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!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 61: Removable chalkboards!

I don't know why I did not think of this before.... after all, I AM a neat freak, and I LOVE being organized.... (This includes enjoying some predictability in life. Hence, a schedule of all the important events happening in our family right now (AKA: baby feeding times and nap times, mostly!).)

At any rate, I feel kind of dumb for not writing about this before. So forgive me. I may have kept y'all from a WONDERFUL, HELPFUL and ADORABLE neat freak tool: flat, vinyl, removable chalkboards (and dry erase boards)!

For those of you who need to write down schedules, messages to other family members, notes to babysitters and all those important numbers (less we forget, since we typically depend on our cell phones to "remember" all that stuff nowadays),
THIS is the tool for you!

I absolutely LOVE my "chalkboard" in our kitchen, the hub of the home. It's the perfect place to display our family's "need-to-knows." And this product (from Uppercase Living) works just like a regular old chalkboard: Write on it with chalk. Wipe it off with an eraser or cloth. Write some more! And because it's completely flat and sticks to the wall, you don't have to worry about adding more nails to your sheetrock or possibly knocking it down when you walk by. So it's ideal to put in those smaller nooks and crannies where things just won't fir right!

Mine happens to be right by the pantry, above some of the main light switches and the alarm keypad. It's a perfect place! You can't see it from anywhere else in the house, so it's not distracting. Of course, you could also put these on the refrigerator, a window, a mirror, a door or just about any other smooth surface in your home! There are lots of options, too. You don't have to go with the "traditional" look, like the "home organization kit" I have displayed. Just try these on for size (hearts and flowers and peace signs, oh my!):

AND.... if you just don't like chalk (or you want to add a little more color and variety), you can choose the same shapes, sizes and designs in DRY ERASE BOARD! LOVE it!

Want some for yourself -- or as a gift for the neat freak who has it all? Click HERE for more details, or just e-mail or message me for details!

Now, THAT's neat!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 60: What to do with DVDs, Blu-Rays, Video games.... and more!

We don't have a TON of DVDs, Blu-Rays and videos. I mean, we aren't movie collectors or anything (believe me, I know people who have a TON of movies!). But we do have enough of these varied plastic boxes to need some place to store them.

Now, if I had a perfect solution, I'd keep all the media together. In one place. A special, designated movie and game place. BUT... that doesn't work in our house. So, I've had to use some of my usual tricks to keep all these items in line!

Here is a drawer in our bedroom armoire... a perfect place to store our video tapes, right under the archaic VCR (which tends to get a bit dusty, since we don't use it very often anymore!). And, yes, these are in alphabetical order, give or take a Disney movie or two!

Similarly, here are our DVDs, all neatly aligned in a drawer in our entertainment unit in the family room. (These are in alphabetical order, as well... but they still don't get used all that much, since we have Netflix!)

This is a handy, sturdy and decorative basket on the floor in the corner by our entertainment unit. It's a great place to wrangle up all those Wii and XBOX games, which are likely NOT in alphabetical order, since my hubby and daughter use them a lot! However, I do rearrange them every so often, and I try to put the most-used games in easy-to-reach spots! :)

And THIS was my solution to the Blu-Ray problem. Blue-Rays did not have a place of their own, and they were invading both the games basket AND the DVD drawer, so I thought I'd get a set of these simple, black "DVD storage" boxes and give those Blu-rays a place of their own!

When all was said and done, I ended up using one of my new boxes for baby DVDs and one box for Blu-Rays. But, hey -- they are now all neatly arranged, easy to find...out of sight, and all together! And they are located IN the entertainment center, in a cabinet that used to have random junk in it. (Now it contains these items, along with the camera, video camera and random cords and plugs and such that might one day be needed to make these contraptions work right!)

Now, THAT's neat!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 59: Do You Clean Your Washing Machine?

Maybe it's just me, and/or maybe I am a little paranoid, but when I peered into our washing machine today after a quick load of laundry, I thought to myself, "Ewwww.... do clothes really get clean in THAT?!?!"

Here's what I saw:

Now, I typically run the washing machine empty every so often with the hottest water and the largest load size with a little bleach and/or lemon juice so it has a chance to get clean and fresh. But I am not so sure that my little ritual would have gotten rid of this gunk. So, I got out the SonicScrubber to put it to the test -- yet again!

After messing around with which head to use and which worked best on the task at hand, I ended up with a MUCH cleaner place for CLEANING clothes:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a little bleach and some lemon juice waiting for their turn in the washing machine.... :)

By the way, if you have stubborn stains on the inside of your machine, there are cleaning products (designed for washing machines) that are available at most hardware and home improvement stores. Oh... and here's a little neat freak cheat sheet tip: to keep from having to clean your washing machine too frequently, leave the door to the machine open, if possible, after washing a load of laundry. This will allow the machine to dry out in between loads and prevent mildew!

Now, THAT's neat!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 57: The Toy Vacuum

My 8-month-old son is NOT a neat freak. He, in fact, is the complete opposite. He is a super-quick, very messy baby whirlwind in perpetual motion. He scoots from one spot to the next, pulling things down, getting things out and throwing things around. There is no putting away. There is no cleaning up. There is no organizing. There is just chaos. Utter chaos!

And he doesn't just do this with his own basket of toys. He goes to the dog toy basket and completely dismantles that, too. (Actually, I think he might prefer the dog toys to his own!) :)

And that's why I need a toy vacuum. It doesn't have to suck up toys to be discarded later on. It just needs to suck them up and deposit them back into Iain's toy tub. I would even accept something that suctions them up long enough for me to move them back to the right spot without having to bend over or get on my knees to fetch them all! I am getting tired of picking up the same things over and over and over and over again! :) It's like I am a "reset" button, because I am constantly resetting every room in the house to its original non-messy state.

So... Please, dear companies of technological wonders and everyday household appliances, develop a vacuum just for toys and various kid-related doo dads ... so mommies and neat freaks everywhere can catch a break!

Now, THAT's neat!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 56: Simple Solution for Magazines

This topic will likely not be any grand revelation on your part or any stroke of genius on my part... but the topic was still worthy enough for a brief post! :)

Now, I've mentioned before that I am a magazine junkie! I LOVE magazines. In fact, not only do I buy them and subscribe to them, my neighbor and I "trade" zines when we have finished the ones we have! She lets a stack pile up, and I let a stack pile up... and we swap!

So, needless to say, I have a TON of magazines in my home at any given moment. In the past, I attempted to stack them conveniently on my coffee table... you know, in kind of a "fan" look, like peacock feathers, or just one on top of the other, straight across in a line. That way I -- and my guests -- could get to them easily, enjoy them and set them right back again! But, with more than about 5 magazines, the pile starts to get a bit too big... and it will avalanche or slide all over the place. So you inevitably spend more time putting them back than actually enjoying them. (Or, as compulsive neat freaks will understand, you spend more time rearranging them, straightening them and making sure they all line up perfectly!)

Tired of the extra work, I finally decided to get a magazine holder. Yes, they make these things.... and not just for offices! I selected a decorative piece and set it up next to my favorite chair. So, the magazines are still conveniently located, BUT.... now they look good (and require much less work!)

Other options include using magazine storage "boxes" or "sleeves" and displaying them on bookcases or shelves. There are also wall-mounted options! It's totally up to your style -- and your budget!

Now, THAT's neat!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 55: And the WINNER is?!?!?!?!?

First, let me say "welcome" to all my new followers! Thanks so much for finding this neat little blog! To those of you who need some tips and ideas, I hope that I - along with fellow neat freaks - can provide some helpful hints! And to those of you who are already obsessed with all things neat, you're not alone! ;)

Second, thanks as well to those who entered the very FIRST "Get Neat" giveaway for a super-handy SonicScrubber!

Third, as promised, we have a WINNER! I organized all the names yesterday and put them in random order (and yes, if you're a "follower," you got an extra entry!). I then randomly went to the "Truly random number generator" website and entered the details.
AND... the winner is: #6.... which happens to be "SalPal!"

CONGRATULATIONS, fellow neat freak! I hope you enjoy this cleaning gadget as much as I have thus far! Just e-mail me your address (, and I'll ship your SonicScrubber to you ASAP so you can try it out in your home! And please feel free to send me photos or updates on your results! :)

Now, THAT's neat!