A few years ago I reviewed the book Small Space Organizing. I just found out that the publisher is doing a "spring cleaning" promotion for it, dropping the Kindle price down to just $2.99.
Whether you live in a small or a large home, there's information in this book that can make staying organized so much easier! It's well worth the original price, let alone the $2.99 sale price.
I've pasted below my original review to give you a taste of the material. To purchase the book, just click on the link above. Happy organizing!
Small Space Organizing
By Melissa Tosetti
I am a big fan of small houses and often write about the subject. Just some of the benefits of small houses include:
- Small mortgages
- Small utility bills
- Less cleaning
- Less opportunity for clutter which has a way of expanding to fit the size of its environment
Admittedly, living in a small home does have it's challenges - like a lack of storage space. Although the goal is to keep the accumulation of "stuff" to a minimum, the vacuum cleaner still needs a proper home. Small homes can easily look cluttered if there isn't a place for everything and everything isn't in its place.
Small Space Organizing by Kathryn Bechen is the answer to the storage issue. Bechen takes you room-by-room and offers easy to implement solutions for maintaining a well organized home.
In addition to being filled with ideas, she also includes plenty of resources at the conclusion of each chapter.
Much of her advice goes beyond storage, creating unique decorating opportunities like:
- Remove front doors of one cabinet and create your own coffee bar by housing your coffeemaker, cups and coffee there.
- If you have room, paint an old dresser and use it as a kitchen island. The drawers can hold dishtowels and cloths and you can mount your own paper towel holder and hooks for cooking utensils on one end.
- Lean an old wooden ladder against a bathroom wall to hold towels and add a bit of architectural interest.
For many years I've been putting into practice one particular tip she offers for the kitchen: Buy large clear glass jars with lids for storing things such as rice, beans and cereals.
I use Mason Jars in a variety of sizes. I can easily see when I'm running low on an item and my beans, pasta and rice no longer have the opportunity to break out of their containers and spill everywhere.
Small Space Organizing is a book that will remain in my personal library and be referred to again and again. Consider picking up a copy for yourself. Implementing the tips will transform your home no matter what its size.
By Melissa Tosetti
Although it may still feel like winter out there, the arrival of March can bring on an overwhelming urge to begin Spring Cleaning.
Often, when we this frenzied madness of cleaning begins, we tear through the house with the desire to "get rid of everything". But, before you drag all your unwanted items to the trash can, consider the fact that some of those items may still have value. Depending on their quality, you may be able to sell them and recoup a percentage of what you paid for them.
- Good quality clothes can be taken to a consignment shop. Ask friends or check Yelp.com for shop recommendations.
- Another option to sell clothes in good condition, especially if they still have the tags on them, is eBay.
- eBay is also a good resource for selling knick knacks and decorative items. In truth, you can sell just about anything on eBay.
- Furniture can be taken to furniture consignment shops.
- Books can be taken to a used book store and exchanged for cash or credit.
- Books, DVDs and CDs can be exchanged at sites such as PaperBackSwap.com.
- Anything that is not sellable can be donated to a thrift store.
At the end of your cleaning session, immediately put what you plan to sell at consignment shops or used book stores in your car. Make a point to drop those items off within a week.
If you are going to send furniture to a consignment shop, make arrangements to have the items picked up or sent there right away.
For those items you plan to list on eBay, do it immediately. The longer you wait to get rid of the items, the less likely they will actually leave your home.
In my book, Living The Savvy Life
, I talked about my friends who sold makeup they no longer wanted on eBay and made enough money for a 3 day trip to Las Vegas - airfare, hotel and spending money.
I have a client who sold a coin collection to pay off his debt and another who sold her unwanted clothes to purchase a new camera.
Once your money transitions to a possession, in most cases it still has value. Make the most of it!
Thinking about summer vacation?
Now is the time to start planning and saving.
Airfarewatchdog.com, one of my favorite travel resources, just published the article: 10 Places to Go While They're Still Cheap. Check it out for ideas.
Often, we think we need to buy more clothes when in reality, we need to clean out our closets so we can see what we already have and love.
By Mark Parker
I used to hate the dishwasher. You have to empty it and put away the dishes. You have to rinse the dirties and load it. Next comes the sink and counters. You have to organize, wipe and scrub. What a pain.
I also used to hate doing laundry. It was not so much the sorting and prepping, since boys can wash almost everything together. It was the folding and putting away. Ugh!
Then there was the killer: paying bills. It felt like it took hours and was an emotional drain. My bills were such a cluttered mess and it seemed to take so much time just to get them organized.
And then one day, I decided to see how long it really took me to accomplish these tasks.
And everything changed.
I found that when I put my mind to it, I could empty the dishwasher and put everything away in 90 second. Filling the dishwasher took even less time.
I could organize, wipe and scrub the counters in four minutes and the sink took another two minutes. With focus, I could fold a full basket of laundry and have it put away in less than 10 minutes. Matching socks included!!!
So what changed? I found that I was wrapping very simple tasks in unnecessary layers of drama. It wasn’t the unloading of the dishwasher that was the problem; it was my inclination towards procrastination that made little jobs appear to build until they were huge and daunting. I found that if I attacked the little things immediately, no drama ensued and I gained the added bonus of the satisfaction that comes with a job completed. I no longer built up dread as the tasks kept piling up: because there weren’t any tasks to pile up!
From there, I became proactive.
Since I am a cook, I started in the kitchen. I found that keeping the kitchen clean affected my health. Keeping the kitchen in a ready to use state meant that I would be more likely to cook a healthy meal from scratch, instead of trying to get by with something out of the microwave. I also found that keeping a cutting board and knife out on the counter made me even more inclined to cook. The kitchen seemed inviting.
I learned to keep all my laundry baskets in the laundry room. This forced me to put clothes away instead of living out of the basket. Twice a week I gathered all the empty clothes hangers and staged them in the laundry room. That way all the clothes went straight from the dryer to hangers instead of onto all the other pieces of furniture that used to act as my closet in transit.
Bills became easy once I learned to simplify. I gathered all my bills, and then struck a match. No, just kidding. I now open my bills when they arrive and separate the statement page and the return envelope, and all the rest of the junk goes directly into the recycle bin. This simplifies things and keeps me focused. When I am ready to pay my bills, they are ready and waiting for me to pay them. An added bonus of opening my bills when they arrive is no Bill Pay Day surprises. I know in advance if a particular bill is bigger than normal.
The bottom line... in the end, I did not change my household tasks. I changed my thinking by eliminating the drama I commonly associated with even the most menial chore. I now find myself happier in a cleaner house. I can find all my clothes. My bills are paid and I have time for bigger and better things. Like mowing the lawn. Or, maybe I should wait till later… after the grass grows a little more… when it is not so warm...
By Melissa Tosetti
Being aware of seasonal sales and timing your purchases can help you save 20% - 80% on just about everything you buy. So, what are the great deals during the month of February?
All Things Related to Valentine's Day
Some Valentine themed items will be on sale prior to February 14th, but things like lingerie and pink wrapped chocolate will be offered at a greater discount after the holiday.
Tax software is being discounted as much as 30% - 50% off. If you haven't done your taxes yet, this is a good incentive!
Big Screen TV's
If you've been holding off on buying a new TV, now's the time to pull the trigger!
By Melissa Tosetti
One of my favorite lessons that I learned from Flylady.net
is the habit of doing just one load of laundry a day - replacing the marathon laundry habit that previously took up our weekends.
Another trick she teaches is to run the washing machine in the evening and then put your clothes in the dryer the next morning. If you can pop them in the dryer prior to jumping in the shower, depending on your morning routine, the clothes might just be done before you're ready to leave for work. If you can find just five minutes in the morning to put them away before heading out the door, how great will that feel? Knocking out a crucial housekeeping task before clocking in at work.
Many utility companies will give you a discount for using appliances before or after peak hours. By running your washing machine after 8:00 pm and then putting your clothes in the dryer the next morning, you can shave quite a bit off of your utility bill.
A typical family of three uses about 80 kWh per month for electric clothes drying. Under PGE’s Time of Use option,on-peak usage for this period would equal $10.61. Mid-peak usage would equal $6.00, and off-peak would result in a cost of $3.54.
By simply drying your clothes at off-peak times, you can save $7.07 per month. That's just for your dryer. It doesn't include your washing machine which will likely save you an additional $7.07 per month. Take it a step further and also run your dishwasher during off peak hours saving another $7.07 per month. That's $21.21 per month saved and potentially $254.52 per year.
I imagine you can think of far more fun things to spend $254.52 on than your utility bill.
What's the difference between those who struggle with debt and those who remain debt free?
By Melissa Tosetti
Traditionally, the Super Bowl is the last of the big winter parties. That makes tomorrow the perfect day to start a Pantry Challenge.
By taking on the Pantry Challenge, you see how long you can eat using only the food you already have in your kitchen - with the exception of purchasing fresh products like milk, eggs and produce.
The Pantry Challenge, which we do quarterly, was started as a way to encourage you to rotate through everything in your pantry and freezer within a three month period. The food in your kitchen should be consumed. Often, we get into the mode that a well stocked pantry needs to be static. If you see something sitting there for three months, either eat it or donate it to a shelter and don’t buy it again.
In addition to saving money, an added benefit of the pantry challenge is that it forces you to get creative. You’ll look at canned soup and dried pasta a little differently as you figure out how to make a meal from what you have on hand. Over the years I’ve received feedback from readers who have come up with new family favorites based on the need to get imaginative during the Challenge.
The longest any Savvy Life reader has gone without having to buy groceries (outside of milk, eggs and fresh produce) was three months!
Let me know how your Pantry Challenge goes. Drop me an email at
The Challenge does not include the food in your emergency kit. You should always have enough non-perishable food and water set aside to sustain you for 3 – 7 days. Keep your emergency food and water supply in a waterproof bin along with your other emergency items.
Last week I talked with two clients in Atlanta who were caught in that crazy storm. One of them told me that although she was able to get out and walk around her neighborhood, all the stores were shut down. She was glad to already have food on hand.