Organize Simplify Create Design

It is perpetual, living life and keeping it simple. Peace of mind comes from having a place for things. As I watched "Horton Hears a Who", with my grandchildren I thought about no matter how "tiny" the thing, it deserves a home. So I live by the old adage, a place for everything and everything in its respective place...

About Me

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Houston, Texas, United States
Ten things I am or have been: 1 Wife, 2 Mother of five, 3 Grandmother of 16, 4 Hair Dresser, 5 Bookkeeper 6 Bank Teller, 7 Scrapbook Store Owner, 8 Reporter, 9 Gardener, 10 Photographer,

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are your stems in the water?

I keep a garden journal. It helps me know when I last fed my plants, what is
 doing well, what is working,
what isn't. 

Sometimes we have to get our mind in the right place before we try to organize... we have to find balance.

I had gathered flowers from the garden and placed them in a vase, later that day I saw some of them were wilting. I went over to investigate. As I looked closer I saw that some of the stems were not in the water.

Some days we can be that close to the water and not drink. If we place too much focus on one thing we may find other parts of life caving in.

Where is your quiet place, how long has it been since you visited? Are you taking good care of you? You feed everyone, you tend to each things need. Your eyes dart about, your mind is in constant motion always peering into the next task, even when your head is on the pillow you trek into the next day, week or year, plotting and planning to get to all the un-dones.

All I'm saying is stop, slow down....

Now breathe, nourish your soul in your quiet place today, tomorrow, write it out, it makes more sense on paper.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fumbling through the Freezer?

A freezer can quickly become an exasperating pit of frozen mysteries if we don't pay attention and attempt to create order within. Mine gets out of control and I have bins to help try to prevent that from happening. Our freezer is now housed in the garage. As mentioned in a previous post I try to bring meat I plan to cook early in the week and stash it inside the small side by side in the kitchen, that way I'm not opening the big garage freezer as often.

My freezer has a handy chart inside to remind me how long I should keep things. I use a Seal-a-Meal to divide and freeze my meat. I label and date the packages with a Sharpie marker. I currently have 5 Rubbermade bins inside on the shelves. Each one is labeled. I have one for Chicken, Beef, Pork, Fish and Cajun meats my husband loves to use in gumbos and barbecue.

As you can see at a glance, I don't need to buy anymore chicken for a while, but may be a little low on fish.
I think I am going to buy some bins that will fit on that fourth shelf to hold those leftovers and sort them into meats and meal types. When you freeze them in the Seal-a-Meal bags you can pop them in a pan of boiling water and they taste like you just slaved over dinner! Everyone knows if you cook double you can freeze entree`s for later! Great when you come home from work tired.

The shelf next to the Cajun meats are prepared foods. As you can see I don't use very many prepared items, so my freezer isn't beautifully stocked with rows of prepared meals all alphabetized and sorted by type. But if this is you, keeping things with labels facing out and stacked neatly can save you money and help you find things easier.
The bottom bin has mostly veggies.I wish my shelves were adjustable! I only have one that is.

This is the freezer door. The cups are frozen mugs we use for keeping drinks cold in the hot Houston summer. I don't use them much anymore and considered tossing them out, they don't fit in my pool float cup holder anyway! lolol If I decide to redefine this space you'll find these for sale at the local Goodwill.
I love my frozen berries for homemade protein shakes, I am always stocked ahead since I can use up to a cup in each shake.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why is it important to organize a refrigerator?

One time at a party I was hosting a good friend opened my refrigerator and said, "Did you just clean your fridge or does it always look that way?" I sheepishly said, "No, I didn't just clean it and yeah, most of the time."
Does stuff get spilled? Yes! Do things leak? Yes! Do things go moldy? Of course. But because it is organized, I know what I'm out of because each thing has its own place, food spoils less because I use Green Bags. See my article about Green Bags, the article is titled, "How to avoid wasting food and save money on your grocery bill," see the link.

 So here is the inside of my refrigerator.
Top Shelf
As you can see, I keep mostly dairy and our bowl of greens on this shelf. My daughter taught me the Tupperware trick of preparing salad greens, placing a paper towel in the bowl and flipping it upside down to preserve the lettuce longer. I also write the date with a Sharpie marker on my water filter so I know when I replaced it last.
The next shelf is adjusted to be shallow on purpose. I keep yogurt and eggs here.
The bin below is our fruit bin. Diet experts say to keep the things you want to remind yourself to eat at eye level. You can see that each fruit is in a separate Green Bag.
The next shelf is what we call "Ello's," that means leftovers! If there are things on this shelf, I know we need to eat them, freeze them or toss 'em. In this instance there is corn I will serve for dinner tonight.
The bottom shelf is rather unique to us. I have two plastic bins that hold all the little jars of hot peppers that my husband loves to buy. There are pickles, my organic peanut butter, his "hot" jellies and my "Spreadable Fruit". If there are open containers of anything used for cooking, i.e., broth, minced garlic or roux it stays in the middle.
The next bin is veggies, in Green Bags of course. The bottom holds lunch meats, cheeses and tortillas. We have a refrigerator in the garage where we keep drinks, bulky items like watermelon, if we have it, and overflow items when we are having a party, or holiday menus.

To the right is the door of the refrigerator. Top bin is the butter and cream cheese. The next shelf is for my lime and lemon juice, spray butter, creamer, and a small plastic bin that holds hot peppers I have picked from the garden, dh loves to look here. There are boiled eggs and chopped onion I need to use and there is fresh garlic here too. Might seem like a weird combo of items, but the point is that we always know where to find these particular items.

The next shelf holds juice and milk. The two bottom shelves hold condiments, and salad dressings and again dh has special mustards and spreads he loves. We never end up with two of the same thing open because something was hidden in the back of the refrigerator shelf.

Last is the freezer compartment. The two top shelves have bread items. I make biscuits and freeze them and I use my bread directly out of the freezer. We are having hamburgers and hot dogs this particular weekend, so there is more bread than usual.
The next shelf has frozen fruit I use in smoothies. Below that, whenever possible, I bring in frozen items from the garage freezer and keep them on the next shelf to avoid opening the freezer too many times in one day. (I have a Seal-a-Meal that I use to date and seal all of my meats in the freezer in the garage) I will be featuring how I organize my freezer this week.
There is extra fruit on the next shelf and I use the bin at the bottom for cheese and packaged items I want frozen.
I use the door for frozen packs to use in lunches, storing sausage, yeast etc.
The drawback to my freezer is that there is very little ability to adjust the shelves.
Personalize your own space according to the items your family uses. Just keep things grouped together and containerize! :)
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

His and Hers Bath Shelves

The top shelf  houses cold meds in an open recycled container and on lazy susan and extra back up supplies

This is Darling Hubby's shelf! He complained because he wanted his own shelf. I usually have a back-up of each thing stored toward the back. So here you go, men are such minimalists?!!
This shelf holds things we both use. I love the little drawer containers that hold all the miscellaneous tubes of ointments and creams. These also hold extra floss, travel size items, nail clippers etc. This two-tiered lazy susan is great for getting to things you need. You can tell by now I am a big fan of lazy susans' since they make it easy for us to reach the stuff in the back!

This one is mine. I like storing everything for nails in these little drawers. The storage container on the right holds all of my scrunches, hair clips, headbands etc.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You are gonna flip over this Flip Fold!

Even after 40 years of marriage my dh (darling hubby) and I were going around and around with how to fold his T-shirts. Particularly when he installed our closet system for me. He wanted his Harley Davidson T-shirts folded like the store. I am a perfectionist and had a hard time getting them folded just right. I wanted to just fold them in half lengthwise and go from there.
Then I was in The Container Store one day and spotted a Blue FlipFOLD! It was around $15 and I wondered how well it worked, or if it was a useless gadget? I thought it was worth a try, in particular with their liberal return policy.
I put it to the test!!! It is wonderful, I wish the product would have been available when I was folding laundry for 5 kids! I love this thing! I fold towels, dh's underwear, pillowcases, shorts etc. on it! It is seriously fantastic! They also sell a junior size for children's clothing. Ever wonder how the stores fold their clothing so neat? Now you know! I know, that any of you that worked in a clothing store probably know about this great tool, but I never had and I was in "fold heaven" there such a place? No! But it makes the whole job more pleasant for me.
Note: There are other brands on the market that probably work equally as well.
I am posting a tutorial of using it here and how the stack looks when I'm done.
By the way? It is great for packing too!!!!
Flip the bottom of the shirt up to the bottom of the folder

Flip the right section over, note his sleeve is laying on the opposite side.

Again, since his shirts are large, it requires one extra flip.

This is so quick and makes it so easy it's the best thing EVER for laundry day!
Flip up to finish! So fast!

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Monday, August 2, 2010

The Half Bath Fix

My home was built with a large beautiful master bath. This is the sole towel bar in the entire bathroom. It is above my beautiful jetted tub so how did I make it beautiful and functional at the same time?
Ikea again!
I found this clever drying rack at Ikea and had my husband mount it as pictured so when I have fine washables, things I wash in cold and hang dry or wet swimwear, I spread the rack out and it holds my things over the tub below while they dry. Then tucks secretly behind my towels when not in use.

In my previous post my daughter mentioned how we cut the legs off of the cabinets that are made to stand behind the commode in order to provide storage for items we need available in small half baths that are built without a shred of storage. I was particularly fond of this cabinet since the glass is textured to obcsure the contents.

Below, I found this wall mount magazine rack at Pier One and painted it white to match the rest of the cabinetry in the bath.
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