Simplifying packed lunches
Reader Jon wrote to us asking if we had any tips for preparing lunches at home that he can take to eat at work. He has been spending $100 a week on eating out at restaurants, and is hoping to become someone who brings his lunches to work. Since students are already back in the classroom in many states, and other students are getting ready to go, I thought now would be a great time to discuss the humble brown bag lunch.
Unitasker Wednesday: Sushi Made Easy
The Sushi Made Easy requires two additional steps and another piece of equipment for the maki-making process. It’s not Sushi Made Easy, it’s Sushi Made More Complex. It’s also sushi in the style of caulking your bathtub!
Marketing to Unclutterers-In-Name-Only
Regardless of if you have read or your opinion of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love and the recently released movie of the same name, the show Marketplace on National Public Radio had a very poignant piece this Friday about the business, marketing, and branding of simplification and uncluttering.
Unitasker Wednesday: The Mayo Knife — Spreader
I think my favorite part about this unitasker is how it mentions an alternative multitasking object that can do the job just as well in the product’s name. The name of the product reminds you about a knife! A knife you already own! A knife that makes this product completely unnecessary!
The multitasking sleeper chair
Sleeper chairs are fantastic additions in small spaces because they work double duty as seating and guest accommodations. One of these multitaskers in a living room or office is perfect when you don’t have a guest room or space for a larger sofa sleeper.
Unitasker Wednesday: Morninghead
However you think this product might work, you’re wrong. And, based on its name, whatever you think the product might do, it isn’t that, either. Seriously, it is NOT that.
Bringing clutter into the light
Is there clutter hiding in your basement, attic, or garage? Is it at the back of a closet, under the kitchen sink, or in your medicine chest? What is the situation under your bed, in the linen closet, and in the drawers of your entertainment center?
Ask Unclutterer: What should I do with old awards?
In sorting old memorabilia, I have found my large collection of award ribbons from the many fairs and shows that I competed in as a youth. There are some that I plan to keep that really meant a lot to me. But I literally have a large Sterilite container full of these. Do you have any suggestions on a nice way for me to store these or some sort of way to use them? I hate to just throw them out.
Unitasker Wednesday: Wick Trimmer and Waxi Taxi
Maintaining candles is super easy. You light them, let them burn, blow them out, let them cool, and then put them into storage until the next time you want to use them. The end. So why all the crazy contraptions?
Uncluttered cleaning supplies
With so many specialized cleaning liquids and supplies on the market, how can you keep your cleaning closet from exploding — literally and figuratively? Jeri offers expert advice on how to unclutter the non-essentials and keep your cleaning closet clutter free.
Unitasker Wednesday: Toast Rack
Oh, if only the manufacturers of this device only knew that we now have plates (and by “now,” I mean “have had them since the dawn of civilization”), we can use plates to hold toast.
Many paths can lead to the same, remarkable goal
I’m not much of an environmentalist — I’ve never tried to save the whales, or even just one whale — but simple living advocates and proponents of waste reduction often find themselves in the same professional circles. I thought Colin Beavan’s words in No Impact Man might have something to inspire me in the work I do, and I was correct.
Weekend Project: Your closet floors
To be able to vacuum and/or sweep the floors of my closets, I have to pull out storage containers and crawl on my hands and knees to reach back into some of the corners. Inevitably, I find something that I didn’t remember was there and I end up clearing a bit of clutter out of my home.
Unitasker Wednesday: Wax Vacuum
This week’s unitasker is a product that doesn’t do what it claims to do (suck wax out of your ears) and doesn’t do what I wish it did (erase embarrassing memories) and is only “Similar” to an As-Seen-on-TV product. Oh, Unitasker, you make me sad.
Unitasker Wednesday: Cork Presenter
This is one of those unitaskers that makes me believe manufacturers think their customers are suckers, patsies, easy marks. In their eyes (especially manufacturers that target pregnant women and people who like to cook), we’ll buy any doodad and gizmo they tell us we need. Them: “You need this gadget that does the same thing as what you already own!” Us: “OF COURSE WE DO!!”
Clutter and Newton’s First Law of Motion
When uncluttering your home and office, chances are you’ll come across many objects you’ve thought about getting rid of dozens (maybe hundreds) of times, but never did.
Excerpt: Six tips for organizing your time spent on the telephone
Since most of us spend time at work dealing with facts and data, the phone should be taking a backseat to other forms of communication. That being said, it’s impossible to avoid the phone in the workplace. And there are times when picking up the phone is the best way to handle a situation. The following are suggestions for how to use the phone in an organized way during those times when you need to rely on it.
Unitasker Wednesday: Mystery Unitasker!
Instead of putting the product name in the headline and immediately telling you what this week’s item is used for, I thought it would be fun to have you guess. What does it do?!
Study: Physical possessions and U.S. families
According to a recent study released by the UCLA Center on the Everyday Lives of Families, U.S. families have reached “material saturation.” The back areas of our homes (closets, basements, attics, cupboards) are so stuffed with possessions that our things spill out into our front areas (table tops, floors, furniture) and create more visible clutter than ever before in the history of the world. We’re no longer enjoying leisure activities and our children’s stuff is at the top of the clutter pile.
Repercussions of uncluttering and organizing
We often talk about the benefits of uncluttering and organizing, but we rarely even hint of their being downsides. Today, I thought we’d break that trend and discuss all the work that — at least in the short term — uncluttering and organizing create.
Over the years of writing about organizing and working with clients, I continue to be baffled by how to neatly organize a small number of items. Whenever I see these items or hear about them, I cringe. Organizing them successfully is a complete mystery to me. Maybe you have a few, too, in your home or office — a specific item that always seems to be out of place, cumbersome, or impossible to store well?
Ask Unclutterer: Is something put away if it’s in cardboard?
In your situation, one of you believes that the cardboard box is in its place against the wall and that the stuff inside of the box is in its place, too. The other of you believes that the cardboard box and the stuff inside of it are all out of place and they need new places to live.
Three laws of basement storage
If you use your basement for storing things other than root vegetables, let me introduce you to my Three Laws of Basement Storage.
Off-beat solutions for organizing your mail
If you don’t immediately process your mail when you come home each evening, then I strongly recommend having a set place to store your mail until you do have time to process it.
The Simple Meal
Over the years, my husband and I have come to rely on The Simple Meal when we’re stressed and don’t want to make a production out of dinner. This meal consists of a protein, a vegetable, and a drink.
Unitasker Wednesday: FreshTECH Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker
When a new product doesn’t improve convenience or functionality, why abandon the older, traditional product? Avoid the Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker and simply use your microwave or stovetop or oven or slow cooker or even your bread maker (if you have such a thing).
Making Mondays — and your week — more productive
Mondays are opportunities to start new habits and the day to begin a productive path for the week. While others grumble about Mondays, I try to think of them like the first day of school or the first day of a new job. The possibilities for success, fulfillment, creativity, and all the reasons you do what you do are open for you to experience.
Blog to watch: UN v2.0
Alec Farmer, a graduate student in Glasgow, Scotland, is spending a year living in a micro-structure and is blogging about his experience on the new UN v2.0 site. The UN in the blog title is an abbreviation for urban nomad, and it aptly describes Farmer’s interesting project in small-space living.
Ask Unclutterer: Having it all
Reader April asks: How do you have time for all of this – running a blog, writing a book, all of these musical activities & all the other stuff you seem to do?