40 Bags in 40 Days: Week 4 Update

How is your 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge going? (Wondering what this is all about? Check out the kick off page here.) We keep plugging away over here and are starting to feel really good about the progress that is being made.

Here is what we did this week.

Pantry

Using Lindsay’s awesomely organized pantry for inspiration we hit our pantry hard. It’s amazing how many canned goods and other food items end up expiring because they just get pushed to the back and can’t  be seen.

We updated the organization to incorporate more bins and sorted the bins by food types. The shoe rack was used to hold cling wrap, tin foil, trash bags, and other small miscellaneous items.

Pantry Organization
The finished product
Pantry Organization 3
Use a shoe organizer to corral small items, plastic wraps, and trash bags
Pantry Organization 4
Incorporated bins and organized by “like” items and food types

 

Guest Bathroom

The guest bathroom was another area conquered by the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. We had a small table to hold some candles and extra toilet paper, but with two toddlers it was always being knocked over and tampered with so we knew we needed another solution.

We added a shelf above the toilet to hold those items and added some updated linens to make it look fresher.

Bathroom Organization
Added shelf above the toilet for organization and toilet paper storage

 

Bathroom Organization 2
Updated linens to freshen look

 

Check out how my fellow bloggers are keeping up on the challenge:

 


Wantable Intimates – January 2015 Review

I subscribe to the Wantable Intimates subscription box. The box is $36.00 a month for a subscription or $40 a month for a one time purchase. Wantable also offers makeup, accessories, and fitness boxes.

wantable review

I originally got my Wantable Intimates box as a mother’s day gift from the hubby. After having two babies in close succession I felt like my underthings were looking old and stretched out. It you have been pregnant, I know you can relate. He gifted me the box as a way to slowly update my unmentionables with nice quality, cute things.

Here is a look at what I got for January 2015. Also here are my preference settings for your information.

wantable preferences

Daisy Fuentes Lounge Pant Purple

Retail Value $38

These pants are awesome. They are super comfy and long. Also they have drawstrings at the ankle so they can convert to slouchy capri pants. Good news is they are on Amazon for only $20 right now.

2015-01-23 11_12_31-Daisy Fuentes Womens Rayon Relaxed Fit Pants with Drawstring Waist and Ankles at

 

Rene Rofe Double Galoon Lace Boyshort

Retail $12

These boyshorts are the perfect way to update my collection of undies. They are flattering (sorry no picture, no way) and comfy.

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Pajama Drama Cami with Lace in Coral

Retail $21

This cami is a perfect basic. It’s soft and a really pretty color. I will most likely use it as a layering piece.

pajama drama lace cami

I was a pretty big fan of this Wantable Intimates box. I love getting basic, but pretty things that will last awhile.

The best feature of Wantable though is their return policy. You can return the entire box if it just isn’t for you. They send you a shipping label and you just send it back.

I am planning on updating my settings to get something a little different for Valentine’s Day next month so we with see how that turns out.

40 Bags In 40 Days: Week 3 Update

40 bags in 40 days - Fresh Take 5

This week was when the 40 bags in 40 days really became a challenge. After spending a week traveling, organization was low on the priority list compared to playing with adorable toddlers and laundry, so much laundry. We did manage to fill some bags, but nothing photo worthy.

Understanding my dilemma, my amazing, beautiful friend Lindsay volunteered to let me take some pictures of the awesome organization she has implemented into her house in the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, this with be some inspiration for all of us.

The Medicine Cabinet

Organized and labeled medicine and first aid keeps things accessible
Organized and labeled medicine and first aid keeps things accessible

The Kitchen Command Center

Organized kitchen command center - Fresh Take 5 #emergencycontacts
Chalkboard paint on the inside of the left cupboard door creates an emergency contact area perfect for babysitters

 

Right side of the command center features important birthdays
Right side of the command center features important birthdays

The Pantry

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Fun colors create visual appeal

 

Basket storage keeps everything in its place
Basket storage keeps everything in its place

Organized kitchen pantry - Fresh Take 5 #labeled bins

Labels on everything!

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Check out what the other 40 Bags in 40 Days bloggers have been up to:


PopSugar Must Have January 2015 Review

PopSugar Must Have is a subscription box that I pay for. It is $39.95 a month, or less, if you subscribe for a longer period of time. They offer monthly, 3 month and 6 month subscriptions.

This is on par for my favorite subscription box, rivaled only with Golden Tote. So I thought I would show you what I received for the month of January.

Fresh Take 5 - PopSugar Must Have Review

Manduka eQua Hand Towel

Suggested Retail $16

Manduka is a great brand and I can’t wait to put this to use while doing yoga. It would also be great for just a plain old sweat towel.

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ToGoSpa Eyes

Suggested Retail $12.50

This looks like a fun thing to try.

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Skin Jewel Tattoos

$18

Hmmm, I’m not so sure about these… Can a 30 year old pull these off?

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First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Suggested Retail $28

With winter in Minnesota, moisturizing is a must. I can’t wait to try this and love that it is a huge tub.

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KeepCup 12 oz Reusable Coffee Cup

Suggested Retail $26

I love this concept since I have become a daily coffee drinker. I just wish it came with a band color other than pink. I’m just not a pink person.

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Jack + Lucy Pom Pom Hat

Suggested Retail $32

I’m in love with this hat. It’s super soft and warm.

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General Mills Nature Valley Protein Granola

Suggested Retail $3.68

Super delicious! Kyle stole it for work right away.

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If you are thinking of giving PopSugar Must Have a try use my referral link pretty please.

 

 

 

How to Stock Your Home Bar – Updated

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**Update: After playing with the data in the spreadsheet a lot more, I’ve come up with a better list that excludes a lot of drinks that include a single ingredient you’d probably never actually buy.**

For a while now, I’ve been obsessed with making cocktails. The existence of the free Perfect Drink App for iOS hasn’t helped. It was developed by Brookstone to work with a scale they made, but I never bought the scale (you don’t need to if you have a decent kitchen scale). It does two really neat things:

  1. Lets you input what ingredients are in your liquor cabinet, and tells you what you can make.
  2. Has drink recipes complete with weights of each ingredient, so you can just place a shaker on the scale and pour your ingredients to weight.

Anyway, my main frustration has been this: What can I buy for my liquor stash that will allow me to make the greatest variety of drinks?

So, of course, I made an excel spreadsheet with most (not all) of the drinks in Perfect Drink (it’s a pretty complete recipe book if you ask me) and then sorted all the ingredients by how many times they were in any drink recipe.

So, here’s what to keep in your bar at a minimum (these are all the ingredients that were included in at least 4 drinks):


 Tier One (Used in 10 drinks or more)

Booze

  1. Gin
  2. Vodka
  3. Bourbon
  4. Triple Sec

Apertif

  1. Sweet Vermouth

Bitter

  1. Angostura Bitters

Juice

  1. Lime (Keep fresh limes)
  2. Lemon (Keep fresh lemons)
  3. Orange

Other

  1. Simple Syrup

 Tier Two (Used in more than 5 drinks)

Booze

  1. Light Rum
  2. Dark Rum
  3. Tequila Blanco

Apertif

  1. Dry Vermouth

Liqueur

  1. Amaretto Liqueur
  2. Coffee Liqueur

Other

  1. Cream

 Tier Three (Used in 4-5 drinks)

Booze

  1. Rye
  2. Absinthe

Juice

  1. Cranberry

Apertif

  1. Dubonnet

Liqueur

  1. Benedictine
  2. Peach Schnapps
  3. Galliano

Bitter

  1. Orange Bitters
  2. Campari

Other

  1. Club Soda
  2. Cola
  3. Egg White

40 Bags in 40 Days: Week 2 Update

40 bags in 40 days - Fresh Take 5

The wife is traveling this week on a much-needed vacation, so I’ll take over the weekly 40 Bags post. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong, but whatever.

I haven’t been able to actually accomplish anything this week, so here are three organization tips I’ve come up with in the past:

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1 – Make a consistent system for backing up photos

Photos are the one thing I can’t stand to think of losing, but I’ve never been interested in managed cloud storage. When all the photos I took were on a single camera, this was easier to manage. Now, our photos and videos are usually scattered across the mobile devices and a camera. So, here’s what I do:

  • Once a month (put it on your calendar, or you’ll forget), gather all the devices you take photos or video on, and all their cords.
  • Copy all of the last month photos to a single folder labeled with the month. I like to use a yyyymmdd format so that they show up in order automatically. If you’re copying off an iPhone, don’t bother with iTunes, just pull the image files off like a external hard drive.
  • Delete the photos you just copied to your computer. You don’t have to do this if you like to keep a lot of photos on your phone, but it does help make it clear what you’ve backed up. My wife’s phone is always out of file space, so she usually doesn’t have a choice.
  • For extra safety, I bought two external hard drives and rotate them back and forth to work with the entire photo library on them. That way, if something happened to the house, I’d still have all our photos.

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2 – Use a Password Vault

I think that most people have agreed that using varied, somewhat complex, long passwords and changing them occasionally is pretty good practice. That’s basically impossible if you want to actually remember your passwords.

Originally I used a USB-stick password vault (Keepass). That worked fairly well, until I lost the USB stick.

I think by far the best answer is a browser-embedded password vault. I use LastPass. You install a plug-in to your browser, put in a single master password, and it keeps track of any new logins you use, and automatically populates login information when you got to log in.

If you’re on a public computer, you can just go to the LastPass website and access your vault to look up or copy your password.

download

3 – Use a cloud-based note system

I don’t know how many times a day I need a private place to put notes, pictures, reminders, links to webpages that I don’t need right now but probably will someday, etc.

This includes my favorite, taking pictures of labels or documents that’ll I’ll certainly misplace or forget about but will probably need later.

I’ve tried a few, but Evernote has been the easiest for me to use consistently. They offer a free PC/Mac based program, browser interface, or mobile app, and they all update seamlessly.

As with anything like this, the more you use it the more useful it becomes, so you really have to try to commit to it.


40 Bags In 40 Days: Week 1 Update

40 bags in 40 days - Fresh Take 5

Woah so we survived the first week and it wasn’t so bad. I am definitely realizing that I have tendencies to keep things thinking I will recycle or reuse them and that 40 Bags In 40 Days is really good for me.

This week I focused on those little cluttered areas around the house.

Living Room Toys

First I tackled the kids toys that are in the living room.

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Toys to store and rotate
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Yeah! A toy chest that actually closes!
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The toys that will be in this week’s or month’s rotation

Entry Way

Next up in my 40 Bags In 40 Days challenge, I revamped the garage entry area of my house.

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Photobombed by the baby trying on boots
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Clean bench for sitting down and putting on shoes
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Incorporated hat and mitten storage, a must in Minnesota. One basket for each family member.

I love the new hat and mitten storage I added. It is low enough that my little ones can put their own hats and mittens away after coming inside.

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Winter scarves displayed for Mama

I also added a pressure mounted curtain rod above my jacket hooks to hang scarves on. It’s a nice way to see them all and then actually use them.

Coffee Bar

Lastly, I tackled the coffee bar. This area has a tendency to start catching random odds and ends in order to keep them out of the reach of the kids.

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Coffee Bar/ Station
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Coffee Bar organized
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Great way to hide all those K-cups and boxes of Tea

The shelving system and organizing boxes have made all the difference in keeping this area usable, but also nice to look at.

Week 1 Thoughts

I did some high level cleaning out and organizing. Next up is to tackle the bigger projects. I intended to get to my office this week and didn’t even make it that far so that’s on the list for next week.

How did you do? Any suggestions?

See how my fellow bloggers are doing at the challenge.


Packing For A Weekend Getaway: A Visual Checklist

Packing for An Extended Weekend Getaway - Fresh Take 5

I am so excited to be getting away from it all next week. I found an inexpensive ticket out to see my favorite cousin in California. It will be a short trip: 4 days, 4 nights (including a red eye return flight home- eeek!). So this week I am set to pack my bags and thought I would put together a visual checklist for packing for a weekend getaway.

What to Wear and Take On The Plane

To me what to wear and take on the plane will be the easiest part. After traveling with two kids under two last year, this seems like it will be a breeze. I can’t wait to put on some comfies and enjoy my uninterrupted alone time. Here is the plan:

What to Wear_Take on the Plane - Fresh Take 5

What to Pack in my Carry-On

This was a little harder to come up with since I want it all to fit in a carry-on bag and I want it to be light! Here is what I plan to pack:

Pack In A Carry-On - Fresh Take 5

Summary

So here it is in a nutshell if you are the pinning type. The perfect visual list for Packing for a Weekend Getaway.

All Packing for An Extended Weekend Getaway - Fresh Take 5

For references and where to buy, check out my polyvore profile here.

40 Bags in 40 Days: The Ultimate Organization and Purge Challenge

**Update: See how things went each week with my weekly post.
Week 1 here.
Week 2 here.
Week 3 here.
Week 4 here.
Week 5 here.
Week 6 here.
 ***

Whelp, Christmas is done and gone and now we are all loaded down with tons of new stuff in houses that were probably to full too begin with.

Are you as ready as I am to declutter? Let’s do the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge.

40 bags in 40 days - Fresh Take 5

What Is The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge?

40 Bags in 40 Days is an organization and purge challenge. It is a way for us to wrangle in all the stuff we have accumulated over the years that we don’t really need or don’t really use anymore.

The concept is that for the next 40 days you clean out a bags worth of stuff from your house every day. You can have more or less, but one bag a day is the goal.

 

How Do I Join The Challenge?

It’s easy to join me in the 40 Bag in 40 Days Challenge. Just follow along and comment or check-in as I post about it weekly over the next 40 days.

 

What do I do with the 40 bags of stuff?

 Donate

Your local Goodwill will always accept donations, but if you want even more ease try GoodDonor. You just put your bags of donations out front of your house, schedule a pick-up, and its all donated to the charity of your choice.

GoodDonor.org - Fresh Take 5

Sell

There are many ways to sell unwanted items. Remember to make sure that these items warrant your time selling them, i.e. they are big ticket items like designer clothes, furniture, or working appliances.

For selling clothes, try ThredUp. They will send you a cleanout bag that you can just mail in. Then they send you a check. Easy enough. Another good option is local sale/ swap sites on Facebook. Just search your city name along with ‘garage sale’ or ‘swap’ to find one.

Store

Think kids’ toys you plan to rotate and summer clothes that still fit and are stylish. Invest in some big storage tubs and fill them up. They will stack nicely so you can store them short or long term.

Trash/ Recycle

This is pretty self-explanatory. Recycle as much as you can, trash everything else.

 

My Challenge Areas

Over the next 6 weeks I plan to tackle one tough challenge area in my house a week. It may work better for you to do it differently, like you need two weeks to do one area of your house because it is really large. Or, maybe, you would like to specify even further down so you have a task per day (e.g. office desk, office, shelves, office file cabinets, etc.)

Desktop - Fresh Take 5

  1. My office
  2. The master bedroom closet
  3. The guest room (Ugh this room is the worst, it just becomes a catch all for things I don’t know what to do with.)
  4. The kids’ rooms
  5. The loft living room
  6. The kitchen (So. Many. Unused. Gadgets.)

 

Resources

To schedule a donation to the charity of your choice: http://www.gooddonor.org/

Sell name brand clothing: Create an account at ThredUp and request a cleanout bag (Use my link to get a $10 credit to your account when you open it.)

 Highly Rated Storage Bins