Stain Chart

The best defense against stains is information -- knowing how to attack a particular spot before it sets permanently into the fabric. Since there are so many kinds of stains, each with its own best cleaning method, it's difficult to memorize them all. That's where this convenient chart comes in: It's a comprehensive listing of stains, from grease to ink, along with advice on how to handle them for washable items. You can download the chart and print it out. Place in a page protector and hang in the laundry room/area.

Organization Tip of the Week #15

Use a Basket In Your Car to Help You Stay Organized

Do you have any baskets lying around your home that are not being used? If you do, give them a new life and use one in your car.

Place a medium-sized basket by the door you use to leave the house every day. Anything that needs to go out the door with you gets placed into the basket. When you leave the house take the basket with you and put it in the car.
As you run your errands, anything you receive goes into the basket, such as receipts or dry cleaner slips.

When you get home, anything else in the car (cups, wrappers, etc.) go into the basket and you take the basket back into the house with you. Unpack the basket put all the items into their proper place.

When the basket is empty it is placed near the door and the process begins all over again.

Organization Tip of the Week #14

Mount a long magnet along the back of your medicine cabinet to hold tweezers, little scissors, clippers, and other small metal objects.

Organization Tip of the Week #13

Don't rely on your memory. You run the risk of letting tasks fall through the cracks. The best way to never forget an appointment, a deadline, or a detail again, is to write everything down.

Organization Tip of the Week #12

Here are 13 essentials for completing your spring-cleaning according to Heloise:
  1. wet mop
  2. dry mop
  3. vacuum cleaner
  4. step-ladder/stool
  5. trash bags
  6. paper towels
  7. sponges/scrubbing pads
  8. all-purpose cleaner
  9. bathroom tub and tile cleaner
  10. abrasive cleanser
  11. chlorine bleach
  12. white vinegar
  13. fabric-softener sheets

Organization Tip of the Week #11

Heloise, the Queen of Clean, says the secret to spring-cleaning is to keep your focus. Gather your tools and supplies. Then go into one room to clean and don't leave the room until you're done.

Organization Tip of the Week #10

Before you start anything, determine its goal. If you don't know where you're going, how will you ever get there? Set mini-goals and reward yourself for successes.

Organization Tip of the Week #9

Plan ahead. Make a schedule allowing for more time than you think is needed. It is better to have a few extra minutes than to run behind schedule.

20 Time Savers

  1. Use a monthly calendar and a daily 'to do' list.
  2. Maintain a 'contact list.'
  3. Prioritize your 'to do' list the night before.
  4. Don't watch television during the day.
  5. Eat a light lunch.
  6. Attend all the meetings available to you. Try other people's ideas. See someone successful? Do what they do. Don't reinvent the wheel!
  7. Set aside unimportant things.
  8. Use small segments of time productively.
  9. Do two things at the same time. Listen to the news on the radio while getting dressed instead of reading the newspaper.
  10. Carry your calendar/datebook/organizer with you at all times. Important information will be quickly accessed.
  11. Eliminate clutter.
  12. The phone is your friend. It can save you hours of time. Use it to schedule upcoming events, use it to find an item you need instead of driving from store to store.
  13. Learn to say "no."
  14. Handle paperwork once.
  15. Read mail with a pen in hand. Respond immediately.
  16. Delegate.
  17. Concentrate on only one thing at a time until it is done.
  18. Put 'waiting time' to good use - read, write thank you notes, schedule appointments, etc.
  19. Don't worry. About 40% of what we worry about never happens.
  20. Don't waste time regretting what you didn't do.

By effectively using your time, you will end each day with a feeling of well being and you will be energized because you reached your goals for that day.

Just as a building is completed one brick at a time, your dreams are reached one at a time.

Time is precious! Enjoy life!

Organization Tip of the Week #8

Use labor saving items. Permanent press clothing is a good example since you don't have to iron the clothes which saves time and electricity.

Organization Tip of the Week #7

Do two jobs at the same time, such as exercising and watching TV.

Organization Tip of the Week #6

Be flexible. This may be the key to survival.

Organization Tip of the Week #5

To use your time wisely, don't just list what you need to do. Write down what you actually accomplished each hour today.

It can be eye-opening to see where your time is really going.

May 2009 Checklist

Welcome to the 365 Days of Organization monthly organizing checklist. There is a different organizing suggestion for you to do every day of the month -- all easy, down-to-earth, and no thinking 'what should I do?' required. When the month changes, so does our checklist.

May 1
Clean the main bathroom until it sparkles and shines.

May 2
Check your trimmer, clippers, lawn mower, and other gardening tools to make sure they are in working order for the upcoming season.

May 3
Take the time to check your calendar for any birthdays or holidays, including Mother’s Day later this month. Write down and shop for any needed gifts or cards.

May 4
Clean out your underwear drawer. Toss old socks that no longer have mates. Clean out any old or worn out bras and underwear and toss them too.

May 5
Give away 3 books you no longer want or need. Some suggestions include a friend, a doctor’s office, a homeless or women’s shelter.

May 6
Change out your clothes for spring and summer. Make sure everything still fits.

May 7
Make your vacation plans for later in the summer season. Make any needed reservations needed.

May 8
Recycle any old newspapers except for today’s edition, and throw away any catalogues that you are not planning to order from.

May 9
Order mulch and annual plants for the garden season.

May 10
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there. Take the time to recognize the strong women in your life. Spend the day with your family and do something special.

May 11
Take the time to write a handwritten note to someone special in your life.

May 12
Wash your summer linens. Clean and air out any blankets and linens from the cold season.

May 13
Clean out your medicine cabinet and safely dispose of any outdated or expired medications.

May 14
Dust off three flat surfaces, such as a bureau, nightstand, desk, coffee, end table, or dining room table.

May 15
Make a double-batch of supper tonight (maybe lasagna, soup, or meatballs, for example). Freeze the leftovers for another night when you are busy with a late meeting at work, swim practice or another sports activity.

May 16
Take your car to a car wash or instead wash it yourself. Get the kids involved and have some fun with the hose.

May 17
Sweep any debris from your front porch, driveway, &/or walkway.

May 18
Weed out ten file folders in your home office. Be sure to shred any paperwork with personal information.

May 19
Wash your automatic coffee maker. Run white vinegar to dissolve mineral deposits in the machine.

May 20
Buy or create a new first aid kit for summer. Include such items as Band-Aids, Polysporin, gauze, scissors, ace bandage, ice pack, tweezers, insect bite medicine and allergy medication.

May 21
Plan a day at the library and borrow some good summer reading books. See if there are any special summer programs for kids and sign them up.

May 22
Toss any junk mail.

May 23
Plan out a meal plan for the week. Try to plan for one night of leftovers.

May 24
Check over your supplies for tomorrow’s celebration. Ensure you have enough paper plates, napkins and charcoal for the grill, and anything else need for a fun time with family and friends.

May 25
Today is Memorial Day in the US. Fly your flag high and proudly. Discuss with your children what this holiday represents. Chat about members of your family who are, or were, in the service. Also mention the wonderful people serving in Iraq and other parts of the world.

May 26
Enjoy some of the fresh spring air. Take a bike ride, go for a jog, run, or walk outside.

May 27
Delete at least 25 email messages from your computer inbox.

May 28
Challenge yourself to do three loads of laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry, fold and put away.

May 29
Use a power washer on the outside of your house &/or deck.

May 30
Return three items that you have borrowed lately.

May 31
Clean or replace make up brushes that can be full of cosmetics and oils.

Organization Tip of the Week #4

File every day. If you only have one or two pieces of paper to file, you likely wouldn't see the task as so daunting.

Organization Tip of the Week #3

Keep a basket on the stairs for items that belong upstairs.

In our house, everyone has to check the basket prior to going upstairs to make sure there is nothing in the basket that belongs to them. Anyone going upstairs is responsible for getting their own items back to their room.

Organization Tip of the Week #2

When I hosted a baby shower a few years ago, the attendees while at the shower filled out envelopes with their own name and address. When it came time to for the mother-to-be to send her thank you notes, poof, the hard part was already completed for her.

This could be done for a bridal shower also. This simple system can be a great help to a bride-to-be or expectant mommy!

Which Glue?

Need some glue advice, this interactive site -- This to That -- recommends the best glue depending on what two surfaces you want to stick together.

Organization Tip of the Week

As a busy mom, occasionally we have to swing through a drive-through for a quick meal in appointments and evening activities. Eating in the car can be hard for kids to manage a drink, sandwich, and fries without making the backseat a total mess.I keep a couple of shoe boxes in the backseat for this purpose. They can lay a napkin on the bottom and it holds their food nicely in their own little tray. Spills of ketchup or crumbs remain in the box--not on my seats. I use plastic shoe boxes that I purchased specifically for this purpose. It is nice, since it can be easily wiped out when you are finished and reused.

7 Habits to Ensure You're Being Efficient

Efficiency is the new buzz word with increased concern about the environment being energy efficient. But what about our own ability to be efficient both at home and at work? What does being efficient mean to you?

A dictionary defines efficiency as 'the state or quality of being efficient; competency in performance or the accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort.'

Make sure you own time and not the other way around. This article and the ensuing tips are not about striving for perfection, but instead about allowing yourself the opportunity to make better use of your time throughout the day.

Organizing and simplifying your life are important steps to be taken in order to be the most efficient you can be. A well organized office space or home will help you stay efficient.

Above all, when thinking about increasing your efficiency rate, remember to take care of yourself. Good food, plenty of rest, lots of water, and exercise will allow you to function at your best.

1. Schedule your day.
Either at the beginning of each day or the night before, plan out each day. You are only one person and you probably won't be able to do everything. Use a schedule to organize your day into time blocks. Write out a daily to-do list (electronic or in a notebook) and prioritize items by importance.Remember, only schedule around 70 percent of your day. The other 30 percent will be filled with interruptions, travel time between appointments and errands, and, sometimes, emergencies.

2. Prioritize.
List to-do items by order of importance and label each item by importance and urgency. Make items that are extremely important stand out by marking them with red ink, a highlighter, or a star. Only focus on a limited number of actions per day.

3. Multi-task small projects and details.
Although, multi-tasking does not work for everyone or every project (note: I wouldn't suggest trying to multi-task while writing a term paper), cooking supper while talking on the phone, or ironing while watching TV or listening to the radio can be effective. Try reading a book on the subway or bus, or a book on tape while driving to and from work. It's more efficient and a good use of time to do simple tasks simultaneously.

4. Say NO more often.
Recognize what your priorities are. If someone requests something of you that you are unable to do comfortably or does not fit into your priorities, just say no.

5. Delegate as much as possible.
You can't do everything alone. Allow others around you to help out. Allow friends, family, co-workers, your partner, or your children to assist around the house and/or office. Many people find this difficult because they feel they are the only one who can do it right. Start off with small steps. Don't hand over an entire project, but instead a step that will save you time and energy. Make sure you remember to thank these people appropriately.

6. Organize.
The more things that are organized both within the home and work environment, the faster work will get finished and the higher quality your work will be. Make lists for yourself and others.

7. Control your procrastination.
Many of us are procrastinators at heart, although for different reasons. One common phrase used to help combat procrastination is 'do the worst thing first.' At the beginning of each day, do the one item that stands out the most on your to-do list, or your most dreaded item. Set daily goals for yourself and plan lots of rewards.

Avoid Vacation Clutter

When navigating organizational landmines, one of the most explosive are sentimental items like souvenirs from vacations. Tied to our souvenirs are memories of vacations gone by . . . carefree days, exploring new destinations, relaxing.

But truly, how many travel-themed t-shirts does a person need? There must be a better way to hang-on to the memory of a vacation without overstuffing our knickknack shelf or T-shirt drawer. (And there is!) With a smidge of creativity, your travel mementos can fill your home with inspiration, function, and sometimes add a bit of organizational bliss.

Here are some ideas:

Avoid the traditional t-shirt store and instead, look for interesting items in antique shops.

Refrigerator glass or Pyrex dishes. Small, square dishes and their corresponding lids make fun and colorful storage. Use them to corral jewelry in the bedroom or to organize small office supplies in a drawer.

Ceramic bowls. Little bowls are great for storing all sorts of items around the house and since they’re opaque, no one will be the wiser. Anything small can be stashed in a pretty ceramic dish. You could use a ceramic bowl for matches, small make-up items, or hair accessories.

Small wooden crates. Antique wooden crates, once used for items like cheese and Coca-Cola, are organizing gems. The larger crates can be used as a fun and funky in-box in your office or on the kitchen counter, while smaller crates can be used to house seasoning packets in the kitchen.

Antique glass jars. From corralling pocket change to buttons, antique mason jars are an organizing classic—a great find on any occasion. And when they can serve as a reminder of a vacation gone by, even better.

Ceramic trays and dishes.

If carting home organizing containers after your next trip doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, here are some ideas for travel mementos that will help you avoid clutter while holding the memory of your trip close to your heart. Simply look for items that are inspiring to you and that you’ll use and enjoy having in your home.

Artwork. A painting, print, or ceramic tile makes a timeless souvenir that will add a dash of color and inspiration to your home for years to come. If you’re flying, consider purchasing a rolled print and framing it when you get back home.

Charms or other jewelry. Let’s talk about timeless! A charm bracelet is the perfect way to commemorate a lifetime of vacations and other milestones, without adding an ounce of clutter to your home. I have a charm bracelet I’ve been adding to since I was a child, back when we used to travel across the country in our gigantic, brown station wagon. One of the highlights of these vacations was searching for the perfect sterling silver charm to add to my bracelet. Consider starting your own charm bracelet or look for other interesting jewelry pieces you’ll enjoy wearing when you return home.

Coffee mugs. A coffee mug is an obvious souvenir choice—it’s small, traditional and functional. There are times when a traditional souvenir is the perfect choice. Just keep in mind if you need another mug and if you’ll actually use it once you return home.

At the end of the day…here’s the true test of the perfect travel memento -- it’s something that will extend your memory of a wonderful life experience without becoming a clutter burden when you return home.

If you like the idea of searching for creative organizing souvenirs, keep these tips in mind on your next trip:

Consider purchasing one big-ticket item instead of bringing home a bunch of small things. One really great item will create a wonderful and long lasting reminder of your vacation. Plus, chances are if you splurge on one item, you’ll love it for the long haul.

Leave space in your suitcase or bring along an empty one. Keep in mind that airlines change their travel policies from time to time. Make sure you’re aware of current regulations and plan accordingly. You may prefer (and find it less expensive!) to have items shipped from your travel destination back to your home.

Wrap fragile items in your t-shirts and other garments to keep them safe during travel. Or, ask the shop to wrap your fragile items in packing paper to be extra sure.

If you’re flying, reserve your carry-on space for your most fragile and important items.

Remember, a carefully selected souvenir can fill your home with inspiration and sometimes even a bit of organization. On your next vacation, travel safely and shop creatively.

Bon voyage!

April 2009 Monthly Checklist

Welcome to the monthly organizing checklist. There's a different organizing suggestion for you to do every day of the month... all easy, down-to-earth, and no thinking 'what should I do?' required. When the month changes, so does the checklist.

April 1 (April Fool's Day)
Write down 3 things you’re grateful for and 3 things you’d like to change.

April 2
Create a new habit. Pick one of the things from yesterday you want to change. A new habit takes 21 days to stick. Challenge yourself to a start a new habit this month.

April 3
Take 2 bags out to your car. In one bag, toss all of the trash. In the other bag, put everything that doesn’t belong in the car.

April 4
Get someone to help and flip your mattress.

April 5 (Palm Sunday)
Go room to room and try to toss one thing from each one.

April 6
Clean your coffee pot with some white vinegar and water.

April 7
Dust all of your lampshades.

April 8
Clean out the refrigerator.

April 9 (First day of Passover)
Clean all of the mirrors in your house.

April 10 (Good Friday)
Check your wallet for any unused gift cards.

April 11 (Holy Saturday)
Balance your checkbook.

April 12 (Easter Sunday)
Enjoy a nice relaxing Easter Sunday.

April 13 (Easter Monday)
Plant some flowers. If you live in an apartment, buy a potted flower to grow.

April 14
Choose one new recipe to try this week. Add the ingredients to your grocery list.

April 15
Be sure your taxes are in the mail.

April 16 (Last Day of Passover)
Learn something new today. Read a newspaper or Internet article about something you are unfamiliar with.

April 17
Mail a card or note to someone you care about.

April 18
Toss your shower curtain in the washer with hot water.

April 19
Check all houseplants for watering. If you have some, add plant food.

April 20
If it’s warm enough, open all of the windows and let in some spring-fresh air.

April 21
Enjoy some family time. Turn off the TV and play a game together.

April 22 (Earth Day and Administrative Professional's Day)
Look in your medicine cabinet/basket and note anything that needs to be replenished such as band-aids or antacids.

April 23
Be sure your pets are up-to-date on their checkups and shots.

April 24
Clean out your purse.

April 25
Make certain all of your month-end bills are paid.

April 26
Check for May birthdays, anniversaries, etc., and make a note to buy/send cards.

April 27
If it’s been 3 months, change your toothbrush.

April 28
Plan your meals for the week. Defrost items to be used in the next few days.

April 29
If you like to bake, make something special for your family today.

April 30
Plan something relaxing to do this weekend.

The Ultimate Blog Party - Winners

All the numbers have been tabulated (thanks to Random Number Generator), answers were reviewed for qualifying party go-ers, and finally winners chosen.

Many party go-ers did not read the introductions thoroughly and so were, unfortunately, removed from the final qualifying round. At each blog, I asked a specific question and kindly requested a specific answer. If the question was overlooked or not answered, the individual was sadly eliminated. Luckily, many party go-ers did read the introductions, so the winners are...

At All Things Cherished, Aunt Rene (#20) of Aunt Rene won Pillow Talk by iMom.

At 365 Days of Christmas, Blp3 (#28) of Let's Talk Politics won The Heart and Home of Christmas by Karla Dornacher.

At 365 Day of Memories, Jenny (#52, non-blogger) won the four pack of handmade cards made by me.

At 365 Days of Organization, Forest Green (#51) of Katrina Relocators won a planner.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Thanks to so many for all the compliments about me and my blogs this past week. I have been truly touched by your kindness.

Overcoming Procrastination When Organizing

Try these 13 strategies to combat procrastination and gain the motivation you need to get organized.

Procrastination is one of the main causes of poor time management when it comes to getting organized.

The definition of procrastination is to postpone or delay action needlessly.

Notice that the definition doesn't say to postpone or delay for a valid or logical reason. The defining word is "needlessly." Sometimes there's a good reason to delay an action or a decision, like if you don't have enough information or if something else logically has to come first.

When you're in the bad habit of procrastinating, you continually add to your "mental pile" of items to do later. Each task often ends up buried in more things you've put off. What you put off for later becomes a less important priority as time goes on, but in reality may become even more urgent.

By using the following thirteen strategies, you'll be well on your way to getting organized in your life and home, and ultimately be a happier, more productive person.

Mental Strategies

  1. Vividly imagine the way you'll feel inside after the task or project is complete.
  2. Focus on your desired result, not your fear or inaction.
  3. Imagine yourself completing the task or project easily, quickly, and with no setbacks.
  4. Tune into your procrastination language in your head and derail it with positive thoughts of "I want to," "I can," and "I enjoy" instead.
  5. Let go of perfectionism. Many things aren't worth doing perfectly, so just start and do your best.

    Physical Strategies

      1. Get an accountability buddy to keep you on task along the way.
      2. Work out the project's steps on paper in advance to clarify your thoughts and eliminate the emotional whirlwind around why you don't want to begin the task.
      3. Master the art of starting. Over and over again.
      4. Do the hard parts first. Or...
      5. Do the easy parts first. Whichever motivates you more is the one you should choose.
      6. Keep a progress log so you don't lose sight of how much you have accomplished.
      7. Break your project into small, manageable chunks and create interim deadlines for yourself along the way.
      8. Build in rewards for yourself as you finish each step and when the project is completed.

    This artilce was adapted. Article originally written by Monica Ricci.

    The Ultimate Blog Party 2009

    Welcome to 365 Days of Organization!

    My Brief Introduction

    I am: a single mother, a foster mother, a college graduate, a Master's of Education candidate, a feminist, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, a heterosexual, a lover and owner of Chihuahuas, a lover and previous owner of Cocker Spaniels, eclectic, sassy, unique, allergic to milk, an Internet addict, a Christian, a friend, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, a counselor, a teacher, a kid at heart, an adult, a woman, a female, a sexual assault survivor, someone working to prevent sexual assault, a chocoholic, a book lover, a scrapbook artist, a photographer, German, Welsh, American, 5'1", a blog junkie, a Christmas fanatic, an advocate for children, supporter of education, a crime show watcher, a hopeful writer . . . I am ME.

    To learn more about me go to my main blog, All Things Cherished.
    To learn more about my love of Christmas, go to 365 Days of Christmas.
    To learn more about my love of scrapbooking, go to 365 Days of Memories.


    Here, at 365 Days of Organization, the prize is a high-quality, full-color planner. You have a choice of one planner from primary age through high-school aged children or adults. The dates are from July 2009 through June 2010 so, of course, they are current calendars. There are quotes and other misc. information included. I am happy to be able to share two planners with two lucky winners.

    If you are interested in the planners, please let me know what spot in your home is the hardest to organize.

    At All Things Cherished, the prize is an awesome journal you share with your child. Pillow Talk is a creative way to communicate with your child. Got a secret to share, some admiration to express, or a word of thanks for a job well done? Why not put it in writing? On the pages of Pillow Talk, you'll find 100 relationship building questions for you and your child to answer. In today's world of virtual communication, give your kids the real deal. Something tangible they can see and touch and look at again and again, whenever they want to feel connected with you. The journal is an awesome way to bond with your child(ren) and I am so happy to be able to give one to a lucky winner.

    At 365 Days of Memories, the prize is a four-pack of handmade cards. I love scrapbooking and paper-crafting. Recently, I have gotten some very nice compliments on my cards. I am excited to give one lucky winner a pack of four cards for various occasions and holidays.

    At 365 Days of Christmas, the prize is a lovely, hardcover book titled The Heart & Home of Christmas by Karla Dornacher. Artist Karla Dornacher celebrates the Christmas season with her first holiday title. Page after cozy page features her signature artwork with its warm and home-style feel, along with her gentle words of inspiration. I love this book and am so excited to be able to share it with one lucky winner.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    March 2009 Monthly Checklist

    March 1
    Schedule your annual doctor's appointment for yourself and everyone in the family.

    March 2
    Do some research on vitamins so you can ask your doctor at your next appointment what vitamins you and your family should be taking.

    March 3
    Remove the cushions from your sofas and vacuum out the crumbs and debris.

    March 4
    Brush up on a procedure or task that you have not done for a while at work.

    March 5
    In this volatile economy, make sure to keep your resume updated and money in the bank. Job security is a thing of the past so you need to be prepared just in case.

    March 6
    Start decorating for Spring &/or Easter.

    March 7
    Make a list of the things you plan on getting done around the house as winter moves into spring.

    March 8
    Organize the junk drawer.

    March 9 -- Daylight Savings Time Begins
    Make sure to change your clocks. It’s 'spring forward' so the clock is turned ahead one hour.

    March 10
    When was the last time you took a look at the books on your bookshelves? Take all the books off the shelves. Put the books you plan on no longer reading again in a box to give away to a local literacy organization, school, or library.

    March 11
    Today is a day to think about all the things you are grateful for in your life. Sometimes life is so hectic and things happen that we don't expect that we forget about the good things we have in our life. Take the time to start a gratitude journal.

    March 12
    Plan to see one of the movies that recently won or were nominated for an Oscar during the 81st Academy of Awards ceremony in February.

    March 13
    Have a marathon ironing session and iron everything in your closet that needs it.

    March 14
    Have you ever considered taking up yoga? It is a great way to relax and get fit at the same time.

    March 15
    Federal and state income taxes are due a month from now. If you haven't put together all of your records and forms, do so now. The sooner you get your taxes prepared, the sooner you will receive a refund.

    March 16
    Have you brushed up on your computer skills lately? If there is something you have been meaning to learn more about regarding your computer, take the initiative now and learn it.

    March 17 -- St. Patrick’s Day
    Make sure everyone in the family has an umbrella for those rainy days of Spring.

    March 18
    Today looks like a great day to do a good deed for someone you don't know. That could be as simple as paying someone a quick compliment or helping an elderly person with groceries.

    March 19
    Let your creative side flow today. Take out those crafts that are sitting aside waiting to be started and work on them.

    March 20 -- First Day of Spring
    Open the garage and do some light cleaning to get rid of winter evidence (sweep it out, cover the snow blower, etc.)

    March 21
    Plan out your garden. Check out seed and plant catalogs and websites. Start thinking about what you want to plant.

    March 22
    If you're planning a vacation getaway in the summer or fall, start planning ahead for flight information, hotel, and activities to get the best deals.

    March 23 Pull out your spring/summer decorations and accessories. It’s time to put away the winter decor for another year.

    March 24 -- Happy Birthday Harry Houdini
    Think 'magic.' Learn something new about the history of magic or see a show regarding magic.

    March 25
    Wash the winter coats, jackets, and other heavy clothing items so they can be packed away and replaced with spring and summer items.

    March 26
    Houseplants are a great thing to have in your home. They help to clean up the air and give a fresh look to the room they reside in.

    March 27
    Do you know when your next car maintenance appointment is? If not already scheduled, schedule it now.

    March 28
    Have your lawnmower and other yard equipment checked and blades sharpened, if needed. Grass will start growing again soon, if it hasn't already.

    March 29
    It’s a new season and a good idea to double-check the budget and make sure everything is in order.

    March 30
    Spring is a great time to deep clean the refrigerator and freezer. Go through everything and check expiration dates. Toss old items. Clean and disinfect the walls and shelving.

    March 31 Become prepared. Watch out for jokes tomorrow and/or think of a friendly joke to play on someone. Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Twelve

    Part Twelve - Or Just Because . . .

    95. It has no value, sentimental or monetary.
    96. It hasn't been used in over a year.
    97. There is no logical place to keep it.
    98. It doesn't work.
    99. An ex gave it to you.
    100. And what's the worst that can happen if you throw it out?

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Eleven

    Part Eleven - Because If They Said It, It's Probably True

    90. "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" by Leonardo da Vinci.
    91. "Less is more" by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
    92. "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" by William Morris.
    93. "You've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative" by Johnny Mercer.
    94. "The joy of giving is indeed a pleasure, especially when you get rid of something you don't want" by Frank Butler.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Ten

    Part Ten - Because You Don't Want to End Up Like Them

    85. Miss Havisham in "Great Expectations."
    86. Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale in "Grey Gardens."
    87. Oscar Madison in "The Odd Couple."
    88. The family in the documentary "Packrat."
    89. The Bronx, New York, man who, in 2003, was trapped in his home under an avalanche of books and newspapers for two days before being rescued.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Nine

    Part Nine - Because There's a Better Option

    82. Search for phone numbers online instead of storing bulky telephone directories.
    83. Lose the road maps and get a GPS system to download up-to-date travel guides.
    84. Read "Dating Up: Dump the Schlump and Find a Quality Man," by J. Courtney Sullivan (Warner Books, $14, 2007).

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Eight

    Part Eight - Because the Last Thing You Need Is More Paper Lying Around

    78. File your taxes through an authorized IRS e-file provider.
    79. Eliminate paper statements by banking and paying bills online.
    80. Call 1-888-567-8688 to stop unwanted credit card solicitations.
    81. Opt out of mailing and telemarketing lists by logging on to Fight Identity Theft.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Seven

    Part Seven - Because It's Old or Expired

    64. Replacing old appliances with new, energy-efficient ones saves money and fuel.
    65. Running shoes should be retired after 300 to 500 miles in order to prevent injuries.
    66. Throw away your toothbrush every three to four months.
    67. Swap your pitcher's water filter every two months.
    68. Change out disposable air conditioner filters once a month (during the hot, air conditioning season).
    69 Replace the batteries in your smoke detector on the same day every year to make it easier to remember to change the batteries. I change the batteries on Halloween night and Daylight Savings Time day.
    70. Find the USDA's recommended storage limits for refrigerated and frozen food.
    71. Throw out mascara and moisturizer after three months.
    72. Discard foundation and sunscreen after six months.
    73. Keep concealer, lipstick, eyeliners, lip liners, fragrances, powders, blushes, and shadows no longer than two years.
    74.-76. Say goodbye to the dried-out remnants of your favorite no-longer-available lipstick and check out Three Custom Color Specialists, T.J.Maxx stores, or Lancome's "Beauty Bye-Bye" program for replacements or duplicates of discontinued cosmetics.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Six

    Part Six - Because You Can Get Something Back

    54. Return six MAC Cosmetics containers to any MAC store and receive a free lipstick.
    55. Trade in an old iPod and receive a 10 percent discount on a new iPod.
    56. Easily convert spare change into "real" money.
    57. Sell it to your neighbors.
    58. Sell it to anyone.
    59. Get cash for gift cards you'll never use.
    60. Trade the books you have for the ones you want.
    61. Trade the DVDs you've seen for the ones you haven't.
    62. Clear off your CD shelves and make money in the process.
    63. The great entertainment exchange: books, music, movies, and games, all swapped in one place.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Five

    Part Five - Because It Will Make Your Life Better

    50. Getting rid of clutter will reduce housework by 40 percent.
    51. Erase a $10K credit card debt (with an average interest rate) 65 percent faster -- and pay 75 percent less total interest -- when you pay the double amount of the typical minimum monthly payment.
    52. Download security software -- many free programs are available online -- to keep a lid on computer pop-ups.
    53. Around 23 percent of people pay late fees on bills they cannot find.

    February 2009 Monthly Checklist

    February 1
    Do you have special plans in mind for Valentine’s Day? If you want to go out to a special restaurant, call now for reservations. Cooking? Get out your cookbooks and plan now for that special dinner with your sweetheart.

    February 2 -- Groundhog Day
    Is everyone in your home continually coming down with colds? Wipe down doorknobs, cupboard pulls, bathroom surfaces, telephone handsets, remotes and video game controllers with disinfecting wipes to help control the spread of viruses.

    February 3
    Even though it’s February you can still do gardening chores. What you are able to do depends on what zone you live in. If you know when the last frost usually occurs, you can better plan when to add the first plants to your garden. Start writing down your gardening and landscaping plans for this year.

    February 4
    Start to slowly stock up on bags of fertilizer, lawn bags, and mulch as you see them on sale. If you accumulate this way, it won’t be a big hit to your budget all at once.

    February 5
    Did you know that today is International Pancake Day? Celebrate by having pancakes for dinner. Try a different recipe from your usual!

    February 6
    Start shopping for Valentine’s cards now for your children to exchange with their classmates. Many elementary classes have card exchanges and a small party for the students. This will give your child plenty of time to sign and address their cards.

    February 7
    Declare today family day! If the weather cooperates, prepare a picnic lunch and head to the park to play Frisbee. If it’s still winter weather where you live, plan a family game day indoors and picnic on the floor.

    February 8
    If you haven’t done so yet, go through your home and videotape all of your belongings. In addition to a video record, do a paper inventory. Store this in a safety deposit box or a fire-proof lock box. In the event of a fire, or other disaster, you will have a record of all of your belongings which will facilitate any insurance claims.

    February 9
    Do you get a lot of snow in your area? Be sure to clear the snow out of air intakes, exhausts, and meters around the outside of your home.

    February 10
    Are you frustrated with trying to figure out how to dress everyday during the winter? Many web based weather programs will give a week long forecast specific to your zip code that you can print out. This will give you a better idea of how to dress each day to go outside.

    February 11 -- Happy Birthday Thomas Edison
    In honor of his birthday, if you haven’t already, make the switch to CFL’s in all of the light fixtures in your home. This will save a bit on your energy bill.

    February 12
    Did you know that smiling is as contagious as yawning? Try smiling at everyone you meet today. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it will brighten your day.

    February 13
    Today is a great day to prepare valentines for every member of your family. You can place them at their place at the breakfast table so that they will find them in the morning.

    February 14 -- Valentine’s Day
    Put your romantic plans into action today. If you haven’t already made plans, pick up take-out, or a rotisserie chicken and sides from the deli at your local supermarket, along with a special dessert.

    February 15
    Are you having trouble finding an owner’s manual for an appliance or piece of electronics equipment in your home? Many of the manufacturers have web sites with links to the owner’s manual that you can download to your own computer. You will have the information you need at your fingertips, without having to store another booklet.

    February 16 -- Presidents Day
    (1.) In addition to today's task, do something patriotic!
    (2.) Do you get overwhelmed with home maintenance chores in the warmer months? There are several you can do now to spread them out a bit. If it isn’t terribly humid, you can do interior painting in February. The clerk at your local paint store can help you figure out how much paint you’ll need for each room.

    February 17
    Are you feeling like the light is dim inside? It could be dusty bulbs, which reduce the amount of light given out by your bulbs. Take time to gently dust your bulbs. Be sure all of your bulbs are cooled off before dusting.

    February 18
    This is a good time to trim and/or prune you trees and woody landscape plants on good weather days. If you’re fortunate to have a forsythia bush, you can bring the trimmings inside and put them in water. They’ll bloom and you’ll have spring flowers inside.

    February 19
    After a heavy snowfall, be sure to knock the snow off of tree branches to avoid having them break because of the weight of the snow.

    February 20
    Most of us don’t give much thought to our bathroom exhaust fans other than switching them on for showers. Take your vacuum, attach the brush to the wand, and vacuum the cover of your exhaust fan. Also, pull the cover off and vacuum the dust from the fan itself. It will pull much more moisture out of the bathroom when it doesn’t have to labor due to dust on everything.

    February 21
    It’s important to keep the bird feeders full, especially in February when it’s much more difficult to find anything on the ground.

    February 22
    Starting today, plant seeds indoors for your summer flower and vegetable gardens.

    February 23
    When was the last time you cleaned out the dust from under your refrigerator? Many are on rollers which makes it so much easier to pull them out long enough to clean under and behind them.

    February 24 -- Mardi Gras
    Get a jump on getting your central air conditioner serviced. If you live where it’s already starting to reach 60 degrees during the day, technicians can check out the unit.

    February 25 -- Ash Wednesday
    Check the hoses on your washing machine. If any are in bad shape, buy replacements and install them. Just make sure that you turn the water off before unhooking the hoses, or it could get quite messy.

    February 26
    In many areas, big snowstorms and power outages are still possible. Make sure that you have fresh batteries in your flashlights, and that your flashlights are stored around the house where you can easily get to them in the event the power goes out. Keep them by your bedside, in the living room, and in the kitchen.

    February 27
    Clean the exhaust duct on your dryer and clean out underneath the dryer to prevent possible fires due to lint buildup.

    February 28
    Make sure your fire extinguishers are charged up and ready to use. Be sure that your extinguishers are appropriate for the room you plan to use them in, in case of fire.

    Organizational Tip of the Week

    Schedule time every month, 1-2 days. Schedule it in your planner/calendar so you will get the time you need to get your crafting and other hobbies done.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Four

    Part Four - Because It Can Be Turned Into Something Else

    41. Nike, the famous shoe company, uses recycled footwear materials to make playground surfaces.
    42. Donated Capilene base layers become polyester fibers for new Capilene garments at Patagonia.
    43. Pangea Organics' packaging becomes an herb garden when planted in soil.
    44. PlantLove lipstick by Cargo Cosmetics come in a tube that is plantable and will sprout wildflowers.
    45. Old newspapers become colored pencils at Pencil Things.
    46. Rubber tires become sleek purses at VivaTerra.
    47. Rubber tires become rugged iPod covers at Passchal.
    48. Plastic soda bottles become durable hammocks at Gaiam.
    49. Preserve uses yogurt containers to make colorful plates, flatware, toothbrushes, and razors.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Three

    Part Three - Because Someone Else Needs It

    Cell Phones
    12. Verizon Wireless will put a refurbished phone of any brand into the hands of a domestic violence victim.
    13. Donate the profits from your old cell phone to an environmental charity.
    14. Send a phone to the field staff of a poverty-fighting mission.

    Digital Cameras
    15. Help keep service members in touch with their families.

    16. Work with charities to find homes for consumer electronics.
    17. Youth for Technology will put scanners, computers, and cameras in the hands of deserving, impoverished kids around the world.

    Air Miles
    18. Donate air miles to the Red Cross for staff and volunteers.
    19. Donate air miles to Hero Miles so family members of wounded servicemen and women can get free plane tickets to visit their loved ones recovering at military hospitals across the country.
    20. Donate air miles for transplant patients.
    21. Donate air miles so a terminally ill child can travel to visit a dear family member or bring a distant loved one to the bedside of a dying child.

    Furniture & Appliances
    22. Match your household items with a local non-profit's wish list.
    23. Help furnish homes for disaster victims.

    24. Donate work clothing to disadvantaged women.
    25. Donate a wedding gown to benefit breast-cancer patients.
    26. Send formal wear to teenage girls who need help getting to the prom.
    27. Help veterans get the clothing they need.
    28. Give shoes and sportswear to struggling athletes around the world.

    29. Supply children in foster care with luggage.
    30. Unite for Sight and Give the Gift of Sight will send eye wear to men and women in underdeveloped countries.
    31. Convert American Express credit card points to cash donations to help the Save the Children agency.
    32. Donate a used vehicle to support your local public radio station.
    33. Books for Africa will give everything from storybooks to encyclopedias to children in Africa.
    34. Send towels, newspapers, and other items to the Humane Society.
    35. Help fund job training programs and social services by donating household goods to Good Will Industries.
    36. Post donations for your neighbors (and others) to claim.
    37. Donate leftover building supplies to Habitat for Humanity.

    38. Donate used computers and other technology to be matched to charities, schools, and public agencies around the world.
    39. Donate used computers to nonprofit organizations, schools, and people with disabilities.
    40. Donate used computers to schools, libraries, and orphanages in developing countries.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It - Part Two

    Part Two - Because It's Fun

    8. Set up shop at the World's Longest Yard Sale, August 2-5, 2009, along 450 miles of Highway 127 in the southeastern U.S.
    9. Peddle your wares in your own front yard on National Garage Sale Day, August 10th.
    10. Attend nationwide clothing exchanges and do-it-yourself alteration workshops.
    11. Wild Zipper - Watch as a pile of your favorite old T-shirts is converted into a quilt.

    100 Reasons to Get Rid of It

    Part One - Because You Have Too Much Stuff

    1. 1.4 million Americans suffer from chronic hoarding & clutter.
    2. People burn 55 minutes a day looking for things.
    3. 80 percent of what we own we never use.
    4. 1 800 Got Junk - Pay someone else to take out the big, cumbersome trash.
    5. Public Storage - There are many storage facilities located throughout the United States.
    6. Red Shield - Schedule a pickup with your local Salvation Army and it counts as a tax donation.
    7. Earth 911 - Find local recycling and reuse programs for all kinds of household items.