Friday, 29 March 2013

Kitchen Contained!

Hello my friends! Sorry I have been MIA this week. The kids and I were sick, then we had a couple of spring break all-day-long-play dates and now it’s Thursday Friday and I’m finally posting for the first time! I’m working my way cupboard by cupboard, and stretch of countertop at a time. So far I have handled my glassware, pots, pans, platters, bowls, Tupperware and my command centre. Being a part of OrgJunkie’s 31 Day Organizational Challenge has definitely spurred me on!
Finally!!! My kitchen chaos has been contained!!
This week I am working on the most challenging part of my kitchen – my baking supplies. I bake. A LOT. Last year I spent time on the Quest for the Perfect Cupcake. Needless to say, I have an extremely large amount of baking accoutrement. I store most of my shaped and larger cake pans in the garage, and my seldom used cupcake display pieces in an upstairs part of my linen closet. My supplies however, they live in the kitchen.
SO.  MUCH.  Crystal Light.  Yes, this entire container is filled with Crystal Light singles and pitcher packets.  I know, I have a problem...
For those of you just coming by here for the first time, let me tell you flat out – I am a hoarder. Well, I’m a recovering hoarder now. I have been following a minimalish path for a few years now and have slowly worked the minimalish rules on most areas of our home. I do however, still hoard food and ingredients. I have baking supplies and ingredients in no less than four different cupboards in the kitchen. 

Before I even started this project, I called in reinforcements!  My rock star neighbour Krista came over to help me start the PROCESS. I extended my kitchen table to its fullest capacity and then hunted through all of the cupboards for all of the baking stuff in the kitchen. Oh mercy, there was even more in there than I thought possible.  

Since I didn’t have a ton of stuff to purge, I started sorting like with like: all the chocolate chips together, all of the sprinkles together, all of the paper cupcake liners together (note to self: DO NOT buy any more cupcake liners!!). I went even further and put all of the puddings and jellos together, since I usually use those for baking instead of just for their intended purpose.


My total organizational container investment for this huge project was $8!! I bought 6-$1 lidded Sterilite containers from Walmart and two $1 packages of hot pink stickers to use on the labels. I had cardstock on hand that I used to line the front of the bins to hide the supplies within. After moving our breakfast foods into the cupboard that previously stored half of my baking supplies, I was able to consolidate all of my pretty new containers into the pantry we have in the kitchen! WooHoo! Extra bonus – all of my ingredients are now right next to my beloved kitchenaid mixer! I think this calls for a celebration – cupcakes all around!!

While organizing all of the baking supplies, Krista and her organizing OCD also got me fired up to organize the kids homework and craft supplies into one of the newly emptied cupboards - YIPPEE!!

The last thing I needed to do in my 31 Day Organizational Challenge was a thorough deep cleaning of the kitchen. I got out my mop, bucket and cleaning cloths and got all of the kitchen surfaces sparkly clean! Ah, I love a clean, organized kitchen! Thanks again to OrgJunkie for hosting this challenge and to my friend Krista for helping me finish it!  Here are some quick before-and-afters of the Kitchen Chaos project:

Week One: The Glassware Cupboard

Week Two - Pots and Pans, Dishcloths, Platters and Tupperware:
and after

 Week Three - The Command Centre

Week Four - Baking Supplies:

Baking supplies AFTER!
Laura asked all of the Organizing Challenge participants to answer a couple of questions about the work we have done this past month.

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?
I decided to organize my kitchen.  The kitchen is the heart of the home, and we live in our kitchen!  There is always something happening - homework, cooking, baking, chatting, party planning.  Our kitchen takes a beating and needed some definite organizing love.

2. What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 31 day timeline?
In order to finish in the month long timeline (which was HARD!!) I made a list of all of the cupboards and their uses and then broke them out into the weeks I had to finish the work.  It was tough, because we were away two of the weekends and the kids were on spring break for 2 weeks, but I managed to get it done!

3. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?
TIME.  Because I spend so much time actually using my kitchen, finding the time to empty cupboards and purge and organize was tough!!  But I soldiered on and stayed up after the kids went to bed. 

4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
I was able to bring some of the extra glassware down to my cabin to be repurposed, and donated a bunch of other dishes and kitchenware.

5. Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?
That I was able to finally contain my baking supplies.  I bake a lot and having my supplies spread out over four different spaces in my kitchen meant that I was constantly making an even bigger mess digging out supplies and ingredients than I should have.  Hopefully this new, pretty-labelled system will work for me!

6. Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?
The best organizing tool for me is the dollar store!  I can find everything I need there to better organize the spaces in my home very inexpensively.  I love the simple baskets and bins and the craft section for labels and making the space a little prettier!

7. What is ONE piece of organizing advice you’ve learned on this journey that you could encourage someone else with? 
Just take it one small step at a time.  Even though this month I tackled a big (for me) project, breaking it up into smaller steps that I could do one at a time made it way easier to handle.  I also like knowing that I only need to commit a small amount of time when doing a small part of the project, instead of taking an entire day to go start to finish on a massive job.

I want to thank Laura from Org Junkie for hosting this challenge and for inspiring me to finally get this space in order!!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

All Ready for Spring - Our Easter Mantle

Just a quickie little post to show off a project that the girls and I put together this week. When I got home from work, my little munchkins bombarded me with requests to get out our Easter stuff. I’m pretty sure the request came because they were sick of looking at the Valentine’s mantle my lazy self had yet to take down.

I took out the Easter decorations from their perch inside the bean’s closet and got to work dismantling Valentine’s Day in the middle of March. I let the girls loose on my scrapbook paper collection to pick some spring coloured paper and made a quick, easy bunting by cutting the paper and folding the top edge over and securing it with tape. This allowed me to run twine through the back to hang the happy little sign from the mantle.

I freehand cut out the letters and used my awesome Martha Stewart Circle Cutter to cut out the plain white circles. I made the mistake of using liquid glue instead of the double sided craft tape to affix the pieces to each other, so it dried a little crinkly, but overall I think it turned out really cute!

I pulled together my favourite Easter baskets (the yellow one on the far left my mom made for me when I was a kid) and filled some glass containers with brightly coloured plastic eggs. Miss A added some homemade artwork, Miss E put her two favourite stuffed bunnies to add to the collection and I put in some blue and green vases for color.

Thanks for hopping by my little corner of the internet today. I hope you enjoyed out Easter mantle! Now to plan ahead for the next one – SUMMER!

Linking to Joyful Homemaking, Not Just a Housewife and A Bowl Full of Lemons.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Kitchen Chaos - Week Three Progress!

Week THREE! Progress!! Well, not a lot of progress, but a little progress is better than none, right?? I have been trying to tackle the chaos that is my kitchen bit by bit this month as part of OrgJunkie’s 31 Day Organizing Challenge. The first week I attacked my insane collection of glassware. The second week I went crazy and organized my platters and bowls, dishcloths, pots and pans and Tupperware! It was a little bit insane, but felt really great when it was done.

This week I’ve been working full time because the hubs is home having spring break adventures with the girls. What this means for me is that the three hours of project time I usually have between the littles going to bed and the hubs getting home didn’t happen this week.

I did manage to carve out a few minutes while cooking dinner to get my command centre back in order. You can see my original post on how I created this space here. I put this system in place almost a year ago and it’s been doing pretty well for us. This week I took every piece of paper from the massively accumulating pile and took them into the living room to sort while watching TV. I also took stock of what ends up in this space and made a few small changes.

My girls bring an enormous amount of art home from school and since I have a hard time parting with it, and have a good system for retaining it (which I will share as soon as I finish sorting the art I removed from this space!!) I needed a better way to contain the incoming art.

My local dollar store sometimes carries really really cute organizing items. I found these magazine storage things in my favourite color of the minute – grey! I labelled the container “Incoming Art” and hopefully once the glue and paint have dried and they are finished their rotation on the fridge they can be nicely placed in the Incoming Art space. 

Fifteen minutes later, ta-da!!  All done!

I took another five minutes to sort out our lunch box storage area. I installed some cheapie plastic hooks to the end of my cupboard in the front corner of the kitchen. I have two small hooks that hold Miss A and Miss E’s lunch bags each evening. I also installed a little larger hook to hold my lunch bag, which is a bit heavier.

Being spring break, it is a great time to do a deep cleaning of the girls’ lunch boxes. Some hot water, vinegar and dish soap and a good scrubbing later, the lunch boxes were spick and span and ready for school in another week.

Hopefully next week I’ll be able to find the time to tackle the biggest issue in my kitchen – the insane amount of baking supplies and ingredients. OrgJunkie gave me some serious inspiration in this post so I have a starting off point.

Thanks for checking in with my progress. If you like this post you should definitely check out the other people linked up with Org Junkie, there have been some awesome transformations!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Menu Plan Monday - March 18, 2013

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all are having a better Monday than I am having! After a superfun time with friends and family celebrating St Patrick’s Day yesterday, today I am definitely feeling a little less than my usual self.

Since the hubs is off work for this week for Spring Break with the kiddos and I am working five days straight (GASP!!) this week’s menu is going to include something I don’t usually do during the week – Grilling!! Since I am normally home with the kids in the evening while the hubs is working, dealing with the BBQ is usually the last thing I want to do. This week he’s home, so we are going to cook outside for a couple of meals!!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you all have a fantastic week!

On the menu this week:

Monday: Spaghetti and meat sauce with garlic bread
Tuesday: Burgers, potatoes and veggies
Wednesday: Mom’s night out! Tortellini alfredo for the family
Thursday: Beef Enchilada Bake
Friday: BBQ Salmon, veggies and rice
Saturday: Turkey Chili
Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie

I’ll be linking my menu plan up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday – check it out!!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Kitchen Chaos - Week 2 Progress!

Hello my organizing lovelies, and my friends who have stopped by for a read today! Thanks for coming by to check out my progress with this month’s 31 Day Organizing Challenge! I started out last week with organizing my glassware cupboard.

In this week’s post I’m going to try to tackle the chaos in the kitchen cupboards where I store my mixing bowls, platters, and my pots and pans. I don’t think I have a lot of items to purge in these cupboards, but the area is in definite need of some organization.

I have a fantastically handy little brother, who comes to my rescue often. A few years ago when I complained that one of my cabinets had terrible shelving, he created some shelves and placed them close together to allow for additional storage. This allows me to put many more platters and serving dishes in the cupboard without the worry of them chipping and breaking from being stacked one on top of the other.

Tonight, after making my girls Shamrock shaped pancakes for dinner, I got straight to work on what was supposed to be two cupboards. You know how it is though... start a small project and somehow your organizing ADD takes over and all of a sudden you manage to sort through the chaos in four places? That's not just me, is it??

I started with the cupboard that holds my stainless steel bowl collection (I know, I have a ridiculous number, but I use them all a lot!!), platters and serving dishes and my crockpot. Step one: Empty the space completely, wipe down all the surfaces assess the storage situation. I managed to part with only one serving dish, but I use and love all the ones that are left, so I think I did ok!

After organizing the dishes and bowls by size and frequency of use, I was able to put them all back in the cupboard with room to spare.

The next planned space was the pots and pans and bakeware cupboard. I have one set of pots and four pans/skillets. I do however have seven cupcake pans, four round and three square pans, four loaf pans and a bundt pan. This doesn't include the specialty pans I store in the garage.

These are just my everyday baking pans, so they need to be nearby, easily accessible and most importantly, organized.

Voila! I laid down the last of my pretty contact paper on the two shelves and started reassembling the space. I added a couple of hooks to the inside of the cupboard to hold the awkwardly shaped attachments for the mixer. I also made use of my turkey pan to hold the lids for my pot set.
Next up? Tupperware. It seems like I sort this cupboard out at least once a month. If I could just get the hubs to put the lids back on the containers when he empties the dishwasher instead of chucking them in here I would be a happy mama. Until then, I guess it's going to be a space I tackle often.

The last organizing spot of the evening is one that I have wanted to tackle for ages. I made the mistake of buying horrible (really really horrible) microfiber cloths. Those had to go! I also managed to shove FIVE aprons into the same drawer that is supposed to hold my beloved handmade dishcloths. After purging about 1/3 of the items from the drawer, moving two of the aprons to another space in the house (I kept one each for me and the girls in the kitchen)and neatly folding the remaining cloths, I was finally happy with my dishcloth drawer. It's the little things that make a girl happy!

Wow! What was originally supposed to be a two cupboard mini-project turned into a bigger project. All in though, it was done in under an hour. A pretty successful Friday night if you ask me! I'm going to link my progress up to OrgJunkie's 31 Day Organizing party. There are some amazing transformations taking place over there, you should totally check it out!

Thanks for stopping my my little corner of the internet today! Have a great weekend!

Linking to Joyful Homemaking, Not Just a Housewife and A Bowl Full of Lemons.


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