Favorite Kitchen Organizing Products

Products are not the solution to our disorganization (More about that here). That being said, there are circumstances when a great product can be just what you need.

Almost always, those circumstances arise AFTER you’ve done the hard work of going through your stuff and keeping only what you NEED and USE.

Regardless of how big your kitchen is or how much storage space you do or don’t have, a product that helps to maximize that space and make it function at a higher level is worth the investment.

Best Kitchen Organization Products :: maximizingdaysblog.com

one, two, three, four, five, six

Favorite Kitchen Organizing Products

1 – Expandable Pantry Shelf – This creates a custom-built feature and maximizes space while keeping products visible. It can be used in pantries or cupboards.

2 – Lazy Susan – These make hard to reach places (like back corners of cupboards) accessible.

3 – Shelf Riser – These utilize vertical space without having to next small items into larger items.

4 – In-Drawer Knife Tray – It can be tempting to buy more of something for less. But then you have what you don’t need. This is often the case with knife sets that come in a block. The block is counter clutter and most of the knives don’t get used. Find the knives that you use most often and pare down (get it?) to just those.

5 – Multi-Purpose Bins – Don’t be surprised if you see these on every graphic in this series. These bins are so multi-purpose that I had the hardest time finding them in The Container Store because they can go in EVERY room. See how they save my life in our bottom drawer freezer.

6 – Rectangular Canisters – These are a cost-effective dupe for the very popular (but pricey!) Oxo Pop Containers. These canisters are the only reason that we can live with one small cupboard and no pantry.

What am I missing? What your favorite kitchen organizing product?

Why the KonMari Folding Method is the Best Way to Fold Your Clothes

Why the KonMari Folding Method is the Best Way to Fold Your Clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I’m the only person living in civilization who hasn’t seen Tidying Up, the Marie Kondo show on Netflix, or read her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I’ve been familiar with her clothes folding method for a few years.

Being familiar with the folding method didn’t equal actually using it until recently. I don’t even have a good reason why I didn’t do it earlier.

But, a few months ago, I worked the KonMari magic on my sock drawer and it snow-balled from there. Socks led to underwear which led to workout tops & bottoms which led to shirts and then my entire dresser was KonMari-ed.

Why the KonMari Folding Method is the Best Way to Fold Your Clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I saw what a difference it made in my own dresser, that I started folding my kids’ clothes using the KonMari folding method too.

It is the way to go.

Here’s the thing: If you fold your clothes at all – and by that I mean, if you do anything other than live out of baskets of straight-out-of-the-dryer clothes – there is no reason not to fold your clothes using the KonMari method.

It doesn’t take any more time than a “conventional” folding method. How do I know this? Because I timed myself folding clothes my old way and using the KonMari folding method. Lame, I know. But I’m here for the people. And my research proves my point. The difference in an entire load of clothes was seconds.

Why the KonMari Folding Method is the Best Way to Fold Your Clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Benefits of KonMari Folding Method

Maximizes Drawer Space

More clothes fit in your drawer this way. I’m not exactly sure how the math works on this, but it does.

This was my husband’s drawer BEFORE using the KonMari folding method.

And this is the same exact drawer with the same exact amount of clothes AFTER using the KonMari folding method.

Why the KonMari Folding Method is the Best Way to Fold Your Clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

In addition to being able to fit more clothes in your drawer, you can also more easily access those extra clothes.

See Everything in the Drawer

You are more likely to wear clothes that you don’t have to dig for. Folding your clothes using the KonMari folding method means that you will actually wear the clothes that you buy.

Requires No Special Equipment

You don’t have to buy anything to make this change.

Do you want a clean, organized space without spending money? Start here. This is a fast, easy change you can make that costs ZERO dollars.

Why the KonMari Folding Method is the Best Way to Fold Your Clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

That’s the ‘Why’. I will leave the ‘How’ to the experts. To learn how to fold your clothes using the KonMari folding method, check out these great instructional videos.

Why the KonMari Folding Method is the Best Way to Fold Your Clothes :: maximizingdaysblog.com

What are your thoughts? Do you fold your clothes this way? Have you noticed a difference? What’s your reason for not folding using the KonMari method? Inquiring minds (and by that, I mean me) want to know.

P.S. Check out how I organized my kids’ dresser BEFORE using the KonMari folding method (this is making me realize that I should do an updated post on this…..)

Home Filing System

Home Filing System - Color coded folders for categories :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I’m one of those people that starts my taxes on January 1st.  The earlier that I can get it done, the better.

We almost always have a significant refund coming our way, so there’s that motivation.  (Spare me the lecture on lending the government my money for free.  We like it this way.)

A huge hurdle in the tax paperwork prep is having an organized system for ALL the papers.

I got the main idea for the way we organize our home filing system from A Bowl Full of Lemons.  I started with her main ideas and tweaked it for what we have and what we need.

Sidenote: This is a great way to approach the blogosphere in general.  View others’ content not as a standard or something to be carbon copied, but rather as a starting off point to be reworked for you.

Home Filing System Game-Changers

Home Filing System - Monthly folders for paid bills :: maximizingdaysblog.com

1 – Monthly Folders for Paid Bills

We used to have a folder for each account or bill (ex: Mortgage, cable, electric, etc.).  

This meant that at the beginning of each month, I would go through each account folder and throw away the bill in that folder from twelve months ago.

Can you say tedious?

Now, at the beginning of the month, I pull out that month’s folder and shred bills from twelve months ago and start fresh for the current year.  

When a bill gets paid, that bill is put in that month’s folder.  

It’s easier for me to grab one folder and put all the paid bills in there vs filing each individual bill in a different folder.  

Home Filing System - Color coded folders for categories :: maximizingdaysblog.com

2 – Color Coded Folders

As you can see, I still used the plain folders that I already had because it seemed wasteful to me to purchase all new folders for everything when these worked fine.

But, each of the manila folders are in categories, which are marked in the colored, tabbed hanging files.

Color coding these categories gives me a quick, at-a-glance way to see where stuff is.  

GREEN – BILLS & ACCOUNTS

  • Folder for each month for paid bills  
  • Folder for each billing account
  • Folder for each credit card account
  • Folder for each loan account
  • Folder for each account/loan that has been paid off (I wish there were many more of these folders……)

RED – INCOME & TAXES

  • Folder for each employer
  • Folder for each retirement account
  • Folder for current year tax deduction receipts
  • Folder containing previous year’s tax information

BLUE – AUTOMOBILE, HOME & INSURANCE

  • Folder for each vehicle
  • Folder for auto insurance policies
  • Folder for each house we’ve owned
  • Folder for homeowner’s insurance policy 
  • Folder for each life insurance policy
  • Folder for each warranty account

RED – HEALTH

  • Folder for health insurance policy
  • Folder for each person’s health records
Home Filing System - Color coded folders for categories :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I would LOVE to have five different colors (for five different categories), but the box of three colors was half of the price, so I made due.  #storyofmylife

3 – Know What to Keep & What to Throw

Generally, we defer to not keeping things.  Go with the view that most information, when necessary, can be accessed online or by calling a representative/agent.

For example, Health Insurance benefit summaries.  They can be longer than some novels.  Why store them?  We always end up calling our insurance agent for clarification about what is and what isn’t covered even when we dig out and read the gargantuan summaries.

What documents do you struggle to know what to keep and what to throw?

And, because I will get asked about storing tax paperwork, tax information from 2+ years ago is stored elsewhere in a safe.  I keep the previous two years in our desk so that I can access it easily and quickly.

Home Filing System - Ikea custom desk :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Our desk system is from Ikea.  Each of the sides are the Alex units with drop file storage and the middle drawers are the Alex unit on casters (or, in our case, not on casters).  The desktop is the Linnmon Tabletop.

I would love to have the Pottery Barn lateral filing system that A Bowl Full of Lemons uses, but our Ikea option was a fraction of the cost and it gives us loads of works space.

The file drawer on the right side (underneath the computer) houses files for Bills, Accounts, Incomes & Taxes (Green & Red).  The file drawer on the left side houses Automobile, Home, Insurance & Health records.  These files don’t need to be accessed often and more for storage and reference than frequent use.

It’s 2018, so I pay most of our bills at our computer.  In deciding which files would go where, I chose the files that had anything to do with bill paying to be in the drawer nearest to the computer.  The other files went way, way far away – to the other end of the desk.

Home Filing System :: maximizingdaysblog.com

What’s the hardest part of paper storage for you?  I’m curious to know if anyone has gone fully digital. Is that possible?

P.S. Check out how we manage the influx of mail and papers each day.  And what we did with all of our owner’s manuals.

Simplified Planner Giveaway!

FREE Simplified Planner Giveaway - Enter here :: maximizingdaysblog.com

This is my first year with my Simplified Planner and to say that I LOVE it would be an understatement.

I’m, like, borderline-obsessed.

And because I love the Simplified Planner so much, I want to share the love by giving YOU the opportunity to win one.

FREE Simplified Planner Giveaway - Enter here :: maximizingdaysblog.com

One lucky winner will receive:

To enter to win this prize bundle, go to my Instagram account.

The winner will be tagged in my Instagram account on Friday, December 14th.

FREE Simplified Planner Giveaway - Enter here :: maximizingdaysblog.com

As the creator of this planner, Emily Ley, would say  – ‘A planner won’t fix your life.  But this can be one of the tools that helps you to reign in the craziness so that you can focus on the really good stuff in this life.’

Start the New Year off right with a FREE Simplified Planner Bundle.  Enter here.

FREE Simplified Planner Giveaway - Enter here :: maximizingdaysblog.com

P.S. Simplified Planner not your thing? Try this free printable to keep track of all.the.things.

Greeting Card Journals

Greeting Card Journals :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I grew up in a family that gives cards for every occasion.

The big (what most people would call normal) events warranted two cards – one funny and one sentimental.  The lesser holidays – you know, like Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day or Arbor Day – only warranted a single card.

Because of growing up like this, I do love giving and receiving greeting cards.

But, what do you do with greeting cards after you’ve read them?

I don’t know the answer to that question.

Greeting Card Journals :: maximizingdaysblog.com

In our immediate family, we no longer give greeting cards, and instead, have, what we call, Greeting Card Journals.

This is just one more idea that was not originally mine and that I got from friends (others being this, this and this).

Each family member has their own journal, and on an occasion that warrants a greeting card, family members write in that person’s journal.  So far, we’ve mostly just written in them for birthdays and anniversaries, but as our kids get older, I can see also writing in it on other “milestone” events.

Greeting Card Journals :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Why Greeting Card Journals?

  1. They Get Re-Read – It is not uncommon for my daughter to ask to have her “birthday book” read to her.  She loves to hear the words written to her by her mom and dad from when she turned 2 and 3 and 4.  Instead of having cards that sit in a box stuffed somewhere, these greeting card journals are easily accessible.  I have been known to grab mine off the shelf and read sweet, encouraging words to give me a pick-me-up on a tough day.
  2. Less Clutter – These journals stay on a family bookshelf.  We don’t have to find a place to keep and pack away stacks of various sized cards.  And they look pretty on the bookshelf.
  3. Cheaper – There is nothing special about these journals.  I got them at Target a few years ago for $8 each.  Most greeting cards are $3-$4.  You can do the math to see how quickly a journal becomes the more cost-effective solution.
  4. Keepsake – If our house was burning (and everyone was out safe) and I had one minute to grab something before we got out, I’d grab these greeting card journals.  In those pages are some of the sweetest memories and words that any of us have.  These journals are a record, not only of some of our best days, but also of the people with whom we shared those days.  And written reminders of how much we love one another.  That is gold.

I still buy and send greeting cars to other family members.  And I still oboe getting cards in the mail from friends and family.  But, for our immediate family, who would otherwise exchange hundreds of cards over the coming decades, greeting card journals are much better way to go.

Greeting Card Journals :: maximizingdaysblog.com

P.S. For those of you who still want to send greeting cards, here’s how I make sure that I don’t miss one.