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!

Do You Feel Overwhelmed About the Holidays?

The Secret To Peaceful Holidays

Everyone knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but how do you know where to start? After helping clients organize before, during and after the holiday season, I’ve seen first hand how a little preparation makes a massive difference in whether or not people enjoy the holidays. 

Whether you stay home or travel, have kids or not, work out of the office or at home, the holidays are stressful.

From the first of October to the end of December time flies by in a blur and most people would do anything to make it slow down just a little. 

But what if you could start now preparing and make it all a little more enjoyable, a lot more peaceful, and way less stressful.  

Click this link to get 5 things you can do NOW to enjoy the Holidays to get started. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Save time: Get a uniform

Have you ever considered adopting a uniform as a method to getting organized and saving time? If you had tried to sell me on wearing a uniform in my youth, I would have kicked and screamed and hated you for suppressing my personal fashion expression.

Today, I feel 180 degree the opposite.

Hear me out: I don’t think you need to go buy scrubs or order clothes from a janitorial supply company… at all. But look at the clothes that you wear over and over again. The ones that you reach for when you can’t figure out what to wear. There is a reason that you keep choosing them.

My guess is they are comfortable. You get compliments when you wear them. You feel good wearing them. They are essentially….your uniform.

If you had more of those clothes and less of the ones that you’re not wearing, I bet you’d have more room in your closet. What if you got rid of the following:*

  • clothes that don’t fit you
  • clothes that are uncomfortable
  • clothes that are permanently stained, ripped, or otherwise damaged
  • clothes that you have nothing to wear with (e.g. tops that you can never find a bottom for or dresses that just don’t fit right)
  • clothes that don’t make you feel happy 

This doesn’t give you carte blanche to wear pjs or yoga pants 24/7. Instead it is a permission slip to get rid of what isn’t serving you. Because if you’re not wearing it, there must be a good reason!


You can find comfortable shoes, work clothes, underwear, and even suits. You can wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself. You may need to get a friend to help you but it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money.

Just think of the money spent on clothes that are just hanging there, lonely and UNWORN.


I have a uniform of black pants paired with varying t-shirts for work in clients’ homes. I usually wear my blush pink sneakers with them because I’m on my feet, knees, and climbing ladders most of the day. Sometimes I wear jeans. Sometimes I wear a sweater. Regardless, I can get dressed with my eyes clothes and I know that my clothes will fit, feel good, and flatter me. THAT is what saves me time and money.

I love clothes and always have. But I love even more wearing selecting and wearing clothes that fit me, I wear regularly, and that are comfortable. Try it. I bet you’ll like it.

*the same applies to shoes

Instant Upgrade: Closet

Is your closet looking “meh” and blah? Would you like for it to inspire you to have an awesome, productive day? Keep reading for some quick tips to give your closet an instant upgrade. Also, most of these suggestions are FREE!

  • Get rid of wire hangers. Get those extra wire hangers out of your closet now! They are taking up valuable space and are ugly. And unnecessary. Take them back to the drycleaners where they will be welcomed.
  • Recycle empty shoe boxes. If you’re not using the boxes to store your off-season shoes then get rid of the boxes. I know it’s tempting to hang on to them “just in case” but what are you waiting for? They take up space and collect dust. They are super easy to recycle if you take out anything plastic in the box.
  • Put a small trash can in your closet. Every closet needs a small trash receptacle for clothing tags, paper filler, old tissues, and unnecessary receipts. Otherwise, that trash ends up on the floor making your closet look messy and unkempt. Get a cute, petite trash can to hold the little trash pieces and make your closet look like a boutique.
  • Hang up your belts. Trying to hang a belt on the neck of a regular hanger takes too much time to put on and take off. Save yourself the energy and take better care of your belts by investing in a belt hanger. You’ll be able to see them all together and pick one out in 2 seconds when you’re dressing in the morning.
  • Re-group your clothes. Sort your hanging tops by sleeve length and then by color. Hang your skirts, pants, and dresses together by length. Just creating some uniformity will ease your visual clutter and give you a sense of calm.
  • Get appropriate & adequate hangers. While I love the velvet hangers for blouses, dresses, and trousers there are other hangers you may need to get for specific clothing. Skirts and shorts should be hung on hangers with clips at the waist band. This keeps them from getting wrinkled. Heavy coats need a wooden or heavy plastic hanger. Men’s suits are best hung on a suit hanger to keep the jacket and pants together and wrinkle free. It makes me crazy to see skirts flung over a hanger or multiple items on one. Each piece of clothing needs its own hanger!
  • Adjust your lighting. Maybe your bulb just needs to be changed but keep the lighting strong in your closet. Most of us have lower ceilings so we are stuck with a flush mount. But, there may be more than one bulb in there. Make sure you’ve got enough light so you can see what you’re about to put on. Those navy and black pants can look awfully similar!

Take a few minutes to make a few adjustments and you’ll be on your way to an upgraded closet in no time. Plus you’ll feel better being able to see exactly what you have in your closet. And your clothes will thank you by becoming less wrinkled. 😉

Happy organizing!

Organized Moving Tips so you don’t lose your mind in the process of packing

So moving is not on the top of anyone’s favorites list, especially mine. However, I do love helping people make it a less stressful and a bit more enjoyable. It is AMAZING how a little planning and a little forethought will ease this process tremendously.

  • Start early. Start as early as you can with planning, acquiring boxes, packing, picking your move date, hiring your movers, etc. The last minute is definitely not your friend here and you will pay literally and with your sanity waiting until the last minute. From the day you decide to move to the actual move date, do something every single day to help this process.
  • Declutter first. You will end up going through every nook, cranny, drawer, cabinet, and closet in the process of packing so you will have to declutter. Every item that you pick up to pack, ask yourself:
    • “do I want to move this?”
    • “Will this fit in my new home?”
    • “Do I love this?”
    • “Have I used it?”
    • “Will I continue to use this?”

The more you declutter now, the less you have to pack and the less you have to move. That saves you money with your boxes and other supplies as well as with your movers. It also saves you time packing and unpacking.

DO NOT TELL YOURSELF THAT YOU’LL DECLUTTER AFTER THE MOVE

Packing is THE BEST time to declutter because you are looking at all of your home’s contents with a fresh set of eyes. You are focused on your new home and new space. You get a chance to start over with your favorites and things that are truly special to you. Use this opportunity to focus on keeping the best and starting fresh.

Someone else can use what you no longer need so be generous with your donations and giving to your friends.

  • Pack other seasons first. Whatever season you are NOT in, pack that one first. If it’s June, pack your Christmas decorations, holiday china, sweaters, boots, blankets, flannel sheets, etc. You definitely aren’t going to use these items anytime soon so there’s no question about needing to access them.
  • Label boxes clearly. It’s helpful to know the room the contents came from when you’re trying to figure out which new room to move it. If something is going to be stored, like holiday decorations, add STORE or BASEMENT to the box. The fewer boxes you have to re-move at your new location, the faster you’ll be able to unpack what you actively need.
  • Set up a staging area. While you’re decluttering and packing it is helpful to have a staging area for items that are NOT going to be moved. Whether they are being donated or given away, these items don’t need to be packed so they should be separated from what you’re taking with you. It’s helpful to have these items in a place that has easy access for someone to pick up like near the back door or in a garage. As you are decluttering and packing and you continue to find things that you aren’t taking with you, move it to the staging area. You may need to call friends to pick up or schedule a donation pick up and it’s easy to tell them where to come.

You may even want to have a separate staging area for trash and recycling. Since you are packing early (right?!) you’ll find trash and recycling all over your home. Keep it simple and designate an exterior location for all of the trash and recycling to go so you can focus on the decluttering and packing.

Above all, don’t wait until the last minute. The last few boxes feel like the law of infinite regression where the packing just NEVER ends. You can do this!

Happy packing!

Organized Food Containers

glass containers 2Do you dread putting away or needing to find a container for your leftovers? Have you been injured by an avalanche of plastic containers and lids? Do you feel like you are always buying new containers because you can never find the right size or lid to match up? I have the answer to your food container problems right here!

Invest in glass containers with lids! I just picked up some new ones from IKEA but you can find them in many locations such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond. I’ve also seen them sporadically at Home Goods and AtHome.

What makes this solution work is that you are investing in something that will last much longer, is more durable, and won’t overwhelm you. Plastic has all kinds of issues but my main concern is that it keeps you spending money on something that won’t last. They melt, get stained, lose their lids, and generally just fall apart. Because they are cheap, you just buy more and more and more until they take over your space.

Investing in something once, even if it’s just a food container, will save you so much money, time (another currency), and frustration (immeasurable). 

Most important, though is how you store them! Put them in a cabinet or drawer or shelf with the lid on the container. You can still stack them but you don’t have to worry about getting everything in perfect alignment. They will stack well by themselves.

I understand you may want to hang on to some plastic containers and that is totally fine. I just like these for the long haul. They are great for taking leftovers to school or work and can go from refrigerator to microwave. They can also go in the freezer or the pantry.

Because they’re clear you can see what is in them. No more mystery containers shoved in the back of the refrigerator.

If you need to label the contents you can use painters’ tape or frog tape and a sharpie.

While investing in glass containers will cost you a little more in the beginning, it won’t take long to reap the benefits. 

Happy organizing!

Organizing Your Pantry for Your Healthiest Year Yet

You may or may not have seen the Facebook live that I did with Health Coach Angela Brown last week about how to have your healthiest year ever by getting your kitchen & pantry organized. Here is a link in case you haven’t seen it. Organize your pantry and kitchen for your healthiest year ever

Here are our tips that we shared that will help you meet your healthy living goals this new year.

  1. Toss expired, old, stale food from your pantry. You’re not going to use it because you haven’t used it yet so get rid of it.
  2. Toss tempting, holiday leftovers. This means candy, sodas, sweets, and other foods that are unhealthful. Leaving them around for the kids isn’t fair to them and you don’t need the temptation. 
  3. Put a bowl on your kitchen counter for fresh fruit. This is a much better snack option. Having it visible makes it much more likely to be chosen at snack time.
  4. Clear your kitchen of unused appliances. If you never used that bread maker/ pasta maker/ coffee grinder, give it to someone who would like to have it. If it’s not used regularly, store it in the pantry. Your counters will look much better cleared off and clean.
  5. Match the tops & bottoms of your plastic containers. Toss any unmatched pieces. Also toss anything that is permanently stained or melted.
  6. Or, better yet, make the switch to glass containers.
  7. Clean out your refrigerator door of old or expired condiments. These typically have a lot of unhealthful ingredients so now is a good time to let them go. After you’ve cleaned off the containers you’re keeping, group them together by type before putting them back in the door. That way you have mustards, pickles, dressings, etc together.
  8. Put kids’ snacks on a lower shelf or drawer that they can access easily. 

Try these tips out and let me know how it goes. Organizing your pantry will do you a world of good in eating more healthfully and cooking more easily. Meal prep and shopping are easier when you can see what you have and know where it goes. 

Happy organizing!

Anti-clutter gift list

Gift buying and giving is a stressful task that most of us wish we could pass on to someone else. That is why everyone puts together their gift suggestion lists and even Amazon lists: to make the selection process easier and more efficient.

But what if I told you there were great gift options that would be loved and needed by everyone on your list? These options work for just about anyone on your list and are guaranteed to fit! No regifting closet necessary.

  • Gift of experience. This is even better if it is something that you can do together. It could be going to a museum, concert, sporting event or play. Or something adrenaline fueled like driving a race car or skydiving or driving golf balls. The experience and time together is the true gift which creates long-lasting memories.
  • Service gift. This could be a gift certificate for a treat like a manicure or massage or even car wash. These gifts are thoughtful because they may be a luxury that the recipient wouldn’t normally indulge in.
  • Framed photos. This is one of my favorite gifts because it creates a piece of art from a shared experience or memory. Last year I gave my husband a framed picture from a concert we attended together and it always brings up fun memories when either of us looks at it. Go through your photo archives to dig up a treasured time together and frame the image.
  • Photo books. Similar to the framed photos, these books are a way of preserving the memories in a visual format. These are great especially  if you’ve taken a trip or together or went to an event where lots of pictures were taken. You can add annotations to personalize them further or just let the pictures speak for themselves.
  • Gift of learning. Whether you’re giving a gift of a series of lessons or showing someone how to listen to podcasts, the gift of learning is never returned and always appreciated. Also the gift of audio books is a perfect option for someone who enjoys reading but doesn’t have time or can’t see as well. You may open someone’s eyes to whole new levels of experience just with showing them a new skill or hobby they never thought about.

I love all of these suggestions because they require you to think about the person you are gifting and consider their needs and wishes with a little more attention. 

These are all a variation on the gift of time which is the only non renewable resource we all share. 

Happy gifting!

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!

Best Gifts that Don’t Create Clutter

I love selecting, wrapping, and giving gifts. I start my Christmas list in January so I can write gift ideas down throughout the year. I buy ribbon in bulk so that wrapping a gift or even dressing up bottle of wine is easy. Everyone needs a place to store gift wrap, ribbon, tape, and any other supplies that you need for gift giving occasions.

However, frequently when I work with clients, we come across clutter that started as a gift. It could be a hostess or thank you or even a birthday gift that didn’t fit or suit them for whatever reason.

It truly is the thought that counts; they thought well enough of you to gift you with something. I am not an etiquette expert but I do believe that once the gift is yours you may choose to do with it what you will, even if that means passing it on to someone else.

I wanted to give some thoughtful suggestions for gifts that don’t cause clutter. We tend to think of giving something extravagant as a means of expressing our affection. But there are gifts that don’t require much expense that can be quite moving and equally communicative. And they don’t cause clutter.

Here is my list of Best Gifts that Don’t Create Clutter:

  1. Flowers–yes they wilt but certainly brighten up anyone’s home while they are alive and can make it smell wonderful.
  2. Candles–tried and true but always used.
  3. Wine–sharing bottles of wine you’ve loved makes is more special
  4. Coffee/ Tea–this is my personal favorite because I drink so much of it
  5. Food–this could be anything from a new honey or cheese crackers to a meal service. We all have to eat so it’s fun to share new foods as gifts.
  6. Framed photos–bonus if there is a story that goes with the photograph that becomes part of the gift.
  7. Photobooks–taking the time to put this together is always appreciated. Everyone loves a good story!
  8. Letters–taking the time to write a letter to a loved one expressing how you feel or reminding them of a significant story is irreplaceable and thus priceless. Bonus points for neat handwriting on pretty stationery.
  9. Self care services–massage, manicure & pedicure, haircut, car wash, or even having a house cleaner come for a few hours is a very luxurious gift.
  10. Experiences–Never underestimate the power of spending time doing something fun with someone to create more lasting memories. It could be taking a class, going to tea, or skydiving together or giving them a gift certificate to do something they’ve always wanted do that is highly appreciated.
  11. Make a donation to their favorite charity. For the person who has everything, giving a donation in their name to their favorite charity is an easy way to show you know what is important to them.
  12. Subscription to audio books or classes. I love listening to books while I exercise or walk the dog and learning something at the same time. Subscriptions Audible.com or ITunesU are 2 options for books or classes that can be gifted. Include a list of suggested books or classes to personalize it further.

And I’ve saved the best for last: give the gift of your time.

Whether you’re treating someone to a meal, a walk, or a concert know that time is the one non renewable resource that we’d all like to have more of. Spend time with your loved ones and focus your attention on them. Time together creates wonderful memories that will last forever, don’t have to be wrapped, or decluttered in the future.

Happy organizing!