Thursday, April 1, 2010

Weekly Email Challenge

We are have launched a great new service that we are excited to share with you!  It is our Weekly Email Challenge.  It is designed to take you through your home in a year to get more organized with 52 challenges like this example below.  No challenge should take you more than an hour or so to complete in the week.

Once you register you will have the ablity to be entered for a small weekly prize if you complete the week's challenge and email me back.  Use this code to save $2 on your registration: HUB24JW2N

To register for the challenge simply click on the blue Weekly Email Challege link above!

The Junk Drawer

Every kitchen has one, whether we want to openly admit to it or not, the junk drawer is as much a kitchen staple as a can opener. For many of us there is something comforting about having a drawer where it is acceptable to stash all the bits and pieces of our life that simply do not seem to fit into any other category or place.

I have worked with many clients who have been brave enough to show me their junk drawer’s and I can tell you there is no limit to the things that find a resting place in this catchall. I have seen old pictures, birthday candles, old medication bottles, various pieces of broken or lost toys, notes written on scrap paper, a bag of baby teeth (yes I did just say a bag of baby teeth), and much more!

I understand the need for a miscellaneous category in your home and I even can see the convenience of having that mismatched grouping in your kitchen within easy reach. However, I cannot imagine that a drawer that is so crammed with STUFF that you can’t see or tell what is in it can be helpful. I think each of us needs to take a quick reality check on the junk drawer(s) in our homes by asking ourselves these three simple questions:

1. When was the last time that I looked in that drawer?

2. When was the last time that I looked in that drawer and found what I was looking for?

3. Is there a better way to set up this drawer to make it more functional?

The answer to the third question is “YES, There is a better way to set up this drawer and make it more functional.” I am going to give you ten quick steps to making over your junk drawer.

1. Empty the contents of the drawer out onto the kitchen counter or table.

2. Sort the items into these eight categories

a. Trash

b. Coupons and Take out Menus

c. Writing Utensils

d. Batteries

e. Lost pieces

f. Notepads

g. Things that belong somewhere else in the house

h. Important papers/manuals

3. Take all of the Trash and throw it away

4. Take all of the carry out or delivery food coupons and paper clip them together. (For bonus points you can arrange them in order with the quickest to expire on top.) Store them in a file folder with your takeout menus on the bottom of the drawer.

The grocery and household items coupons need to be kept in your purse or car so that they will get used when you are at the store… they are not doing you any good in the drawer.

5. A drawer separator is great in your junk drawer, fill one section with pens and once it is full stop adding pens! There is no need to keep 100 ink pens and pencils in a drawer or in a cup! If you have more than you need consider donating some to a daycare, a teacher, a college dorm, etc… share the wealth! When you can buy a pack of 10 pens for a dollar why do we all feel the need to keep several hundred on hand at any given time?

6. It is recommended that most types of household batteries can be stored in the refrigerator and it will help preserve them better. I would recommend that you get a few small plastic food storage boxes and label them the various sizes of batteries and keep them in the back of your fridge. Old butter containers that have been washed out are great for this.

7. Ahhh, the lost pieces of toys and games… that clog thousands of junk drawers across this planet. I recommend that you take a plastic shoe box storage container and label it “Lost and Found Box”. Then put all of these miscellaneous pieces in this box and store it with your board games. Once a month or so, take the box out and sort through it, putting away pieces with the right game, puzzle, or toy. If you discover that the game, toy, or puzzle is broken or no longer in the house… throw away the extra pieces! This will also help if one of the kids is trying to finish a puzzle on their own and they are missing a piece… they will know where to look first!

8. One notepad should sit in your drawer next to the pens or stuck to your fridge to write down quick notes or phone messages. There is no need for 15 or 20 of them in the kitchen. If you want to go green and save some trees… consider recycling old notepads and replacing them with a dry erase board in your kitchen! Extra notepads can be dontated like the pens.

9. If it belongs somewhere else in your home and was shoved into the drawer in a rush clean up one day… now is your chance to give it a proper homecoming.

10. Contrary to what many of us imagine… our junk drawer is not the most secure or efficient method of filing important papers. I have seen everything from birth certificates, social security cards, check books, and even loan paperwork shoved into the bottom of kitchen drawers. If you have these papers in your junk drawer I am telling you, “It is time to file them away in a better system.” (To be covered in later challenge).

Now when you open it you should see a drawer organizer with pens, a notepad, and takeout menus and coupons in a file folder under the organizer. Here are a few more acceptable items to keep in your new and improved junk drawer:

• A flashlight

• A lighter or matches

• A small tube of super glue

• A roll of tape

• A small pin cousin with straight pens and safety pins

If you have followed these simple steps, the next time that you open this drawer in your kitchen, I believe you will find what you need faster and easier! The junk drawer may be a small victory in a bigger war… but take time to savor winning the small battles because often the can cost us the most time lost in our day!

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