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: best organizing tools

This is it! The last week of June and the last in my 4 part series on uncomplicating your pantry. I hope you’ve enjoyed all of the tips and found them helpful. 

If you’d like a recap, here you go: 

part 1:  Get rid of expired food
part 2:  Create zones
part 3:  Decant

Which leads us to the final week 4:  best tools to create a beautifully organized and uncomplicated pantry. These are bins, lazy susans, and other tools to keep your pantry in shape and looking its best.

Remember every pantry is different and you don’t necessarily need to rush out an buy anything. While I think it is important to invest in tools to help you stay organized, you can always try to repurpose baskets and bins that you already have if that is what your budget requires. 

Clearly, (get it 😉?) I like clear bins. If you can see it, well, you haven’t lost it. Being organized is all about knowing what you have and where it goes.

These links are for your information and browsing pleasure. I do not receive a commission or even a thank you for recommending these products. These are just the ones I buy and use repeatedly with clients and for myself.

Clear bins

Lazy susans

Can stacker shelf

Containers with lids for decanting (you saw some of these last week)

Jars with lids for baking supplies, nuts, oatmeal, etc.

There it is! My favorite organizing tools that I get for clients all. the. time. They work and are worth the investment!

Uncomplicate your pantry: decanting

decanted pantry food

I hope you enjoyed part 1 and part 2 of the #uncomplicate your pantry series. Between tossing out expired foods and creating zones, you are well on your way to a beautifully organized and uncomplicated pantry. 

This week’s #uncomplicate tip meets at the intersection of form and function. It takes your pantry zones to the next level of organization. It’s what I call “decanting” your foods.
 

What is decanting you ask? It is taking foods out of their packaging and putting them into containers so that you can find them more easily, see your inventory on hand, and know exactly what you have and what you need.


This is especially important and necessary if you shop in bulk either at big box stores or from bins at grocery stores. 

Foods that are packaged into individual servings should definitely be removed from their box or plastic container because they take up more space on the shelf and hide the contents inside.

Even foods that are boxed but are sold in multipacks should be separated so they can be arranged on the shelf to utilize the space better.


I like to buy oatmeal, nuts, and some cereals in bulk and then transfer them to glass jars when I get home. It makes it so much easier to keep track of what we have on hand. 


Drinks are perfect for decanting, even tea bags.


This week I want you to decant (if you can) your pantry.

  • Take the plastic off of multi packs of foods, even drinks
  • Empty bulk foods into containers. This is a good way to utilize glass jars with lids
  • Remove additional packaging where you can


When you take food out of the excess packaging you are able to utilize the zones you created last week better. Bakets, bins, and other containers can help with this as well. 

Stay tuned to next week’s post on favorite pantry organizing tools!
😄

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 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.

Uncomplicating kids’ papers

So everyone is probably a bit stir crazy at this point of #stayathome (is it day 14 or 414?) so I want to offer support and keep you busy. This week’s #uncomplicate will definitely take you longer than 5 minutes but I think that’s the point now. You’ve probably cleaned your junk drawer 8 times already and need something else to focus on.🤣

This week’s uncomplicate is courtesy of A LOT of messages I’ve received requesting help. The typical tidal wave of kids’ papers that parents have to process is usually overwhelming. 

Since kids are home and not bringing home papers, NOW is the perfect time to set up a system to manage these more efficiently in the future. Because you will have kids going back to school. Eventually. And the papers will start coming back.

Uncomplicate your kids papers

I’m talking about the daily papers that typically come home every day, covering your kitchen table, mudroom, desk, and living room. Some need to be read and trashed. Some are homework, worksheets, or school work for you to see progress. And some require your attention and response.
  1. Get an inbox for each child. This could be something that sits on a counter or is attached to the wall. 
  2. Put the inbox close to where these papers come in to your home. It might be on your kitchen desk or wall near the back door. Every home will have its own landing spot. 
  3. Put your child’s papers in their own bin. Label it with his or her name. Later, each child can put his own papers in there. As they get older, there will be fewer papers to process but it’s great for them to know where their stuff is.
  4. Now that the papers have a home, you’ve got to set aside time to go through them.
  5. Anything that requires your attention or signature needs daily action. Add any important event dates or appointments to your calendar immediately. 
  6. Once a week, at least, go through any remaining homework, school work, and art. Put a To Do on your calendar as a reminder. Be judicious in what you keep. You can’t save everything!
  7. Assignments that they’ve written about themselves or something that interests them is good to keep. Art that shows their personality is also worth keeping. Also, save some samples of their handwriting from each year. It’s fun to see it mature as they do.

This week: I want you to create a landing spot for your kids’ papers.

  • Get a pretty basket or bin to be the landing spot for your kids’  incoming papers. Think rectangle, open top, no taller than 3″ high. I like these to be flat and open on top so you can add to it easily
  • Here are links to some solution ideas you can order. 
  • FOR DIGITAL information, create a folder in your inbox called *Child’s Name* School Notifications. You can have a separate folder for each child and school.
  • Move relevant emails to the folder once you read them so you can find them later. Delete when you no longer need,
  • Add future events and appointments to your calendar immediately. Add them to your paper and digital calendars if you use both.
  • Make a weekly date with yourself to go through your kids’ inbox(es) and process it fully. Call it a “School Papers date” on your calendar with a weekly repeat.
  • Don’t be afraid to throw papers away.

Uncomplicate your quarantine

I can honestly say this is the first post I’ve ever done that had the word “quarantine” in it. “Social distancing” was not a phrase I had ever encountered until now.


Like most unanticipated situations, a quarantine at home can get complicated. There are so many questions, emotions, extra food, hand sanitizers, and toilet paper! And how are we supposed to keep our sanity with kids and spouses together 24/7?

While I don’t have all of the answers to today’s problems, I certainly can help you uncomplicate your quarantine by offering suggestions to stay sane in this time of uncertainty. 

I’m going to change up the Joan Baez quote to include some alliteration:
 

Action is the antidote to anxiety


Doing something is far better than doing nothing. And this is what I’m doing and suggesting to uncomplicate a very complicated time.

Make your bed. I’ve said it once so I’ve probably said it a 1,000 times. Make your bed. If you accomplish nothing else today, you will have accomplished that. It’s a small victory that can spawn other victories. It takes 5 minutes and you’ll instantly feel like you’ve left zombie land.

Get dressed. Like real clothes. I’m writing this wearing jeans and a sweatshirt but it’s a CUTE sweatshirt with a satin ribbon at the back. I showered and put on makeup. Seriously, put yourself together as if you were going to interact with the world. You’ll feel like a real person. 

Clean/ Organize/ Declutter a forgotten space. You’ve now got the time to go through that closet or cabinet you’ve been avoiding all this time. Just organize it! You’ll feel so satisfied and accomplished you might even do another!
Here are some suggestions of great organization potential:  
–clean your makeup brushes
–go through your jewelry. You may have some pieces you’d like to remake or donate.
–organize your leftover paint so see if there’s any you can throw out because it’s already dried out.
–match up your sheets and pillowcases

Listen to some new music. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying playing some opera arias that I’ve heard in movies. Thank you, YouTube. Peruse Spotify, iTunes, or ask your kids what they like to listen to. You might be surprised that they like some of your music, too.

Practice gratitude. There is always, always, always something to be grateful for. This is probably the most time you’ve spent with your family in a really long time. The weather is beautiful albeit a little rainy. Hopefully you have your health. If you’re reading this you still have your sight. 

As I write this I remember one of my last conversations with my 100 year old grandmother who said when I asked how she was doing, “Well, I can’t see very well and I can’t hear very well but by the grace of God, I’m still here.” She was a master at practicing gratitude!

Sometimes you have to get a little ridiculous and find the smallest thing that is going well but do it. Focus on the little things that work like the internet or your hot water heater. We are all blessed in all kinds of ways. Sometimes we just have to look a little harder to find them. 🙂

Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash

Uncomplicate your shopping


One trend I’ve noticed through the years that has taken a negative turn is the Sale Section in any brick and mortar store. Whether it’s the $3 section by the Target entrance or the enticing end-cap of an aisle, or even the little table in the back of the store that just screams “Buy me, I’m marked down!” 

All of this stuff is bursting with potential which 99% of the time is unrealized. 

We complicate our lives with “oh, I should get this because it’s on sale even though I don’t know what I’m going to do with it.”

We think we are getting a head start on birthday/ graduation/ holiday shopping. 

We think we are smart squirrels storing away inexpensive toothbrushes, socks, packages of Mac n Cheeze that will prevent us from future shopping. 

We think we have empty drawers at home that are needing to be filled with something.

And who doesn’t think it’s a good idea to shop on sale. Saving money? Yeah!! Like that’s a no brainer. 

Until it means you aren’t using your brain at all. Your drawers and closets are overflowing with the gifts/ toothbrushes/ food/ cleaning products. 

You have a closet with too many clothes with the tag on them.

You have excess food in your pantry that is nearing its expiration date. 

This sale item isn’t what you’re looking for (cue Obi Wan Kenobi voice) and you have just complicated your life by giving yourself something else to find a home for, organize, clean, get altered, figure out a recipient, etc.

This week: I want you to avoid the sale section.

  1. Before you go shopping in a brick & mortar store, make a list of what you need to purchase. Even if it’s just 2 items, write it down.
  2. Check your home inventory first. Make sure you don’t already have these items but in a different location. So often we shop by habit instead of really verifying a specific need. (Trust but verify)
  3. Seriously, walk on by the sale section. Don’t even glance. 
  4. Buy the items on your list.
  5. If it’s not on the list, don’t buy it.

This may sound completely draconian and weird. You might be thinking that it’s a giant waste of time if you really do need something that you forgot to write down AND it happens to be on sale. This exercise is all about developing the habit of mindful shopping.

Mindful shopping:

  • buying what you need
  • not buying what seems like a really good deal because it’s on sale
  • shopping for specific purposes
  • spending with intention

Avoiding the sale section will 100% save you money because you’re not bringing home something that you didn’t plan on purchasing. It will keep you from shopping on impulse and adding to that already filled closet. You’ll have less stuff to clean, organize, and find a home for. That is #winning if you ask me. 😉

Uncomplicate your desk

Welcome to my least liked day of the year:  Daylight Savings Day. Losing an hour of sleep just makes me crazy. I know it’s minor but a fun fact about me is that I loathe losing time…..and sleep!

Here’s a heads up for this week:  Tuesday is National Organize Your Home Office Day so I’m going to help you get ready for the festivities early.

I always get questions about organizing home offices because it’s a relatively new concept. It’s not like we grew up watching our parents work out of their home offices. 

Correctly setting up and organizing a home office is hard because home is supposed to be relaxing, easy going, and calm. We don’t want to think about strategies, deadlines, rules, and expense reports in the same place we binge on Netflix, raise families, and share meals with loved ones.

The reality is more of us work from home  today, at least some of the time, and ALL of us need some kind of office to pay bills, go through the mail, and file important papers. 

Where do you get started on uncomplicating your office? At the top: the top of your desk

Understand that any horizontal space can become a clutter magnet. Your desk quite easily becomes the home of “I don’t know what to do with it so I’ll deal with it later but I don’t want to forget about it.” Sound familiar? 

Today is the day to make those decisions and finally #uncomplicateyourdesk

  1. Pick the easy stuff first and throw away any obvious trash on your desk: dirty tissues, papers you no longer need, receipts that you don’t need, etc.
  2. Remove everything that doesn’t belong in the room / area. These would be your coffee cups, extra sweater, kids’ lacrosse gear, Amazon shipment that isn’t office supplies, etc. 
  3. Next, group the remaining contents by category which will be unique for everyone. Some examples are:
    * work related
    * bills to pay
    * papers to file
    * pictures to put away
    * sentimental cards to save

    Notice that the last 3-4 categories are “things that need to be put away and thus not stored on the desk top”
    Ultimately, you are going to have to designate a home for these items. It might be a pretty box or basket for sentimental cards and photos; a file folder for home or car related papers & bills.
    ***I’m putting together a workbook on uncomplicating & organizing your papers at home. Stay tuned!***
     
  4. The only things that should be on your desk at this point are things that you need there because you are actively working on it and things that you really want there because it makes you happy, like flowers or pictures. 
  5. If you’re not actively working on something, off to its home it goes!


 This week: I want you to organize your desk top. Follow the steps above to get the top cleared off. Going forward, follow these guidelines to keep it that way!

  • Adopt a clear desk policy for your desk at home. This means that you put everything away on your desk before you shut down for the end of the day. 
  • Get a pretty basket or bin to (temporarily) store your papers to be filed. Think rectangle, open top, no taller than 3″ high.
  • Take advantage of any vertical space and keep the papers that you are actively working on within easy reach with a desktop file sorter like this one, or this one in gold or rose gold, or this fancy acrylic one.
  • Set aside 5 minutes each day this week to work on some aspect of your desk: filing papers, putting away things that don’t belong there
  • To help you out, I’ve attached a copy of my Organized Office Essentials Checklist to help with your office organization.

Depending on the state of your desk, there will be a lot to do but once you get a system in place, it will be a cinch and you’ll breathe much easier. 😁

Photo by Canva