Quick Tip — labeling your food

Quick tip for storing food in the fridge.  Found these labels at The Container Store:

A package of 70 labels in three sizes.  Erasable and easy to remove.  Tonight we had tomato basil soup and Miss Bee didn’t finish all of hers.  I poured the rest in a container, slapped a label on it with today’s date and off you go in the fridge.  That way I don’t have to answer the age old question, “How old is this?  Do you think this is still good?” 

Wrapping with Style

In the next episode of Hoarders…

Our beautiful, marble topped, Victorian dresser.  This was in Miss Bee’s old room.  Before we made the switch this summer to her new, improved, kickin’  it teen-style room.  We have now passed a law that dressers are not allowed in The Hive. So, help, me.

Instead, she has Elfa in the closet to store all her belongings.  Once I cleared off all the stuff (this was a half-day affair) I got to thinking that this would make a perfect place for all my gift wrapping supplies!  I. Am. A. Genious!

Gift wrapping was stored all over my house.  Some in the hall closet that is just supposed to be for linens.

Some in the attic stuffed in a box that I had no idea what I had.  And random ribbons from floral arrangements were stuffed in a kitchen drawer.

Here’s how I made it work…

First, I vacuumed out the drawers, then lined them with scented paper from The Container Store.

The four sheets that come in a roll, fit the drawer perfectly.  No cutting necessary.

Then, I took a rickety drawer organizer that never worked properly and repurposed the drawers as dividers in each of the drawers of the dresser.

This one for ribbon..

This one for cellophane and other little small gift bags..

Two of these for tissue paper (one for packaged, one for loose paper)…

That all fit in the top drawer…

In the second drawer, I placed all my rolls of wrapping paper and small containers and gift boxes…

In the bottom drawer I put all my gift bags, sorted according to size and a basket for curling ribbon and shredded gift bag stuffing…

One thing I did to help organize the gift bags was to take adjustable tension rods and place them in the bottom drawer so I could “file” the bags to keep them side by side.  This helps me to see what I have.

The bags on the right side were too long to file, so I just stacked them.

After this exercise I learned what I had, what I don’t need anymore off (tissue paper) and what I could probably use…rolls of solid wired ribbon.

Now when I go into my craft room, I can easily wrap a gift without searching for things all over my house.

I’ll show you more of my “Honeycomb Hideout” over the next few weeks.

You’re dead to me, kitchen drawer…

Three areas in my home that I constantly battle with:

1.  My kitchen “office supply” drawer
2.  My wrapping paper/gift bag/tissue paper containers
3.  Miss Bee’s dresser top

This counseling session deals with the kitchen drawer…

I had already taken out one tray of assorted writing utensils…but I noted above the random things that somehow make their way into the drawer…silly putty…a non-working flash light…the solution that you put into water to make it fish friendly (I don’t own a fish), and a plastic mouse.

Here is the contents of the entire drawer on my kitchen counter

See the cute little containers?  I was standing in Office Depot one day with Miss Bee.  She loves office supplies.  I was staring at the clearance section and decided I needed to figure out some way to make these little guys work in my house.  I already had Rubbermaid dividers in the drawer that I planned to keep and use as well.

I purged everything that was non-essential.  I decided that I really didn’t need 500 pens and pencils.  So, I just picked 6 of each and put them back in the drawer.

Here’s the after:

The great thing about these little boxes is they are stack able.  I have three boxes each stacked on either side of each other.  I  used my label maker to mark the contents.  Things like paper clips, safety pins, binder clips, match books and thumb tacks.

One box has glue, tape, Emory boards and markers.  The box at the back has small tools like a screwdriver, scissors, a hole puncher, and pliers.  The final boxes have pens, pencils, tape measures, and gum.

I feel better now.  Coming soon:  How I tackle Miss Bee’s dresser debacle and my gift wrap storage issues all in one exercise.  The most dramatic organizing episode ever.

Car Go Kit

I finally had it with my mess of a center console in the Hive mobile.  While the rest of the car is clean and trash free I was making the console my junk pile with all the “I keep meaning” to take those inside stuff.  I tried to get organized with a round bag, but it wasn’t keeping everything sorted.


 As I was going through Earnie’s things, I found the bag she purchased from Sister Bee from her Thirty One business.  Mother had used it for all her bible study and church things.  I thought it would be perfect and it would put a little part of her in the car with me everyday.  She had it monogrammed to say “On the Go.” 

So, these are the three bags I am working with.  The red one came from Sister Bee last Christmas.  I keep it in the car with all my coupons for the stores I shop. 

The green and yellow bag my niece made me, houses gum, mints, bobby pins, a small pouch of tissues, and little loose things.

Next, I got to working on all the things I like to keep in my car.  This bag has pouches all around it and a plastic liner (which came from Staples) to keep the bag stiff for organizing inside:

1.  Caldrea wipes (they have a really fresh smell.  Great for wipes down a dusty dash)
2.  Scissors — when I go to the Post Office sometime I need scissors to cut packing tape or open a package.
3.  Pens
4.  Hand Sanitizer
5.  Phone charger
6.  Sunglasses and glass cleaner
7.  Box of Kleenex
8.  Note pad
9.  Einstein Travel Mug (refills of their yummy hazelnut coffee are only $1.29 with the reusable mug)
10.  Fanny Pack with ear phones for walking
11.  Bag of wet wipes to pass around the car for messy hands

I put the console platform down and the bag fit perfectly in it’s place, with room for my purse. The bag has handles so I can easily pull it out to move it elsewhere or take inside.

Organizing your car.  An easy weekend project.

She’s Spicy –Organizing your spice cabinet

I’ve had it with the space I keep my spices.  The lazy Susan’s get jammed.  I never know what spices I have or don’t have.  You’re dead to me.

I decided to take the door inside my pantry and make it spice central.

I found a door sized rack at Home Depot for $40.  Then, I cleared out the cabinet checking the dates on all the spices.  Throwing out the expired ones.  What a waste.

Two treasures I found…

First, in England they call sprinkles, Sugar Strands.  I have had this jar for 6 years.  I don’t use them.  It’s sentimental.

Second, I can’t recall what this spice was, but it expired in 1998 which means I’ve probably had it since 1996 and that was at the first house (3 houses ago) that Mr. Bee and I lived in when we were first married.  Yikes.

I found a spice inventory on this blog and checked off everything I had and made a list of what I need to replace.  I clipped this list inside the pantry so I can have an at-a-glance of what I have on-hand.

I found spice jars for a $1 each at World Market and was able to use a 15% off coupon.  I spent less than $30 on 36 spice jars.  They’re just big enough to hold the contents of the small sized spice container, which I determined is all one needs so your spices don’t go to waste.  The tops come in all colors.  I liked the turquoise blue.

Then I got my label maker going while Mr. Bee hung the shelf.

Note:  Ruthie, the weinerful, inspecting the work.

The bottom rack holds all of Mr. Bee’s barbecue spices.  The next one holds the basics like Lawry’s seasoned salt, sea salt, pepper and peppercorns.

The next rack holds a variety of cooking spices and the one above it holds baking spices.  The two blue trays hold extracts, shakers of powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar, toothpicks, matches, baking soda and baking powder.  At the very top are boxes of tea and coffee.

I’m making the empty cabinet a place for more dishes and serving pieces.  It’s nice to be organized.

Make an Entrance — Tips for Getting Your Porch Ready

What does your front porch say to your guests?  Come on in…go away…this house is vacant…or come around the back?

During this transition of September to October, I decorate my front porch with my alma mater, TCU, spirit.  I have a rustic pot stuffed with purple and white pom poms, pennants and white and purple twirly twigs.  I even put a verse from a school cheer on the chalkboard.  Add a few pots of ferns, some pansies, and a cozy place to sit.

Your front porch tells a story to your visitors.  Even if you don’t have time to do full-on decor like Martha, just put out a few pots of mums and a pumpkin, or two.  Be creative with the containers you already have around.  I took a pair of rain boots and stuffed them with purple and white mums.

I have a wrought iron table on the porch topped with a piece of vintage marble from the 4617 days.  I happen to have an outlet on the porch, which I think it a must, and put a lamp on it.  I love the coziness of the lamp instead of the porch light.

Now that we are approaching that time of the year with lots of parties and friends stopping by, here are a few tips to help you make an entrance…

  • Stand out on your porch and take a survey of what people see.  Get the broom out and sweep away dirt and cobwebs around the doors, windows and porch roof.  Sweep the porch.
  • Clean the windows.  Those Windex bottles you can attach to your outside hose work wonders.
  • Clean out the light fixure glass.  The moths in there have gone on to their great reward a long time ago.  Replace blown out light bulbs.
  • Do you need to get a new door mat?  Does it need to be cleaned with the hose?  Clean it while you’re doing the windows.
  • If you have cushions on the porch do they need to be cleaned, hosed off, or replaced?
  • Clean the tops of any surfaces, like tables, you might have on the porch.  Clean the porch furniture.
  • Throw away dead plants that didn’t survive the summer.  Replace with pansies and mums that love the fall and the latter can be replanted in your garden when winter arrives.
  • Do the fixtures or mailbox need to be repainted or touched up?  A simple can of spray paint can make your fixtures look brand new.
  • Are your house numbers in need of updating or repainting?  About once a month, a guy comes by our house asking if we want our house numbers at the curb touched up.  I had Leen the Graphics Queen do our house number in vinyl lettering.
  • Is the door clean?  Are their hand, paw, or shoes prints on the door.  Get out the 409 and give the door a good cleaning.  If you have a storm door like me, I trained Miss Bee along time ago to clean the glass.

Most of these tasks will take 45 minutes.  Teach your kids to do some of them while you sit back and read People magazine.

How will you welcome the first day of fall this Saturday?