Organization http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1605/all en-US 9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-digital-tablet-picture-509234135-small.jpg" alt="couple digital photo" title="couple digital photo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a hard time parting with things that hold significant sentimental value. Yeah, they're just sitting around my house, collecting dust, but these things are part of my life, memories of good times, and I don't want to get rid of them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/toss-it-or-not-5-organizational-tips-from-a-chronic-clutter-bug">Toss It or Not? 5 Organizational Tricks From a Chronic Clutter Bug</a>)</p> <p>Luckily, in the age of technology and how-to articles, there are brilliant compromises to be made that ensure that you're preserving some of the touchstones of your existence without tripping on them all over the place.</p> <p>Take a look at these nine clutter-free ways to preserve your memories, and see if you can't preserve who you are while getting rid of all that stuff.</p> <h2>1. Snap Photos With Stuff You're Tossing</h2> <p>For tangible items that you're sending into the afterlife, a great way to remember the good times you had with it is to take a photo with that item in it. Perhaps it's a favorite piece of clothing that you once cherished, board games that made many memorable nights, or musical instruments that helped cultivate your love of culture. Set up a nice photo up &mdash; perhaps a snapshot with friends with the discarded item as the centerpiece &mdash; so you can look back on it with fondness whenever you want.</p> <h2>2. Scan Pictures, Letters, and Cards Into Your Computer</h2> <p>Reduce that pile (or massive box, as they case may be) of beloved photos, letters, and cards that you've accumulated throughout your life by scanning them into your computer. You might find it hard to part with the original hardcopy documents, but try to remember that it's only paper that you're tossing out. By scanning these items, you're preserving the thought that went into them when they were originally given to you &mdash; and that's what counts. Plus, this way they can never be destroyed, whereas the original versions will eventually deteriorate over time and are at the mercy of fire, water, and other elements that can destroy them completely.</p> <h2>3. Transition to Digital Picture Frames to Eliminate Paper Photos</h2> <p>If you're anything like me, each of your single picture frames is home to about half a dozen photos. I keep the old photos in the frames when I update a picture by simply laying the replaced images behind the new one. While this method reduces the clutter I see, it only allows me to enjoy one of the photos opposed to all of them (even though rediscovering the old ones during the swapping process is a welcome surprise). Nowadays you can enjoy many photos without fussing with any paper by digitizing them and adding them to a digital frame. These frames rotate images automatically so you see multiple pics &mdash; and relive the memories &mdash; on a regular basis.</p> <h2>4. Transfers Old VHS Tapes and DVDs to Computer Files</h2> <p>My husband has a huge cabinet full of VHS tapes from his wrestling days that &mdash; mark my words &mdash; he will never do anything with until they're so old they've deteriorated beyond repair. I even bought him one of those VHS-to-DVD thingamajigs a few years ago that I recently sold on Amazon new, in-the-box. Hey, I tried. In any case, if you want to ensure that your old VHS tapes and DVDs stand the test of time, consider transferring them to computer files that you can save in your cloud. There are plenty of companies that specialize in this service, but you also can <a href="http://www.cnet.com/how-to/transfer-vhs-tapes-to-your-computer/">DIY it if you're fairly tech-savvy</a>.</p> <h2>5. Repurpose Useless Little Things Into One Useful Big Thing</h2> <p>Before you donate all that extra clothing, think of ways you might be able to use the fabric to make something new &mdash; like a blanket, tablecloth, or shower curtain. For instance, you can turn a bunch of old T-shirts into a rad quilt if you've got sewing skills (or, ya know, send away for it if you don't). You may not think about it a lot, but many items in your closet &mdash; especially the really old, ratty stuff &mdash; hold a special place in your heart; repurposing these thrift-shop-ready beauties lets you keep them a bit longer without becoming a hoarder. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim</a>)</p> <h2>6. Turn a Special Moment Into a Beautiful Tattoo</h2> <p>One of my buddies gave me this idea, and I thought it was very interesting. Computers &mdash; and especially the cloud &mdash; help us preserve many of our tangible memories while cutting the clutter, but what about adding those memories to our own bodies? Thus, a tattoo is an awesome way to recognize an important event or time in your life. The result is a permanent reminder of that particular memory, and you're bound to be asked about it over and over again, allowing you to tell the story many times over.</p> <h2>7. Create Sentimental Artwork Out of Attic-Bound Items</h2> <p>I recently came across a Buzzfeed post that I thought was really cool. There were lots of great ideas in author Mike Spohr's <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/incredibly-meaningful-gifts-you-can-give-your-kids">26 Incredibly Meaningful Gifts You Can Give Your Kids,</a> but I thought the framed teddy bear was kind of genius. Expanding that concept a bit further then, you can basically take anything of sentimental value that's perhaps tucked away in a box and turn it into a treasured family heirloom that will serve as a reminder of a special time as well as a conversation piece. It goes without saying that it'll be super fun to go through the attic to see what resources you have to work with when creativity strikes you.</p> <h2>8. Start a Blog Dedicated to Your Memories and Treasures</h2> <p>Maybe I'm speaking for myself here, but I like to share many of my fond memories with, well, basically anyone who'll listen. I mean, who doesn't like to reminisce about the &quot;good ol' days,&quot; right? I bet we're of a similar mindset, which makes starting a blog dedicated to your memories and treasures a decent idea. You can write about fun times that you've had, post pictures of moments you never want to forget, and then share them with the world so you can bring joy to it.</p> <h2>9. Keep Your Treasures in the Family by Passing Them on to Loved Ones</h2> <p>You know that old saying &mdash; one man's trash is another man's treasure? Absolutely true, and it provides a great opportunity for you to unload some of your cherished items that are perhaps taking up too much space on family and friends who want or need it. With this tactic, the clutter is out of your way, but the things and the memories they conjure are still part of your life, which makes this easy option the perfect compromise.</p> <p><em>Have a few more clutter-free ways to preserve memories? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-a-room-for-10-with-no-extra-effort">Organize a Room for $10 with No Extra Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clutter-free-the-zero-accumulation-household">Clutter-Free: The Zero-Accumulation Household</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Home Organization clutter mementos memories storage Mon, 17 Nov 2014 18:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1254628 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things in Your Garage You Should Throw Out Today http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-in-your-garage-you-should-throw-out-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-in-your-garage-you-should-throw-out-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-cleaning-garage-iStock_000022050235Small.jpg" alt="couple cleaning garage" title="couple cleaning garage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The garage. For some, it's a pristine white-walled home for a four-wheeled pride and joy. For others (and let's face it, that's most of us), it's a place to keep the car, the lawn mower, the old fridge, paint cans, empty boxes, and everything else that we either forgot to put in the basement, or never even realized we owned. There are many items that should be in your garage right now, and others that should be removed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today?ref=seealso">12 Things You'll Never Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <p>Here are the eight things you should throw out right after you've finished this article.</p> <h2>1. Old Paint</h2> <p>Unless you're very lucky, you will never buy exactly the right amount of paint you need for a project. There's always some left over, whether it's a quarter of the can, or a full can that's unreturnable. Either way, you'll most likely let this old paint sit on a shelf for a few years, knowing it will be there to touch up the wall. Of course, a few years pass by, and you repaint the wall. If you have these orphan cans of paint in your garage, they can be a fire hazard; they also go off quicker in garages than inside the home. It's time to dispose of them safely. You cannot just dump them, as these paints contain hazardous chemicals. Instead, visit your local hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot. They will be happy to recycle that paint for you.</p> <h2>2. Files and Paperwork</h2> <p>You may not have much use for them, but an identity thief can have a field day with documentation. If you have decided to keep boxes of bills, personal letters, government notices, and other items in your garage, you are keeping it in the most unsafe room in your house. Garages are very easy to break into, and you do not want to risk anyone accessing this stuff. It's better to scan it and shred it, or if it's really no use, just go straight to shredding.</p> <p>Most copy and office supply stores will be happy to take your old papers for shredding, for a fee.</p> <h2>3. Armchairs and Cushions</h2> <p>You bought a new sofa, so you decided to keep the old one in the garage. Hey, you never know, it may come in handy for that man cave one day. This is not a good idea. That armchair or sofa is a veritable nirvana for mice and rats. They can build nests inside there and hunker down for the winter. They'll happily munch on the foam padding, and have baby mice and rats in the hundreds. This is not something you want to deal with. Do yourself a favor and dump or sell the old seating now, before another family sets up home inside it.</p> <h2>4. Old Motor Oil and Oily Rags</h2> <p>If you change your own oil, you probably have a large container of old oil just waiting to be filled. This is a disaster just waiting to happen. Motor oil is combustible, and as it is no longer needed, it's a waste of space as well. There are various places to recycle this, including many auto parts stores and auto mechanics. Get into the habit of taking the old oil there after every oil change. Yes, it may be easier to let a large container fill up with old oil, but it's not safe. The same applies to oily rags, too. One hint of a flame or spark and they're going up in smoke. Get rid of them, safely.</p> <h2>5. Expired Food</h2> <p>This seems like a no brainer, but it's amazing how many people have a stockpile of old food in his or her garage. It was, of course, intended to be a second pantry. But that shelf is now a mixture of good and not-so-good food items. You need to take the time to go through that food (including the food in the garage fridge) every week and dump the food that is well past its use-by-date. Now, if you're not sure (some foods are good several months after the date printed on the can or bag) do a little googling first. But if in doubt, throw it out.</p> <h2>6. Broken&hellip; Well, Anything</h2> <p>OK, if you're genuinely intending to fix that broken thing soon, then you get a pass. But if it has been gathering dust for 12 months because &quot;when I get the time, I'll fix it,&quot; you need to throw it out. If it was important to you, you'd have fixed it already. If you are just waiting for the right time, you'll never find it.</p> <p>Old junk, broken gadgets, smashed toys, they're all just taking up valuable real estate in your garage. If they're worth something (broken video game consoles can fetch money for parts), sell them on eBay or Craigslist. But really, most broken stuff is just on death row in your garage. Declare the appeals process over.</p> <h2>7. Books and Magazines</h2> <p>It's a safe bet 90% of the books and magazines you have read will never be read again. You are most likely hanging onto them because you don't like getting rid of something you paid money for, or you intend to read them again&hellip; one of these days. Go through those boxes of books and mags now and <em>be ruthless</em>. Then make four piles. Keep, sell, donate, and trash. Some doctors will thank you for magazines that can help the waiting room feel less like a waiting room. Some of those books will fetch a good price online. And if the cover is falling off and the pages are warped from a water spill, dump it.</p> <h2>8. The Shoe Graveyard</h2> <p>Don't deny it; you have one in your garage. These are the shoes that once took pride of place in the shoe rack inside, but over the years they got messy, tattered, or went out of style. Now you keep them in one of those shoe holders on the back of the door, or in an old cupboard next to the bag of damp cement. Put them out of their misery. Throw them into a bag for charity if they still have some years left in them, otherwise dump them today. You won't wear them again, even if you have fond memories of them.</p> <p><em>What are you keeping in your garage that you know you should throw out? What's missing from this list? And what would you never throw away, no matter how often your significant other tells you to? Let us know.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-in-your-garage-you-should-throw-out-today" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Things in Your Garage You Should Throw Out Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-in-your-garage-you-should-throw-out-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-mantras-to-sharpen-your-resolve-to-downsize-and-declutter">7 Mantras to Sharpen Your Resolve to Downsize and Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Frugal Living Organization clutter garage old paint organization Thu, 06 Nov 2014 18:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1251546 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Fantastic Chalkboard Paint Projects http://www.wisebread.com/15-fantastic-chalkboard-paint-projects <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-fantastic-chalkboard-paint-projects" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chalkboard-picture-frame-512939223-small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you haven't been watching home decor trends over the past few years, you might have missed the chalkboard paint phenomenon. Good news, though: It's still going strong. And when I started brushing this useful and stylish coating onto my walls and other projects, it was mostly available in standard black. Now the options are many &mdash; you can even <a href="http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/02/how-to-mix-chalkboard-paint-in-any-color.html">make your own</a> unique blend using &frac12; cup acrylic paint (in any color) and a tablespoon of sanded grout. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-used-corks-including-making-money-with-them?ref=seealso">25 Things to Do With Used Corks</a>)</p> <p>How will you use your batch? I'm here to help! The following projects make creative use of this ubiquitous medium. With each, you'll want to <a href="http://salvagedinspirations.com/how-to-season-a-new-chalkboard/">season</a> before using, which means shading a thin layer of chalk over the whole, erasing, and then drawing and doodling to your heart's content.</p> <h2>1. Calendar</h2> <p>Use an old window to make this cute weekly <a href="http://www.housebyhoff.com/2013/09/old-window-chalkboard-calendar-its-30/">Chalkboard Calendar</a>. You'll want to choose a window that has more than seven panes in all. Then paint each pane and let dry before writing. You can even add hooks for hanging coats and bags if you like.</p> <h2>2. Magnetic Board</h2> <p>I love this freestanding <a href="http://deniseonawhim.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-chalkboard-with-magnetic-personality.html?m=0">Magnetic Chalkboard</a> upcycled from an old mirror. The author used sheet metal cutouts to achieve the magnetic feature, but you can also try a can of magnetic primer applied directly onto the mirror (under the chalkboard paint) for a much easier solution.</p> <h2>3. Framed Chalkboard</h2> <p>Rather than cover your entire wall using chalkboard paint, try sectioning off single area for this <a href="http://www.meadowlakeroad.com/how-tos/large-diy-framed-chalkboard/">Framed Chalkboard</a> effect. After cutting pine boards with a compound miter saw, this family screwed and glued together their frame before staining. You can either paint the actual wall and mount the frame over top of it or, alternatively, paint a piece of plywood that fits inside the frame.</p> <h2>4. Another Framed Board</h2> <p>Better yet, skip all the construction and use an old wall mirror or picture frame as your project base. This particular <a href="http://www.youaretalkingtoomuch.com/2012/08/chalkboard-paint-vs-spray-chalkboard-paint/">tutorial</a> is helpful with deciding between using standard brush-on chalkboard paint versus the newer spray-on kind. Whatever you end up choosing, you'll prime and paint the mirror or glass and then let dry.</p> <h2>5. Party Favors</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.maisondepax.com/2014/05/diy-monogram-chalk-slate.html">Monogram Party Favors</a> are fun for kids and adults alike, and they only cost two dollars a pop. Just find large wooden letters at your local craft shop. Then sand and prime them before smoothing on a couple coats of chalkboard paint.</p> <h2>6. Play Table</h2> <p>As a mom, I find this <a href="http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.ca/2011/10/organizing-legos-part-2-creating-table.html">DIY Chalkboard Play Table</a> absolutely genius. You can use an old table you already own or pick one up on the cheap at your local thrift shop. From there, paint the legs whatever color speaks to your playful side. The trick is slathering several coats of chalkboard paint onto the top and letting your child's imagination go wild.</p> <h2>7. Garden Markers</h2> <p>Those of you with green thumbs will enjoy this <a href="http://www.handmadeintheheartland.com/2013/06/easy-garden-markers.html">Chalkboard Garden Marker</a> project. Paint stir sticks are the star of the show (and cheap to boot). Coat them with chalkboard paint and let dry. The author uses a chalk marker versus standard chalk for more precise labeling.</p> <h2>8. Kitchen Jars</h2> <p>Organize your pantry using these <a href="http://pumpsandiron.com/2012/11/07/diy-chalkboard-paint-glass-jars/">Labeled Glass Jars</a> using &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; chalkboard paint. Clean your container thoroughly before taping off the section you want to paint. Slap on a few coats and let dry before labeling.</p> <h2>9. Serving Platter</h2> <p>Whether you're hosting a fancy wine and cheese soiree or an informal potluck, this <a href="http://www.soyouthinkyourecrafty.com/chalkboard-serving-tray-tutorial/">Chalkboard Serving Tray</a> will come in handy. The author made it by painting an old cabinet door. You could also use an existing platter or even large plate.</p> <h2>10. Refrigerator</h2> <p>I know. This idea sounds crazy. Would you believe I <a href="http://asouthernfairytale.com/2014/09/16/chalkboard-paint-refrigerator/">painted my refrigerator</a> using chalkboard paint? Our range and dishwasher are both black and the fridge was an off white, so rather than buying a matching appliance, I thought I'd give painting a try. So far, it's holding up well. Advice? Make sure you prime first.</p> <h2>11. Pantry Organizer</h2> <p>I painted the inside of our pantry door with chalkboard paint as well, creating a <a href="http://decorandthedog.net/decorandthedog/2012/03/organization-baby-steps.html">DIY Command Center</a> to stay organized. It eliminates searching for scrap paper to make grocery lists, that's for sure. Plus, I like how it looks.</p> <h2>12. Clipboard</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.andersonandgrant.com/2013/07/kitchen-chalkboard-made-from-clipboard.html">Chalkboard Clipboard</a> looks easy to make and quite functional. I'd love to paint several and arrange on a wall in my office for mega-organization. You could pretty much use one of these guys in any room of the house, and I think they'd make fabulous frugal gifts.</p> <h2>13. Staircase</h2> <p>The <a href="http://houstonlifestyles.com/country-flair-in-bellaire/">Chalkboard Staircase</a> in this home is quite unexpected, yet it adds some interesting flair and personality to an otherwise boring space. The family uses the area to write positive affirmations that foster confidence and strength in their kids. I like the whole concept.</p> <h2>14. Banner</h2> <p>There are many reasons to celebrate with this all-occasion <a href="http://snapcreativity.com/easy-diy-chalkboard-banner/">Chalkboard Banner</a>. Just pick up some wooden shapes at a craft store, paint them, string on some twine, and write your message. Festive decor: Done!</p> <h2>15. Gift Tags</h2> <p>This tutorial is actually for <a href="http://www.gingersnapcrafts.com/2012/12/chalkboard-ornaments-tutorial.html">Chalkboard Ornaments</a>, but I think the finished product could double as amazing gift tags for any holiday. Much like with the banner above, you'll want some wooden cutouts in different shapes to paint. Let dry and tie to gifts with ribbon.</p> <p><em>Have you chalkboarded anything in your home? Leave us a note in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-fantastic-chalkboard-paint-projects" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Fantastic Chalkboard Paint Projects" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-fantastic-chalkboard-paint-projects">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-a-crafty-airbrush-out-of-old-junk">Make a crafty airbrush out of old junk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-amazing-diy-decorating-projects-that-are-easier-than-you-think">18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> DIY Organization chalkboard crafts organization paint Wed, 05 Nov 2014 10:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1250693 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-kitchen-460315379-small.jpg" alt="woman cleaning kitchen" title="woman cleaning kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Kitchens can easily become cluttered with less-than-useful gadgets, tools, and food items, but it's important to keep your kitchen tidy and organized for the health of your family and for your sanity. Stop fighting rarely used kitchen items for counter space. Get rid of the following things and cook with newfound peace of mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today?ref=seealso">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sponge</h2> <p>Your sponge is where kitchen germs live and thrive. The moist nooks and crannies are a perfect breeding ground, so switch your sponge out often. Even with a new sponge, microwave it daily in an inch of water for a minute to disinfect. You'll keep from spreading lots of germs all around your kitchen and will help keep your family healthier.</p> <h2>2. Meat Mallet</h2> <p>Tell the truth: how often do you use a meat mallet? Most people use one once in a blue moon, and a number of tools can take its place. Putting the meat between plastic wrap and using a heavy skillet is a good alternative. An unopened canned good and rolling pin are other options.</p> <h2>3. Old Plastic Storage Containers</h2> <p>Studies have shown that plastic food storage containers with recycle codes 3 or 7 and many made before 2010 may contain BPA, a harmful chemical that can leach into food. If you own some of these containers, toss them. You can often end up with bottoms and tops that don't match or missing pieces, so throw out or donate any without partners.</p> <h2>4. Panini Press</h2> <p>Make paninis on a daily basis? Then ignore this one. But for most of us, this common wedding registry pick isn't a necessity. You can easily imitate this kitchen gadget using a regular skillet and a heavy skillet or pan (a cast iron skillet works great) to press your sandwich on top.</p> <h2>5. Old Dried Spices</h2> <p>Spices can accumulate, get pushed to the back of the cabinet, and crowd your storage space. But spices don't last forever, and can lose a lot of their flavor after a year or two passes. According to McCormick, <a href="http://mccormick.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/11/related/1">ground spices last three to four years</a>, leafy herbs for one to two years, and whole spices for four years. Dried herbs and spices should smell and taste potent, and should be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and heat (including your stove).</p> <h2>6. Bread Maker</h2> <p>Unless you are living the dream and making bread on a weekly basis, you probably don't need this clunky appliance. It's awkward to store and isn't required for making homemade bread. Flex those muscles and do a little kneading, get a dough attachment for your mixer or food processor, or try no-knead breads.</p> <h2>7. Jigger</h2> <p>Unless you're an amateur bartender, you don't need this awkward tool crowding your junk drawer. You can use regular measuring spoons, with two tablespoons equaling the small end of a jigger (one ounce) and &frac14; cup equaling the large end of a jigger (two ounces). Or you can just relax. You're at home &mdash; just eyeball it and enjoy.</p> <h2>8. Expired Canned Food</h2> <p>It may seem like canned food lasts forever, but they can actually go bad. Canned fruits and tomatoes last 18 months, while other items can last up to five years. Be sure to check your emergency kit and replace those, too.</p> <h2>9. Open Canned Food</h2> <p>Leftover canned foods are easy to store by just leaving them in the can and shoving them in the fridge, but the metal can leach into the food and create a metallic taste. This is especially common with acidic foods like fruit or tomatoes. Take the time to transfer your leftovers into a storage container and you'll be rewarded with better tasting food.</p> <h2>10. Toaster Oven</h2> <p>This appliance takes up a lot of valuable counter space without making up for it. If you're a frequent toaster, get a more compact and easily storable toaster. Everything else can be done in the oven, and if you only make toast now and again, you can do that in the oven, too.</p> <h2>11. Rice Cooker</h2> <p>Most people don't cook enough rice to make this large appliance worth the storage space. Although you can make <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/5-things-you-can-make-in-a-ric-111057">a few other things</a> with it, it's largely a unitasker. Rice can easily be made on the stovetop or even in the oven, so donating your rice maker is likely the right move.</p> <h2>12. Mandoline</h2> <p>This is another unitasker, and rarely used by most households. Most recipes don't require fruit or vegetables sliced paper thin, making a regular knife more than adequate. Most food processors also offer a mandoline attachment.</p> <h2>13. Pastry Bag</h2> <p>Unless you are making cakes and fancy desserts left and right (and if you are&hellip; can I come over?), you can easily create your own pastry bag with a plastic freezer bag. Just cut a hole in one of the bottom corners, attach the tip, spoon in your filling, and close the top. You can also use a cone of parchment paper wrapped closed and folded down at the top.</p> <h2>14. Electric Kettle</h2> <p>If you're a heavy tea drinker, then ignore this tip. Otherwise, a stovetop kettle doesn't take that much longer and doesn't take up space on your counter. Donate this one.</p> <h2>15. Leftovers</h2> <p>Leftovers always start with good intentions, but can often end up pushed to the back of your refrigerator. Periodically clean out your fridge, and get rid of leftovers that are more than a few days old. They can contain bacteria and cause illness, and simply aren't worth the risk. Always throw out food that has become moldy.</p> <p><em>What's cluttering up your kitchen?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clutter-free-the-zero-accumulation-household">Clutter-Free: The Zero-Accumulation Household</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Home Organization clutter declutter kitchen kitchen gadgets Mon, 03 Nov 2014 15:00:12 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1248293 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How You Maximize Fridge and Freezer Space http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-refrigerator-485018303-small.jpg" alt="woman refrigerator" title="woman refrigerator" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is your freezer a mess? Do you frequently find old food rotting in the back of your fridge? I used to lose so much money this way. Now I take time to regularly clean and organize my refrigerator and freezer spaces, and it has made a huge difference. Even a few simple hacks are helpful here. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/schedule-regular-fridge-cleanings-to-prevent-food-waste?ref=seealso">Schedule Regular Fridge Cleanings to Avoid Food Waste</a>)</p> <p>So, check out these handy tips to get your foods onto the table with less mess, confusion, and &mdash; most important &mdash; waste.</p> <h2>Clear Out</h2> <p>Before you begin any project, it's good to clear out the old so you can start fresh. Take a good half hour (depending on your level of crazy) and take everything out of your fridge and freezer. Trash what's rotting, examine what's expired, and keep the rest. This occasion is also a great opportunity to spray some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners">homemade cleaner</a> in there and wipe all the crud and grime away. If you don't like how your refrigerator is configured, most shelves are moveable, so try a few layouts before putting your food back in.</p> <h2>Create Zones</h2> <p>The next step: Create zones for all your stuff to live in. There's no right or wrong way to divide, however &mdash; temperature and humidity does vary in the box, making ideal environments for some foods versus others. This <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/organizing-kitchen/refrigerator-drawers">organization guide</a> helps to identify the areas that work best for all your foods. For example, eggs do well on the middle shelf where temperature tends to be most consistent. Fruit, on the other hand, thrives in a low humidity drawer, whereas you'll want to keep veggies in higher humidity. And condiments &mdash; which have more preservatives &mdash; can happily hang out in the door. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor?ref=seealso">Fridge or Counter? Where to Store Fruit for Best Flavor</a>)</p> <h2>Contain It</h2> <p>Whole foods and leftovers can certainly get lost without visibility. So, just as you'd box your belongings in other areas of your home, consider bringing some clean bins into the mix. The <a href="http://www.fourgenerationsoneroof.com/2014/02/hello-organization-refrigerator-makeover.html">before and after shots</a> of this refrigerator are jaw-dropping. Corralling snacks into one spot keeps them from migrating to the back of the refrigerator where they'll likely expire before use. And think outside the box here. I've seen friends use lazy susans or even magazine holders as unique shelving options. These same tips work in the freezer, too.</p> <h2>Freeze Flat</h2> <p>If you do any <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk or assembly cooking</a>, space is at a premium in your freezer. Even if you have a dedicated chiller, like I do, you can get much more out of your investment by <a href="http://www.onedishdinners.com/2011/03/flat-freezing.html">freezing foods flat</a> whenever possible. Of course, you can't do this with absolutely all foods, but soups and stews, pre-cut fruits and veggies, sauces, meats, and even some baked goods can be placed in zip freezer bags and flattened. You can even freeze smoothies, soups, and other liquid items in ice cube trays and then transfer to flat bags. Try to remove as much air as possible to create even more space (and avoid dreaded freezer burn).</p> <h2>Label It</h2> <p>From there, you might notice that many foods become almost unrecognizable once frozen. And, though you think you'll remember what's what, that's rarely the case. Keep a Sharpie marker on your fridge or in your junk drawer and immediately label anything that goes in with the name of the dish and the date it was made. Otherwise, try to stick with clear storage containers versus opaque for quick identification of, say, applesauce from chili. It's a simple trick, but it cuts down significantly on time and guesswork.</p> <h2>Section Out</h2> <p>If you have a chest freezer &mdash; great! But I know how tricky it can be to organize. This blogger built <a href="http://www.thegigsdigs.blogspot.ca/2013/05/chest-freezer-organization_6.html">DIY dividers</a> to section off space for different items using plywood. If you don't have a jigsaw at home, you could take all the measurements and ask your local hardware store to make the cuts for you (usually at a small price). If you're not into that idea, consider buying a few larger plastic bins to put your flat bags into and dividing them into broad categories like breakfast, lunch, and dinner or soups, desserts, and whole ingredients. Then stack the bins on top of one another. You get the idea.</p> <h2>Make Lists</h2> <p>Once all your food is happily organized, it helps to make a list of what's there to aid with meal planning each week. That way, if something does disappear from the inventory, you'll still know it's worth digging out. I also write the date it was purchased (with produce), the date it expires (with packaged foods), or the date it was packaged (with frozen foods) and try to list in order of what spoils first. You can keep a spreadsheet if you're more computer-oriented. A small dry erase board works well in my household. Always consult these lists before bringing more food into the house.</p> <p><em>How organized (or disorganized) is your fridge or freezer? What's your system? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space" class="sharethis-link" title="Here&#039;s How You Maximize Fridge and Freezer Space" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-a-room-for-10-with-no-extra-effort">Organize a Room for $10 with No Extra Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Home Organization food storage food waste freezer fridge storage Mon, 03 Nov 2014 09:00:13 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1248262 at http://www.wisebread.com Organized People Have These 5 Things in Their Homes — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/organized-people-have-these-5-things-in-their-homes-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/organized-people-have-these-5-things-in-their-homes-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/organized-woman-home-490848943-small.jpg" alt="organized woman" title="organized woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Organization is all about time management and making sure your belongings have a designated home for easy access and cleanup. It's a simple concept, but it's not always easy to pull off, especially when you're being pulled in a million directions by work, trips to the grocery store, your kid's cello lessons, your Twitter feed, and the dog who just can't get enough walks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today?ref=seealso">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>Luckily, there are tons of tools on the market to help you keep calm, cool, and coordinated. Read on for our roundup of the things every organized person should have in the home if they want to stay clear of chaos and clutter.</p> <h2>1. A Shoe Rack</h2> <p>Never again will you have the right shoe but not the left. Never again will you have to tear up the house looking for that missing pair of rain boots. A rack built to store and display two dozen pairs of footwear is the organized person's must-have sanity tool. Try something sleek and simple like this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005KC6DY0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005KC6DY0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VZCSHTUYRLFVCNZP">Whitmor rack</a>.</p> <h2>2. Grid-It Organizer</h2> <p>This rubberized grid of elastic bands is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002HU27UW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002HU27UW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EUG6PHAKHFWG5TMC">like a Trapper Keeper for grown ups</a> that slides right into your drawer, bag, or briefcase. Simply place the items you need &mdash; cell phone, toothpaste, notebook, flashlight, measuring stick, business card holder &mdash; beneath an elastic strap and the Grid-It Organizer will hold them firmly in place. Rummaging through a bag or junk drawer to find your flash drive is now a thing of the past.</p> <h2>3. A Garbage Can &mdash; That Gets Used For More Than Just Food Scraps</h2> <p>Organized people stay organized in part because they don't hold on to every little thing they've ever owned. They know when it's time to say goodbye, if only to prevent clutter from cramping their style. Even the smallest show of resistance to a good spring cleaning is indicative of mild hoarding. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today?ref=seealso">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <p>&quot;People hoard because they believe that an item will be useful or valuable in the future,&quot; writes Fugen Neziroglu, Director of the Bio-Behavioral Institute in Great Neck, New York. &quot;Or they feel it has sentimental value, is unique and irreplaceable, or too big a bargain to throw away. They may also consider an item a reminder that will jog their memory, thinking that without it they won't remember an important person or event. Or because they can't decide where something belongs, it's better just to keep it.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Smart Shelving</h2> <p>We all use shelving to organize everything from our kitchenware to our laundry supplies. But organized people utilize this shelving with a bit of forward-thinking: Whether its dishes or detergents, the organized person arranges the items on their shelves by frequency of use, with everyday items on an easy-to-reach shelf and special-occasion items tucked behind or above.</p> <h2>5. A Filing Cabinet</h2> <p>A home filing system keeps the organized person free from the frustrations that come with not being able to find their passport. That's because the organized person stores all important documents and paperwork in a single cabinet organized with tabs marked by category and the letters of the alphabet.</p> <p><em>Are you organized? What do you use to help keep your place organized and clutter free? Please share in comments.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organized-people-have-these-5-things-in-their-homes-do-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Organized People Have These 5 Things in Their Homes — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organized-people-have-these-5-things-in-their-homes-do-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-will-never-make-you-organized">Stuff will never make you organized</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk">How to Get Rid of Your Junk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Organization organized planning storage Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1238128 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways You're Wasting Time Without Realizing It http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-working-headphones-175219954-small.jpg" alt="woman working headphones" title="woman working headphones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Time is one thing that we seem to have less of as life wears on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-essential-life-hacks-that-will-save-you-time-in-the-morning?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Save Time in the Morning</a>)</p> <p>The days fly by and we're stressed to come up with any extra minutes. But what if we could free up our schedule and finish our to-do lists? Some people are just busy with little or no recourse, but others are wasting time without even knowing that it's happening. Here's a look at a few ways we can be more aware of our time and be better managers of it.</p> <h2>1. Leaving Email &quot;Up&quot;</h2> <p>You may work a job where you must have email up on a constant basis. But if you don't, there's no reason to run it when you aren't waiting on a particular message. If you're working on a project, just close your email and check them periodically throughout the day. Avoiding that catchy little &quot;(1)&quot; that often distracts your train of thought can save you a lot of time.</p> <h2>2. Listening to Music</h2> <p>In some cases, listening to music can help pass the time when engaging in mundane or mindless tasks. But when it comes to work that you need to think intentionally about, like crafting a sales pitch, writing a report, or even just reading something, <a href="http://tech.co/listening-to-music-at-work-2013-11">music can slow you down</a>, thereby increasing the time spent on the task and decreasing the resulting quality of your work.</p> <h2>3. Paying for Lunch</h2> <p>In some cases, you need to spend money to make money. But paying for lunch is often a double-figure investment and can cost you close to (or more than) an hour of work. <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/cheap-and-healthy-brown-bag-lunch-ideas-for-grownups">Pack a lunch instead</a> of eating out and you'll get back an hour's worth of pay, which<a href="http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/budgeting/how-much-cheaper-to-pack-lunch.htm"> can really add up</a>.</p> <h2>4. Not Taking a Break</h2> <p>It might seem counterproductive (or even impossible) to stop what you're doing at work or home to take a break. However, <a href="http://healthdecide.orcahealth.com/orcatheme_imagepost/take-a-break-it-may-increase-productivity/#.VBcv5vldWSo">numerous studies have shown</a> that taking a break, or even a short nap, can actually boost your productivity and increase the quality of your work output.</p> <h2>5. Not Making a To-Do List</h2> <p>Even if you can remember everything you need to do, making a to-do list can help you focus by streamlining your schedule and giving you a failsafe to avoid forgetting important tasks.</p> <h2>6. Using a Gadget When Pen and Paper Will Do</h2> <p>Tablets and smartphones can be excellent productivity tools. But when it comes to taking notes or <a href="http://bulletjournal.com/">quickly writing down ideas</a>, you may be better off with the much simpler pen and paper.</p> <h2>7. Going to Meetings</h2> <p>It's becoming increasingly common for meetings to be viewed as <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201204/why-meetings-kill-productivity">productivity killers</a>. That's not to say they don't have their place, but a<a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/09/20/why-business-meetings-are-often-a-waste-of-time-and-productivity/"> brutally objective view</a> of the typical workplace meeting shows us that we're wasting a lot of precious time.</p> <h2>8. Attending Technology-Related Classes</h2> <p>It's not to say that all work-related classes are a waste of time, but a lot of the information that used to only exist inside classrooms now exists for free on the Internet. Particularly when it comes to technology-related topics, you can learn almost everything there is to know in a free, online format.</p> <p>Places like <a href="https://www.khanacademy.org/">Khanacademy</a> and <a href="http://www.codecademy.com/">Code Academy</a> are great places to start.</p> <h2>9. Running Dual Monitors</h2> <p>A lot of people find dual monitors to be more productive because it allows them to avoid having to switch back and forth between different applications or documents. While that's true, it only applies in certain professions. For example, graphic designers and programmers will often have need for more than one screen. But if it's not an obvious necessity, more than one monitor often makes things more distracting because it tempts you to put something that's not work-related on the second screen. In most cases, it'll be more efficient to stick with one monitor.</p> <h2>10. Not Putting Your Clothes Out the Night Before</h2> <p>One incredibly simple thing you can do to save time before you go to bed is set your clothes out for the next day the night before. It makes early mornings a lot quicker as it gets you out of your bedroom without having to search through drawers, possibly in the dark out of fear that you'll wake someone up.</p> <h2>Time to Be Saved</h2> <p>There's no question that it's easy to crowd our lives with obligations and tight schedules. But there is time to be saved if we're willing to be objective about our own scheduling and work habits. If we remove the unnecessary time wasters and get specific about where we can get be more efficient, most of us can get back more than 60 minutes a day. For many, that can make a huge difference by allowing them to be more focused, relaxed and allow them to feel less rushed every day.</p> <p><em>How do you conserve and avoid wasting time? Are the tactics you employ at home and work much different? Let me know in the comments section.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Time Without Realizing It" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-time-saving-tools-everyone-should-own">15 Time-Saving Tools Everyone Should Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-free-apps-to-boost-your-online-productivity">8 Free Apps to Boost Your Online Productivity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday">The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Workday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Organization Productivity efficiency saving time shortcuts time time savers time sucks Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1218888 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Things You Won't Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/recycle-computer-86512732-small.jpg" alt="recycle computer" title="recycle computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a frugal person. I also love to upcycle. So how should you handle items in your home that you aren't using now, but are worried may come in handy someday? While it's a good idea to make a personal assessment of most every item in your home, there are some items you shouldn't waste your time considering. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out?ref=seealso">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a>)</p> <p>Here is a list of 12 old things you can safely part with, minus the regret.</p> <h2>1. Outdated Clothing</h2> <p>Imagine my surprise when I saw some very 80's looking shirts hanging up at a local Target store; they brought me back to a time when I wore very similar items! The fact that clothing goes in cycles is not reason enough to keep them around, however. In addition to the fit being an issue (can you really wear the same clothes you did 30 years ago? Should you?), there are modern details that most vintage-inspired pieces depend on to be trendy. Your acid wash jeans, for example, may have too much of a &quot;mom fit&quot; to qualify for cutting edge today. Donate, sell, or toss.</p> <h2>2. Cables, Cords, and Wires for Old Electronics</h2> <p>I was just as surprised as you when the government made digital TV a thing, and people started buying up rabbit ears to get their local news. This was an anomaly, however, and most of the accessories you used for your television in the 90's are seriously defunct. Toss out that RF modulator and coaxial cable adapter. Even Goodwill won't want them.</p> <h2>3. Toys That Take Specialized &quot;Cartridges&quot;</h2> <p>Brands like Leapfrog and VTech are notorious for releasing the hot new toys each holiday, complete with a line of games and upgrades that only work with that year's new thing. Unless you have the complete collection with enough entertainment hours to keep someone happy for awhile, most kids don't want to try to round up the matching components for 2009's doorbuster deal.</p> <h2>4. Underwear or Lingerie That Might Fit Someday</h2> <p>Unless you recently had a baby and are certain you may squeeze back in within the next 10 months, ditch the dainties from a skinnier you and buy something that you feel comfy in. If you do, indeed, drop the pounds, you can celebrate with a nighty or briefs that reflect your new physique. Think of it as a celebration!</p> <h2>5. Old Makeup</h2> <p>Once opened, cosmetics last for less time than you think. Give it a toss if it's been longer than six months since you bought it. Sooner if it smells or is truly out of season.</p> <h2>6. Old Paint</h2> <p>It's possible to blend similar paints together for a cheap coverup for a single wall or outside shed. Most people don't aspire to do this, and if paint has been exposed to extremely hot or freezing temps, the paint won't be good anyway. Be sure to dispose of it according to the rules and regs for your area to avoid any hazardous consequences to the environment. This includes cans of spray paint and spray foam, which lose their propellant over time.</p> <h2>7. Old CRT Monitors and Televisions</h2> <p>These clunkers suck energy and take up precious desk space. Considering that a decent LED monitor can cost under $100, it's best to set these dinosaurs out on the curb.</p> <h2>8. Spices</h2> <p>Not sure when you'll ever use ground lemongrass? If you have opened spices that don't fit your cooking style, you might want to give them a sniff &mdash; and throw out the odorless ones. Dried spices that have been stored around your stove, and have been exposed to high temps, should be the first to go.</p> <h2>9. Textbooks</h2> <p>Professors can be prickly about letting college students use older editions of textbooks, especially for those which are updated often (like law books.) Skip the odds of getting misinformation &mdash; or a bad grade &mdash; and opt to borrow or rent the most revised edition.</p> <p>And if you've been keeping your college textbooks around since you graduated &mdash; why? If you haven't cracked them open again yet, you aren't going to.</p> <h2>10. Medicines</h2> <p>If your OTC meds don't have an expiration date, have been opened, and don't come with any memory of when you last used them, dispose of them responsibly. If they came with an Rx toss them as soon as your prescription expired.</p> <h2>11. Canned Goods</h2> <p>Follow the same rules for canned food as you would for meds. No date? Don't bother keeping it around.</p> <h2>12. Kitchen Appliance Piecemeal</h2> <p>That blender without a lid? Coffee machine that requires expensive pods you can't seem to find in the store anymore? Both are just taking up precious kitchen counter real estate and should be gotten rid of. If an appliance is missing vital parts, just scrap them; otherwise, your local used store can likely sell donations of a complete unit.</p> <p>Tossing stuff is hard, especially if you have fond memories of using it. If you don't remember the last time you put it to good use, or you really don't care for it much, anyway, you can add even more useless items to your &quot;toss it&quot; box!</p> <p><em>What are you keeping around that you know you should toss? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-in-your-garage-you-should-throw-out-today">8 Things in Your Garage You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-to-cut-moving-expenses">5 Tips to Cut Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Frugal Living Organization clutter declutter donate trash upcycle Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:00:08 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1213030 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Workday http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-morning-494373053-small.jpg" alt="businessman morning" title="businessman morning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As Plato wrote in 380 B.C., &quot;The beginning is the most important part of the work.&quot; It's a truth that still stands today: How you begin your work day sets the tone for the rest of it. If you do your morning right, you're apt to have an overall day where you accomplish more, stress less, and earn more recognition for your productivity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning?ref=seealso">13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the top tips and tricks on starting the work day off right.</p> <h2>1. Don't Check Your Email</h2> <p>Julie Morganstern's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743250885/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0743250885&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=B5W2ELQZKCNTSVID">Never Check E-Mail In the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work</a> preaches the near-unfathomable: Don't start the day by checking your inbox.</p> <p>Email is often a black hole and our number one time suck. Checking it never feels like much of an accomplishment because while you're reading, deleting, and responding, more and more messages are piling up. Instead, Morganstern suggests we begin the work day by crossing off a task with a single focus &mdash; something we can truly feel accomplished about.</p> <p>If you fear a vitally important email might slip through the cracks if you delay checking your inbox, we recommend <a href="http://www.awayfind.com/">AwayFind</a>, a program that cuts through the clutter, notifying you on your cell phone about only the most urgent messages.</p> <h2>2. Clear Your Desk of Clutter</h2> <p>Throw out yesterday's empty disposable coffee cup and that stack of memos from last week. Studies show that a cluttered workspace actually hinders our ability to process information and concentrate. We aren't aware of it, but <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228167">clutter competes for our attention</a> in much the same way as a whining child or a barking dog does.</p> <h2>3. Organize Your Day</h2> <p>Just like school children who attend a homeroom period at the start of the day, adults in the workplace should carve out a few minutes in the morning to review schedules, assess priorities, and set goals. A little organization can go along way to getting your day on track.</p> <h2>4. Make Big Decisions</h2> <p>Research shows that morning time is when we're best equipped to <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/1/95">make clear-headed decisions</a> relating to ethics and tough situations. So it's best to pull the trigger on any hiring, firing, financial, or otherwise important quandaries at the very start of the day, before your mind gets strained or overwhelmed.</p> <h2>5. Take Advantage of a Clear Mind</h2> <p>Decision-making isn't the only task a clear mind is good for. A focused mind helps us complete tasks of all sorts more quickly and accurately. &quot;In considering the <a href="http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/01/05/the-benefits-of-focused-attention/">limitations of attention</a> imagine the following scenario,&quot; writes Jamie Hale for PsychCentral. &quot;You find a parking spot that is tight and requires parallel parking. One of the first things you will probably do is turn the radio down. You turn the radio down so you can focus on getting the car in the parking space.&quot; So while when your brain is at its sharpest, begin working on the most important assignments of your day.</p> <p><em>How do you start your day for maximum productivity? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Workday" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-lists">Why I Love Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-benefits-of-being-a-night-owl">13 Benefits of Being a Night Owl</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Organization Productivity getting things done mornings to-do work Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1211249 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-recycling-494379053-small.jpg" alt="couple recycling" title="couple recycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2008 I downsized my personal belongings by 85% when I moved into Dinky Manor with Mr. Foxypants, my now husband.</p> <p>Initially, Mr. Foxypants and I agreed that we would both downsize our belongings by 50% in order to fit the acquisition of our two adult lives into a 1000 square foot house with terrible closet space.</p> <p>Downsizing by 50% was easy. I managed that in just a few weeks by creating a game called &quot;Do I like this object more than my boyfriend?&quot; Since I have OCD, I really wanted to avoid negatively impacting our relationship with my personal clutter issues. I never wanted to be in a position where we would argue about my stuff. Conflict avoidance is a huge motivator for me. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too?ref=seealso">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a>)</p> <p>However, I soon realized that 50% wasn't going to cut it. The 1937 layout of Dinky Manor wasn't designed for 21st Century life. Our house predates both television and refrigeration, so just arranging our major appliances in our tiny, period kitchen was challenging.</p> <p>Because I love a good challenge, I decided that I would downsize by 90%. After speedily ditching half my belongings, I thought, &quot;How hard could this be?&quot;</p> <p>Not that hard, but still hard enough that I actually didn't make my goal of downsizing by 90% because I couldn't bear to purge my enormous crafty crap stash of fabric and yarn. But I made it to 85% with the help of the 5 R's.</p> <h2>1. REFUSE (To Bring In More Stuff)</h2> <p>Curbing consumption is actually the first step in downsizing. I think of it as a diet for my home. To this end I try and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">get rid of 10 things a day</a>. I will not keep my house free of clutter and shrink my carbon footprint with a one-in-one-out policy. In order to cut my clutter I also:</p> <ul> <li>Refused to acquire new-to-me clothes, furniture, or house wares until I found a place for everything I already owned. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Refused to restock the pantry until I'd eaten through my current food stash. (This took two months).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Refused to bring single use items into my home. And by single use I mean items that generally are used only once like wrapping paper, plastic shopping bags, drinking straws, and little hotel shampoo bottles. In addition to being environmentally unsustainable, single use items were using up precious storage with their additional packaging. Most importantly, by using &quot;convenience&quot; items I was making mindless consumption a habit. Doing a periodic <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too">trash audit</a> helps me discover where I am over-consuming in my home.</li> </ul> <h3>Decluttering Is the Mother of Invention</h3> <p>The direct result of refusing to bring new things into my home was innovation. I was forced to find reusable replacements for all my convenience goods. This is actually easier than it sounds because single use items only rose to prominence in the last 30 years and I am old enough to remember when everyone drank from the drinking fountains or thermoses rather than disposable water bottles.</p> <p>If I couldn't think of a suitable reusable replacement, I called my mom and dad and asked what they used when they were growing up instead of Saran Wrap (a plastic shower cap) or a to-go coffee mug (a jar with a tight fitting lid). Every single use item has its reusable counter part. Often it took just a few moments of looking around the house to find a suitable reusable replacement &mdash; a practice that is actually way more convenient than driving to the store to buy consumables.</p> <h2>2. REDUCE (What You Already Own)</h2> <p>The ease that I was able to part with half my stuff taught me a very important lesson: If it's easy to part with, then it's not something I really need in my life. Clearly, I was massively over-consuming, a fact that was really difficult for me to admit to myself, as I have always prided myself as being a very careful, and efficient shopper. I rarely go shopping and when I do buy something, I try to buy used to conserve resources. Alas, all my anti-consumerist smugness had gone to waste; I might be a minimalist compared to my fellow Americans, but I was still collecting too much stuff.</p> <p>Speaking of too much stuff, my grandmother, an accomplished hoarder, referred to herself as a founding member of the SABLE club. SABLE stands for Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy, of course. How many books can I realistically read before I die? And, do I need to store them all in my house? Can I store my stash of future reads at the public library instead, or in my Audible queue? Is packing my books Tetris-like into the bookcase a good use of my short life?</p> <h3>Reduce Redundancies</h3> <p>One of the speediest ways I reduced my belongings was by seeking out and eliminating repetition. Between my boyfriend and I, we owned two lawnmowers, two toasters, four coffee makers, seven flashlights, and 29 pairs of scissors. I went room by room and distilled our belongings down to the best of each item, and we sold the runner-ups at a garage sale.</p> <h3>Increase Sharing</h3> <p>Another easy way to reduce clutter is by sharing. My brother-in-law Jonathan and I share a china pattern. He has place settings for 12 and I have place settings for eight (which is the maximum number of plates and cups that will fit into my kitchen cabinet). When I have a dinner party for more than eight people, I borrow Jonathan's dishes. When he needs spare pieces for an event, he borrows mine. I share a weed whacker and garden tools with my friend Laura and kitchen appliances with my neighbor Alexandra. What is the point of buying and storing items like ladders, luggage, or camping gear that get used only a few times a year, when I can save money and space by sharing these things with friends and neighbors? I'm not a doomsday prepper. There's no need for me to own my own everything.</p> <h3>Reduce Exposure to Advertising</h3> <p>Another thing I hate to admit about myself: I am super sensitive to advertising. While I am grateful to Pinterest, Etsy, and eBay for making my life easier and my wallet fatter, those sites are also incredibly triggering. Window-shopping on those sites fills me with desire for things I never knew existed and certainly don't need. Fashion magazines and blogs are equally <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/minimalist-purse-shopping-stupid-people-aka-accidental-coach-bag-collector/">crazy-making</a>. While in hardcore, downsizing, purge mode it is often necessary to take a sabbatical from media, social networks, and even people that encourage consumption.</p> <h3>Less Stuff = Less Stress</h3> <p>Reducing my belongings had an unforeseen benefit: It dramatically reduced my stress level. In addition to having 85% fewer things I had to curate, clean, and care for, it allowed me to stop looking at my everyday schedule as one, long To Do List. Every book in my house is something that needs to be read. The yarn needs to be knit into sweaters. The video games need to be played.</p> <h2>3. REUSE (Through Repair and Repurposing)</h2> <p>My great-grandfather was really good with money. He raised six kids on his earnings as a card shark. One of his favorite sayings was, &quot;Nothing is cheaper than the thing you already own.&quot; From an environmental standpoint, nothing is greener, either.</p> <p>As I write this I am wearing my new shorts. Last night they were my old jeans with holes in both knees. My new shorts will help me get through the disgusting heat of September in Los Angeles. I won't have to buy new shorts, nor will I have to buy new oven mitts for my kitchen, as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">leftover denim</a> from my old jeans will be sewn into hot pads. Also, I will save on electricity costs by wearing shorts to stay cool instead of turning on the air conditioning.</p> <p>Shopping in your own closet is one of the easiest ways of stretching your wardrobe budget. According to Ginny Snook Scott, the chief design officer of California Closets, the custom storage design firm, most women only wear 20% of their wardrobes. Before bringing anything new into the house I now ask myself, &quot;Do I already own something that I can use instead of this?&quot;</p> <h2>4. RECYCLE</h2> <p>Check with your local recycling plant to find out what is actually recyclable in your community. For example, mirrors and crystal are both made from glass. However, they are a different composition of glass than food jars and bottles, and cannot be recycled curbside in my city. Although single use plastic water bottles are recyclable in my area, the caps from the water bottles are not. Greasy cardboard food wrappers are not recyclable anywhere (although they can be composted).</p> <p>That said, a little research into your local recycling might result in some pleasant surprises. Many communities now have e-waste facilities that accept old appliances and computers. My e-waste depot also accepts old paint, pesticides, and other types of household chemicals. Nike collects old sports shoes of any brand that they turn into Grind Cover, a court surface for playgrounds. Most dry cleaners are happy to take returns of wire hangers. The Lions Club recycles old eyeglasses, with or without lenses.</p> <p><a href="http://www.earth911.com">Earth911</a> has a search application that helps users find recycling centers in their area for items like cell phones, batteries, CFLs, BBQ grills, and bicycles, too.</p> <h2>5. ROT (Compost Like a Champion)</h2> <p>While most people don't think about the trash they generate, garbage is the clutter that is forced onto other people. Composting is a great way to downsize your garbage clutter. Although there are tons of people who get all judge-y and micromanage-y about composting, composting is actually really easy. In fact, Mother Nature does all the heavy lifting. Banana peels, coffee grounds, cotton rags that have seen their last mess, cat hair, and paper and cardboard packaging that is too dirty to be recycled all gets broken down by microbes and worms in my backyard into nutrient-rich plant food, instead of languishing in the landfill. Even apartment dwellers without yards can compost their waste using an under-the-kitchen-sink worm bin. Let me just say from personal experience, that homemade worm poo compost is a great gift for all the gardeners in your life.</p> <p>People who do not have access to recycling in their community, can use composting as a way to keep paper waste out of the landfill. Before I had a yard with trees, the brown component of my compost consisted of pizza boxes, old phone books, and paper deli-wrap.</p> <p>By keeping paper food wrappers and food waste out of the kitchen garbage can, I can go over a month without having to empty the 13-gallon garbage can in my kitchen. (I can go on vacation without coming back to a house that smells like rotting food&mdash; bonus). Alas, even with my tiny garbage output, my garbage bill is the same as my neighbors that throw away everything. Even so, composting does help me save hundreds of dollars on my food and water costs.</p> <p>Organic compost costs $12 per bag at my local nursery, and fertilizer costs even more. My homemade compost works as an all-in-one soil amendment to make my clay soil more friable, as an organic fertilizer to feed both my crops and my decorative plants, and as water-saving mulch all over my yard. Just about every new home gardener has experienced the $20 home grown tomato &mdash; the start up costs of their garden exceed their actual grocery bill. Composting allows me to grow my homegrown produce, for much less than what I'd spend at the store for the same items.</p> <p>Finally, my <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/garden-hack-citrus-peel-starter-pot-seedlings/">garden hack</a> of using citrus peels as biodegradable seed starter pots has been pinned over 165K times and been featured on design blogs and magazines ranging from Ready Made to Apartment Therapy to Buzzfeed. Food-based garbage is my friend.</p> <p><em>Have you recently downsized your house? How did you do it?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life" class="sharethis-link" title="The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-in-your-garage-you-should-throw-out-today">8 Things in Your Garage You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Organization clutter compost declutter organization recycle Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Max Wong 1199025 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Mantras to Sharpen Your Resolve to Downsize and Declutter http://www.wisebread.com/7-mantras-to-sharpen-your-resolve-to-downsize-and-declutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-mantras-to-sharpen-your-resolve-to-downsize-and-declutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/messy-room-iStock_000014544898Small.jpg" alt="messy room" title="messy room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If the time for spring cleaning is long past, yet you still find yourself surrounded by clutter and feeling like you have way too much stuff, maybe you need a decluttering mantra &mdash; a statement or a question that you repeat to yourself as you look at each thing in your space. They way you answer the question or the way you respond from your gut after you say the statement will help you determine whether or not a particular item stays or goes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever?ref=seealso">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a>)</p> <p>Decluttering is hard, and it's even harder when you are forced to do it because you are downsizing in some way. But having a mantra (or two or three) that works for you will make the process so much easier.</p> <p>How do you know if a particular mantra works for you? Try it and see. If it frees you to get rid of items that otherwise you might have held onto, then it's working.</p> <h2>&quot;How Much Would I Spend?&quot;</h2> <p>When you look at an item you already own, think about how much you'd be willing to spend to buy it new. If it's valuable to you, you'll probably give it a relatively high dollar amount. If it's not, you might not be willing to spend a cent.</p> <p>You can easily get rid of items that you don't value at all. For those somewhere in the middle, though, you can choose a dollar limit. You might decide to keep anything that you value at $50 or more, and get rid of the rest.</p> <h2>&quot;Do I: Use It? Need It? Love It?&quot;</h2> <p>Another way to determine just how much you value an item is to use a mantra that is a series of <a href="http://www.slowyourhome.com/declutter-mantra/">these three questions</a>. These help you weed out items that truly should not be in your home, but it gives you space to keep things that, for instance, you may use once a year but, when you use them, you really need them.</p> <p>Items you use but don't need or love might include things like soap dispensers and hairbrushes. Things you need but don't use often or love might include camping or fishing gear. And particular knick knacks or pieces of jewelry might be items you love but don't use often or truly need.</p> <h2>&quot;I Only Need So Many&quot;</h2> <p>If you tend to accumulate multiples of items that you love or find useful, it will be good for you to look at your stash and repeat this mantra. I have a friend who recently realized that she only needs, at most, one toilet brush for every toilet in her home. And I have been getting rid of wooden cooking utensils, because I bought a bunch on a whim a while back.</p> <p>Another option? If you have multiples of items that will eventually wear out, then box them up and store them somewhere out of the way until you actually do need them. Then they're out of your everyday life, but you still have them when you need them.</p> <h2>&quot;Let It Go&quot;</h2> <p>If you feel like you're holding onto things and you don't really know why, this might be the mantra for you. Whether you are holding onto things for sentimental reasons, out of obligation or expectation, out of fear, or for some other reason, this mantra gives you permission to get rid of the things that are holding you back.</p> <p>This mantra might help you let go of more than your possessions. As you repeat it, you may find yourself able to let go of negative experiences and the ways they've impacted you, which can then permit you to get rid of your stuff, too.</p> <h2>&quot;'Just In Case' Is Just in the Way&quot;</h2> <p>If you hold onto things because you're afraid you might need them in the future, then this is a mantra that will help you a lot. Several years ago, my husband was thinking about going back to school in a particular field. He spent hundreds of dollars on books for a semester of courses, only to drop out at the last minute because he got a new job, in a totally different field. Within months, he knew almost-for-sure that he wasn't going back to school.</p> <p>However, we've held onto those books for years now. We've moved them at least twice, and those things are not light. His justification? &quot;Well, if I ever decide to pursue that, I don't want to spend all that money again.&quot;</p> <p>Just recently, though, he moved them to the &quot;give away&quot; pile in our garage. &quot;I'm sick of tripping over them,&quot; he explained, when I asked him why. If you have things you're sick of tripping over but have been afraid to give away, this mantra can free you to finally get rid of them.</p> <h2>&quot;Does This Lift Me Up or Bring Me Down?&quot;</h2> <p>Sometimes, people keep things because they don't want to disappoint the giver, or because they were purchased with someone else's funds. Occasionally, people will even keep a gift from a former spouses or lover, simply because the gift was expensive and the person feels bad getting rid of it.</p> <p>If something brings you down, it shouldn't be in your space. So let go of things with negative emotional connotations, and free yourself.</p> <h2>&quot;Less Is More&quot;</h2> <p>This is an oldie but a goodie. If you're finding yourself wanting more space in your life, more freedom and less responsibility, this mantra can remind you of these things. When you're on the fence between getting rid of something and keeping it, these words can remind you that getting rid of it gives you that much more spaciousness in your life.</p> <p>To some extent, life is a tradeoff between having time and space, and having things. Sure, we need some things, and we are willing to give some of our time and space to have them. At some point, though, we have to decide to preserve peace and spaciousness instead of owning more stuff. This mantra can help you determine where that point is in your own life, and to maintain it.</p> <p><em>What mantra or mantras help you keep your place tidy and uncluttered? Please share in comments.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-mantras-to-sharpen-your-resolve-to-downsize-and-declutter" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Mantras to Sharpen Your Resolve to Downsize and Declutter" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-mantras-to-sharpen-your-resolve-to-downsize-and-declutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-in-your-garage-you-should-throw-out-today">8 Things in Your Garage You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-fantastic-chalkboard-paint-projects">15 Fantastic Chalkboard Paint Projects</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Organization clutter mantras organization Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1165664 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 "Good" Habits That May Actually Be Hurting You http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-habits-that-may-actually-be-hurting-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-good-habits-that-may-actually-be-hurting-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/studying-sb10069478bd-001-small_0.jpg" alt="studying" title="studying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even good habits take work. Whether you're consciously trying to incorporate something new into your routine, or mindlessly continuing an action or strategy you decided was right for you decades ago, these things require time and energy.</p> <p>So you better make sure they're actually working for you.</p> <p>Even habits generally deemed &quot;good&quot; may have consequences &mdash; be they secret health risks, opportunity costs of your effort, or self-defeating time-sucks. So check out the list, and take a moment to consider whether even your &quot;best&quot; habits are worth keeping.</p> <h2>1. Squatting To Avoid The Toilet Seat</h2> <p>Pride yourself a bum that never touches the seat? Well all that squatting may be lead to pain later on. According to a study from an organization representing over 45,000 physiotherapists, <a href="http://www.canada.com/story.html?id=20f0dd33-1e3a-46ab-9fd0-1452e9804ad4">women who squat over the toilet</a> instead of sit are more likely to develop painful urinary tract infections, as the body position doesn't encourage complete emptying of the bladder.</p> <h2>2. Using the &quot;Inbox Zero&quot; Method</h2> <p>Having an email organization system is important for prioritizing and making sure things don't slip the cracks. And if inbox zero works for you, great. But some proponents of this particular method &mdash; which involves clearing out one's inbox frequently and thoroughly &mdash; seem to be particularly prone to&hellip; <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/scottybryan/why-your-obsession-with-inbox-zero-is-ruining-your-life">obsession</a>. At some point, the checking and sorting of messages stops become a means to an end (that is: organization) and starts becoming the end itself. That's when it may be time to reevaluate.</p> <h2>3. Washing Your Face Twice a Day</h2> <p>According to some dermatologists, washing your face twice a day can harm dry, aging skin. If you notice dryness and suspect over-washing is the culprit, try limiting yourself to only wash a day, and substituting rinsing with water and moisturizing in the morning.</p> <h2>4. Studying by the Book</h2> <p>Study hard kids! Spend long nights in the library! All that good stuff. But be wary of any study habits (at least, for college-level students and beyond) that emphasize &quot;finishing&quot; instead of &quot;learning.&quot; In other words, do the reading that's productive for you, don't finish everything in order to check a reading assignment off your list. Parallels hold true in the working world, too: put your effort into assignments that produce for you or the company &mdash; don't waste time on research you know won't add value.</p> <h2>5. Early Morning Exercise</h2> <p>Between kids and jobs and non-fitness activities (aka, &quot;lives&quot;), some people only have time to exercise in the morning. Some people feel it jumpstarts their day. Fine &mdash; if you're sure it's working, by all means, continue. But be aware that if you're trying to lose weight and skipping sleep in order to fit the workout in, your efforts may be for naught, as not getting enough sleep <a href="http://www.fitsugar.com/Bad-Exercise-First-Thing-Morning-3013632">can actually slow down your metabolism</a>, making it hard to shed those pounds.</p> <h2>6. Talking Everything Out</h2> <p>Open communication is vital to maintaining a relationship. But that doesn't mean that you need to hash out every little thing, nor that you have to hash out everything as soon as it pops into your mind. Researchers suggest that <a href="https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-743-W.pdf">setting times to talk</a> is much more productive, and by doing so, you may be more inclined to just let the unimportant things go by the time your talk is scheduled.</p> <p><em>Any other &quot;good&quot; habits that may not work for everybody?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-habits-that-may-actually-be-hurting-you" class="sharethis-link" title="6 &quot;Good&quot; Habits That May Actually Be Hurting You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-habits-that-may-actually-be-hurting-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-little-things-you-need-to-stop-saying-today">9 Dumb Little Things You Need to Stop Saying Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-small-new-year-s-resolutions-you-can-start-today">25 Small New Year’s Resolutions You Can Start Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-nervous-tics-you-need-to-stop-right-now">6 Nervous Tics You Need to Stop Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> General Tips Organization Personal Development Productivity habits Improve productivity Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:12:05 +0000 Joe Epstein 1142018 at http://www.wisebread.com 101 Little Things You Can Fix Right Now! http://www.wisebread.com/101-little-things-you-can-fix-right-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/101-little-things-you-can-fix-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hang-picture-174428056-small_0.jpg" alt="hanging picture" title="hanging picture" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all have annoying little things that we put up with because we don't feel like we've got the time to deal with such penny-ante chores. What's one big thing we put up with even though we don't have the time? Waiting on hold. The average American will spend <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hold-please-for-43-days-2013-01-23">43 days</a> of his or her life waiting on hold. So why not use the 13 hours you will spend on hold this year getting stuff done? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-stop-procrastinating-now?ref=seealso">9 Ways to Stop Procrastinating &mdash; Now!</a>)</p> <p>Here are 101 things you can fix while you are stuck listening to Muzak (or find yourself with just a little downtime you'd like to fill).</p> <h2>1. Apply Sunscreen</h2> <p>UV rays are damaging your skin even on cloudy days, so it's important to <a href="http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/health-and-beauty/general-skin-care/sun-protection/how-to-apply-sunscreen">apply a sunscreen</a> with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.</p> <h2>2. Backup Your Data</h2> <p>For the love of all that is good and beautiful, backup your data! When backing up or a tablet or a phone, make sure you know <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/2154792/backups-via-icloud-or-itunes-the-crucial-differences-that-affect-your-data.html">the difference</a> between backing up to iCloud and backing up to iTunes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-online-backup-services?ref=seealso">Comparing Online Backup Services</a>)</p> <h2>3. Balance the Ceiling Fan</h2> <p>Is that <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Fix-a-Wobbling-Ceiling-Fan">squeaky fan</a> slowly making you crazy? Fix it in a flash.</p> <h2>4. Blow Out the Bathroom Exhaust Fan</h2> <p>Dirty <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Clean-a-Bathroom-Fan">exhaust fans</a> are a fire hazard. Use canned air to blow out dust and debris. Then wash the fan cover in soapy water. Cleaning the exhaust fan can make your bathroom up to 80% less stinky.</p> <h2>5. Bring Out Your Dead</h2> <p>Dead bugs in your light fixtures won't kill you, but they sure are disgusting to look at.</p> <h2>6. Cancel Your Junk Mail</h2> <p><a href="https://www.dmachoice.org/">Register online</a> with the Direct Marketing Association and opt out of junk mail.</p> <h2>7. Caulk Your Bathtub</h2> <p>I learned <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Caulk-a-Bathtub">how to caulk</a> a bathtub when I was eight. It's so easy, even a kid can do it&hellip;literally. New caulk makes the bathroom look instantly cleaner and protects your walls from mold and rot.</p> <h2>8. Change the Baking Soda in the Refrigerator</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/stinky-fridge-179059009-small.jpg?ggnoads " /></p> <p>An open box of baking soda in the fridge <a href="http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1411/does-baking-soda-really-eliminate-refrigerator-odors">really does help</a> eliminate odors.</p> <h2>9. Change Your Facebook Settings</h2> <p>Once again, Facebook has made changes to privacy settings. Update your settings to make sure that you have all the privacy you want.</p> <h2>10. Check Your Credit Report for Errors</h2> <p>You can get a <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">free copy</a> of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Check your report for errors that could be hurting your credit score.</p> <h2>11. Check Your Oil</h2> <p>Oil lubricates your car engine. Check your car's oil level once a month and top off as needed. Letting your engine run out of oil is one of the best ways to <a href="http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/app/newsfeed/detail?article=800762712">kill your engine</a>. And by best, I mean worst.</p> <h2>12. Check Your Tire Pressure</h2> <p>Under inflated tires add additional wear to your tires and waste gas. <a href="http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/check-tire-pressure.php">Check your tire pressure</a> regularly to ensure that you are getting the best performance out of your car.</p> <h2>13. Clean the Coils on the Refrigerator</h2> <p>Dirty condenser coils will make your refrigerator work harder and use more energy. Extend the life of your fridge and save on your electric bills by cleaning the coils every three months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips?ref=seealso">Make Your Fridge Last Forever</a>)</p> <h2>14. Clean Your Computer</h2> <p>Your computer's keyboard is probably <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7377002.stm">dirtier than your toilet</a>. Don't put off cleaning your computer for another day.</p> <h2>15. Clean Your Glasses or Contact Lenses</h2> <p>Get a better outlook on the world, instantly.</p> <h2>16. Clean Your Hairbrush Like a Hairdresser Does</h2> <p>Use a comb to remove hair from your brush. Then wash the brush in the washing machine with your towels. Alternately, add a few drops of Dawn dish-washing detergent to some hot water, dip the brush in the soapy water, and scrub with a toothbrush.</p> <h2>17. Clean Out Your Handbag or Wallet</h2> <p>In college I developed shooting neck pains. After a full battery of tests and X-rays, my doctor still couldn't figure out the origin of my pain. Then he watched me pick up my handbag&hellip;which contained $40.00 in spare change.</p> <h2>18. Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/medicine-cabinet-178488468-small.jpg?ggnoads " /></p> <p>While many over the counter and prescription drugs are perfectly safe and relatively effective to take even if they are expired, this is not true for <a href="http://lifehacker.com/do-skin-care-products-and-toiletries-ever-expire-1468955193">cosmetics</a>, hydrogen peroxide, and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/11/bathroom-items-you-should-throw-away_n_2450633.html">rubbing alcohol</a>.</p> <h2>19. Clean the Pet Hair Off Your Sofa</h2> <p>Use a rubber glove to quickly remove the furry coating from your upholstered furniture.</p> <h2>20. Clean Your Phone</h2> <p>Because most people are disgusting and don't wash their hands after pooping, everything is <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2011/10/17/study-1-in-6-cell-phones-contaminated-with-fecal-matter/">covered in poop</a>. This includes your cell phone. One in six cell phones are contaminated with fecal matter. Gross. <a href="http://www.howtogeek.com/66827/how-to-clean-your-smartphone/">Clean your phone</a>.</p> <h2>21. Collect Spare Change</h2> <p>Check under the sofa cushions, in your pockets, and in the laundry room. Put everything into a piggy bank for a rainy day treat.</p> <h2>22. Condition Your Leather Jacket</h2> <p>Leather is a natural fiber that will weaken over time if it's not properly cared for. Extend the life of your leather jacket by using leather conditioner as a moisturizer. There are a number of top leather conditioners you can buy that will clean and help weatherproof even the most creaky leathers. While you are at it, why not condition your bicycle seat, your baseball glove, your vintage handbag, and your leather sofa?</p> <h2>23. Create a Treasure Chest for All Your Play Money</h2> <p>Go through your wallet and home and find all the store credit receipts, all the partially used gift cards, and any other alternate form of currency that stores use to force you to only spend money with them. Put them all in one box for easy reference.</p> <h2>24. Curate Your Netflix Queue</h2> <p>You can add multiple profiles to one Netflix account to create multiple queues for easy reference. Or use a custom queue management script to import Rotten Tomatoes ratings or increase sorting options.</p> <h2>25. Darn a Sock</h2> <p>Small holes are <a href="http://www.myzigzagstitch.com/2009/02/26/how-to-do-it-darn-socks/">a pretty simple fix</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h2>26. Defrost Dinner</h2> <p>Cooking in advance only saves time if you remember to defrost your food in advance. Thawing food on the counter or under hot water can actually make you sick. Use <a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/09091ea3-84d6-4b83-a04e-5123713fe406/Big_Thaw.pdf?MOD=AJPERES">safe defrosting</a> methods to thaw homemade and prepackaged foods &mdash; thaw in the fridge; thaw in cold water; thaw in the microwave. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/food-safety-reminder-rinsing-the-bird-is-bad-for-your-health?ref=seealso">Don't Rinse the Bird</a>)</p> <h2>27. De-Fuzz Your Pet</h2> <p><img width="605" height="342" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/brushing-cat-467871975-small.jpg?ggnoads " /></p> <p>Give your dog or cat a good brushing to help control shedding. What's more fun: Spending time with your pet or vacuuming hair off the floor?</p> <h2>28. De-Ice Your Ice Maker</h2> <p>Is your ice maker not ice-making? Before spending money on replacement parts, <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/defrost-ice-maker-28991.html">check the refill tube</a> for ice build up. You can defrost this part yourself with a hairdryer.</p> <h2>29. De-Lime Your Coffeemaker</h2> <p>Improve the flavor of your coffee by <a href="http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-hints-tips/cleaning-organizing/how-to-clean-a-coffee-maker.htm">cleaning</a> the mineral deposits out of your coffeemaker.</p> <h2>30. De-Stink the Garbage Disposal</h2> <p>You don't have to use a harsh cleanser to <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/instinkerator-what-to-do-with-96617">clean a stinky</a> garbage disposal &mdash; just toss a couple of ice cubes and some kosher salt in it. Maybe follow up with half a juiced lemon.</p> <h2>31. Ditch Key Clutter</h2> <p>I am 100% sure that my husband has keys to his college dorm room, his childhood bike lock, and to the garden shed that collapsed in the 1989 Northridge Earthquake. Don't be my husband.</p> <h2>32. Drink a Glass of Water</h2> <p>If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Staying hydrated helps energize muscles, aids digestion, and maintains the balance of your body's electrolytes.</p> <h2>33. Dump the Science Experiment in the Refrigerator</h2> <p>Those just-gone-by leftovers are not going to get any fresher. Do it now or do it later while holding your breath. Then make a plan to stop wasting so much food.</p> <h2>34. Dust the Ceiling Fan</h2> <p>Don't wait until the cat hair and dust floats down on your house guests like gray snow from your ceiling fan. Use a <a href="http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2011/11/clean-your-ceiling-fan-in-seconds.html">pillow case</a> to pull the dust from the blades in seconds and contain while you take the pillow case outside to dump the gunk.</p> <h2>35. Dust the Lampshades</h2> <p>Use a lint roller to remove the dust on fabric shades.</p> <h2>36. Empty the Trash Can in Your Car</h2> <p>Or, if you are like me, empty the trash from all over your car.</p> <h2>37. Empty the Vacuum Cleaner Bag</h2> <p>Most vacuums will lose suction when the bag is more than half full. The fuller the bag, the harder the motor has to work. Vacuuming on a full bag is a good way to kill your vacuum.</p> <h2>38. Examine Yourself for Cancer</h2> <p>Examine yourself for <a href="http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam/bse_steps">breast</a> and/or <a href="http://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/moreinformation/doihavetesticularcancer/do-i-have-testicular-cancer-self-exam">testicular</a> cancer. Five minutes spent squeezing yourself could save your life.</p> <h2>39. Exercise</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/exercise-483835087-small.jpg?ggnoads " /></p> <p>Do 20 push-ups, 20 squats, 100 jumping jacks, or just some simple stretches. You would be surprised how many mini workouts you can squeeze out of your schedule.</p> <h2>40. Empty the Lint Trap and the Dryer Vent</h2> <p>The dryer is the number one source of fire in the home. The majority of these fires are caused by <a href="http://www.cultureofsafety.com/safety-tips/dryer-fires/">lint build up</a> in the trap and dryer vent. Empty the lint trap after every dryer cycle and <a href="http://homerepair.about.com/od/heatingcoolingrepair/ss/dryervent_clean.htm">regularly clean the dryer vent</a>.</p> <h2>41. Filing the Papers on Your Desk</h2> <p>Ugh, terrible. But if you are being held hostage at your desk while on hold anyway, you might as well just do some filing.</p> <h2>42. Find Unclaimed Money</h2> <p>You might be owed money and not even know it! You can search <a href="http://www.unclaimed.org/">state by state</a> for unclaimed funds and property owed to you. When I did a search through the California State Controller's Office, I discovered that <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/time-good-junkmail/">I had a $1525.00</a> sitting in some bank vault, waiting for me to collect it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/billions-of-dollars-go-unclaimed-every-year-is-some-of-it-yours?ref=seealso">You Might Be Owed Money</a>)</p> <h2>43. Flip Your Mattress</h2> <p>Flipping a mattress is the bed equivalent of rotating the tires on your car. Flipping extends the life of your mattress by evening out the wear and tear. If you have a double-sided mattress, pin some index cards to the <a href="http://www.household-management-101.com/turning-mattress.html">foot of the bed to keep track</a> of which way your mattress needs to be flipped and turned. If you have a single sided mattress, you'll need to rotate the mattress but not flip it.</p> <h2>44. Floss</h2> <p>Only 49% of Americans floss daily and 10% never floss. Don't be part of that 51% who put their teeth at risk.</p> <h2>45. Hang a Picture</h2> <p>Avoid Swiss cheese walls by using these <a href="http://www.bobvila.com/articles/picture-hanging-tips/#.U376s1hdV7k">pro tips</a> from Bob Villa. Also, most people hang their art too high on the wall. For a more intimate viewing experience, even with a huge piece of art, take a cue from art galleries and hang your art at eye level. The standard gallery measurement is 57&quot; from the floor.</p> <h2>46. Write a Thank You Note</h2> <p>Who doesn't like feeling appreciated? Write a thank you note to someone who has helped make your life better.</p> <h2>47. Invite Other People to Dropbox</h2> <p>Gain up to 16 GB in free extra online storage space from Dropbox by <a href="https://www.dropbox.com/help/54/en">referring friends</a>.</p> <h2>48. Label Cords and Electronic Accessories</h2> <p>I label all my power cords, adapters, and accessories so I can match them up with the proper electronic equipment quickly. It makes troubleshooting so much easier too. Personally I'm a big fan of the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002T470S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002T470S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=G4WK2WAIM2W7DFQQ">P-Touch printer</a>, but there are lot of ways to label cables.</p> <h2>49. Make a Complaint</h2> <p>Is your Internet not working&hellip; again? Is your elected official an idiot? Did Trader Joe's discontinue the best snack ever? Tweet your displeasure. Even better, write a letter. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.</p> <h2>50. Make a Grocery List</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/grocery-list-105938409-small.jpg?ggnoads " /></p> <p>One of the easiest ways to save money at the grocery store is to make a grocery list. If you are terrible at figuring out how much food you need to buy week to week, use an app like <a href="https://outofmilk.com/">Out of Milk</a> to help you fine tune your shopping list.</p> <h2>51. Make a To-Do List</h2> <p>Take charge of your schedule by making a daily to-do list. It will save you time and stress.</p> <h2>52. No More Wire Hangers!</h2> <p>What is it about wire hangers? How do they accumulate so fast? Do they breed when they are alone in the dark of the closet? I just pulled approximately 467,923 empty wire hangers out of my husband's closet, which freed up about four inches of rod space. The hangers will be returned to the dry cleaners for reuse and recycling.</p> <h2>53. Oil a Squeaky Door</h2> <p>Now you have one less thing that will wake you up in the night.</p> <h2>54. Open the Bills</h2> <p>Ignoring your money problems will only make them worse.</p> <h2>55. Open an Etsy Store</h2> <p>Are you a rabid collector of fabulous things? Are you now bored with these fabulous things? Finance your next eccentric collection by selling your old one on <a href="https://www.etsy.com/">Etsy</a>.</p> <h2>56. Organize Your Address Book</h2> <p>Use an app like <a href="https://www.easilydo.com/">EasilyDo</a> to manage your contact list or manually enter and correct information in your address book.</p> <h2>57. Organize Your Jewelry</h2> <p>Separate out broken pieces for repair or reuse. (A solitary earring can be turned into a pendant or barrette, for example.) Set aside gold or silver jewelry you don't wear to sell for cash. Once you've sorted your collection, look on Pinterest for a jewelry organizing system that will work best for your space.</p> <h2>58. Organize Your Membership Cards</h2> <p>Go through your membership card collection and ditch all your expired cards. Put the cards you use regularly into your wallet, or onto a separate key chain to carry with you. Store the rest of your cards in an easy to remember place for quick reference. For those who hate carrying around all that plastic, yes, there are <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/key-ring-reward-cards/id372547556?mt=8">phone apps</a> that allow you to digitize all your membership card data.</p> <h2>59. Organize the Art on the Refrigerator Door</h2> <p>Most Americans use their refrigerator door as a bulletin board. UCLA researchers discovered that there is a <a href="http://blog.sfgate.com/ontheblock/2012/07/12/ucla-study-clutter-in-typical-middle-class-home-at-epic-if-not-epidemic-proportions/#6277103=0&amp;6278101=0">direct relationship</a> between the clutter on the fridge door and the clutter in the rest of the house. Start clearing clutter by organizing the front of the refrigerator.</p> <h2>60. Pay a Compliment</h2> <p>Compliments are free, and everyone loves to feel appreciated. Don't be creepy about it, however.</p> <h2>61. Play Matchmaker to Your Tupperware</h2> <p>Store your plastic ware with the lids on. Yes, it takes up a little more room when stacked, but it will save time. No more rooting around for a matching lid.</p> <h2>62. Plot a Murder</h2> <p>Of aphids, of course. Mix one tablespoon of dish-washing liquid and one gallon of water. Load your squirt bottle and go on a killing spree in your victory garden.</p> <h2>63. Pluck Your Eyebrows</h2> <p>Well-shaped <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Pluck-Your-Eyebrows">eyebrows</a> add instant polish to your face, even without make-up.</p> <h2>64. Polish Your Shoes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/shoe-shine-153495967-small.jpg?ggnoads " /></p> <p>I'd say, stop dressing like a slob, but slobs already know that polishing your shoes makes you look respectable and extends the life of your shoes.</p> <h2>65. Program the Stations on Your Car Radio</h2> <p>Tuning your car's radio, like texting, can be a <a href="http://mentalfloss.com/article/29631/when-car-radio-was-introduced-people-freaked-out">deadly distraction</a>. Preprogram your favorite stations while your car is parked, so you don't have to take your eyes off the road while driving.</p> <h2>66. Purge Your Email</h2> <p>As of this moment I have 434 unread emails cluttering my inbox. See how many old emails you can trash before you are interrupted. My record is 2505 emails in two hours.</p> <h2>67. Put Away Your Clothes</h2> <p>Are your clothes hanging over the treadmill in the corner of the bedroom and not in your closet? Put those clothes away!</p> <h2>68. Put Your Consumer Electronics on One Power Strip</h2> <p>In addition to protecting your expensive electronics, putting your consumer electronics on one power strip (make sure your strip doubles as a surge protector) can save you money. <a href="http://awesome.good.is/transparency/008/trans008vampireenergy.html">This helpful chart</a> shows the average energy wasted by household appliances, even when they are in standby mode. Save money and time by turning off all your appliances at once with the push of one button on the power strip.</p> <h2>69. Put Footie Pads on Your Furniture</h2> <p>Put <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/protect-wood-floors-felt-pads-27728.html">felt pads</a> on your furniture to protect your wood floors from wear and tear.</p> <h2>70. Put Your Hoard of Tins to Work</h2> <p>I am a sucker for cute packaging. Luckily Altoid tins are the perfect size to organize and store tiny office and craft supplies.</p> <h2>71. Read the Manual</h2> <p>To anything. Reading the manual never makes any gadget harder to use. I promise.</p> <h2>72. Repair Your Cracked Patio</h2> <p>If you can use Play-Doh, you can <a href="http://www.homerepairtutor.com/fix-small-concrete-cracks/">fix the cracks</a> in cement with quick-drying hydraulic water-stop cement.</p> <h2>73. Replace Your Windshield Wipers</h2> <p>Don't wait until it's pouring down rain to do this chore. Replacing wipers is <a href="http://autorepair.about.com/od/regularmaintenance/ss/wiper_chg_rev.htm">easy</a>.</p> <h2>74. Restock Your Emergency Kit</h2> <p>Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with at least the <a href="http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit">basics</a>. Replace the batteries in the flashlight. Check the expiration dates on your food and medications. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-emergency-situations-you-must-prepare-for-and-5-you-can-ignore?ref=seealso">5 Emergency Situations You Must Prepare For</a>)</p> <h2>75. Re-Up Your Prescriptions</h2> <p>It's Murphy's Law that you will run out of what you need, in the middle of the night, on a holiday weekend. Don't wait until you are having an emergency to get refills.</p> <h2>76. Revive Your Cutting Board</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cutting-board-179691767-small.jpg?ggnoads " /></p> <p>Season your wood cutting board with mineral oil to extend its lifespan. Rub it on, wait a bit, rub it off.</p> <h2>77. Round Up Old Magazines</h2> <p>Collect all the magazines that are cluttering your house. Donate the ones you are done with to your local veterinarian, emergency room, or battered women's shelter. Create one central to-be-read pile with the remaining magazines.</p> <h2>78. Sanitize Your Makeup</h2> <p>Use a makeup <a href="http://www.beautylish.com/a/vxivg/how-to-clean-your-makeup">sanitizing spray</a> or wipe to keep your cosmetics bacteria-free.</p> <h2>79. Scrub the Bathtub</h2> <p>If you use non-toxic household products like baking soda, salt, and vinegar to clean the tub, you won't even need to put on gloves.</p> <h2>80. Sell Something Online</h2> <p>List unwanted items on <a href="http://www.craigslist.org/">Craigslist</a>, <a href="http://www.ebay.com/">eBay</a>, <a href="https://www.etsy.com/">Etsy</a>, <a href="http://www.half.ebay.com/">Half.com</a>, or another online market. More money in the bank. Less to dust.</p> <h2>81. Set the Clock on the Microwave</h2> <p>Why not make your appliances with a clock feature that much more useful?</p> <h2>82. Sew on a Button</h2> <p>Save a little money at the dry cleaners by replacing missing buttons yourself.</p> <h2>83. Sharpen a Knife</h2> <p>It's counter-intuitive, but it's <a href="http://www.home-ec101.com/why-are-sharp-knives-safer-than-dull-blades/">more dangerous</a> to use a dull knife than a sharp knife. Save money on professional knife sharpening by learning how to <a href="http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/knivescutlery/ht/whetstone.htm">do it yourself</a>.</p> <h2>84. Sign a Petition</h2> <p>Don't have the money or the time to spare for your favorite issues? At least sign a petition! Petitions do get results because they show popular demand for a cause. Even the <a href="https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions">White House</a> pays attention to petitions.</p> <h2>85. Silence a Squeaky Floor</h2> <p>Use talcum powder and a paintbrush to <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20447746_20886389,00.html">quiet wood floors</a>.</p> <h2>86. Snip Your Too-Long Bangs</h2> <p>Scary, right? Not if you look online for <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Cut-Your-Own-Sidebangs/">all sorts</a> of <a href="http://thebeautydepartment.com/2013/02/9237/">helpful hair</a> cutting <a href="http://www.xovain.com/hair/how-to-trim-your-own-bangs#awesm=~oEQWXzRAswwUxK">tutorials</a> for guidance.</p> <h2>87. Start Some Seeds</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/plants-186725561-small.jpg?ggnoads " /></p> <p>Growing plants <a href="http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/starting-seeds-indoors">from seeds</a> is a relatively inexpensive way to grow a variety of plants. There are far more plants available from seed that there are from started plants. You don't even need <a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/garden-hack-citrus-peel-starter-pot-seedlings/">special equipment</a>.</p> <h2>88. Steady a Wobbly Toilet</h2> <p>Sitting down on a wobbly toilet is always a little disconcerting. Luckily, <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/fix-wobbly-toilet-bowl-38045.html">steadying a toilet</a> is usually an easy fix.</p> <h2>89. Steam Away Microwave Stains</h2> <p>Heat a bowl containing a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar in the microwave for five minutes. The steam will soften stuck-on stains so they can be wiped off with a sponge.</p> <h2>90. Store Your Hairbands on a Carabiner</h2> <p>I love this organizing hack for the bathroom. Although I keep my hairband carabiner in a drawer, I could also hang it on a hook or at the end of a towel rack to save cabinet space.</p> <h2>91. Swap Out Your Toothbrush</h2> <p>Swap out your <a href="http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-">old toothbrush</a> for a new one every three months, or sooner if the bristles are bent or you've been sick. Toothbrush bristles develop sharp edges over time that can make tiny nicks in your gums, making you more prone to infection. Also, worn bristles are less effective at cleaning your teeth.</p> <h2>92. Sweep Away the Cobwebs</h2> <p>Does your home look like the Haunted Mansionette? Use a feather duster or Swiffer broom to remove cobwebs from your ceiling and crown molding.</p> <h2>93. Test Your Smoke Detector</h2> <p>Prevent a fatal fire in your home. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors TWICE a year. Also, pushing the red button on the smoke detector only tests if the battery and the alarm sound work. A better method of testing if the smoke detector is actually detecting smoke is to hold two freshly blown-out matches under the unit.</p> <h2>94. Throw Away Your Dried-Out Pens</h2> <p>If you are waiting on hold, you will eventually need a pen to write down a confirmation number. Use this time to test out your pen collection to find one that works. Throw away the dead ones.</p> <h2>95. Trim Your Photo Collection</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/family-4892076-small.jpg?ggnoads " /></p> <p>Unless you are a hardened blackmailer, there is no reason to keep terrible photographs of yourself or others, unless, of course, they are hilarious. Dump the bad photos from your albums and hard drives and give yourself more space to store flattering memories.</p> <h2>96. Turn Off the Lights</h2> <p>If you aren't in the habit of turning off the light as you leave a room, save money and energy by turning off all the lights (and fans) in the house except in the room you are using right now.</p> <h2>97. Unsubscribe</h2> <p>Be honest with yourself about how much information you can process in a day. Unsubscribe from email lists, online groups, podcasts, and so on that are piling up in your inbox. You can always re-subscribe when you have more free time.</p> <h2>98. Update Your LinkedIn Profile</h2> <p>Even if you aren't looking for work, there are plenty of companies that headhunt solely via <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/">LinkedIn</a>. A better job might fall right into your lap! Also, every time you update your profile, LinkedIn will spam everyone in your network, a passive (and great) way to reconnect with business connections.</p> <h2>99. Untangle Your Cords</h2> <p>Pretend this is a game and not an odious chore. Store your freshly untangled cords inside toilet paper tubes. For extra credit, <a href="http://organizeyourstuffnow.com/wordpress/32181">cute-ify</a> your toilet paper tubes with colored tape.</p> <h2>100. Vacuum Your Hairdryer</h2> <p>Suck the gunk out of the back vents of your hair dryer to keep it from crapping out.</p> <h2>101. Wrap a Present</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gift-giving-hacks-that-will-save-your-money-and-your-sanity">Pre-wrap</a> holiday and birthday presents and save time and stress later.</p> <p><em>Whew! Any other small jobs we should do right now? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-little-things-you-can-fix-right-now" class="sharethis-link" title="101 Little Things You Can Fix Right Now!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-little-things-you-can-fix-right-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes">Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> General Tips Organization cleaning odd jobs organization small jobs Thu, 05 Jun 2014 15:00:15 +0000 Max Wong 1141768 at http://www.wisebread.com Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/boxes-459332827.jpg" alt="boxes" title="boxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The problem with most advice on clearing clutter is that it runs on the assumption that people actually have enough storage space in their homes. I am 100% sure that anyone who saves closet space by rotating their winter clothes out of their closet to make room for their summer wardrobe isn't storing their Christmas sweaters under their house in the crawlspace. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too?ref=seealso">How to Declutter and Keep Your Stuff</a>)</p> <p>For a number of years I lived in a tiny house with horrible storage space. Removing anything from my closet was like playing the dangerous version of Jenga, with heavy, head-bonking cardboard boxes standing in for the little wooden rods. What did I hate more than pulling everything out of the closet to find the one-needed thing (that was always in the back)? The time it took to repack everything, Tetris-like, so I could close the closet door. My time-saving solution to this problem was to stack items that I removed from the closet on the floor outside of the closet where they'd be easier to see and grab.</p> <p>Every other month or so, I'd decide to throw a party. Part of the party prep was spending two unhappy days putting every single thing I owned back in its proper place.</p> <p>It was a most annoying method of keeping house.</p> <h2>Fewer Things Means Fewer Things to Store</h2> <p>Finally, I realized that I hated organizing my stuff more than I enjoyed owning it. My solution to clutter wasn't to have a space for everything, it was not having things that needed to be stored.</p> <p>Fewer things. Fewer things to put away.</p> <p>So, on November 1, 2001 I made a resolution: I would get rid of 10 things a day until I had downsized enough that I could fit all my belongings into one, visible layer in my closets.</p> <p>The 10 items rule was arbitrary. Ten things seemed challenging enough to turn downsizing into a game (always a bonus for me), yet achievable enough to allow me to complete my goal even on the busiest days.</p> <p>One day, at the end of March 2002, I came home to a noticeably neater house. After almost five months of downsizing by 10 things a day, I had painlessly removed almost <em>1500</em> items from my home.</p> <p>Multiplication is what makes 10 Things a successful organizational strategy. Ten is a smallish number. But 10 things a day equals 300 things a month equals 3650 things a year!</p> <h2>Some Positive Side Effects of 10 Things a Day</h2> <p>It was at this point that I realized why speed cleaning methods had never been the answer to my clutter. My house didn't get messy in a week, so it was unrealistic of me to believe that I could declutter my home in the same time frame and be happy with the results. Since I only had to remove 10 items every day, it gave me time to consider what things would go and come up with an optimal plan for their disposal. 10 Things is like yoga, something you practice rather than an end goal. While it fails to provide immediate gratification, 10 Things provides what other organizational systems do not: an easy method of maintenance that doesn't just clear clutter, but prevents clutter from building up in the first place.</p> <p>Over 13 years later, I am still getting rid of 10 things a day. My house is tidier than most, and my material goods cause me a lot less stress. My weird organizational system works!</p> <p>When I tell people who haven't found success with other organizational methods about 10 Things, the same questions always pop up. So here's exactly how I do it.</p> <h2>What Qualifies as a &quot;Thing&quot;?</h2> <p>A <em>Thing</em> can be as big as the old car I sold to my co-worker, or as small as the dried out felt-tip pen that I just threw in the garbage. Clutter is personal. My cherished object could be another person's garbage. I define clutter as any item in my house that isn't necessary for the basic function of my life that also doesn't make me deliriously happy.</p> <p>(I pay attention to the little voice in my head. If it feels like I'm cheating, then I probably am.)</p> <h2>Do You Have a Time Slot Every Day to Find Your 10 Things?</h2> <p>No. Some of my friends set timers to force themselves to make quick decisions. (Plus it's more fun to race the clock and try to pull all 10 Things in one 20-minute period.) Because some of the things in my house need a more elaborate disposal process than just getting put on the curb or in the recycling bin, I give myself all day to find and dispose of the 10 Things. Some days are easy because I will have a garage sale and divest myself of 100 items before lunch. And then there are those days when I am digging through the spice cabinet in my kitchen at 11:58 p.m. trying to find 10 little condiment packets left over from take-out meals that I can donate to the food bank.</p> <h2>What Do You Mean &quot;Get Rid Of?&quot; Are You Throwing Everything Away?</h2> <p>Oh, gosh no. If I could just throw anything I didn't want in the trash without feeling guilt, my house would have been emptied a long time ago. One of the reasons why clutter builds up in my home is that I feel compelled to keep usable things until I can find the &quot;perfect&quot; home for them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally?ref=seealso">Frugal Ways to Get Rid of Stuff</a>)</p> <p>Occasionally I will get lucky and actually wear something out. In that rare instance I will actually throw something in the garbage. But, by &quot;Get Rid Of&quot; I mean &quot;Leaves My Possession.&quot;</p> <ul> <li> <p>I can get rid of the old paint in my garage by taking it to the Poison Control Center for disposal.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can donate old furniture to my local charity.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can collect all the random blue ballpoint pens (I only write with black ink) that have found their way into my home, and give those to my favorite waitress or leave them at the bank or post office for others to use.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can freecycle an old printer.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can sell a vintage lamp on Etsy.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can ship that vintage lamp in a used cardboard box.</p> </li> <li> <p>I can drop my old magazines off at the hospital's waiting room.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The only thing I'm a stickler about with 10 Things is that the items have to physically leave my possession. It doesn't count if the item is in the trunk of my car, waiting to be dropped off at a friend's house, or on the porch, waiting for the Craigslist buyer to pick it up. It must be gone, gone, gone for good to be counted.</p> <h2>What Should I Get Rid of First?</h2> <p>I know this will sound obvious, but get rid of the things you hate first. Clutter often builds up because we keep things around that trigger memories or are valuable collectibles.</p> <p>I don't think it's a coincidence that I had my Get Rid of 10 Things a Day epiphany right after the breakup of a five-year relationship. My house was full of nice things, which had been purchased by a bad boyfriend. The television was now &quot;the television of betrayal.&quot; The coffee grinder was a daily reminder of his passive aggressiveness. I finally had to ask myself: Why am I keeping things that remind me of bad times? Isn't my personal happiness worth more than these possessions? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-happiness-habits-7-ways-to-feel-better-now?ref=seealso">7 Ways to Feel Better Now</a>)</p> <p>By starting with the things that I hated, I accidentally discovered another reason why 10 Things works &mdash; it makes downsizing less stressful, because I never have to make a Sophie's Choice about objects that I care about. I'm always removing the 10 things I like the least in my house. It's pretty hard to make a case to keep things that I am categorizing as my &quot;Bottom 10&quot; possessions. Always choosing the worst of my possessions also means that in thirteen years, I haven't regretted a single choice.</p> <p>Another bonus of 10 Things is that, over time, it trains the eye and the brain to be more discerning. Because I am always removing the least worthy items from my house, over time I've distilled and curated my possessions into a collection of things that are beloved, functional, and give me pleasure.</p> <h2>Do You Keep Track of Everything You Get Rid Of?</h2> <p>Yes. I keep a running total of everything I get rid of in a little notebook. It's weirdly rewarding to see my daily 10 Things written down. It also keeps me honest and accountable. I have a friend who takes a photograph every day of her 10 things. She likes her photo record because it means she doesn't need to keep physical souvenirs to remember things by. I'm still waiting for somebody to blog or Instagram their 10 Things campaign.</p> <h2>Do You Keep Track of Everything You Bring Into Your House?</h2> <p>Hell. No. I want to chronicle my successes, not my failures. (Also, who has the time?)</p> <p>The practice of getting rid of 10 things a day has absolutely made me a more aware consumer. Now I can't acquire something without automatically thinking about when and how that item will leave my home. Knowing that I have to have an exit strategy for each thing that comes into my house makes me think twice about bringing new items home. I have become extremely choosey. It's a wonderful and unintended side effect, which helps me keep my home clutter free. Not to mention what it's done for my spending habits.</p> <h2>You Have Been Doing This for So Long &mdash; How Do You Still Have Things in Your House?</h2> <p>Because I live in a First World country where people waste resources. Even though I am a minimalist by American standards, I am a maximalist relative to most of the rest of the world. Also, I work out of my home, so every day is a war on paper.</p> <p>Most of what leaves my house these days are vintage items that I have collected for resale on my Etsy store, and packing materials to ship those things to my buyers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-etsy-can-help-start-your-small-business?ref=seealso">Using Etsy to Start Your Small Business</a>)</p> <p>Also, I have to admit that I still tend to hoard things like envelopes and glass jars, things that other people would just recycle. While school supplies and storage containers are just temporary visitors in my home, I currently have a bigger collection of both than I'd like to have on hand for personal use. So I'm using the surplus as an incentive to get an early start on handmade holiday gifts of jam and pickles. I will always struggle with organizing my house more than the average person. But, with 10 Things, my clutter has become a starting point for creative projects, not the end point of unconsidered acquisition.</p> <p><em>Do you have an unusual organizational hack to keep clutter at bay? Please share your genius in the comments section. </em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever" class="sharethis-link" title="Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-in-your-garage-you-should-throw-out-today">8 Things in Your Garage You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes">Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-mantras-to-sharpen-your-resolve-to-downsize-and-declutter">7 Mantras to Sharpen Your Resolve to Downsize and Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Organization cleaning clutter organization Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:36:24 +0000 Max Wong 1135771 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/suitcase-78722630.jpg" alt="vintage suitcase" title="vintage suitcase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes it can feel difficult to find good storage solutions around the house or apartment. Whether space comes at a premium where you live, you are looking to organize and conceal chaos, or you just want a sneaky place to hide important items, check out some clever hidden storage solutions that anyone can add to their abode. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-you-can-use-towel-rods-for-efficient-storage-and-display?ref=seealso">Efficient Storage With Towel Rods</a>)</p> <h2>1. Headboard Storage</h2> <p>Not only can a headboard be decorative, but it can also be multifunctional when you add in some inconspicuous storage. Check out <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20228714/">Ikea's BRIMNES headboard</a> with discreet, shelved storage compartments. The top shelf even has holes for cables or cords, making it extra versatile to keep gadgets near. Or, for an even more concealed look, go for a <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/unique-hidden-s-113962">hidden fabric paneled headboard</a>, which could make for a good do-it-yourself project too.</p> <h2>2. Repurposed Table Storage</h2> <p>For a fairly easy DIY project that creates some cool, hidden storage, try <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2011/03/diy-project-ashleys-vintage-suitcase-coffee-table.html">repurposing a vintage suitcase</a> into a unique coffee table or conversation piece. Likewise, you can use a chest and add on some legs in a similar fashion to make a unique end table or nightstand that has plenty of storage inside. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-ingenious-ways-to-upgrade-your-furniture?ref=seealso">Cheap, Smart Ways to Upgrade Your Furniture</a>)</p> <h2>3. Storage Sofas</h2> <p>Beyond built-in cup holders and armrest compartments for remotes, storage sofas have come a long way. Nowadays, even the most attractive sofas and chaises have options for large, <a href="http://www.walmart.com/ip/Elita-Twin-Size-Sofa-Sleeper-with-Hidden-Storage-Beige/7801201">under-cushion storage compartments</a>, where you can cleverly stash blankets or other sizeable items from view.</p> <h2>4. Shoe Benches</h2> <p>A shoe bench is a great item for an entryway or mudroom, which provides ample hidden or open storage below the seat. If you like to build, try some straightforward <a href="http://ana-white.com/2010/04/plans-kids-country-bench.html?page=1">DIY shoe bench guides</a> to create your own. Or, you can just buy <a href="http://www.improvementscatalog.com/shoe-storage-bench/230409">pull out shoe benches</a>, which easily keep shoes organized and concealed.</p> <h2>5. Behind the Door Storage</h2> <p>For some great hidden storage, use the backs of doors. On the back of a laundry room or mudroom door, hang <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CRBY8NU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CRBY8NU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">shoe bags</a> to hold scarves, gloves, and hats. In a bathroom with little wall space, install <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MF0YCC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000MF0YCC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">towel racks</a> on the back of the door. On the back of a closet door, install hooks and rods to hold wrapping paper.</p> <p>And don't forget cabinet doors as well. In the kitchen, you can buy and install some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ES1SRU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002ES1SRU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">small wire racks</a> or use adhesive hooks to hold things like spices, cleaning supplies, pans, and spatulas on the inside of cabinet doors. In the bathroom, try storing hairdryers and personal care items on the insides of vanity doors.</p> <h2>6. Storage Mirrors</h2> <p>Like a traditional medicine cabinet, you can find storage mirrors to work in other rooms besides the bathroom. You can purchase a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X0BY2U/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000X0BY2U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">wall-mounted jewelry mirror</a> to use in a bedroom or closet to keep your jewelry and valuables organized and out of sight. Or, check out <a href="http://www.hayneedle.com/product/promanarisclassicmirrorstand.cfm">floor storage mirrors</a> with shelves in the back to give you clever storage options.</p> <h2>7. Under Washer and Dryer Storage</h2> <p>Why not use the space below your washer and dryer by putting the machines on storage risers? You can purchase <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10368321?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FLG-Electronics-Laundry-Pedestal-with-Storage-Drawer-in-White-WDP4W%2F202519826&amp;cjsku=202519826">laundry pedestals</a> with pull out drawers, which your machines sit upon. Check home store outlets and <a href="http://www.overstock.com">Overstock</a> for the cheaper models, or if you are really handy and want to save, you can <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/laundry-room/diy-washer-pedestal/view-all">build your own laundry pedestals</a>. In addition to adding roomy, hidden storage, if you have a front-loading machine, the pedestal will save you from bending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-washing-machines?ref=seealso">5 Great Washing Machines</a>)</p> <h2>8. Concealing Curtains</h2> <p>You can easily purchase curtains, other window treatments, and slipcovers, or make your own coverings with your favorite fabric to hide storage spaces. Some great examples using curtains include turning a <a href="http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/slideshows/nesting/how-make-slipcover-bistro-table-and-use-it-hidden-storage/">bistro table into hidden home office storage</a>, masking contents on a shelf by <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/274298/fun-and-easy-decorating-ideas#202767">creating cabinet curtains</a>, making concealed <a href="http://www.houzz.com/photos/2093487/Jasper-Mountain-Retreat-contemporary-bathroom-edmonton">under-sink storage</a> out of an open bathroom vanity, and creating <a href="http://www.bhg.com/kitchen/remodeling/planning/quick-and-easy-kitchen-updates/#page=4">hidden storage under counters</a> and buffets in kitchens and dining rooms. To make it even easier, most of these concealing curtains can be hung using simple <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FB6N79E/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FB6N79E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">tension rods</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-unexpected-uses-for-tension-rods?ref=seealso">20 Unexpected Uses for Tension Rods</a>)</p> <h2>9. Under Bed Storage</h2> <p>Under bed storage is an easy solution for concealing items and using unused space. You can try purchasing <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000M39HQI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000M39HQI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">simple under bed storage solutions</a>, like rollout plastic bins, which are also great for under-the-couch storage if you have a sofa skirt to hide them. If your bed is too low, think about buying some cheap risers to create a little space underneath. Or, buy a <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/bedroom/25205/">bed with built-in storage</a> compartments or drawers for some secret storage options.</p> <h2>10. Hard-Working Picture Frames</h2> <p>Make your regular picture frames do double-duty as décor and storage. For easy store-bought solutions, try purchasing <a href="http://www.walmart.com/ip/Southern-Enterprises-Wall-Mounted-Picture-Frame-Jewelry-Armoire-White/15915115">wall-mounted picture frame armoires</a>, which can be used to store jewelry or important documents. Another option is to buy front-opening shadow boxes for the plethora of kids' artwork that always gets made. Use the extra space inside these framed boxes to stack other pieces of art behind what's currently on display. Finally, for a nifty, hidden wall compartment, learn to <a href="http://www.lowes.com/cd_Hidden+Storage+Behind+Picture+Frame_1388520668661_">turn a medicine cabinet into a picture frame</a> with secret storage behind it.</p> <p><em>What other cool hidden storage ideas can you add to the list? Please hide your ideas in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-kitchen-you-should-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Kitchen You Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-organize-a-messy-closet">14 Ways to Organize a Messy Closet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Home Organization declutter organization storage Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:48:33 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1134928 at http://www.wisebread.com