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Homefries University

High Straightenence by Tracy Benjamin

A weekly column celebrating the neat freak in all of us.

The Great Fridge Clean-out PART 2


In our last house we had a different fridge. We unfortunately couldn’t take it with us because it wouldn’t have fit in our new house. It was a pretty good fridge & I really miss it. Wahhh. I think this fridge that we have now is from my childhood. The one before that was avocado green! I secretly wish we still had it.


High Straightenence: Jewelry!

In our old house I had my jewelry pretty organized. Remember when I went through my bathroom & cleaned it all out?   In our house now we have a cabinet under the sink where I keep the tupperware drawers of my jewelry (bracelets, earrings & hair doo-dads) hidden. I like that it’s concealed but I realized that I am not wearing a fraction of my accessories because I don’t see it all the time.

Inbox=Tackled (mostly!)


Hello Friends!!

So a few weeks ago I set out to merge all of my emails to Gmail. How’s it going? Hmm….I’m still trying to figure it all out. When I imported my email addresses, thousands of emails merged and made this task SUPER daunting. You might remember that I am merging 5 email addresses into my Gmail account so I can have Gmail be the hub for my addresses.  It took me a few days to get on top of it and move things out of my inbox and archive. To be honest, I’m still not done with it all because I feel like it’s super disorganized within all of my folders. It’s also taken some time getting used to searching for things within my inboxes.

What have I learned? That you MUST commit to blasting your email ASAP.



You  might remember the last time I cleaned out my pantry…it was in a different house!

Now that we’ve lived in our new old house for almost a year (holy crap!) it’s time for me to evaluate my space.  I’ve contracted the Spring Cleaning Bug and I’m really into organizing lately (thank God!) so I decided to go through my pantry yesterday and purge/organize. On a side note, I think it’s important to live with your space for awhile when you first move in and see how you use it. Then regroup!

Let’s look at the before.

Tackling My Inbox


Last week on the podcast, Joy & I talked briefly about managing our email inboxes. I’m at a point where it’s getting out of control and I need to take ACTION. We received quite a few comments/emails  from our listeners with suggestions on how to manage email. It was SUPER helpful, so thank you!

In the next few weeks I plan to streamline  my inbox(es). I currently have 5 different email addresses- One hotmail, one gmail, some old one from years ago and two that belong to my website.  I use the ones associated with my website constantly and the other three I have for what I consider “junk” mail. The problem with the junkmail accounts is that they are FILLED with daily emails from newsletters I subscribed to A LONG TIME AGO. Real talk: My hotmail account has 20k emails and they’re all pure crap. I call that email the BLACK HOLE.  It doesn’t stress or overwhelm me because it’s not an address that I normally use. I just feel a tremendous amount of shame for letting it go and getting to that ridiculous number.

So I’m ready to power up and TACKLE.


-clean out my junk inboxes/unsubscribe to as many newsletters as possible (this may take awhile)

-create folders in my inbox and sort emails (one of our listeners suggested sorting emails into boxes based on ACTION). I like this idea because sometimes flagging something isn’t enough for me remember to take action. And sometimes I don’t need something until later so it would be helpful to have a folder for archiving. I hope to have the following FOLDERS:

INBOX: A place for sorting (ideally, this area should be cleared out CONSTANTLY)

ARCHIVE: A place for storing information I need to reference at a later date.

ACTION: Emails that require follow-up (once finished, they will either be trashed or moved to ARCHIVE)

RECEIPTS: I’ll put anything tax-related/blog related into this folder

I was contemplating merging all of my emails account into Gmail and having that as a hub for my email addresses. Do you do this? Is it worth it? I was thinking it would be a good option for someone like me who doesn’t always use the same computer to write/read emails.

I suspect this is going to take A LONG TIME, but I know that once I have a better way to manage this, email might not get out of hand. In the process I would like to work on managing my contact list. The amount of information I have scattered on different devices is frightening. I need to get it merges & centralized!

If you have any tips/tricks you’d like to share before I go FULL FORCE with the email purge, please let me know! I can’t wait to get my inbox down to ZERO!

Making Better Habits & Choices

After spending a week away from home on a MUCH needed vacation, I came home feeling refreshed and ready to start anew.  I also felt a bit worried about falling back into our chaotic routine. It was really nice to have a break from the day-to-day because I was able to evaluate what aspects I missed and figure out a few habits/behaviors I want to change around the house.


Before we moved into our new/old house there were already a few drawers in the family room allocated for toys.These drawers house my nieces old toys and some of Cooper’s toys that my parents saved for when he visited.  So when we unpacked, we all just threw Cooper’s toys in there without any rhyme or reason. I knew that one day I’d clean out/organize them and that day came a few weeks ago!  We’re on week 3 of organized drawers and it’s going really well so far!


A few years ago I started organizing the Cooper’s first year’s worth of clothes and then stopped.  I guess I lost steam or I put my attention other places? Maybe I just wasn’t ready to deal with the emotions of putting my baby’s clothes away. Yeah, that’s it. I also needed to sort through the clothes we borrowed from my sister-in-law and separate ours. I always figured that would take awhile…