Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • How to Make the Most of Your To-Do List

    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 ImagesSteven 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

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  • Money Etiquette Dilemmas, Solved

    How to finesse sticky financial situations involving friends and family.
    by Teri Cettina

    Greg ClarkeGreg 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,, calls the "gently evasive" approach. "If your friend asks what you paid for your new house, say, 'Well, probably a little more than I

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  • Amazing Organizing Ideas for Your Kitchen

    As these photos show, what makes a kitchen great is how you organize it.

    Frances JanischFrances Janisch

    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

    Justin BernhautJustin Bernhaut

    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

    Annie SchlechterAnnie Schlechter

    Start Hanging

    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

    John GruenJohn Gruen

    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

    Bjorn WallanderBjorn Wallander

    Group Similar Objects

    Group objects by purpose and assign them to specific cabinets, as with the bakeware centralized here.

    David PrinceDavid Prince

    Designate a Cooking Zone

    Create a cooking zone around the stove, storing pots and pans as close

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  • Simple, Delicious Brunch Recipes

    Easy dishes for days when a bowl of cereal just won't do.

    Banana Nut Bread
    Serves 16 | Hands-On Time: 05m | Total Time: 50m

    Formula Z/SFormula Z/SIngredients
    -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
    -4 eggs
    -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

    Buttermilk-Cheese Scones
    Serves 12| Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 30m

    William MeppemWilliam MeppemIngredients
    -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

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  • Money Conversations Everyone Should Have

    Essential talks to have with your spouse, your kids, and your parents.
    by Walecia Konrad

    Wesley BedrosianWesley Bedrosian

    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, 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

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  • Quick Cleaning Solutions for Every Room

    What to tackle if you have 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or half a day to clean.
    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 CookTim 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

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  • Quick 20-Minute Party Appetizers

    Recipes for party-worthy finger foods that take 20 minutes or less from start to finish.
    By Real Simple Staff

    Cheese Quesadillas
    Incredibly simple to make, just-from-the-oven cheese quesadillas are always a crowd pleaser.
    Serves 8 | Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 15m

    Quentin BaconQuentin BaconIngredients
    -8 8-inch flour tortillas
    -2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack
    -1 12-ounce container refrigerated store-bought salsa

    -Heat broiler.
    -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

    Mikkel VangMikkel VangIngredients
    -1 15.5-ounce can

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  • Great Recipe Ideas for Shrimp

    Try one of these quick, delicious dishes starring everyone's favorite catch.
    By Kate Merker and Sara Quessenberry

    Hoisin-Glazed Shrimp Skewers
    Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 15m
    David PrinceDavid Prince

    -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
    David PrinceDavid Prince


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  • Clever Organizing Tricks and Storage Ideas

    Combat clutter with ordinary household items used in unexpected ways.

    Antonis AchilleosAntonis Achilleos
    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

    James BaigrieJames Baigrie
    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

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  • Party Ideas that Will Wow Any Guest

    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.
    By Krissy Tiglias

    Nicole Hill GerulatNicole 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,

    : Create a Floral Table Runner

    Nicole Hill GerulatNicole 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 GerulatNicole Hill GerulatChick Flicks: The Menu
    When it comes to what to serve, make it a feast for the eyes

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