Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble Gobble Toil and Trouble

Today’s Holiday Tip: Setting the menu without it going a-fowl…

Planning ahead.
Pick plenty of recipes you can make ahead of time and pull out of the
fridge at the last minute. Wow your friends with variety and recipes like this Sweet & Spicy Mixed Nuts.

Spiced nuts Recipe

Don’t sweat it.
Choose recipes with quick cooking times, or cold salads. One stove burning around the clock with lots of people in the house makes for a very unpleasant Thanksgiving, as well as a moist, frantic host.

Kale Salad Recipe

Take all the glory.
Make the Big Bird and let the guests bring the rest. Who cares if you
can’t do it all? You work hard all year long and this day should be a
vacation for you, too. Don’t try to do too much. You’ll enjoy the day much

The path less traveled.
Watching your weight? Do something radical. Plan a family hike or bike ride.
Volunteer at a food bank or a shelter. Who says you have to have
can-shaped cranberries and overstuff your face with turkey and green
bean casserole?

Happy Holidays!

Nicole & Julia

Monday, November 23, 2009

Here come the holidays!

Holiday advice can be overwhelming. Throughout the next month we will give you easy and concise things to keep in mind that will help you maintain your holiday composure.

Today’s Tips: How to KEEP the JOY in giving gifts

Spread out your holiday shopping over the whole year. When you travel or see something that is right for your friend or Mom, why wait? Get it then.
By the time the holiday comes…you have several things ready to give not to mention, you won’t be strapped for cash having spent an extra lump sum in one month on presents.

Be sure to create a dedicated space (box, shelf or drawer) for “gifts” so they don’t create clutter, and/or get lost, damaged, or used by someone other than the intended recipient. Establish a place for these future gifts and always put them in their place as you bring them home.

The KIT.
Scissors, wrapping paper, labels, tissue paper, bows and ribbon should all be kept in one place. The size of the storage depends on how often you wrap gifts. If you are a once a year wrapper then a simple shopping bag will do. Or, you can purchase a “gift wrap center.” Here are three examples available at The Container Store:

This last one is the big winner because you should always choose VERTICAL storage if you can. This saves the most space.

Start wrapping presents the second you get them home. Wrapping presents can be the most time consuming thing you do this season. Don’t procrastinate. A little bit every day will save you LOADS of time.

SAVE MONEY & Be Unique.
Use unconventional wrapping paper.

-Subway/Road/Country maps
-Newspaper (then paint on it!)
-Old T-shirts (cut in strips and weave them together, or just wrap the shirt around)
-Good ol’ aluminum foil
-Extra fabric you have saved

Order every gift online and choose “gift wrap”. Most online retailers offer a gift wrapping service for an extra fee. If you have the cash and not the time…you could be done with all of your shopping and wrapping in just an hour or two.

Happy PRE-holidays,

Nicole & Julia

Friday, November 13, 2009

It’s time to clean the pantry.

Have you ever purchased a can of black beans only to get home and look deep in the depths of your pantry to find out you already have two cans already?

It happens to everyone. Let’s change that!

Today’s tip: Use unique products and organizing tools to make your pantry work for you.

Get the Ball Rolling

First follow these steps…

1. Take everything out of your pantry.

2. Clean everything and line the shelves with contact paper. This makes cleaning easier down the road and a clean pantry is a pest-free pantry.

3. Group like items together on your counter or table. This makes putting things back in easier and creates order. Don’t just think “grains”, “canned food” and “pasta” when grouping; make groups like “Kids After School Snacks” and “Easy One Pot Meals”.

4. Check expiration dates on EVERYTHING and throw away anything expired.

NOW...let's get to organizing.

Use Your Space Wisely:

Think UP.
A double stack lazy susan is a great way to increase your vertical space and still see what you have.

Think UNDER.
Put a basket under your shelf. This picture doesn’t have food in it, but imagine if all your pasta was up out of the way, not getting smashed behind and under cans and boxes.

How about using a pull down spice rack? Those tiered racks are great for seeing the spices but how practical is it for USING the spices? This is one of the most amazing tools we’ve seen to date.

Label the Contents:

Shoe boxes are great and if you cover them with contact paper that you used on your shelves it makes for a MUCH neater cabinet. Or if you want to get fancy, purchase some boxes with a very clear labeling system.

Put large labels on the boxes so there is no mistake by anyone in your household about where things “live” in the pantry.

Think AHEAD.
If you are hosting a big holiday or dinner party you might want to think in advance about what you have or need to purchase. Place a sticky note that lists the ingredients of what you are making on the outside of a new box. As the days go by, you assess what you have and place what items you already have in the box then strike through what you have. When it’s time to go shopping, simply take the note with you and buy what’s left!

Keeping it tidy:

Use the inside of your cabinet doors! Today there exists many technologically advanced paints that you can apply to the inside of your cabinets. There is a magnetic paint we are absolutely crazy about that will allow you to hang magnetic hooks or put up recipes. Or you can use chalk board paint which will allow you to write shopping lists and reminders. The same goes for dry-erase board paint. These are amazing, fun to use and show off, and we encourage their use!

Now that you are organized AND have a handy surface inside your cabinet for notes, put up a cleaning schedule for the pantry 4 times a year, repeat the steps 1-4 listed at the top.

Make sure to include people in your house when labeling items and cleaning out so that it isn’t just the “weight of the pantry” on your shoulders.

Don't forget to come see us LIVE for FREE Organizing ideas and address your own clutter issues!

782 Union Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues in Park Slope)
Come hear Nicole speak about getting your space organized for a much better you. She will be joining personal trainer Aja Davis in discussing overall wellness.

Ellis Bar
627 5th Ave (between 17th and 18th Streets in Park Slope)
Join us to discuss your clutter and hear innovative ways to get started on your most pressing projects.

Nicole & Julia

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Let’s start at the very beginning…that’s a very good place to start…

Do you sometimes look at the mess and clutter and think "how in the heck do I even begin?" Sure, reading blog tips about how to organize your home is great, but what if you have a really big problem and you can’t even imagine how you can accomplish it all.

Today’s tip: Do one thing today, a small thing

If you look around your house and your heart beats fast and your breath gets short and your world starts to close in…step back and BREATHE. Life is not going to come to an end if your house does not run like clockwork. Keep reading and let’s learn how to slowly begin the process of building a more efficient home and a more calm serene you.

The best thing to do is to start small, start with ONE drawer. Sure, you can dive right into that walk in closet but you will most likely run out of steam very quickly without a game plan.

We at Genius Organizing are HUGE fans of the organized drawer. Why, because its one small thing that can be accomplished in under 20 minutes. In the overwhelming world of organizing your home, you must have victories along the way or else you will never see the forest for the trees.

Once you organize that ONE drawer and really create a designated place for everything that should go in that drawer, it is infinitely easier to keep it maintained.

For this example we are going to use your sock drawer. Why? Because everyone has one and it almost always contains the same ingredients. There are three ways you can go about organizing a drawer.

1. LABEL it, just a little bit: This is the part where we are going to talk about labels again. In the theater, a prop master will often create a table covered with butcher paper divided with tape lines to create boxes like a large grid. Then each box will have the name of the designated prop written in. You can do the same thing in the bottom of a drawer.

2. DIVIDE and conquer: Purchase a divider, either one that creates the little boxes for you or one that creates long lines or a diamond shape for little things. You can’t go wrong with one of these items but MAKE SURE you measure your drawer before purchasing anything or else that divider will find its way to the “someday I’ll return this pile”.

Here's a before and after drawer as well as different divider options.

3. RE-PURPOSE, reuse, and recycle: Take those old shoe boxes and gift boxes you have and configure them inside the drawer any way you like. Again, you will need to write the items that go in each box on the bottom of the box, but it also gives you a chance to try out one configuration and then another easily. OR take the “socks box” with you over to the sofa while you are folding laundry and watching the telly. Then you can easily pop the “socks box” right back into the drawer!!

Just a reminder, TONIGHT, come see us live at Solas Bar for a FREE "Meet Up" Organizing Workshop. Hope to see you there!

Also, check out our ad in The "L" Magazine:

Nicole & Julia