Posted in family, Organizing, summer tips, Uncategorized

My top 10 pre-vacation tips

Did I leave the iron on?

iron-933473_960_720

My Mom would ask when we were about 100 miles aware from home.

Now I ask, did you close the garage door? When we are just leaving the neighborhood.

You laugh but one time we did not close our garage door. We were gone all weekend. Thank goodness we lived in a neighborhood when most of our neighbors were firemen or police. So they closed our door and left us a note. We joked that if something went wrong on our street all we needed to do was run out side and yell 911. We would have all the assistance we needed in minutes.

To save you from having to turn around or worry I have compiled my top ten “don’t forget” things to take care of at home before you go.

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Photo from Turbo Tax
  1. Cancel your newspaper – nothing says no one is home like papers in the drive.
  2. Place a delivery hold on your mail. You can do this online.
  3. I suggest a timer for lights and a radio. Lights and noise will make it appear that you are home.
  4. Remove your spare hide-a-key. We give ours to my best friend.
  5. If you have a trusted friend or neighbor let them know you will be gone, where you will be and ask them to keep an eye on your house. If you normally park a vehicle outside ask them to park a car in your drive and periodically check doors, rear of house, and see if any unexpected packages or door hang tags were left.  If you leave you vehicle in the drive. Remove the garage door opener and all valuables.
  6. Do NOT post vacation plans on social media! Remind your children of this too. Wait until you get home to post your fabulous photos and memories.
  7. Notify your credit card company that you will be traveling so they will not put a hold on your card assuming it was stolen.
  8. Use your cell phone or camera to take photos of you credit cards, passport, the labels on all prescription medicine bottles and anything else that you think you might need. Use digital or paper copies which ever you are comfortable with.
  9. If you have pets that your are not taking with you ~ do not forget about them.  Make arrangements for their care. I know you would never neglect your pets.
  10. If possible load your suitcases and such in the garage. You don’t really need to advertise that you will be leaving. 

These are just a few tips.  There is more information from the  Protected Home.  I have included a link to their  checklist.  http://www.protectedhome.com/checklist-for-leaving-home.html

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Photo from UnSplash

GO have a great time. Post your pictures when you get back we can chat and laugh about the memories you have made. I’ll be here when you get back.

Pam's Bee.jpg

 

#vacation #preparation #tips #momslife #parenting #dadslife

 

 

Posted in family, summer tips, Uncategorized

Should you go on vacation?

Should I stay or should I go was never a question in my family. It was always go!

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Photo by Marjorie Bertrand

I was reading comments on vacation memories and got to thinking about my own.

Our family moto is,  “it was not a vacation until someone had a flat tire or ran out of gas”. I got to thinking about all the prior vacations. The memories ran from shortcuts that were not in fact shorter but may have involved some very narrow roads that may not have had guard rails that went on for miles with no place to turn around. Praying that you did not meet another vehicle since we were pulling an RV.

My granddad loved Colorado and we went there many times. I have traveled by vehicle all over the United States and parts of Canada with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and my husband. We have stayed in tents, a Scotty tiny trailer, fully functional RVs, hotels and cabins.

I have seen lots of wild animals from bears, moose, and elk to little  ground squirrels. 45 years ago we fed a bear chewing gum one time.  DO NOT DO THIS.  don't feed the bears

I have seen a rogue bear who he thought he could share a tent. The owners of the tent were willing to let him because who’s going to stop him.

We always went to the ranger talks. We learned about the parks we were visiting and heard some great stories. The walk back to the camp was amazing. No lights except for the stars and flashlights. If you have the opportunity to do this, do it. Take the time and take your kids.

I can’t tell you how many flat tires or times someone ran out of gas. Someone in my family has this thing about wanting to see how many miles they can get out of a tank of gas.   There have been many other calamities such as the time the truck caught on fire – That was a bit too exciting! Then there was the time the mini-bike fell off the back of the RV. My uncle was following us and I think he had to change his pants after that experience. Of course this is the same uncle whose short cuts were not shorter.pierre SD

Of course my parents will never forget the time they left me in South Dakota, which was 754 miles from home. First you have to understand it was way before cell phones and there was 5 vehicles all traveling together. I was prone to ride with almost anyone of the 5. So it was just a matter of miscalculation on all our parts. I can tell you that now to this day. When I get out of the car to go to the restroom…I have the keys.

It was an adventure for me. Hours later when my parents stopped for the night and set up camp they discovered there was one less kid with them… Huh? What took hours to drive earlier did not take anywhere near as long back. I was fine. My parents got a few gray hair that day. But never the less vacation continued on as planned. It was an amazing time.

My cousin’s birthday was always celebrated while on vacation. One year we couldn’t find a cake so she got a cookie with pine needles candles on it. She still talks about her birthday cookie.

My husband and I took a trip with my parents to Yellowstone a few years ago.  There was a forest fire blocking our way back to the DNR Dude ranch (yes, that was the name) where we were staying.  So we had to take a detour of  163 miles.  We almost out of gas but we saw the most amazing sunset I had ever seen.  All I am saying is sometimes the detour brings a wonderful suprise just arround the bend.

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If you are on the fence about taking a vacation let me say, GO! They are your vacation days. Take them. Spend time with your family. Unplug and go. There are only so many summers when your kids will be little. They are growing up and you need to make memories.

So go make memories. Good or bad they will be the things you will talk about for years and years to come.

Heck, maybe one of your kids will write about it someday.

Pam's Bee.jpg

#vacation #goRving #travelwithkids #familytime

 

A Piece of Advice
Journey

Posted in clutter, family, Organizing, Uncategorized

Are You Facing A Paper Avalanche?

Paper work. Paper avalanche. Paper chase. Whatever you call it I know papers they are the downfall of many of you.  What to do what do you need to keep?

Most financial papers fit in to one of 3 categories

  • Keep indefinitely
  • Keep for 7 years
  • Keep for a year or less

Keep For A Calendar Year Or Less

ATM receipts and deposit slips –  when you receive your bank statements you can shred them.

Charge slips (unless it is for a major purchase), for minor purchases once you are satisfied with the purchase. Shred the receipt when your credit card statement.

If you do not have a home office you don’t need to keep your utility bills, monthly  mortgage statements or quarterly investment reports.

Keep your pay stubs, credit card statements and investment reports until you receive the W-2 or year-end summaries. Once you have those you don’t need the monthly statements.

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Photo by Mari-Helin-Tuominen

Keep Seven Years

Year end credit-card summaries, along with your W-2s and 1099s.

If you itemize your tax return you need to keep all documents you utilized to determine your deductions. These additional documents you should retain include: canceled checks and receipts for all deductible business expenses (such as those for entertainment, home-office equipment, and professional dues), retirement-account contributions, charitable donations, child-care bills, out-of-pocket medical expenses, alimony, and mortgage-interest and property-tax payments.

After 7 years you should scan the actual tax returns or the year-end summaries of your investment accounts as they can come in very handy for future financial planning.  Then you can store them on a flash drive or a CD in a safe place.1024px-Usb-thumb-drive

Infinitely:

Keep receipts for major purchases and receipts that show how much you’ve paid for home improvements as long at your own your home. This will satisfy three things: Insurance claims, potential buyers and when you sell your home to reduce possible capital gains.

Keep beneficiary designation confirmation and purchase price slips that show beneficiary designations and the purchase price of stocks, mutual funds, and any other investments you hold.

It goes without saying that you need to keep your will, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, property deeds, and other permanent records in a safe but accessible place near your other financial documents, so you and your heirs will always be able to get to them quickly, if they need to.

Invest in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box for your forever documents.

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I  suggest scanning and digitizing your important personal documents as a back up copy. More info on this by News Leavitt Just remember a digital copy is not the same as a paper copy but it is much easier to obtain a replacement copy of you have a photo copy.

Also, invest in a shredder.  In today’s world you really don’t want personal information floating around out there.  You can find them for not much money.

For more information  how long to keep your documents check here for more info from bankrate.com.  They have a very detailed list.

Now that you know what to keep and what to shred, I have a post on how to deal your paper as it come in the door.  If you would like to read it here is the link  Did you get Stacked?

I hope this helps you let go of your papers.  I love your comments.

Pam's Bee.jpg

 

 

#organize, #clutter, #paperwork, #documents #taxtime

 

Posted in Organizing

Pantry Storage

Another Mom’s take on Pantry storage and keeping your Pantry out of a Wad.

What's for Dinner Moms?

Pantry Storage

How do you store your extra pantry staples? Do you shop only sales circulars?

The above is one of my three shelving units that I have in my basement to store my extra supplies. I try to keep 3 months of staples so that I am not running to the store every time I make dinner. You know you will not walk out with just that one item you need. You will pick up extra milk and oh, look at those cookies in bakery! What about a loaf of bread for dinner too? The extra money adds up quickly. Instead of a $3.39 jar of mayonnaise you now have a grocery order of $50-$75. This happens to me if I have to just pick up one item.

This is the unit at the bottom of the stairs. It keeps the items that I will most likely send the kids down…

View original post 245 more words

Posted in clutter, family, Organizing

Enough Chaos!

Chaos is defined as complete disorder and confusion

Does the following definition of Chaos sound familiar you?

Can’t                        or          Children

Have                                       Have

Anyone                                   A lot

Over                                        Of

Syndrome                             Stuff

chaos-485493_960_720How about:

Can’t get it all don’t in a day

Help I am overwhelmed

Another Appointment missed

Opportunity for a promotion past because I was late

Slipped on crap on the floor.feeling overwhelmed today 6187904322_22fe521616_z

Disorganization doesn’t just involve clutter taking over your house. It takes away your energy. The more you have going on the more organization you need. If you kids are in soccer and dance, have t-ball and have play-dates you have to stay on top of your schedule. You feel bad because you forgot or got the dates mixed up when it was your turn to pick up cookies for home room or to bring drinks to the t-ball game. Or worse your kid is left waiting for you to pick them up.

Scheduling mix-ups create chaos and then you scramble or miss out on an important thing. You are sad, your family is sad.

So let’s put on a happy face. Gain control of your chaos. Now is a great time to get organized. You will stop wasting time and energy. You can enjoy life when you’ve made it a priority to keep chaos and clutter at bay.13585051_10153640310396806_3812571750043960467_o

  • Use your phone as a calendar – It’s with you all the time. Make use of the apps and keep lists.  I add everything to my phone.
  • Use the alerts and set reminders. Appointments get 2 reminders.
  • Use a family organizational calendar, color code it. Hang it in a central location so all members of your family can see it.

Take control of your chaos. Tell me what you do to keep your family and household organized.

Thanks Pamela

 

 

#chaos, #clutter, #disorganized, #family, #overwhelmed, #realmom  #motherhood # truelife; #mom #kids

 

 

Posted in Organizing

Gratitude, shock and awe

374 instagram followers

272 blog followers

152 twitter followers

114 facebook followers

49 posts

1 blown away blogger

I am so incredibly humbled by the response I have gotten from you. I started this blog only 2 short months ago.  I wanted to help make your lives run smoother.  I love the comments and the friendships I have made in such a short time.  One thing I have learned is that bloggers are a special group of people and they believe in paying it forward.

Yesterday Minirelli nominated me for the Liebster award.  I have been nominated before and  while my blog is still new I have miraculously achieved over 200 followers  therefore I am not eligible for the nomination.

Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.Liebster Award Rules

 Check out her blog and the fellow bloggers she nominated.  They are:

Minirelli

Photolicioux

ZeroCreativity

Sableyes

Scott Pritchard Blog

Starrcreative

Minirelli ask me these  questions

  • If you could be any animal what would you be? My Dog. She has the best life.
  • What inspired you to start writing a blog? I am a fixer. I try to fix problems. I am very organized and I want help others become as organized as possible. If you know where thing are and what you have you save time. Time that you can spend doing what you want rather than searching for lost things.
  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? That is tough. I love traveling in the USA. I have traveled a lot. But I would have to say Australia and New Zealand
  • What is your best skill? The willingness to jump in where needed and my friendliness
  • What makes you the happiest? Spending time with my husband.
  • What has been the funniest thing you have ever seen?
  • If you won the lottery what would you spend it on? Travel Take my parents and family.
  • What is your 5 year plan? I’m pretty much doing it. Retired living the dream!
  • What has been your biggest achievement? Retirement at 46, moving to vacation land with my soul mate.
  • If you could speak another language what would it be? Spanish and Italian
  • If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you take? My husband, a swiss army knife and duct tape lots of duct tape.

If you want to read my original Liebster award response  click here

Thank you all for your continued support. I am so thrilled.  I hope to continue sharing tips to help you organize your life.

Pam's Bee.jpg

Posted in clutter, Organizing

Extra Storage Wanted ~ Tips to get it.

 

Who has all the storage they need? You do. OK stop right there. This post is not for you. Right. For the rest of us who say, I always need more storage space.

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Photo from Wikipedia

Many of you have said you would love to get organized but you don’t have enough storage space. You are just like most of us in that you don’t have the luxury of loads of extra space and have ask about adding storage space where there is none.

I want you to know you are not alone. My husband and at one time planned to live in a 750 square foot property that we owned. I had a rule if it wasn’t useful then it couldn’t have a place in the house. I didn’t have a basement or an attic. What space I did have we made the most of.

I want to share a few thoughts about what worked for us.

  • Pull down shelves – are perfect for making upper shelves easy to access;
  • Lazy Susan turntables are amazing – Use them in corners and fill the lost dead space.
  • Go vertical – Use your wall space. Add a pot rack to the ceiling. I have one above my kitchen sink.
  • Don’t forget under the bed storage;
  • Under cabinet drawers if you have a kick plate under your cabinets. You a can add storage in that area.

    under cabinet storage FH09MAY_CABDRA_01
    Photo from The Family Handyman
  • Add shelves over your doors. That is a great place to store extra towels in the bathroom and the laundry is a good place to store extra paper products;
  • Wire under shelf storage baskets double up your usable space;
  • Storage ottoman’s can hold shoes and provide a place to take sit down – everything needs to do double duty and can provide storage;
  • Raise the floor. Build a platform and you can add storage;
  • Squeeze out more by adding shallow storage between the studs in your interior walls. Most walls are built on 16-inch centers and are 4 inches deep. That space is perfect for lots of things. You can add a message center, medicine cabinet, and spice storage or jewelry cabinet just to mention a few.

Also, you don’t have to use furniture as intended. I had antique theater seats that folded up and didn’t use much floor space when not in use but were perfect dining chairs when needed. You can find bar stools that stack. I have used a dresser in my kitchen and another dresser as a sofa table. Every thing in my house has drawers or storage.

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Tejo Remey Chest of Drawers photo from Wikipedia

Think outside the box and you will find there are so many options. I would love to hear what you did to add storage to your home.

Pamela

 

#storage #organized #family #momslife #tinyhouse #reallife

 

Posted in family, Organizing, Uncategorized

Thinking of selling your house?

Did you know a properly staged house would sell faster for more money?

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It’s true.

What are you looking for in a house? Put your self in the shoes of a buyer and look at your house.

When you see your house would you buy it? Does it need some updating or does it have a shabby front door, sad landscaping or worn out welcome mat? Does it have enough storage or are the closets stuffed to the gills? Is it dark in the rooms?

Think about these tips before you put you house on the market.

  1. Curb appeal. It’s easy just add a few flowers for a splash of color, a new welcome mat to welcome buyers and a fresh coat of paint on the front door will do wonders.
  2. Light it up – take full advantage of the natural light by removing dark heavy drapes or open up the blinds don’t forget to wash the windows. Also, replace the light blubs with the highest wattage bulbs recommended.
  3. If your closets and cabinets are full, take half of your stuff out and organize the rest. Buyers are looking for storage and they will look in your cabinets and closets.
  4. While your home is on the market you need to pack up your family photo, personal collections and keepsakes. Your personal stuff is important to you, but while you are selling you want the seller to picture themselves living in the house not you.
  5. Don’t go crazy on upgrades but do make any necessary repairs.   If you know there are things wrong with your house you are better off to fix them before you list. Buyers may be scared off or demand a higher discount to repair them. Deep clean your house, add a fresh paint on the walls, fix leaking faucets and update with some new hardware on the kitchen cabinets. Doing these small updates will most generally get your money back.
  6. Fur Babies – I love dogs but I don’t like to smell dog when I go into someone’s house. If have pets – remove their bowls and make sure there is no pet smells in your house. Lots of people have the impression that if you have pets in the house is not a clean house. Be mindful that many people are allergic to pets so make sure you clean up the pet hair.
  7. Once you have put your house on the market you need to be ready to show it all the time. You never know when the right buyer will walk thru your door. You have all heard the saying there is only one chance to make a first impression. Well when it comes to buying or selling a home the first impression is often the only impression there is. So don’t blow it.Jamie Street - photo-1463741408080-b210ee5227dc

Yes it is a pain to keep your house spotless and sparkling. I know you love your photos and décor but you are selling your house not your lifestyle. The better job you do preparing your house to sell ~ the faster it will sell and the faster you can move on.   In your new house display all your personal stuff and go back to your normal life.

So suck it up buttercup! Keep it clean, scrub the bathrooms until they shine, turn on the lights and remember this is temporary. Good luck.

Pam's Bee.jpg

 

#staged #forsale #newhouse #getitsold #move #curbappeal #organized

Posted in family, Organizing, Uncategorized

Is you Pantry in a Wad?

 

Tell me if this is you..

You plan to make pasta for dinner.

Gregory Bourolias - photo-1449791898646-5a6fdfa4b4dd
Photo by Gregory Bourolias 

You come home from work; start dinner only to discover you don’t have any pasta.

OK plan B you can make what????? You can’t find anything. There are cans, boxes, bags and containers in a mish mash.

You are sure you bought some mussels. Great you can make mussels marinara. Where are they? You just have to find them; they should be in the freezer. Nope there are not any mussels. Lots of chicken, but you don’t have time to make chicken.

In a rush you order pizza instead and go to the grocery store after dinner, soccer and dance.

Budget and diet blown!

Slices_of_thin-crust_New_York_style_pizza

Tired, rushed and frazzled you go to the grocery store to buy food. But you don’t know what you have or what you need. You know you don’t have pasta. By the way last week you favorite store had pasta on sale.

I ask this because this has happened to all of us. But if you organize your pantry you can save money and time.

Time because you will be able to see at a glance what is running low and know what you have.

Money because if you know you are low on something you can purchase it on sale. Did you know grocery stores run sales on a cycle? They do.   Soda is always on sale near a holiday in the summer months. Sugar is always on sale near thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter because of the holiday baking.

OK lets talk about organizing your pantry. Think about what you use.

If you will take a little bit of time now you can save time later. I reorganized my pantry in less than 1 hour.

One shelf for canned goods. Put like items together in a row try to put the newest cans in the rear. Boxes on another row and so on.

Also keep your cereals and other frequently used items in airtight clear containers to keep them fresh and to easily see when you are running low.

pantry 1after

I have an Ikea cart that holds my potatoes and onions. When I am ready to cook I roll the cart over to the sink to wash and peel. Also, I don’t have to search the bottom of my pantry to find the lost rotten potato that is stinking up the place.

I also have a running shopping list. When I open the last jar of mayo I put mayo on the list.  I can then watch for a sale and not run out.

Here is a link from Your Own Home Store showing grocery sale cycles. Grocery Sale Cycle

I love your comments.

Pam's Bee.jpg

 

#dinner #pantry #organize, #grocery #momslife  #beeorganized #overwhelmed #disorganized #family #realmom  #motherhood # truelife; #mom #kids