erindoland
Erin Rooney Doland is Editor-in-Chief of Unclutterer.com, a website providing daily articles on home and office organization, and author of the book Unclutter Your Life in One Week, published in November 2009 by Simon and Schuster.

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas, William Allen White School of Journalism, and her master's degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a writer, productivity consultant, and lecturer. She, her husband, and son reside in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

In addition to her work at Unclutterer, Erin is a weekly columnist here on SimplyStated. She has also been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, USA Weekend and the Wall Street Journal Online.

Recent Posts By erindoland

Stair Safety

Stairs are something in my house that I only think about when I’m standing on them. And, even then, I’m not really sure that I think about them. They’re stairs, yawn.

Basie

However, in some homes, the stairs double as a place to set things — shoes, stuff to carry upstairs, etc. This is a big no-no. Anything on the stairs jeopardizes your safety. You should really be diligent about keeping your stairs free of all clutter.

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Fire Design Makes Hot Fire Extinguishers

One unitasker everyone should own is a fire extinguisher. With good luck, you’ll never have to use one. But, it’s better to have it around than to believe that luck will keep you safe.

Last week, on the website Not Cot, I learned about the beautiful Fire Design fire extinguishers made in France:

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StudioDesk Curbs Cable Clutter

I dislike cables and cords and the mess they make at the back and underside of my desk. It’s as if a couple of octopi decided to take up residence with my computer and its peripherals.

As a result, I’m always on the lookout for better ways to handle my cords. Since I just redid my office and outfitted my desk with elfa, I’m not in the market for a new desk. But, when I spotted the StudioDesk and its cable-wrangling abilities, I had to share it with you.

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Keeping bad food out of your kitchen

Over the years I’ve become pretty good at keeping expired food out of my kitchen. I do a check of the food in the pantry every spring and fall and a weekly sweep of my refrigerator and freezer shelves. Unfortunately, I’m not so great at checking the expiration dates on the food in the doors of my refrigerator and freezer.

Inevitably, it’s the condiments that manage to stay in my refrigerator well past their prime. This weekend, I remembered to check the doors while I was making my grocery shopping list, and I came across four different bottles of things that expired in 2007!

To my knowledge, no one has used these condiments since they were safe to eat (which is why they lingered), but it still bothered me that I hadn’t check on them earlier.

Yesterday, the Lifehacker website wrote about two ways to help keep clutter out of your refrigerator. The first article was the Periodic Table of Condiments that outlines when condiments go bad. The chart is cute, and informative.

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Adjustable Design

Living and working in small spaces greatly affects how you view furniture. Most everything in my home and office can be used in multiple ways (a pull-out couch, end tables that can be used as seating, an ottoman with hidden interior storage). In addition to being utilitarian and multi-purpose, though, it’s nice when a piece of furniture is also beautiful.

My friend David recently redesigned his office and purchased a table for it that swivels to the height that meets your needs.

Coffee table:

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Stop Shrinking Your Clothes

My husband and I split the laundry duties in our home. One way that we keep from accidentally shrinking the other person’s “Do Not Put in the Dryer” items is to sort them out of the regular laundry immediately when we take them off.

Attached to the side of our laundry baskets are these hooks from 3M.

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Preventing Baby Clutter

As an expectant parent (my husband and I are adopting), I’ve grown increasingly annoyed by the unwarranted advice people keep giving to me about baby products. “You have to get the Exersaucer!” “You have to get a glider, not a rocking chair, for your nursery!” “You have to get the video baby monitor!” “You have to get the baby wipes warmer!” “You have to get a [insert product that didn’t exist until five years ago]!”

Every time someone tells me I have to get something, I’m immediately skeptical and don’t add that item to my shopping list. As a result, my list of things I plan to buy after being notified that we’ve been chosen as parents is steadily getting smaller and smaller:

  • Diapers
  • Place for kid to sleep
  • Bottles
  • Formula
  • Car seat
  • Sling or carrier
  • Wash-and-wear clothing
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Meal Planning Sanity

My friend Krystal’s refrigerator recently died. The worst part about its death was that it gave no warnings about its illness. There were no rumblings, no clanks, no gurgles. Krystal just woke up one morning last week and noticed that the ice cubes in the freezer were puddles of water, the fish was fragrant, and all the vegetables were wilted.

In addition to having to replace her refrigerator, she also lost hundreds of dollars of food. I truly felt for her pain in her pocketbook.

On the upside, she was in a position that most of us only encounter when we move into a new home. She got to start fresh, clear out all of the clutter, and begin some new meal preparation habits.

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Stack’n Sort Laundry Baskets Improve Laundry Routine

I really dislike doing laundry, and if I were super rich I would pay someone to come into my house and do it for me. But, alas, that is not a luxury I can yet afford. So, like most all of you, I must participate weekly in the laundry ritual of sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away my clothes and linens.

Recently, I learned about the Stack’n Sort laundry basket by Rubbermaid:

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Achieving a Goal, Bit By Bit

This past fall, I signed a contract to write a book for Simon Spotlight Entertainment, a division of Simon and Schuster. This is my first book, and I honestly had no idea how much work would be involved. I could imagine my book on the shelves of a bookstore, but I didn’t really think about everything that had to happen between the contract signing and the book appearing on the shelves.

I’ll be honest, it’s for the best that I didn’t think about all of the hard work in the middle.

I turned in my first draft on April 7, and just yesterday I finished the final manuscript with all of its edits. There is more work to be done (design/layout proofing, working with the illustrator, marketing, publicity, etc.) between now and when my book hits the shelves November 3, but right now I have a bit of a break while the publishing house performs its magic.

Here is how I tackled this enormous project, and how you can manage any large project that comes your way:

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