EATING AN ELEPHANT

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This Small Step Will Help the Christmas Hangover

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Eating An Elephant Monthly Newsletter

Now that your seasonal and holiday items have been taken care of and are categorized and organized and contained, it’s time to look forward to the future – Christmas shopping! As a professional organizer I usually deal with the aftermath but smart parents bring me in PRIOR to the gifts being received to clear out what is old and no longer needed to make room for what’s coming. But you don’t have to hire someone to do this. You can do it yourself. It’s a simple step called

PURGING

What exactly goes in to purging? Well, purging is simply asking yourself the question “Do I still need this?” Not “Do I want this?”, not “Should I keep this?” but “Do I still need this?”. If you don’t, then there’s a good chance you can let it go. My first step in every job is taking everything out of the space we’re working in so everything can be seen. Anything broken, old, out of date, out of style, duplicated and not wanted is generally gotten rid of. Obviously there are exceptions in every job, but for the most part this is a good way to figure out what you do and don’t need.

This is particularly helpful for parents with kids and all of their toys, stuffed animals, games, puzzles, craft items, etc. but let’s be honest – we can all benefit from purging certain areas before the holidays begin. Maybe you purged your clothes but haven’t touched your kitchen. Maybe you did your children’s toys but just haven’t been able to go through their books. Maybe it’s tools or old hobby/craft items, maybe it’s your own books, or candles, make up, jewelry or shoes. Unless you’re a true minimalist, there’s probably something you should purge before December 25th.

So take this as your jump start. Use this reminder as motivation to get it taken care of now. You have 7.5 weeks to downsize the amount of items in your home, making room for what is coming. It’s best to make room for new items now.

Prepping for the Holidays

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

It’s October which means the holidays are just around the corner! Summer items have been cleared, fall decor is out with a vengeance and Halloween decorations are on deck. Maybe you love decorating and have bins upon bins stashed away in your storage space. Or, maybe you prefer to take the minimal approach. You don’t have much, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to keep it organized. Here’s my suggestion for keeping your small amount of seasonal and holiday items organized

Small Bins

Just like those who have multiple bins for every holiday, you too can have multiple bins for every holiday, they just don’t need to be as large. Categorize what you have (after sorting and purging what you don’t use or want anymore) and then from there you can find the correct size bin you’ll need. Just like with larger bins, I recommend clear so you can see exactly what you have, but non-transparent bins work well too, as long as you label which holiday or season is in that bin.

One slightly more time consuming but SUPER organized way to keep your items contained is to storage each holiday/season in its own small bin and then place those bins in one larger “Holiday” bin. This will take a little more time because you’ll have to measure the bins to make sure they’ll fit, but if you want to keep everything contained in 1 space without worrying about misplacing one small bin, this is a great way to keep everything organized.

Below are some of my favorite small bins for seasonal and holiday items, and a couple ideas for labels.

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BINS

Clear Storage Box from The Container Store – These are great because they’re clear, they come in all difference sizes and they’re extremely affordable.

Clear Weathertight Totes from The Container Store – These are a little pricier but are great for outdoor storage and also come in a  (smaller) variety of sizes.

Sterilite 15 Qt. Stackable Latching Storage Box from The Home Depot –  These come in a pack of 12 which means they’ll all stack perfectly and you’ll have plenty of room for those smaller items.

Bella 1.5-Gallon (6 Quart) Clear Base with White Lid from Lowes – This bin is a little deeper than some of the other ones and are tapered at the bottom so slightly longer items can be laid vertically near the top.

LABELS

Medium Vinyl Decals from IHeartBins – My friend Laura makes custom labels in different sizes, colors and fonts. She works quickly and always does a great job.

Good ol’ fashioned painters tape, duct tap, scotch tape and paper or using a label maker. If your bins aren’t clear, definitely label them somehow.

No Pantry? No Problem.

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

In the days of social media and Pinterest perfect pictures, having an organized pantry is something of a status symbol. Beautifully organized pantries with coordinated bins, clear jars full of food, labels and turntables is fun to look at and admire, but what about the kitchens that don’t have pantries? In those cases, it’s time to get creative and

Think outside the box

What I mean is, look at your kitchen as a whole unit. Just because tradition dictates where certain items typically go doesn’t mean that’s where they ALWAYS have to go. The first step is to eliminate what isn’t necessary. Set aside time to pull everything out and really consider what you need and what you don’t need. You can donate rarely used small appliances and gadgets or keep them in a storage area in the house or garage until the yearly need for them arises. If you’re limited on space, don’t let rarely used items take up valuable space. Once you know what you’re working with then you can begin to assemble the kitchen puzzle.

Some examples from my previous jobs include:
– Hanging mugs on hooks on the wall or under a cupboard

– Using a shelf riser to stack bowls above plates without having to stack them directly on top of each other

– Using bins to keep “pantry” items contained in cupboards, especially if they share space with other non-pantry kitchen items.

– Give each shelf in a cupboard a specific purpose (I.e. the bottom shelf may be glasses and above it may be powders and other smoothie ingredients, along with the items used to make your smoothie)

– 3m hooks on the inside of cabinet doors for measuring cups or other utensils

Just remember your kitchen is YOUR space and you can organize it however YOU need it to be organized. Use Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration but at the end of the day give each item a home in a space that makes sense to you.

The Best Place to Store Plastic Wrap – The Kitchn

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

A simple tip that will blow your mind

Hey all! I’m currently on on break with my family but wanted to send a quick tip to get you through your BBQs, picnics and other summer meals. It’s a great little tip from The Kitchn and I think you’re going to like it

Check it out here

AND, you’re welcome.
Happy Summer!

Jenna

Look Back Before Looking Forward

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Eating An Elepthant Monthly Newsletter

Look back before looking forward

As a nation we are all in various stages of “re-emerging” after the lock down. Before life really picks up and we focus on looking ahead and doing things we haven’t been able to do for the past few months, here’s my piece of advice:

Reevaluate your systems

How have they held up during this time? Did you make any new systems that are working great and you want to keep them as they are? Or has something not been working and so it needs to be altered? If you have a system that needs to be fixed, set your mind to it now. Once life can actually happen again you’re probably not going to take the time needed to figure out a fix. And if you don’t handle it now there’s a good chance you never will.