what’s in your pantry?

Bag of GroceriesPeriodically, I get carried away at the grocery store. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I buy more than I intended and then I have to figure out where to put it.

I have a small pantry in the kitchen where I keep “current” food that’s being eaten now, along with baking supplies.

In the basement is the “backup” pantry with duplicates of things I don’t want to run out of – peanut butter, tuna, coffee, beans, pasta, cereal, crackers and such. I usually keep one or two backups, depending upon how quickly it gets used.

I don’t want to run to the grocery store for one thing that I need immediately, so when I see that something is running low, I put it on the list and buy it when it goes on sale. This system works well for me and I rarely run out of staple items.

Because I have a limited amount of space that I dedicate to food storage, it doesn’t get out of control. Knowing that Diet Coke and ketchup, for example, go on sale regularly keeps me from buying too much, too.

If you have a large family, you might have a larger backup supply. If you don’t use many packaged foods, you might not need a backup at all.

Do you keep track of what’s in your pantry? Do you store more than food in it?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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reader question – what to do with photographs?

xphotos

photo by marcie lovett

This actually is a question from a recent presentation I gave to a seniors group, women and men in their 70s and 80s. What distinguishes these folks is that they have lots of printed photos, which present a set of challenges beyond digital photos.

A simple solution is to keep photographs in labeled envelopes and put them in chronological order in a photo box. You’ll be able to sort through them, look at them and share them with other people.

You can put them in photo albums or scrapbooks, but that takes more time. Alternatively, you could create an online album, after scanning your photos. You can use a simple photo-sharing website, some of which offer the ability to print a book, if you’d like to create one.

When you got your film developed, you also received negatives in your envelope of pictures. Photo conservators recommend preserving your negatives separately from your photos, so you can use them for reproductions. I don’t recommend keeping negatives; if you’ve gone 40 or 50 years without looking at them, chances are you never will.

Of course, you can digitize photos yourself or send them to a company who specializes in scanning. Scancafe and yesvideo are two options. You send them your photos, slides and negatives, and they scan and restore them. You get back the media you sent, along with a disc that you can view and share. They can retouch photos, too.

I recently had an old home movie converted to DVD by yesvideo. One movie cost more than $50, but it was worth the price to me to be able to see family members who were long gone.

Sony’s DVDirect doesn’t scan photos, but it will allow you to transfer to DVD from a VCR or video camera. It’s an investment at several hundred dollars, but if you have a lot of home movies you’d like to save, it could pay off.

What do you do with your photos? Do you still have photo negatives?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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Preparedness Month

xpreparednessSeptember is National Preparedness Month, created by the Department of Homeland Security and supported by many organizations, including the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).

There have been numerous fires and floods in the news, with people unable to verify their identity or quickly make an insurance claim. You could be faced with a similar emergency, where you would have to leave your home quickly. Do you have a grab-and go-box?

Basic paperwork for your grab-and go-box includes birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, marriage certificates, adoption and naturalization paperwork, car title, home deed, property tax information, insurance cards and health records. That might sound like a lot; however, you don’t need huge stacks of paper.

Whether you keep these documents in a safe or file cabinet, make copies of just the information you need:

  • Copy only the page with account information on multi-page documents like insurance policies
  • Put the contents of your wallet on the copier and have one sheet with everything on it
  • Type dates of medical procedures in a simple word processing document and continue to add to it

Keep the paperwork in a three-ring binder, tote bag or box, near the door you use to exit your home. Or skip the paper altogether and scan your documents, putting them on a thumb drive that you keep on your key ring or near the door. Either way, make sure everyone in the family knows where it is.

Creating a set of documents that proves who you are and where you live is vital. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it; but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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quote: let go of clutter, make room for gratitude

Mountains by shirophoto

photo by shirophoto

Gratitude journals have become extremely popular, as have planners with room for daily gratitude review. I can see the appeal of these products – it can be difficult to remember all the positive aspects of your life when things aren’t going particularly well.

It can be especially difficult to consider all you have when you’re drowning in clutter.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. – Epictetus

Reflect on what you have, whether it’s good health, supportive relationships, a rewarding job, confidence in the future. It’s not easy to have an optimistic outlook all the time; however, you can develop a positive attitude in stages.

Start by letting go of some clutter and making room to appreciate the things you really value.

What are you especially grateful for?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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productivity roundup

xClock by stockimages

photo by stockimages

Here are some of the most popular articles about productivity that I have mentioned on twitter recently:

10 reasons you’re not getting your work done (infographic) http://entm.ag/29AZXVK  by @CTV_Grace for @Entrepreneur

Get more joy out of Sundays by doing week prep first thing in the morning http://lifehacker.com/get-more-joy-out-of-sundays-by-doing-week-prep-first-th-1783615592 … by @mr_patrickallan for @lifehacker

23 productivity tips – not just for remote workers http://tinyurl.com/jegza5y  from @buffer

The difference between micromanaging and managing http://heragenda.com/micromanager by @megsbroussard for @HerAgenda

Make room for a home office where you can work productively http://tinyurl.com/j2zabcbby by @nicecobra for @Shopify

Have you seen any articles about productivity that you think are worth sharing?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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you’re not alone – get help with decluttering

Crowd by Vlado

photo by Vlado

If you’re having trouble addressing your clutter, there are several things you can do:

    • You can read articles or books about decluttering – If you’re disciplined and work well on your own, you can read about organizing principles and put them into place yourself.

 

  • You can ask a friend to help you – When you feel comfortable setting up systems, but you need someone else to help keep you accountable, ask a friend to come over while you work. Having an accountability partner can help when you struggle with procrastination.

 

 

  • You can join a clutter support group – There are lots of people who are in the same position as you are, and hearing what works for them might be enough motivation to get you started.

 

 

  • You can hire a Professional Organizer – You know you need help, but you don’t even know where to start; you’ll benefit from the advice of a professional who can customize processes for your needs.

 

Whichever method you choose, you want to find people who will provide understanding and encouragement. Don’t despair; whether you prefer to work by yourself or with others, there is a solution that will work for you.

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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reader question – what to do with stray socks?

Socks by Photo by Gualberto107

photo by Gualberto107

The legend about washing machines eating socks isn’t true. The reason so many people have orphaned socks is that their socks don’t make into the wash in pairs. I have discovered dirty socks under furniture, inside garages and behind clients’ washing machines.

You can avoid having stray socks by creating laundry systems:

  1. Require that everyone put socks in the hamper when they’re taken off. Otherwise, you will find dirty socks in every room.
  2. Pin socks in pairs before they get washed if you want to guarantee they’ll come out together. I used sock locks when I shared a laundry room, or you can use safety pins.
  3. Put clean socks away when they come out of the dryer. You don’t have to fold them lovingly, but if they end up on the floor, they have a good chance of separating and getting mixed up with dirty socks (see #1, above).
  4. Buy multiples of the same socks if you don’t want to bother with matching them after washing.

What if you’re facing a huge bag or drawer of mismatched socks? You can go through and find pairs or, if it’s not the best use of your time, you can declare sock amnesty and let go of them all. I have clients who have tossed dozens of socks and said that they felt liberated.

Of course, you don’t have to put them in the trash; you can donate them to an animal shelter or locate a place to recycle them. Some large thrift shops have bulk buyers for merchandise that won’t sell in the store, like damaged clothing and mismatched socks.

Whatever you do, don’t blame the washer for your missing socks! Do you have a technique that helps you avoid the dreaded solo sock?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
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