Quick Tip Thursday – Spring Decommissioning

It’s Spring! It’s Spring! IT’S REALLY SPRING!

Here in Colorado it hasn’t felt much like spring this past month. We’ve had a few major snowstorms. But finally – in May – I feel confident I can start to pack away our winter gear.

Some of the things I’m getting ready to pack away for summer are:

  • winter coats, hats, gloves
  • snow shovels
  • sleds
  • ice scrapers
  • snow boots

Watch this short video to see how I prepare our snow boots for storage.

Quick Tip Thursday: Keep It Where You Need It

Are you confusing ORGANIZING with CENTRALIZING? Centralization is putting like items together. That may be organized but it’s not always effective. And don’t we want our stuff to be more effective for us?

There are a number of things you may want to keep decentralized.

  • Toilet paper – you probably already do this. I can imagine few situations more angst inducing than needing a new roll right now and opening up the cabinet in the bathroom and finding no replacements.
  • Toothpaste – you keep a separate tube in each bathroom where people brush their teeth.
  • Tissue – you may have one on each bedroom nightstand.

But what about non-consumables? You may also want to keep multiples of:

  • Scissors – how often do you need a pair in the kitchen or laundry room but you keep them in your desk?
  • Stapler – I have one in my desk but keep another in a kitchen drawer for when I have to staple papers that are going to school (e.g. check & permission slip)
  • Thermometer – your first aid kit is in the mudroom but your kid gets sick in the middle of the night. You might want several (downstairs, your bathroom, kids bathroom)

Watch the short video below to see one more item I keep multiples of to save myself a little bit of hassle!

 

Quick Tip Thursday

Today’s Quick Tip isn’t organizing related, it’s food!

This is one of my favorite easy, inexpensive, delicious recipes.  It’s great for a weeknight or for sharing with company.

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika
source: Bon Appetite via Epicurious.com
my notes in italics

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika* – the smoked paprika makes all the difference. Regular paprika is NOT the same as smoked.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 4 chicken breast halves with bones – I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts or even chicken thighs.  I find the thighs are usually cheaper and have more flavor. 
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°.
Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl.
Pour 1 teaspoon spiced oil mixture into small bowl; whisk in yogurt and set aside for sauce.
Place chicken on large rimmed baking sheet. (I line mine with foil sprayed with cooking spray to make cleanup easier)
Rub 2 tablespoons spiced oil mixture over chicken.
Add beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cilantro to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat.
Pour bean mixture around chicken.
Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper.

Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro.
Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon bean mixture over. (Or you can serve it on a big platter!)
Serve with yogurt sauce.

Huge thanks to my friend Stephanie for sharing this with me about a year ago.  I’ve made it many times since and always love it. I just love the sweetness of the cooked tomatoes.  This is very fast to prepare.  I usually do not make the yogurt sauce because it’s not something I like but others think it’s delicious.

Enjoy!

Quick Tip Thursday – Kids In The Kitchen

If you have young children you’ve probably answered a few hundred thousand requests for plates, bowl, cups or milk or water, etc.  And while you adore those little faces sometimes your hands are busy with other things and stopping to get yet another cup of water makes you want to pull your hair out.

Try keeping some kid-friendly dishes down low so the kids can access themselves.  We keep ours like this:

They can get a plate while I cut the strawberries or a bowl while I grab the cereal from the pantry.  And the cups… I put the water dispenser in our fridge low enough that they can help themselves (while standing on a stool) and I don’t have to be involved. 

It’s such a small thing that helps so much.

We’re lucky to have these pull-out shelves but I found that plates and cups were always falling off to the side.  Adding these inexpensive baskets keeps things corralled a bit more.

Quick Tip Thursday

This is something I’ve pretty much just always done. But it occured to me last week as my husband asked yet again for me to remove a loose string that not everyone may do this.
Keep a pair of scissors in your bathroom!  I keep mine in the medicine cabinet.  They come in handy more often than you might imagine.  Usually I notice loose threads while I’m standing in front of the mirror. It’s so nice to just be able to clip it off right then rather than waiting until I go into another room (by which time I’ll have probably forgotten about it.)

Other uses for scissors in the bathroom:
* Opening the shink wrap packaging on razors, mouthwash, shampoo, etc
* Cutting off an itchy tag from a shirt

How would/do you use scissors in the bathroom?

By the way, if you write the word scissors enough times it starts to look really, really strange!

Quick Tip Thursday – Packing Tape Insanity

Today’s tip is less about being organized than it is about not making yourself insane over something small. Do you ship packages? Ever? With family out of state, selling things online and returning online purchases I actually ship more things than I really imagine. I like to use clear packing tape for my boxes. I’ve been using the stuff for at least 17 years, since that first time I had to send myself boxes at college. And in those years I’ve found one trick that is basically fail-proof and always, always saves my sanity.

When you’re done with the tape, tuck under one teeny little corner. This gives you a tab to pull it back up again when you need to use it next time.

It sounds so small, and it is.  But if you don’t do it the results may not be pretty.  I know you’ve been there… your tape has stuck to itself and now you’re trying to peel it apart in one piece.  But it’s ripping into shredded pieces and you’re getting little strips of tape.  Your frustrated and want to toss the whole thing in the trash.  (Yes, I know, I’ve had it happen too.)

But once you get that tape back to its full state do yourself a big favor and tuck under a corner.  You might lose 1/2 an inch of tape but you’ll save your sanity and your fingernails the next time you need it.

Quick Tip Thursday – Just For Now

WARNING:  Beware!  Around your home and around your brain lurks a clutter foe so persistent in his schemes to keep you from having the home you want that he is nearly impossible to evade.  His name is Just For Now and he is cunning.

You may have met Just For Now when you brought in the mail yesterday.  He enticed you to drop that stack of catalogs and bills right there on the kitchen counter.  And he probably dropped by as you were helping your kids in from the car.  He encouraged you to put your car keys down on the coffee table while you helped get coats and hats and scarves removed.  And then he convinced you it would be okay to leave said winter gear on the arm chair by the coat closet.  After all, it’s “just for now.”

How can you combat this wily enemy? With your dear friend Do It Now. I’m talking about the ability to stop when you hear yourself thinking  “I’ll leave this window cleaner on the counter just for now while I check my email. I’ll put it away right after I send this text message.”
Instead think to yourself “You know, self, how about if I just return the cleaner to the cupboard right now.  It’ll take an extra 15 seconds and will be one less thing to pick up later.”

So when you hear yourself saying or thinking “just for now” in relation to where you put your things, realize that by combating just this one phrase you could potentially save yourself hours of work later on.

Think about it!

Quick Tip Thursday

“I need to {{fill in the blank}} my closet!”

You might fill in the blank with one of the following words:
* declutter
* organize
* clean out

. Regardless of the verb you use the frustration behind it is the same.  You are tired of having too many things you don’t love in a space that doesn’t work.  But you put off doing a full closet reorganization because it will take too much time/money/effort.

Get closer to the closet you want by following this very simple step:

The next time you pull something out to put it on and go to hang it back up because it doesn’t fit or you don’t love it or it’s out of style please for the love of all that is good do not hang it back up!

Take 10 seconds and do one of three things with it:
1. Toss it in the “donation” box (that you are going to put in your car tonight!) if it’s still in good repair
2. Toss in the trash if it’s stained or otherwise un-donatable
3. Put it in your craft stash.  NOTE: this option is ONLY for those of you who are actual crafters.  Not those of you who are only crafters in the dark recesses of your mind.  Yes, old sweaters can be used to make throw pillows & draft dodgers.  But if you don’t own a sewing machine or if the one you do own hasn’t been used in 6 months or more, DO NOT save these things.  Refer back to option 1 or 2.

Quick Tip Thursday: Never Be Empty Handed

One of the most effective ways I’ve found to keep some semblance of order in my home (and with 3 kids that’s not always easy) is to never leave a room empty handed.

Now, sometimes my hands are full of kids. 

But if I’m leaving any room, for any reason, and I don’t have a child or two in my arms then I’m carrying something else that needs to be re-homed.  Maybe it’s a dirty glass that gets put in the dishwasher, some forlorn stickers that need to make their way to the trash, a child’s coat that needs to be hung up, or a basket of clean, folded laundry that needs to make its way to the bedroom.

It can be large or small.  But this small simple act of moving one (or more!) item out of it’s misplaced position to the right spot will do wonders for keeping things a little less cluttered on a day-to-day basis.

Still looking for a New Year’s Resolution – Never Leave A Room Empty Handed just might be it.

Quick Tip Thursday

It’s time to get those gifts in the mail!!

If you have anything that needs to be sent out of town, please take time today and tomorrow to get it packaged up and put in the mail.  If you plan to ship using the United States Postal Service their last day for Christmas delivery of first class mail is Dec 20. 

See the complete list of deadlines here.
You can find the last days to ship with FedEx here (it’s Dec 23 unless you want to pay for overnight).

To help you stay on track this season, avoid going to the post office or shipping store to get those packages sent.  Instead schedule a pickup right from your front door.  You weigh your package, pay for the shippng online, print out the shipping label and tape it to your package and then place it on the porch for your mail carrier.  It is actually quite easy.