I am a self-diagnosed neat freak. I love to clean and I love to organize. (If I could have a container, holder and/or label for EVERYTHING, my life would be complete!) And this is my brand new blog for everything NEAT!
I have a toddler in perpetual motion, a packrat daughter, a dog and a disorganized husband... and I hope to share the challenges, trials, errors, rewards and insights of being a bit "too clean obsessive" in a family that's not so in love with neatness. And I am making a promise to clean, rearrange, organize and simplify my life... and help you along the way! SO stay tuned for my journey toward everything orderly and efficient!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 54: The Shower Door... & More SonicScrubber Cleaning

"WARNING: You will get wet."

Ever been at an amusement park and seen those signs, posted ominously at the start of a line for a water ride? Well, I think we need those signs for the shower. And I don't mean for taking a shower. (That's a given.) I'm talking about for cleaning the shower! And I should know better by now, but it's really pointless to attempt to clean a shower if you are on the dry side. It's dumb, really. Because countless times I have sprayed the shower and gotten myself covered in cleaning products. And just about every time I've used any kind of product with bleach, of course I've splattered it all over my favorite pajama pants... and made polka-dotted pajama pants! ;)

Well, today was no exception. I decided to try out my new SonicScrubber again, this time on my gross shower door. I used the velcro attachment thing and selected a disposable, non-scratch pad (AKA: "the yellow one;" they're color coded!!!).

I literally threw some Comet on the shower door, splashed a little water on it... and went to town with the SonicScrubber.

Now, this door was pretty much covered up with soap scummy goop. It's supposed to be a privacy-glass door, with just a little touch of that can't-quite-see-through look. As you can see in this before shot, however, it's more like that haven't-really-cared-to-clean-in-a-while look!

Now, be warned... the SonicScrubber spins. I covered that in the last post, right?!?! (Think giant electric toothbrush.) So, of course, as I started to clean the shower door, I promptly sprayed Comet all over my hair, my arms, my knees, the floor, the rug... Oops! I am so bad at the prep work. I could have removed said items, and, as mentioned before, I could have done the smart thing and cleaned the shower from the wet side, while I was actually in the shower. (Pre-shower is usually a good time.) No harm done, though. And, as you can see: it was well worth it for this kind of clean!!!! Ta-da!

That little cleaning pad sure did its duty -- In fact, I may have overused it a bit! :) It looks pretty worn out here! Funny, though, I did not have to use much pressure or effort.

If you would like to clean without using much effort, don't forget to enter the contest to WIN a SonicScrubber of your very own! The giveaway ends tomorrow, and I will randomly draw for a winner! Just click HERE to add your comment to the SonicScrubber post from the other day for your chance to win!

Now, THAT's neat!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 53: The Beginnings of a SonicScrubber Super Fan (and a Get Neater GIVEAWAY!)

I was lucky enough to very recently receive a SonicScrubber to test out and review for my "Get Neater" blog... and I agreed -with elation- to try out this very handy little cleaning tool this weekend!

And now that a SonicScrubber is in my possession, I must ask: Where in the world was I that I did not know about this clever and amazing tool!?!?! (I suppose it could be that we haven't had cable TV in our home for 3 years, so I may have missed out on a commercial or two.) But, boy -- am I glad that I have access to one now!

Just to fill you in, the SonicScrubber is like a giant electric toothbrush... with WAY more power.... and way more options!

And I suppose you could clean your teeth with this rotating, power-cleaning wonder tool, but the manufacturers recommend using it for other items... like doors, walls, tile, grout, pots, pans, windows, counters, floors, appliances, furniture, fabric, carpet, toys, baseboards, ovens, grills, and YES... even (and especially) the kitchen sink! *whew!*

With just a twist of the wrist, you can switch the rotating tool or add special, disposable cleaning pads for just about whatever you can think of that needs cleaning! That means I am going to be a very busy (and very happy) cleaning whiz... for quite some time. (I can see this turning into a regular segment! Can't you?)

At any rate, to test out my new SonicScrubber tool, I decided to tackle the stove top. My hubby had recently used it, and that meant a dirty, crusty, splattered mess was left behind. See for yourself! (You can click on the photo to see it in more eeeewy detail!)

Well, I squirted on some stove-top cleaner (the same Cerama Bryte cleaning product that I always use), twisted on the correct SonicScrubber accessory and non-scratch pad... and attacked that cooked-on, stove top gunk. Now, it took a few minutes to work through that cleaning paste, but with barely any effort at all, I had beautiful results. Check it out!

Typically, I spend about 15 minutes of hard, wrist-wrenching scrubbing to get a clean like that! But this suped-up toothbrush did all the work... with much better results! LOVE IT!

I am on a mission now to try the SonicScrubber on everything in my home! Ok, not everything! My 8-month-old son might be a messy eater, but I promise not to SonicScrub the greenbeans off his little chinny-chin-chin! So... just be sure to check back for more posts on this great cleaning tool as I work through my entire house!

Oh... and YOU can try the SonicScrubber in your home, too! I have an extra cleaning tool for this fun - and very first - Get Neater GIVEAWAY! To enter, just leave a comment on THIS post telling me how YOU would use the SonicScrubber to make YOUR home neater! (And get an extra entry if you follow this blog.) You can check out the SonicScrubber website by clicking HERE to get some more information and ideas! GOOD LUCK!
(The winner will be chosen by random drawing on August 31, 2010. Check back on September 1 to see if YOU won!!!)

* NOTE: Products were provided by the manufacturer, but all opinions are my own, and NO payment was received for this post! These are purely my own rantings and ravings, as always!

Now, THAT's neat!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 52: Crafty Storage

I love crafts and craft items, and my collection of things related to crafting (paper, ribbon, stamps, ink, buttons, embellishments, etc., etc.) has multiplied greatly over the last few months, due, in part, to some good coupons for Michael's ...and the discovery of Stampin'Up.

The collection of items was -- until very recently -- scattered all over my house. Some things were upstairs in a closet. Some items were in the laundry room. Other things were just sitting out on the floor and on the kitchen table! *gasp!* NOT a good scenario for a neat freak! That's why I emptied out the candle cabinet...

Now, I've simply used a collection of plastic bins (and one specifically designed for scrapbook paper) along with a plastic container with drawers and one of my very favorite finds: a giraffe print craft storage "tote!" (This thing has about 20 cute little pockets and holds stickers and scissors and glue dots and tape and inks and pens and cutters and crimpers and papers and buttons and, well, you get the point!)

There are now ribbons in one box, stamps in another box and paper punches in the third. There are idea books and craft samples and other crafty doo-dads in the drawers.

Everything is neatly stored... and conveniently located!

There's no more running all over the house, gathering up items to create something. It's all in one place!

Now, THAT's neat!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 51: Wrap-up That Wrapping Paper Mess!

I think that gift bags multiply when placed under a bed. They must, because I only remember putting about 10-12 under there. And now, I think I have close to 100!

I also have a lot of Christmas papers, bow, tags and boxes. And they were all crammed into a under-the-bed storage box. Don't get me wrong: the box worked quite well. It's just that I seemed to have overstuffed it, so it wasn't so neat and organized anymore. Gift bags were everywhere. Bows were squashed beyond recognition. Tissue paper was wrinkled and ripped. It was just a mess.... In a box.... Under the bed!

SO... I went online and found a good price on an actual "gift wrap organizer!" I chose this one for cost, but I liked that it's big enough to hold the wrapping paper rolls and has a few clear pockets for tissue paper, bows, tags, ribbons, etc. (There are TONS of these gift wrap organizers online, by the way... and there are plenty of options: from plastic to canvas... and from storing under the bed to hanging on the door! Or, you can use an under-the-bed storage box, a large cardboard box or even a clean, 15-gallon garbage can! Garbage cans are the perfect size for containing big rolls of wrapping paper!)

At any rate, I got out all my papers and boxes and doo-dads, sorted out (and disposed of) the junk, and reorganized everything into those two boxes. I even categorized the gift bags: baby bags, wedding bags, masculine bags, birthday bags... ;)

Gift bags can now multiply in their very own under-the-bed box. And tissue paper, bows, ribbons, tags, boxes and wrapping paper rolls live happily (and safely) in their own gift wrap organizer.

Now, THAT's neat!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 50: More Toy Management

My little boy is now about 8-months old, but he is already well-adept at making a mess! He also gets bored very easily. So, these two factors together translate into a bunch of baby toys strewn all about the house.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I used some canvas boxes to tackle the toy problem in his room.... but this did not quite take care of the toy problem all over the house, mostly because he's too young to go upstairs to his room by himself and play (and somewhat because I am often just too busy with other things to go up there myself).

Solution!?!? A flexible, plastic toy bucket. And it's LABELED... I mean, personalized, too!

I make these myself (you can check out my etsy store HERE), and there's not too much to it. Just find a good size and color for your container, and you can apply vinyl lettering (from Uppercase Living, one of my "little side businesses") to customize your creation!

Here is Iain IN his toy tub.

As you can see, it's quite handy, cute and WAY neater than a bunch of toys on the couch, in the Pack n' Play or all over the floor... where the dog toys end up! (And as soon as I get a "free moment," I'll post a photo of the tub with some actual toys in it!)

Now, THAT's neat!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 49: Towel-riffic Tips!

NOTE: These ideas are not new to me, nor were they recently accomplished, but they might be new ideas for you, so I thought I'd share!

You may already have your towels neatly organized and displayed on towel racks, rings and bars. Well, that's great! That's what those doohickys are designed to do! But some of y'all may be taking up space in closets or cabinets with those extra towels that have nowhere to rest. Instead of using up that valuable space, try one of the following ideas to display your towels -- beautifully and efficiently!

This is a no-brainer! Just get a basket that's large enough to hold some towels (I used a wire basket for that wrought iron look), and go to town! Roll up your superfluous towels and tuck them into the basket, and you've created something cute for that empty corner or for right by the tub! This basket sits in my guest bath, ready to be used! Add some decorative greenery, too, if you want! And mix up the towel sizes! It's up to you!

I found a wine holder for a great price online somewhere... but I have no wine to display. And since I wanted to put something on an empty, dull space on our master bathroom wall, it made perfect sense to me to roll up our extra towels and place them in the perfectly shaped holders! Now, it's a clever and fun decorative piece! (You could probably use a standing wine rack, too, just depending on how its designed.) Have fun with it! And enjoy freeing up that much-needed shelf space!

Now, THAT's neat!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 48: The Dreaded Cabinet

I typically stay away from reorganizing my husband's things.... mostly because he says he can't find anything once everything is all clean and tidy! (HA! He jokes, of course!) BUT... I still leave most of his things to him.... until those things start to intrude on other things, or until those things just get completely out of hand.

One such place is "his" cabinet in the kitchen. It had become a bit of a dumping ground for his work stuff and other random odds n' ends.

When I opened up said cabinet the other day just looking for a plain, white envelope, I experienced a minor avalanche... and also discovered a check for nearly $150, dated over a year ago. Needless to say, it's WAY too late to cash that check, and since I don't want to lose out on any more money simply because of a messy cabinet, I figured I'd put a few new plastic storage drawers and shelves to good use! (I also raided another cabinet in the den that he had stuffed random work-related items in and stashed those things all together in the new, tidy space. That's why it looks a bit more "full" now than it did in the "before" photo!)

See?!?!? A neat, organized space where things are easy to find... and where checks can be safely stored until we get a chance to put them in the bank!

My hubby was a bit shocked at first. But I think even he sees how useful and handy this new layout will be!

Now, THAT's neat!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 47: The Great Candle Migration

I love candles. And I have a LOT of them. Some of them are colorful or just plain-and-simple decorative pieces that I no longer use. Others are scented candles -- in ALL kinds of scents -- that I am slowly but surely getting to burn.

Whatever the case, my candles were completely taking over one of the most handy and convenient cabinets in my kitchen.

So, I decided to make a change and move ALL the candles to a new designated spot: a decorative wooden chest! (Great tip: keep all like items together in ONE location. Otherwise, you'll make yourself crazy trying to find things or trying to remember which items you put in which spot!)

As you can see, I used one large, plastic basket (that fit just perfectly inside) and filled it with stackable boxes of candles. Then I simply put the other loose items on top and placed my jar candles and burners on the side.

It's still convenient. All my candles are in the dining room now. So it makes sense (and scents), too. (It's not like I moved them to a storage container in the attic or anything!) PLUS, there is an added bonus: I get to use the really cool wood chest that my grandfather bought for my grandmother.... and then she passed down to me!

Voila! Neatly stashed candles.... and an ENTIRE cabinet to use for something else. (I'll have to show you that later on! I'm still working on it!)

Now, THAT's neat!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 46: No, the dust bunnies did not eat us alive....

I am alive. Really! And I have been organizing and straightening and cleaning, just as always. But I have not set aside time for blogging. I've just been so busy! July was a whirlwind of activities and deadlines and events! *whew!

At any rate, I've been thinking, lately, about all the stuff in our house, thanks, in part, to watching too many episodes of "Hoarders" and the like.... I believe I went into panic mode after every show! I had a insatiable desire to clean out every cabinet, closet and drawer!

And I will get back to blogging about the projects that I've been working on (including the decluttering, rather than just the making neat!). For now, however, I wanted to share "The Top 6 Excuses For Clutter," as presented by my favorite magazine, Real Simple! See if you can find yourself in any of these! I know I can! Hopefully, that's motivation enough for you to rethink a few items around the house! I know it's changed the way I think!
  1. “If I get rid of this wedding vase, I’ll feel guilty.” People feel guilty about gift items others have chosen for them that they don't particularly like, want or have use for. I know I do! And while I may not always display or regularly use these items, they ARE in my house.... somewhere. And these items are taking up space! :(
  2. “I think this brooch/chair/ugly knickknack might be valuable again.” I don't have too many valuables like that around our house. So this excuse does not really apply to me! But I know many people with collections upon collections.... as well as people with those few "rare" pieces that might just one day be worth something....
  3. “But I might need seven sleeping bags one day.” Ah, yes, the fear that as soon as you get rid of whatever it is, you'll need it! I do this most often with clothes.... ones that are just a bit too small that I believe I may one day fit into again. *sigh. But that's another story! ;)
  4. “I want this chartreuse muumuu to go to a good home.” Sometimes you just hang on to things because you like them and want them to be useful! Somehow. Somewhere. I have a few things around the house like this. I am not using several decorative items, for instance, but I like them. And I don't want them to just go anywhere. I'd love for someone to really enjoy and appreciate them. So they sit here. In a drawer. Or in a cabinet. Taking up more of that useful space...
  5. “If I put the bills away, I’ll never pay them on time.” I don't have this problem; I LOVE to put things in their proper places (even bills), but I certainly understand the "out of sight, out of mind" problem. I suppose this issue would just take some time.... you'd have to make a new habit! Determine where things go, and make a conscious decision to ALWAYS put those things in their places!
  6. I want to declutter, but I can’t get motivated.” Indeed. The piles of clutter can be quite daunting. But as they say, you eat an elephant one bite at a time! The whole world does not need to be conquered in a day, and every little task helps! So, as Nike aptly says: "just do it!"

For more details on clutter as well as ideas for solutions to the above-mentioned "top 6 excuses for clutter," click HERE, and check out the Real Simple website!

Now, THAT's neat!