Simply Organized FAQ

Jun 20

The one aspect of blogging that has shocked me, excited me, inspired me, perplexed me, made me smile and warmed my heart…All at the same time? Hearing from you! whether you comment on the blog, the facebook page, on instagram or shoot me an e-mail – – I loooooove hearing from you! It totally makes my day to read your comments and receive your questions/e-mails of support.

But I must admit, I’ve been spotty about responding – many apologies! I have tried to improve in that area of blogging and many of you have been seeing responses from me lately. But there are many I haven’t replied to yet. Instead of digging myself into a deeper feeling of guilt, I thought an easy way to solve part of the issue was to do one big post with your most frequently asked questions. because the truth is, when I do receive an e-mail with a question….It’s usually one of the following:

Without a doubt, this is the question I’m asked most! i get it – most bloggers share quite a bit. And I realize when many of you see photos of our home or landscape when I share seasonal photos, you can’t help but wonder where the house is located. Personally, I’m in the camp of people that are a bit more private. I’ve felt more comfortable keeping where we live an unknown. Especially because the town I live in is small. Think “everyone knows everyone” small. However – good news!….In the coming weeks, I will be sharing what town/state we live in. For now I’ll tell you we live in the mid-south region of the US and I absolutely LOVE living here! Love. it.

This is another question I’m asked quite a bit and also something I am highly protective of. When I started this blog, it was for me. An outlet from motherhood. A way to share my projects. A hobby. I love sharing my passion with the www. But my kiddos didn’t sign up to be a part of that dream. These days there is so much to worry about when it comes to over-sharing online. I’d rather not over-share and feel ok about it, instead of sharing too many pictures of my kids and later wishing I had not done that.
That said, I’ll never say never. Maybe at one point down the road, when the kids are bigger, I’ll feel better about it. In the meantime, I did want to mention that I share a few kiddie photos on my instagram account. Since I also use that account as a personal one, I occasionally share photos of the kids over there. Instagram is the best way to get a glimpse into my personal life.
….Not that there is anything glamorous or exciting happening over here! 🙂
Although I am ultra sad to be leaving our current town/state and the awesome friendships we’ve made, I am starting to get excited about the move. A move that I hope is our final one! we are moving to the San Francisco area in about 5 weeks. It’s home for me. I was born and raised in San Francisco and can’t believe after 13 years living away from home, I’m finally heading back. I plan on taking my kiddos everywhere I used to enjoy going as a child…And doing it whenever we want. Not just when I pop into town for family stuff and have a limited amount of time to squeeze it in. I’m looking forward to re-connecting with childhood friends, whom now have families of their own. But I am really excited about spending weekends with my grandma. She’s 89 and I always worried by the time I returned she wouldn’t be there. Sad thought…But an honest one. I am so grateful I’ll be living within a short drive so I can completely spoil her and help her organize her place to make her life easier.
We bought a great fixer-upper and the work has already started. Earlier this week i shared the pool design and mentioned that work began this week. There is a lot of messy stuff going on at the house before we move in. I’ll be visiting the house 2 times before our move later this summer and can’t wait to share updates and photos! And going forward with the blog, I can’t wait to share everything about the house and how I build-out organized spaces or renovate rooms.

What you see on the blog are actual projects I am working on week to week. In real time. Sure, sometimes I do a project specifically for the blog. But most times, these are things I’ve been wanting/needing to get done. As I do these projects during the day, I snap photos.

Typically I do a project during the day, take the photos and then later that night after the kids are in bed I edit photos and write the post. Most of my blogging work is done at night or when the kids are at school. Since it’s summer now, blog stuff is happening at night or when the kids are with a sitter. My kids are also fairly self-sufficient. So, if they are happily engaged in something else, I can sneak away during daytime hours to knock something out.

By the way, I’m clearly not the best photographer/editor…As evidenced by taking a quick spin through my blog posts. For those that wonder what I use in terms of photo editing….You’ll die to know this answer. Ha! I do 100% of my editing in the iPhoto application on my mac. All of it! I do have photoshop elements and lightroom, but they are rarely used. I just make sure to take all of my photos in bright, natural light so the editing process is easier. I am totally sold on the ease of editing photos in iPhoto.

I told you i keep it simple over here.

 

It’s a lie, people! 🙂

Ok, i’m kidding.

Not really.

Truth is, we are a real family with 3 kids under age 9. Their habits are still being formed and molded. My house is not perfectly picked up each day. especially with everyone home for the summer. I’m very careful not to push my OCD habits onto them either. Sure, I get frustrated when I see the playroom in shambles. Or I start twitching a little when beds are left unmade. But having children has helped me settle down those crazy feelings – which is a good challenge for me. I can easily take it to the absolute end of the rope in terms of organization and having it all perfectly put away. I want the kids to feel comfortable in their own home. And if that means we have messes, that’s fine.

That said, the house is never really a disaster zone. Why? Because we keep it as simple as possible over here. We regularly go through toys, clothes and stuff to get it moved out if we don’t use it anymore. Also,  I’ve developed easy solutions for the kids to put away their own things. Yes, I do need ask them to do it. Sometimes beg. Sometimes bribe. But the organization solutions have to be easy or they won’t help you.

For example, I’ve talked a lot about our old and current playroom toy organization. These little mesh bins from the container store have been amazing for the kids. They are going to fit perfectly in the playroom at the new house too…

* playroom toy organization at the old house….

* playroom toy organization at the current house

Finally, one of my favorite things to do at night in a quiet house after the kids are in bed? Put on my favorite music on my ipod, walk around the house and clean up. any random items left out from the day are put away. Dishes are finished. Floors are swept, laundry is folded or moved from washer to dryer. Mail is sorted and opened. Nothing makes me happier than starting a new day in a picked-up house. so doing the pick up quickly each night helps to keep the house tidy day to day. If you stay on top of it and have a schedule that works for you, it will be easier. Not pleasant, sure. But it will help!

Honestly, I don’t know! the truth is, I am all about keeping life in this house simple. I have enough going on that complicating life more isn’t an appealing thought. Sometimes I find inspiration by simply walking through the Target $1 spot. Sometimes I find inspiration inside Home Depot. Sometimes I see a little project at home and obsess consider ways it could be contained. I guess the best answer is that I’m a simple, grounded thinker. Always have been. I enjoy having life simple and easy without mess and complications.

This question comes up a lot! honestly, with life the way it currently is – getting ready for a big move and having kids home for the summer – it changes week by week. Day by day. At some point after we’re settled in the new house, I’ll share a firm daily schedule with all of you. For now, I have put together a great little summer calendar that helps keep us moving….

Right now? During the summer we get up, have breakfast and the kids play together. Then we either go to the pool to meet friends or our sitter brings them to the pool so that i can run errands/go to appointments or work on move related phone calls in peace. Sometimes we eat dinner at the pool. Or we eat at home. This summer is different because I didn’t enroll the kids in any camps – not knowing when the move date would be. And because we’re leaving behind their cherished friends, I wanted an open calendar for play dates, birthday parties and sleepovers. Oh yes, and mommy’s time away at night with her friends too! 😉

I don’t have a cleaning schedule that I habitually stick to. What I do is at least one load of laundry per day – one complete load; wash, dry, fold and put away. Then I clean the house as I go. If I see a mess, I clean it immediately. If I notice handprints on windows, I clean it. If I see a spot on the carpet, I clean it. 1-2 times a month I do indulge by having our cleaning lady come help me do the entire house. On those days the kids are gone and I enjoy helping her. But for the day to day, I clean it as I see it’s dirty.

This is a great question and something I am currently working on. For a long time my husband handled the bulk of our finances. I was too busy to do it all when the kids were younger. But I’ve realized I need to have more ownership of the finances in the house. With his new job, he doesn’t have a lot of free time to handle household bills or making calls when there is a discrepancy on a statement. Now that I can find little chunks of time, I enjoy paying the bills and keeping track of expenses.

80% of our banking and bill paying happen through our online bill-pay program. It’s super easy to use, they e-mail me when a statement is ready for payment, they mail the checks for me – love it! The paper bills that come in get paid right away.

I’m looking forward to finishing up my budget and money organization soon, though, and sharing it with you guys!

This will be a quick answer – I don’t! 🙂

But that will change after the move. We’ll be living close to a walking trail and we’ll even be able to walk the kids to school each day. I’ll be able to easily get a little daily exercise in California. For now? I do some pilates type dvd’s at home or just general work-out stuff like lunges, squats, light weights. And if the weather is tolerable I go for walks.

my photos are organized in photos boxes….By year and then within the box by month…
If I haven’t printed the photos yet, they are basically organized the same way in iPhoto. Also, I make sure our computer is backed up daily to keep them safe.

A few weeks ago I talked a bit about “rising up” instead of “comparison to”. Feeling the way I had been, I have significantly pulled back on my blog reading. And it worked. I have found myself more inspired when i’m not reading what other bloggers are up to.

Truly, I don’t have the luxury of time to read a bunch of blogs anyway.

That said, I do have a few favorite’s that have touched me. When I pop in to see what they are up to, I know their history well enough to feel as if i haven’t missed much. Here’s what I enjoy reading:

it’s great to be home, tobi fairley, i heart organizing and a few of my personal friend’s blogs.

 

One of my most popular posts here on simply organized isn’t about organization – It’s about how to remove the mildew odor from a high-efficiency washing machine

It’s shocking to me something that should be so good for your home and the environment is such a hassle to clean and stay on top of. Sadly, this has been one of my highest ranked posts because everyone seems to struggle with that mildew smell. Readers end up finding the post, read it and then have additional questions or problems they can’t solve. I wish I had all the answers for you! here are the top bullet points I would share in keeping that mildew smell out of your washer:
* Make sure your machine is level so there isn’t sitting water in the drum or piping underneath
* Don’t use detergent with a fragrance. Whenever I’ve used fragranced detergent in the machine, the mildew smell is there almost immediately. I typically wash our clothes with arm & hammer fragrance free and have found the smell stays away longer.
* Don’t use fabric softener. Instead use 1/4 cup of vinegar.
* Leave the soap drawer and your washer door open after each wash so the water can be absorbed naturally. If you leave the door closed, it’s going to trap the odor/moisture and cause more mildew to grow.
* Wipe inside the rubber door seal often. things get stuck in there and that is where the mildew can start.
* Run vinegar through your machine’s “clean washer” cycle once a week. Or try affresh, a product made for cleaning these machines. You can find it at target, the grocery store, etc.
* Clean the soap dispenser drawer – You’ll be shocked to see what’s inside and behind that little drawer!

This question is in the top 5, for sure! Thankfully, Ive already shared my process for organizing the endless amounts of paper…A binder! Woot!…

You can read all about my binder here.

I hope I got to most of the questions. there were a few asked that are going to take me a while to answer or may eventually end up in a post of its own here on the blog. Again, I love hearing from you guys! thank you so much for reading!!!

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