A year ago on Unclutterer

  • Is clutter not all that bad?
    A new book argues that too much organization can hamper creativity, and some clutter is A-OK.
  • Keep kids’ POV in mind
    Organization tips for parents (or, how to make it easy for them to feed themselves).
  • What’s a kitchen for?
    Realistically, we use our kitchens for more than just cooking and eating, but we have to be careful we can still cook and eat.
  • More kitchen tips
    More kitchen tips for decluttering, keeping recipes, and dealing with paper and mail.

Workspace of the Week: Winter white wonderland

This week’s Workspace of the Week is Accolady’s office in white:

Accolady’s office is tidy and serene with splashes of color for interest. One of my favorite aspects of the office is her corner where she stores notebooks and her Kodak camera collection:

Be sure to check out her other picture in the flickr pool to see wonderful details like the small hook she has under the desk for her purse. The space is truly fantastic.

Want to have your own workspace featured in Workspace of the Week? Submit a picture to the Unclutterer flickr pool. Check it out because we have a nice little community brewing there. Also, don’t forget that workspaces aren’t just desks. If you’re a cook, it’s a kitchen; if you’re a carpenter, it’s your workbench.

Make your own earbud caddy

cable tidyWalking around with an earbud cord that is too long can hinder your range of motion and get in the way. People come in different shapes and sizes, but earbud wires are all one size, which is usually super long. Why not take some time and easily make yourself a little earbud caddy to neatly wrap up that extra wire?

Over at wikiHow, you can easily follow the steps and have yourself a cheap do-it-yourself solution made from material you may have around your house already. Or, if you’re not feeling handy, you can just purchase the one pictured with this article for $2.

Unitasker Wednesday: Double-Deck pizza oven

Double Deck Pizza OvenExcuse me if I’m a bit ignorant to the advantages of having a dedicated pizza oven in your kitchen, but this behemoth is a mystery to me. Measuring in at 16 3/4″ wide x 15 1/8″ deep x 16″ high, it is a space hog and it wouldn’t be the easiest appliance to store out of sight. What advantages does a dedicated pizza oven offer that a conventional oven doesn’t? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe an owner of the Double-Deck can let us in on the secret.

I read the four reviews of this oven on Brookstone and they all loved the “ease of use,” but one user left the following observation:

This product is a dissapointment. Cook your pizza in your regular oven, it’s far superior and doesn’t take up all the space this one does.

My thoughts exactly. Do your counter a favor and pass on this pizza oven overkill.

**Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.

More reasons to purge disposable plastic bags and try reusable bags

Whole Foods has announced it will stop using disposable plastic bags by Earth Day. This decision came on the heals of China banning production of these bags in an effort to curb litter for the 2008 Summer Olympics and to (allegedly) benefit the environment. Ikea made a switch away from disposable plastic bags in March of last year, and Costco has never used them.

The city of San Francisco also has banned the use of these bags, and, according to the Los Angeles Times, Bakersfield, Boston, and Phoenix are considering similar bans.

We’ve talked in the past about how plastic bags from grocery stores shouldn’t become clutter in your home in our post Reusable shopping bags. Now seems like an appropriate time to bring up the topic again since more stores and municipalities are requiring patrons to use their own bags.

We recommend bags that fold up into small totes so that you don’t create more clutter for yourself storing the reusable bags. Based on comments to our previous post and our internal research, here is an expanded list of suggestions:

Barbecue accessory essentials

BarbecueIt is the middle of winter, so what better time to dream about heading outside in the warm summertime for a good old fashioned barbecue? Before you know it, spring will be here and you’ll be firing up your grill.

I was looking at some barbecue accessory sets and I couldn’t help but think a 22(!) piece set was ridiculous. A 22 piece set is way more than I need, so I decided to look at what a person actually needs to execute an enjoyable meal. Here is a practical list of what I think everyone will need for their grilling kits:

Essentials

  • Tongs: They need to be metal, but a good set can work for you in the kitchen and on the grill.
  • Spatula: Again, go with metal and dual use for the kitchen.
  • Wire Brush: Buy a cheap wire brush at your local hardware store.
  • Chimney Starter: Only necessary if you have a charcoal grill.
  • Oven Mitts: You probably already have these in your kitchen.

When you shop for a barbecue set be sure to look past the number of items in a pre packaged set and look for the essentials. The gimmicks of barbecue accessories are not hard to find, but be sure to pass them by if you find yourself doubting their practicality.Photo via http://pdphoto.org/

The wireless Wii nunchuk

Wireless NunchukThe Wii remote control is quite an amazing development in game console controllers. The Wii remote is wireless, but not completely so because there is a wire that connects to the nunchuk to the controller.

Nyko, a third party supplier for gaming accessories, now has Wii owners covered with the wireless nunchuk. But what about the Wii owners who already have all their controllers purchased and don’t want to buy new wireless nunchuks? Well, Nyko has you covered there, too. You can purchase an adapter for your wired nunchuk and the wire will be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the adapter won’t be available for another month.

(via Engadet)

To our attention

Using a share a link feature, reader PetersonRecipes brought the article The Stuff Pack Rats Are Made Of to our attention from last week’s New York Times.

“There is nothing like being forced to pack up every last thing you own, load it onto a truck, and unload and unpack it on the other end to make you question the true value of all that stuff. You find yourself wondering not only why you bought it, why you kept it, why it’s so hard to get rid of it — but why on earth you will undoubtedly buy more of it.”

This article is perfect if you’re in the mood to sit and nod your head in agreement with everything the author says. She is definitely preaching to our Unclutterer choir.

Remember, all you need to do to share a link with us is go to our contact page, and send us your link.

New year’s resolution status check

I would rate the current success of my new year’s resolution as an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.

Points of success: None of my laundry baskets are overflowing, there isn’t folded laundry sitting on the back of the couch waiting to be put away, burned out light bulbs were replaced, new drying rack for delicates was purchased, and my laundry-related stress has significantly decreased.

Reason my score is at 8 and not at 10: I’m not yet in a routine.

Now that January is winding down, how are you doing with your organization new year’s resolution(s)? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your progress? What are your points of success? What are the reasons you’re not yet at a 10? Or, how are you working to keep your success at a 10 if you’ve already reached your goal?

Book review: Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?

Peter Walsh doesn’t sugar coat anything, and the title of his latest book is testament to his style. Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? takes his “creating the life you want” message from his previous book, It’s All Too Much!, and applies it to food, eating, and the body.

Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? will help you examine how your emotions, your home, your kitchen, and your pantry are working for — or against — the life you want for yourself.

Walsh doesn’t talk calorie counting or delve into the ills of preservatives, instead he offers a philosophy for change as his solution for weight loss. In my opinion, he really only discusses three things to change to lose weight: stop watching tv, start eating meals at home at a table, and get rid of clutter in your life. Although my statement of his process sounds simplistic, I actually agree with his premise.

At the start of 2007, I made a resolution to stop eating meals outside of my home. I had been eating out seven to 10 times a week throughout most of 2006. In the first five months of last year, I lost 20 pounds. I didn’t change anything else in my life except for where I ate meals. Sure, it’s anecdotal evidence, but my personal experience tells me that Walsh’s advice isn’t off base.

Walsh’s book is intended for a mass audience, so if you’ve read more scientifically detailed health books or even Walsh’s colleagues’ You: On a Diet, this book may not have anything new to share with you. However, for what it is, Walsh’s book is well written, full of straightforward advice, practical, and sincerely helpful. If you need to lose a few pounds and your house is cluttered, Walsh’s book will be perfect for you.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • From page 2, “As a nation we are reveling in an orgy of consumption and it shows no sign of letting up. We can’t get enough of anything. The American mantra has become ‘more is better’ and we are applying that motto with gusto to almost every aspect of our lives. If consuming is good, then consuming more is better.”
  • From page 47, “The math of weight is the same as that of clutter: You can only have as many books as you have room on your shelves or only the number of shirts that can hang comfortably in your closet; if you eat more calories than your body needs, they will be stored as fat. Of all the possessions in your home, your body should be most treasured. Treating your body with honor and respect means you are treating yourself with honor and respect.”

There are a few things that confuse me about the book — like how he tells you not to watch television, but television is certainly a large factor in how he made his name — but on the whole I think it’s a worthwhile self-help book. As I mentioned above, if you need to lose a few pounds and get your house organized at the same time, Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? is a great place to start. The book is available Feb. 5, and Walsh will be doing promotional appearances for it on The Oprah Winfrey show Feb. 7 and on The CBS Early Show Feb. 11-13.