White & Birch Elfa Decor Pantry from The Container Store.
Getting organized and staying that way is possible, even though it doesn't always seem that way. When your pantry is a jumbled mess, finding what you need can take just as long as cooking it. Straightening up your pantry can save you from a kitchen organizing headache! Keep even the tiniest pantry easily accessible and clutter-free with these below tips and space-saving ideas.
Tip 1: Don't Overstock
When working in a client's pantry, we often find - in the deep corner of a shelf - food from a previous decade. The key to avoiding this fate is to keep your pantry full of stuff you need, nothing you don't.
First, take everything out and lay it out on your kitchen table or counter. Start grouping items in categories that make sense to you. Place all the pasta together, all snacks together or all the baking ingredients together. Toss anything that is expired and start a donate bag for items you know you will never eat. Ten cans of black beans, anyone?
Today I was helping a client purge some cookbooks and we came upon this gem! It comes from the 1961 edition of The Complete Book of Entertaining by Nata Lee (now residing at Goodwill). In the section on invitations, there is a whole paragraph devoted to sending invitations by telegraph!
I also love the paragraph above that advises when calling people with details about a party to "not leave a message about the party with a servant" because of their unreliability. Not a problem in our household! If you feel that your cookbook library is not complete without the Complete Book of Entertaining, of course, it's available on Amazon!
Recycle Where? is a great tool for helping Bay Area residents determine how to donate, recycle, or responsibly dispose of unwanted items. Simply type the name of the item you are looking to donate into the search bar and up pops a list of organizations that can accept the item. Easy! The website is a collaboration between the city of San Francisco, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the city of Palo Alto.
Their website states:
"The goal of Recycle Where? is to reduce waste by providing accurate information about recycling, reuse, and proper disposal options for residents and businesses without regard to traditional municipal boundaries."
The next time you are stumped with a donation or disposal item, give Recycle Where? a try!
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey
Title: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
Author: Mason Currey
Publisher: Knopf (April 23, 2013)
SYNOPSIS (from back cover)
"Writers, composers, painters, choreographers, sculptors, filmmakers and scientists on how they create (and avoid creating) their creations."
Nikola Tesla worked until midnight, breaking only for a highly ritualized solo dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. Georgia O'Keeffe liked to watch the sunrise with a cup of tea, take the dogs for a walk, then spend the rest of her day in her studio. Charles Schultz took his kids to school and settled down in his backyard studio to draw comic strips for the day, stopping only to have a ham sandwich for lunch.
Mason Currey's book Daily Rituals is a fascinating compilation of the daily routines of over 150 creative individuals. The book is an easy read, with each entry just a page or so long, and giving the essence of the subject's routines and creative habits. From stoic solitude to nights of debauchery, the routines cover it all. It's clear there is no one routine that works for all creative individuals. Creativity, as well as creative routines, comes in many forms.
It's interesting to pull back the curtain on these luminaries and see how they actually created their work amid other obligations, what they were frustrated with, and how their habits changed over time. I recommend this book if you are a creative individual seeking time and space to express your creativity in this world of obligations.
Are you using the holiday break as a great excuse to clear out your closet? Do you have a pile of stuff just waiting to be donated in the garage? I have good news! There is a great donation event happening just days away, and you're invited.
SFGoodwill’s Donate-a-Thon is The New Years Eve party with a purpose. From 7 am - 5 pm on December 31st, stop by, bring your donations and stay for the music and free popcorn all while helping your neighbors in need. These donations help fund Goodwill’s job training and placement programs that give local people a second chance. As a bonus, the first 150 donors receive a free movie pass or SF Zoo tickets! You’ll also get an exclusive “first look” at Mayor Willie Brown’s donated luxury designer collection.
So this NYE, head over to Goodwill and clear out your closet while helping others.
Happy New Year!
SF Goodwill: 1690 Folsom Street in San Francisco
Monday, December 31st 2018
The Children's Book Project is a wonderful San Francisco non-profit that is dedicated to providing free books to Bay Area children. Their website states:
"The Children’s Book Project was founded to help build literacy by providing new and gently used books for free to children who need them. Since 1992, we have given away over 2.7 million books for children in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
Research shows that children to whom books are read have an easier time learning to read than those who don’t have this experience. In addition, evidence shows that reading aloud to children actually helps their brain development. However, many children in the Bay Area and beyond live in homes without books and attend schools and programs where books are in short supply. Encouraging reading is not enough when families do not have books."
The Children's Book Project is always in need of new or gently used, books for children of all ages, from infants through teens. Books can be donated on-site or at one of the many blue "Book Bags" at retailers around the city. Here is a list of all retailers with Book Bag donation sites.
They especially need:
The Children's Book Project
1360 43rd Avenue, room 105
Donation Spotlight for November!
Goodwill sells goods to break the cycle of poverty for thousands of local people through free training and work placement programs. Goodwill has donation sites all over the bay area.
Their website states:
"Each year, nonprofit Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin breaks the cycle of poverty for thousands of local people through our transformative free training and work placement programs. Goodwill serves anyone who comes through our doors with a willingness to work."
Things they accept are:
My current favorite Goodwill donation location:
1690 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Mon-Sat 9am-8pm • Sun 10am-7pm
Donate at one of their 25 dropoff locations.
Donation Spotlight for October!
Community Thrift Store is a wonderful San Francisco non-profit thrift store. They serve dozens of charity organizations such as Meals on Wheels, The Boys and Girls Club, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, and La Casa De Las Madres. Their website states:
"Community Thrift is an independent and non-discriminatory establishment -- when you donate with us you can pick your favorite charity! We accept donations on behalf of our charity partners, sell the items in our store, and then disburse the proceeds."
Items they accept for resale are:
Community Thrift Store
623 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA
Pick It Up may receive a commission for purchases made through a referral link for Keepy at the end of this article.
If you have kids, you know they love to create! From stick-figure family portraits to clay animals, they love to make, make, make. And you, of course, are the recipient of these amazing artistic gifts.
But, you may ask, what do I do with all of these masterpieces? The artwork is covering the refrigerator, piled on their desk and pouring out of drawers. As this recent Atlantic Monthly article shows, it's definitely something parents struggle with!
There is no single best way to handle all of your kids' art, but after trial and error, here are a few strategies I have developed to help parents to appreciate, honor, share, and maybe even let go of some of it.
Strategy 1: Show & Go
This strategy focuses on making it easy to display, swap out and store your kid's art. First, create a temporary holder for the incoming artwork. I like using a woven storage bin or large document case for this purpose. Regularly purge through the pile, saving only the very best pieces.
Next, set up a little gallery with some twine and clothespins. Swapping the art out is so easy that even the artist themselves can do it! Once an exhibition comes down, keep items for long-term storage in a handled portfolio labeled with each child's name.
Strategy 2: Display & File
This strategy is all about displaying and appreciating your kid's artwork. As with the first strategy, make a temporary storage area for the constant influx of art and regularly purge through the contents.
Next, display the best pieces with style in Dynamic Frames. These look like traditional frames, but the glass front hinges open to make changing the artwork easy.
At the end of the school year, whittle down the artwork to a manageable amount and permanently store it in a legal size expanding wallet labeled with the school year.
Strategy 3: Archive & Share
This strategy is for those that love sharing and technology. As with the other strategies, make a temporary storage area for the constant influx of art and regularly purge through the contents.
Next, snap photos of the best pieces and share them with an app like Keepy. Keepy makes it easy to digitally organize and save artwork, schoolwork, and mementos. Since it is a digital platform, you can easily share your kids' artwork, videos and audio clips with friends and family and they can share their thoughts back as well. Keepy is about more than archiving your kids' art, it's a community platform with so many fun uses.
Keepy also makes it easy to print photo books of your kids' art. If you do, be sure to use the code PICKITUPSF20 at checkout to get 20% off! By using this referral code, Pick It Up does receive a commission.
Of course, you can create your own individual strategy for managing your kids' artwork using any combination of the above ideas. The most important thing is to have a plan, or the art and school work can easily take over!
If your little artist needs a dedicated studio space, take a look at my Kid Art Area Pinterest board for some ideas on making creative spaces. Alternately, feel free to book a session to help tackle the art spaces and artwork together!
If you enjoyed this post check out Creative Spaces for Kids!
Now that we are back in the swing of school, many of us are helping our kids build healthy and independent routines. Recently, I discovered The Trip Clip. It's a website where you can design personalized charts, lists, and routines for your kids. When finished, the chart is saved as a PDF that you can print yourself. You can also go in and edit the chart as your child's routine changes.
The Trip Clip offers morning, bedtime and after-school routines, lunch and packing lists, and chore charts, just to name a few. What's really cool is that you get to choose the icons and the wording for each list you create.
The Trip Clip also has tons of printable activities for kids like coloring pages, mazes, math games, bingo, and crossword puzzles. There is a multitude of options for each game and activity. And, it's extremely reasonable as well, at $14.95 for access to all activities on the site. Print a bunch and be ready for that next road trip!
The Trip Clip www.thetripclip.com
If you enjoyed this post check out Organize Your way Back to School.
Erin Becker is the owner of PICK IT UP, a
Too much paper?Subscribe to the newsletter and get
the Quick-Guide to
Paper Flow! Tame your papers in minutes a day.