Archives for April 2012

Letting Go of The Big Hair From The 80’s

Today is the day we gather all of the hair dryers, straightening irons and curling irons in the house.

Your question:

When was the last time I used each one of these?

I Look Good…

When I go through old photographs I am always amused by the decades of different hair styles. How can you not love the big hair of the 80’s? I think that is when I first bought all of the different sizes of curling irons and hot curlers. Then they came out with the straightening iron because curl was out. Hair dryers are a necessity but I honestly don’t remember those growing up. Then of course we all needed the miniatures of everything for when we were traveling.


Most of this stuff is kept under the bathroom sink, in a bathroom drawer or maybe in your closet. If they haven’t caught on fire they are probably still there. One thing to consider is safety. If you have little ones around or grand-kids that come to visit nothing looks more inviting than a plug to stick into the wall. How many of us over the years have burnt ourselves on that darn curling iron? Cords get old and wires pop out not to mention the build up of hair, lent and fuzz that again can be a fire hazard.


If you travel you will know first hand there are hair dryers in almost every hotel room in the world. If it isn’t in the room the front desk usually has one. And besides unless you have the right plugs for that country  your hair dryer won’t work.

Truth be told, most of my hair appliances have not been used in years and it was time to be ruthless and let go. I kept my newer hair dryer and a  little  5 curler travel pack and it’s now time to say goodbye to the rest of it.

Check out some safety tips

As Seen on TV

How do they do it? Convincing thousands of people everyday they can’t live without it is impressive.

If you are an early riser like me you know exactly what I am talking about. Getting up early has always been my thing. Like most of you I check my email, get a cup of coffee and turn on the TV for that background noise that is so comforting. I start with the news but usually there is nothing new so I click away only to find infomercials and a few other old shows.

I Came Up With That Idea Years Ago…

When did infomercials start? Whoever thought of it was a genius and I am sure he or she got really rich because there are hundreds of them selling away with phones ringing off the hooks to buy the latest and the greatest.

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How Long Do Spices Last?


Do spices last forever?



Growing up I thought spices lasted forever. After all, my mom and grandma had the same spices in their cupboards for years. My mom, and her mom, and her mom’s mom  cooked the best meals ever, and the only spices I remember them using were salt, pepper, seasoning salt and cinnamon.

Doing research on this subject wasn’t hard. There are zillions of cooking websites and blogs that discuss everything to do with cooking. Full disclosure…I am not a cook. Yes I have cooked meals for my family for many years and now that I work full time my favorite isle in the grocery store is the frozen food isle but occasionally I get brave and cook something new and different.

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What To Do With Old T-Shirts

Have you ever wondered what to do with old t-shirts? The weather is changing. It’s spring, and will soon be summer. Summertime is t-shirt time, so let’s pull out our t-shirts and make some hard decisions. After a quick count I am shocked that I have 27. Some I’ve received as gifts, others I bought as a reminder that I was in a certain state or country, and several were prizes from events.

Organizing Is a Process

This is a good example of organizing and decluttering being a process. I know I have gone through my closet hundreds of times and yet I have so many clothes that I don’t wear. They are good clothes but there are only so many days in the year and unless I changed several times a day I couldn’t possibly wear them all. Even truer with my t-shirts because I only wear them on weekends or when I am working in the garden.

So lets’ start.

Step 1.

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Necessity is The Mother of All Invention

Remember in the Sound of Music (my favorite movie), when Fraulein Maria made play outfits out of old curtains, because the kids didn’t have play clothes? Or when your little boys wanted to play Cowboys and Indians and needed guns, bows and arrows so they went around and gathered twigs and little branches and made pretend ones?

Necessity is the mother of all invention – Plato

One summer during the 60’s  a bunch of us girls got out our Barbie Dolls and decided we would set up a big Barbie town.

The Problem

No one had the Glam Vacation House, Beach House, Dream House, Barbie Camper, Princess Charm School, the Grill to Chill Patio Set, the Puppy Water Park or the Fairytale Glitterizer.

The Solution

Cardboard Shoe Boxes and Markers

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The Rummage Sale that Changed My Ways Forever

There are many game changers in life. Some big like marriage or the birth of a baby. Events like bankruptcy or the loss of a business will change your financial life no doubt. As you look back at your life there may have been an event that didn’t seem very important at the time but you now see the effects.

When it comes to decluttering, there have been several events that have impacted my thoughts and behaviors. One of the events that brought clarity to me was a rummage sale that I was in charge of back in the mid 80’s.

How Can We Raise Some Money?

There were a bunch of us that were involved in a non-profit organization. Like most non-profits you are always trying to raise money. Everything from bake sales to fashion shows. During one of our brain storming sessions someone had the great idea of a rummage sale.

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The Cost of Clutter

There is a show on TV that films auctions at public storage places. I’ve watched only a few of those shows and am always shocked with what the highest bidder ends up with. Back in the 60’s my family moved to a suburb of Los Angeles. The population was 7,000 and as far as I can remember there was not one storage place in the whole town. Fast forward 5 decades and there are storage units everywhere. What changed?

Why do we have more stuff now than we did then? Are we happier with more stuff? What is the cost of clutter?

What’s Your Reason?

There are good reasons to store our belongings. Just last year my mom moved and had to store stuff for two months until she could move it all into her new house. I had a son who, while on deployment had to store his belongings. Even my own family paid for storage while we were out of the country for several years. But you have to wonder, how much money is paid to store junk that we will never use.

The truth is when we came back and emptied our storage unit much of it ended up in the trash or the goodwill. I could kick myself for not getting rid of some of it earlier but we really didn’t know how long we would be out the country so we kept it.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

There are great bargains and eye catching signs out there like.. first month free or first month of storage for $1.oo. Again, sometimes it is necessary, but we all know much of what is stored will never be used by anyone.

Storage can be tricky as well. We stored things like pillows and blankets and clearly didn’t know how to pack away because when we unpacked the smell was not good. The money that we could have saved by not storing could have furnished an entire house of new stuff.

Just look around your neighborhood and see how many cars can’t pull into the garages because it is cluttered with stuff. We build and buy larger homes that cost a lot of money because of this illusion that we need more space to hold more stuff that we don’t use or need.

Whether you pay for outside storage or not you are paying for space. Your mortgage, your rent or your storage bill. Maybe it is time to rethink what you are storing.

Remember it all costs money.

Free Lipstick With Purchase

It is hard to pass up free. Everyone I know likes the price of free. How many free lipsticks are in your bathroom drawer? It is time to dump your makeup drawer or make up bag out on the counter. Include make up from you bathroom medicine cabinet and car glove compartment as well.

Divide and Conquer

Let’s start. Separate your lipsticks, mascaras, liners, eye shadows, face make up, touch up sticks, fingernail polish, bobby pins, nail files, lotions, creams, scissors, and bar soap from the hotel.

Next, we need to consider possible health hazards. Most experts will tell you there is an expiration date to makeups and lotions. There of course it the smell test. You know the smell of rancid. If you smell that, then throw it out.

Protect Your Eyes from Infection

Mascara is always the one to be most concerned with because of eye infections. Keep 3 to 6 months. If the mascara wand is dry when you pull out then it is time to toss.

Powders and eye shadows could possibly last 2 to 3 years but honestly, if you have an eye shadow from 3 years ago you clearly don’t like the color. Unless you are saving the bright blue eye shadow for that 70’s party we talked about then toss them.

if you have an eye shadow from 3 years ago you clearly don’t like the color.

Base Makeup

  • Water base – 12 months
  • Oil base – 18 months

Most women I know have kept some longer than that because of the different shades we use during winter and summer. Unless you are super organized and somewhat of a minimalist you probably have several bottles. Or you have poured from one glass bottle into the other and there is no way to know how old the stuff is, so at least do the smell test and then narrow it down. A couple of bottles should suffice for the year.

Unless you run a makeup studio, every women I know has too much. There is no way they will be able to use all of it within a reasonable time. Save yourself some money and next time they offer free gift  with purchase, give it a pass. I promise that free deal will come along again before you know it. Ignore it, because you will have already bought three new shades by then (unless you keep reading my site).


Now lets talk lipsticks. Of all of the makeup, lipsticks seem to last the longest, about 3 years. I know my aunt has lipsticks from 15 years ago and they still work. So when they say a shelf life of  3 years, I think it is because of health reasons.

No one has more lipsticks than my sister. She has every color, every shade, shiny and not shinny.  Several times a year we go through all of them and she keeps a few. It’s amazing how they accumulate so fast. She is happy to take the lipsticks from my mom’s free gifts and I too am happy to give her from my gifts. I’m not so sure we are doing her any favors but my mom and I love the opportunity to give them to her.

Keep only what you use. Get rid of old make up.

Less is Always More

Clean out the drawer. If you organized your makeup today and didn’t throw out any of it then something didn’t work. The point is to narrow it down. Streamline your makeup.

Keep it really simple, it will save time and money.


Like Items With Like Items

How long would it take you to find a paper clip or a rubber band in your house? Would you know exactly where to go or would you have to open every drawer including the glove compartment in your car?

This tip will save you not only time but money.

One of my jobs now is keeping an office building organized. The company has close to 50 employees with 14 of those behind computers.  I can easily estimate that hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper pass through their hands every month. Every station has what it needs to do a good days work and the rest of the supplies are stored away all over the building.

Sometimes OCD is a Good Thing

Several years ago, Nancy was hired. She quickly confessed to me that she was obsessive compulsive about organizing and cleaning. Every company should be so lucky to have a Nancy. One day our expensive order of envelops with the company logo arrived. She went to find places to store them and opened up a cupboard that had been sealed shut with spider webs. To her surprise it was stuffed with envelopes with the company logo. We don’t know how long they had been there but we were certain there were roach eggs along the glue strip.

She put her foot down and announced to everyone in the building;

From now on  “Like items with like items”

One of the Ten Commandment’s of Organizing

I’m not sure who coined this phrase but it is one of the ten commandments in organizing. You will save yourself a lot of irritation if you use this technique. It makes perfect sense. You wouldn’t  keep a spatula in your underwear drawer would you?

Think logically. Everything used for cooking is kept in the kitchen. Everything you wear is kept in the bedroom not on top of the couch. If you have an office space or corner then keep paper supplies, stapler, tape, stamps, pens and pencils in that space and not in the bathroom. You get the idea.

Nancy and I continue to keep that office organized and everyone benefits.

Remember it is a process. Make it fun!


Organizing Can Save a Life

March 18 – 24, 2012 was National Poison Prevention Week. I happened to catch an article online warning Grandparents about how many calls Poison Control Centers get everyday with possible poisonings from Grandparents medication.

In 201o close to 4 million calls were made to centers around the country. In children about 40% of poisonings were from medications and the other 60% were household products. Poisoning is the 4th leading cause of death among children. is a site with lots of good information to prevent that from happening.  I will have my own grandson here soon so now is a good time to declutter and organize not only the medicines around the house but cleaning supplies as well.

Understand How to Deal with Poisons… Call Poison Control

My family has first hand experience when it comes to poisoning. In 1966 my little sister was in a neighbors garage  and swallowed  pool acid. One of the neighbor boys saw a coke bottle that had been filled with pool acid and handed it to her.

They said before giving IPECAC, call a poison control center.

The acid burnt her throat, mouth and baby teeth, not when she swallowed it but when she threw it up.

She survived but has had problems as a result of that accident.  We made hundreds of trips through out the years to and from the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.  First we were told she would not survive, but she did.  Then we were told she would not ever be able to talk, but believe me, she can talk.

Take Action

So now is the time to organize your medicines and cleaning supplies.

Let’s start with expiration dates. Most of our houses end up with all sorts of half used medicines. Gather old medicines and take them to your local pharmacy.

Keep the medicines you use in their correct bottles. We think we will remember but sometimes we don’t.

Keep out of reach for children!

Last time my grandson was here he saw my husbands blue shiny cough drops by the side of the bed and could not resist. Crawl around like a 2 year old and see what they see.

Cleansers and Detergents

It’s amazing how many bottles we have under every sink.  The pink, yellow and blue liquids in those bottles look a lot like kool-aid. If you have kids around remember there are so many options out there that are safe. Even if they are safe it is a good practice to keep up high. You really don’t want baking soda all over your carpet, do you?

Spring is a good time to get rid of old medicines and cleaning supplies.

Cleaning and organizing could save someones life this year!