Tag Archives: Storage

5 Smart Spice Storage Tips

Reprinted with permission from hgtv.com


They say variety is the spice of life, and that’s also true in your kitchen. Whether you’re a keep-it-simple sort or a devoted gourmet, an assortment of dried spices is a must for every pantry. A few pinches of the right seasonings make the difference between dull and delicious.

But a jar of thyme can quickly become three in a disorganized stash of spices, while once-fragrant herbs wither in dark corners. Professional organizer Kathi Burns saves her clients from making such missteps. “We’re chef wannabes at my house, so we have every spice possible,” says Burns, CPO of San Diego’s Make Space in Your Life! “I’m always testing new organizing solutions.” We’ve got the dish on the best ways to keep your spices fresh and at the ready.

Stock up on versatile staples. Start with black pepper, salt’s better — or at least healthier— half. Popular all the world over, it adds essential bite to countless culinary styles. Purists will insist on whole peppercorns and a grinder, but ground pepper serves the same purpose. Other home chef favorites include ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, bay leaves, dried bay leaves, chili powder, oregano and cumin.

Figure out the best storage option for your space. If you can spare a cabinet shelf, a single three-tier spice rack should be plenty for the average home cook. Mounted pull-down spice racks make even the back row easily accessible. “It’s old-school and it works,” says Burns. Stylish new storage options continue to surface as well, such as sleek magnetic wall strips that hold sealed spice cans right where you need them. Just keep them clear of direct heat and light.

Organize your spices by cuisine. “Indian spice trays are one of my favorite things for the kitchen,” says Burns. The most common version features a round metal tray, seven small containers, a tiny spoon and a lid for the whole thing. Modern variations can be found everywhere from Etsy to Williams-Sonoma.

“I have several clients who cook specific kinds of food, like Lebanese or Hungarian,” adds Burns. “These containers help them keep everything together.” The spice trays also make fantastic gifts, especially with a corresponding ethnic cookbook.

Do an annual sweep of your pantry. Spices have a limited shelf life. Some experts claim six months is the rule of thumb, but others say that’s way too conservative. Stored properly, ground spices (nutmeg, tumeric) and ground herbs (thyme, sage) might stay fresh for two or three years. Whole spices like cloves and cinnamon sticks can last up to four years, as can some seeds.

By checking yearly, though, you’ll know what needs to be refilled and what probably should be tossed. When in doubt, give it a whiff. If spices smell stale, they’re done. A rancid scent is also a clear sign to throw it away. Marking open dates on new additions will help you determine freshness down the line.

Experiment in small doses. Cooking a new type of cuisine at home often requires purchasing several new spices. You may love Ethiopian food, but will you ever need berbere again after your first — and only — attempt at doro wat? If you’re unsure, try to buy the spices from a specialty shop, where you can pick up small amounts from bulk containers.

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The Problems Of Clutter When Working From Home

If you are an ecommerce entrepreneur working from home you may find yourself overwhelmed with clutter, especially if you have a small home or a lack of storage facilities. If someone is only running a small online store they will quite often compromise by storing their stock in a home garage or loft instead of renting out storage facilities. This may be a necessity in the early stages of a business but if you begin to grow more successful then your increasing amount of stock may cause a problem in your home.

The problem with storing stock at home

If you are storing a large amount of stock or valuable stock in your home a variety of issues can arise. First of all is the obvious problem of clutter and the issue of your house feeling more like a workplace than home. Having large amounts of storage in a loft or a garage can help you overcome the problem of clutter but if you begin storing items in your general living rooms then problems can arise. Having work based items in your living rooms can cause a blurring between your work and home life. Such a situation can cause a loss of routine and a built up of stress, leading to issues such as burnout and depression. Not only can stock clutter cause these mental issues but there is also the physical problems of tripping, fire, and the buildup of pathogens. The build up of disease causing pathogens is caused by inadequate storage. If your storage is exposed to the air and not temperature controlled not only can it be a health issue but it can also cause a build up of mould or mildew which could render your stock worthless.

Other problems with practicality

Other problems with having a cluttered amount of stock in your home include security. If you store your stock at home then it may be on show to passersby increasing the probability of theft. It is also worth noting that such a theft may not be covered by your insurance provider, you should always check beforehand to make sure. Your security system itself may be inadequate if you have stock on show, for example, if you haven’t got an alarm system in place then you really shouldn’t be storing any large amounts or expensive amounts of stock. Another problem with storing stock at home is the issue of receiving new stock, as homes don’t have a goods in area it might be difficult for the deliverer to get close to your home. This means you might have to manhandle a greater amount of stock, increasing the chance of injury and increasing the chances of storing your stock somewhere in the way instead of the place where you initially wanted to store it.

As an ecommerce entrepreneur working from home hoarding stock is a major issue, especially if you have a slight hoarding problem in the first place. If your business begins to become more successful and you start to store larger amounts of stock you may find that you hit a wall when it comes to storing your stock at home. Nowadays, many small businesses are choosing to use flexible self storage facilities with office spaces over working from home. The benefits of such facilities compared against working from home are detailed in the following infographic.

The Ecommerce Entrepreneur's Choice: Work from home or a self storage office?

By My Storage Pod – The Ecommerce Entrepreneur’s Choice: Work from home or a self storage office?

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Book and Paper Clutter Can Cause Overwhelm and Make You Miss Opportunities



Hello, Thank you for all the wonderful information that you share. My story, is all about books and papers, I have always been a book person and also have kept many things hoping to share them with others. I have books mainly on health, natural healing, gardening, self help , astrology, Metaphysical, cooking, As I have always been interested in healing and cooking.

I am now 73 years old and really want to do something about all the books and papers I have around me I know that I have a lot of wonderful things to share that could help others but I have not find a way to do it, yet.

I would love to open a cooking school to teach food body connection and herbs and gardening but do not have the money to do it. I am trying to find a way to decide if I have to let all these books and papers go or what, I would appreciate you letting me know what you think about this.

Thanks, Janette


Hi Janette,

I am so glad that you took the time to post this question in the comments section under the article about paper clutter. Books and papers are a challenge for many of us, including my family. You are not alone!Papers and books can cause quite a havoc on your environment. I can relate to your dilemma as I am an avid reader and love the printed page in whatever form it is given to me!It sounds like you have been collecting articles and books for quite some time.

My advice would be to look around your home and determine how many you can comfortably fit without feeling overwhelmed. It helps to keep all of your books etc into one area of your home to avoid the cluttered feeling and atmosphere.So, take for instance, I decided to keep all of our books in the guest room. Once I decided this, it became easy to see how many bookshelves I could fit/use in that room. My family also has issues around cookbooks. My husband has never met a cookbook that he does not like!

So, that being said, once I determined where our books would live, I bought 3 Billy book shelves from Ikea to line one of the walls. I use the Billy shelf frequently because they are 72″ tall and use the vertical space in each room efficiently.The space on those 3 shelves determined how many books we could keep. This containment system made us decide which books were the most important and which were not. We got rid of every book that did not fit into that pre-determined space. Since it was difficult task, we filled up every inch. This was not the best method because then every time we got a new book, we had to let one go.

The better idea is to purge enough books so that there is room to grow without having to urge more after each new purchase. One in, one out, so to speak continues the process. We eventually were able to create enough space on the shelves to add a few photos, vases and artwork so the shelves were not so crowded and more visually appealing.

So, the moral to the story is that you need to make an agreement with yourself how many books and papers make sense in your environment. Once that is decided, storing them all into one area of the house will eliminate the cluttered feeling. If you truly want to start leading classes and share your years of knowledge, why don’t you explore who else does this in your area and give them some of your books? You never know, this gift might lead to forging an alliance and allow you to offer a few classes at their venue! Even if this does not happen, you will feel lighter and your home less cluttered when you let go of your excess.

Regarding your loose papers and files, you need to ask yourself if you could find them easier, quicker and more up to date when, and if, you need them later with an online google search. Typically, you can find information on any topic x 10,000 you need much more quickly on Google than trying to find files on the same topic within your home or office later.

If you would like more tips on how to organize the papers that you decide to keep, click on this link. Thanks so much for your question. I hope this response helps!



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Another Shoe Organizing Idea

I came across this idea on Pinterest and love it! I thought I had seen every possible shoe organizing solution until this ‘do it yourself’ idea. I think I might try it in a few of my client’s closets!

This is what the pinner said about her solution: I am in the midst of reorganizing our master closet and am drowning in shoes. I have a few shoe organizers but none that are working well for me. I came across this ingenious idea for organizing your high heels using decorative crown molding!

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Organizing a Shared Bathroom ~ 14 Tips to Keep Your Bathroom Chaos Free

Organizing a Shared Bathroom ~ 14 Tips to Keep Your Bathroom Chaos Free

If several household members are sharing a bathroom, follow these 14 tips to help organize it.

Tip #1

  • Clean out every drawer and shelf in the bathroom. Get rid of anything that isn’t being used.

Tip #2

  • Move your medicines to the kitchen. The heat and steam in the bath can ruin them.

Tip #3

  • Give each household member a different colored basket to fill with toiletries. No sharing. Make sure everyone has their own toothpaste, eye drops, cosmetics and grooming supplies. Each person will keep the basket in his or her bedroom.

Tip #4

  • Evaluate your storage. You will need places for: towels, nail care, extra paper, feminine hygiene products, hair care and back-up supplies of soap and shampoo. Nothing else belongs in the bathroom.

Tip .#5

  • Use a shower/bath caddy for shampoo and soap. They hang on the wall of your shower and keep the clutter out of your shower area. They are relatively inexpensive and available in many different styles.



Tip #6

  • Set up a drip-dry container for bath toys if you have small children.
  • Corner to corner suction cup hammocks work well

Tip #7

  • Make space for a small, lidless hamper or laundry basket. Otherwise, have a system for depositing used towels in the laundry room.

Tip #8

  • Use hooks instead of towel racks for kids. They’ll be more likely to use them. Have as many hooks and/or towel racks as you have persons using the bathroom.

Tip #9

  • Make a checklist of all products in your bathroom as well as those used by each individual. Review your list weekly before shopping.

Tip #10

  • Explore the variety of storage options you can use in the bath.
  • Small countertop drawers can organize cotton balls and Q-Tips.
  • Use cutlery trays in drawers, plastic shelves under the sink and caddies which attach to doors.
  • Rolling carts can all contain the clutter that frequently accumulates in this much-used room. To keep things organized, each person can have one basket on the cart.

Tip #11

  • If pressed for space when storing towels, consider a space-saving towel rack that clips right over the back of the bathroom door.

Tip #12

  • Transform the dead space over your toilet by adding a stacked cabinet to store some of those items that have been kept under the sink.

Tip #13

  • Consider installing a shower dispenser right on the wall to dispense liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner and eliminate all of that clutter

Tip #14

  • Use organizational cosmetic containers or even small boxes to organize each person’s cosmetics individually.
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Tips for Decluttering Your Life and Your Home

Tips for Decluttering Your Life and Your Home

I recently received a question from an addSpace follower. I am certain that many of you also have a similar concern so I wanted to go into detail and provide practical steps to help you declutter your life. This is what she asked:

What questions can I ask myself as I sort through boxes of “stuff” in order to get rid of most of it?

The answer:

For starters, if these boxes have been packed and loaded for a long period of time (over 3 months), before you open them you need to ask yourself – “what exactly is in there?

If you don’t have a (more…)

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Recycling Your Old Computers

Recycling Your Old Computers

You just purchased a new computer but might be in a quandary because you still have 2-3 old computers stuffed into your closet and have no idea where to take them. First of all, (more…)

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Eight Quick and Easy Kitchen Storage Solutions

As a Professional Organizer, over the years I have tested and used many pantry organizing products. I have found several that I seem to use over and over again. I decided to post eight of my favorites to help you keep order in your pantry.

Stepper Shelves Stepper Shelves: These steps really take the (more…)

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Storing Seasonal Sports Clothing

Off Season Sports Clothes

Hi Kathi,

Thanks for the great tips on sock organization…. It seems to be working great…but I have a challenging question in regards to seasonal clothing.  My family of four is deep (more…)

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Little Known Secrets For Photo Storage

Photo Album

Proper photo storage is more than simply placing pictures in a photo album. Using the proper materials can help preserve your photos for years to come, and you can (more…)

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