Easy Tips to Organize Your Kitchen

I love this post! But then I’m an organizing junkie! Here’s a great post from Nicole Rodgers.organized kitchen

Keeping the kitchen organized and tidy is something that is easily accomplished but can be difficult to do if one does not know where to start. There are a few different areas in the kitchen and a few suggestions when it comes to getting this busy room in order.
The first inclination would be to pull everything out and start organizing. Before doing this, a thorough inventory will help to show what exactly is in every cupboard and cabinet. In doing this, one may find that there are two bread makers and an excessive amount of glass ware in the kitchen. Things easily have a way of piling up in the back of cupboards without being noticed.

Once the inventory is completed, things can be thrown out, donated or stored. If there are items in the kitchen that are only getting used once a year, do they need to be in a cupboard where more essential things can be stored? If there are items that do not need to be in the kitchen, but are not yet ready to be given away, they can be stored. If concerned with keeping too much clutter, a good trick would be to give the item an expiration date. If that bread maker is not used within a year of being stored, it should be thrown out or donated.

After the items are organized and trimmed down, a plan for the kitchen should be drawn up. It is best to organize this room into section. It makes the most sense to keep similar items in one area. For example, all of the baking dishes and baking supplies should be in the same general area. This will make things go more smoothly when cooking. This is a chance to totally reorganize the drawers and cabinets.

In addition to grouping similar things together, items that are used frequently and on a daily basis should be in the main section of the kitchen. Spices and seasonings should be in easy to reach cabinets and the larger and heavier items should be stored at a lower level. When cooking and preparing meals, there should be a natural flow to the work and having everything organized accordingly will facilitate this.

When it comes to organizing flatware and small kitchen gadgets, the use of drawer dividers can greatly increase the usable space found here. These will come in a variety of different styles and options. Drawer trays should be purchased so that they are large enough to accommodate the largest tools or pieces that need to be stored.

If there is unused wall space, this area can be used to place items within easy reach. A wall mounted rack or peg board can help to organize small utensils, pot holders and more.

The refrigerator and freezer can also be cleaned and organized at this time. Expired and old items need to be thrown out and the various bins and storage sections of the refrigerator used accordingly with similar things being grouped together. Having the freezer well organized into sections with everything appropriately labeled will help to ensure that things are easy to locate in here.

Kitchen organization is something that is simple to attain with a basic plan and a little bit of work. One may be surprised at the transformation after a little bit of cleaning and organizing.

 

Nicole Rodgers has been blogging for three years; one way she believes keeps a kitchen clean and organized is to reduce junk mail that sits on the counter tops.  She has a cubby hole in her kitchen to place the mail daily so that it does not get in the way of her cooking and cleaning.

How to Pack for Vacation

pink luggage

I love to travel and if it were up to me, I’d be traveling 4-6 times a year. But with family obligations and expenses, I usually only get to travel once or twice a year.

Still, I have developed a pretty good system for packing for travel and vacations so I’m going to share what I do with you. I’m always on the look out for better ways to do things and tips so if you have one, please share and leave me a comment.

First things first. Sit down with paper and pen and make a packing list. Think about everyday of your vacation. What will you be doing? Going to the beach? Write your bathing suit down. Going to a nice restaurant and theater? Write down the clothes you want for that. Sightseeing clothes? Will the climate be cooler? Write down your jacket. You get the idea. Go day by day and add the outfits you want to wear each day to your list.

Will there be laundry facilities where you will be? If so, you can pack less. Instead of bringing 4 pairs of shorts, just bring 2. Do remember to bring some laundry detergent.

Now add the other types of clothes you will need such as pajamas, underwear, socks, shoes, etc. Try to limit the shoes you bring so to save space.

Next add your list of toiletries such as makeup, shampoo, deodorant, your medications, a small first aid kit, feminine products, bug repellent, sunglasses and prescription glasses, sunscreen, your hair brush, and a laundry stick to clean up any little small stains you get.

A little tip is to use travel size bottles on as many things as you can. I got the plain plastic ones from the drugstore and just refill them before each trip.

Remember to bring your ID, credit card, traveler checks if you use them, passport if you are going out of the country and cellphone.

The next part of the list is for entertainment. Add your cell phone charger to this list.  Other things for this list are a book or kindle, magazines, and ipad or ipod. Also pack some headphones so if you get stuck somewhere you can entertain yourself with music or videos.

If you have kids, pack a tote with some things that will entertain them. When my kids were young, I’d go to the Dollar Store and buy about $20 worth of stuff for them: travel games, activity books, crayons, etc. I would put the loot in a tote bag or backpack for each child and give it to them at the beginning of the trip. This was great for car trips but also kept them entertained while waiting  at the airport and while sitting in a hotel room.

Put a few bags on your packing list too. I put a few of those kitchen trashcan size trash bags in my suitcase to hold dirty clothes. I also have some gallon sized zipper bags that I use to double bag any liquids in my suitcase to keep them from leaking onto clothes. The gallon size bags are also great for keeping things organized. You can use them to keep your electronics and their cords in, to keep all your medications in, to keep your underwear in, your socks, and more. They just come in real handy. Oh, and for your kids. You can put a complete outfit in a gallon sized bag and then all your child needs to do is pull out a bag each day.

Once you have your list complete, make sure everything is travel ready. Your clothes should be clean and in good repair. Go get your luggage out and make sure it’s in good shape.

I once waited until the night before my trip to pack, only to find out my daughter had loaned my big suitcase to a friend without my permission. The friend was out of the country so I had to make a midnight trip to Walmart to buy a big cheap duffel bag to use. I was not a happy camper!

Also make sure your luggage smells okay. Put a few fabric softener sheets in it to freshen it. Check the luggage over to be sure the zippers work.

After you have packed and checked everything off your list, take your list with you on your trip. Then before you leave to come back home, you can check your list over to make sure you are not forgetting anything.

Have a great vacation!

Cathy

Do You Schedule Your Time?

2012 Spring Garden Moms Weekly PlannerI have read (and seen) people who have their whole day scheduled out by 15 minute increments. I have to admit the part of me that longs to be Organization Queen, is a little envious of their iron clad schedules.

The problem with that is it seems almost impossible to keep up a schedule like that. Real life gets in the way.

If you have kids or other family responsibilities, you know things can change in a nano second. The family dog gets sick and needs to be taken to the vet. Your child comes home and tells you he signed you up to be a chaperon on the field trip TOMORROW. Your elderly father calls and wonders why you haven’t picked him up to take him to the doctor appointment yet. Of course he forgot to tell you about the doctor appointment. And if you have babies or toddlers, you might as well forget having a really tight schedule. Some days you are lucky to get the two of you clean and dressed.

So do you just throw it all up in the air with wild abandon and think you will deal with life as it happens? I mean, it seems pretty pointless to try to have a schedule if someone is always changing your plans. By the way, all those situations I  wrote about above have happened to me. I bet many have happened to you to.

After years of trial and error, I have come up with a system that works for me. Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post How I do Meal Planning, it’s important to have some sort of plan as it will save you time and money in the long run. So if you like my plan, give it a try. If not, please spend some time coming up and implementing your own plan. It may take you several tries before you find what works for you.

I am a little too much of a free spirit to have every day planned out to a T of what I need to do. So I do a weekly plan. In this digital age, I still prefer paper for this so I have a weekly planner. I’d post a picture of it but the baby threw my iphone into her baby pool and it’s drying out in my car (my son says on hot summer day, that’s the best place for it to dry out). Hopefully it will work again in a few hours after drying. Wish me luck. Anyway it’s similar to the planner at the top, only that one is prettier.

I actually have 2 other calenders I use too. I use the online google calender to keep track of appointments and monthly reminders. I like the google calender because it will send you an email reminder the day before an event to remind you. I set it up so it reminds me every month, that the first week of the month I need to clean out the refrigerator, wash all the bedding (yes, I know I should do it more often but monthly is about all I can handle), and clean out the frogs’ cage.

I use a magnetic monthly calender on the refrigerator door so everyone in the family can write their appointments.

On Sunday evening, I check the fridge calender and add any appointments that pertain to me (an example would be if my daughter has a doctor’s appointment on her day off, then I will be watching the baby). I also check my google calender to see if there are any appointments for that week. I write all of this in my weekly calender under the appropriate day.

Next, I decide what I want to get accomplished that week in my businesses and in my personal life. Examples for  this week are: 8 of my sites disappeared (hosting error and no backups for them so they are gone for good ) so on my list is to rebuild 2 of those sites. On the personal side, since this is the first week of the month, I have all those chores I mentioned above.

Okay, now that weekly list is done, I grab my big post it note pad and pull off a sheet and stick it to one side of my calender. On this I write what I want to (and have to) do for tomorrow. I will do that every evening for the next day.

I like doing it this way because my chores and things to do are not set in stone. I have all week to do them and it just depends on how my week is going as to which day I want to do them on.

Do I get every thing on my weekly list done that week? Not always but usually I do. If I don’t, I just add it to next week’s list.

I’d love to know if this helped you at all or how you schedule your days. Please leave me a comment!

How using Instagram and Social Networking Sites can Help Organize Your Family Life

instagramWe have all used social networking sites in the past, but do we really ever use them for more than just catching up with friends and posting random photos? As a busy mom with more to do than just a spot of shopping you can learn to take full advantage of social networking sites likes Instagram to your advantage. Not only can you stay in touch with others, but you can share recipes, photos and keep track of your children and other family members easily.

 

Using Instagram is so easy and quick, without the added hassle of some other sites that constantly change the rules and your privacy options without telling their customers. You can still have many of the useful functions of sites like Facebook, but no more adverts, random requests, games and such like. With as many people now looking for better and safer alternatives don’t you think it’s time you gave Instagram a go?

 

Instagram can help you keep track of the food you eat, making meal planning less complicated, you can add a photo of anything that interests you or even a shopping list, and then not have to worry about forgetting anything. With more than 100 million users now converted to Instagram doesn’t that speak volumes to you? Using #hashtags you can decide which photos are more important or file them in a directory that’s specific to the item, such as #Christmas Present or #Meeting at school, save with a photo and hey presto it’s easy to look back and find out all the information you need quickly. You can also #tag your own Instagram likes and have your own Instagram followers.

 

With Instagram you can easily share your photos and #hashtags with others, like other peoples photo’s and even let your friends know about deals and special offers at the local store helping them to save money also. Signing up and staying in touch are easy and you’ll be amazed how quickly you will find that you can’t live without Instagram and the services they offer. Instagram is a safe place to share photo’s, record special events and find people similar to yourself. With an average of 1 person signing up every second and over 1 billion photo’s now live on their system Instagram continues to grow. It’s great for family members too, open to anyone over the age of 13 and can be used it alongside other social networking sites also. Effective policies are in place to guard against unacceptable material keeping your teenagers safe from seeing upsetting or damaging images and giving you a piece of mind.

 

Special photograph effects, apps for iPads, iPhones like the Instamap and Printic, plus the ability to incorporate some of the best aspects from many other social networking sites is the key to the success of Instagram and why so many users flock there. Find out for yourself just how easy and fun it is to use today and make social networking work for you and your family.

 

This is a guest post from Paul of Buy Instagram likes.  Get in touch if you are looking to boost your social media profile today!