I should have known it was coming. I have always had a little bit of a crazy OCD tendency when it comes to organization, but the reality of it is that I just never had the time to organize the way I would like. As I have mentioned, last week was the first time since 1995 (1995 people!!!) that I had no children at home to take care of. No one under the age of five, no one to homeschool.... what do I plan on doing with all that time?? First of all - I think I need to finally get our home, and our LIVES organized. Let's begin with the junk drawer.
I really should have taken a before picture of all of these, but I didn't even think about it until now. The junk drawer was beyond recognition, usually unable to even open, and just filled with, well... junk. Not anymore! It is a functional place where Boo can find what she needs at homework time, right in the kitchen (which is where homework usually tends to happen). I can't tell you how happy this drawer makes me. I love this organizing tray that I got from Target years ago - the top of it slides back and forth to reveal the bottom layer. It has been immobilized during recent years of unorganization in that drawer. He is happily sliding back and forth again. :)
The kitchen utensil drawers also were on the list of needing to be purged and sorted and made much more functional. See those tiny little metal cookie cutters? I have been making all sorts of fun breakfast and lunch time fun with those - more on that in another post.
The spice cabinet is a benefit from my friend Joanne who hired a professional organizer, and then oh-so-kindly shared with me everything she has been learning.
The spice cabinet no longer makes me want to throw all the spices down in a fit of rage when I can't find what I'm looking for (yes, always working on self-control over here). These long narrow little bins are perfect for holding spices. They can stack up and easily be pulled out to browse the spice selection. (No throwing involved).
I did the same thing with our medicine cabinet - simple, but so much more effective when searching for something. There is a container for adult medicine, childrens medicine, and (yes) even the dogs medicine.
One of my favorite freshly organized places in the PANTRY. This was a long time coming..... not only is the pantry itself organized, but the way we eat has changed, the amount of meals we eat at home has changed, the amount of time I spend cooking has changed, the contents of the pantry has changed, therefore - our lifestyle has changed!! For this huge change I have two words MEALTIME MAKEOVER. This website has literally changed our lives. Meal planning and food preparation have always been my least favorite part of being a homemaker. But one day while listening to our local Christian radio station I heard a commercial that caught my attention, so I decided to check out the website. Now I actually look forward to making dinner every night (yes, Nana, you heard me right). All this website does, is simply plan out your meals for you, and make a weekly grocery shopping list for you. You can even choose from several grocery stores, and they will build your meal plan based on what is on sale that week. Now, I was very skeptical about whether this would actually work or not. I have VERY picker eaters (mostly the hubby) so I wasn't very hopeful. The meals are very kid friendly and simple to prepare. Not only have we loved about 95% of all the meals, but we are trying all kinds of new and different things that we never would have before, and I am suddenly a rather confident cook! But for me the best part is NOT having to figure out what to make for dinner, and then wonder if I have all the ingredients I need. Every day, I simply choose a meal off our menu, and every thing is ready to go because I have already done the weekly grocery shopping in advance and I have everything I need. So, now my pantry is mostly stocked with meal preparation ingredients, instead of so much prepackaged and prepared foods due to my lack of interest in meal prepartion.
The best news is that I have been doing this for SIX MONTHS now!! I was a little hesitant that it would be a phase and I would go back to my own non-meal-preparation-ways (aka - eating out too much), but it has stood the test of time. Now my pantry is stocked with the staples. These white bins hold together like-items such as baking needs, pastas/rices, snacks, lunch box items, my wide variety of tea bags, etc. I still have more plans on organizing and labeling in the pantry, but this has been a huge start.
So, each week I simply print out my meal plan and my grocery shopping list. It literally costs pennies a day! You can even subscribe to a gluten-free plan, a meal plan for two, a dairy-free plan, etc. I three-hole punch them and keep them all in a pretty little notebook that I even take with me to the grocery store. I already have a six-month supply of simple and yummy recipes. I think after another six months, I will no longer subscribe and simply keep my years worth of meal plans in my notebook and just repeat each year.
I love how simple the instructions are - right on the same page, and even the grocery list is broken down by departments within the store. It couldn't be any easier!!
I have saved so much time (AND MONEY!!) by simply following this meal plan, organizing our time and our lives. We spend a lot more time around the table together now, and I usually even have some leftovers for lunch the next day.