10 Things You Can Declutter In 10 Minutes

 

 

We know that not everyone has ample amounts of time to engage in cleaning projects and organizing endeavors.  But most of us can find 10 minutes of time on a good day.  In the spirit of the season -- and in the spirit of being reasonable -- here are some tasks that realistically can be accomplished quickly and still have a significant impact on your day-to-day functioning.  Happy Organizing!

1. Handbag or Backpack - It’s incredible how much stuff winds up in our everyday bags. Remove all the contents of your handbag and lay them out on a surface. Immediately discard of any trash, relocate items that aren’t your everyday essentials and restock items that you like to have on hand. Take this time to consider what you really need to carry around with you and what might be weighing you down. Here’s one of our favorite tips for a tidy handbag: contain smaller items (chapstick, nail file, pen, pill boxes) in a zipper pouch. You will be able to quickly find what you need without digging through the contents of your entire bag. For those of you who like to accessorize, this also makes switching handbags exceptionally seamless!

2. Cell Phone Apps - Do you really use all of those apps that you’ve downloaded, or are they simply digital clutter? Delete the ones that you no longer use and organize the others into folders. We like to organize our app folders by category (social media, business apps, photography). If you’re distracted by some of the apps on your phone and find yourself using them more often than you’d like, consider increasing your productivity by removing those particular apps from your home screen -- or from your phone altogether.

3. Reusable Water Bottles - In an effort to reduce waste, many of us have switched to reusable water bottles (bravo to us!) We all seem to have our favorite ones that we use over and over again and many extras that we never do. Sort all of the bottles you own into three piles… one pile for bottles that you intend to keep, one pile for bottles that you rarely ever use and can donate and one pile for bottles that are damaged or have missing parts and pieces (these can be recycled).

4. Reusable Shopping Bags - ‘Tis is the season to declutter your bags -- all of them! We’re referring to the plastic bags, the paper shopping bags and the reusable tote bags that come into our lives all of the time. We generally collect way more bags than we could ever hope to reuse. Consider how and when you use the different kinds of bags and how many you actually need to store in your home. Don’t hesitate to do a serious edit here, as many more of them will inevitably continue to enter into your home.

5. Condiments & Sauces - We suggest doing a fridge edit every week before your food shopping trip… and we also think this is the perfect time take an extra 10 minutes to take a detailed stock of all of the items in your fridge, including the ones that last far longer than by-the-week. Remove the contents from your entire fridge, including the condiments, sauces and dressings. Toss anything that’s not totally fresh and add any expired essentials to your weekly shopping list for replacement. Voila!

6. Car - The same rules apply here. Empty everything out of your car. Trash gets tossed, items that don’t belong in the car get placed back into their proper homes -- and perhaps you can begin to consider a new system for keeping your car tidy. Might you benefit from the use of a trash can -- or a large basket or cart with wheels to regularly transport items in and out of the car?

7. Entryway / Coat Closet - Do a quick scan for any items that have made their way into this area of your home that don’t belong there. It happens to the best of us. Yes -- even us. So pull out those toys you were hiding from your kids, that extra roll of gift wrap and the random bag filled with papers from your office. Make sure that the only items that live in the area now are the ones that are meant to belong in the entrance of your home.

8. Nightstand - It’s pretty amazing how much stuff can collect in and on our nightstands. Declutter the top of your bedside tables by placing finished books and reading materials away on your bookshelves. Only leave what you are currently reading. Take stock of what you really need in and on your nightstand, and remove everything else. This space should set a calm and peaceful tone for restful nights ahead.

9. Medicine Cabinet - Pull everything out (are you sensing a pattern here?) and check the expiration dates on all of your medications. Create a list of items that need to be refilled or replaced. Please be certain to dispose of medication properly! If you aren’t certain what to do, a quick internet search will help you determine the proper protocol for disposal of hazardous waste in your area.

10. Beauty Products - Superfluous beauty products and samples find their way into our bathrooms and seem to multiply! In order to maintain the optimal health of your skin, toss any products that have expired. The packaging of all beauty products should have icons indicating the lifespan of the contents. Check them all -- many don’t last nearly as long as you would think! As with anything you edit, be sure to recycle the containers responsibly. We highly recommend donating extraneous items that haven’t yet expired to a local organization that helps individuals in crisis or transition.

All products highlighted can be found at Maika Goods.


5 Unique Ways Organizing Can Help You Stay Calm During The Holidays

Perry Como’s jingle is true: There’s no place like home for the holidays.

As the weather cools down, home beckons as a place of warmth (at least figuratively – it’s still 70° here in LA!) It’s where we share gratitude over hearty meals, exchange meaningful gifts, or cozy up near the fire.

But around this time, home becomes something of a workplace, too. It’s where we’re prepping the kitchen for those elaborate meals, ordering gifts, and figuring out how the heck to kindle that toasty fire.

As wonderful as they are, the holidays at home can be stressful. Thankfully, MakeSpace (a convenient alternative to self-storage units in Los Angeles) is here to help.

Whether you’re hosting in-laws this year, in NYC celebrating your child’s first snowy season, or just want to be a gracious guest, here are five unique ways that organizing can help you stay calm during the holidays:

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

1. Write Down All Your To-Dos

Do you feel like you’re drowning in so many errands, you’re not even sure where to start?

Step 1: Take a deep breath.
Step 2: Write down every task that comes to mind.

Think of this as a massive brain dump with a holiday twist.

Not familiar with brain dumping?

It’s a mental purge where you write down everything nagging at the back of your mind. Kind of like bullet journaling, but specifically for to-dos. It’s a simple way to funnel all those less-pressing, but still-necessary, tasks into one handy list.

Just A Girl And Her Blog created a template for the process. You could also use a task management app like Todoist. Todoist is great for managing multiple lists at once, since items can be divided into categories and assigned due dates. You can also integrate the app into your email and add tasks from any web browser.

Once you’ve written down all your to-dos, take a second to evaluate the most important tasks (MITs). Aim to tackle three of those every day.

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

2. Plan Your Budget

Between all the flights, gifts, and multi-course meals, it’s no wonder the holiday season gets expensive.

The surest way to avoid sticker-shock surprise: Implement a budget. Mint is one of the most commonly-used services for overall money management. There’s also Wally for comparing your income to your expenses, and Exeq for monitoring your weekly spending.

For holiday-specific budgeting, though, Fudget may be your best bet. Its straightforward interface makes it a breeze for dividing tasks by sub-categories, like “Groceries for Thanksgiving dinner,” or “The Gifts List.”

Bonus: You can passcode lock the app to keep out any snooping elves!

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

3. Schedule Time In Your Calendar To Get Stuff Done

Now that you have a better understanding of what you need to get done, and how much money you want to spend doing it, it’s time to figure out when you should complete everything.

To really master the season, let no task go overlooked. Rather than writing “Send holiday cards” in your calendar, for example, break the errand down into mini-tasks. Then assign times for each mini-task in your calendar.

Your breakdown might look something like this:

Monday, 8 PM: Order cards online (we’re partial to Paper Culture, which plants a tree for each card you send)

Wednesday, lunch time: Pick up postage and envelopes

Thursday, 6-9 PM: Fill out cards and address them

Friday, 8 AM: Drop letters into mailbox on way to work

Breaking each chore into bite-sized chunks will make it much easier to juggle everything at once.

Speaking of juggling, consider adding new structure to your family calendar for the holiday months. Color code by family member so you can easily reference where everyone needs to be, and when.

Or if you celebrate Christmas, fuse two calendars into one. Make a holiday planner that’s also an advent calendar. Here are some DIY advent calendar ideas, courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

Remember those MITs from tip #1?

Now’s a good time to plug those into your calendar as well.

Photo Via A Beautiful Mess

4. Prepare For The Different Etiquette of Hosting Vs Guesting

If it’s your turn this year to roast the turkey or ham, use your organizing skills to make the dinner as easy as possible on yourself.

Start prep a week or so in advance. Schedule things like stocking up on wine, ironing the tablecloth, and polishing the silver for different days.

Get your littlest family members to help you clear out the fridge and freezer (use all that stockpiled frozen pizza as a bribe). Then make use of the newly-cleared chilly compartments to store your make-ahead recipes beforehand.

As noted by The Kitchn, the most stressful bit of hosting is the last-minute flurry. You know, the chaotic overlap between the first guests’ arrival and prime stovetop simmering time.

The best thing a host or hostess can do during that harried bit:

Accept any and all offers of help.

If you’re a guest this year, you might not be the one carving the bird, but you still need to prep for your part.

Call or send a text to your host a couple days before the party, confirming you’ll have access to any appliances or fridge space you’ll need to set up your contribution. And double check to see if you can bring anything the host might not have time to get.

Here are more etiquette tips guaranteed to get you invited back next year, plus 5 tips to help you arrive on time.

Photo By Delineate Your Dwelling

5. Enjoy The Fun Parts Of The Season

You’ve worked hard to cultivate a fun holiday season. Now it’s time for you to enjoy it.

Schedule time in your calendar for family downtime. With all the stress of planning and executing tasks, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of the season. Clean and Scentsible recommends setting aside time specifically for embracing the slower moments.

Curled up on the couch with some cocoa, watching a seasonal classic on TV, with your loved ones near? Sounds calming to us.

MakeSpace is a full-service storage startup that serves Los Angeles, plus New York City, DC, and Chicago.

Favorite Convenience Snacks

We love snacking almost as much as we love the ladies of Prescribe Nutrition! And since the knowledge they shared in our collaborative Pantry Must Haves post was such a smashing success, we knew that we had to have a Part Two! Whenever we organize a kitchen or pantry space, we always make it a priority to create a Practically Perfect "grab + go" snack station. The reality is that most of us are often on-the-go, and we have to fuel our bodies appropriately. We'll let the expert, Katie, take it from here...

~ J & K

We’re back! Round two of our “must haves” - and this time we’re talking convenience snacks. Because, let’s get real, life… busy. As nutritionists, we get this question a lot. And that’s an understatement. The good news is that Part One sets you right up for having these convenience snacks ready for action. Pretty slick, right?

The key to eating is fueling your body. Fuel that balances your blood sugar, keeps you satiated longer and gives you energy. If you have more questions or want some additional support, just let us know. We’re here for you: Prescribe Nutrition! And if you need suggestions for how to contain your grab-and-go snacks, check this article out.

Katie Jasper is a Nutritionist and Co-Founder of Prescribe Nutrition, where they believe that life shouldn't be spent on a diet and that there is no one right way of eating. Prescribe Nutrition empowers people to understand how to eat for their bodies with our revolutionary, on demand approach to nutrition and wellness counseling.   

Pantry Must Haves

It's no secret that we love organizing pantries.  Every time we get our hands on a new pantry space, we're always so curious to see what new and interesting food goodies we’ll discover - and if they're as healthy as they are delicious, that's always a bonus!  Since this is a topic that's of such interest to us, we reached out to our friend Katie Jasper of Prescribe Nutrition to give us her expert advice on the best items to stock in a perfectly organized pantry... 

Take it away, Katie!

~ J & K

When Joni & Kitt invited us over (literally and figuratively) to Practically Perfect for some Prescribe Nutrition words on what we keep in our pantry at all times, we jumped at the chance.  Here’s the deal: having an inventory list of some healthy staples is instrumental to keeping our bodies fueled and our goals in tact.  So just like that, we have a list for you of what and - most importantly - why we keep these goods up to par (inventory term, ya know) in our homes.  Call them random, call them quirky, we’ll take it.  Let’s do this!

(Items are listed in no particular order)
  • Almond Milk (in the carton): We always need to have this on hand to throw some in coffee, make overnight oats or smoothies.  It’s necessary!
  • Nut Butter: Maybe it's an addiction, but we don't care.  We love having nut butter on hand to enjoy with apples and sliced veggies, pop into a smoothie or, heck, just a quick spoonful for energy.  Quick, easy, filling snack = done.
  • Raw Walnuts, Almonds, Dried Mulberries, Cacao Nibs:  We take all of these five and make our own trail mix - we have it almost every day!
  • Ghee: Amazing for cooking and often with coffee.  Who knew?
  • Collagen Powder: This to keep us young.  Okay, there are more reasons why we love it here.
  • Tuna: Never will we have a cupboard without chunk white tuna.  Easy (and might we say cheap) protein source. 
    Filler up.
  • Olive Oil Mayo: This follows the tuna tip pretty darn smooth, as whipping up a tuna salad is everything when it comes to making lunch happen in a pinch.
  • Olives: Always have a jar of these on hand.  Another fast and easy way to get healthy fats.
  • Nuun Tablets:  Listen up, these bad boys are a hydration lifesaver.
  • Braggs ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar): Where, oh where, do we start?  You can drink it, use it as hair rinse, and add it to a hot bath!
  • Coconut Oil: Use for skillet cooking, baking, mix with essential oils and put on as lotion.
  • Sardines: These little sneakers contain a little bit of almost every nutrient that the body needs. They are close to being perfect, from a nutritional standpoint. Whoa, huh?
  • There we have it folks.  We promised you our favorite gems.  We encourage you to add to this list based on your preferences and your own needs.  Having a pantry list and keeping it stocked is like having a mini parachute in your kitchen.  Let this inspired you to get organized (as Joni and Kitt would love us all to do!)

    Katie Jasper is a Nutritionist and Co-Founder of Prescribe Nutrition, where they believe that life shouldn't be spent on a diet and that there is no one right way of eating. Prescribe Nutrition empowers people to understand how to eat for their bodies with our revolutionary, on demand approach to nutrition and wellness counseling.   

    Back To School: Easy As 1-2-3

    My kids start back to school next week, and I am completely in awe of how fast this summer flew by!  I truly wish that I could press a magical pause button.  But since I can't stop time, I am simply going to do my best to prepare my family for the season to come.  Alas, I'm sharing the three things that I'm doing during the final week of summer to start the school year off as successfully as possible.

    1. Shop Smartly

    Don't buy what you don't need. This is a reminder for those of us who love back-to-school shopping (is there anything better than a package of fresh pencils?!) Through the years, I have learned to take detailed inventory of what we own before heading to Target, in an effort to avoid buying what we already own or more than what we'll actually need for the upcoming year. This might seem obvious, but it's a really important reminder. It's far easier to stay organized when you have less stuff to keep in order! This goes for clothes and shoes, too. Before I shop for anything new, I am sure to do a thorough edit of my kids' closets and dressers to avoid buying items that they really don't need.

    Buy fewer, buy better. Last year, I splurged on adorable Pottery Barn Kids backpacks with matching lunch boxes for all of my kids, and I have been so throughly impressed with their quality. I have washed all 3 backpacks and lunch boxes regularly on a gentle cycle in my washing machine to keep them fresh, and they look brand new, even after a year of washing and some pretty serious wear and tear by my 4, 6 and 8-year-olds. This is the first summer that I am not buying new backpacks and lunch boxes, and I am thrilled about the savings!

    Label everything. As the Lost & Found committee chair of my kids' school, I can tell you that you are far more likely to reconnect with lost items if you have labeled them. I love Label Daddy's customized labeling products. I use them to label my kids' clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles, sports gear and more. Label Daddy is currently running a Back to School sale. Use promo code SCHOOL at checkout.

    2. Say Thank You In Advance

    As a former teacher, I know how exciting yet extremely exhausting the first week of school can be. So as a mom, I always go out of my way to do a little something to show our family's appreciation. When I was a child, my mom used to send me with an apple for my teacher on the first day of school. While this might feel old fashioned, I actually love the sentiment of showering my kids' teachers with love on day one... and fresh fruit is such a sweet (pun intended!) idea. I have also given my kids' teachers a gift card to Starbucks on the first day of school with a "coffee's on us this first week" note. Another incredible way of showing support right off the bat is to offer to purchase supplies and/or volunteer in your child's classroom. Be sure to let teachers know if you have special interests or talents.

    3. Make Memories

    Even if you're reading this just a few days before school is about to begin, there's still time to make one final summer memory. If there is something you've wanted to do all summer but haven't gotten around to... do it today! It doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Go for a bike ride, make a lemonade stand or watch a movie. If your family has had a favorite activity this summer (for us, it was bracelet-making)... do that one final time. Once homework and enrichment activities begin, it will be harder to remember to carve out time for these special moments. Perhaps you will even start a new back-to-school family tradition. The day before my daughter started kindergarten, we ate sushi as a special lunch date marking the last day of her summer vacation. She remembered doing this and, before first grade started, she asked to go back to the same restaurant again. Next Monday, we'll continue the trend - four years and counting. I love how this family tradition emerged organically, from my daughter's memory of a sweet summertime moment.

    Here's hoping that you can squeeze a few more moments of sweetness and lasting memories out of the final days of summer.

    Wishing your family an easy transition into the new school year!

    ~ J


    Best Bins To Organize IKEA’s Kallax

    We love everything about IKEA’s Kallax Bookshelf!  Its clean lines makes it an easy design choice for almost any space.  Its functionality is perfect for organizing virtually every room in the house — we’ve purchased this piece for clients’ play spaces, bedrooms, offices and garages.  And its affordability makes the Kallax an obvious choice among similar storage pieces on the market.  Since we install this piece so often, we’ve curated a collection of some of our favorite bins to use to even further optimize this bookshelf’s organizing potential…  Happy Organizing!

    Frisco Magazine Files

    Frisco Magazine File

     


    Meal Planning Made Easy

    We pride ourselves on being highly-organized.  We are are detailed oriented efficiency experts, tried and true.  But to be completely honest -- sometimes we’re frazzled and flustered -- even when we’re hiding it well.  Our homes can feel completely chaotic, albeit organized.  Our to-do lists feel never-ending.

    As our business grows, so do our kids.  We’re always moving forward, and we simply can’t stop time.  We want to read more chapters at bedtime.  We want to leave the dishes in the sink and the emails in our inbox.  We smartly schedule our days, but even when we strike the seemingly perfect balance between business and motherhood, we still yearn for more time.  And we all have to eat!

    Alas, we’re sharing 3 simple meal-planning tips that provide us with a little sanity and help us to stay ahead in our hectic lives.  These take very little time -- and save you a whole bunch of it!

    Shopping List = Sanity

    Devote just a few minutes to create a list of your household's "staple" items -- the items that you always purchase every week.  For us, this list includes milk, eggs, bread, apples.  Save this list (we use the Notes app on our phones) and add to it each week.  Each week, take a quick peek in the fridge and pantry to see what items need replenishing (this is easy when your pantry is Clearly Contained!) and add those items as additions to your list of staples.  Finally, determine what ingredients you'll need to prepare an special meals you're making.  We love Prep Dish because it provides you with a menu for each week and automatically generates your shopping list - which it can even add to an Instacart order for you.  So easy!

    Slow Cooking = No Cooking

    We aspire to plan a meal for each night of the week, but that’s rarely a reality for us.  What we do find to be practical and maintainable is having at least one night covered.  When in doubt, we use our Crock-pot to slow cook a simple, healthy meal.  There’s no shame in easy when it’s healthy!

    Tuesday = Take Out

    Our kids have enrichment activities that run into the evening on Tuesdays.  So, we’ve instituted “Take Out Tuesdays.”  The kids take turns choosing from a list of parent-approved restaurants, and they love being involved.  Try using an app that allows you to order in advance so that your dinner arrives home right when you do.  Hello, Postmates!

    Here’s hoping that one or all of these suggestions can buy you even a few extra moments to snuggle in the week to come.