Monday, January 21, 2019

31 Days to Organization - Day 21: Organizing Your Phone

Happy New Year! January is a time to start fresh...to begin again with a fresh, clean start...so it is only appropriate that January is National Organization Month! And since many people make a New Year's resolution to become more organized, I've been be posting organization tips every day for the during the month of January.



Day 21 - Organizing Your Phone

You may not have thought about organizing your cell phone before. If that's the case, you may want to start thinking about it now.

I feel a little silly even discussing this. Perhaps even a little unqualified because I am STILL using the same phone I have had for the last 9 or 10 years. But some of the information below can also be applied to tablets and mine could definitely use a clean-up!

People are using their cell phone as their primary number nowadays and in many cases it is their only phone number. They have their cell phones at home, at work and while on vacation. It is an extesion of their bodies. Cell phones are also storing a lot more information than the older models that came before: emails, schedules and notes are all filed away along with all those phone numbers you have. And the number of phone numbers you need to have on hand keeps growing! And there there are the apps...and photos...gobs and gobs of photos!!!


In order to keep up with all of this, it is wise to have a system in place for keeping all your information organized.
  • Purge un-neccessary phone numbers, emails and other information. There is no need to carry around junk. If you don't need it, get rid of it.
  • Clean up the apps. Do you use them all? Remove them from your phone if you're not using it.
  • Most smart phones have an emergency contact feature. Make sure to set it up. If your phone does not have this, add the letters "I-C-E" before the name of your emergency contact in your phone (ie. ICE - Mom 555-5555). I.C.E. stands for "In Case of Emergency". Store your medical information under this listing as well: any allergies, medical conditions, etc. Your cell phone can actually act as a type of "med-alert" bracelet. This should not replace any current emergency tags or notifications you already have in place.
  • Be sure you have phone numbers in your phone for: your doctor, dentist, insurance company, child's school and of course, your emergency contact(s). It would be a good idea to also have customer service phone numbers for your credit cards and bank in case cards are lost or stolen, or in the event you need to make a large purchase or are taking a quick trip out of town. Do not put any account information on your phone!
  • Use your cell phone for things other than phone calls and emails. If you're bad about writing mileage down, use your phone to take a picture of the odometer on your car before and after a trip. Or, take a picture of the lot number where you park at the airport. It will help you find your car later in the event you don't remember "lower lot, row G"



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Sunday, January 20, 2019

31 Days to Organization - Day 20: Tips for the Bulk Shopper

Happy New Year! January is a time to start fresh...to begin again with a fresh, clean start...so it is only appropriate that January is National Organization Month! And since many people make a New Year's resolution to become more organized, I've been posting organization tips every day during month of January.


Day 20 - Tips for the Bulk Shopper

You know who you are. You are the one who leaves the store with a buggy overflowing with paper towel rolls and 2-liters of soft drinks. You are the reason the sale paper reads "Limit 10".

Congratulations! You are the one who has managed to consolidate the majority of the month's shopping into one trip, saving you time AND money! I can certainly appreciate the time and effort that goes into bulk shopping because I'm guilty of it myself. But what happens when you return home with all of your purchases? Where do you put everything? How do you store it all without turning your home into a mini-market look-a-like?
Storage cabinets, usually used in the garage for gardening supplies and tools can easily be converted into a pantry for excess cereal boxes or soup and veggie cans. 


For the bulk shopper as well as the bulk shopper wannabe, these tips are for you:
  • Before you start your shopping, be sure you have a list of everything you need. It's a good idea to plan many menus in advance so you're not stuck in the middle of cooking dinner when you realize you've forgotten a couple of ingredients.
  • Regularly check circulars and weekly ads for specials. Be sure you have your loyalty cards with you.
  • Reusable shopping bags with the flat bottoms are great for lining up in your cargo area because of their stability when packed correctly. They can also hold a LOT more than plastic bags and they are strong enough to not have to double bag.
  • Shopping bags can also be kept stationary in the car with the help of trunk organizers. Some even have coolers so you can keep your cold things cold if you have an especially long trip home. Which brings us to the next tip...
  • If you have several stops to make, or if you live a long way from your bulk buying store, keep a cooler in the trunk with some freezer packs to keep cold or frozen items from getting too warm.


  • Your shopping trips can be make easier with the use of grocery bag clip holders. Carry multiple grocery bags in one trip without any discomfort. These are especially handy for heavy plastic grocery bags that seem to dig into your fingers when you're carrying them.
  • Heavy-duty metal shelving, similar to those used in restaurants for stock, can be used in your garage to store excess supplies.

  • You can minimize the amount of toilet paper that has to be stored in your garage by having a toilet paper reserve in each of your bathrooms. This can be in the form of a small storage cabinet or canister, an over-the-tank roll holder, or simply a basket on a shelf. They greatly reduce the chance that you'll be the one caught with no toilet paper when you need it. 
  • Potato chip bags and other snack bags can be kept in a plastic storage tote in the bottom of the pantry to reduce the chances of the bags getting crushed.
  • Store 5lb bags of flour and sugar in plastic containers sized to hold the full amount of the package. I recommend these containers by SnapWare. Extra bags can be stored in a weathertight storage box or in food-grade buckets with gamma lids.

  • If you buy large bags of flour, sugar, rice, etc like those found at Sam's Club and Costco, you can put those into the  food-grade buckets with gamma lids or divide them into half-gallon glass mason jars which then have the option of being sealed with a FoodSaver and jar attachment. You will need the wide-mouth jar attachment to seal half gallon mason jars. If sealing finely ground foods like flour, place a coffee filter on top of the food before placing the metal lid on the jar and sealing. This prevents food particles from getting caught on the rim preventing a seal. My favorite place to buy the half gallon mason jars is Ace Hardware but you can also sometimes find them at some grocery stores, as well as some Walmart or Target stores.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

31 Days to Organization - Day 19: Safe Long-Term Storage For Your Keepsakes

Happy New Year! January is a time to start fresh...to begin again with a fresh, clean start...so it is only appropriate that January is National Organization Month! And since many people make a New Year's resolution to become more organized, I've been posting organization tips every day during month of January.



Day 19 - Safe, Long-Term Storage For Your Keepsakes

Many of us have a box stashed somewhere full of keepsakes and mementos. Our grandmother's linens, the high school year book, wedding favors, baby blankets - things too sentimental to part with. You certainly don't need to discard these things, but yet you still need space.

Maybe the only alternative storage space you have is a musty basement where the humidity could damage your treasures. If you have keepsakes that might be damaged by bugs or moisture, consider storing them in a weathertight storage box. This particular storage bin has a seal in the rim making the box airtight, protecting your precious keepsakes from the air and moisture that could do damage to them. I've kept baby blankets from my own childhood as well as from my children's baby years in one of these bins for the last 9 years. If I open the bin, they only smell of fabric and plastic (the bin scent). No must. No mildew.


Be sure the items you but into long-term storage have been cleaned prior to packing. Dust can form a residue that is difficult to remove and stains, however light they are, can darken and yellow over time.


If you have china or silverware to store, see our section on packing up holiday china. For photograph storage, see our "holiday photos" post.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Sonja's Sweet & Sour Cabbage

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


This recipe for Sonja’s Sweet and Sour Cabbage was handwritten on an index card. It was found in an old large recipe file box. The age of the recipe card is unknown.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


31 Days to Organization - Day 18: Say "NO" to Bulky Blankets & Crammed Cabinets

Happy New Year! January is a time to start fresh...to begin again with a fresh, clean start...so it is only appropriate that January is National Organization Month! And since many people make a New Year's resolution to become more organized, I've been posting organization tips every day during month of January.

Look around your home. What items take up large chunks of space but are seldom used. Is that ice cream maker or indoor grill something that needs to be out or taking up valuable cabinet space? Do you need ALL those blankets to be in the linen closet or can most of them be stored elsewhere? Wedding momentos and baby keepsakes are wonderful sentimental items to keep, but you could really use that closet shelf for something else. Where do you plan to store the 48 rolls of toilet paper and 60 bottles of water you just got on sale?

The organizing tips that will be shared over the next few days deal mainly with your bulky storage needs. Sure, you should reduce your clutter and toss out unnecessary items. However, those seldom used items that are left over should really be packed up and moved elsewhere. They can be safely "banished" to the basement or the garage or wherever else you have available out-of-the-way space to they don't cramp your everyday routine with their "bulk".

Day 18 - Say "NO" to Bulky Blankets & Crammed Cabinets

Closets and trunks throughout our homes tend to be stuffed full of big, bulky blankets - even in the Winter when all the blankets in the house should be out being used. There are thin, thermal blankets available, as well as "all-season" blankets. Both types can offer year-round comfort without all the bulk. But for those people who love their big, thick, heavy blankets, there is a solution!


Compression bags can take all those large items and shrink their bulkiness down to about a third of their original size. Compression bags also protect against bugs, dust and moisture so instead of putting those newly compacted blankets back in the linen closet, you can safely store them in the garage or the basement without having to worry about them getting ruined by pests or mildew.

I don't recommend compression bags for long-term storage. Fabrics can become severely wrinkled and items like comforters and pillows may never again achieve their original "poof". For seasonal storage, this shouldn't be a problem. If you need to store things for years, consider whether it is something that you need to be keep in the first place. Perhaps it is another opportunity to minimize your "stuff".

An old pillowcase can be used as an inexpensive dust cover for your appliances. 



Have you got any small appliances hanging around your kitchen that are so seldom used you forget you even have them? How about those huge stockpots that come out only once in awhile? Maybe you have a stash of specialty cake pans buried in your kitchen somewhere (how often are you going to make a cake in the shape of a baby carriage?). These items are big and bulky. They don't stack well and they take up space in our cabinets. Move them out!
  • If you have extra space in your pantry, move your large items from your cabinets to a bottom shelf.
  • Small appliances can be relocated to a wide shelf in a garage or basement.
  • Cover appliances with a tarp, plastic sheeting, dust covers (like the ones grandma had on her toaster and mixer), or simply put an old pillowcase over each item to keep garage dust off.
  • If you cover the items individually, label the shelf with the name of the item. You'll know which item to take down and exactly where it goes back.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.