Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sometimes, You Just Have To Cut Your Losses

A few months ago, I did a bedroom makeover.  I bought some cheap put together shelves to store my purses in the bedroom where they would be readily accessible.

My theory was that I would change purses more often if they were accessible.  Instead, they fell apart once a week.

Note the unmade bed and the unpacked suitcase (from a trip in JULY...ouch).

I hated to throw them away, but no amount of binder clips was keeping them together.  So I tossed them.  I didn't give them to Goodwill because I don't want anyone else to have such a horrible experience.

I made space for clothes that are folded but need to be put away.  Up until now, my husband was piling clean clothes on his side of the room and I never knew what was dirty and what needed to be put away.

I left out two nice bags, for job interviews.  I also quit storing my suitcase on the high shelf in the closet, because, let's face it, I NEVER put it back up on that shelf.  It's better to make a dedicated home where the suitcase tends to sit anyway.

The little brown cube is right under the plug, perfect for putting my Nook on when it is charging.

I used two old laundry baskets for putting the purses where my suitcase used to go.

I feel much better.  Now to get my husband to clean his side of the room.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Organizing the Freezer

This is my freezer before.  We had a hurricane this week, so my already unorganized freezer was stuffed with ziploc bags full of water to use as ice when we lose electricity.  We never lost electricity for more than ten minutes, but we did lose a fence.  Boo!

The freezer had cooked and raw foods mixed up.  It was a mess.  I had no idea what was in there, leading to buying too much chicken and not enough beef and wasting many frozen foods.  I've been menu planning and couponing pretty diligently; it was time to tackle the freezer.

I started by taking everything out and grouping like items on my island.

The good news is that I am at a point where my freezer is filled with lean proteins and loads of colorful veggies!  There were very few processed items and most of those were for my husband or very rare treats for the kids.  Hubby eats them on nights when I don't cook or when he doesn't bake some meat and veggies, but he mostly eats meat with a veggie side.

I left a few items in there during the process, like ice cream, if they were not hard frozen and likely to melt.  I took out each shelf, rinsed it under warm water, disinfected it, cleaned the area behind it in the freezer, and dried it off, before replacing it.

I replaced the items in a pretty organized way, considering how my husband uses the freezer, since he is least likely to follow the system, if it isn't very simple.

I used very cheap reusable ziploc-type plastic containers to divide stuff by type and to make it easy to look behind items.

Finally, I gave hubby a tour of our new system.  Don't skip this vital step!

Inside of the freezer:

Shelf 1 (top shelf) - frozen pizzas in back and chicken nuggets in front (no change from before, so hubby already knows this shelf)
Shelf 2 - hubby's quickie foods (burritos, fries, corn dogs, store-bought meatloaf) and ice
Shelf 3 - homecooked meals in front (Let's all take a minute and MARVEL at the amount of "fast food" meals I have ready to feed my family and myself!  Woo hoo!) in separate cheapo containers without covers, including roast beef, meat pies (not homecooked), enchilada sauce, red beans with smoked andouille, and chili with black beans.  (I have a lot of chicken, so I really need to make some shredded chicken for tacos.)  Behind the cooked meals, I have bread - slider rolls, black bread like at Outback, and crusty rolls for dipping in balsamic or making roast beef sandwiches.
Shelf 4 - ice creams and popsicles, junk food
Shelf 5 - veggies
Shelf 6 (bottom shelf) - raw meats, again divided in containers.  Shrimp, bacon, chicken, pork chops, and ground beef

On the door:

Shelf 1 - ice packs
Shelf 2 - black beans
Shelf 3 - pecans, nuts, and chocolate chips

I now know that I need ground beef the next time it goes on sale, need some sort of beef to grill, and don't need chicken or veggies.  I need some frozen dumplings (my only staple pre-made meal - a favorite here).  I don't need ice cream, but I do need to offer popsicles more often since we have too many!  This should really help me save money when shopping and cook healthier.