Sunday, February 26, 2017

Spring Organizational Projects

We had a bout of warmer weather over the last few days, and I took advantage of time off from our homeschooling to embrace some spring organizational projects around the house. 

First I used a portion of each day to catch up on household chores.  Things had really gotten away from me recently with all our outside appointments, and it was really wearing on my comfort level!  So I did a lot of general tidying, putting things where they go, gave everything a good vacuum, emptied trash cans, and mopped.

Then I took one look at the inside of my fridge and realized it irked me every time I opened the door.  Ugh!  Such a mess.  Ever since we got this new fridge, I’ve been annoyed by the lack of adjustable shelving.  It makes it so hard to see what’s in the back of the fridge, and because of that, a lot of things get overlooked.  I don’t like to waste food, and I don’t have the space to have two opened jars of the same thing in different spots in the fridge, so I decided that was going to be my first big reorganization project.  I took a look inside and decided that shallow baskets were just the thing it needed.  I didn’t want to pay big bucks for proper clear refrigerator baskets, because it’s downright ridiculous to spend $10-$15 on a plastic fridge basket…I mean, come on…it’s still plastic!  So I went over to Dollar Tree and looked around at all of the wonderful selection of baskets they had on hand.  There were lots of styles, shapes, and sizes to choose from.  I picked a variety of different ones that I thought might work and was pleased to have only spent a few dollars on the lot of them.

I came home and emptied a shelf at a time and gave it a good cleaning.  Then I started organizing the jars and containers in baskets and sizing up how they fit together on the shelves.  It actually worked out quite well!  Then came the deli drawer and the fruit and veggie drawers.  I even had baskets that worked inside of the drawers!  And oh, my!  It was so wonderful to be able to open a produce drawer and actually be able to visually see what goodies were in there instead of staring at green-tinted product bags with unknown contents from the grocery store!  And in the deli drawer, I sorted deli meats and cheeses in separate baskets so it’s easy to locate what you’re after.  It was a total transformation!  I found myself opening the fridge door even when I didn’t need anything, just so I could admire how it all turned out!  LOL.  I haven’t tackled the contents of the door shelves yet, but I’ll come back to that later this week.

My next project was to figure out what to do with my abundance of spices for the kitchen.  I cook a lot…three meals a day, almost entirely from scratch…for 5 people.  I try new recipes almost daily.  That calls for a large variety of spices!  I had them stashed in baskets in my pantry cabinets, the cabinet beside the stove, as well as a full McCormick spice rack on my kitchen wall.  I prefer to store my spices alphabetically so I can locate them quickly, but as my collection grew, I had only the most common ones in the actual spice rack, and they rest were in disarray in the cabinets.  I really wanted to fix that!  So after hunting around, I found a cheap little metal 6-tier spice rack that holds 48 spice jars on ebay for around $25.  I ordered that and waited for it to arrive.

Next up, I spent the majority of my Saturday dragging every single thing in our shed out into the yard.  I mowed it first, of course!  LOL.  This was quite a feat for little old me…I’m a petite person, and some of my husband’s tools and building materials were quite large and heavy, like sections of countertop and the like!  I managed to get the shed completely emptied, and then I swept the shelves and the floor completely.  Then I went and got my hubby to come and make a “keep” pile of anything that was his so I would know what I could throw out and assess what needed to go back into the shed at some point.  I went through my homeschool curriculum, as well, and threw out anything that had gotten water damaged or that I knew I’d never use.  All of the important books were already sorted into storage tubs by grade level, but they’d been stacked in no particular order, and the sheer weight of them on top of each other was damaging the bins and lids.  While the shed was empty, we slid it back onto its foundation, realizing it had shifted forward a few inches over time.  Then once I figured out what all needed to go back in the shed, I grabbed my teenage son for his brawn power and had him go to Lowe’s with me to pick out some heavy duty shelving that could support the weight of all of those storage bins of books.  We brought those home, and he and my husband assembled them for me.  Then I began the work of dragging all the good stuff back into the shed and getting it sorted on the shelving.  Wow!  It turned out so well!  The shed went from “hey, I can’t take two steps into this room without falling over something” and “hey, I have no idea what the heck is piled in here!” to “hey, this shed is so tidy and almost empty compared to before!”  That was quite significant progress, and a little effort at proper organization of what we needed to keep really went a long way to turning an unusable pile of “stuff” into an awesome storage facility.  All of my curriculum is stack on the shelving in grade level order so it’s easy to find what I need when I need it.  The last thing to roll into the shed was the mower.  All done!  And it looks fabulous.  Honestly, I can hardly believe it’s the same shed.

While the fellas were doing their part of the deal, I took the opportunity to weed out one of my three square food gardens, and I got that all prepped and ready for spring planting.  I covered it with a tarp to keep the weeds out until April, and I’ll get back to the other two gardens as I have time…probably next weekend.  I also picked up a new set of gardening hand tools while I was at Lowe’s.  Now I’m all set!

And while they were assembling the shelving for the shed, the mail came and delivered my new spice rack that I’d ordered earlier in the week.  I went inside and assembled it and pulled out all of my spices.  I alphabetized them on the floor, and when my husband came back inside, he got it mounted on the wall for me in the kitchen, and then I set to work lining all the shelves with my spice collection.  I still have plenty of oversized bottles and refills in the cabinets, but all of my regular spices are represented on the spice racks now.  It’s so awesome to have them all right there where I need them and in alphabetical order so I can spot them quickly.  Yay!

So all in all, I’m very pleased with all the progress I made this week!  I also took care of household things like paying bills and getting an oil change and state inspection done on my van.  It was definitely a productive week off!  We also managed to get out one morning with our friends and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air at the zoo.  That was so nice!  And we enjoyed some ice cream before heading home, so that was a nice treat for me and the kids.  It’s always nice spending time with our good friends!

Tomorrow is back to homeschooling for us.  Unfortunately, the pump on my 2-year old dishwasher quit working yesterday, so I had to wash everything by hand today.  Considering how many dishes I make in a day with all that cooking, that’s going to add considerable time to my already busy schedule, so I hope either Steve can fix it, or I can get a repairman out for a reasonable rate to work on it.  Ugh.  It’s always something!

Here’s to another great week ahead! Smile