Hosting Your First Thanksgiving Dinner

Your First Thanksgiving Dinner:Hosting Your First Thanksgiving Dinner

Thank you for calling the Butterball hotline…. now let’s talk turkey.

At some point, every couple hosts its first big Thanksgiving dinner. There’s no right or wrong way to cook a 20 lb. bird, at least according to the patron Saint of Chefs (ok, there’s no such patron saint, but chances are someone in the extended family of ex-husbands and ex-brothers-in-law plays the role of farm-to-table epicurean, cites the Times restaurant critic Pete Wells instead of arguing whether Detroit should go for it on Fourth and Inches, and deconstructs the trendy resurgence of Watergate Salad, a fact gleaned from the pages of Facebook).

However, cooking a turkey as the host on your first Thanksgiving dinner for a full house while juggling friends and moderating in-laws like a UN peacekeeper is a daunting task, especially if you want to show off and flash some culinary cred in the kitchen. You can’t just toss the turkey on the Weber and walk away. Still, it’s your task; it’s part solo workout, part Shakespearean monologue. Hell, you even made the 20-person table with artisan plywood and sawhorses. When, ten days before the big meal, Uncle Jon Balaya and his girlfriend, Nicole Slaw, suggested that the Thanksgiving menu be a collaborative effort, you freaked out and started ranting and raving about the evils of collective farming.

Thanksgiving features all sorts of Dr. Seuss-like surrealism. Green eggs and ham is replaced by bourbon-glazed turkey and Duchess baked potatoes, Who-Hash swapped for stuffing, and Truffula Fruit traded for pumpkin pie. And chances are someone at the table, perhaps that West Coast liberal who runs a Yoga studio, goes full Lorax and starts speaking for the trees… or if not the trees, then for organic and sustainable farming. “Wait, hold on, is this pasture-raised meat?”

In other words,

You can cook the bird on a grill… braised, deep fried or smoked 

or stuff its wingspan in the stove and hope the thermometer doesn’t choke.

Deep-fried or dehydrated, Tarducken or bacon-wrapped

vacuum sealed, souse vide, and immersed in a water bath,

but doesn’t that leave the turkey pruned, no good for leftover scraps? 

Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be America’s national symbol, which means you have freedom of choice when it comes to cooking up that almost national bird on Thanksgiving. If your traditions are untraditional, that’s your right. Feel free to whip up a Butterball using the molecular gastronomy techniques of Ferran Andria.

However you decide to prepare the turkey for hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner don’t stress. Have a nip of of Wild Turkey ready in the carving knife drawer. And while it may lack the elegance of a Zen mantra, remember the entertaining philosophy: “What’s better than good? Good enough.”

That’s something to be thankful for.


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The Most Successful Garage Sale Ever!

The saying that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” certainly holds true, and there comes a time in every homeowner’s life when they’ve absolutely accumulated too much unused and unwanted stuff.  Donations to your favorite charity may be welcome but with so many bargain-hunters ready and willing to check out the neighborhood for a good deal, having a Garage Sale can be profitable and, most importantly, fulfill an important goal; cleaning out the house.

Get Ready …

Check out the attic, garage and closets; it’s time to sort through the items you want to put up for sale.  Remember, people who come to Garage Sales are looking for bargains and, in turn, you are trying to clear out this junk from your house. You may think that tacky alabaster figurine you got for Christmas is worth a lot of money but in reality, it is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay.  Price items low and watch the cash flow!

  • Schedule your Garage Sale in the spring; that’s when the bargain-hunters typically come hunting. Choose a Friday and/or Saturday and start early; around 7:30 or 8:00 a.m.
  • Advertise in newspapers and online through community sites and social media.
  • Hand out fliers; create posters for locations with community bulletin boards; install yard signs (at least a week in advance).
  • Organize and separate different types of items so that they are easy to locate in their sales area.
  • Price items lower than their actual value.
  • Be flexible with customers who want to negotiate prices. That may include adding a few extras to something, in order to urge the buyer to say “yes.”

Bottom Line

Of course, we all want to get top dollar for the stuff we‘ve cherished,  but the ultimate goal is (in most cases) to lessen the house clutter. Selling things online through auction sites is time consuming and costs money; fee structures vary and, depending on the item, your Return On Investment may not be very lucrative.  Having a Garage Sale lets you clean out the house, allow others to value items you once cherished and put a few dollars in your pocket. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Successful Garage Sale in the Fall

One of the great things about fall is that it’s the perfect opportunity for one of the finest American traditions of them all – the garage sale. It’s natural to feel like a little downsizing is in order every now and again and a garage sale is a perfect way to take care of this need and have a little fun at the same time. If you want to have a successful garage sale in the fall, however, you’ll want to keep a few key things in mind.


Let Technology Be Your Guide


One of the biggest mistakes that people make when putting on a garage sale involves setting unrealistic prices for items. Remember that something is only worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay for it. Even if you paid $50 for a brand new video game that is still in the packaging, you’re not necessarily going to get $50 for it – if a buyer decides that it’s only worth $20, this in turn becomes its inherent value.


In order to make sure you’re pricing your items as fairly and as accurately as possible, make use of all the modern technological conveniences you have available to you. Sites like Letgo, Offerup, eBay and even Craigslist can be a great channel to use to search for similar items and get an instant, fairly accurate indication about what real people are buying and selling these items for. You can then price your own items at your garage sale accordingly. If someone makes you a lower offer on the day, you can quickly fire up the Letgo or Offerup apps on your smartphone, check the prices and determine what you’re comfortable with.


Don’t Lose Focus


Perhaps the most important step to take to help have a successful garage sale in the fall, however, comes in the form of getting your own expectations in line. Always remember that the point of a garage sale is to get rid of as many items as possible that you don’t want. A garage sale isn’t going to make you rich, but what it will do is help you clear out some of the old clutter from your life that you just aren’t interested in anymore – this is your number one priority. As a result, you may have to get creative.


If you begin to notice that certain items on their own aren’t attracting the type of attention you want, consider bundling them together with similar items for a discount. You could also make use of the tried-but-true retail tactic of “buy one, get one free” – if there’s a particular item that you just can’t seem to get rid of, consider throwing it in as a “freebie” to make the purchase of a different (preferably more expensive) item that much more attractive to prospective buyers.


In the End


Regardless of how successful your garage sale is, it’s important to understand that you’ll never have a 100% success rate. Some items that you put out on a table early in the morning will still be there when you close up shop at night – there’s no getting around it. For those items that you just can’t seem to get rid of, consider ways that you might repurpose them into your life to get some additional use out of them. If nobody wants your old iPad 1 because it’s seen better days and is antiquated technology at this point, you’re only one magnetic refrigerator mount away from having a digital recipe book on your fridge at all times.


As a last resort, you can also always call Power Cleanouts to have all of your old items hauled away as efficiently as possible. Power Cleanouts is New Jersey’s premiere choice for junk and rubbish removal and our passionate and professional staff is trained to meet your needs and exceed your expectations each and every time. To set up a pickup appointment or to find out more information, contact Power Cleanouts at (201) 624-1171 today. We wish you success in your garage sale in the fall.

Stop Holding On To Old Items, So You Can Live A Better Life

Stop Holding Old Items.

Everybody holds on to sentimental items at some point in their lives. It might be a postcard from a friend who lived abroad, or a dried bouquet of roses from wedding. Then there are the more questionable items – perhaps you still have notes from an ex tucked away in a drawer somewhere, or a stack of medical bills you paid a while ago, but hold onto anyway in case you need a record of it.

Whatever you’re holding on to, the bigger question is this: why are you holding on to it in the first place? The answers may not be as obvious as you think.

The Connection Between Physical Clutter And Mental Clutter

Our choices in life are almost always physical manifestations of our subconscious and our emotional connection to the world around us. According to a study done by John A. Bargh and Ezequiel Morsella of Yale University, the patterns of the unconscious mind precede the conscious mind, and as a result, determine much of our behavior. Bargh and Morsella also found that the subconscious is actually not as inflexible as neuroscientists and psychologists previously believed. In fact, through cognitive behavioral therapy, we can rewire our subconscious to improve positive behaviors.

What does this have to do with clutter? A lot, actually. When we hold on to personal items, we are really holding on to an emotion that our subconscious is making a connection with. For example, you might keep a bin of old stuffed animals in your room because it reminds you of your childhood. But take a closer look and ask yourself why you can’t get rid of those stuffed animals – is it because you fear letting go of being a kid? Are you holding out hope that you’ll use them again if you have kids? Does it make you anxious to throw them away?

If the thought of letting something go causes tension, or even guilt and shame, you are actually creating subconscious drama in your mind, which could be negatively affecting your mood and wellbeing.

The Benefits Of Getting Rid Of Old Items

There are many reasons to dispose of old things. Instead of focusing on the negative (for instance, feeling upset about throwing something away), focus on how getting rid of something will improve your life. When you are mindful of the positives, you can train your brain to associate actions with positive memories. Here’s how getting rid of old items can be beneficial to your mental and ultimately physical health:

  • Detachment from unpleasant, subconscious memories
  • You can add new items to your home that have new meaning
  • Get rid of clutter, mess, and disorganization
  • Let go of expectations of your self (for example, getting rid of your old size 0 dress that fit you in high school)

When we let go objects that are actually holding us down, we can break free from our own personal shame and fear.

How To Get Rid Of Things The Right Way

It still might not be easy to throw away those binders full of notes from college – after all, you worked so hard on them! When getting rid of old stuff, psycohologists recommend doing it one by one, that way you can evaluate it’s meaning and why you need to let it go. Be honest with yourself too, and don’t let yourself feel guilt over saying goodbye to things that once symbolized so much to you. One practice to live by is the KonMari method, developed by organization queen extraordinaire Marie Kondo. Kondo suggests keeping items that bring something positive to your life, or “good vibes” you might say. These items should give you at least one of four things: truth, love, meaning, and purpose. If it doesn’t bring you any of those, it’s time to get rid of it. So stop holding on to old items and break free.

Stop Holding Old Items

Declutter Your Urban Home In 5 Easy Steps

If you own or lease an urban home, you are probably somewhat cramped for space. Even some of those who live in the suburbs and rural areas find that they have an abundance of possessions and too little space to store them. If you are searching for a way to improve the look and feel of your living space, decluttering is the answer. Here’s how to declutter your urban home.

1. Prioritize

The first step to decluttering your home is to spend some time figuring out which items are worth keeping. Walk through your entire house and pick out items that are worth keeping. If you use certain possessions on a regular basis or intend to use them in the near future, label them as “keepers”. If certain items haven’t been used in years and you probably won’t use them in the short-term, put them in a “discard” pile.

2. Separate the Items That are to be Discarded

Once you have split up your possessions into the two groups described above, it is time to determine how to get rid of items that you would like to discard. Do not make the mistake of trashing everything. Some items can be donated to the needy while others might be of interest to a friend or co-worker. Separate your “discard” pile into three new piles: one for charitable donations, one for trash and one to give away to friends. This alone makes the process to declutter your urban home easier to deal with.

3. The Challenge of Bulky Item Removal and how Power Cleanouts can Help

As you clean out your home, you will inevitably face the challenge of removing bulky items and other unsavory junk. Attempting a full-fledged DIY (do it yourself) removal of these items might prove to be a grave mistake. Do yourself an enormous favor by reaching out to Power Cleanouts for a quick and safe removal of your bulky items. Power Cleanouts removes large items and other junk from homes as well as businesses. This way, you won’t have to worry about lugging those large items to the curb and worrying about whether your local trash service will ever pick them up. You can book online here.

4. Some Items can’t be put out to the Curb

Hazardous materials and certain bulky items should not be thrown in the trash or put out to the curb for removal. Electronics that are improperly discarded will inevitably leak harmful contaminants into our sensitive planet’s soil and water. Certain electronics can be returned to the retailer where they were purchased so they can be properly disposed. Other items like household cleaners, paint, batteries, pesticides, engine fluids and transmission fluids should never be put in a regular trash bin. Reach out to your local fire department for assistance with removing these dangerous items.

5. Space out Your Decluttering Project

Plenty of people fail to declutter their living space simply because a project of this magnitude is intimidating. Some assume that to declutter your urban home will take several days or weeks to complete. Though decluttering might take a while, you can facilitate the process by spacing it out over time. If you are uber-busy, consider devoting one weeknight per week to each room of your home. Eventually, you’ll get the job done and relish the newfound openness of your transformed living space.

If you want more info check out “How Clutter Can Affect Your Brain and What You can do About it”  in this excellent article from lifehacker.
Declutter Your Urban Home