Articles & Advice
This is an excerpt from my book~ How to Master Your Muck. If you are in the process of setting goals for your life, this chapter might help make the process a bit easier.
Think and Speak Specifics
Create a mission statement for your goal. Effective mission statements should include components such as values, vision and purpose. One of my clients created this mission, ”My mission is to help others to grow personally, professionally, emotionally, and (more…)
November is National ‘Clean Out Your Refrigerator’ Month! Do you have any mysterious items lurking in your fridge? If so, email me your questions. By Thanksgiving you’ll have room to store the turkey and all the trimmings!
You just purchased a new computer but might be in a quandary because you still have 2-3 old computers stuffed into your closet and have no idea where to take them. First of all, (more…)
Most women wonder what to do with their makeup collection. For the more visually oriented among us, myself included, we don’t want to see it spread all over our bathroom counter. I am very pleased and excited to show you what one of my more enterprising and creative clients designed to overcome her makeup challenge. She purchased a jewelry box and turned it into a make-up storage cabinet It worked out perfectly and keeps her makeup out of site but quickly accessible. She also confided to me that having a contained small storage space, keeps her collection from growing out of control. Most of us have more make-up than we actually use. As you can see by this photo, she has exactly what she needs, no more, no less. She also has a safe place to keep her daily rings and earrings when she showers. Kudos to my brilliant client!
You are faced with many tough decisions when you decide to pack light and travel with only one suitcase. Stuffing everything you need into one suitcase might seem impossible until you learn how to simplify and employ a few tricks and tips from professional travelers.
Once you discover the ease that comes with traveling with only one suitcase, you will probably never look back. You will also discover that amazingly, there are some things that you never wish to pack again! Follow these tips to pack fearlessly and add more space to your single suitcase.
1. Begin your packing process with a list. As you work on your list, consider what activities you will do each day while you are gone. Only choose clothing pieces that will combine well with at least 3 other items. As you pack, check each item off of the list, Always check your list one more time the night before you leave.
2. If you are going to stay at a hotel, plan to use their complimentary soaps and shampoos. As long as you have no allergy challenges, there is no need to pack them. Most of us, end up taking them home for future use, so why not skip that step and instead use them when you find them?
3. Eliminate large and hard case containers. Use large zip-lock bags instead. Zips work well for cosmetics, hair products and other items. They not only keep liquids from draining out onto your clothing, they save a lot of space in the process.
4. If you can find moisturizers that also act as sunscreens or sunscreens that provide bug repellant, pack these, It will save you space.
5. Plan to wear only a few pieces of jewelry. Don’t pack pricey jewelry or other valuables. I have heard many sad stories about missing diamond earrings and other expensive items. For one suitcase packing, they are not really necessary and if they are, wear them on the plane and plan on wearing them most of your tripi. When not wearing them, make sure to place them in the room safe while you are away from the hotel and buy insurance in advance. If you are not going to wear them while flying, make sure you keep them in your carry on.
6. Choose your guidebooks carefully and carry only one when you depart. Most places now have internet connections. This allows you to plan your trip online and access your information while you are there. My new favorite website is http://www.virtualtourist.com/. If the internet is not going to be readily available, photocopy useful pages from other books and fold them into the one book you have decided to bring with you.
7. Make sure to check into the current local weather at your destination before you pack. Choose your outfits accordingly. Pack one lightweight sweater and long sleeve shirt with rain poncho to layer if temperatures drop unexpectedly during your trip.
8. Choose neutral colors for your extended trips. With proper planning, every item will combine with the others to create many outfits from only a few select pieces. Pack shoes that will combine with most, if not all of the outfits. Remember to pack light and choose wisely, especially when it comes to shoes. Wear the bulkiest shoes when you fly.
9. Magazines or newspapers can be purchased at your destination or at the airport. Once you are done with them, leave them behind for others to read. Many hotels have lending libraries. I always bring a small paperback onto the plane and exchange it for another during my trip.
10. Final tip: You can replace almost everything you might have forgotten at your destination, even in third world countries, so lighten your load and make a pact to pack only what you know you will need for your next trip!
Although my family eats mainly fresh vegetables, we still need to keep cans of beans, quick sauces and condiments available for nights when we are pinched for time. Thank goodness that there are several wonderful ways to organize our caned goods! My three favorite solutions are shown below with the pluses and minuses listed.
Favorite #1 The Extra Large Lazy Susan
I love this organizer! It not only holds massive amounts of cans, it also organizes the pantry areas that become dark and deep black holes. So, instead of piling cans or boxes in front of one another, simply stack and spin until you find what you need. These organizers are a little pricey ($25 + each) but they are worth their price in gold. I currently have over 35 cans on one and loved it so much that I added a second one on the shelf below!
The minus ~ if you do not have a deep dark recessed hole in your pantry, this is not for you, The smaller lazy susan is great for condiment bottles but this boehemoth only works in areas 25″ or larger.
Second Runner Up ~ The Can Stacker Shelf
This organizer makes you feel really efficient and official. Once this shelf is in place within your pantry, all cans are visible and accounted for just like in the grocery. These shelves expand and contract to fit the length of the shelf at hand.
The Minus ~ Make sure to buy the extra large shelves, the others will hold only small spice bottles or micro-sized cans.
Third Place Contender ~ The Drop-Down Wire Organizer
After using this ditty for a year or so, I determined that it was only useful for items that I use repetitively and buy in mass. For me, this means my favorite Mexican sauce (for everything) El Pato, and my cat food. Items are organized behind each other and it is designed to roll the next one forward after the first one is used.
The Minus ~ It takes up too much shelf space unless you have a large quantity of the same items that you use over and over. As you can see in this photo, this was the beginning of my experience and my cans were not necessarily as organized as I had hoped. The size was a bit wonky so I even ended up storing packaged goods along with the cans. Not the best solution! Once I began using it strictly for my cat food and El Pato collection, it became more user friendly.
We Want Your Ideas!
Please let us know if you have created any other solutions for organizing your canned goods or your pantry. All ideas are welcome here at addSpace. The more minds that ponder a problem, the greater the results. Go ahead and take a moment to post your solutions below so others can learn from you as well!
What You Should Know About Photo Storage
Everyone has pictures. Our photographs hold a special meaning for each of us, and it is our desire to cherish them for as long as we can. For this reason, it is to your advantage to learn ways to organize your photos and the various materials and resources that you can use to both preserve and store these precious memories.
There are no strict rules or categories for photo organization. You can certainly use your creative freedom when it comes to categorizing your pictures. Here are a few categories that you can use to separate your photos and keep them in order as your photo library expands over time.
-individuals (son, daughter, parents, etc.)
-family (immediate, distant relatives, family history)
-friends (best friend, events with friends, etc.)
-events (birthdays, vacations, anniversary, parties, etc.)
-dates (special dates, months, years)
-locations (old residence, visiting family, vacation)
The possibilities go on and on. The important thing is that your pictures are placed in groups so that you know exactly where to look when you want to show someone a particular picture.
If you have aging photos, it is important for you to know how to store them so that they can be preserved in the best possible way.
Photo Storage Materials
There are certain chemicals that can cause damage, wear and tear on your pictures. If you avoid the materials found on certain envelopes and plastics, you will be able to protect your pictures for a long period of time. Here are some basic tips.
Use Kodak Storage Envelopes to store your pictures. These interior of these envelopes are made of polyethylene-coated aluminum foil. Kodak Storage Envelopes can also be sealed using heat. If you would like to choose another type of envelope, make sure that it is made from acid-free, high alpha-cellulose papers. Stay away from envelopes that have a seam in the center or envelopes that use vegetable or animal-based glues for sealing.
If you would like to view and handle your pictures while protecting them, cellulose acetate sleeves are a good option for storing your photos. These are transparent so that you do not have to remove your pictures from the sleeve to enjoy them.
Polyester, triacetate or polypropylene folders can also be used to protect and store your photos. These are similar to manila folders, but not exactly the same. You can categorize your pictures, and store them in folders together. Place interleaves (paper or plastic sheets) in between the photos so that they do not touch each other.
The most well known type of photo storage is a photo album. Unfortunately, not all photo albums are created equally, and some albums won’t serve the purpose of long term picture storage. Invest in a high quality photo album that is made of materials that are meant to preserve aged documents or photographs. You can find them at archival dealers or suppliers.
Photo Storage Resources
I recently helped a client organize her photos into categories and then had them all scanned and saved online. Over 5000 photos were saved onto only two discs. She can now play her photos in rotation on her television and also send them to any of her friends from her private online webpage. Her photos are now preserved forever and always safe from the loss of a fire or burglary because they are being saved on an offsite server. The company I used for this job is Scan Digital and they have a very friendly and knowledgeable customer service center. They also take the time to color correct and repair damaged photos before they scan and save them. They could become your solution to preserving your family memories for generations to come!
Your local school art and music programs need your clutter!
Clear your clutter and send it off to a good cause! Your muck becomes useful in the hands of creative resourceful teachers. They need anything and everything!
With the decrease in school budgets for art and music programs, there is an ever-increasing need for art and music supplies.
Your junk is an art and music department’s treasure. They will take it apart and repurpose.
You would not believe how creative teachers can be with your old, musty dusty clutter.
1. Clothing, fabric end product to bolts and scraps was turned into Puppets of Greek mythology dressed exquisitely in satins and velvet.
2. Your old box of transparencies that are seemingly obsolete: SD School system recently received 26 cases of overhead transparencies worth thousands of dollars.
These transparencies were used for Art projects to include:
Stained glass art from paper, Super impose art onto black background.
A project called “Trigalicious”: Super imposed trigonomic conventions overlayed onto art backgounds of other mediums – Used to turn 2D into 3D artwork.
3. Artwork from other artists are scavenged and turned into other original designs by students.
4. Technical theatre dept – received a box of old costumes. One of the projects was take pile of costumes and create new costumes from them.
Spring clean and turn your muck into valuable resources to help your school system. You will probably get a write-off on your taxes based on local laws.
Not sure who to call? There is a Visual and Performing Arts Dept in almost every school district. Start there. If not, call your individual schools, they will know what they need. You might also have a Materials Control Dept in your school district. They are a great place to start, as they usually have a wish list for all schools in their district.
Every Theatre, Dance, Science, Music and Math Department needs your support so get started clearing your life and going green!
If you are in the San Diego area, contact Karen Childress-Evans, Ed.S., Director VAPA Telephone: (858) 539-5349 E-mail: email@example.com
Still not sure what you have this might be useful? Check out this wish list:
musical instruments, equipment and supplies
music stands and cases
CD’s, DVD’s, music
fabric and notions
clothing, hats, costume jewelry
paint, tools, nails
glass, tile, wood
upholstery samples, paint chips
picture frames, hangers, hardware
just about anything…these folks are pretty creative!
As a Professional Organizer, over the years I have tested and used many pantry organizing products. I have found several that I seem to use over and over again. I decided to post eight of my favorites to help you keep order in your pantry.
Stepper Shelves: These steps really take the (more…)
I was asked to test out a new product recently and I have to say – I love it. This entrepreneuer has designed a clever new way to clear the everyday muck from our handbags!
The Purse Perfector makes changing purses really easy and effortless. Being a no-fuss kind of gal, I do not change purses very often (can you believe this coming from an Image Consultant?!) As a Professional Organizer, I simply love (more…)