weekly organizing Tips

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Month: April, 2013

Creative Jewelry Organizing


Jewelry Wall Display

Ok we all know about jewelry boxes. They come in all shapes and sizes. However, today I thought it would be fun to share creative ways to store and display your jewels. I think some things are too pretty to put away in a box and jewelry tops the list.

There are so many creative ways to store jewelry with everyday household items. Here are a few suggests with items you probably have lying around:

Ice Cube Tray – So smart for little items like rings or bracelets. I probably wouldn’t store necklaces here because they will tangle and create more work than necessary.

Icecube Jewelry Organizing

Cutlery Trays – You can buy cutlery trays in everything from plastic and wire to metal and wood so there is bound to be something that will fit your style. They also tend to be much less expensive than traditional jewelry trays. You can set them on a dresser or counter or hang them on the wall! Trés chic!

Cutlery Tray Jewelry Organizing 2

Paper Towel Holder – I can’t think of a cuter option for bracelets than this super duper cute paper towel holder. They come in so many shapes and colors and if you don’t find the exact color you want – spray paint will do the trick!

Towel holder Jewelry organizing

Necklaces – Here are two very cool options for your necklaces. Save yourself the untangling and headaches by hanging your necklaces instead of dropping them into a container or box. The rake is such a cool eco option and the towel rod with shower curtain hooks is easy and inexpensive to copy.

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Eco Option – I just love this. It’s the bottom on 2 liters cut out on a center pole. Super cute and very eco friendly!

Eco Jewelry Organizing

Happy Organizing!

Organizing the Pantry

Organized-pantry216As the last post in a series of the kitchen, cooking and food we are going to examine the pantry.

This blog happens to be going on in conjunction with a pantry reorganization I am working on, so I can give you very real experiences in a kitchen that did not have a designated pantry area and how we were able to create one.

First, designate a pantry area. If you do not have a pantry in your kitchen create one. In the kitchen I am currently working on there are two cabinets that have been designated for food, therefore the pantry. If you do not have space to spare in your kitchen cabinets think outside o the box. Does your kitchen have room for a freestanding cabinet? What about a cart with a shelf or two? Is there a closet close to the kitchen that could serve as a pantry? Be creative!

Dried foods often come in two forms boxes and bags. There are also canned goods, but we will get there.

Bags are the worst so we’ll start with them. A large number of our baking goods come in bags: flour, sugar, brown sugar, corn meal, oats etc. etc. No matter how hard we try, bags will not stack. So putting the contents of the bags in containers will allow you to stack them taking advantage of vertical space.

I always suggest square containers. They fit into the square cabinets better and leave less wasted space. However, round will still work better than the bag, whatever you have available. Once you have filled the containers and stacked them. Label them for easy identification.

Organized Pantry1

Next up, the boxes. Boxes are often easier to store. You can store them in their original packaging, if you have the space. If you find the box is a bit bulky and the contents could be stored better in a container do that. There are so many different size and shape options, there  will definitely be one that fits your needs perfectly. I recommend, Solutions, Your Organizing Living Store.

You can also corral boxes in a larger basket or crate sorted with like items. This allows you to store them on the floor or higher shelves. You can also stack the baskets or crates easily.

A note on loose produce like potatoes and onions. These like cool dark places best, so consider a basket for them as well. Store them open and loose and keep the basket in a place away from direct sunlight and as cool as possible.

Cans are very versatile. They make stacking easy, but if you have a deeper cabinet and you’re not sure how to remember the cans way in the back, try one of these methods. Try using a lazy susan. We have about six in our kitchen. They are fabulous for displaying all items in a cabinet and they’re fun to use. You can also try a stacked shelf that will put the items in the back slightly higher than those in the front OR try this handy little method with a soda box, genius!

Canned Goods Dispenser

A quick note on spices. There are a number of ways they can be stored, but I will share two of my favorite ways. First, the way I store my spices. I tend to buy them in bulk bags from the store. They are much less expensive than purchasing in the bottle, but a lot less convenient to store. I bought a number of the small round spice holders, dumped the bags in, labeled them and put them on a lazy susan. Easy to use, put away and identify when I need to restock.

Organized Spices1

My second favorite way, is to do a similar method to my method above, but storing them on the fridge, as the bottom of the containers are a magnet. I would definitely store my spices this way, but my fridge is stainless steels and magnets don’t stick to it, bummer!

fridge spice-rack

An organized pantry is the first step to organized cooking and organized cooking will make meal time much much more enjoyable, I promise!

I hope with the meal planning ideas, the fridge clean out suggestions and the pantry organizing tips that you find a renewed sense of order and beauty to your meal times!

Happy Organizing!

Getting the Fridge in Order

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Staying with the theme of food, cooking and the kitchen from last week, we are going to organize the fridge today.

The fridge is an often overlooked and highly neglected tool we use every single day. How many times do you open your fridge only to quickly grab the item you need ignoring the long overdue leftovers, jars or bottles of dressing in the door that have been there since the beginning of time or the smell that spills out. It doesn’t have to be this way, I promise!

I found a step by step guide on Pinterest via Laurenconrad.com, I adore Pinterest, that is really helpful and intuitive to follow for quick organization and easy maintenance on your fridge.

First things first: Clean it out!
The first step when organizing anything is to clean it all out. Remove everything from your fridge and throw away expired food and unused condiments as you go. This organizing process should move quickly, so your food won’t be in room temperature for too long.

1. Leftovers: Love ‘em or leave ‘em.
The average lifespan of leftovers should be 4 days max, according to Squawkfox. Store them in clear glass containers so you are aware of what meals you can make and how long you have to eat them. See-through containers will allow you to plan ahead and take visual inventory of what you have.

2. Check your temp.
The ideal temperature for a refrigerator is 40°F (5°C) or below. If you go any warmer, you run the risk of growing harmful food bacteria. Any colder, and some of your food may begin to freeze.

3. Milk master.
I have always been told never to place cartons of milk in the fridge door where temperatures are subject to fluctuation. Instead, milk does best in a stable temp zone, like on the middle or top shelf and all the way in the back where it’s coldest.

4. Breathing room.
An over-packed fridge is overwhelming, and it can cause your food to spoil faster too. Cool air needs to circulate to keep food cool and prevent it from spoiling prematurely. If you find yourself with a fridge that’s constantly full, try making two smaller grocery runs during the week instead of one huge one. This will also help you avoid buying too much food that goes bad before you are able to eat it.

5. Designate your drawers.
Your produce crispers and deli drawers should be on the correct setting to keep everything as fresh as possible. According to an article from Shine, deli meats do best in the shallow meat drawer, which is slightly colder than the rest of the fridge. Fruit should be stored in its original packaging or a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Vegetables belong in the drawer with the highest humidity, or the moistest spot in the fridge.

 Tip: Never put fruits and vegetables with meats in the same drawer. It can lead to contamination and cause the food to spoil.

6. Egg-xactly in the middle.
Eggs, like milk, do best in a consistent temperature zone, so store your dozen on the middle shelf. Keep eggs fresh by leaving them in their original container.

7. Drip defense.
Placing your raw packaged meats on a top shelf can lead to a contamination disaster if the juices drip. Wrap raw meats thoroughly and securely, then store them on the bottom shelf.

8. Whole foods.
Meat, fruit, and veggies expire quickly when they have been chopped, sliced and diced. Keep your foods whole until you’re ready to consume them.

9. Move on up.
Most people assess what food they have and what food they need before going on a grocery run. Maximize this helpful strategy by moving older foods hidden in the back of the fridge to the front. This will allow you see what you need to eat up and what you need to buy at the market.

10. Clean machine.
Wipe up spills right when they happen to keep your fridge tidy and clean. Putting this off will only leave you with a sticky mess on your shelves and drawers.

I hope these fridge facts have inspired you to clean your kitchen this spring. Next week we’re working on the pantry.

Happy Organizing!

Meal Planning Made Simple

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One of the simplest, most effective things you can do to run a smooth and organized home is to take a few minutes each week to meal plan. There is nothing worse than working a full day and then coming home to, “What’s for dinner?” and have no idea.

There are a lot of suggestions and tactics that I have found on meal planning, but I am going to take a very simple approach, because let’s face it, if it’s not easy we won’t do it.

Let’s go step by step through the meal planning process and by the end you’ll be set with a week’s worth of meals, a shopping list to stock it and a happy family!

Start by creating a long list of the meals you and your family enjoy. Put as many ideas on paper as possible. Save this on the computer if possible. This will be the list you go to weekly when planning.

Once you have a long list of choices, pick out 5 – 7 meals for the week. Think of variety and any additional factors for each evening. Do you have company for dinner? Do the kid’s have activities that need to be planned around? Busy day? Have a variety of meals on your list for this reason – quick one pan meals, crock-pot meals, gourmet spreads, kid’s favorites etc. a little bit for every situation.

Once you have a list of 5 – 7 meals, depending on the number of nights you cook, you need to create a shopping list. Again, if this is something you can create on the computer it will be easy for you to modify it week to week, while keeping the staples on it so you don’t have to rewrite them every time. Click Here for a shopping list template.

Set a time each week for shopping. Every Sunday is ideal. It sets you up for the week and given it’s usually a day off, you’re not pressured by time or the dreaded “what’s for dinner”.

Last, but not least post the weekly meal plan somewhere everyone can see it. On the fridge, somewhere in the kitchen, on the cork board. Anywhere that will prevent your family from asking, “what’s for dinner?”

Here are a few tips to make this process even smoother:

Get the family involved – get their suggestions, help with shopping and even cooking.

Rotate from week to week. In my house we have 7 – 8 dishes that we really love. I rotate those through a two-week cycle. I have even created two shopping lists for each week so I don’t have to rewrite them.

Use simple recipes for most of the week. Feel free to go gourmet once or twice, but don’t burn yourself out too early in the week.

Take one day off a week. This gives you some breathing room from the kitchen. Taking a night off can mean having your spouse or kids cook. Or treat yourself to a fun night out!

Meal planning is important and once you have a system in place it becomes so simple and intuitive that you won’t believe the difference it will make.

Happy Organizing!