Thursday, April 29 2010
Organizing Your Linen Closet
Sort and Organize - Sort all your towels and sheets to determine which are worth keeping and which should go to charity. Try to limit yourself to three sets of sheets per bed and as few as three sets of bath sheets or towels, hand towels, and washcloths per person.
Map the Closet - If you're short of space, think compact. Another good idea is to slip folded sheets into the matching pillowcases. And don't forget the closet door: It's a great place to hang robes or shallow baskets for soaps and toilet paper.
Label Everything - Once everything is in order, label the shelves to help you keep the closet that way. Use adhesive labels or tape a slip of paper to the shelf front to indicate “Master Bath,” “King Fitted,” or “Summer Blankets.”
The key is to use your closet¯however tiny¯for daily linens while moving the less needed items elsewhere. Whatever you do, aim at a system that works best for the person who's doing the laundry.
Microfiber Cloths - Woven from superfine synthetic fibers, these delicate cloths safely clean computer screens, stainless steel appliances, and other surfaces that are easily scratched. Fingerprints and other small smudges can be rubbed off with a dry cloth; a damp one will clear away even stubborn marks.
Corn Broom - Corn brooms are best for rough surfaces, such as a garage floor, driveway, or sidewalk. They will scrape up debris such as leaves and gravel but won't pick up fine dirt. Look for a nonslip handle that is comfortable to hold -- thicker handles cause less strain.
Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser - This gently abrasive powder leaves enamel stove tops and stainless steel pans spotless, without a scratch. It's also great for routine shower and tub cleaning and removing stains from outdoor furniture. The cleanser is nontoxic and biodegradable and contains no dye, fragrance, or bleach.
How to Save Money on Groceries
Plan your meals and shopping lists around featured sale items - Use your store's weekly sales ad flier to plan your menus for the week. Write your shopping list around the items and brands that are on sale. Taking a few minutes to make a detailed plan will save you the time of making unplanned trips to the store during the week—which can ruin your budget.
When is the best time to use grocery coupons? Use grocery coupons, ideally when the item is on sale. Buy the Sunday newspaper—75% of grocery coupons come from the newspaper. Buy two to three copies per week to save dramatically. Go online—grocery stores often have their best deals and printable coupons on their websites.
When should you buy the store brand? Be flexible about brands and stores. Buy the brand that's on sale with a coupon, or get the store brand if it's less expensive. Shop at the store with the best prices for your items that week.
Asparagus Gruyere Tart
Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
5 1/2 oz (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
EASY Repair Process: Warranty Wisdom
A home service agreement can make your repair process easy. We make the call to arrange for a licensed and insured contractor to take care of your problem. With a home service agreement, you pay a small trade fee for your covered repairs…without it you could pay hundreds. A HomeTrust Warranty® home service agreement gives you the protection you need against breakdowns of covered appliances and major systems such as plumbing, heating, electrical and A/C. Ask your Realtor® about www.HomeTrustWarranty.com.