Beyond The Sort

Life Hack: The Electric Toothbrush Water Drip Wrap

Life Hack: The Electric Toothbrush Water Drip Wrap

Sometimes I wonder if the whole reason I started this blog was to have a purpose to share with the world what I think is probably the best life hack ever invented. Admittedly, I hear my own exaggerated tone to this statement. But I emphatically maintain that for the niche audience of electric toothbrush users out there, this life hack is truly revolutionary.

While I am not a complete neat freak, I found this phenomenon pretty gross. But as gross as it is, I also didn’t like the idea of having to clean the toothbrush charging base every few nights. There are already enough chores on my to-do list every day. I thought to myself, “There has to be an efficient and effective way to solve this annoying life problem” After-all, isn’t that the gold-standard for what makes a winning life hack?!

In Organizing: Try "An Heir and a Spare"

In Organizing: Try "An Heir and a Spare"

Call it a cute quark of our relationship, but occasionally Drew and I like to come up with names for stuff. It can be a nickname for an actual object (like when we had a GPS and we named her Rosie) or a phrase like “I’m a slow waker-upper) which translates to mean, I’m not a morning person. We have one other phrase we love and use a lot and it is called “heir and a spare.” We co-opted this somewhat crude British colloquialism (that refers to the Queen giving birth to a second child to secure the royal succession) to mean: buy an extra, when you can.

And that is the relative part, right? When you can. Affordability and practicality definitely impact this idea. This suggestion applies more to groceries and household staples than more expensive things like computers or cars. Also to be considered is the utility of the item. For example, just because a blanket is on sale, doesn’t mean needing to buy two of them because ideally, just the one blanket should last a while.

In our home, “Heir and a spare” comes in the most handy for things like a jar of mayonnaise, a box of ziplock bags, or a tube of toothpaste. We tend to buy our paper products like toilet paper and paper towels in the largest single quantity available so we don’t buy two of those at a time, simply because we don’t have the room to store it all.

Low Chemical Cleaning Product Options

Low Chemical Cleaning Product Options

A few years ago I started to take a serious look at the things that I was exposing my body to. I started educating myself. I read food labels to try to better understand what I was putting into my body. I also started thinking about what chemicals I was exposing myself to through cleaning products and personal hygiene projects.

I think I have a relatively realistic perspective on the spectrum of environmental exposure to potential toxins. I know that there is no way to control everything I am exposed to in daily life. I don’t walk around with a face mask on, nor have I stopped washing my hair. Even though I don’t live in the extremes, I do think there are steps I can take to reduce my exposure to some chemicals that can cause adverse health affects. This is my truth: I’m not any kind of expert, but I do want to use products in my home that are the most effective with the least amount of chemicals.

Several years ago I became a subscriber to The Honest Company. Favorites of mine of that line included their cleaning wipes, laundry detergent, dryer sheets and body lotion.

For other things like dish soap, dishwasher detergent, and products that do require a stronger germ killing formula, I like Seventh Generation.

Most recently I have started using products from Melaleuca, also a subscription service.. I

Cleaning Solutions That Really Work!

Cleaning Solutions That Really Work!

Can I make a confession? As much as I love having things clean, I don’t love the task of cleaning. My motivation is the end result. That is why I look for methods that are quick, easy and most of all: effective.

Over the years I have tried and tested the following cleaning methods and found they have worked with surprising success.

Boiling hot water for sugar: There is nothing worse than burnt sugar on pots and pans. I made the mistake once of not using protective aluminum foil when cooking something, and I paid the price. Luckily, the internet came to my rescue and provided this tip that really does work. Check out the video I made to demonstrate. Never under estimate the power of really hot water. Just use caution not to burn yourself.

WD-40 for soap scum: I don’t remember where I read this tip, but unbelievably, it does work. Our master bath shower has a challenge with really bad soap scum. Probably because we use a bar soap that doesn’t have a lot of sulfur or other chemicals. It’s really just soap. What a concept!

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets and Tools

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets and Tools

I love it when I have time in the kitchen to cook a nice meal for Drew and I, or when I can bake something to share with others. Ever since we remodeled our home and built a truly accessible kitchen, preparing food in that space has become a joy.

But what makes it just as fun is being able to use some of my favorite kitchen gadgets and tools while cooking and baking. They made the process more fun, less stressful, and because I have them placed in strategic places throughout the kitchen, always easy to find.

These are my top five must-have kitchen gadgets and tools. Some are more obvious than others, but either way, I recommend them all.

1) IKEA Cheese Box Graters

I’ve had these box graters for years, and I just love them. I use the larger tooth grater way more than the finer tooth. But having either as a lid, makes for quick cheese prep with practically no mess. I put the lids in the dishwasher and hand wash the container. They have held up grate, over the years!

Office Supplies Every Desk Needs

Office Supplies Every Desk Needs

I know it might sound odd, but there are times throughout my hectic schedule that working in my home office is really going to my “happy place.” I think it is because it is a space that offers limited distractions and maximum efficiency. Plus, I have made small decorative touches that are personal, motivational and aesthetic. Despite being somewhat of a cramped space, it has a good vibe.

One of the ways that I help keep it an efficient and productive space, is the handy reach and purposeful storage of some of my favorite office supplies. In a wide spectrum of functional to sentimental, pricey to pretty cheap, here are my must-haves in no particular order:

Tips and Strategies for Meal Planning for Two People

Tips and Strategies for Meal Planning for Two People

I’m not going to lie, meal planning for just two people is a struggle. It is something that has taken me years to get better at, and still, there are many meals where we are eating leftovers for days. The one thing that has helped most is my utilization of the freezer. But more on that in a minute.

On the one hand it might seem like meal planning for two would be a breeze: fewer preferences, food allergies, or picky eaters; less to buy, a quicker prep, etc. While there might be aspects of these factors that make meal planning for just two people easier, there are an equal number of challenges.

First off, there is the fact that most recipes aren’t written for just two people, but rather, four to six. Additionally, while there is some control over how many servings to make in one meal, the prep process is for the most part unchanged. Whether two chicken breasts are getting baked, or four, there is still the same amount of dirty dishes.

There is one additional challenge that is a specific to Andrew and I. In addition to just being the two of us, we also have small appetites. We are small statured people so it literally doesn’t take as much food to fill us up. But just because we can’t eat large quantities of food in one sitting, doesn’t mean we want to be deprived of good quality.

Resolve to Say NO to Resolutions

Resolve to Say NO to Resolutions

At the end of every year magazine covers seem to become covered in well-meaning tips, advice and how-to’s for organizing your way into a better year. Headlines like "End Your War Against Clutter,” "10 Tips to Tidy Your Closet," "5 Ways To Turn Your Kitchen from Chaos to Calm" Sound familiar? And is it any wonder why stores like the Container Store do special promotions on their organizing products at the start of every year? Coincidence? I think not.

And I get it. New year, fresh start, yadda yadda yadda. Resolutions are so tempting because they offer a clean break… a fresh start. But what might seem like a fresh start can also be a false start. Because the motivation for change is just the resolution itself. Not the result of the sustained effort. Because it is the sustained effort that takes really hard work.

It's what makes a lot of resolutions a tricky proposition. Setting a goal tied to a resolution that you might not keep (especially if you don’t see quick results) will only discourage you, and sabotage any real chance for lasting change. A better approach is to do some analysis to figure out what you really want, and then set some realistic action items to get you closer to what you want to accomplish.

What We Can Learn From The Assembly Line To Be More Productive

What We Can Learn From The Assembly Line To Be More Productive

I think Henry Ford was on to something. Ford, as history has taught us, was the inventor of the Model T, the first mass produced automobile. Mass production, and the T's low price tag, wouldn't have been possible without Ford's use of the assembly line. The truth is, the assembly line predated Ford, but he was the first person to apply it to a massive production scale for automobiles. Traditionally, workers moved down a production line to complete a task. Ford, on the other hand, had the workers remain in place, and the parts move down the line.

This seemingly insignificant alteration yielded large increases in productivity. It allowed Ford Motor Company to make 15 million Model-T’s in the span of 14 years, also, at half the cost. With many more middle and lower income people being able to afford a car, the world got a whole lot bigger. Highway transportation systems were established, commerce flourished, and society was changed forever.

History lesson aside, I've thought a lot about assembly lines lately, as it relates to how I complete various tasks in my home and office. I first noticed in a passive way that when I did tasks in an assembly line manner that I was able to accomplish them with more accuracy and speed. Saving time and yielding a better result? What is not to like about that? The only downside to assembly line style task work is tedium. When a large project requires repeat actions in a stage of work, things can get boring! The temptation is to want to switch gears and do something else, or skip ahead. Do anything to break up the monotony.

The Positive Effects of Organized Living on the Body

The Positive Effects of Organized Living on the Body

It is easy to get caught up in what I would call the “tidings” of organizing. For example, things like, the most on-trend organizational solutions, the best life-hacks, and must-have productivity tools. These are all things that help deliver the result of an organized space or productivity practice. But what I’m wondering about in today’s post is: what is going on in the brain and body as it relates to living an organized life.

There are many commonly understood and accepted positive health benefits of living a more organized life. If there weren’t, the organizing industry wouldn’t have its own National Accreditation Industry (The National Association of Professional Organizers) and The Container Store wouldn’t have net sales of $890 million for 2018.

Just Google “health benefits of getting organized” and you get pages of results listing numerous sources giving information about how having your sh*t more together can:

  • save you time

  • save you money

  • get better sleep

  • help you prioritize