Friday, March 7, 2014
Designed and remodeled by: Harrell Remodeling, Inc. Photo used with permission.
I’ve just done some more decluttering of my own cookbooks; as I mentioned on Unclutterer, I got rid of eight of them in this round.
This latest pass, and the great photo above which I stumbled upon recently, made me think about the types of cookbooks we keep.
1. The go-to cookbooks, which we use all the time.
These are ones we’d want to store close at hand — maybe even in the kitchen. None of the others would need to be kept in such a convenient location, although they certainly could be if you had the space. There are some considerations related to grease and steam when storing books in a kitchen, so you’d want to consider where in the kitchen you were storing them, and how concerned you are about keeping them pristine. (The book nook in the photo is nicely placed to minimize such problems.)
2. The special-occasion cookbooks.
These are ones we might reference for holiday recipes, when we’re cooking for a special event, etc.
3. The aspirational cookbooks — the ones we’d like to try, in order to expand our repertoire.
Maybe you’d like to try cooking a particular cuisine that’s new to you, and you’ve got cookbooks to help with that.
4. The reference cookbooks.
These are the ones that describe cooking techniques and such, often with useful illustrations. We may not use them all that frequently, but they’re sometimes really useful.
5. The ones that are memorabilia, not just cookbooks.
I’ve got cookbooks I’ve picked up on travels that bring back such good memories that I want to keep them, even if I never cook from them. But other cookbooks I picked up while traveling don’t speak to me the same way, and I’ve let them go. Sometimes books in this category have beautiful illustrations, but not always. Cookbooks that were handed down from other family members could also fit into this category.
These categories don't need to be exclusive; for example, you could have a go-to cookbook that was also memorabilia.
If you want to de-clutter your cookbooks, understanding what kinds you’ve got might help in deciding which ones to keep. For example, the special-occasion cookbooks that haven’t gotten much use might be replaced by online recipes, as the need arises. And maybe some of those aspirational cookbooks don't have the same appeal they once did.
What categories of cookbooks do you have? Do you have some categories to add to my list?
Decluttering the Cookbooks
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Finding good food storage containers is always a challenge. How do you store them without having them take over the kitchen? What if you prefer glass to plastic, but are concerned about using glass with children? Two new products are designed to address the first concern; another product that’s a couple years old addresses the second.
For those concerned about storage space, there’s the brand-new Nest Storage from Joseph Joseph — where both the containers and the lids are nested. There are 4-piece and 6-piece sets available.
Another new product, Stackerware, has just launched in Kickstarter. Here containers are nested, and both containers and lids are stacked on specially-designed bases. The bowls come in three sizes, and the same lids fit all of them. They can be stored in a drawer, or the bases can be mounted on the back of a cabinet door, under a cabinet or shelf, etc.
Both the Nest Storage and the Stackerware are made from BPA-free plastics, and are said to be microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. But what if you’d prefer glass, especially for containers which may be used in the microwave?
Then take a look at Frego, which came out in 2012. Frego is a glass container in a silicone sleeve, which makes it easier to grip and helps avoid burns. With the lid on, Frego is supposed to be “virtually spill proof and incredibly break resistant.” It only comes in one size, so it may not meet all your needs — but it could become a valuable part of your food storage container collection. (And maybe you can get rid of some other containers that don’t work so well for you.)
Plastic Food Storage: OK or Not?
Reader Question: Glass Food Storage
The Latest on Plastic Food Storage - And Alternatives
Another Scary Thing, as We Approach Halloween: BPA
Food Storage: Alternatives to Plastic
Monday, February 24, 2014
Do you still use paper recipe cards? While many people have gone to digital solutions, others still prefer to keep their recipes on paper, and the recipe card still has its fans. And recipe boxes don’t always need to be used for recipes; I’ve seen them used as address boxes, too.
Some of the most stunning recipe boxes I’ve seen come from Timber Territory. This is the three-drawer box; there’s also a one-drawer version. Update just after publication: Timber Territory told me this product didn't sell, so it's been discontinued. How sad!
The William Morris recipe box from Gallison is also stunning, in a totally different way.
This recipe box from Sugar Paper with its hot pink lacquer provides quite the splash of color.
And for something more sedate, there’s a polka dot recipe tin from Rifle Paper Co., also sold by See Jane Work.
Five Recipe Boxes with Flair
10 Recipe Boxes to Treasure
Recipe Boxes: The Woodworker Edition
5 Recipe Boxes to Jazz Up Any Kitchen
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Welcome to a tiny bit of my home office, where you can see the tray I picked up in San Francisco’s Japan Town. Other people use trays as organizing tools in their kitchens — and when I featured a gorgeous tray in a prior post, two people chimed in with other ways trays can be used.
If you’d like to use trays yourself, there are lots to choose from. Almedahls, based in Sweden, has a good-sized collection — including this one featuring herring. Monapart Living, one of the sites that sells them, has a nice explanation of how they are made. Another site that carries these is Huset. [via Apartment Therapy]
Anyone who read the Moomin books as a child (or as an adult!) might enjoy this Moomin tray, or one of the others from the same company. You can also find many of the Moomin trays at Huset.
Isak has some fun trays, too. [via Retro To Go]
Many of Moln’s trays feature much simpler patterns, such as this leaf, and your basic dots. They come in various sizes and colors. [via From Europe]
It was a real struggle to pick just one items from Åry Trays to show you; the trays feature the work of many artists, and so many of them are delightful. This one features the art of Michael Angrove, but also take a look at those with art from Anna Viktorsson, Asta Barrington and Lush Designs. They’re made from Scandinavian beech wood.
Want something very simple? Gleaming Renditions has some solid-color trays that might work for you.
This is the Fionia tray from Trip Trap; it comes in two sizes, and you can choose between teak and oak. You can get one in teak at Design Within Reach.
Here's something very different: the duck canvas utility tray from Best Made Company. This reminds me a bit of the vide poches I wrote about long ago.
Finally, if you have a lot of money to spend and like the style, you could get a tray from Annie Modica.
Lucite Trays: In-Box Options and So Much More
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Unless you’ve gone entirely paperless in your home or office, you’ll probably need a stapler as a basic organizing supply. While your basic Swingline stapler will generally work just fine, you can also get something a bit out of the ordinary.
If you’d like to go colorful, head on over to Poppin, which has staplers in 10 colors.
If you’re into cute, take a look at Mustard’s bunny stapler.
For ease of use, there are a number of staplers from Urban Prefer: the Atomo, the A Posture and the Lipstick. All are designed to be what the company calls “energy efficient” — that’s your energy (or squeezing power) they’re talking about. For example, with the Atomo you “just gently press to staple up to 30-35 sheets with minimum effort.” The Atomo is the heavy-duty one of the bunch; the others have the same gentle-press design, but accommodate fewer sheets of paper.
And all have an easy-loading mechanism; you “press the loading button on the back to automatically eject the staple compartment at the front.”
And finally, there’s Align, which has a detachable base — so handy if you want to staple something in the middle of a large sheet of paper! [via organizer Julie Bestry]
7 Stand-Out Staplers, Plus a Staple Remover
4 Staplers to Brighten Up Any Office
Staplers Don't Have to Be Boring
Monday, February 10, 2014
A Marilyn Arnold pillow; photo provided by Marilyn
What do you do with your wedding dress?
Some people want to hang onto their wedding gowns forever — and that’s fine. Others choose to sell or donate their dresses.
But another option is to turn your gown into something else — something beautiful (and useful) that isn’t hidden away in a closet.
Marilyn Arnold Designs can create a gorgeous pillow (or maybe multiple pillows) for you; the one above is just a sample of the many styles of pillows she’s created. As she suggests, you could give these to your children (or grandchildren) — or keep them for yourself. You can read about how Marilyn came to start her business in The New York Times. [via Grace Lidia Suarez]
Another option is to turn your wedding dress into a quilt; Quilts by Kate made the one above.
And The Patchwork Bear can create one of its bears from your wedding dress, if the fabric is one that will work for a bear.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
A pillbox I freecycled on behalf of a client.
People who need a large number of prescriptions every day can spend a lot of time managing those prescriptions — with a lot of chances for something to go wrong. (Did all the prescriptions get refilled on time? Did those pill boxes get filled correctly?)
Sometimes organizing is about looking for ways to simplify things, and this is a situation calling out for simplification. In the past couple days, I've read about two companies that help with this.
I heard about the first one from Morgan Gleason, who takes 10 medications. You can hear her talk about this in the video above, which you can also see via this YouTube link. The company Morgan is working with is HealthStatRx, "a full service specialty pharmacy, with a comprehensive line of products and services to meet the needs of homecare patients with any chronic disease state." This includes custom blister pack medications and home delivery.
Another company that seems to be offering a similar service is PillPack, whose services are described in an article on TechCrunch, which I found thanks to Mathew Spolin. PillPack is licensed in 31 states, and is designed for people take five or more medications per day. As TechCruch explains:
Essentially, the program allows customers to have their medications shipped to them every two weeks in a (yes, two-week) roll of individual packets that are organized by time and date — rather than using those standard, ubiquitous bright orange pill bottles. Beyond their prescriptions, customers can also sign up to receive any over-the-counter medications or vitamins that they happen to be taking on a regularly basis as part of each shipment.
And AccuPax, which I heard about some time ago from organizer Mary Donovan, also seems to provide a similar service; that's its tagline above. The company provides statistics on how often medication errors happen; avoiding these problems is why using such a service might be a good idea.
Obviously, I am not a doctor, a pharmacist, or an insurance specialist — and I don't know if these services are right for anyone. But, for some people, they seem like services that might be worth investigating — in consultation with their own medical professionals.
Posted by Jeri Dansky at 7:09 AM
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
As I resume my effort to clear my own bookshelves, I’m sharing some of the wisdom I found in the books I’m passing along. Today, one of those books is The Clutter-Busting Handboook, by Rita Emmett.
Let’s start with an interesting statistic. This book was published in 2005, so it’s probably a bit dated:
According to the Avery newsletter Great Results, the average three-bedroom house today contains approximately 350,000 items.Want to reduce the number of things in your home? Rita talks about the plateaus we can hit when decluttering, caused by our tendency to procrastinate when it comes to making decisions:
1. The “Will I Keep This?” Plateau: “I can’t decide whether I want to keep this or not. So I’ll set it down here for just a minute and I’ll decide later.”
2. The “Where Will I Put This?” Plateau: “Well, I’ve decided that I am going to keep this, but now I can’t decide where to keep it, so I’ll set it down here for just a minute and I’ll decide later.”
Or the equally insidious “How Will I Get Rid of This?” Plateau: “Well, I’ve decided that I’m not going to keep this, but now I can’t decide how to get rid of it. So I’ll set it …”Rita also talks about helping children declutter:
Children feel just as overwhelmed with clutter as we do, but they don’t know what to do about it. ... To help them de-clutter their rooms is one of the kindest gifts you can give them.And finally, Rita reminds us why it’s so important to declutter:
To be clutter-free gives you not only more physical space but also more emotional space. When you are surrounded by confusion, you feel confused; when you are surrounded by junk, you feel junky. Clutter can sabotage goals and dreams. There is a definite connection between clutter and a person’s feelings of self-worth.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Storage bed from MASHstudios
For those of you who want even more organizing product information than you see here, please come read my weekly posts on Core77. I've just started writing there — my first post is Bedroom Storage: Making the Most of the Under-Bed Space. Core77 has been around since 1995, serving the industrial design community, and I’m honored to be a contributor. I’ll have a new post up every Thursday.
And if you didn’t realize it, I also have a weekly blog post on Unclutterer. This one alternates; some weeks it’s on Tuesday, other weeks on Thursday. Recent posts include Getting big projects done: best practices from successful writers and Share stuff: one way to reduce clutter.
Posted by Jeri Dansky at 5:00 AM
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Do you use your refrigerator door or a magnetic board as an organizing tool? Do you want to give it a holiday touch? Then I have some magnets for you! These all come from Etsy stores, which means we can readily order things from artists around the world.
Let's start with this "I love you" monster from Voz Perkins. Check out her Etsy store, Fishcakes, even if you want a non-Valentine's Day magnet; she makes lots of cool stuff.
These cover button magnets come from Adrianne Blake's Etsy store.
These "robot love" magnets come to us from Erik and Christina Woods. The website says: A piece Erik made for Christina in 2009 for her birthday - slightly retouched in 2013. It took over three years to convince her to let him share this with the world. :)
Studio Shellyka in Israel is the source of these love bird magnets.
And this magnet comes from Enchanted Crayons in Poland.
These little heart-shaped button magnets are made from shell, and are available in four colors. They come from Sarah of Dandelions Green; she's in Sheffield, England.
And finally, here's an affirmation magnet. Affirmations don't always appeal to me, but I liked this one. It comes to us from Kathryn Costa of True North Arts.
For more cool magnets, see these related posts:
For Valentine's Day 2009: Yet More Magnets
For Valentine's Day 2010: Magnets Full of Hearts and Love
For Valentine's Day 2011: Magnets with a Heart
Have a Heart: Magnets for Valentine's Day 2013