Household Management

Easy DIY Linen Cabinet Re-Organization

The Before/After of a successful easy DIY Re-Organization project!
Mom Improvement Presents: Easy DIY Linen Cabinet Re-Organization

My Linen Cabinet… is a disaster!

Easy DIY Clean Out the Linen Cabinet- follow along!
The “Before” shot!

For a few weeks now, my linen cabinet has been… a total and complete disaster.  I recently had to move a bunch of “grown-up items” to the upper shelf of the linen cabinet after I caught my son using my husband’s deodorant on his teeth.  ??????  I have no idea why, and he certainly couldn’t explain himself!

Add to that a load of laundry that I didn’t have time to put away (so I just shoved it into the linen cabinet), plus some sloppy sheet-and-towel-folding and miscellaneous trash = a complete embarrassment!

Easy DIY Linen Cabinet Re-Organization

If your linen cabinet is in good shape, pick another closet or cabinet that needs some work, and follow along!  We have only two objectives for this mission: a quick and clean project, spending minimal time and money!  The only thing we really need to focus on is creating lasting solutions for easy storage, so that we can maintain our beautiful hard work once it’s done!

Easy DIY Linen Cabinet Re-Organization: Problem Solving!
Problem Solving:

We don’t have a linen cabinet, closet or shelving of any kind in our downstairs bathroom.  So this linen cabinet has to store ALL our sheets and towels.

I want to continue to store a few adult items on that upper shelf.  Deodorant, my husband’s electric razor, toothpaste, etc.  It is the safest, easiest place to keep those things.  I want them to be out of the reach of the kids, but I also don’t want to store them down below the sink.  Toothpaste near plumbing and toilet cleaner is asking for trouble!

I wanted this to be an Easy DIY Linen Cabinet Re-Organization!  Including a better, easier way to fold and store sheets, towels and wash cloths so that I could find them and stop mixing up the different types and sets.

Take a second to set your objectives for your re-organization project.  Ask yourself these easy questions:

  1. What do I need to keep in here?
  2. Am I having problems keeping it organized?  Why?
  3. How can I solve those problems?

The Solution:

Easy DIY Linen Cabinet Re-Organization (or another closet you want to re-organize) will have a few basic materials.  These may differ based on what you need.

  • A pencil or sharpie (to mark your paper for cutting)
  • A couple of small boxes
  • optional: A roll of Con-Tact paper, or something similar (I chose this one– I got it at Target for $5.99).

Getting Started:

This will be the most helpful step in the Easy DIY Linen Cabinet Re-Organization.  Pull everything out!  Are there things that don’t belong?  In our cabinet, I found my son’s R2-D2 figurine… Separate the things that don’t need to go back in.  Then put them away where they belong.

Are there things that need to be washed?  I switched out my dirty towels for clean ones, and put the laundry in the laundry room.

Clear your work space as needed.  I folded everything nicely and stowed it away so that I wouldn’t trip over it while I worked.

Replace If Necessary…

I pulled out the old Con-Tact paper that was lining the cabinet.  If you have perfectly good paper in your cabinet, there’s no need to replace it, you can just wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

My paper was peeling off and didn’t look good anymore; most of the cause of this problem is, unfortunately, the type of shelf we have in that cabinet.  The easiest solution to this problem would have been to simply pull out the shelf and replace it.

If you need to replace a shelf or shelves, I would recommend looking at IKEA, they have some amazing closet/storage/shelving solutions for very reasonable prices.

Easy DIY Linen Cabinet Re-Organization
The old contact paper- peeling away and looking shabby!

A New, Fresh Look!

This was my favorite part of the whole project, and the thing that really qualified it, in my head, as an Easy DIY project.  After a good scrubbing of the shelves with a multi-purpose cleaner (I use this one), I replaced the Con-Tact paper.  Then, in a stroke of genius, I wrapped the two small cardboard boxes in the Con-Tact paper as well.  I realized this would make the cabinet look like it had a “theme”, as well as dress up the boxes just enough!

Why boxes?

I wanted to re-use.  We get a lot of cardboard boxes because we get so many products delivered from Amazon.  I like to try to use them all around the house in different ways.  Plus, it was free!

Final Touches

The last problem I had to solve was how to organize my linens.  I have lots of linens that are only partial sets- missing the fitted sheet.  I wanted to figure out how to get them to look nicer on the shelf.  Well, there’s a reason why Martha Stewart is Martha Stewart.  A search on YouTube for the “best way to fold sheets” brings up this video, with her absolutely genius hack.  Just a warning, that video is mostly a commercial for her sheet sets, but it’s worth sitting through because of the advice!

Ta-Da!

The finished product:

Easy DIY Linen Cabinet Re-Organization: the finished product!
All Done! So much better!

Some of the towels were still in the laundry when I took this picture, but you get the idea!  There is now a place for everything.  Wash cloths go in the bigger box on the lower shelf.  Towels in the back, hand towels in front.  Up above, our beautiful, matched, folded and organized linens!  And a smaller box for our “adult items”.  This is going to be so easy to maintain!  I am so, so happy I did this.  It looks so much better and I feel so proud!

What are you going to organize?  Send me pictures of the before and after!

 

40 Minute Focus Cleaning: How I Streamlined and De-Stressed My Cleaning Routine

Change your cleaning world and mindset with this 40-minute focus cleaning routine!
Mom Improvement Presents: 40-Minute Focus Cleaning

House Cleaning…

It’s a struggle, isn’t it?  Especially with little ones.  There are so many frustrations associated with cleaning, from finding the time to do it all the way to actually doing it.  I used to feel like such a failure because I would get so behind on my chores.  The entire house was so messy it made me feel depressed.  I would take hours to catch up on my cleaning… only to have my heart broken when it was messy again a few days later.

If this is how you feel, take heart.  First, remember how much you love your kids and how well you take care of them.  They are your priority right now, and you are absolutely allowed to fall behind on your cleaning.  There’s zero need to get down on yourself.  Give yourself a gentle hug, some kind words, and then we can get down to work.  I have a new system for you to try.  It has changed my world and my whole perspective on cleaning, and I hope it will do the same for you!

This focus cleaning schedule is changing my whole cleaning game plan!
One Step at a Time!

What Does Focus Cleaning Have to Do With Mindfulness?

There’s a simple reason why I call my system “focus cleaning”: because I’m focusing on cleaning!  Before I adopted this system, I was packing cleaning into stressful, frustrating periods of time.  For example, when I was getting ready to have friends over.  I was doing seven things at once: feeding the kids, making treats for guests, cleaning, doing laundry… that’s just not an effective system.  When I changed my methods and scheduled into my day a “focus cleaning session”, my mindset shifted so dramatically.  I focused on one cleaning task at a time, one room at a time, one day at a time.  That’s all mindfulness, baby!

Why Should You Switch to Focus Cleaning?

If you’re looking for ideas and inspirations for cleaning, I’m guessing it’s for a pretty simple reason.  You’re not happy with your system and you want to find a better way. Most likely, your chore list is long, and you try to tackle too many chores at once.  I understand. I will continue to push you in one direction, always, and that is the direction of a focused, intentional, habit-forming lifestyle. The key to changing your system may surprise you, but nonetheless, it’s true:

Spending hours on cleaning won't help you, but this new focus cleaning system will!
Clean Less, Not More!

40-Minute Focus Cleaning

Don’t get discouraged by the name.  This method can be adapted to any period of time, which is the beauty of it. I was inspired to create my routine after reading this post from I Heart Frugal. She created a genius system to clean your house in 25 minutes a day (check it out!).  I knew I could never be organized enough to clean effectively in just 25 minutes a day. But I wanted to clean a little bit, every day, and I didn’t want to clean for a whole hour. So I came up with my compromise: 40 minutes. I also figured I could sneak 40 minutes of cleaning time into most of my days without too much trouble. The time you choose can be more, or less, based on the size of your house, your daily routine, or how much time you want to spend each day cleaning!

Master Weekly Cleaning Tasks List
Click Here to See my Master List!

Start With Your Master List

If you click the picture above, you will see the list of weekly cleaning tasks I use for my house. Check Pinterest to find some really handy checklists and ideas if you aren’t sure what you should be cleaning on a regular basis.

You will notice, there’s a couple cleaning tasks on my master list that aren’t on my focus cleaning worksheet- that’s because they’re in my daily priority picker task list.  This allows me to sneak in a couple extra very short minutes of cleaning every day, which just helps to keep my system running smoothly.

Once I had my master list put together, I decided how long each task would take.  Then I grouped tasks together in a logical way. In general, the tasks for any given day occur on the same floor of my house. This allows me to smoothly transition from one room to the next.  Since I’m doing similar tasks in each room, I can gather all my cleaning supplies at the beginning of the session and have them right at hand when I need them.  Here is my Filled Out Focus Cleaning Schedule so you can see how I do it. But yours can, and might, look totally different from mine, based on your timing, the layout of your home, etc.

Cleaning is a challenge, but if you change your mindset, you can change everything! Check it out!
A nice, clean kitchen!

The Fantastic Upside to Focus Cleaning

Focus cleaning has made such a dramatic impact in my life. I feel so much more confident about my process.  I know what I need to do, and I don’t feel like I’m forgetting or neglecting anything. Even better that that are the results that you can see around my house!

Case in point, my kitchen: on my first day of focus cleaning, I didn’t finish wiping down all my appliances in the time allotted. I got my stove, dishwasher and coffee maker. That’s a key to this process: testing your timing (more about that in a second).  But, the next week, it didn’t take so long to wipe those appliances down, so I was able to move on.  I got The Kitchen Aid, the microwave, the fridge, too, all in ten minutes!  And now that I’m wiping them down on a regular basis, I can even take a few extra seconds to do some deep cleaning.  Like the hinges of the dishwasher, or use the special cleaning polish on my glass stovetop.

This is the great secret to cleaning that I was never able to appreciate or take advantage of before.  It gets easier and faster when you have a system in place. Because I clean the same things every week, they don’t have as much time to get dirty!

Clean less, not more! Change your mindset with a 40 minute focus cleaning routine!
Stick to your time limits!

Chart Your Progress and Look at Your Timing

Like every other goal we set or habit we track, this will be a process.  Especially if it’s a big change in how you are used to cleaning. I found it helpful to make myself a sticky note list for each day of the week, with each day’s tasks written on it. That way I could just carry the sticky note with me while I cleaned, and I could check off each task as I went along.  This meant I didn’t have to memorize my cleaning schedule or worry about forgetting anything.

In the beginning, I also kept track of how long it took me to complete each day’s tasks.  I thought it would be helpful to see if I was, week after week, ending certain days always having extra time, and other days not having enough time. This would have made it easier for me to switch around my task list so that the timing balanced out. Once I got used to my schedule, I am now able to complete all my tasks in my planned time frame.

However, if this isn’t the case for you, then don’t hesitate to change your plan. The point of a really good, effective focus cleaning schedule is to get all your weekly tasks done in as little time as possible. Don’t hesitate to change your strategy if a particular day is always giving you grief or you feel too rushed to get things as clean as you want them.  Track your schedule in your planner, use sticky notes, put something up on your fridge… make it convenient and easy for you to find and use!

Pick Your Days

My focus cleaning schedule is formatted for 5 days a week.  But if you have a particularly long master list of chores, or much less time you can devote to cleaning each week, then you could consider making your schedule a six or seven day list, just to give yourself the extra chances to get things done. Conversely, if you have extra time in your cleaning schedule or you can get your tasks done more quickly than me, you may not need a full five days!

I Want To Hear From You!

Give this schedule a shot, and then leave me a comment or send me a message! Let me know how it’s going for you or if you need more help, guidance or additional worksheets or trackers!  I truly hope this is the beginning of a new mindset for you on cleaning!  Let me know what I can do to help with that!

 

Pick Your Priorities: De-clutter Your Daily Routine!

I'm so excited to practice mindfulness and find some new ways to re-priorities and achieve my goals!
Mom Improvement Presents: Pick Your Priorities: De-Clutter Your Daily Routine!

When I really started to “melt down” as a mom, I lost sight of something important.  I forgot that the key to an organized day is a basic routine.  Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t running amok or something, but with the exception of meals (kids have to eat at regular intervals or they get hangry), we never did anything regularly.  We didn’t have any structure.  I didn’t have any priorities!  As a result, the days felt impossibly long and boring.  There was way too much TV watching.  I didn’t schedule any play dates, or outings, because I was trying to save money.  I felt like the world’s crappiest mother because I had no idea what to do with myself (or the kids!).

Mindfulness

Give yourself the chance to take some time for yourself! Mindfulness can help!
Mindfulness

I’ve been in therapy for almost 4 years now!  My therapist has always stressed to me the importance of mindfulness.  I’m not an expert on that subject, but the basic definition of mindfulness, to me, is trying to focus on one thing at a time.  If you have multiple kids you are probably rolling your eyes right now.  I feel you, I really do.  Having more than one kid means you literally can’t ever focus on one thing at a time, because you have at least two things that always need your attention.

However, there are still ways to practice mindfulness, even with a bunch of kids running around.  Let me give you the best example I have- making a meal.  When I am in the kitchen, if I don’t force myself to slow down, I will try to do all these things at the same time:

  1. Make food for my kids and myself
  2. Empty or load the dishwasher
  3. Clean a sink, countertop or other kitchen item
  4. Put my coffee in the microwave to warm up (guess how many times I remembered to take it out of the microwave when it was done?  I will give you a hint, the answer has a zero in it).
  5. Etc., etc., etc.

Multi-tasking on top of multi-tasking isn’t helpful to you.  It’s probably not even good for you!  My mental state, my ability to remember things, and my ability to focus on the task at hand have increased by so much since I stopped trying to do everything at once.  There will still be times when you have to do more than one thing at once.  But reducing the situations in which you are forcing yourself to multi-task will bring you so much peace and reduce your stress level.  I guarantee it.

There are easy ways to meet your top daily tasks without extending the already over-extended to do list!
Top Priorities List

What are your top priorities?

To put it simply, for right now, your day is going to contain three priorities for each “time phase”.  Three priorities in the morning, three priorities in the afternoon, and three priorities in the evening.  We are not building a full daily routine yet.  That would be too much stress and too big of an undertaking.  We’re simply dividing your day into three basic time periods, and picking three things you want to do within those time periods.

How is this different from a 28 day goal?

The three things you choose should not be big goals.  They should not be big projects.  Ask yourself, “what three things do you want to get done between the hours of 7-noon, noon-5, and 5-bedtime?”  I have made you a freebie to build your list!

What should I pick?

This is my filled out worksheet, to give you an idea of my three priorities for each time period.

As you can see, I am not doing anything strenuous or trying to shoehorn a big DIY project into my time periods.  I am picking three things that I would be doing anyway (well, OK, the yoga is the hardest one for me to fit into my schedule but I try to do it every day because it’s really good for mindfulness).  But here is why my days are so much more successful: I have basic priorities.  I have the things on my list that are going to keep my household running.  I also have a few simple “pick me ups” (I love coffee!) included to make me feel like I am taking time for myself each day.

Keep your day simple with a trimmed-down task list!
Simple is Beautiful!

Stick to the basics

When you are choosing your priorities, stick to the basics.  If you have trouble remembering to feed yourself because you’re busy feeding the kids, make it a priority.  It doesn’t need to be a gourmet meal.  If you’re not great about breakfast, make yourself have a small bowl of cheerios while the kids eat their breakfast.

If you are picking a household or cleaning task for one of your priorities, pick a quick one.  Unload the dishwasher, shake out the entryway rug, take out a garbage.  We will do a lot more work on creating a household cleaning routine.  For now, your priority should be something small that, if you get behind on it, really drags you down.  If I don’t bring a load of laundry all the way downstairs to the laundry room each day, it sits in a huge pile at the bottom of one of my staircases.  This looks awful!

Do Something for You

Make sure to pick at least one thing that makes you feel better about yourself.  It can be anything.  I picked washing my face because it’s something that I rarely used to do for myself, which made me feel terrible and lazy.  Also, I really love how I feel after I wash my face.  It makes me feel like I am taking care of myself.  That’s so important for us as moms.  We take care of other people all day.  We don’t have the time we need to take to really give ourselves the loving self-care we deserve.  The only remedy in the short term is to find those small daily “hacks” that give us back little pieces of ourselves.  It can be an enormous benefit.

Strategize some
Find your Time!

Find Your Time

Now, you have to commit to yourself.  You’ve chosen your priorities, now when are you going to do these things?  This will be the hardest part, and you may have to continually revise your strategy.  I find my best “sneak times” are at the very end of meal times, right away when I wake up in the morning (before I get my littlest out of his crib), and nap time (my oldest is in preschool for a few hours 4 days a week, this is when my younger son naps).  But if you already have a million and one things you try to fit into nap time, then don’t try to squeeze in anything more.  You will have to find another time.  You may have to get a little creative, but find your time.

Sometimes perfecting the to-do list requires some re-writing!
How many priorities did you check off your list?

After day ONE, re-evaluate

How did your first day go?  Which tasks did you do easily?  Were there any that you had trouble fitting in?  Any that you didn’t get to altogether?

Re-strategize for the next day.  Did you find an extra “sneak time” that you didn’t know you had?  Do you need to find a little extra time somewhere?  Wake up five minutes earlier?  Do a little bit of problem-solving and try again the next day.  If you are really, really having trouble getting three tasks into each time period, then you have a couple choices:

  1. You could pick a different small priority, if you had trouble choosing between a couple and think something else might fit more easily into your day.  OR-
  2. You could go down to only 2 small priorities each time period.  If you have a bunch of kids, they all nap at different times, or you are shuttling kids back and forth to a lot of classes, schools, activities, doctors appointments, etc., then by all means, trim your list.

If you decide to do this, then I highly recommend you do not choose any cleaning tasks for this particular priority list.  These things should be things you do for yourself, to give yourself a small bit of extra TLC.  Cleaning, while highly important in the daily routine, does not count for self-care.

Give yourself the gift of mindfulness- time and patience and a trimmed-down to-do list!
A small gift… to yourself!

Give these little gifts to yourself

You’re at a point in your mom journey in which you need to be replenishing your soul, little bit by little bit.  If you are having trouble coming up with small things that you can use to really help yourself feel better, I highly recommend searching Pinterest, YouTube or the iTunes store for short meditation routines, or breathing exercises.  These are things you can do anywhere, at any time, when you have a spare second.  In line at Target, in the car, right before you fall asleep.  Give yourself the gift of a little bit of love.  You deserve it!

Just the beginning…

This is the first step to a fully built and customized daily routine but you have to start small so you don’t overreach and get overwhelmed.  We are still not adding things to the to-do list, that’s why you need to edit and re-evaluate if you didn’t pick the right tasks.  You shouldn’t feel like you’ve given yourself more work.  You should just feel like you’re slowing your day down and taking a little extra time for yourself.  It probably won’t be an overnight transformation, and that’s totally OK.  The goal is for you to feel like you are working towards some much-needed inner peace.  Any small step that gets you towards that finish line is a step in the right direction!

Don’t forget to download my freebie and then leave a comment or send me a message!  Tell me what your priorities are!  I want to hear what you’re doing to take back your day!  Good luck!