Make the Move Wednesday, Feb 12 2014 

DIY Shelving via Houzz.Com Monday, Jun 18 2012 

Home Staging Tips via Houzz.Com Sunday, Jun 17 2012 

The Pantry Tuesday, Apr 10 2012 

Whether you are moving to your first home or just doing some Spring-cleaning, having a well-stocked pantry can make throwing together a quick meal much easier.  When cleaning out your pantry (which could be one cabinet to a walk-in closet, preferably away from heat and light), take out everything and check for expired items. Dispose of any expired items and donate any items you no longer use (unless the containers are open). Next, put dry goods in airtight containers that are labeled with the date. Then, organize your shelves by like items (oil and vinegar on one shelf, pastas and grains on another, etc.) Below you will find a list for stocking or re-stocking your pantry. You will then be able to create meals on the fly even if your fridge is bare. This will come in handy if there is a natural disaster, as well.

For a well stocked pantry start here, revise and make substitutions based on your dietary needs and tastes:

  • Vinegar (Balsamic, Red Wine, Apple Cider, Rice, White)
  • Oil (Olive, Extra Virgin Olive, Vegetable)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Honey
  • Hot Sauce
  • Hot Chili Oil
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard (Dijon, Grainy)
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Crackers
  • Cereal/Granola/Oatmeal
  • Rice (Jasmine, Long Grain, Brown, Arborio, Basmati, Etc.)
  • Grains (Couscous, Bulgur, Quinoa, Kasha, Etc.)
  • Pasta (Assorted Shapes)
  • Canned/Boxed Broth (Assorted Flavors)
  • Canned/Boxed Tomatoes (Whole Peeled, Crushed, Diced, Pureed)
  • Canned Soups
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Canned Tuna
  • Capers
  • Jam/Preserves (Assorted — if you bake, include Apricot)
  • Nuts (Assorted)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Raisins/Currants
  • Dried and Canned Beans/Lentils
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • Olives
  • Olive Paste
  • Canned Peppers (Diced Mild Green, Chipotle in Adobo, Roasted Red, Etc.)
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Dried Porcini Mushrooms
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Onions
  • Flour (All Purpose, Cake, Whole-Wheat, Etc.)
  • Sugar (Granulated, Brown, Confectioner’s, Etc.)
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate (Semi-Sweet and Unsweetened)
  • Corn Starch
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Spices (Assorted)

Keeping it Together Thursday, Nov 3 2011 

Living in a small house has taught me how to maximize my space. Some of the ways to get the most out of your space and keep things organized are:

Find multi-purpose furniture. I like pieces with lots of storage. Living in a house with small closets and small rooms means I have to find furniture that will accommodate a lot of items, yet won’t over power the room. I use the media stand as a media stand and as a dresser.

Use clear containers and mesh drawer organizers to get the most out of your drawer space, and so you can see what you have.

Clear containers work great in a pantry as well, and if you label and date the containers it will help you to keep your pantry items fresh.

In visible areas where you want things to look stylish and organized try using baskets. You can find various sizes and styles to work with most items.

Get The Mess Out! Friday, Sep 24 2010 

It happens to everyone, all of sudden you look over and you can’t see your desk anymore or your floor or the back of your closet or…  and you know it’s time to tackle the mess.

I have my own system for organizing. First of all, if you feel overwhelmed you might want to get help. The other thing to do if you feel overwhelmed is to pick a small area to focus on – instead of the bookshelf do one shelf. The process works the same whether it is one shelf or an entire house.

The Steps:

  1. Choose your area and make some space to put sorted items. Cover as large an area as you can handle.
  2. Remove items starting with one area (shelf, desktop, drawer, portion of the room, etc.).
  3. Place the items into piles: Keep, Trash, Recycling, Donate, Unsure. The reason I do an Unsure pile is to keep down the time it takes to sort the items, for many people sorting is the hardest part. If you aren’t sure if you can give the item away then just stick the item in the Unsure pile.
  4. Once everything is sorted take the items from the Keep pile and place the appropriate items back in the area you have been organizing. You may have things in your Keep pile that don’t belong in the area you’re working on and those will be placed where they belong or dealt with later.
  5. Now the trash and recycling can be put out, and the items to be donated can be bagged or boxed and given away. See my lists of local resources for donating  https://bayareaassistant.com/2010/06/25/taking-out-the-trash/ & https://bayareaassistant.com/2010/06/28/taking-out-the-trash-part-two/
  6. Take a look at your Unsure pile and ask yourself these questions: When was the last time I used this? How often do I use this? Will I use this? Is there a place to keep it? Would someone else be happy to have this? Now sort the items accordingly.
  7. Next continue to move through the rest of the clutter until you are satisfied. You can do this in small blocks of time or all at once if you are motivated. See https://bayareaassistant.com/2011/11/03/keeping-it-together/ for tips on how to store items.

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