Favorite Organizing Blogs

I’ve explored lots of organizing/simplicity blogs over the years and enjoy browsing their articles, but there are a few that I read consistently. I think what makes the difference for me is that their tips are practical and affordable. Their solutions don’t require I paint my house in chalkboard paint, buy a $300 labeling machine, and throw out things I love because they don’t match. Some of the bloggers I read have cabinets full of mismatched containers, and I love them for that.

Without further ado, here are my favorite organizing blogs:

unclutterer.
Summary: “Unclutterer is the blog about getting and staying organized.”
Sample post: Today’s How to Organize Your Pantry has really useful tips, although this one caught me by surprise:

Blue painter’s tape and a Sharpie are perfect for these tasks. You can stick a piece of blue painter’s tape to reusable containers and then write the information on the tape

I was so sure I had invented that one. :) No matter, it works!

Simple Organized Living
Tagline: “helping you create your best life”
Sample post: I read Organization Should Be Practical Not Always Pretty on the exact day I needed it. I was feeling a bit blue over my house as compared to the home magazines and showplace pins on Pinterest. Andrea’s post was an awesome reminder that those spaces aren’t always practical or realistic for day-to-day living, and that I need to organize my space for my needs.

Organising Queen
Tagline: “get organized. take charge. live purposefully.”
Sample post: 7 Secrets of the Super Organized seems so reasonable, but I’m still 2-out-of-7 on a regular basis. I need to print this and hang it on my wall. Neatly, of course. Not with my blue painters’ tape. :)

I’m an Organizing Junkie
Tagline: “Encouraging others to get ‘hooked’ along with me.”
Sample post: How I Get Away with Filing Once a Year is one of my favorites, mostly because it validates my own methods. :) I have to file 3 or 4 times a year, because my basket starts overflowing. Perhaps I should buy a bigger basket?

Small Notebook
Tagline: “Practical tips to simplify and organize your home.”
Sample post: How to Remove Wallpaper from an Unprimed Wall is a post that I’m hoping will help me with my kitchen remodel. The people who lived in my house before (or their heirs) removed the top layer of wallpaper and then painted on top of the underlayer. On top of all that is a border that doesn’t want to come off. I’m going to try my garden sprayer, and if that doesn’t work, I’m just going to re-drywall.

There are other organizing blogs I like, but if I spent all day reading organizing blogs, I’d never make any progress! If I missed one of your faves, sing out in the comments.

SIDENOTE: I have no idea why my blog is displaying all italics. I haven’t even touched it, I promise! (Or did I?) I’m working on a solution and hope to get it fixed soon!

Recommended: 08/25/2012

It’s been a while since I cleared my reader, but there’s no time like the present. I hope you find something useful among these interesting reads:

HOME

House Problems: Tricks and Curess (The Old Farmer’s Almanac)
I didn’t know Farmer’s Almanac had a website! And a helpful one at that! (But I wonder if the “old” describes the farmer or the almanac.) Anyway, I
loved this tip:

You already have a great picture arrangement, but you need to repaint . . .
Keep that wonderful grouping by inserting toothpicks into the nail holes and paint right over them. Simply remove the toothpicks when the paint dries, and you’re ready to rehang.

RECIPES

The Best Recipe (Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)
The author of this food blog has done us a huge favor by compiling a list of the best versions of the various recipes on her site.

FINANCE & FRUGALITY

25 Ways to Get Free Stuff (Mr. Free Stuff)
I adore free stuff, and this article has some good tips. For example, I’d never noticed that Craigslist has a ‘Free’ category. A quick check of the Memphis listing shows a couch without its back cushions, a free scanner and printer, a German shepherd puppy, and some firewood. I don’t happen to need any of those things (especially the puppy!), but they could come in handy for someone. :)

PRODUCTIVITY

10 Ways to Simplify Your To Do List (Simple Productivity Blog)
With all the traveling I’m doing lately, my at-home to-do list is absolutely crazy in its length. This article’s first tip helped me feel like I’m getting my legs under me.

SELF

How to Run Your Own Race (Escape From Cubicle Nation)
While I’m generally happy with my life, I can’t help but feel a bit of envy when I see someone doing exactly what I’d like to be doing. This article is a good reminder that this is MY race, and I need to stay in my own lane. :)

MADE ME SMILE

Recommended: 06/28/2012

Yep, still here. Hot and slightly cranky, but I’m here and for that I’m grateful.

If you’re like me and looking for things to do indoors, here are some interesting articles for your reading pleasure:

HOME
47 Skills You Need to Survive Home Ownership [This Old House]
I wish I’d read this article when I first entered the land of home ownership 20+ years ago. I particularly wish I’d read #9:

“9. Ensure a Lightbulb’s Long Life
You know that popping sound that signals another lightbulb has burned out before its time? The cause: The little brass tab inside the lamp socket that makes contact with the bulb base is dirty or bent, interrupting the connection and causing the filament to imperceptibly flash on and off, shortening its life. With the fixture unplugged or the circuit breaker switched off, clean the tab with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol; then nudge it up with a screwdriver so that it stays in contact with the bulb base. “

How many light bulbs could I have saved from an early demise, if only I’d known?

RECIPES
12 Cold Soup Recipes [NY Times]
I’m not a big soup eater (AT ALL), but I’ll be trying most of the fruit soups in this collection! (And I call dibs on using “Switch Froot Loops to Fruits Soups” as a future blog post title!]

FINANCE & FRUGALITY
Cut Your Spending by $400 a Month [The Budget Diet]
I could stand to cut more than that, but this is a good place to start. Lots of good tips here, but one that grabbed my attention:

“Save money on prescriptions by avoiding “combo pills.” A combo pill combines more than one type of medication. For example, Lotrel is a blood pressure medicine that costs $70 a month for generic, but you could get a prescription for the two components (Amlodipine and Benazepril) for $6 each.”

I actually take that medication, and I’m hoping my doctor will agree that I no longer need it when I see him next month. (I’ve been in the “high-normal” range for a few years now and am taking the lowest dose possible.) If he’s adamant that I still need to take it, you can bet I’ll be asking about the two components.

PRODUCTIVITY
How Many Goals Are You Chasing Right Now and Do You Have Too Many?[Pick the Brain]
I have five major goals, and I’ve been attempting to make progress on each of them. That’s not really working for me. (If by “really” I mean “at all.”) I’m going to try this approach for a while and see if I can make more progress.

SELF
Seven Lessons to Reboot Your Life [Dumb Little Man]
This author shares lessons she learned while recovering from a brain aneurysm.

“I saw that the very same strategies that a business owner needs to build a strong brand, create a transformational organization, and save her sanity also apply to our lives at large. Especially when life smacks you full on in the face and you need to reboot and reframe the conversation if you want to get back in the game.”

MADE ME SMILE

Recommended: 05/26/2012

First, in honor of the holiday and the reason for it:

And now a few links I found interesting:

HOME
6 Great Alternatives to Remodeling Your Home [Wisebread]
I have a kitchen leftover from the 1970s. I can hardly stand to be in there. With only a tiny budget set aside for a remodel, I’ll definitely be using some of these tips.

RECIPES
Watermelon Recipes [National Watermelon Promotion Board]
To me, there’s nothing better than cold, juicy watermelon on a hot summer day. I most prefer it just plain and straight from the fridge. I’m thinking of branching out into using watermelon in other dishes. This link looks like a good place to start!

FINANCE & FRUGALITY
Money Leaks Are Costing You Hundreds Every Year: How to Plug Them [MoneyNing]
Lord knows, I don’t need any leaks! These are good tips!

PRODUCTIVITY
How to Be the Most Organized Person in the World [Greatist]
Those people at Greatist are so smart, not to mention creative with the infographics!

SELF
101 Timeless Lessons Life Teaches [Marc and Angel Hack Life]
They had me at #1: “What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” Amen.

Oh, and I was pleased to see Marc and Angel have a new sister site, Everyday Life Lessons! Terrific, I need another blog to compulsively follow. :)

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Recommended: 05/12/2012

Yet another week that zoomed right past! I’m not complaining, mind you, especially since this week included actual income. :)

Reads of note that I stumbled across recently:

HOME
Use Up the Pantry Clutter [Small Notebook]
I already had a pantry-declutter on my to-do list, but this article actually got me into the laundry room to do it. I have empty spaces now!

RECIPES
Strawberries Recipes [Martha Stewart]
I’m not a huge Martha Stewart fan, but even I have to admit that there are some recipe gems in this collection.

FINANCE & FRUGALITY
9 Things You Should Always Buy at the Dollar Store [Fun Cheap or Free Queen]
I always enjoy a list of money-saving tips, and this one didn’t disappoint!

PRODUCTIVITY
5 Sneaky Productivity Sappers [Simple Productivity Blog]
At one time or another (and sometimes in the same day), these have all kept me from making progress.

SELF
Not an article, but sometimes a picture says it all. :)

 

MADE ME SMILE

 

Wishing you a magnificent weekend!

Timing is Everything

timerI’m not sure I would ever get anything done without using timers. In the kitchen I use this lovely timer and/or my oven timer. (You’d think a double wall oven would have two timers, but no, my 1970s era oven has only one. Since I’m not good at keeping track of multiple cooking times, I have to use two timers.)

I also use my iphone timer but after The Cake Batter Incident of 2011, I’ve designated it for back-of-the-house use only. When I want to end a project at a certain time, I’ll use my iphone timer. I also use it when I’m having a problem with distractions and need to focus on the task at hand. Or I’ll set it when I want to catch a quick nap.

The only downside I’ve found to the iphone timer solution is that I tend to leave it in whatever room I’m napping working in and forget to place it back where it belongs, which is in my purse. So lately, I’ve been considering adding a new timer to the mix so that my phone is with me when I need it, and because my productivity could always use a boost.

There’s a wide variety of product available in Timer World.

I’d be happy to have this stylish timer from Ikea on my dresser, my desk, or in the middle of the dining room table. If I had a dining room table, that is.

ordning-timer from ikea

This simple design from Cutlery & More caught my eye: simple timer:

I like the visual nature of this timer from Bloomingdales. My aging eyes would benefit from being able to see it from across the room.

bloomies timer

I could go the other route and use my current timer outside the kitchen and get one of these cute retro timers from Sur la Table. It even has a magnet on the back so that I could keep it on the fridge, away from the mixer and flying batter.

surlatable retro timer

Also along those lines, I could get one of these cute cupcake timers from Bright & Bold:

cupcake timer

A more portable solution might be to get one of these bookmark timers from Amazon. It would tuck into my pocket for outside work, plus I do tend to lose track of time when I’m off somewhere with my nose stuck in a cozy mystery!

Then again, the iphone tucks in my pocket, so the problem of portability is solved. But it is a cute bookmark. :)

Decisions, decisions! They sure don’t make it easy.

Do you use a timer to help with your productivity?

Recommended 04/27/2012

My blog reader is filled with starred items these days! So many great posts, so little time….

HOME
Organization Should Be Practical, Not Always Pretty [Simple Organized Living]
I can’t be sure, but I think Andrea was speaking directly to me when she wrote this article. I get so hung up on creating perfect spaces that I lose sight of the higher purpose–which is to be able to find things when I need them.

RECIPES
Homemade Car Cleaning Products [Gather Little by Little]
Going outside the kitchen this week for some recipes for homemade car cleaning products. What can I say, my car is a mess!

FINANCE & FRUGALITY
Online Stores That Offer Free Return Shipping [Joe Shopping]
I don’t buy much of anything these days, online or otherwise, but when I do order online, I make sure that return shipping is free or that I can return to a brick-and-mortar store.

PRODUCTIVITY
5 Tips on Staying Productive While Traveling [Freelance Switch]
Oddly enough, the tip on taking time to recharge is the one I need to practice the most.

SELF
Great Dreams: Ten Keys to Happier Living [Action for Happiness]
Simple. Correct. Sometimes difficult to do.

MADE ME SMILE

Recommended: 04/06/2012

I’ve let another week slip by without much content. Sorry, but paying jobs come first even if they do come with surprise road trips! :)

Here are a few interesting articles from bloggers who DID post this week:

HOME
Why Flylady Didn’t Work for Me [Simple Productivity Blog]
I have quite a few friends who successfully follow the Flylady homemaking methodology, but it was a big ol’ fail for me, too. I live alone, and my sink doesn’t need polishing that much!

RECIPES
100 Greatest Cooking Tips of All Time [Food Network]
Okay, so not a recipe, per se, but maybe you can use some of these tips in the recipes you already have.

FINANCE & FRUGALITY
Best and Worst Things to Buy in April [Wisebread]
Even though they didn’t say so, apparently lottery tickets weren’t a good idea. At least, not for me.

PRODUCTIVITY
Increasing Your Productivity – The Big Picture and the Little Picture [Dumb Little Man]
I’m better at the big picture stuff. :)

SELF
5 Ways to Change a Habit [Pick the Brain]
I especially like the discussion of “keystone habits” in this article:

Some habits, say researchers, are more important than others because they have the power to start a chain reaction, shifting other patterns as they move through our lives. Keystone habits influence how we work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate. Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything.

MADE ME SMILE


 
 

Recommended: 04/01/2012

HOME

How to Clean Oven Glass [DIY Home Sweet Home]
My house was built in the 1970s, and I still have the harvest gold double wall oven to prove it! Despite its age, the oven works great and is still in great condition. In fact, the glass doors are the only really gloomy part. Make that, “were” the only gloomy part. Thanks to this tip, they’re nice and shiny now!

RECIPES

10 Creative Uses for Peeps [Lovelyish]
They had me at Peep S’mores.

FINANCE & FRUGALITY

How to Get $2 Per Gallon Gas [Yahoo! Finance]
With my many road trips, I was more than interested in checking out this article! I’ll admit, my biggest offense is driving too fast. :)

PRODUCTIVITY

It’s Time to Finish Your Book: 9 Productivity Tips for Writers [Write to Done]
I have one book, 26 short stories, and 145 blog posts in various stages of production. Clearly I need some help. While I haven’t implemented any of the strategies suggested in this article, they are definitely food for thought. (I know, I know–I need action, not just thoughts. Thoughts just lead to more story ideas.)

SELF

Oh, Same Old, Same Old [Throw Out Fifty Things]
I almost skipped this article due to its unfortunate formatting (or lack of formatting.) I’m glad I didn’t, because it’s a nice short article about stepping outside the routine and trying new things.

MADE ME SMILE (and nod)

Have a great week, everyone!
 
 

Common Grammar Errors

One of the tips in my proofreading post was to make a list of your grammatical or typing demons to use as a reference. I then had the idea to compile a list of the most common grammar errors I see (here and around the internets) for a future post, but the smart folks at Copyblogger beat me to it by creating a snazzy infographic. If that wasn’t enough, they generously created code for sharing it, which I’m doing now:

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more copywriting tips from Copyblogger.

Now I just need to remember to read the list before I post! :)