Category / Organization

linen closet organization – medicine free printable!

Our linen closet serves several purposes; it’s as much for medicine and supplies as it is for linens. It’s also what I would call “undersized” for a closet space. All the more reason to keep it tidy and organized.

On the top shelf, a clear bin keeps all kinds of light bulbs corralled for when we need them. And while we stash a couple extra rolls in each bathroom, the extra TP and some tissues are stocked on the top shelf.

The floor of the closet holds my sewing machine (hoping to move this back into the laundry room when that project is completed!) and on the shelves above that are a set of towels and wash cloths, along with spare blankets for guests. I’ve never really subscribed to the rule of having extra sets of sheets for each bed — for me, it works to simply strip a bed/wash/dry/make the bed all in the same day.  So, no room needed in here for extra sheet sets.

The most helpful things I have in here to help me keep order are these red canvas drawers from The Land of Nod (Crate & Barrel’s kids’ division, if you’re unfamiliar). They clean up easily and are very durable. I use them to house all of the medicine cabinet-type items so that we aren’t furthering cluttering our bathroom spaces with stuff we use only occasionally.

The bins serve as a catch-all for things like a heating pad, an ace bandage, and a bottle of aloe for sunburn season. Also within the bins are a few dollar spot metal pails in various sizes in which I divide up smaller, easier-to-lose-track-of meds according to purpose:

  • stomach
  • allergy
  • cold/cough
  • pain relief
  • prescription
  • first aid
  • miscellaneous

Things have stayed pretty true to category, but it never hurts to make an item’s home crystal clear, so I created some tags to stick on each pail. I printed these out on white cardstock and punched them out with my go-to 2-inch punch. I’ve also included a copy of them here if you want to use a similar system and label your meds accordingly. We don’t have children or pets but I’ve added tags here for them and their medications, should you need them!

Click the link MedicineLabels_LifeInYellow to open the PDF and print them out. Happy organizing!


my favorite organization apps.

There truly IS an app for everything! Here are my favorites when it comes to staying organized:

Problem: Getting my outfit planning under control.
There’s an app for that: Cloth

Originally, this app sold for $2 but when I went to purchase it, it was “free” for a limited time! Whenever you put an outfit together that particularly works for you, snap a photo of it (either laid out ahead of time, or on you when you’re dressed) and you can apply all sorts of tags and categories to it. Over time, you have a library of ready-to-go, guaranteed-fabulous outfits for any situation.

Problem: Lots of bills, all due at different times, and the amounts are always changing. And sometimes I just wonder where all my money seems to go.
There’s an app for that: Pageonce

Not only does this app keep track of all your bills, when they’re due, and remind you ahead of time, but it allows you to see at a glance where your money is going. This means everything from a breakdown of categories in which you make credit card purchases, to an overall look at where you stand financially – from savings to debts and everything in between. Even my hard-to-impress web designer hubby was a fan of this one!

Problem: We’re all vulnerable to theft and natural disasters. How do you begin to document what might need replacing someday?
There’s an app for that: American Family DreamVault

I’m not sure how truly “organization” related this one is, but I am perhaps a tad more neurotic than most when it comes to keeping inventory of our worldly possessions. I watched in 2006 as my sorority house was ripped apart by a tornado. In 2008, I watched as much of my hometown of Cedar Rapids went underwater during massive flooding. We have tailgated with some friends-of-friends who recently lost everything they owned in a freak fire started by a gas grill. You just never know what could happen.

You may remember I took on a huge home inventory project back in ’08. It took me weeks to get everything together and recorded, and try as I did to be organized about it all, it was still cumbersome to document everything both in text and pictures.  We love our insurance company, American Family, (Hi, Bob!) that developed this app that allows you to, by property and then room, take a picture on your phone of every notable possession and attach to it any details including cost to replace. Even if your phone itself is destroyed, the inventory can be recovered from any internet connection using your username and password to aid you in filing a claim.

Problem: Keeping track of kids’ chore assignments, ensuring they get done, and rewarding accordingly.
There’s an app for that: iRewardChart

I don’t even have kids and I think this one is genius! It’s been featured in several magazines and on television shows, which to me, says credibility. You create the list of tasks for kids to complete every week, and mark off as they are accomplished. You set the rewards (i.e. ten stars equals a trip to DQ). Just as if your kid had invoiced you, the app keeps track of what they’ve done, what they have left to do, and which rewards they have earned thus far. I could see older kids having the app on their own ipod and being accountable for recording everything themselves as opposed to Mom or Dad doing it. Where was this when I in my allowance years?!

Anyone else have any cool organization-related apps? Or any fun apps in general??

notes for the sitter (free printable download)

For all you parents out there, schedule yourself a night off and call the sitter…and print this free download to leave her all the details!

I have loved sharing my meal planning and gift planning worksheets with you all and I love reading every comment about why you like them, and what you would do differently. One of the best recommendations several of you have mentioned is to print each one only ONCE and laminate it so you can use it again and again with a wipe-off pen. Genius, dear readers.

You could do the same with this one – or fill in the info that won’t change first, and THEN laminate it – or just print as need be. Whatever works for you. Either way, unlike many of the babysitter note pads I’ve seen which only leave room for one set of instructions, you’ll find a column here for each child (and yes, I know some of you may have more than three – just print as many copies as you need!) and you can fill in specific instructions on a per-kid basis.

Is one kid grounded from TV but another isn’t? Does one have a peanut butter allergy but the other loves her pb&j? You can keep it all straight here for your caregiver.

And if there is anything additional to note from potty training tips to cell phone rules, there is a section for miscellaneous items at the bottom, along with a space for the number/place at which you can be contacted, and a back-up emergency contact.

To download the PDF, click this link: Sitter Notes Printable. If you are unable to see a link in your browser, hover your mouse over the words “Sitter Notes Printable” and right-click to save.

What are you waiting for?! Go schedule your sitter!!



Recipe Binder Revisited

A couple of years ago, I condensed my massive stack of cookbooks and multiple recipe boxes into a streamlined recipe binder. I’m happy to say I haven’t missed the old system at all and I enjoy having only the recipes I love on hand in one place. I think the worn tabs give a good idea of just how much use this bad boy gets. (Even if only I know it, that blue label denotes the “soup/salad” recipes!)

This week, I received an email from a reader, Karen, who referenced the recipe binder and had some great questions:

“I am going to try your recipe binder idea and wondered if you had any great tips or things that didn’t work out for you with it, now that you are a couple of years into it.  I can’t wait to get rid of my recipe books that I only use a recipe or two out of.  It seems like if we want a new recipe for something, we just go online, so they really are wasted space.”

I thought her idea to revisit this binder was a great one, and I definitely have changed how I use it since I first started it, especially with the addition of Pinterest in my life – (I’m constantly pinning recipes!). Plus, I’ve made some changes to it since I first put it together in 2009.

To recap, I originally filled a 3-inch binder with a bunch of 8-1/2 x 11-inch page protectors to hold both recipes I printed out in full page format from the internet, as well as recipe pages I ripped out of cooking magazines.

I also bought several 4×6-inch divided pages to hold existing recipe cards. Since I initially added my existing recipe cards, I have gotten away from using cards at all, so I never needed any more of those pages than what I originally bought. I have added many, many more full-page protectors to accomodate the recipes I print off of blogs, Pinterest, and tear from magazines. In fact, I added so many pages that I ended up getting a separate, thinner binder solely for dessert recipes.

I am a lover of sweets, so this second binder has filled up quickly. It’s to the point now where I would like to add some categories to my desserts (cake, cupcakes, pudding and mousse, pies, etc.) and use tabs to get this sweet tooth binder a bit more under control.

So here is how I use this binder, and in general gather and organize my recipes, today…

In addition to blogs and cooking magazines, I do find many of my recipes on Pinterest. I have three boards to which I save things that look yummy – “Culinary Creations” (appetizer and main course dishes that are a bit more indulgent), “Healthy Eating” (slimmed down health-conscious ideas for everyday), and “Sweet Eats” (dessert, obviously!). I suppose I have a fourth board, “Booze” for all things cocktail. 🙂

I reference my Pinterest boards a lot and often read recipes right off the site on my iPhone while I make them for the first time. But once I’ve made something and know I like it enough to make it again, I print it out and add it to my binder. In theory, I try to delete the tried recipe from my Pinterest board, so that they only have “to-try” recipes on them….but I’m not as great at keeping up with that part of the process!

As for new recipes that come from places other than Pinterest, the cardinal rule of the binder is that only stuff we’ve tried and loved gets filed behind each tab. If I’ve torn out or printed off something I want to try, I don’t add it to its category right away. Instead, I slip it into the folder in the front of its respective tab. (I know it’s hard to see in the photo above, but each clear divider page has a pocket in the front of it.) This way, I can try the recipe at my leisure and toss it if it’s only okay, or move it to a page protector in the binder if we squeal with glee upon tasting it and can’t wait to make it again!

It’s different for every household, but this is the system that works for me. Happy recipe organizing!

Linking up today with Not Just A Housewife!

gift planner worksheet (free download!)

First of all, a HUGE “thank you!” to all of the visitors who have stopped by Life In Yellow to pick up the meal planner checklist. Be sure to pick up the latest free printable babysitter notes as well!

You all inspired me to share more of the organizational tools I find myself using in some less-than-cute form and finally take the time the time to actually design a more eye-pleasing version for you all (and heck, myself!).

Consider it Christmas in July…I give you the Gift Buying Checklist. I use this list method to keep track of what I’ve bought, for whom, and approximately how much I’ve spent.

I realize it’s nowhere near holiday time, but if you’re like me, you think of ideas year-round or pick up on mentions of items and jot them down for future reference. I also like to spread out the spending whenever I can, so by fall, I’m in full gift-shopping and stashing mode in preparation for the holidays. Fill it in as you shop, or use it as a planning tool ahead of time to divide out your gift-giving budget, then cross out the items as you purchase them. Use the notes section at the bottom to remind yourself of coupons, tracking numbers for online purchases, and anything else you need to note.

But who says you need to use this just for holiday shopping? Use it to shop year-round for kids’ birthday gifts, or those things you like to have on hand when the day sneaks up on you (mother-in-law’s birthday, best friend’s anniversary). I keep a list year-round and use the “total” section to give me an idea of how much I spent the previous year on gift giving (and yikes…it’s always more than I thought…what can I say, a girl has to shop!).

Hopefully this list, like the meal planner, helps someone in addition to me – I’m a lover of lists and having a game plan. Happy shopping!

To Download: Depending on your browser, you can:
Gift Buying Checklist
A) click this link to open and print the PDF,
B)If the words above don’t show as a link for you, try hovering over them with your mouse and right-click and use the “save as” option to save it to your desktop and open it that way.

Arrange and rearrange.

With the bookcases completed, the next step was to unpack the last few boxes from our move in December, which housed our collection of books, photo albums, and scrapbooks. It’s so nice to have our stuff easily accessible again, and to be able to plug in a couple of lamps… I’d almost forgotten what it was like to have light on this end of the room!

I also had a collection of treasures, some old and some new, that I was anxious to display as well. I can’t stand the look of bookcases that are just CRAMMED with stuff, so there was a good bit of loading these up, paring things back, standing back with my head tilted to one side, and then repeating all over again until I got it all in an order I liked.

One of my favorite new additions to the bookcase was this greeting card that jumped out at me at World Market because of the colors. Especially with no kids, you can only frame so many photos of yourselves, so I like mixing up what goes in some of our frames. This one in particular I love because it ties in perfectly with our the wood of our hutch and kitchen table across the room.

I also had fun adding some color with these funky bookends. I purposely didn’t want them all to match, so I bought two different sets from TJ Maxx, both of which were an antiqued white to begin with.

A couple coats of spray paint followed by a coat of gloss and I was loving the color upgrade.

I’m a little OCD when it comes to organization, so of course the books had to be grouped into genres: Business, political, religion, fiction, food and fitness, and memories.

Like my mom says, bookcases are constantly evolving (you obtain new books or treasures, you sell some, the seasons/holidays change…) so I’m happy with where they are, for now. Looking forward to playing around with them from time to time!

Linking up today with

Meal Planner Free Printable

When it comes to meal planning in our house, I have the best of intentions.

Some nights, dinners are better thought out, and some consist of, “There’s a packet of ramen in the pantry, help yourself!” No matter the complexity of the meal, they all require ingredients, which requires the occasional trek to the grocery store. I am a HUGE fan of going to the store with a list…not so much because I stick to it, but because I can ensure I’m not making any more trips than I have to for forgotten items.

In the past, I’ve tried some super-organized grocery list pads. But for me, I don’t need my grocery list to just help me during my store visit, I want it to help me all week long so I can remember what I bought, and for which recipe, so I’m not at home three days later wondering what I bought the can of pineapple chunks for. (I finally remembered…it was for a stir fry.)

It’s no rocket science, but if you plan your list like I do (by meals and not by store zones), it will hopefully make your life a teensy bit easier…

Meal Planning Printable | www.lifeinyellow.comI print this out and use it to make my meal plan and lists, take it to the store, then I hang it in my pantry once I get home. Don’t throw it away like you would a normal list. This way, I have a list of “oh yeah, I was going to make that” meals across the top…or a menu of options for the week, if you will, that I know I have the stuff on hand to make.

I still have space at the bottom to list the random stuff we need that’s not necessarily an ingredient for a dish. And you’ll notice I don’t specify days of the week – we just make what we’re in the mood for each night. We do leftovers at least once a week, thus only four “days” shown. Want more than four? Print it double sided or print two to a page. Better yet, laminate it so you can re-use the wipe-off version time and again.

You can download the printable meal planner by clicking Meals

Happy meal planning in the new year!