Release your inner Bond girl by decluttering your life. Lisa Quinn talked to author Sandy Shepard about easy ways to simplify your life and free up an hour in your day.
Tips to unleashing your inner Bond girl
1. Laundry marker in the kitchen and master bath. Use the laundry marker from now on when you put cans, boxes, etc. away - mark on the top when it entered your "domain." Do this as well for makeup and toiletries. After a certain amount of time - could be 3 months, 6 months… you want to cycle this stuff back out of your life. Keep what's going into and onto your body fresh!
2. Tea/spices/flour/sugar. No more purchasing bulk! The essential oils (and the gluten in flour, etc.) just "gets old" and ultimately all you're doing is adding "color" but really no flavor to your food. Ditch the spices/herbs/old tea, buy new, but buy small if you can (e.g., Whole Foods small bulk bins) when you need it. Store in the freezer - and date it.
3. "Sheet packet." One of my best tips - take your sheets, fold them as usual and fold all the pillowcases that go in that "set" except one. Turn that inside out, "grab" the pack of sheets and pillowcases, and as you turn the pillowcase "rightside in," you will have the sheets and other pillowcases in it. Tuck the top down, and you have a "sheet packet" that you can store in your closet - everything together! As a corollary, if you have quilt or duvet covers, store them folded but INSIDE OUT - when you take them out to change the duvet, put your hands in the top and reach down for the bottom corners, grab the duvet by the corners, and as you shrug the duvet cover down off your arms and turn it "rightside in," the duvet will be inside - and centered, easy as pie.
4. Dry cleaning: Always get your clothes out of dry cleaning bags - OUTSIDE. There are chemicals there that you don't want in your house. My dry cleaner (Heritage Cleaners in San Rafael) actually uses green techniques - and takes the hangars and plastic bags back! Look for this. Similarly, to save YOU time (it's always you, right?) when you do laundry or dry cleaning, everyone in the house should be "stain spotters." Get your husband, kids, etc. in the mode of pre-treating any stains that they have on their laundry, zipping zippers, and putting them into the laundry bin. This will save you a LOT of time, and also save you clothes that you "miss" a spot on that then gets set in on the dryer. Also, get STAIN stickers from your dry cleaner, and as soon as a dry clean item comes off, if it has a spot, put the STAIN sticker right on it. That way, you don't have to remember. Make sure that everyone in the house is "trained" to do this - this will save you SO much time!
5. Ugly towels. We all have ugly towels/linens/etc. but we're not sure what to do with them. Call your local veterinarian - they are almost always desperate for these, for animals coming out of surgery. Live a little - have nice matching ones. And WHY do you have so many linens/towels anyway? More than 2 pair for each bed/bath is really a little silly.
6. Folding towels. Great trick and looks great in the closet: Fold towel in thirds (length-wise) so the "edges" are tucked in. Then fold it in half over your arm, and then in ½ again. When you put it on the towel rack, tuck the ends "down the back" - and then fold will be on the front, no edges. (Hard to explain in writing - tho I mention this I think a bit better in the book)
7. Doing cleaning to music: I just interviewed Eve Abbott, of ABrainNewWayToWork.com, and she stated that cleaning (or doing anything) to music can "engage" your left and right brains, and makes it easier to get rid of stuff that you're "emotionally tied to" but that doesn't "sing for you" any more or doesn't have an immediate use.
8. Time block to do your spring cleaning. Don't try to do it all at once, but also really say when you will do it - and do it.
9. Touch everything in your house (in every drawer) and be sure it has a use right now, or you LOVE it. If not, it's dead energy - you're just cleaning it, moving it, dusting it. Time to get it to its "next best use." (freecycle.org, various charities, Marin Abused Women's Services for unused makeup products, Image For Success especially for suits, etc.)
10. Small ideas - put magazines in your boots to make them stand up and not crease. "Cut through" magazines when they come in the door - cut out the interesting articles, and get the rest of it somewhere else (dentist? Gym? Friend? Etc.) Don't let them sit around gathering dust for months and months.
11. Consignment Day - a friend's kids' school in Terra Linda has "consignment day" - every kid gets to bring in stuff to sell, and they do it all day (keeping the $ that they got) - then anything "left over" goes to a charity that they have all learned about. Taught my friend a thing or two, as she saw "perfectly good stuff" she had purchased for them going out the door with a $1 sticker on it!
12. soup in ziplocks - if you make a lot of soup, pour it into a ziplock, and put it FLAT in your freezer. Then, once it's solid, you can stack it up and it takes barely any space. We all should be storing water jugs, etc. in our fridges (a) b/c it gives us water in case of an earthquake and (b) because the more you have in your fridge, the less energy it uses (b/c the water jugs helps it be cold). Be sure when you clean out, go through all the stuff on your door of your fridge - condiments, etc.! Some of this stuff can be years old! Time to get it out of there! Also dump out the ice in your ice machine and scrub it - this can get NASTY and folks never think of it.
13. Taking off your shoes when you come into the house. We make this a "ritual" (of taking off our "work armor" as it were) - but it also doesn't track any nasty stuff that we might have walked through all day into the house.
About Sandy Shepard
In general, I am an ordinary woman who came to the end of her rope, and made dramatic changes that I share in my book. I am aiming to empower all the women out there to be the best they can. I use the Bond Girl as my "paradigm" because in all of popular mythology, this is the only example I could find of an ordinary woman, who lives a passionate life in a paradise that a government employee (James Bond!) drops into on an expense account, but she has the energy, passion, and sensuality to take advantage of him when he's there, then once he's gone, she goes back to living her passionate life. She knows how to run her business, and perhaps have her cake and eat it too (without whining that it will make her fat!).
Sandy's background: Lawyer, massage therapist, sexologist (with a degree - see website), feng shui practitioner, coach, podcaster (recently actually pointed to by a uk website as 'what to do' as a woman podcaster).