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Hitting Snags and Getting Momentum Back

I seem to have lost some of my motivation the last couple of weeks. I don’t know whether the school holidays threw me off and I’ve found it hard to get momentum back because of that, or the fact that it’s been a busy week with the kids (in particular boy wonder’s school production has made this last week more hectic than usual, not to mention having to do a heap of paperwork for our new workers).In any case, I’m falling behind on my schedule with two rooms that I’ve barely started (boy wonder’s and the master bedroom). I also realised I forgot to include our spare room (aka shove-everything-in-there-that-doesn’t-have-a-home room) on my schedule!

So I’ve had to revise my schedule a bit, adding in a week for the spare room and another extra week for the master bedroom and catching up. I figure I can always close the doors to those rooms for boy wonder’s birthday party, but I’d really like the whole house done by Christmas.

Another snag I’ve hit is with upkeep. I think once the house is completely done it will be easier to have a routine in this regard, but in the meantime I’m finding it hard to keep up with tidying the rooms I’ve already finished, while attacking the next room on the list. In general, I think the house is neater than it used to be, but still failing a bit. I’ve been trying to keep on the kids about taking their toys back to their rooms, but they still creep out and hide behind lounge room chairs and under the dining room table. The dining table is still a magnet for clutter, particularly papers, though I’m trying to clear it once a week. And of course, dishes are a constant bane to me. I’m loading the dishwasher once a day, which I was already in the habit of doing, but I’m still finding myself putting off doing the frying pan and oven pans.

My aim for the coming week is to try to get momentum going again. It’s going to be tough, because our bedroom is the one I always put off doing. It’s as much a room to shove things as our spare room, plus it doubles as our home office and I am dreading going through all our paperwork.

How to get my momentum back:

Get my music going again. I’ve found it to really help having my favourite music playing in the background with previous rooms, but have missed it while my computer has been out of action.

Relish in ticking off items on my list. Finish items completely so I can tick it off and feel like I am making progress.

Just do one thing at a time so I don’t feel overwhelmed. Looking at our room as a whole is really putting me off, I need to just focus on getting each part done, one at a time, eg: start with the bookshelf (since my love of books will make that task the most enjoyable).

Wish me luck!

 

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Confession Time

 

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Little Things That Make a Big Difference

Rise and shine: 6.00am

Chocolate consumed: A handful of Maltesers

Toilet timeouts: 0

On the menu:  Homemade crispy chicken strips and chips (usually Saturday is takeout night, but we’re on a tight budget this week, so I made my own version of takeout).

All kids in bed by: 8.00pm

Today I…

Spruced up the kitchen a bit more and cleaned a few things I overlooked (like the fan cover over the stove). Plus I had two of my nephews over for the day and cooked up a pot of homemade macaroni cheese for lunch for the tribe of kiddies. I was quite productive for a Saturday.

The Kitchen

Here are a couple of little things I’ve done in my kitchen to make a difference. I’ll be sharing the bigger aspects (like the cupboards) in coming posts.

1. Tea and coffee area.

I wish I’d taken a before shot of this area. (This photo is obviously before I cleaned the fan cover). My biggest problem here was the spices. I like having them easily accessible above the stove for cooking, but before they were all just sitting on the shelf and I would forget what was at the back. Plus I had to watch I didn’t knock the front ones down. Now they’re all in a basket I can just pull down. I’ve been told I should keep herbs and spices out of the light, but since that would throw off my newly organised pantry, this is where they’ll stay for now (ideally I’d love to put up a spice rack inside the pantry door).

Coffee is now in a named pottery canister I had hoarded put away (sugar and tea already were in their canisters). Milo and hot chocolate are in small tins to fit on the shelf for easy access. I keep bigger tins in the pantry and just refill the smaller ones.

After I cleaned all the grease off the walls and organised the shelf I thought it looked a bit plain, so I added the cow pictures (I simply cut them out from last year’s dairy calendar, which I’d hoarded kept).

2. Windowsill

I came to realise all the knick knacks on my windowsill were actually making the room look smaller and more cluttered. I moved some things (like the jar with my wooden spoons) down to the bench next to the microwave. I moved the dishwashing liquid down in front of the windowsill and the disinfectant wipes to one of my newly rearranged cupboards. I had a heap of empty glass bottles lined up there as ‘decoration’ and moved half of them to the top of my shelves. The rest I made a bit prettier by adding some ribbon I picked up in the discard bin at Spotlight and some coloured water to catch the morning sunlight. I think by simplifying my windowsill decorations it has helped open the room up and look less cluttered.

*HANDY TIP* I had a segmented lunchbox I found while sorting my plastics cupboard that had no lid. I’ve used it  on my sink to hold my scouring pad and sponge in the bigger section and my plugs and some cotton tips in the two smaller sections. I like to keep cotton tips handy by the sink as they are awesome for cleaning the inside of baby bottle teats and the straws in kids’ drink bottles.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Getting Organised, In the Kitchen

 

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In the Pantry (part 5)

Saturday is supposed to be my day off, but as I haven’t been around the blogsphere for a few weeks I thought I had better take my chance to finish up my pantry series while I have a free moment.

Rise and shine: It must have been about 7.30am, I was kind of zombie-like until about 10am after staying up to watch a movie last night, so I’m a bit fuzzy on what time my kids tore off the covers and pleaded with me to get up and make milos (Boy wonder is pretty good at making cuppas, but he’s not yet allowed to pour the hot water by himself).

Chocolate consumed: None! And not by choice, unfortunately. The chocolate supply in our house has dwindled fast this week. Although I did have a sponge roll with chocolate icing for morning tea.

Toilet timeouts: 1

On the menu:  McDonalds & KFC (it is Saturday night after all).

All kids in bed by: 9.30pm (we had SIL and family over tonight, so kids were up late playing with their cousins. Fingers crossed they sleep in tomorrow morning).

My bedtime: 11.00pm

Today I…

Did some washing, loaded the dishwasher and wasted an awful lot of time on the computer looking at old photos of my kids and working on a new picture book idea.

In the Pantry

I actually finished the pantry as part of day 5 of 31 Days to an Organised Home a while ago, but I’ve only just uploaded the final photos onto my computer to share them. I’ve been busily working away on day 6–organising my kitchen.I’ve been taking before and after photos, so I will be sharing my kitchen’s progress as I get time to blog.

But first, the grand unveiling of my finished pantry.

BEFORE

AFTER

The top shelf, which was full of junk and a lot of old packets of food, got totally cleared out (it was sad how much half eaten packets of stale chips were thrown out–such waste). Now there is a box for packets of chips, so packets aren’t getting shoved to the back corner and forgotten. I want to attach pegs to the side of the box so they can easily be used to secure opened packets. There is also a basket for other junk food, like chocolate. Dad’s snacks are hubby’s breakfast bars as he often eats breakfast on the go–having them all in a basket means I don’t have a heap of boxes taking up room. And our alcohol is lined up neatly with taller bottles at the back (which you can’t see in this photo).

I like to keep all the junk food on the top shelf for two reasons: 1. It stops kids raiding it–they tend to go for the more easily accessible fruit and muesli bars. 2. Because I’m short, I need a stool to reach it, which stops me from raiding it too much as well!

One of the unexpected benefits of my new reorganised pantry is that it is so much easier to write my shopping list! It’s so easy now to just look in there and immediately see what is running low. Before, often I wouldn’t know I was out of something until I went to use it. Or I would have a new packet of something stowed away and not realise it was in there and end up buying another packet.

Another added benefit is Boy wonder has been put in charge of getting his own snacks ready for school, since it’s so much easier for him to find and access everything.

So far everyone in the house has been pretty good at putting everything back where it belongs.

If you have any great pantry tips, please share!

In the Pantry Part 1

In the Pantry Part 2

In the Pantry Part 3

In the Pantry Part 4

Kid Funny of the Day

This is actually from the other day. Boy wonder had been learning about the creation story in RE at school and asked me, “If Adam and Eve were the first people, who came next?” I replied, “They had two sons named Cain and Abel.” He was very quick to respond, “I know who came after that: Pa!” He must think his grandfather is pretty old!

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Getting Organised, In the Kitchen

 

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In the Pantry (part 4)

No. of times up during the night: 3 x feeding bubs

Rise and shine: 7.00am

Chocolate consumed: a couple of handfuls of maltesers (I’ve been doing well with the chocolate consumption lately 😀 )

Toilet timeouts: 0

On the menu:  Cheesy potato and bacon soup with cheesy garlic bread.

All kids in bed by: 7.30pm

My bedtime: 9.30pm

Today I…

Washed wet bedding, took the princess to the doctor, went shopping, made a dent folding some of the washing in Mount Washpile.

In the Pantry

Today I’m sharing shelf 4 in my newly organised pantry as part of day 5 of 31 Days to an Organised Home.

BEFORE

Shelf four is mostly dedicated to my cooking supplies, however, in my chaotic pantry it was at the stage where I had to rummage around to find the ingredients I needed. If you look at the before picture, you can’t see any of my cooking supplies at all (apart from some cake mix boxes) as they are so hidden behind everything else.

AFTER

This is actually my favourite shelf. I love how everything is so accessible and easy to locate now. Here’s the breakdown:

– All my cake decorating bits, like food dye and birthday candles (which were previously in an ice cream container or scattered throughout my pantry) are now in a labelled white basket.

– That horrible inaccessible corner is great for stacking up my cake mixes.

*THRIFTY TIP* Washed out coffee jars (or jam jars) make great storage containers.

*THRIFTY TIP* I’ve made labels by cutting out the names from their packaging. For the custard I also made sure to cut out the instructions and taped them to the back of the jar.

*HANDY TIP* I used a couple of egg cartons taped together to lift the jars at the back, making them easier to see. I’ll probably end up covering them in white paper to look a bit nicer (you can see part of them through the breadcrumbs jar).

– Before I had the aluminium foil, baking paper and cling wrap stacked up on one side, but it wasn’t a very good system as I had to remove the ones on top to get to the one at the bottom and they were always falling down. Now they sit at the front of the shelf and are sooo much easier to access.

– The eggs were also a pain to access before. They were also stacked up (in egg cartons) on the side. I had to reach past so many things to get to them and I was always worried about the eggs falling out of the carton as I grabbed it. The eggs are now also at the front. I decided to have them in a basket instead of in their cartons as it solves the problem of having cartons stacked on top of one another and it also looks a lot nicer. Plus I had the basket sitting around not being used, so why not use it?

– Herbs and spices that didn’t fit in my spice rack, as well as stock cubes and other small cooking bits and pieces, are stored in a couple of shallow baskets.

The last shelf is still incomplete, but I should hopefully have it finished for the next post (a LOT of junk was stored up on the top shelf out of sight). Then I’ll finally be moving onto day 6: organising my kitchen. This is already looking like a big project!

In the Pantry Part 1

In the Pantry Part 2

In the Pantry Part 3

In the Pantry Part 5

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Getting Organised, In the Kitchen

 

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In the Pantry (part 3)

No. of times up during the night: 2 x feeding bubs

Rise and shine: 7.40am

Chocolate consumed: a couple of handfuls of maltesers, hot chocolate

Toilet timeouts: 0

On the menu:  Capsicum ring quiches, hash browns, chicken omelettes (basically stuff I made up on the spot to use up some of our excess of eggs and potatoes)

All kids in bed by: 7.30pm

My bedtime: 10.45pm

Today I…

Started cleaning out the laundry.

In the Pantry

I’ve pretty much finished day 5 of 31 Days to an Organised Home (organising my pantry). I just have a touch more organising to do on the top shelf. With the arrival of a new freezer tomorrow I’ve had to turn my focus from the kitchen to the laundry so the freezer will fit. Today on the blog, however, I’m sharing shelf three, which was probably the most disorganised shelf in the pantry. A reminder of what my pantry looked like before:

BEFORE

Now onto the middle shelf:

AFTER

Shelf 3

Here’s the breakdown:

– I’d like my crackers to be contained together somehow, but I didn’t have a container to fit that space, so at the moment they’re just stacked together in that corner in their boxes.

– My baby food is now all together in a labelled basket, making it easy to find if bubs needs a quick meal.

– My coffee, tea, etc is now a bit easier to access. Before it was in the corner behind everything and I was forever knocking things over trying to get to it. The teabags have been put into a labelled glass jar to keep them fresh; it’s also a more effective use of space than leaving them in their box, which never seemed to fit anywhere properly. I’ve also tidied and reorganised my tea and coffee area near the kettle with small jars I can refill so I don’t have to get the bigger jars/tins out of the pantry every time I make a cuppa.

– Biscuits are in a biscuit tin rather than opened packets so they don’t go stale. I’ve used baking paper to line the tin and also to separate different types of biscuits. The baking paper can be replaced when new biscuits are put in the tin–this is easier than having to clean the tin all the time.

– Condiments are still grouped together on the round tray as I like this system, but I’ve moved it to the centre of the shelf so I’m less likely to knock over bottles when reaching for other items (before it blocked off the corner with the coffee, etc).

– Meal bases are lined up in a shallow basket and I can just flick through them to find the one I want.

*HANDY TIP* I’ve been doing this with my soups for a while and it’s such a great system. Rather than having a heap of boxes of cup-a-soups taking up room in my pantry, I’ve used a narrow box (a basket would work just as well) and cut out the front of each soup box to work like a file with packets placed behind their appropriate cover. Now if I feel like chicken noodle soup I only have to look at the top of the file to locate it (no sifting through boxes to find the right one!) To make it look even neater, I’ve used white paper and a black marker to cover the front of the box and label it.

– My tins of food section isn’t quite finished yet. I love the idea from this blog of having a set of steps to organise tinned food and currently have one of my hubby’s uncles making one up for me. In the meantime, I’ve made makeshift steps out of egg cartons. Having the steps means I can see the labels on the tins at the back and can access them more easily.

– Again I’ve used white paper and a black marker to label where everything belongs.

P.S. Hubby is loving the new pantry so much he even showed it off to his mum! My MIL is notorious for her cleaning and she complimented it, too! Now if only I could get the rest of the house as organised.

Two more shelves to share.

In the Pantry Part 1

In the Pantry Part 2

In the Pantry Part 4

In the Pantry Part 5

 
 

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In the Pantry (part 2)

No. of times up during the night: 2 x feeding bubs, 2 x take child back to bed

Rise and shine: 7.20am

Chocolate consumed: A couple of handfuls of maltesers, 2 funsize Mars Bars

Toilet timeouts: 0

On the menu:  Sausages & chips for the kids, microwave meal for me (not the healthiest of dinners, especially after take away last night, but bubs was really unsettled tonight so I chucked on whatever was quick and easy).

All kids in bed by: 8.20pm

My bedtime: 9.30pm

Today I…

Vacuumed the house. Wiped down the kitchen. Had swimming lesson with the princess. Continued attacking the pantry.

In the Pantry

It seems like day 5 of 31 Days to an Organised Home (organising my pantry) is turning into a whole week. At this rate I might get to day 31 by the end of the year! Today I’m sharing shelf two. First, a reminder of what my pantry looked like before:

BEFORE

Now onto the second bottom shelf (cereal, pasta, rice, etc.):

AFTER

Shelf 2

Here’s the breakdown:

– I have an annoyingly designed pantry with these spaces on either side that are difficult to utilise, but I’ve tried to work with it as best I can. I’ve tried to line up the cereals in a way that I can easily see every box, without having some boxes behind others by lining the smaller boxes along that annoying side space and the bigger boxes along the back (all with spines facing out).

*THRIFTY TIP* If you don’t want to fork out for fancy labels, here’s a little trick I came up with: Cut out the name of the pasta/rice from the packet after you’ve put the contents into a sealable container and tape it onto the container. This is especially good for non see-through containers. On the container with the oats I also made sure to cut out and tape on the instructions for making porridge.

– I used to have the kids’ snack box on a higher shelf to stop them raiding it whenever they wanted. Boy wonder is now tall enough to reach it anyway and often leaves it on the floor because he can’t get it back up again, so I’ve decided to put it back at their level. They’re actually getting quite good at asking first now anyway. The snack box works well because a) I don’t have heaps of opened boxes of muesli bars, cheese & biscuits and boxes of sultanas cluttering the cupboard, I just dump all the snacks into the box together, and b) the kids know which snacks are theirs. I’m about to start getting boy wonder to pack his own school snacks in the morning and it will be easy for him to just pick a snack from the box to put in his lunchbox.

– I’ve used a labelled basket to keep all my packet pasta and 2-minute noodles contained in one spot. Behind them are my lasagne sheets, tacos, etc.

– As with the first shelf, I’ve used white paper and a black marker to label where everything belongs.

Next post I’ll move on to the next shelf, so stay tuned.

P.S. I think my pantry organisation is already proving a success with hubby as he reportedly showed it off to my SIL today (and I haven’t even finished yet!).

In the Pantry Part 1

In the Pantry Part 3

In the Pantry Part 4

In the Pantry Part 5

 
 

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In the Pantry (part 1)

No. of times up during the night: 1 x feeding bubs, 1 x take child back to bed, 1 x change pyjamas on child who wet the bed.

Rise and shine: 7.00am

Chocolate consumed: A handful of maltesers

Toilet timeouts: 0

On the menu: McDonalds (after picking up hubby from hospital after a minor surgery, it was around dinnertime, so we succumbed to the golden arches)

All kids in bed by: 8.15pm

My bedtime: 9.30pm

Today I…

Spent half the day at the hospital with hubby. Tidied and vacuumed the master bedroom. Washed the princess’s bedding.

In the Pantry

Still on day 5 of 31 Days to an Organised Home (organising my pantry) and although I didn’t get any more done today I promised photos, so here is a before shot and the first shelf I organised.

BEFORE

Pretty chaotic. I couldn’t fit the bottom shelf into the shot, which has potatoes, onions, bottles of drink and other miscellaneous things. There are bits and pieces of past attempts at organisation in there, such as the stripey box, which holds snacks for the kids (this system has been working really well for me as they know exactly what snacks they are allowed to have). You can also see I have most of my spreads and sauces grouped together on a round tray.

AFTER

Shelf 1 (aka The Bottom Shelf)

I’ve still kept potatoes, onions, drinks, etc on the bottom shelf, but it’s much more organised. Here’s a break down of what I’ve done:

*THRIFTY TIP* The potatoes are in an old Coke box lined with newspaper. I covered the box with white butcher’s paper and labelled it, just so it looks nicer than a Coke box. It’s a cheap and easy way to make a potato box if you don’t have one and the potatoes keep better than if you leave them in their plastic bag (which tends to sweat).

– The onions I’ve put in a cheap white plastic basket I bought in a group of 4 (the other baskets will be used elsewhere in the pantry). I’m hoping this will solve the problem of loose onion skins littering the bottom of my pantry.

– Although I keep a fruit bowl out on the table in the dining room, I find that a) I usually have too much fruit to fit in there (my kids eat a LOT of fruit) and b) if I put all the fruit out at once the kids tend to eat it within a day or two, but if I store most of it in the pantry it lasts a bit longer until the next shopping day. What I’ve done here is use plastic containers (that apples and pears sometimes come in) to store the fruit in a more organised way than in their bags (which round fruit is notorious for rolling out of). The oranges are in a plastic bowl.

– Drinks are now lined up in a more orderly fashion, making it easier to locate what I need instead of having to pull half the bottles out just to find the juice. Oils and vinegar are lined up along the side.

– I’ve stuck labels in front of everything (using white paper and a black marker) in hopes that other members of the household will put things back where they belong.
Next post I will continue with shelf number two.

In the Pantry Part 2

In the Pantry Part 3

In the Pantry Part 4

In the Pantry Part 5

 
 

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