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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Trick-or-Treat Safely

When I was a kid, Halloween was easy.  You just threw together a homemade costume, told your parents where you were going, and started walking down the street.  Not today.  Either you are concerned about keeping your children safe or, like us, you live out in the middle of nowhere.  Today there are so many things to think about for just a couple hours of candy collecting, and each year, I seem to learn more and more about what not to do.  Like for instance the year I let Gray talk me into letting him be a ghost.

A Child in a bedsheet ghost costume with an orange pumpkin, ready to hunt for candy

That violated half the tips I’m about to share.  Thankfully, that was one of the years that we just trick-or-treated Matt’s office.
  1. Costume Safety: Avoid letting them wear masks, and make sure other accessories aren’t blocking their vision.  Check the costume’s length to avoid tripping hazards.  If the costume isn’t reflective, consider adding some reflective tape.  Have them carry a flashlight, and make sure they wear comfortable shoes.
  2. Driving Safety: Be alert, use care when going through neighborhoods, and never take your eyes off the road.  Put your iPhone away.
  3. Pedestrian Safety: If there are sidewalks, then walk on them.  If not, then walk against traffic and stay as close to the curb as possible.  Look right and left before crossing the road, and only cross at intersections.  Carry a flashlight and be aware of your surroundings.
  4. Candy: Only visit homes where the light is on and of those that you know.  Go through your child’s candy collection before allowing them to eat any.  Throw away anything that is not commercially wrapped, has an unusual appearance, or has a torn or discolored wrapper.
If you do have the option to trick-or-treat an office, a mall, or trunk-or-treat, I highly recommend doing that.  The environment is safe, they always get plenty of candy, and typically there’s lots of other fun stuff going on as well.  Whatever you choose, we hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Organizing Your Closet

A Tie rack with two clean ties and a belt
There are so many things I love about our house, but the closet in the master bedroom is not one of them.  In fact, the closet in Gray’s room is bigger than the closet in our room.  If I could ask the builders of our house one question, it would be: “What in the world were you thinking when you put such a small closet in the master bedroom?”

Because the closet is so small (and I am required to share it), I’ve developed the following strategy:
  1. Store out-of-season clothing somewhere else.  Twice a year, I make certain all my out-of-season clothes have been washed or dry cleaned, and I move them to the upstairs guest room closet.  I then move my in-season clothes downstairs to the master bedroom closet.  While this does take a couple hours on a Saturday twice a year, it provides me with a great opportunity to purge.  As I am moving clothes, I evaluate garments and shoes and always have several things I can donate.  But the bottom line here is, if I don’t use it regularly then it goes upstairs in the guest room closet.
  2. Make use of every inch of space. On the back of the door, we hung a tie/belt rack so that Matt could hang his ties and we both could hang our belts.  There was one wall that was simply dead space, so Matt put in some narrow shelves for sweaters and such.  On the opposite wall, there were bars for hanging clothes up high and down low, so Matt installed a long shelf in-between and up high, so now I have space for shoes.
    Closet Shelving
  3. Strategically hang things together.  Some people like to pair outfits together while others place like items or like colors together; I do a hybrid.  There are certain outfits that stick together, and they all go in one location.  The rest of my items I group together by type, then color, so all my tops are hung together and then in color order starting with the lightest and then going to the darkest.  This helps when I am putting together an outfit, and it also helps prevent sublimation of dyes, which occurs when light garments are stored with dark garments and nitrogen gas causes dark dyes to redeposit on light garments.
If you are light on closet space, you could give these tips a try.  Another option would be to store your out-of-season clothing at A Cleaner World.  Both storage and insurance are free. You only pay the regular cleaning charges at pick up.  If you have tips on how you make the most of your limited closet space, please share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or G+.
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