Purge the Periodicals ~ #FiveMinuteFriday

Purge the Periodicals ~ #FiveMinuteFriday

Southern Living. Glamour. Vogue. O, the Oprah Magazine. And, yes, even Real Simple. The average magazine subscription in the U.S. is just shy of $30.00. Not bad for twelve months of content. Assuming, of course, that you’re actually reading that magazine. Let me guess, between managing a household, raising kids, volunteering, and holding down a job, the idea of spending an hour lounging in a chair, leisurely drinking coffee, and flipping through the latest issue of Coastal Living is a pipedream. Sound familiar?

So, you don’t have time to read them, you’re paying for them, AND they’re cluttering up your home? Maybe it’s time to purge the periodicals.

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For this #FiveMinuteFriday, take a look at the stack of magazines you’re paying for but don’t have time to read. Choose one, and cancel your subscription. Here a few links to get you started:

Southern Living – Cancel My Subscription

Glamour – Cancel My Subscription

O, the Oprah Magazine –  Cancel My Subscription

Real Simple – Cancel My Subscription

Do you have magazines and other periodicals going unread and cluttering up your home?

Kids and Laundry ~ #ThinkAboutIt Thursday

Kids and Laundry ~ #ThinkAboutIt Thursday

Ah, yes. Kids and laundry. I’ve yet to meet a parent who doesn’t struggle with keeping up with the wash, but especially making sure that the dirty laundry actually gets washed! Sadly, it doesn’t jump in the laundry basket by itself.

So. Having said that, a few things to think about. These are a few questions I’ve gotten from friends and clients, and I’ll share my solutions as well.

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How cute is this Honey Can Do hamper from Target?

#1: Want it Washed? Hamper It!

I’ve shared one of my laundry tricks before, but it’s basically this. I’ll be happy to wash any dirty clothes, provided they are actually IN a hamper. Period. No digging through a lacrosse bag for dirty, sweaty socks. No picking up clothes and damp towels off of the floor. If they’re not in the hamper, they don’t get washed. And it’s worked! Are there still some dirty clothes on her bedroom floor? Yep. Who’s problem is that? Not mine. It may sound harsh, but if we buy, wash, dry, and fold their clothes, the least they can do (assuming they’d like them cleaned) is to toss them into a hamper at the end of the day.

#2: Actually Having a Hamper!

It sounds too simple to mention, but do your kids’ rooms even have hampers? A client asked me once how to get her kids to stop tossing their clothes onto the floor. I asked her where their hampers were located. She blushed, stammered, and then realized that they were never given hampers in the first place! So, of course, the clothes ended up on the floor! If you need a new hamper, check out Target’s great selection.

kids and laundry

Love this guy!

#3: Location, Location, Location!

Sometimes we get stuck in a mindset and just do things without thinking through the why of it. Maybe you’ve always kept your hamper in the closet because your childhood hamper was in the closet. But think about other options that may actually work better. If your kids are always leaving clothes on the bathroom floor because they undress there before their bath, consider making room for the hamper in the bathroom. Even having one in both locations might be the right solution for you!

What’s your biggest challenge with your kids and laundry? Share in the comments, and we’ll be sure to help you out!

Declutter Your Phone ~ Tech Tip Tuesday

Declutter Your Phone ~ Tech Tip Tuesday

Technology has helped us in ways we can’t measure. But it’s also added many, many kinds of clutter into our daily life. Because we needed more, right? Today, we’re tackling how to declutter your phone for Tech Tip Tuesday. These three tips can be done sitting in carpool, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or sitting field-side during your kiddo’s soccer practice. Let’s go!

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Three Quick Ways to Declutter Your Phone:

#1:

Go through your Camera Roll. Delete all duplicate photos. Do the same for fuzzy or blurry photos, or just plain bad ones. Think of your Camera Roll as a photo album. If you wouldn’t keep the photo in an album, why would you keep it at all?

#2:

Go through all of your apps and delete the ones you never use. That fitness tracking app that you’ve replaced with a FitBit? Dump it. Those games your kids downloaded, but never play with? Get rid of them. Think of your phone as a life management tool. Keep what you use and love.

#3:

Go through your texts and emails. Clear out any that are no longer relevant, informative, or useful. Do you really need that month-old text from your hubby debating where you should go out to eat?

 

Do you make an effort to declutter your phone? Do you feel that your phone helps you get organized or is just one area of a cluttered life? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Organize Your Garage for #MotivationMonday!

Organize Your Garage for #MotivationMonday!

‘Our garage is just a disaster!’ If only I had a dollar every time I hear this from clients (and friends! and strangers!). So, for #MotivationMonday, take a look at this garage project. Late summer or fall is a great time to organize your garage. (Have you noticed our mornings are getting just a tiny bit cooler – can I get a hallelujah?)

Take a look at this garage before. This client has a very small garage (20 feet x 20 feet). He was frustrated due to too much stuff and a lack of space. What you can’t see in these photos is that there are two dirtbikes and a motorcycle to squeeze in there, too!

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What a difference a few hours make!

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The clutter has been cleared. A home has been designated for everything. Any containers have been clearly labeled. Several safety concerns were also addressed. And as you can see, this client was able to let go of many unused items. Because of that, we were able to get rid of the third shelving unit! This has allowed him more room to work and move around in the space. This is also a great time to get rid of any summer toys your kids have outgrown, broken, or just didn’t use over the season.

So, what if you discover you need organizing tools or supplies for your newly decluttered garage? I’ve found the shelving units at Home Depot to be sturdier than those at Lowe’s. If you need any specialty organizers, like for tools or fasteners, check out Northern Tool. They have a fantastic selection, and you might just run into the Clutterninja there!

Five Minute Friday: Chuck ‘yer Spices!

Five Minute Friday: Chuck ‘yer Spices!

It’s all about the spices this Five Minute Friday! Everyone (even you!) has five minutes a day to get more organized. While they don’t spoil or go rancid, spices do age out by losing a lot of their flavor. This chart, courtesy of Serious Eats, is a fantastic guide. Printing it out and keeping it posted inside your spice cabinet is a great reminder.

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Photo Credit: Vicki Wasik of Serious Eats – http://www.seriouseats.com/

So get thee to your kitchen this Five Minute Friday! Take an honest look at your spices. Use this guideline to toss any expired spices out the door. If you have spices that are still good, but that you just never use, consider seeing if a friend or neighbor wants them! What other things would you like to see us tackle on Five Minute Friday?

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Family Photos: Treasured or trashed?

Family Photos: Treasured or trashed?

You wake up to the sound of the smoke detector going off. You wake your husband. You grab your kids and your dog. You race outside to safety. What is the one other thing that most people would want to grab? Your family photos, right?

Then why are your precious family photos crammed in shoe boxes or forgotten in your attic? Or are they in an old suitcase in your basement? Our homeowner’s insurance can replace our clothing, technology, and kitchen appliances. Nothing can replace our photos.

I mention the attic and basement because those are the two most common places that I find client’s photos. They’re also the two worst possible places for those photos. Why? Heat and humidity. On a 90 degree day, your attic can get up to 120 degrees. And the cycles of hot-and-humid (in summer) and cold-and-dry (in winter) can ruin those priceless photos.

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Photo Credit via By LukeBam06 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

So, make the time and get your family photos to safety. At the very least, get them into the main part of your house, into the cool dry air.  Under your bed, on a top shelf in a hall closet, anywhere but the attic or the basement.

Are your family photos safe and organized? Are they backed up onto a hard drive or the cloud, or both? What is your biggest challenge in getting them safe and organized?

Tech Tip Tuesday: Cord Control

Tech Tip Tuesday: Cord Control

Are cords driving you crazy? Yeah, I had a feeling. With our homes filling up with technology, cord control is something I get asked about. A lot. So for this Tech Tip Tuesday, I’m introducing you to one of my little friends – the Bobino Cord Wrap.

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Isn’t it cute? The Bobino Cord Wrap comes in three sizes and multiple colors. They’re also sold in multi-packs. Here’s a quick run-down of the sizes, to make it easy to decide which is right for you:

Small Cord Wrap:

As seen above, the small Cord Wrap is perfect for your smallest of cords, like your earbuds and mp3 cords.

Medium Cord Wrap:

This is the perfect size for most of your USB cables in your home.

Large Cord Wrap:

The large size is awesome for larger technology cords, like your laptop cable.

These cord wraps are super easy to use, too. Just quickly wind or unwind your cord, and you’re ready to go.

An extra tip:

Since they come in several colors, you might want to assign a color for each family member! Keep the kids’ squabbling down, and everyone knows which charger or cord is theirs!

Tech Tip Tuesday ~ Use Your Camera Phone as a Memory Aid

Tech Tip Tuesday ~ Use your Phone’s Camera as a Memory Aid

Have you ever had your watch battery die? Do you always forget to write down what kind of battery it is? Or you end up staring at the  battery display at Lowe’s or Walgreens with no idea what you need? So annoying. So here’s a quick tip to ensure that never happens again. Use your phone!

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Take a camera phone photo of the back of your watch. Now zoom way in, and BAM. Crystal clear info that you can use to buy the right battery. This is also a fantastic tip for those of us who can’t read teeny tiny writing.

Another great way you can use this tip? Several years ago, I was on a road trip and a contact lens got ripped. It was my last pair. Trust me, there was no question of me driving with only one contact. The town’s optometrist couldn’t get in touch with mine. So I had to pay for a whole new eye exam just to get a replacement pair of contacts. Never again!

Now, it’s ideal to always pack a spare pair of contacts. However, I make sure I always have my current prescription on my phone. Like this! And this tip can work with any prescription that you might need to have on the road!

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These days, we almost never leave home without our phones. Make that work for you! What else can you think of that you’d use this tip for? What other things would you like to see on Tech Tip Tuesday?

How to Display a Collection for Maximum Impact

How to Display a Collection for Maximum Impact

Think of a high-end boutique that you’ve liked. Maybe this Apple Store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

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Credit: Flickr user Matt Buchanan via Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattbuchanan/

Or a museum, like the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, pictured here.

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Photo Credit: Flickr User EVE via Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/26656742@N00/

Or even the new Nespresso flagship store in San Francisco.

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Photo Credit: Flickr user Peter Alfred Hess via Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterhess/

I have a lot of clients ask about how to display a collection. What do you notice about these three photos? Zero clutter. Products aren’t crammed into every nook and cranny. Each has a well thought out place of honor, so to speak.  This allows each item to really be seen and appreciated, right?

The same concept applies to collections at home. So many people tell me they struggle with collections of stuff. Souvenirs, decorative accessories, candles, picture frames – it’s different with each person.

When we amass too many, none of them can be seen and appreciated.

Here’s a great example. Think of your fireplace mantel. It’s a very popular place for decorative accessories. Say you have 12 items on that mantel. Do you see each item individually or do you see, in essence, just a pile of stuff?

Now, take everything off of that mantel, except for your absolute favorite three items. Now, what do you see? Most likely, your brain allows you to see and appreciate each item on its own, without the extra visual clutter.

The more items displayed at a time, the less visual impact they make. 

If you have a collection, remember there’s no need to display every single item. Rotate items every once in a while. Or go ahead and winnow your collection down to the items that really speak to you. Think of the calm yet dramatic examples above.