Make way for turkey…fridge and freezer cleanout

Two of the 15 minute projects in my House Project List were to clean out the fridge and freezer. Though these each took about 20 minutes, I figure they would be small enough to consider ’15 Minute Projects.’ I will not even bore you with a before pic of my fridge and freezer because truthfully, it doesn’t look that different from the after pic. I credit most of that to the fact that I try to do a little cleaning each week. Before I grocery shop, I try to wipe down the shelves and throw away anything that is past it prime. I do it before grocery shopping because that is when the fridge is the most empty each week.
So these photos are pretty much just to prove that I actually did clean the entire fridge and freezer:

I took everything out (except for the frozen veggies in the veggie drawer!) and wiped down all shelves and sides. One added bonus of this project was that I forgot exactly where the shelves in the freezer were. So I ended up putting them back in a slightly different configuration.

As it turns out, I had never really evaluated where the shelves were placed before. The new shelf placement is about a million times more effective. I’m not sure why I thought a GIGANTIC bottom shelf optimized the space because…it didn’t. It was just wasted. The new configuration allows me to fit more items and to see them more clearly. Pretty much everything is standing up on end, making use of the vertical space and allowing me to see all of the labels. Happy Accident!

So here’s the after pic:

It’s not beautiful or stylishly organized, but it’s super functional and works perfectly for me and my family.  Here are some things I like about this project and my fridge!

~I have a shelf reserved for leftovers so I never have to rearrange the whole fridge to put away all my beautifully saran wrapped and tin foiled items.

~I have honestly never seen so many condiments as what we have in our fridge. The obligatory mustard and ketchup? Yep, they are there. However, my fridge is also the home to tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce…are you bored yet? That’s why I love that my fridge has so much room in the door for all of these.

-This project was also timely since we need to make sure we have room for Thanksgiving dinner items! You can see there’s a large turkey on the bottom shelf of the fridge and there is a big bag of ice on the bottom shelf of the freezer. My new rule of thumb is going to be that I ALWAYS want to have enough room for a large turkey and a large bag of ice. That way I will always have room and the fridge and freezer should never get overloaded.

-I’m so glad I was taking pictures for this post because it allowed me to evaluate how important shelf placement is. I recommend taking pictures before projects like this so you can evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Once you have a system that works, you’ll have a photo reference so you can make sure you get things back in the right place.

Is it just me that gets excited about cleaning out the fridge? Probably. But know that if you keep up with it, a complete clean out only needs to take about 15 minutes.

~Erin

Cleaning out cabinets and closets…

I was able to complete several more tasks from my To-Do list over the last few days. I finished 3 ‘15 minute Projects’ and 1 ‘Small Project’.

2 of the 15 minute tasks were very easy and didn’t even take the whole 15 minutes.  Yea! Here is the breakdown of all 4 projects:

1) I went through our printer desk in the office just to see if there is anything that needed attention. I threw away a couple of wayward twist ties, rolled up the stamps into more compact rolls, and took out 10 used ink cartridges that I’m going to take to an office supply store to recycle. I only took 10 out because we get rewards points for cartridges, but you can only drop off ten per month. This project only took about 4 minutes since I had organized everything in this desk during my big Office Organization.

2) The second project was going through my short sleeve shirts that were hanging in the closet. I had gone through them this past summer so they were also pretty well organized. However, I did manage to get rid of one item. I also turned all of the hangers around on the rod.

When I wear an item, it goes back on a normal facing hanger. If I don’t wear the item by the time next summer, I’ll know it because the hanger will be facing backwards. If the hanger is backwards at the end of spring, then the item goes in the donate bin!

3) I also went through a small cabinet in our den. I had already gone through another cabinet (which you can read about here), but there was one place left to organize in this room. Here is the before:

You can see 2 small drawers and then the bottom is a very shallow open area. At one point, there was a small shelf in here but now it’s just a big shallow space. Did someone break in and just steal this shelf? Nobody knows. There was an old DVD player in here which we decided to keep, but it moved upstairs to an empty drawer.  This is what else was in there:

Lots of miscellaneous stuff that I couldn’t even get to because it was all just thrown in there. There was a bunch of extra baby proofing items, which are now in a basket in the kid’s bathroom closet. There were some lighters, which are now by our fireplace. There were some blank DVDs, which are now in the printer desk in the office. There was also a flash light, some nightlights and pet hair remover wands. After I put everything in its’ proper home, I only had a few items left to store in the den cabinet. Here are the drawers now:

It took me a few minutes to figure out what to do with the very tall and shallow space on the bottom. I put the taller candles back in there and then I thought of the perfect thing to store there. I have a wood tray which I love, but I only really use it when guests come over.

Until now, it has been stored on the floor of our hall closet (where our jackets and vacuum go). However, it was very hard to get to, as you had to take out pretty much everything in the closet. Now it has a new home! And I slipped the edge of the tray behind the lip of the cabinet so it doesn’t slide out when I open the doors. Nice.

4) The ‘Small Project’ I did was to clean out the linen closet outside the guest bathroom. Here is the before:

I took everything out and cleaned the shelves. Then I assessed what I had. Score of the day? I found a twin sheet set I had no idea we had in there. I actually don’t even recognize it, which is weird. Where did it come from???? I also found a throw blanket that we never use, but it’s the softest thing you’ve ever felt. It’s like hugging a cloud. So the sheets and the throw both moved upstairs for my kids to use. Right now, the blanket is hanging up with all of the other kid blankets, which I mention in my kid’s closet post.  When my younger son moves to a toddler bed, this blanket will be the perfect size and softness for him!

There were 5 extra pillows in the linen closet. I wanted to keep them, but they took up so much room in the small closet. But wait, didn’t I have an almost empty top shelf in the guest room closet? Oh yes I did! So all the pillows moved into the guest room, which makes more sense anyways.

After neatly folding everything and taking just a few items out, here is the after:

A world of difference and it took less than 40 minutes. I know this because I had a lasagna in the oven and it had about 45 minutes left to cook when I started. I finished the project with enough time to stare at the timer (mouth watering) until the lasagna was done.

So there you have it, 4 more projects off the list! Loving the list over here!

~Erin

To Do List – Crossing ’em off!

Today I did 2 more 15 Minute projects from the to do list mentioned here.

First I picked out ‘Clean lower cabinet in Den’. Here is what it looked like before:

I spent the first few minutes taking everything out and then cleaning the actual cabinet. It’s amazing how dusty a cabinet can get even though there’s stuff covering the bottom and the door is shut!

The top shelf was mostly CD holders, so I just put those back where they were and took out anything extra. I actually had a 4th CD case elsewhere that I put here since it would now fit.

The bottom shelf was a mish-mash of items just thrown in there. Most of it was Nintendo Wii accessories. Now we do still have our Wii set up, we just never (I mean never) use it. If we don’t use it at all this winter, it’s going in the sell pile. However, if we even have a chance of using it, it would probably make sense to have all of the stuff in the same place….and where the tv is. As it turns out, we had an almost empty shelf under the TV. Here’s what that looked like before:

Notice the layer of dust which has somehow collected in a cabinet that has not been opened for months. So weird…and now I will be opening that cabinet every week to dust! Soooo, I found an empty storage box in the office and put most of the Wii games and accessories inside.

Then I cleaned off the shelves underneath the TV and put the Wii stuff back in. Here is what that looks like now:

Back to the Den cabinet. After I put all of the stuff where it actually belongs, there was nothing extra to put back in the cabinet. So it looks like this now:

Things to note:

-Again, I found that shopping around my house for storage boxes was quick, effective and free!

-I am not putting anything back in that cabinet until I have something that really needs to go there. There is nothing wrong with having an empty shelf or drawer. It’s so much nicer than having clutter.

-Bonus: I found some photo software that I’ve literally been looking for since about 6 months ago!

So that project really turned into 2, but since the TV shelf was not on my original list, it doesn’t count towards the goal!

So the second 15 Minute project I did today was the cabinet and drawer in the dining room hutch. Here is the before:

You can see that this is where I keep a lot of my miscellaneous holiday and entertaining accessories. I wanted that to stay the main focus of the space, but organize it and get rid of any extra stuff. First I took everything out and sorted. This is what is not going back into the cabinet ever again.

Light fixtures, skewers, a bib and see that white cardboard box? Empty. Yes, I had an empty box with tissue paper in the cabinet. No idea why! So those things all found new homes and the box went into the recycle bin.

Then I put all the holiday and entertaining stuff back in the cabinet. However, everything was sorted and folded and now has a proper place.

I put the bigger holiday accessories on the bottom shelf and the placemats, tablecloths and napkins on the top shelf. I had thought about putting the place mats in the drawer because it would be the perfect size. However, I didn’t for two reasons:

1) I decided to put all of the small holiday items in the drawer because I have two young kids and they can open the cabinet but not the drawer!

2) When I can look at the place mats in the cabinet, I can easily each style all at once. It helps me to remember what I have and presumably I will use them more often. If they were in the drawer, I would only see one style and probably forget the other ones were there.

So all of the small stuff went into the drawer and everything is accessible and organized.

Cross two more projects off the list!

~Erin

 

Another quick fix…kitchen cabinet

I have a deep corner cabinet in my kitchen that is home to lots of those extra kitchen type things that don’t really fit well anywhere else. It has cookie sheets, cutting boards, casserole pans, mixing bowls, a waffle maker, cheese graters, a turkey pan and a big Tupperware cake holder. Here is a picture of what it looked like last week:

While the overall impression wasn’t horrible, the cabinet was incredibly inefficient. The front of it was filled with items I hardly ever use and some of the things I used daily were not easily accessible at all. Case in point….where are my mixing bowls?????? Waaaaayyyy in the back:

See that red arrow? It is pointing to my mixing bowls which are behind the turkey pan and the cupcake holder? That hardly makes sense. So I did one of my 15 minute organizations. I took everything out, cleaned the bottom of the cabinet and assessed what I had. I realized that I never have used the drawer underneath my stove, so the turkey pan and the muffin tins went under there. The mixing bowls were moved to a ‘front and center’ spot and I restacked my casserole dishes to make them easier to get to. Here is what it looks like now:

Soooooo much better. There is so much more room, it looks cleaner and I can actually reach the items I use most. And it only took 15 minutes! Happy neatening!

~Erin