Dear Marla: How long do perfumes last and how do you suggest storing them so they keep their potency? Also, do you have any suggestions how to figure out where the little squirt hole is located on top of the atomizer?
— Kristie, Naples, FL
Dear Perfume Maniac: Contrary to what you’ve heard before, unopened fragrances should not be stored under the bathroom sink or in the refrigerator; instead, they should be stored upright, in a cool, dark and dry space like a closet or drawer. Perfumes, colognes and other fragrances should be kept away from direct sunlight, heat and extreme humidity.
The atomizer’s “squirt” hole is a different matter entirely. What were these manufacturers thinking? Who can see the darn thing? My sister came up with a great idea; she simply marks the opposite side of the atomizer with a dot of red nail polish. That way, when she presses down on the dot, the perfume sprays from the opposite side, thus alleviating the chance of spraying every place but where she wants it to land.
Dear Marla: I’m moving into my first apartment and want to put together a small tool box in case I ever need to fix something myself.
— “Not handy” in Naples
Dear handy-you’re-not: When I got my first apartment, my dad gave me a little yellow fishing tackle box with an assortment of tools.
At the time, I laughed and thought it was a big joke, but years later, I still have that same yellow tool box and many of the original tools. When buying tools, it’s always best to look for “quality” tools.
Here’s a quick list of the tools and supplies I personally can’t live without:
An ordinary 16-oz hammer
Set of basic flat-blade screwdrivers
2 sizes: No. 1 and No. 2
One-inch wide, 25-foot tape measurer
Ten-inch adjustable crescent wrench
A roll of black plumber’s tape
A roll of blue electrical tape
An assortment of mechanical and wood screws
An assortment of nails, molly bolts and drywall anchors
A picture-hanging kit, which includes everything you’ll ever need
Razor-blade holder and retractable utility knife
Box of single-edged razors
One standard 10-inch pliers
One needle-nosed pliers
Half-inch wide putty knife
A couple of two-inch wide paint brushes (or throw-away paint sponge brushes)
An assortment of felt and clear plastic square “Bumpon” discs
2 rolls, black and white, of Velcro strips
One package Command-brand hooks
Gorilla Glue (this stuff is amazing).
Some might suggest adding a hand-held drill to the list; my friend Rick did, but he quickly changed his mind when he realized the drill he gave me 10 years ago was still in the original box, unopened. The way I see it, if you have a reliable handyman, he should have all the tools you don’t, including a drill.
Dear Marla: I have a ton of old socks from when we lived up North!
My wife thinks I’m nuts to hold onto all of them, especially since we retired and moved to Florida 10 years ago; but you never know when you might need a pair of socks, right?
— Bob of Sarasota
Dear sock-happy in Sarasota: Lucky for you, we live in sunny Florida where, aside from wearing socks for golf and tennis, “Palm Beach socks” are de rigueur. If you still insist on keeping boatloads of Goldtoe brand socks from your days up North, the least you can do to keep peace and make your wife happy is to purchase a great organizing system.
There is nothing better than a multi-compartment drawer organizer to straighten out your mess. Bed Bath & Beyond sells a honeycomb one by Real Simple that can be cut to fit almost any drawer.
Send us questions about how to get and stay organized, which will be addressed in future columns.
Hint of the day
Besides purchasing matching hangers, good closet lighting is paramount to having an organized closet. If you can see where things belong, you’ll have a better chance at putting them away in the right spot. If you haven’t done so already, change your light bulbs to the maximum allowed wattage.
“Get Organized” appears on the first and third Fridays of each month. Professional organizer Marla Ottenstein is based in Naples and is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Email: Marla@ProfessionalOrganizerFlorida.com.