Taming Paper Clutter: A Follow-up

Before school started, I shared how I was taming my paper clutter for all the papers the kids bring home from school. We used this IKEA Allamala Wall Organizer (no longer available, unfortunately). The same system works with a basket, standing magazine files, or letter trays. It’s not important what the organizer is, but if you can set up a system that works for you, you’re more likely to use it and keep it going. Simply dumping the paper in is what works for me! But then what?

Today is the last day of October, and those bins were pretty full. I sat down with each child and we reviewed all the work they’d brought home the past two months. We made two piles: Keep (items that were special or showed writing and art ability) and Recycle (worksheets, etc.). Since they are part of the decision-making process, they’re learning how to determine what’s important, and they’re seeing that we can’t keep it all. We’re saving the “Keep” work in a box in their bedroom closet, and now the bins are empty* to collect the next two months’ of work. *Except for my son’s bin, which we hadn’t done when I took the photo.

This same dump-it-now and sort-it-later system can work in other parts of the house as well. Think about how you organize your mail as it enters the house. Do you have a “dumping ground” on the kitchen counter? This can be revamped into a system that works for you by using a pretty bowl or basket as the catchall, then emptying the bowl at the same time daily or once a week. I can sort the kids’ papers with them once every two months, even put it on the calendar if I need to be reminded. With my daily clutter pile on the kitchen counter, I tie it into dinnertime. I need to put each paper away in its proper place before getting dinner on the table.

How do you stay on top of paper clutter?

Meal Plan Monday: An Early Thanksgiving

Happy Halloween! We had surprise snow this weekend and will be bundling up for trick-or-treating tonight. My kids are so excited! I already have a box ready to send our extra candy to a friend’s son stationed in Afghanistan along with a bunch of DVDs for his unit. Let me at those candy bags!

My mom is visiting from Arizona this week (she got to see the snow!) so we’re having an early Thanksgiving meal since we’re not spending the holidays together. It’s funny how we only eat turkey and mashed potatoes at this time of year, isn’t it? Here’s my menu plan for the week:

Sunday–Sausage with peppers, onions and red potatoes (this never happened last week)
Meatless Monday–Cheddar, Corn and Potato Chowder
Tuesday–Turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce
WednesdaySlow Cooker Turkey & Wild Rice Soup with leftovers from last night
Thursday–Hamburgers, sweet potato fries, and salad
Friday–Homemade Pizza (I’ll use GF bread as my crust) and leftover salad
Saturday–Lazy Chicken (chicken breasts & BBQ sauce in the slow cooker), buns (GF for me), whatever veggies are left in the fridge

For more meal plans and inspiration, see Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Buy 2, Get 1 Free Video Games at Amazon

Through Saturday, November 5th, selected video games are Buy 2, Get 1 FREE at Amazon. This is a sale that Toys R Us holds every holiday season, but it’s great to see it at Amazon so you can use your Amazon GCs earned through Swagbucks. Prices range from $18-55 and include games for PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, and Nintendo DS/3DS.

Last Chance for October Printable Coupons

There’s a great $1.50 off Mars Candy coupon, so grab it while you can! I used them this morning at Safeway where bagged candy was on sale 4 for $8.00. I paid just $2 for four bags! You can also use it after Halloween on clearance-priced candy. Coupons.com has lots of coupon prints left before they change over next month:

You can also update your store loyalty cards with October coupons from SavingStar and Cellfire.

100 Snapfish Prints for $1

Get your Halloween photos printed for a great price at Snapfish! Get 100 4×6 Prints for just $1.00 from Snapfish when you use coupon code SPOOKY100 or 300 4×6 Prints for just $3.00 with coupon code SPOOK300 through Sunday, November 6th. 

With the 100 prints, you’ll pay $5.89 shipping, which comes out to less than 7-cents per print. With 300 prints, you’ll pay $14.59 shipping which is less than 6-cents per print.

You also get 50 FREE Prints if you’re signing up for an account for the first time. You can only use one code per order at Snapfish, so keep that in mind (you’d want to order your 100 prints for $1 separately from any other items).

Remember that you can also shop Snapfish through Ebates to get 20% cash back on your purchase. That’s a much higher cash back rate than usual!

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting MoneywiseMoms at no cost to you!

Free $2 Credit Towards Amazon MP3 Albums

If you have a Twitter account, you can get a FREE $2 credit towards albums at Amazon MP3 just for linking your Amazon account to your Twitter account and tweeting a short message. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click over to Amazon to get started.
  2. Click on the “Get Your $2 Credit” button
  3. You’ll need to be logged into your Twitter account, then click “Allow” to authorize the app to connect the two accounts.
  4. You should see a message pop up saying, “We have successfully applied a $2 credit to your Amazon.com account, good for albums at Amazon MP3.” The message “I just got a $2 credit for albums @amazonmp3. Click to get yours. #hoorayfornewmusic” will be automatically tweeted from your Twitter account.

This offer is good through midnight PST on Monday, October 31st, and the credit expires then, so you’ll need to spend it by then. Browse the $5 Albums section for a bargain!

25%, Free Shipping, and Free Personalization at Disney Store

Disney Store is offering FREE personalization on any personalized item through November 10th with coupon code FREENAME. You’ll also get FREE Shipping on your entire order as long as it includes a personalized item. You can also stack this with coupon code GIFT25 to get an additional 25% off.

Shop their personalization selection either by character or by product (use the sort function on the left sidebar), and choose from clothing, housewares, and more.  The character Fleece Throws are only $9.37 after coupon code. The Character Varsity Jackets are only $15 after coupon code. These are great holiday gifts!

Save even more! Remember to shop through Ebates to get 5% cash back on your Disney Store purchases. Here’s how:

  1. Login to your Ebates account and enter Disney into the search window.
  2. Click on “Shop Now” to open a tracking ticket; that’s how Ebates keeps track of your cashback during the sale.
  3. Do your shopping: remember to use code FREENAME to get FREE Shipping & FREE Personalization on your items. Then use code GIFT25 to get 25% off. Complete your purchase.
  4. After your order ships, you’ll see your 5% cashback posted to your Ebates account, and if you ordered more than $25, you’ll also get your $5 Cash Bonus* as a new Ebates shopper.
*You’ll earn $5 in your account and so will I, when you make a purchase of $25 within 90 days.

Giant Deals 10/28

Welcome, Beltway Bargain Mom readers! Since Laura’s out of town, I’m sharing this week’s Giant Deals & Matchups for you.

 Giant stores in the DC Metro area double manufacturer coupons up to $0.99. Many Giants will accept competitor’s coupons, but it is done at the discretion of the manager. See Giant’s Coupon Policy.

Dole Classic Salad is $1.00/bag.

Gala Apples are .99/lb.

Green Asparagus is $1.99/lb.

Navel Oranges or Red Grapefruit are $1.00/lb.

Apple & Eve Fruitables 8pk Boxes is $2.50. Use the $1.00 off coupon from the 9/18 Smartsource or print one.

Aunt Jemima Frozen French Toast or Pancakes are $2.00/box. Print a $1.00 off coupon at the Aunt Jemima Facebook page.

Blue Bonnet Margarine Quarters are .89.  *Part of Buy 10, earn 100 Gas Points.

Chobani Greek Yogurt 6oz is $1.00. Print a .30 off coupon, which will double, making it only .40/cup.

Francesco Rinaldi Pasta Sauce is $1.00/jar.

Hatlfield Ham Steak 8oz is $2.50. Print a $2.00 off coupon or use the $1.00 off from the 10/9 RedPlum.

Keebler Town House Crackers are $2.50/box. Print a coupon for $1.00/2 at Snackpicks.

Pam Cooking Spray is $2.99. Print a coupon for .50 off, which will double.

Peter Pan Peanut Butter is $2.00. Use the .50 off coupon from the September All You Magazine, which will double. *Part of Buy 10, earn 100 Gas Points.

Ro-tel Tomatoes are $1.00/can. Use the $1.00/3 coupon from the 10/2 SmartSource. *Part of Buy 10, earn 100 Gas Points.

Welch’s Essentials or Light Juice 64oz is $2.50. Use the $1.00 off coupon from the 9/25 SmartSource or print a .75 off coupon.

Get a FREE 12ct Large Eggs when you buy any two I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Products.

While you’re at Giant, look for the Fall into Savings coupon booklet:

Inside, you’ll find coupons for Barilla Piccollini, Crisco Oil, Dreamfields Pasta, Energizer, Fruitables, Hungry Jack, Karo Syrup, Krusteaz products, Maruchan Yoshiba, Mrs. Dash, Near East Couscous, Newman’s Own, Seventh Generation, Sorrento, Spice Island, Tropicana, White Mushrooms, and more. They are all manufacturers coupons, and they expire 12/31/11.

For more DC-area store match-ups, see my network of NoVA Grocery Deals.

Finding Toys That Last

As we’re heading into the holiday shopping season, one of my favorite features at BabyCheapskate is up! Angie compiles comments from hundreds of readers about which toys their kids are still playing with since last year’s holidays. These tips are so helpful to new parents and those buying gifts for kids older or younger than their own. Check out the recommendations for babies through age 5:

These lists are not only helpful at holiday time but are a great resource all year if you’re looking for shower gifts or age-appropriate birthday gifts.
The lists got me thinking, too, which of our toys are my kids (twin girls age 5 and son age 8) still playing with? You’ll be shocked to hear me say Lego, I’m sure, but that was the big winner. I’m aiming for no electronic games/toys this holiday season, but that’s HUGE for the 5-8 year old age range.

What about your kids?
Which toys last at your house?