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.

5 Ways to Reclaim Your Garage this Spring

Now that the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing again, it is time to throw open the doors and take stock of your garage!  So often the garage becomes the family dumping ground.  Here are 5 easy suggestions (plus one bonus tip) to help you reclaim your space.

1.  As with any organizing project, start with purging and sorting.  Get rid of EVERYTHING that is broken, past its prime and no longer in use.

2.  Consider donating anything that can still be used – instead of adding it to the landfill!

3.  Go vertical – install pegboard on the walls to store your tools.  They’ll be off of the floor, out-of-the-way, and easy to see.

4.  If space permits, add a workstation area with an adjustable stool for projects and repairs.  Use  pegboard above the workstation for easy access to smaller tools.  Don’t forget a lamp.

5.  High shelves (above the pegboard) are great for storing items that occasionally used, such as holiday and other seasonal decorations.

6.  Bonus tip: Use ponytail holders (the kind with plastic balls on the ends) to wrap electrical cords and keep them in place.  Hang them on the pegboard.

Delegating

 

 

happy-executiveThe Art of Delegating 

Delegating is a tool that can help you become more organized. Whether you are downsizing or need help organizing your home or office, consider having someone help you with the project.  Here are a few things to consider:

1.  Nobody is good at everything.  I am good at organizing (if I do say so myself) but I can’t fix a car or hang drywall.  I call an experienced expert when I need help.
2.  Successful people use delegating to achieve their goals.  If you are usually a “Do-It-Yourselfer” it may take some practice but you’ll get used to it.
3.  At work, you may delegate to assistants, other departments, the operations team – whatever.  It takes a team to get a big project done.

Taking control of the “stuff” in your life is no different.  Find someone who is more skilled than you and delegate the work.  You get to decide how you want it done.  You get to decide one the final outcome.  So, stop worrying about the things you can’t do.  Let someone else do them for you and focus on the things you can!