#138 Clean Out Your Pantry

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#138

Clean out your pantry.

You may or may not have an official ‘pantry’ yet it is likely that you have a cupboard in your kitchen that is a ‘catch all’ – a place to stash those arbitrary ingredients that you rarely use. When was the last time you dug through there and got rid of the old stuff? I’m occasionally embarrassed by how long I’ve kept a can of water chestnuts or a packet of gravy mix that I picked up for a recipe or overbought.

First Things First

It’s a good idea to pull everything out to clearly see what’s what. Experts suggest we attempt this task at least once a year. It makes sense to do it now – before the holidays when we are apt to buy more groceries and may need the extra room.

Check Expiration Dates

Take stock in the items you have that may be on the verge of expiring. Expiration dates on food are conservative as required by the FDA and my family is hard evidence for the fact that people can eat food after it’s expiration date and live to tell about it (some foods are a hard no to this). Anything that has a close expiration date  can be incorporated into your meal planning over the next couple of weeks. Pasta stays good for a couple of years when it’s stored in a cool dry space, for example.

Organize It

This is a good time to see if you’ve run out of anything that you like to keep in stock. I generally have an extra bottle of ketchup or chili makings for a quick and easy way to feed a few if the kids pop in for dinner. Make a grocery list for those items that you need to stock or replace.

Next, group things in a way that makes sense to your lifestyle. I tend to organize my pantry the way my favorite grocery store is lined up; baking items on one shelf, cereal and grains on another.

Put it Back

Before you return things, make sure to wipe down the shelves and vacuum up crumbs and dust. Some people tout the use of shelf liner, making clean up really easy from  year to year.

As you return food back to the pantry, be sure to check that is securely packaged. You don’t want an open bag of rice to suddenly spill and spoil your efforts. For those items that are better in airtight containers, consider Ziplock bags or containers that lock in freshness.

There are thousands of ideas on Pinterest for pantry storage with many of the suggestions using free or low cost items to keep things neat and tidy. It’s easy to get inspired.

This is one of those tasks that often sounds more time consuming than it really is and your feelings of satisfaction will flood your senses each time you open the pantry door once you make the time to…

Clean out your pantry.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#140 Create a List of Home Maintenance Responsibilities

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#140

Create a list of home maintenance responsibilities

Being a homeowner can be overwhelming at times when life is pulling at us in a gazillion directions. Even if you don’t own your home, there are basic maintenance items that make living in a home more efficient and healthy – leading to a higher quality of life and a sustainability of your home’s value.

If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, just search Google for a list of House Maintenance Items – there is no shortage of links to investigate but there are a couple of categories you must be sure to include:

Monthly items:

The things you need to do each month such as changing your air filter, are designed to keep abreast of potentially bigger problems. One list suggested moving from sink to sink once a month with a hair drain clog remover so that the drains never become clogged… a proactive stance to remove buildup. Anyone with girls living in the house needs one of those do-dads. It’s completely gross but oh-so-worth-it!

Quarterly items:

On a less regular basis it’s good to inspect under sinks and around toilets for water leakage. Additionally, someone suggested inspecting extension cords and surge protectors – something that I personally, take for granted. I imagine the one behind the couch hasn’t seen daylight in more than a year which, means it’s nested in a full out hollow of dust bunnies. When those babies collect extensively, they create hard core matter that can catch fire from a spark.  Yup… gotta check them.

Bi-Annually:

Get the vacuum out and suck up the dust on your refrigerator coils. You’ll have to pull it out to do this but it will save a ton of money on power efficiency and it will take all of 10 minutes or less. Of course, you’ll want to scrub up the spilled milk that’s been baking there for months along with spider poop and the dead flies.

Annually:

Inside, you’ll want to prioritize vent cleaning (including the dryer vent!). The air you breathe will be so much cleaner if it’s not blowing back the dust that has settled in your vents throughout the year. And… that dryer vent accumulation that you never see and therefore never think about – is responsible for thousands of house fires around the world each year.

Outside, you’ll want to make sure that shrubs and trees aren’t up against the house too close. It’s especially important to get those climbing vines off the house as the little feeder roots it uses to hold itself to your masonry will over time, break apart the concrete, stucco, brick, or make its way into your siding and create havoc as water and ice will have a path to parts of your home where they are most destructive.

Of course, the whole idea of a list is to be organized with these tasks and make sure that they are accomplished. While you’re thinking about it – go ahead and …

Make a list of home maintenance responsibilities.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#216 Clean your Sock Drawer

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#216

Clean your sock drawer

You may wonder how this particular tip helps you lead an easier, happier, or more productive life and yet I know a ton of people who have a sock pile… a stack of single socks that lie in waiting for the match. Some lay so long that the elasticity of them degrades and any attempt at stretching results in that unwanted crinkle sound depicting sock death.

Marry those babies

Cleaning your sock drawer reunites all those singles; re-pairing them and increasing the ever-eroding options you have each morning as you dress your feet. How many of us wait until the drawer is empty of pairs before we take some time to organize? I’m convinced that the fad popular with kids these days of wearing non-matching socks is because it is easier than finding matches and/or cleaning out the sock drawer. For those of you not wanting to adopt the fad… maybe it’s time.

Repurpose singles

If your house is like mine, there will be socks that don’t match. I used to keep them for a year or so and then at the end of a year I assumed they were buried inside my washing machine or tucked in a sheet I never use so I threw them out or found a way to repurpose them (very interesting link here).

Minutes to spare

It really takes just takes a few minutes to lay them all out and make matches of the ones that have been separated from their mate. Matching the few pair that exist there will allow you to feel more organized, a little accomplished, and aware of what’s really there. Consider taking a couple of minutes as you dress tomorrow to …

Clean your sock drawer.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.