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!  

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