Some Free Advice…. Tips & Tricks of the Trade!!
- Use carousels (10″) for vitamins, OTC products in small kitchen cabinets.
- Use custom dividers for cutlery when standard ones don’t work
- Use “catch all dividers” (aka “junk dividers”) to hold scissors, batteries, pens, etc.
- Use bathroom vanity pull outs in kitchens to hold wraps (think outside the box!).
- Use bubble wrap to cushion between items.
- Use storage bags instead of plastic storage containers (e.g, Tupperware).
- Simplify menus-e.g., Monday-pasta night; Tuesday-Mexican night, Wed-Soup, etc.
- Get rid of cracked or mismatched dishes/glasses.
- Use stacking divider to separate glass sizes within the cabinet.
- Use hooks to hang mugs in the cabinet, to make extra room in cabinet.
- Lid holders that hang on closet doors.
- Get rid of old food & don’t store leftovers if you are not going to use them.
- Put can goods on tiered shelves. Stack-able racks are better square than round.
- Get special hanging unit for hanging pots and pans from the ceiling or grids/hooks.
- Use the vertical space in the room to organize with racks & bookcases to the ceiling
- Use baskets, add shelving.
- Mail Box – Create a space for new papers that come into home.
- Create action folders or desktop/wall bins–bill paying; file later; actions pending
- Annualized approach for transactional files to facilitate easy weeding at end of year.
- Use of online history vs. paper records but be sure to take system backups!!.
- Find space you love.
- Renovate closet into a home office.
- Set up an ‘L’ Shape or ‘U’ Shape workstation if you can… they are more efficient.
- Organize clothing by color — light to dark
- Use every bit of space by adding additional shelves or cubbies.
- Put like things together
- Organize by short hanging, long hanging, shoes, hats
- Items in the closet need to be Ready To Wear.
- Bin or area for repair, donate, toss, dry cleaning, etc.
- Always have clothes hamper as close as possible to closet.
- Invest in uniform hangers – helps visually and less clutter
- Over the door pocket organizers for clothing (scarves, gloves, lingerie, etc.)
Questions to ask about deciding about clothes:
- Is it flattering?
- Do I love it?
- Is this the image I want to project?
- Do I have more like it?
- How do I feel when I wear this?
- Have I worn it in the past 2 seasons, if not, don’t keep it!!
- Does it fit right?
LINEN / STORAGE CLOSET
- Throw out expired products
- Dividers to separate categories
- Use wall hanging battery organizers/tester.
- Stack-able boxes with drawers to house one category (batteries, light bulbs)
- Hanging door organizers – bottles, cleaning products, etc.
- Small containers
- Inside-doors wire shelves Insert shelves when you have fixed shelves
- Wire drawers Hanging devices/ hooks
- Cleaning Caddy to store cleaning products in vanity or closet
- Hang the ladder, ironing board, broom, mop
- Buy at the end of the season for next year… they are really discounted.
- Create a master list and keep it updated.
- If cards are returned, get a new address or cross it off your list.
- Make use of your computer… put the list on it and print labels …or… if you are really good, print your cards and envelopes through your computer printer!
- Pick an must mail by date, count the list, and calculate how many have to be done each day to get the job done in time.
Shopping & Wrapping
- Shop online or catalogs… you pay shipping but save time and sometimes money and sales tax.
- Choose less hectic times to shop … weekdays & evenings, dinner time, when store opens.
- Avoid Lines… Post office on Saturdays, Mall Shopping & Food Shopping on weekends.
- Use a paper tablecloth to wrap the very big or odd shaped gifts.
- Buy extra gifts… just in case.
- Wrap in gift bags so they are easy to return if not used.
Holiday & Family Meal Planning
- Stock your freezer and pantry ahead of time… saves trips to the grocery store.
- When cooking double up the recipe and freeze half for another meal that is ready for you.
- Cook simple dishes.
- Go to a restaurant.
- Buy precooked meals from the supermarket.
- Have “Pot Luck” dinners… everyone brings a dish.
- Find those ‘old’ recipes that you will need beforehand and make a copy.
- Muster the Troops!
- Letting them do ‘their thing’ (in non critical areas) it might provide you some interesting ideas for the future or at the very least… some interesting topics conversation!
- Keep it simple. Less out… less to put away.
- Decorate (and store the decorations) room-by-room instead of trying to get it done all at once.
- Plan in advance. You can never have too many lists where this is concerned.
- Have a ‘White Elephant Party”. Everyone brings a wrapped gift they got last year but doesn’t’ like… first person picks… next person picks and gets to keep or exchange with the person before. Lots of laughs!!
- Keep up with it… spend a little time each day and don’t let it get away from you.
- Lower your expectations, it doesn’t have to be perfect!!
Saving Time & Money
- Screen your calls than plan a time when you can return them.
- Wrapping gifts or stuffing card envelopes is a good thing to do while on the phone.
- Use Lists…. You won’t have to spend time or energy trying to remember what to do.
- Ask everyone to make gift wish lists of items under $25.
- Opt not to give gifts and instead – adopt a family, make a donation, give gift cards, put the money toward a family trip or dinner.
- Instead of buying gifts for everyone… do a “Secret Santa” with a dollar limit.
- Put all names in a hat, everyone picks a name and buys for that person. Instead of 4 $25 gifts one $100 is nice! Remember… no ‘From” Names on the tag!
- Starting this year make a “Holiday Book”. Your own personalized reference book to remember and store good recipes, ideas, menus, lists, etc. Then you won’t have to re-invent the wheel.
- Lower your expectations … sometimes good enough is good enough.
- Let people help you; meals, decorating, cleaning, cards, anything… helping hands are a blessing.
- Use a family calendar to make sure everyone knows and records what is going on each day.
- Keep your priorities in sight.
- To avoid stress try to you accept invitations and make plans for events that are truly meaningful to you and your family.