It’s May! Is Your Head Spinning, Too?

Hooooo boy, it’s May!

May seems like the busiest month of the year for us. Until a few years ago, I thought this was only my opinion, until a wise mom whose children are a little older than mine made the same observation to me.

May brings school picnics and field trips, weddings, graduations, concerts and end-of-the-school-year award events.  The school year is wrapping up, but we still have finals!  And as some activities wind down, others are gaining speed!
We have family members gearing up for house sales and moving.  We’re looking at camps and activities, and making summer travel plans with a college reunion, work conference, house guests, and weekends away.

And all this on top of – Oh Right! – the activities of daily living.

So, if you feel like your head is spinning this month, too – and it’s only the first week! – take a few moments today or tomorrow to make some plans, take care of business and set yourself up to have a great and busy May!

Here are a few ways to succeed:

  • Maintain your healthy habits.  When we are the busiest and want to skip our daily exercise,good night’s sleep or healthy eating is just when we need most to keep up!
  • Grab your calendar, pull up a seat and make a plan. Make sure all your events and responsibilities are listed.  Look ahead and take care of scheduling snags now instead of waiting until later!  (For example, 3 cars for 4 drivers and the teenager has job training this Thursday.  Time to get creative, now instead of Thursday!)
  • Pare Down. Review your To-Do list, and move everything that doesn’t absolutely have to be done right now to a different day, week or month .  Make notes for next month, when the schedule loosens up.
  • Review your upcoming events or responsibilities, and note the details and the other follow-up steps!  Jot down place and time of course, but the other steps, too!  For example, we received an invitation to a graduation party out of town and we will be unable to attend.  You and I know our job is not done when we RSVP – there is a card and gift to purchase and mail.  Add those shopping items and errands-to-run to the Master To-Do List so we don’t forget!
  • Run through the wardrobe options with EVERYONE!  Graduation? First Communion?  End of Year Concert?  Make sure NOW that the dress shoes still fit, the suit jacket isn’t stained, the favorite tie is back from the cleaner, etc.
  • Hooray, You Did It!” x 10!  Remember Christmas?  And how you have a few extra hostess gifts stashed, or generic greeting cards and gift cards?  Same idea, stock up on some gender neutral “Hooray, You Did It!” cards, gift cards, and bottles of wine for Just In Case.
  • Be Grateful, too.    In addition to the congratulations cards, grab a handful of Thank You Notes for teachers, car-pool buddies, coaches, etc.
  • Reach Out and Touch Someone.  Go ahead and make your appointments:  hair cuts, carpet cleaning, cholesterol screening, camp physical, summer dentist appointments – the list is endless.  Make the calls this week (before everyone else does), and note the events on your calendar.
  • Enjoy! The whole point of this super busy month is to celebrate all of life’s events!  Celebrate!

Put Stuff Away Before You Take Anything Else Out

Have you ever noticed?  When we are excited about an upcoming adventure / event / road trip, our first reaction is to jump in and start pulling things out to get ready.

Perhaps we are packing for a trip.  We’re leaving in the morning, so we run to the closet or dresser drawers, and start pulling out clothes and piling them on top of a potentially already cluttered dresser or bed.

Sometimes, we have a project for work that must be done right away, and we spread it out on top of the projects already on our desk or work space.

Maybe we’re famished and we need to start dinner, so we pull things out of the fridge to the already crowded counter and then wonder why cooking is such a hassle.

AHHHHH!!! Let me suggest a better way:

  • STOP!
  • Put your stuff away before you start pulling more things out.
  • Just 5 or 10 minutes of clearing out and cleaning up will help you find focus and clarity and a clear work space!
  • As you tidy up, craft your packing list or project plan in your mind.   Then, when your mind and space are de-cluttered, jump in to action!

Let’s go back to packing for that trip.  Take 5 minutes and hang up that pile of stuff on the dresser or bedpost (you know, THAT pile).  Locate and put away your clean laundry, pulling out items you want to take along with you.  Then pull out your suitcase or satchel and get packing!

Need to pack up more orders for shipment?  Finish the ones from yesterday and load them in the van.  THEN… start on the new ones.  A clear work space is always going to make the job go more smoothly!

Back to that new project for work?  Take the 5 minutes to clear up the old project, so the two don’t get mixed up.

Friends coming for dinner, and you just got home with all the groceries? Before you turn on the oven or open one package, take 5 minutes and put your groceries away, setting aside the supplies you need to make dinner on a tray or cookie sheet, and wipe clean the counter.  Just those few moments of putting away and getting ready will make your meal prep a lot easier!

I always encourage action instead of inaction, but we should also be taking the RIGHT action. So, clear and clean up before you leap in and give your next actions some thought.  Then go ahead and jump!

Get Over Left Overs: 85 Banana Chocolate-chip Mini-muffins

I regularly see this billboard and it always makes me think. Imagine – $1,500 a year is a lot of money to just throw away. (www.adcouncil.org)

A related statistic from the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations website (www.fao.org), 1/3 of all the food produced in the world goes to waste.  One third.

I try to not waste food, yet every week when I clean out the fridge, I toss a few things, too. Overripe cucumbers, mystery meat, dried out or moldy bread – all foods I should have used instead of wasted!

So, let’s bust these statistics.  We can all benefit from a plan to use our food better!  We can:

  • Save money by using our inventory before it expires;
  • Clear kitchen clutter by only keeping on hand what we really need;
  • Eat better and healthier by planning our menus with a little more care; and
  • Be more responsible stewards of our resources!

When I got home from the grocery the other day, I cleaned 3 pounds of grapes (they were on sale) and left them in a bowl.  We made dinner, consisting of baked sweet potatoes, a veggie, and warmed-up pork roast from last week.  While the potatoes baked, I turned a double batch of banana bread batter into 85 banana chocolate-chip mini muffins (I’d take a picture, but 48 hours later, there are only 6 left).

  • We will never eat grapes off the stems, but everyone will grab a handful if they’re clean and ready to eat.
  • We are unlikely to warm up pork roast just because, but pairing it with fan favorites like baked potatoes makes a lovely Sunday dinner.
  • No one in the house (including me) will eat brown bananas, but we’ll eat mini-muffins like crazy.

The secret is (well, it’s not really a secret) to Plan, Plan, Plan.

Looking to use up what you have?
Look first to use your fresh food, then fridge, then freezer then canned.

Clean and prep your fruit as soon as you get home from the grocery store.  

Apples, clementines, lemon and limes – I wash all in the sink immediately, and then store it on the counter to grab and go.

If we buy melons or strawberries or grapes, we clean and prep those, too.  Making good food convenient  ensures we will use it up before it goes bad. And when the strawberries start to get mushy, they go into the freezer, to toss in smoothies another day.

Know yourself and your habits.

I wish I could say that I take lots of time to cook nutritious meals daily for my family.  But I don’t. If I buy fresh veggies, I try to clean that when we get home from the grocery, though this takes a little more time.

Fresh produce is one are of my grocery list where I use convenience food.  Pre-cut carrots and celery are much more likely to be used than produce still in a bag.  And yes, I buy bag salad.  A head of lettuce will go to waste, but we will use bagged salad and spinach.

If you’re going to dice one pepper, dice two.  If you’re going to shred a cup of cheese, shred two.  Prepping twice as much of something, and then using it later takes little additional time and saves scads of time later.

Meat. We freeze everything.  When we buy ground beef or sausage, we brown most of it and then refreeze it in one pound bags, to use, tacos, chili or sauces.  We also purchase Costco rotisserie chickens and eat some for dinner, then save the rest for casseroles and keep the  carcass to make chicken soup another day.

Look in your pantry and fridge with new eyes, and Get Over Your Leftovers.

Who says you can’t have dinner for breakfast, or breakfast for dinner?  Eat dinner for dinner, then expect and plan to use leftovers for breakfast and lunch.  Use what you have before it expires. Use it before you go out and purchase more. Re-purpose what you have.  Make your own breadcrumbs and croutons from bread and buns, dice your fruit for smoothies and baking.

Use what you have!  Save money, save time and clear clutter!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

Out With The Old, In With The New… In The Kitchen!

Are “get fit”, “eat healthier” or “lose weight” goals of yours for 2017?  And those have been really easy to accomplish, right?

Or…not?

We have good intentions, of course, but perhaps we’ve hit some bumps on the road to getting healthier!  We can succeed when our kitchen works with us towards our goals!

Here’s a tip:  A cluttered kitchen leads us to unhealthy habits.  Conversely, cleaning up your kitchen helps you create and keep healthy habits.  And I have data to back these statements up, click here for more info:

So, out with the old and in with the new!

Out With The Old:

  • Clear your counters.  Give yourself space to prepare healthy food.
  • As you clear the kitchen, pull out the rogue holiday items you find, and put them away with your holiday decor in the attic or basement.
  • Clear the Cabinets:
    • Clear the holiday snacks out of the cabinets. It’s been over a month, let them go!
    • Save money and free up space: Don’t shop!  Use what you have on hand this week!
    • Check Expiration dates.  Toss the really old stuff, and add the close-to-expiring items to your menu.
    • Check open items for staleness (is that a word?), and toss the gross stuff.
  • Clear out the fridge – again, checking expiration dates and investigating all those mysterious plastic containers.  Same for the freezer.  Add found items to your menu this week, to use up what you have on hand!
  • Clean out your utensil drawers – take everything out, wipe out the drawer and let it dry, then put the items back in the drawer, after editing of course! Purge old or broken items, and duplicates.

In With The New:

  • Re-populate the cabinets and fridge with healthy food items.
  • If you must buy snacks and things, for the other people in your house who ARE NOT trying to eat healthier, limit the variety and location to a single bin or shelf, and populate the rest of the kitchen with healthier options.
  • Healthy Habits:
    • Meal Prep is one of the best habits you can create for eating healthier.  Pack healthy lunches for the week, leave them in the fridge, and then grab and go when you head out in the morning!
    • Meal prep success relies on storage containers. Which leads us to …Plastic Containers.  Oh boy.  Pull them out.  Match up the bottoms and tops.  Toss the broken, stained or lonely/ unmatched containers.
    • Drink more water! Corral your reusable water bottles, pare them down to your favorite 3 or 4 (I once found 37 in a kitchen.)  Store those water bottles where they are convenient and likely to be used!  And take one with you every day!
    • Save time, money and calories this year, and take your own coffee with you!  Store those go-mugs and coffee where they are convenient, too!
    • If your healthy habits include smoothies, put all your smoothie equipment in a basket next to  or near your blender.  Do the same with any of your smoothie ingredients, like a fruit basket in the fridge, or a bin in the cabinet above the blender.
    • Bring out the healthy foods, store them front and center.  Make healthy eating convenient!

Spend some time in your kitchen this week,

clear the clutter that is holding you back, and

make your kitchen work for you!

 

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

 

Practice Good Elf-I-Mean-Self Management This Week

More.

More, more, more, more, more, more.

This time of year, there is just More.

More events to attend, more pretty things to see, more fun to be had, more snacks and yummy things to eat, more service projects,  more items on the to-do lists, more stress and struggles.   More fun, sure, but also so many more expectations  for our time and energy and efforts.

But – wait!  We were already busy, even before there was More!  And now we are living our regular lives while trying to be great little Elves, bringing Christmas to our friends and family!  Aghhhh!!!!

Chances are, with this busy Christmas Season,  you are feeling a little maxed out, a little overwhelmed.  Chances are,  you are wearing your Elf-I-Mean-Self out.

If we are going to manage all those other things this week, first we need to manage our Elf-I-Mean-Self better.  This week, in the midst of all the MORE that you have… might I gently suggest that you spend a little time taking care of you?    (and I will try, too, I promise!)

Try these:

  • Grab a cup of hot cocoa, and take a few minutes to plan your day.
  • Collect all the stuff you need to take with you today into a tote, add a snack or two and a bottle of water, and go put it in the car right now while you are thinking about it.
  • Take a few more minutes, and look ahead at your week, and start smoothing out the bumps now!
  • Now, act!  I have to say, nothing saps my energy quicker than the mental nagging of those tasks that need to be completed.  Once you’ve made your plan for the day and week, implement it!
  • Embrace More short cuts.  Get More take-out? You bet.  Gift Cards and Gift Bags?  Yes, please. Send your Christmas Cards out the week after Christmas?  Go ahead.
  • Sing More Christmas carols.
  • Cut your Elf-I-Mean-Self some slack.
  • Take More deep breaths.
  • Drink More water.
  • Eat more actual food, and at regular intervals.
  • Take your vitamins.
  • Get More rest.
  • Accept More help.

And now, take care of your inner-Elf, wrap up this blog and go do something for You!

564 Words About Gift Cards (and some special skills)

I, like all of you, have skills.  In addition to organizing,

  • I can quote movies and song lyrics from a range of decades and genres;
  • I can roll my tongue, and wink with either eye (my 12 year old’s suggestions);
  • I can read upside down, and I know the number equivalent of each letter of the alphabet, so writing in code is a piece of 3-1-11-5 (cake); and
  • For today’s purposes, I know way more about gift cards than most people.  (There are more skills, of course, but that’s enough for now!)

gift_card_holder_2lWhy do I know about gift cards?  In addition to giving and receiving gift cards like most people, I help administer a gift card-based tuition reimbursement program at my son’s high school, so I spend a lot of time working with gift cards.  To help you this Holiday Season, I thought I would drop some knowledge on how to use and give these handy items!

Here are some tips to help you manage your Gift Cards:

  • Gift cards are money.  Therefore:
    • They are meant to be spent, and
    • They need to be managed (management is defined as getting the most out of our resources).
  • Know where your gift cards are, and what you have in stock.  Have a single safe place at home to keep them, in one drawer or on your desk (Not all over the house!).
  • If you just don’t know how much a gift card is worth, call the customer service number on the back, or go to the website.  If a card has been used, the company can usually track exactly when and where the balance was used. Grab a sharpie,  and jot the date and current balance on the front of the card.  Keep a small sharpie with you, to jot the new balance on a card if you only use part of the value. This one clicks on a key ring!  minimarker_black
  • If you received gift cards for a certain store or restaurant, sign-up online or via an app or social media (FB, Twitter) for special offer notifications.  Use your gift cards along with those special promotions to get a bigger bang for your buck.  For example, I have a Starbucks Gold Card, and with my on-line account I receive special offers and can add money or gift cards to the balance.
  • Carry the gift cards you plan to use with you, but certainly not all the cards you have. Carrying all of them could be cumbersome and you risk losing them! (There are apps like Slide to manage and digitize your gift cards.)
  • And yet, you don’t have to take your gift cards with you.  If you receive gift cards for on-line retailers like Amazon.com or ITunes, redeem the gift cards and add to your online account balance when you receive them, and then toss the redeemed cards away.
  • USE YOUR GIFT CARDS!  They are money, but some can lose value over time, or merchants may go out of business.
  • If you have gift cards that you don’t ever plan on using, you can sell your cards.  There’s Craig’s List or Facebook groups dedicated to buying / selling, plus other websites or apps just a quick google search away.

This week, collect those gift cards from all the spots you’ve stashed them, and turn them around for more gifts, a nice dinner out or maybe some $$ for Christmas Shopping!

What Do You Want to Clear Out This Week?

downloadBaseball season’s over (Go Cubs!), the clocks have Fallen back, and this election year ard2015-logo-noborderwill soon be one for the history books.  The leaves are flying around the yard today, with a chilly wind.  It feels like November!  And November is a great time to de-clutter, clear the decks, close the door on summer and open up the flannel sheets and hot chocolate.  Conveniently, with November comes America Recycles Day on November 15th!

America Recycles Day, https://americarecyclesday.org/ , is a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful.  Follow the link, then click Attend an Event and plug in your zip code to search for recycling events in your neighborhood.

Looking for more ideas?  Here are 5 things to purge / recycle / donate / re-purpose / etc. this week, to get ready for colder weather and the holidays!

Shoes!  Go through that pile by the door.  Yes, THAT pile.  
Purge the icky shoes (those 4 pairs of old sneakers someone keeps around for “yardwork”?) and the singles (ah, flip flops, missing either a flip or a flop). Donate the too-small ones or never-again ones, and, as it’s November, friends, put the rest of the warm weather shoes away in each owners’ closet.
If you are looking for places to recycle your shoes, just google “shoe recycling”.  There are lots of options out there (for example, Nike recycles shoes to create running tracks and playgrounds).  Locally, check out http://shareyoursoles.org/, a great not-for-profit that shares shoes with under-served populations.
And, won’t it be nice to not trip over shoes every time you come in the door?!

Put Away the Halloween Decor (and the summer stuff, too, if it’s still lingering on).  
November 8th, friends.  Purge the summer and Halloween decor.  Box it up, label it well, put it AWAY with your other seasonal stuff.  Do not spend your cold weather months tripping over off-season stuff.
Enjoy clean and uncluttered surfaces for a few weeks, before the Christmas stuff starts creeping out!

Catalogs and Magazines.  
I recently had an epiphany, and decided to cut myself some slack when it comes to my burgeoning reading pile.  There are days and stages of our lives when we read voraciously, and there are days and stages when reading books or magazines regularly just isn’t meant to be.  My life is currently in the latter stage and the reading pile grows quickly out of control.  Last week, I reviewed my catalog and magazine backlog, and – considering it’s November – I tossed anything from October or before.
You can recycle them, of course, or you can share the magazines with a local doctor or dentist office, or senior centers and nursing homes.

Cardboard.
Ah, yes, cardboard.  Now is the time to purge cardboard.  I don’t know why We (and I mean a global “We” and not just the Klimczaks) all seem to hold on to cardboard boxes longer than necessary.  If you have to keep boxes, break down the tape and store the boxes flat so they take up less space.
We are coming into Christmas season, however, which could be sub-titled “Amazon Prime is awesome and UPS drops off boxes often” season.  As soon as I start our Christmas shopping, more boxes will come.  So, I would challenge you to part with most, if not all, of your cardboard boxes, safe in the knowledge that more will arrive soon.  Break it down flat, and send it out with the recycling this week!

Expectations.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
I’ll rarely tell you that you Should Do Something, or Must Do Something else.
We’ve got just a couple months left of 2016.  It’s time to take a look at our current status, look ahead at the next 8 weeks or so, decide…
What Needs to Happen: friends, family, wellness, Holidays, faith, professional efforts?
And
What Does Not Need to Happen: ???
Last week, I completed some long-suffering tasks on my to-do list.  It felt so good to finally complete them and cross them off for good!  What else can go?  Completed tasks, yet, but also unrealistic or unnecessary expectations for yourself or others?

So, embrace America Recycles Day, check out events in your area, and let go of some clutter this week!

Project #7: Menu Planning. I Blame the Gumbo Recipe.

 I like recipes. There is something enticing about those shiny pictures in a magazine, or the appetizing headlines in my daily All Recipes email that arrives just as I start to ponder “what’s for dinner” (Coincidence? I think not!).002

Obviously, Recipes and Meal Planning go hand in hand.

We always rely on Meal Planning, but especially at these busy transitional times of year. With the boys back to school, and my own attempts to eat better and healthier, last week I went looking for a crock pot gumbo recipe we have used before, and… I couldn’t find it.  Since I don’t often lose or misplace things, when I can’t find something, I get really irked! I decided then and there to get my burgeoning recipe collection back in order!

So, if you’re looking to get a handle on your Menu Planning and / or your Recipes, like me, here are a a few strategies that may help!

Tip #1:  Assemble Your Own Cookbook.
Over the years, I’ve made my own “cookbook”, collecting our favorites and new recipes to try into a 2″ binder.  This system works great, and the binder has become my go-to for menu planning.  The original binder was falling apart after much use, so over the weekend I purged a bunch of old / unloved / unlikely recipes and condensed the rest into a new and shiny 1 ” binder.  I slide recipes into page protectors (so I can wipe them clean if I splatter) and add them to the binder.  The binder has 4 simple categories, Baking / Beverages, Appetizers, Meals and Sides / Salads.  I don’t worry about alphabetizing since recipes can come and go.  Our favorites end up in the front of the category, which works just fine.

Tip #2:  Make Better Decisions.

Create criteria for choosing / purging recipes.  I often think with my eyes and stomach when I pull a recipe out of a magazine, so I have to review them again before I actually choose to keep them. You should ask your own questions, of course, but maybe mine will help get you started. Try these (or make up your own):011
  • Can I pronounce and readily identify all the ingredients? (if not, it can probably go.)
  • Do I actually own or regularly buy the ingredients?  (this, too, may indicate this is not the recipe for me.)
  • Do I have similar recipes already?  If so, what makes this one better?  (If it’s not better, toss it!)
  • Will anyone in my family EVER eat this with me?  (Rarely will I prepare a dish for only me, so a recipe had better appeal to others in my house!)
  • Does this recipe fit into my prescribed diet (if you’re supposed to eat  / avoid certain things)?
  • I just applied these criteria to a handful of recipes I had collected over the summer. I tossed most (see picture!) in the recycling bin, as victims of the “I have similar recipes to this” and “No one else will ever eat this” rules.

 

Tip #3: I stopped buying cookbooks (except for the one my friend wrote, of course!!).
I love cookbooks.  They’re so beautiful and full of promise.  BUT I usually go to favorites or magazines or the internet for recipe ideas.  So I don’t buy cookbooks anymore.  And I have even purged some over the years, when I realized I never opened certain ones.

Tip #4: If you regularly find new recipes, regularly try new recipes.
If you tend to collect new recipes, like I do, make time to try new recipes. Pull one out every week or so, and give it a whirl.  If you and the family like it, it stays.  If not… recycling bin!

Tip #5: Use the technology available.
I will not even begin to list all the cool websites and apps available for recipe and meal ideas.  I you’re reading this article, you can certainly google types of recipes or ingredients yourself.  Once you find blogs or websites with recipes you like, find the app, bookmark the website, or subscribe to the blogs to keep the good ideas coming.

 

Get a handle on your Recipes and Meal Planning this week, and your tummy and family will thank you!

 

P.S. I found the gumbo recipe and it’s on the menu for Saturday!

 

 

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO
Via LinkedIn, M. Colleen Klimczak, CPO

15 Minutes and $30. Chrome Shelves – 5 Solutions!

Chrome storage shelf unit, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways!  Chrome storage / shelf units are:

  • Sturdy (we’re talking – able to hold hundreds of pounds);1170bb44-bd15-4b8a-a37f-a79d6fc1b4dd_400
  • Aesthetically pleasing (they look nice);
  • Water and weather proof (ideal for garage and outdoor use);
  • Good for ventilation, with the open spacing;
  • Easily dis-assembled and re-assembled, if necessary, for ease in moving from home to home; and
  • Adjustable and flexible, coming in a wide range of sizes with feet that can be adjusted for uneven floors (like my sloping laundry room floor) or wheels to be added.

Over the years, I have assembled dozens of shelving units like these for clients and myself.  These sets are inexpensive, utilitarian and attractive, and can be set up in no time at all.

What organizational challenges or underutilized spaces could use a Chrome Shelving cure?

My personal favorite, a storage unit as a printer stand on the counter extension next to my desk (30″ H x 24″ W).

030

Here, we use the shelves to hold luggage and extra bedding in a summer cottage bedroom
(30″ H x 36″ W).

004

The shelves are great for adding storage to awkward areas, like the small space between my wash tub and wall in my laundry room, or shown here as storage in an empty corner of a bathroom in need of a linen closet  (30″ H x 36″ W).

008

Ok, so these larger shelves cost more than $29.99 + tax, but they still were a snap to assemble, and a really great storage solution.  These two photos are taken of 6′ tall chrome shelving units, with the optional wheels added so we can maneuver the units.  One of my clients has 4 of these 6′ x 4′ units on wheels in her garage, and we can move them around based on need and convenience.  The photo on the left shows area rug and off-season houseware storage.  The photo on the right shows my own garage, with the shelves waiting for donation and recycling items that come and go from my clients.

035                             001

So, what organizational challenge can you solve with this simple solution this week?  Give it a try!

A Monster Standing Between Me and My Coffee.

Some mornings, I am greeted with a terrifying sight.
 

coffeeYou see, sometimes we (and I include myself in this “we”) will snack / cook / make popcorn in an evening, and not clean up the kitchen before going to bed.  The next morning, I head to the kitchen only to find a big mess between me and my first cup of coffee.

Ahhhhh!!!

On a recent weekday morning, I spent 10 minutes setting my kitchen back to rights after some last night snacking.  As I went through the usual list of tasks, I realized I could share this organized process!  Especially considering that this phenomenon may happen other times of the day, too, like when I rush home from a client to get dinner started before a busy evening only to find stuff on EVERY COUNTER and no room to cook.
 

(I just read a Real Simple article over the weekend, that likened this trashed kitchen phenomenon to “the refrigerator exploding”, or “the monkey house at the Bronx Zoo”.  It was a great article, click here to read the whole thing: http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/how-to-live-with-messy-person)
So here is what you need to clean up your kitchen in a flash!
  • A system;
  • An empty dishwasher;
  • A dish pan (to corral your dirty dishes);
  • A sink dish drain (no counter clutter!); and
  • cleaning spray and a paper towel or cleaning cloth.
dish pandish drainmicrofiber clothspray bottles
 
Here is the system
  • Pick a counter to start, and move around the room:
  • (30 seconds) Start with the easy: toss the trash, close the cabinets, put away the toaster or popcorn maker (for example);
  • (30 seconds) Put away food (we’re good about putting perishable stuff away right away);
  • (60 seconds) Load the dishes into the dish pan, and wipe down the counters with the cleaning spray;
  • (2 minutes) Empty the in-sink dish drain and put away the dishes;
  • (2 minutes) Empty the dishwasher if it’s clean;
  • (60 seconds) Load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher; and
  • (Optional – 60 more seconds) Run the garbage disposal, and then fill a dishpan full of hot soapy water and set any pans and non-dishwasherable items to soak.

Now, your kitchen is cleaned, or at least clean enough to start that first cup of coffee, assemble breakfast and pack lunches, or get dinner on the table!