Saturday, January 24, 2009

Declutter your kitchen! (Part Three) Jan 25

January is really the perfect month for tossing out expired pantry goods.  Anything that has a label of 2009 or later/higher can stay.  Anything with a label of 2008 or older/lower needs to be thrown away.  This is a great project to let kids help with!!!!

Now let’s move on to Cluttered Counters. 

So what was cluttering your countertops this week?

Paper - School papers, bills, mail, newspapers, magazines

Clean Dishes – waiting to be put away, waiting to return to their proper homes

Dirty Dishes – waiting for the dish fairies to wash them

Appliances – unused toaster or coffee pot (Hey, when did we get a rice cooker?)

If papers are your nemesis, I have two suggestions:

1. use the RAFTS system (discussed HERE) to take care of sorting through all of that paper!

2. a HOME HUB to keep everything you need to get your hands on “in the moment”. 

Having clean dishes is an easy enough problem to solve.  Put them away or return them to whom they belong.  No room inside the cupboards to put them away?  Maybe it is time to weed out the extras and get back down to the basics.

In my house, I am the dish fairy.  I am all for delegating (great job with that Snaphappee!) but sometimes the job just needs to be DONE.  If you’re still waiting for the fairies, good-luck-with-that and let me know how long it takes them to finish up for you!  (If they still have time, send them my way!)

It seem that we overindulge a bit as a nation.  If you drink coffee daily, make waffles a couple times a week, and have toast on a regular basis, I am in favor of keeping them within easy reach.  For some of us, that means having an electric friend sitting on the kitchen countertop.  By clearing the countertop of just one or two unused appliances – whether you store them away or donate them – can make a world of visual clutter difference.

One of you asked last week about my personal kitchen clutter…

Our kitchen and garage are adjacent, with very little storage area in between.  There is frequently a stack of items that are either going to the outside or coming in from the outside that clutter the counter top in one corner.  These items eventually get moved to their proper homes, and it isn’t a big issue.  This week, I had the brilliant idea – wonderful organizer that I am – to use one of my lovely baskets to contain these items!  No more “clutter”.  See, even professionals need a kick in the pants - um, I mean a brain storm - every now and then.

Snaphappee, it sounds like you’re doing a great job keeping your kitchen clutter free keep up the good work! 

I hope you all enjoyed kitchen month.  February is bound to bring things new and exciting!  Until then, work on maintaining your kitchen.  Make all of your hard work in getting it orderly this month stick!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Declutter your kitchen! (Part Two)

Since the kitchen is the heart of so many of our homes, organizing this room is a great way to start the new year.

Quick List:

Wipe off your cook top. 

Clean out your microwave and your oven. 

If you have a drawer under your oven, remove it. 

Wipe it out and clean out underneath. 

Next Week:

Tossing the expired food AND

Cluttered Counters. 

Tell me this week:  What’s on your countertops?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Declutter your kitchen! (Part One)


Now that the holidays are over it’s time to…. clean out the fridge!  WHAT??!??!!!  You heard me.  Get all of the leftovers out of the fridge and into the garbage.  This is ideal to do right before you have a chance to go grocery shopping and fill your fridge this week.

Wipe out the inside of your refrigerator while it’s all nice and emptied out. 

Take everything off of the top of your fridge.  Remove all the papers, magnets, etc from the outside of your fridge.  Take time to sort through all of the stuff you removed and put it in its proper place.

Start from the top and wipe it all down.

Don’t forget to clean the coils underneath.  Not only will this help your fridge run efficiently, it will have a longer life!

If you are blessed enough to have more than one fridge or freezer… Lather Rinse Repeat!


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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas Aftermath and New Year, New Goals

I hope everyone has had a healthy holiday break full of making memories and fun with family.  (No our new 2009 theme is not alliteration; although that was interesting, wasn’t it!?)  Our family (mostly me and B) was sick for much of December, yet we were more well than last December.  Therefore, I have great hopes for Dec 2009! 

Our decorating will not be undone until after Jan 6.  There is something comforting about Three Kings Day, that liberates me on the un-decorating front.  It is like it allows me to hold on to Christmas memories just a few days longer -- at which point I am ready to have things back in order and am not as sad to pack up all the snowmen and angels because I will think of all the fun I will have seeing them again next December.

In our part of the world, this week begins a return to school schedules.  What does all this mean? 

First, my husband acquired a new mode of transportation to use a few days a week; is the man-powered variety.  Sure it is going to take some tweaking of the schedule to make this work out, yet this is a three-fold positive move: 

  1. Good for health (exercise)
  2. Good for the environment (less emissions)
  3. Good for (hopefully) making his car last a bit longer (since he will, in theory, be driving less)

Second, after attending only three days of preschool in December, I am not sure whether our child will have a positive or negative reaction in returning to his class.  I know he has missed his teachers and friends terribly!  I hope he has missed them enough for the readjustment to be smooth.  If not, we will take lots of deep breaths and keep moving forward.

Third, for me this new schedule gives me a change to  reflect on the past year and make goals for the new year.  What?  You did that on Dec 31?  That’s ok.  I need more time to think about things.  I find it makes the ideas STICK better if I’ve had a chance to mull them over.  I have more time to formulate a plan of action this way.  Many people get an idea in their head of a great resolution.  For instance, I could say “This year I’m going to lose weight!”  This is a great idea, but without a plan of how or a goal of how much, it really is not much of a resolution.  If I make the proclamation to lose weight and by Dec 31 2009 have lost 2 pounds, would that be considered keeping my resolution and achieving my goal?  This is the week I will make specific plans for goals regarding my personal life, our family life, and this little thing I call “business life”.  There are great things in store- great ideas to come in 2009!

Lastly, this is a good time of year to reflect over what went well with 2008.  What went right about the kiddos’ Birthday parties and what would be a better way to do it this year?  What plans for summer vacation actually went like we planned?  What about summer vacation didn’t go according to plan, but is something we may want to repeat?  How can we make the start of next school year even better?  How can I find ways to let those around me DAILY know that they are loved?  What worked well this (Thanksgiving through New Year’s) Holiday Season?  How would I like to add to Simplifying my Season for 2009? 

If you do not have happy memories from 2008, do not fret.  You can still think about these things and ask “What will I actively change to make it better for 2009?”  For me, 2009 is definitely going to be more about SIMPLIFYING and less about trying to keep up with someone else… well, that and travel!!!  There are seriously great things in store for 2009!!!

(Oh and Elli? Thanks for being my editor/proofer/thesaurus. Your input means more to me, and to the clarity of this blog, than you could ever know.)