LITTLE things that help keep you organised?

(542 Posts)
starrychime Mon 16-Apr-12 18:27:47

There's a lot of threads about cleaning routines, 15 min sessions etc which I love to read but never get round to following (one day, one day I will!)
Wondered if anyone has some little hints and tips that make things just a little bit easier about the house?
I use paper plates blush for morning toast, lunchtime sandwiches etc as I HATE washing up (no washer) - and it keeps it down a little bit.
Also keeping a small Ikea drawer sorter in the bathroom with DD's bobbles and clasps so they're to hand in the morning helps a bit.
Anyone else have any little tips?

droves Mon 16-Apr-12 19:32:26

I have 2 vacuums ...big one for carpets upstairs (it's kept there),and a little cylinder for down stairs .

Also keep a small supply of cleaning stuff in upstairs cupboard as well as big stash in the kitchen . It means I'm not running up and down stairs every time I've forgot the duster or whatnot.

Keep all the linen for a bed inside the pillowcase (folded of course) , makes it damn sight faster to find everything (sheets duvet cover ect)....7beds in this house I don't have the time to spend 15 mins looking for the right covers.

Always pair socks as soon as they are dry .

Lingere sets - hook your bras through the matching pants and fasten ...that way you always find a matching set in seconds when your getting dressed.

KatyMac Mon 16-Apr-12 19:34:46

I have a preprinted shopping list, so I just tick what I need when I run out

crikeybadger Mon 16-Apr-12 19:39:41

Love that idea about the bedding droves but matching lingerie what's that? grin

Meal planning and an organised mum calendar are the two things that help me stay every so slightly organised.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 16-Apr-12 19:57:59

Second the calendar - lots of columns with one for meal planning, plus a wipe clean bit for reminders.

Always complete school paperwork (school trips etc) the day it comes home

Put keys, phone, wallet etc in the same place at night so you can find it in the morning

madasa Mon 16-Apr-12 21:05:11

I always cook double the amount of food in one go i.e. bolognese sauce, curry etc. I freeze it to use when I cannot be arsed to cook am busy and/or tired

I have a folder for school paperwork which helps a bit.

Also a section of the fridge / cupboard just for packed lunch stuff.

Also have a bin in most rooms.

Oh and everything in school bags etc the night before and everything ironed on a sunday.

Google calendar anything - links with my phone so I can't forget.

Send back school paperwork straight away.

Best thing the DD's school ever did was parent emails.

No more "lost" letters & I leave them in my inbox till I've dealt with them, then put them in a seperate folder in case I need to refer to them. Suggest it to your school -must save them £'s in paper & secretarial time.

Starrychime how many paper plates do you use?? grin

Our d/washer died last week & we've been washing up by hand & actually it's not so bad. Do a little every morning & evening & it soon gets done while the kettle is boiling! The DD's do half the drying up each so it's a shared job.

yummybunny Tue 17-Apr-12 17:11:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nannyl Tue 17-Apr-12 18:01:18

i do internet shopping and add to my trolley everytime i realise i need something

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:15

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:17

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:19

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:20

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:22

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:24

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:26

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:28

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:31

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:32

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:11:35

Be ruthless about sorting and throwing - nothing gives as much satisfaction as tidy cupboards.

File all paperwork for a 12 moth period in one file - none of this gas/electicty/water/mortgage separate files. I weighed up how long it took to individually file things in separate folders compared to how often I needed to find one particular document and it takes far less to ruffle through a year's paperwork occasionally than to file anally.

Long sentence.. blush

ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:12:27

Oh arsefrippery.


ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:12:39

Oh arsefrippery.


ChaosTrulyReigns71 Tue 17-Apr-12 18:14:04

Oh arsefrippery.


Bohica Tue 17-Apr-12 18:17:11

Chaos what are you doing???


I thought my iPad was broken grin

IamMummyhearmeROAR Tue 17-Apr-12 18:24:25


LemonTurd Tue 17-Apr-12 18:27:50

I stand next to my recycling bin and shredder (helpfully they're next to each other!) when I'm opening post.
Things that need to be kept, bank statements, itemised bills, etc go straight into my personal file.

I buy birthday cards and presents in advance and keep them all in a drawer. This has saved my life on occasion!
It's worthwhile buying a job lot of cards to store away, so you're never caught short. Ocado sell cards, wrapping paper and stamps.

If you're on facebook, you can see a list of your friends' birthdays. On the lefthand menu on the home screen, go to events, at the top right hand of the screen there's a drop down menu, click on birthdays.

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Tue 17-Apr-12 18:38:53

I thought there were lots of tips but it all chaos grin

notcitrus Tue 17-Apr-12 18:41:01

Tip I got from MN: never leave a room empty handed. There's always something to be taken out.

Stock up on birthday cards and children's presents in advance.

Get sticky labels made with your address, for use on parcels and in Christmas cards.

At least I'll not forget Chaos's recommendation grin

nannyl Tue 17-Apr-12 19:15:39

lmao at chaos!!!! grin

treadonthecracks Tue 17-Apr-12 19:25:40

I use hotmail email and I like the calendar for putting reminders in - I have all birthdays in there on yearly repeat and so a reminder pops up a week before everyone's birthday/anniversary etc. I use it to remind me about school trips and partys too.

Great thread - pinching lots of ideas.

pearliwhile Tue 17-Apr-12 19:28:06

Think we've got the message Chaos grin

bibbitybobbitybunny Tue 17-Apr-12 19:37:28

I am SO not organised, but a tiny thing I try to remember to do is to have a quick glance around any room when I am about to leave it and to take anything that doesn't belong in that room with me and to put it where it does belong as I go. I have small baskets on the top flight of stairs and the lower flight of stairs - we have lots of levels in this house - for the things I can't put away straight away.

When my dc were much younger and I was a sahm in the midst of the chaos that is the baby/toddler stage, I had a 3 point list of jobs to do every day, headed morning, afternoon, and evening and I had to put one job in each section and it could be a tiny weeny thing (like water plants or phone Mum or pair up clean socks) - that really helped me to stay on top of things.

treadonthecracks Tue 17-Apr-12 19:39:12

BBB I love lists too!

I have a to do list and I try to clear 3 things from it a day. One of them 20 mins worth of housework.

Petrean Tue 17-Apr-12 19:49:16

What was that chaos? grin

starrychime Tue 17-Apr-12 21:14:03

Came back to look and got all excited thinking there were loads of tips grin Bossybritches, we don't use THAT many plates - one for DD's breakfast toast/fruit and maybe a couple at weekend lunchtimes - and they get put in the recycle bin so don't feel too guilty!

Grockle Tue 17-Apr-12 22:27:06

Aww, I love chaos!

SkinnyVanillaLatte Wed 18-Apr-12 10:39:17

I second bibbity with the am/pm/eve list.It sounds soft but it really works!I agree with the tiny things that can get forgotten for weeks on end (I'm thinking watering plants here),but only take minutes to do.Also good for pet feeding/walking and the laundry routine - helps you get through a whole evolution of laundry per day.Eg:
am washing into machine
hang out or put in tumble drier

pm get washing in
finish any damp stuff in tumble drier/on radiators

eve fold/put away/iron.

Also get some of the instant liquid shoe shine stuff for when you realise kids shoes are a state and you can't be arsed haven't got time to polish them.

Finally,always have bag ready to go,whether it be handbag,changing bag or whatever,so when the shit hits the fan at the last minute (as it invariably does!) you can just pick up and go!

SkinnyVanillaLatte Wed 18-Apr-12 12:11:14

Keep a little kit in every bag - plasters,anti bacterial hand cleaning gel,mini pack of wet wipes, etc.
Keep a list of emergency/frequently used phone numbers in your purse in case your mobile runs out of charge and you can't access your contacts if you need to.

SkinnyVanillaLatte Wed 18-Apr-12 12:13:16

Oh,and have a 'destination station' by the door where school bags,coats,shoes etc go so there ready for the next day,ideally with a shelf to put anything on that's to hand in or not be forgotten.

tinymouse Wed 18-Apr-12 12:14:23

if you havent used something in say 5 years. get rid. recycle flog give away just clear it.

Solo Wed 18-Apr-12 12:16:52

I am SOOO watching this thread!

MarkStretch Wed 18-Apr-12 12:24:03

When the DC's come home from activities/playgroup I wash/dry/organise their bag and re pack it the same afternoon so the next time they go I only have to grab it out of the cupboard.

Same for the nappy bag, I top it up when I get home and it's ready for me to pick up as I rush out of the door.

I always keep a potty/nappies/wipes/change of clothes for youngest two in the boot of my car. Has saved my bacon, and other people's, on many an occasion!

MarkStretch Wed 18-Apr-12 12:25:04

I am definietely doing that duvet-cover-in-the-pillow-case tip.

SanityTrowel Wed 18-Apr-12 12:26:29

I did do the same job on each day of the week. E.g wipe down kitchen top to bottom and floors on mon, Bathrooms on tues etc. Then things didn't don't get too hideous and the routine just became becomes part of that days shape.

That all worked well for years until recently, when MN entered my life. Now just reading about doing housework makes me feel as though I have done it grin

Mspontipine Wed 18-Apr-12 12:38:47

You also spelled "annually" incorrectly every single time Chaos - I did think at first you were trying to correct yourself - or did you mean what you put? grin

fayette Wed 18-Apr-12 12:47:50

I'm a bit of a lazy person but try to be organised. I keep a diary on the breakfast bar (everything writes their appointments and stuff in). I like to make lists of jobs to do and stick them down next to diary. When the kids were younger and were going to football, swimming lessons, scouts, guides, netball (2 teams), school activities I used to keep all letters in a file with clear plastic pockets. Section for each activity.
Every so often I have a blitz and anything left lying around gets put in a cardboard box with the threat it'll be in the bin if it's still there next day.

mcfee Wed 18-Apr-12 12:49:44

I love the bedding in the pillowcase tip! In this house if something hasn't been used for a year then out it goes. (except baby stuff which may be secretly being stored just in case)

Britchic Wed 18-Apr-12 13:07:19

Something I read here was a mantra: "Don't put it down, put it away!". I say that to myself as I'm about to plonk stuff on the kitchen table, on the bed etc... and it makes me put it away!

sherbetpips Wed 18-Apr-12 13:19:46

You are already starting to do it with the bobble drawer. You must have a place for everything and everything must be in it's place. You get something out you put it away back where it normally lives as soon as you have finished with it. Don't let things drift into rooms they shouldn't be in either. Bathroom things stay in the bathroom, kitchen things in the kitchen.
All the paperwork in one file is a good tip too, I used to separate it but there wasnt really that much of it so no point.

mogs0 Wed 18-Apr-12 13:19:59

I love the bedding in the pillowcase tip, aswell! I nearly always sometimes put mismatched bedding on the beds because I can't find the correct pillowcase.

I can't think of any tips to share at the moment but will have a think and post again if when I think of some.

The 15 min blitz is actually the best tip ever imo, it's the one you see most mentioned on here for good reason! (works for dc too, they get all competitive about it grin
I have two in trays, one for nursery/school paperwork and one for the dc's artwork. Easy to chuck it in, and I always know where the latest newsletter/masterpiece is. I go through it weekly and recycle much of it. But I do permission slips & add dates to my diary on the spot otherwise they'd get forgotten. I keep a box with pens/pencils/change/envelopes near the in-trays for that job.
Also have several cheap brushes, which are stashed in hallway/car/my bag/changing bag so I can attack groom dc wherever they happen to be. If I had to go looking, they'd run away!
With 4 dc have found the most organised way to storing out of season or outgrown clothes is plastic underbed storage on castors (but you must label them clearly!). Should you happen to have an ikea wardrobe, those pull-out wooden drawers are the business too. Both work because they're shallow & wide so easy to find individual things rather than empty the entire bag in search of jeans.

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Wed 18-Apr-12 13:34:26

Have a couple of washing baskets/bags and sort laundry by 'owner' as you take it off the line/out of the drier - (I learnt this tip from a woman with 10 children - she had a laundry bag for each person and had trained any child old enough to put their own clothes away. DS (7) has those big IKEA slide-out plastic boxes for all his clothes and knows which one is which. It's very easy to put stuff away, and if he can pull one out to look through it - even if he doesn't put it back it's not a problem.
This and determination has encouraged me to sort out clean laundry much more quickly than I used to - I would have piles of it in my bedroom but no more!

MrsLetchlady Wed 18-Apr-12 13:39:41

My children have a simple ringbinder that they use to keep any wanted artwork in. They get a warning and then it goes out for recycling. Anything they haven't put in their art files gets recycled.

In my kitchen, I have a big magnetic noticeboard. On it, I keep the organised mum type calendar with a day for each of us and a column for birthdays and other important reminders. Then at the bottom, I have a couple of bulldog clips. One is used to hang all the notices I get from school, the other is used for their extra curricular hobbies. Then, if I need to find any paperwork I always know where it is.

Clothes, bags, and everything needed for the following day (school stuff, stuff for hobbies etc) are laid out of an evening in the same place so the children can just pick it up and it is always ready to go.

I keep an activities bag in my car, which contains toys, magazines, colouring in etc... so whenever we go out, I can just grab the bag and there's always something to entertain the children.

I'm organised but very messy. So can't comment on house tidying ones blush.

RosieBooBoo Wed 18-Apr-12 13:42:18

I keep cleaning wipes, bleach, hoover etc upstairs to save running up and down stairs when doing a tidy. I also dont have a dishwasher so rather than let dishes pile up i fill the basin up when cooking, put the pots and pans in, after dinner rinse them off and quickly do the plates. I also do the morning dishes whilst the kettles boiling.

ninedragons Wed 18-Apr-12 13:46:18

Buy all of your work clothes in colours that go together, so you can get dressed in the morning without thinking about it, or running around like an idiot because you haven't done a dark/pale wash in a few days. And get rid of clothes you don't like or don't fit you. My aim is to be able to blindfold myself, stick my hand in my wardrobe, and wear whatever comes to hand.

Batch cook and freeze. I aim to have dinner on the table within 15 minutes of getting home - frozen soups, pasta sauces, curries etc. It makes the evenings so much longer if someone isn't stuck in the kitchen cooking until 7.45.

ivykaty44 Wed 18-Apr-12 13:47:51

Pee and Poo in work time - this helps as you will have spare time at home and get paid for peeing and pooing.

Keep your car keys and phone together by the front door in the same place - then it will save time looking for them each morning.

rather than paper plates - just get the children to lick them clean or run a bowl of water and leave for the day to clean of plates and drip dry - as much hassle as collecting plates and opening bin and place them inside.

MrsLetchlady what a fantastic idea, my kids are getting a ringbinder each tonight for their "artwork"

Allready do the pillowcase one but tons of other great tips here.

I always keep the change bag full, topping it up when i get in and rehanging it on the buggy.

I have a shopping list app on my phone which I add to every time I finish something.

Tuesdays is crap tv evening so I use that evening to tidy the bedroom and sort clean laundry (usually stick a movie on the laptop)

I keep a little basket in the liunge with change stuff for dd and chuck all her toys in there too

BiddyPop Wed 18-Apr-12 13:55:37

I keep my "shopping list" on the fridge door (fresh sheet of a notepad every week) and as things get used up, the user is supposed to put it on the list for replacement. Means I have a start on the list of needs before I think about the meals for the week to come. I also try to pre-plan the meals before shopping (so I have the list done, and also can change things in the supermarket if I see a good offer - knowing what was planned rather than an "oh, when could I do that and what would I need rest of the week?"), and take into account the plans for the coming week from the desk diary we keep in the kitchen (wall calendars don't work).

I make Monday's dinner on Sunday when I am making a Sunday roast anyway - half to just reheat on Monday and half to freeze and use another worknight the following week.

Lay out clothes the night before for everyone, and make lunches the night before too.

grin at ivykaty peeing and pooing in paid work time!

Fizzylemonade Wed 18-Apr-12 14:01:27

Have a wipe board in the kitchen so when you use something and you realise it is running low, write it on the noticeboard to add to your shopping list.

I am a big believer in not "double handling" something. So my friend makes a coffee then puts the spoon in the sink, she will make her child a snack, puts knife etc in the sink. Later she then picks them back up and puts them in the dishwasher. Argh, why does she handle stuff twice???? Spoon should go straight in the dishwasher. And breathe grin

Laundry wise I have stacking boxes from Ikea these and each one is labelled (is this where I confess they are printed labels and I laminate them blush ) everyone knows to sort their clothes as they take them off, darks, lights, whites, blacks, uniform etc etc so I don't have to rummage through a laundry basket getting all the whites together.

Am totally with ninedragons batch cook something, I have an huge cooking pot and make 6 lots of chilli for 4, freeze, label, consume when you are feeling lazy. Do this on a regular basis and you will have a freezer full of food ready to go.

If I have a consent slip from school, if it is in my hand I will find a pen, give my consent, put it back in the child's bag.

Small things can make a huge difference. The 15 minute hotspot thing transformed my house a few years ago. Amazing, got to love Flylady.

SkinnyVanillaLatte Wed 18-Apr-12 14:17:57

I never watch 'real time' TV and only answer the phone when it suits me.

I use series record and the answerphone so I can do things at times that suit me.

londonlottie Wed 18-Apr-12 14:28:29

I keep my ironing board up and iron up in the utility room and now iron every load of laundry as it's dried... so no more laundry mountains growing ever bigger. Learn to fold clothes properly so even those which haven't been ironed look good when you put them on.

Buy a cheap Dymo label machine and always have a stack of folders so that all paperwork can be quickly labeled and thrown in the filing cabinet never to see the light of day again

Yes to blackboard in the kitchen, also get proficient at online food shops, they are a lifesaver.

Loving this thread grin

BoffinMum Wed 18-Apr-12 14:31:11

1. Lost property basket with a handle, where all rogue items go until claimed or returned to bedrooms/schoolbags.

2. Use a tray to set and clear tables, clear up rooms and so on, to save trips backwards and forwards.

3. Wash each child's laundry separately where possible, to facilitate processing and putting away.

sophe29 Wed 18-Apr-12 14:32:54

Ive got an app on my iPhone called Evernote. You can take pictures of important documents/ letters etc and send it to the app. You can then access this stuff anywhere, on any computer. You can also send webpages to it etc. So if you see an interesting article (or list of top tips on MN) you can just click and send it to Evernote. I love this for recipes I see. Also good to take pics of kids artwork and save for posterity, without hundreds of bits of paper cluttering up your bin fridge door! Everything is searchable so you can always find what you need! Love it

topbannana Wed 18-Apr-12 14:49:04

Ooh, must investigate this EverNote app, I am a sucker for apps, particularly those that purport to improve my organisation smile

I now have a birthday book and buy cards and gifts for the coming month (true this is not a big deal but for someone as eternally disorganised as me its a real buzz!)

School bags, sports kits, lunches etc. ready the night before.

I plan a morning of trailing about every two or three weeks. Start at the PO, vets, feed merchants, bottle bank, bank, car wash etc. A whole morning taken up but a vast amount accomplished in it (as well as a lot of money spent angry)

I try and deal with one unpleasant thing a day too, for example I have on-going issues with HMRC. Rather than spend the day tearing my hair out I make one phone call and then leave it, the next day I may write a letter and so on. Virtuous and calm in one swoop grin

ihatemycat Wed 18-Apr-12 15:02:38

Have a separate linen basket just for school uniform so that it's easy to find to do the wash rather than rooting through other washing baskets. (Handy if you're not that organised and leave it to the last minute!)

Smugfearnleyshittingstool Wed 18-Apr-12 15:04:24

Soup for tea twice week, it's easy and good for the busy, piano, beavers etc nights. We usually have a hot pudding at suppertime on those nights, bakery apply pie, not usually ho,mead as I'm not that organised!

I always put the washer on every morning at 8, and put it away at bed time, that keep the washing down.

Tidy wise, a weekly rhythm, see waldorf, really helps here, baking day is Monday, to make cakes for weeks lunchboxes, Tuesday we clean floors and do beds. Wednesday it's generally singing tots club, then we polish everywhere together, Thursday we clean bedrooms and bathrooms. Friday is shopping day. I always vac and sweep after dinner every night, and have a quick clear away when everyones in bed. Every toy has a place on the shelf or basket and as the kids all know where they belong, it's not hard to keep tidy. In theory!

AbsofAwesomeness Wed 18-Apr-12 15:47:00

for laundry, we have a basket for dark anda basket for lights which means you don't need to sort stuff before putting it in, you just shove in the basket when it's full. As soon as I'm taking laundry off the dryer it's sorted into it's "type" so hanging stuff together, folded stuff from the same cupboard/draw together. I'm also working on hanging up the laundry so the same stuff is next to each other.

I LOVE making lists, so I have about a million of them, and I'm constantly putting reminders in my phones calendar (which links to my email/google calendar) and most of the time I'll send an invite to my wrok address as well. So, if I need to call someone it then comes up on my blackberry and work thing. If I need to do any shopping type stuff during lunch, or make phone calls during lunch, the reminder is set for then.

loubielou31 Wed 18-Apr-12 16:05:58

to those of you who wash each persons washing separately have you found that you do more smaller loads of washing? Mine does seem to be on more now that I do that.
The filing one, I heard a tip once about putting all January's paper work in one folder, february the next. So each month you have a new folder and as you open the post you recycle, shred, reply or file. Put the files for this year all one box (rather like the filing one earlier in the thread I know)

littleducks Wed 18-Apr-12 16:16:12

I have dd's hairband/ribbons/clips/brush in an ikea cutlery tray (from the bargain corner grin) so I can see things that match clearly.

I have emergency chequebooks in the car and bottom of handbag for when I have to pay school a funny amount at no notice.

I buy stuff to keep in the cupboard now, after years of disorganisation, i always have spare toothpaste, washing up liquid, rice, tinned goods in the cupboard. A costco trip for these and loo roll every 3 months or so helps.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Wed 18-Apr-12 16:23:41

It was good advice though Chaos grin - I might try putting lots of paperwork together - like all bills in one box, all stuff about DCs in another etc.

You've inspired me, I'll look out for some new stickers for my presently unused box files.

This thread reminded me of this

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Wed 18-Apr-12 16:33:20

Nice story Squirrels - reminds me that even I do do quite a few things !

oohlalabonbons Wed 18-Apr-12 16:59:13

LOVE this thread - marking my spot!

Started doing the bedding in the pillowcase thing a while ago, and I get a little rush of self-satisfaction every time I open the airing cupboard!

Yy to Costco. I buy a bulk of loo roll, a big box of soap powder and a massive bag of cat food. Usually all run out around the same time, after around 10 weeks, so off I go for another job lot.

happynappies Wed 18-Apr-12 17:09:23

I buy a year's worth of birthday cards in advance. I've worked out the best way for me to do this is to spend an hour with the catalogue from my friend who sells cards, one of those franchise things, choosing individual cards for people. Sounds laborious, but when the order arrives, i scribble a small post-it with the name of the recipient on, then have all birthdays in my diary and can locate the right card for the right person quickly and it saves loads of money. Was spending about a tenner for a couple of cards in the likes of Smiths, so buying a year's supply for about forty/fifty pounds is working out really well.

happynappies Wed 18-Apr-12 17:10:10

I also look out for half-price soap powder when its on offer and order about a million boxes on my internet shop. Keeps us going for a couple of weeks or so wink

Ample Wed 18-Apr-12 17:20:42

Love this thread.
I could always be more organised.

I'm a big fan of 'don't put it down - put it away' rule and a quick look around a room to see what I can clear away is a great idea.

I keep a vac upstairs and one down. Likewise for the cleaning stuff.

Ditto on school slips/payments being done the same day and popped back into bookbag.
I have a basket for stationery and keep various size envelopes, note paper, stapler, spare pens and pencils etc in desk drawer. All in one place.

Thanks to MN I now buy all the same style school socks for dd so that I don't have to try and match pairs. This saves me a lot of time and I have started doing this with dh's socks too (colour matched toes)

We use an ex art carrycase for dd's bobbles (and keep the brush in there as well). I also keep a spare brush with a few bobbles in the car in case we need in a hurry (haven't had to yet).
I keep spare 5p 10p and 20p coins in pot in the hall (sits on a bookcase). I also try to keep some spare change in a money bag in the glove compartment - both of these have been timesavers for last minute tuck shop, or bake sale requests.

I remove frozen foods from packaging and pop them in freezer bags, label and date them. This saves space, I really can't bear a box of 16 fish fingers in the deep freeze only to find one or two in the bottom (thank you dh).

Bottom drawer in guest bedroom stores all the toiletries. If we are low on anything it's easy to see at a glance and make a note.

Ironing board is always up in the utility room.
I make sure that we have a clothes drier kept in the upstairs airing cupboard, so that the airers in the downstairs utility stay where they are.

Washing machine is put on a timer before bed, using night rate. Ready to hang out the next morning.

Every evening before bed, I make sure dd's jacket, shoes and bookbag is put together next to her chair, otherwise she time wastes in the morning 'looking' for this and that and becomes distracted.

In the mornings I set the baking timer for getting dressed, a few minutes for brushing teeth etc to combat any dilly dallying. This is new for us and it works!

Everything has a home is my motto. Sadly not dh's...or dd's, just mine.

Ample Wed 18-Apr-12 17:21:14

Sorry, overlong post.

Ample Wed 18-Apr-12 17:25:55

Birthday cards I usually buy ahead but only a few months at a time. I'm now going to buy for the year, don't know why I didn't think of that before. Thanks smile

AbsofAwesomeness Wed 18-Apr-12 17:33:23

For birthdays of family members or people where I need to post stuff, I put a reminder in my diary a week before to get the present/card and then about three days before to post it. Rather than getting to the day and being all "bollocks" and realising I hadn't sent anything.

SkinnyVanillaLatte Wed 18-Apr-12 17:39:25

Ample I'm definitely going to use your keeping a pot of change trick.
HOW many times do I not have the correct change for dinner money etc......

I keep a pretty basket in my bedroom - in it goes random clothes items that need dealing with,for example at the moment its got a dress in there thats too small for Dc's to pass on,trousers that need a name label, a top to mend,and a swimming costume for me to try on.

I have another pretty basket next to my desk with library books in,so they're mainly together when I go.

hamncheese Wed 18-Apr-12 17:52:43

Make a "Where is it?" book.

Get a plain address book and whenever you have something important you may need to find (i.e. boxes/receipts of items that may stop working/need returned) write it in the book under the letter.

Example: Our fish tank filter gave up after only a few months and I had that thing where I remembered thinking I was so smart putting the receipt in the box and putting it in a SAFE PLACE, only then couldn't remember where that safe place was. So now I would go to F in the address book and write fish filter box and the location.

Also, use a pencil as then if it needs moved you can change it.

starrychime Wed 18-Apr-12 18:01:17

Just thought of one. I put a stickly label round all the charger leads and write 'My camera', 'DS', 'Samsung phone' etc on the label and keep them all in a medium size Really Useful storage box - means no panic when phone about to run out and charger nowhere to be found!

chalat Wed 18-Apr-12 18:05:34

Get £20 in £1 coins when doing banking errands to keep in pot so DD finds her daily dinner money herself.
Small make up back in glove compartment of car with emergency sanpro supplies/wipes.
Clear zip up plastic pouch bag in handbag to contain otherwise easily lost items.
Ditto the bedding idea, I keep a spare set of bedding in each room so don't have to look far for it. (Stored under the bed works for some rooms.)
Extra bathroom supplies in bathroom/washroom cupboards.
Buy in bulk and when on offer but with caution - going overboard on the Boots 3 for 2 offers can have you stocked up for a couple of years if you're not careful! grin
That 15 minute hit does work. Dump the perfectionism and settle for improving some of the mess, more encouraging than pulling out more stuff than there is time to deal with and then getting daunted when the inevitable distraction occurs.
Try to think one step ahead, saves last minute panic.
All works. when I do it grin

raspberryroop Wed 18-Apr-12 18:26:00

Tie a brush with string to the hair bits box

Blatherskite Wed 18-Apr-12 18:27:21

I have a shopping list on the inside of a cupboard door ready to add stuff to as it gets used up. I've got an app that should let me scan barcodes and add it to my online shopping list but I always seem to forget and use paper and pencil instead.

I always have 2 sets of toiletries in the house. 1 in use and 1 spare. When the toothpaste etc runs out, we take the spare out of the cupboard and I order a new one to replace it. No more panics/smelling that way.

I also do the same job same day thing. Mondays I give the lounge a thorough clean, Tuesdays the kitchen gets an extra deep blitz etc. It stops it all getting on top of me and everything gets a good blitz at least once a week.

I've also changed the kids swimming lessons to be on the same day. It means one crazy day of going backwards and forwards to the pool and I get all the washing at once but then it's all done and dusted and I don't have to worry about it for the rest of the week.

My entire life is planned on my Outlook calendar and it's backed up to my phone with an app so I can check what we're supposed to be doing at any time anywhere.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Wed 18-Apr-12 18:36:38

Ooh, I like the tip of getting £20 in pound coins from the bank whilst you're there. I go in from time to time to pay in a cheque and will be good to use the time more effectively - and get them to do something useful for me in exchange for all the money they take off me grin

We have a pot of change for bus fares and all the mufty day/ cake sale projects but we're always running low - not surprisingly as there are endless requests I find !

Oh, here's a good one for you all - First class stamps are going up considerably very soon. Buy a year's supply or whatever you can afford next time you see an opportunity smile

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Wed 18-Apr-12 18:40:38

Or if you're loaded and want an easy investment opportunity I heard you can buy several thousand off the Post Office website I think it was smile

(sadly not an option I can pursue as too broke !)

loubielou31 Wed 18-Apr-12 18:50:29

Pay your children to do it. grin
It comes from a conversation about pocket money. A friend of mine gives her children a pound for every year of their age each week. They earn their pocket money by doing a chore a day for every year of their age. so if they're six then they's get £6 a week put must do 6 chores each day in order to earn it.
Putting away laundry or sorting out their school bags for the next day would be suitable chores I think.

OhdearNigel Wed 18-Apr-12 19:10:12

I cannot overstress how much easier "a place for everything and everything in its place" makes things.

FeakAndWeeble Wed 18-Apr-12 19:27:33

Love love love the bedding in a pillow case idea! I have never thought of this and will definitely be doing it from now on!

brafullofcrumbs Wed 18-Apr-12 19:32:56

When you're at the supermarket tills put everything on the belt in groups based on which cupboard it goes in when you get home. I do fridge/freezer, fruit and veg, dried/cupboard stuff, non-food stuff, bottles. It means when you get home you can unpack logically (and if you get fridge/freezer stuff done first and get interrupted by dc needing you you won't be met with melted ice cream at the bottom of an odd bag)

brafullofcrumbs Wed 18-Apr-12 19:34:35

Juggling - sadly stamps have already gone up

ivykaty44 Wed 18-Apr-12 19:38:38

when your at the checkout in the supermarket unpack the wrapping - this not only saves time at home but also saves bin/rubbish space and means you will not have to put the rubbish out so often.

A lot of products come with oddles and oddles of wrapping and I have never had any cashiers say a word whilst doing this - I just ask nicely if they can pop the rubbish in their bin - they seem to have one under the counter for madness like this

kellestar Wed 18-Apr-12 19:43:54

I also support the Cards and Wrapping paper stash. We have an Outlet shopping village nearby with a well known brand card shop and prices vary but was paying 67p on average for lovely cards normally priced at £2.50 plus. I saved a lot of money doing this, we have a lot of weddings and babies as well this year, so felt good stocking up. We have a drawer full of cards and wrapping papers.

I am a stasher so find it hard to get rid of fabric, yarn, ribbon, buttons etc that may come in handy at a later date [and they often do]. I do have to set myself a project just using what I already have.

My Ipod has a calendar and task list that is synched with my husbands, it's been a life saver, as we can both add things and see what we are up to. I add all things that interest me, like a jumble sale in the village or jubilee fete or such stuff.

I have a pre printed shopping list that I've laminated and using a board marker can tick what is needed.

Online Billing/Banking saves a lot of paperwork and it's stored online so you can see a copy quite easily. Less mess and not as much to store/put away.

I get rid of magazines once they are read, usually pass them onto friends or the Maternity Unit up the road. I was a terror for keeping them. Scan any interesting articles or recipes onto your computer.

Have regular clearouts of clothes/shoes/toys, either sell on eBay or charity shop.

LIttleMcF Wed 18-Apr-12 19:44:33

I love this thread.

I never leave a room/floor of house empty handed. I agree that there is always something that needs moving/chucking.

I don't have anything life-changing to add actually except my brilliant idea to buy a beautifully boxed pack of 50 cards from The Book People for a marvellous £8.99. For a year's worth of cards! And pretty much all decent ones.

Oh yes, and keep a present cupboard. I snap up bargains when I see them and I always have pressies at a moments notice. And nice wrap.

My embarrassing favourite phrase is 'sustainable storage solutions.' And storage is key to organisation for me. I love storage solutions. If someone started a dedicated Storage Solutions thread, I would lick read it daily.

starrychime Wed 18-Apr-12 19:52:29

Artwork storage idea: I got a big A3 size display book from I think Staples or something similar. It's got 20 clear pockets so you can put 2 biggish pictures back to back in each one. It cost about a fiver but I'm hoping that a few of these will help organise stuff that DD I can't bear to get rid of! They can be stored flat and don't take up much space.

I agree with chalat re going easy on the 3 for 2 from boots, I had 9 tubes of tooth paste at one point and so many tampons that when I went to buy them again after having 2 babies in 18 months I actually thought that they had stopped making lillets because I couldn't find them, the packaging had changed.

There are a few of these I do already. Also for socks, they are all kept in a draw downstairs now, no one in this house seems to put sock on upstairs in this house. Hooks are my things, lots of them under the stairs, very good for keys, reins, batteries, all the things that very young DC's like to get their hands on.

funnyperson Wed 18-Apr-12 20:34:08

1. Pretty keyholder on the wall next to the stairs so that house, bikelock and car keys go on it on the way up and never get lost. Saved hours

2. Shine the sink and do the washing up before bed. This transformed our day.

3. Pretty desk diary one page per week plus pic on the other side next to the telephone with all family doings written in by everyone and classlists/friends phone numbers. Loved the day DD's handwriting first appeared in it aged 6 yrs.

4. School bags by the door and kit for tomorrow out by the door the night before.

5. Bedlinen and towels in each person's bedroom.

6. Utilities and bank accounts filed by year. Other box files for insurance, school fees, tax returns etc.

7.Immaculate spare room with made up bed. This has been really really really useful and destresses the whole unexpected guest/crisis thing and makes me feel fantastically organised.

8. 'Put out the hot spot' fly lady thing. This works wonders.

9. Plan outings as if they are really going to happen and as if everyone will have the time and want to go.

Funny - please explain No. 8 - what do you mean?

I had a friend who took a photo of each of her dch in a passport photo booth on (or close to) their birthdays each year, so she had a record of their little faces changing as they got older. Wish I'd done that!

DownyEmerald Wed 18-Apr-12 20:39:47

I found I could never get round to that marathon putting loads of things on ebay session that was needed, so I started just putting on one or two things a week during term-time. Easy to do in an evening, and I am gradually reducing the amount of stuff in my cupboards.

racingheart Wed 18-Apr-12 20:44:18

Miranda, if I remember this right, it means spend 5 mins decluttering that place where everything gets dumped in your house. It works wonders. Sort of. (Only in our house that place is er, the whole house.)

I do this whenever I have the energy as everyone dumps on our kitchen table. I love the look of the table when it's clear and clean with just a bunch of flowers and a fruit bowl on it, instead of dirty rugby socks, home work, DH's laptop and newspapers, half eaten easter bunnies, nerf guns, friends' school jumpers, scout woggles and last night's cheese.

irememberthesilverjubilee Wed 18-Apr-12 20:49:11

Never go upstairs empty-handed !!

What is this 'hot spot' FunnyP?

Goneshopping Wed 18-Apr-12 20:58:25

I store my receipts in a card filing box like this in alphabetical order This is really useful when something breaks/needs returning.

happybubblebrain Wed 18-Apr-12 21:09:28

I have lots of spreadsheet lists that just get updated when needed such as:- holiday packing lists, Christmas card lists, present lists, shopping lists etc. Saves lots of time and I don't forget much. Some of my lists go back years.

If I run out of cling flim, kitchen foil, napkins etc I buy 3 lots to save time.

I tidy as I go.

Once a week I put bills and important things into files. But I deal with everything from school etc as soon as I get it.

I write on my hand quite often to remind myself of things I'm likely to forget.

Grockle Wed 18-Apr-12 21:10:22

Love this thread. I'm going to stock up on birthday cards for the year. Can anyone recommend somewhere to order them online?

funnyperson Wed 18-Apr-12 21:21:19

The 'hot spot' is that area of the house where junk/paper/bits and pieces/post inevitably and rapidly accumulates, often the dining table or hall table. Every house has a hot spot. Flylady recommends 'putting the hot spot out' ie taking 2 mins to get rid of it by putting the stuff in its place/binning it. Every day.

It works because after a month or so it changes the way one thinks of that sort of item and of that area in the house and is very easy to do and liberating.

cheeseandpineapple Wed 18-Apr-12 21:26:13

Fizzy lemonade, I could be that friend of yours, I put cutlery in sink and then later move to dishwasher!

I guess it's because I don't want to keep opening the dishwasher and bending down to just put one spoon in so I end up accumulating a few in the sink and then transfer in one swoop. For me it's labour saving!

funnyperson Wed 18-Apr-12 21:34:53

10. Renew prescriptions 2 weeks before they run out. Take all medicines regularly. This prevents crises and angst and saves a lot of time which would otherwise be lost being ill.

Stitchthis Wed 18-Apr-12 21:50:57

Amazon for birthday card packs. I've just discovered this ruse and it's saved me twice in the last week already!

ceeveebee Wed 18-Apr-12 21:54:11

Great thread!

Ps stamps don't go up in price until 30th April, according to the man on the post office counter today

Stitchthis Wed 18-Apr-12 21:54:30

I move all the things that don't belong in a room out to the next room, then do the same with the next room and then carry on until you get to the last room and hey presto, it's all in The right place! or at least that's the theory.

brafullofcrumbs Wed 18-Apr-12 22:00:07

Re stamps - blimey I paid almost 50p for 1st class stamp today and that's NOT the increased price shock

foolonthehill Wed 18-Apr-12 22:00:56

I have bathroom cleaner, loo stuff, rubber gloves etc. in all the loos/bathrooms which means i walk past, see the devastation that DCs have wrought and can sort it immediately (I also clean the loo with loo roll so can immediately flush away)

Never open post unless you have time to deal with it (recycle/shred/sort)

Empty school bags/packed lunch boxes the minute they are within my grasp

I seldom manage this but when I have making a loaf's (or 2) worth of ham/choc spread/cheese/salami sandwiches on Sunday eve and freezing them makes life wonderful. I also freeze mini muffins for lunchboxes..they are unfrozen by lunchtime.

have 2 sports kit drawstring bags for each child (there are many) one for indoor PE one for outdoor and wash dry and repack as soon as used ditto for swimming gear.

Always cook double or triple and freeze some in family portions and some in individuals (if you dont have enough plastic you can tip individual portions out into a large freezer bag together once frozen).

Squeegee and spray the shower immediately after use. Spray bath with watered down washing up liquid immediately and shower down (cheap and clean).

Store clothes in "outfits" rather than types (top, trousers and jumper together rather than all trousers together etc.)

Keep spare/extra things where you use them rather in separate distant storage.

Give yourself a break occasionally....being too organised/clean/sorted is exhausting!!

andired Wed 18-Apr-12 22:02:14

I really struggle with being organised, I'm terrible at remembering things so I carry a little note book and pen in my bag at all times and also have one beside the bed for ideas, emergencies, notes to self. It's now a family tradition that if anyone needs something remembering, they ask for it to be put in my note book!
I need to start doing a few of the things mentioned on this thread, like the 'hot spot'. Does it make me a bad person that that phrase pretty much describes my entire house? sad

Twigletto Wed 18-Apr-12 22:06:46

That's all just ridiculous but a highly desirable state of organisation!

chalat Wed 18-Apr-12 22:27:38

Instead of numerous tubes and tins of different shoe cleaning products, get a pot of this - a little goes a long way and it is easy to do all the leather shoes in one go. Love it.
Keep reusable shopping bags in the boot of the car and remember to take them with you. The most useful ones are the sort that fold small but it's no good have string bags if it's pouring with rain. wink

Marking place,am in woeful need of organisation...

GruffVoiceDownTheChimney Wed 18-Apr-12 22:50:02

I use Funky Pigeon to pre-order cards, you can use their reminder option for birthdays, and buy cards way in advance. They're good value, especially with the cost of stamps rocketing.

mulranno Thu 19-Apr-12 00:06:53

I divide my to do list page into headed Buy, Post, Phone, Pay, Banking, Research, Sort, and then do all phone calls or post or payments etc on one day in one go, ....was taught this at work is called "batch processing" and very time efficient rather than flitting between admin tasks.... or I do one massive long random list and then use a highlighter to prioritise just 3 things to do that day - then cross off and do again the next -- stops me feeling overwhelmed!!

Laundry is the big issue in our house -- I say that I will do a load a day but mostly I cant be arsed - and sometimes I dont mind just doing a big blitz on a sat or sunday morning

mulranno Thu 19-Apr-12 00:11:49

Also rate the "one touch" approach -- hate when I just move things along rather than completing the task as nothing has been achieved - again learnt this from work with paper work -- one touch only -- then either action now or archive now or set aside to read later - my sister was taught another "one touch system" which was do, dump or delegate!

SkinnyVanillaLatte Thu 19-Apr-12 00:52:43

Label every bag as you put into storage (loft etc) and do a master list of what is in your storage area.

Ginfox Thu 19-Apr-12 04:56:28

Little sock-clip things from Lakeland - life is too short to be spent pairing socks

Internet Sainsbugs shop - not having to drag my arse around a supermarket is completely worth the delivery charge, plus I can't browse and end up with stuff I don't need

Box at bottom of stairs for stuff to be taken up stairs (and so I don't leave stuff ON the stairs and fall over it)

Wipe-clean board behind kettle for important dates, appts, etc - cos I am a tea addict so will see my memos several times a day

Tidy as you go, and train DH to do same (ok still working on that one) smile

rudeawakening Thu 19-Apr-12 06:48:06

I do al lot of what is above too.

I bulk buy cards so I am never caught out. I also have a stash of presents in a couple of drawers for children's parties/ xmas etc. If I see a great bargain I buy it and stash it.

Bulk cook and freeze. I have very large cooking pans/ trays etc and I batch cook lasagnas/ chilli/ bolognaise sauce/ Cottage Pie/ Jamie O's passata for us and a I batch cook passata for my children made from tinned tomatoes and super veggies and freeze them in fantastic 4 ounce ice cube trays I bought from Ikea.

I bulk buy staples and household items.

I have an upstairs/ downstairs basket to collect things out of place to take and tidy upstairs and then bring things that need to be brought down.

I have a sturdy plastic wallet/ zip lock folder where I keep crayons/ stickers/ paper/ colouring paper (basically any old stuff lying around or accumulated) and I chuck this in my bag when we go out with the kids. If we are waiting anywhere (doctors/ for food in a restaurant) they love to root through the bag and sit lovely and quietly doing arts and craft.

I have a large toilet bag where I keep 3 nappies, a small pot of sudocreme, a travel wet wipes and a couple of sachets of calpol and some nap pie sacks. When I go out I chuck this in my bag.

I keep nappy sacks in my car and I keep one open/ tucked down the compartment next to the drivers seat. I collect the rubbish in here and then take it out with me and bin.

I have a plastic box next to my desk at home and I put any excess paper in it and empty out once a week.

Despite all this I still feel very disorganized.

BalloonSlayer Thu 19-Apr-12 07:10:44

I get one of those Family Organiser calendars each year but instead of using the five columns for Me, DH, DS1, DD, DS2 like you are supposed to I divide it into:

Birthdays - Morning - Afternoon - After School - Evening

Because if the DCs are doing something, then so am I really, there is no need for separate columns. Plus, I can look at the calendar from a distance and see if there is something written in the box, then that slot is not free.

The evening is almost always blank sad

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 19-Apr-12 07:57:52

Ooh, that's a good idea Balloon about the family calendar - although I still like the idea of a column each - I just wish everyone would use it, especially DH smile

javotte Thu 19-Apr-12 07:59:28

I have lots of clothes (yo-yo dieter so I have to have a wardrobe in every size between 12 and 22) and not a lot of storage space. The clothes folder board saved my life, the clothes are neatly folded and take up less space.

I have a "clutter box" in the living room (where the children play most of the time) where I quickly dump everything that's lying around. I empty it a couple of times a week, putting everything back in place.

javotte Thu 19-Apr-12 08:25:43

Oh, and I always keep a complete spare outfit for each child in the car in case they are sick.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 19-Apr-12 08:33:17

Keeping some games, maybe a scooter and a ball, a bucket and spade in summer, in the boot of the car works well too - also if you have spare ones a coat or jumper. Also sun-tan lotion ( and hats ?) in glove compartment.
We also have a bag of hats and gloves by the front door - under the coat stand.
(Our version of all this is slightly more random than it sounds !)

DonkeyTeapot Thu 19-Apr-12 09:27:29

Foolonthehill I like your idea of storing outfits together, rather than all trousers etc together.

The frozen sandwiches though, are they not horrid when you thaw them? How do you thaw them? I have memories of mum freezing bread, and it always had one wet corner. To this day, wet mushy bread makes me heave, so I only freeze bread that's going to go directly into the toaster.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 19-Apr-12 09:32:59


morethanpotatoprints Thu 19-Apr-12 09:33:43

sorry, wrong thread

festivalwidow Thu 19-Apr-12 10:00:47

Gift bags. Buying them in bulk and re-using ones we've been given has saved me ages and a lot of suppressed swearing: it takes seconds to stuff a present into a bag as opposed to the faff of wrapping. They don't take up much storage space either.

I try and use the mantra 'never go up or down stairs empty-handed' which does get the washing done and the bins emptied fairly regularly.

Yy to giftbags. Got a mass of pink ones when dd was born so im hoping theres lits of girls born around me over the next few years

emanwen Thu 19-Apr-12 11:33:18

Great stuff here, but could i please have some paperflow tips?
I am sinking under bits of paper - whoever said technology would bring us a paperless society was lying!!
Filing cabinet is on 3rd floor which doesn't help. Various in trays just overflow.
How do you deal with: brochures, little research projects of mine, school stuff, financial type ISA reports and stuff, bills, stuff i think DH should read before I put it away, things i should read later/someday/probably never/, things i need to respond to, special offer leaflets, lovely little notes the kids have written, endless lists.
How do you all tackle this stuff? Do you have kitchen paperwork storage or ruthless about getting it all up into the study area?

MrsHoarder Thu 19-Apr-12 12:05:28

emanwen we have "in trays" in the kitchen which are sorted into:
- stuff to respond to
- stuff to file
- stuff to read (someday)

Then its supposedly a weekly task to take the respond and file away to be dealt with. The stuff that needs reading otoh...

For notes etc, I have a "project display folder" which individual pieces of paper can be slid into. Then anything that wants keeping like personal notes/letters and news articles is put into there. When its full, date on the spine and onto a shelf. Ok you still have folders that aren't strictly necessary, but at least its not hundreds of loose bits of paper cluttering the kitchen.

MrsHoarder Thu 19-Apr-12 12:06:45

And time-limited leaflets/vouchers and menus for takeaways that we actually use go on a pin-board in the kitchen. Cycled out once out of date.

getting on this

Not sure if this is an "organised" tip or an indication of slatternliness but I find paper builds up in piles in the kitchen - notes from school, bills to pay etc. I keep a box file in the kitchen and throw it all in there - looks tidier than piles of scrappy paper.
Unfortunatekly at the moment I have a full box file AND piles of paper sad

GreenMamba Thu 19-Apr-12 12:10:23

And fix the kitchen pin boards inside the cupboard doors.

So much tidier!

Helenagrace Thu 19-Apr-12 12:19:57

I am a professional organiser. My top tip would be to plan, plan and then plan some more.

Meal planning is essential. I have an in use and a spare policy for everything. If you open the spare write it on the list and the shopping fairy will ensure it gets ordered. If you don't then do this then you will run out <yes husband I am looking at you>. Sorry slight "why aren't there any razor blades in the cupboard?" inspired tangent there...

I have a planning session every Sunday night (I call it the board meeting). I go through the calendar, my diary and DH's diary. I keep a file of dates that come home from school and add those in at this time. I do it whilst DH is gettting the children ready for bed. I shout up what kits are needed (swimming, guides, beavers, street dance etc) and he gets them ready and they are lined up in separate bags on coathooks inside the children's wardrobes so they can be grabbed as we go. Once I've synched everyones calendars DH and I go through the next 4-6 weeks looking for clashes and identifying who is doing school runs, guide runs, late school pick up, meals etc. That also goes on the calendar. This gives me a 4-6 week heads up if I need a babysitter / after school club / favour off another mum. We often text taxi drivers and babysitters at his time. We also open a bottle of wine and discuss where we're at with long term plans and we can discuss anything that is annoying us before it gets to the screamy hissy fit stage.

Paper work which DH needs to see goes in a file on his desk which he takes and reads on his journey to see clients (he goes on the train). He scrawls on it and I sort it out afterwards.

I run a bring forward system for the house. So, a school letter with three dates on it comes home. The dates go in the calendar. Then the piece of paper goes in the bring forward file for the first date. After that date, if it is still needed it goes in the file for the second date and so on. I have a monthly (Jan - Dec) file and a daily file (31 slots). So at the end of April I'll get out May's papers from the monthly file and allocate them to a day in the daily file. It sounds a lot of work but it actually takes 5 minutes a month. Each night I go to the daily file and takes out the next day's paper and put them on my desk to deal with the next day. It means that the letter about a school weekend trip in November with payment dates in September and October is always in the monthly file so I don't lose it and I don't have to see it for months on a noticeboard. It will appear in September when I need to do something and then I refile it in October ready for the next action. I file holiday brochures in there too. We usually book our Summer holiday in April so any useful brochures, newspaper clippings etc go in the April section. Likewise my car insurance is due in July so if I see any good deals they go in the July section. I also use this for chasing people. So if I write to HMRC and want to chase them in a fortnight I put it in a slot in a fortnights time. I don't have to remember where the paper is and the bring forward system will remind me when I have to do something. If I need it in the meantime I know it will be in the file and I can lay my hands on it is 20 seconds.

I have a pretty box on my desk which has all my projects in and I take an A4 folder, put everything in the folder relating to that project and store it in the box. It's out of the way but I know where things will be. I only use this for things which have no date attached.

Receipts go in a large envelope in the hall. At the end of the month I seal the envelope and date it, start the next envelope and file the old one. I also shred the one that is now a year old. So at the end of April I will seal April 12's envelope and file it, shred April 11's envelope and start May 12's envelope. I only do this for day to day receipts as I have a folder for bigger purchases. So a washing machine receipt goes in the folder, with its manual and guarantee and a petrol receipt goes in the envelope.

Gosh sorry mammoth post.

CarolynR Thu 19-Apr-12 12:32:39

Have somewhere you have a place where you ALWAYS keep stuff e.g. party invitations, specialist appointment cards, etc. It might be in your "intray", pinboard, calendar (if you have one with pockets) but just making sue you are consistent means that you'll know where to look.

ivykaty44 Thu 19-Apr-12 12:34:30

* Pretty keyholder on the wall next to the stairs* so that house, bikelock and car keys go on it on the way up and never get lost. Saved hours

No hide it away - if you do get broken into they can take your house car and bike lock keys - best hide away the keys out of sight

Helen I want to be that organied! Love the receipts thing. Can I hre you??

thewickedestSMinthewest Thu 19-Apr-12 12:47:17

helenagrace .... swoon Will you be my wife?

MrsHoarder Thu 19-Apr-12 12:47:47

ivykaty if someone is inside my house, looking for my car keys when I am in bed at night I would much rather they found them straight away (on a pretty keyholder next to the stairs) than came upstairs where we are sleeping and threatened us. It may make sense to hide valuables that no-one knows you own, but a burglar can see what car you have outside the house so knows you have the keys.

Of course this would only be the case if I could remember where I'd left them, let alone anyone else.

oxeye Thu 19-Apr-12 12:48:53

some great tips, but I need to sit down having read Helen's post smile

what is the 15 minute flylady tip?

I buy loads of cards at a time and rolls of wrapping paper - and lots of blanks so they will do for notes/ comments/ thank yous not just birthdays

Also, have a drawer in kitchen with large box of new batteries in and small screwdrivers for all those toy crises

thewickedestSMinthewest Thu 19-Apr-12 13:00:22

I'm with Mrshoarder - I leave our wallets, keys, laptops and phones in the hallway all neat and ready for an intruder to make away with quietly. Would far rather that than have them snopping about my house and waking my children.

BiddyPop Thu 19-Apr-12 13:20:47

I have a bank coin bag that I fill with the mixed coins larger than coppers. I usually keep this in my car (or my handbag - but it gets heavy). That's handy for the odd €1 for a trolley, small change for collecitons, PARKING METERS, or raids on the sweetie dispenser at work late in the afternoon when canteen is closed. I keep coppers seperately (DD's moneybox is a great place, or I have a couple of small stash spots for my own stash) and exchange those for "real" money every few months.

I try to keep a pack of painkillers and a pack of band-aids in my car, my desk, kitchen at all times for whatever emergencies. I have a decent first aid kit in a box which tends to live in DH's car (usually at home unless we're on a big trip, when kit might be likely to be needed) and I have some other stuff up high in our room (spares, rarely but occasionally needed things, and ends that I'm sure may be useful sometime again).

We wash lots during the week - maybe 4-5 loads per week. But I tend to set it to run while we're out and then hang (outdoors or on indoor airer) or tumble when we get in, so there's less noise annoying us. But I also tend to put dry clothes into the ironing basket until Sat evening, when they all get folded together (sometimes just me or DH, sometimes all pitch in together in front of a movie) and DH irons on a Sunday. Means we can find clean things if needed midweek but they're out of the way until the big folding job.

I have a few giftbags for recycling, but I tend to be more of a paper wrap person. So I have a few rolls of small boy, small girl, older person and plain papers suited to most occasions in my wrapping bag. Along with lots of papers that can be recycled. I need more baby paper though. I also have a stash of generic cards for aunts, uncles, grans, grandads, nieces, nephews, small friends ready to produce when needed. I also have lots of christmas wrap from sales, and I wrap from about Sept so that I can hide away things better and have more time for family fun the weeks before the big day.

(I used to have to travel a lot, and from about Oct on, I would bring 6-10 cards with me on a flight and write/address those, so by early Dec, they'd all be done and I wouldn't hvae had much pain doing them as the flights were short hops but tended to be dull - works well if you're a train commuter and can get a table seat too).

R2PeePoo Thu 19-Apr-12 13:33:23

I have one of these hanging from the ceiling by the front door. Each little section is organised into hats, scarves and gloves so when the kids decide they want a hat just as we are leaving I can just grab one. We also have a section for sunhats, sunglasses and suncream so I don't forget.

We also have a row of coat hooks up high for adult coats and another set down low for children's coats so they don't get hidden behind larger adult coats (and theoretically the kids can hang their own coats up.)

I wander around the house regularly with a couple of big reusable bags collecting dirty washing and things that are in the wrong place. Once the washing is dry it is sorted back into the resuable bags and a bag of clean clothes is dumped into each person's bedroom when it is put away later-usually by me whilst they are doing teeth and getting pyjamas on.

I bought a jute bag from the library, a big one and that is where the library books live. I make a list and put it in there and the kids know they can only take one book out of the bag at a time and then they have to show it to me to get the next one. We haven't lost a book or paid a library fine yet in 6 years and we always have the maximum out on our cards.

CointreauVersial Thu 19-Apr-12 13:34:19

I have three baskets in the living room - one for each DC. Any random object I find lying around (toys, shoes, books etc) is put into the relevant basket, and once every few days (or if the basket fills up), it is handed to the relevant child for emptying/putting away. It means I can tidy the living room quickly and any "putting away" is in one burst.

With two DDs I always make sure I buy different syles of undies/socks for the two, so I'm not always peering at labels to work out which belongs to which when I fold the laundry. Although I have now decided they can both wear the same size of tights, so those are now "communal" grin

mmmerangue Thu 19-Apr-12 13:38:03

I dream of being organised, but unfortunately whenever I clean/tidy the OH comes in and wreaks havoc - how do you organise one of them?!

BoffinMum Thu 19-Apr-12 13:41:07

I've got a lever arch file in the kitchen with all the appliance booklets in plastic wallets, and their receipts stapled to the cover.

I also have a day book with a section for all letters and information leaflets on cub scouts, a section on pets, a section on choirs, telephone numbers of plumbers and so on, that kind of thing. That lives next to the lever arch file.

I have the most fully stocked medicine cabinet in the village, to the point where even the GP has come over for things for personal use when the chemist is closed (she's a friend!)

I buy wrapping paper, presents, gift tags and cards in bulk, and store them in a special cupboard along with the scissors and sellotape I need.

I have a parking money wallet in each car, along with a very well stocked first aid kit, spare pants/nappy for younger children, a spare baby feeding bottle and long life formula, wet wipes, and a carton of long life juice per family member, in case of unexpected disaster, traffic jam, or forgetting of the changing bag.

fidelma Thu 19-Apr-12 13:47:19

I so want to be all of you !!!! LOL
Going to make myself get into the laundry now !

I find threads like this help, as it inspires shames me into actually doing something grin. So while reading this thread I've labelled the cables on my desk, and filed 6 months of paperwork. Now I'm off to shred stuff in time for tomorrow's bin/recycling day.

BoffinMum Thu 19-Apr-12 14:34:08

Also try Box of Last Resort on my blog.

Pigsinblankets Thu 19-Apr-12 15:21:21

I go to the tip (recycling centre) regularly, there's nothing like getting rid of loads of junk to make me feel cleansed!

bessie26 Thu 19-Apr-12 15:45:16

Helen I love the sound of the "bring forward" system - what do you use to store it all in?

Im mega organised but i've picked up some great tips. Def gonna start the bedding in pillowcase and tempted to sort washing in those ikea waste sorters!

I have a to do list on the fridge that also has the weeks meals on it

I meal plan and add shopping items to my iphone app shopshop.

I use an organised mum diary and work around six weeks ahead so all the may birthdays have been bought, cards written and addressed etc. im currently shopping for the june birthdays.

I use amazon discount finder/argos clearance and check it every few days, i have a set budget for birthday and xmas gifts. I have a list of every person and their amount in my diary so if i find a bargain that suits a person i'll buy it in advance. My friend is due to have baby in june and ive already got 15.00 worth of little me organic toiletries for 4.00 but i budgeted 20.00.

I batch cook. Each time i cook stews, bolognese etc i cook double and my shopping meal is cheaper by doing it that way.

I pack all bags immediately, changing bag gets refilled when i get in. Dd's welly bag for preschool is cleaned and repacked. Uniform is laid out the night before.

My dd is only 3 so not contending with hoards of kids but dh and i eat at 7.30pm and a portion plated for dd for the following day so im only cooking once.

And i shop for xmas from august!!!

CheerfulYank Thu 19-Apr-12 17:25:09

Marking place! I am hoping to become much more organized in the next year or so. smile

SanityTrowel Thu 19-Apr-12 17:26:40

Wow! So many tips I'm taking on board here.
And also coming round to the idea in making DC's work a little harder towards creating domestic order too.
I wonder how many of us have been beavering away these last couple of days at those neglected jobs because of being inspired - I know I have!

nannyl Thu 19-Apr-12 17:31:35

i have never heard of dont put it down, put it away before, but im converted

have put away a lot of stuff i would have put down today, and feel alot better for it smile

Stuntnun Thu 19-Apr-12 18:00:23

My tip would be to do one thing every day, it doesn't matter how big or small. So even if you're having a bad day and slobbing round in your PJs all day you've still accomplished something, even if it's just putting the milk bottles out or something similarly trivial. This really helps when you feel like you have a million things you have to do.

Helenagrace Thu 19-Apr-12 18:25:23

Bessie my bring forward system has two parts. Firstly, a concertina folder from a supermarket labelled January to December.

Secondly, the daily file is just a ring binder with 1-31 dividers from staples. Each section has a plastic pocket.

I keep them on a shelf and I can quickly add things into any section.

I have a reminder on my phone to prompt me to take the next day's items out of the folder. I put them on my desk so I can quickly deal with them the next day.

I have a low children's coat rack in the hall, then underneath it a basket with their shoes, and next to that a basket with one size fits all black and white socks. Noone has their own socks. And we have two different hairbrush and toothbrush pots for upstairs and downstairs.

bebemoojem Thu 19-Apr-12 18:36:22

I bought square pencil jars for the drawers in the kitchen to put rubber bands, the bog closing clips, and small scoops/spoons for medicines so I'm not rummaging around for them.

I got rid of all the odds and sods of baking bits and cooking dishes and normal dishes (like the one plate that didn't match anything else, the random glasses we get free from places). Suddenly I had loads more room in the cupboards and could organise better and of course there are fewer dishes overall means when I need to do dishes it's not LOADS of dishes.

I put (light) cleaning things on every floor hand broom, wipes, spray, duster) so I can just grab it when I need it without having to run up or down any flight of steps.

Slowly but surely clearing out clutter/unused/broken but were going to be fixed items. I just randomly pick a drawer or shelf and do a clear out... and then freecycle it so it's gone without be having to go anywhere to get rid of it.

Petrean Thu 19-Apr-12 18:39:13

Wow helenagrace... I have to say if I old my DH we'd have a weekly 'board' meeting he'd probably laugh his head off. But it is a good idea. I find I am good at organising myself and DS but my DH then throws spanners into the works by surprising me with things!

NoMoreInsomnia12 Thu 19-Apr-12 19:00:17

I wrote a timetable for myself - yes I know, a bit sad - not to schedule every hour of the week but just to see where I could find the time to clean, tidy, do the work I need to do to run my business, exercise and do my art course. I put in all the non-movable things like school run, football, dancing etc and any other commitments then worked out when I could fit in the 'flexible' stuff. Also left plenty of blanks for Mumsnetting/other activities!

Then I broke down the housework into tasks to do each time to make it more manageable.

chasingtail Thu 19-Apr-12 19:37:48

Just marking my place. Maybe I could get one of you lovely ladies to come round and sort my disgusting house out grin

whoknewthat Thu 19-Apr-12 20:34:49

Have developed a small crush on Helenagrace blush

SkinnyVanillaLatte Thu 19-Apr-12 21:15:49

I try to remember to use taking the milk bottles out as a trigger to water the plants (with the milk bottles...)

I keep an inventory of what's in the freezer, drawer by drawer stuck to the outside of the freezer. This stops me running out of things or accumulating too many packets of sausages!

I made a cardboard pocket which lives behind the calendar and all school letters and info about appointments etc go in here after being noted on calendar.

I have separate notebooks for lists e.g one for packing lists, one for Christmas and one for birthdays, parties and other celebrations. It's much easier than making lists from scratch, I can write myself useful notes ready for next time and look back and see what presents I gave in previous years.

MonkeyChicken Thu 19-Apr-12 21:53:02

Marking place. I'm very unorganised.

fidelma Thu 19-Apr-12 21:55:21

Done more paper work today. Great post.

Stitchthis Thu 19-Apr-12 22:10:31

I use my blog to keep my make lists and Christmas lists.....I find public humiliation a great incentive for action wink

juggler4 Thu 19-Apr-12 22:22:18

I have put a laundry bag in each child's room for dirty clothes, which they have learned to use, rather than the 'floor-method'. And they never got the hang of getting dirty things to the laundry area.
My amazingly organized best friend does 4 things when she gets an invitation to a wedding etc: - Writes it on calendar, - sends email to her hubby - books babysitter, - puts invitation on corkboard. I do none of the above and am usually a frantic wreck on the day of the occasion.
I have finally learned not to press play on the answerphone as i walk through the front door - even though the light is blinking frantically. There are a lot of more urgent things to do when I walk in that need immediate attention, and dealing with the message just adds to the confusion. I'll get to the message in a quiet moment when i have time to deal with it. Same applies for opening letters. Let them wait.

Tommy Thu 19-Apr-12 22:32:31

thanks for this - I am very unorganised so need lots of tips.
I do sort washing into different coloured crates - one for each DS - as soon as it comes out of the tumble drier so it's easier to put away.
Whenever I do sort something out - meal planning, paperwork etc, it always makes me feel much better so I don't know why I just don't do more of it!

skybluepearl Thu 19-Apr-12 22:42:19

I like to deligate! We have a five min tidy before we leave the house in the morning and it involves all the kids. We swoop room to room all making beds, putting pants in the washing basket, dishes in the washer etc. When I get back from the school run, I can get on with other house stuff.

Wipe clean board with lists and more lists.

Sitting down with family and discussing any issues.

Box for each person - I just throw random things into it so they can sort out later.

starrychime Thu 19-Apr-12 23:00:02

In my kitchen drawer at the side of the cutlery inset thingy I have one of the smalles Really Useful Boxes with all the window keys, spare car keys, spare house keys and various other keys - I have trained DD that if I ever say I can't find the car keys and we're in a rush then she is to say "spare set in the kitchen drawer mum" grin

sommewhereelse Fri 20-Apr-12 02:49:53

If you're a 'cutlery in the sink' first household, keep the cutlery holder of the dishwasher in the sink so you can move the whole lot in one go just before you put the machine on.

BulletProofMum Fri 20-Apr-12 11:13:32

Organise linen such that you put the duvert cover, sheets for a set inside the matching pillowcase.

Mopswerver Fri 20-Apr-12 11:18:29

Chaos that is a very good idea about the annual files...but really, we heard you the first time grin.

Haven't read whole thread so not sure if it's already been mentioned but one little thing that's really helped me is a stair basket There is always stuff that needs to go upstairs and rather than cluttering up the stairs it all sits neatly in the basket. Also takes you fewer trips upstairs as you can carry the whole lot in one go.

scottishmummy Fri 20-Apr-12 11:24:32

wall chart planner enter all events,parties,mtgs
I have a Filofax
file arranged by month for all correspondence etc
most bills on direct debit
online groceries use previous list as template
lots online stuff
pay for amazon annual next day delivery

ChippingInLovesEasterEggs Fri 20-Apr-12 12:09:34

Declutter & sort out storage. It is far easier to be organised and tidy if you have the space for it. Don't put it down, put it away is so much easier to follow (and will transform your life) IF it has a space where it belongs and you don't have to move 5 things to put it away. Putting laundry away is easy if the drawers/wardrobes have space in them and aren't crammed with clothes that are too small or just never worn.

Preprinted address labels for everyone I send Christmas cards to, I update it every year in Nov with any address changes.

Buy Christmas cards in Jan - I got about €50 worth this year for less than €5 - that's all my cards for Xmas 2012.

I keep them in an Ikea storage box with blank cards that I pick up when I see them on offer - means I always have a birthday card handy.

I must now start preprinting address labels for birthday cards too!

scottishmummy Fri 20-Apr-12 13:34:29

lay out work clothes,bag bag,accessories night before
dc clothes all laid out for week
batch cook and freeze in portions
have set reminders of birthdays to prompt week before
drawer of kids pressies and blank cards
drawer of adult pressie blank card

DonkeyTeapot Fri 20-Apr-12 13:44:24

Every time someone types "Don't put it down, put it away" I hear my mother shrieking it grin It was a regular feature of my childhood! Funny, her house is a complete tip now, and there are no children living there!

AngelDog Fri 20-Apr-12 13:50:17

I love some of these ideas.

To those who aren't naturally organised (as I presume Helenagrace must be), how do you force yourself to tidy or sit down and plan rather than MN / go to bed / lie on the sofa eating chocolate etc? I have loads of good intentions and dream up some great systems - but they never last more than a week as I just can't motivate myself to get on with things.

Delegation works really well here. I have a 2 y.o. who loves to tidy. Before bed, I go through the rooms saying, "DS, I can see books on the front room floor," and he will put them away for me. While I'm doing the washing up is another good time to get him to tidy. I'm looking forward to him being a bit bigger so he can expand his activities above floor level. grin

ninedragons Fri 20-Apr-12 14:14:58

In my bedside table, I keep a supply of things that are a PITA if they run out in the middle of the night or a particularly busy weekday morning. Most important are probably painkillers, cash, bus tickets.

Getting everyone in the household to follow the rules is probably the key to staying organised. DD is very young but knows clothes go directly into the laundry basket and towels get hung up after baths. Everybody knows that passports go back in the passport tin the very second you arrive home, even before you put your suitcases down. That was a very expensive and panicky lesson to learn the hard way.

MrsHoarder Fri 20-Apr-12 14:15:04

AngelDog I have a "payment" system. So if I fancy a cup of tea I can make myself one if I take something from the room I am in and tidy it, then spend the time the kettle takes to boil putting away or cleaning in the kitchen. If I want to put the heating on I have to take the dry laundry upstairs etc.

This gives me lots of tidying time every day.

As a couple we also have a bit of a "dance", so the person who does the first bit of a job doesn't usually have to do the next bit. THis means that sorting laundry is not an endless stream of jobs but a "put the folded laundry on the bed and leave it" for me. Then it magically leaps into the wardrobes when I'm not looking.

That and a system set up for "Don't put it down, put it away". So intrays next to where post is opened, pegs to hang coats on by the door rather than needing to take them to a cupboard etc. I prefer to mage a house that is tidily lived in than have one where its a lot of work to do anything so clutter is left across the house.

Planning is still a work in progress though!

Get these drawer tidies from Ikea and put them in your junk drawer in the kitchen.

had to stop reading thread as laughing so much at ivy 'pee and poo at work' grin grin

This guide to using Outlook is useful and pretty transferable to lots of other things as well - e.g. don't pick up anything unless you have time to deal with it - just handle it once.

Helenagrace Fri 20-Apr-12 15:42:21

angel I am, believe it or not, quite lazy. I like "me" time and I force myself to be organised because it gives me more time to do what I want to do.

Motivation can be sapped by trying to do too much at once.

Most of my clients have made the mistake many times in the past of trying to change everything all at once. So they implement a new diary, have a major clearout, switch to menu planning and start fly lady all at the same time. Then they crash and burn. I get them to slow down and do one thing at a time. It take 4-6 weeks for something to become a habit. Forming a new habit is exhausting. It's best if people can implement one change at a time. If you implemented one new thing a month and gave everyone in your family a month to get used to it you'd have changed 12 things in the space of a year.

So we start with a quick win. It might be getting everyone to put their washing in the right basket or write their appointments on the diary. Do it until everyone does it automatically then add something else.

If you do one change at a time it's much easier to motivate yourself to do it.

The pomodoro technique is also useful. Do 25 minutes or so of something tedious then reward yourself. Psychologically it helps to put a time limit on tasks you find difficult or boring.

grammar Fri 20-Apr-12 15:42:34

I HATE sewing, so when the need arises to get a button back on (and that is the sum of my sewing) I always have 2 needles already double threaded and knotted at the end, usually white and black or navy blue. Said botton, back on in seconds without having to hunt for it or look for a similar button as it's irredeemably lost. I thread on a metre at a time and reknot at the end again after finishing.

scrappydappydoo Fri 20-Apr-12 17:21:49

Helenagrace - please can you arrange it with mnhq to do a webchat or seminars or something - I want to sit at your feet and learn..

I do the pillow case thing.
I brought loads of cheap pe style bags and now every activity and person has a bag - swimming, ballet etc These get stored on hooks on the back of the understairs cupboard door. Easy to grab and go.
I have a wooden magazine file (from ikea) that all bits of paper that clutter the kitchen table get shoved in - then sorted at the end of the week.

WizzyWoo Fri 20-Apr-12 17:52:24

Hmm, aside from packing things for the next day the night before they're needed, my organisational skills seemed to be hampered by the other occupants of my house. My attempts are as follows:

1) Jot jobs that need to be done down in diary and do them when you say you will.... Reassign said jobs to different days once you have found your diary which has been awol for a week thanks to DD putting stuff in an old handbag and pretending to go to work.

2) Put all birthdays, events, nights out (ha! what are those??) on a family calendar so everyone knows what they're doing.... Put off attending to job listed in no-longer-awol-diary in favour of chastising DH for not putting on calendar the folks coming round for tea when it's just before shopping day, the cupboards are nearly bare and I've put on my slummy mummy clothes after work (which really should be chucked out but they're too damn comfy) as I thought no one would see me. Chastisement suspended when doorbell goes and panic sets in.

3) Put reminders about all important nursery/school letters about field trips or fundraisers etc in as many places as possible to stop you forgetting about them (not-so-awol diary, family calendar apparently only used by mummy, phone calendar with repeated alerts so even if it's mysteriously found its way into DS's bedroom it has a chance of being heard)... Be late for work due to humble, red-faced apologies at nursery/school when my children are the only ones not prepared for the teddy bears' picnic in their PJ's with their favourite teddy and story book - plead yet again that staff refrain from passing on important info to DH as he stuffs it in his pocket and forgets about it. Timetable further chastisement of DH after work... wink

WizzyWoo Fri 20-Apr-12 17:55:31

I should also say that helenagrace is now officially my idol and I too would like to learn her ways to organisation and enlightenment!

spendthrift Fri 20-Apr-12 18:31:47

It's books, as well as papers, with us.

How do you stop them breeding? I'm now a kindle person but dh isn't.

funnyperson Fri 20-Apr-12 18:43:48

The problem we have in our house is where to put these hundreds of files with neatly filed stuff. IKEA billy doesn't cut the mustard as too narrow for A4 box files or lever arch files or A£ art work folders.

funnyperson Fri 20-Apr-12 18:43:59


Stitchthis Fri 20-Apr-12 19:32:22

I do the pillowcase thing but put a label on it so I know if single or double. I store extra duvets in those vacuum pack bags with pillows and set of bedding do its ready when visitors arrive. We have a notebook in the kitchen to note items as they run out and keep all invitations etc on the mantelpiece

Stitchthis Fri 20-Apr-12 19:33:40

And my wine is on an automatic reorder with laithwaites!!!!!

ClaireDeTamble Fri 20-Apr-12 19:47:09

I dream of being organised but fail miserably, however, I do love reading about other people's brilliant organisational ideas in the hope that one day it will start to rub off.

I regularly read this blog Creative Organising

Aby Garvey is a professional organiser (like HelenaGrace) and there are some great tips on the blog. If you look for earlier posts in the blog there are some great ideas that she posted before she started organising professionally and are less focussed on selling her online workshops.

Might help some people. I have a long list of her ideas that I intend to implement at some point.

Vickikate Fri 20-Apr-12 20:11:01

Love some of the tips here...especially about filing stuff, just hoping I put just a few of them into practise!

Someone was asking about freezing sandwiches (sorry can't find the name of the poster)...but I do it (after my Mum used to do it for me) and the sandwiches are absolutely fine, definitely not soggy in any way...I do cheese, marmite, ham, turkey and combinations of the above! They defrost really quickly, I remember eating mine at break times sometimes if really hungry...

IAmBooyhoo Fri 20-Apr-12 21:06:14

"To those who aren't naturally organised (as I presume Helenagrace must be), how do you force yourself to tidy or sit down and plan rather than MN / go to bed / lie on the sofa eating chocolate etc? I have loads of good intentions and dream up some great systems - but they never last more than a week as I just can't motivate myself to get on with things."

this is me too.

in fact i was reading through this thread thinking, "i must get a notepad and pen and write down the tips i will use" and i will do that, with every intention of putting all these tips into practise. but they will sit in my notebook and be used as a coaster and then i will scribble over the top of teh page when i am writing down the code for the electric meter and adding up how much i will need to spend on shopping down teh side of the page and before you know it the page looks a mess and i rip it out of my notepad and bin it afetr never using any of the tips. this is teh pattern of my life. on repeat. i reallly really reeeeally want to be organised. i just never seem to be able to get a system going and stick at it.

treadonthecracks Fri 20-Apr-12 21:17:22

Link to fly lady hotspot explanation.

Apologies if duplicating this.

Helenagrace Fri 20-Apr-12 21:39:42

IAmBooyhoo just start with one thing. Visualise what a difference it will make to your life (eg "I won't lose my keys if I always put them by the phone"). Do something to remind you to do it everyday - reminder on your phone, alarm somewhere, ask someone to tell you, anything else that works. When you get the reminder spend a few seconds thinking about what a difference that thing will make (eg "I won't be late because I'm looking for my keys"), then do the thing you've decided to do. When it becomes second nature introduce another thing.

Have a dreams book where you write great ideas for things you want to change - but only do one of them at a time.

I have permission to share this so I can tell you abut a client I had who came to me after years of trying to be organised and failing. After one year she had developed and embedded the following habits:

1 getting her clothes ready the night before
2 doing a weekly on line shop
3 setting up and running a bring forward system
4 got the family to write their appointments on a calendar
5 menu planning
6 having a regular ironing session
7 one Saturday morning a month set aside as an errand slot - dry cleaning, paying the paper bill etc
8 doing a load of washing a day

She did this one step at a time. Because of these changes she saved enough time to join a choir with weekly rehearsals.

One step at a time!

IAmBooyhoo Fri 20-Apr-12 21:50:08

thank you helenagrace

washing is something i would really like to get a handle on. i would like to be doing a wash a day without thinking about it. i set my machine to come on so that it finishes just in time for breakfast to be over but somehow i never find the time to get it out before school run and when i come back i do the dishes and floors and ds2 is messing around. i always say "must get the washing out" but 9 times out of 10 it is still in teh machine at dinner time when i just bung it all in teh dryer. thsi costs a fortune and sometimes i dont even manage that.

IAmBooyhoo Fri 20-Apr-12 21:53:13

in fact just thinking about that now, i know my washing problem is caused by not leaving enough time to do it in the morning which is caused by me oversleeping which is caused by me not sleeping most nights til gone 1am. i think i need to tackle my sleeping habits first TBH if i am ever going to be succesful in getting good daytime routines in place. my tiredness is at the root of my lack of motivation. have you any suggestions for how to cure a night owl? i have always been thsi way, i can never settle down early to sleep and set a good bed time.

AngelDog Fri 20-Apr-12 21:55:17

Helenagrace, that is so inspiring. smile

You're right on doing things slowly - I always try to do things too fast - for me, doing 1 Flylady babystep per fortnight was too fast: I could keep going as long as I was concentrating on the current one, but as soon as I stopped concentrating I stopped doing it.

I find it hard to give myself 'permission' for time off - so if I work hard, I feel I'm rewarded by having more time available to work on all the other never-ending jobs. hmm I like the pomodoro technique idea.

Actually, something which does save me time is using under-bed storage boxes in the wardrobe instead of a laundry basket. Dirty washing gets 'filed' according to colour / temperature of wash (at least in theory - DH is in the course of being trained wink) so I don't have to sort through the baskets before I put a wash on.

treadonthecracks Fri 20-Apr-12 22:09:17

Iambooyhoo - could you do the washing in the evening and hang it out on an airer indoors?

Can you use your evening energy?

I do one load a day, one day lights, one day darks.

IAmBooyhoo Fri 20-Apr-12 22:19:39

i dont have any heating so drying on airers isn't an option. i'm on a pre pay meter so my electric costs the same at night as at daytime but i usually have it in teh dryer at night anyway as that is when i remember there is a wash in the machine and once dry it stays there until the following evening when i realise it's there as i'm ready to pu tthe next load in. it's not reall working for me as i end up getting frustrated that i'm having to unload the dryer to put a fresh load in. or sometimes teh washing isn't fully dried (as it finishes during the night when i'm sleeping so cant check it's dry and put it on again) so then my next load has to wait in the washing machine until teh semi dry clothes are fully dry. it's just creating a backlog and frustration. i need to be getting my wash out in teh morning so it's dry by evening and i can put away while dcs are doing teeth/getting pjs on after their bath etc. it's really down to me being able to get to sleep at a decent hour.

Helenagrace Fri 20-Apr-12 23:17:57

IAm I do my washing in the evening. If I think it's going to be dry the next day (ha ha we live near the Lake District) I fold it in a box and put it with the pegs ready to be hung out the next morning. If it's going in the dryer I put it in there at night ready for me to switch on the next morning.

My DH is a night owl. He now gets up twice a week at 5.30 for a commute to South London. He developed a wind down routine and is now asleep before midnight most days. One thing he finds helpful is no screen time after 10.30pm.

IAmBooyhoo Fri 20-Apr-12 23:30:37

i've tried the no screen time. i just replaced it with other things like hour long showers shock and painting my toenails and writing lists and knitting and reading and crosswords confused grin it is a hard habit to kick! but i need to break it. i really do. it's having a massive knock on effect on pretty much all of my life which is getting me down. it needs sorted. going to go and google ways to help me wind down of an evening. thank you for washing tips!

SkinnyVanillaLatte Fri 20-Apr-12 23:32:52

I sorted out my bedroom today so that everything is in a sensible place for the order I do things in.
Rather than to-ing and fro-ing a million times,like things are all together and organised.

I think its amazing when you actually step back and think about it,how we get used to functioning in a less than efficient environment and I found its really paid off today to make some sense of things I normally just do on auto pilot.

If you have to go to a particular place often to put things away,but its a bit tricky to get to (eg under bed drawers where you have to battle with the duvet to open them),the temptation is just to leave the stuff on the side to put away later. Far better to spend some time finding a more accessible storage place.

bessie26 Sat 21-Apr-12 00:03:56

I was always forgetting about laundry in the WM or TD, so now try to think about it 3 times a day <ugh> In the morning, when I've put the kids to bed & before I go to bed. There is nearly always some that can be moved along to the next stage (wash/dry/put away)

I try to do a load a day & have set days for doing some things (e.g. Kids bedding on Sundays) which have now become so ingrained I do them without thinking. I can strip their beds after afternoon nap & bung in WM, transfer to TD at tea-time, & it's dry by the time they are in bed.

kickassangel Sat 21-Apr-12 02:28:11

I am pretty organised about most things, except when it comes to food.

the problem is, that whether we're all going to eat at home each evening is very flexible.

dd pretty much always - she has a very limited number of foods, but is easy to cater for & I always have about 4 or 5 choices in for her.

dh sometimes doesn't eat lunch, and comes home starving, other times he has lunch out & wants nothing. he also is very unpredictable about what time he'll be home.

If I knew he wouldn't eat dinner, I'd just eat with dd & that would be it. But then he wants food.

I am actually considering just cooking for dd & I, then leaving him to buy his own food & cater for himself.

Anyway, as a result, I never really know what to buy, as I can't meal plan, as I don't know how many meals are needed.

Can I just ask - do you all have dh's who put as much time/effort into keeping the house running as you do?

funnyperson Sat 21-Apr-12 04:07:23

hot spot explanation and flylady link

funnyperson Sat 21-Apr-12 04:20:22

I dont follow flylady but I was led to the link by the good housekeeping thread on mumsnet. Most of the time I still do 'babysteps' ( ie shine my sink, put out the hotspots: I have to say I already did the wash and dress thing) as I work full time and I really think any person who follows all of flylady's guidance must spend their whole life cleaning and organising:

But just following 'babysteps' helped a lot to transform my home, and every so often I choose a 'mission' or do a '27 fling boogie', the name of which I find hilarious.

A '27 fling boogie' is when you go round a room and fling 27 things you don't want and don't use into a black bag and then get rid of the bag and its to take you no more than 5 mins. It is so doable. SOme one like me needs ideas but not too much structure to housekeeping.

mathanxiety Sat 21-Apr-12 05:01:18

Bin in each room.
Laundry basket in each room.
Complete laundry operation done every day, nothing left hanging over to the next. I always use the dryer. I find this is one thing it pays to be ruthless about.
Laundry sorted according to owner. Owner then puts away (so goes the theory).
No sock or underwear sorting -- all underwear for the DDs in one clean laundry basket and all socks in another in the bathroom.
No ironing of anything except at Christmas.
Only one set of sheets and pillowcases per bed. Washed and dried and replaced in one day. Big sheet/towel/shower curtain washes on hot once a week.

I make dinner for 5 every day there is nothing by way of leftovers that can be used. If it doesn't all get eaten that day it gets served again stretched out with a loaf of bread the next day, or it goes in lunchboxes and flasks.
Meals planned in a general way by the fortnight.
All empty cereal boxes must be placed in the recycling bin by whoever uses the last helping, and milk cartons running low left on counter so I am not bamboozled by empty boxes left back on top of the fridge and empty cartons left back inside it.
Master shopping list on fridge (dry erase board with printed list stuck to one side and everyone is welcome to mark the board if they notice something needs replacing)

Large calendar in central place with everyone's life written down.
Bill box for all bills and tax stuff and receipts for things that might need to be taken back or warranty info.
Post opened beside kitchen bin.

All loose sports gear is kept in the car (kneepads for volleyball, mouthguards, shinguards).
All sports footwear also in car, in a bag, always.
All sports uniforms must be put in sports drawer by owner. I am not responsible for lost uniforms. If you can't find it that is your problem and you can explain it to your coach. <that's you, DD4>
Box in car for school papers, but they all send e-mails so on that front life is easier.
Homework is not finished until all books and papers are back in bag and all stuff needed for school also in bag ready to go.

wrt books - I keep on buying bookcases in Ikea blush. I culled the DCs' beginning readers this year though, and donated those in good condition to school.

sommewhereelse Sat 21-Apr-12 05:12:15

kickass I think you can still plan with a DH with erratic eating patterns. I am responsible for weekday meals in this house. I expect DH to inform me in the afternoon if he isn't going to be home/hungry for the evening meal.
If I know he's going to be late, I might wait to eat with him or eat with the DCs at usual time and leave him some to microwave later.
Occasionally he's caught out by a last minute crisis at work where they all stay late and order food at the office, but the food I've made is rarely wasted.
We have leftovers meals at least once a week with whatever is hanging around in the fridge. If there isn't enough, I bulk out with soup or salad.

Vickikate Sat 21-Apr-12 05:56:19

mathanxiety - ironing only at Christmas...

flylady never mentions ironing and I just don't get it - our clothes look terrible if they haven't been ironed. Some stuff we could probably get away with, and of course I never iron underwear, pyjamas, bedding, etc but DH's shirts for work? Am I missing something? Or do you just buy clothes that don't need ironing?!

Rainydayagain Sat 21-Apr-12 06:18:11

Ironing, its about shaking clothes out before hanging to dry, then folding well or hanging. Think somepeople take out of td early to do this.
Shirts well you need ( or he) needs to iron those.

I never iron but i have a range to do it. Also sahm so don't care so much.

Rainydayagain Sat 21-Apr-12 06:29:56

My biggest tips are:
Washing two loads a day, always hung and previous days away. Never loose control of washing....ever!
Dw loaded all day, switch on in evening, emptied morning.
Bathroom swish every day and shower squeezy- amazing.

The biggest thing that changed my life is never leave a room a mess, always put things back. It makes a huge difference as you become trained to have a mega tidy house. Im training the children, husband well he's harder to break but has got way better over the years.
It only works in an organised clutter free home, so thats the first stage.

mathanxiety Sat 21-Apr-12 06:38:43

I buy clothes that don't need ironing (or dry cleaning either - too expensive in the long run) and take anything that does out of the dryer the minute it stops, then fold carefully and hang.
I always sent exH's work shirts out to be dry cleaned (very cheap in the US, something like a dollar and a few cents per shirt, but women's clothes were much more expensive for some reason) - and I don't even have that chore to see to any more. A week's worth of shirts would cost probably about $6, and with a few trousers too, the bill might come to about $12. The time I would take to wash and dry and then iron and hang up these items was worth more than $12 to me.

scrivette Sat 21-Apr-12 07:28:00

Brilliant thread.

I been doing the washing in the evening, hanging it on hangers when it comes out and most things are dry by the morning.

I always replace the water in the kettle and waterfilter after I have used it.

Whilst waiting for the kettle to boil I put away the dry washing up and wipe down surfaces. I have decided that life is too short to dry up!

BikingViking Sat 21-Apr-12 07:33:40

I never iron either - agree with pp that timing, shaking out and folding nicely is the key. Also, I think I have just one shirt, otherwise my clothes are generally non-iron. It was a priority thing - I'd rather forego stuff that needs ironing in favour of extra time to myself and less stress lazy If dh needs a shirt ironed for work, well he's a big boy and he can do it himself grin

But the definitely the biggest thing - as someone upthread mentioned - is making sure that everything has a place. Took me years after living with DH to get to that stage, but life is so much easier when you do. And yes, simplify - one folder for paperwork (I work on a similar principle with work email) etc.

anniekins Sat 21-Apr-12 08:38:47

With a husband and 2 sons, I worked out early that one day there would be a huge pile of socks and underpants that had to be sorted back into their owner's draws. So I got organised. My solution.....

One has briefs and blue socks
One has boxers and grey socks
One has trunks and black socks


Stuntnun Sat 21-Apr-12 08:56:42

Kickassangel can you make up big batches of spag bol, soup, stew etc. and then portion it out into individual containers so that you can reheat just one for you or two if you're both eating?

Also my DH is pretty good about the housework so I consider myself very lucky but as we both work 40-hour weeks and he travels a lot, we just can't keep up with the chaos.

I like the bedding in the pillow case idea and I was wondering about putting a towel in each set as well and just changing them all together.

MrsNouveauRichards Sat 21-Apr-12 09:51:06

I am not very good at getting things done. I have 2 young dcs and 2 horses so I need things to be quick and easy otherwise they get put off.

Some things that are really helpful are:

Meal planning - I can never understand how anyone can do a shop without. I can do a months worth of shopping with 2dcs in tow in 30mins.
Going to bed with a clean and tidy kitchen - doesn't always happen tbh, but if I wake up to a tidy kitchen, everything runs more smoothly the next morning.
A washload every day - again, something I struggle with, but makes a huge difference with very little effort.
Putting clothes out for the next day - makes getting out of bed easier.
Cleaning wipes - I keep some in the kitchen for wiping grotty patches off the floor, and some in the bathroom for cleaning loo, sink, floor etc.
Get up 15mins earlier - this is my new goal as I am running out of time in the mornings.

oohlalabonbons Sat 21-Apr-12 10:02:26

Like the idea of a towel in each set of bedding - we only have one towel each, which forces me to wash and dry them all in the same day!

Ambi Sat 21-Apr-12 10:09:02

I have 3 washbaskets, for whites, lights and colours, when one is full it goes downstairs to be washed.

I buy cards a month in advance, write them and have them in date order ready to be sent.

Calendar with columns is a must for me.

Keep a shopping list on my phone and add to it.

I'm fairly disorganised but muddle through best I can thanks to flylady.

Ambi Sat 21-Apr-12 10:09:35

Already do do the bedding in a pillowcase, it's v good.

funnyperson Sat 21-Apr-12 10:34:39

Our ironing used to get done at the weekend- all school uniform and work clothes for the week- the rest would be folded and put away unironed.

I have to say I had an ironing lady from the moment I had my first DC. If one works full time there are some tasks which one doesn't have the energy to do and ironing is one. Cleaning the kitchen floor and bathrooms once a week is another. As a minimum. Any DH who expects a lady to work full time and do all the cleaning and ironing needs re-educating fast in my opinion. The budget for it needs to go in the household budget. Otherwise you wont have the energy to - organise- and, more importantly, love your family.

Abitwobblynow Sat 21-Apr-12 11:02:53

This was taught me by a very manly man who had to clean his own house!

1. Ask all boys in the house to SIT DOWN whilst using the loo. This requires great tact, as the only reason men/boys stand up is to prove they are not girls. Maybe have an agreement that they can choose to stand up but they have to clean afterwards and that includes the floor. You would be amazed at how clean everything becomes and there is none of that awful loo seat up stuff...

2. 'Lavatory etiquette': 'After using the loo, please look down. IF you have created a skidmark, get some paper, wipe it down and flush away'.

These two things really work. We (4 males) are the cleanest neatest family in this area and I can always tell when visiting boys have used the lav (and they are a messy pain).

Also: iron whilst you watch telly. It turns it into a guilt-free experience! I'm not watching Noel, I'm working!! This tip was given me by my ironing lady, who promptly did herself out of a job.

15 minutes? Please explain? My house is awash with paper.

ShipsCat Sat 21-Apr-12 11:13:58

Marking my place, as I definitely need help! I am looking at this thread in awe grin

Have been lurking on this thread and it's brilliant! I already use some of the things on here, but would love my DH to use fewer hotspots! Am going to suggest to him a daily 5 minute sweep up of all his papers etc. I like to do a monthly inventory of the dry store cupboards and freezer and top up as and when. Am also a good list maker and find they do help. Also phone calendar/diary for alerts and appointments are invaluable. I'd love more space, so am always on the lookout for tips for better storage solutions apart from getting DH to chuck more stuff! We're having a baby in August and want to move over to more online deliveries for groceries etc by then.
YY to ironing on front of the TV too!

nannyl Sat 21-Apr-12 12:39:00

been reading this thread...
just been to charity shop and found a really cool receipt storer pretty folder thing for 50p... with pockets and you write on the receipts that are in the pockets.

we are about to move house (fingers crossed) so, i guess we will need to buy a fair few bits of stuff where we need to keep the receipts... and i plan to be organised and use it

The first thing to go in will be my washing machine receipt which is only a few months old, and will be coming with us.

GreatExpectations2012 Sat 21-Apr-12 12:40:25

I sit down during the weekend and review what needs to be done during the week. These items get added to my to do list (pay bills/send birthday card etc).

I have a to do list for each day that lists any job that I would not normally do (I.e. I don't put shower/feed children etc on it).

I do errands in batches so that if I'm going to the post office, I'll also buy extra stamps or envelopes etc.

We have a timer on our fridge and use these for our 5 min tidy up before school. I then use it throughout the day, for example when I think I'll just pop onto MN to check something. This ensures I'm not still on here four hours later.

Load of washing in as soon as I'm up. This is ready to go out when I get back from school.

Everything is ready the night before. Bags are packed, uniforms laid out inc underwear and shoes, homework is done and packed away. Forms are signed immediately and dates written in calendar. Anything needed for after school activities is ready and by the door.

I meal plan for the week. Even if we go off-plan, I know that I've got something for each and every meal for the week. Anything leftover is carried over to e next week.

It's still chaos 50% of the time.

IAmBooyhoo Sat 21-Apr-12 12:47:47

i have two boys and i pre-empted the future splashes when ds1 was toilet training so now i have a packet of flushable toilet wipes in a drawer beside each toilet (only 2) and they both know (ages 6 and 2) to wipe round the rim after peeing, put the wipe in the toilet and put the seat and lid back down. sometimes they forget and i remind them but they are still young so i forgive it. i think i might implement the sitting whilst peeing but how do i do that so as not to make them hate it? their dad (who doesn't live with us) would tease them about it i think. maybe i'll just leave that one actually.

also WRT washing (this is my achiles' heel) we have a gazillion towels but i try to insist we each use the same one for a week before it gets washed. i had the idea of buying us all a different coloured set so we know who owns which and then that person would be responsible for putting it in their own washing basket. the thing is, as well as each of us having our own washing basket, i laso have one in the bathroom and two (colours and whites) in the kitchen and i'm the only person who is taking care of it all. have i got too many baskets? should i take the bathroom and kitchen ones away and just tell teh dcs that their clothes will only be washed if they bring them down and out them in the machine themselves? at the minute i feel like i have washing in every room waiting to be dealt with and it never gets completely cleared.

33kns Sat 21-Apr-12 13:23:29

I have been obsessed with this thread for the past day. someone suggestes a storage silutions thread ..... i am starting one in a sec..... some fab tips on here. lets see what other udeas people have.

MushroomSoup Sat 21-Apr-12 13:47:05

OMG I love this. DH & I work full time and have 1 DD and 3 other DCs for weekends and holidays. Need all the help we can get!
But this thread has inspired me to clean out my airing cupboard!

kickassangel Sat 21-Apr-12 14:03:33

I am def going to do a folder for paperwork. I will also do a reminder page for birthdays which can then go in the folder, so that 2 weeks before I need to send a card, it appears.
Am also thinking that I can have a to do and to buy list in there.

One thing I really want to do is have a proper desk on the main floor. The study is in the basement, and it is such a faff going down there to print things out and file them. I really want the study on the main floor, but where it is now looks out over the garden, so Dh wants to keep it there.

Booyoo - yes, way too many washing baskets! grin

Just have one - or one split into 2/3 sections for lights/darks/towels etc

Failing that, jsut get rid of all of them and put everything straight in the machine grin

Britchic Sat 21-Apr-12 14:20:09

Just loving this thread! I REALLY like the idea of setting a timer for when I sit down to read the news/browse mumsnet - I can get lost here for an hour!

Something I do is a 'Functional/Aesthetically pleasing sweep'!! I read about it in a book once. The premise is that EVERYTHING that you can see (on your kitchen surfaces, your dining room table, on the sofa etc) should either be functional or aesthetically pleasing. If it's not, it must be put out of sight. So, for example in the kitchen: your kettle, toaster etc can stay because they are functional. The flowers, bowl of fruit etc can stay because they are aesthetically pleasing. But everything else goes!

So when I notice that a room is getting out of control, I stick 'F/AP sweep' on my to-do list, and if it's done regularly it only takes 5 minutes.

I do occasionally wonder out loud to my husband what I should do with him, as he's not particularly functional or aesthetically pleasing wink

sneezecakesmum Sat 21-Apr-12 14:27:41

A proper 4 drawer office filing cabinet in the office/spare room. Never lose any document again. Brilliant, best buy ever.

clippityclop Sat 21-Apr-12 15:27:38

Just spent half an hour reading this lot when I should be tackling the post-holiday ironing but reckon it's time well spent!
Already do the duvet thing, meal planning&freezing stuff. When it comes to clutter I try to stick to William Morris's philosophy and if it's not useful or beautiful dump or sell it.
I shop all year round for Christmas and note purchases in a special secret Christmas book which has been on the go for about 20 years. It has a list of our family/friends in it each year with space to note ideas and what we've bought them. Saves duplications and nice to look back on.

IAmBooyhoo Sat 21-Apr-12 16:39:28

we tried the 'no washing basket' method and ended up having washing being kicked about the floor all over the place as i dont tackle it straight away and get a back log building up on the floors grin

ok so i think what i will do is, keep the one in the bathroom as we all strip off there for showers/baths and all the towels/flannels are used in there. and tell the dcs that all their washing goes in there from now on. it also means it isn't in teh cupboard in their room where i will forget about it.

i will also keep the black one and white one in the kitchen a) because ds2 strips off at regular intervals trhoughout the day either due to wetting his pants (toilet training) or jsut because he feels like it and b) so i can just take the bathroom hamper downstairs in the morning and separate it into whites and colours in teh kitchen and whatever has the most can just go straight into teh machine.

well, that's the plan anyway. grin

Abitwobblynow Sat 21-Apr-12 16:46:20

I promise you, there are no threats to masculinity in our house. I just explained that it was less messy, had seen in done in the USA, asked if it could be done in our bathrooms. Luckily DH saw the reasoning and the boys just followed his example.

It is a complete non-issue.

SkinnyVanillaLatte Sat 21-Apr-12 17:45:36

Wipe animal bowls with a little oil after washing them up.
It helps stop any food setting like concrete on them.

I am a one for 'little kits'.A little sewing kit that's easy to get to for the most likely repairs.A little shoe cleaning kit.A power cut kit.A manicure/nail care kit......

TheTeaPig Sat 21-Apr-12 18:18:16

Meal planning and online shop and veg box shop done on a Saturday morning while I have a coffee - takes 20 mins.

Meal plan written in large planner that stays on kitchen island- so each meal is written in there for each day (dinner not breakfasts/lunches).Pinched the planner idea from LeQueen - much better than a calendar.

Envelopes,paper,stamps tucked in the back.Addresses,emergency numbers,dentist etc in the front. A spare tenner hidden in there where only I know about it grin.
Cards written in advance and tucked in on the day they need posting.
Each person writes appointments/work shedule in.
DS writes his homework in ( hes 14) and ticks it off when its done grin

Cats get flea treatment once a month- sticker placed in there to remind me to do it - also use dishwasher cleaner and do a hot empty wash - 95C on this day.
Chalk board in kitchen with daily jobs -dishwasher,wipe sink and loo with disposable wipes,vaccuum,cat litter,tidy hall etc.
I allocate jobs the night before and put initials next to it.
Have identical spare small makeup kit in car,bag,workbag.
I could go on but had better stop nowblushgrin

whoknewthat Sat 21-Apr-12 18:29:04


Don't stop, don't stop grin

These are not do much ideas as a way of life.


whoknewthat Sat 21-Apr-12 18:29:46

I didn't mean for that to be a link - it doesn't go anywhere blush

TheTeaPig Sat 21-Apr-12 18:38:00

What made me chuckle recently was that DH cleared out a cupboard of junk in the hall upstairs and made it the looroll cupboard.

He does a stock take regularily and proudly shows me how many loo rolls we have left grin

IAmBooyhoo Sat 21-Apr-12 18:38:32


no please dont stop i am loving these!

i have, as a result of this thread hoked out my magnetic dry wipe boards and markers and i have devised a 5 week meal plan based on the meals we already eat but in a random fashion. at least now we wont be eating pasta four nights in a row due to lack of imaginations.grin

londonlottie Sat 21-Apr-12 18:39:56

Teapig - what sort of planner do you use? That sounds like an excellent system <fawn> grin

TheTeaPig Sat 21-Apr-12 18:46:16

I nicked the idea from LeQueen blush
Mine is a Collins Elite executive day planner - like a largish filofax .
It was £30 ish and sits open on the relevant day.

whoknewthat Sat 21-Apr-12 18:46:23

I need to do that.

We do meal plan but what I dream of getting round to doing is coming up with 20 meals that we enjoy, then just selecting 7 on a Sunday night.

I tried the Kitchen Revolution for a while but some of the meals were weird at it was actually very expensive to do.

IAmBooyhoo Sat 21-Apr-12 18:54:04

well i just wrote down all the meals we eat and variations that i want to try that we might like. after writing them all down i sorted them all into the type of dishes they were and decided that sunday would be roast day (that one was easy grin), monday -pasta, tueday - potato dish, wednesday- soup, thursday- leftover dish/quick fix dish, friday- something and chips (saus'n'beans/burger/,meatballs/fish fingers/chicken), saturday-pizza. it wasn't hard once i had decided that TBh and we have a different dish for each of the five weeks. so bolognaise only happens once in five weeks and stew only happens once in five weeks etc.

SkinnyVanillaLatte Sat 21-Apr-12 19:19:09

I love the secret tenner idea!

I used to keep an emergency tenner,but that was for taxis or whatever if stranded or needed to get to kids or something.

But a secret tenner is a whole different deal.

Elena67 Sat 21-Apr-12 19:30:57

please can this go in Classics so we can all go back to it - I am too disorganised to write down the ideas and keep them somewhere safe!

MushroomSoup Sat 21-Apr-12 19:31:17

Talking of good organisation, on the rare occasions go out I keep a spare tenner for emergency taxi money IN MY BRA!

bessie26 Sat 21-Apr-12 19:37:30

If you poo, you scrub the loo.

DH kept claiming he "didn't realise" he had made a mess, or "forgot to look", so now there can be no excuses, it gets scrubbed EVERY time, regardless of the state it's in!

mathanxiety Sat 21-Apr-12 19:53:53

There's a book called Saving Dinner by someone associated with Flylady that has daily meals and shopping lists in it. Saw it at a friend's -- not sure if she uses it much or if it was an aspirational purchase and she ran out of steam. Looked like nice, doable meals with ingredients easy to find and laid out by season which is a healthy idea.

ChippingInLovesEasterEggs Sat 21-Apr-12 20:20:28

Booyhoo - that should make your laundry much easier!! You had wayyyy too many places for laundry to accumulate.

Whilst ThePeaPig's filofax thing sounds lovely - all you really need is a large (sort of A4 ish) book - Poundshop/Wilkos or a large diary (all cheap this time of the year!!). If you use one of these (make it large and keep it in one place!!) then you don't need a complicated filing system for bits of paper either. Just write the details in the book. So - for example, if one of the DC has a school trip write it in the 'Diary/Planner/Organiser (DPO)', if you need to pay for it but can't do it that day then write that in the DPO, if you need to get 'kit' ready, write it in the DPO. That piece of paper can then go in the file (if you are confident you have all the details written down, put it in the recycling, if not, put it in the 'paperwork dealt with' box. You don't need to keep bringing it forward if you have it written down. You just need to get into the habit of using the DPO smile

The other thing is Nike smile Just Do It don't think 'I'll put that away later'/'I'll do x later'... Just DO It, it generally only takes a minute and it's one less thing making a mess that you have to think about smile

TheTeaPig Sat 21-Apr-12 20:26:23

Arf at ThePeaPig grin

I did look at diaries/notebooks that were cheaper but I wanted all names/addresses/info to be usable each year and it also has a monthly expenditure section.
All I need to do is buy a new filofax diary insert each year.
Plus it looks naice on my kitchen island <shallow>

IAmBooyhoo Sat 21-Apr-12 20:45:33

yep chipping. there were piles of washing everwhere. and whilst i was constantly reminding the dcs to put their washing in tehir wash baskets, I was always forgetting to empty them so they were over flowing and spilling out onto teh floor of their room.

i have an A4 diary out of easons (do you have easons in england or is that irish?). it has the time in half hourly slots down the side from 8am til i 8pm which i find really handy. i also have divided each page into sections so one for what is actually happening that day. one for my 'to do' list, one for any items i have to buy that day (this isn't for my weekly grocery list as it is on the fridge, this is otehr stuff like, paint for the kitchen door), one for what money i have spent that day, and one for notes (so things like, gran's birthday or ds1's friend coming after school).

my problem is i dont look at it and use it religiously like i should. i use it for a day or two then get out of the habit. i should really sit down with it at breakfast, homework time (when the letters come in from school) and in the evening when i'm watching soaps.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Sat 21-Apr-12 20:53:36

Top thread!
DC have 2 wash baskets each, one for school uniform , other for everything else. Every wash now we put in one of those 'colour catcher' papers - they realy work, so no need to sort inot colours and whited, unless -eg white sports gear needs stain remover/bleach.

redglow Sat 21-Apr-12 21:07:49

I line the bin with five bin liners, it saves having to put a new one on every time. I always pick up a baby wipe when the phone rings and wipe down the dado rail or skirting board or plugs and light switches.

SilverSky Sat 21-Apr-12 21:30:41

Brilliant thread!

I've already upped my game recently - taking out the recycling and not leaving it on the kitchen side to pile up.

Tomorrow I'm going to sort through DS's toys in the lounge. Stuff everywhere and bits & pieces all mixed in together.

Tonight whilst I'm watching the tv I'm gonna sort my handbag and DS nursery bag. I've loaded the wm ready for the morning.

I'm following the don't put it down put it away mantra and to not leave a room without taking/moving something.

Any tips on cooking for one? Lots of recipes are for 4 and it bamboozles me.

I have also made a list of things to buy! Eg storage!

I'm also going to buy scissors and dog out the trillion rolls of tape and sort out the wrapping paper storage and add birthday cards too. Whenever we buy paper we seem to buy tape!! hmm

We now have store cupboard list of all the herbs, spices, pasta, noodles, cooking sauces and mix. I'm hoping this will stop overspending or duplicating purchases!!

Loving all the ideas and suggestions! grin

We direct debit EVERYTHING possible, never any bills to pay and a regular nice surprise if we have overpaid something.

I have the big book of everything, which is a monster diary that everything, invitations, appointmnet slips, cat worming due, everything..gets written in or stuck in and is consulted several times every day.

Never ever ever pair socks. There is a communal sock drawer and if people want matching socks, they can fish a pair out for themselves.

I am a great one for giving stuff to the charity shop. The trick is to find one that is park-outside-able and take a bag in most weeks.

Oxfam do nice cards for about 99p, I buy 30 at a time of various sorts and keep them in a card basket with folded wrapping paper, Sellotape, scissors and a pen.

The trick with all tidying and organizing is Similar things go together. All books in our house, DCs, ours, old, new, big small ALL live in one room. They can be taken out for reading, but that is where they always go back to. All socks live in the same drawer (see above).

I would love some help with making me actually PUT things on eBay. I don't know why I find it so hard to get motivated to do it. Also need help with taking stuff to the tip, it is heavy and awkward and the tip is MILES away. Can't get myself motivated to do it.

SkinnyVanillaLatte Sat 21-Apr-12 21:48:35

redglow I am definitely going to take on board the baby wipe while on the phone tip.Having just spent 57 mins on the phone that'd been an excellent double up on time!

Has anyone got any top tips on floors that need cleaning a lot (washing/mopping as opposed to sweeping) without having to keep a wet mop indoors at all times or going through dozens of cleaning wipes?

IAmBooyhoo Sat 21-Apr-12 21:55:22

ooh i would like to know that aswell wrt floors skinny. my floors look dirty as soon as i wash them.

well this evening i emptied out the cupboard in the kitchen that housed all the DCs' crafty stuff and a select few toys. it was a tip and no-one could ever find anything so i have sorted it all out and binned all broken and no longer usable (pieces missing) toys. it's now all neat and ordered. pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers, sharpeners, crayons and chalks all in separate jars/tubs. paper in a basket instead of loose in the shelf and toys in a small rhino tub that fits in the cupboard isntead of just shoved in. it looks great! grin

MushroomSoup Sat 21-Apr-12 22:00:39

Ooh Skinny - I have wooden floors throughout plus 4 kids and a bloody dirty fat dog so my floors are a mess. I just bought a £30 steam mop from Argos (reduced to £20) which is fab. Quick sweep and spot cleaning with a cloth for a couple of days and then a Hoover and steam when needed. Takes no longer than a sweep and dries instantly. The 'pads' from the steam mop go in the washer. Has saved loads of time and house looks dead clean!

redglow Sat 21-Apr-12 22:00:45

Skinny always clean the taps when on the phone too it's a really fiddly job that you can do one handed.

SkinnyVanillaLatte Sat 21-Apr-12 22:04:45

Mushroom that sounds like the answer to my prayers!

redglow,good idea.Really I suppose anything that just needs one hand,but possibly ideally something that you may not necessarily get round to otherwise, would suit,I suppose!

skirt Sat 21-Apr-12 22:10:01

keys on rack by front door.

MushroomSoup Sat 21-Apr-12 22:13:38

Shoes and coats always always always in the same place. No running around in the mornings searching!

mathanxiety Sat 21-Apr-12 22:27:18

Redglow, your multiple binliner idea is wonderful!

I keep various things in my pantry cupboard on shelves in separate small cardboard boxes (no room on counter for racks). There is a baking box that contains all the spices, bicarbonate, etc, that I use for baking, a dinner herbs and spices box with things I use for dinner, a box with packets of jelly and instant mixes, lemsip etc., and one with things I seldom use like birthday candles, seasonal decorating sprinkles. I take out the whole box when baking or cooking dinner and put it all back when I'm finished. Small containers of things like ground nutmeg don't get misplaced when the DCs cook something because they go back in the right box. I hate wasting time looking for things I know I have or going out and buying something I thought I had run out of only to find it was simply in the wrong place or whatever shelf someone could reach.

DonkeyTeapot Sat 21-Apr-12 23:07:54

I do multiple bin liners too! Except I use carrier bags, because the bins are all small, so they get full quickly and don't have time to get stinky. We don't have a kitchen bin, just a carrier bag on the door handle, so that goes out most days. (I try to remember to re-use my carrier bags at the supermarket, I manage it about 50% of the time, but we still end up with millions.)

I also tear up junk mail that's blank on the back into quarters, and it has a place where it lives, which is next to the pen pot, so whenever I need to start a list I have a piece of paper and pen handy.

In the last couple of months I have been making sure I do the washing up twice a day - after lunch, and then there's only cooking & dinner stuff to wash - I do that whilst DP is putting DD to bed. That's now become a habit, which I am glad about, because it means that I get up to a nice tidy kitchen every day. (I don't shine my sink though. I wipe round it, that's clean enough for me.)

I have been thinking about getting a page a day diary to plan housework tasks, but I already had a blank A4 notebook so am using that. Each evening I write in it what I'd like to do the following day, and tick off the things I have got done that day, as well as writing in anything that I did which I hadn't planned, eg sweep the porch, which never occurred to me until this week. So when I look at it, I can see at a glance how long it is since I changed the bed, etc. (I haven't yet managed to implement a same-day-every-week habit - I'm working on that.)

marriedinwhite Sat 21-Apr-12 23:35:27

My tips are not to procrastinate, ie, deal with things straight away.
Everything ready the night before
All School uniform ready by Sunday evening
Always be ready to leave with time to spare
Have an emergency stationery drawer (lined paper, roller ball pen, pritt stick, pencil, protractor, ruler, etc)

Love the suggestion about the bed linen in the pillow case. I will be doing that from now on.

Jinsei Sat 21-Apr-12 23:40:09

Fab thread! smile

kickassangel Sun 22-Apr-12 00:50:12

keep a cool box or one of those insulated bags in the back of the car - then when you buy cold/frozen food, you have time to do some other jobs on the way home, if you need to.

Firebird20 Sun 22-Apr-12 02:54:05

Javotte-what is a clothes folder board?

SilverSky Sun 22-Apr-12 07:39:35

I'm getting into the habit (sad I know) of getting showered and dressed as soon as I get up and doing the same for DS otherwise end up still in our pjs mid morning and I've done nothing whereas if I'm dressed I feel I should crack on and do something.

I can't stick to doing the same thing on a particular day either. Wish I could but it never happens!

I've been meaning to dust our bedroom since Monday and it's still not happened! Will do it today. <determined face>

SocietyClowns Sun 22-Apr-12 09:43:30

About to reorganise our duvet covers and put things in pillow cases, although it will confuse the hell out of dh grin (Not that he is in the habit of making beds hmm). Great thread!

whoknewthat Sun 22-Apr-12 10:36:16

Can someone invent me a laundry system.

Me, DH, ds1 (6) and ds2 (3).

We have tumble dryer in our en suite so can't run it overnight and I don't like it being on when I'm out during the day in case house burbs down blush

It's the putting away that loses me. I sort but then they've gone to bed and I can't put away. So it stays on my bed into bedtime, then gets moved and then gets left/ unsorted blush

I feel like if I could get into a rhythm everything would be OK.

Helenagrace Sun 22-Apr-12 10:43:47

I use the home routine app on my iPhone as my checklist for household stuff.

I use pocket informant for all my projects and work to do lists. I run DH's company, plus my own division of his company and also have my own company. I'm also a school governor and a volunteer mediator. All of these have their own sections with a to do list for each. They are colour coded and I can see them as one big list or broken down by company. It's not cheap to download but it's the best app I've seen for diary and to do list management.

Something that saves me a few minutes is a kettle in our bedroom. We keep coffee in our room and take up two insulated mugs with milk in each night. The first one up makes coffee and we drink it as we get ready.

whoknewthat, I put laundry away during the day, whilst DS plays upstairs. It only takes 5-10 mins (I wash every other day so there's never a massive load to put away) and he plays quite happily for 10 mins whilst I do that.

Alicadabra Sun 22-Apr-12 11:08:05

My mother had a '70s book called "Sidetracked Home Executives" which some people swear by (just look at the reviews on Amazon). Personally, I found it alarmingly chauvenist (at one point one of the writers recalls how her husband told her "I didn't think you loved me because the house was such chaos" shock) but it did have some good tips, including a note-card system for getting organised which sounds quite a lot like the 'bring forward' system mentioned by others on here.

My favourite tips:

* Keep a set of cleaning things on each floor or in the room where they get used

* Time how long jobs take (especially the ones you don't like, eg cleaning the loo). It's often less than you think. That means that when you've got, say, 8 minutes before you need to leave the house you can say "Ok, which job takes less than 8 minutes?" and get it done.

* Work out (A) all the jobs that need to be done in, say, an average month, how often you'd (ideally) like them to be done, and how long they take. Then work out (B) how much time you would actually have available to do them. If B won't fit into A, then you're fighting a losing battle. Admit it and work out how to deal with it, eg. cut down how often you do stuff, get the rest of the family to help or pay someone to do some of it - ideally the most time-consuming bits.

r3dh3d Sun 22-Apr-12 11:17:31

whoknewthat, I sort into piles according to which room it goes in, and leave each person's pile of folded clothes outside their bedroom door. Within the pile it's sorted by which drawer it goes in, so in the morning I pick up the pile as I go in, open the curtains and chuck stuff in the relevant drawers as I goad the reluctant offspring into life. Takes seconds.

Pannacotta Sun 22-Apr-12 11:35:04

whoknew I struggle with this too.
Perhaps having a labelled basket for each person for clean washing is the answer.
Then you could sort the dry laundry at night as you do, put it into each person's basket and then put it away as and when you get the chance.

SocietyClowns Sun 22-Apr-12 11:41:49

I used Ikea bags, the large blue ones, to sort washing that goes in the machine and also to tidy folded washing away. Just about starting to get dd1 who's nearly 5 to sort her own clothes back into her drawers, so I just leave the blue bag on her bed with her stuff in. (Her clothes drawers look like a bomb has hit them because she changes several times a day, so it does not matter if she puts things in neatly as long as they are roughly in the right drawer for her to find again... Thank God for school uniforms cutting down her choice in the week! )

Al0uise Sun 22-Apr-12 11:45:10

Keep an extension lead with your vacuum cleaner, plug it in somewhere central and vacuum a far greater area and more than one room at a time.

My utility room is too small for an ironing board to be kept assembled so I keep it ready to go in the spare room and iron up there.

Hooks on the back of every bedroom and bathroom door.

oohlalabonbons Sun 22-Apr-12 12:47:56

I need to find a place for cleaning hings upstairs where DD can't reach it! Maybe the top shelf of the airing cupboard (must clear out airing cupboard - again!).

blue2 Sun 22-Apr-12 14:13:46

I set the alarm on my iphone to remind me at 9pm every Tuesday night to put out the rubbish.

I can cope with the non collection of recycling, but when the "real" rubbish collection gets missed, its a pants job to get it to the nearest tip.

Flylady evolved her system from the Sidetracked Home Executives stuff I believe.
Whilst reading updates to this thread since lunch, I've put half a dozen photos of the DDs into the frames which have been hanging about for a lot of years while and displayed them on the now-cleared top of the bookshelves. Plus I've sorted out another handful of paperwork in the box next to my desk which wasn't obvious need-to-file-cos-it's-bill stuff, but still needed going through to see what it actually was.

I'll be back tomorrow for another boot up the arse, so I'll need some updates from you all wink

IAmBooyhoo Sun 22-Apr-12 14:53:52

i've decided that tonight i'm going to shine my sink and set out tomorrows clothes.

also, does anyone have any advice for this situation. at the weekends we dont have school to get up for and my dcs sleep on a bit longer, usually. so i do too. i have a stairgate on their bedroom dooe but ds1 is 6 and can open it and they sneak down to the kitchen to watch dvds whilst i am still sleeping, only sometimes they get into the food cupboard and they wreak havoc. it doesn't happen every weekend but when it does it really upsets me and i end up shouting and making them clean it but of course they can't clean it right so i have to do it again and i get in really bad form resenting having to do this. it's things like cereal, washing up liquid, laundry powder, flour etc all over the floor and they seem to use loads of dishes and mix lots of stuff up too. i've stopped buying flour and snack foods so they can't waste those and make a mess but there is still teh rest. this morning it was branflakes. they promise me everytime not to come down again. they know to stay in tehir room untik i come and get them (and it's never a big lie in maybe only til 9am or 9.30) and ds1 promises not to open the stairgate of tehir room but it keeps happening. i dont want to put locks on the kitchen and bathroom doors incase we need to get out in an emrgency and we are also moving in a couple of months so dont want to put cupboard locks on. any suggestions? i have my food cupboard down to teh bare essentials so there isn't as much to mess with but obviously i need to keep cereals in there.

BeachBlue Sun 22-Apr-12 15:05:49

Powder makeup. I use bear minerals, its quick to do and you can put it on without a mirror as you're walking around the house, in the car at traffic lights etc

I never JUST watch the Telly, but do the ironing, sort paperwork, do my nails, do routine preparation for work, dust, etc etc. I feel guilty if I JUST sit down to do nothing at all

AngelDog Sun 22-Apr-12 15:34:05

Helenagrace, I've been inspired by your receipts in envelopes ideas and have dealt with a backlog of unsorted receipts by stuffing them all into an envelope. smile One quick question - do you have an industrial strength shredder? Our shredder can only take a max of 5 sheets at a time, and I don't think it's going to be able to cope with the envelope and a whole month worth's of receipts inside.

kickassangel Sun 22-Apr-12 15:40:45

booyhoo the problem is not what you keep in your cupboards, but your kids messing around..

IF your ds is able to open the gate & does so, is there much point in it being there? I think you need to work out what will stop your children from acting like this. Are they going through the cupboards for something to eat, or as a game? If it's a game, find some other source of entertainment that they are allowed to play with, and have it out ready, OR there will be dire consequences.

If they are looking for food, then leave out something they are allowed to help themselves to, with dire consequences if they touch the cupboards.

you could also put those child proof catches on the cupboard itself.

fwiw, don't know how old your younger ds is, but 9 sounds quite late - I rarely get that long & dd is now 8.

IAmBooyhoo Sun 22-Apr-12 15:50:59

ds2 is 2 (3 in may). during the week they wake at 8am so 9 or 9.30 isn't that much later for them at the weekends.

i will try leaving food out for them that they are allowed to eat. i dont think the childproof catches would work as ds1 knows how to open them.

Grockle Sun 22-Apr-12 16:05:45

Booyhoo, how old are the DC? My 6 yr old gets up and, on a weekend, he'll pop his head in to see if I'm asleep, kisses my head smile then goes back to his room to play or sneaks downstairs to watch cbeebies (he is allowed to). He never helps himself to food but on the odd occasion that I sleep in (til 8.30 - that's a lie-in in our house) and he's hungry, he comes back up to ask me for breakfast.

IAmBooyhoo Sun 22-Apr-12 16:11:31

ds1 is 6 and ds2 is 3 next month. what you describe is what i have told ds1 to do and he promises to do it. some mornings he will come in and tell me he is awake and go back to his room but then sneak down. he is so quiet i dont hear him unless he makes a noise down in the kitchen or unless i get up and see he isn't in his room. sometimes i have caught them sneaking down and ds1 will be saying things like "shh, dont wake mummy" do he knows he isn't allowed to do it. i jsut dont know how to get him to stop. he has asked me for a tv and dvd player in his room and part of me thinks it might make them stay there in the mornings but i dont want to do that. i think they are too young for a tv in there. they have a cd player and loads of books and toys, dressing up clothes etc. maybe i should move the tv up there?

Grockle Sun 22-Apr-12 16:17:02

I wouldn't give a 6 yr old and Tv and DVD in their room. I think if you can't trust them to get up and play in their rooms & not raid the kitchen, they need to be supervised & you'll have to get up earlier. When DS was younger, he'd come into my room and we'd put the tv on so he could watch cartoons & I'd have an extra ten mins to snooze.

IAmBooyhoo Sun 22-Apr-12 16:19:44

i've just asked ds1 why he comes down in the mornings and he said it is to get himself breakfast. i dont think it is jst taht though, i think he wants to watch dvds too. yes you are right i cant afford to have lie-ins if he's going to keep doing this.

Grockle Sun 22-Apr-12 16:27:43

He'll grow out of it! It's only temporary. Nightmare, I know. I am very grateful that I can now have a restful morning every now and then!

I must tackle my ironing pile!

sommewhereelse Sun 22-Apr-12 16:28:03

whoknewthat If I haven't had time before, I put the DCs clothes away while they are asleep just before I go to bed. I can see enough by the landing light. But usually I do it when they are brushing their teeth. The house is small so I can hear if proper brushing is taking place as I put away the clothes!

Helenagrace Sun 22-Apr-12 16:49:01

angel I have a cheap shredder so I just open the envelope and shove the receipts through a few at a time. Sometimes the DCs do it for a bit of extra pocket money.

AngelDog Sun 22-Apr-12 16:53:29

Thanks, Helena - that makes sense. My receipt-dumping hotspot looks much tidier now! smile

moomoo1967 Sun 22-Apr-12 17:04:35

this website I have found invaluable it has various printables such as meal planners, shopping lists, jobs to do etc.
Also freezer and store cupboard inventory lists which I bluetac to the inside of the cupboards for dried/tinned goods and pinned to each freezer. This makes it so much easier to meal plan therefore saving time and money

SocietyClowns Sun 22-Apr-12 18:29:23

booyhoo could you appeal to his pride? Put him in charge of providing breakfast for himself and his younger brother because he is the older responsible one? Leave out two or so cereal boxes for them to choose from and put him in charge of getting bowls and milk from the fridge, then tidy up by putting bowl in sink or dishwasher when they are done? With some sort of reward system in place for good sensible behaviour?
No idea if this works but I am hoping to 'train' dd1 to do this for her sister in a year or so (they are nearly 5 and 2) grin so I can have a few more minutes in bed.

Grockle Sun 22-Apr-12 18:45:20

My DS does that occasionally - if I leave everything out, he can get his own breakfast & LOVES it. I feel like a lazy mother but he really looks forward to making his own breakfast.

Helenagrace Sun 22-Apr-12 18:54:14

I've trained my children to use checklists. Each child has a laminated evening checklist with everything they need to do before there is any TV time. Before they could read they had picture checklists. It makes it easier for babysitters and cuts down on arguments and interruptions because they can just refer to their chart.

My 10yo is dyspraxic and struggles with organising herself. The checklists have really helped her and she's just started using a weekly planner sheet too. we've written down when her swimming, dance, cello, recorder and athletics lessons are and she's put the relevant kit on the previous day's preparation column.

Chartjungle is good for printable charts.

We also have the 50p tidiest bedroom competition every morning. This and 10p a day for being ready by 7.15 in the morning is all the pocket money they get.

IAmBooyhoo Sun 22-Apr-12 18:59:34

thats a great idea!! i think he would like to be rewarded for doing it. thinking about it now, i can see that the vast majority of my cleaning, is cleaning up after the dcs when it is things tehy could have done themselves in the first place. i'm going to work on getting them to take more responsibility in teh first place i think.

BoffinMum Sun 22-Apr-12 20:48:22

Iamboohyou, try setting out a little breakfast tray for your girls with some cartons of drink, croissants/pains au chocolat, and little yoghurts in tubes, things like that, plus a comic each, and say they can have that as long as they leave the rest of the kitchen alone.

PeppermintCreams Sun 22-Apr-12 21:09:19

Kickassangel - I have a similar partner, who comes home from a late shift and then decides to tell me that the canteen was shut or is there any food on the days that I've planned leftovers for me and the boy! I keep chilli con carne in the freezer and microwave packets of rice for those days. If he gives me a bit of notice (like a phone call on the way home!) I can chuck the bag of chilli in a bowl of water to help it defrost quicker. Otherwise it just goes in the saucepan on low until it defrosts and then I heat it up. And cook the packet of rice.

sayanything Sun 22-Apr-12 21:22:50

I'm the world's most disorganised person, so I have nothing to add to this thread except a huge thank you. My poor DH is super organised and barely puts up with me, so this treasure chest of tips may help me avoid getting divorced.

MushroomSoup Sun 22-Apr-12 21:58:37

I have literally reorganised my house from top to bottom this weekend because of this thread! New laundry system up and running (so much simpler!), cupboards sorted and so much shit junk binned, bathroom shelves adjusted to fit in a bin, storage boxes bought and organised.
I'm now in the bath with the iPhone & a bloody big small Baileys.
Go ME!

mushroom you must feel brilliant!

nannyl Sun 22-Apr-12 22:21:45

well done mushroom

IAmBooyhoo Sun 22-Apr-12 22:48:26

yay!! go mushroom.

you have inspired me to make this my declutter week. i have been intending to do it for ages and always put it off or never feel like doing it so i shall start tomorrow. i expect you all up bright and early with your pointy sticks grin

just realised about 10 minutes ago that ds didn't have a clean jumper for school tomorrow so had to go and dig it out of his washing pile and put on a load of washing. i really need to get myself sorted. cant be doing with thsi every sundday night.

BoffinMum Sun 22-Apr-12 22:51:06

Rispeck to da Mushroom, sistas. grin

SocietyClowns Mon 23-Apr-12 10:46:59

mushroom I am [envious]. I did not even get round to the duvet covers... (Procrastinator extraordinaire, moi)

SocietyClowns Mon 23-Apr-12 10:47:19

oops envy

sassy34264 Mon 23-Apr-12 11:52:23

im massively unorganised. i have 4kids, and 3 are under 2 years old.

it would take more than an whole weekend to sort my house out (if i could even find the energy).
as someone said before- myvwhole house is a hotspot. blush

but i have made a start.
i took on helen's idea of not implementing too many at the start. (well that's the excuse!)

i have wrote down 2 general ones for myself, dp and dd1 to follow-
no going up or down stairs empty ended. (punishment if we forget, is to go back upstairs, with something- to get something) grin
and the 15 min blitz is brill for after the 3 younger ones are in bed.

for me, i have allocated a room to a day (today is bathroom) and i thought the idea to put clothes in outfits was genius!!!!
spent a good few hours yesterday, ironing, going through all kids clothes, sorting into, too big, too small etc and then put them in outfits on 1 hanger. (100's of hangers spare and twice as much room in the wardrobe)

came downstairs proud of myself and told dp .
me- ive just sorted kids clothes into outfits.
dp- <looks blank>
me- well, if i ever have to go into hospital, you'll be able to dress them all
dp- yeah, cos if you end up in hospital, that will be my number 1 priority - how to fashion the children.

hmm he has a point! grin

welliesundermeballgoon Mon 23-Apr-12 12:36:35

Some brilliant ideas on here!

I struggle with what to do with shoes, we have a massive box on landing full and also loads under the stairs. I have toyed with putting a door on under the stairs so I just can't see them, but that seems to defeat the object!

We are also woefully short on storage in this house, but I just don't know where we'd fit more storage solutions. Did the poster further up ever start the storage solutions thread?

these are my organisation tip. Brilliant for flour, porridge, rice etc. Stack neatly rather than half bags everywhere, and really handy having the scoop attached!

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Mon 23-Apr-12 13:09:28

wellies if you put a door on you could hang a shoe rack inside it! One of my life-transforming bits of kit, all kinds are available but I think mine came from Argos; it's a metal one.

Pannacotta Mon 23-Apr-12 13:12:05

Out of interest what you do you all transport your dirty/clean washing around in?
I have been using some cheapo zip-up plastic laundry bags but they are falling apart and shedding bits of plastic.
Am looking for something a bit prettier which will inspire me to keep on top of the laundry...

SilverSky Mon 23-Apr-12 13:21:51

Ikea bags or those fold down crates.

welliesundermeballgoon Mon 23-Apr-12 13:24:10

LieIns, I'll have a look in Argos, thanks!

Pannacotta- Matalan have some lovely laundry box bag things with a rope handle, They are canvassy hang on I'll see if I can find a link These, I like stripey ones

welliesundermeballgoon Mon 23-Apr-12 13:27:30

try again! there are others if you just do a search on the Matalan website for laundry bags

MrsHoarder Mon 23-Apr-12 13:33:19

Ikea bags. I don't want anything pretty to keep washing that's supposed to be being moved in: I want the incentive to be to get the washing dealt with and the bag tidied away.

They're fairly robust and about the right size for a machine full of stuff.

SocietyClowns Mon 23-Apr-12 14:08:49

MrsHoarder - agree, Ikea bags are exactly the right size for a wash load and can easily be carried around the house. I also use them and it gives me an incentive to tidy things away so I can shove the bags back under the bed where they live the rest of the time.

lagartija Mon 23-Apr-12 14:19:01

we have a wipe clean noticeboard behind the kitchen door. Every time something runs out it gets written up, so we don't have to make a shopping list from scratch.

Pannacotta Mon 23-Apr-12 14:20:52

Thats a good point re hiding the bags away. I leave mine laying around they look awful but instead of getting prettier bags I just need to hide mine out of sight!
Yours do look nice though wellies, thanks for the link.

agendabender Mon 23-Apr-12 14:30:39

Thanks ladies! We're moving next week so looking forward to enacting some of these ideas in our fresh start. I'm dyspraxic myself so really struggle with organisation and tidiness but I find putting little rules and timetables together for myself really helps.

CointreauVersial Mon 23-Apr-12 18:11:01

I use those collapsible crates for laundry. I have two laundry days per week, one midweek, one at the weekend, doing 3-4 loads each time.

I collect the laundry together in a vast pile, sort it into colour loads, and put each load into a crate. These are then stacked above the machine, and washed one by one.

Meanwhile, I take the (now dry) laundry from the previous wash-day off the drying rack, fold it, and sort it by family member as I go. Everyone gets a crate of clean laundry to put away, the new wash-loads are hung on the now-empty rack, and the crates are folded away. (In the summer, the washes are done in the evening, then the wet washing folded up in the crates ready to be hung on the line first thing the following morning).

I prefer to keep laundry to two days so I'm not constantly draped in wet washing.

Grockle Mon 23-Apr-12 18:26:13

Shoes: we have 1 pair each behind the front door - I'm strict about it! weekdays it is school shoes & on weekends, something else. All other shoes must be put away upstairs - DS has a shoe drawer & I have clear boxes from Ikea, all stacked so I can find what I want fairly easily.

We use folding crates for laundry too - they fit down the side of the washing machine when not in use.

Pannacotta Mon 23-Apr-12 19:10:55

Where do the laundry crates come from?
Cointreau I like your method, muct be nice not to have a constant stream of washing.
I do a wash most days so there is always laundry draped around the house getting dry...

Grockle Mon 23-Apr-12 19:22:36

Collapsible crates you can buy everywhere - Tesco, B&Q, Wilkos etc

MushroomSoup Mon 23-Apr-12 20:36:38

Yes there IS a storage thread. Very useful!

augustajones Mon 23-Apr-12 20:38:44

I'm liking the collapsible crate idea for the washing!

I use one of these to store my earrings.

I use one of these to store batteries, stamps, rubber bands, staples, paperclips, rubbers, pencil sharpeners, etc. in the drawer.

DillyTante Mon 23-Apr-12 21:01:46

Bookmarking to read later

Stitchthis Mon 23-Apr-12 22:18:53

Any ideas for organising craft spaces? Sewing/ knitting stuff...drowning...

marriedinwhite Tue 24-Apr-12 07:11:02

For sewing you need a proper sewing box. I have a big grey plastic one with lots of compartments and enough space in the base for things like name tapes, ballet elastic, buttons, etc.

FriedSprout Tue 24-Apr-12 08:19:01

"If you're a 'cutlery in the sink' first household, keep the cutlery holder of the dishwasher in the sink so you can move the whole lot in one go just before you put the machine on."

This is a brilliant idea, why on earth have I not thought of this myself.

Thank you Sommewhereelse

iwantanoompaloompa Tue 24-Apr-12 08:21:28

Why do people put cutlery in the sink first confused

DonkeyTeapot Tue 24-Apr-12 08:42:06

Just remembered, if I need to defrost some mince or chicken that comes in one of those plastic containers with lots of air in, I take the frozen meat out of that and put it in a plastic food bag, in some warm water. Even when the water has gone cold, it defrosts LOADS faster than if it was just in the original packaging.

MrsHoarder Tue 24-Apr-12 09:13:13

I don't use warm water to defrost meat: keep it cold and it still works without being a breeding ground for bacteria (worst thing you can do is get the surface temp up to 20-30 degrees). Its to do with how heat is conducted through air vs through water.

moomoo1967 Tue 24-Apr-12 09:39:45

the worst thing you can do is use warm water to defrost meat, just makes it a breeding ground for bacteria as Mrs Hoarder says.

Alicadabra Tue 24-Apr-12 11:44:59

One more tip (this will out me as really sad but it does help, honest)

When hanging out laundry to dry, I try to hang all DD1's clothes together, all DD2's clothes together, all my clothes together etc. That means that when I take it all down, they're already (almost) sorted. It never works perfectly but it's not too hard to do and really does speed up that tedious sorting process later on. With socks, I peg each one next to its pair, hanging from the toe end. This lets me turn the ends over to fasten them into pairs (iykwim) before I even unpeg them.

I know that theoretically it would be easier to sort it when I take the washing down but somehow that always seems to be a more rushed job (eg because it's about to rain/bedtime/whatever)

IAmBooyhoo Tue 24-Apr-12 12:11:12

cointreau when you do 3/4 washes a day, do you get all the washing dried the same day?

BoffinMum Tue 24-Apr-12 12:57:52

organizing craft supplies

The link takes you to a supremely anal way of doing this, but another approach is to get a special desk for it all (or set aside a kitchen cupboard) and catalogue your stuff like you would your paperwork and home office things.

Alternatively you can get sewing machine cabinets, like the one here

or here, with more drawers

Flubba Tue 24-Apr-12 13:13:16

I do the same Alicadabra blush and get really cross if DH doesn't follow my perfect system blush.

Definitely love the bedding set in a pillow-case - got it as a tip from another MNer last year and have been spreading the word ever since.

I keep DDs' spare bedding in the top of the wardrobe in their room, and DS's in his room to make things easier.

I do a blitz clean in between ad breaks on telly when I'm watching E4 Channel 4 news; things like the washing up from dinner, or hanging out a wash, or taking the 'stairs bucket' upstairs and sorting it. It's a great way of tidying without seeming like you're taking time out of something else precious in your life like E4 blush grin

Love the flylady's hotspots thing. We definitely have a few of those in our house and I could easily do with putting them there fires out smile

sommewhereelse Tue 24-Apr-12 15:39:20

friedsprout I got the idea from someone with a bad back.
(We don't have a dishwasher)

marriedinwhite Tue 24-Apr-12 18:45:07

On the laundry front - I iron six things a day to keep on top of it.

agendabender Tue 24-Apr-12 19:05:14

toddling off to try to get a set of superking bedding into a pillow case. Shall I report back on feasibility to save others the wrestle?

IAmBooyhoo Tue 24-Apr-12 19:55:43

i still want to know about washing days. do you get all your washing dried in the one day if you do 3/4 washes a day?

I'd get 3-4 loads dried if it was on the line, but not on a rack, no.

IAmBooyhoo Tue 24-Apr-12 20:05:46

i'm going to have a go on thursday and see how many i can get done in a day.

MorePudding Tue 24-Apr-12 20:32:53

I stack the DSs school uniform in complete outfits on a shelf in their wardrobe - so jumper, trousers, polo, socks, pants, then repeat the layers in the same order. So in the morning I can just grab their day's clothes in one swoop.

Flubba Tue 24-Apr-12 20:37:30

Ooh that's obvious but I hadn't thought of it and very clever MorePudding

mathanxiety Tue 24-Apr-12 20:38:57

I get it all done in the dryer. Waiting around for the weather to co-operate is something I could not do.

Depending on the age and physical strength of your DCs, the biggest organising trick anyone has up her (his) sleeve is delegation. Making them keep track of their own stuff or face the consequences from teachers/coaches, etc. can transform your DCs into much more mindful people.

I do that with sports kit for DS ( has about ten different sets). Also spare gum shield in car, bag, my handbag anywhere I can hide them < realises this is not relevant to most of thread>

IAmBooyhoo Tue 24-Apr-12 20:40:10

that's a great idea pudding

i have another question WRT clothes storage. i will be moving house soon and if i am lucky enough to get the house i want there wont be room in what would be my bedroom for my wardrobe so i thought of putting it in the spare room, and then i realised the tumble dryer will also haveto go in there so i thought why not out the dcs wardrobe and shelves in there too and it would make puttinh washing away straight out of teh tumble dryer so much easier and quicker. but it would mean none of our clothes were in our bedrooms. thsi would be good from a ds2 point of view as he has a habit of emptying hsi wardrobe all over his bedroom floor but would we find it awkward running to the spare room to get dressed or even to get clothes to bring to our rooms? does anyone else have a similar sort of set-up and how does it work?

How old are the DC booyhoo? Sounds like it could work with small ones. tbh, I'd just have a big dressing room all to myself though grin

IAmBooyhoo Tue 24-Apr-12 21:32:52

grin yes i did like the idea of that but one of my main issues with putting clothes away is that the dcs are usually sleeping at night by the time i have myself organised to get the washing out of the dryer and put away so the thought of all the clothes storage being in teh same room as the dryer sounds very appealing (i am almost 100% sure that 10 years ago i asked a friend to punch me if she ever heard me fantasising about easier ways to do laundry, never mind it taking precedent over a private walk-in dressing room grin)

dcs are 2 and 6 and i dont think they'd give a fiddlers where their clothes are stored, it would just mean more play space in their room grin

agendabender Tue 24-Apr-12 21:40:33

In case it helps anyone I cannot get a superking duvet cover inside a pillow case.

Ah, I wouldn't worry about putting stuff away at night - just put a pile outside their door after they've gone to bed!

We have a teeny room in our house that's the result of a crappy loft conversion - DP won the coin toss to turn it into an office. I covet a dressing room (no room for wardrobes in our bedroom either!)

agenda - I can <smug>

(surely you can get a duvet cover inside a pillowcase though?)

crap. <will read posts properly next time>

Sorry blush

<wishes for time-limited edit button, once again>

IAmBooyhoo Tue 24-Apr-12 21:55:24

i have been putting their washing in a laundry basket to be put away when i get the chance, but i never seem to get round to it an we end up digging through clean folded laundry for pants or something. i'm one of those strange beings that has to do something while i'm in the zone or it wont get done. grin

<notes that this convo is totally pointless if i dont get the house>

i can also fit a superking duvet cover, flat or fitted sheet and 3 pillow cases inside another pillow case, with room to spare and my pillowcases are normal size. are your duvet covers really thick agenda?

Nah, don't put it somewhere else waiting to be put away - just put it away as soon as it's off the rack. You're making work for yourself smile

If I'm not in the zone I make DP do it! grin

agendabender Tue 24-Apr-12 22:04:10

I will not let this defeat me...

agendabender Tue 24-Apr-12 22:07:30

Done it! My covers are quite thick (posh John Lewis ones from wedding list), but I refolded them and then they went in. Am saving up for a third sheet so I can put one in each duvet set now sad

BoffinMum Tue 24-Apr-12 22:15:53

I wrap a pillowcase around each set - much easier, and they stay flatter.

IAmBooyhoo Tue 24-Apr-12 22:17:13

not sad agenda i like to have equal amounts of sheets to duvet covers. (maybe we are both sad? grin)

yep that's what i want to be doing jareth so i think i'll go for all clothes in the spare room IF i get the house <fingers crossed>

CeliaFate Wed 25-Apr-12 12:14:32

I reply to invitations immediately and write them on the family calendar.

We've got cork noticeboards in the study - go through and chuck/file or shred things weekly.

Keep a box file for paperwork - don't put into dividers, just throw the bills, statements into the box. Get a new box file for each year.

The dc have their own laundry baskets and I wash each person's clothes separately, tumble them and put them away. Get out what you want to wear and iron it each day - takes 10 minutes tops.

Keep a bathroom spray, rubber gloves and cheap kitchen roll in each bathroom cupboard - I usually give the loo and sink a wipeover after I've been to the loo.

Delegate - dc have chores they're responsible for - putting own stuff away, loading and unloading the dishwasher, putting their clean clothes away, laying the table.

Deal with post as it arrives - get a shredder, a box file, a noticeboard and a bin and it's easy to do straightaway.

Do housework when you see it needs doing, don't leave it to do in one session - a quick polish of the banister when you're going upstairs, clean the mirror after your shower etc.

A mini hoover is a God send - clears up crumbs, does the skirtings and stairs without lugging the big one round.

iwantanoompaloompa Wed 25-Apr-12 18:26:49

I have decluttered all day grin

Some toys (from downstairs) to the charity shop. Large bag of clothes too.

Coats and shoes sorted. DS now has separate bag for each activity, already packed with clean kit.

To do list of paperwork to do tonight.

Floors cleaned.

Am knackered grin

CointreauVersial Wed 25-Apr-12 18:46:35

Booyoo - belatedly responding to your laundry-drying question - no, I don't dry 3-4 loads in one day, except in the summer when it goes on the line. In the winter it stays on the rack until it is dry - it only needs to come off when I have my next wash-day (twice a week).

BUT I am lucky enough to have a utility room and a massive airer, so it doesn't get in the way.

MushroomSoup Wed 25-Apr-12 19:15:02

Wow oompaloompa watch you go!! Feels good doesn't it!

IAmBooyhoo Wed 25-Apr-12 19:22:18

thanks cointreau. i was trying to guess how that would work. we are limited for drying space so i couldn' even get 3 loads hung on racks/banisters etc

agendabender Wed 25-Apr-12 20:30:53

Those who keep their bathroom supplies in each bathroom, which I already do, do any of you have a secure container for the loobrush/bleach/spray? There are no bathroom cupboards where I rent and tucking them behind the loo is a risky strategy with a toddler.

Elena67 Wed 25-Apr-12 21:02:33

Agenda try a bag of cleaning stuff on hook behind the bathroom door...

Flubba Wed 25-Apr-12 22:18:31

Our loo brush is our (14m) DS's favourite toy blush hmm. I'm forever shouting "Shut the bathroom door!" "Don't let DS in to the bathroom!" "DS, get out of the bathroom!"

Loo brush problems solved...

A loo brush in the wrong adult hands can be just as problematic...I have had a guest who has put the thing back in it's holder dirty. Yuk.

CeliaFate Thu 26-Apr-12 10:08:38

Loo brushes make me shiver. Ugh. Unless they're cleaned and disinfected after every use, what's the point? Disposable cloths and gloves are the way to go - not very eco-friendly but better than sitting next to someone else's droppings. Bleurgh!

scrappydappydoo Thu 26-Apr-12 13:57:53

iwantanoompaloompa me too! I'm on a mission now - nothing is safe!
DD2 asked me why everything was so tidy this morning - bless her she has never known anything but chaos blush.

I have further big plans... which will be executed one at a time. And I am making a plan for dh too - all those little jobs that he has promised to get done will be displayed on a list on the fridge - I will be pestering him to do just one job every weekend (his choice)

IAmBooyhoo Thu 26-Apr-12 18:31:11

does anybody here keep a nail scrubbing brush by their basins? i do and i try to make sure the dcs use them every time they wash their hands but how do you make sure your nail brushes are clean? do you store them in something or do you bin them ever week or something? are they machine washable? i'm thinking of keeping mine in a little soap dish of tea tree oil in water or something. would that work?

scottishmummy Thu 26-Apr-12 18:53:52

nail brushes are germ buses,basically all the germs multiply at room temp and warm humid environment inmost bathroom. brushes are manky,just sitting there ready to redistribute germs

the only way nail brush works is disposable single use,like ones in theatre

soap,hot running water is enouhg

imo bin the nailbrush

Grockle Thu 26-Apr-12 19:22:49

We have nailbrushes - I garden and have mucky nails from work and DS digs in the mud. I never really thought about them being a haven for germs. Ours are always washed in hot running water with soap and every now and then I bung them in the dishwasher to sterilise them. Or buy a new one.

Flubba Thu 26-Apr-12 19:25:55

Oooh Grockle, you should try this top tip; before you garden, scrape your nails in a bar of soap - it stops the mud getting into your nails and is there already when you go to wash your hands after.

mathanxiety Thu 26-Apr-12 19:26:39

Regular bleach for nailbrushes.

SM, wouldn't the same be true for toothbrushes...

Grockle Thu 26-Apr-12 19:30:42

Good point, math.

Fab tip - i will do that at the weekend, thank you!

CeliaFate Thu 26-Apr-12 19:40:02

I stick nail brushes and toothbrushes in the dishwasher now and again.

CaptainHetty Thu 26-Apr-12 19:48:18

Love this thread grin

Probably all been mentioned but:

I try to make sure I do something in every room while I'm in it, so if I pop into my bedroom while I'm there I'll pick up the clothes, or straighten my desk, that kind of thing. Invariably there's always something in a room that shouldn't be there so I try not to leave a room empty handed - even if it's just something that needs chucking in the bin.

I usually stick a load of washing in the machine before bed then delay its start by a few hours so it's ready to hang straight out in the morning and another load can go in.

Uniforms and bags ready the night before and ready to go.

IAmBooyhoo Thu 26-Apr-12 20:43:37

captain that's a good idea WRT doing something everytime you are in a room. i vaguely remember being that person many moons ago grin i swear my house used to be beautiful and sitting perfectly. then my children happened!

WRT nailbrushes, i cleaned the bathroom today and i always put the plug in the bath and pour some bleach in to let it soak (i fill to about 2 inches with hot water) so today i threw the nailbrush in aswell. i bleach the bath overnight once a week so i think i'll just throw the nail brush in with it when i'm doing it. alternatively, i do have four nail brushes so i could just replace it every day with a fresh one and wash the dirty one in the machine.

also, i read a thing about toothbrush care (i know how sad that is, really i do) there were 11 tips and one of them said that keeping your toothbrush in a sterilising solution when not in use didn't make any difference to how clean it was so i'm guessing that rinsing them in hot water does a good enough job. this was an article by i think oralB so i'm guessing if there was a way for them to push a toothbrush sterilising product they would do it but tehy didn't so i'm guessing there is really no need. but i'm not a dentist so i dont know. just saying what i read.

Riddo Thu 26-Apr-12 21:08:08

I put everyone's clothes in separate piles in the airing cupboard so they just take their pile and put it away (apart from ds who leaves it in the middle of his bedroom floor!). All socks go in the sock box in the airing cupboard and one of ds's Saturday jobs is to sort them out.

I have adopted "don't put it down, put it away" - I can't believe I didn't think of it before.

This is a fantastic thread.

nannyl Thu 26-Apr-12 21:36:35

i have been doing the dont put it down put it away since i first read this thread last week

WOW what a difference it has made to the tidiness of my house grin

also trying to to the dont leave a room without taking anything (and if going out the house, that means the recycling pile that we keep by the door)

I cant believe i havent thought of this before

chasingtail Fri 27-Apr-12 08:08:31

But how do you train everyone else in the home to start being more organised/clear up after themselves??

I have been woman on a mission this week trying to sort out/tidy up but it feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall getting cooperation from DH/DCs.angry

DH says it just feels like I'm nagging him all the time, which then in turn means he does even less aaarrrgh!!!

iwantanoompaloompa Fri 27-Apr-12 08:39:57

Chasingtail, I am finding that now it is tidy, it's becoming easier to keep it that way. So you're only asking them to put a few things away rather than 'tidy up this mess'

I did also have to kick ass yesterday when I realised DH was getting up, putting on a t shirt to have breakfast, then having a shower (leaving said t shirt next to washing basket) and putting suit on. angry

It's no wonder I have so much washing angry

wandawings Fri 27-Apr-12 10:17:46

That would REALLY piss me off!

SilverSky Fri 27-Apr-12 11:50:42

Him indoors does things like that so I told him I would start chucking his stuff out if it didn't get put back in it's rightful place. I've hidden two bags of stuff that have been sat on the stairs since last November. hmm. Told him they are were in the bin and the bin men came yesterday. He claims he had important stuff in there. Not that important that he hasn't looked in either of them for 6mo.

The new motto of don't put it down put it away has really helped and when I had surprise/last min visitors last week I didn't have that mad panic of "the house is a mess/dirty - what shall I tackle first and how much time do I have etc"

I've a few bits to do today but I'm shattered, pregnant and have a toddler to entertain so I'll do the bits that must be done and not worry about the rest as I'm feeling much more zen about the house as it's so improved! grin

chasingtail Fri 27-Apr-12 11:52:12

I know what you mean!

Take this morning for example, I
Got up 6.15
Got breakfast for DCs
Made beds (made sure DCs
made theirs)
Took clean washing out machine, put new load on
Hung washing on line
Emptied DW
Wiped table
Put brekkie dishes in DW
Made sure everyone ready for school armed with packed lunches (courteousy of yours truly)
Took kids to school

DH rolls of bed 7.30, has shower, gets his own cereal (leaving bowl on table angry, brushes teeth, pats DCs on head & leaves for work!!

Ok so I am a SAHM but WTF??!!

SilverSky Fri 27-Apr-12 13:54:15

I hear you!!! <sympathies>. The men in our lives often make our lives much harder with their thoughtlessness. Half the time they don't realise and when you "remind/inform" then you are " nagging.

Flubba Fri 27-Apr-12 18:58:21

My mum used to do the black bin bag on the stairs thing when we were kids and it worked a treat.
My DCs are just 4, 3 and 1 and when I sweep the floor at the end of the day, I sweep everything (dust, crumbs and toys included) into a pile in the middle of the room. If there's anything they want to 'save' they come and get it and tidy it away, otherwise I chuck it. grin

IAmBooyhoo Fri 27-Apr-12 20:37:52

i do that too flubba WRT brushing everything and giving them a chance to 'save' anything. after that it's bin.

i think the most useful rule to have, for me anyway, is to deal with things straight away as they happen. so if you spill milk in the fridge it gets wiped straight away. wipe and rinse round the bath and basin after every use. deal with post as soon as you put your hands on it rather than moving it somewhere else to be dealt with later (i am so guilty fo this and things are always getting forgotten about.)

AngelDog Fri 27-Apr-12 21:48:36

chasing, I sat down with DH and explained how annoying I found various not-putting-away habits of his were. He explained how annoyed he got with me nagging him about things. We agreed that we'd have one thing per month that he'd try to do, and I would aim not to pester him about other things. I was allowed to remind him about the one thing if he forgot (which would include reminder notes in key places etc).

So far we've had progress on putting used teabags in the compost bin, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher rather than on the worksurface above it, and we're currently working on cleaning out hair from the plughole after his shower. It's helped both of us, and is more concrete progress than I've seen to date - and we've been married 10 years. smile

I think it worked because he knows how hard I'm working to improve our general level of organisation / tidiness (which is pretty low - we used to joke that we could never decide whether we lived in a sty or a slum smile).

DownyEmerald Fri 27-Apr-12 22:28:39

Ooh CeliaFate I like a boxfile for each year. I have a filing cabinet and anally divide stuff up - pensions, bank statements, car etc like it was a work office, but I have realised I hardly ever have to pull it back out again and it's just wasted effort.

Put away clothes now while dd in bath now she is old enough.

Put dishes away/a little bit of recycling while kettle boiling.

Grockle Fri 27-Apr-12 23:00:49

I'm going to covert to a box file system, I think.

Do you all keep insurance documents there or somewhere separate? What about job contracts, P45s etc?

Grockle Fri 27-Apr-12 23:01:12

And how long do you keep each file?

Stitchthis Sat 28-Apr-12 07:50:49

I'm the opposite. DH all tidy, I'm a clutter bug. But I've tidied all my crafty stuff, sorted most of my paperwork into files, started on the utility cupboard room and don't recognise ds2 room it's soooo tidy. Love this thread!grin

CeliaFate Sun 29-Apr-12 10:48:19

Really important stuff like insurance documents that you may need to find quickly is kept in a small safe.
I keep each file for 5 years, which is probably over cautious, but because they take up such little room it doesn't matter.

Grockle Sun 29-Apr-12 15:29:18

Right, I've ordered boxfiles so will start organizing my paperwork tomorrow. it's all filed neatly in sections but far too much of it and impossible to keep on top of! Thank you for the tips.

Rainydayagain Sun 29-Apr-12 20:03:53

Re the bleach and toddlers. I decant into spray bottles, clearly marked and hang on the shower screen.

Very handy for daily loo clean.

Great tip on soap under nails, i always have gardeners nails. Thanks.

pinkpainter Mon 30-Apr-12 13:17:15

Very inspiring!!
I manage to keep the house tidy - every morning I go around each room, open the curtains and tidy everything up, and every evening I get an hour to tidy again and give the kitchen a good clean and mop the floor.
However I really struggle to find time to clean, upstairs hardly ever gets vacked and the bathrooms upstairs always look grubby, I always forget how long it is since the bedcovers and towels were last washed (although I do well keeping on top of the general washing and get a massive load done every day),
I wrote a list of everything that needs doing and how often I want it done (as inspired by someones suggestion further up) - I then wrote a list - 1 to 28 for the days of the month, and wrote down a job for each day. I won't need to remember when I last washed the bedcovers now as I will do them on the days of the month that they are listed against. Now I've just got to stick to it...

MushroomSoup Mon 30-Apr-12 13:39:19

Pink that sounds like a great plan and you also get 29-31st with no jobs - bingo!!
I'm the same with my upstairs and my bedding. It gets washed frequently but I have no routine and have no idea how long it's been on the beds!

pinkpainter Mon 30-Apr-12 16:48:21

Mushroom - Glad you like my idea! I would have liked a weekly routine, but there were far too many jobs. The 28 day plan made me see that it's unrealistic to try to get the whole house clean and all bedding and towels washed every week - so I need to stop beating myself up about it, I just worked out a plan based on what is achievable, none of the daily jobs take should take more than half an hour on top of the tidying that I already do.
The list can only go up to 28 as it wouldn't work for the months when there are more days, but at the moment I have 2 days with no jobs so that's great!!

ParsleyTheLioness Mon 30-Apr-12 17:26:28

Have an emergency tenner in my key purse, so I can always get bread, milk emergency wine and chocolate
When you get a clear bag, eg those that come with shower curtains, some carriers, save it. These are good for hanging on hooks in the cupboard, so that you can see contents at a glance. Have a back up of things that need to replaced immediately, toothpaste, soap etc.
Birthdays etc go into the filofax at the beginning of the year, also on phone with a reminder a week before. This also records the age of the person, so I know if it a birthday ending in 0 requiring a nicer/special card, etc.
Have a packing list in filofax, under a separate section, also Christmas section with ideas so I can get things on sale, and keep a record of what I have. I prefer the filo as I do not trust the technology not to go poof I like to see it written down.

KampaKat Tue 01-May-12 10:11:52

Pink - that is a fabulous idea - is there any chance you can post your 28 days planner. I need the inspiration to get started!

pinkpainter Tue 01-May-12 12:10:32

Here's the 28 day planner as requested, but please take into account that I have 3 bathrooms and a biggish house (2010 sq foot) - ideally I'd clean the bathrooms at least once a week and do the bedding and towels every week too but I had to really limit what I can realistically get I said earlier I tried to make sure that no job was so big it would take more than half an hour, otherwise it's just too daunting. Hope this helps though:
1 - loos 2 - showers 3 - sinks 4 - bath 5 - floors washed 6 - vacking upstairs 7 - towel wash 8 - loos 9 - bedding 10 - sinks 11 - spare bedding 12 - DC bedding 13 - glass upstairs (mirrors and windows) 14 - dusting upstairs 15 - loos 16 - showers 17 - sinks 18 - bath 19 - floors washed 20 - vacking upstairs 21 - towel wash 22 - loos 23 - bedding 24 - sinks 25 - spare bedding 26 - DC bedding 27 - glass downstairs 28 - dusting downstairs

CaptainHetty Tue 01-May-12 15:48:23

In terms of a planner I have a basic one that works on a 7 day basis (kind of, apart from the general tidying and cleaning that has to be done, Sunday is my day of laziness). I do a clothes wash (or two...) every day along with the other things:

Monday - deep clean bathroom, clean my bedroom

Tuesday - mop all the wooden floors, deep clean kitchen

Wednesday - hoover upstairs, towel wash

Thursday - clean bed sheets, deep clean lounge

Friday - kids' bed sheets, and 2 '15 minute blitz' sessions - one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Saturday - kids' tidy their rooms, put away clean washing, and weather permitting I give the garden a tidy.

Flubba Tue 01-May-12 18:53:25

Well I've sorted my own wardrobe and clothes cupboards, (kids' to be done later on this week), and bought a new storage thing from my local charity shop which has 6 separate drawers - one for each classification of kids' crap normally shoved into a bottomless box which has broken and overflowed. Although DS (15m) followed me round and emptied everything as I filled it :D :D hmm grin grin

MushroomSoup Wed 02-May-12 04:54:41

I love the emergency tenner!! (I keep one in my bra when I go out as emergency taxi money!)
I am keeping on top of my laundry with the one-basket rule (it's made a huge difference) and I'm doing the "don't walk past something when it's a 5 sec job to do something about it" rule!

betterwhenthesunshines Wed 02-May-12 16:29:28

Someone asked about sewing baskets - I keep all my sewing stuff in a plastic tool box - the top layer is great for pin boxes, cotton reels etc and then the scissors, velcro tape, zips, bags of safety pins etc all go in the larger base compartment.

Stitchthis Thu 03-May-12 12:14:20

I need a basket for all my sewing baskets!! grin

Engelsmeisje Fri 04-May-12 10:29:21

I am inspired!

Can someone link to the storage thread please, I can't find it....

blueskycp Fri 04-May-12 22:20:29

Please can someone explain about the duvet in the pillowcase tip? Been reading back through the thread but can't find it!

scrappydappydoo Fri 04-May-12 22:28:31

blueskycp You essentially create a bed pack - putting the duvet cover, and undersheet inside the matching pillow case. So when you come to change bed sheets its all in one place and you can just grab it and go . Also keeps things neat and tidy in the cupboard. A small thing but makes a big difference smile

bessie26 Fri 04-May-12 22:33:00

I just keep the bedding for each room in that room (in a plastic box under the bed) The DC have 3 sets each, so 2 sets of bedding in the box. We only have 2 sets, so 1 set in our box. I keep everyone's towels in the box too.

blueskycp Fri 04-May-12 22:38:22

Great tip! Thanks. Plus the boxes under the bed idea smile

SilverSky Sat 05-May-12 18:50:02

Any tips for keeping cars tidy? My back seat footwell is stuffed with toys, blankets and allsorts!

MushroomSoup Sat 05-May-12 19:07:06

You can buy those hanging pockets things!! I'm sure someone will do a link cos I can't They're usually used for toiletries etc

trixymalixy Sat 05-May-12 19:07:25

Don't know if anyone has said this already. I staple the receipts for big electrical items to the instruction booklet. These all go in a box, so you know exactly where the instructions are when you need them and can easily find the receipt for proof of purchase if something breaks.

bessie26 Sat 05-May-12 20:00:26

silver google "car tidy" there are all sorts of things. We have one on the back seat in between the DC's car seats for them to put toys/drinks/wrappers in. You can also get bigger ones to go in the boot.

SilverSky Sat 05-May-12 20:32:01

Ta Bessie. Will have a look!

chalat Mon 07-May-12 20:01:46

silversky Look here smile

SilverSky Mon 07-May-12 21:37:54

grin great. Any reco's or experience on a particular type?

chalat Mon 07-May-12 23:34:58

silversky - how old are your dc? If you are looking for something fairly simple and inexpensive, I'd be tempted by the one on sale on that page. When ds1 and ds2 were small I made a similar holders for them which I sewed myself out of sturdy material. Meant stuff was easy to reach for them and didn't roll away. Over time have tried various ways to keep the essential stuff in vehicles but also keeping clutter to a minimum or it gets dropped and trodden on, etc.
Best tip would be to get into the habit of picking up any mess and removing from the car asap and always keep nappy sacks and wipes in the car, irrespective of age of dc!! grin

SilverSky Tue 08-May-12 21:50:32

chalet he's almost 18,5mo. I keep meaning to put together a nappy bag for the car. Have organised myself with a nappy changing station downstairs. Need to buy a pretty box to store it in.

Wrt clearing the car -once I've carried everything else out including the child I'm too lazy shattered to go back out again!

MrsPlanB Tue 08-May-12 21:59:01

I am just learning about this being tidy and houseproud malarkey, after years and years of being chaotic and messy.

Tricks that help me:

I don't have a big 'wash day' anymore. I put a wash on most mornings, then fold it as soon as it is dry / I have a sec (always on the same day) and put away. Easier to keep on top of small loads than have a week's worth of a family of four's washing to wash dry and put away.

I put a couple of those easy-iron sheets in the drier when I wash our bedclothes and also take the bedclothes out and shake them half way through drying - minimises need for ironing.

I keep this stair basket at the bottom of the stairs, chuck things in that belong upstairs as I pass, and the take it upstairs and distribute tings in the evening.

I am the opposite of a hoarder. I chick a black bag of crap out at least once a month. I am forever charity shop-ing clthes and toys.

I also keep cleaning products everywhere! I have cloths, sponges and cleaning spray in two paces in the kitchen, both bathrooms and our bedroom.

MoreCatsThanKids Wed 09-May-12 12:31:51

Can I please ask - those that keep a Hoover up stairs and down -where do you keep them? Down stairs I have the cupboard understairs but can't think of anywhere upstairs to put it?

Was feeling all smug as I bought a basket for all remotes for living room and it was finally being used by DH but came down this morning and TV remote was in the middle of living room floor hmm

sommewhereelse Wed 09-May-12 16:40:07

Morecats, I think you need a big house for some of the tips on this thread. We have to keep our vacuum cleaner, mop, bucket etc in the garage (no understairs cupboard).

dixiejo Wed 09-May-12 21:31:45

Loving this thread!

My workwear staples are smart trousers and a pretty top. The tops are often delicate and therefore hand wash only. I can't be arsed am too busy to handwash stuff so I put them on a handwash cycle in the machine. But this can be harsh on delicates, like silk and it's a ballache to iron them. So, what I do is stock up on long and short sleeved, very thin silk vest-type underwear (think they're actually meant to be silk thermals) from Patra (oh, the shame) to wear underneath them. I wash the vest-tops after each wear (the theory being that they "catch" most of the sweat and daily grime - nice!) but only wash the 'outer' top after every 3-4 wears.

Oh, and DH is only allowed black socks so I never have to bother 'pairing' them; they all get mushed together in his sock draw and, whatever 2 socks he pulls out in the morning will go together because they're both black.

MushroomSoup Wed 09-May-12 21:56:22

<checking out silk thermals from Patra>

Al0uise Thu 10-May-12 10:32:11

This won't keep you organised but it's a great room freshener. If you have a steam cleaner or steam mop, fill the water reservoir with ironing water. I've been using M&S Orchid & Pearl and the smell is so lovely no one notices the undusted mantelpiece.

ParsleyTheLioness Thu 10-May-12 18:07:07

dixie I love Patra silks!

SilverSky Fri 11-May-12 21:31:24

Any recommendations on steam cleaners?

bessie26 Fri 11-May-12 22:54:18
mumnosbest Fri 11-May-12 23:04:58

Not read the whole 19 pages but the first half was great thanks chaos grin
My tip - small wash basket in each DCs room, like a pop up bin and they empty them daily into the bathroom basket.

Teaddict Sun 13-May-12 14:20:07

Love this, so helpful for us SAHMs when housework just seems never ending. Also liking how organised people are so I feel I can fess up a couple of tips without seeming OCD...

The wall calendars in Lakeland are great cos they have a pocket for each month so you can keep invites and letters for that month in the pocket. They're also paper not the shiny stuff so pencil rubs off properly - i always use pencil!

I have two packing lists saved on my pc, 1 for "plane" hols (with section for hand luggage) and one for uk self catering hols with tick box next to each item. I print them off a week or so before we go then if I add anything in pen I try to go back to the pc to update the list for next time.

It's also v v satisfying when the dc's reach an age when you can delete things such as travel high chair!

SleepyFergus Sun 13-May-12 17:49:05

These easy iron sheets for the tumble drier - do they really make a difference, and what brand do people recommend??

MushroomSoup Sun 13-May-12 18:26:24

Oooh Sleepy I want to know the answers to your questions too!

SleepyFergus Sun 20-May-12 08:33:43

Bump - I need answers!!!!

SleepyFergus Sat 02-Jun-12 18:07:30

Shamelessly bumping again.

happyhopefulmummy Thu 07-Jun-12 07:33:31

This thread is awesome! Wish I could spend the day sorting myself out...

geisha Thu 07-Jun-12 07:40:44

Teaaddict love your idea about packing lists. Started my self catering one yesterday with 'pegs'! Would you mind sharing? Yours sound as if they ay ave been tired and tested?!

CarpeJugulum Thu 07-Jun-12 08:00:43

SleepyFergus no, they don't really make much difference - I do keep a pack of Bounce though - they're great for scenting laundry and making it a bit more fresh if you're storing things in these storage bags.

Ages ( and pages ) ago , someone asked about cooking for one
Delia to the rescue !

dwpanxt Sun 17-Jun-12 17:48:36

I hate wasting wrapping paper but often found that when I had a 2 sheet pack and only used 1 sheet ,the left over sheet got ruined just by not being kept flat.
Also I like to be prepared and buy nice paper when I see it (in Home Bargains usually) and again it was either getting creased or ,more often, lost when I went to actually use it.

I finally came up with the idea of using an old loose leaf folder to keep the spare sheets in .Each different paper now has its own plastic wallet and I can easily find what I need.I keep the folder in the bedroom cupboard so its in easy reach but not in anyones way.

I have started to create a wrapping station by using one of those office type sellotape holders(cost 99p) that takes a large roll of tape. It has little sections on the side to hold scissors and pens etc. Makes such a difference being able to just go and get paper ,sellotape and pen and complete a wrapping task in seconds rather than take ages hunting the house for all of the elements.

bossboggle Wed 20-Jun-12 12:42:33

This thread is just SO good. Awesome as my DS would say. Got some really good ideas - love the one about the monthly file and daily file!! Brilliant!! Keep posting people!!

Southfacing Wed 20-Jun-12 21:50:36

Thx so much to whoever mentioned Amazon for bumper packs of cards. I've just got a really nice selection of 30 for £5.99. Well chuffed.

sereneswan Thu 21-Jun-12 14:53:25

I adore this thread! Ploughing my way steadily through all 19 pages!

Things I do:

-Double laundry bin, one side for darks, one side for lights.
-Someone else mentioned this - we have soup 2 nights a week, on the busy/late nights.
-All paperwork categorised in folders: personal bills, house bills, house records, receipts and guarantees for small things, 1 folder for manuals for house items (kitchen appliances etc) for everyday reference by us/ house sitters etc, guarantees/instructions for big things like new windows/plumbing items etc. Then not-so important stuff divided by subject - garden, travel, concert programmes etc.
-I do yoga and swim have a bag for each which I get ready for the next time straight after each session.
-Spare bedding is stored in the bedroom it is used in.
-Cleaning stuff for each bathroom kept in there.
-Random 'bits' where possible kept in the relevant room to keep the 'random stuff' kitchen drawer to a minimum (ie we have spare supports for movable shelves which we only have in the sitting room, to they are kept in a little bag in the sitting room cupboard. The day we cleared out an entire shelf by putting all our spare bulbs in the rooms they would be needed in was momentous! It's easy to find room at the bottom of a cupboard/in a desk drawer for one box of lightbulbs, but hard to spare a whole shelf downstairs!
-Paperwork flows from little box on the hall table to an open sided box file thing in the study to the relevant folder. I find getting folders out to put one thing away unncessarily time consuming but equally try not to let it build up for so long it takes an hour to work through it all!
-Tidy to a reasonable state every night before leaving a room for the last time.
-Wardrobe organised in outfits rather than type of garment.
-I have a fully ready travel toiletry bag at all times, ditto packs of other travel items all together ready to grab depending on what's needed - medication, any spare currency, mosquite stuff, long-haul flight stuff. I HATE packing and this makes it a lot easier. Ditto clothes that only really get worn on hols.
-Calendar on fridge. As well as pen, shopping list paper and lots of magnets for in-progress stuff.

BiddyPop Thu 21-Jun-12 15:32:01

I keep a supply of envelopes (for folding an A4 into 2 and into 3) and stamps for domestic and overseas postage ready for answering bills or queries, or sending cards etc. I also keep a selection of birthday, get well, thank you, accept/regrets, thinking of you etc cards for last minute invites or rememberings, or just deal with things immediately they happen.

Less day to day but helps keep me sane when we can often have visitors announcing their arrival (or DH reminding me of an arrival he agreed but never told me) mid way through working day. I strip the guest bed once any visitor leaves - and then immediately make it up fresh. So if visitors DO land unannounced, I only need to put out fresh towels. (I need to get back to that as we are au-pair-less for summer so likely to see lots of visitors again).

I also keep a range of travel sized toiletries for same purpose. With a couple of brand new toothbrushes. Male and female suitable. (I always had a few, but I made sure I had everything that might be necesary when my grandad was very ill 2 years ago, as siblings would be coming from overseas at short notice to visit, and when he died, so it was better to have things in case they forgot something and remove stress for them).

When my Grandad was ill that time, I also made the "Automatic Pilot List". To turn around as soon as I heard news and organise things to deal with everything. From a full shopping list of things needed specifically for that event (feeding hordes in my grandparents house and also my own, as well as just keeping DH, DD and I going too), to what order to do the cooking in (I had worked out double batches of 2 different main meals, soup, cookies, apple pie and scones for baking, and lighter meals and snacks), household jobs that would need doing (like cleaning bathrooms), making sure beds were made and what options I had for extra bodies, what supplies people might need (from first aid, brylcream, safety pins or tights, to notepaper or cards and pens for prayers) and making sure I had stuff for overnight visitors but also anyone stopping at mine from airport or whereever to change, and making sure I made time to talk to DD as well. The reason for that was to make sure that when the time came, I could just go onto auto-pilot mode and follow the list regardless of my state of mind. (Especially as things tend to happen very fast here). I have updated it recently as my 2 granmothers are both getting extremely frail. I didn't need to follow it slavishly, but it did help working through everything beforehand, and having something to refer to when I knew there were still things to be done or people offering to do something.

mumat39 Thu 21-Jun-12 16:19:08

LOVE this thread. Am up to page 9 and will catch up with the rest as soon as I can.

I need some advice on a couple of things please:

What sort of clothes airer would you recommend. We don't have a dryer so have to hang stuff indoors most of the time. Our current rack need replacing and is one of those criss cross ones but as DC's clothes have got older and their clothes have got bigger, I struggle to hang up a load. Is there an efficient design.

Re paperwork, how do you all sort bills, statements etc. At the moment I have paper 'hotspots' all over the house. Really don't know how to deal with them.

Also, I've lost a receipt that I can't find. I need to not do that again. I like the envelope idea but now sure how I'll ever find/remember the one I might need.

Where do you keep your DC's 'stuff' they make at nursery and bring home. I currently have a few things that I know she'd like to keep but I don't know where to put them all.

Oh and one last thing, Is there a trick to reducing bloody dust. It's everywhere and I do try and keep on top of it but as soon as I've wiped surfaces with a damp cloth, the dust seems to be back within a few minutes. I think my DP creates alot of dust with his dry skin - honestly confused

I started reading this last night and today, I've defrosted the freezer and gone through the kids millions of toys and have filled a travel cot full of things to get rid of. Just have to decide to sell/give away or charity shop now. Hoping it doesn't sit there for the rest of the year.

My next job is to sort the duvets into their pillowcases. Inspired!

Kaloobear Thu 21-Jun-12 19:50:34

Love this thread. Has anyone recommend the Organised Mum stuff? The family life book has made my life so much easier!

colditz Thu 21-Jun-12 19:55:37

Just about the only thing I do that is in any way unusual is keep school uniform downstairs, and always make the children leave their shoes by the front door. I will not tolerate 'lost shoe' dramas

TimeWasting Sat 23-Jun-12 13:51:49

Whereabouts do you keep the uniform colditz?

nomorecake Sat 23-Jun-12 18:25:15

some of the things we do to save time or stay organise:

make the next days pack lunch when dinner's simmering away. so that after dinner, all food prep is finished, kitchen cleared.

bring down a machine load after putting dc's to bed. load machine before bed. machine ready to switch on in the morning. hang up when i get back from school run.

before hanging machine washed clothes, give them a good downward thrusting shake (to get creases out & get back their shape)and hang tops upside down (so no peg marks on the shoulders) and no twisted seams - straight as possible.
Do this, so don't need to iron casualwear.

keep a brush in the car, after dc's had a crumbly snack we brush down the seats and car mats, takes a couple of mins and saves us having to vacuum it all the time!

have a nappy changing bag upstairs and downstairs.

bought a few of rolls cheap loo paper, to give the loo a spray and wipe, then flushed/binned. easier than a cloth, cheaper than wipes. (AND means that there is emergency loo paper in the bathroom at all times!)

when something runs out, add it to the shopping list straight away.

write the shopping list in rough order of finding them in the route around the supermarket.
pack shopping in bags depending where they go, i.e. cupboard/fridge/freezer/toiletries etc. that way fridge/freezer items get put away first. (the rest after a cuppa!) i sort it as it goes on the conveyor belt.

have a check list for the end of the evening in regards of everything you need to have ready for the next day, workclothes/uniform/lunches/take food out to defrost/calender check/handbag check (purse/keys/nappy/wipes/shoppinglist/vouchers/school forms etc).
AND then i can relax!

dc's clothes ( and mine!) in their own piles, so no hunting around for things in the morning.

set an alarm on my phone, rather than the time to leave for school run, time to put shoes and coats on, 5 mins for that (and last minute faff around), and then out the door.
the dc's are so used to it, when they here the bell, they race off for their shoes! they have been programmed!!

(all shoes/coats kept by front door!)

oh and when taking shoes off, properly undo laces/straps/buckles ready to put them on again next day. i'm the worst culprit for kicking off my trainers and having to fight with knotted laces in the morning.

hope something there helps someone!

oohlalabonbons Sat 23-Jun-12 19:00:02

mumat39 , I have a heated clothes airer from Lakeland, we bought it in our previous house where we had not central heating. I can fit a whole load on and it dries overnight, don't think it's too expensive to run!

slowlyburningcalories Sun 24-Jun-12 00:41:36

Have just read entire thread. I think its taken two hours.

Back tomorrow. Too tired to type!

oohlalabonbons Thu 28-Jun-12 22:05:02

So I just got my Mumsnet Swears By... email and the Lakeland clothes airer is featured!

I told you it was good! smile

Killergerbil Fri 29-Jun-12 08:18:33

Never leave a room empty handed, something is always lurking that shouldn't be there! Even my DP has got the hang of this!

MushroomSoup Fri 29-Jun-12 09:29:06

I've got my eye on the Lakeland airer...

Marking my place to read later grin

poppyboo Fri 29-Jun-12 19:33:02

Have you tried drinking Sleep Easy tea by clipper? It's great for drifting off to sleep. It's great stuff!

mumat39 Fri 29-Jun-12 21:21:16


How many layers do you dry when you lay them flat over the bars of the airer. I like the idea of this esp as we have no dryer, haven't had that many dry days recently and even if we did, we wouldn't be drying clothes outside as it make hayfever worse for us all. sad

We currently use any available balustrade, radiator, surface to dry things on so the airer does sound like it would be very handy to have. Just have to convince DP that it's worth it.

Also, I couldn't see on the lakeland website what the foot print is when it's open. Do you know? and does it fold away or do you always have to have it out?

Thanks so much in advance for any info?


poppyboo Sat 30-Jun-12 08:02:49

When your child is sick tip: spread out large bath towel next to child's bed at night so if DC throws up during night and it goes all over floor, you can pick up towel and put straight in wash and you're not cleaning/scrubbing sick of carpet.

MushroomSoup Sat 30-Jun-12 21:29:28

I just bought Clipper Sleep Easy tea!! I'll let you know how I get on...

Just found this thread. We're moving house soon (hopefully) so I'm looking to set up the house in the most organised way possible right from the start.

I love the idea of having a cleaning bag on the back of the bathroom doors as I've been worried about DiddyCakes getting his paws on the bleach wipes for a while.

<<Toddles off to bed via the bed linen drawer, stuffs covers into pillow cases>>

poppyboo Sun 01-Jul-12 08:42:26

mushroomsoup if you really need a helping hand with sleep there is also another brand you can try : Dr Stuarts Valerian Plus - a herbal infusion with valerian root and hops.
This is a stronger tea than the sleep easy by clipper and knocks you out a quire a bit. I only use it if I'm going through a rough patch with sleep if I have something on my mind. The Clipper Sleep Easy is much more gentle and is my daily evening drink, an hour before I settle off to sleep.

poppyboo Sun 01-Jul-12 08:43:59

The Valerian Plus can be bought In health shops & Waitrose (next to regular tea.)

MushroomSoup Sun 01-Jul-12 11:00:26

Poppy I don't really have trouble sleeping but I have a bad habit of taking a cup of tea to bed every night while I read. Doesn't seem to affect me or keep me awake. I've never liked fruit or herbal teas but I tried my Sleep Easy tea last night in bed - quite nice! And I did sleep very well (although I had bizarre dreams about looking at houses with no bathrooms - that's a thread all by itself!).

poppyboo Sun 01-Jul-12 11:12:03

mushroomsoup I'm really accustomed to the taste of Sleep Easy tea now and look forward to drinking it of an evening so I'm glad you found it OK, it's really helped me have a good nights rest. I find I sleep better when I drink it in comparison to when I don't IYSWIM! I love to sleep well LOL I'm grumpy if I don't !

rednose Sun 01-Jul-12 22:37:08

Mumat39 I too was unsure what to do with dc's art work from nursery. So now we have completed the year at pre school I have created a scrapbook to include the art. Example- sept ds draw picture of my family glued into book, June fathers day card as made by ds glued in book. Ds v pleased with result & keeps "art" together

mumat39 Sun 01-Jul-12 22:55:11

Hi rednose

That's a good idea. I was going to get one of those A3 art folder things but I think the scrapbook sounds like a much better idea. Thanks smile

What do you do with any models they make? DD has a few that I'd like to keep including an easter bonnet which is actually huge.

mumat39 Sun 01-Jul-12 23:01:52

by the way, where do you buy scrap books from? I've never bought one before so no idea where would be good. Thanks again.

rednose Sun 01-Jul-12 23:34:55

All junk art has been recycled as nowt worth keeping tbh. I guess bonnet sounds like a keeper perhaps an old shoe or boot box. You can get scrap book in larger supermarkets stationary aisle

mumat39 Sun 01-Jul-12 23:48:26

DD made a binocular storage thingy that she has to keep as she is convinced it's really useful to have boxes either side of the kitchen rolls which are slightly skewif. grin It's funny watching her load it up with things to store and then watch her look through them and the surprise on her face when the store stuff falls out. Makes me laugh every time. wink