Friday, June 7, 2013

Organizing the Kitchen: Part Two-ish

I've been moving things around and changing them so much that my previous posts are not really valid anymore.  This side counter is one of my biggest challenges.  I didn't like how the desk organizer looked so I got rid of it, intending to give it a makeover.

In the meantime this metal desk organizer went in its place and it worked for a while but I really wanted to get that other piece back in there.

I finally finished it today.  I just used some black craft paint and contact paper from the dollar store.

And I love how it turned out!

Part of my kitchen re-org is just purging things I don't really like and keeping (or buying, if it's budget friendly) things I do love.  I am a collector of all things coffee so when I saw this cute little candle at the dollar store I grabbed it.  The candle smells like chocolate and I'll definitely keep the little mug in my coffee collection long after the candle is spent.

I also recently purchased this sweet lady for my kitchen.  The artist has an Etsy shop and her stuff is gorgeous!  Check her out here.

One little thing I did was take my hot pads out of the drawer and hung them on a Command hook beside my fridge.  They are out of sight but within easy reach.  And no more taking up valuable drawer space!

And since I took those plastic drawers away I had to figure out some new k-cup storage.  So I overhauled the drawer under the coffee maker and added a little dollar store basket which fits a dozen k-cups perfectly and the plastic spoons my husband prefers to stir with.  If I don't keep the spoons there I can fit 15 k-cups in the basket.  The rest are stored in the pantry room so I just refill the basket once a week.  I also bought another little dollar store basket to keep those short spice jars organized and moved the Old Bay to another cabinet.  It's working out well so far.

Remember to check our my Pinterest boards for more organizing ideas!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Goodwill Score!

The kitchen re-organization is coming along slowly.  So, no post about that just yet.  But I did want to share a Goodwill treasure I found.  I've been wanting a food dehydrator but couldn't justify buying a new one because I wasn't sure how often we'd use it.  My intention is to use it mostly to preserve our garden harvest. But for now I've been experimenting with other things.  This day I decided to make strawberries and bananas.  I used fresh bananas and frozen strawberries.

Started them around 8 am.

By 1:00 the strawberries were done.  Although I wasn't thrilled with the way they turned out.  Next time I will try using fresh ones, not frozen.  And I should have lined the trays because they really stuck!

Still tasty though.

The bananas took a while.  Almost 5:00 pm and not there yet.

A little before 8:00 (almost 12 hours later!) they were finished.

These were a hit with my son, who refuses to eat fresh bananas because he doesn't like the texture.  I'm so happy that he likes them, since store bought banana chips often have added sugar.  These are nothing but fruit and so delicious!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kitchen Re-Org: Part One

My kitchen is in the middle of an organizational overhaul.  Here is part one:

Before: I like where the Keurig is.  That was working fine.  But that set of drawers just seemed out of place in the kitchen.  It had to go!   I know I just recently posted about it as k-cup storage but it's just too big and bulky to keep like that.

There.  That's better.  My breadbox was on the other side of the kitchen and the location just didn't make sense.  I had it where it was because it was prettier but it got annoying to go over there 3 times a day to get bread!  This is better.

This small side counter isn't good for much except our phone but it was just too crowded for me.  I got that desk organizer on the right at a yard sale years ago.  But it looks dated and it was crammed with stuff that didn't belong.  I have other plans for it, so out it went.  I pulled the organizer from my craft desk and put it by the phone.  Now it matches (sort of) and it looks much less crowded.  I'm not thrilled with the cords being exposed but I'm not sure what I can do about that.

I love dollar store baskets.  These will be put to use all over the house.  The picture frame will be my new mailbox key holder.  I'm not sure about the other stuff yet.  But for $1 I will find them all homes.

I even used a dollar store basket to organize my organizing products until I find a use for them.  Heehee...

Not a dollar store purchase but one I found at the local thrift store.  It's a docking station!  I've been searching for a small one that wasn't too expensive.  This is solid wood and it was $2!  It fits our electronics perfectly.

My phone sits there next to Hubby's.  But I needed it to take this picture!

Part Two coming soon.  It's a work in progress!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My New Year's Resolution Rolls On

I'm very excited to report that I went on a dollar store spree today and got some wonderful organizational items.  I'll be posting a pic of them tomorrow.  My goal for 2013 was to minimize my clutter and organize my home.  It's a long process and I'm doing it a little at a time but I have some exciting (to me) ideas to implement around my home that I'll be blogging about soon.  So stay tuned!  And remember to check out my Pinterest pages to see where I find my inspiration.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Simplifying and Organizing

My New Year's resolution was to simplify and organize my house.  Minimize.  Make sure everything has a place and everything is easily kept in its place.  I'm taking baby steps as my budget allows.  Here is the progress I've made so far.  No "before" shots, simply because I forgot to take them.  

One of the hot spots for clutter in my house is the "tupperware" cabinet.  Specifically my son's dishes.  Kid's plates are always so oddly shaped and/or have sections and just don't stack very nicely.  So, one thing I did was buy a plastic magazine file.  I just laid it on its side and slid the plates in.  It keeps the bigger, more awkward plates in one place without taking up too much space!

Another issue we had was his cups.  So I got a small dollar store basket that fits all his cups nicely. You can see the magazine file behind it, holding those annoying plates.

This little set of drawers has been very handy in the kitchen.  The top drawer holds bill-paying necessities, middle drawer holds some spice bottles that didn't fit in my cabinet and the bottom is the best part.  K-cup storage!  This sits on the small counter next to my coffee maker, so it's the perfect spot for k-cup storage.  I love it!

 In the basement we have what I call the "pantry room."  I don't have a typical pantry closet in my kitchen so we have dedicated a small spare room to extra food/toiletry and paper storage.  One thing I did to keep the shelves from getting too cluttered was to buy a hanging shoe organizer.  In it I can keep the smaller things that would otherwise get lost on a shelf.  Small bags of rice and noodles, seasoning packets, frosting tubes, cupcake liners, random small boxes and bags of things that just clutter up my shelves.  I love it because I can easily see everything that's in there and grab it quickly.

One last thing I wanted to talk about is meal planning.  I've always been one of those "5 o'clock scramble" type of people.  I can cook a good meal on the fly but I hated the rush. And I hated the rut I was in, always cooking the same things because they were familiar and easy.  Grocery shopping was getting tedious because I never really knew what to buy.  I'd buy things I was used to using and could build easy meals from.  But that gets stressful and the meals get boring.  So, I needed to make a change.  I am meal planning with intention.  I've only done one month so far and I'm currently working on the March meal plan.  It's gone very well.  Yes, it's a large time commitment up front.  Researching the meals, making shopping lists, doing the prep work....all takes time.  But on a day to day basis, when it's time to make dinner, this meal plan has saved me so much time and headache.  I love the challenge of trying new recipes and I love feeling the relief of being organized!

One thing that makes a difference when it comes time to shop is that I color coded the recipes.  Pink for proteins (including meatless ones), orange for fruits and veggies, yellow for condiments/sauces/spices and blue for carbs.  I also created a simple code system to categorize the meals, so I would know at a glance what kind of meal it was.

CM-Crock Pot meal
OM-Oven meal
FM-Freezer meal
NC-No Cook meal (sandwiches, leftovers, etc.)
EM-Easy meal (quick prep, quick cooking, etc.)
MM-Meatless meal

I hope these tips have been helpful for you.  I'd love to see how you organize your home.  Be sure to follow me on Pinterest!  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Quick Tip

One of my favorite places to shop is the dollar store.  And one of the great things about the dollar store is their organizational products.  Every time I visit I check out all the baskets and bins and other products they offer to make organizing your home a frugal venture.  A recent find was these cute little baskets that fit very nicely in that small shelf in my refrigerator.  You know the one, next to the cheese drawer.  The one that is so short that it barely holds anything.  Well, I store my yogurt there.  But my son was becoming frustrated with that because he would have to take all the yogurt cups out to find the one he wanted, since they tend to get shoved to the back of the shelf.  This little basket fixed that.  It fits 6-8 yogurt cups nicely.  Now he can easily pull the entire basket out, choose the flavor he wants and return the rest with no mess and no frustration.  The baskets came as a 2 pack so I still need to find a use for the other one, but I'm so glad I picked them up.  They are perfect for that short shelf!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Christmas Do-Over

Time for a quick (and very late!) Christmas wrap up then we'll move on to other things!

Our son has a small tabletop tree in his room, which he decorates every year with mini ornaments.

Someone's been messing around in the refrigerator!

It's our elf, who my son named "Crispy Cat."

That elf sure likes being silly with refrigerators!

We enjoyed a second Christmas at my parents' house.  My mother's tree was Santa Claus themed.

She Always does such a lovely job of decorating it.

This guy was my favorite.

One of my favorite gifts this year was a Starbucks holiday mug.  There's no simpler pleasure than drinking your favorite beverage from your favorite mug.

Our modest Christmas morning.  That green race car was a hit!

This was our Christmas Eve dinner.  We nibbled on this throughout the evening while decorating the tree and watching The Polar Express.

My mother-in-law sent some Angry Birds ornaments for my son.  He loved them!

Testing out the remote control car on Christmas morning.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!  I'm ready for Spring now!