Get your fridge in on the action when planning for the holidays. Sarah Beckman has a plan for you to follow.
We’re nearing that time of year when every other week means another holiday party and reason to cook up a storm. And, is it just me, or does your refrigerator seem to shrink come this time of year?
Rather than pushing to the back those items that never seem to run out, this is the best time of year to clean out your refrigerator so it’s ready for a season that calls for lots of good food.
What you need:
• A large trash can lined with a heavy-duty trash bag
• Coolers packed with ice (unless you happen to have a spare refrigerator
• A refrigerator coil brush
• A solution of ¼-cup baking soda and 1-quart warm water or soapy water
• A multisurface spray
• Kitchen sinks full of warm, soapy water. Or, a larger laundry room sink tub or bathtub would work well
• A couple of rags and a sponge
• An old toothbrush
What to do:
1. Gather everything you need first. You’ll want to be as quick as possible when cleaning out your refrigerator.
2. Unplug the refrigerator.
3. Throw away anything that’s expired. Also throw away anything that’s nearing its expiration date that you know you won’t use.
4. Throw away those random items that have sat in your fridge for ages and never seem to get eaten. It could an obscure ingredient that you used for one recipe and you have no idea what else to do with it.
5. Remove what’s left from your refrigerator and put the items in the coolers. Group like-items together. So, condiments go together, lunch meats and cheeses go together, fruits go together, and so do veggies.
6. Remove the refrigerator’s drawers and shelves and put them in the sinks/bathtub of soapy water or the baking soda/water solution (this is purely your preference). Wash them off with a rag or sponge. Rinse. Let them air dry.
7. Spray the interior of your refrigerator with the multisurface cleaner. Wipe the surfaces with a clean and damp rag.
8. Use the toothbrush to get small crevices, as well as the rubber gasket that lines the edge of the door.
9. Take the refrigerator coil brush and run it under the refrigerator’s kick plate (along the floor). This will clean up food debris that become lodged under the fridge.
10. Plug the refrigerator in and make sure it’s set between 35 and 38 degrees.
11. Wipe off all jars and containers that you’re putting back in the refrigerator.
12. Now it’s time to put your foods back inside. Because you already grouped like foods together, put them back in the refrigerator in these groups. Keep in mind that:
• Cooked foods should be located above raw meats.
• Fruits and vegetables should be stored in the warmest part of the fridge, which is at the bottom. They should be stored separately, which is why the two drawers most fridges have at the bottom are best for fruits and vegetables.
• Bottles and jars do well on the inside of the refrigerator door because they stay preserved even with temperature fluctuations that happen with the door opening and closing.
• Eggs do best on the top shelf, where it’s coldest.
• And, you’re less likely to lose little items like pudding cups and string cheese if they’re on the top shelf.
What are you waiting for? Get cleaning!
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Sarah Beckman is back to share a few tips on how to get the best bang for your buck when shopping for fall clothing.
As August ends and September begins, it’s time to start thinking about your fall wardrobe. Many use this time of year to evaluate what they have in their closet and decide what they need to get through the chillier months.
Follow these 5 tips as you build your fall wardrobe.
1. As you put away your summer clothes, make sure they are all clean before storing them. Clothes that haven’t been washed have deodorant, sweat, and other residue that attracts bugs. You’ll want to store your clothes folded up in containers with lids. If you leave clothes hanging for an extended period of time, they could become stretched out. Under-the-bed cardboard boxes and plastic tubs are great for storing clothes between seasons.
2. Now that you have space in your closet, you can start shopping for your new fall clothes! Keep in mind this fall’s trends as you go shopping for your new clothes: Plaid, lace, mod retro, mustard yellow, jade green, polka dots, plaid, and menswear are all wearable trends for this fall.
3. Trends in mind, remember to not buy items that are too trendy. The goal is to buy pieces that you can get a lot of use out of. So, for example, a pretty Oxford blouse fits into the menswear trend, but it’s also a classic piece that you can wear for years. Cardigans with touches of lace or polka dots fit into the trends, but these versatile pieces can be mixed and matched – and carried into future seasons.
4. As you shop, calculate the cost per wear for pieces you’re considering. To figure out the cost per wear use this formula:
Total price of item ÷ Estimated number of days you’ll wear it = Cost per wear
So, if you’re considering buying a really great, classic blazer that costs $200 and you see yourself wearing it 100 days per year for 5 years, it costs you $.40 per wear. The initial investment in the jacket is expensive, but if it’s a classic you’ll wear a lot, the cost per wear is low.
In the same vein, if you’re considering buying a super trendy top that costs $20 and you see yourself wearing it twice, that’s a $10 cost per wear. So, even though the coat initially costs more, the inexpensive top isn’t as economic of a choice.
5. When shopping, also be sure to pay attention to washing instructions. Paying $15 for a top that needs to be dry cleaned once a month makes an inexpensive piece of clothing costly. If you purchase clothes that are hand wash only, will you be able to keep up with the maintenance of these? Ruining a piece of clothing due to not following washing instructions is a waste of an investment.
Are you going shopping for new fall clothes this season? What shopping tips can you share?
About the Author
Check out these tips on how to reduce clutter in your home by returning guest author, Sarah Beckman.
Do you dread going home at the end of the day because of a messy house? A seemingly unconquerable mess can make life’s stresses seem worse.
The key to keeping your house clean and organized is getting rid of clutter. Less stuff means more room for the possessions you actually need. If you haven’t already, read my previous post How to Declutter your Small Bedroom. You can apply these decluttering tips to any room in the house.
Once you sort through your belongings and throw away the trash, you’re left with items that someone can make use of. Don’t let these belongings sit in your garage or basement. They could become damaged from heat/cold/moisture – and it’s likely you’ll never eliminate them from your space.Instead, follow these tips to get rid of your clutter:
To make some money, have a garage sale. Remember, the key to a successful sale is pricing your items to sell. If you have antiques or items you suspect are valuable, get them appraised. But for most household items and clothes, $5 and under will clear them away from your house – which is the ultimate goal. Use one of the methods below to get rid of items left from the sale.
Consignment is another way to make money off used items. Consignment shops are usually picky about what items they accept and sell, so reserve gently used clothes and goods for consignment. Be sure to ask the shop what percentage of sales they keep and you get.
Goodwill and the Salvation Army
With stores nationwide, chances are there is a local Goodwill or Salvation Army where you can donate your used items. They accept most items, from clothes, to toys, appliances, and furniture. The Salvation Army even offers a scheduled pick up of your goods. With both, be sure to get a slip to write your donation off your taxes.
If you have special items like business attire or formal gowns, research if there are organizations in your area that pair specialized goods with people in need. For example,Dress for Success is an organization that donates business suits to women who can’t afford them. And many communities have a charity that donates used prom dresses to girls who couldn’t afford to go to prom otherwise.
Schools, Churches, Homes
Most schools, churches, or homes for children and homeless adults accept clothes and outerwear. Donating to these types of organizations is rewarding because you know the items will be used and recycled within your community. Plus, these organizations give items to the needy at no cost, unlike organizations like Goodwill and Salvation Army that charge a low-cost for goods.
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~From the OTR Vault~
Ok, ladies and makeup loving people everywhere, this post is for you! Check out these tips from Sarah Beckman, on how to keep your favorite beauty products in order.
Makeup has a way of amassing — and then spreading into various drawers, bags, and anywhere else you happen to drop a lipstick. But for the sake of organization, cleanliness, and getting the most out of the investment, it’s important to keep your makeup collection clean and organized.
Follow these four steps to achieve makeup organization:
1. Eliminate the Excess. If you have boxes or drawers of makeup you hardly touch, throw away what you don’t use. Also keep in mind expiration dates:
• Keep liquid and cream foundations 6 months tops.
• Concealers last 8 months.
• Powder products (loose and pressed) are good for a year.
• Never keep mascara for more than 3 months.
• Lip products, eye pencils, and creamy products are good for a year.
If you come across a product that you can’t put a date on, throw it away. Also throw away makeup that is discolored or has an odor. Nasty infections can result from using old makeup.
2. Clean it up. Once you trim down your collection, it’s time to clean. With a clean rag or paper towels, wipe off the outside and inside of every container that has makeup on it. Also, take time to clean your brushes. In an ideal world, you should clean your makeup brushes every day, even if that means using a quick brush-cleaning spray.
Brushes need thorough cleanings with soap and water as well. Here’s how:
• Eyeliner brushes should be washed daily, while eye shadow brushes can go 3 days at the most.
• Blush, foundation, powder, and other brushes used for the face should be cleaned with soap and water weekly.
To clean, run the brush under warm water until all the hairs are wet — be sure to hold the brush downwards so water doesn’t get under the metal part that connects the hairs to the handle (it’ll come apart). Lather up the hairs with a small amount of shampoo. Squeeze the hairs under warm water until the water runs clear and soap-free. Reshape the brushes and place them on the edge of a counter so the hairs are over the edge. This will ensure they dry evenly.
3. Organize. Now that your makeup and brushes are clean, it’s time to organize it all. Store your makeup near the mirror you use to apply your face. If you stand in the bathroom, designate a bathroom drawer and use a cosmetic drawer organizer to keep everything in place. If drawer space is limited, consider an over-the-door beauty organizer that has small pockets.
If you’re looking for a new way to keep makeup organized, consider purchasing a vanity. You’ll have a perfect place to sit and apply makeup. If you’re looking for a decorative way to store your brushes, fill the bottom of a wide-topped vase with glass gems (from a craft store). Your makeup brushes will stand upright with this storage method!
4. Moving forward.Once your makeup station in order, keep it clean and organized! Be sure to keep track of when you purchase makeup by labeling it. When you’re buying makeup, only purchase what you know you’ll use — and don’t get 20 different eye shadows that are nearly the same shade!
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Organize Your Makeup
Have a small bedroom? Check out these tips from Sarah Beckman on how to make your small space work for you.
Your bedroom should be a peaceful place where your mind and body can relax and rejuvenate. Unfortunately, for many, the bedroom area becomes a cluttered storage space for clothes, accessories, knick knacks — and the rest of the family’s stuff. If you have a small bedroom and closet, clutter becomes 10 times worse. For the sake of cleanliness, aesthetics, and your health, you should declutter, clean, and organize your bedroom. Here’s how in 5 easy steps.
1. Overhaul – The first step to organizing your bedroom is throwing away excess stuff. Get a garbage bag and begin by throwing away anything that is trash. You’ll be surprised how much garbage accumulates in a place where it doesn’t belong. Throw away anything that is of no use to you — and is of no use to anyone else. Create a “donate” pile for items you can’t use, but someone else might need.
2. Reassign – Grab some plastic tubs and label them with different areas of the house: kitchen, bathroom, garage, laundry, kids’ bedrooms, etc. Anything that you want to keep, but does not belong in the bedroom, add to its respective tub. You will make the most of your possessions if they are located in the correct room.
3. Sort through your clothes – People (especially the ladies!) have trouble parting with clothes. Use these tips to declutter and take advantage of your closet space:
• Get rid of any items of clothing you haven’t worn in the past year — no exceptions. Donate wearable clothes to charity, and throw away the rest.
• Get rid of any clothes with holes, tears, rips, missing buttons, stains, etc. You’re better than wearing damaged clothes.
• Get rid of clothes that don’t fit. Too small or big, there’s no use holding onto ill-fitting clothes. Also, don’t keep small clothes as a motivator to lose weight — it’s added clutter and a negative reminder.
• All clothes that remain need to be folded in a drawer, hanging in the closet, or in the laundry basket.
• Out-of-season clothes should be properly stored in under-the-bed tubs or sealed bags. Only store them once they’re clean.
4. Sort through your knick knacks – A bedroom often becomes cluttered with decorations, candles, photos, etc. — items that have no obvious place in the house. Keep bedroom decorations minimal. Put photos in an album, and start a memory box for all those treasures that you want to keep, but don’t want displayed. Throw away or donate anything with no sentimental value to you — or that you forget you own.
5. Tame those handbags and shoes – Use the same clothes standards with your handbags and shoes. Keep quality purses in dust bags in an under-the-bed tub, or display them on a hall tree. Get an over-the-door shoe organizer to take advantage of vertical space. You will enjoy your bedroom so much more once you tackle the clutter. It will become a place where you can truly relax.
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