Why Are Things So Wonky Lately?

Why Are Things So Wonky Lately?

simplify statement organized chaos onlineThe website has been a hot mess for over a week AND we have some cool things coming up. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster here at oCo headquarters. We would have called you, but we were moody.

If you are new to the blog or read on a regular basis, you may have noticed that the site was down for maintenance, had images missing, was back in maintenance mode and now has images missing. Again.

We thought this was going to be the one thing that could send us over the edge. Our brain space and time was completely consumed by what was going on.

A little behind the scenes: We needed to make some adjustments to the structure of our site by a certain deadline (insert tech speak about hosting, web file management and primary domain rearrangement), so we contacted our hosting company. They are, in layman’s terms, the company that makes it possible for us to have a website online. It’s like owning property on the internet and they are our broker.

What was supposed to be a very simple adjustment turned into a total cluster. Our hosting company was scrambling to figure out what on earth had gone wrong on their end as we attempted to reset things on our end. Many hours were spent with tech support and, after meeting pretty much every person they have on payroll, we believe we’ll be invited to the next potluck at their office. Fingers crossed!

The whole process has been stressful. What do we do when we’re stressed? We organize. Well, we do that when we’re stressed, bored, happy, frustrated, etc, etc, etc. You get the point. This was our sign to get the website organized. It was becoming clear that all signs pointed to “get your crap in order, ladies.”

So we did… and we’re PUMPED about it!

In the coming months, you’ll start to see a different look on the site. We’re making things MUCH simpler for you. We preach the “quick, cheap and easy” which means we need to function in exactly that way. Always evolve, right?

Why are we telling you all this? 

1. Because you’re our friend and we share everything with our friends.

2. Because we don’t want you to think that we are changing who we are – it’s just the look that’s becoming more simple.

3. Because we’re adding a “services” section which has been 100% by the request of readers of this blog!

4. Because you are the reason we are here. Without you, there’s no us.

Stay tuned and, as always, your thoughts and opinions are encouraged! Either comment on a post (including this one) or contact us via email.

tawsha connell



How To Clean Your Computer Files, Programs and Images

How To Clean Your Computer Files, Programs and Images

How to Clean Your Computer

Do you have any idea what is on your computer? We’re talking programs, temp files, support files, toolbars,  updates, coupon printer software, registrations, enhancements and even downloads you used once a long time ago. Yeah, us either. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t know even know what half of those are.

You’re not alone.

There are so many files on your computer (likely in the folders you pass over all the time) that are sitting on your hard drive, taking up room and even running in the background. This slows everything down and takes up room.

We’re purging all month and the computer isn’t exempt. If it’s not helping us, it’s hindering us so GET RID OF IT!


There are so many ways you can get rid of the unnecessary files that take up memory and they are easy. All you have to know is if you have a Mac or a PC. If that question even has you wrinkling your forehead, an apple = Mac. Everything else is a PC. There, that was easy.

We’ll provide multiple SIMPLE ways to clean your hard drive. All resources will be summarized at the end with a list of links (in case you missed them the first time through).


A very simple way, and something that should be done on a regular basis, is disk cleanup. It’s already on your computer and it is a simple process. But no matter how simple someone says a task is, there are always questions. We’re famous for having a question that is NEVER found on a list of FAQs. WikiHow walks you through the disk cleanup step-by-step for a PC with images included. Bless their hearts for what they’ve done. Then, there’s the hard drive cleaning and physical cleaning of your PC. Don’t be intimidated by the wording if you’re not the computer savvy type. Just follow the steps and you’ll be just fine. “Shhhh shhhh shhh shhh, there-there, it’s okaaaay”. Hey, it calms my 5-year old son; I figured it would calm you, too.


Unless you are some computer genius or you built your own, there’s no way to know every little thing about all the programs and files you have on your computer. Some support programs you use on a daily basis while others are parts of a program you may have deleted a long time ago. It’s just taking up space. We’ve run across a FREE program for PC called Should I Remove It? It tells you exactly that. This is like a treasure hunt. Or better yet, a way of reflecting on what you’ve been doing on your computer. Sometimes our downloads get tricky and install a bunch of crap on our computer that we don’t want.


Talk about simple. There’s software you can download for a very reasonable price (none over $30) and even FREE that will constantly run on your computer and organize as you go. When you’re looking for a file, you don’t have to try and remember where you saved it, you just go to the folder you know it should be in and BOOM, it’s there. Think of these programs as a super-assistant. Everything you do on your computer just magically ends up in the right place without any effort on your part (after setup).

If you have a Mac: Hazel is “Automated organization for your Mac”.

  • Hazel allows you to set up rules (tell it what to do), make comments on your files, color-code your files and tell her to archive in a way that works best for your brain. She’s quite a lady, that Hazel. The Hazel software is $28, which is a one-time fee, and it does all the work for you. As far as we know, Hazel is the be-all, end-all for Mac. Nobody seems to want to take the ol’ broad on.

If you have a PC: Belvedere, FileJuggler and DropIt are options.

  • Belvedere allows you to set rules so your files go where you want them but the maximum amount of rules, at last check, was six. If you use the rules wisely, you can organize the rest on your own. Just find your trouble spots (after the disk cleanup) and assign rules to those. Belvedere is FREE.
  • FileJuggler works in a similar way as Belvedere and is being compared to Hazel for Mac (refer to the paragraph right above this one). The FileJuggler software is $25 but they do offer a 30 day free trial so you can test it out.
  • DropIt does claim to have a lot of features and is simple to download. DropIt is also FREE (they do ask for a donation if you feel so inclined – not mandatory). You can customize the options within the software to show you what it’s doing by showing you a progress bar or you can disable it knowing that it’s doing work in the background and you don’t have to deal with it.


This is a whole new project, wouldn’t you agree? Patti walks you through email organization and purging HERE. It’s less of a task than you might think and it’s totally necessary.


Photos take up a ton of room on your hard drive. Especially with all the selfies we take in one day. What? Don’t tell me you don’t flip that phone camera around to snap a shot of yourself because you think you owe it to the world. Is that just me? Whoops.

If you sync your phone with your computer, your images have to go somewhere. For iPhone users, you can put those photos on iCloud. I have yet to talk with someone who has plenty of room on iCloud for their images without paying extra. I upgraded one time and refuse to do it again.

If you upload photos from your camera on to your computer, you can literally see your hard drive shrink in memory. I was using DropBox but, again, I was having to continuously upgrade to make enough room for everything. It’s expensive!

Our solution: External hard drive and/or flash drives. It may seem old school for some but we can’t justify spending $20 or more to hold photos we will need access to maybe once – in about 10 years. While it’s not the case for all our photos, it’s the case for most of them.

We’ve purchased an external hard drive which is (in simple terms), a piece of equipment you plug into your computer. Just drag the images over to the folder created by the hard drive. It’s like packing your images in a box and taking it to storage – just digitally.

Viola, you’ve freed space on your computer. You can do the same with flash drives.

Once you’ve completed your necessary steps for cleaning, you can sit back knowing that you’ve eliminated the crap on your computer and you’re ready to add more to it!

tawsha connell

Summary of links:


Quickly Turn Your Recipe Collection Into A Book

Quickly Turn Your Recipe Collection Into A Book

quickly organize your recipes


I have a cabinet full of recipe books but over time, I’ve collected random recipes from Pinterest, family members and magazines. I was shoving them into a folder because it looked organized. The problem was that every time I went to find something it was useless. I spent more time digging and then reorganizing into a folder than cooking the actual meal.

In keeping with the purging theme and respecting the fact that we all have about zero extra minutes per day, this recipe organization is quick, efficient and costs very little.

My recipes were gathered in one hot mess.

recipes in a folder

Then I stacked them in piles. The key to organizing anything is putting “like” with “like”. What do they have in common? Here, I stacked in recipes labeled chicken, pork, fish, salad, etc.

stacking recipes for organization

Now I need something to put them in. Ah, a binder with tabs to separate the types of recipes (the piles). I also grabbed some page protectors (not pictured).


Done deal. Just like my jeans, this binder can’t take one more recipe. I should have purchased a much bigger binder and another set of tabs. I also want white, not green. But, hey, this was a quick project so I can quickly access my recipes. Maybe later in the year, I’ll pretty it up. For now, I’ll eat.

TIP: Add extra page protectors to the binder so when you add to it, you can easily slip the new one in the correct place.

quickly make a recipe binder

Aaaaand, the amount of time the project took (including Instagramming a picture) and grabbing not one but TWO drinks for my son, starting a movie and digging Play-Doh out of his dump truck was:

time to organize recipes

A 5-year old threw off my game. I mean, seriously. He gets thirsty while I’m working? The nerve.

Will this work for your recipe collection?

tawsha connell


Note from Tawsha: 

Each time I dive into an organization-type project, I have these big beautiful plans that, in the end, aren’t realistic. I want a great end result that is pleasing to my eye but not at the expense of losing efficiency – the reason I started the project in the first place. I see it everywhere and I, too, want a picture-perfect result. Well, for us, it’s just not the truth 100% of the time and we won’t hold back if it’s not perfect. We’re committing to offering a realistic approach to creating structure and order in life. We’re busy, you’re busy and none of us are made of money. 

Your comments and feedback have been awesome. We will continue to strive to be true to you, true to ourselves and not just go for the pretty picture each time we post a new blog. Your trust is important to us. 




Purge and Organize Kids Paperwork in 6 Steps

Purge and Organize Kids Paperwork in 6 Steps

kids paperwork purge banner

THERE’S PAPER EVERYWHERE!!! Oh my gosh, how many piles and stacks of paper do you have that are creating absolute chaos in your life? For a short amount of time, I had control of it but that was blown out of the water in a hot second.

pile of kids artwork

Yep, that’s how my son’s schoolwork looks. What started out as a neat filing system near the door turned into a hot mess that I just threw into a box hoping to do something with. I didn’t want to lose anything so it’s all inside from August – January. My first organizational idea was something I saw on a “perfect” site. I call it that because it’s just not realistic. I wanted to have all the cute little cubbies and a filing system near my door but then life happened. My son bumped it, I needed more counter space to function in our kitchen and, really, things just got full.

On to the next idea.

Keep it simple.

Steps to Purging Paperwork:

  1. See What You Have

  2. Take Notes

  3. Decide How to Store It or Display It

  4. Create A System

  5. Maintenance

  6. Follow-Up

Before you even get started, set a time limit. If you know how much time you plan to spend on it, you’ll feel more in control and will get through it more quickly.

kids paperwork in piles

[paiddownloads id=”31″]

1. Prep & See What You Have

  • Find an open space that won’t be interrupted while you work on your project. (I know, the chances of winning the lottery are better).
  • Gather all the paperwork, homework, artwork, notes from school and any additional school-type papers into your open space.
  • Sit down on the floor and start making piles. Each pile should signify an action. See image above and download printable if you want something quick.
  • Sort everything no matter what it is. Create a new pile if you’d like. Each piece of paper should be living in a stack by the time your’e complete.

2. Take Notes

Whether you do this during your sorting process or go through afterwards, make little notes on each significant piece. Maybe it’s the first piece of art your son brought home or a certificate your daughter won for doing something silly. What was it that she did? With life as nutty as it is, we tend to forget the little things. These are the most important when we’re looking back.

kids paperwork filed

3. Decide How To Store It or Display It

There are a lot of great ideas for storing paperwork and/or artwork. We’ve found some extremely quick, cheap and easy ideas.

We filed my son’s paperwork in a simple snap-together bin from the office supply store. All we added was hanging file folders.

Brooke at the Design Stash created a Yearbook Binder. Um…how genius is this?!?! Tuck everything inside however it makes sense to you and decorate with your kids artwork.

school paperwork yearbook binder

Before filing things away, you may want to put that adorable artwork on display.

Andrea at Life.Love.Larson is genius! How about tension rods with curtain rings that have clips? We’ve seen this a variety of ways but none as great as seen on Life.Love.Larson.

kids artwork display on life.love.larson

Feeling a little Pinterest-y? Grab old picture frames, glue clothespins or clips to the top and spray paint them to make the frames pop.

bright frames artwork display

via Pinterest

Or fill one frame with up to FIFTY pieces of art!

child artwork frame

4. Create a System

So you don’t have to go through this process every six months, decide what works best for you to stay organized. Inform the rest of the family and get started. Our system works best when my son brings his backpack in the house, empties the papers on to the counter and I sort into open filing shelves. That’s the quick way. If I have a free minute (literally 60 seconds), I’ll run it upstairs and immediately put it in the corresponding file or recycle it.

5. Maintenance

Life gets in the way. Always. Be sure to circle back around if you see your pile start to grow. System or not, we tend to prioritize differently throughout the year and, all of a sudden, this paperwork isn’t at the top of our list like it is now.

6. Follow-Up

You know that stack of papers you labeled “Still Thinking/Unsure”? It’s time to see if you still feel this way. The end of the school year is a good time to do this follow-up process. After you have finished this final step, store the paperwork away.

tawsha connell


Keep All Your Daily Online Tools In One Place

Keep All Your Daily Online Tools In One Place

home page productivity and information

Every day, the first thing I look at when I log on to my computer is my home page. I have been using iGoogle for a really long time. It was so simple because I could add apps to the page that had all my blog feeds, bookmarks, entertainment news, regular news and even quick reference stories. It’s my lifeline.

Last year, Google announced that iGoogle would be going away on November 1, 2013. That seemed like forever so I didn’t think much about it. My response is typically “I’ll get to it after this…”.

Well, this Friday is November 1, 2013. Turns out, forever eventually gets here.

Naturally, I’m figuring something out very last minute. True to form, I finally try something that has been talked about for a while now, it’s easy to set up and I stay up late customizing it. That’s how I roll. The thing that has been talked about is called NetVibes.

Pre-planning just isn’t my thing. There’s no adrenaline or stress. That’s no fun.

I have just finished adding my favorite feeds (and, eh hem, entertainment news sites) to my home page.

It’s All Customizable

You can choose all your apps (feeds, information, to do lists, etc), the color of your background, the color of your header, the theme, the setup and the color of each of your app title bars. You can ALSO change the layout and it’s all drag and drop. So. Easy.

Take a Peek at My Apps

Choosing what works best for you is essential. I wouldn’t typically share what I have on my page because it doesn’t really benefit you. However, being a very visual person and someone who needs to see the “big picture” before doing anything, I thought I’d share a little peek at my home page so you can determine whether or not this is a good fit for you.

desktop social news



home page entertainment news

desktop news feed organized chaos online

I have now set my personal NetVibes account to be my home page (see instructions below if you don’t know how to do this). Once I get used to having it, I’ll probably move things around and either add or delete apps. I can already think of things I’ll need like recipes and beauty tips. Hey, don’t judge. I am a total know-it-all. I don’t like being left out of the loop.

It’s Free

No explanation needed. Sign up for the personal account…unless you’d like to do more.

What are you using that makes online life easier?

tawsha connell


Instructions on how to set any website as your home page:

Go to the website of your choice. May I recommend organizedCHAOSonline or our feed on Bloglovin? Oh, look at that…I just did.

Once you are currently on the site you’d like to have pop up every time you open your browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari), go to the tab at the top of your page. It’s typically on the top left. You’ll see a drop down menu. Here’s what you do next:

  • Click OPTIONS
  • You’ll see another OPTIONS. Click that.
  • You have now clicked OPTIONS and then OPTIONS
  • Under the GENERAL tab, you’ll see a section labeled STARTUP
  • Just look for “Set my home page as” and a  place to enter the web address (URL)
  • Enter the web address and click SAVE
  • Just like that, you did it.

This is what it looks like in Firefox

As always, if you have any questions, just comment below and we’ll do our best to help you. Being confused is the worst! No question is a dumb question. At least that’s what we tell ourselves because we’re the ones usually asking those questions. Also we are strongly recommend one of the our parner from India, they supply medical products to USA at low prices, there is website BuyMD.org

set home page screen shot