Organizing Kids – Book Review – Benji’s Messy Room

organizing-kids-benjis-messy-room

Teach Kids Organizing Skills Using Fiction

Benji’s Messy Room is a beautifully illustrated book with a purpose – to get kids organized. Cowritten by two professional organizers, Jonda Beattie and Diane Quintana, this book is written in first person in the voice of Benji, who takes you along on his journey from a messy to immaculate room in manageable-sized steps.

The story begins with a bit of defiance and a feeling of being overwhelmed by his mess, but Benji progresses through the task of room cleaning and reducing his toy collection in a step-by-step process (which includes a reward at the end).

The authors include tips and techniques for teaching organizing at the end, but the real meat is in the story itself, which was written by two women, both teachers, in a way that engages kids visually through a compelling, first-person narrative that kids can identify with as they build their own tidying habits.

Teaching kids to organize is a skill that they’ll benefit from their whole lives, both personally and professionally. Benji’s Messy Room is a fun learning tool that young mothers, grandmothers, teachers and professional organizers alike will appreciate. A female counterpart book, Suzie’s Messy Room is also available.

The illustrations are visually compelling, warm, distinctive, and entertaining, which kids will surely love. Both Quintana and Jonda Beattie are certified professional organizers and teachers, so they know how to communicate with children, as evident in this delightful book. Find out more on Jonda’s professional organizing website.

Declutter Kitchen Instantly by Tossing These 8 Items

declutter-kitchen-toss-8-things

Tossing duplicate and worn pans and utensils is an excellent way to declutter your kitchen – plus it paves the road to kitchen organization. Kitchen organizing, while a challenge, starts with the difficult process of letting go. Most of what we have, we do not use, and this is true of clothing, kitchen accessories and most other possessions. Here is a list of common things you most likely need to toss to help declutter your kitchen quickly and efficiently. Sometimes we want to sell you things; today we want you to just let go.

1. Duplicate Utensils

You don’t need three spatulas, two slotted spoons and four ladles. Determine what you need and don’t need and give them away or donate them. Utensils takes up tons of storage in your drawers and on your counter. Someone else will be happy to have your discarded ones.

2. Ragged Towels and Dish Cloths

Know when it’s time to let go. Your clean new ones will bring you joy when you see them hanging from the towel bar.

3. Extra Coffee Cups

You saved them because they were gifts, or because you felt guilty. But do you really have to? No. Unload them on your coworkers (don’t tell Marie Kondo) or give them to the Goodwill. Think of all the inches you reclaimed in your cupboard.

4. Extra Drink Containers or Water Bottles

They find their way to the back of the cupboard. You can’t find them. You purchase more. Yes, you must stay hydrated. No, you don’t need all of those extra bottles. You are one person, not a camel – okay, maybe four, including kids, but those bottles are just hogging space in your cupboards. Make sure to check under the car seat too. You’re sure to find more, plus things you might need.

5. Worn Anodized Pans

Toxic, ugly, are you really eating those flaky bits? Use the excuse that they are worn to finally let them go. You’ll feel safer and you won’t regret it. Feel free to toss the duplicate ones too and be glad for the 100 plus cubic inches of space you now have. Pat yourself on the back. Breathe. It’s a good day.

6. Chipped and Cracked Dishes and Glasses

They’re chipped. They’re cracked. They might cut your mouth, or someone else’s. You feel sad every time you see the damage and remember the careless thing you did to break it. It was once shiny and new. Now it’s not. Why keep the negative reminder? You have other ones that are perfect.

7. Expired Canned Goods and Other Food

Think of a reason you need to keep these. No, don’t. Compost pile or trash. Now, please, thank you. You rock.

8. Orphaned Plastic Lids or Storage Containers

You will never find them, so just let go. They are off with the socks somewhere, also never to be found. But rest assured – they are happy, wherever they are, and they’re not alone – they’re keeping the socks company.

Make yourself a nice meal now with your newly spacious kitchen. Or just enjoy a warm cuppa and congratulate yourself. You’re on the right track to decluttering your kitchen. You did it! You let things go. Enjoy your splendid emptiness.

Love,

Clutter Control Freak


You might also enjoy this kitchen cleaning for single people blog post on Organizeit.com.

Thanksgiving recipes: Use a ricer for the best mashed potatoes

Yes, the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving Day dinner, but there are many key players. My favorite every year is the creamy, buttery mashed potatoes — no one can make them like my mother. This year, I finally asked: what’s the secret?

Using a ricer instead of whipping or hand mashing potatoes creates smooth, lump-free spuds fit for melted butter, gravy or both. Cook’s Illustrated recently put a few model to the test and picked two models on our site as their top two favorites.

  • RSVP International Potato Ricer: This food press features a sturdy handle and pot hook so it stays in place while you process your potatoes. The rectangular shape makes it easy to fit spuds of all sizes, plus the interchangeable disks allow you to master a range of different textures. It’s also a great model for making your own baby food or removing extra moisture from cooked greens. Plus, it’s dis-mountable and dishwasher safe!
    Cleaning: ∗∗∗  Ease of Use: ∗∗∗  Performance: ∗∗∗
  • OXO Three in One Adjustable Potato Ricer: This ricer from OXO is made for more than one job. The adjustable grates are great for ricing potatoes, but can also be used to cube veggies for soups and other recipes. This model also features a pot hook so it can be rested on the side of your pan while you process potatoes. Made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic, plus it is safe to use in the dishwasher.
    Cleaning: ∗∗∗  Ease of Use: ∗∗1/2  Performance: ∗∗∗

Tips for the best mashed potatoes:

  • Season the cooking water: potatoes can be bland and the best way to season them is to salt the water you cook them in.
  • Get butter and cream warm before adding: Using cold cream or butter can cause potatoes to get gummy. Heat up the butter and cream beforehand.
  • Infuse: Steep crushed garlic and your favorite herbs in your warm butter before adding to your potatoes. This way you get flavor without lumps or chunks.
  • Use a ricer: Obviously, using a ricer will give you the smoothest potatoes, but make sure you do it while the spuds are still hot.

Getting the Guest Room Ready for Holiday Visitors

sofa bedLet’s face it, most of us do not have a room that is dedicated just to guests. More often than not, our guests are sharing a space with a computer, a treadmill, toys, or some combination of those items.

During the holidays in particular, guest-stays tend to be longer and you want them to be comfortable, assuming you want them to come back, of course.

Here are solutions to some common problems that plague the guestroom: Read more

De-Stressing Holiday Travel

fall road tripFor many people, the decision to hit the open road for a long road trip during the fall season can be a double-edged sword. As I mentioned before in my last post, there is typically less construction during the fall and the weather tends to be more bearable (as in the weather is not too hot – I’ll get into the reverse of this later on). On the other hand, there are quite a few drawbacks to traveling during the fall and winter months. Some of these include the likelihood of inclemently-cold weather and devastatingly brutal pre-holiday traffic in October and November – not to mention the typical issues you deal with on a road trip during any time of the year. For me, the best way to stay cool, calm and collected during a long road trip in the autumn season is to prepare ahead of time. I ensure all of the organizers and travel comfort items I need are packed away, a key to successful travel. Read more

Incorporating Fall Colors into your Home Decor Scheme

fall decorOf all the seasons, fall has the most distinct, recognizable color palette, by far. It also happens to be one of the most soothing and user-friendly color palettes, a cinch to incorporate into one or more rooms of the home.

Whether you are wanting to make long-term changes to your room’s decor scheme or just simply want to get in the mood for autumn and the upcoming holidays, I’ve got some great picks and ideas for you! Read more

Tips For “Cozifying” Your Home

Tavola Cherry Electric Fireplace by Holly & MartinFall may have officially started already, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to prep your home for what’s to come: shorter days, cooler weather, and finding pleasure indoors. I have a word for this, and it is “cozify”. I just got started on cozifying my home, even though it still feels a little like summer. What I do is introduce cozy items to my surroundings like plush fabrics and pull out appliances like the slow cooker and electric tea kettle. To me there is nothing like a cup of hot tea, a comfy chair, a warm blanket and a good book on a rainy autumn day. Read more