Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Updated with Tips: TOYS, TOYS and MORE TOYS…Here’s a Peak into My Toy Storage…

My friend Nicole who writes SKETCH42, a blog about fashion, style, food, art etc. reviewed a book written by Gretchen Rubin, called “The Happiness Project.” Her review really resonated with me. In fact, the review pretty much sums up why I started this blog to begin with.  Check out her review here: Book Review: The Happiness Project.

In the beginning of the book Rubin decides to tackle her clutter. As we all know from cleaning for Passover, clutter can invade our life as it detracts not only from our physical space, but from our mental clarity as well. Outer peace brings inner peace.  Rubin categorizes clutter into various categories, and begins to create a system to organize her chaos. As part of the process she encountered the challenge of TOYS, a challenge all too familiar to me. After some trial and error, and with inspiration from my oh-so-organized sister, Stefanie, I’ve managed to find a system that works.  Here it is for you to see! Stay Tuned for a detailed Tips & Tricks section on this one, where I will discuss my strategies.


While I am by no means the expert on toy storage or any storage for that matter, here is some of what trial and error has taught me:

1. Like with Like: Group building toys like legos and blocks together, art supplies with other crafts, books with books, puzzles with puzzles. This helps children utilize their toys optimally and it helps parents with inventory control!

2. Utilizing Corners: As you can see I have toys tucked away everywhere. Corners are a great bulk items and also those that you’d rather not stare at constantly.

3. Clear Boxes/Labels: The clear boxes/labels are great for messy/little items (crazy balls, crayons, figures etc.). The boxes also help children see what they have and make it easy for them to clean up after play. The labels help in truly giving everything a place. Even when the room looks like a tornado hit, clean up is a breeze.

4. Shelf-Spacing: In order to maximize storage space, assess what you aim to store, and then (if your storage furniture allows) adjust shelves accordingly. If you look at the photos I’ve provided you will see cars in a cabinet with each shelf stacked closely to the next. This allows me to fit more cars in that closet without piling them on top of each other. In the other closets, where the boxes are bigger, I have larger spacing between the shelves.

5. Accessibility: This is key! The toys are there for the kids to USE them. If they cannot access them, they are good for nothing. To achieve this, note how I used my coffee table to store baby toys as they are within her reach. Also note, the huge basket of balls and sports items for my son. Pamper accessibility is for me! I do not want to run upstairs or even into the next room to grab wipes and Pampers for each diaper change, this is why the box is right there with all of the toys! Also, note how items that we rarely use, (or want the kids to use!) are all the way on top of the cabinet.

7. Empty Space: I have found that leaving some space for future purchases helps with the clutter control.

6. Enhancing Play: They key to this is not to be OCD about toy storage, but it is all for the kids! They are the ones who should be getting the most fun and stimulation out of the toys. Making toys neat, easy to reach, simple, and not overwhelming really fosters the right play.

Hence, the BASKETBALL COURT in my DEN!!! Yes, my husband said I was crazy to drill that eye-sore into the wall, but I said, this is what life is about! My son will enjoy this day in and day out, what is more worth it than that?? And guess what, I was right! Sam plays basketball all the time! The court is so fun and “official” that even adults love to play on it. I even find myself asking Sam to play “5-3-1” from time to time.

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Check It Out: Plumprint.com

My sister-in-law Frieda sent me this from the Daily Candy. (All Cities – DailyCandy). It is an idea for what to do with children’s artwork. We spoke about this a few weeks ago, and this looks really cool.

At a website, Plumprint.com they take your children’s artwork and turn it into a photo book with digital images. Check it out here: Plum Print – The simple solution for storing and preserving kids’ artwork. Thanks Frieda!

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Kitchen Tip

My friends and family really love my banana bread, carrot cake, and pumpkin bread. They are healthy, all-natural, and delicious; some like these as breakfast with a hot cup of coffee, while other fans snack on them. At first I tried them in muffins, but they were coming out too dry, so I transitioned to loaf pans, but this was not time efficient, as each week I would have to make a new batch of cakes so that they would be available all week long. Sooo, I came up with this:

When they are cooled, the mini cakes are stored individually in ziploc bags and sent straight into the freezer for maximum freshness, like so…

Enjoy this tip!

Oh and by the way, thus far this recipe is top-secret; who knows maybe I will sell these one day…

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OHIO

Only Handle It Once...I love it…Thanks Stefanie!

Only Handle It Once means that when something comes to your attention, a school project, a piece of mail, and invitation, etc. you are to decide then and there what you will be doing with it. School project-into the bin, invitations stored into iPhone (or any other mobile calendar) and then discarded or saved (depending on who it is from!)

I believe OHIO should be a motto to live by, as it will certainly keep reminding all of us that if it doesn’t get done now it isn’t getting done! (that I learned from my friend Gloria)

 

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Aim 1: Day 5: Progress Report…/My “Junk” Drawer

So today was all about the kitchen drawer AKA the “junk drawer.” Most of us have that one drawer in the kitchen designated to miscellaneous, and it really is difficult to keep it in order. I threw away some packing slips from online orders, a receipt, rubberbands, and some random already written on- but likely never viewed- post it notes. In all honesty, it wasn’t much, and here’s why:

A look into my “junk drawer”

1. The plastic boxes are from The Container Store. They call it their accessory box, and it costs $1.69/box (a small price to play for the ultimate in clutter control). I also use them for crayons, puzzles without boxes, playing cards, wires/chargers, pretty much anything!

2. The 2 small boxes in front are OXO pop-up containers. They came free with the 10- piece- set, and are usually too small to store food items so I shifted them to here. (FIND A USE FOR EVERYTHING!- or scrap it!)

3. The yellow lidded jar is an apothecary jar available on amazon.com. (Apothecary/GMS Vitamin Dispenser – 6 Sections). It has 6 sections and you can rotate the lid to access each group of vitamins. It also comes with labels. I use it to store vitamins (an idea I got from my mother-in-law). It saves time as there’s no need to open and close several vitamin bottles each time I take vitamins. It also eliminates clutter, as the vitamin bottles can be discarded (sometimes there is not enough room in the apothecary jar for all of the vitamins, so I leave the bottle in a cabinet, a bit higher up, not hogging so much valuable kitchen real-estate!). The jar costs $9.95. It is available on Amazon Prime.

By the way, I believe Amazon Prime membership is vital to living in a more minimalist lifestyle because:

1. It saves time, no need for a store.

2. It saves money, great prices.

3. It controls the impulse to stock up at Target, Costco, or anywhere for that matter, because items are just a click away.

Are you an Amazon Prime Member? Do you use subscribe and save? Let me know if you agree…

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School Projects

Thank you everyone for your great ideas regarding what to do with school projects. Using your ideas, I’ve compiled a reference list for the Tips & Tricks, section of goneminimalist.com.

School Projects:

1. Each child should have a storage box labeled with his/her name on it. When the child arrives home from school, projects can be viewed and placed into the box.

Projects can be:

1. Framed.

2. Photographed and then labeled (child’s name, year, holiday).

3. Photographed with the child holding the project, and then labeled.

4. Labeled, and stored in a storage container for the future.

5. Disposed of (with caution!).

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A peak into my kitchen continued…

Yesterday I gave you some kitchen tips and tricks. Today is more about using your time in the kitchen more efficiently, so I thought I would introduce you to my coffee/tea nook, and my banana bread/baking nook.

Take a look:

In the first picture you are viewing my kitchen countertop. I leave those items out because I use them every day. From 6 am until 10 am the sugar, coffee, and tea are being used by someone in the household. Leaving this out helps because:

1 Easy Access: I reach for tea more than once a day, and to have to bend over and pull it out each time would be annoying and inefficient. 

2. Aesthetics/Neatness: The jars add ambience and character and warmth to my kitchen (at least I think so!),  and they also prevent instant coffee jars, tea boxes, and sugar from being left out sloppily.

Underneath the first picture is the cabinet that is located exactly underneath the countertop space you just viewed. I leave the bulk sugar, coffee, tea, etc. down there because I use it all so much. My food cabinets are all located on the other side of my kitchen, near the dining table- way too far to go every single time I want to brew a pot of coffee or grab a cup of tea! Remember make things easy and efficient.

On the same note, I also created a banana bread/baking nook, because I found myself getting lazy to make cakes when it involved going to the other side of the kitchen, collecting all of my ingredients, dragging them back to the counter…you get the picture…I decided that if I could find a small shelf closer to my sink and oven, to store ONLY the ingredients I need for baking my staple items, it would encourage me to do a lot more. Here it is:

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