I have a cabinet full of recipe books but over time, I’ve collected random recipes from Pinterest, family members and magazines. I was shoving them into a folder because it looked organized. The problem was that every time I went to find something it was useless. I spent more time digging and then reorganizing into a folder than cooking the actual meal.
In keeping with the purging theme and respecting the fact that we all have about zero extra minutes per day, this recipe organization is quick, efficient and costs very little.
My recipes were gathered in one hot mess.
Then I stacked them in piles. The key to organizing anything is putting “like” with “like”. What do they have in common? Here, I stacked in recipes labeled chicken, pork, fish, salad, etc.
Now I need something to put them in. Ah, a binder with tabs to separate the types of recipes (the piles). I also grabbed some page protectors (not pictured).
Done deal. Just like my jeans, this binder can’t take one more recipe. I should have purchased a much bigger binder and another set of tabs. I also want white, not green. But, hey, this was a quick project so I can quickly access my recipes. Maybe later in the year, I’ll pretty it up. For now, I’ll eat.
TIP: Add extra page protectors to the binder so when you add to it, you can easily slip the new one in the correct place.
Aaaaand, the amount of time the project took (including Instagramming a picture) and grabbing not one but TWO drinks for my son, starting a movie and digging Play-Doh out of his dump truck was:
A 5-year old threw off my game. I mean, seriously. He gets thirsty while I’m working? The nerve.
Will this work for your recipe collection?
Note from Tawsha:
Each time I dive into an organization-type project, I have these big beautiful plans that, in the end, aren’t realistic. I want a great end result that is pleasing to my eye but not at the expense of losing efficiency – the reason I started the project in the first place. I see it everywhere and I, too, want a picture-perfect result. Well, for us, it’s just not the truth 100% of the time and we won’t hold back if it’s not perfect. We’re committing to offering a realistic approach to creating structure and order in life. We’re busy, you’re busy and none of us are made of money.
Your comments and feedback have been awesome. We will continue to strive to be true to you, true to ourselves and not just go for the pretty picture each time we post a new blog. Your trust is important to us.
Is your fridge gross? Can you honestly say that every single thing in your refrigerator is up to date, in the right spot and all tidy? Me neither.
How do you even get started?
STEP 1: EMPTY
Source: AJ Madison
Get some garbage bags all set out around your fridge. One for food garbage, one for recycling and one for empty non-recyclables. Start purging like crazy! Take a peek at your expiration dates. Don’t mess around with those dates. Toss if it’s past the date. Do yourself (and your internal organs) a favor. As far as leftovers go, if it’s been in there over 4 days, get rid of it. Can’t remember? Get rid of it. Make a mental note to write this down next time.
The items you don’t throw away or recycle, put on a counter nearby. Your fridge should now be completely empty.
STEP 2: CLEAN
We’re talking about your shelves, drawers, everything. Pull out the drawers and clean with 1/2 part water, 1/2 part ammonia. This is a perfect time because your fridge should be completely empty. Tip: Use the bathtub for this. If you clean the drawers in your kitchen sink, it gets pretty messy. Wipe down the shelves with the same mixture. Don’t forget the door and the butter container.
Make it snappy because you have food to get back into refrigeration.
STEP 3: SORT
Sort all your items in “like” sections. Think like a grocery store. Condiments together, dairy together, meat together, etc. For now, put them in the fridge but be ready to come back to them later. We don’t want to keep them out of the cold for long.
STEP 4: SURVEY
Now seeing what you have and how many of each item you have, survey your fridge vs. items. What organizational items will you need to keep everything in place?
STEP 5: LINE
You can have a typical fridge or one that looks finished and clean once organized. Have you thought of lining your drawers, shelves and door bins with contact paper? Below is a picture of what it looks like. Tip: Don’t go all the way to the back because you’ll want to let the fridge light still shine through. Another tip: Contact paper can often be found at the dollar store.
STEP 6: CONTAIN
Source: Amy Volk
Take all your new organizational pieces and start sorting.
- Milk and quickly perishable items need to be in the fridge (not in door where temps fluctuate)
- Meats and Seafood: Put at the bottom so there’s no risk of contamination.
- Fruits and Veggies: Separate the two.
- Leftovers in clear containers labeled with date food was made.
STEP 7: LABEL
Label the shelves and the bins in the door. This will help you and your family (who didn’t spend this time organizing the crap out of your food) keep it all together. You can be general with your labels or very specific. Use chalkboard labels, some plain contact paper, a label maker, whatever you’d like.
There you have it. A clean and organized refrigerator. For the freezer, do the same. A suggestion is to group together your frozen veggies, frozen meats, etc and put them in individual bins. Label the bins.
INSTANT GRATIFICATION: Go to the dollar store. Seriously. Bins are $1 (duh). WalMart and Target have specific fridge/freezer organization pieces. Or you can click on our Amazon store for a specific shopping list.
No matter what, share pics with us!
TIP OF THE DAY: Install curtain rods or towel bars inside your cabinet doors to store your pot and pan lids. Tidy!
I’m so excited to share Part 3: DIY Home Renovations. There are some really really cool ideas that are simple and can be inexpensive.
Just in case you missed it:
Part 1: Packing
Part 2: Cleaning & Repairs
If you are moving into a house that needs a little TLC or if you’re selling a home that needs a bit of updating to make it stand out among the rest, this post is for you.
Take your home from “meh” to “luxe” in no time.
Seriously, you don’t have to be talented at all. You just have to know how to read directions…and not many at that. Click on your favorite images to see more about each project.
Let’s get started!
NEW KITCHEN BACKSPLASH
Source: Lovely Crafty Home
Create a stone backsplash with “Airstone”. You buy the stones, add adhesive and literally stick it to the wall. Check out how Lovely Crafty Home did it. (scroll down a bit to see the kitchen)
FRESH KITCHEN CABINETS
Source: The Lettered Cottage
I won’t pretend that all The Lettered Cottage did was paint their cabinets. They did a full kitchen makeover but it’s all DIY. First things first: Paint those cabinets. After seeing the steps they took in order for their kitchen to go from “before” to “after,” I’d like to live with them. Would that be weird. They have the CUTEST house. IT’S ALL DIY!
STONE KITCHEN ISLAND
Source: House Honeys
From the “Why didn’t I think of that” file, House Honeys took their typical-looking island and made it look like a high-end vacation home. I could totally see this in a house celebrities go to ski in the winter. I mean, come ON. It’s so cool! This, too, is Airstone. Adhere the stones to the island. Done and done.
Source: DIY Network
Oh, I’m sorry, you thought this was granite? Nope. It’s a DIY paint job, friends. I’m talking “paint with a sponge and dab the colors together” type of process. Love DIY Network for this simple how-to.
MOSAIC TILE BATHROOM MIRROR
Source: Centsational Girl
Centsational Girl has turned a basic-looking mirror into a work of art. I’ve also read that you can purchase adhesive tiles from a hardware store and line them along the edges. Whatever your choice, you’ll have a killer-looking mirror.
Source: Entirely Smitten
No matter what your fixtures look like (bathroom, kitchen, hallway, whatever), you can spray Rustoleum spray paint on them for a completely updated look. Now I want about 500 cans so I can go nuts on my house. We’re talking toilet paper holders, faucets, lights… See what Entirely Smitten did!
Source: Style With Cents
This is something that NEVER occurred to me to change. I would just keep looking at the brass eye sore and decorate around it. Dear Style With Cents, you’re changing our world (and saving us money from avoiding that house with an ugly shower).
Source: Lovely Crafty Home
Remember Airstone from a few pictures up? It’s baaaaaack! Lovely Crafty Home, I need to stop right now and get myself an entire truck of this stuff. I’ll live in a stone house by the time I’m done. I want to even put Airstone on my half wall from the living room to the kitchen. Look at this spa-like tub! It went from completely typical to appearing expensive.
Source: The Frugal Homemaker
While you have your Rustoleum spray paint out, why don’t you just grab the vents and paint those, too. The Frugal Homemaker had some tired looking vents (eh hem, so do I). After a quick spray, the vents are tired no more.
Source: Live Love DIY
Gee, guess what kind of paint does this awesomeness? Live Love DIY went nutty (just like I would) and painted her doorknobs, furniture handles and more. It cracks me up to see someone similar. Changing those gold doorknobs are a must. Let’s all do it. Wanna?
A WELCOMING ENTRANCE
Source: 320 Sycamore
Talk about curb appeal. 320 Sycamore changed the look of their home entry by getting rid of the screen, adding paint to the door, accessorizing with the cute little numbers and adding a punch of color with the flowers. Gah. We think this is adorable!
What else needs a bit of sprucing up at your home?
If you ever came to my house pre-pantry purge (pictured above), there’s NO FREAKING WAY I would have opened the pantry in front of you. I would have pretended that everything was as clean as my house looks on the surface. Side note: I wouldn’t let you go upstairs, either. Instead, I’ll distract you with offering a drink or a great TV show.
Seriously, I look like trash and this is completely embarrassing to show…if I didn’t do the PANTRY PURGE 2012.
Time spent: 3 hours
Money spent: Less than $50
Creative talent: $0
The process is simple and it will save your brain (and money -there are treasures to be found in this mother). Here’s how to go about the pantry purge:
Shopping list –
- Plain bins (multiple sizes) $1 each at the Dollar Store
- Clear “jugs” $1 at select dollar stores or $2-something at WalMart (yeah, I said it)
- Chalkboard labels at Staples (Martha Stewart Collection) or make your own. Tutorial HERE by twelveOeight.
- Garbage bags
- Grab multiple garbage bags
- Grab something to drink
- Make some space
- Empty the entire pantry
- Organize food by category
- Clean the pantry floor and walls
- Dispose or donate any food you aren’t interested in putting back
- Start placing the categories in bins to see what will go where
- Get yourself all sorted out and start putting the food away
Tip: leave a little extra room in your pantry. Like, don’t stuff it full because you will have to grocery shop at some point or you may go on some baking binge and need a place to
hide put your cookies.
I had a friend tell me to check the pantry in 3 weeks to see how it looked. Well, friend, here it is. BOOM!
There you have it.