Monday, October 09 2017
With the holidays just around the corner, it's time to start organizing those recipes. Over the years, I have used various methods for organizing the various types of recipes I have gathered.
I sometimes tear recipes out of a magazine or print out recipes I find on line. I also have an array of recipe books.
First, I have a cabinet that is specificially used to organize my recipe books. Years ago, I had one custom made by the Amish because I had the need to store a lot of recipe books close to the kitchen for easy retrieval. I placed it against a small wall that divides my kitchen from my living room in my dining room area. (I am not suggesting that everyone needs to do this, but I have never regretted my decision to do so.)
Within my recipe cabinet, I have various forms of recipe organization besides the books.
I use an index card box for my "go to" recipes which I typed onto index cards and which I use on a regular basis and have been family favorites for years, including during the holidays. I divide them up with alphabetical index dividers A-Z. (They could also be divided up by category, i.e., desserts, casseroles, vegetables, pasta, etc.)
I use an accordion expandable file for the recipes I have gathered from magazines and online which I need to test out before they become part of my permanent collection. (These are divided up by category as described above.)
Another suggestion I have is to put your full size (8-1/2" x 11") recipes that you have into a 3-ring binder, divided up by category, using sheet protectors to store them. I like this suggestion because you can pull out the sheet from the binder when you want to use it and it will be protected from splatters and spills.
Of course, you can always use your phone or computer to store recipes digitally, but I strongly suggest that you weed through it from time to time to get rid of the recipes you have tried and failed or decided you are no longer interested in them. Otherwise, you are creating digital clutter.
Depending on how much you cook or bake can depend on what type of system would work best for you.
For me, there is not one solution but several that work best.
What solutions can you think of in order to organize your own collection of recipes? Share you ideas here and let's learn from each other so you can have a more organized holiday cooking experience.
In the meantime, if you are simply overwhelmed with your clutter and would like to discuss your particular situation with a professional organizer, don't hesitate to contact me.
As always, I am here to help.
Friday, June 09 2017
Thank you to TRI-STAR CABINET & TOP COMPANY for reaching out to A BETTER SPACE and providing this Checklist to share with my organizing community.
If you wish to be a guest blogger on my A Better Space blog, simply contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and attach a copy of the blog you wish me to post and it will be considered for a future date.
If you have any questions about this checklist or are too overwhelmed to take on this project on your own, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, I am here to help.
Monday, May 22 2017
Do you struggle with how many or how much of something you should keep? This is a common problem many of my clients experience.
There is no clear cut answer to these questions but there are guidelines.
One of the most common guidelines is what you have and where you intend to store it. When I am evaluating a situation for my clients, I always take into consideration the space in which the item or items will live.
It is important to let your boundaries be your guide.
What do I mean by this? It's simple.
We all have boundaries we need to follow - whether it's on a personal level with other people or with our possessions.
Take for example your hamper. It's a boundary! When you fill it, you know it's time to do the laundry.
The same is true for many other spaces in our home.
Here are some examples for you to consider and incorporate into your home and in your life:
1. Clothes Closet - You need to make sure that your clothes hang and/or fold in an area that provides sufficient space so as not to crowd your wardrobe. It is easier to store your entire wardrobe in a closet to avoid having to do a "seasonal switchout", but that is not always possible. However, we do want to limit the size of our wardrobe based on the space in which we have to store it. This might mean downsizing it to make it work for you in an easier way.
2. Cabinets and Drawers - Whether they are in your kitchen, bathroom, home office, bedroom or bathroom, you need to be sure that they are not so stuffed with items, you cannot easily select what it is you want from them. Drawers should be able to easily open and close without items getting stuck. Cabinets should be set up neatly so you can easily see what they contain. Storing similiar items together will make it easier to find them.
3. Donation Bin - Every household should have them. I tend to use 18-gallon plastic containers. I especially like to use them in kids' bedrooms so that when they outgrow their clothing, they are easily identified and can be donated or passed on to another family member or friend. However, when the bin is full, you need to clear it out and start again! If you are storing clothing for a younger sibling to use. Containerize them by size.
4. Storage Room - This room needs to be as organized as any other room in the home that your family and friends see on a regular basis. It is not a dumping ground for everything you want to hide from public view. The use of storage shelves can go a long way in setting boundaries and zones for the various items you wish to store. Be sure to review this area on an annual basis to determine what might no longer be needed or wanted.
5. Garage - The same holds true for the garage as the storage room. It is not a dumping ground. Remember, the original intent of a garage is to store your car. Although there are other items that need storing, such as trash cans, recycling bins, bicycles, lawn care, tools, etc., you need to zone out the various areas and no exceed the size of the garage. You need to be able to easily navigate throught out the space so try your best to avoid filling the center of the room with items. Think vertically and use storage options that help keep your possessions around the perimeter of the room, instead.
Whether it is something as small as a clothes hamper or as large as a garage, pay attention to its boundaries and let them be your guide as to how much space you have in which to store your items.
If you need guidance or assistance in determining how to maximize the space you have or wish to utilize, don't hesitate to contact A Better Space. I am here for you!
Wednesday, March 15 2017
Almost every woman I know or have met has created a crazy, busy life for themselves. They tend to have a house, husband or significant other, kids, full-time job and lots of responsibility around the house and obligations to their family.
Life is complicated enough. We don't need it to be high maintenance.
What do I mean by that?
Often times, there are ways that we can streamline our responsibilities and our possessions to make our lives easier.
As a professional organizer, one of my responsibilities is to help my clients identify where they can change either the way they do things or reduce the amount of possessions they have in their life. Sometimes, we can identify items we possess that could be replaced by items that are simply easier to maintain and use.
Some examples could be:
1. Vacuum cleaner - Is your vacuum cleaner easy to use? Is it portable enough that you can easily move it from one floor to another? Are there tons of attachments? Is the bag easy to replace when full? Does it store away without taking up a lot of room? If not, you might want to consider purchasing another vacuum cleaner that would be lower maintenance.
2. Paper Shredder - Is your paper shredder sufficient for your needs? Does it shred paper efficiently? Does it accommodate credit cards? Does it have a cross-cut feature to ensure confidentiality of your paperwork? Does it jam easily? Does it overheat quickly? Consider these points to avoid wasting time and energy when it comes to shredding your paperwork.
3. Clothing - I don't know about you but I do not like to iron. (I have had the same iron since 1983!) I do anything possible to avoid ironing. One way you can reduce the amount of time you spend ironing is to purchase clothing that is not 100% cotton. Another time-saver is to put your clothes into the dryer - even on a low setting - and hang it up while it is still warm so the wrinkles fall out.
4. Kitchen - One area of the home that tends to accumulate clutter is the kitchen. How many times have you purchased a small appliance only to determine that it is never used and it just sits on your counter, collecting dust and taking up space? How many items are you not able to put into the dishwasher to clean and have to manually wash them? Do you have a set of silver from your grandmother that sits in a box and is never used?
5. Knickknacks - An abundance of knickknacks could easily qualify as a high-maintenance item. Do you have a collection of knickknacks that someone gave you and youa re not even fond of? An abundance of knickknacks can mean having to take more time to dust. Consider downsizing your collection to reflect only your favorites and truly special to you.
Items that are hard to maintain are often unused.
What items do you possess that are more trouble than they're worth? Take a look around and share your thoughts. I bet a lot of you have the same type of items!
In the meantime, if you are struggling with "too much" and your life is "high maintenance", it might be time to declutter and organize your home. Give me a call or send me an email and lets talk about your "high maintenance" life. I can show you how to have A Better Space instead!
Monday, February 23 2015
Last night I was watching the Academy Awards Ceremony a/k/a The Oscars and it got me thinking of the stage. The stage can be set for homeowners who are looking to sell their homes, as well.
I am well aware that we are in the midst of the winter season, but, before you know it, Spring will be here and that tends to be the time of year when people are looking to put their home up for sale. It is a little more complicated than just putting a sign on your lawn. You need to prepare - and what better time to begin the process than during these cold winter months.
Over the years, I have helped realtors and home owners alike, "set the stage" to get their home ready to sell. Although there are many aspects to staging your home for sale, I would like to provide you with a quick overview of some areas to focus on.
1. Closets - If packed tightly, closets will make a home appear to lack closet space. It is vital that you eliminate the unnecessary clutter in a closet and organize it to maximize the amount of open space you want to show to the potential buyer. Using matching hangers for clothing will create a nice visual impact, as well.
2. Bedrooms - The bed should face towards the doorway and be the focal point of the bedroom. Eliminating the excess furniture will provide plenty of space in the room for navigation and clear surfaces on end tables and dressers will be pleasing to the eye.
3. Bathrooms - Be sure the surfaces are clean and clear. Remove soap scum and redo any grout that has discolored over time. A clean bathroom is a great way to stage your bathroom. Create a functional but relaxing environment, especially in a master bathroom. The display of white or cream colored towels will open up the space in the bathroom and provide a spa-like feel.
4. Kitchen - A simple and inexpensive way to update your kitchen is to use a new coat of wood stain or a good sanding and a coat of paint. Replace the hardware for a fresh new look and, as always, clear your surfaces of clutter. Lastly, remove area rugs from in front of the sink to open up the visual appearance of the kitchen.
*On average, most sellers will spend an average of $1950 on their bathroom and kitchen renovations with an ultimate return of approximately $3250, which is about a 65% on their return. Bathrooms and kitchens are essential spaces in the home and where most buyers are either won over or lost.
5. Living Room - Providing plenty of light in this room is a major source of approval by a potential buyer. Be sure that the shades are open and use lighter colors where possible to give the room a more spaceous look. Create clear paths to navigate and avoid having the back of a sofa face the main pathway. You want to open up the room to visitors and not block them off with misplaced furniture.
A few simple steps can increase your home's potential for a higher selling price. Removing clutter is one of the most important ways to do this.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of staging your home for sale or considering downsizing, don't hesitate to contact me. I can help you to "set the stage" for sale.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Wednesday, December 31 2014
Happy New Year! Are you ready for 2015?
This is a great time of year to not only eliminate clutter and get organized, but incorporate a little Feng Shui into your life and your home. I dabble in Feng Shui from time to time and use the basic principals when working with my clients in their homes.
This list was created by Kathryn Weber, Feng Shui Entrepreneur & Nationally Syndicated Columnist.
Notice that de-cluttering is at the top of the list!
OUT WITH THE OLD
Grab a laundry basket. Next, set a timer and take it with you from room to room. Set it for five minutes. Now, start throwing out old papers, magazines, empty bottles of shampoo from the bathroom, old clothes you know you’ll never wear again! Do it.
Got CDs you never listen to? Throw those out or donate them to charity. Have some old coffee mugs that don’t match or odd drinking glasses still hanging around in your cabinets? Pitch ‘em.
When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t forget to look under the bed, too! And toss that lipstick you haven’t worn in two years! Remember to clean out the pantry, too, and toss that half-empty box of Rice Krispies that’s gone stale.
2. Sweep or vacuum
Get the old energy out by making the floors clean.
3. Do the laundry
Don’t have dirty clothes hanging around. You can throw in a load or two while you declutter. Be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.
4. Clean the bathroom
Make it sparkle. You don’t want a nasty mess to greet the next year of your life!
5. Empty all trashcans
Don’t want last years’ trash hanging around, do you? Toss, toss, toss.
6. Clean out the refrigerator
Got a half-empty jar of apple butter? Get rid of it. You don’t want to go into the New Year with old food or a moldy science project lurking in the fridge.
7. Clear out visual clutter
Too much stuff everywhere? Clear off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchen. Clear off your desk and dust it. Pitch the sticky notes and papers and things taped everywhere! You can do it. Don’t forget the refrigerator! Make it a blank slate.
Make as much space as possible. You cannot bring in new things if there is no room for it and we want a fantastic year, right? Then make your space “open” for the abundance of the New Year!
8. Yard work
Make sure the yard is picked up and the front door step is swept and clear.
9. Change the sheets and towels
Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen. New sheets are even better.
10. Clean the car
This is what gets you around during the year. Drive through a car wash, take out the trash and do a quick cleaning.
All done? Wow, doesn’t that feel good! Now you’re ready for the next step.
IN WITH THE NEW!
1. Fill your pantry and kitchen
Stock the refrigerator with food and make sure the pantry is also stocked. It is bad feng shui to have an empty refrigerator and pantry. If you have canisters in the pantry or on the countertops, be sure to fill these.
2. Got citrus?
Oranges are excellent symbols for the New Year and the Chinese often celebrate the New Year by rolling oranges (symbols of gold) into the house. Place a big bowl of 8, 9, or 10 (the numbers of prosperity!) oranges in the living room or central location in the house next to dishes of nuts or candies to symbolize an abundant, fruitful home.
3. Buy a new plant
Put a beautiful new plant in the East (health & family relationships) sector of your house or office to symbolize a healthy beginning. You can also display some beautiful flowers here to symbolize your good health in the coming year.
4. Welcome good news
Place a golden bell in the NW corner of your home, office, or bedroom to bring good tidings from helpful people. Like old school bells? If so, place one of these in the NW corner of your yard for good news from helpful people.
5. Hang up new calendars
What better way to greet the New Year than by throwing out the old one? Take down all of last years’ calendars.
6. Fill your wallet
You don’t want to go into the New Year with an empty wallet. Put some money in your wallet — or better yet — go and buy a new wallet (red is the best!) or purse and start your financial off with new energy!
7. Invite a toad to your house
Place an old, broken clay pot upside down next to a water spout so a toad can make its home here. Toads are believed to invite money into the household; they’re especially nice by the door. You can also place figurines of toads by the door.
8. Feed the birds
Birds are excellent feng shui and believed to bring good news. Fill your feeders or put out a feeder for the New Year.
9. Have fun and celebrate
Fun is good feng shui. A happy vibrant home or space is a good space, so plan a party of some kind of happy gathering. Remember, a home or office with good feng shui is easy to spot it’s the one where everyone goes and doesn’t want to leave! Make your space that kind of place!
OR, as I say "Make your place A Better Space!
So, what do you think? I am not sure about inviting a toad into my house. I think I will go ceramic, thank you, but a little Feng Shui never hurt anyone! Go through this list and do the best that you can. Do one thing at a time to help stay focused and soon, you too will have A Better Space.
Wishing you a very Happy (and organized) New Year!
Tuesday, July 08 2014
Even if you are not looking to take on a large organizing project, there are some things you can do on a daily basis to get and stay organized. The good thing is, little effort is involved.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Make Your Bed - This simple task will not only give your room a nicer look, but if you have pets in the home, it is especially helpful. Pets have litter, dirt, fur, dander, dust or other items on them that you don't necessarily want on your sheets. Take five minutes to make your bed first thing in the morning.
2. Determine Your Route - Are you running errands or taking a trip? Plan the best route you will take and know travel conditions before getting into your car. Getting lost or sitting in a traffic jam is not saving you any time.
3. Load The Dishwasher or Hand Wash The Dishes - Dirty dishes left in the sink, on the counter or elsewhere in the house is an invitation for bugs, pests and bacteria. A cluttered sink makes it difficult to prepare meals. Load the dishwasher throughout the day and run it regularly to keep your dirty dishes from building up. Wash your dishes by hand and let them dry in the drainboard as you use them. Put the dishes away on a regular basis to avoid clutter.
4. Open Your Mail - On a daily basis, bring your mail into the house and immediately sort through it, eliminating the junk mail by shredding and recycling. Open up the rest of the mail to decide what you need to do with it. This will avoid the build up of paper clutter in your home.
5. Lay Out Your Clothes - The night before, decide what you want to wear the next day, even down to accessories and lay them out for the next morning. This will save you time when you are rushing to get somewhere the next day.
There are many other ways you can do some "everyday organizing". Can you think of any?
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized or have a larger project you want to tackle, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I am wishing you an organized day!
Monday, April 21 2014
I love using inexpensive solutions to help my clients get organized. A great tool that I use quite often is a simple basket or plastic shoe box. They can be used in so many different ways. Have you considered these ideas?
1. Group jewelry in a drawer or on your dresser.
2. Hold coins found in your pocket.
3. On your bedside table to hold hand creams, lip balm, etc.
1. Contain eyeglass cleaning accessories or contacts and solution.
2. Gather Hair bands or barrettes.
3. Use to hold make-up and accessories.
4. Group together nail polish and nail care accessories.
5. Hold razors and shaving accessories.
1. Compartmentalize hats and gloves for each family member.
2. Containerize first aid products.
3. Keep shampoos, body wash and other personal hygiene products in one spot.
4. Gather extra toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste you get from your dentist.
5. Use one to store travel size products for quick packing.
1. Hold packets of sauce mixes together.
2. Group spices together.
3. Keep your measuring spoons together in your kitchen drawer or cabinet.
4. Gather twist ties in one place.
5. Use to store small sharp knives in a drawer.
HOME OFFICE -
1. Contain paper clips and binder clips.
2. Keep erasers and correction fluid together.
3. Gather pens, pencils or markers.
There are so many uses for inexpensive baskets and containers! Use your imagination and start getting organized.
If you are just too overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, contact me and schedule your free phone consultation. I can get you started on the road to A Better Space!
Monday, April 14 2014
Do you multi-task? Is it really possible? This subject is constantly debated. Some say yes, it is possible. Some say no.
The truth is, when we think we are multi-tasking, in most instances, we are not. Yes, we might be doing several things at one time, that is true. However, we are not saving any time doing so. We are working on pieces, we are not completely focused on a task and, most importantly, there is no time being saved by doing two, or even three things at a time. It's all about focus. If we take the time to focus on one task at at a time, we will get it done more quickly and more efficiently. That is a fact!
Now, can we use items in our home for various purposes? Sure we can! That's what I call multi-tasking! Here are some examples:
1. ICE CUBE TRAY -
* Gather desk supplies such as thumb tacks and paper clips.
* Organize sewing items such as buttons, beads and hooks.
* Use one in your dresser drawer to organize small earrings or pins.
2. SHOE ORGANIZER WITH POCKETS -
* Store art supplies. A plastic hanging shoe organizer can hold, paints, pens, brushes, glue sticks and stickers.
* Use one on the back of the bathroom closet door to store small soaps, razors, sample bottles of lotions or nail polish.
* Place one in your clothes closet to separate pantyhose or pairs of knee high socks.
3. LAUNDRY BASKET -
* Protect delicate plants during a rain storm or hail storm by turning the basket upside down on top of them and burying the edges in the dirt.
* Gather garden supplies, including a garden hose. Coil the hose and stash your sprinkers, nozzles and other attachments in the middle of the coil.
* Take one to the beach filled with beach toys for the kids. Flip it over to use as a table at lunch time.
Can you think of other ways to multi-task, besides running around doing two or three things at a time? Use your imagination and take another look at what you already have in your home that you can use for other purposes. Be creative!
Share your ideas! I would love to hear from you!
If you are simply overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help. I can show you creative ways to use what you already have and repurpose them to help you get and stay organized once and for all!
I am just a phone call (or email) away! I would love to hear from you!
Monday, July 01 2013
Is there such a thing as a fake de-clutterer? Yes, there is!
As crazy as it might sound, it's true.
Do you find that you are telling people you are organized, but instead you are just moving the clutter from one room to another? This is not de-cluttering. De-cluttering involves the elimination of items that are no longer needed or wanted, not just moving them around. You still end up with the same amount of things, they are just located elsewhere.
Does your home appear neat and organized until you open up a closet door and it is crammed with stuff? This is not de-cluttering. It's hiding. Even your closets, drawers and cabinets should be clutter-free. How many sets of linens or towels do you have? How much clothing is crammed into your closet that you don't wear? Is your pantry filled with expired food?
Is the first floor and second floor of your home in good shape clutter-wise but your basement is another story? Is your garage a dumping ground for the items you just don't know what to do with?
Even if you have items categorized and neatly organized in plastic containers or boxes, you can still have clutter.
Do you just have too much "stuff"? Perhaps you have a container with hundreds of twist ties. There is no problem keeping a certain amount, but you need to pay attention to the quantity of like-items you are keeping.
For example, do you have a lifetime supply of pens, pencils, notepads, grocery bags, hotel shampoos and soaps? (Just to name a few.) Anything in abundance can be considered clutter.
Keep in mind that you are not ridding yourself of clutter if you simply move things around to different locations, hide it or make everything look neater. It's still clutter. If items are useful but not being used by you, that's clutter too.
Here's what you can do:
1. Figure out why you are keeping certain items.
2. Think about the purpose of each item.
3. Create a plan and take action.
This doesn't have to be a difficult process. If it seems overwhelming to you, that's okay. With the help of a professional organizer like myself, you can eliminate that clutter and get organized once and for all. Don't be a fake!
Enjoy the upcoming 4th of July holiday and declare your independence from clutter! If you need my assistance, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Tuesday, June 11 2013
As you might know, I am very active on Facebook. In fact, if you are not already a fan of my Facebook Page, I invite you to join me where I post daily organizing tips. www.facebook.com/abetterspace
Today, I want to share with you "30 Uses for WD-40". I recently found these on Facebook and thought "How Cool Is This!"
This amazing product was created in 1953. Three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company wanted to find a water displacement compound and with their 40th attempt, WD-40 was created.
So here we go:
1. Protects silver from tarnishing.
2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
4. Gives floors that "just waxed" sheet without making them slippery.
5. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
6. Removes lipstick stains.
7. Loosens stubborn zippers.
8. Untangles jewelry chains.
9. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
10. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
11. Keeps ceramic/terracotta garden pots from oxidizing.
12. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
13. Keeps glass show doors free of water spots.
14. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
15. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
16. Lubricates noisy door hinges on both home and vehicle doors.
17. Removes nasty tar and scuff marks from the kitchen floor without harming the finish. (Be sure to ventilate the area well if using it on a lot of marks.)
18. Removes those nasty Bug guts that eat away the finish on your car.
19. Lubricates gear shifts and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
20. Eliminates rocking chair and kid swings of squeaky noises.
21. Lubricates tracks in sticking windows to make them easier to open.
22. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicle as well as vinyl bumpers.
23. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
24. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
25. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy handling.
26. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
27. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades and other tools.
28. Removes grease splatters from stovetops.
29. Removes all traces of duct tape.
30. Removes crayon from walls. Just spray it on the marks and wipe with a clean rag.
There were some others but these were my favorites. There are ideas here for women and men to use. Try these out and let me know which are your favorites. Any other ideas? Please share.
Until next time, wishing you an organized day.
Monday, June 03 2013
It's very common to add more to our lives by adding something - a bigger home, more clothing, more decorations, more, more, more...
However, the funny thing is - less is actually more.
Last weekend I decided to declutter and organize my own home. I had been spending so much time helping others get organized, I was neglecting my own space. Over time, things built up and it was time to do something about it.
Being a professional organizer, I know all too well that less is more. When you clear out the clutter in your home and in your head, you clear out the clutter in your life.
Sometimes, our clutter means that we have too many time commitments.
I decided to commit Memorial Day weekend to my own home and did not commit to any social activities. I knew that if I committed this block of time to this project, I would be able to enjoy the rest of the Summer. That was my motivation.
I systematically went through my home, starting on the second floor and moving down to the first floor, one room at a time; just like what I do when working with my clients when they hire me to organize their homes. I cleaned, I decluttered, I organized. I worked 12 hours a day for two days. It was a lot of work, but, oh, it felt so good! During this week, I am going to work on my basement and storage room. Then, my entire home will be organized!
Here are four steps you can take to create more with less:
1. Enlist an "accountability partner". Select someone who is committed to supporting you and perhaps creating change in their own life. This "accountability partner" can be a friend, family member or even a professional organizer like myself to keep you focused and moving forward.
2. Make a list. Break down the various areas of your home that you wish to tackle and create a chronological list so you can check them off as you go and get that wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end. As you think of things you need to do or want to purchase, write them down as well. This will keep you on track.
3. Subtract as you go. Look closely at what you have and eliminate the excess. It could be clothing, paperwork, old linens, pantry food items, etc. Take the time to truly evaluate what you need and will use. Don't create excuses for keeping something you know you will never use.
4. Find the additions. This does not mean that you find more stuff to keep. It means finding the joy in having less. Celebrate your successes by inviting people over to see what you have accomplished. Enjoy your new space and "live" in your home. Your have now created more space for good things to enter your life.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and need assistance in creating a home you enjoy living in and are ready to eliminate your clutter, once and for all, contact me. I can help you to create a step-by-step system so you can have A Better Space.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, February 24 2013
Last week I addressed the issue of spousal clutter. I explained the reasons why your spouse, partner or roomate might be causing clutter.
This week I would like to provide you with some routines you and your family can begin to implement to bust through that clutter.
- When you finish reading a magazine or newspaper, process the information and recycle the rest. Did you find a great recipe in your favorite magazine, an article your spouse might enjoy or a coupon for your local store? Pull them out from the magazine or newspaper and immediately recycle the rest. Stacks of magazines or newspapers cause clutter.
- Leave enough room in your coat closet for coats, jackets, boots and accessories. If your coat closet is too full, it's difficult to put things away and retrieve them easily. Clear out the items that do not belong in the closet. Create sufficient room for hangers, the floor and top shelf so that these items don't end up scatttered throughout your home.
- Keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bureaus and tables are all culprits for clutter. Having a home for paperwork is the key to success. Create a system that works and you will avoid flat surface clutter.
- Wash dishes right away. Do not put dishes in the sink after using them. Immediately handwash them and put them in a drain board or load them into the dishwasher. It will take less time than you think to do this. Otherwise, you end up creating a "project" and we just don't have the time for that! Take the time to do this as you go and you will avoid sink clutter.
- Take five and grab ten. It will only take you about five minutes to grab ten articles of clothing from your bedroom closet or drawers that you no longer want or wear and put them in a box for donation or in the trash if they are no longer useable. This will free up space for the clothes you do want to keep. This will avoid clothing clutter.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know which tips you plan to implement. If you need assistance in setting up some systems in your home to make these areas clutter free, let me know. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Saturday, February 09 2013
Wow! January was crazy busy for A Better Space. So many people contacted me to help them get organized. That is why I did not blog in almost a month! I believe we can all find a little time in our day to get organized, right?
If you need to get organized but can't seem to find the time, I have some suggestions for things you can do to at least get started. They only require about 15 minutes a day! I am sure you can carve out 15 minutes out of your day to get some organizing done.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Organize a 15 minute family pick-up. Get everyone involved to go around the house and gather up items that do not belong in that particular room and put them away. (This can be done on a daily basis to keep the clutter under control.)
2. Gather your remote controls for the television and gaming devices in your family room and put them into one basket. If there are similar devices in other rooms, do the same thing.
3. Go through your sock drawer. Gather those single socks, ones that are worn out or no longer worn. Old socks sometimes make great handheld dusters. Only keep a few for this purpose, though. The rest have to go! Pair up the rest and put them away.
4. Match your plastic containers with their lids. Go into your kitchen and gather all of your plastic containers and plastic lids. Put the lids on the containers and get rid of the ones that don't have a matching lid. Reduce the amount that you have if you have too many. With the lids in place, you will never have to find a matching lid again.
5. Do a clothing toss. Go through your closet and quickly eliminate those items you no longer like, you never wear or no longer fit. Donate the items that are still in good condition.
6. Do a medicine cabinet review. Eliminate old or expired medications. Only keep the items you still use. Old medications can be returned to your pharmacist to recycle.
7. Organize your bathroom towels. Go through the linen closet and get rid of the old and worn out towels you no longer use. Only keep enough on hand for one week's use. Too many towels means too much clutter.
8. Check the back of the fridge. You probably have items that have gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator and are no longer useable. Get rid of them and then organize like items together in the fridge so you can easily find what you need when you need it. Keep leftovers at the front so they get used up first.
There are many other ways to get organized in just 15 minutes. What will you do to get your home organized with just 15 minutes a day? I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with others.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, November 27 2012
The holiday season is officially upon us as of Thanksgiving. The holidays tend to center around the kitchen and one important aspect of the kitchen is the pantry.
This past weekend, I worked with a client to organize her pantry. She loves to cook and a key aspect of that is being able to go to her pantry and quickly retrieve what she needs. She was, however, having difficulty doing so because she was not sure what was in the pantry and where things were stored. She did not have a system.
We emptied out the entire pantry and looked at everything. We eliminated the excess and then grouped like items together according to her own personal preference.
Containers had been purchased ahead of time when we first evaluated the space to help containerize certain items. Then, it was just a matter of figuring out what items belonged where. She already had a hanging rack on the inside of the pantry door. We repurposed it so that items being stored on the door were the items she most frequently accessed. We utilized her various shelves to store like items together.
After the process was complete and the layout met my client's needs, we noticed that certain items were missing. She now knew she needed to go shopping for pasta, tomato sauce, cereal and crackers. We had left space for those items to be incorporated.
To make sure you have the staples needed in your pantry, I am providing a list of items that I recommend: (Your items might differ slightly)
Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Spices, Red Cooking Wine, White Cooking Wine, Chicken Broth;
Canned Tuna, Tomato Paste, Jarred Marinara and/or Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Rice, Pasta, Beans, Cereal, Crackers,
All-purpose Flour, Sugar, Oats, Bread Crumbs, Condiments, Salad Dressings.
Again, your items might differ but you can use this as a basis to get started.
So, now that you have an idea as to how I helped my client organize her pantry, you don't need to ponder your pantry anymore. If, however, you need further assistance, don't hesitate to contact me.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, April 17 2012
Has your living situation changed recently? Have you decided that you and your significant other should now be living together? Congratulations! It can be a very excited time; the prospect of a new life together. However, it can bring challenges. One of them being blending two people (or families) into one.
I get contacted quite often as a professional organizer by people who have recently married or moved in together and are now struggling with trying to fit two households into one. We all know, we can't keep everything we own and still have room for someone else. It takes compromise, a concept we become so familiar with when in a relationship.
Perhaps it's you who is moving into your partner's home; perhaps your partner is moving in with you. Perhaps you are both moving into a new home together. Just how do we make it all work?
Communication is key. You need to discuss what is going to stay and what is going to go. You cannot expect that one person is to give up everything in order to move into the other person's home. It requires "blended organization".
You might have double the furniture - two bedroom sets, two living room sets, two dining room sets. You have to decide which sets of furniture will stay and which will go. Will they be sold, given to other family members or friends or donated? I discourage using a storage unit long term to solve this problem. It is an expense we don't need to incur if we make some decisions.
You might have multiple sets of pots and pans, dishes, silverware. Which sets will remain, which will go? This kitchen is a very common area in which blended organization comes into play.
You might have lots of artwork, nick knacks, collectibles. Do you have enough room to incorporate all of it? Does some of it need to be eliminated? I find that if someone is that passionate about something, you should do whatever you can to keep the collection in tact, but within reason. If it's a large collection, it just might need to be downsized in order to make it fit into the home. Discuss solutions that work for everyone involved.
My late husband was an avid record collector. We had a wall in our apartment and later in our home that had cabinets filled with record albums and boxes of 45's (all in alphabetical order by artist, by the way!) We agreed that the entire collection would stay in tact and we were able to come up with a solution for storage that did not intrude on our style of daily living. The key is to whether the items will take over the home. Remember, we need to own our possessions, not have our possessions own us.
Are you sharing closet space? If so, it's possible that you might both need to weed out your wardrobe to reduce its contents to make it fit into the designated area.
My wardrobe currently occupies my entire walk-in closet in my master bedroom and spare bedroom. However, I can tell you that if and when someone special comes into my life and we decide to combine our households, I will need to reduce the amount of clothing being stored to make room for that special someone. For now, I have the space to myself and can spread out. We need to live within the space that is provided.
The bottom line is that when you are combining households, you need to be sure to take the time to communicate about how each other's possessions will fit into the living space. It might mean eliminating things altogether or it might mean reducing the amount.
The other factor that comes into play is how each of you function but that is a blog for another day.
If you have questions about how to blend your home to accommodate each other, contact me. I am glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, March 20 2012
Last time, l spoke about tips to get organized for Daylight Savings Time. Now that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with some tips for getting organized for the Spring season. After all, Spring is the time when we look forward to a fresh clean slate - in our homes and in our ourselves. Here are some ways to start off the season with some fresh ideas:
1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as sitting outside and reading a special book or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many at-home' spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. Whatever you choose to do, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for Spring.
2. Switch Out: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn't put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn't use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don't put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away.
3. Lighten Up: Clutter can't be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When your spaces are filled with things, your perception is that rooms are closing in on you. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten it up. The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale!
4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize your work-out routines. It's likely that through the winter you had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it's possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and change your schedule with some new scenery and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.
5. Cooking Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven't used and don't plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have eliminated those you don't want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week! Also, if you try a recipe and no one likes it--toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own cookbooks at all!
6. Trash Tattered Towels: Have your bath towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of Spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter like the SPCA. They will appreciate your donation. Take inventory what remains. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel.
7. Outdoor Organizing: With warmer weather, many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks. It's also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Did the cement or driveway crack over the winter? Does your house need a new coat of paint? Organize your gardening tasks and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar every weekend. Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant since all danger of frost is now past.
8. Organize Your Refrigerator: I always advise to do this before Thanksgiving but this is also a good time of year to organize the fridge. Organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small baskets or bins to group like items together. [CLEVER CONTAINER has a great line of bin organizers for your fridge and pantry. Check them out right on this website! Just look for the CLEVER CONTAINER tab on the home page. They are on Page 6 of the catalog.] Use them to put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator can be a welcome change!
Get Spring off to a good start but using the tips above and enjoy the season of new beginnings!
If you have any additional tips, we would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, February 27 2012
There are so many options available to us these days to help us get and stay organized. I love options because everyone does not function the same way. Some people are auditory, some are visual and some are experiential learners (hands on).
There are several ways to organize your paperwork if you like clear your surfaces (who doesn't) but still be able to see what you have. (Visual). One way is to make use of binder clips!
Here are some examples of how you can use Binder Clips to get and stay organized:
Use them on the back of a door, a cabinet, a bulletin board or a wall. Adding a magnetic hook or push pins to the mix are a good complement.
I like to take a label maker and put labels on the actual clips themselves to give them a specific purpose. You can even color code the binder clips as they come in so many different colors these days. You don't need to stick with black.
A use for color-coded Binder Clips is to use them for various tasks or for each family member. Assign a specific color to each.
You can clip recipes together for the week and hang them on the inside of a cabinet door.
Use a magnetic hook on the side of your fridge to hang the Binder Clip on for a shopping list with coupons.
Use push pins on the front of a shelf to hand the clips.
Hang a Binder Clip inside the door, under the sink in your kitchen or bathroom, to hold your rubber gloves.
Hang magnetic hooks on the side of a filing cabinet near your desk and create binder clips for "hot" action items.
You can also use a bulletin board with a labeled binder clip called "HOT".
If you can't locate your label maker, you can use a binder clip to clip a labeled index card onto the front of a small bin on a shelf.
If letter trays do not work for you to sort your mail, use a Binder Clips that are labeled "Pay", "Action" and "File".
For paper management purposes, Binder Clips create a boundary. They limit the amount of paper work that builds up. It forces you to create a limit as to how long you put off the inevitable. You will need to keep it under control!
As you can see, there are multiple uses for just a simple Binder Clip. Use your imagination! I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with everyone!
So, get out those binder clips and put them to good use in organizing your home and your life.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, December 12 2011
We are now in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. With Chanukah starting on December 20th, Christmas on December 25th, Kwanzaa on December 26th and New Years Eve on December 31st, there is a lot to plan for.
I have a few suggestions as to how you can save some precious time during the holidays.
1. Give yourself a break! You don't have to prepare all of the food yourself. You can prepare those special recipes you enjoy making but have others contribute. Have your guests bring a dessert or an appetizer. Order a nice tray from your local grocery store or speciality shop to reduce the amount of time you spend preparing for your dinners or parties.
2. Avoid the traffic jams on your stove. Use an electric skillet, slow cooker or food warmer. You can use them to heat premade foods and set them up somewhere else besides the area around your stove. Why not use another portion of your counter top, a table or a server?
3. Create a centerpiece for the table by using what you already have. Use a long runner that reflects the holidays. Use fabric or even wrapping paper and let the food you prepare serve as the decorative part of your table. Use a nice basket of seasonal fruit to create a focal point on your table. Put it on a larger plate and surround it with Christmas ornaments for an even more festive table. Again, if you don't want to take the time, have your local grocery store or specialty shop create the fruit basket for you.
4. Keep a few gifts on hand for unexpected guests. We are bound to either forget about someone or someone shows up with an unexpected guest. Be prepared by keeping a few extra gift items on hand. Wrap them ahead of time and indicate on a post-it note what it is and you will not be caught off guard.
5. As I've written about in previous posts for Thanksgiving, do the same for the upcoming holiday parties and dinners. Give your fridge a thorough clean-out. Get rid of what you don't need, clean the shelves and make room for those leftovers!
6. Make a list of the items you will need to prepare your special recipes. Avoid having to run to the store last minute to purchase that extra stick of butter or some condensed milk. Go through all of your recipes carefully and make sure you have everything you need when you go to prepare that special appetizer, side dish or dessert.
These suggestions will help you to save some time during the holidays. Let me know which one you like the best.
Most importantly, enjoy!
Saturday, April 09 2011
I don't know about you, but the dishwasher is one of the most used appliances in my kitchen. The door must open dozens of times a day and it is filled with plates, bowls, glassware and silverware, among other items.
In order to maximize the potential of your dishwasher, consider the following tips:
- Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature. Many dishwashers have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater to a lower temperature. This will save on your energy bill.
- Scrape off, don’t rinse off, large food pieces and bones. Put the bones in the trash, not down the garbage disposer. Soaking or prewashing is generally only recommended in cases of burned-on or dried-on food. This will save on your water bill.
- Be sure that when you run your dishwasher, it is full, but not overloaded. You want to only run it when you have enough for a full load, but you don't want to over stuff it with items. This will cause the dishwasher to wash less effectively and you might end up with some dirty dishes at the end. That is a waste of time, water and energy!
- Don’t use the "rinse hold" function on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water each time you use it. If possible, utilize the "normal" setting and save the "pots and pans" setting for when you really need it. This will save water and energy as well.
- Let your dishes air dry. If you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open a little so the dishes will dry faster.
Utilizing these tips will enable you to make the best use of your dishwasher and save you money at the same time.
Do you have any other money saving tips when it comes to your dishwasher? Share your thoughts.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, April 20 2010
As a busy mom, you are responsible for running the household, caring for your children, being a chauffeur, and perhaps having a full-time career among other responsibilities. Part of those responsibilities includes meal planning.
As a mom, it is our responsibility to make sure that the family is fed and fed well. Providing good nourishing meals is important to us. However, chances are, your schedule is so chaotic that you hardly have any time to prepare dinner let alone find good nourishing meals that everyone will enjoy.
If you run home after a full day to get something on the table before everyone has to run out the door again for evening activities, you probably don’t have time to figure out what to serve. So, what is a busy mom to do? The answer is "planning".
Once a week, you should sit down with your favorite recipes, recipe books or go on line to find recipes. Plan out a variety of quick and nutritious meals you can make and have ready for those times when dinner is squeezed into a tight schedule. Include chicken, turkey, pork, ground meat, beans, pasta and casseroles into your plan.
Take those recipes and create a list of items you will need to buy at the store to prepare them. When preparing these meals, consider making a double batch and freezing one, so you will have a home made meal that is quick and easy to heat up but still provides good nutrition.
Ask your family what their favorite dishes are and include one of them into your plan each week for a pleasant surprise.
To save time, use a crock pot. Prepare the ingredients in the morning and let it cook all day. The meal will be ready to serve when you come home at the end of the day. The low setting is recommended!
Look for recipes and recipe books that have meals you can prepare in under 30 minutes. Schedule enough meals for five or six nights of the week and give yourself one night off. You deserve it!
Then, prepare your menu for the following week. With this system in place, you will be able to put a meal on the table almost every night of the week and not have to think "What should I make for dinner tonight?"
If you need assistance in pulling together your grocery list when planning your meals, why not purchase the "U Can Do It Grocery Shopping Checklist". It's a comprehensive and compact list which will reduce the amount of time it takes to prepare for and go shopping because you just simply check off the items you want to purchase from the already prepared list.
Visit the "ABS Store" right on this website and make it a regular part of your meal planning each week.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, January 24 2010
I don't think any of us can disagree that, for the most part, we are a society of abundance. We take a lot for granted when it comes to our possessions. We use something and then throw it away.
Have you ever considered reusing something for another purpose? If not, I have some ideas I have gathered which I would like to share with you.
From the kitchen:
Colander - create a luminaria by placing tealights or votives inside a metal version. (You don't want to melt the plastic ones!)
Milk carton - keep breakables in tact when you move. Wrap up your small delicate pieces with bubble wrap and then slid them into their own containers. (A juice carton works just as well.)
Wine cork - organize your jewelry by poking your stud earrings into a cork and toss it in your travel bag.
From the bathroom:
Antacid tablets - clean your toilet by dropping in two dissolving antacid tablets like Alka-Seltzer into the bowl, wait 20 minutes and then brush.
Cotton swabs - keep your phone charged by using a swab dipped in alcohol to clean the battery contacts on your cell phone, laptop or cordless phone.
Bath mat - when replacing your mat in your bathroom, take the older one and protect your car seats in your car from muddy paws. The rubber bottom will help the mat stay put on the seat. No more doggy footprints!
From the bedroom:
Pillow case - use it to store the rest of the set of bed linens so they are kept together in one place and easy to grab when changing your linens.
Tie rack - use it to keep dish towels and pot holders within reach on your kitchen wall or magnetize it and put in on the side of your fridge.
Plastic pocket shoe organizer - store your art supplies such as paints, pens, brushes, scissors and more.
From the laundry room:
Empty bottles of bleach - use two bottles filled with sand as dumbells in your home gym.
Clothes pins - use them to support vines and climbing plants in your garden by making sure the stems pass through the holes in the center so as not to damage then.
Wire hanger - remove static cling. Run the long side of the hanger over a skirts or between your skirts and pantyhose or slip.
Try out these ideas and let me know what you think. Come up with other ideas and let us know what they are.
If you need any assistance with getting organized, feel free to contact me at A Better Space. I will be more than happy to help.
Wishing you an organized week!
Sunday, November 29 2009
Here are a few suggestions to make your grocery shopping as organized as possible.
1. Get it on paper. As you use up the last of any item, write it down on a designated list under the name of the store where you would purchase the item. This will help you find what you need right away. Have this list handy so your family can add to it as the need presents itself.
2. Avoid making two trips. If at all possible, try and do most of your errands the same day you do your grocery shopping. Make sure you take that list along with you, so you can go on the errand run without forgetting anything.
3. Be prepared. When it is time to shop for your groceries, try and limit it to one day a week. Gather up the lists and any coupons you can use. Have a designated plastic folder or envelope to hold them all, and have it with you at all times. If you should unexpectedly stop at that particular store, you can use the coupon for the items you need.
4. Plan your route. Knowing where you're going, especially when you plan to make several stops, can save you both time and money with the high cost of fuel.
5. Map it out. Make up a list of the aisles in the store, and the grocery items in each. You'll be able to easily pick up the items on your shopping list aisle by aisle, instead of in a random, disorganized fashion. This will help you get in and out of the store in no time.
TRY THE "U CAN DO IT GROCERY SHOPPING CHECKLIST". It enables you to simply check off the items you need, as they have already been listed for you, and categorizes the items together to make shopping simple and saves you time! Go to the ABS Store tab for more info!
6. Get help from the teens. When you are shopping with older children, divide up the list and have them pick up items from the other aisles. If at all possible, leave the little ones at home. They almost always add to impulse shopping. Plus your focus then needs to be divided between the grocery shopping and making sure the kids aren't pulling things off the shelves, or putting items you don't wish to purchase in your cart.
7. Keep 'em cool. Keep a bag or cooler in the trunk that can hold your perishable items. This will ensure no melted and leaky ice cream packages. Generally shop for groceries last when doing the errands--this way the frozen things won't have a chance to melt.
8. Instruct the Baggers. Request that the Bagger pack all perishables together in the bags so you can grab them first when you return home. This also gives you the option of leaving the non-perishables to unpack at your leisure.
9. Think about your calendar. Look over your schedule for the upcoming week to see if there is something unusual you will be using in a recipe, or an event that may be coming up for which you need to purchase a card or gift. Put that on your list also.
10. Carry the recipes with you. Carry your family's favorite recipes with you on little index cards that have the ingredients listed. You can see what is needed on the recipe card and get the items you don't already have. Saves unnecessary stops at the grocery store during the week for that one forgotten item!
11. Do a bit of prep work. When you get home and unpack your groceries, do some preliminary meal preparation. Cook meat and then package it into meal sized dinners. Wash all your fruit and veggies. Cut the veggies so you can just put them into the dishes you plan on making. This can be a real time saver for your meal preparation.
12. Double up. Plan on cooking a double recipe for some meals. Eat one and freeze the other for a busy weeknight dinner.
13. Create a meal plan. By having a meal plan for the week, along with the items needed on a list, you should have a quick and easy shopping trip each and every week.
14. Think outside the box. There is also another solution for grocery shopping. There are various agencies and many supermarkets that can do it for you. If there is just not enough time in your busy schedule, using that service once in awhile, or all the time if you budget permits, might help you get caught up with your To Do list.
By using some or all of these tips, you will find that you are spending much less time preparing for and going to the supermarket. Using the "U Can Do It Grocery Shopping Checklist" will be a big help also.
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Monday, November 23 2009
In my last blog, I talked about how to organize the fridge in preparation for Thanksgiving. So, now that the fridge and freezer are organized, another issue arises AFTER the Thanksgiving feast - what to do with the leftovers.
Sometimes we just keep eating them until they are gone or take them and prepare something else from them -such as turkey soup, etc.
However, sometimes, we want to freeze the leftovers (in our recently organized freezer!) but are not sure what the guidelines are for how long they will last.
When storing your leftovers, select a shallow, air tight meal-sized container that you can clearly label. You want to put the date and the contents on the label for future reference.
Here are the guidelines for how long you can save your leftovers in the freezer:
Turkey meat (removed from the bone).............4 to 6 months
Stuffing.....................................................2 to 3 months
Soups........................................................2 to 3 months
Cranberry Sauce..........................................2 to 3 months
Vegetables.................................................1 year (if blanched)
Cakes, cupcakes and pies..............................2 to 3 months
I hope all of you enjoy your Thanksgiving with family and friends but don't eat too much!
Remember, you can freeze the leftovers!
If you need more assistance with getting your home organized, don't hesitate to contact A Better Space. I will be more than happy to help.
Sunday, November 15 2009
I don't know about you, but I can't believe it's already the middle of November! Wasn't it just Halloween! Well, in order to keep pace with the upcoming holidays, there are some things you can do to make it go smoother.
In order to prepare for the large amount of food you might be preparing for Thanksgiving (including the storage of that pre-cooked turkey), I suggest that this is a good time to organize the inside of your refrigerator to accommodate the room you will need to store all that food.
Here are some quick tips for A Better Space in your fridge:
1. TOSS - Go through your refrigerator and freezer, shelf by shelf, and toss out anything that has spoiled, has an expired date on it, anything you are unable to identify or that you know you no longer want.
2. CLEAN - Clear out one shelf at a time either by moving items to another shelf or temporarily removing them from the fridge or freezer. You can lay them out on a towel on your counter or floor. Wipe each shelf out with warm water and baking soda. Scrape off any bits of food and wipe up any spills. Don't forget the refrigerator door and drawers. Then wipe down the items before they are returned to the fridge or freezer to remove whatever might be on the outside of them or stuck to the bottom.
3. CATEGORIZE - Designate different shelves for different categories. By grouping things together, they will be easier to locate. Some suggestions are to keep milk, juice and other drinks together. Keep all left-overs together and towards the front so they are easily seen and used before they go bad. Keep all breads together. Keep all condiments together either on the door on in a low container on a shelf for easy access to the ones in the back. Vegetables and fruits should be kept in their designated drawers with the correct setting to assure longer life.
4. DON'T FORGET THE EXTERIOR - Clear the front of the fridge of all loose papers and toss anything that is outdated. Coupons should be kept in a coupon organizer and recipes you intend to prepare should be placed in a recipe file. Remove excess magnets to keep the front of the fridge free of clutter.
By using these simple suggestions, you will create more space inside and outside your refrigerator and freezer for the holidays and be able to find what you need more easily.
Don't let all that fridge clutter "gobble" up your space!
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, simply contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Tuesday, September 22 2009
I love professional organizing because it gives me a great opportunity to use my imagination. This past weekend, I was working with one of my clients. She is making great strides in getting her home organized once and for all.
We were working in the kitchen area to make some sense of her plastic containers and her recycling of cans and paper, among other things.
This particular client purchases the cardboard boxes of soda which you can open up on one side and it acts as a dispenser.
Going through the organizing process with her, we recognized that because her particular apartment complex does not participate in recycling, she is transporting her recycling items in her car to a local drop-off point. Needless to say, transporting a slew of empty soda cans can be annoying and cumbersome.
I love to teach my clients to "think outside the box", (to coin a phrase). We figured out that we could use the empty soda can box/dispenser to fill with empty soda cans to be transported to the local recycling center. It already has a handle to carry the box, so what could be easier!
This is a perfect example of how you can take something you already have and put it to use in a different way. I promised my client I would pass this tidbit of information on to my blog readers.
So, take a moment when looking for a solution to a problem and remember to "think outside the box"!!!
If you have any great suggestions on how to use something old in a new way, send me an email and tell me about it.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Enjoy the start of Fall and have a great week!
Sunday, August 30 2009
Life is complicated enough.
I have found that people tend to make their schedules and tasks much more difficult than they have to be. While there are hundreds of things you can do to organize your life, I believe these seven tips alone can help.
1. Simplify your morning routine. Take a shower and select what you are going to wear the night before. Go for a more natural look and use less cosmetics to save time. Get an simple hairstyle that requires very little work and is easy to maintain. Set the breakfast table the night before. Wake up a little bit earlier so you can feed the kids, walk the dog and/or have a cup of coffee without the need to race to work.
2. Simplify your schedule. Stop doing the activities that you are no longer interested in doing. Delegate. Consolidate your errands to save time. Pad each errand, appointment or task by about 15 minutes and you will stop rushing from one thing to the next. Don't fill your calendar to the max. Leave some time open for fun and relaxation in between your work-related or chore-related tasks. Stop saying "yes" to everyone and everything. Learn to say "no" sometimes!
3. Simplify your processes. Is it taking too long to accomplish certain things? If so, take a look at those tasks. For example, if it's taking you an hour to balance your checkbook, you might want to consider using a computer software program to manage your money instead. Are you tired of waiting in line at the post office for postage? Consider ordering it online. If it's taking you forever to file your paperwork, perhaps it's time to revamp your filing system. It just might not be the best system for you.
4. Simplify your possessions. Remember, when it comes to possessions, quality is more important that quantity. It's better to have a few very nice things than tons of not-so-nice things. Do you have more shirts than will fit in your drawer or closet? Do you really need that many? Donate clothes you never wear and you'll be helping someone less fortunate while simplifying your wardrobe. Weed out your kitchen cupboards. Reduce the amount of plastic containers. Get rid of the small appliances or cooking utensils you no longer use. Have a yard sale. Before you go shopping, get rid of something you no longer need. Use the "one in, one out" rule. If your kids are off on their own, you may even want to simplify and downsize to a smaller house. Remember, less is more!
5. Simplify your finances. Consolidate your credit cards. Most people can get by just fine with just one or two major ones. And, don't spend beyond your means! In fact, if your credit card bills run very high each month, consider paying for purchases in cash instead. Pay your bills online whenever you can. Balance your checkbook each month, so you don't fall way behind. Set up a monthly spending budget and stick to it so you don't go overboard with purchases each month.
Do you want an EASY way to budget your money? Are you tired of those complex systems that you can't maintain from month to month? If so, the U Can Do It Budgeting System is for you. You will be able to download this e-book onto your computer within minutes and be ready to create your own personal budget in less than one hour! Simply go to the Budgeting System tab right on this website and download it today!
6. Simplify your cleaning. Clean as you go, and you'll never have to deep clean. Rinse dirty dishes and put them in the dishwasher immediately after each meal so you don't have big pile-ups in the sink. (Remind your family of this rule, as well.) Use only one or two cleaning products to clean your entire house--you don't need ten! Create a cleaning schedule. You may choose to do a chore each day, such as vacuuming on Mondays, dusting on Tuesdays, etc. Or, you may prefer choosing a room a day, such as kitchen on Mondays, bathrooms on Tuesdays, etc. Divide up the cleaning duties among each member of your household. If your budget will allow, get a cleaning person to come in and clean once a week, or once every few weeks.
7. Simplify your meal planning. Choose one day each week (include your family, if you'd like)to decide what you will have for dinner the next seven nights. Write those meals down and make a grocery list of the items you need to purchase to make match those meals.
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This is much easier than worrying about what you're going to make for dinner each day. Choose meals that take less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Make double, so you only have to cook every other night! Learn how to use a slow cooker so dinner is ready to eat when you get home from work.
Please keep in mind that with any plan, maintenance is the key. By utilizing these tips regularly, I guarantee you will have A BETTER SPACE.
If you need further assistance with this or any other organizational issue, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy the last days of August!
Wednesday, July 08 2009
Now that the kids are out of school and summer is in full swing, we don't have the time or want to take the time to clean the house. We want to be outside, on vacation, taking day trips and participating in other summer time activities.
But -- we still need to clean the house. How do we do both? We "speed clean"!!
I have compiled some Quick Tips for A Better Space which are great time-saving tips and techniques for cleaning your home in less than an hour. You can do it all at once or select several rooms a day to do a quick cleaning. By using these techniques, you can be sure that your home will be clean and you will be ready for summer fun.
Bedroom - Make your bed first thing in the morning, put your clothes in the hamper, straighten up your night stand and bureau surfaces. Then quickly dust and vaccum.
Bathroom - Wipe down the shower door or tub surround when finished with your shower. Spray the entire shower and curtain liner with shower mist (the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner works well). Take a disinfecting wipe and wipe the sink and faucet, counter top and toilet seat and rim. Vaccum the area rug and wipe the floor with a damp mop. (I like the Wet Jet system for quick clean-ups.)
Living Room - Pick up things off the floor and use a handheld vacuum to pick up crumbs and dust bunnies. Fluff pillows and throws. Straighten up books and magazines, throwing away newspapers and store ads. Put away CDs and DVDs after each use. Dust from top to bottom, saving the vacuuming for last.
Kitchen - Start with the sink and wipe it down after doing the dishes. Wipe down the stove top and counters. Wipe the table. Use a dust mop, Swiffer Sweeper or vacuum to clean up crumbs from the floor.
With these suggestions, you will find that your home will remain clean and organized and you will have more time to spend enjoying the Summer!
If you have any questions about this topic or have any other organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Have a great week!
Saturday, March 07 2009
I would like to urge everyone to go thru their elderly parent's refrigerators. As an organizer, I have worked with some elderly people and have looked in their fridge when organizing their kitchens. Among the items I have found were a bottle of salad dressing that expired in 2003, bags of chocolate candy that had an expiration date of 2007, numerous little packets of condiments (like you get at fast food places) of sour cream, butter, jelly--who knows how long they were in there. Just imagine if they had eaten any of this stuff.
At times I have gone through their medicine cabinets when working to organize a bathroom and have found medicines and over the counter medicines that were many years old. Old prescriptions and pills either don't work or will make you severely ill--get rid of them! To an elderly person this could be critical!
So please, I urge anyone who has elderly parents to look into their refrigerators and medicine cabinets. And check yours while your at it. What lurks in your refrigerator and medicine cabinet? Let me know what you find!
If you need assistance getting your kitchen or bathroom organized because you are overwhelmed with the prospect of the task at hand, let me hear from you. Simply contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I can help you create the organized kitchen and/or bathroom you have always wanted.
Have a great week!