No matter your method for keeping track of lists, we have simple strategies for ensuring everything gets crossed off.
by Nicole Yorio Jurick
Steven Errico/Getty ImagesThe Post-It Noter
If you have a drawer stocked with sticky notes-and aren't afraid to use them-that means you absorb information visually, says organizing coach Liz Franklin, author of How to Get Organized Without Resorting to Arson. Jotting tasks on colors and shapes turns on your brain and helps you remember to-dos better than if you were using a white notepad or PDA.
Make the Most of Your Method
The biggest problems with Post-Its: They're not always there when you need them. To ensure your to-dos are always a peel away, organize the sticky notes in a manila folder, Franklin suggests. Listing one task per note, create a grid starting with priority tasks in the upper left corner and ending in the bottom right with the least urgent ones. Then peel off and toss each note when you're done. Plans changed? You can easily switch your priorities
Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine
No matter your method for keeping track of lists, we have simple strategies for ensuring everything gets crossed off.Read More »from How to Make the Most of Your To-Do List
How to finesse sticky financial situations involving friends and family.Read More »from Money Etiquette Dilemmas, Solved
by Teri Cettina
Greg ClarkeResponding to Nosy Questions
Problem: A nosy friend asks how much you spent on your car, your clothes, or your house, and you think it's none of her business.
Solution: When someone asks an invasive question, you're never obligated to answer, says Laurie Puhn, a relationship expert in New York City. "If she asked about your favorite sexual positions, would you feel you had to tell her? Probably not," Puhn says. The next time this friend asks the price of a new leather handbag, Puhn suggests saying something like: "I have a new policy that I'm not going to share prices or salaries. It's nothing personal. I've just found it's easier not to discuss finances with friends." Or try what etiquette expert Anna Post, author of Emily Post's Wedding Parties ($23, amazon.com), calls the "gently evasive" approach. "If your friend asks what you paid for your new house, say, 'Well, probably a little more than I
Easy dishes for days when a bowl of cereal just won't do.Read More »from Simple, Delicious Brunch Recipes
Banana Nut Bread
Serves 16 | Hands-On Time: 05m | Total Time: 50m
-1 box yellow cake mix
-1 package Jell-O Instant Banana Cream Pudding & Pie Filling
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-2 ripe bananas, mashed
-1 cup chopped pecans
-Heat oven to 350° F.
-Mix all the ingredients well. Pour into 2 large or 4 small greased loaf pans.
-Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. (For those allergic to nuts, this recipe can be made without the pecans.)
Related: Make Breakfast in Bed
Serves 12| Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 30m
-3 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
-1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan
-1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
-1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
-1 1/4 cups buttermilk
-Heat oven to 400° F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with vegetable
As these photos show, what makes a kitchen great is how you organize it.Read More »from Amazing Organizing Ideas for Your Kitchen
Turn to a Lazy Susan
Contain messes by housing sticky or spillable food items on an easy-to-clean lazy Susan.
18 Clever Organizing Tricks
Give Cookbooks Space
Cookbooks are fine on open shelves, so long as they're not exposed to humidity and grease from the fridge or stove.
Related: Low-Key, Stress-Free Organized Home
Hang aprons, pot holders, and dish towels on pegs (mount them at least two feet away from the stove).
Related: Easy Ways to Streamline Your Supplies
Store Items by Use
Arrange your kitchenware by frequency of use, with everyday dishes on an easy-to-reach lower shelf and special-occasion pieces up above.
Related: Before and After: A Refrigerator Makeover
Group Similar Objects
Group objects by purpose and assign them to specific cabinets, as with the bakeware centralized here.
Designate a Cooking Zone
Create a cooking zone around the stove, storing pots and pans as close
Essential talks to have with your spouse, your kids, and your parents.Read More »from Money Conversations Everyone Should Have
by Walecia Konrad
CONVERSATIONS TO HAVE WITH YOUR SPOUSE
Where Does All Our Money Go?
Why it's important: If you don't know where it goes, you could end up running low, not to mention straining your relationship. "Financial issues are the number one reason I see couples divorcing," says Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist and the author of Emotional Fitness for Intimacy ($11, amazon.com). The biggest marriage-buster among them? Over-spending. "Oftentimes a spender marries a saver," says Goldsmith. "They need to master the art of compromise, and if they don't, their relationship can quickly get complicated."
The ideal time to talk: Yesterday, says Goldsmith. Every couple needs to have this discussion. Even if your finances seem to be in good shape, you should check in regularly in case priorities change or debt sneaks in unnoticed.
What to do first: Suggest to your spouse that the two of you―together―keep a
Recipes for party-worthy finger foods that take 20 minutes or less from start to finish.Read More »from Quick 20-Minute Party Appetizers
By Real Simple Staff
Incredibly simple to make, just-from-the-oven cheese quesadillas are always a crowd pleaser.
Serves 8 | Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 15m
-8 8-inch flour tortillas
-2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack
-1 12-ounce container refrigerated store-bought salsa
-Place 2 tortillas on a baking sheet and sprinkle ½ cup of the cheese evenly over each. Top with 2 more tortillas.
-Broil until golden and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
-Repeat with the remaining tortillas and cheese.
-Cut into triangles and serve with the salsa.
Calories Per Serving: 237
Related: 10 Store-Bought Best Party Appetizers
Chickpea and Mint Crostini
In this no-cook recipe, combine chickpeas with juicy pomegranate seeds and chopped mint for a bright, fresh topping.
Serves 8 | Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 10m
-1 15.5-ounce can
What to tackle if you have 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or half a day to clean.Read More »from Quick Cleaning Solutions for Every Room
By Maria Shollenbarger
Easy Steps for Cleaning the Kitchen
Kitchen duty isn't easy. The main culprit: grease. Before you start combating it, move small appliances off the counters to ensure that bacteria (kitchen enemy No. 2) won't flourish underneath the toaster oven or the coffeemaker.
Tim Evan CookIf You Have 15 Minutes
-Clean countertops and the sink. Spray disinfectant in the sink and let it soak. "Otherwise the product won't have time to kill all the bacteria and viruses you're trying to remove," says Janice Stewart, owner of Castle Keepers, a professional cleaning service in Charleston, South Carolina. Meanwhile, spritz the counters with disinfectant. Then scrub the sink with a sponge, rinse well, and dry. Return to the counters and wipe dry with a fresh cotton or microfiber cloth.
-Sweep or dry-mop the floor. Make a pass using an electrostatic mop (like those from Swiffer) or cloth. This will pick up dirt
Try one of these quick, delicious dishes starring everyone's favorite catch.Read More »from Great Recipe Ideas for Shrimp
By Kate Merker and Sara Quessenberry
Hoisin-Glazed Shrimp Skewers
Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 15m
-1 seedless cucumber, sliced
-2 scallions, sliced
-2 tablespoons rice vinegar
-2 tablespoons canola oil
-kosher salt and black pepper
-1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
-1/4 cup hoisin sauce
-2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1. Heat broiler. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, scallions, vinegar, oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
2. Thread shrimp onto 6-inch skewers, wrap the skewer ends with foil, and place on a broiler-proof rimmed baking sheet.
3. Broil, basting with the hoisin sauce, until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with the cucumber salad.
Related: The Best and Worst Appetizer Choices
Spaghetti With Shrimp, Feta, and Dill
Serves 4 | Hands-On Time: 25m | Total Time: 25m
Combat clutter with ordinary household items used in unexpected ways.Read More »from Clever Organizing Tricks and Storage Ideas
Use Jewelry Boxes
Those little boxes are so sturdy and trim that you hate to throw them out. So don't. Instead, clip them together to create tidy divided storage for pens and pencils, lipsticks, plastic flatware, whatever it is that clutters your drawer (maybe jewelry?). (For more junk drawer tips, see Make Over Your Junk Drawer.)
Related: Essential Everyday Forms and Checklists
Use Glass Jars
"Grandpa's wood-shop solution of attaching glass jars underneath a table or a shelf is tried-and-true," says Ted McCann, a Brooklyn-based custom woodworker. This trick works in the garage, the basement, and the craft room (or even possibly the home office, if you have an appropriate area): Nail or superglue the lids to the underside of a surface near where you store your tools, then twist the jars into place. Put like-size nuts and bolts in one jar, wood screws in another, nails in another. Also attach an empty jar so that
Whether you're hosting an Oscar bash or simply looking for a unique party theme, these fun and festive ideas are perfect for celebrating just about anything, anytime.Read More »from Party Ideas that Will Wow Any Guest
By Krissy Tiglias
Nicole Hill GerulatChick Flicks: The Décor
Time to get the girls together for an evening filled with a little glitz and a whole lot of glam. Embellish clear glass vessels with sparkly washi tape, attach silver pom poms to garland strands and drink toppers, and hang a banner to greet guests as soon as they arrive.
Hollywood banner, banterbanner.com.
Related: Create a Floral Table Runner
Nicole Hill GerulatChick Flicks: The Invite
Since this get-together is probably long-overdue, make it extra special with an invitation that will have everyone talking. As for the guest list, this is strictly a girls-only affair...with the exception of a few of our favorite guys. Cue Jake, Leo, George, Ryan.
Related: Quick 20-Minute Party Appetizers
Nicole Hill GerulatChick Flicks: The Menu
When it comes to what to serve, make it a feast for the eyes