Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekend Worship through Housework

This weekend you are going to through clean one small area of your home. The key is to keep it SMALL. This is not the time to do the entire playroom, for example.

You may choose to go through one kitchen drawer, discarding any utensils that you don't use often, and vacuuming out and sanitizing the drawer. Throw all the utensils into hot soapy water to give them a good washing (or put them in the dishwasher.)

Usually, to thorough clean, you'll need to vacuum the space out, paying attention to ceilings and corners if applicable, and also scrub or sanitize the area.

Again, keep the area SMALL. Your goal is to be thorough and be able to finish without it becoming a several-hour project. At most, hopefully this will be one in an hour.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Purse Organizing

I recently purchased a new tote bag and a purse organizer. During this season here are photos of what I am carrying around. This system allows me to comfortably carry several things, but also grab just what I need for the moment.

Large, vinyl tote is cheery and water resistant. It has a few pockets of its own. I use them for quick grab stuff like hand sanitizer, gum, etc. The larger pocket I use for a mini trash bag within the purse and empty it nightly. 
Small purse with handle serves as a wallet and also can hold my phone and keys a notepad, and very basic toiletries (hand sanitizer, comb, etc.) I grab this to run into a store or to have lunch with someone without lugging the whole bag.

Clutch bag holds toiletries and touch up makeup, hairspray, personal items etc. I grab this when going to use the restroom. I choose to use one with a handle so I can hang it from a hook in most restrooms.

Purse organizer holds glasses, charging cords, pens, medicines, umbrella...things that don't have to go into every store or errand stop but that I might need during the day. The portable purse fits into the center of the organizer. 

Bank bag. This is my portable "in box." I put mail, receipts, etc that I need to process at various locations in here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekend Worship Through Housework

This weekend, you will be looking at the pens in your house. Go through and gather every pen you can find in the main living areas (don't raid personal stashes in bedrooms, etc.)

Lay out an old towel or sheet on a counter or table.

Get some scrap paper.

Spread out all the pens onto the towel and begin testing each pen. Ask yourself:

1)    Do I like the feel of how this writes?
2)    Does it look like it will run out of ink soon?
3)    Is it missing a cap?

Toss any pens that you don't love or that are missing pieces or getting low on ink.

For the remainder:

1)    Consider what writing utensils are needed for each room. For example, in the kitchen, you may want to have a permanent marker for marking freezer bags, a pen for writing grocery lists, etc. In the home office, you may want to have few colors so that you can decorate envelopes etc. For a study area, you may want to include highlighters or drawing markers.
2)    Using what you have, divide up the working utensils into pen cups.
3)    Jot down a list of any other type of writing device you feel would be helpful to have in that cup.
4)    Take any other usable, but not needed at YOUR home pens, and put in a giveaway box.
5)    Put the cups back in their proper rooms.

If you really want to make this easy, try to narrow your preferences down to a particular make and model of pen and invest in a few sets of those, tossing or giving away ALL the  miscellaneous ones you've picked up through the years.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Salad in a Jar

Lately I've been experimenting with salad in a jar, as inspired by this link. So far, pretty good! Here are a few photos.

Before...gathering and preparing ingredients.

After...the finished project to take to work.

The bottom layer is the dressing, with foods like cut up tomato, peppers, cut up mozzarella cheese etc next since it's okay for them to marinate. Broccoli, and greens follow as well as salmon, fruits like strawberries and blueberries, etc. Then dry items on top such as seeds and croutons.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Some Organized Spaces...for Inspiration!

Beth Beutler desk at part-time job

Southside Fellowship, Greenville SC

Receipt boxes for each month of the year, Beth Beutler

Friday, August 10, 2012

Weekend Worship through Housework

Go through your medicine chest. Discard outdated medicines and make a list of items you need to replenish such as bandages, first aid items, etc.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Next Day Prep List calls it the before bed routine. Others think of it as planning for tomorrow. Whatever you call it, the routine you go through to prepare for the next day is critical to staying organized and stress free. Here are some tips to make it effective for you.

Pick the time of day that works best for you. A before bed routine is great IF you are at least somewhat of a night person and have the energy to do the thinking and prepping. But what about if you are more of a morning person like me? Then a dinner hour routine may be better. While dinner cooks, do the prep work for the next day.

Include on your list the things that stress you out the most. Do you get most frustrated in the morning because
your technology isn't charged (i.e. phone, iPod, iPad or laptop, etc.) or because your outfit isn't picked out
Maybe you can't stand to leave the kitchen a mess. Whatever most stresses you, make sure this item is on
your "next day prep" checklist.

Prepare for more than one day in advance. If you are making sandwiches, for example, why not make a
couple more if it's the type that can remain fresh? For example, you can freeze peanut butter and jelly or
peanut butter and honey sandwiches for use the rest of the week.  When picking out one outfit, why not pick
out two or three?
Everyone's "next day prep" checklist will be different. Make it unique to you. When you wake up the next
morning, you'll be glad you did it!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weekend Worship through Housework

Take some time to look at your linen closet. Discard old, dated towels and sheets if you can afford to replace them now. If not, organize that closet. Also get rid of old cosmetics, toiletries, and half-empty travel items.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Organizing Food

Keeping up with food can be a big challenge. How often do you find food that has rotted before you used it up? Have you spent big bucks at the grocery store when you could have made several meals out of items you already have on hand? Here are some tips to help you get more organized with your food items.

Take inventory. On a regular basis (maybe once a week) take a quick inventory of what you have in the fridge, pantry, and freezer. If you have an additional freezer, keep a dry erase board on it to list items you have frozen. Take the inventory before you make your next grocery list.

Create at least one meal a week out of what you already have on hand. If you plan a menu each week (which is a great idea) try to think of at least one, preferably two, meals you could create with items you already have. Do you have spaghetti and sauce on hand? Has a casserole been sitting in the freezer for awhile? You may be surprised at how many meals you could come up with without shopping! A friend of mine uses the month of February to challenge herself to only buy the basics in groceries that month and use up whatever she can from her stock.

Use up items with short shelf life. Fresh fruits and vegetables, for example, only last a few days in the fridge. Watch how it is going and if they aren't being used up, incorporate them into an upcoming meal, prepare smoothies for the freezer, fold them into pancake mix and make pancakes one night, add a salad as a side dish, stir fry them into scrambled eggs.

Freeze what you can. Bananas can be frozen (unpeeled) for later use in smoothies. I've even heard you can freeze whole tomatoes! Do some research and freeze items that you tend to have to throw away. Freeze in small packets so you only use what you need.

Cull your grocery list. Instead of buying three types of berries for a week, buy the one the family will most use and mix it up other weeks. It's better to eat up the fruit you have than to throw it away simply because you overplanned for variety.

Use adequate storage. Experiement with bags and containers to see what works best for your family. Try to keep certain types of foods on certain shelves (i.e. left overs are always on the secon shelf.)

Communicate. Use a white board to jot down ideas for what family members can eat if they are hungry (i.e. to suggest using up leftovers.)

With a little thought, you can save some money by making sure you use what you have and stop buying what you don't need.

Question: How do you organize food at home?