Jun 16, 2012

Organization - Starting to declutter

This month my husband and I are moving over 800 miles for his new job. Since I am currently not working and over half of the stuff we have collected is mine, I am responsible for purging and packing. While we don't qualify for the show Hoarders, I think our office comes close at times. Packing and purging has been therapeutic and stressful all at the same time. In the past 48 hours I have packed over a dozen boxes. But the whole process began long before this week. Decluttering has been a life long process. I am continuing to learn and my philosophy continues to change.

In my quest for order and learning I follow a lot of blogs and websites. (Yes, I am aware I am a tech junkie.) One of the blogs I follow is called I'm an Organizing Junkie. I get an email from her every once in a while and it inspires me to do better. A while back I got an email that changed the way I think about decluttering.  It's easy. All you have to do is break it down. Laura has 5 easy steps to get started. You can find a copy of her article here.

The steps:
1. Set a daily goal. I try and declutter for at least 15 minutes.
2. Donate: I have a box for things headed to charity or Freecycle.
3. Start small and moved on to harder things
4. Ask questions
    A. When did I use it last?
    B. How does it make me feel?
    C. Am I willing to give up something else to make room?
    D. Is it cost effective to keep it?
5. Let it go!

If you want more than the cliff notes be sure to read the whole article and check out her website for more great tips.

Jun 4, 2012

Menu Planning - Tips and Ideas

One of the things I learned as a newly married woman is that people show love in different ways.  Making a good meal is one of the ways I show love. My husband shows his love by doing the dishes. (I have the best husband ever!) I also learned that making an amazing meal takes planning, creativity and patience.

Each weekend I try to plan out my next weeks menu so that I make one grocery trip instead of 4. (Which is what I did this last week.) Sometimes I am successful and sometimes it doesn't happen. I have tried a couple of different systems to plan my meals. I tried a monthly plan. Holy Hannah! It was just a little too stressful. (But some people like them.) I tried a couple of different excel worksheets found on the web. Still too tricky. I found what worked best for me was a simple weekly notepad that I picked up at Michaels. I like it because it has space to write down what I need to pick up at the store. When I am done shopping, I just tack it to the front of the fridge to give hubby an idea of what to expect each week.

One day I will make/buy something like this:


1. Have a list of go to meals or ideas - I have a list of family favorites on my computer and a pinterest board of recipes to try.
2. Have a couple of easy back-up meals planned. 
3. Don't worry if your plan doesn't work out.
4. Planning ahead saves money and time. I hate when you are starving and you look into your pantry and nothing looks good.
5. Plan your menu around what you already have and what is currently on sale.
6. Double check you have the ingredients you need. Or be flexible enough to make a creative meal.