5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress

With less than a week before Christmas Day, I hope you have the holiday spirit and feel ready for anything.  But in case you are beginning to stress out about what still needs to be done, please take a deep breath and remember these 5 rules to get you through.

Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress

1.  There is a thin line between challenged and overwhelmed

If you are feeling overwhelmed, look at everything you have to do and edit your list.  Some of the things you may want to accomplish might not get done.  It is OK.  None of this is mandatory.  Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Being challenged is manageable, being overwhelmed is not.

2.  Adapt to changing circumstances

You have just learned you will have 5 more people for dinner than you planned, and the special gift you wanted to give someone is on backorder.   Deal with it!  Think of the best way to accommodate the change of circumstances and move on. Worrying will not solve the problem.

3.  Outsource the task

Instead of wondering how you are going to make it happen, think about who can make it happen for you.  Call a grocer who delivers.  Pay, print and ship your package from home instead of waiting in line at the post office.  Call an organizer to get your family room de-cluttered before company arrives.  Find another way that takes the burden from your plate.

4.  Let the phone ring

A ringing phone is an invitation to talk.  You are not required to take every call.  Let people leave messages.  Then you can listen and return the call when it is convenient for you.

5.  Look at the big picture

There may be a lot to do in the upcoming days but the easiest way to get through your “To-Do” list is one chunk at a time.  Write it all down and break it all into manageable chunks. Seeing the list will give you perspective and help you prioritize.

Relax and have a very, merry Christmas!

Go to Girl Organizing Solutions helps busy people get more accomplished.  Contact us today if you need help with a single project or want a whole house make-over!

Make the most of your herbs & spices with these 5 tips

Whether you are baking cookies for the school party or preparing a holiday feast for the family, you are bound to occasionally wonder if the spices in your drawer for ages are still potent.  Here are a few tips to help you figure it out:

      1.  Proper storage is the key to extending the life of your herbs and spices

     If they are stored in an airtight container and kept in a cool dry place, some spices can retain their flavor and effectiveness for years!

      2.  Shelf life

     With proper storage, whole spices (cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, cumin to name a few) will last for four years or longer and ground spices will last for two + years.  To make sure ground spices still have their flavor, shake the jar.  If they still have their fragrance, they are still good.

      3.  Herbs are different

To test their potency, crumple some in your hand.  If they still have their unique aroma, they are probably OK.  If their potency is fading, you can always use extra in the recipe to use up your supply.

     4.  No heat or moisture

Keep them away from the heat of the stove – even when adding to your cooking.  It is always better to add the spice from your hand or a small bowl.  Also, moisture has the potential to spoil your spices too.  Don’t store them in the freezer or near the dishwasher.

     5.  Buy small, date & label

     If you don’t cook often, buy the small containers of herbs.  You may have to replace them more frequently, but they won’t go bad.  You should also write the date of purchase on the container.  Then you will really know how long they have been sitting.

I recently found this  Pull Down Spice Rack at The Container Store (by Rubbermaid) and love it for its efficiency and ease of use.  Perfect when you have lots of spices but not a lot of cabinet space!

Go to Girl Organizing Solutions makes kitchen organizing fun.  Call us today at 410.299.2022 for your FREE consultation!

Eat, drink and be merry this season!

 

5 Fast and Easy ideas to keep you organized and sane this Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-791.  Clean out your refrigerator

Before you come home with 25 bags of groceries, clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Toss old condiments and anything you can no longer identify.

2. Clear off the counter tops

You may not mind having appliances and accessories on your countertops during most of the days of the year but during any big food preparation and cooking season, you’ll be happier to have the additional space. Think about it: Coffee maker-yes, mixers-perhaps, toaster-no.

3. Location, location, location

I usually prefer to have my cooking spices in the drawers and cabinets close to my stove. However, when preparing a large meal, I set up a tray with the spices I need right at my fingertips. This is particularly helpful if you have guests who might be helping with the cooking – instead of them digging around in your cabinets, they will have easy access to everything needed.

The location rule also applies to the rest of your kitchen  – Are your dishes stored near the dishwasher?  Coffee and tea near the sink or coffeemaker? Are the napkins and placemats as close to your eating area as possible?  Store your items in a logical manner. Don’t be afraid to rearrange the contents of your cabinets if you find you’re your set-up is flawed. It is your space – make it work for you!

4.  Purge, purge, purge

Kitchen items seem to multiply magically. Take a few minutes to sort through your things with a critical eye. Do you have cheap knives that don’t cut; grill tools stashed with the spatulas; countless water bottles that you seldom use; chipped and/or ugly coffee cups? Get rid this stuff! Pots and pans and cookie sheets DO wear out and CAN be replaced. Get them out of your kitchen and reclaim every precious inch of your space.

 5. Pay attention to the details

Put your canned goods away with the label facing forward. Find a place to store and organize your mail other than the kitchen counter. Put your purse away in the closet. Get in the habit of always putting things back where they belong. If you put your things away after you use them you will never be faced with a cluttered mess again.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

5 Ways to Keep Your Closet Organized

This weekend, I organized my closets and I am so happy with the results! Here are a few simple tips to help you with your own closet project. Investing a few hours in organizing your closet NOW will save  you precious minute everyday busy day of your fall!

Follow these tips for a perfectly organized closet!

  1. If you store your shoes in shoe boxes (plastic or cardboard), snip off a piece of a dryer sheet and include it in the box before storing.  I put the snips at the ends of the boxes because I don’t know how the leather or canvas of my shoes will respond to the chemicals on the dryer sheet. This is an easy, inexpensive way to absorb the moisture/odor that may linger in your shoes.
  2. Use your closet organizing project to take an inventory of your household supplies.  Then, you can buy all of the items you need at the same time. It is easier to combine these purchases in one trip instead of trying to remember what you need and picking up replacement items randomly.
  3. As I always say, use medium-sized clear or translucent clothing storage containers so you can see what is inside the box from outside of the box.  I always buy clear so they all match.
  4. Most people know the standard rule of closet organizing: If you have not worn it in a year, either toss or donate.  This purging rule also applies to gym clothes, costume jewelry, lotions, lingerie, lotions, cosmetics, accessories, etc.
  5. Ladies, if you are disposing of your business clothing, consider donating to an organization that provides clothing to women who are trying to enter the work place.

Donate women’s business attire to these local organizations:

If you need help finding a “suitable” charity close to you contact me at deb@gotogirlmd.com or 410-299-2022.

That Stuff has Got to Go!


Rubbermaid
has plenty of components to store and organize everything from hoses to hockey equipment. I recommend transparent storage containers. They’re perfect for storing sweaters, shoes and handbags but are also great for decorations, camping supplies and sports equipment, and more.  Their transparency makes for instant identification but labeling is always helpful too. Unless you are really strong or have really long arms, avoid buying the extra-large containers – they are usually more than one person can handle alone.  Also, try to buy your containers from the same manufacturer so they will stack perfectly.  Finally, labeling is also helpful if the container is filled with specific items that are hard to identify at first sight.

If you store your holiday decorations in the garage, please take a few minutes to look through you collection.  Often we forget the items we picked up during the after season sales.  I always try to purge after the season when I am repacking but that doesn’t always happen.  Last year, I bought gorgeous new wrapping paper (at full price) only to discover I had purchased similar paper on sale after last Christmas.  I think I am set with wrapping paper for a while!

The point of purging the things you no longer use is to free up space for the things you do.  Survey your space critically and decide if you really need all that stuff!  If you decide to get rid of a few items, pass them on to someone who is just starting out or give to a local charity.  Let someone else enjoy them!

“To Do” this Fall…..


Make plans to clean the deck. Your deck needs to be protected from winter’s harsh weather with a new coat of stain or paint. If you are not a DIY kind of person, try Allbright Pressure Wash, Inc. at 410-781-4044, or www.allbrightweb.com. They do top-quality work at a fair and reasonable price.

Your home’s exterior also needs preparation for the winter. Clean your gutters and eaves, drain your hoses and turn off your facets, inspect the fireplace damper, trim tree branches and caulk around windows and doors. Taking a few minutes to perform these tasks could save you headaches and money when the weather gets bad.  Visit http://www.moneycrashers.com/winterizing-your-home/ for more tips on prepping for cold weather.

Little Touches Really Do Count!

       

Big ideas for 4th of July celebrations are pretty easy to find. However, lots of little things can make your party guest less-than-comfortable and if you are prepared for the expected little things, your guest will be able to fully enjoy the celebration. Consider these ideas from Real Simple magazine…..

No mosquitoes invited: Don’t forget the bug repellent! You can purchase bug spray wipes and position baskets of them in places throughout the party space so your guests can easily help themselves.

Cool and collected: Hopefully we will have beautiful sunny weather for the 4th but it could be hot and humid as well. Set out a bowl of hand-held fans (accordion or raffia) and your guests can help themselves. Or, buy inexpensive washcloths, roll and secure with a rubber band and toss into a cooler of ice for guests to grab. Isn’t that a great idea!

What little things do you do to make sure your guests are happy?

Putting Your House on the Market?

The #1 tip for making your house more appealing to potential buyers is to clear off the kitchen and bathroom counter tops.

In fact, all of your surfaces should be clutter-free.  People want to see clean, open spaces – then they can imagine all of their possession in your home.

Great Storage for Your Grill Tools

Tools for the grill have expanded to include pans for vegetables and fish.  You want to keep these pans near all of the grilling supplies but they seldom fit on the rack that is attached to the side of the grill.  Have you considered using a pegboard?

If you have space near the grill for a simple piece of pegboard, it can hold your pans, tools, lighters and more.  Wire baskets can even be attached for plates, napkins and spices.  Grilling is easy when everything is in one place.  Enjoy!

Products Worth Organizing For

Just because a product is designed to do a specific thing, don’t be afraid to find new ways to use it.  For example, Children’s Clothes Organizers are a practical solution to getting the kids out of the house in the morning.  Each bag holds a daily outfit and accessories – all in one place.  Your kids (or grandkids) can help decide what they want to wear for the week and you avoid the morning drama.  The weekend set is great for trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s or busy, on the go families.  See:   www.organizables.com

Pot lid organizers are a great solution for so many items – pot lids (of course), oversized dishes and platters, bake ware, mail sorter, linen and/or towel holder, and storage for books and magazines in areas with limited space.  See:   www.organize-it.com

 

GRID-IT! Is the ultimate tech accessory organizer. This product is promoted as a gadget’s best friend.  Finally, one durable and simple product that can go from your briefcase, to your handbag, to your weekend bag while keeping all of your electronics and accessories in one place.  See:  www.cocoonbags.com

What are your favorite organizing products?  Send me an email or post to facebook so I can share with my readers.