Uncomplicate your appliance manuals and warranties

organized appliance manuals

Paper paper everywhere. Are you like me in being surprised that we still have so much paper? The more our lives migrate to the digital, the more paper we still seem to have to face.  As in junk mail, flyers, bills, statements, estimates, agreements, marketing letters, and don’t get me started on political ads in our mailboxes. 😣

Some paper is wonderful like love letters, kids’ drawings of their family, and marriage certificates. 😊 Some of it is awful like speeding tickets, explanations of benefits, and boring tax documentation. ☹️

But managing and organizing all kinds of papers is a necessary and very present part of our modern lives whether we like it or not.

The trouble is organizing it can all be overwhelming and anxiety ridden. Do I need to keep this? What if I throw this out? Will I need it again? 

I am here to help you answer the often asked question of “how long do I have to keep this” and this week I am just going to focus on one aspect of household paperwork:

Appliance manuals and warranties


I am frequently asked what to do with all kinds of papers. You may remember an earlier post this year that was all about mail. I want to answer ALL of your paper questions so let me know what you’d like to see covered by clicking here and dropping me quick paper question.

To help you #uncomplicate your appliance manuals, here are my tips and suggestions:

  1. Designate a location for them. They are not something you need to access often so they don’t need to take up prime real estate. They can go in a filing cabinet or in a bin on a high shelf. The location just needs to be labeled clearly. The bin in the picture is a multipurpose bin from The Containers Store and works perfectly for this purpose.
  2. Toss any that aren’t needed. These accumulate fast and technology changes quickly, too. We recently cut cable so there was no reason to keep any of the documentation pertaining to our cable provider. Go through your current inventory and make sure you toss any that you no longer need especially because you don’t have the device any longer. 
  3. Toss any in a language you don’t speak. Many times there are multiple manuals in multiple languages provided with appliances. Scan what you are about to keep and make sure you keep only the instructions that you need in the language you prefer.
  4. Toss excess papers with the manuals. And by excess I mean additional marketing or informational material you don’t need. The excess papers do not need to take up space in your home.
  5. Use folders.  If you have a lot of papers that pertain to one specific appliance like a refrigerator, put them in a folder. Name the folder with what it is and the date when you purchased it, where, and how much you paid. If you ever have warranty questions or replacement/ repair issues you will have to answer these questions.
  6. Toss the store receipts. They are printed on thermal paper with ink that fades so don’t bother keeping it. That’s why Step #5 is important for the big ticket items.
  7. Consider NOT keeping them. While I think it’s important to keep the manuals, instructions, and warranties for your big ticket appliance purchases (refrigerator, stove, washing machine, etc.) you may want to consider tossing the manuals for smaller, less expensive appliances. Once you know how it works, do you really need to keep the manual? Plus, most are available online if you ever need to research them in the future.   

Uncomplicate your cooking

organized refrigerator
….by getting your refrigerator organized. Raise your hand if you’re tired of cooking every single meal every single day! 🙋🏼‍♀️ And I love cooking!

But every day, day in and day out, it can be overwhelming and frustrating to come up with yet another meal…that everyone will like and not be too time consuming and not a repeat of what I made yesterday. And if your refrigerator offers nothing but sadness and overwhelm it’s even harder to get inspired to cook.

Plus going to the grocery store is not as enjoyable as it used to be. Some of us miss samples!

Being organized allows you to focus on solving the real problems of the world like what to make for dinner. NOT being organized makes any task worse.

Opening a refrigerator and not being able to find what you need or not knowing what you have is the worst. This is a huge obstacle for even wanting to prepare yummy and healthful meals. If it looks depressing, it’s going to feel even worse.

So I am here to make the task of cooking a little easier for you and a lot less complicated by sharing tips on keeping your refrigerator organized. 

How to un-complicate your refrigerator
  • Toss expired condiments. Empty out your refrigerator door with all of the jarred and bottled condiments and check all of the expiration dates. If it’s past, out it goes. 
  • Toss any expired food. While you’re getting rid of expired condiments, toss out any old leftovers, fruits, veggies, milk, and anything else that has gone bad. If it doesn’t pass the smell or sight test, let it go. 
  • Group like condiments together. I love pickles and mustards so have several different types in my refrigerator. It’s so much easier to keep track of them when they are stored next to one another. It’s one less thing to remember!
  • Decant beverages. By decanting, I mean take them out of the external packaging whether it’s a box or plastic rings. Then you can line them up any way that works in your refrigerator. 
  • Use clear containers. If you have the pleasure of dining out and happen to bring back leftovers for later, switch the container from cardboard or styrofoam to clear glass with a lid. This makes the storage air tight and visible. Seeing what you have is half the battle!

I was introduced to a great resource for minimizing ALL food waste whether in your refrigerator, freezer, or pantry. Click here to read the Guide to Food Storage for Healthier Eating
It has all of the details on proper food storage and handling including what can be stored on the counter and what needs to be refrigerated and frozen.

Getting your refrigerator organized is the first step to un-complicating your cooking. Once you can see what you have on hand, you can start to build a better cooking repertoire and menus that are enjoyed by everyone.

Uncomplicate your closet…in 5 minutes for free!

I love to save time….almost as much as I hate wasting time!! 

And I love to share the sneaky tricks to saving time and getting organized without realizing it. Easier is always better, at least when it comes to clearing clutter and creating order.

So today’s tips are all about how to #uncomplicate your closet and these will take you than 5 minutes. I promise.

  1. Clear out all of the empty hangers in your closet. I’m talking about the metal hangers from the dry cleaners and the store hangers that held the dress that you bought that you no longer need. Unless there is something specific that lives on that hanger, get rid of it. Put it in another closet or give it away.
  2. Clear out all of the empty boxes. These can be shoe boxes, jewelry boxes, gift boxes, or delivery boxes. I’m looking at you, Amazon! Unless you store something in that box, get rid of it!
  3. Clear out any trash on the floor or shelf. Toss all of the old receipts, packing lists, and tissue paper. 
  4. Get rid of excess shopping bags. You probably don’t have as many of these because of online shopping but you can still look through your closet for any remaining. 
  5. Throw out and recycle dry cleaners bags. You know how I feel about these. 😩 Because it’s August you probably don’t have a lot of them in your closet but what you do have, you don’t need. They can be recycled at most grocery store chains.

See what I mean? Tossing these items should take you less than 5 minutes  unless it’s been a loooong time since you’ve last done it. 

Doesn’t your closet look better? And you didn’t have to make any decisions about whether to keep or toss. You just got rid of the stuff you know you don’t need! Yay, you!

Easy and painless is so much better, don’t you think?

Uncomplicate your inbox

Email went from a delightful novelty 20+ years ago to the mainstay of our personal and professional lives. Couple it with social media and you’ve got a major reason for why people are distracted and overwhelmed every time they look at their phones and computers.

TOO MUCH INFORMATION 

Decluttering your email inbox is a great activity you can do when you’re waiting in line or just sitting in the air conditioning trying to cool off. Deleting old, no longer needed messages is great but what if you just had fewer to deal with in the first place?

This week is a great time to #uncomplicate your email by unsubscribing to emails you don’t read, no longer want, or didn’t sign up for in the first place.
 

  1. Set a timer for 5 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in just 5 minutes!
  2. On your computer, I think it’s helpful to resort your inbox so you look at it with fresh eyes. Sort by “from” to see all your messages grouped by sender. 
  3. If you’ve got a lot from a real person, you may just want to select all from that person and delete.
  4. Notice the ones from stores, restaurants, magazines, or services you don’t use and start the Unsubscribe process.
  5. It is required that if you have people sign up for a newsletter, there has to be a way to opt out. Most companies put this at the bottom of the email with the word “unsubscribe.”  The text can be very small and sometimes hard to find but it’s there. 
  6. Delete the message once you’ve unsubscribed. It’s easy to delete a lot if you’ve sorted by sender. Click away on unsubscribe until your alarm goes off.   You’ll get through a lot more than you realize.

The best part of this exercise is that you can see results almost immediately. Your inbox number is smaller than when you started and you’ve got the hang of unsubscribing down. You’ll get fewer emails in the future and have to do this task less and less. 💪🏻

Challenge yourself this week to declutter your inbox AND unsubscribe from unwanted emails. You’ll feel much lighter and have less junk to look at (literally!). 

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.