50 Weeks to Organized, Homemaking, Housework, Minimalism, Simple Living

50 Weeks to Organized: Week 3

If you remember from last week’s post, this week’s challenge was all about clearing the clutter from the countertops in the kitchen. Since the kitchen is THE place to be in our apartment, it is also the place that tends to accumulate junk the quickest.

A few things were immediately apparent:
*I needed a place where I could put all the papers that come through our hands each day
*Our counter space is extremely limited, so if I could eliminate anything from them permanently, that would be ideal
*Since our counter space is so small, we tend to use our washer and dryer as extra counters. The biggest problem with that system is that things on the dryer tend to stay there for months (since we put the clothes through the front of the dryer, not through the top).
*We usually stash a lot of things on the floor of our kitchen (against the wall) that don’t belong, such as miscellaneous boxes, tools and other repair/cleaning materials from the front closet, and paper bags. The more that is currently on the floor, the easier it is to pile more on.

So, to tackle these issues, I did the following:

*I thrifted a cheap woven tray to collect all our mail/papers
*I decided that although I love the cute black containers that are meant to house staples such as flour and sugar, we really don’t have space on the countertops for them. So I emptied them out and will bring them back in the picture when we have extra pantry shelves.
*In the to-do list mentioned in last week’s post, I was supposed to take out everything that didn’t belong in the room. This took care of most of the clutter on the washer and dryer. The only things left after that were a bowl of sweets (which I placed in the cupboard) and my laundry materials, which I put in a box on the floor to the side of the machines.
*Many of the floor items have been relocated to other rooms until I fully know what to do with them (ha ha)

And now, a couple of before and after pics to prove that I haven’t been slacking off:






Can I just say how much I already feel like a different person every time I walk in my door? Now, everything that’s visible to the general public on the main floor of our apartment is organized (even if the stuff behind cupboards and closets still has a long way to go!), and it feels so FANTASTIC.

Quick Stats for the Week:

Items Tossed/Donated: 6 (I need to up this–but just so you know, I don’t count things like junk mail or papers that I would have thrown away anyway without this challenge)
Items Left to Toss Before Dec. 31st: 433
Money Spent on Organizing: $2 (for the paper bin shown above)

Okay, now for my next challenge:

The Refrigerator

If you’re like me and tend to think it best to have a policy to make your husband look at and sniff all suspicious containers every 3 months or so, then your fridge is probably in almost as much need as ours is of a good solid makeover:

Refrigerator To-Do List:

  • Sort and toss:
    • All empty bottles and containers
    • All outdated/expired items
      • Mustard (2 years)
      • Ketchup (6 months)
      • Vinegar (3.5 years)
      • Soy Sauce (6 months)
      • Olives (6 months)
      • Steak Sauce (3 years)
      • Maple Syrup (1 year)
  • Remove items from one shelf at a time and clean thoroughly
  • Replace items with a system
    • Top shelf: beverages; middle shelf: unprepared foods, etc.
  • Replace food with the oldest food in front and newest in back so you can use your food before it goes bad
  • Remove all items from freezer and wipe it down
  • Toss all items that have been in the freezer for more than 10 months as well as all items that you are 90% sure you’ll never eat
  • Remove outdated and unnecessary paper and photos from the outside of your refrigerator
  • Remove all items from the top of your refrigerator and clean it off
Cleaning & Maintenance:
Once a Month
  • Remove outdated memos and photographs from the outside of your refrigerator
  • Check all shelves for food that’s been forgotten. Toss anything that’s gone bad.
Every 3-6 Months
  • Empty and scrub down the inside of the refrigerator
  • Check the fridge for “doubles” and combine (i.e. two bottles of ketchup into one, etc.)
Once a Year
  • Thaw out your freezer and clean it
  • Throw away all expired condiments
*All to-do lists and cleaning suggestions are taken from Jennifer Ford Berry’s book Get Organized. (This is NOT a sponsored project–I just adore the book! I highly recommend buying a copy for yourself. It literally is what inspired this whole project and is worth the money.)
What’s the hardest thing for you about keeping your fridge organized? Do you have a current fridge “system” that works for you? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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