Friday, January 29, 2010

Organizing that Mail Mess

Do you struggle with a bunch of mail that ends up in a pile? Or can you just not seem to figure out how to organize it so that you can find what you need when you need it? Interested on learning how to better manage that mess of mail? Please read on…


As a mentor for a teen mom in a local organization, the blessings just flow. Not only do you get to be there for a struggling young mom and help her through the tough times and celebrate the good, you get to see her grow into a mature and even more lovely young lady. You see her learn about life, love and often even transform into a new person, reach her potential. One of the many side blessings in this programs is that as you sit along side her once a week at Lifeskills Workshops, you can’t help but learn a few things you can use in your own life!

This week Amber of Amber’s Organization, LLC so graciously gave us her time to talk about general organization of items in the home.

As an overview, she taught us about an organizational system developed by Julie Morganstern with the acronym “SPACE.”

S- ort items into categories

P- urge what you don’t use or need

A- ssign a home “everything has a place”

C –ontainerize to allow for easy retrieval

E –equalize (over time re-evaluate your system, is it working? What do you need to move or change to make this a better system for you?)

Amber used a mail exercise to demonstrate how this system works. I personally cannot wait to try it out!

First of all what kinds of mail do you get? Here are just a few examples…

bills, invitations, magazines, registration forms, greeting cards, catalogs, insurance papers, bank statements, credit card applications, court papers, registrations confirmations, ads, tax documents, brochures, medical statements, newsletters, photos, greeting cards, correspondence

With these examples, you can come up with some action words for different categories of mail. What do you need to do with each of these? How about…





decide/discuss (if you have multiple decisions makers in your home)


Guess what? Now we have just created the categories needed to sort! And guess what else? You can make sorting easy. In our home, we have tried a “one box” system in the past, and that just did not work very well. We’d have one pile, or one box of “important” mail. But all sorts of action words had to be done within the pile. So instead, why not “assign a home” to each category? Label files for each of your actions and then find a container (containerize) that works for you to hold your files.

I personally like the idea of the desktop hanging file folder container.


But another option is the cascading hanging file system. It’s all a matter of preference.


The above two photos are from The Container Store.

I cannot wait to get my new system up and running and say goodbye to the unorganized mess of mail.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Iron Maintenance

The more you have, the more you have to clean, fix and maintain! I love something shiny, crisp and new. But almost as good, is something that looks as good as new.


Does your iron get dirty? I sew. A lot. And mine gets all kinds of funny stuff on it. I don’t know how dirty irons can get if you don’t sew. Or, I should say, I don’t remember. But the good news is, you CAN clean them! Yes, the bottom of them. I looked at Target once to see if they sell iron cleaner there, but they do not, at least not next to the irons. (Hmmm, I didn’t look in the cleaning aisle, though.) So if you want your iron to be as shiny as new, and not to leave all kinds of dirt on you fabrics, visit your sewing store and look in the notions department near all the fusible webbing products (one of the things that had gummed up my iron). Or go here or here and get yourself some of this amazing stuff! I used an old white T-shirt my husband was throwing away to apply the cream and clean the spots off. Worked great. Just be careful not to burn yourself since the iron has to be on high heat to do this, and don’t forget to use a Q-tip to clean the little steam holes and crevasses. It’s amazing how much gunk you can get out of there.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tender Moments

While I adore snuggling and reading to the kids, it is so precious to walk in on moments like this…


It is a true blessing to have this kind of a Dad for your kids!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

She’s a Little Daisy


I am so glad we have Ella in Daisy Scouts. The Girl Scouts are an organization for girls that promotes so many good ideals that we find important. Though we try to promote these characteristics on our kids, it doesn’t hurt having them enforced with other kids from other adults.


Straight from their webpage the GSA explain their goals very well:

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls—all girls—where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives, like leadership, strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

Though she has been going to meetings for a few months, this weekend her newly formed troupe became official scouts at their investiture. They received their pins and the badges they’ve earned so far.


The Girl Scout Promise: “On my honor, I will try: to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout law.”


I will do my best to be
Honest and fair,
Friendly and helpful,
Considerate and caring,
Courageous and strong, and
Responsible for what I say and do
Respect myself and others,
Respect authority,
Use resources wisely,
Make the world a better place,
And be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sound Body

I learned from my dad, who learned from a Greek philosopher “Sound body, sound mind”. With that, I try my best to fit exercise into my life. (I actually love it, it is truly hard to find the time with our schedules!) And I know my husband makes it a priority in his life. With that, I desire to introduce a healthy active lifestyle to our children.


It is harder in the winter in the Chicago suburbs to push them outside to run around. But I do sign them up for classes. Both are in swimming and Ella is in dance. Most recently I signed up Ella for her first gymnastics class. I was very proud of her during the class and I was thrilled when Miles said he wanted to take gymnastics too. He is so reluctant to try anything new, particularly anything active. So he will get his turn next session!


Friday, January 22, 2010


I have been blogging for several years now and decided to give my old blog a (permanent?) rest. I mostly focused on myself and things I made. In my life I am focusing now, even more than ever on my family. With that I’d like to make a fresh start blogging too.


I have been blessed with a wonderful family. I have a husband who works hard so that I can stay at home to care for our two children and the house. We are both dedicated to doing our best to nurture our children and teach them to be the best kids they can be. Our oldest is Ella, a wonderfully bright and active little girl. She loves reading, dancing, school, and just about everything. Miles is our youngest and he is a handsome, funny and sweet little guy. He’s a bit more reserved to try new things, but he is growing to accept new experiences. They are both a real joy and love each other very much. I love spending time with them and coming up with creative ideas to teach them life skills. I also love trying to beautify our house so that it reflects our family and feels like a real home to us as well as a place to welcome guests. I hope to incorporate a little bit of all of this right here at The Home We Make.

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