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Wk 4: Refridgerator and Freezer

11 Mar

How is it already 11 days into March?  I feel like I’ve been going non-stop for weeks, so I figured I needed to slow down a little and maybe write a new blog post. I finally have pics uploaded for one of the weekly challenges over at 52 Weeks To  An Organized Homefridge and freezer!

First – the fridge. I think this is one of the worst it’s ever been! We had just finished up a week of having company stay with us and without having a system in place it was pure mayhem! Lots of take-out food, expired food, and nothing was in any order whatsoever.


 We cleaned it out the night before trash day and we ended up tossing a LOT of stuff out. I should have taken a pic the, but forgot – it was pretty empty!  Here’s an after pic taken after a week or two of living with it.


I used bins from Dollarama to keep “like” and often used items together, and then used them to create “zones” in the fridge.  Top shelf holds most of the dairy items – L’s milk, a bin for butter, cream cheese blocks, iced coffee creamer-mix, another bin for drink stuff (coffee creamers and drink syrups like chocolate and strawberry),and then our milk. Next shelf has  a bin for cheeses and dips, along with the margarine tub (too big for a bin), some prepped fruit for my husband’s lunch, and celery for a stew I’m planning to make. 3rd shelf has leftovers on the left-hand side, a bin for general sandwich stuff (honey mustard, mayo, Cheez Whiz), one for Lucas sandwich-fixings (jams, cream cheese), and eggs. Bottom shelf has drinks, a bin for L’s yogurts (got tired of discovering empty boxes in the fridge!) and one for L’s snacks placed where he can reach them anytime (applesauces, prepared fruit, cheese strings, etc).

 The bins are great – just grab a bin when making a sandwich and all your spreads are there – no more searching the fridge for that little jar of strawberry jam!

The “before” of the door


And the after:


Not much to explain there lol

Now…the freezer! We don’t have a deep freezer (yet!!), but we do have a little bar fridge-sized freezer. Here are the befores of the fridge freezer:

Before - fridge freezer

Before - fridge freezer door

Messy, messy, messy!!  We semi-recently bought that huge box of ribs, thinking we had a deep freezer to put it in but it went kaput a few days before the ribs arrived. We cleaned out the fridge-freezer at that point so there wasn’t much to be tossed. It just needed organizing. We now have this freezer to store our meats and desserts with the door holding bananas, freezer packs, ice packs, cheese and juice.

After - fridge freezer

After - fridge freezer door

The small bar-sized freezer desperately needs to be defrosted, but here’s the befores:

Before - small freezer, top compartment

Before - small freezer drawers

It now holds our breads and waffles up top, veggies in the middle drawer and stuff like hashbrowns and perogies in the bottom drawer!

After - small freezer, top compartment

After - small freezer drawers

So much easier to find stuff and so far it’s been a great way to keep track of what needs replacing when we go shopping!


Wk 3: Organize pantry, spices and food storage areas

23 Feb

Week 3 of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home was for organizing pantry, spices and food storage areas. We don’t really have a pantry in our house. We have a closet in our dining room (which next to the kitchen) that I think is supposed to be a pantry, but it sucks. It wasn’t well thought out when the previous owners put the shelves in and we haven’t made any changes to it. We only really used one shelf for food stuff (crackers, cookies and other snacky items) so I didn’t bother including it in this part of the challenge (although it IS on my to-do list).

We now have 3 of the larger cupboards in our kitchen that we use for food stuff, one small one for drink stuff, and two smaller ones for spicy stuff. First up to bat is the drink cupboard.

I hated this cupboard. HATED IT. It’s so narrow that it was hard to fit anything in it! Before it held our pasta and L’s plates and bowls, but it was always a tight fit. It made no sense to me why the builders would put that small of a shelf as an upper cabinet in a kitchen.


Then we moved the coffee maker over, and it dawned on me – drink stuff! I cleaned out our shelf of coffees, teas, hot chocolates, etc and fit everything in there! SO much better!


Here is one of our food cupboards. As you can see, there’s NO rhyme or reason to anything in there. Pasta sauce is on two shelves, drink mixes are on the top and bottom, soups aren’t together. Ugh.


After clearing out a TON of expired food (wow!), moving the drink mixes to another cupboard and picking up some glass canisters, we now have an organized cupboard! Sauces are all together, pastas lined up in pretty canisters, extra pasta on the top shelf with other “extra” food. It’s great.


These two were our baking/canned good cupboard. I had already sorted out some of the baking stuff using disposable loaf pans I no longer needed, which helped out quite a bit. But as you can see, that was barely a drop in the bucket of what needed to be done!


I went though everything and turfed stuff that I only had a small amount of (unless it was bought recent) or stuff I know we’ve had for a while. The many bags of flour and oats were taken right out and placed on top of the cabinets. All the bagged or bulk stuff (like raisins, choc chips, were put in a bin to keep them all together, and all the canned goods were sorted and reogranized.


Now…the spicy stuff. This cabinet was a MESS! Empty jars, bagged spices – some of them were even duplicates! And Lord only knows how long that Kahlua bottle has been around (and better yet – why it was put back in the cupboard when it was nearly empty!!


Bulk spices and duplicates were sorted – empty jars were filled and the rest was either put into a plastic bin or tossed out. Epicure spices were pulled out of the box and put in the cupboard. Everything on top of the cupboard isn’t there anymore, either.


Ahhh…so much better!! Almost done with the kitchen. Recipies & cookbooks, fridge/freezer, and recycling centre are left. My kitchen has already been greatly transformed… wait till you see the before/after of the recycling!!

Wk 2b – Kitchen Cabinets

23 Feb

So here’s the second half of my Week 2 from the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home, dealing with the cabinets this time – non-food item ones. We actually don’t have a ton of cabinets. 5 of them are pretty small and 2 of them are really small! It was hard to imagine what they could effectively be used for. It took me 2 years to figure out it!!

The first few pictures I don’t have “before” shots for, mainly because there wasn’t much of a “before” to begin with! The first one is above our fridge and was actually empty! Now it holds our salad spinner, popcorn maker, blender and some take-out containers we use when we have guests for dinner and they take home leftovers (then we don’t have to worry about getting our good containers back!)

The cupboard above our microwave. I don’t even remember what was in there before. Now it has our rice cooker and rice, and L’s old drink containers. We’ll be using them soon enough for the Little One so I didn’t bother packing them away – they’d probably just get lost or something LOL

Next up is our dishes cupboard. I hate this cupboard. For some reason they used a corner cabinet here instead of a regular cabinet (the door to the kitchen is to the right of this cabinet so it’s not like it’s an actual “corner” you’d normally find these typs of cabinets in!). We had our plates in the back corner and me being the shortie I am, I had to stretch getting the damn plates out! We have a ton of coffee cups, but they took up the top and middle shelf – total waste of space. So I bought a couple of racks and re-sorted everything. All the coffee cups are now on the middle shelf and it almost completely freed up the top shelf! I’m now storing all my mason jars, freezer jars, wine glasses, etc up there. I had hoped to get two racks per shelf but they didn’t fit. I might pick up a couple corner ones next time I go out (they were out last time) and see if they fit.

No more stretching!!!

 This one was a head-scratcher. It’s so narrow and deep that it was hard to fit anything in it! It’s main purpose was to store our leftover food containers in there, but I hated it. Unless they were put back “just so” you could never match lids with containers. Believe it or not, it was easy to lose stuff in there!


 Now it holds our toaster, kettle, teapot, cheese slicer, Slap Chop, extra coffee travel mugs, etc.


Under the sink was a nightmare. Not only was there a ton of piping, but it also went all the way back into the corner – such wasted space. We stuck our deep fryer back there when we moved in 2.5 years ago and it hasn’t seen the light of day since!

Before: chaos!!
Before: Hello…ello…lo…
I bought an under-sink shelf but when I got home I realized that the pipes were in the way! Hubby took a hacksaw to it in order for it to fit. It works great!

After - ignore the bucket - our sink leaks!

After: still wasted space, but I don't think much can be done with it...

Now, I’m going to show you “before’s” of a couple of cabinets before doing the after…the first one is only a semi-before. It held our pots and pans as well, but we’ve since moved them… the second held our mixing bowls, corning ware, blender…can’t remember what else. 

Semi-before - still room for improvement



And here are the after’s. The pots/pans cabinet was reorganized with the pans also being moved elsewhere, and the mixing bowls were moved and that cabinet became the new home for the leftover food containers. 

After: still need a better solution to the lids..




Now…before I show you where the pots and bowls went, I need to show you one final “before”. I can’t believe I’m showing this – so embarrasing, But proves my point as to why I needed to join this challenge!!

Before - what a mess! And what a waste of space!

Now…where’d the pots and bowls  go? Why, here…

After: Extra countertop and more storage!

and here!

After - awesome, isn't it?!

We picked up a cart at Ikea to give us some more prep surface, as well as for extra storage. Since I put my KitchenAid mixer on it, I decided that it would be a good spot for the mixing bowls. The crock pot and my Magic Bullet stuff is on the bottom shelf. On the little freezer we now have the breadmaker and wine cooler!

As for the shelf, my awesome hubby built it! The pots are hanging from a rack from Ikea. I’m now on the hunt for pretty things to put up on the shelf!! Oh, and we also picked up a rack to hold our brooms and whatnot. SUCH a difference, eh?! I love it!!!

Leave me some feedback! So interested in what you think!

Wk 2a: Kitchen Drawer Organization

22 Feb

Week 2 of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home challenge deals with drawers and cabinets. This post is going to deal with the drawers. They were a MESS! We have so many utensils that we had some in a canister on the counter AND in a drawer! I’d go through it every once in a while and re-sort everything, but it was still always a mess. Not anymore!!

Here’s the before – crazy! Can you find our meat thermometer? I can’t!

Before - where's the can opener?!

And here’s the after: Sooooo much better! I went to Dollarama and bought a bunch of bins for the drawers to help organize things. Plus, we have most of the extra utensils on the counter in 3 separate canisters (an idea I got off of Pinterest – one each for baking, serving and cooking). Doing that freed up so much space in our drawers! And with only having 4 drawers, space was at a premium!

After - no problems finding the can opener now!

 Here’s the drawer that held all the baking utensils – measuring cups, measuring spoons. Another drawer that required some digging in order to find what I was looking for.

Before: What a mess!

 And now – the bins help keep it organized! I know exactly where to find the tiny ¼ teaspoon!

After: So much better!

This was our wraps and foils drawer. While it was pretty organized already, I hated that they took up an entire drawer!

Before: Not too bad...

 So I bought one of those wrap holders that goes on the back of a cupboard and freed up a bunch of room! This is now where I keep a lot of my baking stuff. Large spatulas, spreaders, cookie scoop, etc.


And finally the cutlery drawer. This one had become a catch-all for all the little paperwork we kept for some reason, like receipts from Christmas 2 years ago LOL.

Before: Too much clutter!
 I got rid of all the paperwork, turned the containers around, added a couple extra containers and voila –
After: Organized!!
 It has been SO nice to have organized drawers! We’ve been able to keep them this way for a few weeks now and have yet to add stuff that shouldn’t be in them!! No more junk drawers!!!

Coming next: the cabinets!

Wk 1: Kitchen Counters and Sink

21 Feb

I am so glad the first few weeks of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home deals with the kitchen. Our kitchen is rather….odd. It’s a good size, but there is so much wasted space and some of the space really had me wondering what to do with it. This week’s challenge focused on cleaning off and organizing your kitchen counters. We REALLY needed this challenge, so I’m doubly-glad it was first! We actually don’t have much counter space, or at least I thought we didn’t. Turns out it was just covered with crap that didn’t need to be there in the first place! Here’s some before/after pics:

This was the old “coffee” station. The cupboard above it has all our dishes so it made sense when we moved in to put the coffee maker here. Everything you see got a new home (or was put where it should have been, ie the shampoo LOL)

Before #1

And the after – I almost didn’t add the bananas here but figured the corner needed something besides the phone!

After #1

 The next before is the other side of the stove. Its where we do most of our prep. A lot of the stuff didn’t belong here (meds, cookies, etc)

Before #2

The after…so much more space! The green mixer was originally put in my donate/sell pile as I really don’t need it since getting a Magic Bullet, but I just love the look of it! I may still part with it yet, but for now it stays. I also plan on re-doing my utensil canisters after seeing an idea on Pinterest (where else?!). But I’ll save that for a little later.

After #2

Here’s one of the sink area. This space was ridiculous. Sink full of empty dishes (almost constantly), miscellaneous items around it and on the windowsill…

Before #3

And the after:

After #3

I know – crazy right?  So different!

 One last “before/after”. This spot usually had a dishrack planted on the counter. Because of the microwave shelf sticking out, it’s not a great spot for food prep, so we don’t really use it unless we’re both working in the kitchen (rarely) or the other counter is full (normal).
Before #4

After: hello new “coffee station”. 

After #3

This spot made so much more sense to have the coffeemaker here. Not only is the coffee maker now next to the sink (yay!  No more coffee drips on my floor!), but see that little cuboard next to the microwave?  The one that’s like 5″ wide? I had one HECK of a time figuring out what to use it for. It used to be for pastas and L’s dishes, but it was such a pita. Then it dawned on me – coffee’s, teas, hot chocolates, coffee grinder – they all fit perfectly in there! Only downside is the mugs are still above the old station. Might get a small mug tree or something, haven’t decided yet.

And there you have it. My first week in the organzation challenge!  I think I did pretty good! I LOVE how clean my counters are (and that we’ve been able to keep them relatively cleared off!)

Now….wait till you see the rest of the kitchen “transformation”. Holy Hannah! 

52-Weeks To An Organized Home

20 Feb

I don’t know about you, but seeing my house look like a disaster zone day in and day out Stresses The Crap Out Of Me. I get short-tempered, I proclaim constantly how I hate this house (we’ve been here just over 2 years now) and get downright ticked off that it can’t stay clean for more than 5 minutes. What’s up with that?! Unfortunately, moving is out of the question, so in the New Year I decided that it was time to organize (and maybe work in a little decor stuff here and there) so I can come to love this house again. I know our biggest problem is that we have no real place for things…proper storage and organization is seriously lacking in this house.

Then I found Taylor over at Home Storage Solutions 101 <insert angels singing from the Heavens here>. She has a challenge over there – 52 Weeks To An Organized Home – that I’m hoping will help with my “resolution”. Each week she gives us a new challenge. What I love about it is that it’s broken down into areas so you can concentrate on one thing at a time. Not only do I find it much less overwhelming that way, but it gives me a chance to really think about a solution rather that doing just a quick fix that won’t work a week later.

I’m hoping to document my progress here – share my befores and afters, offer some of my own tips I discover along the way and hopefully inpsire others! I have two young kids around, so I might not get everything done on time and I might skip a few things that don’t pertain to me, but as I complete things I’ll try and update this post with links to each week’s blog progress. As you can see, even though I started this during the first week of January, I’m quite a ways behind. I’ve done a lot of the stuff, just need to find time to post it! If you haven’t checked out her site, I encourage you to do so! She has a bunch of great tips and tricks, and a ton of free printables you can use!!

  • Week 1: Kitchen organization: countertops and sink
  • Week 2: Kitchen drawers and kitchen cabinet organization
  • Week 3: Organize pantry, spices and food storage areas
  • Week 4: Organizing refrigerator and freezer
  • Week 5: Organize recipes and cookbooks
  • Week 6: Create a home recycling center (plus dealing with trash)
  • Week 7: Organize coupons
  • Week 8: Healthy meal planning and creating grocery shopping list
  • Week 9: Addresses / contact information
  • Week 10: Mail
  • Week 11: Bill paying
  • Week 12: Recipts / tax documents
  • Week 13: Filing system
  • Week 14: Magazines and newspapers
  • Week 15: Email and internet passwords, manuals and warranties
  • Week 16: Home office
  • Week 17: Cleaning supplies
  • Week 18: Bathroom
  • Week 19: Medicine cabinet
  • Week 20: Entryway / mud room
  • Week 21: Living room / family room
  • Week 22: Dining room / kitchen eating area
  • Week 23: Laundry room
  • Week 24: Laundry baskets and hampers
  • Week 25: Purses / briefcases
  • Week 26: Books
  • Week 27: CDs and DVDs
  • Week 28: Photos
  • Week 29: Crafts
  • Week 30: Vehicles
  • Week 31: Pets
  • Week 32: Yard / garden
  • Week 33: Basement
  • Week 34: Attic
  • Week 35: Garage
  • Week 36: Homework area / launching pad
  • Week 37: Linen closet
  • Week 38: Master bedroom closet
  • Week 39: Seasonal clothing switch
  • Week 40: Master bedroom
  • Week 41: Jewelry / accessories
  • Week 42: Shoes
  • Week 43: Makeup / cosmetics
  • Week 44: Organizing closet space for your kids
  • Week 45: Kids’ bedroom organizing challenge
  • Week 46: Organize toys and games
  • Week 47: Create personal home inventory
  • Week 48: Storage for china, glassware and crystal
  • Week 49: Storing silver properly to inhibit tarnishing
  • Week 50: Christmas decoration storage and organization
  • Week 51: Organize wrapping paper and gift bags
  • Week 52: Keep a family calendar