Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Explanation...and Under the Sink

So...my son has been extra clingy and fussy as of late. It's very hard to put him down, let alone get anything done. By the time he does nap I'm emotionally drained and don't feel like doing much. So, my cleaning took a backseat and so did my blog.

I'll try to do better this week!

I'm going to just give out the rest of the steps for organizing under your sink...spread them out as you see fit.

  1. Get rid of things that don't belong. (This was covered in a previous post)
  2. Get rid of expired products.
    1. Almost everything has an expiration date. Vitamins are only good for so long. After they reach a certain age they stop being effective and, depending on the vitamin, can actually be dangerous. Same thing with anything containing chemicals (face creams, washes, soaps, etc...) Toss these items. I'm willing to bet that you'll throw away at least 5 items in the process.
  3. If you haven't used it in the past 6 months reevaluate if you need it or not. If it's been more than a year, toss it!
    1. This is a basic when you're decluttering. If you haven't used it in 6 months or more, you probably don't need it taking up space. The only exceptions are expensive products ($50 bottle of perfume that you only wear on special occasions) or products that you don't need right now (feminine products while you're pregnant or nursing)
  4. Utilize storage you have.
    1. Do you have a large bin that you can put all of your lotions in? Use it. Have a Rubbermaid that you can put all of your jewelry in? Use it. Large gift bag that a birthday/Christmas gift came in? I'm sure you can find a use for it.
  5.  Make things easily accessable.
    1. Try to put the products you use most often toward the front of the space. That lotion you use daily goes in front of the lotion you use on special occasions.

That's it. Those are the steps. Try to do one a day. Send me your before and after photos and I'll put them up on the blog!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tackling Under The Sink Part 1

Okay, this week we're tackling that space under the bathroom sink. This will be a 5 part series. One step each day. This should make taking care of it less of a hassle.

Step one: Get rid of things that don't belong there.

For example: We had an ants issue right after we moved in. I realized that whatever spray the complex used wasn't good enough and, in frustration, used my flea spray. It worked like a charm so I kept it under the sink. Well, the ants are gone but the spray is not.


Take a look at all of the products under the sink. Do you use them 95% of the time in the bathroom only? Do you use the cleaning supplies more often in the kitchen? Put them there. Do you apply your lotion before bed in your bedroom? Why walk into the bathroom then?

See? Not that hard.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Project for the week Nov 9-14

Next week I'm starting a new segment of the blog. I'm calling it "Project Of The Week." Concept is easy: Take a "trouble spot" of your house and work on it in small bits all week long until it's fabulous!

What is our first project? Under The Bathroom Sink!! (dun dun dun)

Go look under your bathroom sink right now. No really, get up and walk in there. I'll wait....

....

Chances are it looks something like this:

 
 

"Who goes under the sink?? Why is THIS a project? Now, the entryway, THAT'S a project. Why under the sink?"

1) It's by special request of the owner of the top photo.
2) It's the little things that matter
3) There's probably stuff under there that you'll actually NEED at some point in time. So why not have it easy to access and neat?
4) I'm willing to bet half of you have no idea what all lives under your sink. Start pulling things out and I'll be hearing a chorus of "Oh, that's where that went" and "I own one of those?" Decluttering is good for the soul!

So, starting Monday we'll be tackling little parts of the space. We'll do it in baby steps. Get ready!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Special Request: Kitchen Pantry

Well, it's a bit empty right now. We buy minimally at the start of the month because, with bills, money is kind of tight. The second paycheck is when we throw down the most money. But, I can show you what I do right now.



This is right next to the stove (see the vent hood at the left?) I keep everything that I use regularly (read: each meal) right here so it's easy to grab. Olive Oil, lime juice (the lemon is too big to keep here or it would be there too), spices, rice, sugars, flour, and breadcrumbs live here. The rhyme is this: Things I use most often are on the bottom shelf. Easy, right?


This is the above cabinet between the fridge and the wall (see the fridge on the left?) Things I don't use THAT often sit here. Extra baking soda, peanut butter, chips, cornbread mix, extra salt (we're running out in the other one so this one is standing by), jello, etc... The only thing I use almost daily from here is the peanut butter. Usually one of Stefan's popcorn boxes lives here but it's not put away yet.


We're skipping the top shelf of the bottom cabinet for right now. These are shelves two and three. Shelf two is where I keep all the canned goods. I try to put the newer stuff behind the older stuff. Most of the stores goes here. I put the potatoes here too because if I put them on the bottom sometimes I forget about them! Shelf three is where the extra stores goes. Extra mustard and ketchup are down here. Cornstarch too. And, the big 10lb bag of rice I need to separate out. (I put it into gallon ziplocs because it's easier to handle that way)


Okay, shelf One of the bottom cabinet. Things we use fairly often go here. Cereal, Ramen, and the baking mix are in the back. Stefan's Mac-N-Cheese is here. I also keep all of the Pesto mixes on this shelf. I keep one can of each of our canned goods here for easy removal. When I use a can of corn, for example, I take the one from this shelf and pull one up from shelf two. That way I can look and immediately assess what my choices are if I'm grabbing a veggie quick for dinner. I don't have to dig around or anything.

I keep the bread in the shelf above the microwave (where the bags and glasses are) I'm not sure why it ended up there...it just did. That works best for us.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Meals for the Week: Nov 1-7

Sunday: Chicken and Dumplings
My first attempt and it was a success!

Monday: Spicy Sausage and Rice Casserole

Tuesday: Chili

Wednesday: Pesto Tilapia

Thursday: Chicken Pesto

Friday: Pork Fried Rice

Saturday: Tangy Pan Fried Tilapia

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Simply Homemade: Chicken Stock

I don't know why I didn't start doing this sooner. I wish I had pictures...but not this time!

First, start saving your chicken bones/skin and any extras from veggies (peelings, ends, etc...). Just start shoving things in a plastic container/bag and freeze until you have the equivalent of a whole chicken. (Bonus if you roast a chicken and then strip it when you're done)

Put it all in a large pot and cover with water. Add some black pepper and salt. Get it boiling. When it hits a rolling boil turn it down to a LOW simmer. Cover it so you don't lose a lot of liquid. Keep it this way for 24 hours. (Yes, 24 hours) If you're not comfortable leaving the stove on when you're away from home or overnight you can turn it off briefly. Just make sure and bring it to a rolling boil again when you turn it back on and make sure it simmers for 24 hours (even if they aren't consecutive). 

Fast forward 24 hours...

I usually grab another large pot and put a pasta strainer over it. Pour the liquid into it. This will strain out the large chunks of chicken and vegetable. Now grab your glass jars (I save all of the ones we buy. Jelly jars, salsa, etc...just run them through the dishwasher first). I take a glass measuring cup (because it's easy to pour) and pour it into the jars. If you want to strain it further you can put some cheesecloth or papertowel over the mouth of the jar. It's your choice. Pop them in the fridge and celebrate!

Benefits:

- Saves money! One chicken usually gets me over 2 quarts of stock. That's 2 quarts that I don't have to buy in the store.
- It's Healthy! When made this way you get the immune boost (bone marrow) and calcium (bone) that you don't get from the boxed stuff. Plus, low sodium because it's not packed with preservatives!
- And it just tastes better when you make it yourself.

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