The “Not So Lazy” Susan

Many kitchen designers recommend putting in a Lazy Susan cabinet to make the most of corner spaces.  I am not particularly a fan of the Lazy Susan.  How many times have objects fallen off in the abyss or even broke in the process?  It’s unclear what items are best stored in such cabinets.  Pantry items? Dishes?

The time has come to redeem this often criticized storage area!  Behold, the InterDesign® Cabinet Binz™ Lazy Susan Eighth Wedge Storage Bin. These clear plastic wedges come in different sizes depending on your needs.  With sides tall enough to prevent items from falling out, you can corral various pantry items in an organized fashion.  Not only is it easier to use, but it can store many more items.

So, Susan, with a little help, you’re really not that lazy.

 

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The Pesach (Passover) Binder

 

 

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For those of us who celebrate Pesach in our homes, preparation can be a daunting task.  I want to introduce you to my Pesach binder system in the hopes that it can ease some of this year’s stress and set you up beautifully for the next year.

  1.  Acquire and clearly label a 3 ring binder “Pesach Binder”
  2. Acquire and label dividers ” Pesach Prep Schedule”,” Pesach Shopping List”, Pesach Purchase for Next Year”, “Pesach Master List”( for all of your Pesach stuff in storage), Pesach Seder Checklist”, “Pesach Recipes”and “Notes”.
  3. Download templates from link below. Print (make sure to print extras) and insert into binder.
  4. Fill in various templates.  Be sure to note what you used this year at the end of the holiday so you can adjust your shopping next year.  I also like to have an itemized list on my storage boxes so I can easily find items.

Make sure to keep your binder in a place you will remember and not packed into a box going back into storage! Most of all have a wonderful holiday!!

Pesach Shopping Inventory

Pesach Master List

Pesach Prep Schedule

Pesach Purchase for Next Year

 

Perfectly Imperfect

I always am keeping an eye out for organizational tips to share with my readers, especially ones that are in 15-20 minute intervals. So when I came upon this Houzz post in my email inbox, I was looking forward to linking you to it. However, as much as I think these are some great ideas, the photos troubled me. I was concerned that the level of perfection in the images would feel discouraging  to my readers. Lo and behold this past Sunday’s Boston Globe had an article addressing just that! So I encourage you to read the Houzz tips and those from the Globe, but keep in mind that your home can be organized even if it doesn’t look like a page from a magazine.

 

 

 

 

No Pantry, No Problem

In my adult life I have never had a kitchen with a pantry. Although, some of my kitchens have probably been the size of of a small pantry! In my current kitchen, I have one cabinet that is dedicated to food storage (not including the lazy susan cabinet, but that needs a post of its own!).

I have fought this cabinet for years.  How can I fit everything in there? What are the best containers? Is there anywhere else in this kitchen I can store food!!! And then one day it hit me, you can’t make something into something it’s not, including your kitchen cabinet.

With this new mindset, I revisited the food storage issue.  My first step was to remove everything from the cabinet and sort items into categories. I decided that only items used frequently and are opened should stay.  All other items will be moved to shelves in the basement storage area.  That also included unopened packages of frequent use items. I then returned my open frequent use items to the kitchen cabinet according to their category.

This means when I need pasta, canned beans,or tuna I have to make the trek downstairs. But it also means that I can see and find the the opened snacks, nuts, pasta and peanut butter right away. The take away lesson for me was accepting the storage  space I have and making that work versus trying to make a cabinet into the comprehensive pantry I wanted it to be. We all have space constraints, but with a little creative thinking and strategy you can come up with solutions that work for you.

 

The Mail Stops Here

We are getting rid of your mail problem once and for all!

Take a shoe box, preferably with attached lid.  Write your name on it in big letters with a marker.  Repeat for other household members who receive significant mail.  One box per person.  Keep boxes in a cabinet near where you regularly place your mail or switch to nicer boxes if you need to keep them out.  Everyday, when you take your mail in, immediately sort it.  All junk mail goes directly into recycle.  Catalogs and periodicals go into designated  boxes (once again start with a shoe box for now and switch later). All other mail, place into the box of whom it is addressed to.  DONE! You now know where all your mail is for when you are ready to answer invites, pay bills etc.  For practice, go to the pile of mail on your kitchen counter, radiator near the door, dining room table and try it. Let me know how this system works for you.  As with everything, this is about establishing a routine and it can take practice.  After sticking to it for a few days, it can become second nature.

 

 

The Magic Shoe Box

As a personal organizer I do not usually promote saving items just because they might come in handy some day.  One exception to this is shoe boxes*.  A lot of people feel they hit a stumbling block when they begin to tackle a project.  Most often it is the belief that without containers of the exact color, style or size they can not proceed.  In truth, what they are focused on is second tier organizing, a close relative to decorating. Shoe boxes let you jump right into your project.  Sorting papers, snacks, spices , toys etc., just grab a Sharpie and some Post Its and get going.

Most likely you will not finish in one sitting .  Shoe boxes allow you to be able to move your stuff out of the way, maintain the work you’ve done and not get everything swept up again into one big pile.  Then when you your ready for your next organizing session you’re ready to go. After your project is finished you will have a real sense of what container will work best for your needs.  Feel free to stick with the boxes especially if they will be in a closed cabinet or when your heading out to Target, HomeGoods or WalMart you can pick up something a little more decorative.

*  any plastic bin you have around can work too.

 

Ready , Set, Go…..

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the longest attention span.  Looking back at my most productive moments, I realized that I was the most  successful if I set a twenty minute time frame in which to tackle less preferred tasks.  Instead of being overwhelmed I could move past the procrastination with the mantra of “it’s only twenty minutes.”  Well it turns out you can get a lot done in twenty minutes!  While sometimes I will continue working past my time limit other times I really will stop at twenty minutes.  The point is once you get started often times the momentum will keep you going.  So much so that if you need to stop what your doing you may end up wanting to go back for more.  In particular, this philosophy plays a key role in my organizing technique.  Most people don’t have hours and days to devote to organizing projects. My goal is to share some great techniques that will clear up some of your more organizationally challenged areas in a time efficient, economical and mostly painless way.   Set your timer for 20 minutes and let’s go!