Thursday, January 31, 2019

31 Days to Organization - Day 31: Favorite Organizing Tips

Day 31 - Favorite Organizing Tips

January is National Organization Month so I've been be posting organization tips every day for the during the month of January. I hope you've enjoyed them! You can find all the tips HERE.

Since today is the last day of the "31 Days to Organization" event, I am going to list my own favorite organizing tips.


1. Baskets are some of the best organizing tools available. They are versatile, they add character to a room and they keep things looking neat and tidy. Here are some basket uses:
  • Use in kids rooms for toys or books. 
  • In a mudroom or entryway, assign each person a basket to place items they will need the next day – use labels or colors so you know whose is whose.
  • Hang labeled baskets with each child’s name at the bottom of the stairs or store a basket on each step. As you locate misplaced items around the house, place them in the appropriate child’s basket. They can carry the load upstairs to their room on their next trip. Put a time limit on the basket (i.e. a week) before the contents are given away/thrown out. 
  • Smaller baskets can be used in the pantry to hold seasoning packets for gravy, stews, etc.
  • Have a "snack basket" in the kitchen where all the snacks are kept.
  • Magnetic baskets can be kept on the fridge to hold coupons, pens and a notepad, shopping list, etc.
  • If baskets just aren’t your style, try boxes or bins. They come in a variety of materials such as wood, canvas, faux leather and plastic. 


2. Clear shoe boxes are for more than just shoes! Use them to store small items or collections. Great for crayons, markers, stencils, office supplies, small toys and more. They stack easily and you can always see what you've got!

3. Hang a coat rack lower on the wall so children can hang up their own coats and bookbags. Line baskets below the hooks to store their hats, mittens, galoshes and other bulky items that won't hang from the hooks.


4. Have a container dedicated to storing all your back-up discs, recovery discs and software installation CDs (especially the big ones like your operating system). If something happens to your computer, at least you won't have to stress about finding all your necessary installations discs.

5. Twice a year, take a few minutes to check or change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Also, change the air filters in your furnace, clean under the refrigerator, and clean out the dryer vent line. 

Consider BLOWING out your dryer vent line. Our dryer vents are really long - a serious design flaw in the house. Last summer, our dryer started taking longer to dry - to the point that we considered calling a repairman. So before we made the phone call, Mr. LH and I pulled out the dryer (no small feat in our tiny laundry space) and used our leaf blower to force air into our dryer vent. A huge cloud of lint came bursting out the vent and deposited the massive pile of lint pictured below into our back yard. 

All the dryer lint that blew out of our vent
A neighbor was so alarmed by this information that she immediately . When nothing came out of her vent, she went down to the crawl space to investigate and disassembled her dryer vent line. She removed a HUGE clog. Clean those vents.

6. Always make a shopping list. Stick to the list. And never shop when you're hungry. This keeps your pantry and freezer from overflowing and it saves you money!

7. Type out emergency numbers and post a printout on the refrigerator. In en emergency, I get flustered and can't find information on electronics very easily or quickly. Having important phone numbers posted in a general location has always been much more helpful for me.
I keep my keys in an orphaned pottery plant saucer

8. Keep your keys in the same place. I was the worst when it came to losing my keys, my glasses, my purse, my scarf...everything! MR. LH even got me remotes attached to beeping tags to help me me locate the items. Still, I would manage to misplace the one thing that didn't have a tag.

I started putting everything in designated places and life became much easier. My keys were top priority and I have a pottery dish near the front door that holds my keys and sunglasses (and that's all). As long as I stick to the routine and put them there when I get home, I don't lose them.

Whether you use a bowl, a basket, a key rack or just a spot on the foyer table, place them there when you get home every single day.


9. Have a hook by the door dedicated to storing dog leashes.


10. An Over-The-Door Shoe Organizer can be used for so much more than shoes! We have a closet that is both a coat closet and utility closet. The "shoe holder" on the back of the door holds things like band aids, extra vitamins, flashlights and packs of pocket tissues at the top and cleaning gloves, extra vacuum cleaner bags and a tiny dustpan and brush at the bottom.

11. Keep a jar or cup next to the washing machine for all the loose change, buttons and other things that get left behind in the laundry. While you’re at it, establish a “finders keepers” rule for anything left in those dirty laundry pockets (it can be quite profitable). Everyone will quickly learn to empty their pockets while they look for spare change.

12. Be ruthless. If you find yourself saying, “I didn’t know I had that!” or ,”Oh, I had forgotten about this!” then just get rid of the item. You didn’t miss it before so you won’t miss it when it’s tossed out. 


13. Up-cycle t-shirts! I use strips of old t-shirts for a lot of things. Mainly, for tying around bundles of cords keeping them tidy. The cotton doesn't cut into the cords and the t-shirt stretches enough to make the hold tight enough. This works for both cords that are being stored as well as the mass of cords and cables that can be found behind desks and entertainment systems. (Just be sure to keep the t-shirt ties away from any live outlets.

I also use t-shirt strips in the garden. The fabric is so much more gentle on my plants than string or wire so I am always using t-shirt strips to tie and support my tomato plants or to train cucumber and bean vines up a trellis. At the end of the gardening season, I untie the strips and put them in a mesh laundry bag (usually used for washing delicates) before washing and drying. Then they can be re-used the next season!

To make the t-shirt strips, cut old t-shirts horizontally into strips about 1.5" wide and 8" to 12" long (you should be cutting along the width of the t-shirt). Then take each strip and holding each end, stretch it a bit. The fabric should curl up and stay curled when you let go. And that's it!

15. Put puzzle pieces in a zip top bag for safe storage. They can be kept in the original box that way, or multiple puzzles can be stored in bags kept in a space saving basket. Donate old puzzles to hospitals to be kept in the waiting room for visitors or used as entertainment for patients.

15. Sort your mail over a paper shredder. I keep a small wastebasket next to the paper shredder. I just dump everything that needs shredding into the wastebasket (credit card offers, anything with names, an address or "approval code", etc.) and then shred once a week or more frequently if needed.


16. 3-ring binder and plastic page protectors - these will organize anything from recipes and take out menus to appliance or toy instruction booklets and warranty information. I keep a couple in the kitchen for recipes and several on a bookshelf with instruction manuals (categorized by room).


17. Ice cube trays. I have honestly never used an ice cube tray for organizing drawers, but I ALWAYS use them for freezing things other than ice. And I love using the silicone trays for this. They are easier to get things out of.
  • When I only need a little tomato paste, I freeze the extra in 1 Tbs quantities. 
  • When lemons or limes go on sale, I squeeze them and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. 
  • Freeze fresh herbs in olive oil. 
  • Freeze eggs before they expire (scramble with a little sugar or salt before pouring into the trays and freezing - then pop out and store in a zip top bag. Label the bag so you know if you used sugar or salt and how much.
  • Pesto! I never need the entire recipe amount so I freeze it. The ice cube trays make perfect portion sizes.
Take these ideas. Use them. Experiment with them. Find what works best for you. If you think of something new, pass it along! I'm always on the lookout for more organizing tips!

Read all the posts from "31 Days to Organization" Here



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


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

31 Days To Organization - Day 30: Practice, Practice, Practice!

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. Missed a day? You can find them all HERE.


Day 30 - Use your De-Cluttering Skills Everyday

There is no sense in de-cluttering your home or office only to have the clutter invade again and multiply. The goal here is to eliminate clutter and KEEP IT AWAY. But you have to practice, practice, practice. You will get better and better at it and it will become a habit.

Junk mail is going to continue to show up in your mailbox. Broken and unwanted toys will still surface. Clothing will be outgrown. These things cannot be avoided. Use the de-cluttering skills you've learned to handle these problems.
Never leave a room empty handed. Scan the room for items that belong elsewhere, then pick the item(s) up, take it to the correct room and put it away. This goes for laundry, dishes, books - anything and everything.

Put those de-cluttering skills to use everyday, keeping clutter out of your home, your office and your life.
  • Keep a large bin in a permanent location for donations. Every time you find something you no longer want, need, or that doesn't fit, add it to the bin. Make it part of your routine to take the bin weekly or monthly to the donations drop-off. If you have the space, set everything aside that can be re-sold and earn some money from your junk by having a garage sale!
  • Toss junk mail in the trash as soon as you get it. Don't let it pile up until you can "get around to it". Rip it up or shred it, then toss it.
  • Scan your laundry as you fold it for items that needs repairs, pieces that can be donated or clothing that needs to be tossed. Likewise, if you try on something that doesn't fit, immediately put it in your donations or yard sale bin instead of back into your closet. 
  • Before you buy something new, ask yourself why you want it. Does it make you happy...really happy? Is there something else you could or should be spending your money on? Do you have a place in your home for it? Sometimes when shopping, I'll hold onto something the whole time I am in the store, keeping it in my cart until it's time to check out. Then I'll put it back without buying it. By then I have "owned it" long enough and can let it go. Weird, I know. But maybe it will work for someone else, too.



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


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

31 Days to Organization - Day 29: Long Term File Storage

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. Missed a day? You can find them all HERE.


Day 29 - Long Term File Storage

So you have sifted through all your files, purged and plundered mounds of paperwork and pulled out all the documents you will need for your tax return. Congratulations! Now you need to figure out a system for storing and preserving the files you have left.

The file storage system you choose should address how many files you are storing, how often you need to access those files and where you plan to store your files.

If the storage area you have planned for your files is in a musty basement, you'll want to take that into consideration when choosing your file storage containers.

How Many files do you have to store?

  • If you only have a folder or two for each year, you may simply need to keep a portable or desk top file holder on or near your desk to store the papers in. Categorize your files by year.
  • If you have many files for each year, you will need to find enough free space to accommodate the larger mass of paperwork and find appropriate storage boxes that you can organize by year. Place a prominent label on the outward facing end of each box. 
I use a Sterilite Show-Off tote to hold my bills for the year. It's great for holding hanging files! I have them separated into categories. When the year is over, and after I have done my taxes, I move the papers I plan to keep to more permanent storage.

How Often will you need to access your files?

  • If you constantly need to access your files, you'll want to store them somewhere that is easily accessible. If your office workspace is on the top floor, you don't want to walk down flights of stairs every time you need to get a file.
  • File boxes that need to be frequently accessed should not be stacked. Keep them on a shelving unit in single height rows. This makes them easy to find, easy to open and easy to put away.
  • If you won't be needing your files for a long time, you can seal them up tight, label them well and stack them in a dedicated, protected place. Be sure the label is facing out so if you ever need to refer back to an old file, it will be easy to find. 

Where do you plan to store your files?

  • If the storage area you have planned for your files is in a musty basement, you'll want to take that into consideration when choosing your file storage containers. Cardboard file boxes just won't do! Find boxes that will provide a protective moisture barrier like Iris Stor-N-Slide file boxes
  • If you are going to store your files on the top shelf of the spare bedroom, choose smaller containers that you can reach and pull down by yourself.
  • Open files on a shelf are perfect for smaller quantities and are safe in the climate controlled conditions. They can also be easily accessed at any time.




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


Monday, January 28, 2019

Community Garden Project - It's A Go!

I'm doing a happy dance here! I got the "Okay" to move forward with the community garden!

It's a good thing, too because I've already purchased a ton of seeds and plan to winter sow a bunch of them (mainly the tomatoes).


I got this batch from Botanical Interests, which is a Colorado company.

I made sure to get extra cilantro because my "grandchild" (The Girl's guinea pig) LOVES cilantro. I've never grown kale so that's a new one for me. I had great luck with the tomato seeds I got from Botanical Interests last year, probably because they were short-season tomatoes...perfect for my growing season. I'll be planting those again this year, just more of them!


I won't be planting all of these veggies for myself. There isn't enough space, even if I use a large plot in the community garden.

What I hope to do is hold a neighborhood "plant sale" in the spring and sell off a bunch of these plants to raise money for improvements to the garden.

Interest in the garden has really been growing just in the last several weeks. Several neighbors have pulled me aside just to tell me how excited they are about it. I also have a boy scout interested in doing a bunch of the renovations as an Eagle Scout project.

We'll still need documents and contracts for plot rentals drawn up so they can be approved before planting season. So while the snow falls outside, I'll work on paperwork and continue to plan the garden renovations.



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 28: Tax Prep 101 - Year End File Organization

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. Missed a day? You can find them all HERE.



Day 28 - Tax Prep 101 - Year End File Organization

Although April 15th is still many weeks away, the tax deadline has a way of sneaking up on you and catching you by surprise. If you're not careful, you may find yourself rushing around at the last minute trying to get your paperwork in order and attempting to find all the information you need to get started, much less finished.

Make your tax season much less stressful by preparing in advance. A little planning and some organizing strategies can go a long way toward helping you get through tax season early and with minimal stress.

Did you know you can order copies or transcripts of current and previously filed tax returns from the IRS? Returns are available from the IRS for a fee of $50 per return (as of January 2019). Or opt for a transcript of your return which will include most of the line items of your return.

Watch your mailbox for necessary paperwork. Keep all the information that comes in the mail in a dedicated "tax file". If you don't have a lot of paperwork to keep track of for your taxes, you should still keep it in a dedicated place for safe-keeping. Having everything in one place eliminates the last minute "scramble". Here are some of the more common items to watch for:

  • W-2s from employers
  • 1099's
  • Mortgage interest statements
  • Rental income statements (if you have rental properties)
  • Interest-income statements from savings accounts or divided income statements for shares you own
  • Student loan interest and tuition paid
  • Personal property tax information 
Be sure you have the right forms. You can find them at post offices, libraries, and online at www.irs.gov. If you plan to use tax software, the appropriate forms should be included.

Gather deductible information such as any charitable contributions, child care expenses, insurance premiums, etc. Even if you don't plan on itemizing, having this information available can help you determine if a standard deduction is the way to go. Itemizing may prove to offer a larger refund for you.

Have previous years' tax returns on hand. You may need to refer to them for federal or state refund amounts or previous deductions you have taken. You can also scan through these to see if there were any documents you needed last year that may also apply to this year's return. If you haven't kept your past tax returns, they are available from the IRS for a fee of $50 per return (as of January 2019). You can also opt to get just a transcript of your return which will include most of the line items of your return.

Double check your numbers! All dollar amounts for income and expenses should be checked throughout your return, but even errors in street address numbers and social security numbers can slow down the tax return process if a digit is wrong or left out.




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


Sunday, January 27, 2019

31 Days to Organization - Day 27: Eliminating Paper Clutter

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.  Missed a day? You can find them all HERE.



Day 27 - Eliminating Paper Clutter

Do you have mountains of papers everywhere? Bills, documents, receipts and more are all piled or stuffed into folders anticipating the day they MIGHT be needed for reference? Yeah...that was me. Paper clutter had always been my nemesis. I was always worried that I might NEED that statement or receipt or bill or whatever it is that proves where I was, what I did or how much I paid. Let me tell you that moving over and over again with multiple file boxes full of nothing but old bills was just ridiculous!

I'm not sure when I started to let go of the paper, but I am so glad I did.  A lot of the little bits of paper cluttering up your counters and desktop and crumpled in your purse or car contain duplicate information. Your bank statement includes the same information you have on that crumpled ATM receipt. Your credit card statement lists all those tax deductible expenses you had. So what papers do you really need to hang on to?
Don't always follow the seven year rule for your personal papers. Certain papers should be kept for up to 3 years and others should be kept forever.


The "seven year rule" doesn't always apply to your personal papers. Some items can be discarded monthly and some annually. Certain papers should be kept for up to 3 years and others should be kept forever. But which is which? Use these guidelines to whittle down your pile of paper clutter:


These documents need to be kept for UP TO three years:
  • Papers confirming the selling/buying of stocks, bonds, etc. Discard your quarterly statements once you receive the year-end statement.
  • Pay stubs. Keep weekly/monthly stubs to match up to your year-end statement and W2. Then shred the stubs. Keep your year-end stubs for at least three years, but preferably up to seven years with your tax returns.
  • Personal utility and telephone bills. You may shred as soon as they are paid, or keep them for financial records. If you plan on selling your property in the near future, keep your records for at least a year. Prospective buyers may want to review recent utility bills to determine what they can expect to be paying for these services. If you really want to let them go, shred them. Most utility companies can send you a digital billing/usage history on request.
  • Credit card statements. If your statements list tax deductible expenses or charitable gifts, keep them with your tax papers. If not, shred at the end of the year. Somecredit card companies will send you an itemized/categorized list of purchases at the end of the year making tax time easier.
  • ATM receipts & bank deposit slips. As soon as these transactions appear on your bank statement, shred them.
  • Medical bills. Hang onto these for at least a year in case you have a dispute over a reimbursement or are billed for something already paid. Previously resolved disputes have been known to crop up again 2 and 3 years later. If the amount in question is very large, you may want to consider hanging on to it a while longer. Shred the papers unless they support a tax deduction, in which case, file with your tax documents. 
These documents need to be kept for at least seven years:
  • Income tax returns (state and federal) with all documentation. Supporting documents include receipts for business expenses, charitable contributions, and cancelled checks for any other tax-deductible expense. Usually tax returns will be audited within 3 years. Sometimes, an audit may be held 6 years after the return is filed. Therefore it is wise to keep tax returns and all tax documentation for the last seven years. If you haven't kept your past tax returns, they are available from the IRS for a fee of $50 per return (as of January 2019). You can also opt to get just a transcript of your return which will include most of the line items of your return.
  • Wage/salary records and annual payroll check stubs. This would include W-2's, 1099's, etc.
  • Cancelled checks and bank statements.
  • Savings account records.
  • Monthly statements including information from the bank, brokers, mutual funds, 401(k) and other retirement plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), Roth IRAs, and 529 college savings plans.
  • Guarantees and warranties. Write the date and place of purchase on the guarantee or warranty. If the serial number is on the box, be sure to cut that out and keep it with your receipt, too. I recently had this issue with a pair of headphones - the headphones didn't have the model number or serial number anywhere on them. Keep records of the type and date of all repairs. I don't usually store these with my regular financial papers. I keep these in manila folders in my filing cabinet. It is a good idea to have one for each of your large appliances, lawn machinery, and power tools.
These documents need to be kept forever (or until an item is sold/disgarded):

Store these in a safe deposit box at the bank or a fireproof box in your home. If you choose to rent a safe deposit box, it is a good idea to make an inventory of the contents and put the list in your financial notebook or permanent file at home. Consider keeping the files in waterproof bags (inside the fireproof box) to protect them in case of flooding, too.

Documents to keep in one of these storage places are your hard-to-replace documents including:
  • Your will (file a back-up copy with your attorney).
  • Birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, prenuptial agreements, alimony and child-custody agreements, divorce decrees, adoption papers, military records, and citizenship papers.
  • Passports
  • Your health care power of attorney, which gives someone the right to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
  • Copies of your IRA, 401(k) and other retirement account participation plans. These forms determine what happens to the money in these accounts when you die, not your will. If you haven't kept copies of the forms that name your plan beneficiaries, contact your retirement plan custodians and they will send you copies. Keep your beneficiary names and addresses current.
  • All your current insurance policies including home, health, disability, and auto. If something were to happen to your home, you need to have copies of these in a protected place.
  • Keep documents showing the dates and cost of improvements to your home. These records can help in the case of a dispute over damage from flood, fire, or other disasters and can help the insurance company cover your losses. Once you move or sell your home, you no loner need these. You can consider passing the information on to the new home owners. They may appreciate knowing exactly what floor brand is in their living room or where to get replacement tile for the bathroom.
  • For me, taking pictures was the easiest and fastest way to do our home inventory. A great time to do it is while you are packing for a move or unpacking from a move.  But don't wait for a move to start documenting what you have.
  • Keep bills/receipts for big purchases (e.g., jewelry, appliances, cars, collectibles, etc.) for proof of their value in the event of loss or damage. Take pictures of these items as well and file with the receipts.
  • Home Inventory - this can be photos or video on a flash drive, written documentation, or both. I recommend if you have a list to be sure to have a printed copy as well as a digital copy so one can be the backup for the other. 
  • Deeds, property titles, mortgages, stock and bond certificates, trademark/patent/copyright paperwork, and employment contracts.
  • Automobile/vehicle, truck, and farm machinery titles. When you sell it, give the maintenance records to the new owner along with the title.




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


Saturday, January 26, 2019

31 Days to Organization - Day 26: Desk Drawers

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. Missed a day? You can find them all HERE.


Day 26 - Desk Drawers

What do your desk drawers look like? Is it a collection of office supplies, take-out menus, post-it notes and ink pens in every size, shape and color? Does it look like the paper clip box exploded everywhere?

The office is no place to create a junk drawer. If you want to increase your productivity, searching around in your drawer for one of those loose paper clips is not going to help. When the boss asks to use your staple remover, you want to be able to retrieve it in seconds. With an organized desk drawer, you can!

Store away extra office supplies and keep them out of your drawer. You don't need an entire box of staples or a bag of rubber bands filling up your drawer. Move them!


  • Dump the entire contents of your desk drawer out and sort through everything - pens, pencils, paper scraps, etc. Decide what you would like to keep from the pile. While you are going through your pile, think about what you would like to keep in your desk drawers that you plan to buy. That way, you can create a storage space for it.
  • Drawer bins are wonderful for organizing drawers! They come in various lengths and depths so you can mix and match them for a perfect fit and a place for everything. Drawer bins are inexpensive, however, you could also create drawer compartments by using small boxes, empty egg cartons, yogurt cups or ice cube trays.
  • If drawer bins don't quite work for you, customized drawer dividers may be your solution. They can be cut to fit your drawers to your specifications.
  • Place labels on the bottom of drawer compartments. For instance, label the scissors compartment with "scissors" and the the calculator compartment with "calculator". Although you will quickly learn where to put things, the labels will help someone else put your stuff back where it belongs once they've finished borrowing it.
  • If you have a drawer large enough for files, you may want to fill it with only the files you refer to often. If you don't need the drawer for files, you could use this drawer to hold a few empty folders so you don't have to keep running to the supply closet to get some. You could keep a supply of paper towels and a bottle of cleaner so keeping your desktop wiped off is quick and easy. Some snacks could be kept in the drawer so you don't have to jump up to run to the vending machine. 
  • If you have limited drawer space, pull as much as you can out of the drawer and store it on your desk. Pens, pencils, rulers and scissors can all be stored in a pencil cup. It won't take much space and it will free up an amazing amount of storage area in your drawer.
  • If you have no drawers in your desk, a desktop organizer with multiple compartments may be your best bet. You could also get a drawer system that fits beneath your existing desk. Some have both shallow and deep drawers so you can store smaller supplies as well as large hanging files.




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


Friday, January 25, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Creole Style Eggplant

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 Creole Style Eggplant can be made as a side dish or even served as a meatless entree. The recipe was handwritten on both sides of 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 25: Organizing Your Desktop

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. Missed a day? You can find them all HERE.



Day 25 - Organizing Your Desktop

Choose your desktop accessories carefully. Their purpose is to organize frequently used items and files and to allow easy access to everything from your seat.

If you deal with a lot of paperwork, you may need desktop file holders. If you are a designer, you may require a section dedicated to drawing tools. If you normally have multiple projects going on at once, you may need a system that keeps project materials together yet separate from everything else. Whatever your needs are, find the desktop organizer that will fit you.

Keep your most active files on your desktop so you can always reach them quickly.


  • Do one project at a time. Clear off your desk before you start a project and clean it all up before you go home. When your project is complete, gather all the materials and keep them together in a dedicated file or in a project case.
  • Do you have projects or work assignments that need to be spread out over a large area? You may want to consider a large bulletin board or dry-erase board to mount project pages to. The dry-erase board can pull double duty by providing a surface for you to make lists or draw out plans and flow-charts.
  • If a lot of paperwork crosses your desk everyday, consider stacking trays for "hot" papers, "to-do" items, specific projects, etc. Use as many of these trays as needed but try not to be too specific with your categories. If you have too many files to look through, you'll get just as frustrated as you did with a desk piled with loose papers. Label your trays so you can find things quickly.
  • Keep active files immediately accessible so you can reach them without ever having to leave your seat. Desktop file holders come in many styles so choose one that fits with the layout of your desk. You should be able to grab a file with one hand without having to fumble with lids or latches.




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


Thursday, January 24, 2019

McCalls Kaumagraph Cross Stitch Transfers from 1941



Here is another great vintage find that we've added to our shop! It's a McCall Kaumagraph Transfer with 12 different cross stitch patterns.

A kaumagraph transfer is simply a type of transfer that uses a special ink with heat (such as an iron) and pressure to transfer the design to a textile. McCall seems to have offered a lot of different kaumagraph transfers in the 1940s for embroidery and, as is the case here, cross stitching.

This pattern set is from 1941. WOW! Think about it...that's 78 years ago! SEVENTY-EIGHT YEARS! I love visualizing someone back then using these patterns to decorate a handkerchief or pillow or towel...


This package comes with 2 transfers per design (the package originally came with 4 copies of each design). 10 to the inch crosses. Instructions are on the back of the envelope. Also includes instructions in French and Spanish on the inside of the envelope.

You can find this McCall Kaumagraph Transfer and other cross stitch patterns in our Etsy shop!



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 24: Your Office Layout

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 24 - Your Office Layout

Organized people tend to be more confident and productive. But being organized isn't just about having a specific place to put everything.

How efficiently you work may be directly related to the set-up of your office and your desk space. Your furniture, your desk accessories, your files, and even the contents and setup of each desk drawer can directly affect your productivity. Just a few minor changes may be all that is needed to boost your output.

Choose your office furniture carefully. Your desk and chair contribute directly to your comfort level.

Is your office set up so you can quickly get to things? Can you find a file, answer the phone, send an email, print out a report, and sharpen your pencil without ever having to stretch or leave your seat? Is your space comfortable? Does your office motivate you and make you WANT to get work done? If you answered "no" to any of these, it's time to make some necessary changes:

  • How many hours do you spend in your office chair at your desk everyday? Your desk and chair are the two most important furniture pieces in your office space. In fact, many times, they are the only pieces of furniture in your office. Your desk and chair contribute directly to your comfort level.
  • If you continually have people coming into your office, is it important that you and your desk both face the door? If you are facing away from the door, you will need to continually turn around to greet people. This can become very uncomfortable after awhile. Having your back facing visitors can also send the wrong message.
  • Keeping files across the room is fine if you don't have to access them often, but if you always need to get up to retrieve a file, get a filing cabinet that can sit next to (or under) your desk. You can even keep your most active files on your desktop in a file organizer or document holder so you can always reach them quickly.
  • If you have a window in your office, how does that affect you? Does the sun stream in and produce a glare on your screen? Or worse, is the sun shining into your eyes? A simple drape or some blinds would solve the problem and can be easily pulled back to let in light when the sun isn't so intrusive. If a window treatment is not an option, change the layout in your office to reduce or remove the troubles caused by your window.
  • Cables and cords have a way of tangling and disrupting. Keeping your cords and cables under control will make your office look cleaner and eliminate safety issues. Tame them with cord bundlers. An unnecessarily long cord on a floor lamp can be minimized with a cable turtle.
  • Check out the lighting available in your office. A couple of well-placed lamps could brighten up your work-space considerably.
  • Does your office have items that motivate you? Pictures, plants or some music may help to motivate you. Post an inspirational verse on your wall or monitor.
  • If you are constantly getting up to refill your coffee mug, get a coffee pot or Keurig and brew your favorite java at your desk.






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


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Vintage Christmas Package Tie-Ons


Here is another great Christmas item (I seem to find all the best Christmas goodies just after Christmas). This is a set of felt and glitter Christmas package tie-ons in their original retail packages!


There appears to be four embellishments per ribbon in 4 different designs; Bells, Christmas Trees, Santa and Stockings. They all have "Made in Japan" labels on them.


These would be so cute adorning Christmas gifts!


You can find these Christmas Package Tie-ons, as well as other vintage Christmas items, in our Etsy Shop.



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 23: The Organized Garage

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 23 - The Organized Garage

Garages tend to become the "default" storage place. How often have you thought, "If it doesn't fit elsewhere, I'll just put it in the garage." This works fine until you have no room left to store your car!

Wouldn't you like to use your garage as a garage?

Sometimes, it's easier to organize the garage once the rest of the house has been sifted through and sorted out. That way, when you get to the garage, you only have to figure out what you keep and where in the garage to put it. There are no other options! But organizing your garage doesn't have to wait. You can do it anytime and sooner is better than later.


Tools and gardening equipment can be easily and quickly organized using slatwall or pegboard. If you have an outdoor shed, that might be a better place than your garage to keep your gardening and yard tools.


Decide what really belongs in the garage...first and foremost, your car. It makes no sense to keep such a valuable, expensive possession as your car outside in the elements while miscellaneous stuff in random boxes is stored in its place in the garage.

Clear out the garage then pull your car into it and park. Now you can see what available storage space you have. Everything you keep must be able to fit in the space around your car. Once that rule is established, you can start:

  • Decide what items will stay in the garage, what items can be moved to a shed, and what will be discarded. Be careful about placing items in a storage shed that is not climate controlled. The items you store there should be able to withstand the climate extremes of your area - hot or cold.
  • Tools and gardening equipment can be easily and quickly organized using slatwall panels or pegboard. Both are wall mounted options and provide adjustable storage by attaching special hooks, brackets, baskets, and even shelves (sold separately). Power tools, carpentry tools, extension cords, and even sports equipment can be stored using slat wall or pegboard.
  • Shelving units and plastic storage containers are invaluable storage aids in the garage. They keep your belongings off the floor and protected from dirt, dust and moisture. Clear storage containers make it easier for you to see what's inside, but it is recommended you label everything anyway. We have multiple sets of older versions of these shelves and plastic storage containers and love them! So easy to put together, take apart, move, store, etc.
  • Create storage "zones" in your garage. You may want to have an area dedicated to seasonal storage, another for lawn & garden, one for paint, one for sports equipment, etc.
  • Sometimes the best place to find storage space, especially in a garage, is above your head. If you have high ceilings in your garage, install ceiling storage for plenty of long-term storage space.
  • Odd shaped or fragile sports equipment such as skis, bicycles, fishing poles and golf clubs can find safe out-of-the-way storage with special racks and holders.
When you're finished, you should have a neat, clean, and organized garage - with your car parked inside it. And just in case you still have a lot of stuff stored in the garage, you may want to get some parking guides to keep you from pulling into your garage too far.




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


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

31 Days to Organization - Day 22: Organized Cars = Safer Travel

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 22 - Organized Cars = Safer Travel

How much time do you spend in your car? Is it just a work vehicle? Do you transport your children in it? Do you travel a lot in your car for business or just run around town doing errands? It doesn't matter whether you spend several minutes in your car every day or several hours. Chances are, you have plenty of "car things" stashed away in it somewhere.

Keeping all your belongings organized and secure in a car is extremely important to your safety (as well as your sanity).
Keep a trash bag in your car for all the litter that inevitably appears. One with a velcro closure provides easy, one handed access and secures contents inside. 


Stop fumbling around for things you need while you drive! Once everything is organized, you quickly learn where everything is and can reach it without even looking (so you can keep your eye on the road ahead).

  • With a clothes bar, dry cleaning can arrive home just a fresh and wrinkle-free as it was when you left the cleaners. Easily removable when not in use.
  • Your personal items can be kept within easy reach in a driver's pocket. You won't have to fumble around in a center console or reach as far as the glove box to retrieve something.
  • Keep a trash bag in your car for all the litter that inevitably appears. Find one that secures to your car seat or console for added safety. Be sure to empty the trash bag periodically. Creating a regular time to do this is recommended (ie. Friday and Sunday nights).
  • Children can help themselves to games, toys, music and videos when everything is kept in a hanging car entertainment organizer. These pocket loaded organizers strap to the back of the front seat for quick and easy back-seat access.
  • How many maps could you possibly need on a daily basis? Get rid of all those out-dated maps from your cross country road trip and replace it with a single slim map of your city or town (or just one of your state is you usually travel farther distances on a daily basis).
  • Keep a "roadside emergency kit" in the trunk of the car. You can make one easily by filling a storage bin with: a first aid kit, jumper cables, a flashlight, batteries (for the flashlight), a poncho, bungee cord, duct tape, towels (one white), multi-purpose tool (with screwdrivers, pliers and scissors), extra fuses and extra fuses. A couple of blankets would be a good idea, too.
  • Keep items from sliding around in your trunk or cargo area with trunk organizers
Loose items strewn around your vehicle can be more dangerous to your safety than you may realize. In a car accident, those loose items can become powerful flying objects - even if a collision occurs at a lower speed. Keep your cargo secured - even items kept in the trunk should be retrained in some way to reduce the chances of it hitting the rear of the back seat.
  • Make full use of all the storage compartments your car provides. Use them for the garage remote, your sunglasses, cd's and spare change. Stash some tissues and a map in the glove box with your insurance and registration information and move your car manual to the under-seat drawer.
  • If you don't regularly need it in the car, move it elsewhere.
  • Many stereo speakers are installed with only the wires holding them in. Screw down any speakers you add to your car's stereo system.
  • Even pets should be restrained. "Pet Seat Belts" are becoming widely available at pet stores. It is for the safety of the pet and others in the vehicle.
  • For SUV's and wagons, consider installing a cargo barrier. It provides a barrier between you and unsecured cargo in the rear of the car. There are models available for many different car makes. You may decide to go with a safety net, instead. This option can be removed when not needed.




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


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"



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


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.