If you’re like me, you are probably doing a fair amount of online shopping this time of year.
Although I always make sure to spend an afternoon at my local boutiques to find unique gifts, online shopping helps streamline some of the holiday purchases.
Just make sure that when you check out online you’re not adding to your post-holiday email clutter by accidentally subscribing to promotional emails. Online stores really try to hide those check boxes now (and are they getting smaller or are my eyes getting worse?). If you forget to un-check them, you’ll automatically be signed up to receive a slew of email solicitations.
Yes, some of the offers can be good, but do you really need to shop as frequently as the stores think you do? You can always find those same offers through www.retailmenot.com or a Google search.
So don’t forget to un-check the promotional emails box when you check out online.
This Thursday is Thanksgiving, and there are plenty of magazine articles, blogs, and websites that will give you all kinds of tips on how to have a perfectly organized and stress-free (are those things mutually exclusive?) Thanksgiving.
I won't try to duplicate those efforts, but instead my simple advice is this:
Remember to give thanks this Thanksgiving!
In the midst of all the cooking, conversing, and consuming, take just a moment to write down, say aloud, or list in your head the blessings you've been given this year. No matter what else happens that day, you'll have truly celebrated Thanksgiving Day.
P.S. My favorite practical tip for easing the Thanksgiving workload? Peapod online grocery shopping and delivery service so I don't have to fight the crowds at the store!
With Thanksgiving fewer than two weeks away, it's time to whip your pantry, fridge, and freezer into shape.
You'll need to make space for the holiday staples you'll stock up on, the cookies you'll freeze, and the leftovers the big meals create.
This is the perfect time to use up all those items that might be close to their expiration dates or those canned goods you bought thinking, "This might be good to have on hand."
Step 1: Quickly sort through your fridge and pantry, tossing anything that's past the expiration date. Check those condiments!
Step 2: Get creative and come up with meals based on whatever is left that you want to use up.
Sites like Allrecipes and Supercook that allow you to search for recipes based on ingredients you have can be a big help.
For the next week or so, try to shop only for perishables (e.g. milk, eggs, vegetables) to round out the meals that you'll make with all those pantry finds.
Need help coming up with ideas? Here's my fancy-ish take on tuna noodle casserole (no noodles) that my family loves, even though my kids don't like canned tuna served any other way. It uses up canned tuna and frozen peas. As long as you keep the butter, flour, milk, and eggs the same, everything else is flexible and you can vary the ingredients and quantities to suit your needs.
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence or other herbs that you like (dill is yummy)
1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmesan, cheddar, gruyere, swiss, or a combination)
2 cans of tuna (Best if packed in water, but whatever you have will work.)
about 1/2 bag of frozen peas, thawed (or canned if that's what you have)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Butter a 1-quart souffle or casserole dish.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour and blend until smooth and cook over low heat until golden. While whisking butter and flour, add the milk all at once. Stir constantly and cook until thick. Add salt, pepper, and herbs. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add cheese, tuna, and thawed peas. Stir to combine. Add cooled milk mixture and stir. Pour into buttered dish and bake 30-40 minutes until eggs are set and top is puffed and golden.
Serve immediately. Souffle will fall a little, so don't worry about that. It's great with a simple green salad and some French bread.
Yes, you read that right. I'm not telling you to reach for the stars or aim for the highest peak, I'm saying your goal is to be average…at least when it comes to your housekeeping, and probably more than a few other things too.
Are you struggling with clutter and disorganization? Do you feel as if dealing with your stuff rules your life? You might think that, as an organizer, the goal I would set for you would be to get rid of it all and be a minimalist. Absolutely not!
Think of it this way, would a doctor tell an obese patient that her goal is to become anorexic? No way! Being excessively underweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight. The goal is to attain and maintain an average, healthy weight.
This is the same with your housekeeping and decluttering. While a few people today are embracing a minimalist lifestyle, that's not for everyone and can be just as burdensome as having too much. For example, some minimalists keep a list of their possessions and restrict them to a specific number. Doesn't that seem a bit obsessive? Isn't stuff still ruling their lives?
The goal for your home should be to create a comfortable, livable space that contains the things you need and love, expresses your (or your family's) unique personality, and is easy to maintain.
In other words, an average home.
Sounds like home sweet home to me.