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Posts Tagged ‘organization’

It seems that my list of bookmarks on my computer just keeps getting longer and longer, and I just keep adding to it. The bookmarked things ranges for herb websites to blogs of all sorts, recipes and crafty things I would like to try. (ya, I have heard of pinterest, and I should probably use it more, but it seems I get lost in time when ever I log in there)

Every time I bookmark something it ends up at the bottom, and the bottom seems to be pages and pages down there, so I started working on organizing the bookmarks and as I did that I came across things I had forgotten about (what a concept!)… so I decided to try to either do something, like a craft, each week or try a recipe or read a certain blog I bookmarked but never got back to.

I have a lot going on right now, so I picked a few simple things that wouldn’t take up too much time. I started with a bookmark. I figured it would be perfect for my niece that had a birthday this week. This was a super frugal gift, because I used some of those left-over scraps of paper that I save. I found the original on The Girl Creative.Book marks 1I tweaked the pattern for me and simplified it. The original bookmarks are cute, but my niece is 11, and I wanted something a bit more tailored for her.Book marks 3I picked out some designer card stock/scrap-booking papers that I thought that she would like (blues and greens) and made a few. Another niece likes hot pink and animal prints, so I made a few for her at the same time.Book marks 5This was a quick and easy project for me to do and it felt good actually getting around to one of those things I had bookmarked off the internet.

Do you have a long list of bookmarked things? How do you organize them?

Do you ever have things you want to try? Do you ever get around to them?

Sincerely, Emily

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Yesterday over on my personal blog I posted  a photo of a beautiful old hand-painted wooden tray that came from my mom’s side of the family. I also commented on how I love to be surrounded by “stuff,” meaning things passed down from both sides of my family, or my husbands family. These things bring a smile to my face and I have good memories of them.

Wooden Tray 1

I also mentioned that there are times I am bothered by the clutter around me. Not the clutter of things from the past, but the clutter of projects that I am in the middle of or hoping finish soon, even dishes that need to be done.

Yesterday came and I had a bit of motivation in me, instead of working on a presentation I have coming up in January, I tackled an armoire in our bedroom. Ok, part of an armoire. I have more clothes than I could even need or use and it was time to chip away and decrease the piles. About 2 weeks ago, I took several boxes of clothes and other things over to a thrift store  and it felt really really good. Today I managed to fill one trash bag full of clothes.

cleaning out the closet

These clothes have a lot of life left in them and I need to let them get on with it. Live their life. Move on.

I know when I am met by a bit of motivation, I need to run with it. I get absolutely not where when I am not in the mood and I also know that I need to tackle things like this in small steps or it becomes too overwhelming and frustrating and then nothing gets done at all. So, I was in the mood, had a bit energy and got a lot done.

A laughed a bit, because as I went through the clothes, ever single piece was something that was handed down to me, things I didn’t spend a penny on and I don’t think I wore any of them. I hope someone else can get some better use out of them. They certainly aren’t doing anybody any good folded up in my armoire.

I still have way too many clothes, but it fells good to go through some of it and move it out. This journey continues.

What do you find is the best way for you to clean out a bit of stuff?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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“It’s about time” is a series I have started over at Sincerely, Emily this year. Basically, it is about finally getting around to doing some things I keep putting off for one reason or another.

We all have our “lists” don’t we? Please tell me I am not the only list maker out there. Some of you have them in your head (that was me when I was 23 yo) and some of you have them on paper, in your phone or on you computer (paper for me thank you!)

I tape a list to the kitchen cupboard when I find I just keep forgetting certain things I need to do.  I tape a checklist to the door so when I am leaving for a meeting I can make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. It is terrible when you arrive at you culinary group meeting to find out forgot the dish you cooked! (I haven’t done that yet, and I really don’t want it to happen – therefore, a list)

I have a notebook in my purse with one page dedicated to grocery or shopping related things – everything is written in one place and that works for me. (like the dimensions of the oven rack I need because I did this!)  That notebook serves another purpose; it is always in my purse so when I am out I can add to it, jot down something I need to email someone, things I need to do, etc.

We all have things we need to do: take out the trash, clean the bathroom, call the dentist, but this is different. I am talking about things that I want to do (after I have cleaned the bathroom or taken out the trash). I don’t have to make kimchi… I want to (I want the healthy benefits from fermented foods). I don’t have to make this or that… I want to. It will help reduce the amount of other items that I buy. It will help reduce packaging, and reduce the amount of commercially made things I buy. It will improve our health because I make it and therefore I know what the ingredients are. I don’t have to plant flowers… I want to. These flowers will attract bees and birds. In turn, those bees and birds will help pollinate my veggies and eat bugs out of my garden and I can later save said flower head for making lotions of salves (calendula) or use it to make tea (chamomile or hibiscus.)

So far, this year, I have managed to check 3 things off my “list.”

As this year goes by, some months may be more productive than others when it comes to these things on my list, but each month I am planning to make or do a few things that I have put off. I know I am heading in the right direction.

I did a post here a few weeks about my best intentions and my plans for making up some tinctures and throat lozenges. Well, this is the year to do it.

You would think with all these “lists” I make that I would have one for all these “things” I want to do. Nope. So I am finally making a new list…It’s About Time !!!

What do you have on your list?

Sincerely, Emily

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feb collage

 

So many of us are working our way toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle. With that in mind we here at NDiN wanted to share some general guidelines of what to plan for on a monthly basis. Whether you’re a gardener, a beekeeper, a forager, or you keep animals, hopefully our monthly guides will help you plan ahead for the month. Depending on your exact climate you may find you need to adjust your schedule depending on your region.

February can be one of the last chances to get indoor projects completed before the spring thaw arrives. Gardeners are getting excited and it won’t be long before the first of this year’s farm babies are here! Spring is really just around the corner, so start wrapping things up inside and get ready to head back outdoors.

Indoors:

  • Check basement or crawl space for leakage during thaws.
  • Check bathroom caulking for re-sealing needs. While you’re in there, check your pipes for leaks.
  • Freshen your kitchen sinks by pouring a mixture of 3 cups hot water and 1/4 cup vinegar (or the juice of one lemon) down each drain.
  • Keep an eye out for cracks in your drywall caused by settling during thaws and freezes. There are expandable putties and spackles available for problem areas. While you’re at it, you may want to mark outdoor masonry to be repaired. Plan to complete this project after the last hard freeze and once your biggest worries of the house settling are past.
  • If you don’t have a cold frame or greenhouse, set up an area to start seeds for your garden. Few seeds need light to germinate (be sure to read the directions) so you may be able to get by without any lights other than a window for the first few weeks. (Check out chiotsrun seedstarting 101 guide).
  • Research and prepare for any animal purchases for the year.
  • Keep a tray of water and spray bottle near indoor plants to adjust humidity levels, especially if you have central air. Running the heater can dry them out quickly and cover leaves with dust.

Outdoors/Garden/Wildlife:

  • Keep fresh water available and free of ice for birds and wildlife.
  • It’s National Bird Feeding Month. Keep feeding those birdies! Seed, dried berries, and suet are great meals for our feathered pals.
  • If you live in a climate with mild winters, this month may be a good time to dig new beds. You may also want to repair or build new composting bins to be prepared for this year’s cleanup.
  • Southerners could get away with planting bare root trees on warm days.
  • Keep driveways and walks free of snow and ice. Have shovels, plows, and salt/brine accessible and stocked.
  • Watch gutters and roofs for ice dams.
  • If you didn’t get to it during fall, now would be a great time to oil and sharpen garden tools.

Animal Husbandry

  • Be prepared for early birthing. Have any equipment you’ll need ready and accessible.
  • Nights are still very cold in most parts of the country. Keep your critters warm with fresh hay, heat lamps, or blankets, but be sure to avoid fire hazards. 
  • If you’ve been leaving a light on for your chickens you can begin weaning them off of it. The sun is setting noticeably later and your gals should begin laying more regularly soon.

You can also find Jennifer at Unearthing This Life where she blargs a bit about good food, home schooling, raising chickens, and being a suburban Yankee transplant in a rural southern town.

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I cook our family’s food from scratch, every day, 365 day a year.  We don’t go out except on very rare special occasions.  I am too cheap and as a vegan to finicky to eat out most places…besides we live in the sticks!

As I covered in my last post about food storage.  Being prepared is also key to running a kitchen efficiently.  To know how you cook and organize your kitchen accordingly.  You do not need a big fancy kitchen to have one that runs will with few wasted steps.  In fact a huge kitchen can be a detriment to efficiency.

There are a few things that should be done before setting up or re-organizing your kitchen….

Get Rid of what you don’t use…

Be realistic.  Do you really need 3 waffle irons?  How about those 15 packets of gravy mix in the back of the spice cabinet?  While you are purging the unneeded look for the outdated, the broken beyond repair, and the things you hate.  For me it was getting rid of a frying pan that I absolutely hated.  I gave it to one of my older sons who are starting out and replaced it with one that worked much better for me.

If you have things that only get used during the holidays move them somewhere besides your kitchen…just remember where you put them.  Keep valuable kitchen real estate for the most used and useful items

Make sure everything in your kitchen is used frequently.

Seriously take a look at how you cook…

Are you a gourmet cook that needs lots of spices?  Do you like me spend vast amounts of time baking? Do you need lots of different pots and pans or will just a few simple ones suffice?  Are small kitchen appliances something that you depend on daily or is a really sharp knife and box grater fine for you?

When you know how you cook organize stations for these tasks…

I have 4 deliberate zones in my kitchen.  One for cooking, one for baking, another for clean up and the last for eating.  Each has the tools for that task within reach.

My Cooking zone…

In this is my pots and pans, utensils that I use for cooking such as stirring spoons, knives, spatulas, ladles, etc. My most used spices are kept near by with my more exotic kept higher in a cabinet.  I also keep my non-stick spray and cutting boards handy.

My Baking zone…

I have a 3 drawers beneath where I bake that I store everything I need for all my recipes for breads and other goodies.  All measuring cups, spoons, whisks are in the first drawer.  Chocolate chips and baking chocolate along with sugars are kept in the second drawer.  Third drawer has cookie cutters, muffin liners, and rolling pins.  All my baking spices are kept within reach of this zone. Next to these drawers is a cabinet with my wheat grinder and Bosch bread mixer. Mixing bowls are within reach also.

Clean up zone…

This includes the sink and the dishwasher and draining board.  I use the cabinet directly over the dish washer to store plates and cups that we use everyday.  This saves steps when unloading the dishwasher.  Towels and dishrags are kept in a drawer next to the sink.

Finally…eating

We keep dishes next to the area we eat along with napkins and the compost bucket.  I also keep a small spice basket there with salt and pepper, Tabasco and sugar

Countertops...

These are a blessing and a curse in my house.  I love having lots of counters but also hate the stuff they attract.  Mail, newspapers, paint buckets, coats, plants (ok, like that one) etc.  It is hard not to use such convenient horizontal surfaces as a dumping ground for everything.

I have made an effort to find places behind doors for most of my kitchen things like appliances…I have found that a cluttered counter seems to attract more clutter where as a clean sparse counter seems to stay neat longer.

Waste Disposal…

Keeping small recycling bins, as well as a bucket for compost in your kitchen makes the items that are actually put in the garbage to a minimum.  It also makes clean up more efficient.

Storage…

I don’t store a lot of food in the kitchen (I use my pantry for that) but what I do store I store properly.  Oils should be kept in a cabinet out of direct sunlight.  Spices should not be stored next to the stove as heat and moisture will affect their flavor.  Make sure foods are stored in areas that are appropriate to that food.

Store your most used items on the lowest most easily accessible shelves with the least used on the highest.

Working efficiently…

If you have decluttered and organized your kitchen you have taken a huge step to efficiency.  Now when you actually step into the kitchen to prepare something you can follow a few very simple suggestions to make it even more streamlined.

Make sure you have all the ingredients you need before beginning…I know this sounds like common sense but I can’t tell you how many times I have been 3/4 of the way through a recipe and found that I was missing an ingredient that I was sure I had.

Gather all your necessary  equipment…don’t waste while working by looking for the measuring spoon or the beaters for the mixer.

Clean up as you go…harder for some of us I will admit.  Have a sink full of soapy water ready even if you use a dishwasher.  As you get something dirty put it in the sink so the food won’t dry and cake on making it much harder to clean later.

Don’t let the dishes pile up on you…nothing is more discouraging than coming into your kitchen and seeing a mountain of dishes.  It does nothing to inspire you to be creative in your kitchen…in fact it might just send you out to eat, and that is not what we’re hoping for here!

Make sure your kitchen is clean before retiring for the night to the couch or going to bed...I know for me this is hard.  After dinner is done I am tired and in no mood for kitchen clean up.  But those mornings that I get up and the kitchen is clean it makes my day so much sunnier.  It also makes me inspired to come into and cook for the family…instead of running away!  So wipe the counters and load the dishwasher, put everything back in its place, you will thank yourself in the morning!

Make extra...if you are making lasagna it is just as easy to make an extra pan for the freezer since you have the mess out anyway.

Remember no kitchen set up is etched in stone…rearrange and tweak it till it works perfectly for you and the way you cook. Making the commitment to cook from scratch may seem overwhelming but  in a well organized kitchen, cooking and baking seems less of a chore and more of an adventure!

Oh and one more tip…

It saves time to have a computer in the kitchen to look up recipes or in this case write a post for NDiN…I actually made bread while writing this!

Kim can also be found at the inadvertent farmer where she raises organic fruits, veggies, critters, kids, and…a camel!


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