May 27, 2013

Still Perfecting The Closet

Yes, you guessed it – I am reading a new book.  Good Housekeeping’s “The Complete Clutter Solution: Organize Your Home for Good” by C.J. Petersen.  Not that I have a clutter problem, but I am always looking for new ideas on how to best organize all my junk.  And now it is more crucial than ever due to the sheer lack of space.  Plus, it is my personal philosophy that stuff can never be too organized or too clean.  That said, my principal organizing principles are:
  1. I am minimalist.
  2. I like to hide things.
  3. I do not decorate.
The book is conveniently divided into several sections by the areas of the home – bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, home office, etc.  Ironically, most of them combine into one in my royal flat. Another thing of note is that the book is ol’ skool.  I mean who has a landline anymore?  Below are some ideas that I found either handy (meaning I am already using them) or clever (meaning I will have to look into that).

I. Kitchen
  • “Every item in the kitchen should be stored near where it’s going to be used, in place that makes sense”(pg 9).
  • Towel bars – can be slide out or pull out, under or over sink, in the kitchen or in the bathroom.  I like this idea because the bars allow the towels to dry freely.  (pg 19)
  • Tray dividers – can be used for lids, muffin pans, cookie sheets, cutting boards, etc. (pg 19)
  • Accessory tree – basically shelves on a pole, like the tension rod in the bathroom (pg 25).   If you think about it, you can stick one just about anywhere.  And even add towel bars to it.
  • Refrigerator rules – containerize and assign shelf space (pg 30).  In my book, every single item in your home should have its own designated spot. 
  • Pantry – organize by level (pg 32).

II. Bedroom
  • Here, my biggest storage challenge is efficient clothes storage.  The book states – “hang less” (pg 42).  However, that is exactly my problem – the lack of hanging space.  Most of my clothes are too nice not to hang them.  Surely, I fold all my sweaters and jeans, but even they get horrifically wrinkled (Yes, I iron my jeans).
  • On the other hand, the book also states – “figure out what can stay and what needs to go” (pg 47).  My problem is that I already purged when I moved.  What’s left is either super nice or super new.
  • The book does not devote any kind of serious attention to storage of shoes.  Big problem.  Big BIG problem.

III. Bathroom
  • Sink-top caddy (pg 88).
  • “Make sure everything you store is contained in some way” (pg 89).  It’s true.  All the cleaning supplies under sink are just randomly sitting there, and that is starting to drive me bonkers.
  • Jewelry in muffin trays (pg 90).  Probably mini-muffin tray?
  • Flatware caddy for make up (brushes, mascaras, etc.) (pg 90).
  • Magnetic plates to stores metal objects (nail clippers, tweezers, etc.) (pg 94).
  • Tank top storage (pg 95) – I will take just about anything for the top of the tank, because all the lint that collects there is practically impossible to get rid of.

IV. Family and Living Rooms
  • Minimal furniture – smaller in number, smaller in size (pg 101) – leaves less space for the clutter to collect.
  • Ladder shelves (pg 114) – I just think they are kind of cool.  You can even have a ladder desk!
  • Another BIG problem – the book does not address how to best store magazines.  Don’t even ask.

V. Other spaces (basement, garage, attic, entryway, laundry, and whatever else you got in your mansion)
  • Color code (pg 148).
  • Trace the outline of the tools on the peg board to mark exactly where they belong (pg 152).
  • “Use a large carton and pitch into it everything that takes up space but isn’t earning it” (pg 159).  I call mine “a donation box”.
  • I’ll give you one tip for the home office – paper less.  PAPERLESS solves the need for file folders, file cabinets, paper clips, staples, even pens. 
Regardless of what your space looks like, the most important point to remember when selecting an organizing system is that it has to work for you.  It has to feel natural and comfortably fit your life. Do not force organization upon yourself (or yourself into an organizational system).  Sometimes “artistic clutter” is what works best or what is aesthetically pleasing to you.  Just make it a system.

OMG!  I even cleaned the top of refrigerator this weekend! Oh the life of a hustla, the life of a gambler!

"Good Housekeeping The Complete Clutter Solution: Organize Your Home for Good" by C.J. Petersen

May 26, 2013

RANDOM FACT: Cholesterol

According to American Hearth Association, almost 50% of adults over 20 have high cholesterol.  Shockingly, I am one of them.  Not that I just found that out.  Actually, the last couple of checkups have shown it to be higher than desirable.  But the scariest thing is that it keeps going up.  Particularly, my LDL (bad) level is crazy out of control. So of course, I am concerned – not ready to die yet.  Per my research the risk factors of high cholesterol are:
  • Smoking (I never have).
  • Obesity (my BMI is under 20).
  • Poor diet (until now I thought I was a health freak – I eat very little fat and very little overall).
  •  Lack of exercise (I work out 5-6 times a week).
  • High blood pressure (last time I checked, my blood pressure was 103/98).
  •  Alcohol (I only drink in Vegas ha ha ha).
  • Certain medications (I am not on any prescription medication).
  • Your age (I am not over 55 yet).
  • Family history (No history of heart attacks in our family).
Ultimately, cholesterol deposits in your arteries will result in their hardening and narrowing preventing blood flood to the heart, which eventually will lead to a heart attack and stroke.

As I was under impression that I was already eating super healthy, I purposefully tracked my cholesterol intake for two weeks.  The recommended amount is less than 300 grams a day for a 2,000-calorie diet, if you do not have heart disease.  I did not change the way I was eating during those two weeks, and I was averaging around 250 grams of dietary cholesterol a day.  What da what?  Is it possible that my high cholesterol is hereditary?

Since it does not look like I have any other options for lowering my cholesterol than through diet, I decided to figure out a way to do it.  According to my research, there are three ways that you can affect your levels:
  1. Soluble fiber – removes cholesterol from your body (use your imagination).
  2. Plant sterols – block body from absorbing cholesterol that you eat.
  3. Polyunsaturated fats – directly lower LDL levels.
Basically, I need to eat more whole grains (oatmeal) and beans, fruits and vegetables, omega-3s (fish and nuts), soy (tofu), and olive oil. And cut down on animal protein (even chicken breast has about 45 mgs of cholesterol - see nutritional info below) and dairy. Yup, the future holds a lot of label-reading for me.

Please visit your doctor.  You too could have high cholesterol, even though you may not look like it.

Healthful links:
High Cholesterol
10 Surprising Facts about Cholesterol
Top 10 Cholesterol Fighting Foods
15 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Cholesterol

May 5, 2013

RANDOM TIP: “What You Wear Can Change Your Life”

“What You Wear Can Change Your Life” by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine

Yes, you guessed it – I visited by neighborhood library again.  The reason I checked this one out is that I completely agree with these ladies.  What you wear can most definitely change your life.  Our whole lives are built on perceptions.  Often first impressions shape the rest of your relations with a particular person.  Thus, as we all know, you always have to look fab, because you never know when and where you will meet Mr. Right (or Mr. WillDoForNow).

This time they are addressing not only what is right for your shape and size, but also such style essentials as beauty, accessories and the organization of your closet.  The ones below were the most notable points for me.

1. If you are having a crisis of confidence, an easy way to feel desirable is to invest in sexy and supportive bras and underwear (pg. 24). The less money you have to invest in your clothing, the most money you should invest in decent undergarments. Basically, the underwear creates the canvas for the clothes.  If it is unflattering, it is not going to matter what you put over it.  And do not forget - “only supermodels look good in bikini briefs”. The only types of underwear that stay are G-strings (gives VPL freedom) and low-waisted boy shorts (great for jeans) (pg. 100).

2. These two have some weird beef with color.  I try not to overthink colors – they all look good on me.  However, generally I gravitate towards warmer colors – all shades of red, pinks, yellows.  My current obsession is orange.  I definitely do not wear enough blues, and, of course, I hate green.

  • “People who understand color look more interesting, more in control, more confident, more self-assured, and more attractive”. 
  • “Black is an absence of color”. 

3. Accessories:  Fine boned are more suited for delicate accessories; big boned can pull off bold accessories.

4. Intelligent storage.  They have a lot of good tips. But that’s where the intelligence comes in – you have to organize in a way that makes sense to you and fits your life.

5. The only thing I got out of this book about make-up is “long-lasting lipstick is a crime”.  Whole-heartedly agree.

The book also has some great tips for looking your best in photos.  So please visit your local library.  :)

More fabulous randomness: