How to Do Just About Anything

From organizing your closet to surviving a nuclear disaster, we’ve got dozens of new skills for you to try.

(page 6 of 9)

[Home & Garden]

…Organize A Closet

Linda Samuels of Croton-on-Hudson, founder of Oh, So Organized!, gives us her best tips.

1: Gather six 30-gallon plastic bags. Label them Donate, Resale, Discard, Dry Clean/Repair, Launder, and Maybe.

2: Remove all empty hangers to automatically create additional space.

3: For every single item, ask yourself: Does this fit? Does it look good on me? Do I absolutely love it? Is it in good condition? The “keepers” remain in the closet; all others are placed into one of the six bags as labeled above.

4: Choose a method to arrange what remains. Possibilities include “like things with like” (pants with pants, skirts with skirts), grouping by color or function, or hanging entire outfits together. “There is no right or wrong way,” Samuels says. Do make sure your clothing is all hung facing in the same direction and use double hanging poles for shorter items (shirts, jackets, etc.) to increase closet capacity.

5: Dispatch “leftover” items to their ultimate destinations.

…Garden Without Ruining Your Hands

Is your green thumb slowly growing into a dirt-caked, cracked-nail, rough-skin hand? Nip that problem in the bud. Garret Negri of Mariani Gardens helps figure out how to keep your backyard beds without sacrificing your skin. “Hands are most important tools a gardener has, and what you do for them is very important,” she says.

1: No Gloves, No Buds. Gloves keep the dirt out of your fingernails, the poison ivy off your skin, and the thorns away from your soft parts. Not to be sexist, but the brand of glove that Negri finds most effective happens to be named Womanswork ($30). “They’re heavy-duty and ventilated but lightweight and textured for grabbing pots.” If you enjoy the tactile pleasures of gardening, Foxgloves’s designs are much thinner and allow you to feel the soil and roots better. “At that point,” Negri notes, “you’re really just protecting your nails.”

2: Tool Around. One of the best things you can do for your hands is buy an ergonomic set of trowels and hand rakes. The forward-thinking design of the set minimizes stress to the hands and makes it easier to work the earth. “It’s one of my bestselling items. Because they’re ergonomic tools, a lot less energy is required for planting.”

3: Soak It In. After a rough day in the field, your hands deserve a little pampering. Crabtree & Evelyn, located in The Westchester, has an award-winning line of products specific for gardeners, “developed to soothe, nourish, and protect work-roughened hands,” the company claims. We recommend the Hand Therapy Cream ($14 for 3.4 fl. oz.), which smells yummy at the very least.

For more gardening products and tips, visit Mariani Gardens, 45 Bedford Rd, Armonk (914) 273-3083.

[Health & Fitness]

...Eat More, Exercise Less, And Feel and Look Better

Having second helpings and reducing your time at the gym will yield disastrous health results, right? “Not necessarily,” says Barrie Wolfe, a Scarsdale-based registered dietician. Here is Wolfe’s best advice for how to indulge a bit more while hopping on the treadmill a bit less.

1: Eat more lean protein. Fish, chicken, and lean red meat have lots of protein—and little fat or calories. For example, five ounces of lean sirloin has 300 calories and six grams of fat, as compared to the 500 calories and nine grams of fat in five ounces of fatty chuck steak. Pair this with a large and healthy green salad; add some low-fat dressing and you have yourself a feast. The ideal meal plate should be one-quarter protein, half vegetables, and one-quarter starch, Wolfe says. And eat your protein first, as some studies show that doing so helps speed up your metabolism, which in turn helps you burn more calories and store fewer as fat. Additionally, protein fills you up and helps prevent the blood sugar crashes that can ruin healthy diets. “When your blood sugar levels are even, you’re not going to snack,” says Wolfe. “You’re just going to feel full for a longer time.”

2: Have high-fiber/low-calorie snacks. Fiber is basically indigestible plant material, says Wolfe. That means it slows the breakdown of food in your stomach, making it sit there longer and keeping you feeling full. Like protein, it also slows down sugar’s absorption into the bloodstream, which helps stop the cycle of craze and crash that faster absorption causes. So skip low-fiber snacks such as peanuts (8 oz dry-roasted = 166 calories) and go for high-fiber ones, like popcorn (8 oz, even with butter = 35 calories). Fruits and vegetables make better snacks than chips or candy, partially for this reason, and some whole-grain breads have three grams of dietary fiber per slice, as compared to white bread’s half gram.

3: No Need to Exercise Like a Maniac. Twenty minutes’ worth of low-impact cardio on the treadmill or elliptical does nicely, but there are even lower-tech, more time-friendly solutions. Donald Bunch, a personal trainer at Family Court Sports in Elmsford, says that keeping in shape can be as simple as keeping up with “a lot of small things.” He suggests, for example, parking the car far away from the supermarket. “That’s something simple that everyone can do,” says Bunch.

…Get a Six-Pack—Fast!

Brian Neale, director of coaching at Altheus Health and Sport, says that the best way to achieve a six-pack fast is through cardio, weight training, and abdominal training, not just the latter. “Often abs are hidden by fat. Lose the fat by doing some sort of cardio activity. Weightlifting also helps in bringing out the abs. You can’t lift an arm or a leg without working the core.”

…Stick to an Exercise Routine

“To stick to a routine, lose your current one,” says Frank Daniels, personal trainer at New York Sports Club of White Plains and Scarsdale. Daniels explains that when you do the same thing at the gym every day, week to week, you become bored and lose interest. So change: just do it.

…Sneak In Exercise at the Office

Just because you work in does not mean that you can’t work out. According fitness experts Barbara Cullen, the personal- training director at Club Fit in Briarcliff, and Mervyn Tugendhaft, personal trainer at the Saw Mill Club in Mount Kisco, there are many opportunities to sneak in exercise at work.

1: Use the Stairs. A 150-pound person burns on average five calories per flight of stairs climbed.

2: Get Up, Stand Up. Instead of emailing your co-worker three cubes down, get out of your chair and walk over. While talking on the phone, get up occasionally to keep your blood flowing.

3: Deskercise! Any isotension, or the squeezing of a muscle for an extended period of time, helps build strength and burn calories.

Tugendhaft recommends substituting a chair with a stability ball (easily purchased for about $20 at Sports Authority or Target), which will activate your core muscles. If your boss finds sitting on a rubber ball unprofessional, use weighty office supplies (try a heavy tape holder) to do bicep curls or tricep extensions (repeatedly lifting the object from behind your back over your head). Also try knee tucks in which you lift legs up off the floor to contract your abs. Additionally, lunges and squats make for a good quick-break exercise. Just remember, the benefits are cumulative—everything helps.



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