Tag Archives: tips

10 Things You Can Do in 10 Minutes or Less

Things You Can Do in 2 Minutes or Less

The little things in life that constantly pile up around us at home are often more stressful than the big projects waiting for us back at work. Think about it. When was the last time you felt like melting down while cooking dinner over a spreadsheet you have due next week? Or was it finding yet another glass on the side table beside the couch that did it? I’m guessing it was the glass. Or the socks on the floor. Or the muddy footprints through the laundry room. Or, or, or…

There are plenty of lists out there and plenty of life coaches who advocate to just DO something if it’s fast and easy. You’ll spend more time writing these things down on a list than you will just doing them. We agree, and these are our favorite things to accomplish in our 2 minutes!

  1. Make your bed and check off the first thing on your to-do listMake your bed – This may actually take you less than a minute! And there’s more to it than just the amazing feeling of sliding between crisp sheets every night – making your bed prevents all sorts of dust and dirt and debris from settling on an unmade bed. Which means you can go longer between washes. Which means you’ll be doing a little bit more to save the planet.   AND… it will help you get your day jump started, because within moments of rising, you’ll be able to go ahead and check something off your list! Admiral William McRaven gave a great talk which you can find on YouTube about how you can “Change the World by Making Your Bed” – check it out!
  2. Collect stray dirty dishes and gather them in the sink – No one likes getting the dishes finished only to turn around and find a few more glasses on the countertop. (This is a good little two-minute-task to delegate to kids as well… “Dinner is almost ready! Scour the house for extra dishes, then come wash up!”
  3. Drink a glass of water – Honestly, you’re probablDrink a glass of water to restart your brainy drinking enough already. Wondering how much is enough? Sports dietitian Dana Angelo White, who is also an assistant clinical professor at Quinnipiac University, in Hamden, Conn. says: “I often recommend half your weight in ounces as a starting point. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75 ounces of fluid per day, and more if you exercise regularly.” So grab a wee glass next time you’re floundering through the kitchen feeling at loose ends. Maybe a shot of hydration will refresh your mind and giveDIY recipe squirt bottle you enough of a break to carry on.
  4. Wipe off your bathroom mirror – If you share yours with your kids like we do, there’s no end to the white spots and streaks that quickly gather on the surface. Keep cleaner nearby where you can spritz, wipe, and go. Next time you pop into the bathroom, life will be more sparkly and you’ll feel accomplished and on top of domestic menutia.
  5. Go through the stack of mail on your counter and THROW AWAY all the junThrow away your junk mail!k! Seriously. You’re not missing anything by not even opening it up. Save yourself the few moments of grief. Recycle the paper and spend the saved time inventorying your wine stash instead.
  6. Add an item to your Amazon list – how often have you heard about something in passing or thought of something while cooking dinner that you would like to have one day, or know you might need soon? Set up Amazon wish lists so that when these thoughts occur, you can add the items on the go. It will save you the trouble of beating your head in later when you can’t rememSwedish Dish Cloths are the answer to paper towels, sponges, and more!ber that “brilliant” idea. With online grocery shopping gaining in possibility and popularity, soon your groceries will be magically appearing on your doorstep… make ordering a snap by adding things as you think of them!
  7. Wipe down your countertops – we’ve expounded on the awesomeness of Swedish Dish Cloths before, and we’re SERIOUS! Having a dishcloth handy makes wiping down kitchen appliances and countertops easy, fun, beautiful, and FAST!
  8. Dust bust under your kitchen cabinets – dust busters are my #1 tool for sanity in child-rearing! All those tiny messes add up, especially at meal time. I keep my dust buster charged and tucked just underneath a rolling shelf beside my fridge where I can easily suck up life’s little, and continual, disasters.
  9. Refill the sink dispenser (a good chore to delegate!) – Soap getting low? Fill ‘er up! Kids ages 3 and up can help, and tend to enjoy this task. Conveniently, it also gets their hands clean before dinner…
  10. Take out the trash (another good delegation chore) – Especially the little bags in the bathrooms, offices and laundry rooms. Grab one a day and “trash day” will become much less chaotic!

Bonus: prep tomorrow’s coffee pot. I don’t know about you, but I definitely need fuel. And        there’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning and NOT being able to just push a button. So prep your next pot while you’re waiting for water to boil or chatting on the phone. It’s quick and easy to do even while distracted. You’ll thank yourself later!

What else can you do in two minutes or less? We’d love to hear about what you do to tackle procrastination and slam through your to-do lists!

 

Back to School Organizers (for Theoretically Organized College Students)

As your superstars head off to the dormitories, we’d feel left out not to chime in ourselves with some Back to School 2¢.  So here below, we’ve got 5 products, some obvious, some not so obvious, that may give you the momentary hope that your freshmen will weather the wrinkled rigors and survive their year the orderly bedside caddyabandon that only an underclassman can ever pull off.

6 POCKET POLYESTER BEDSIDE STORAGE CADDY

Bedside storage space is practically nonexistent in those cramped little dormitories.  I mean, there isn’t exactly room for an nightstand with drawers and shelves – it’s usually elbow to elbow desks, laptops and smelly shoes.  So tuck a little serenity between the sheets so that your student can relax and study up on a wee bit of Cosmo before getting a good night’s rest!

HMP-03542-2_2BRIGHT LAUNDRY TOTE

Unless your “young adult” is an established laundry A-lister, chances are, you’re concerned about failing grades due to the noxious gases those clothes will be emitting by week 5 of classes.  We recommend not skimping in any way on products that might encourage your teen to spend a few timely minutes in the washroom.  Lightweight, durable, easy to carry and brightly colored, this tote will be an in-their face reminder that dirty duds and necessary suds await.

lg_H12001CLUTTERBUSTER VALET HINGE-IT

Do you remember where your wet towels dried in your dormitory days?  Properly sopping wet on your bed.  Most rooms don’t exactly come with generous portions of towel racks.  And if your student has long locks and extra towel needs?  Well.  We can pretty much guarantee that the space they may have been given is fairly insufficient.  Attaching to the top and bottom hinges of most standard doors, this hanging system offers 4 bars that transform unused space into 6′ of functional storage paradise. A perfect piece to travel with them year after year.  And then into their first apartment.  Maybe even their first home, years down the road.

crt-01512

ROLLING OFFICE CART

Standard issue college desks are… how can we say this nicely?? Not always ideal on usable storage space.  Especially as new dormitories move towards slimline, utilitarian units, you may be at a loss to help your nervous student find a place for pencils AND paperclips.  Help them maximize on limited space, keep track of important accessories, and start learning the importance of filing, all in one rolling swoop.

BRD-01350_500pxOVER THE DOOR IRONING BOARD

Even we admit to some disbelief here.

However.

On the off-chance they decide to look 100% presentable for that presentation? We think the chances of them deciding to go the extra mile may well be determined by how easy that ironing board is to access.  And hanging right there on the back of the door, access is undeniably easy.

So go forth our young Jedi’s.  May the Force of Organization be with you.

Closets are Like Broccoli

January can be an exciting month: you’re motivated to start projects, learn something new, change something about yourself.  For some reason, the New Year brings us new motivation.  That initial excitement can wane somewhat when we find ourselves ¾ of the way through our shoe collection and out of storage space with not a millimeter of options left.  Or when you thought Rosetta Stone was just $400 to learn French… and it turns out to be just level one… and there are three levels after.  New Year’s is like a sugar rush and reality is just waiting in the wings to swoop in a crush us.  By the end of January, most of us will already have given up on our New Years Resolutions.

I know that isn’t nearly as apocalyptic as say, world hunger.  But wouldn’t it be amazing if we could throttle that energy we spring into the new year with and at least make it to March???

So, I was reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and he points out that “the principle of organization is built into nature…”  And he is so right.  This is something I already knew but Pressfield’s reminder in the context of creativity was powerful and inspirational.  We’re trying to organize our world the same way heirloom broccoli grows:

There is a geometry to art and life which we can feel in our bones and whether we realize it or not, we want our homes to reflect that same sense of peace and order.

AND WE SHOULD.

There is a certain sense of accomplishment that comes with organizing your desk, your calendar, your life.  It’s not so much that you miraculously become more efficient.  You do.  But to go deeper than that, it’s your bones sighing in relief that you know exactly where your keys are.  When you need to write something down, you didn’t have to tear through papers to find a pen.  Your scarf pulled off of its hanger without a single extra crease or crinkle.  Getting dressed was a JOY this morning.  And all these little joys make it easier to smile, easier to relax, easier to accomplish your mission, whatever that may be.  Miracle?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  Hard work?  Most certainly.

Organizing your closet is really no different from painting a picture, taking a photograph, creating a sculpture, writing a book… let’s use the book.  We can draw PERFECT parallel’s there.  No one sites down to write a book in a single sitting.  It’s a habit.  A writer sits down at their typewriter every day for hours so that they’re ready when the perfect words are flowing.  They walk around editing in their head.  Getting your closet, desk, craft area organized is just the same.  It’s a habit that we form which we follow every day.  And we never tackle the whole thing at once – just like a writer could never write a novel all in one sitting.  We will start with shoes, move on to purses, then blouses, pants, scarves, belts etc.  This is normal, this is okay.  

Just because you get a brand new closet doesn’t mean it will be perfectly organized overnight.  But you will find your rhythm, your geometry with just a little bit of time and a wee bit o’ habit.

Organization is an art form.  Approach it like the creative endeavor that it is and give it the time and patience it requires and you are sure to be rewarded with beautiful broccoli  growing in your closet garden.

Top Ten Tips for Starting College Dorm Life

luggage stuffingWe won’t pretend to know what it’s like to be in college anymore, but we do know what it’s like to be a parent packing a kid off to college.

Here’s our best advice: Portability is the word!

1. It will be your inclination to buy inexpensive items that you won’t have to feel bad about if they break or disappear. That’s a fine perspective for some items but when it comes to storage, especially storage furniture, it would be helpful if you can easily take it apart and put it together time and time again like, for four years. Look for sturdy connecting hardware and quality material. When dorm days are done, it will move to his/her first apartment.

2. Buy items that are compact when they break down, so they can easily fit in the family wagon -along with everything else you’ll have to transport. Laundry hampers can be collapsible, for instance.

3. Watch the weight! It can be a long walk to the dorm room from the car; be aware of how heavy things are.

4. Don’t over pack. Life on campus is casual and storage space is very limited. Pack like you are taking a trip. Pack for seasons and switch clothes out when they return home for the holidays. Choose clothes that are multi-purpose and match well. Taking a sweater that goes with only one pair of pants is probably not the best decision here.

5. Most schools have very strict guidelines for use of appliances in the room. Read these carefully so you don’t wind up owning an extra toaster.

6. Shoes…watch your teen’s current habits. They might own 30 pair but are only wearing 5. There is little room for a big shoe wardrobe in a dorm. There are many shoe storage options to fit your space needs. A shoe rack that collapses or expands will be the best bet here. Consider a hanging shoe bag that holds up to 10 pairs or an under-bed shoe bag that holds 12. If your teen is like ours, you may want to consider a basket that they can just toss everything into. The easier, the better for a teen.

7. Nearly all the clothes they take will be short hanging. Buy a closet doubler that requires no tools to install to instantly increase the available hanging space.

8. Because portability is the word, items like cups and silverware may disappear so don’t spend much money here. Choose cups and bowls that stack and nest tightly. Not only will they be easier to store, they’ll pack better. Melamine is lightweight and indestructible but often can’t be put in the microwave. Read the back. A product like Corelle would be a better choice.

9. If your teen will be in an apartment or quad that allows cooking, look for multipurpose tools and cooking implements that collapse. We have put a focus on those products in our kitchen category.

10. And finally, remember that college is an adventure. It’s tough to know EVERYTHING they may need. That’s why we have our online store and Fedex! So relax and enjoy the trip!