Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stop Household Clutter: Things to Get Rid of Right Now

Courtesy of HGTV
Photo By: Faith Durand, Elana's Pantry

Hi Friends,

Ready to rid your house of clutter? Start here with these items you're sure not to miss. Old Spices is a great start. Most ground spices should be replaced after 12 months. A simple test? Give each one a wiff. If there's no scent, there will be no flavor. Go ahead and toss it!

Your Toothbrush

The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush once every three months for maximum brushing power.

Unidentified Frozen Objects

Photo By: DK - House Works, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Toss any unidentifiable objects in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cookbooks You Never Use

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

Give unused to your foodie friends who will get more use out of them.

Unidentifiable Keys

Most recycling centers have mixed metal bins you can toss old keys in. Make sure to remove any rubber coverings before you recycle.

Business Cards

From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Photo By: Shane Hawkins Photography

Congrats, you just got promoted! And now you've got 300 unused business cards with your old title. Go ahead and recycle them.

Old Chargers and Cables

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Jones

A friend or relative might be able to use a spare USB cable or an old charger. Anything you can't give away can usually be recycled in electronic stores or online. Keep unruly cords organized by using media boxes that are divided into "cubbies" with scraps of cardboard. Label each section, so you'll never confuse the camera cord for the phone charger again, and give the boxes a bit of color by decorating the cardboard with scrapbook paper.

Old Paint

Photo By: malerapaso

If it's more than a year old, throw it out. (You'll probably have moved on to the next color sensation by then, anyway.)


From: Ellen Foord

If you think you might return it or need to keep a reciept for a warranty, try scanning the receipts and keeping copies online instead of an old shoebox.

Appliance Manuals

From: Ellen Foord

Most appliance manuals have an online version. Keep really important ones together in a folder.

Soap Scraps

From: Genevieve Gorder
Photo By: Chris Amaral

Unless you're really dedicated to melting down the slivers into one mega-soap, toss them out - now!

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Live well,

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Ultimate 1-Hour Kitchen Cleanse

Courtesy of Bridget Mallon
Photography by Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Hi Friends,

Get your cooking space in shape in 60 minutes flat...

So you've finished cleaning your closet, but still feel motivated to keep organizing? Don't worry, a one-hour cleanse is possible elsewhere, namely the kitchen.

That's right, even though kitchens are one of the most dreaded places to clean, you really can whip them into shape in just 60 minutes. All it takes is a clear plan, and the understanding that while this isn't going to be an extensive, deep cleaning, it will completely reset your space.

Just like the one-hour closet cleanse, the best way to approach a kitchen cleanse is by designating a set amount of time for each step of your cleaning and organizing process. And while you can certainly choose to change up the order in which you tackle each step, we're partial to the following setup.

Minutes 1-15

One of the biggest sources of kitchen clutter is expired foods and condiments that take up unnecessary space in the fridge, in cabinets or on your counter tops. Similarly, holding onto almost empty boxes or jars is a huge waste of space — case in point: when I did this cleanse, I found four separate jars of salsa and five bottles of hot sauce that each had about two drops left (what can I say, I like my food spicy). So this is the perfect opportunity to purge!

Now, I'm not in any way suggesting you toss perfectly good food that you know you'll use. Instead, you should spend these 15 minutes throwing out only expired foods or packages that are so close to empty you know you will never actually use them again. And if you find non-perishables getting close to their expiration date that you don't like or won't use, set them aside to donate.

Brian Patrick Flynn

Minutes 15-30

Now that you've got your food clutter all situated, it's time to move on to your dishes. And if you're anything like me, this is one area of your kitchen you tend to ignore while organizing. Most dishes already have their own designated spot, so it just becomes second nature to put them right back after they've been used or cleaned. But now's the perfect time to go through everything and tidy up your cupboards and get rid of those cracked or broken pieces.

Start with your glasses and mugs and recycle any that are cracked or damaged. If you come across pieces you don't use any more, but that are still in good shape, set them aside to donate. Then move on to your plates, bowls and utensils, and follow the same steps. If you have serveware, go through those pieces as well. When you're all finished, you should be left with just the essentials, organized to your liking.

Minutes 30-45

Now it's time to move onto your utility items, think: pots and pans, slow cookers, blenders, coffee makers, even all those cooking gadgets you impulsively bought on Black Friday. First things first, if you've never used an item and you've owned it for six months (or a year if it's something you only use seasonally) donate it. Now. That cake ball machine will continue to gather dust and take up precious space unless you take action.

Once you're left with the items you actually use, go through and purge the ones that are no longer in good shape, or that you've been meaning to replace. Holding onto your old non-stick pan that's completely lost its coating is doing you no good. Say goodbye to those pieces now and you'll feel so much better! After you're done, return everything to its proper place and marvel at all your extra storage space.

Jackson Design and Remodeling

Minutes 45-60

Whew, you've made it to the final 15 minutes, and you'll be done with this cleanse in no time! For this last step, all you need to do is give all of your surfaces a quick rubdown — this is not a deep clean, just a little refresh to make everything sparkle (and smell like cleaning supplies, natch).

Finish up by sweeping the floor before treating yourself to a relaxing Netflix binge or homemade cocktail.

Instead of Dinner and a Movie, we'll do Movie and a Cocktail, Cheers!

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Live well,

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Ultimate 1-Hour Closet Cleanse

Courtesy of Bridget Mallon

Hi Friends,

Because who has a full day to dedicate to cleaning, especially a closet, right?

The first week of January may be when resolutions get the most attention, but most of us actually make and break resolutions throughout the year. Think about spring cleaning: it's just another resolution. Same with your summer diet and your deep winter cleaning.

Here's the thing, though: Making a resolution doesn't somehow magically change who you are as a person. So if you've never worked out before, resolving to hit the gym every single day just won't happen (trust me, I've been there). And if you tend to be a little lax with the house cleaning, you won't magically become hyper-organized overnight just because it's your resolution.

That's why I'm a fan of micro-resolutions, or small changes that you can build upon throughout the year. And one of my go-tos is a great way to kickstart your journey to become more organized at home. I call it the 1-hour closet cleanse. (You know how dieters use cleanses to reset their bodies in a short amount of time? It's like that, just for your closet.)

The secret to a successful closet cleanse is understanding this isn't a complete overhaul of your wardrobe (or life) but a way to get you moving in the right direction. Oh, and having a plan going in is also key. So read on for the 3 steps you'll need to take, conveniently broken down into 15 minute increments.

DK - House Works, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Minutes 1-15

Use the first fifteen minutes of your cleanse to remove everything from your closet (yes, seriously). Create one pile for clothes, another for shoes, another for bags and luggage and a final pile for miscellaneous items. Pat yourself on the back for completing step one, and try not to freak out about the mess now taking over your room.

If your closet is bursting at the seams, consider doing a half or a quarter of your wardrobe at a time to truly make this a one-hour project. It's all about progress!

Minutes 15-45

Step two is basically a sped up version of that scene from the Sex and the City Movie where they clean out Carrie's closet, just without the champagne and '80s designer duds. To start, grab three trash bags and designate one for things you can donate, another for items that genuinely need to be trashed and a final bag for the pieces you need extra time to consider.

Instead of tackling each pile item by item, you'll start by quickly pulling out the pieces you know you want to keep — trust your gut on this one — and setting them aside. Next, you'll look through the remaining items in each pile for pieces you can donate. Grab things that are in good condition, and that you don't mind parting with, to add to the donation bag. At this point your remaining piles will (hopefully) be much smaller.


Now it's time to pull out the pieces that are in poor condition. Add each of these items to your bag of stuff to throw out or recycle. Any remaining items get added to your third trash bag, which you'll keep out of sight for the rest of the month. If you find yourself thinking about any of those pieces, or wanting to wear or use them, feel free to add them back to your closet. Everything remaining in the bag after four weeks can be donated.

Minutes 45-60

At this point you've probably broken a sweat, but hey, that's okay, you're almost done! It's finally time to put your beloved items back in your closet. Start with anything that you keep on the floor — but don't just throw everything in willy-nilly — keeping everything neat now will encourage you to stay organized in the future. Next put back the items you keep on hooks or shelves, and finish by hanging your clothes back on the rack.

Finally, stash your bag of items you're unsure about in a hidden spot, and decide on a time to drop off your donations.

Now go pour yourself a glass of wine — you deserve it!


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Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,