My journey toward a peaceful, organized family, home and life!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kiddy Drawer Organization, Part 1

I have to do this post in two parts simply because I need to buy more drawer organizers after Christmas. ;)

I'm so fortunate as to have an IKEA in my city! That being said, I try not to go there very often because I can always spend money there. After browsing the IKEA catalog, however (dangerous!), I had to get these drawer organizers:

I've seen them around before, of course, but I didn't want to buy them without a visualization of where they would go. Well, the kids' dresser drawers were desperate!

I didn't take "before" pictures but let's just say EVERYTHING was a-jumble. Finding socks and underwear was tedious, at best.

Here are two of their "new" drawers.  ;)

I still stop short of folding underwear, but everything else is in order! (If you're curious as to why my little guy has two types of underwear, it's because he recently underwent a procedure that requires him to wear briefs, though he usually wears the boxer briefs.)

I got purple organizers for my daughter:

There are only 6 organizers per set and the space in their drawers called for 7 and so they each got a small box from Mommy's set.

I definitely need to get more of these! The kids each have another drawer and my own drawers are, as yet, incomplete.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu Plan for This Week

This week's menu plan is as you see:

Monday (tonight) - Potatoes and Sausage with steamed broccoli

Tuesday - Cilantro Lime Chicken

Wednesday - Thai Red Curry Beef with rice

Thursday - Personal Pizzas

Friday - Tater Tot Casserole

Saturday - Shawn's night to cook... I work Saturdays!

Sunday - Crockpot Chicken

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fabulous Giveaway!

There is a fantastic giveaway going on right now over at Carly Robertson's blog, the simple things. To give you a taste of what is all there....

Here is a fabulous organizational planner!

(pastry not included!)

Also, this LOVELY bag-in-bag!

With so many prizes available, I had to pay it forward!  ;)

Invite.L is also offering a special gift to all of her readers who make a purchase, no minimum order required, all you have to do is use this promo code: simplethingsgift when you order!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kitchen Reorg: Hot Drink Zone and Clear Counters

  • For my pantry reorg post (lots of kitchen shots), see here. 
  • For my serving dishes and plasticware post, see here. 
  • For my baking cupboards post, see here. 
  • For my spice cupboard post, see here.
My kitchen reorganization project is winding down! I have only the cupboard above my refrigerator to do after this...

Here is what my kitchen counters looked like before:

Nothing horrific, but a bit too cluttered for my (and my husband's) taste. One of the things I was really hoping to accomplish was to move the toaster off the counter and the whiteboard/bulletin board into the laundry room.

My husband was the savior of the day (heck, the month!) when he finally put up the board in the laundry room!

I was able to make room for the toaster in the cupboard discussed below and so my counters now look like this!

(The wire tray to the left is my inbox from my paper clutter course.)

A vast improvement!

My remaining kitchen cupboard looked like this...


  • Lunch making supplies, drink syrups and breakfast syrup on the bottom shelf was working for us and was left pretty much alone. 
  • The snacks were moved to the pantry
  • Can you believe that there were still breast pump pieces on that top shelf??? It's been almost 2 years since they've seen any action!
Here is what this cupboard looks like now:


I'm still in the market for a tray that fits beneath the toaster yet also fits my cupboard parameters... Tricky! Love the idea, though, as it will keep crumbs from trickling everywhere! (No matter how much I shake the thing, they don't all come out!) I think a more compact toaster is in order, as long as it still has 4 slots...

On the top shelf, I've grouped together herbal teas (rarely used) and our novelty/nostalgia mugs. The front two quite humorously state "Queen of Everything" and "King of What's Left."  We love them because they were a gift from my sister but also because they fit a can of pop with ice perfectly (we use mugs to hide drink contents from mooching vultures children).

I am most excited to point out my "hot drink zone!"

We're not coffee drinkers but we definitely enjoy a mug of hot chocolate or hot apple cider on a cold day!

Using a cake pan and plastic containers that I had put in my "Donate" box, I grouped together hot chocolate and apple cider packets, as well as mulling spices and marshmallows that I decanted into a canning jar.

I got the idea for this station from the following pictures (click on them to go to the original post):

Such amazing ideas out there!

I've linked this at:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kitchen Reorg: Spices, Oils and Vinegars

  • For my pantry reorg post (lots of kitchen shots), see here. 
  • For my serving dishes and plasticware post, see here. 
  • For my baking cupboards post, see here.

I'll start with the cupboard above the stove because it is the least exciting.


The vent from over my stove takes up a good portion of the cupboard and limits the lone shelf placement. It leaves the perfect height, however, for tall vinegars and baking sprays.


The very top shelf is now housing infrequently used baking items.

My spices were one of the most bothersome things about my kitchen. I had them spread out above the stove (see top photo), beside the stove...

(The medicines have been moved to a different location and will be covered in a future post.) well as throughout the pantry (2nd shelf from the top in the photo and the side rack)!


My goal, obviously, was to group like with like. No more side trips!


Of all my new cupboards, my spices got the most new organizing tools. Lazy susans were essential and I didn't have any! I had hunted for them at Walmart and Canadian Tire with no success. Then someone in the class forum (for more about my kitchen organization course, see my pantry post) mentioned that they buy their lazy susans at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Well, we just happen to have a couple of those in Calgary! After taking my first serious look through the store (I had been there previously to look at bedding), I came to the realization that I was in HEAVEN!! Organization tools I had yet to fathom were found! Of course, I will have to pace myself but BB&B is my new fav store!

Anyway, these lazy susans and extra shelf fit my cupboard PERFECTLY! (Of course, in order to get that shelf in at the top, I had to take off the cupboard door. It's snug but I got it in!!  ;)  )  It doesn't really look pretty, but I SMILE every time I open this door.  lol!

I also have a spice inventory that isn't pictured. I haven't decided yet where I'm going to keep my inventories.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kitchen Reorg: Baking Cupboard

  • For my pantry reorg post (lots of kitchen shots), see here. 
  • For my serving dishes and plasticware post, see here.

Since baking is something I do a lot of (I consider pancakes and waffles baking, but I also love my desserts!), I wanted to use some of my prime kitchen real estate to make my baking supplies more accessible to me.

I had my baking supplies divided between here in the kitchen...


...and here in the pantry (top shelf as well as bottom shelf)...


I found that I was going between both places rather too frequently. The big flour bins are fine where they are (you can see my pantry after pictures here) but the rest? Rather inaccessible.

So I took over the cupboard next door to my baking cupboard, which is above where my baking cups/spoons and Kitchen Aid mixer are...

Cupboard before:

...and created a baking station!

I can't wait to get a few more Modular Mates (Tupperware)! They're so marvelous for decanting and organizing baking supplies, not to mention keeping them fresher longer!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kitchen Reorg: Serving Dishes and Plasticware

  • For my pantry reorg post (lots of kitchen pics!), please go here.

I had two lovely cupboards of wasted space. Before I took pictures, I decided to clear out my rarely used "special occasion" dishes and donate them to a friend so they don't look as bad as they used to... Actually, maybe they're worse! As soon as space opened up, everything spread! ;)

Here is cabinet 1:


And cabinet 2:


I was able to combine my frequent use items and serving dishes into one cabinet (the first one).


There is plenty of space for another shelf above, though I don't have one and don't really need one at this point of time.

I did add a label for the colander since my husband never seems to know where it goes... ;)

I might have started going label-happy at that point (love it!) but I ran out of label tape!  ;)

The rest of my serving dishes are up in my pantry.

I moved the plastic bowls from my cupboards to a drawer that had previously been full of infrequently used plastic.

Here is a before of my plasticware drawer:


 The white bins were purchased at a local dollar store.

I cleared out my lunch dishes and small containers and put them where my dishcloths used to be:



Another dollar store bin here. This area is much more accessible to where we make lunches.

(To see how I've organized my kiddy plasticware, see here.)

All of my produce and freezer plasticware is now being stored in the laundry room (not yet completed):



I did remove my vacuum for a better After pic. ;)  More handy dollar store bins. Could probably still use a little work... I am storing my reusable grocery bags and extra lunch bags in that bottom bag.

(You can find out where my table linens went here.)

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kitchen Reorg: The Pantry

I am participating in a kitchen organization course at Simplify 101. At this point in time, I have revamped my entire kitchen, getting rid of items I don't want or need and reorganizing areas that weren't really working for me.

The instructor, Aby, started by reorganizing her pantry and then moving onto the kitchen... I decided that I needed to do both at once! Here it is mid-process:


The cupboards and pantry look marvelous at this point, of course...


I have to stress at this point that I have not yet bought any organizing containers. Everything in use was on hand... I'm in desperate need of certain items (I will probably point these out as I go) but in the meantime I'm using boxes, etc. I will do a final post once I am able to get what I'd like. A good time to re-evaluate my maintenance... ;) I find that I'm still tweaking my organization here and there so the after pics may not be the most current reflection of how things are.

The thing that bothered me the most was the pantry. I am blessed to have a marvelous pantry right between my kitchen and laundry room (which also offers me storage options).

 This area--the floor--was the part that was driving me the most nuts...


The recycling bins were in the middle of the floor. Reusable shopping bags were constantly being kicked around because they had no real place anywhere. The area under the shelves was being taken up by items I rarely used...

Here is how it looks now:


I moved my roasting pan to the laundry room along with the large stockpot. The metal bowls were donated. The cake dome/punch bowl moved to the top of the pantry. The reusable shopping bags were store in one bag and relocated to the laundry room (a project I will post soon). I also relocated the bread machine only to bring it back--it's in the right corner that didn't photograph. I intend to use it more and seeing it frequently will help to remind me. The clear space there is for a large step stool that I have yet to purchase.

You can also see that I moved all my breakfast items--cold and hot cereal, as well as instant oatmeal--to the bottom shelf. More accessible to my little ones who I encourage to get their own breakfast unless I am making pancakes or waffles. They still need an adult to access yogurt for them, of course.

Here is another before shot of this shelving area:

My organized neighbor and friend is the one who started stacking cans in my pantry. Before that, I just kept them in their messy flats or spread them around!

You can see that their was no rhyme or reason to my food storage...

Here is what this area looks like now:


Above the breakfast items (discussed above) are the kids' snacks. Above those, the canned goods. The lunch items and "adult" snacks are at the top there. The very top shelf, pictured below, has large serving platters.


The right side of the pantry was even worse than the left!


Baking supplies that (I thought) weren't frequently accessed were stored high up in this corner. I seemed to be rummaging through them on a regular basis. Below that was my collection of large spice containers and infrequently used spics, as well as random storage items, like bulk oil. Below that, a messy conglomerate of pastas and my hot cereals. The bottom shelf, which doesn't change much, has my large flour bins (can't recommend these enough!).


The angular wall within my pantry has this lovely rack... which is overflowing with a jumble of items.

Here is the right side of my pantry now:


The top shelf holds bulk items: Ziploc bags, oils, pasta sauce, un-decanted/unopened pasta, aluminum foil, as well as cake/cookie decorating supplies. The next shelf down holds miscellaneous items that don't really fit my categories: Mr. Noodles (the kids get this every Friday for lunch), my tortilla press and Masa Harina, etc. The next shelf down is my pasta and potatoes. My quick oats are here but I'm moving them to my baking cupboard (more on that in my next post!).

The wall rack is fro smaller storage items. I've decanted some of my smaller pastas into large canning jars (the instructor's idea). I really have more space than I currently use, but I'm sure a few months will take care of that...  ;)

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my new pantry! I'll be back to show you my new kitchen!

I've linked this to: