Uncomplicate your makeup

Being in the dog days of summer (which I just learned has actually nothing to do with dogs) a lot of us are probably not wearing as much makeup every day. Couple that with working from home, not traveling or going out much and I have found less desire to go through a whole daily facial routine.

Which makes now the perfect time to #uncomplicate your makeup and all of the myriad of products you have for your face. Let’s say goodbye to wasting our valuable time sifting through multiple creams, potions, tubes, and jars to find just the right one.

In the process of uncomplicting makeup you’re going to find you’re also letting go of the doubt and anxiety associated with seeing reminders of money spent on products that promised the moon and delivered less than stellar results.

Start up some tunes or your favorite podcast and make haste to your bathroom area, armed with your trash can and cleaning products.

  1. Take everything out of its current location. Whether it is all in a drawer or makeup bag, just get it all out on the counter in front of you so you can really see what you have.
  2. Toss old makeup. This is easier said than done but if you haven’t worn it since Christmas, chances are you never will. It doesn’t matter if it’s expensive Chanel lipstick, or a tube of not quite finished Great Lash mascara. I put together a Makeup Expiration Dates timeline for your reference here.
  3. Group like products together. Put your eye shadows, lipsticks, foundations, BB creams, etc. together. 
  4. Find appropriate containers. I like to store vertical items like mascara & eye pencils vertically in a repurposed candle container. Julep cups are a lovely option, too. What works for you will depend on what cosmetics you have and your storage options. 
  5. If you have drawers, divided drawer liners are excellent for categorizing and storing similar products together. I’ve used these for several clients and they work very well.  
  6. If you are storing items on the counter, this is a pretty and functional container to keep the essentials together but organized. 

The ultimate way to uncomplicate your makeup, though, is to invest in products that you know look good on you that you love. I advise getting your makeup done professionally at a store that sells the brands you like. I know this may not be possible right this minute but it is always wise to seek the counsel of experts especially when it comes to your face.

I also recommend seeing a dermatologist and aesthetician to take the best care of your skin. Invest in these services so you can allocate your budget wisely and not be swayed by the marketing promises of miracle products. They may work wonders but maybe just not for you. I have fallen prey myself to the claims of youthful, unwrinkled, perfect skin only to be disappointed by results inversely related to the amount of money I spent. 

The less you buy, the less you have to organize so invest wisely, whether it’s for your face, body or home. 😊

Uncomplicate your loungewear

Today, your loungewear is pulling double and triple duty. It may be the same as your pajamas, workout clothes, AND your work uniform! 🤣

As wonderful as it is to have more relaxed standards for what we wear everyday, keeping it all organized is essential for our mental health, sanity, and peaceful home life. Nobody wants to see a pile of possibly clean (?) clothes and have to select based on what smells the least bad.😝 

Uncomplicating your loungewear, like any other clothing you have, shows a level of self care as well as power in exerting control in a chaotic situation. 💪🏻

Seeing folded or hung clothes in order soothes your eye and relaxes your brain. 💆🏼‍♀️

Here are the steps to #uncomplicate your loungewear: 

  1. Pull out all of the clothes that YOU determine to be loungewear. It could be sweatshirts, t-shirts, dresses, leggings, shorts, etc. Whatever you would put in that category should go in this pile.
  2. Review each piece of clothing and toss anything that is in sad shape:   
    –clothes with holes or stained beyond repair
    –clothes with non functioning elastic 😳
    –clothes that you just don’t wear anymore, even for lounging or sleeping
  3. Create category piles with what remains: long & short sleeve tops, shorts, pants, etc.
  4. Fold each pile.

Now comes the fun part!
Designate a specific place to store these clothes. What I see most often in clients’ closets, and the reason why I created a system for uncomplicating your loungewear, is that nobody creates space for loungewear.

Loungewear morphs into pajamas or merges into workout clothes.

It doesn’t have a specific home. And anything that can be stored anywhere is stored nowhere. 

You don’t know where to put it away so you don’t. And there it sits in a nonspecific drawer or shelf. Or top of a dresser. Or floor. 😟

It’s a jumbled mess of randomness…..until today!

Select a specific place to store your loungewear. It doesn’t matter if it’s a drawer (or 2) or basket(s) on a shelf. Treat your loungewear like your other clothes with specific purposes. Give it a place in your closet so you know where it goes. 😄

Uncomplicate your pantry: zones

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of the #uncomplicate your pantry series. My goal is to give you the steps and tips for creating a beautifully organized and uncomplicated pantry. 

Did you toss all of your expired packaged food?

I’d love to hear how long it actually took you. Some organizing tasks seem to take forever and some take less time than you expect. When you put your mind to it, though, that feeling of accomplishment is intoxicating!

Part 2 is all about creating zones for the contents of your pantry. What does it mean to “create zones?” Think about grocery shopping and how each aisle is organized by category of food. You are essentially re-creating the grocery store categories in your pantry.

However, it’s customized for you. For example, in the store, peanut butter and bread are usually sold on separate aisles but you typically use them together. I’ve created a zone, sometimes with a basket or bin to contain them, for peanut butter, almond butter or other nut butters, jelly, jam, honey (depending on how the client eats it), and bread. This is to make it easier and….

uncomplicated

No more searching multiple shelves or cabinets for the foods that go together. 

You store like foods together and thus a zone is born. 

Here are some examples of zones I’ve created. You don’t need to create all of these. These are just examples that you might have in your pantry.breakfast foodspastagrains & legumescanned foodsmeal starterssauces & condimentschipscrackerskids snacksadult snacks (usually stored on a higher shelf and contain yummy dark chocolate 😉)barspeanut butter, bread, & spreadbottled water or canned drinkspaper productsbaking suppliesbirthday suppliessmoothie ingredientsoils & vinegarsThis week I want you to create pantry zones based on the foods you have in your pantry and how you cook and eat.

Group like foods together.  You can use my list above to help you get started.

It’s all about you so if you don’t bake, you don’t need a “baking supplies” zone. 

If you’ve got a household with food allergies or sensitivities, creating zones for specific food types would probably be helpful.

The goal here is to create the zones that work for you so that cooking and shopping are easier, less complicated for you. The fewer places you have to look for foods, the better your life will be. 🙂

Uncomplicate your pantry: expired food

This month’s #uncomplicate is a series with the steps for you to uncomplicate your pantry one week at a time. Smaller steps are better anyway because we all have so much going on right now. I think we can all agree that taking a few minutes each day or week is certainly more doable than trying to get it all done at one time.

And the pantry needs attention year round due to its constant activity. We are constantly adding to and taking from it yet it’s frequently neglected because it just seems to take FOREVER.

This week I want you to focus solely on uncomplicating your expired foods in the pantry.

Take out each can, box, or package of food and look at its expiration date. The expiration date is typically 2 years after it was packaged. If you haven’t used it in that time, chances are you will not.

Look for the following:canned foodspastarice & other grainsmeal starters (Hamburger Helper, Rice a Roni)saucescondimentsteahot chocolatecerealoatmealnutsIf you can’t find a date, think hard about when you got it. If you’re struggling to remember, it’s probably time to toss it.

And speaking of tossing, that’s all you can really do with expired food. You can not donate it to a food bank or shelter. 

If the food is in a glass container, you can clean it out and recycle the glass. Or use it for storing other food once you’ve cleaned it out. Otherwise, just throw it away.

While you’re at it, throw away any packaged food like crackers, rice, pasta, nuts, etc. that has been opened and not securely closed. It is most likely stale and attracting critters. 😟

I’m going to give you steps in the coming weeks on organizing your pantry so you don’t have to deal with food waste in the future. Make a promise to yourself to do better about this and move on. 😉

Uncomplicate your computer

Our digital devices are working overtime right now helping us with work, school, information, and entertainment. But when was the last time we showed them a little maintenance love?

Last year I contemplated getting a new desktop computer. Yes, I am one of the few that doesn’t have a laptop. Given my line of work, I don’t need a laptop to perform my regular organizing tasks and I prefer the larger screen on my desk. 

I seriously considered buying a new computer because 1. mine was 8 years old and 2.  running sooooo slowly. It would take too much time to switch screens, open windows, or even save a file. 

But before I took the plunge to spend $$ on a new system, I checked with my friend, Chris Strickland to see if he could help.

Chris owns CleverGreen Technology which is like a help desk for personal computer users. You can check out his website for more of his wizardry capabilities. Long story short, he fixed my computers issues quickly and efficiently with some additional RAM and attention.

So when a client recently reached out to me seeking advice on computer clean up and organization, I reached out to Chris. 

He provided me with some excellent ideas and tips that you can do at home to help #uncomplicate your computer. 

Here are Chris’s expert tips tips for you to uncomplicate your computer so it keeps working well:

1.     Know where your files are saved

  • Identify a central file/folder location that’s easy to find – iCloud, OneDrive, Google Drive
  • Give you folders names that make sense and are searchable
    • Example: Finances -> 2020 -> January; 
    • Example: Family -> Vacations -> 2020 -> Location

2.       Use tools like Malwarebytes to detect malicious software on your computers

  • The free version works for most people and gives you the ability to scan when you feel like something’s amiss

3.       Keep your devices clean

  • Clean your mobile phones and tablets
  • Don’t spray anything directly on your technology’s surface
  • Use a microfiber cloth
  • Don’t use aerosol sprays, bleaches or abrasives
  • Don’t over-wipe it could damage the finish of your screen

4.       Make sure you have enough internet speeds to accommodate new ways of working and schooling

  • 70Mbps download speed is a good threshold to aim for. If you have less than 70MBps, you may run into spinning wheels or screen choppiness
  • Call your provider to check your service level
  • Use speedtest.net to test the WiFi around your home – either the website or mobile app

One last tip that I will give since I ❤️ decluttering:

  • Delete any files you no longer need. One way is to go to Finder and sort your files by Date Last Opened. Only Delete files, spreadsheets, and documents. Leave any file that you don’t know its “Kind” alone.

How to Organize Food Storage Containers

Oh, the struggle! How to organize plastic (and glass) food containers and their lids? If I’ve heard this question once, I’ve heard it 1,000 times.

Where should I store them: pantry, drawer, or cabinet?

Should I separate the lids from the bottoms?

Do I need an organizer to keep the lids in order?

Should I stack them?

I have organized so many pantries and kitchens and while everyone’s needs and spaces are different, I’ve come up with an easy, simple way to organize and store plastic and glass food storage containers with lids.

  1. The first thing you want to do when you tackle this area is to match up lids and containers. If any of them don’t have a mate, toss them. You don’t need to keep extras “just in case.”
  2. Toss any lids or containers that are melted, stained, or otherwise unusable. These types of containers aren’t usually obvious until you take them all out of their current location and examine them. They just keep getting shoved to the back of the cabinet or drawer, NOT being used.
  3. Now that you have matched containers and lids, you can see just how much space you’ll need to keep them. There are no specific rules on where they should be kept except that they need to be easily accessible for when you do use them.
  4. I store them in a drawer or cabinet, WITH the lid attached to the bottom. Yes, this takes up more space but you can stack them and there is no searching for the lid. You can also keep them in the pantry on a shelf.

Keep your food storage containers and lids where it makes sense for YOU. If you use them frequently, you may want them closer in your kitchen in a larger drawer or cabinet. If they only get occasional use, the pantry or even a high shelf might be fine.

Remember that this space will get cluttered again. Because you will adding and removing containers as you use them and then wash them, there will be activity in this space so the order will change. That is ok! You just have to take a few minutes when you’re putting them away to reorder a little. It’s much easier once you have your basic system in place to tweak than it is to completely organize the first time.

Happy organizing!

Life Happens…That’s Why You Need to be Organized

Life has been a little hectic lately which explains my social media absence and confirms my belief in organization. This week our very sweet dog Edie (I’m sure you’ve seen her picture on Instagram and Facebook. She’s quite the model!) has been very sick. The kind of sick that makes you ask the hard questions you never want to think about when it comes to your pets. As I write this, she’s better but not free and clear.

So what, if anything does this have to do with being organized? Everything actually.

This has been a week of doing all the things that downgrade your home to disaster mode:

  • No laundry done
  • Dishes not put in dishwasher
  • No grocery shopping
  • Clothes not folded or put away
  • Mail piled up on the counter
  • Glasses left on table tops
  • Suitcases not emptied
  • Beds not made

All of this adds up to a recipe for chaos and clutter and it can’t go on. I draw the line because I have a low tolerance for cFortunately, we have a system for dealing with all of the above and it will be easier to get on track because of it.

  • Mail has a basket that it needs to live in (i.e. not on the counter)
  • Dishes are normally put away after the running the dishwasher
  • Laundry is typically folded and put away

All of these are examples of systems that we have in place here. Systems are what keep us sane and not living in that disaster mode. T-shirts have a specific home in a drawer in the closet. We process mail by immediately throwing away (recycling) the junk and the bills go on the desk. We “pick up” the house before bedtime so that no dishes or glasses are left out. And yes, I normally empty my suitcase right when I get home.

If you don’t have systems in place nothing in the above paragraph happens. Clutter accumulates faster than your teen can text a message with juicy “t” and it’s too easy to claim “crisis mode” for not dealing with it quickly.

Eventually the crisis will be over and you’ll be stuck with a depressing, cluttered home that’s too overwhelming to tackle.

These are life situations that we all deal with: sick family, school starting, home repairs, major renovations, car accidents, etc. that force an interruption in our schedule. Tend to those issues and then get back to your regularly organized life.

Set up systems so that it’s easier to rebound. You know where everything goes and it just takes a little time to get back to normal.

If you don’t have a system you don’t even know where to start. And that makes life that much harder. Life is hard enough; being organized give you control over the chaos.

Happy organizing!

Happy Spring Cleaning!

organized closet

Who is thrilled that Spring is here besides me? I love spring so much because the weather is perfect (not too hot, not too cold, and usually sunny), people are in better moods, and the blooming flowers and trees are gorgeous!

I also love spring because it signals a new season of growth which makes me think of shedding anything old, worn out, or tired. I’m more excited about spring organizing than spring cleaning and I love anything that makes organizing easier.

I put together a list of 51 Things You Probably Have Too Much of and Can Get Rid of to help you (really me) purge the excess and stuff that is old, worn out and tired that you no longer need. Don’t let the long title scare you! Having a list to use makes your spring organizing work more focused and effective because you’re not just wandering through closets wondering what you’re looking for.

Go through the list of 51 Things You Probably Have Too Much of and Can Get Rid of and mark off anything that you were able to get rid of. There is nothing more satisfying than marking things off a list!

Oh, and remember that “getting rid of” can mean giving away, donating, recycling, or throwing away. Someone may need exactly what you no longer need so try to find a good recipient. Here in the Atlanta area, I love taking things to the Sandy Springs Recycling Center because they also have donation resources there. You can search for “recycling center” and your town or county name to find something similar in your area.

Happy Spring organizing!

Expand Your Closet in 60 Seconds

Most people I work with are looking for ways to expand their closet space. They aren’t looking to renovate their house or tear down walls but they need more space for clothes in their closet. I can give you more space in your closet in 60 seconds or less.

It’s simple. All you have to do is clean out the empty hangers in your closet. Maybe this applies primarily to people who get their clothes dry- cleaned but I’ve seen it in just about every closet I’ve organized. Empty hangers accumulate.

Just take out the empty hangers and you’ll find inches and maybe even feet of space.

Remember you can take wire hangers to dry cleaners and they can and will recycle them. I take my extra plastic store hangers to an alterations shop across the street. They are thrilled to get them because most people bringing in clothes to be altered don’t bring them in on hangers. When they have completed the alterations, they always hang the clothes.

You can also check with your local consignment stores and charitable organizations that sell clothes to see if they need them. Usually someone is in need of what you are trying to discard so do a little research to find it a good home.

Happy organizing!

 

How to Organize Receipts

Do you feel like everywhere you turn, you’ve got paper receipts staring at you? You see them in your pocket, purse, wallet, car seat, bedside table, kitchen counter, etc. It’s like they are breeding and following you. It can be so overwhelming trying to figure out which ones to keep, which ones to toss, or should I be shredding them?

 

To free you from the feeling of being overwhelmed and anxious about paper receipts, I’ve put together a guide for what to do with the different types. You can relax knowing you’re keeping the good ones and discarding the ones you no longer need.

 

This guide is for personal spending only. If you are deducting expenses for business purposes you will need to keep and track those more specifically.

Receipt Type What to do
Grocery store, gas station, fast food, service receipts Track and toss.
Restaurant It is a good idea to verify restaurant receipts with your credit card statement to make sure tips are added correctly. The receipts can be tossed as soon as they are posted online or in your statement.

 

Clothing If you didn’t try the clothing on and there’s a chance it doesn’t fit or you might return it, keep the receipt in the bag. Try on the item and make a decision about keeping or returning pronto. If you are keeping toss the receipt. Items to be returned should be put in the bag with the receipt and taken to your car. Do not delay with this dangerous practice. It’s too easy to let time pass and not be able to return the item.

 

Gifts Request a gift receipt from the store and include it with the gift. You can toss your receipt.

 

Appliances (small) Test out the appliance such as a coffee maker, humidifier, hair dryer, to see if you’re satisfied with how it works. Keep the box and receipt for 30 days. If it’s a keeper, toss box and receipt. If you’re returning it, you have everything together to process the return.

 

Appliances (large) For appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, you’ll want to track when & where you purchased it and how much you paid. The ink will fade from the paper that most registers use so it’s a good idea to make a paper copy of the receipt and keep it with the warranty information. Should something happen, the manufacturer will ask you when and where you purchased it. If there is a replacement cost, you’ll know how much you paid.

 

Furniture & decor High dollar items that are an investment in your home should be tracked in case there is a warranty associated.

 

Medical care Keep receipts while confirming that insurance has covered the appropriate portion. If you’re treating a chronic or serious accident or illness, it is good to keep those receipts and paperwork together. Annual checkup receipts can be tossed once verified and paid.

 

Jewelry, Antiques, Cars Keep these receipts forever in your file drawer or container. You will need them for proving value in case of loss or sale.

 

Home Repairs & Renovations While not required, it is a good practice to keep these receipts because they usually include descriptions of the work performed. If you have repeat problems or want the same company back in your home, you have a detailed list of the services performed and when. You may also need to have this information for warranty issues.

 

Click the link here to get a copy of What to do with receipts to print out for your home use.

Happy organizing!