Prepping for Thanksgiving Day Dinner

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thanksgiving meal

 Must-have kitchen gadgets for a Thanksgiving feast

Ready or not, here comes Turkey Day — AND your hungry family. If you have been honored with the task of hosting Thanksgiving, make it easy on yourself by investing in the proper tools.

  • Electric knife: I know it seems goofy, but this Electric Knife from Cuisinart will make it super simple to cleanly slice up your bird or ham come the big day. Carving a turkey can be a real chore, but this handy blade takes the guess work and grunt work out. It comes with a solid hardwood stand and handle storage so you can keep it properly stored and it will be like-new every year. Switch between the two stainless steel blades, designed for carving meat and bread respectively. A safety button and a four foot cord makes this electric knife user-friendly and safe for everyone.
  • Meat thermometer: You won’t overcook the turkey when you check it with this digital thermometer. This speed-read models gives you accurate readings in 8 seconds or less in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. Pre-programmed settings for veal, beef, pork, chicken and fish give you at-a-glance readings for rare, well-done, and other degrees of cooking. It’s great for the grill or the oven.
  • Food chopper: Chop veggies for your stuffing, pecans for pie, garlic to spice up your potatoes and much more with this easy hand chopper by Cuisinart. The plastic base allows you to chop without the addition of a cutting board. The covered design also keeps you hands out of the way, so you can cut and dice without worrying about slicing your fingers. This safe, easy to clean (throw it in the dishwasher!) and user-friendly chopper is a great addition year-round. Plus it’s on sale at a super-affordable price.
  • Food processorBlendtec: Cut your prep time in half with a Blendtec. Blendtec’s have the most powerful motors on the consumer market, plus they replace most of your other kitchen appliances. Chop and puree’ foods plus make nut butters, smoothies, and other foods (hot or cold). An early holiday gift is sure to make preparing food for all those winter holidays easier.


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12 Reasons You Keep Clothes You Never Wear (and What to Do About It)

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12 Reasons You Keep Clothes You Do Not Wear

12 Reasons You Keep Clothes You Never Wear (and How to Get Rid of Them)

1. You lost weight or gained weight and are anticipating a significant change in your size (it happens – when you make it happen).

2. You were inebriated or in a fugue state while you were shopping. What were you thinking? You hate that color and there’s no sleeves and yet, you never show your arms…

3. Your hormones were raging and you thought it looked sexy at the time, and now you’re having doubts.

4. Someone “gifted” you the hideous garment and you feel guilty (while simultaneously hating it), so it hangs there and continually makes you feel bad while hogging valuable real esate in your closet and drawers.

5. It reminds you of something, an event, a date, a special someone, and yet, it is now out of style.

6. Plaid just doesn’t fit into your professional wardrobe, but you were overcome with a feeling of nostalgia for the Bay City Rollers that Saturday at the outlet mall, plus the schoolgirl skirt was on special.

7. You know that glitter toe socks will have a third big moment when you are in your fifties or sixties, as they have already had two major showings. Meanwhile, they suck up nine valuable, cubic inches in your sock drawer.

8. Your best friend persuaded you to buy it because she liked it, and you were feeling particularly vulnerable, needy and/or impulsive that day.

9. You simply ARE really a compulsive shopper, and the evidence is stuffed in your closet. It’s okay. Admitting it is part of the healing…

10. Studded leather was really hot when you were in college, but you no longer have the courage to wear it indoors or out (or the red dog collar).

11. The dressing room mirror was the distorted, tricky, skinny type and didn’t correspond to your home mirror, i.e., it looked better in the store.

12. You bought it for the special event that never happened and never will.

So now you’ve identified the cause for hanging onto the burdensome garment, so here’s what to do next:

1. Donate to Goodwill.

2. Pass it on to your younger sister, brother, or special someone.

3. Give it to someone you don’t like (Marie Kondo won’t like this).

4. Toss it (this is not the eco-friendly thing, necessarily).

5. Recycle it, but this means it’s still taking up cubic inches in your home. Example, underwear and socks make great dust rags and a sweater can be upcycled into a tube top for your tablet. Or… better to just do number 4, actually.

You’re welcome.

Love,
Clutter Control Freak
shopping

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Stacks and Stacks Integrated Into Organize-It Site

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Organize-It Incorporates STACKSANDSTACKS.COM into ORGANIZEIT.COM

Longtime Homeware and Organizing E-Commerce Site Folded into Organize-It

ROCHESTER HILLS, MI – Organize-It, the online storage and organization retailer, has folded the homeware site stacksandstacks.com into organizeit.com. The Stacks and Stacks site, purchased by Organize-It in 2014, enjoyed a long run online as one of the internet’s premiere organizing and home goods sites. The recent decision to incorporate Stacks into organizeit.com was based on a desire to provide a better shopping experience by consolidating all products into one website.

“Cutting out some online marketing, streamlining site maintenance, and centralizing the shopping experience is expected to both reduce costs and increase revenue for Organize-It,” remarked GM Chris Nylen. The transition should be seamless to Stacks and Stacks shoppers as they will be automatically transferred to a corresponding page on the Organize It site when they go to any Stacks URL. Most customers were already aware that Stacks had become an Organize-It property. “Since the asset acquisition, maintaining the additional site had become burdensome,” continued Nylen.

Nylen added, “The move will have no adverse impact on shoppers as products will be processed, packed, and shipped using the same personnel and services. The biggest benefit to consumers is that nearly 8000 additional products have been added to organizeit.com, meaning customers will have many more choices in one convenient location. This brings the product count for organizeit.com to nearly 25,000, making it a site worth visiting when shopping for storage, organization or homeware products.”

About Organize-It

An independent retailer established in 1997, Organize-It works with a growing number of vendors to provide the best in storage, organizing, and home products, including: closet organizers, kitchen gadgets, laundry organizers, garage cabinets, and office wares. Through their e-commerce websites, Organize-It offers a wide range of unique products. In addition to homewares and organizing products, they offer custom closet design and installation services. For more information about Organize-It, go to organizeit.com.

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DIY Bug Spray – Essential Oil Alternatives to Those Nasty Store-Bought Products

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diy BUG SPRAY

DIY Bug Spray – Healthy Alternatives to Deet and Other Harmful Chemicals

Mosquito season is upon us again, which reminds me about protection. Aside from the itchy reaction to bites, mosquito-born diseases such as West Nile, Zika, dengue and malaria are a bit of a concern. Not to be an alarmist, but having some repellent on hand is a really good idea.

If you are a fan of essential oils, you’ll be happy to know that making your own healthy mosquito repellent is easy, using only a couple of ingredients. Commercial products use toxic materials such as DEET, which are known human hazards, especially when used with frequency.

You can make homemade repellent out of oil and ordinary household ingredients, and there are a surprisingly large number of oil options to choose from. Strangely enough, many herbs are known to repel bugs including basil, marjoram, sage and thyme. Lemon eucalyptus (derived from eucalyptus leaves) and citronella are also really effective, as are tea tree, peppermint and clove oils.

You can choose to spray it or mix it traditionally with a carrier oil and rub it onto the skin. For spray, combine witch hazel, red vinegar cider, and a bit of rubbing alcohol for the base. First mix the oil drops into the alcohol and then add the other ingredients to a spray bottle. Be sure to shake well before using.

For the oil mixture, just add your essential oil drops to the carrier and mix well in a bottle or roll-on. Feel free to be creative and mix from the list below, or use single oils. Obviously, some are more pleasing to the nose than others. The herbal ones, while effective against mosquitoes, may have an unpleasant, slightly ammonia-like smell, whereas the lavender is pleasant. Eucalyptus and tea tree are both a bit astringent.

Refer to the lists below for ratios and be sure to check on the child dose ratio, as children require more diluted mixes for safe usage (.5%, as compared to 1 or 2% for adults).

ESSENTIAL OILS for MOSQUITO REPELLENT

lemon eucalyptus
citronella
lavender
basil
pine
rosemary
geranium
tea tree
eucalyptus
lemongrass
rosemary
cinnamon
sage
thyme
peppermint
clove

SPRAY FORMULA

Adult Ratio: 40 drops oil, 1/2 cup witch hazel, teaspoon of alcohol, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar.
Child Ratio: Reduce about by 1/4, or check for online recommendations.

INGREDIENTS

Essential oil of choice
8-ounce sprayer
Teaspoon of alcohol
1/2 cup witch hazel
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or water

OIL-ONLY FORMULA

Mix 18 drops of essential oil with 30 ml. of carrier oil like almond or coconut (a heavier oil like almond will stay on your skin longer). This makes a 2 % dilution, which is fairly strong.

INGREDIENTS

Essential oil of your choice
Carrier oil (almond, coconut, jojoba or other)
30-ml. (1-ounce) bottle

Warning, for children you must use less oil in both DIY bug spray formulas. A .5% dilution is recommended for children, which would be more like 4 drops of essential oil to 30 ml. of carrier oil. There are other considerations with children, including possible sensitivity to some oils, so be sure to check an online source for proper/reduced doses for kids.

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Portable Garment Racks

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portable garment racks college student

Portable Garment Racks – Convenient Temporary or Permanent Clothing Storage

Portable garment racks give you instant clothes hanging storage in temporary or “unideal” situations. Say you have a visitor who is spending a few months with you. You give them the spare attic room but there’s no built-in closet, as you normally use it for crafting. Of course you want your guest to be comfortable and convenienced, but you probably don’t want to build a custom closet. Solution? Portable garment racks.

portable zippered garment rack


They come in enclosed and freestanding, open styles – and in a range of prices. Say your new college apartment is under-equipped with closets and you just need some extra closet space. Again, portable garment racks are the idea storage solution. The cool part is you can repurpose them later when your living situation changes, or you find that dream apartment with all the storage space you need.

Portable garment racks are also ideal for off-season storage. In the winter, use it as a basement coat rack to store all your outerwear. Hunting clothes are another garment that you don’t need year-round. Just put them in a portable, zippered garment rack and forget about them until deer hunting seasons opens again.

lightweight-portable-rack

This lightweight, portable rack is ideal for student-housing situations and only costs $22.99 – great for poor students with money left over for books and lunch. It has wheels for easy mobility and assembles in just a little bit of time with the help of a screwdriver.

Portable garment racks come in a variety of sizes and configurations for short or long-term clothing storage. Check them out at Organize-It.

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

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Mother's Day Gift IdeasIt’s Mother’s Day again, a time to honor our mothers and thank them for their nurturing, devotion and friendship. A well-chosen present is a special way to convey your love, so here are some excellent Mother’s Day gift ideas from Organize-It, ranging from decor to kitchen essentials. No matter what your mother is like, we’ve got you covered this year for gifts.

My Mom has a Green Thumb

garden planter boxWhen nurturing includes the gift of making things grow, your mother will likely enjoy this vertical garden planter. The multi-tiered design is great for growing flowers, herbs and other plants in limited-space locations. It’s made from recycled, weather-resistant materials and has a compact, 45 x 8.5-inch footprint. Alternately, this single garden planter box, also made from recycled materials, makes a great display for pansies and other flowers on her porch or deck.

My Mom is a Culinary Enthusiast

Homemade meals are the hub of family life, and your Mom deserves the best kitchen tools for making her creations. Here are a few ideas:

1. Wusthof Knives
Wusthof’s finely honed, German-made knives are simply the best you can buy. Food prep is easy when your knives are super-sharp and have a profile designed for your particular application. Knife block sets are great for furbishing an entire kitchen. A single Santoku knife make a great budget gift, while adding efficient chopping to your mother’s kitchen. If you have never used one, the unique, Japanese-style hollowed blade design provides easy food clearance and smooth, efficient slicing of a variety of foods.

2. Blendtec Blenders
Another perfect pick for a mother who is worthy of the best kitchen gadgets. Blendtec blenders have the highest motor rating on the consumer market and come preprogrammed for a variety of food prep tasks. Make smoothies with the push of a button or puree soups in a minute using high-end jars that are built to last. She can throw out most of her other appliances when you gift her with a Blendtec.

3. Woll Non-Stick Cookware
High-end, Diamond Plus Cookware provides even heating and easy cleaning after cooking delicious meals. Anodized cookware is notorious for its short life and flaking issues. Woll Diamond-Plus Cookware is a revolutionary technology with a tough surface that outlasts most competitor brands. Buy one piece or a whole set.

My Mom is a Minimalist Tree Hugger

stainless steel compost pailWhat to buy for your earthy crunchy minimalist mother who thinks less is more? Composting foods means reducing waste and rejuvenating her yard or garden. Given the functionality, composters hardly seem like a material gift at all! A small stainless steel compost pail fits nicely on the counter, while this outdoor model has a generous 6.5-gallon capacity, making it ideal for managing family food waste.Outdoor Composter

My Mom Deserves the Finest in Life

finely woven basketsSome mothers appreciate traditional gifts, which include elegant jewelry armoires and boxes, finely woven baskets, and other fine decor.

Whatever your Mother’s Day gift needs, you’re likely to find it at Organize-It. For instant savings and future coupons and specials, be sure to sign up for the Organize-It Newsletter (on the bottom of the main Organize-It page).

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Clothes Hanger Holders to the Rescue

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Clothes hanger holders are a launderer’s best friend. Nothing is more infuriating than a tangled mess of clothes hangers, whether on the rack or elsewhere in your home. Fortunately, there are a couple of solutions to your hanger woes, and all are extremely affordable.

combo-rack-hanger-stand
This combination rack and hanger stand can be used in an upright stationary position, or mount it to a wall for a more permanent installation. It’s made from attractive, thick, chromed steel wire and costs only $19.99, which won’t break your bank. Use it on top of the dryer, on a folding table, in your bedroom, or anywhere you need it as you transfer and/or remove clothing from hangers.

A standing hanger holder has many of the same benefits as the one above, but has increased storage capacity due to its impressive 33-inch height. The storage rungs double as a carrying handle for when you need to move it. It has an extra-wide base for stability and is ideal for thicker hangers (such as wood hangers). At $16.99, it’s an absolute steal.

standing-hanger-standThe hamper-style clothes hanger rack has the added benefit of a strap for super-easy carrying to and from storage locations. If you are in an apartment or dorm, this makes a great laundry accessory, as you can neatly hang your clothes without the burden of tangled hangers. The poly construction is easy to wipe clean and it folds flat, when empty, for easy, compact storage.

Whichever clothes hanger holder you choose, you’re sure to LOVE the convenience you get from no more tangles. Laundry is one of the most time-consuming of household chores so why not make it easy in all the little ways you can?

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Multi-Tiered Mobile Carts

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3-tiered mobile cart

Multi-Tiered Mobile Carts – Instant Storage Anywhere

3 tier slim laundry cartMulti-tiered mobile carts give you convenient, instant, extra storage in any room of your home. Recently, when a pantry-building project got unexpectedly delayed, I found myself in need of an extra place to store food. We had an assembled three-tiered slim laundry cart on display at our warehouse sale, so I snatched it up. Positioned next to the stove, it makes a great storage place for oatmeal, protein powders and other pantry items.

mobile cart three tieredImpressed with its capacity, I decided to get another for laundry use. For 22.99, the bronze mobile three-tiered cart is a steal. I use it to stash dryer sheets, detergent and other laundry essentials. I was worried about assembly, but it’s an absolutely tool-free process, and the clever design is easy to put together in a few minutes.

Both carts have wheels, but for heavier-duty laundry applications, the laundry cart with locking breaks provides a little more heft, with the added option of stationary positioning. The carts have a small footprint but are large enough to give you lots of storage in the multi-shelf design. When I get around to finishing my pantry, I know I’ll be able to repurpose the white cart for another room. Hint: these are also sized ideally for toilet paper roll storage. And don’t be fooled by the thin wire design. Structurally, these are remarkably stiff and sturdy, plus they’re lightweight for easy portability.

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Wire Shelving vs. Wood Shelving

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wire-shelving-vs-wood-shelving

Custom Closets – Wire Shelving vs. Wood Shelving – Which is Better?

Wire shelving vs. wood shelving – which should you buy? So, you’re building a custom closet system and you don’t know whether to go with wire or solid surface shelving. Both can be used for clothes closets, pantries, storage rooms, utility rooms, garage and other storage areas, but one may be better suited for your particular needs.

Consider your application. Are you going to be storing heavy items such as electronics components on it? You might opt for a laminated freedomRail shelving system, as it has a higher load-bearing rating.

freedomRail Cherry Detail Organized Living

Are you looking for something inexpensive that you may reconfigure or relocate at a later date (say you are designing a nursery closet with storage requirements that will change as your child grows)? If so, you may want to use wire, as it’s lightweight, inexpensive and less cumbersome to disassemble and reconfigure.

If your home is not the one you will end up staying in, you may also opt for wire for the same reasons as above. It’s a little less in the way of investment, but it still looks fresh and neat, and is extremely customizable and modular.

Here are two short lists of benefits and features to help you in your wood shelving vs. wire shelving decision-making process:

Benefits of Wire Shelving

  • Wire is coated steel that is sturdy, yet lightweight, making it easy to transport, install and customize.
  • Wire is ventilated, which allows air to circulate around your stored items.
  • Wire allows you to see what you have stored on shelves (you know how things get “pushed to the back” and lost forever?).
  • Wire accessories such as baskets have the same benefits as above (visibility).
  • Wire is usually a less expensive option to wood and laminates.
  • Wire, while handsome in appearance, is often what people go with in a first home, or when on a budget.

Benefits of Wood or Solid-Surface Shelving

  • Solid, beefy surface can hold lots of weight and has a substantial, even stately appearance, depending on the laminate.
  • Stored items (including small pieces) are fully supported and won’t “fall through,” as with the ventilated wire shelving.
  • A multitude of finishes are available to match your home decor.
  • Engineered wood substrate is super-stable and resistant to warping.
  • Lots of drawers, shoe bins and customized accessories are available for configuring your dream closet.

wire pantry shelves organized livingWire shelving vs. wood shelving? We’ve laid it out for you, now the choice is yours. You can build an attractive, functional system out of either, but assess your needs and your budget before purchasing. Both systems are super-easy to install yourself and offer add-on accessories, such as bins and baskets, for versatile organization. Organize-It carries high-end, Organized Living laminated freedomRail and ventilated wire shelving. Organize-It also offers Organized Living’s freedomRail lines of wire shelving to fit a range of needs and budgets. One more thing to note is that our wire shelving is high-end and super-sturdy with strong support systems (not the common flimsy type you’ll find in a lot of hardware stores). There’s really no comparison in quality. You definitely won’t be disappointed by any of our closet systems.

For help designing your closet system, call 248-299-3350.


For more freedomRail inspiration, check out this blog post on the Organize-It Blog.
*Photos courtesy of Organized Living.

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How to Overcome Decision-Making Overwhelm and Make Clutter Clearing Easier

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decision-making overwhelm
As a professional organizer and clutter coach, I really believe that an uncluttered life is the best gift we can give ourselves. When we clear out the clutter we create space – physically, mentally and emotionally – for our dreams to come alive. Anything becomes possible when we can easily let go of the superfluous and give focus to what really matters. That kind of reality sounds great, right?

But (and you probably know this all too well) clutter clearing requires effort. The most energy draining part of the process is making decisions – with what to keep and what to toss being the most pressing. Every item requires contemplation. All that repeated decision making is exhausting, and the temptation to second guess ourselves exists at every turn.

Sometimes we even avoid making a choice because we’re afraid it will be the wrong one. We’ll actually spend energy thinking about what to do, go back forth in our minds trying to figure out the right course of action but never come to a definite conclusion. If you ask me, this one of the saddest ways to waste time.

And Bertrand Russell, the wise philosopher, would no doubt have agreed. Here’s a quote from him that absolutely nails it:

“Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.”

So what should we do, accept the idea that clutter clearing has to be exhausting and frustrating? No, a hundred times no! We definitely don’t have to settle. What we need to do is act smarter. By that I mean we need to be strategic, we need to go into clutter clearing with a definite plan of action that will support us in the decision making process. And it’s actually much easier than it sounds; as a matter of fact it’s downright simple.

I’m talking about creating a decision-making policy. Why a policy? Because policies clarify what to do in any given situation, meaning you won’t have to think about and weigh the options. They save time, energy and effort by streamlining the process. That’s exactly the reason businesses have them, they know they would overwhelm their employees if they had decide everything on a case-by-case basis.

Here are some policy suggestions to get you started. You can adopt one of these or create your own. All that matters is that the policy has a clear pathway to a decision.

  • You can set a time limit for analyzing each item. I’d suggest a minute or less per item, then make the decision, even if that means you have to flip a coin.
  • You might create a policy that says anything that hasn’t been used in over a year needs to go, no questions asked.
  • Perhaps you designate a quantity limit for each type of item. Items above that threshold must be donated. For example, maybe you decide you’ll keep two sets of sheets per bed, or three bath towels per family member. Any number above that needs to be let go.
  • Maybe you decide on a holding limit for periodicals. You might be generous and decide after six months out they go. Or maybe you are little more rigid and once the new issue arrives, the old one hits the recycle bin.
  • You might decide to employ one of my favorite policies, the one-in-one-out policy. My closet has a set number of hangers, before a new item can claim a hanger an old item has to be bid adieu. Is it always easy to say good bye to something? No, but since this is my policy I’m prepared for the decision. And if I don’t want to make it, I don’t acquire something new. In any event, closet clutter has zero chance of taking hold.

Policies aren’t just for controlling the physical stuff. We can clutter our lives with too many commitments. You can create policies in this area as well. For example, you might decide that you’ll say no to any activity or invitation that requires you to give up weekend time with your family. Or maybe you create a policy where you only volunteer with one organization at a time.

The bottom line, you create policies to streamline the decision making process. What’s great about policies is that they can be used in any area of your life, think of them as a tool that will guide you to a satisfying outcome with far less effort.

So what policies will you create?

Check out the companion video on YouTube – Decluttering and the Decision Making Process: How To Make It Easier

kellyThis guest blog post was written by Kelly Jayne McCann, the Organizing Maven – a professional organizer and clutter coach who helps people get organized through her blog, tutorials and online courses. Check out her website for more information. Also, read more about her on the Organize-It Blog Interview with an Organizer.

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