Even Santa Knows, Lists Can Be Naughty or Nice

The List.

I love lists.  Lists can be powerful productivity tools.  Or they can just be words on a page.  I want my lists to work for me.  So I turn my lists into Action Plans with a few simple steps.

Let’s turn that jumbled bunch of ideas into a list and then a useful, manageable Action Plan!

I worked with a client last week.  We were scheduled to work on a couple of projects, but when I arrived, she mentioned that what would really help her to feel organized was to plan for an upcoming brunch she was hosting for family.  She said she always got anxious about hosting big meals, and she really just wanted to enjoy her family this time!  Her goal was to be done and  leisurely sipping a cup of coffee 30 minute before the guests arrived.

Here is what we did:

Write it all down.   ALL OF IT.

Is your brain full?  Of thoughts and ideas and to-do’s, Oh My!

Every once in a while, I sit down and get all the thoughts and ideas and tasks out my head and down on paper.  I used to call this activity a Brain Dump, but that seemed inelegant, so my friend Jen came up with “Cranial Cleansing”.   This is a very useful activity!

Write it all down, don’t bother to edit.  Just get it all out.  And “write it all down” could also be “makes notes on your computer or smart phone or Ipad”.  I use either my Bullet Journal (by hand) or Evernote (technology) for such things!

With my client, we started with the notes she had already jotted down.  We added a lot more items, without editing, just adding them to the list!

The list included:

  • clean the house;
  • iron the napkins;
  • hang the wreath;
  • take the Christmas decoration storage bins downstairs;
  • organize the holiday storage closet;
  • make the breakfast casseroles using her mom’s special recipe;
  • set the table;
  • wash the china and wine glasses;
  • decorate the Christmas tree;
  • make the grocery list;
  • go to the grocery;
  • pick up champagne and other beverages;
  • get the table linen cleaned and pressed;
  • take back returns;
  • put appetizer trays together;
  • print up the Christmas photo and keepsake poem;
  • buy the paper to print up the photo and poem;
  • make or purchase desserts;
  • put together the salad;
  • clean the garage.

Make a Not Today or Not Now List.

A few items on my client’s list, like “Clean the Garage” and “Organize the Holiday Closet”, are good and worthwhile projects but were not necessary to the success of the Holiday Brunch.  So we put them on the “Not Right Now” list, and focused on the work in front of us!

Enlist Aid.  What can be delegated?

Fortunately, this client hires cleaning people a couple times a month, and they were scheduled for the next day.  Also, she and her husband would be home together on Saturday, and he had offered to take care of some of the errands.

Realistic Time Estimates.

This looks like a very long and overwhelming list, I know.  But when you start to break it down, most of these tasks are actually pretty short and to the point.  So we assigned time estimates to them all, so we could be more objective.

Assign a Day, sticking with your strengths.

As we worked on the list, my client mentioned she had a full day of work the next day, so we didn’t put too many tasks on that day (Friday).  Also, she likes to go to the grocery around 8 pm, as it tends to be empty that time of night.  So we worked with those details!

So, after the above steps were applied, our Action Plan looked something like this:

THURSDAY:

  • (Thursday, 10 minutes) hang the wreath
  • (Thursday, 10 minutes) take the Christmas decoration storage bins downstairs
  • (Thursday, 20 minutes) make the grocery list
  • THURSDAY ERRANDS:
    • (Thursday, 10 minutes) drop off table cloth to be pressed
    • (Thursday, 30 minutes) buy the paper to print up the photo and poem

FRIDAY:

  • (Friday, Cleaning team) clean the house
  • (Friday or Saturday, 30 minutes) print up the Christmas photo and keepsake poem
  • FRIDAY ERRAND
    • (Friday evening, 90 minutes with putting away) go to the grocery;

SATURDAY:

  • (Saturday, 45 minutes) make the breakfast casseroles using her mom’s special recipe
  • (Saturday or Sunday, 20 minutes) put appetizer trays together
  • (Any day, picked Saturday, 10 minutes) iron napkins
  • SATURDAY ERRANDS (husband will run):
    • (Saturday, 10 minutes) pick up table cloth; cleaned and pressed
    • (Saturday, 30 minutes) bakery to purchase desserts
    • (Saturday, 30 minutes) pick up champagne and other beverages

SUNDAY:

  • (Sunday morning,  20 minutes) wash the china and wine glasses
  • (Sunday morning, 15 minutes) set the table
  • (Sunday morning, 20 minutes) put together the salad

Not Now List: 

  • take back returns;
  • clean the garage
  • organize the holiday storage closet;

We spent a little time and effort at the beginning, turning jumbled thoughts into a solid, easy to follow and completely manageable action plan!  What was really great was that once we completed this process, which was quick and easy and painless, we had time to tackle some of the items on her list!

How can you apply these steps to a current project?  Give it a try!

(P.S., I texted the client this afternoon to see how the brunch went, I’ll let you know her response next week!)

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
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Kitchen Upgrades Without a Remodel

We spent our summer with a Kitchen Remodel Project.  I say I spent my summer with it because

it was my constant companion.  Most days, amidst working and family and living our lives, I was also planning / orchestrating / cleaning or occasionally waiting for activities centered on the Kitchen, and by extension, my office.  No summer va-ca for this girl.

HOWEVER,
IT
LOOKS
AMAZING!
We are so glad we undertook this project this summer!  The happiness outweighs the now dimming memories of washing dishes in the bathroom sink (also where the coffee maker lived for 3 weeks), the refrigerator in the corner of my dining room for 12 weeks, the lack of a home offices for 3 months while I still ran a business from home, etc..  But I digress.
What I really want to share with you are the Parts of the New Kitchen that Have Improved our Days! (and how to achieve similar benefits without a kitchen remodel).  There are many more than 5 things that we LOVE about the new kitchen, but this is a good start!
  1. Under-cabinet lighting!  This is truly a game changer.  In the Old Kitchen, we had ceiling track lighting.  As soon as we stood at a counter to work on food prep or anything else, we would block our own task lighting.  The under-cabinet lighting makes the whole kitchen GLOW, while providing task lighting any where we need it!  This is a simple upgrade, you can purchase ropes of LED lighting that simply plug in at any home improvement store.
  2. Clear counters.  Our counters were always clear before, but now that they are also beautiful, I am truly loath to leave anything on them.  One of my favorite (and cheap) purchases to complete the project was this dish drain that fits over the smaller side sink and can be easily slid over or rolled away (Amazon.com, ILifetech Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack).
  3. Zones.  Inspired by hotel stays and our occasional house guests, I now have a breakfast station.  My coffee maker lives on this small counter, along with the fresh fruit basket and napkins. In addition, the cabinet above houses breakfast bars and Pop Tarts (my sons’ quick breakfasts of choice), our daily vitamins and supplements, the toaster, and coffee / tea / hot chocolate supplies, etc.
  4. Cabinets that reach to the ceiling. Our old cabinets ended about a foot from the ceiling.  The tops were dusty, and storing stuff up there looked cluttered, so we never used the space. If you don’t want to remodel, you can also re-imagine how you use your cabinets.  Use the bottom shelf or 2 for daily use items, the middle shelf for items you use once a week, and the top shelves for items you use less often but would still like to keep accessible.
  5. Our SUPER QUIET new dishwasher.  Our kitchen opens into our family room, so the quiet dishwasher has made relaxing in the evening much easier.  You can achieve the same quiet results by running your dishwasher when you’re not around, either while you’re sleeping or at work.

 

    There are more kitchen remodel tales to tell, most of them good, and all of them with a happy ending!  But spend some time in your kitchen this week, and think about how you can make small changes with big, positive impact!

How High Are Your Eyes? (a.k.a. Where to keep the canned tuna?)

Last week, I unloaded boxes of nonperishable food into my new cabinets and helped some friends settle into their new home.

I was reminded of a rule of thumb for cabinet storage, and I want to share it with you.  Before I  get ahead of myself,  though, I need to tell you that I’m short.

For anyone reading this who knows me, this is not news.  In my above- average-height family, I am definitely the runt.  I blame / attribute this to my 5’1″ grandmothers.  But I digress.

Being short means that I make strategic decisions about how to utilize my cabinet space, maximizing the shelves I CAN reach.  When my kids were younger, I thought I was keeping our most used items low in the cabinets for their sake, but now I’m shortest in the house again, so it’s all about me.  🙂

If you would like to maximize your cabinet space, too:

Consider the lowest shelf of the upper cabinet your highly coveted beach-front property. Dedicate this prime real estate to the items that you use all the time every day.  When we were putting things away last week, my son asked if we could make more room on the bottom shelf for snacks and things (the every day items for him) – brilliant!  To make room on the bottom shelf, I put the canned tuna (used much less often, and only by me) up a shelf or two.

Move up from there.  If you have three shelves, use the “every day (1st shelf) / every week (2nd) / every month (3rd)” guide to help you make decisions.  We now have 4 shelves – yes our cabinets now go all the way to the ceiling and I am giddy about this! – so we may use the use the “every day (1st shelf) / every week (2nd) / every month (3rd) / every year (4th)” to make our decisions about where to store our items.

As my very organized friend put away her dishes in her new kitchen last week, she knew to put the special occasion dishes on the highest shelf, and keep the everyday dishes at eye level.  It is so obvious in that context, and we can use that lesson in every cabinet.  Even if you are not short like me, grouping your cabinet items, whether food or dishes, around how often you use them may help you access and maintain your stuff more readily.

A final tip, when you store items on your upper shelves, contain small items in baskets or bins so they don’t get lost in the back of the cabinet.   For example, think water bottles and lids and straws, or seasonal baking items like small bottles of extract or sprinkles.

Look at your kitchen with new eyes, keeping your most used items at eye level and moving onward and upward from there!

Let’s Talk Expiration Dates.

Let’s talk expiration dates.

A friend and I chatted at a recent rainy soccer game.   She had stayed up until 2 am the night before organizing her pantry.  Most of her time was spent checking expiration dates and tossing expired food.

 

We discussed how frustrating it is when we review our cabinets and pantry, and have to purge expired food.  It feels wasteful and lazy.

 

HOWEVER, getting down on ourselves about how we got to this point is neither useful nor productive.  It’s better to learn from the experience (see the process below), and change our behaviors from here (stick with the article until the end).

 

A few months ago, I wrote about National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day (November, Click HERE).  So let’s declare this week Clean Out Your Food Cabinet Week, what do you say?

Here’s How:
  1. Grab a garbage can, a notebook and a couple of boxes or paper bags.  Take a deep breath and begin.
  2. Clear off a counter for work space, near your food cabinets.
  3.  Choose a cabinet. JUST ONE.  Starting at the top, take everything out and put it on the counter. Then wipe down the shelf.
  4. Now, check every item. Yes, EVERY ITEM.  Even the stuff you bought recently.  It could be the newest, but still out of date. I was surprised to find my recently purchased canned beets were already expired.
  5. If the item is past its’ expiration date, toss it.  I understand, that is the hard part.  Yes, I know, it’s wasteful.  And yes, I know, you spent good money on that.  HOWEVER, the potential for food poisoning is much more important than a $3 can of tuna.
  6. If the item is open, but not past the expiration date, still check it for freshness.  Foods like breakfast cereal or crackers get stale if open too long in the cabinet.
  7. If the item is not expired, but you don’t think you will use it, label one of those boxes or bags as “donate to food pantry”, or “send to preschool”, or “give to friend/family” and start a pile of items to leave your kitchen to go and grace someone else’s.
  8. Review everything, then place the keep items back in the cabinet.
  9. If you have time to tackle another cabinet – JUST ONE – go ahead.  But DO NOT take apart more than on at a time!  Otherwise….
  10. Take out the trash, and drop off the donations / items to share. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Repeat.
Once you’ve cleaned out the cabinet and pantry, it’s time to consume differently.
  • Use a list.  Post it on the refrigerator, and add items as you run out of them.
  • If you have to shop, buy only what you need for this week.
  • Stock your food like a store.  Pull the oldest items to the front, and add new inventory to the back.
  • Take advantage of sale items and stock up, but make sure to add those surplus items to your menu plan so that you use them up.
  • Plan to do this a couple times a year!
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

When Reality Meets the To-Do List: It’s Time To Act!

Last week, I found myself on the phone actually agreeing to a Demolition Date for my kitchen.  

Demo Date.  That’s what it is called.

I arranged for a team of people to come in and disassemble our kitchen as we know it, so it can be reassembled with hardwood floors, new cabinets and appliances, paint and lighting.

I’m very excited about these improvements.  And terrified.  And just a wee bit overwhelmed (especially considering that now the demo date is now just hours away).

In conversation with a friend over the weekend, she mentioned that Saturday was the day “Reality meets the list”.  For a week, she had jotted down ideas, planned, imagined, strategized, categorized, prioritized, etc., but now it was time for action.

As I packed up the kitchen this afternoon, my Reality Met My List, too.  No more planning and lists and thinking.  Now it was time to open the cabinets and finish putting things in boxes and baskets for the next few weeks.

So, if you are working on projects, whether at home or at work, professionally or personally, there comes a moment when we need to implement our plan.  Commit.  Execute.  DO!

Don’t Act Too Early.  
I found myself saying “I leaped before I looked” to my son when I asked him to help me move something while my arms were full of stuff.  So, Act, but don’t Act Too Soon!

On the Other Hand…

Don’t Think Too Long.
Have you heard the term “The Paralysis of Analysis”?  We can overthink something for so long that opportunities pass or situations change before we ever get to act or travel or grow.  My Dad says “Do SOMETHING, even if it’s wrong!”.  I wouldn’t want to be wrong, but the point is to DO something.

See the paint shown to the right?  I want a dark color for the kitchen walls, but I’m a little nervous. So the best way to figure out if we will like it was to buy a sample and paint the wall.  I can wonder all I want, but to make a decision and make progress, we needed ACTION (and I like it!)!

Be Reasonable.
My to-list contains EVERYTHING I need to do, and sometimes I just use it as a dumping place for my ideas and tasks, which means the list for any given day can be ridiculously long and unrealistic.  Putting 28 hours worth of work or tasks on the list for a 24 hour period is dooming myself to failure.

Make the list, but also look at your day and week and month, and determine what you can reasonably get done.

Just Do It. Implementation is Key.
We can plan and discuss and research a topic until we are blue in the face, but without action, it remains just a topic.

And now… I need to go and pack!

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
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Finally, A Blog Post About Plastic Food Containers

How have I never blogged about plastic food containers before?  These handy and prolific little
items, found in every kitchen EVER.

I taught a Kitchen Organizing class a few weeks ago, and we chatted quite a bit about these storage containers.  We love and hate them at the same time! These containers are handy.  Re-usable.  With a million and one uses.  And  they occasionally drive us crazy.

Can you identify with any of these problems?

  • You have way too many containers and lids, they are stashed in every cabinet and drawer, and they occasionally fall out in a heap. And yet…
  • When you need a container, it’s difficult to find matching containers and lids.
  • When you use your containers in the fridge, its difficult to tell the difference between leftovers in a butter tub and actual butter in a butter tub.
  • You worry because you have heard that re-purposing or reheating food in plastic containers can leach chemicals into your foods.
  • Your soup or leftovers have leaked in your lunch bag.

Here’s how to fix these problems:

  • Pull out all the plastic containers in your kitchen and pair up the bottoms and lids.  Recycle or re-purpose the solo ones.  Do this every couple of months.
  • Dedicate one cabinet or one drawer as a home for your containers, and only store them there.
  • Buy clear (or mostly clear) containers, so you can easily identify their contents.
  • Find a brand you like, and stick with it.
  • Choose a few sizes of containers, and stick with just those.  (We have  GladWares small rounds,  round 2-cup containers with screw-on lids, flat squares and a few large ones for our recent homemade ice cream habit!).
  • Buy containers that stack, both while in use and when not in use. Most brands offer snap-together lids.
  • Keep just a pile or two.   If you find that you never get to the second or third pile of containers, then you probably don’t need the second or third pile of containers.
  • Glass storage containers are an option.  Many folks have made the switch.  They
    keep fewer containers overall, but can safely use the glass containers for storage, cooking and reheating.
  • If you have too many containers right now, spread the love. Re-purpose them as drawer dividers, send home leftovers with friends, donate them to a class room for craft time, recycle them
  • Don’t fall into the “it was free, I guess I’ll keep it” trap.  Deli containers, sherbet bowls, butter tubs or cottage cheese containers (and related items) are not made to last.   Recycle them!

Free up some cabinet space and decrease some stress by paring down your container collection!

Life’s Stormy Weather: Cleaning Up and Getting Ready

I presented to a church group last week, and as part of the meeting, they were reflecting on Proverbs 31:21, “She doesn’t fear for her household when it snows, because they are all dressed in warm clothes”.   As I pondered the verse, I realized that we all have Snow, we all have difficult seasons in our life.

This idea has been rolling around in my head these last few days, as friends and family struggle with life’s stormy weather, and the clean-up afterwards. Even we Klimczaks are cleaning up from especially busy days, and preparing for more busy times in the next few weeks.

We all have to endure “Snow” from the scripture, the stormy weather of life.  We have cold, dark, uncertain or tumultuous times:  big life events or small, personal hardships and tragedies, major work deadlines, illness or the death of a loved one.  If you are enduring ‘stormy weather’ right now, know that I am praying for you.

Here’s the toughest part, I think.  Regardless of our storms, no matter how vulnerable or maxed out we feel, the rest of the world just marches on.  And as hard as it seems, we have to catch up. Today, let’s talk about the after-storm clean up, and preparing for every day life plus the possibility of the next storm.

If you’re coming through your storm, you may feel tired, sad, drained, unmotivated.  Focus on Survival first: Food, clothing, shelter and safety.

  • Take a shower, get dressed, accomplish your usual morning routine.
  • Get something to eat and something to drink.  Take care of You.
  • Make the bed.  It’s amazing how accomplished we feel after such a simple task.
  • Open up the blinds and curtains.  Close your eyes and bask in the daylight for a moment or two. Maybe even crack a window open for some fresh air.  Breathe deeply.   If the day is dark and gloomy, turn on some soft lighting as you get moving.

Now, Maintenance tasks:

  • Grab a notebook.  I guarantee, as you move around your space today with your thoughts set on clearing “storm damage” and restoring order, ideas will occur to you that need to be noted!
  • Start a load of laundry.  Or fold a load.   Ah, laundry.  That never ending pursuit of clean clothes. Ours are clean but heaped in the big cart to be folded.  So this morning, I started a load and folded a couple.   This task took all of 5 minutes once I set out to complete it.
  • Clean the kitchen counter so you can make coffee, of course!, but also so you have some place to put the groceries you’re about to buy!
  • Craft a quick grocery list and head to the store.  This is not a 2-week buying extravaganza, this is the “let’s get through the next few days” trip.    And did you know there are flowers at the grocery?  Bought some tulips today.  Made me smile.  (There is also chocolate, specifically Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, on sale right now.  Just sayin’…)
  • Take a coupe more deep breaths.
  • Put the groceries away, grabbing something for your self for lunch and leaving something out for dinner.
  • Feeling better yet?
  • Check the mail that has piled up, toss or recycle as much as possible, add the action items (add them to your list, of course, like “pay bills”, and “make appointment for car service”), and schedule time to complete those action.
  • Check the email, purging all but the essentials.  Add the action items to your to-do list.   Put out fires and flag emails for later, add those to your action list then move on.
  • Accept help.  A friend offers to drive the car pool, drop off a meal or run an errand?  YES! And remember, sometimes the storm is ours, and sometimes it is someone else’s, so be ready to help out when you can, too.

The challenge with life’s stormy weather is that we don’t usually know when the storms will hit.  So it behooves us to quickly recover from life’s ups and downs and get back to normal, so we’re better prepared when the next storm rolls around.

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

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
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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

 

Mystery Meats and Burnt-Out Light Bulbs (National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!)

November 15th is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, though any day is a good day to tackle this project!

With this satisfying project, an hour or so and some elbow grease will reap big rewards! Saturday afternoon found me cleaning out my refrigerator and freezer.  The light bulb needed replacing, and I was working on our weekly meal plan and grocery list.  Plus, I was clearing out to prepare for a new season, healthier eating and the holidays.

So, Lets’s Do This!  Here’s How:

  • Take out the trash, and re-line the can.  Then place it next to the fridge.
  • Put on some music, of course, and grab a cold beverage from the fridge (you’re standing right there, after all!).
  • Clean off the closest counter for work space.
  • Run a sink full of hot and soapy water.  Then get to it!
  • Start with the vegetable bins.
    • Empty them out onto that clear counter, and review the contents;
    • Soak the bins in soapy water as you review;
    • Purge what is past its’ prime;
    • Plan your menus for the next week based on food you have on hand;
    • Add items to be replaced to your grocery list; and
    • Put your produce back, stocking like a store – oldest inventory on top or to the front, to be used first.
  • Hit the door compartments next.
    • Use the same plan of attack (empty and review; wash down; plan your menu and purge the icky stuff) but this time, review expiration dates and duplicates, too.
    • Make sure you rinse and and recycle the jars and containers you are purging.
    • Put it all back, grouping similar items together within compartments, like salad dressings together, and sandwich toppings together.

 

  • On to the shelves!
    • Address the shelves with the same process:  empty and review; wash down; plan your menu and purge the icky stuff.
    • Before you put the shelf contents back, consider adjusting the height of your shelves to make your fridge work better.  We have a tall top shelf, for milk jugs, juice bottles, water pitchers and left overs.  The other shelves are adjusted to be shorter, but so are their contents (egg cartons, 12 packs of soda, short bins of small items like yogurts and pudding cups) so this arrangement works well.
    • Group similar items on the shelves, as well.  For example, create a “left-over shelf” for already prepared and cooked meals, and make your grocery dollars stretch further!
    • Also, consider clear acrylic containers to store small single serve items, so they don’t get lost rolling around the shelves.

 

  • Next, review your freezer contents.  I let go of anything that I couldn’t readily identify, hence the article title of “Mystery Meats”.  If I can’t identify a food, it is not something we should eat!  On the plus side, we have also been writing contents and dates on the freezer packaging (foil, freezer bags, etc.), so to not run into this challenge again!
  • Finally, take a moment to clean the outside, too!  Take all the magnets, photos and papers off, and wipe down the surfaces.  If the fridge front or side is home to outdated soccer schedules or take out menus, purge those, too!

Now, stand back and open the fridge door.  Bask in the glow of a clean space, and maybe even grab a snack.  Pat yourself on the back, then move on to something else!

P.S. If you have an old refrigerator to get rid of, here are two resources:
https://www.comed.com/WaysToSave/ForYourHome/Pages/Recycling.aspx
http://www.1800gotjunk.com/us_en/what-we-take/refrigerator_removal

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