Organize your flood of incoming mail with ease

Everyday, except Sundays and most holidays, I can count on the mail always being in my mailbox. Sorting through incoming mail these days is a pain. Most of it is junk mail and the remaining mail is probably bills or statements. I sometimes imagine what mail was like back in the 30’s & 40’s when people would receive exciting telegrams and charming love letters. When mail was the primary source of communication between people that were far apart. Nowadays, my love letters come in the form of a text message, that is usually abbreviated. How romantic! Anyways, back to my point…

I’m going to help you sort through that mail!

1. What you want to do is set up a mail station in your home. Maybe near your front door or in your home office space. Something simple like a basket or open box.

I have my mail tray right near the front door and usually I’ll just drop everything off in the tray when I come home.

2. Sort through all the mail immediately. This doesn’t mean that you have to open every piece of mail as soon as you walk through the door but it does mean that you should finger through it. Put the mail into piles as you go. One pile should be for mail that you need to act on, like bills for example. Another pile should be for filing, like bank statements. And the last pile should be your garbage pile.

3. Recycle junk mail without even opening it! I get a lot of junk mail from Vonage and State Farm and stuff. Since my mail box is on the other side of my apartment building I usually just toss my junk mail in the dumpster before I even step foot in the house.

4. Once I’m done going through all my mail I’ll usually put whatever I need to keep back in the tray and go through it at the end of the week. Any bills I receive I’ll pay online, any statements I get I’ll file them away, and any advertisements that I want to look at will go in the tray as well. When I get home on Friday afternoon everything is pretty much all sorted out and all I need to do is act on it.

It’s pretty simple! There’s no need to have piles and piles of mail laying around. But if you are throwing away junk mail or any other mail that contains any personal identification information make sure you shred it or rip it up really good, because identity theft is no joke! Also, if you feel that you’re receiving a lot of junk mail you can go to the Direct Marketing Association website and fill out a form to remove yourself from a lot of the mass mailing lists.

Happy Monday, everyone!

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Awesome Photo Storage!

 I love pictures! No matter what they’re from, who they are of, or where they were taken, looking at pictures is definitely one of my favorite things to do. Almost every time I go home to Pittsburgh, my family and I end up bringing out the box of old photos and just sit for hours going through them and telling stories. Last time we went through them I even stole some and took them home to scan so that I can have digital copies also 🙂

Like this one for example. Wasn’t I the cutest baby?!

Anyways, for Christmas last year I got a pretty nice camera, the Olympus Pen Mini, and I’ve been trying to take lots of pictures at holiday parties and family events because when I have kids I want them to get excited about rummaging through a box filled with old photos too! But I’ve decided that maybe instead of an old, beat up box, I’ll store my pictures in really pretty photo boxes!

I got these at AC Moore, 5 for $10. I thought it was a pretty good deal. They had all different types of patterns and colors but I chose these, pretty much because they were the easiest to grab. AC Moore always has some kinda deal going on with photo boxes so if you’re ever in the market to buy some, check with them first.

For this project I also used #6 envelopes, some mod podge, some labels I made on my Cricut, and of course all my photos!

I used #6 envelopes because all of my pictures are 4 x 6 and the boxes don’t hold 5 x 7 photos unless they’re laying down. I ended up cutting off the top flap of the envelopes because they just got in the way.

After all the flaps were cut off I glued my labels to the front of the envelopes. You don’t need labels, I just figured it would look prettier this way.

Now all you need is your boxes and all of your pictures!

This is the fun part. You have to go through all of your pictures and group them into categories or events. For examples, I grouped all of my Christmas pictures together, all of my trips back to Pittsburgh, and so on and then I went through each category and sorted them by year or event. If you have lots and lots of photos this could take awhile so break it up into groups.

Once you’re done put them in an envelope and label the envelope with the Holiday and year or the event and location.

And that’s it! If you have tons of pictures you can designate a box just for holidays or just for vacations or birthdays or you can just label the box with a specific year and fill it with New Years, Valentines Day, 4th of July, Christmas, etc for that year. I hope this helps with some of your photo storage needs!

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

 

Bathroom Closet Clutter!

In my last post I told you that all this month I’ll be cleaning out and organizing all the closets in my apartment. Well I’ve already completed the bathroom closet! It’s not a huge accomplishment because 1) it’s the smallest closet in my apartment and 2) it wasn’t so so so bad and it only took me like an hour or so. But it felt really good. I went in there motivated and determined to throw a lot of stuff away and I did!

Before:

As you can see, there was just junk and stuff thrown in there with no order whatsoever! I started at the top shelve and took everything out. I had two piles: the garbage pile and the keep pile. I didn’t make a donation pile for obvious reasons. I don’t think anyone wants some old toiletries. So I just went through EVERYTHING. There was a couple things that I didn’t know if I should throw away like multiple hair brushes, tanning oil (I’m pale as a ghost and don’t ever use it, but what-ev), hair dye that I bought forever ago but never got around to using. But I pulled them out, looked at them, and said out loud, “Hair brush, I have 10 of you and you’re just taking up space, goodbye. Tanning oil, you’re useless because I don’t use you and the one time I did, your sprayer thing didn’t work but I kept you around this long because I felt sorry for you. And as for you hair dye, I know I have a few grays and I know that they need to be covered but I think I want to go to a salon to get them colored instead of fighting with you and your squeezy bottles and those stinky rubber gloves.”

And just like that, I was done going through all the shelves. I dusted them off and then got a few storage bins that I had gotten from the dollar store last week.

The green bin is for travel size items. Sam and I don’t “travel” in the traditional sense a lot but we do go to Atlantic City for the weekend and take over night trips places so they’re good to have. The pink bin is all of my stuff. I made sure to put all the stuff that I use daily or more often in the front so I don’t have to dig through the bin all the time. The blue bin is Sam’s stuff. Everything is in arms reach from the sink. Easy to take things out of the bins and easy throw back in.

The second shelf is designated for our contacts, solution, and extra contact cases. We also put our first-aid/medicine box here. I wanted to put my hair ties and bobby pins on this shelf because I didn’t want to have small things on the top shelf where I’d have to shuffle around to get them. And finally some of my makeup brushes. I decided to put my mason jars containing all the q-tips, cotton balls, cotton swabs, and makeup sponges in the closet and free up some space on my bathroom vanity.

Third shelf is for our toiletry travel bags, extra mouth wash, air freshner and soap, along with Sam’s hair cutting stuff and shower mirror.

After:

The end result! I’m pretty happy with it. Getting rid of the extra junk and putting the remaining items in some kind of order was fairly easy. All the storage that I used in this closet cost me $3 as the bins that I used on the top shelf only cost $1 at the Dollar Tree. Normally I would clean out the space and sort things into keep piles and then go shopping for storage but I couldn’t pass up some cute storage bins – hahaha!

Have a great weekend!!!

My August Plans!

(Not my closet but it might as well be considering it gave me a headache just looking at it)

I’ve decided that over the next couple weekends I’m going to work on organizing my closets.  August will unofficially be my Clean Out Your Closet month. I only have three closets in my apartment so it shouldn’t take me too long (knocks on wood). The only part I’m dreading is the horrid first step of organization… PURGING! I’m really bad at it because I can find uses for a lot of things that other people would consider junk, so when other people have no problem throwing something away, I have to really think about it – HAHA!.. I thought that others may have a problem purging also, so I’ve put together a short list to get you started.

1. You need to find out how much time you want to devote to your organization project. For me and my closet clean out I’ll probably devote a whole weekend but some people may get too overwhelmed. If that is the case for you, just start small. Purge a little bit here and there in 30 minute chunks or maybe take an hour out of your afternoon to get going.

2. You’re going to need to create 4 groups. Items to keep, items to sell/donate, items to fix, and items to throw away. You may also need a pile for stuff that is just out of place and needs to be returned to it’s designated spot. As soon as you’re done sorting out what needs to go where, it’s time to get that stuff OUT! Take the items that you’re throwing away straight out to the trash can. The items that you’re going to donate or give away should go into a box in the trunk of your car. And the items that were misplaced should be put back into their appropriate spots.

3. If you have any items that need to be repaired give yourself a three month deadline. If the items are not fixed within that three months, toss ’em!

4. The same goes for any items that you may have trouble getting rid of. Let’s say that there’s a vase that you like but haven’t used in a long time but you still really like it. Put it in a box and put it up in a closet, in the attic, or out in the garage for a year. If you haven’t taken it out to use it then it’ll be easier for you to throw away or give away once the year is up.

I hope that these easy tips help with any of your organization projects that you have going this summer and stay tuned for my August Closet Clean Out posts!

Organizing on a Budget – #7

Storage crates/boxes are one of my absolute favorite things! They make everything so much more simpler to find and store. This week at Target they have storage crates on sale for $3! you can store anything and they even hold letter size hanging files which is awesome.

I have a ton of magazines in the bottom drawer of my white storage set that I’m in the middle of throwing away but any time I would open that drawer all of my binders on top would fall over so I used one of the storage bins to help me out until I can get rid of the magazines. I really like it because I can store my binders on the their sides and it’s easy to see which binder is which and also easier to just grab and go.

It’s also really great storage for under the sink in my bathroom. I can store cleaning products in one and feminine products in the other and it saves me a lot of room in my bathroom closet for all the other junk that’s taking up too much space.

This would also be a really good item to store all the sports equipment that you may have in your trunk for the kids like baseball gloves, basketballs, soccer balls and pads, etc. It would also be a great storage bin for magazines, which I should really think about since I’m trying to move all the magazines from my storage drawers. Normally, I try and find an alternative product online so that in case there isn’t a Target near you then you can buy the product off Amazon or something but I didn’t have any luck finding a similar product for a comparable price. Sorry 😦

Btw, sorry for leaving the blog hanging the past couple days. I was out of town late last week and then just been a little busy this week. I’m trying to re-re-arrange my office area again. Yes, I said re-re-arrange. Looking for a big desk or craft table and having no luck but I have a few projects coming up that I’m excited about and excited to share with all of you!

Convenient Uses for Mason Jars

I love mason jars! I think everyone on Pinterest loves mason jars as well. Recently I was browsing through some posts and came across Food Paradise’s blog and she was painting the inside of jars. I loved the look and normally I wouldn’t even attempt to try it but I thought I’d give it a shot because she made it look so easy.

I got the mason jars at Christmas Tree Shop for $.89/each and the acrylic paint was on sale at AC Moore 2 for $1 so I got a bunch of different colors. One of these small 2 ounce bottles of paint wold be enough for two mason jars.  Then all you have to do is put some paint in the jar add a couple drops of water and then just kind of wiggle it around until all the sides are completely covered.

Once you do that, you want to turn it upside down and let the excess paint drip out. I left mine upside down for about 20 minutes then sat it up right for 15 minutes or so then flipped upside down again for another 20 minutes. After that I just set it up and let it dry overnight.

After letting them dry overnight I sprayed them the next day with a clear cote matte finish acrylic sealer.

I got this at AC Moore also. It was $4.50 but I got it for $2.25 with a coupon. It’s definitely essential to keeping your jars looking nice and protected inside.

Then I put all my q-tips, cotton balls, cotton swabs, and makeup sponges in them and now they live on my bathroom counter!

The colors are great! I really like them. It’s like a little make over for the traditional mason jar. I wanted to use a mason jar for all my makeup brushes but there was too many so I got a small vase and filled the bottom with stones and now that’s on my vanity.

I also use mason jars to store my incense and to hold some pens and pencils.

Mason jars are perfect containers for homemade mod podge!

Mason jars are really cheap and have endless great storage possibilities. Decorating mason jars is also VERY easy and extremely inexpensive. If you’re like me, and not really the type to try a DIY kind of project, you at least need to try painting the inside of a couple mason jars. It’s so fun and gives color to places that may need it!

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Where do you use mason jars? Have any great ideas? Let me know! Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail at kate@coordinatedkate.com

Organizing on a Budget – #6

I was searching online for a 12 x 12 paper holder for my scrapbook paper so that I could free up storage space in one of the drawers in my white storage container. I found a really awesome Cropper Hopper Paper Holder on Amazon.

It was perfect for the amount of paper that I have and it was only $7 something and eligible for Amazon Prime free two-day shipping. Though the price has went up to $10.70 since I bought it late last, it’s still totally worth it. It holds up to 200 sheets of paper and it’s really easy to store. I actually decorated mine with some really pretty tissue paper and some mod podge.

It fits perfectly with my binders. I found the same product at scrapbook.com for $6.65 but you need to pay for shipping so it may be worth it if you pair it with any other scrapbooking items that you may need.

I also found a similar item on amazon. It’s pretty much the horizontal box version of  the vertical stand up box. And it’s also eligible for Amazon Prime free shipping!

This one runs for $10.99 so the prices are very similar and I’m sure you’d be able to decorate this one and make it pretty also.

The best part of all of this is that now I have a drawer open to store random stuff in! HOORAY!

Happy MONDAYYYY!

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If you use or know of any affordable organizational supplies, I’d love to know and feature you on my blog. Comment with your e-mail address or e-mail me at kate@coordinatedkate.com

Brilliant Idea!

I’ve been thinking lately about what I want to be doing, career wise and I’ve decided that I want to start networking with professional organizers and party planners and stuff. I love doing things like that and to potentially get paid to do something like that would be great. I work part time now so I’m thinking I could free up some time in the afternoons and also on weekends to just kind of see what that would be like. I’m not too sure how to start even looking for opportunities like that but I’ll find out and I’m really excited.

If you live in New Jersey and know anyone, hook a girl up!

Ask Kate! – #1

I received an e-mail from a woman that is having some trouble organizing  a drawer in her kitchen. This is what she had to say:

“I have this one drawer in my kitchen that contains everything but the kitchen sink.  It just so happens I also have a flatware tray in that drawer that holds my silverware.  This drawer contains everything from cash, credit cards, coupons, garbage bag ties, receipts, keys, pens, hair ties – I could go on and on ……

 Anyway I’m embarrassed when guests end up having to grab a fork and end up seeing all that mess.  The only thing that keeps me from cleaning this drawer is that all of this stuff has nowhere else to go.  That’s why it’s in there in the first place!

 Help me!”

Well, Mrs. Anonymous, it sounds like you have successfully combined your silverware drawer with your “kitchen junk drawer”. I think every has got one of those (EVEN ME!), but you need a solution so that you can gain back your silverware drawer. The easy (and dumb) solution would be to simply move all the junk to a different drawer so that your silverware drawer is free of clutter, but we’re not going to do that! We’re going to find an organized solution  for all that mess.

This is kind of what I imagine your drawer looks like right now:

(I know, I know, my sample drawer is actually a sample basket, but it works for now)

1) Let’s start with the cash and credit cards – It’s not a good idea to leave loose credit cards and cash  in a drawer. It’s 10x easier to misplace! I would recommend keeping that kind of stuff in your wallet or getting a small change purse to keep cash, cards, and ID’s so it’s not just hanging out in a drawer waiting to get lost. For example, I had a small change purse laying around, so it could be something like this:

2) Coupons & Receipts –  I get coupons every time I go grocery shopping and I never know what to do with them. Some coupons you know you may use and others you know you WON’T use. It’s best to just throw the ones you know you’re not going to use away. You need to keep the remaining ones organized. Remember those $1 accordion file folders from Target that I told you about in Organizing on a Budget #1? The smallest size would be perfect for keeping the coupons and receipts handy and organized. If you don’t have one of those, just use an envelope and label it “Coupons” and “Receipts”. This way everyone in the household knows after they come home from the store with new coupons and receipts that they now have a designated space!

 3) As for keys, I would get a small basket that you can leave on the counter top somewhere nearby. Not in the middle of the counter top but in a corner or against a wall. Put the keys, the coupon and receipt envelopes, and the change purse or wallet in this basket. It’s very accessible and not cluttering up your silverware drawer and not taking up too much space on the counter. I use a small basket on my bookshelf near the door for keys and stuff so I put the examples together to give you an idea:

4) Hair ties & pins – Hair accessories belong in bathrooms and on vanities. There’s many ways to keep hair ties and bobby pins together. I just recently got small glass candle holders 3 for $1 at AC Moore and I use them in my bathroom to hold my hair accessories.

If you have tons of hair ties and bobby pins use a mason jar or even small decorative boxes. Whatever works for you or whatever you have laying around!

5) Pens – They are easy to keep together. You can use a mason jar, a tin can that you’ve washed and possibly decorated, or a cheap box like the ones I picked up at Target in the $1 aisle.

I hope that this has helped you, Mrs. Anonymous! Get back your silverware drawer and get rid of that clutter! All of the solutions I’ve mentioned are easy and the supplies you need to do it are either extremely cheap or things that you’ve got around the house already. Being organized isn’t always about everything matching and looking perfect, it’s about functionality. Remember THAT, Martha Stewart!

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If you have any questions about organizing a drawer, a bookshelf, a corner, a room, or whatever it is and you need some inspiration or some simple solutions, let me know and I’ll do my best to help!

E-MAIL ME AT KATE@COORDINATEDKATE.COM

Cheap Travel Kit For The Car!

I have this weird reoccurring dream that I’m driving through a desert like setting at night and my car breaks down. Don’t ask me why! I don’t think there are any desert-like roads in New Jersey but for some reason I still think my nightmare is relevant – Hahaa! That nightmare is the reason I always keep a few necessities in the car at all times. Remember those $.97 storage boxes I told you about last week in my Organizing on a Budget #4? Well that’s what I’ve used to put my kit together.

My kit includes:

– Toilet paper, because you never know when you’ll have to go. I know this all too well. But that’s another story!

-Small first-aid kit

-Bottle of ibprofen

-Pack of Wet Ones wipes that are on sale this week at Target for $1, by the way.

-Small bottles of shampoo & conditioner

-A mini lint roller. I don’t know why, but I never notice that I need a lint roller until I’m in natural light (like when I’m sitting in the car), so I added a mini lint roller to my purse and to the car kit.

-A little pack of tissues

-Hand sanitizer

-A small bar of soap that I stole from Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City 🙂

– Swiss army knife (w/ a wine bottle opener!)

-And matches, in case I really do get stranded in the desert and need to start a fire to stay warm in the freezing cold nights to keep away the dangerous animals and desert scorpions that are all out to attack me! (Alarm clock goes off)… Oh, just a dream.

So the whole kit was under $10 to put together and I think it’s well worth it because you never know when you’ll need some of this stuff. Some things I might add is maybe a couple bottles of water. Maybe a couple small bags of snacks or nut bars that won’t melt or get gooey if left in the hot trunk. Super easy to customize and actually pretty fun to think of all the scenerios when you might need this.

Happy hump day!