Saturday, December 27, 2008

Messy Dressing Room

Here's a question for you? After you're finished trying on clothes in a dressing room, do you hang up the clothes and return them to the attendant or do you leave everything in a jumble on the floor?

I'm always amazed at the messes I see when I go to try on clothes in department stores. What gives? Let's do our part to be organized shoppers and take care of the things we try on. I truly believe this helps to keep costs down.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Holiday Wishes

I'm going to be taking a brief hiatus from blogging for the Christmas break and will be back right after the holiday with more organizing ideas and preparing for January's Get Organized Month.

Enjoy these pictures of my holiday decorations and some friendly movie props saying "Merry Christmas" to you!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Plain White Bags Instead of Designer Store Bags

Here's an interesting article I saw today on the Daily Beast website on how the super rich are opting for plain white shopping bags to hold their purchases from such stores as Tiffany and Hermes so people won't see where they're shopping.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reducing toy clutter

Toy Chest Pictures, Images and Photos
Now is the time to go through the kids toys and get rid of the things they no longer play with, are broken or have pieces missing. When my daughter was younger, I always did this task when she was away at school so I could easily go through the jumble of toys without gettting sidetracked. When your kids are older, they can become a part of the decision making process. Let them know that there are other kids who aren't as fortunate as they are and let them decide what toys can go. Remind them that they will be getting new toys for the holidays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

End of Year Donations

As if you didn't already have enough to do the last few weeks of the year, take a little time out to gather together those items you have designated as donations and get them to the Goodwill/Salvation Army/Rescue Mission/etc. before the end of the year to get your tax deduction for 2008.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gift Giving

I just loved this daily quote from Real Simple Magazine:

A gift-giving virtue is the highest virtue.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

I think this quote says it all - it's a pleasure to give gifts any time of the year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

50% Off Select Elfa Products at The Container Store - Limited Time!

I just heard that The Container Store is offering select Elfa brand shelving products at up to 50% off due to overstocking. Click here to see what great products you can buy on SALE!

Saving Money by Not Buying Groceries - How'd I Do?

Well, I think I did great. I put a big dent in the freezer by using up a lot of frozen leftovers and meats as well as using up canned goods in the pantry.

I just may try this again next month and every month after that. A great way to put an extra bit of cash in your pocket.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Get Creative With Your Action Files

Action files are those files which you refer to on a daily basis. They include files for "bills to pay", "calls to make", "letters to write", and "pending". My action files are kept in a rectangular stand-up file that sits on top of my desk with my pastel colored Pendaflex files inside (labeled, of course).

I came across this creative way of displaying your action files and wanted to share it with you. If you have the wall space in your working area, you might want to try this fabulous idea from Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Start with four to six basic wooden clipboards. Cover each clipboard with a different decorative paper or wallpaper sample using decoupage glue. Smooth out any bubbles or uneven surfaces and cover the top with more decoupage glue.

Label each of the metal clips with your action file heading, hang them on the wall as you would picture frames, and you're good to go. I love this idea!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Flea Market Results - Not So Great

Well, the flea market is over and I have to say I was very disappointed in the end result. I spent well over a day cleaning, pricing and packing my items to sell and arrived at the flea market at 5:30 in the morning raring to go.

After setting up my booth, I settled down to wait for what I hoped would be a hoard of shoppers out to get some good deals rather than shop the stores this holiday season. I was sadly disappointed.

After 7 hours, I had made only $80 profit ($120 counting my $40 reservation fee). Not such a great use of my time, unfortunately.

So, in the future, I will be sticking to ebay even though I'm not so happy with their fees.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Jane Austen Had the Right Idea

Another great quote from Real Simple Magazine that really applies to how I feel:
There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.

— Jane Austen

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Flea Market Selling - Is it Still Profitable?

flea market. HEY HEY. Pictures, Images and Photos

About 10 years ago, I sold some collectibles at a local flea market. Business was slow and everywhere around me I heard the word "ebay" floating around. So, I decided to forego the flea market junket and sell only on ebay. I did pretty well for quite awhile but have recently noticed that ebays fees have risen so high that they're taking a good 8% of my sales in fees. Not so fun when you spend hours photographing, describing, listing, packing, driving to the post office, filling out customs forms, and also paying Paypal fees because you no longer want to wait for personal checks to clear the bank.... and on and on.

I will be trying my hand at flea market selling again this Sunday. Let's hope people will be shopping for holiday gifts this weekend - buying gently used items - sort of like "recycling" as it were.

I'll keep you posted....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Week for Saving Money

Today is Wednesday - day 3 of my "use up food that's in the house" week. Last month, I blogged about an article in Woman's Day magazine suggesting ways to save money by foregoing grocery shopping for one week (except for milk and produce) and, instead, using up what's in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.

I've been successful in this endeavor so far by being creative with leftovers from Thanksgiving, and dishes I've frozen over the last few months. I've still got 4 days to go but I'm confident I can do this! And the best part, is I've saved over $100 this week which will definitely go towards a happy holiday for my family.

I'll post in another few days on how we're doing.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Couch Doctor - You Learn Something New Every Day

I saw this article in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday and found out something I've never known before. There is actually someone out there who will cut your sofa in half, or in more pieces than that, if it can't fit into your home or apartment. His name is Sal Giangrande, otherwise known as "The Couch Doctor". He works in New York and helps people who can't fit their sofas down the long narrow hallways and into their New York apartments.

Now, if we could only find someone like that here in Los Angeles. Anyone out there know of someone?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Shelf Life of Spices

Spices Pictures, Images and Photos

I tend to use spices more during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. Sage for the Thanksgiving turkey, cloves and ginger for the pumpkin pie, not to mention spices for all those Christmas goodies we love to bake and the nutmeg for the eggnog.

The holidays are also the time I try and replace my spices with fresh ones. The shelf life of most common spices is 6 months to a year, at best.

According to Southern Living's Storage & Organizing Magazine, the 10 most common spices are:
bay leaves
cayenne pepper
chili powder
crushed rosemary
garlic powder
ground cinnamon
italian seasoning

I have to add oregano, parsley, ginger and curry to this list for me.

Store spices in a cool, dark, dry place, away from the stove and heat. Keep spices contained in their original jars with the lids screwed on tightly.

I try not to buy the larger sizes of spices unless I know I will use them frequently. Spices like allspice, cloves, sage, rosemary, cumin and cardomom come in convenient small containers which makes it easier to toss them when they get old. Watch for coupons in your Sunday paper to save on spices as well.