Saturday, January 30, 2010

Organizing in the Kitchen - Menu Planning Step One

Posted by Krista at 8:38 PM Comments

I missed posting yesterday but I didn't actually do anything other than the basics to get through the day.  I had to babysit and with looking after two little ones, plus the big kids home for a snow day; keeping my sanity was the only goal. Today I took another easy day mostly. Did a little work in the living room, tidied the rest of the house and this evening I worked on my menu for next week.  Since menu planning is part of being organized I thought I would talk about it with you tonight.

Do you menu plan? Have you stood in front of your cabinets or freezer an hour before you should be serving supper wondering what in the world you could make tonight?  Do you often end up just ordering out because you can't figure out what to make? Menu planning can help! Spending a few minutes once a week can save you time, stress and money!

When I first started menu planning I just started with planning suppers, gradually I started adding in lunches and breakfasts.  This is particularly helpful when the kids are home on school holidays. Now I generally keep the same breakfast and lunch menu until the kids start saying they are sick of something, then I will change it up a little.  I plan only one week's worth of menus at a time.  If you get paid every two weeks it may be more helpful for you to plan two weeks at a time.  I've tried planning a months worth or more of menus before and I never stuck to the menu at all.

Recently I sat down and tried to figure out a faster system for menu planning and this is what I came up with.  Tonight we'll only talk about the first step. That way you can do the homework and come back next week for step two. The first thing I did was sit down with all the recipes I had printed, cookbooks I use, clippings I had saved and wrote down a huge list of things I like to make. This list does not include things I haven't made before or want to try; it's just things I know my family likes.  I have a list for spring/summer and fall/winter.  Doing it this way I know I'll have things on my menu the family enjoys and I can add a new recipe in whenever I want. You can see the list of meals I made here. I think I've added on to the list (via my cooking blog) since I made this list in my notebook, but I just used the notebook list to make this file for you.

This week you can try coming up with a list of meals your family enjoys. Next week we'll tackle the second step.

Are you finding this helpful? Do you have a different, maybe better way that you plan menus? If you do I'd be interested in hearing it, always looking for a new more efficient way to do things. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kitchen Cabinet Organizing - Part 1

Posted by Krista at 10:20 PM 1 comments
This evening I decided to tackle a couple of my kitchen cabinets. The worst of the bunch, the ones that annoy me when I open them and things are falling out or are so disorganized I can't find what I am looking for. I'm sure you know what I am talking about, right? I don't know about your family but mine can have the cabinets a bit messy again by next week. So, I'm going to try and make an extra effort to put things back in place when I see someone has just shoved in a rush. Maybe then my efforts will last a bit longer.

Are you wondering what state the cabinets were before I cleaned them out & organized them? Well, let's take a look...

And about 40 minutes later (I did this while making and serving supper to the kids so may have taken a bit longer that it should have), we have a couple of nicely organized kitchen cabinets!

There were quite a few boxes that only had crumbs left, so I left enough space to replace them when I go shopping. I'm pleased with the results mostly. Thinking about getting a couple baskets for tea & coffee boxes and maybe for snack items. Other than that I think it looks a lot better now. I can open the doors and smile instead of grumble, that is a good thing! 


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What's in the Pantry??

Posted by Krista at 8:25 PM 2 comments
Every day this week when making lunches I open the pantry door to get the lunch bags out and I cringe at what I see.  Okay, so this is been going on a bit longer than a week, more like a month or so but who's counting. ;) Today I finally had enough.  This would be the day I would win the battle of the messy pantry. Wanna know the best part - It only took me 15 minutes to empty, clean and re-organize the entire pantry. Yes, that's right all of the shelves took only 15 minutes!

This is the scary before picture. Lucky nothing fell out when I opened the doors.

15 minutes later...

Isn't that beautiful?  I just want to sit and stare at it.

The top shelf has my spices and all my cake decorating/candy making supplies in the basket. The second shelf has some of my baking supplies. The third shelf just holds some misc. things I didn't have room for in the cupboards. On the very bottom shelf is my bread machine and food storage bags/wraps.

I was able to donate all of the baby food (we never really used it, just had it on hand "in case") and the baby crackers. The best before dates on all of it were a long way off, so I felt good blessing some family that may need it for their little one.

Did you organize anything today? There are so many things you can do in 15 minutes or less. I know it's hard to not want to do anything unless you can do the whole room, but a little here and a little there and before you know it the whole room will be done.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

5 Minutes to an Organized End Table

Posted by Krista at 10:30 PM Comments
Tonight I realized I hadn't done any organization project so I needed to find something I could do quickly. What could I do quickly and quietly (the kids were all in bed)? Ah-ha! the end table in the living room. This is where all the weekly flyers get shoved, and then the next week's get shoved on top of that, and...are you seeing a pattern here? This is also where we keep the phone book (yes, we still use that *shock*) and it's often a trick to try and find the phone book in there, let alone get it out. This project took me I would say at the most 5 minutes. Seriously, how silly is it that we put off clearing things out when they take so little time?

Yes, thats a hamster wheel in there. No, we haven't had a hamster in almost 2 years...

And 5 minutes later we have...

a nice and organized end table.

What can you organize in 5 minutes? Go ahead, find something and organize it, I'll wait for you! :)


Monday, January 25, 2010

I Have a Plan! (of sorts)

Posted by Krista at 4:26 PM 3 comments
Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you are having a great day thus far and you're getting a lot accomplished. Today I didn't really do any focused organizing or decluttering.  After the big closet project on the weekend; I still had to get things back into some sort of order. Today was spent just doing regular stuff and getting caught up on the laundry.  I think by tonight I'll have the laundry all caught up and put away. Now if I could just learn to keep it that way. Seems to be a lesson I struggle learning.

Since I really don't have a focused project to share with you today, I thought I would talk to you about my schedule of sorts for organizing/decluttering.  If you follow my main blog at all you know that last August I attempted to do the Holiday Grand Plan.  I did fairly well, but dropped off the wagon (in the blogging sense) about 3/4 of the way through.  Now that is over and Organized Home has another cleaning plan going that just started this month. It is called the New Year's Cleaning Grand Plan Challenge. The idea is to get everything done over the course of 4 months rather than a week or two of wild spring cleaning.  Sounds like a fantastic idea doesn't it? Yeah, I thought so too.  Then I thought about myself.  I start off with such gusto that I'm going to get so much accomplished. Then somehow life has a way of sidetracking me and next thing I know 4 months are over and I accomplished 1/2 a room.  So what to do? I have to do something.  I cannot just sit here and look around at all the things that are on my last nerve. Enter The Magical Forums of The girls over there are doing the New Year's Cleaning Grand Plan Challenge but they have mixed it up a bit.  They made up their own schedule and it seems much more do-able.  They are allowing themselves 2 weeks per area.  *Light bulb moment here* - This could work for me!  So I've created my own schedule that will take me until just before the kids get out of school for the summer.  I don't know about you, but once summer vacation is here I know I will not get any major cleaning done other than the basics to keep things presentable.  I'm not going to fool myself that I can do more, just going to plan with the reality of my life.

January 17 to 30 - Living Room
January 31 to February 13 - Entry & Hall (Finish up in living room if needed)
February 14 to 27 - Master Bedroom
February 28 to March 13 - Bathroom
March 14 to 27 - Kid's Rooms
March 28 to April 10 - Maintenance in rooms already completed & finish up in kid's rooms if needed.
April 11 to 24 - Kitchen
April 25 to May 8 - Outdoor Storage & Yard (Spring Clean-Up pickup May 13)
May 9 to 22 - Dining Room
May 23 to June 5 - Laundry Room
June 6 to 19 - Deck and Front Porch

That's my plan.  I think it looks do-able. Also in my notebook I have each area broken down into what I would like to accomplish and have started a wish list of things I would like to purchase or change about the room.

Hope you find it helpful to see my schedule.  Do you have a plan when you declutter or organize areas of your home or do you just go in there knowing what you want to do?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

That's One Organized Craft Closet

Posted by Krista at 11:39 AM 4 comments
Well, we did it! It wasn't easy, (ever do a project with your husband? Then you know what I'm talking about.) but we both survived and it is finished!  I am really pleased with the results. Thank you hunny for all your help and putting up with the fun that it was ;).

This is the top part of the closet.  On the very top shelf are things I rarely use. I have a box for scrap paper (I keep pretty much all the scraps for card making, ect), a bin for things to be scrapped, a big paper cutter, and a basket full of stickers for scrapbooking.  On the next shelf I have a basket for all my adhesives, a basket for pens, markers & the like, a basket for punches, and a basket for embellishments. The next shelf holds my Big Kick and other die machines, a basket of dies and folders for the machines, a basket of pieces for cutting systems, and a basket for tools (scissors, cropadile, ect).

The bottom shelf has a little desk like spot - a place I can put bills, keep a calendar, just whatever I need to keep track of. To the right of that I have my idea books (need to have those handy), my 8 1/2x11 paper and my scrapbooks. Oh yeah, and the little basket with a little sewing machine is just there for now.

At the bottom of the closet I have 2 rolling carts.  In the black cart I have items I've bought or saved for projects, things like notebooks to alter, clipboards to alter, stuff like that. On top of that cart I have 2 storage bins for my 12x12 paper.  In the white cart I have all my stamps in the bottom drawer. Inks and other sorts of stamp pads in the second drawer. The top drawer holds everything for embossing and glittering cards.  On top of the white cart I have the 2 cutters I use the most and a basket with all my stuff for the felt projects I want to make.

So there it is! My first organization project complete.  The only thing I want to do is make some labels or tags to hang off the baskets so I will remember what's it what without having to look. Plus it would be good if anyone else uses my stuff; so they can find and put it back easily.

Now to put the rest of my house back in order. ;) Funny how when organizing one space everything else gets neglected. So today will be spent getting the house tidy and ready for a great week of organizing, decluttering, and working on routines.  What are you going to do today?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Craft Closet in the Making

Posted by Krista at 11:39 AM 2 comments
Today starts my first organization project. I've been talking and thinking about this project all week, so if you follow me on Twitter you already know what this project is all about. My first project is going to be making a craft closet! I hope that it turns out as good as the idea in my head.

Here is what we're working with:

This is my craft area. Right now it's located in the dining room, which in theory works great because it's the room with the best lighting and the table is big enough that I can have a friend or two over to craft with me. I originally had all my craft stuff in my bedroom closet. I never crafted when it was in there because it was too much trouble to bring it all out. So moving it to the dining room fixed that issue and for awhile this system (if you can call it that) worked well. Until I started getting so much stuff that I have to fight with the drawers to get anything in or out of them. So I'm back to rarely crafting.  It's such a hassle to find what I'm looking for and then trying to put it all back - ugh!  I'm hoping that by creating the craft closet I'll get back into crafting on a more regular basis. Being able to find what I want and hopefully the ease of putting it back will inspire me to enjoy creating again.

Top half of coat closet

Bottom half of coat closet

We have a lot of coats in there. I think we wear maybe four of them. Many of them are my darling husband's from way back when. "They are good coats, we can't get rid of them". Yes, my love they are good coats and if we were still in the late 80's early 90's I'm sure we'd be wearing them. No matter we're out of that decade, I'm sure we're long out of some of those sizes.  You wait, I'll show you some pictures of the treasures we have in there. :)

And those TV trays - can you say faaaaancy!! They were his parents and honestly they were quite handy when the big kids were little.  I used them often when the kids were sick and I would make them stay in bed (that's how I keep them from faking to get out of school *wink* ), but I can't honestly remember the last time we actually used them recently.  So I think we can get rid of them and maybe just buy one wooden tray to have on hand if kidlets are sick.  All the games will likely go into my closet for now (that's another project for another weekend) and the hats & mittens will be gone through and divided up into the bedrooms of the owners.  The kids already keep their coats in their bedroom so it's just a matter of making room in our closet for the coats hubby and I decide we must keep.

This is my inspiration - We'll see how it actually turns out.

So this afternoon we are off to buy shelving. R is going to help me clear out the closet and get the shelves up, then it will be up to me to get it all organized.  Tomorrow I hope to have beautiful pictures of an organized craft closet to share with you.

What are you organizing this weekend? 
Have you made a craft closet before? Do you have any tips or recommendations for me?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Welcome to Home Organization 365

Posted by Krista at 10:25 AM 1 comments
Welcome to Home Organization 365! I decided to create this blog to have a place to write about finally getting organized, or at least my attempts at getting there.  I hope that it will be an inspiration and that maybe some of you will join me for this journey. 

There is so much around the house I want to get done, but I always seem to never have the time to get beyond the basics of tidying and laundry. Hopefully this blog will give me some motivation. I know time management is sometimes (okay usually always) an issue with me.  I want to have fun and play and do anything other than cleaning all. the. time.  So my plan is to tackle things one by one. Even 15 minutes a day on something extra will get things done. Some projects I have in mind will take longer than 15 minutes but it'll be okay, I plan to enlist some help from my big, strong, helper husband (I'm sure he'll be thrilled).

I hope to post something every day. Now it may not be an organization project. I know myself well enough to know that isn't going to happen every single day. So some days I will have an organization project to share, I will share some of the files I have made for my home management binder and I think I'll have some days where I share some great web sites that I refer to in my attempts to organize my home and maybe some days will just be a simple cleaning tip or instructions. These are just some of the ideas that I have floating around. It'll be fun to see where this blog goes.

I would love so much if you talk with me. I want this to be a place that isn't just (hopefully) an inspiration but also a place where we can share ideas. If you have suggestions or would like to see something on here let me know! We're all friends and in this together! 

Shake off your feather duster and let's get ready to get organized!

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