Welcome to the Plan-and-Organize-Life.com Newsletter. I hope you enjoy getting the newsletter and that it helps to keep you on track with your organizing goals. Remember, you can get a lot done in only 10 minutes of decluttering and organizing!

Table of Contents

-Did you know?
-Monthly Mission – Bathrooms
-What’s New on Plan-and-Organize-Life.com – Recent site additions
-Involving Your Children


Change seems to be the big theme in my home right now. Fall is here and the weather is changing. But the biggest changes are inside my house. With the start of school came a new desk for my daughter and that caused a ripple of changes to furniture throughout the house. Who knew one desk would end up being such a major deal. They are all positive changes though and also included a fun trip to Ikea. Walking through their home organization department is so tempting! But alas, we shouldn’t buy lots of organizing containers just because they look nice, but only after decluttering and determining what we actually need in order to store the items we’re keeping.

Did you know…

Nearly half of Americans do not always look at the expiration date on over-the-counter medications before taking them, says Pfizer from a September 2010 poll.

Last fall Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company, sponsored a Medicine Cabinet Cleanout Campaign. They recommended we all declutter and clean out our medicine cabinets and follow the following safety guidelines:

1.Clean out regularly: Make sure you schedule a medicine cabinet cleanout every six months.

2.Check expiration dates: Check the expiration dates of all of the products in your medicine cabinet. Don't forget about makeup and sunscreen – they can expire, too!

3.Check for recalled products: Check the FDA website by visiting www.fda.gov or call the FDA at 888-463-6332 to learn about recalled products and find out if you have any in your medicine cabinet.

4.Store properly: Keep products in your medicine cabinet stored in a secure area with controlled room temperature and out of the reach of children.

5.Dispose properly: When disposing of unwanted, expired or recalled products in your medicine cabinet, take precautions to ensure that you protect children, pets and the environment from potentially negative effects. Do not pour any medicines down a sink, toilet or storm drain. For more information on how to properly dispose of medications, ask your pharmacist or go to www.fda.gov and search for "disposal".

The Monthly Mission – Bathrooms

This months mission is to declutter and organize our bathrooms. To read more information about how to tackle this project, click here.

Recent Site Additions

Here are some of the more recently added pages to the website you may have missed.

Adding A Closet Shelf - See how adding a quick and simple shelf to a closet can add functional space.

Spice Rack - See before and after photos of my spice storage including my new spice rack.

Garage Makeover - before and after photos of my personal garage makeover. See how we tackled the problems and ended up with a functional garage.

Streamline Your Morning Routine - Ideas to help you get out the door in the morning and be on time for work or school.

Storage Shed Organization - Before and after photos of my storage shed reorganization project.

Toy Organizing Project - After Christmas I had to do some toy re-organizing. Here is a before and after of my little toy organizing project.

Bathroom Drawer Make Over - How to organize a bathroom drawer, an example with before and after photos.

Stop Clutter - Quick simple tips on how to stop the clutter from coming into your home in the first place.

Involving Your Children

Trying to keep our homes organized when there are children involved makes it extra challenging. It’s sometimes very tempting to go into their rooms and simply toss things when they’re not around. However, this isn’t going to serve anyone in the long run. You will continue to clean up after them, and they’ll learn to expect you to do so.

As slow and time consuming as it may be, our children should be involved in the cleaning and organizing process. This helps to teach them how to be organized, a skill which will be useful to them for the rest of their lives.

My children are far from perfect in this area. They haven’t quite gotten it yet, but there are signs they are going in that direction. I find that my 7 year old is pretty good about putting things away when he’s done. It’s the 5 year old girl though who we tell constantly, to put something away when she’s done with it before taking something else out. She can turn the house into a complete mess in a few short minutes by simply not putting things away. On the same note, it only takes a few minutes to clean it up. It’s a matter of getting her to do so.

But here’s what happened recently that caught my attention. My daughter saw a few minutes of an episode of Hoarders where a young girl was cleaning up her room and getting rid of a lot of things. My daughter said right then that she wanted to clean her room and get rid of a lot of extra stuff. And she meant it! We started that evening by sorting through one bin of toys and she got rid of almost half of it! The next day we finished all of the bins and she got rid of a significant amount. We quickly went through the bins, looking at items and deciding to keep or toss, and I was impressed by her ability to think and make decisions, for a 5 year old.

The point here is that if given the chance, our kids can do it. We may need to help them along and show them how it’s done. But with some help and guidance when they’re young, they’ll be better able to do this on their own as they grow older. And what a relief to have our kids help out around the house, knowing that they can do it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even though we think that box of cheap plastic fast food toys is junk, they may not think so. And trust me that kids will know when something important to them suddenly disappears. It’s better to teach them that not all things are valuable or need to be kept forever. They will learn when to let go of things. You wouldn’t want someone coming into your home and tossing things they don’t think are necessary anymore, would you?

And just the other day, I heard my daughter tell a play friend “you have to put that toy away before you can take out another toy”. Wow! So she really does hear my message, she’s just not ready to act on it. But I am left feeling very hopeful.

So let's be good examples for the children in our lives by doing our best to keep things in order. And let's also be patient enough to guide them and give them the chance to learn how to clean and declutter for themselves. I will be practicing my patience right along with you. Until next time, happy organizing!


Tracy Greene

P.S. Sometimes links to website pages get broken. If a link doesn't work, you may need to copy and paste the entire link into your browser.

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