Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's National Clean Off Your Desk Day!

January 14th is National Clean Off Your Desk Day, what advantages are there to taking this initiative to cleaning off and organizing your desk? Many people will boast that even though their desk looks and is cluttered, that they know where everything is.  This is true, it's on the desk, somewhere!  By organizing and clearing space on your desk, you can give yourself space to work and focus on each item that has to be addressed in order of priority and have easy and instant access to other pending items, should you be asked about them. These tips will keep your desk clutter free year round.

The first step to creating order is to tame the incoming mail!  Reduce Paper clutter by sorting your mail into categories on your walk back from the mailbox.  Recycle unwanted items straight away.  Place mail into an expanding file that is sorted into six categories: Pay, File, Read, Call/Write, Hold Over, Coupons/Offers.  

Use a planner to remind yourself to re address an issue on a particular date, for example, if you have called a company to query a bill you have received and they say they will look into it and get back to you,  decide on a date that you want to re address this, and call back if your haven't heard from them, make a note in your planner and return the bill to the "Hold Over" section of your expanding file.  Make notes on a piece of scrap paper of actions, dates, names and other pertinent information and attach this to the bill/letter, for easy reference in the future.  

Another tip for de cluttering your desk area is to remove all the post it notes and useful reminders you may have stuck around your screen of pinned to the wall it to place all of this information into a folder, simply labeled "Useful Information". This might contain a list of most common phone numbers used, login ins and passwords, school calendars, "how to" instructions.

Basically every items that crosses our desk follows a process of being identified and read, acted on, maybe more than once and finally filed for future reference.  Filing systems are another subject altogether but the basic categories are
Finance - bank, mortgage, taxes etc
Household - receipts, insurance, warranties etc
People - work, school, medical, pets
Services - pest control, gardener, utility bills etc
Other - instruction manuals, Christmas card list, brochures etc

All other items such as stationery, accessories, check books, business cards can be corralled  into desktop organizers to provide easy access and keep your desk uncluttered.

 Makeover: Cluttered Desk, Small Space.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Organizing more than you refrigerator!

If your New Years Resolutions included starting a diet or eating healthier, now is the time to organize your recipe box. Look for healthier dishes to prepare this year.  Clean out and reorganize the fridge.   Organize your pantry, checking the sell by dates.   Dispose of seasonal items that will not get used.  Stock up on ingredients for your revamped healthier meals, to help you stick with the plan.

It is hard to eat healthy foods when there are so many comfort foods out there to tempt you.  Some foods are favorites that we simply cannot give up, so why not put a healthy spin on them. French Fries are one of those foods. 
Instead of deep frying them, cut the potato into either wedges (for steak fries) or thinly, (for regular fries), toss them in extra virgin olive oil and season with lemon pepper and cook them in the oven on 375/400 until they are golden and sizzling.  

Mashed Potato - try half potato, half parsnips for a sweet alternative. Use a little milk instead of lashing of butter when mashing them.

Chili - use ground turkey instead of ground beef.

Spaghetti and Meatballs - Use spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs.

Oven bake your fish, instead of frying.  Using a mixture of mayo and dijon mustard, spread a thin layer over a tilapia loin and press into panko bread crumbs, turn over and repeat on the other side.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's "Get Organized Month"

It’s a new year and time to organize the house after your guests have left, the kids have returned to school and life gets back to normal once again.  

Sending thank you notes for gifts and hospitality you received over the holidays is a good place to start. 

If you have gifts to return or exchange, try to do this this week, as many stores have a 30 day return policy to receive a refund, however,  some extend this period after Christmas. 

As you put away your new gloves, scarves and sweaters etc., consider donating the ones you already have and reduce overcrowding in your closet.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night - Traditionally this is the day that Christmas decorations are taken down. 

The reason for this is that in colonial America a Christmas wreath was always left up on the front door of each home, and when taken down at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, any edible portions would be consumed with the other foods of the feast. The same held true in the 19th-20th centuries with fruits adorning Christmas trees. Fresh fruits were hard to come by, and were therefore considered fine and proper gifts and decorations for the tree, wreaths, and home. Again, the tree would be taken down on Twelfth Night, and such fruits, along with nuts and other local produce used, would then be consumed.

When putting away your holiday decorations, discard any that are broken or shabby. Check if your town has a tree recycling program, whereby you can leave your tree at the curb for collection.  

Go through the Christmas cards you received and make note of any address changes. Old Christmas cards make great gift tags, save these to use next year.  

To store your festive wrapping paper, white gift boxes, tissue paper, gift bags and gift tags made from recycled Christmas cards, take a large cardboard box that a gift was shipped in (everyone must have a few of these), wrap it in Christmas paper and you are set for next year!

Small plastic drawers on wheels are perfect for tree decorations.  Organized by color and type, it makes decorating the tree much easier.