We Have Moved!

Where have we been??  Well, we moved.  We have a new website and blog going at www.freshlyorganized.com.

Come and visit us at the new site!

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How to Kick the Clutter Out

During the summer, clutter seems to pop up like dandelions around the house. With children home all day everyday, managing organization is a must. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your home clutter free.

Customized Organization System: Without a specific organization system in place it can be difficult to keep clutter under control. A family needs a system that is created with them in mind. If an organization system is too complicated it won’t be followed. Keep things simple and easy with labels and a plan that each member of the family can understand.

Designated Drop Zones: Take a look at every place that has become an undesignated drop zone in the home. These are spots that are easy to place things. For example, many children will come home and leave their book bag and shoes by the door. By placing a designated drop zone near the door, a child doesn’t have to break a habit and the home continues to stay clutter free.

Summer Storage: With summer comes pool toys, bikes, camping gear, and boat equipment. The key is to find a spot for each item that is easy to access. First, lie out all the summer items and decide what gets used most often. Store these items at eye level.

Then, take a look at those items that get used multiple times during the summer, but not everyday.  These items should be placed higher up, so they are out of the way, but still in easy access. When items are placed in easy access range, they have a higher probability of being put away, keeping your home clutter free.

Paper Organizers: Counter tops, desks, and tables can often become cluttered with mail, bills, lists, and important documents. Creating a paper organizer will keep the clutter away. Clearly label each slot, so there is no confusion about where a paper should go.

Now Not Later: After using an item or creating a mess, clean it up now not later. Pushing cleaning to the end of the day creates an even bigger mess to clean up. When we feel like there is a large mess we normally continue to push it off, until our home is completely out of control. Save time and energy by cleaning up messes and putting items away now.

Create a smooth summer for everyone in the home by kicking clutter out and embracing the excitement the new season has to bring!

MonkeyBar Storage Solutions is a Garage Storage and Organization Company based in Omaha Nebraska; providing solutions and tips to help homeowners with garage and home organization.

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Kid Bedroom Clean Out

Summer has arrived and your kids now have time to clean their rooms…really clean their rooms.  We work with a lot of kids to get their rooms cleaned out.  Here are a few of our top tips for helping kids clean out their rooms.

  • Get the kids involved in the process and let them make the decisions.  Never clean a kids(3 and up) room without them being there.
  • If your child is over the age of 3 then they can work with an adult to organize their room.  As you work, ask questions and let your child make the decisions about their space.  A question might be phrased like this, ” Lets get all your books together.  Where do you want to set up them up?  I like to keep mine close to my bed where I read. What do you want to do?”  Then you just need to listen to what they want.  Remember, it is their room and it is a learning process.  Most kids will follow your lead but some need to learn from their choices.  If they want the books under their bed then we say put them under the bed.  They will soon realize it is dark under that bed which makes it hard to find the book they want. You can then revisit it and make changes if needed.
  • If under 3, we recommend you clean out most of the child’s room by yourself and then ask them to help.  This gets the toddler involved but it is less overwhelming for them.  Make sure the work you’ve done is also out of sight before they start helping…We suggest black trash bags placed in the garage.

How to do it:

  • Set up zones in your child’s room.  Examples are sleeping, dressing, reading, and playing.
  • Have containers for each group of items in a room.  In the play area you may have a bin for Lego blocks and a bin for hot wheels.  In the dressing area you my have a mirror with a basket next to it.  The basket can hold a brush and all the child’s hair accessories.
  • To label or not?  Creating a toy system with labels on each bin looks nice.  But, kids have a real hard time maintaining it so that will most likely be left for the parents to keep organized and if parents are maintaining the toys then the kids never get to experience the consequence of not being organized.  They will only learn the importance of being organized if they lose a toy or two as they grow up.
  • Get everything off the floor.  The floor should not be a permanent landing place for anything!  For a kids room, it is especially important that everything have a place.  Kids are easily distracted so keep it simple.
  • Have a storage place for memorabilia.  This is huge for tweens and teenagers.  Many times they have little kid and baby stuff they want to keep and it clutters up their space.  Giving them an under bed box or other place to store their memorabilia will free up their shelving for the more mature interest.

We always recommend you try to let  kids manage their own space because it is a life lesson.  You and I both know that when they are adults, there will not be anyone telling them to clean their room.  Kids can learn the importance of being organized by parents having them help keep the “family spaces”  in the house organized. All this being said, in most homes, parents can usually only stand the messy bedrooms for so long.  So about every 6 months or so, help your kids clean up and organize their room.  It is hard to believe but we think kids crave the organization…or maybe it is just our wishful thinking!!

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7 Tips to Get With a New Minimalist Mentality

We love this article on Houzz.  Great tips!

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Spring Project #1: Clean Out Your Closet

Spring is about to arrive and our wardrobes will soon be in transition.  The turtle necks and sweaters will be put away so the blouses and tank tops can come out.  Did you know that most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time?  This means that as you switch your wardrobe around, you will most likely find some winter items that you forgot wear when it was cold out.

As you transition to your summer wardrobe, now would be a great time to set up a system that will help you edit your wardrobe on a daily basis.  This is much easier and less overwhelming then dedicating a whole Saturday morning to your closet.  Let me share a few tricks that can get you started.

Flip all your hangers backwards and after you wear an item you can put the hanger back the correct way.  Yes, flipping all the hangers backwards is a bit of a pain but this will make such a difference on how you view your wardrobe.  By doing this, you actually get a visual of which clothes you wear.  This will encourage you to move away from wearing the same pieces each week.  After a couple of months, if you still have some hangers that are backwards, you may want to get those items out of your closet.  There is usually a reason you are passing over them each morning.

Place a donate bin, basket or bag near your dressing area to help facilitate the removal of unwanted clothing from your wardrobe.  As you put clothes on and then take them off (yes, we all do it), determine why you aren’t wearing the item.  Some times it doesn’t fit right or maybe the fabric makes you itch.  This would be a good time to toss it into your donate bag.

Sometimes, the hardest part of removing clothes from our wardrobe is getting past our feelings associated with the clothes.  We may feel guilt over how much we spent on an item or we may be hoping to fit into those small clothes after we lose a few pounds.  But be honest, if you lose those 15 pounds, are you really going to wear the 20 year old jeans or are you going to celebrate with a new pair?  And yes, an expensive blouse is much harder to get rid of than an inexpensive t-shirt. If this is a stumbling block for you then you may want to consider consigning your clothes.  That way you get a bit of a financial return on your investment.

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January 30th: Join us for an All Day Retreat – ORGANIZING OUR LIVES… INSIDE AND OUT

Are you ready?  The new year is here and you have resolved to get organized.  Sometimes getting organized is about more than just the stuff.  At the end of this month, Amy will be facilitating a retreat at Knowles Mercy Spirituality Center that will cover not only what to do with all the stuff but also what is going on inside our hearts and minds.   It is an all day event with a program that will be customized to the participants needs.  Go to http://www.kmscenter.org to get more information on how to register.  Not only will this be a fun and informative program but they also have a beautiful facility and  great food!

Retreat information:

ORGANIZING OUR LIVES… INSIDE AND OUT – Wednesday, January 30, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.   This year, get a little help with new years resolution from Amy Tokos, a local professional organizer and family management expert with Freshly Organized.   Amy will help you find the balance you desire in your daily activities and help you bring focus to your priorities.  And yes, she will also give tons of organizing tips along the way to help you simplify the stuff. Fee:  $40/person/continental breakfast and lunch.

 Go to http://www.kmscenter.org to get more information on how to register.  We would love for you to join us!


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A Holiday Mission Statement Can Help Keep your Family Focused.

The holidays are here.  Do you have a plan?  You might consider creating a Holiday Mission Statement to get yourself started.  A mission statement can be your guide for the holidays.  It can keep you focused on your goals.

The first step to creating a Holiday Mission Statement is to start asking questions. Talk with your spouse and discuss questions like this:

  • What is our budget?
  • What do we want to teach our children this season?
  • Are there some new experiences to share with our children?
  • Is there anything we want to do different this year?

Now you are ready to bring the family together and have a family meeting.  Some more questions could include:

  • What is your favorite family tradition?
  • What do you remember from last year?  Your favorite memory?
  • What are you most looking forward to? What are you dreading?
  • What was your favorite way/thing to give to others?

You may be amazed at the things your children remember and want to do again this year.  From here you have can make a mission statement.  Just a sentence will do.  This will keep you focused on the traditions the are the most meaningful to your family.

The Tokos Family Thanksgiving Mission Statement is to have great food and focus on being thankful.

Pretty simple but it says a lot.  From here I asked my family to define great food.  Are we making the traditional fare or making something different?  Thankfully they mostly insisted on the pumpkin pie.  Focus on being thankful.  How?  The kids want to make a thankful tree.  We do this every year and it consist of tree branches and construction paper leaves.  We write on each leaf something we are thankful for.  We are also going to talk each evening at dinner about what we are thankful for.  Pretty simple.

It may be a little late to do a Thanksgiving family mission statement but you can still do one for Christmas.  Have fun with this and let us know how it goes.We would love to hear some of your mission statements.  Enjoy the Season!

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Have Items to Donate? Omaha’s Donation Locations

Donation Locations in the Omaha Area

compiled by Heartland Organizers


“Every charitable act is a stepping stone toward heaven.” Henry Ward Beecher


Goodwill – multiple locations

Sienna Francis House- 402 341-1821

Open Door Mission – 2828 N 23rd st.    phone: 402 422-1120

Career Clothing–MICAH House, Council Bluffs, IA

Scout uniforms–check local scout troop for “uniform closet”

School uniforms–check school for “uniform closet”

Youth Emergency services – www.yesomaha.org – only takes clothing, no shoes or undergarments

Salvation Army

St. Vincent de Paul Locations:  5920 Maple Street 402 551-5501

5037 So. 24th Street 402 733-3505

2101 Leavenworth St.  402 341-4942

Am Vets Locations:  1623 N. 105th Street 402 496-7567

Am Vets Truck pick up:  402 731-8387

Heart Ministry – 2222 Binney Street


For Haiti-UNMC Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences’ optical center

For information, call (402) 559-8351.

All optical departments will take glasses for the Lion’s Club Eyeglass Program

Home goods

Goodwill – various locations

Sienna Francis House – 402 341-1821

Open Door Mission – 2828 N 23rd st.  phone 402 422-1120

Hand me Ups – various locations 402 502-2430

will pick up large furniture

Salvation Army

St. Vincent de Paul Locations:  5920 Maple Street 402 551-5501

5037 So. 24th Street 402 733-3505

2101 Leavenworth St.  402 341-4942

Am Vets Locations:  1623 N. 105th Street 402 496-7567

Am Vets Truck pick up:  402 731-8387S

Heart Ministry – 2222 Binney Street


Goodwill (will take computers and other electronics)- various locations

Target – has phone and Mp3 drop off bins

Best Buy – item takes computers – $10.00 fee, and they give you a $10.00 gift card

Details at  www.BestBuy.com under Recycling  link at bottom of page


Half Price Books – 120th and Center

Mary’s Book Exchange – 7340 Maple  402 391-5926

Recycle Locations

103rd and I Street – Cardboard, Glass and Paper

Under the sink – 120th between L and Center phone: 444-7465

Chemicals, paint and batteries

Omaha Paper Stock – 1111 Fort St. Omaha, NE  Free shred all the time. phone: 402 392-2007


Building materials, etc.

Habitat for Humanity re-store

Council Bluffs, IA

1003 S 24th, Omaha, NE   phone: 402 934-1033

Consignment Stores that will buy items

Once Upon a Child – 14120 Arbor St.  402 330-4116 – Children’s clothing

Plato’s Closet – various locations – teen clothing

Esther’s   about 75th and Pacific

The Pot and the Ladel  80th and Center by Mangelson’s – kitchen items

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Simplify For More Time

j0430466 Sometimes in all the hustle and bustle of family life, we forget to make time for what is really important.  Here are a few ideas on how to simplify and get back some time for your family.

  • Have the family help with the chores.  If you have all hands on deck the work will get done much faster.  We recently started having the whole family clean up after dinner.  It has been great because my kids are the sweepers, table washers, leftover packers, and  dishwasher loaders.  My husband and I help with everything. I love this because what used to take one person 30 minutes now gets done in less than 10 minutes.  It also teaches the kids much needed life skills.
  • Take care of any incoming papers right when they come into the house.  I am thinking of mail and kids papers.  I really like the one touch rule for incoming papers.   For instance, when one of my kids bring home a permission slip for a field trip, I will fill it out and put it back in their backpack for them to take back to school the next day.  This item never goes on my to do list.  Also, the best place to open mail is next to the recycle bin…hint,hint.
  • Set time limits for time wasting activities.  I am always amazed at how long I am on the computer.  I may sit down to do a quick check of e -mail and I end up being there for 30 minutes.  And, don’t even get me started on how much time I could spend on Facebook.  What helps me is to set time limits.  Maybe you can check e-mail just twice a day, or go on Facebook just once a day.  Figure out what works best for you.
  • Turn the TV and Computer off.  This is an awesome way to free up time.  Or another idea is to multitask while you’re watching TV.  Folding clothes and exercising are two easy things to do while the TV is on.
  • Learn to say no.  It is good to volunteer your time but choose to help out with just one thing at a time.  Many people, especially women, like to help and they have a hard time saying no.  Helping others is commendable but do not lose sight of your priorities.  You still need to take care of yourself ( spirit, mind and body) and you also have a family that needs you to be available for them.

What kinds of things are stealing your time.  Can anything be simplified or even eliminated?  Let me know what kinds of things you’ve done to simplify your schedule.

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