get out of the house in the morning on time.

So while you may see less blog posts until I get in the full swing of it all, but I’m still posting on Social Media like a madwoman.

I want you all to know that it doesn’t matter what your age, if there is something you want: College, new job, more time with your family, vacation.. Do it! Change can be scary, but believe in yourself and have a plan! It might be rough at first, but stick with it.

Enough motivational speaking from me, I have homework to do!

Talk Back: What have you done recently that moved you out of your comfort zone?

Back on Track for Fall! and a $25 Amazon GC Giveaway.

For most of our kids, school has either started or will start in about a week. I’ve had a rocking summer with the kids, but it’s time to get settled back into a routine for the family. I am a huge proponent of routines for kids. Having one for our family has really helped calm and allay fears of the unknown, which is huge for kids with ASD.

Not that everything has to be exactly the same every day, but knowing what will happen within a time frame gives kids (and some adults too) a certain sense of calm.

I posted at the beginning of the summer about our schedule, and it really helped. Our school year schedule is a little different, but most of our appointments are the about the same time each week.

A few other things that help us keep on track during the school year:

Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 8.41.01 AM.pngHaving grab and go lunch items at hand. In the pantry, there is a basket filled with all kinds of lunch/snack items. Crackers, cookies, squeezy pouches, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, cups of PB/other nut/seed butters, pretzels, juice boxes, etc. On the counter we’ve got a trifle bowl (I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made trifle in the past 11 years-but… it makes a great fruit bowl), that we will with lunchbox sized fruit: apples, tangerines, and occasionally pears. I keep the bananas separate on a little hook/stand.

I also keep a stash of frozen tubes of yogurt in the freezer, and a grip of cheese sticks either pre-packaged or home-made, depending on which is cheaper, in the fridge. What’ a home made cheese stick? Buy a big block of cheese, grab a large, sharp knife and cut the cheese into hunks resembling commercially made cheese sticks. I wrap them in saran wrap and keep them in a large zip top bag in the dairy drawer.

It takes about 15 minutes to organize the lunch stuff once a week, and it saves me a lot of time each morning.

A Pretty Solid Meal Plan. I’ve posted about meal planning so many times, and honestly, it really does help. I get a lot of magazines in the mail (free of course), and most of them are cooking magazines. I try to add a new recipe into the mix weekly.

Exercise. I know this sounds weird, but, for me, exercise is my me time. We go to our local YMCA, and the kids go to child care for up to two hours. I do an hour of cardio (and catch up on email, Facebook, or bring along a book), then do weights for about 20-40 minutes. It’s a chance to focus on my body and health. Sometimes I grab my travel bag, and toss it into my gym bag with a couple towels and go take a shower after my cardio. Taking a shower without little people interrupting you is one of life’s small luxuries. Whatever makes you happy and allows you to escape a little each day, I encourage you to explore it. 

Coffee. I’m one of those people that has to have coffee every day. It’s part of my daily ritual. I drink at least 30 ounces of coffee a day: hot, cold, heck even room temp., I don’t care. It can even be decaf. I set up to coffee maker before bed, and when we get up in the morning, there is a hot, fresh pot of coffee. And we don’t have a fancy coffee maker either… This is the coffee maker we have.

Giveaway: Let’s celebrate back to school! I’d love to hear about how you get back to it after school starts. Leave me a comment below and enter to win a $25 Amazon GC* here (This link may not be mobile friendly)! I’ll choose a winner on September 4th, 2018. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Winner subject to verification of entry tasks. Winner must reside in the USA. $25 Amazon GC will be rewarded as a digital Gift Code, emailed to the winner.

How to organize the dreaded toy mess!

One of the things I pride myself on is how we are able to quasi-control the toy mess in our home. It’s a lot of work, but we have a pretty good system, and it might work for you too.

Stage 1: Contain the mess! First of all, a few years ago, hubs bought a bunch of 20 quart Steralite containers with snap on lids at an auction for a song. So, we separated all of the toys by type and put them in boxes with a lid.

IMG_5483Obviously the Legos and Thomas the Tank Engine toys go into larger boxes because, well, we have tons  more then will fit in the 20 quart containers. We also re-use random plastic containers, like these plastic jugs that hard pretzels come in, the large bottles that Nesquik powder comes in, and dishwasher tab boxes.

Stage 2: Label! We label everything. All of the original totes have Kidecals labels, but the newer /larger containers have different labels. I try to do labels that have drawings of the toys too, so it’s easier for non-readers to know what’s in the box without opening them.

I used the terminology that Lil’ Man uses for his toys. The box marked “Guy Men” has action figures and little toys (like his Sesame Street “guys”), and “Mean Animals” (Plastic/Vinyl animals of various sizes).

IMG_5486_2Some of the toys that don’t get a lot of play (or annoy me), are stored in the closet. I rotate the less frequently played toys through, so that all of the toys get loved.

IMG_5485_2Stage 3: Limit Access! Another thing that helps is that we have a three toys at a time rule. Lil’ Man can have three types of toys out at a time. Right now, it’s guy men, mean animals, and cars.

 

 

New Year’s Resolution #7: Get Organized

Throughout December, I’m going to be posting about New Year’s Resolutions. Each post will have tips and tricks to help you navigate through your resolutions to become more successful at all of your frugal endeavors!

file000267804564

#7 is a resolution that I thought would be closer to the top of the list: Get Organized.

For some people that means professionally, financially or personally.  I can’t help you with your professional life, but I can help you with some tips to getting your finances and personal life organized.

balancing-a-checkbook-paying-billsOrganize your Finances:

You really can’t start to save money unless you get your finances in order.  I cannot stress how helpful setting up a budget has been for our family.

There are a few companies that offer free budgeting tools: I like both Manila and Mint. Check both out and see which one suits your families needs.

Calendar_0Organize your Personal Life:

Use a calendar.  It doesn’t have to be a paper one.  I have a paper calendar on my desk.  I write all of our play dates and appointments, parties, and other functions outside of the house on it. That way I can see at a glance what’s going of for the week. If you’ve got a smart phone, you can utilize the calendar feature. iPhones can sync to the iCal on your desktop computer. If you opt for it, iCal will pop up reminders on his phone and the computer. He uses it for business and home.

  • If you want to use a calendar online, Google’s Calendar feature is great, especially if you use Gmail.  It can add appointments, reminders and birthdays from your email into your calendar and it will remind you of them!
  • If you don’t use Gmail or Google, Facebook has a great calendar under the events tab from your FB feed.  It shows you upcoming events and birthday and it’s easy to plan or add an event with the “+Create Event” button.
  • If you are looking for Coupon Organizational methods, I’ve written about how I organize my coupons here.
  • I am always getting packages! I signed up for a USPS.com and now I get a text when a package ships and when it arrives! It’s a great way to keep track of packages that you are expecting.

How to organize and store coupons

file000804438807

A lot of you will start 2016 with the goal of saving money by couponing. Here are a few ways that you can organize your coupons to help you achieve your goals.

There are several methods to store your coupons when they are in your home before you go to shop, and there are several more methods for storage when you are out shopping.

Here are just a few examples of organizational methods:

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 8.19.31 AM
Inserts filed whole by date

Whole insert: Leave the inserts whole, and file them by date.  You may wish to put each insert  in a tabbed folder and write the date along with the type insert such as SS (Smart Source), P&G (Proctor & Gamble), or RP (Red Plum). Example: 6/6/10 SS I recommend this method for those of you starting out, or if you don’t have a lot of time dedicated to couponing.

Clipped by dated: Filed in a similar fashion as above, but all coupons from each weeks inserts are clipped, put into an envelope, dated, and filed either in an accordion folder or filing/bank box. This can be a time saver when you need to pull coupons from a specific date.  You may choose to have all coupons from the same date filed together, or you may wish to file each insert (Red Plum, Smart Source, Proctor & Gamble) separately. Example: Clipped 6/6/10 All or  Clipped 6/6/10 SS

The next two storage methods are usually done when coupons are stored inside baseball card inserts in a large three ring binder.

Clipped by category: Coupons are clipped and then filed by category.

Clipped Alphabetically: Simply file the coupons alphabetically, either by product name, product type, or manufacturer.

 

Storage Methods

There are several methods for storage of coupons.

If you file whole inserts, you may wish to file inserts in an accordion folder or filing/bank box by date. This is the method that I use, and that I have used for over 10 years. As I have less time to dedicate to couponing, it keeps me organized and able to save the most money (and time!).

If you clip your coupons here are just a few examples of storage methods:

Coupon wallets are commercially available at office supply stores or mass merchandisers.  Coupon wallets  are small, reinforced accordion file with tabs. They can fit inside most purses. Organize the coupons by category or alphabetically.

Use a 3-Ring Coupon Binder with plastic page protector inserts (like these), and use tabbed dividers for the category dividers. In the front, you can put a pad of paper inside for your shopping list, a zipper pouch for pens, pencils, scissors and a calculator.  3-ring binders that zip shut are great too!

Individual envelopes- I do not recommend this method to anyone just starting out. Start with envelopes (I use #10 envelopes) and write the name of each category on the front in large, easy to read letters.  File coupons by category in the corresponding envelopes, Once you have all the coupons sorted and filed, store the envelopes in a plastic tub, shoe box, whatever is easiest for you. This is by far the most time consuming method for storing coupons.

When you clip coupons and file them you can go one step further and arrange them by expiration date, amount of coupon, or alphabetically. It’s up to you.  If you have multiples of the same coupon, consider paper clipping them together.