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, December 27, 2010

Day 75: Messy Kitchen? Win big!

Have a messy kitchen? I say, "Who doesn't after the holidays?!?!"

After baking special treats, shopping, going on vacation, serving planned and pop-in guests and just getting behind on the ole' cleaning routines, the heart of the home can certainly become a bit of a disaster at Christmastime! BUT... this is GOOD news for you! My friends over at SonicScrubbers are holding a "messy kitchen" contest! (Perfect timing, right?!?!?!) The messiest kitchen will win the grand prize of a FREE professional cleaning service! And other not-so-neat rooms will walk away with SonicSrubbers' awesome power cleaning tools, which I have personally used.... and personally recommend!

To enter, just send in your messiest messy kitchen photo. Click HERE for more details. (You can see photo entries on FaceBook. WOAH! What a mess!)

Good luck. Hope you can benefit from your mess! (The cleaning-up part can come later!)

Now, THAT's neat!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 74: Yes you CAN!

When I was in elementary school and junior high, we had to sell stuff from catalogs of 100's of random things to raise money for our choir, band, sports teams, etc., etc. One of those catalogs came out at Christmastime, and I distinctly remember ordering silver snowflake wrapping paper, chocolate caramel apple candies... and a soda can holder.

It's such a simple little device, but it truly can save time... space... and frustration, if you enjoy canned drinks! Just roll a whole case (or 12 cans, total) of your aluminum-encased beverages into the holder...

...and place the whole thing in your fridge! The cans should just roll right down to the bottom as you need them!

Now, THAT's neat!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 73: When in doubt... HIDE the clutter!

As in most households these days, we have a ton of remote controls, game controllers and other electronic gadgets that go with our game consoles, TV, Blu-ray player, etc., etc. And I just HATE when these items are scattered all over the coffee table... on the floor... on the couch... and IN the couch, buried under blankets or pillows or cushions.

So, most of the controllers are relegated to the drawer in the coffee table. Lined up. Side by side. Easy enough, right?!?! BUT... the other stuff (i.e. Wii remotes, game "guns" and other random zappers and such) are also nearby.... but cleverly hidden.

That's right! Here in plain sight lie a tangled mess of doo-dads! Where?!?! Why, in the decorative chest on the table. Ta-da!

This way, my family is happy because they don't have to go too far to get their stuff... and I am happy because I can just close the lid and not see the mess! :)

Now, THAT's neat!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 72: Neat Guest Tips

This is the time of year when families are a-visiting... and that guest bedroom/office/storage area/music room/whatever-you-use-it-for room is possibly getting some overnight guests!

While you can't force your company to be super clean and well organized during their visit, you can offer them a sample of your own neat habits! So, here are a few simple tips!

1. Set up a clock/alarm clock on a side table near the bed. I know most phones nowadays have alarms built it, but a clock is a simple, helpful touch for your out-of-town visitors.
2. Keep empty hangers in the closet for your guests to use to hang up some of their items during their stay! This is VERY easy to do... and it's MUCH neater than your guests throwing their items around the room or hanging them on chairs or over doors! EEK! :)
3. Put baskets of soaps, shampoos and other bath necessities in your guest bathroom, along with some clean towels. THIS is your chance to use all those extra hotel freebies you've been stashing in your suitcase! I save just about every unused bottle of mouthwash, lotion, conditioner, etc. and I even snag the shower caps or other items and keep them in the guest bathroom... just in case my visitor left an important item behind. (I've displayed all the "prettiest" items I've collected on this cute, little shelf!)

4. Place a basket of "samples" in the bathroom or in the closet. I have small packs of toothpaste and deodorant along with headache medicine, floss and stain remover in my basket! I also put all the extra hotel freebies in here. This little basket of helpful items can save you - and your guest - a lot of time and stress!

5. Set out a few bottles of water. You could also put out a basket of snacks (i.e. peanut butter crackers, gum, hard candies, etc.) and even some fresh flowers in the room, but a few bottles of water make for a nice, simple welcoming gesture!

Now, THAT's neat!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 71: The Organized Party

I don't have all the answers when it comes to planning, organizing, hosting and cleaning up after parties... but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve!

AND... since I just hosted the 6th annual Christmas cookie swap at my home last night, I figured I'd share just a couple of my most popular - and hopefully useful - party tips!

I may make a few lists when I'm preparing for a party, but I am not an ultra-organized party planner. When it comes to throwing a fun get-together in my home, I plan out foods, beverages, favors, games, etc., etc., but I don't have any whiz-bang theories about it! :)

However, I do like to prep in stages. For instance, if you're planning a party for Sunday afternoon, and it's Friday night, go ahead and get some things done! Clean the party area(s). Bake or prep some of the food items (i.e. cheesecakes taste better a few days after baking, so I always bake those in advance of any gathering!). And start "staging" your party area(s). Move furniture to accommodate additional chairs or tables. Get table decor ready. And as soon as you can, plan out your food areas!

I like to organize and decorate my food table the day before (or at the very least, hours before) the party. In the photo, you can see that I have plates, napkins, serving plates, bowls and utensils in their places, ready to go! All that's missing is the food! (NOTE: If you'd like, use post-it notes to remind yourself what goes where.) This is SUCH a great time saver and a relief to get out of the way!

Of course, you can also see that I've placed a few different bags of chips in some tins. This way, they are ready to go! And if I have a helper, he/she will know what goes where! (Neat freak cheat sheet: I use tins or baskets lined with napkins for chips. This way, they are uniformly and neatly displayed; the chips look good and are easy to get to; and they clean up super fast! Just throw away the napkins... and rinse and dry the tins, if needed!)

AND... if you noticed, I have my plastic forks in another small tin on the table. This is an easy and fun way to incorporate utensils in your "partyscape!" You can also use glasses or vases... and if the utensils are a bit top heavy, try using marbles, beans or rice in the bottom of the container for some stability (and possibly a splash of color!).

Now, THAT's neat!