Seasonal Clothing Storage Solutions
April 15, 2016
It’s April, and while we could be in for more snow here in Michigan, it’s really time to start packing away winter clothing. In with the shorts, out with the sweaters and, crossing fingers – no more snow! I also like to change out my linens, stash away the comforters, and replace them with cotton and lighter blankets.
I live in a small schoolhouse, where space is limited, so seasonal items usually go in my occasionally-damp basement, and longer-term storage items are relegated to the barn or shed. We sell two airtight storage boxes that are ideal for basement, shed, rented locker, or garage storage. Both have foam gaskets and locking latches to keep air, moisture and insects out. One is 63-quart capacity, and the other holds 30.6 quarts. A clear body allows you to see the contents and a stackable design means maximum space efficiency – just stack them ceiling high in a corner, out of the way.
Under bed storage is another way to organize, and it’s a great way to utilize unused space – for long or short-term storage of clothing, shoes, toys, memorabilia and more. Using under-bed storage boxes is especially convenient for storing linens, as they’re right where you can access them. The Stor-n-Slide Container is 28.5 inches long with a low profile, latching handles and gliding discs on the bottom for sliding across carpet and floors.
Under bed shoe storage is easy with the Cedar Underbed Shoe Storage Organizer. Made of canvas with a zippered clear vinyl top and sewn-in side pockets, this storage container can hold up to 12 pairs of shoes. The cedar lining repels insects and keeps your shoes smelling fresh. Side handles make it easy to slide out from underneath your bed. We sell a variety of other under-bed storage containers on our Under Bed Storage page.
For longer term or outdoor storage, adding some eastern cedar or other odor absorbing products helps keep your clothing and stored items smelling fresh, while discouraging moths and other insects from ravaging your clothes. The Bamboo Air Purifiers are an eco-friendly product made from bamboo carbon and are great for keeping shoes and other items fresh. Cedar balls and similar products are great for containers, closets or inside drawers. We sell a variety of other cedar products on our website including the Cedar Woodlore Basics Kit, which includes hang-ups, sachets, blocks and everything you need to keep your clothes moth-free and smelling fresh.
Five Meal Prep Tips for Beginners
March 12, 2016
Between work, school, kids, family, appointments — all of the things we juggle day in and day out, making meals is just another stress factor. Meal prep is a growing fad and for good reason. Preparing a week’s worth of meals ahead of time not only saves you time, but ensures you have access to healthy, quick meals and stay away from the junk. And if you do it right, it can save you some cash. What’s not to like?
We understand that undertaking a project like this can be overwhelming. That’s why we have collected our top five tips to help get you meal prepping like a pro.
1.) Meal Planner:
Search online and find a template you like or create your own, but you will need an easy-to-use meal planner. This will let you properly plan and shop for the meals you want to make. Once you start planning, you can make a grocery list for the things you need. This is the most important step. It is hard to continue successfully prepping if you do not have the supplies you need, and as a result are either not making enough food to last you the time you need or are finding yourself returning to the store and cooking throughout the week.
Sit down and make a list of all the meals you already make and love. While prepping is important to save time, you want to ensure the meals you are making are something you will actually eat. If you don’t like the recipes you choose, you are more likely to ignore the food in the fridge and order out or just stop prepping all together.
Use the internet, too. There are millions of recipes out there. Find some that you like.
Now take these two lists and try to fit your recipes into categories. This is an easier way to plan. You do not have to stick to strict recipes every day, but make the staple items and have them available. A little wiggle room will allow you to still be creative and satisfy any cravings you have without falling off course.
Keep variation in mind, too. You won’t be looking forward to three nights of pasta. Or maybe some of your will. Do what works for you!
- Easy meals for prepping: Pastas, soups, stews, stir fries and Mexican (i.e. tacos, enchiladas, burritos). For breakfast, think things you can make in bulk: individual quiche, muffins, protein bars, cold oats.
For the actual cooking, stock your kitchen with the right tools. We recommend having:
- A veggie slicer or mandolin: Cut veggies properly for steaming, sauteing or roasting. Having veggies at the ready will help you make better choices when you’re hungry.
- Salad spinner: Keeping a bowl of clean salad greens in the kitchen and use your prepped meats and veggies to create a salad.
- A good cutting board: Keep your meat and veggie boards separate.
4.) Food storage:
Cooking ahead of time is great, but you want to make sure you are storing foods correctly so they do not spoil.
Things like soups and stews lend themselves to freezing. The easiest way to store them is pouring them in plastic freezer bags. Make it easy on yourself and use a counter-top storage bag holder. This life-changing gadget will make it easier for you to store your food in disposable bags and not worry about cleaning out your Tupperware.
For meats and veggies, go for glass over plastic. The less porous material will lock out air, will not absorb odors and will keep your foods fresher for longer.
5.) Don’t forget dessert:
Give yourself something sweet to eat and you will not be tempted to cheat. Fresh fruit keeps well and is a great go-to snack. Either keep fresh fruit cut up and stored in the fridge or add a fruit bowl to your counter.
Tips for Moving That Will Keep You Organized
February 10, 2016
It’s that time of year again. My lease is up and I’m moving house. The rental market is crazy expensive and crazy competitive right now, so every year I end up in a new place. As a seasoned veteran of moving home, I have collected a few tips and tricks along the way. These basic organizational rules have simplified moving so well for me, I wanted to share. Use them and you too will find moving can easily be packed into one weekend.
While basic boxes are the way to go with most of your belongings, I cannot stress how well a few Sterilite plastic bins will help you out. I use them for the basic things that can be quickly moved and unpacked. That way I can re-use them throughout the entire move.
For example, I quickly pack up my coffee pot, cooking utensils, dry food canisters and other basics on my kitchen counter. These pieces can be transported to the new house and immediately unpacked and placed on the counter. Then totes can be reused to pack up more things.
This process can take up a little more time, but it is worth it. Plus, after moving, you will have a few extra totes on hand for storage. Totes are great for moving because they are durable, easy to carry and stack nicely.
Boxes, boxes, boxes
If you are planning on utilizing basic cardboard boxes, please, do not pay for them! The best thing I learned during my time as a high school grocery store clerk was that these big-box stores are happy to give away cardboard boxes. They cycle through loads and loads of them a day and they usually just end up thrown in a compactor.
Head to your local grocery store and ask a produce worker for some empty boxes.
Grocery store boxes are so much sturdier than the ones you buy from a moving company, plus, they’re FREE! Try to do this ahead of time because they may ask you wait a couple days and come back to pick up your boxes.
Tip: fruit boxes from apples and bananas work the best; they have lids, handles and reinforced corners.
Before you move, invest some time in filing the paper work. Keep all of your warranties, important papers — including your new lease — tucked in a handy file or box. During the move, you’ll be able to reference or find any important papers you need. Trust me, moving brings up all kinds of questions and it’s very valuable to be able to find exactly the paper you’re looking for when questions arise.
Laundry Baskets for Everyday Items
Every one has a few laundry baskets floating around the house, but have you ever thought to use them in lou of moving boxes? This trick is great for the things you know you will need immediately upon moving. Cleaning products, small kitchen appliances, electronics, clothes — there are loads of stuff that can be quickly moved with use of a laundry basket. You’re going to move those baskets anyway, mine as well make use of their capacity!
- Use a basic bar of white soap to minimize nail holes left in walls.
- Leave ice cubes on carpets to remove furniture indents.
- Pack like you’re going on vacation for a week or two. You’ll be able to find all of your everyday necessities in one bag. It will save you a headache later.
- Toilet paper! Make it the first thing you bring. There’s nothing worse than an empty bathroom with a group of moving helpers at the new place. I usually stuff a roll in my purse and leave it when I go to get the keys for the first time.
- Pack up clothes using large garbage bags. Rip a hole in the bottom of the bag and tie them over hangers. No packing necessary!
- Use throw blankets, dish towels, bath towels or sweaters to pack up breakables. I wrap my dishes in kitchen towels and knick-knacks in (clean!) socks.
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