Date: August 17, 2003
Contact: Karen Sencich - Professional Organizer
Phone: 905-452-7008,

We've been warned that rolling blackouts will be a reality starting tomorrow. Professional organizing consultant Karen Sencich offers the following tips in order to avoid personal inconvenience and ensure safe food consumption.

Time Management:

Have a game plan to cover each time of day at home and at work.

Simplify your essential routines and allow extra time in case of blackout.

Plan a fuss free hairdo in case blow dryer isn't working.

Wear lightweight clothes to stay cool.

Park in the driveway so your car isn't stuck inside the garage.

Use your ingenuity to entertain your family if the TV goes dark: Scrabble, cards, browse the family photo album or take turns reading out loud.


Avoid elevators; take the stairs to avoid being trapped.

Have a little cash on hand for essentials.

Tuck a mini flashlight into your purse or briefcase to ensure personal safety.

Don't wait until your tank is almost empty to fill up.

Carry frozen bottled water to keep cool.

Spend some time creating a binder with checklists for family emergencies.

Take stock of your medicine cabinet; check that you have ample supplies of prescription medication.

Shop carefully to eat safely:

Shop for non-perishable foods: canned tuna, powdered milk, peanut butter, tetra juice packs and bottled water. Note products like salsa or pasta sauce must be refrigerated once opened, so plan to use them up quickly.

Using masking tape, make your own "best before" labels as you open jars or cans.

Pack a lunch that doesn't have to be heated or refrigerated; avoid mayonnaise spreads and lunchmeats. Include a thermos of cold lemonade or your coffee fix.

Plan to eat at your desk instead of venturing out into traffic.

For the next several weeks, carefully inspect anything you defrost for signs of spoilage.

Have one or two quick and easy dinners ready to go:

Mashed potatoes made with water boiled on the BBQ.

Defrost frozen pasta; add any bottled salad dressing (instead of mayonnaise) for a quick side dish.

Chop up a variety of fresh fruit, top with a can of fruit cocktail, the sugar content will help keep it fresh for several days in fridge. Perfect to supplement any meal.

Pass up the cream cheese on your bagel and try peanut butter.

Reconstituted powdered milk is perfect for cereal.

Many canned vegetables like corn taste great cold.

A full freezer stays frozen longer. Freeze bottled water to fill in the gaps in your freezer. 

Karen Sencich is a Professional Organizer who specializes in implementing solutions that simplify life at home, work or school.


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Tackle it Now Tip

Hints for Handling Your Gift List

How do you handle your holiday wish lists? Sometimes the simplest hints are the best. For years I have been using the same easy to implement method.

  • I purchase the tiniest address book I can find and assign one page for each person on my guest list.
  • I record their sizes, colour and style preferences.
  • I include family members, friends, hairdresser and all service providers.
  • I keep the list inside my wallet so it can quickly and easily be updated.
  • Information for stocking gifts is also recorded.
  • I can frequently review what I have purchased to keep my budget on track.
  • As I wrap gifts I check them off!
  • If certain gifts need to be hidden I record where they were put.
  • I also list ideas and purchases of hostess gifts to keep on hand.

There are many benefits to this system. It is lightweight and portable, but most importantly since I keep the lists year after year, it helps me to prevent repeating gift ideas. Who wants to get a sweater or tie year after year?


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