Monday, January 21, 2013

Bright and Shiny Part 3: Organizing My Head

Remember how I told you about my recipe binders the other day?  Just before I dove into to my recipe reorganization project, I read Sarah's post about her binder.  I knew she used one, but the timing was just too perfect, so I decided to give her binder method a try because my head needed some organization, too.

You see, there is a small section of counter-top right next to our refrigerator.  There are no outlets there, so no appliances call it home.  And, it's too small to actually make food on, so it never gets food-messy.  This has become "my" counter space.  I have a small bulletin board propped against the wall where I tack coupons and gift cards, my camera sits there, my lists are spread out, mail that's ready to send can be found there as can more lists, and also paperwork that needs attention.  On that side of the fridge itself are more lists: project lists, shopping lists, meal planning lists, etc.

Side note:  One time as we were getting ready to go on vacation, Jamey threatened to take a picture of my counter-full of lists.  I think I had about ten going.  But now, let me explain...there were lists about things we needed to ask the neighbors to do, there were packing lists, things to do before we left, phone calls that needed to be made, what needed packing in the coolers, closing up the house chores, etc.  You get it right?  I was justified with my ten lists...right?

My goal with the binder was to get this section of my kitchen streamlined and organized, therefore organizing my mind.  Well, at least I wanted it to be a way to organize all the things I don't want to forget.  And, with a mind like a sieve (I blame the children), there are a lot of things to remember.  Here is what I came up with:

No, I'm not in elementary school.  This was something I thought we might use for school, but didn't.  I turned it into a place to jot down the meal I have planned for that evening (I was just starting the first week and didn't have it all planned yet) as well as reminders/to-do items.  The following tabs hold the following lists inside....

Meals tab: This section holds a list of the meals I have ingredients for.

Shopping tab: Here I have post-its stuck to the page with the store name at the top.  We try really hard to combine trips and plan ahead.  If we realize we're going to be out near one of the stores we frequent, we can pull the list off on our way out the door.

Posts tab: Blog post ideas. Have any suggestions?

Keeping Track:  This section holds several pages of lists including my Christmas Idea List, my project list (for when I have larger chunks of time), photo books completed list (so I know where to pick up with the next one), and kid milestones/funny quotes page (to add to their yearly summary I write at their birthdays).

Behind these tabs are a few more recipes that are still in plastic sleeves and behind those, a section on special occasion ideas for our table.  The sleeves make these photos look a little weird, but you get the idea.

Most of these ideas came from the Martha Stewart magazines I decided to recycle.  We've made the little acorn men before- they're so cute.  I can't wait to do something similar to the chocolate bunnies at Easter.  The bottom one is likely my favorite.  If we ever have Christmas at home, I want to make these.

With this project complete, my counter-top holds the binder, camera, letter organizer, tissue box, and hand sanitizer (for when Jamey gets home from work).  The side of the fridge is less cluttered as well with only the grocery list posted there (so it's handy for Jamey if he uses something up).  With all my "stuff" in one place, tucked into a neat binder no-less, it gives this organization-junkie peace of mind.

Well, at least until I can think of something else that needs reorganization.  Can you nest even when you're not expecting? Pin It


  1. I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with 10 lists. Nothing at all. As a matter of fact, I find it quite normal. :)

  2. LOL! Nesting without expecting? Yes! You can and I do! It seems like every January I go through a big cleaning/organizing binge. It just makes me feel better! Thanks for sharing an update on your recipe binder. Mine is slowly becoming organized as well!

    (formerly Long story!)

  3. I agree with Michelle. NOTHING wrong with 10 lists. I start lists all the time. I have lists of projects I want to try, tomatoes to look for, things to find at my mother's house, things to take to my mother's house next time, questions I need to ask someone... if I don't write it down, I will forget! My kitchen area/meal planning stuff is in dire need of a an overhaul, but it's not the top of that list yet. :)

  4. I just did this myself 2 weeks ago. There was a constant pile of papers on the edge of the island, coupled with the bulletin board hanging over the pantry door, the grocery list clipped to a shelf. Our kitchen looked in disarray! I picked up a binder and inserts at Target, combined everything and couldn't be happier! I clip a weekly schedule to the front of the binder so I can quickly glance at what's planned for dinner, if there are any appointments to keep, etc. It makes me immensely happy to have the piles gone and the system streamlined.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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