Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Living Space eBook Giveaway


Recently, I've had the opportunity to read an organizational and home decor eBook, Living Space, by Kathryn Weber. I enjoyed it so much that I asked her to share a brief biography about herself and then a little taste of what her book has to offer. Did I mention a giveaway? Oh yeah, if you enjoy her advice, enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a free copy of her eBook.

It started with the recession of 1990 when I was a newlywed. Growing up with a handyman father (why have concrete poured when my daughter can shovel sand and gravel and we can mix it ourselves?) taught me a lot about how to tackle building and construction. Plus, I was always a nest builder. Combine that with some simple carpentry skills, I felt like I had what it took to flip a house. Within eight months, I had a renovated house and my combined writing and house decorating and construction experience had morphed into a career field.
Today I write about home DIY (decorate-it or do-it yourself) and feng shui – something I’d learned about while living on a desert island in the mid-80’s. What I’ve found is that home is more important than ever. There’s not much that can beat a bed with clean sheets and a good hot meal when the vicissitudes of life whip us around like a dingy on the ocean. Our homes are our anchors and spending time on them pays us back in calm contentment when we return home each day. Home is dear to us and ours. The four walls of our house are more than lumber and gypsum, and the sum total or our material possessions; they’re the exterior walls of our hearts.
Organize Your Pantry and Fridge this Spring
I once worked for one of the founders of a large Texas fried chicken chain who became a multimillionaire philanthropist after the chain was sold to a larger national Cajun-style fried chicken chain.  He told me one of the company profitability secrets was to keep inventory low and only store what was needed.  By reducing the amount of stored food items, a lot of waste was eliminated – and waste meant money lost. Good organization in the kitchen saves time and frustration, and in today’s economy, organization is another way to reduce wasted food, and wasted money from re-buying what you already have on hand. 
 The two black holes
There are two areas that become our kitchen’s black holes:  the refrigerator and the pantry. Stuff seems to go in there but doesn’t always come out. Did you know a typical refrigerator has double, triples (or more) of items such as salad dressing bottles crowded in it – sometimes holding as many as ten bottles? 
 I wondered how my own fridge was on duplicates and I found some repeats. Turns out, I’m a mustard freak. My refrigerator had six bottles of mustard.  There were two yellows, one grainy, one brown, one Dijon, and one wasabi.  OK, so I’ve definitely jumped off the mustard ledge.  It was enlightening to take a closer inventory of my refrigerator that, until then, had seemed fairly organized.
And then there was the pantry…..
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Some simple strategies can help reduce the redundancy and increase efficiency and organization.
 Alphabetizing anyone?
 I’ve heard that there are some pantries that are alphabetized, but that seems like overkill.  Instead, corralling like items together is the best way to organize a pantry.  Items like baking, snacks, cereals, canned goods, and storage items should be placed together.  I like to put large storage products, such as paper towels and napkins, large juice bottles or soft drinks on the lower shelves. 
 To corral all the little bags of chips and snack items that go into school lunches or for snacking, try using baskets or a low-sided tub on a low shelf.  My favorite shape for storage containers is square and my favorite color is clear.  Opting for square, clear containers to corral bags of beans, rice, pasta, chips and other foods will keep the pantry organized with all the items easy to see. (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S49871676/)
The same is true in the refrigerator.  Everyone has small packages of items in the freezer, and a small, clear basket is an easy way to keep all those little items together and not falling down to the bottom of the freezer baskets or falling out of the shelves and onto the floor when you open the door. (http://www.organizeit.com/iris-plastic-mesh-storage-baskets-clear.asp#)
Taming the fridge
Make a habit of placing items on the same shelf time after time, such as dairy or jams.  Purchase one nice set of clear plastic or glass food containers (http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?Prod_ID=RP091260&CatName=FoodStorage) .  That way, when you have leftovers, you’ll be able to find them.  Don’t be tempted to reuse a margarine tub to put your leftovers in because you won’t see them, you won’t eat them, and they’ll grow into an unrecognizable life form that will cause you to wonder what has died in the refrigerator. 
Don’t be afraid to put organizers in the refrigerator and freezer, either (http://pinterest.com/pin/139400550935456701/   or(http://pinterest.com/pin/260364422179747754/).  These can double as drawers and help you from overloading other areas, such as vegetables drawers that, when overcrowded with too many items, festers into a moldy, rotting fridge soup. Lastly, rather than throwing away old placemats, use them to line your vegetable and meat drawers. When they’re dirty, you can just toss them in the wash.
Keep a list
Another key to keeping your refrigerator and pantry organized?  A good grocery list. Make one up of all the items you use and buy regularly and make sure you keep it handy so you can jot down items when you run out.  This way, when you go to the grocery store, there’s no guessing about what you need. 
Take the list in hand before going to the grocery store and look in your pantry and fridge to make sure you write down what you need, but perhaps most importantly, you’ll know what you have on hand already so you won’t waste money buying that eighth bottle of mustard or sixth bottle of salad dressing. To help you with what goes on the list, try painting the back of your pantry door with chalkboard paint to help you write, on the spot, exactly what you need, and that will help you fill out your list more accurately.
Like what ideas Kathryn had to share??? This is just a taste of what her eBook, Living Space, holds. For a chance to win a free copy of her eBook, enter the giveaway below. (Winner will be verified.)

If you just can't wait to see if you've won, you can buy her eBook on Amazon here.
 Linking up with Just Because and Anything & Everything

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  1. our office / storage space is in desperate need of reorganizing. we've got to get a better desk to help with storage needs. or better yet just find a house to purchase soon and start all over!

  2. I would say our spare bedroom definitely needs some help! We have so much extra stuff that we just throw in there and shut the door! Thanks for sharing this, very good advice!

  3. stopping by and following from the blog hop! What a great eBook!

  4. There's NOTHING better than clean sheets! Thanks for linking up!