Monday, January 2, 2012

Organized Home Challenge - Week 1 prep

So I started this up last year and then completely dropped the ball and since it is something that I am passionate about accomplishing this year, I am going to really strive to make it happen this time.

This week's focus is: Kitchen Organization: Countertops & Sink.

Step 1: Think About the Functions of Your Kitchen.
  • Cooking (and food preparation)
  • Food storage (both cold storage and pantry)
That's actually about it. Our kitchen is off at one end of our home and therefore, we don't use it in the additional ways that a lot of other families use theirs. We have a separate dining room although we do have a bar in the kitchen that separates it from the living room.

Step 2: Create Usable Counter Space and Clear Your Kitchen Table (mostly).

Well, as I said, we don't have a table in here but we do have the bar, so I will use that to accomplish this part of the goal, as it does tend to pile up with miscellaneous things. I also do not have a lot of counter space and with our current configuration, I have even less than I could have. I have a few ideas that I plan to implement to use our space more efficiently.

Within this step, she recommends that we put away things that do not fit in with the intended purpose that we have for our kitchens. This part is really easy for me because I can quickly and easily see things that do not belong in here at all but for whatever reason landed here.

The next step within a step is that we put away things that actually do fit in with intended purpose of our kitchen. Yikes! This is the hard part for me because I also do not have a lot of cupboard space. This should be interesting.

She then recommends that we declutter gadgets and appliances. This is going to be crucial to be able to utilize the space that I actually have available. I can even think of a few appliances that I have in my cupboards that could maybe be switched out to longer-term storage or even get rid of it (like my bread maker since I generally make bread by hand, not by machine) and my blender (which I do use from time to time - which should stay in the kitchen area at least). The only things on my counters that are honestly used every day is the microwave, the dish drainer (although I really would love to change out the style of mine so that I can fold it and tuck it away when not in use) and my cooking utensils and knives and our spices, though I have some ideas for those things as well (thinking vertically here - wall storage space - spice rack, magnetic knife strip) but other than that, I don't use my toaster every day or my coffeemaker. And I actually have room to put both of those items in my dining room where they would be more likely to be used more frequently.

Step 3: Consider These Kitchen Storage Solutions To Help Clear Counter Space.

Heh, I already started this on the last step. (Can you tell that I didn't read ahead?) But some of the suggestions that she has that I plan to maybe implement are:

Magnetic knife storage for the wall (as mentioned above!)
Shelves for spices (as mentioned above!)

Then we are on to Step 4: Create The Habit Of Keeping Your Sink Clear Of Dishes At Least Two Times Per Day.

The idea behind this is to make sure that the sink is clear so that we don't clutter up the counters with other stuff since the kitchen already appears to be messy. I like this idea and plan to implement it for the morning after breakfast and in the evening after dinner. It would be even better if I were able to just unload the dishwasher in the morning and put all the dishes away and then as the dishes come in throughout the day (breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner) that I would be able to simply rinse them and put them in the dishwasher, which I could start at bedtime. Meh, maybe that is just what I'll work toward. I like that idea better anyway and I do believe that we have enough plates to get through the day just fine without running short (unless we are having company over)

That completes this week's challenge preparations. I will add in some before and after photos at the end of the week as well as some commentary to show you how I changed things to be able to gain back usable counters and also to keep the sink clear!

2012 Resolutions

Yesterday, while the kids were working on their chores (and they did a very nice job on them for the most part) Cephas came up to me and was asking about resolutions. He said that he wants to make some for this year. Miss Lil Oralee already did make two, which she shared with me, and it got me to thinking that I should make some as well. I have my goals for Organizing My Life and a number of those goals actually directly correspond with some of my resolutions.

But without further ado, here are (some of) my resolutions:

1. Improve my health.
a. I plan to do this by getting into a consistent sleep schedule. I want to be able to have more energy to spend on the things that really matter and that requires me to get adequate sleep. It would also improve my health and wellness.
b. Another way that I plan to do improve my overall health is to start exercising on a more consistent basis. Sadly, I do not even walk on a daily basis.
c. I also plan to eat balanced meals, at home, at the right time of day, so that it has the best possible effects for my body.
d. I would like to lose 90 pounds by this time next year. I bought a scale yesterday. That is the first step. (Get it, step?! I crack myself up!)

2. Improve my spiritual life.
a. I plan to pray specifically and to journal those prayers and answers on a regular basis.
b. I plan to read my Scriptures daily and to continue to journal about the things that I am covering in my reading.
c. I have also accepted a teaching position at church and will be spending time once a month (at minimum) teaching others and being there for them.
d. Attend church every week.
e. Read the Bible with my children daily.

3. Improve my homemaking skills.
a. The kids have their regular chores and they are fairly good about doing them. I need to be better about doing my own personal chores though as well.
b. I need to be able to say no to things that would interfere with my own goals of what I want my house to be. My home needs to be a higher priority.
c. Continue to teach my children how to thoroughly clean a home so that they are able to do this when they become adults and don't have to struggle with it the way that Hubby had to.
d. I need to develop a regular cleaning schedule that works for me and for my house and my life.
e. I have a vision and a goal of what I want my house to look and feel like and I will know that this has been accomplished when my house feels and looks the way it does in my head.

4. Continue to build new relationships.
a. I have started building new relationships and have been rebuilding some current relationships. I have found this to be most pleasing overall and really want to be purposeful about this.

5. Improve my education.
a. Ideally, I would love to continue to work on a degree, but honestly, I don't foresee that happening at this stage in my life. I am okay with that though. Or mostly okay with that at least.
b. There is a plethora of online resources for learning and I plan to utilize these to increase my education this year.

6. Improve our financial well-being.
a. This is an interesting thing for me to list in here, as I have actually stopped working regular hours and am just on PRN status with two different families, but maybe that is also while it is even more important.
b. I want to get all of our bills caught up and current within the first 3 months of this year.
c. Beginning in March, I want to pay off every bill IN FULL that we receive every month.
d. Beginning now, I do not want to accumulate any additional debt this year.
e. I also want to start putting money aside every paycheck (maybe 10%) to begin building a nest egg for a rainy day.
f. I want to get rid of our storage unit by March as well. That is money that we are spending each and every month that serves no real purpose for our lives. I do need to go through it and make it work into the space that we have available for long-term storage or make some tough decisions.

7. Get rid of 2012 items in 2012.
a. I have seen this on people's blogs this year and I would like to do that this year. It goes along perfectly with Resolution #6, part F, don't you think? I love it when things work together like that!

I think that is it for this year. I may come back and add more or even do a new post in which I change them or add to them or whatever, but I feel good about this list. I expanded on general goals and clearly defined what I want to happen. I will check back in with you all and let you know how they are going.