Friday, November 20, 2009

Clean Out the Pantry

Organizing Tip: It's time to purge your pantry

This tip applies to everyone, whether you have a full-size pantry closet, or a cabinet or two in your kitchen. It's time to clear it out!

First of all....WHY, clear out your pantry? There are so many good reasons, a few of which are:
To get rid of all the expired, unused, unwanted food items that are just taking up valuable space.
To take inventory, and actually know what you have, so you can use it, and what you need, so you can purchase it.
To prevent pesky pantry pests by throwing out spoiled food and old, opened cereals and grains.
Make room for special items needed for the holidays.
So, here's what to do:

1) Set aside some time. This doesn't have to all be done at once, perhaps just 15m a day for the next week or so.
2) Tackle one small area at a time (such as a shelf, or portion of a shelf).
3) Pull out everything, and one by one, make a decision: Toss, Donate or Keep.
4) Toss: Throw out everything spoiled, stale, expired, or items that were opened-but-unused for a long period of time.
5) Donate: Set aside non-expired items that you know you simply will not use, but can be donated to a local food pantry (contact your local Food Pantry do arrange for donation drop-off).
6) Keep: For all items you decide to keep, put them back in your pantry grouping 'like-items' together.
7) Congratulate yourself for a job well-done!

Now, you've got a pantry filled with only items that are still good, and those you've decided you WILL USE. Break out the recipe books and start planning those great meals!

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Keep all Passwords and ID's Organized!!

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Organizing Tip: Keep track of Internet IDs & Passwords

Where do you keep track of your various Internet IDs & Passwords? Are they written down anywhere or cluttering up your head? Are there sticky notes stuck all over your computer? What if something happened to you - would your spouse, parents or children know how to access your important accounts? Well, the solution is to create a single home for all those IDs and Passwords.

Here are a couple of suggestions on how to keep track of them:
Get a small notebook and simply write them all down. Keep the notebook near your computer.
Get an address book with the alphabet tabs, and log them in there alphabetically.
Use a Rolodex - add a card for each website and file them alphabetically.
Create a simple spreadsheet in MS Word or Excel and include columns for: website, ID, password, and any other notes you may need. You can then sort the spreadsheet alphabetically or by any other category you'd like.
Good luck and happy web-surfing!!

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tips for rotating seasonal clothes

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Organizing Tip: Autumn clothing rotation

So, Autumn is here, and with it comes the colder weather. It's time to break out the fall/winter clothes, and pack away the summer clothing. Here are a few tips for managing that process.

First, if you haven't ever rotated your clothing (ie: your closets and drawers are always filled with the entire year's worth of clothing,) you may want to give clothing rotation a try. It will free up so much space in your closets and drawers and allow easy access to the only the items you need for that season.

Some tips:

1. Decide where you will store your out-of-season clothing. Clothing stores best in a room-temperature, dry place, so an extra closet somewhere within the home is ideal. If not, consider the attic or basement, however high temperatures and/or humidity can negatively affect your clothing, so if you can avoid those areas, then do so. Another option is to put out-of-season clothing way up high on shelves in your closet, at the far end of your closet out of the way, in containers under the bed, or in drawers/closet of your guest room.

2. Get some containers: If you're storing your garments in a place other than your existing closet, then get some medium to large size Rubbermaid/Sterilite bins (or similar). Plastic containers work well for storing your items and keeping them protected. Not too big though, or they wont be manageable to carry. Also consider a portable covered garment rack for storing out-of-season hanging clothing.

3. Start gathering up all your summer clothing: Pull out all your summer clothes from closets and drawers.

4. Purge: Get rid of anything that is stained or damaged beyond repair, items that don't fit, or not your style anymore (be ruthless! You don't want to go thru the effort of storing something that you don't really want anymore!). Trash or donate unwanted items.

5. Clean: Before storing, make sure the items are clean.

6. Keep a couple of summer outifts accessible: Since weather can be unpredictable, keep a couple of warm-weather outfits in your closet for the time-being. (Remember, the past couple of Halloweens have had temperatures in the 70's and 80's!)

7. Store & Label: Put your items into their storage containers, and LABEL the contents clearly, then put the containers away in their storage space. If it's just an area or shelves of a closet, label that area 'Off-Season-Clothes', so there's no chance of mixing them up with the current season's clothing.

8. Take your fall/winter clothes out of storage: If you previously had stored these items, take them out now, and put them away in your closets and drawers, again, evaluating their usability before putting them away.

9. Enjoy!

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC