Michele GastlFew moments are more absurd than the times you beg your loved ones for their dirty laundry. That's why you should put a few receptacles in strategic locations that will make transporting and sorting clothes easier, says Linda Cobb, author of Talking Dirty Laundry With the Queen of Clean ($9.99, Amazon.)
- A hamper, a basket, or a bin should go in each family member's bedroom or bathroom. Even if you can't get every family member to do his or her wash, you can save time by giving everyone a portable receptacle. Make sure the hamper has soft edges that won't mar paint or chip doorjambs.
- Set up a central three-bin sorter in the laundry room where people bring their individual hampers. Laundry that doesn't make its way to the sorter doesn't get washed. (If your child's jeans du jour are left dirty, it's not your problem.) Any family member over four feet tall should be able to separate lights and darks. Hand-washables go into the third bin.
- Keep dry cleaning away from the laundry
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Michele GastlFew moments are more absurd than the times you beg your loved ones for their dirty laundry. That's why you should put a few receptacles in strategic locations that will make transporting and sorting clothes easier, says Linda Cobb, author of Talking Dirty Laundry With the Queen of Clean ($9.99, Amazon.)Read More »from How to set up an efficient laundry room
- Organize your DVDs by slipping them into DiscSox boxes with plastic sleeves (shown) so you can flip through them by genre or artist. To Buy: $27 for 25, www.discsox.com (Get a 10 percent discount with the promo code RealSimple).Read More »from 4 media organizing tricks
- Use a decorative wooden ladder to hang magazines. See Real Simple's 12 Ways to Cut Clutter
- Send Riptopia your CDs and the company will convert them to digital music for easy transfer to your iPod or computer. To Buy: 99 cents to $1.70 per CD, www.riptopia.com.
- Depending on its shape and size, a wine rack might store magazines and newspapers. See Real Simple's Instant Wine Smarts
Use 5-minute windows of time to make big headway on making meals
Photographer: Yunhee KimShop Smart
Sort groceries before you get home. At the market, ask the bagger to put all the perishables in one bag, the snacks in another, the canned goods in a third. You can help the process along by loading like foods together on the conveyor belt. At home, unloading will go far more quickly and be easier to delegate.
Prep meat and fish. The few minutes it takes to trim or pound meat can be sandwiched in between the flipping of the breakfast pancakes or afternoon calls to doctors and plumbers. Come suppertime, just pull your pan-ready fillets from the plastic bag and cook.
Meat can sit in an oil-based marinade for about 24 hours in the refrigerator, so you can set up the next day's dinner before hitting the sack; fish, with its more delicate flesh, should sit for no more than 4 to 6 hours, so this is something you might do at lunchtime. Place the meat or fish and the marinade in a resealableRead More »from 10 Ways to Speed Up Dinner-Prep Times
Susie CushnerStep 1: Gather all the garments you anticipate needing.Read More »from Best way to pack for a business trip
Then put half of them back. Select clothes in the same color family, packing more tops than bottoms. For a five-day trip, you'll likely need five shirts, two pairs of slacks or jeans, and one skirt, says Kathleen Ameche, author of The Woman Road Warrior: A Woman's Guide to Business Travel (Agate. $13, Amazon). The average 22-inch check-in bag fits roughly two pairs of jeans, three sweaters, two dresses, and five shirts.
Step 2: Choose knits, wools, and cottons.
These fabrics tend to resist wrinkles and are versatile (some garments can do double duty, like yoga pants that moonlight as pajamas).
Step 3: Roll softer garments and fold stiffer ones.
Underwear, T-shirts, jeans, cotton pants, and knitwear won't wrinkle when rolled tightly, says Judy Gilford, author of The Packing Book (Ten Speed Press, $13, Amazon). Stiffer fabrics, such as starched cotton shirts, blazers, dressy pants, and skirts, should be carefully folded.
Kana OkadaCertain foods play well with others, while others lose strength in pairs. Watch out for these toothsome twosomes.
Do Mix Grilled Steak and Brussels Sprouts
It turns out that certain compounds in Brussels sprouts (and other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower) may help rid the body of carcinogens that can form on meat during high-heat cooking. That said, loading up on these vegetables doesn't give you license to char meat, chicken, or fish on the barbecue. "It's always best to cook meat or fish at low temperatures until it's done," says Kristin E. Anderson, Ph.D., a cancer epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health and Cancer Center, in Minneapolis. "And if there are burned pieces, trim them off."
See Real Simple's No-Fuss 30-Minute Meals
Do Mix Avocado and Tomato
Tomatoes, which contain the antioxidant lycopene, are a superfood. Eat some avocado at the same time and you've got a super superfood -- the fat in the avocado helps the Read More »from Food Pairings 101
Caren AlpertWhether you're hosting a formal party or just throwing together snacks for drinks with friends, we've got ideas for transforming carryout into crowd-pleasing cuisine. Everyone will assume your sink is stacked with dirty pots and pans. (And if you keep them out of the kitchen, they'll never know the truth.)Read More »from Fake it with takeout: Tiny-size pizzas
Start with: A large cheese pizza. (Ask for it unsliced and, if possible, slightly underbaked.)
To make: Avoiding the crust, cut out mini pizzas with round cookie or biscuit cutters. Heat the rounds at 400Âº F for about 5 minutes. Top with slices of olives, marinated mushrooms, chopped prosciutto, an anchovy fillet, or fresh herbs (such as basil, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, thyme, or oregano).
Get More Fake It with Takeout Ideas
How to Speed-Clean Your Kitchen
Kitchen Cleanup Conundrums, Solved
Ngoc Minh NgoUse your body's natural rhythms -- and a few tips from the experts -- to find the best time of day to work out, see a doctor, go to the post office, and more.Read More »from The best time of day to do just about anything
The Best Time of Day to Clean the House: 4 p.m.
You're more likely to whistle while you window wash (and not kick over the bucket) if you do it in the late afternoon. That's when hand-eye coordination is at its peak and mood levels are high, says Michael Smolensky, a professor of environmental physiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston and author of The Body Clock Guide to Better Health (Owl Books, $11, www.amazon.com). If anyone in the house has allergies or asthma, avoid insomnia-hour and morning cleaning sprees (nasal-allergy symptoms are most severe between 6 a.m. and noon, asthma attacks more likely between midnight and 6 a.m.), and finish well before that person walks in the door. "It takes about an hour for allergens and dust to settle after you clean," says Martha White, M.D., director of
David PrinceGet the house under control, whether you want to hide things quickly or sort them efficiently.Read More »from 12 Ways to Cut Clutter
Sort Belongings with a Shoe Organizer
Designed to hold six pairs of shoes, this folding cotton-canvas and wood frame organizer can be repurposed for sorting and distributing belongings by room or family member.
The Shoe Bagger, $35, www.organizes-it.com.
Contain Collectibles in a Pie Cabinet
Are beloved collectibles beginning to clutter your tabletops? Instead of using an expensive and cumbersome curio cabinet, display treasures or delicate glassware in a diner pie cabinet. It protects valuables from touchy-feely guests and eliminates frequent dusting.
Display case by Carib, 10 by 14 by 10 inches, $130, Bowery Kitchen Supply, www.bowerykitchens.com.
Hang Boots to Save Space
Regain valuable floor space by hanging boots on a galvanized-steel rack. Chore Boot Rack, $13, www.gemplers.com.
Store Rings on Icing Tips
Instead of hiding rings away in a drawer, stack them on icing tips purchased
Monica Buck26 easy ways to help save the planet, today and every dayRead More »from Environmentally Friendly Tips
When You're at Home
Use a water-filter pitcher
Bottled water isn't necessarily cleaner or better for you than tap water. Get a Brita water-filter pitcher ($22, www.bedbathandbeyond.com) or an in-sink faucet filter. Take advantage of what you already pay for and save the environmental cost of transporting bottled water to the grocer's shelf.
Skip red meat once a week
Meat production -- especially in mass-produced beef -- is extremely resource-intensive. It can take seven or more pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, and livestock consumes 70 percent of America's grain. Eat less of it and choose pasture-fed, sustainably raised beef whenever you can. If you alone gave it up once every seven days, you would save the 840 gallons of fresh water it takes to produce a single serving.
Clean up your dishwasher
Switch to a dishwashing powder that's biodegradable and plant-based (try Ecover Ecological or Trader Joe's powders).
Problem:Read More »from Don't Lose Your Restaurant Reservation
You are running late and don't want to lose your reservation.
Be sure to call if you're more than 15 minutes behind schedule. Be specific about what is delaying you: the babysitter, traffic, or a work meeting. And be clear on when you expect to arrive. If you are so late that your table has been given away, apologize and ask, "Is there anything you can do for us?". Most restaurants get far more last-minute cancellations than they'd like to admit, so the chances are slim that there will be nothing available for you all night. Many restaurants also have at least one reserve table that they reluctantly bring out for unexpected situations.
See Real Simple's Menu Lingo Defined
If the restaurant truly cannot offer you a table, try eating at the bar, as you'll get a sense of the restaurant's items and the chef's style, and the food might even be cheaper. As a bonus, you can forge a relationship with the staff, increasing your likelihood of getting -- and keeping --