Wednesday, December 23, 2015

An Unexpected Holiday Gift

This holiday season, we received a very generous gift of 1/4 of a cow!

We were very excited at the prospect, but alas, we'd recycled our big, old upright freezer when the kids went to college.  So a shopping we did go.  But first we did a little research.

Question:  Exactly how big of a freezer does one need for 1/4 of a cow?

Answer:  7 cubic feet.

And a new freezer appeared.

I got excited!  I'd never organized a freezer before!  So we move it into place in our basement and then...da da da daaaaa.

The Bad News:  The placement of the freezer resulted in an extensive 3 day nearly-all-nighter project, involving removing a defunct, leaky water softener that came with our house, rerouting pipes to the water heater, installing valves and changing out pipes the width of our basement. Thankfully, our handy neighbor came over to help my very handy husband.  We love our neighbors.

The Good News:  We now can run the washing machine, the dishwasher, flush a toilet, and run water in every sink all at the same time while simultaneously someone takes a hot shower.  We actually tried this!  This may seem normal to all of you, but to us, this is EPIC, never before dared, as we had literally NO water pressure due to bad plumbing and woe to the person taking a shower if someone else used water.  Not good.

But it's all good now and this is an organizing blog after let's get back to the task at hand.

Except there were more issues with the space...

All these Christmas decorations had to be moved to create enough space for the freezer. This was a fortunate event and good timing. What with Christmas coming,  I had been meaning to sort and organize these boxes anyway.

Isn't it interesting how one fairly small organization project can quickly spiral into not only a home remodeling project, but also into more organizing?  This is real life folks.  

Okay, now back to the freezer and more importantly, the meat!

The first step is to write a date on all the meat.  Since the paper packages were already marked 12/15, I decided to be consistent and mark all the plastic packages with the same date.

As an alternative, packages can be marked with the date they will expire, so you'll know when to use them by.  Here's a chart showing how long frozen food will last to mark your food accordingly.

The next step was to write an inventory.  I used this one  that I found on the internet.  I slipped it into a clear plastic sleeve after I filled it out and I am storing it right in the freezer!

I love this idea of writing the inventory directly on the freezer with a dry-erase marker, but I'm not brave enough to do it on our brand new freezer.  Are you?

Next I loaded the large packages in the bottom of the freezer

And loaded the steaks on the shelf.

Next the ground beef I set in the basket that came with the freezer.  I tried a couple different ways of stacking and the picture on the right is the one I decided worked best.  Easy to grab and I fit in one package than the picture on the left.

However, it turns out there are 79 packages of ground beef. 

That's right, 79 pounds.  

Can you say "taco night" every night?

I had to come up with another storage solution.  

Reusuable shopping bags!  Genius.

I filled them up and set them on top of the large packages.  

Notice the handles are laying across the top so they can easily (well, maybe easily isn't the right word, they are heavy!) be lifted up out of the way to access the meat underneath.

Once we eat down that 79 lbs of ground beef, I'll be investing in  4 of  these beauties as they stack perfectly according to the reviews and have folding white handles.  Perfect in stacks of 2 next to the shelf/freezer basket. 

Label the bins according to food type and your freezer is forever organized!

Finally,  the freezer inventory is laid right on top inside the freezer. I'll be attaching a pen nearby on the outside of the freezer of course.

If you want a pen you can freeze, try this one.  There is no end to what clever people will research and publish on the internet.  Thank you internet people, thank you.

WAIT!  I know you all want to know what happened to the pile of Christmas stuff?  

Remember this post and this closet?

After I cleaned it out that messy closet, it has sat nearly empty since July and now I know why.  It was just waiting for all the Christmas clutter beloved decorations to be stored there.  I plan to get a few more plastic totes to replace the boxes, but it's looking good so far.

I sorted out just a few things that were no longer needed, including one of those train sets that goes around the tree.  Sold it in a couple of hours on Facebook.  BONUS.

And that's a wrap - pardon the Christmas pun.

What is the most unusual item stored in your freezer?

Who's inspired to create a freezer inventory?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Give the Gift of Organizing

There are so many benefits to getting more organized and did you know that it is one of the top 3 New Year's resolutions set by many people?  Help your friends and family reach their goals in 2016 by giving them the gift of organization.

Working from my experience with clients, here are some of the very best reasons to get organized.

Be able to find whatever you need whenever you need it.  

If you're tired of this endless question "Where is the ______?"  Getting organized can eliminate it entirely or at least give you an answer to say instead of "I have no idea."

Saves money.  

Or in this case, FIND money!   Every client I've worked with so far has found money in their house that they didn't know they had.  

But back to saving money...getting organized means no more buying in excess because you know exactly what you own.  When you run out of something, you truly run out of it because it's only kept in one place and you know how much you have.  No more overbuying and overspending.

May improve your health
Face it, if you're able to walk into a room and not trip over something, you're going to be able to reduce the chances of being injured in your own home.  Dust loves clutter.  If you're not able to clean surfaces regularly, dust will accumulate and can cause or exacerbate allergies.   Piles of paperwork can be a fire hazard.  Stuff piled in corners or closets can mask leaky pipes, crumbling drywall and even mold.  Clearing out the clutter is good for your health.

Adds ease to living

While I can't promise  that getting organized will transport you to a sandy beach, I can say that organizing helps my clients save time and energy.  No more starting the day in a frantic rush trying to find the car keys.  Being organized creates space in one's life.  

Reducing the amount of stuff one owns, can be transformative.

Getting rid of stuff leads to the most exciting aspect of getting organized...what happens next.  My clients say time and time again, that once they got organized, it changed their lives in ways they couldn't imagine.  

What are you hoping for in the new year?  Organizing could be the catalyst that makes your dreams come true.

Are you struggling to find the perfect gift for that special someone?  Give the gift of organizing in the form of a gift certificate.  They may say it's the best gift they've ever received.

Do you have your holiday shopping done yet?

If you could help someone get organized, who would it be?


Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Organizing Things

Sorry it's been a couple of weeks...
I've been taking writing classes to improve my writing on this blog, and it's kinda sorta taking over my a good way!  That is keeping me busy along with getting ready for the holidays.  I happen to love Christmas and all the preparations leading up to it.

Speaking of the holidays, here are a few of my favorite organizing things.  Maybe you have an organizer on your gift list or someone who needs to get more organized?  

Happy Shopping!

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo  This book has inspired thousands of people to declutter, just one category at a time.  My secret wish is to be trained by her and I even contacted her to see if it was possible.  Unfortunately, the reply was in Japanese but Google translator said the word "wait" was in there and "patience".  So maybe it can still happen.

A Label Maker  Clients are always asking me which kind to buy.  My own is one that my husband got as a gift and never used, so I inherited it and free is good.  But I love this handy one and it even comes with a tape cartridge.  Buy lots of  tape when you order it.  You are welcome.

Magnetic Notepads  I love these so much!  If you're my client, (and you have a frig that takes magnets), you get one free!  They can be found in the dollar section of Target where they can be found for yes...$1.  These make great stocking stuffers!

Gift Card to the Container Store  Seriously, if you haven't visited this store yet, you haven't lived.  It's an organizers dream come true.  My favorite aisle has little plastic boxes, stacked to the ceiling, all color coordinated in different sizes.  I like to go and stand there, it's my happy place.  Someday I'll have a client that needs small items organized like a rainbow. A girl can dream right?

Light Angel  This motion-sensor LED stick-on light works indoors or out and lasts for 100,000 hours. Use it under sinks, in closets for entryways, anywhere that is dark.  I installed 2 outside at our house.  Now I can actually get the key in the door on the first try!  This makes a great gift for an older adult.  Let there be light.

Drawer Organizers  They come in wood, metal, plastic - you name it.  Because when you need the scissors, you need to be able to find the scissors.  And the tape, and the phone charger, and the staples...
Pegboard Organizers  For the handy wo/man in your life.  If you've got a pegboard, these are amazing!  Many more options to choose from.  You'll want them all.  Trust me.

Jewelry Stackers  I've had my eye on these for awhile now.  They are so luxe and practical at the same time.  Tarnish resistant too and they'll just as easily set into a drawer as they will stacked up on a dresser.  The princess in me wants a set.

Now that you've seen my favorites.  What's on your organizing wish list this year?