Friday, January 21, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing Week #3: Snack Attack

I am an organizing fool!  I am having so much fun (really, I am) organizing different areas of my home.  I am getting rid of clutter little by little, streamlining process, making things work for me and enjoying the baby steps I have taken.  I have many more projects ahead of me but doing them week by week instead of all at once is really working!

This week I attacked the snack cabinet.  In the process I actually attacked 3 cabinets in my kitchen re-organizing the stuff I took out of the snack cabinet, but I will just tell you about those quickly.

We don't have a pantry ( is on the project list) so everything I have needs to be stored in the kitchen cabinets.  This leads to jam packed cabinets most of the time and lack of space for some items, but it is working for the moment.  I have one cabinet dedicated to snack type items.  Bulk type items were semi-organized on the bottom shelf in some great containers I got from having a Tupperware party a few years back.  The problem was the middle shelf mostly.  It was always a mess and very hard to find anything.  This led to stale snacks and buying duplicate items because Ididn't see it in the cabinet.


I had been using a clear plastic shoe box in my refrigerator for a few months now to house refrigerated lunch snacks that I make up ahead of time for the week.  I loved this idea because I am prepping everything once and can just grab the bin out of the fridge and fill lunch bags from it.  In it I keep individual baggies of baby carrots, cheese and celery with peanut butter.  I also fill the small round glad containers with ranch dressing (for the carrots), grapes, apple sauce, orange slices, etc.  I throw in yogurts and anything else the kids can take in their lunches that needs to be refrigerated.  I only keep snack items in here.  I can't take credit for the the idea though because I found it in this post by Michelle at Make 5 Dinners in 1 Hour. She makes sandwiches ahead of time too...which would be great, but I prefer to make them that day.

Fridge Snack Bin:

I decided to incorporate the bin idea in the snack cabinet too.  I purchased 2 more plastic bins for $1.50 each at the grocery store.  I decided to fill one with individually bagged crunchy snacks (Smartfood, pretzels, rice cakes, trail mix, etc.) and the other with dessert items (puddings, cookies, granola bars, brownie bites, etc.).  I can fit a lot in those containers, usually enough to only have to fill bags every 2 weeks or so.  The kids love it and it has helped in the morning too.  I pull out all 3 bins and they pick one item out of each to add to their bag while I am making sandwiches.  They know that these bins are only for lunch items.  I still have room for after school snacks on the shelves and the bins below.

Snack bins already for packing lunches - need to do some baking for the dessert bin though:

Snack cabinet after (purged and organized):

I had to move some stuff to other cabinets to make room for the bins, but I am loving it.  I swapped the location of the microwave and coffee maker which opened up oodles of space next to the fridge and eliminated a hot spot for clutter on an underused counter (the microwave now sits where the clutter used to pile).  I can now pour drinks next to the fridge (the glasses are in the cabinet right above the counter) without having to carry them clear across the kitchen for counter space.  Above the coffee pot I cleaned out all the sippy cups (except for 2 for visiting little ones) and extra coffee cups and dedicated it to coffee items only.  The first shelf houses the kid's travel mugs, the coffee grinder and filters.  The second shelf houses coffee cups and the third all of our cappucino/latte items.  This has made the kitchen function so much better.  I got the tip awhile back from Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie and don't know why I didn't do it sooner.  It is amazing how moving just a few things can make things so much easier.

The snack cabinet housed hot cocoa making stuff (like chocolate syrup, cocoa packets, etc.) but the marshmallows were in a different cabinet becasue they never fit.  I consolidated everything into a new cabinet along with a bin that houses dried fruits, raisings and nuts to add to oatmeal.

I have a long way to go to make my kitchen function efficiently but I have a great start already!

Next week I plan on starting to tackle the office/craft room...scary!  Stay tuned.

I am linking up with:

52 Weeks of Organizing week #2: Taming Towels & Toiletries

I am following along with Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie and attempting to control the chaos in my house week by week.  I am on week 2 and making progress! 

I shared how I organized my DVD storage area underneath the entertainment center here.  That was week 1 (although I am just now getting to posting it). 

Week 2 I organized the linen closet.  I didn't take before pictures but I can tell you that it was a mess.  I was shoving towels in there, sheets never fit and kept falling off the half of shelf I had to store tham on and extra bottles of shampoo and soap would attack me everytime I opened the door. 

I bribed the hubby to install 2 more shelves (the bottom was just an empty area where I piled blankets and sleeping bags which equaled a big old mess) and I bought some clear containers at Walmart to organize toiletries.  After seeing the final product though...I didn't have to follow through on the bribe...the final result was reward enough.  It is amazing how much extra space I have and my only cost was $12 for the containers because we had the ply wood on hand.

Unforuneatly because of where the closet is positioned in the hallway I cannot get a full length shot without rotating the camera and for some reason blogger keeps flipping the photo on me.  The other shelves are folded towels and sheets.  If I can tweak a new pic, I will post to give you the full view.

The plastic containers hold:
1) extra deodorants and bar soap.
2) toothpaste and tooth brushes. 
3) first aid kit, band aides, etc.
4) summer stuff (sunscreen, aloe, foot powder)

I plan on labeling them at some point, but since they are clear and you can see what is in them easily they are working for now.

On the top shelf are 2 baskets I had in there before that were overflowing with everything I ended up putting in 4 plastic containers.  One holds feminine products and the other holds all of my nail polish, emery boards, etc.  The blue plastic basket holds my iron and accessories (water fill cup, starch, a lint brush and static guard.  My laundry room (or washer and dryer becuase I don't really have a room) is in the basement so I prefer to do the ironing in my bedroom.

Things don't fall on me anymore and I the door actually closes without having to shove things in.  Plus I can see what I have and need.

Oh and please ignore the splash of white on the trim...let's just call it a sneak peak of what is to come!

Next week we are on to the snack cabinet...stay tuned.

I am linking up to:

52 Weeks of Organizing Week #1 : Taming the DVD mess

Laura over at I'm an Organizing Junkie has issued a year long organizing challenge.  Instead of focusing on getting organized in a one month challenge she has challenged her readers to make small changes weekly to put you on the path to organization and hopefully keep it that way!

Since becoming clutter free and better organized is on my list of priorities this year, I decided to take her challenge and have been slowly tackling my out of control areas.  I love doing it week by week.  I feel I have more time to get things done. Some weeks I might be able to tackle 3 or 4 areas, and other weeks I might be able to just focus on one (although the office might take me a whole month!).  There is no rush, and I am creating good habits by finishing what I started and keeping it organized.

So what have I been up to?

Underneath the entertainment center has always been a huge mess.  This is where I keep all the DVDs and the CDs (those that we still have...we have converted to digital for most of our music).  We have a corner entertainment center so the storage underneath is a very large cabinet but a funny shaped.  I have tried alphabetizing and stacking the DVDs but I had to create several rows to make them all fit.  Not only did this method make things hard to find, but inevitably the kiddos would go looking for something and I would end up with a huge mess each and every time.

Here is the before:

Several months ago I found and fell in love with this baby:

Unfortuneatly after receiving 4 damaged cabinets the company decided that they were just going to reimburse me and not attempt to send me another cabinet.  I was heartbroken because it is exactly what I was looking for, it was gorgeous and looked perfect where I wanted to put it.  I also had my hopes up that the disaster under the entertainment center would soon be solved and I was now back to square one.  They did give me the option of keeping the damaged cabinet and taking a credit.  However, they were only offering me a $40 credit on a $279 piece of furniture and it the top was cracked and the trim all broken.  I could have fixed it but it would have been more than $40 and I really felt the piece was overpriced to begin with.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I picked up some photo/DVD storage boxes at Michael's.  I think they were on sale 3 for $5 and I had a 40% off coupon...score!  I originally intended to organize my photos with them (because I thought I would have the library cabinet), but soon realized they had a greater purpose in life. 

Here is the after:

The boxes house all of our regulary viewed DVDs.  The kid's movies are housed in boxes labeled by letter.  I have my own labeled box (Vampires, Wizards and Pirates) and another houses the movies my hubby and I like to watch.   On the side I still have room to stack our remaining CDs and in back I have a few extra boxes that hold VHS tapes and home videos.  This is so much better and we have managed to stay alphabetized and in order for over 2 weeks now.

Linking up to:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Project List

Happy New Year!  May 2011 bring you peace, love & joy.

Previously I posted my list of  goals for 2011 (you can view it here).  Many of them had to do with cleaning, organizing and turning my house into a home...(which I believe will in turn aid me in accomplishing most of the others that deal with becoming a better person and embracing the life I was given).  Great to have these goals down on paper, but I needed a plan.  So here is the list that will help me accomplish some of my 2011 goals, at least the ones that deal with organization, clutter, and making my house a home.


This list is loooong. However, in all fairness, this list is a comprehensive brain dump of everything I would like to accomplish or at least start this year.  It is by no means a list of everything I would like done around here but some of those big ticket items like gutting and remodeling the kitchen, moving walls, refinishing basements, residing the house, etc. etc. are for another year...paying off debt comes first.  These are projects I (with a little help) can do myself (with the exception of the bath remodel which we will hire out for).  For those projects that are blog worthy I will post in progress and completed pics.  For example,  I will not update you on cleaning out my email or organizing my favorites folder but I will gladly share with you my staircase, kitchen, bedroom, etc. transformations.

So for accountability reasons (and probably for no ones reading pleasure) here is the be updated regulary {I hope}:

  • paint trim (whole house)
  • paint front interior door
  • paint/refurbish interior doors
  • finish sofa table
  • paint kitchen / wall decor
  • replace remaining light switches
  • paint JT's baseboard
  • touch up JT's walls
  • paint/refinish stairs
  • window frame
  • paint fireplace cover
  • picture wall in living room
  • paint upstairs hallway
  • fix living room ceiling
  • touch up kitchen ceiling/office ceiling/walls
  • clean/organize/decorate office
  • clean/organize office closet
  • magazines read/purge
  • organize magazine clippings
  • purge cookbooks
  • organize recipes
  • print pics/develop film
  • stamp storage (boxes./organize)
  • organize pics on computer
  • back up pics on external hard drice
  • purge email
  • purge/organize my docs
  • purge/organize my favorites
  • establish & maintain filing system
  • clean/organize garage
  • clean/organize/purge basement
  • redecorate master bedroom
  • strip paper in Dining Room/paint
  • replace Dining room blinds
  • redo upstairs bath
  • redecorate Kelsey's room
  • refurbish desk for Kelsey's room
  • organize spice cabinet
  • build pantry
 The planning is done....let the projects begin.

to be continued....

edited 1/6/2011 - I am linking up this project list to Nester over at the Nesting Place (one of my fav blogs for ideas on making a house a home).  Please take a moment to head on over there, check out her blog and the fabulous other blogs that are linking up to her 2011 Home Goals Linky party today.  For those of you visiting from the Nesting Place...sorry there are no before pics...I have already started to tackle the list...there will be pictures a plenty as I muddle through...I invite you to come back often to see my progress and hopefull pick up some ideas and inspiration.


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