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Halloween Solutions using Thirty-One Products

Halloween is coming up fast! Don’t just celebrate with candy and costumes — take this opportunity to organize your supplies!

For your decorating, clean out those bulky plastic bins or old cardboard boxes and put your supplies in the Large Utility Tote! To make it even more storage friendly, add a Top-A-Tote! You can easily see what’s in each tote using the clear PVC window at the top with your supplies safely zipped up inside!  These totes are flexible, sturdy, and have convenient handles! Whether you just set out a few fall-themed arrangements and a candy bowl or build a haunted house on your lawn, Thirty-One can really help you clean up the holiday clutter!

 

Don’t just hand out your candy from a bowl this year! Use a Mini Utility Bin! This neat bag has easy to grip handles on the sides, and can hold lots of candy.  You can also use a few Littles Carry-All Caddys to sort your kids’ candy when they get home. Whether you’re separating it by type (lollipop, chocolate, gum, etc) or per child, these small totes will help keep everything tidy as you inspect their treats! You can also use them to ration out the candy so that no one eats too many sweets in one sitting!

 

For keeping a flashlight close at hand, get a Wristlet Key Fob. Most small or keychain flashlights have a keying or loop at the back. Just attach the flashlight to the key fob. This a very comfortable way to carry a flashlight while you walk around your neighborhood. You’ll have a light always in reach, but your hands can be free if your little ones need a costume adjustment or just help crossing the street.

To get the most use out of your kids’ costumes, put them in a Super Organizing Tote and fill it with other great pretend props like paper crowns, fake treasure, and other small toys. This tote has a zippered top, five pockets, and two mesh side pockets.  This bag can be a big hit on a chilly fall afternoon and lets them use their imaginations instead of a game console.

 

Have a safe and fun Halloween with these great solutions using Thirty-One products!

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Make it a Thirty-One Game Night!

With school starting, it’s about to get a little harder for the whole family to spend time together. There will be afterschool practices, booster clubs, and PTA meetings. Use some great Thirty-One products to spend time with your family!

One night a week, turn off the TV and have a family game night! While sometimes you’ll have to reschedule to accommodate recitals or away games or just homework, try to make it a regular, weekly appointment.

For the first few nights, plan ahead and organize what games you’re going to play. This is easier on you – for setting things up – and will make the game nights smoother until you establish them as routine.

Make a Score kit. For games like charades you’ll be on teams. If you want to keep score, write the numbers 1 – 10 on two sets of index cards longways. Punch a hole in the center of the top of each card and string a ribbon through it or slide each card onto a key ring. Now you’ve got a score card for each team. You can put these cards and other supplies for game night (like spare pens and pencils) in a Littles Carry-All Caddy with sets of card games or spare dice.

Keep your supplies together. Board games and puzzles are a great place to start, but they can get boring if you go back to them too often.  Try using an Organizing Utility Tote to keep up with supplies for DIY games. Get a stopwatch or kitchen timer for games like charades, a blindfold and Velcro-dots for impromptu pin the tail on the donkey, blank stickers for “Who am I?” and other props for the other childhood games you loved.  Don’t forget to include little prizes! Things like “get out of 1 chore” coupons or “winner picks the next game” are free and fun to win!

Make a simple dinner. For game night, keep dinner light and simple and have healthy snacks ready for nibbling between turns or games. The Small Rectangle Basket is a great way to carry all the snacking paraphernalia you’ll need from the kitchen to your den or living room. Fill it with a box of crackers, a block of cheese with a knife or slicer, pre-sliced fruit in a sealed box, nuts, pretzels, party mix, and a closed pitcher of water or tea. Cups, napkins, and plates will also fit in the neat basket. As an added bonus, once game night is over, the Small Rectangle Basket works well to clean up the snack supplies and take them back to the kitchen without making more than one trip.

Don’t let a busy schedule get in the way of spending time with your family!

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Superbowl Party Plays

Superbowl Awareness

Party His Socks Off!

With the Superbowl 2 weeks away, it’s time to make those Super Sunday Party Plans!

Portable Party!

Even if you’re not a football fan, no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen when everyone else is partying in front of the television!

The Serving Tray Basket is a great way to carry coffee table appetizers from the kitchen to the couch in one trip! Plus, with a removable liner, clean up is a lot easier than carpet spot-cleaning!

Unintentional Messiness

There will be spills, crumbs, and confusion; be prepared for them!   Fill a Square Utility Tote with extra napkins, paper towel rolls, your preferred carpet spot pre-treater, & a handheld wet-vac. Now set it somewhere close to the action but out of the way like behind or beside your couch, under the coffee table, or next to you entertainment center. If the excitement causes a mess, you won’t have to run and hunt for any of your trusted supplies.

Don’t forget to have a trash bag handy! With napkins, toothpicks, wing bones, and other disposable/messy components, appetizers and snacks can make clutter & chaos fast! Keep your trash bags looking tidy with a Tall Utility Bin.

Personal Chip Sacs!

Passing a big bowl of chips can get dicey – especially in tense moments when your team is making a big play.  A simple solution is: stop sharing! A big bowl of chips can make a big mess with just one fumbled pass.  Line a few Littles Carry All Caddies with a small paper sack or plastic wrap and set the big chip bowl at your snack buffet with a handy scoop or large tongs.  Your guests can refill their chips as needed — and this tiny tote’s handle makes party plates overflowing with appetizers and chips a thing of the past!

Napkin Caddy & Sauce Bottle-olier

Keep all your sports fans happy by keeping their favorite sauces & condiments handy! Whether adding a dash of hot sauce or a squirt of ketchup – make sure your guests can easily get to what they want without missing a big play! Fill the 5 exterior pockets of a Mini Organizer with a variety of sauces, condiments, or spices and add extra napkins & flatware to the large inner pocket for extra convenience!

Get that Tailgate Feel Indoors (without the mess)

Want that tailgater vibe within sight of your tv? Put a few ice packs (not loose ice) in the Thermal Container and fill the rest with drink cans! Now your guests can get that “reaching into the cooler” moment without a drippy, ice-melting-to-a-puddle cooler scratching up your floor. Plus, the Thermal Container comes in small or large so you can choose the size that best suits your party’s needs.

 

Decorating & “Undecorating”

Don’t let your excitement get smothered before the game! Decorating with Thirty-One is a breeze!  Set out your supplies, then organize them in an Organizing Utility Tote. You can keep tape, scissors, and other small necessities in the side pockets and easy-to-reach while your hang streamers, banners, or signs.

Keep a little notebook and pen is the largest side pocket! Brainstorms for next year’s party or just your next party often hit while you’re hip-deep in setting up today’s party.  Don’t let those great ideas get away! Jot them down & keep them with you without leaving your decorating halfdone. Plus, when it’s time to take it all down, you can note anything that needs replacing (torn tablecloths, ripped streamers, etc).

Take the Party with You!

If you’re not partying at home, Thirty-One products can still make the party go smoother.

Expand-A-Tote Day Extender — If you’re going tailgating or to a barbeque, pack a few cold weather necessities in this versatile tote! An extra throw or blanket, firstaid kit, and handwarmers can come in very handy. With the Expand-A-Tote Day Extender, you can keep them all right at your side, and if the day warms up, you can unzip the middle to expand the tote and keep up with any accessories that are too hot for the party: scarves, gloves, caps. Telling your kids to put their gloves in this tote will help them keep up with their gloves and save you from discovering that they’ve lost a glove at the tailgate-party when you’re getting them ready for school the next day.

Large Utility Tote — Don’t make six trips! We’ve all done it. Walk from the car to the house, car to the house – carrying ugly plastic sacks with extra chips, drinks, a bag of ice, spare cups, and whatever else you’re taking to your friend’s party.  Just neatly stack it all in a Large Utility Tote and set it in your trunk. When you get there, take out the tote and make one trip to the house.  Once inside and empty, you can put yours and your kids coats in the tote to make getting them ready to go outside in the cold a little easier!

Zip-Up Pencil Pouch — Don’t want to be tied down to a large purse or tote for the party? Pack those necessities that won’t fit in your pocket in the Zip-Up Pencil Pouch. Keys, cellphone, tissues, and other supplies easily fit in the pouch, and the pouch will tuck into your coat your jacket! Or with a Wristlet strap you can keep the pouch close by without keeping your hands full!

 

Thirty-One products can make your party go smoother! Whatever your plans are, remember to have a great time!

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Divide & Conquer Clutter!

Divide & Conquer Clutter!

Don’t wait for Spring to start cleaning out closets and reorganizing your home.  Who wants to stay inside on a beautiful Saturday in April or May? Why not use the dreary days of winter to get organized so you can go spend the pretty days out enjoying yourself?

Start Small

You can’t reorganize your home overnight and trying to do it all at once or just tackling a complicated or large space can make you want to throw up your hands and say: “I quit!” A house isn’t built in a day — what would make you think you could clean it in one? Focus on small goals.

Pick a small room or area for your first project – like your linen closet. Do you have wobbling towers of towels, washcloths just waiting to spill over and unfold, or stubborn fitted sheets that never look good folded? Try stacking them in Short Utility Bins or Square Utility Totes for shorter shelves. Thirty-One’s colorful prints will make your closet attractive while the totes or bins keep your closet in order! Plus, laundry’s a snap! When you’re about to fold a load of towels or sheets, stop by the linen closet and take one of the emptier bins or totes with you!  You can fold the clean items neatly and put them up without any hassle!

Stay Enthusiastic with Short Bursts of work!

It’s easy to look at a cluttered garage or paper-piled home office and feel overwhelmed by how much needs to be done.  Don’t get discouraged by those complicated tasks! Break a big job up into a series of simple tasks.

Start by setting up your task list!

All-at-one, you might spend hours getting your home office in order, but not if you break it up into a series of smaller tasks! You can work for just a few minutes each day, getting organized little-by-little, and you’ll feel accomplished when you complete each task!  To make a long task list more palpable, try to keep your tasks small enough that each should take 15 minutes or less.  

I’ll use organizing your home office as an example.

Sit down at your office desk or table.  Set a Collapsible Cube at your feet and start neatly stacking papers in it. Don’t worry about sorting them now — other than keeping your current bills separated and easy to find. Also, don’t open any of the drawers yet — we’re just clearing off the surface.

Now use a Little Carry All Caddy to collect all the office supplies off the desk: Pens, pencils, sticky notes, note pads, envelopes, staplers, tape, etc.

What’s left on your desk? Leaving in place essentials like your computer, phone, and lamp, look at everything else that’s on the surface. If you’ve got decorative items, make sure none of them are in your way. A potted plant can brighten your workspace, but if you constantly have to reach around or over it to get to supplies or file papers, consider moving it somewhere close-by but out of your way.

Next, look at your work area. If your desk has drawers, decide what you want to put in them (hanging files, supplies, extra printer paper, etc) Don’t be overly concerned about what’s in the drawers now. You’re re-organizing; not just rehashing your old routine!

Finally, set out the Fold-And-Go Organizer and list the tasks you’ve just set up to do later:

 

 

 

 

Your Home Office Organizing Task list

1.  Empty One Drawer  (Only One at a Time)

  1. Put Any Papers in the Collapsible Cube
  2. Put Any Office Supplies in the Littles Carry All Caddy (if it’s full, use a Short Utility Bin)
  3. Whatever isn’t paper or an office supply into an All-In-One Organizer
  4. Wipe out the drawer.
  5. Sort what goes back in the drawer. Only put it in if it belongs in that drawer.
  6. Repeat for each drawer.

2. Sort Office Supplies from the Littles Carry All Caddy into the appropriate drawer

(If you don’t have any drawers for them, or like to keep supplies on your desk, use the Littles Carry All Caddy! You can fill it with pens or neatly standup your notepads with a few pens and pencils tucked in the mesh pocket on the front.)

3.  Clean Up Your File System

Whether you’re using a file cabinet & hanging files, an accordion folder, or ring binder with dividers:

  • Make sure that all labels are neat and easy to read.
  • Clean out any clutter or unnecessary papers.
  • Designate an “Inbox,” “To-Do,” or “Bills to Pay” tray or slot.
  • Try the Hang-Up Home Organizer as your “Inbox/To-Do List/Bill To Pay Tray.” It’s got space to hang your calendar, keep up with upcoming bills, flyers from your church or school, incoming mail, etc!

4.  Make your planning calendar handy & remind yourself to use it!

  • Use a physical calendar to track your family’s schedule (& your own!).
  • Keep it in reach of your “Bills to Pay” tray so you can easily mark off or add due dates!
  • The Hang-Up Home Organizer is great for that!

5.  Sort the papers out of the Collapsible Cube into your file system.

  • Be sure to have a recycle bin on hand for waste paper

 

How long did you spend clearing off your desk and making your task list? Probably not longer than 30 minutes!  You’re not done yet, but you do have a set plan of tasks ready to tackle.  Each of the 5 tasks on your list shouldn’t take you more than 15 or 20 minutes to complete, and if you finish one task a day, you’ll be finished in less than a week — without spending your entire day off or staying up past midnight to get everything sorted and put away!

Try this Divide & Conquer method for your next organizing project. With Thirty-One’s great organizing and storage products, you’ll be amazed by the results!

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Decoration Round Up!

For Simple, Organized Clean up: Choose Thirty-One!

Now 2011 is gone, and 2012 is here. You’ve made you resolutions – maybe to be more organized for the New Year – and before you looms a discouraging, messy task: de-decorating.  It’s time to take down your Christmas tree and garlands and wreaths and lights.  Maybe your New Year’s Eve party banners are still hanging, maybe you’ve got one of those lawns with the elaborate Christmas scenes.  No matter how much or how little you put up for the holidays – now it’s time to take the decorations down.  Why not start 2012 organized?

Sort Before your Store!
“This year, I’ll organize my Christmas decorations when I put them up.”

Did you have to untangle lights and garlands and tinsel this year? Save yourself the hassle: organize your decorations as you put them away.  Take a Large Utility Tote and take down all the decorations in one area – do the kitchen, foyer, living room, dining room, etc separately.  Now, empty your Large Utility Tote into an Oversized Storage Bag. These great storage solutions zip closed, have a clear PVC window for holding a label, and fit into larger plastic storage bins to keep your decorations neatly sorted and together over the long year to come!

 

Ornament Organization Preparedness Suggestion (Oops!)

Let the kids help out!  Give them each a Littles Carry-All Caddy and have them take a specific kind or color ornament off the tree. This speeds up your clean up and keeps your ornament sorted! Be mindful of your ornaments though – for example, if you have a toddler and dozens of fragile, heirloom ornaments, maybe you should find another way he can help out. Later, sitting down with a Littles Carry-All Caddy full of ornaments as you carefully pack them back into their boxes or containers is a lot easier than taking one or two off the tree and trying to juggle them and the containers as you take them down – plus, this method can cut down on your post-holiday “oops!” moments when an ornament slips through your fingers or is accidentally knocked off the tree as its neighbor is removed.

Taming the Reindeer

If you have outdoors decorations, don’t lug them inside handful at a time or spent hours out in the cold trying to sort them into the various storage bins you have for them.  Take a Square Utility Tote outside with you, round up one or two items and take them into your garage to do your storage organizing out of the wind and weather.

If you’ve got a lot of decorations outside, consider using multiple Large Utility Totes & Tall Utility Bins.  Fill each tote or bin, take it back to the foyer or garage, and then get another. Once you’ve filled up all your totes, go inside, have a little cocoa to warm up, and start sorting what you’ve brought in.  This can break up your un-decorating and make a huge un-do-able job more like a series of small, manageable tasks. This method is especially helpful if your early January is busy as you can set a goal of filling and sorting one tote or bin every night after work or  add to ‘Filling & a Tote with Outside Christmas Decorations’ to your kids’ after-school chores.  If you have decorations that require adults or adult supervision to take down – like lights on your roof or up in tall trees – be sure to tackle those first as a family.

Be careful and safe when you’re climbing ladders or step-ladders outside or in!

 

Wrapping & Gift Storage

You might remember my Wrapping Station article before Christmas. Don’t just empty your wrapping supplies into a storage bin and forget them! You’ll have birthdays and anniversaries this year!  Refit your wrapping station with birthday, anniversary, and generic wrapping paper and put it away in a utility or storage closet.

Another of your resolutions might have been to buy gifts early this year.  Maybe you even found a few during the After-Christmas sales.  Have you ever hidden gifts thinking: “I’ll get my Christmas shopping done early! Of course I’ll remember putting them here!” And then find the gifts long after they were appropriate for their recipient? (Like buying a princess doll for your little girl and finding it in a storage bin the same year she gets her driver’s license.) Don’t do it this year! 

Use an Oversized Storage Bag to keep up with friends’ and more distant relatives’ gifts. You can easily label these long, wide bags and they have handles on the side. You can slide them high in your closet, but if your kids find it, they’ll know it’s presents for grandpa or Mrs. Baker down the street – your Santa Secret remains safe!

For hiding your kids gifts, you’ve got to be more subtle.  Big items – like bicycles and play sets – are difficult to hide for a long time, but for medium and small gifts, again the Oversized Storage Bag works great!  You can slide it under your bed or on your top pantry shelf with a misleading label like “Cook Book Literature” or “Miscellaneous Pot Lids.”

Here’s the secret to NOT MISPLACING the gifts your buy early! Right now, right this minute open your calendar (physical or electronic). Now write yourself a note for the beginning of November – “The Christmas Gifts I bought early are in the Thirty-One Bag in the top of my closet” – or wherever you store them.  Whatever storage you use for your gifts, write yourself a note and put it up inside the lid, “Update Location on Calendar” as a remind that if you move it, you need update the note in your calendar to know where it is come November.  Also, tag gifts as you get them – even if you don’t wrap them, put a label on them with the name and event like “Sarah’s Birthday” or “Jack – Christmas.”

Don’t forget to keep a list! No one wants to forget birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and Christmas presents! Put a list in your calendar of gifts to get – when you buy one of those gifts, put a check by it or write “In Box.”

 Start you New Year off right by getting organized and staying organized all year!

 

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