Category Archives: Getting Organized

Learning to homestead with a small property

20 years of researching has led me to the conclusion that you can homestead on truly any size property. You just have to have GREAT organizational skills on smaller properties to streamline what you want to accomplish. Here is a link to and 15 homesteading ideas for your property.

Repurpose old lockers – Honor Him wall saying

IMG_20141023Repurpose old gym lockers - Front Entry Hall Storage -


I found an amazing find at a yard sale (if you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I am a closet-case yard saler! It is my way of escaping for a little while on Friday mornings with my mom and clearing my head of kid stuff for a little while. Having Larry off on Fridays is a HUGE help, and 2 of our kids (2 of our adopted boys) have therapy, so Larry takes them to that for me.

I found a set of old high school gym lockers at a yard sale for $40. (Although ugly in color) They were nearly PERFECT! They were in this super nice man’s shed for the last 30 years as part of his workshop area.

A roll of my husband’s eyes for having to get the trailer hooked up on the suburban and loading kids up to help move this bad boy, we had the rust colored family project at home and in the front patio. $20 later in spray paint (I had to go with Cherry Red) and a visit to a few websites, I have finally found the exact fixtures to fix the 2 broken handles (Still have to work on that part)

This is my new kid organizer! Yes, It is in my front all of my CRAZY Kidlett Ranch. And OH MY! 8 Kids living here right now AND 8 lockers… Never a missing sweatshirt or pair of shoes again!

It took me all weekend to tape and paint… and then moving it was a feat in itself. But, now, we have the PERFECT (and almost CRAZY) piece of furniture in my house… and IT WORKS!! (Even if one of my in-laws thought that it was tacky! LOL) And if I find another one… I would scoop it up just as fast too!


To complete what I wanted as my entry hall was a saying from Facing the Giants. AWESOME MOVIE!!!

“And if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way we honor Him with our actions and our attitudes.”

I changed it up a bit to fit our family…

Praise Him when you win

Praise Him when you lose

Honor Him in all you do



Afterschool Organization

Over the last year, we have had our ups and our downs with everything. Their therapist and I have been trying to work through the food hoarding and stealing and we think that we have found what is working.

With my trusty Cricut Machine and vinyl that I picked up from

I added names to the sides of plastic shoe boxes. These are the SNACK BOXES!!! Each child gets 15 snacks added to it on Sunday night. They can choose to eat them all in one day, or keep them for all week. The very first day, Breckin at 8 snacks, but soon came to realize that he only had 7 for the rest of the week.  The girls are pretty smart. They will eat some of their snacks and then put back what they don’t eat for later.

Now, the first thing that the boys do when they get home from school is ask if they can have a snack… and they know what box is theirs!

We have been experimenting with this for 3 weeks and we have seen no other food hoarding or stealing for that time. YEAH!!!


Summertime Activity – Repurpose old furniture

Poor Shelby… Her room in our home doesn’t have a closet. I am assuming that it was meant to be an office, but, she decided when we moved into this house 3 years ago that she wanted that room. 

We found the next best thing… a “yard-sale” dresser can EASILY be converted into a wardrobe! And we even painted it to match!



Organizing your pantry

Having an organized pantry is important in your kitchen. It allows for less time during meal preparation and a much better feel in your kitchen. I know that I feel a whole lot better when I walk into my kitchen and know exactly what I have in my pantry.

We do dehydrate a TON of veggies and herbs from our garden that I use in a variety of cooking when I do not have fresh available. I know that if I bag them up in zipper bags, then I can’t always find what I was looking for when I need it. We also store all of our mixes in gallon sized jars.

In my pantry, I use mason jars in both pint and quart and recycled gallon size pickle jars work great for mixes and bulk food.I don’ t loose anything this way!!!

I also use chalkboard labels so that I can change the label on them if I need to (There are many out on the market. I posted a link to the least expensive that I found on The changable labels come in handy with our homemade instant oatmeal container. The kids always know what flavor is available!!

It does not take a ton of money to make your pantry be usable. (Yes, those are milk crates as extra shelves as well!)


Organizing tip #1 – Linen Closet

Our Organized Linen Closet

Trying to organize the 7 of us has, at times, been an EPIC FAIL! There are certain things however that I really keep organized, because it makes our life just a bit easier! And trust me when I say that this is easy to maintain as well. Even my kids, when helping with laundry, can find the correct baskets to put items away with this system.

My linen closet is one of the most important things that I do organize. I always have the fear that someone in the middle of the night will get sick and I will need to change the sheets, but can’t find any fitted sheets or any pillow cases. I can just imagine myself trying to comfort a crying child while DIGGING through the closet, just making myself even more flustered. I still cannot imagine the horror that I would go through and would probably wake up the entire household in the process.

I started out by picking up a few of the $3 laundry baskets from the dollar store. They fit directly on my shelves in my linen closet. I also picked up 2 gallon zippy storage bags at the store. A twin set of sheets fit perfectly in these – I know BRILLIANT! I fold down all matching sheet sets – the fitted, the flat and the matching pillowcase along with a dryer sheet and fit it into the zippy bag. I then throw these into one of the laundry baskets in the closet. This basket is now the matching sheet basket!!! What an easy grab if I need to change sheets in the middle of the night (or any time for that matter!).

The kids pull their sheets off of their bed on their laundry day (another post on this next week) and grab a new sheet bag from the closet. The empty bag goes back in the basket so once I wash and dry their old set, it gets folded right back into the bag and bask into the basket in the closet. The rotation begins! And everything stays neat and tidy in my closet for the next person, the very next day to grab their new set of sheets.

I found some twin comforter sets at Target for $10 (marked down from $69.99) so I bought 4 and have left those in the bags. (For those who didn’t already know, my husband and I are on a waiting list for both foster kids and foster adoption along with emergency intake of kiddlings for singles and siblings 12 years and under, boy or girl) I wanted to have something new for new family members. The bags that those comforters come in are useful for my organizing. And will come out of the bags once we get kids. Those sets will go back into the bags if the kids don’t stay with us permanent.

I also have a laundry basket in the closet for just table clothes, baby blankets, afghans for the living room snuggle time, extra pillow cases, etc.

We change our table clothes at least once a day in the dining room sometimes twice or more. My kids are messy eaters! But, the table clothes do cover up my old table that needs refinishing. I don’t bag up table clothes like I do sheets, but I do fold them and keep them in their own basket. A HA! The Table Cloth basket! We even have smaller baskets in my pantry for our cloth napkins (don’t use paper in this house).

After the organization got going, I got rid of any sheets that I did have all 3 pieces except for the extra pillow cases. Goodwill was more than happy to take them, although, I wish now that I kept many of them to make skirts and dolls for my girls.

Point Reward System for chores

I am serious when I say that I believe in NOT giving out allowance for everyday household chores. As a mom, I don’t get paid in money for washing the floor or folding laundry… why should my kids earn money for keeping their rooms clean or brushing their teeth? These are every day items that are required to run a household (I know that I will have those who disagree with me, however I want to show your something else that we have implemented with out clan before you scold and cuss me out for being a bad mom!!)

Having one child who doesn’t understand the concept of money anyway and thinks that you can go to the store and ALWAYS buy him a toy while we are there, we have made out own store at home with items that I have picked up on sale racks, dollar sections of Target, Walgreens sale aisle, etc. We call it Mommy’s Treasure Box Store.

Here’s the Breakdown for our family

Point Reward System for chores and extras

(I found everything that I used on sale or at yard sales – DO NOT overspend on these items… I budget this very closely and take $20 cash out and can only use that $$$.)

I started by making POINTS – I used the pre-made sheets of business cards and ran them through my printer with 1 Point, 2 Points, 5 points and 10 points on them. I then took with the kids and stamped on each card.

I keep these in my desk. As children complete normal chores, I give out these points. If I have to ask more than once for something, then, they don’t earn anything. We don’t ever take away points… If my kiddlings do something extra, without asking, they will earn extra points. And we give them for good behavior (especially with my Autistic son, Berlyn.)

At the end of the week, our family store opens up. I spend less than $20 every paycheck on items for the store. The kids get 30 minutes to shop and purchase items with their points. I purchase little things at the dollar store, Target Dollar section, sale rack at Walgreens, etc and also print up (on the same business cards) rewards that they can buy as well.

Everything in the point basket is priced at 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 points… and then there is a movie theater card that is 500 points.  Included in the basket are school supplies (decorative pencils, notepads, stickers) toys, games, candy, dolls, bubbles, color books, cooler TEEN stuff for Shelby, etc.


I store everything in a basket that I picked up at a yardsale for $1! I store it up out of reach of kiddlings. If they have 50 points and spend 35, then they have 15 that carry over to the next week. They store their points in an envelope on their chore clipboard in the hallway. Here is the link to the Chore Clipboards that we made:


My kids LIKE to help out around the house. They make it a point to remind me when they do extra things just so that they can earn points.


Point Reward System for chores

Homemade Laundry Soap


December 28, 2010 – Our first batch is just about used up – 11 weeks later for a family of 7 – not too bad – I will NEVER go back to store bought. I love how my clothes feel and smell and the amount money that we saved!!! WOWWIE! – NOTE: Stir twice a day for the first week after making it and it won’t be lumpy and will look like store bought laundry soap!!  Also – I added 2T of essential oils on the second batch


I have been hearing from a handful of my friends on how they make their own laundry soap and LOVE it.

I am game for saving money and knowing EXACTLY what is in items that we use.

Here are the ingredients and step by step.


  • 5 gallon bucket (reusable for additional batches) I picked mine up at the Chino Valley Ace Hardware
  • 1 whole bar of soap (used Ivory- it was really soft and easy to grate)
  • 1 cup Washing Soda – I found this at Chino Valley Ace Hardware (not at Walgreens or Safeway)
  • 1/2 cup Borax – Found this at both Safeway and at Ace Hardware
  • 3 Gallons (48 cups of water) plus 4 additional cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon Essential Oil (OPTIONAL) – I get mine off of the Internet – however you can get them from your local health food store.


  1. Boil 4 cups of water
  2. Grate bar of soap and add to boiling water
  3. Stir until dissolved (took about 4 minutes.)
  4. Add 3 Gallons of warm / hot water to your 5 gallon bucket. (3 gallons = 48 Cups)
  5. Add the dissloved soap to the bucket and stir
  6. Add 1 cup of washing soap and stir for 2+ minutes with a long handled spoon until dissolved
  7. Add 1/2  cup borax and stir until dissolved (about 3 minutes)
  8. OPTIONAL: add 1T of essential oil and stir. (I used lavender for our first batch)
  9. Place lid on tight and let it sit overnight.

Rowan kept insisting that this was white cheese:

Add the grated soap to 4 cups of boiling water:

Shelby was my official “stirir”:

Looks like really soapy water right now, however tomorrow it will be a very lumpy gel: (photos to come)

Before & After – Dressers

With 5 children, we budget a TON. I refuse to purchase furniture new with the kiddoes either. Yard Sales 100% for their rooms.

last Friday, I picked up these 2 semi matching dressers at an estate sale for $10 each. (Then went to Ace Hardware here in Chino and matched pink paint to their pillowcase.

So they went from THIS:

To become matching dressers for the “Little Girls’ Room:

The Year of organizing

This year has been the year of organizing for our family – Especially with 3 being homeschooled and me back to school full-time.

I was talking on the phone to one of my dearest Friends – JennB (blog ChinoBillies) yesterday about her wanting to start a family binder to get organized before she has a surgery in 6 weeks…. At the beginning of the year, I had posted a few samples of my pages from my binder… so here are some more!!! I put them all on 4shared. Starting a family binder can be intimidating… where do you start? Not all of the pages will work for you… and you will want to make some of your own as well. But…here is a start for you.

I have white boards all over the house… I have a calendar one on the fridge that has menus for the next several weeks… I have a white board for the kids school and I have another calendar near my desk (white board) with daily events – color coded for each person. With a family this size – you have to stay organized. I also have a print calender that I created through Heritage Makers that I carry with me – also color coded to match the main white board one. (which matches my binder that stays at the house.)

Here are each section in PDF format.

2009 Calendar
Family Tracker
Address Book
Family Laundry Schedule
Monthly Bills
Weekly Meal Planner
Shopping List
Week By Week Calendar

Here is the entire file in Excel – – I used the font PUPCAT if you don’t already have it –

For my binder – I use a 1/2 inch one and have page dividers for each section. I DO NOT PUT SSN’s in my binder JUST IN CASE!!