Simply Put Organizing

Clutter Control

Clutter has a funny way of expanding to fit any undefined spaces in your home. For that reason, it is very important to assign a purpose for each room, cabinet and closet you have. Once spaces are assigned a definite purpose you can go about the job of relocating items in your home to the places they belong and remove the excess as you go. I once had a boss who taught his employees to never walk anywhere in the restaurant empty handed. He knew there was always something to be relocated and put away. He didn’t know it then,but he helped me develop a lifelong habit that has helped me save time in everything I do. Below you’ll find more useful tips and inspiration to help you clear the clutter everyday and reclaim your spaces.
Food for thought

Determine your priorities in life: It is impossible to know what you don’t need if you haven’t determined what you do need. For example, I need more time. I had to take a look at my time wasting habits. I have decided that I don’t need to tear out and save pages of things I want to buy from magazines anymore. If I tear something out of a newspaper or magazine it becomes a to-do. I don’t need anything else to do. And if I really need that thing so badly then I won’t forget to get it. It has been so liberating to flip through a magazine and enjoy it without feeling the need to tear and manage all that paper and to make a trip to the mall to get the thing I thought I had to have in the magazine. This small tweak in my habits has saved precious time, mental energy, and, most likely, a lot of money.

Determine your priorities and what you are willing to spend time on and what you’re willing to give space to in your home.

Clutter is a delayed decision: Take a look at any cluttered areas in your home and you will see that each item there is really a delayed decision. Maybe you just didn’t decide where the item should be located in your home or maybe you haven’t decided if you will ever wear something again or use something so it has been relegated to a spare closet until a decision can be made. Make decisions on the things in your home right away. Choose if it stays or goes and, if it stays where will it ‘live’. If you have given thought to what you really need to support your values and priorities this becomes very easy.
Make a Plan

Choose a charity: For many of us, it is easier to let things go if we think it is going somewhere where it will be appreciated and put to good use. However, sometimes finding the right place can be paralyzing so you stay stuck in your stuff. Charitynavigator.org can help you find a charity in your area you can to be good stewards of your things. Set up a donation receptacle to make it easy to unclutter your home on a daily basis.

Schedule regular decluttering sessions: whether you are drowning in clutter or just a little it is important to assign a time each day or week that you will devote time to relocating items and clearing clutter. It could be 10 minutes a day or 1 hour each weekend. Whichever works for you, it is important to be consistent with the commitment.

Create a landing spot: Organization is about everything having a place. A landing spot is the place where you unload things as you come in the door. Clutter happens when we put things down in random places and then become too busy to go back and put them away. Your landing spot should be located near the entrance you most often use. It needs a designated place for mail, purse, wallet, keys and an area for any shopping bags or other things you may not have time to put away at the moment. In having it all in one spot-it is easier to go back and clear it as time permits. Caution: don’t fill up your landing spot and then make a new one. Take time each day to process what has accumulated there.
New Habits
Set goals; Daniel Hommer M.D., is an expert on brain imaging and motivation. He shared in Real Simple magazine that there is a phenomenon called delayed discounting. If it takes a long time to reach a goal we value that goal less then one we can reach quickly making it harder to get started at all. The solution is to make projects small and rewards immediate. For example, if you clear off a surface, dress if up with something you love keeping in mind that eventually your entire home will be that orderly and beautiful.

Don’t bring it home: Walk away from bargains. Just because you can buy three for the price of one doesn’t mean you should. Ask yourself: Where will I store it? Will it expire? If you find yourself accepting a freebie there’s nothing wrong with putting it in the donation bag straight away.

Put it away immediately: We all have good intentions to do things later. The problem arises when “later” creates piles all over our home. Put things away right away or, at least, the same day. Remember it’s all contained in your landing spot.

Give yourself time: If organizing doesn’t come naturally to you putting things back where they belong is not going to happen overnight. According to Charles Duhigg New York Times reporter and author of the book ‘The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business’, habits are hardwired into our brains. They are our brains way of simplifying our lives, saving us stress and energy. The trick is not to focus on undoing the habit but to replace the bad behavior with a better one. If each time you walk in your kitchen you drop everything you are holding on the counter think of the better habit of putting things away where they belong or using your landing spot to hold them until they can be put away. The reward: clear kitchen countertops.

Organizing Recipes

Whether or not you’re a serious cook chances are you will find yourself wanting to make a favorite recipe. Often, the challenge can be finding it in an efficient manner.

Recipes are part of a family’s history. Most of us have handwritten cards passed down from mothers and grandmothers, favorite cookbooks, recipes torn from magazines and printed from the computer. Keeping track of all the different shapes and sizes can feel overwhelming.
The best thing to do is to find one method that works for you and stick to it. Here are five solutions that will appeal to everyone from the sentimental cook to the high tech chef.

Solution One: Mark the pages. Use book darts to mark your favorite recipes in any cookbook. Book darts are small metal clips that won’t wrinkle or mark pages and won’t fall off. They come in three colors so you can distinguish recipes you have tried from ones you haven’t or appetizers from main dishes. Post-its also work well for marking as the name of the recipe can be written in plain view. Great for serious cook book collectors.

Solution Two: Use an index card file to keep track of handwritten recipe cards. Use blank index cards to keep track of recipes in your favorite books. Simply write the name you are likely to remember, the cookbook and the page number. File the cards alphabetically in the box, dividing them into sections such as appetizers, desserts, holiday favorites, etc. This method appeals to those sentimental cooks who love the grease stained recipe card that grandma used.

Solution Three: Three ring binders. Create one binder for ‘Recipes to Try’. Use binder pockets labeled by category to capture each type of recipe you tear out of a magazine or print off a computer. When you are in the mood to cook something new they’ll be easy to find. After you have tried a new recipe, toss it if it’s a dud. If it’s a keeper, put it in a page protector and transfer it into a binder of your favorites. This method works well for those who love cooking magazines. Keep track of the recipes that sound appealing and toss or pass on the actual magazine.

Solution Four: File folders. This works well if you have a file drawer in your kitchen that can be designated for recipes. If you don’t have a drawer, there are many attractive portable files you can use. Simply create a folder for each type of recipe and a folder for recipes to try. This method will appeal to extremely busy cooks as it’s easy to catch all shapes and sizes within a folder. The caveat is the tendency to overstuff the folders making it hard to locate the recipe you want.

Solution Five: Online. Scan favorite recipes and keep them in files on your computer. Easily ensure the security of all your prized dishes by ensuring your computer is backed up. For easy and continual remote backup try www.carbonite.com. You can also use software such as www.bigoven.com or Cook’n www.dvo.com to organized all your favorite cookbooks online, create shopping list, watch cooking videos and even figure out what to cook for dinner by entering what’s in your refrigerator. The demo at dvo.com is a must watch. Amazing!!! This method is great for all types of cooks but especially appealing to those who don’t have room for cookbooks in their kitchen.

Realize that the initial organizing of your recipes will be a time consuming process, albeit a worthy endeavor. The next time you find yourself looking out on a cold rainy day you may just want to grab a cup of something warm and snuggle up with your recipes, just in time for holiday cooking

Repurpose. Replenish. Renew. Restore. Relax.