If you haven't used it in a year – throw it out!

blue clockIf you haven’t used an item in a year or two, let it go.

It’s possible to keep things too long and then they move beyond the point of usefulness. It’s so much better to get your “extras” into the hands of someone now, before they are no longer useful.

Otherwise when you clean out the attic, you’ll find that items have yellowed, become brittle or have become so dated that no one else wants them. Read more

Take ten minutes to expand your phone list.

cell phoneTake a few minutes and program a few extra numbers into your cell phone. It’s helpful to have numbers available for your neighbor, child’s school, car-pooling partner, or favorite take-out place. My phone can store 300 numbers, so it doesn’t hurt to have extras listed, even if I don’t call them often. You never know when you might need them…

I learned this lesson when my son’s bus was 30 minutes late. I was standing at the stop– three blocks from home. I didn’t have the numbers listed so I wasn’t able to call and find out why the bus was delayed. When I got home I added in the numbers for the school, bus company and my next-door neighbor. I’m glad I did.

This summer my family and I packed up and drove to a state park four hours away. Read more

This Week: Stock up on extra school supplies

pencils
This is the best time of year to buy school supplies. The prices just don’t get any lower. I saw spiral notebooks for ten cents each! Take advantage of the good pricing and buy a few extra spirals, two-pocket folders, pens or glue sticks and keep them on hand. I store extras in my office closet. So the next time one of my son’s needs a new folder–tomorrow– I’ll be ready.

Review your books-Volume 2

libraryMagazines and coffee table books often feature bookshelves that look amazing. Are you wondering how to achieve that look? It’s easy.

First organize.
Start by sorting the books into categories. Then use one of these techniques:

  • Use the library as your inspiration. Display books in categories such as: Fiction, non-fiction, history, travel and reference. You might even alphabetize within each section.
  • Separate paperbacks and hardcover.
  • Group books by size and color.
  • To create balance and avoid being top-heavy, store large books on the lower shelves and smaller books above. Have standard size books stand and coffee table books lie flat.
  • Keep your favorites or your most attractive books at eye level.
  • Read more

    Review your books (part 1)

    book stackBooks bring knowledge, adventure and escape. They can feel like old friends. That’s probably why it’s so hard to get rid of them.

    However, as we grow, our tastes continue to change which mean that some of the books may have just become dust collectors. Be honest, are you ever going to refer to your college textbook again? How many of those paperback novels will you re-read? And what about those books you’ve never gotten around to reading, that have been monopolizing shelf space?

    Ask yourself three questions:

  • Is it a reference book that you commonly refer to?
  • Is it a story that you’ll read again?
  • Does it have a special meaning?
  • Read more

    A clutter hack for your plastic containers

    containerI found a kitchen clutter hack in Real Simple magazine that works so well I said goodbye to my collection of miscellaneous plastic and Tupperware containers.

    They quoted Debra Ponzek author of The Family Kitchen cookbook. She suggested buying a dozen identical 16-ounce plastic containers for leftovers. That way you won’t run out and you won’t be searching for lids.

    I tried her plan and liked it. Everything nests so easily. I upped the container size to a set of 25 oz. Gladware containers. (Now that I’m the mom, I like leftovers.)

    Cut your housework 40% by eliminating clutter

    cleanThe National Organization of Professional Organizers (NAPO) reports that “Getting rid of clutter in your home cuts housework by an average of 40%.”

    If you’re like me, that’s pretty good motivation. In my childhood home, the hardest part of cleaning was getting everything put away so that we could start to clean. Think about it. If you have less stuff sitting around, you’ll have less to dust. You won’t have to move as much when you vacuum. You’ll own less and as a result you’ll have less to take care of.

    As Phyllis Diller said, “Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?”

    Iris Brand Tote Baskets

    Iris toteThis product is the greatest. I’ve been using these baskets, in a variety of sizes for about ten years. I use them everywhere.

    The advantage of buying one style of storage basket for your home is that when you change things around they can easily be re-purposed in another closet or cupboard. The baskets are made of heavy duty plastic and have sturdy handles. I’ll go out on a limb and call them child-proof. When I used them for toy and book storage, my kids really put these baskets to the test. They’re strong, easy to clean and they don’t break like the cheaper knock-offs.

    They’re available at Stacks and Stacks for $25.99 for four. And that’s a great value.

    How a Morning Routine Can Lower Stress for You and Your Kids

    School busMornings can be tough. Dawdling children are not the only problem. Deciding what to wear, discovering a shirt isn’t ironed or searching for keys can also get us off to a bad start.

    Here are a few tips to streamline the morning routine. You might want to practice before school is back in session. There is a hidden benefit. In an article in my local paper, the Star Tribune, Amy Susman-Stillman from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Early Education and Development stated that,

    “Kids don’t have a sense of urgency. They are struggling with concepts of time. Time is a very abstract concept for kids.”

    For children, this is a developmental thing! Read more

    Errand Running made easy.

    woman hurryingAre you tired of standing in line at the same store for the third time in a week? Do you sometimes waste time driving around in search of items you can’t find? Or are you frustrated by a list of seemingly endless stops?

    Try these seven tips to simplify your errand running.

    1. Stop running errands on impulse. Consolidate them. Declare an errand day. Schedule one time each week to take care of all of your errands. This will save time and gas! Read more

    How to recycle computers, phones and electronics

    Discarded ElectronicsTechnology brings information and convenience to our doorsteps. Unfortunately when it’s time for an upgrade we’re left with a pile of e-waste. Computers, TV’s and cell phones contain hazardous components and should not be sent to the landfill. Try these recycling options instead.

    For TV & Computer:
    Earth 911 is an excellent national resource for recycling computers and a wide range of other items. Simply enter your zip code and the item you want to recycle.

    Computer Renaissance has a buy/sell or trade policy for computers. Read more