I am a self-diagnosed neat freak. I love to clean and I love to organize. (If I could have a container, holder and/or label for EVERYTHING, my life would be complete!) And this is my brand new blog for everything NEAT!
I have a toddler in perpetual motion, a packrat daughter, a dog and a disorganized husband... and I hope to share the challenges, trials, errors, rewards and insights of being a bit "too clean obsessive" in a family that's not so in love with neatness. And I am making a promise to clean, rearrange, organize and simplify my life... and help you along the way! SO stay tuned for my journey toward everything orderly and efficient!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 111: Crap baskets

I think many moms out there can relate to the "reset"-button mode. As in, mommies are constantly resetting each and every nook and cranny in the house... by cleaning up the messes, putting things away, straightening decor and organizing new items! WELL... there are many days that I get a bit tired of putting away the same things over and over again. And I also get burned out on putting away things for the other members of my household... including Rowdy, our dog. (He LOVES to drag out all of his toys!)
SO... I will be implementing crap baskets. That's right -- baskets for all the random crap (not literally) that ends up all over the house!
As mommy (or anyone) collects random odds n' ends throughout the week, like socks on the lampshade, toys under the couch, keys in the planter, etc., etc., just toss these runaways in the crap baskets. Don't worry about putting everything away! That's the basket's owners job!
It's easy, really. Just get some baskets (one for each member of the house), label them (and/or decorate them to your liking) and find a clever, useful place for them. You can store your crap baskets in a laundry room or a mud room. Or, you can place them in a more prominent spot, like by the front door... or on the stairs! Mine will be "living" on the stairs. This way, everyone can see their basket and be sure to put those random items away. (OF course, if the basket gets too full, I might have to implement the trash collector....)

Now, THAT's neat!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 110: Pin wrangler

I have been using bobby pins in my shorter hair cut lately, and it's amazing that as many as I have, I can NEVER find one.... or I have to dig around, taking out my neatly stored hairspray bottles, brushes, clips, etc., etc., to get to the VERY bottom corners of the drawer!

WELL... I saw a very clever idea that would work in a drawer or on the inside of a cabinet door or medicine cabinet. MAGNETIC STRIPS!

That's right, just apply a magnetic strip (using the peel-away adhesive on the back), and... get those dern bobby pins in line!

You can also use the magnetic strip to wrangle nail clippers, tweasers or other lightweight metallic odds n' ends that keep escaping to the depths of your bathroom drawers!

Now, THAT's neat!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 109: I Think I'm in love....

I don't personally have any Elfa designs or components in my home. (You can get it at the Container Store, which, unfortunately is nowhere near me!) But, every time I see a photo of this ingenious organizational tool for closets, pantries, garages, offices, playrooms - you name it - I just start to drool!

Here are just some photo inspiration for you!
1. What an amazing craft room! I love the "mesh" drawers; everything is put away, but there is still visibility!

2. This is a great look for a closet, but this organizational look works beautifully for a den/TV room! Everything is beautifully coordinated and neat!

3. What a naturally beautiful office! And I love how the organization uses the available space above the desk. If you can't go out, go up!

4. Wow. This closet is amazingly tidy! It makes me seriously think about digging through my own closet to purge some more unwanted items, but it also makes me want to throw a little color and maybe some patterns into this very neutral clothing arrangement! ;)

Now, THAT's neat!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 108: Oh, Laundry Room of BLISS!

Oh, my... I recently started another direct-sales business with Thirty-One Gifts because I am obsessed with totes and bags and bins and baskets and boxes... you get the idea! ;) But I was not quite clever enough to come up with THIS: the ultimate in organized laundry rooms.

Can I get a "WOW!"? I am in love with all the embroidered fabric bins! And I am envisioning them throughout my home! ;) How handy and LOVELY! This would also work well in closets, playrooms, bathrooms... and vehicles!

Now, THAT's neat!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 107: The chalk label obsession

Ok, ok... I know I have been posting a lot lately about this "chalk label" stuff. My last few posts, in fact, have been about this very topic! But I am REALLY loving what you can do with it! And since I keep thinking about it -- and keeping talking about it -- I figured I would actually DO it... and share my "afters!"

So, just as a recap: get some of the flat chalk panels that you can adhere to just about any surface (you can buy a large panel or three smaller panels, your choice, and then just crop it down to whatever size works for you!). I cut mine on a regular, old paper cutter. It worked great!

Then I used my wonderful, liquidy "chalk marker" and labeled 'til my heart's content!

Here are some newly labeled containers in the laundry room, where all my craft supplies are:

And here is one peak at my pantry, showing some of the awesome Tupperware containers with their new chalk labels:

You can also cut these babies down and use them on canisters, buckets, pails, cans, boxes, flower pots, other plastic containers, even bottles! How fun to use as a display in a little herb garden... or on a wine bottle! These would be great for parties, too, to label various dips and sides! I LOVE it! Give just about any item a neat, organized look!

Now, THAT's neat!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 106: Neat chalk?

When I was teaching high school, I refused to use a chalk board. I hate chalk. It makes my nose itchy. And I REALLY hate erasers. Yuck. They are always... so... chalky!

Of course, I DO love my flat, vinyl chalk board in my kitchen (click HERE to see that post). And while I was talking about my dream pantry from last post with my sister-in-law (who also loves the neat, organized, containerized and labeled look), I remembered that I had a "wet erasable" chalk "marker" from Uppercase Living with the rest of my stash of goodies and samples.

OK. I LOVE this thing! It is NOT chalky or messy... and it writes so beautifully! It's liquidy and smooth and lovely! You can see the difference between the "real" chalk that's already here... and the new chalk marker writing!

You will love them, too, if you have a chalk board... or if you plan to add one to your kitchen wall to keep track of schedules; plaster one on the fridge to take notes of what you need to buy next trip to the grocery store; or crop one down to make neat labels for your pantry... or for anything else in your home!

Want some chalk "markers" of your own? Click HERE! (There are 3 different colors.) Want a vinyl chalk board, too? Click HERE! (There are several sizes and fun shapes!)

Now, THAT's neat!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 105: The Beauty of Labels

This is not my pantry.... And I am a little jealous! :)

This is the very organized pantry of Lori M., a new acquaintance of mine. And while I do use the Tupperware containers and organize everything as neatly as possible (similar items together and labels out!), I do not have the luxury of putting everything in a container. (I have a LOT more items in my pantry!) And I do not have a label on everything, either. But isn't this a wonderful idea!?!?

This is kind of like my dream pantry.

1. I love how just about everything matches. It really is a pretty pantry!!!! But if you don't have every Tupperware container ever made (ha-ha!), then use what you DO have! All sizes and shapes are welcome!

2. I love using containers for just about all the food in the pantry. It's great to have items like flour and baking mix in air-tight containers. It looks good, stacks well... AND it will stay fresh much longer. (It's also more difficult to spill!)

3. I love the labels. I really think I would label everything, if I could! It looks SO neat, and it's so very functional! You can print out labels or just write on the traditional, sticky, office kinds that you can pick up almost anywhere. (Color coding might even come in handy here....) OR, you can do what Lori did in her pantry: cut up a piece of Uppercase Living's chalkboard vinyl into various sizes. (This method won't leave you with sticky residue if you decide to remove the labels.) Then, apply the custom sizes to your containers, and write right on them! Of course, my handwriting isn't as great as my friend's. BUT, this should spark all of our imaginations!

Lori has also given us an EXTRA NEAT tip: write directions, recipes or notes on the containers! This is great for reminding yourself how to make pancakes or biscuits or how long to boil your noodles!

Now, THAT's neat!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 104: Pretty Neat Soap

I have no problem with keeping some "not-so-beautiful" things out in plain view, if they are things that I use daily. I mean, it is a bit impractical to store ALL our everyday items out of sight.

Of course, a bottle of dish-washing liquid isn't all that attractive....

But who says you CAN'T have a nicer way to use and display these plain, dull things?!?

As y'all know, I love using baskets and decorative boxes to stow away items that are useful but may not be too attractive. Neither works very well with liquid items, though! ;) SO, here's a GREAT way to beautify a simple, useful cleaning product.

I bought this lovely glass bottle at Hobby Lobby and just squeezed the dish liquid right in! Now, it's sitting in the exact same spot... but it looks a whole lot better!

Now, THAT's neat!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 103: Paper Police

I knew I wasn't finished with my new shelves in the room of "S.I.N." .... As I looked at the big pile of card stock just sitting there, I knew I had to do something better to organize everything -- in a neat, useful way!

So, I bought this handy paper organizer.

It's made especially for this purpose -- for crafty folks with too much paper, that is. I bought the one that actually holds 12x12 card stock, and it works great to color coordinate everything and store it in a MUCH-easier-to-use fashion! It looks neat, too! :)

Now, THAT's neat!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 102: The Neat Trick to Cheaper Stuff, Online

OK, ok... so this isn't a tip about cleaning up your bathroom or organizing your underwear drawer, but it IS worthy of sharing. And, personally, I think it's worthy of being listed under my bag o' tricks in the "neat freak cheat sheet" file!

If any of you fellow neat freaks (or neat freak wannabe's!) love to shop online, then you MUST check out this little website: Whatever site you are on, be sure to visit BEFORE making your purchase, because this little gem provides coupon codes and discounts, for perhaps 10% off... or $10 off! Of course, some retailers have opted NOT to be included on this site, but many are there... so TRY it! It's worth checking out so you can keep a little extra in your pocket... for the next online shopping trip! They also have coupons that you can print... so stop here before heading out to pick up groceries or try on some new shoes! (Hey, I buy everything from diapers to New York strip steaks online, so this is a GREAT tip!) ;)

Now, THAT's neat!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 101: The Room of S.I.N.

As a neat freak who loves neatness and who spends most of my "free" moments cleaning, straightening and organizing, it's very difficult for me to admit this. BUT, I'm going to choose to confide in y'all: I have a room of S.I.N.

That's right. A room of S.I.N! And I bet you, too, have somewhere in your home where S.I.N. takes place... on a daily basis! ;)

What I am talking about here could be considered a dirty, little secret, but it's probably not as bad as you might be thinking! The S.I.N. I'm referring to is that room, drawer, cabinet, closet or ANY place you use to "Stash It Now!"

Whatever and wherever that is in your home... that is YOUR place of S.I.N! :) When things don't quite go anywhere else in the house, you stash it there. When company is coming over unexpectedly, this is your go-to place (AKA "dumping grounds") for the mail, homework, coats, shoes and toys that have mysteriously taken up residence all over the house. This is where random odds and ends and other junky bits and pieces end up when they just don't have a spot of their own, when you don't have time to put them in the correct place... OR, when you just don't really know what in the world to do with it!

And, believe it or not, this neat freak uses our laundry room for all of our S.I.N. stuff! And for the longest time (perhaps 3 years or so?!?!) the laundry room has been the bane of my existence, with its stacks of boxes and non-matching piles of everything, everywhere!

Don't believe it?!?! Well, here is photo proof:

In addition to the clothing (that has every right to be in there), you can also find mailing boxes, bags, crafting tools, photo albums, business supplies, catalogs... and things that would go perfectly (and preferably) in an office or in a "craft room," if we had those!

Of course, this is not a TERRIBLE, unusable space. And I have made many attempts to corral some of this stuff. As the pictures show, there are some baskets and bins and even a little dresser in there! And there is an overflowing -- but still handy -- laundry caddy (which currently serves as my baby boy's "closet," since it's SO much easier to get his clothes from the laundry room than to go upstairs to his room!) It just wasn't working. And it was making me crazy. So my wonderful, handy hubby put up some simple, floor to ceiling shelving for me all along the small wall right by the door!

Here is the NEW, improved space!

The washer and dryer stayed put, obviously, but we moved everything around a bit, and I was able to put items in more logical places -- and get them out of the middle of the floor!

Granted, it's not perfect. My son's clothes are still taking up the caddy. I will probably reorganize the shelves and move things around here and there. And I will still need an emergency "S.I.N." space at times. But, that will probably end up being a cabinet. (And I will ONLY use it for the temporary stashing of items!)

For now, I'm quite happy to be able to put things in their place. And I'm very pleased that I can actually open the laundry room door without making excuses... or cringing in disgust -- even when company is around! ;)

Now, THAT's neat!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day 100: Cleaning up the new look!

As promised, I am about to launch a new look for The Neat Get Neater blog! This is a test mode, with a few changes to come in a little while. Hope you like the new, clean, de-cluttered look! :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 99: A moment of silence...

The tornadoes that swept through Alabama last week wreaked havoc in much of my home state. Survivors of one of the deadliest storms in our history are still mourning. Many are homeless. People trying to clean up the massive amounts of damage. And we are all looking forward to a hopeful future....

With this in mind, the Neat Get Neater blog would like to take a moment of silence to remember... and to pray. My sincerest hope is that the clean-up efforts are swift and effective and that people will find comfort, support and peace through this storm.

If you would like to donate to the cause, a friend has started a site that benefits the American Red Cross, Birmingham area. Click HERE for more details.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 98: The Neat Freak Easter Basket?

I just had to post this photo of some of the cool things my hubby and I got in the Easter basket my mother-in-law put together for us! Candy, chocolate... and cleaning items! :) Perfect for a self-proclaimed neat freak (and chocoholic!)!

Now, THAT's neat!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 97: Happy Oven Cleaning

It was my fault. I should NOT have used a cake pan that I'd never used before... on Easter morning... while making the Easter dessert!

If I had gone a more familiar route (AKA the tried-and-true Bundt pan), I likely would not have ended up with chocolate-chip pound cake rising up over the never-used pan and oozing like lava all over the oven.

(Cue oven cleaning.)

I decided to attack the problem (after the oven cooled, of course) with some baking soda, damp paper towels and a little elbow grease!

I just dusted baking soda over the slimy spots and let it sit for a moment....

Then I scrubbed gently with some damp paper towels. Most of the grime kind of solidified and got picked up by the baking soda. It was pretty gross.

My quick-fix, baking-soda method worked ok, for the most part; but some of the stubborn, baked-on goo needed "the big guns."

(Enter husband with razor blade.)

Yep. My sweet, helpful hubby got in on the Easter-morning-oven-cleaning action and carefully scraped off the remaining gunk... with a razor blade! EEK! (This is a cleaning method I tend to shy away from... mostly because I am accident prone and bad with sharp objects!) But it worked! And my oven was nearly returned to its original glory! :)

I, of course, lined the bottom of the oven, again, with some heavy-duty aluminum foil. As I've mentioned before, it's much easier to toss out a dirty sheet of foil than it is to clean the oven, and the foil catches the majority of the random food escapees and splatters (except when you have an occasional, unexpected lava flow!)

I also got a wild hair and decided to turn on the "self clean" for the very first time. I don't know why, but this high-heat, door-locking, oven-cleaning cycle always freaks me out a bit. And it was still going when we left for Easter dinner... with my lop-sided pound cake! And since we returned home late last night, I still need to peek inside (and get another photo) to see if my oven is even cleaner now!

Stay posted for an update! ;)

Now, THAT's neat!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 96: Supplies and gadgets and doo-dads, oh my!

So... in all my ramblings about cleaning and organizing and getting neater and such, I have had some really great opportunities to share some of my old (and new!) favorite products and gadgets and doo-dads. BUT, I was thinking that, perhaps, you, like me, might want to go on a wee, little shopping spree this spring to kick your spring cleaning up a notch or two!

SO, HERE is a lovely site (and new partner of mine), Organizing A to Z, that has everything a neat freak (or those aspiring to be neat freaks) could ever want. AND, some things are on a deep-discount sale! (Yes, there's a spring cleaning blowout! HOORAY!)

Happy shopping! Hope you find all your neat needs!

Can't choose what to buy? Don't know where to begin? Need any advice? Let me know!

Here are a few of my favorite SALE items! :)

Now, THAT's neat!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 95: Get Neater on Women'

Need some tips to speed up your spring cleaning? Well, in case you missed it, this little ole' blog author was featured in a spring cleaning article, "8 Speedy Spring Cleaning Tips" -- on Women'! Just click HERE to read all about it!

And if you feel like reading more, here is the interview, in its entirety!


Room: Part they should clean to make the most difference?(Please also give tips for how they can do it.)
The living room: Windows? Media center? (Which one?)
The pets and the children in our household make cleaning the windows almost futile! Fingerprints and nose prints will magically reappear within a day! Plus, the pollen in our area of the country would coat the freshly cleaned glass with an icky, yellow film in just a matter of days – or hours. So, in the living room, I would definitely say, “Go for the media center!” And, to make this quick and easy, purchase some baskets or boxes in similar colors and styles… and different sizes. And think odd numbers – maybe 3 or 5! If you have clutter (i.e. stray magazines, books, video games, remote controls, etc.), give away the things you no longer use or need, and put the leftover, similar things together in containers to “hide” them from view. (For instance, a box of old DVD's is much neater than a random pile of them!) Once everything has a home, stack the boxes or arrange the baskets on different shelves, next to some greenery or books or frames. The new containers will add a fresh, decorative look to the media center along with a handy, new organizational “system!”

The bedroom: Closet?
I firmly believe that organizing your closet is an indirect way to organize your bedroom, because the items that have a specific place to “live” in your closet will not take up residence on your bed, somewhere on the floor or over the other furniture in the room! For example, if dirty clothes are a problem, add an inexpensive pop-up hamper to the closet, and dump the dirties in there! If shoes are multiplying, try shoe organizers, clear, plastic bins or boxes. If you can, designate a spot for hats, for jewelry, for accessories and for other clothes. Relegate out-of-season items to a storage container, and donate out-of-style or too-small items to a local charity. If you can keep your closet in line, your bedroom will reap the rewards!

The bathroom: Floors? Tub?
Hair. Toothpaste. Hairspray. Perfume. Dust. Makeup. All these things can gunk up a floor and make it look dingy and grimy. So, my advice is to concentrate on the bathroom floor. A clean tub is nice, but we don’t use the tub too often. However, I love having a fresh, clean bathroom floor! It feels good on bare feet; it looks nice to guests and family; and it smells wonderful! And a fresh-smelling bathroom makes a world of difference. If you also have bathroom rugs, this is a great time to shake them out and let them get some fresh air. Or, this might be an ideal time to replace them, for a clean, fresh look.

The kitchen: Floors? Refrigerator?
These are tall orders, but I would start with a clean, organized pantry and a clean, organized refrigerator. A disorganized pantry is a kitchen’s worst nightmare! And since the fridge is the hub of the kitchen – and sometimes the information center – it deserves some spring-cleaning attention! It’s too difficult to plan meals, serve snacks or whip up something when you have no idea what’s in the pantry or the fridge! (It’s also difficult when the ingredients are old, out of date, or, worse, growing things.) So, dedicate a little time to this project. Take everything out of the pantry and out of the fridge and give each space a good cleaning. Use antibacterial sprays or wipes to clean the fridge. Dust off shelves in the pantry. Vacuum up dust bunnies if they’ve set up residence! Then, discard the mystery foods and the expired items. Give yourself a completely clean slate. When restocking the pantry, try to keep “like” things together. Cereals can be stacked next to one another. Cans go together. Snacks can occupy one shelf. Make it make sense for you and for your family so when you take a peek inside before heading to the store, you know what things need to be replenished or replaced! For the fridge, use what you have! If there are special slots for milk, eggs and butter, use them for milk, eggs and butter! It’s much easier to find and use food items when they are stored in roughly the same spot each time!

The garage/basement: Clutter?
If you don’t have a lot of time (or motivation!), a few plastic crates can do a world of wonder for a garage or a basement. And it’s a simple fix, too. Just throw a bunch of crates on the floor, and begin to sort out the clutter. Put electrical cords and power strips in one bin. Sort out loose tools in another. Keep sporting gear separated in its own crates. You can even designate one for paint, brushes and other related items. Once this is done, you can stack the bins on the floor and/or on shelves.

The home-office:
If you have a paper pile-up in your home office, folders can be an easy trick to getting this clutter under control. Designate one for receipts, one for bills, one for school papers and announcements, etc. etc. You will feel empowered by your instant categorizing/filing skills! Get a pretty file holder, or just keep them neatly stacked on your desk. Just be sure to go through them to discard unwanted items so your folders don’t get too overloaded!

The foyer: Install shelving?
I have the smallest, most inefficient hall closet – ever! It may have been an afterthought… or a storage area for elves. There is just no room in there! So, I use creative, decorative storage. A trunk or chest – anything that closes – can be the best solution in these tight situations! Hide away umbrellas, shoes, hats or other outdoor wear. Or, store extra blankets and throws in a big basket. I avoid shelves in the foyer, since it’s the first impression guests have of my home. Instead, I suggest installing shelves in closets, laundry rooms, mud rooms and other spaces that are not as easily accessible – or viewable – to guests!

The patio: Sweep? Wipe down? Hose? Throw out yucky furniture? (Which one?)
Outdoor spaces can be a wonderful extension to your home. We have a screened-in patio, and it seems to function as a resort destination for all kinds of beetles, bees, spiders and moths. So, when the weather gets nice, I take a backpack blower and clear out the dust, debris and bugs in one fell swoop. I also get out the heavy-duty carpet or upholstery cleaner and scrub off the chair cushions, letting them dry in the sun. For glass tables, I clean them with water and window cleaner. For iron pieces, I wipe them off with a damp paper towel. And for wood furniture, I wipe it down with an old rag and furniture cleaner.

Can you recommend a heavy-duty upholstery cleaner?
I typically "borrow" my husband's automobile upholstery cleaner for cleaning my outdoor furniture. Turtle Wax's "Power Out" has been a great satin (and odor) remover in the past! It's a foamy cleaner, in a can, and it comes with a brush on the spray end, so it's convenient and easy to use, too! You don't need to scrub very hard, more like just let that foam permeate... and watch stains disappear.

The laundry room: System suggestion?
The biggest organizational problem in the laundry room is, well… the laundry. Typically it’s pretty easy to store detergent, fabric softener and other laundry needs in cabinets, on shelves or even neatly on the floor. But those darn clothes can take up so much space! To tackle this issue, I suggest getting a sorting hamper or at least several stackable laundry baskets. Train your family to use different sections or baskets for dirty clothes. And use other areas and designated baskets for clean clothes, so you can fold them and put them away when you find that “free” moment. This way, this space doesn’t become just a big mound of “things to do.” I also like to use over-the-door hooks and wall-mounted hooks. These are great places to dry delicate things or to hang up clean items.

Other questions: Am I missing a room? If they could clean just one room, which one should it be or which room’s cleanliness would make a difference throughout the whole house?
The bottom line is, give your home a little TLC (tender loving cleaning) this spring! And, if necessary, do it a little at a time. Tackle just one room or one project every day. Or spend 15-30 minutes in one area, and tackle whatever you can in that timeframe! Don’t let it overwhelm you, but don’t let it overtake you, either! A clean, organized home takes commitment and dedication. And it CAN be done!

Also, do you have any suggestions for a dining room?
Oh, you will hate me on this one! Every once in a while, I get out the hairdryer and blow off my hutch. Yes, dust and debris go all over the place. And, yes, you have to be very careful not to knock over grandma's crystal salt and pepper shakers! But, there are a lot of items on my hutch -- from serving bowls to decorative collectibles -- and I just don't have time to take everything off and dust. A hairdryer will do the trick, with a little patience and some good aim! Then, I swish over everything with a static duster or I wipe out bowls or vases that did not get clean enough. Afterward, I just go about the "normal" cleaning routine, whether that's vacuuming carpets and rugs or swiffering the hardwoods. I also make sure the table (the centerpiece of the dining room) is dust and finger-print free. Add a vase of fresh flowers, and I look like a cleaning and decorating whiz! ;)

Now, THAT's neat!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 94: Spring Cleaning the "Get Neater" Blog

OK, folks! I am happy to announce that "The Neat Get Neater" blog will be getting a little attention, too, for spring cleaning!

To celebrate the success of the first 100 blog posts and the challenges of the days to come, I will be redesigning the blog!

This won't be a topsy turvy or anything extraordinarily drastic. But be sure to come back and look for the post for DAY 100... and check out the all new, cleaner look! :)

Now, THAT's neat!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 93: Spooning in the Dishwasher?

My neighbor shared a little tip with me. Now, I have heard this one before, but I always thought it would keep the utensils from getting clean... you know, with all that spooning going on and all! But... it seems I may be wrong!

SO, here is another neat freak cheat sheet tip! (Wow! Two in a row!)

When loading the dishwasher, put all the same utensils in the same slot in your utensil bin. So, put all forks together, all spoons together, and so on. That way, when it's time to unload, the sorting is already done! This will save time and energy as you put those dishes away. My neighbor commented, "When unloading, it takes less than 1/2 the time... because [the utensils] are already sorted. For me, it's easier to sort on the front end!"

Now, THAT's neat!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

DAY 92: HA! Foil-ed again!

I love to bake, so I use my oven a lot... and I really, really hate cleaning it. Talk about the worst grimy, greasy, gooey, crunchy, baked-on mess. ACK!

So, I use a little help: aluminum foil.

Yes, I cook and bake with it... sometimes coating the inside of whatever bake ware I'm using so I don't have to wash and scrub so desperately when it's done. BUT, I also line the bottom of my oven with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminium foil.

This way, the grimy, greasy, gooey, crunchy bits and splats don't actually hit the oven floor. Instead, they get caught on the foil. And when the foil gets gross, I simply pull it out and toss it! EASY clean! And another great tip from the neat freak cheat sheet! ;)

Now, THAT's neat!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 91: Do You Roll?

I have several lint rollers. Big ones. "Mini" ones. One in the bathroom. One in my car. And I LOVE them all! They are so handy - a total "must have" for neat freaks! And you can use them on more than just that unsightly lint!

Here are a few more uses:
  • craft bits, or "sniglets" as a friend of mine calls them... Ever have those random paper pieces, ribbon snips or fabric threads all over the place after some crafting? Well, a lint roller is a perfect solution for getting those up and out of the way!
  • stray hairs... Just roll the back of your shirt, sweater or jacket and remove those "strays" that fall out or fly away after brushing or styling your hair! This is also a perfect tool for picking up those little ends after a bang trim... or after a gray hair annihilation!
  • pet fur... I roll the couch and chairs, regularly, to remove Rowdy's fur clumps.
  • dust bunnies... Hey, if you can't grab the vacuum, roll away those dust bunnies with a lint roller! It's a quick fix. Not a permanent solution!
  • lampshades... Oh, yes, these decorative beauties LOVE dust and grime. So, roll over them with a lint roller to bring them back to their old glory! With that in mind, try one out on a curtain or a table cloth! I use mine on the table runner in our dining room when I don't feel like removing the heavy vase and candle holders to give it a good shake outside!
  • crumbs... Again, this is a quick fix, but a lint roller can be a handy tool for crumb removal! I've used it on counter tops, highchairs and car seats MANY times! I also have used it on baking spills, to roll away some of the flour, sugar or baking mix splatter before attacking with a antibacterial wipe!

What do YOU use a lint roller on?

Now, THAT's neat!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 90: Oh, It Smells So GOOD!

I love cleaning products that smell good. It makes me want to use them even more! AND.... it makes me feel good when people come into the house and comment, "Oh, it smells so good in here!"

Of course, sometimes the odoriferous wonder in my home is due to some delicious, homemade goodness. I LOVE to bake (and eat baked goods!), so there is often a pound cake, some sweet bread or a batch of chocolate-chip cookies cooling on the counter. BUT, when I am on a clean streak, I love to use just about anything citrus or "fresh laundry" scented. (What about you? What scents make your nose happy?)

With that being said, I was quite interested in trying out a pretty well-known product that I had never tried: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day. Their natural, plant-derived essential oils are "powerful against daily dirt and grime, but leave your home smelling like a garden, not harsh chemicals." And, oh..... it's SO true!

I tried out the lemon verbena scent. I was not so sure about the smell in the bottle, but throughout the house, it's absolutely wonderful! (Even my outdoor-working husband and his rough-and-tough co-worker commented on the delightful scent!) And, most importantly, the toilet bowl cleaner and the countertop spray worked VERY well! With just a swipe of a paper towel or swish of a bowl brush, dirt and grime were disappearing right before my eyes!

I assure you, I will be purchasing more! I even got the laundry detergent in the same scent! And since Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day also offers dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, dishwasher packs, wipes, hand soap, fabric softener, dryer sheets, candles, room fresheners and window spray, *WHEW!* I may be trying out some other things, too! ;) (They also have other scents. So, I may have to explore!)

Now, THAT's neat!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 89: Quick Tip for Wayward Pouches

I have a bunch of food pouches in my pantry... you know, those mixes for tacos and chili and seasoned fries. Well, those said pouches tend to fall through the cracks, literally. And I was pretty tired of mounting an all-out search for these seasonings and such while in the middle of cooking.

So... simple solution: I took one of those "throw-away" plastic containers and stuffed all the pouches inside. Now, I can find what I need without straining my back while leaning over, balanced on one foot, digging around the bottom of the pantry where extra paper towels and other odds n' ends reside! :)

Add THAT to your neat freak bag o' tricks!

Now, THAT's neat!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 88: Microwave Quick Clean

Ok, I know we've talked about tackling the dreaded microwave gunk before (see THIS post), but this morning, as I was boiling some eggs, I did a quick clean on my microwave. WHY? Well, first of all, I wipe it down after every use. And second of all, if your microwave happens to be over the stove, like mine, the steam from whatever is cooking will go straight up. So, why not use this to your benefit? Oh yes, it's another little Neat Freak Cheat Sheet tip: use the steam from cooking to help clean your microwave, counter tops, or whatever. Just open the microwave door, and let the steam do its work. Then, take a paper towel and/or Lysol wipe (depending on the amount of dirt!), and wipe it down. Ta-da! A quick clean... and some multitasking! LOVE it!

Now, THAT's neat!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 87: Neat Facts

Sorry for the absence... I've been sick, and my 13-month old has been sick. Yuck...

SO, to get us back on track, I have some really neat facts that I found recently....
1. Women spend 17 HOURS A WEEK cleaning. This is down from 26 hours, 30 years ago....
2. Men have more than doubled their domestic duties, from 6 to 13 HOURS a week.
3. BUT... having a husband creates an EXTRA 7 HOURS of WORK each WEEK for women.

OH, and don't forget about the great giveaway from Wear-N'-Write! Just go back to day 86 for details!

Now, THAT's neat!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 86: Get Neat With Wear-N'-Write

Y'all know I enjoy gadgets that help with cleaning and organizing. And I am trying out a NEAT, new product... It's called Wear-N'-Write. Get this: It's a mini, dry-erase board that comes in 2 nifty styles: 1 that you can WEAR on your wrist, and 1 that you can CLIP on somewhere convenient.

I know we live in a day and age of fancy phones and electronic what-nots, with technologically advanced ways of taking notes, but how many times have you been searching under the seats in your car for a pen or a crayon and a receipt or even a gum wrapper to jot down a phone number or a quick note? And think about people who work outdoors... or in hospitals! What about contractors, waitresses, nurses and carpenters? This little, note-taking wonder is perfect for wearing "hands free" or for clipping on a car visor, a tote bag, a backpack, etc, etc.

My daughter is already chomping at the bit to steal a Wear-N'-Write from me and use it for her own imaginative projects, but I am envisioning clipping one to my cleaning basket so I can jot down things that I need (like: buy more Lysol wipes) or stuff that I notice (like: change batteries in smoke alarm) while I am doing everyday chores from room to room! Hey, I could even clip one in every room of the house... I could write down my kid's chores on them. Or, we could jot down messages to one another or mention necessities that are required... or missing (i.e. need toothpaste, running low on laundry detergent, need more toilet paper, or must have clean-and-dry basketball uniform for Saturday!). It's a perfect solution for anyone who is already busy... with always more stuff to do. And it's a great gadget for any neat freak! ;)

I've already tried the wrist version on, too... just for fun! I like that the marker (that comes with it) not only has a neat little place to attach to the board, it has its own eraser! So, no dirtying up your sleeves, fingers or whatever else is handy at the time!

It will be fun testing these out, here and there, and everywhere! Oh, and best of all... while I am giving this new product a whirl, YOU, too, can try out this little gadget for yourself! Just go to the Wear-N'-Write Facebook page and click on "like." The first 10 people who post the comment "Wear-N'-Write makes my busy life EASIER!" and mention that they saw the product on the "Get Neater" blog will win FREE products! Yep. It's that easy! (And, hey, just because you're not one of the first 10 folks doesn't mean you can't like their page! "Like" them, and get details on what they are been up to and what they have to offer!)


Now, THAT's neat!