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!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Sorry for the hiatus!  My computer was slowly dying so it was time to replace it.  Now that I've got a faster machine I'll be able to blog more frequently!  I'm sorry there was no Christmas post.  I'll still do a brief one and then move on to other things!