Friday, September 23, 2011

What I Shared With The Ladies - Part 5

Continued from Part 1 ... and Part 2 ... and Part 3 ... and Part 4 ...

Getting organized …
Let me give you a few of my most basic organizational tips …

IN THE KITCHEN :

Menu planning ! This will save not only your sanity but your time and your money ! It also helps you eat more healthily. I plan a menu and shop once a week.

I plan a few different ways. One way is activity based. This is the way I plan most commonly. I write down the activities (sports, music, homegroup etc ...) that we have on each night and taking into consideration the time restraints, plan meals around the activities. For instance, Tuesday nights are CRAZY ! Because of this, we almost always have a crock pot meal that is ready when we get home from swimming, or something that we had in the freezer that we can just reheat.

Another way is a quick throw together menu. This is simple meals, mostly ones I have cooked before and know will be great. I usually throw together a menu like this when I haven't got a lot of time to plan ...

"Theme" night based. I do this when I want a bit more variety. I'll plan pasta one night, beans another, fish, sandwiches, soup, pizza and salad. You could do whatever you want, it just means you are getting lots of variety. I don't do this one very often but it serves it's purpose when I do.

Sometimes we do special diets. Like, when we over did our eating on holidays so came back and decided not to eat carbs for a few weeks. These menus are much more structured ... usually including breakfast and lunch instead of just dinner.

Having a menu means the meals are planned and the groceries are purchased and so we are going to be more successful at eating healthy (if I have planned healthy meals) foods !

Having a menu saves time and money. Like I said, I plan once a week and then never have to think about what we are going to eat ... or find time to get to the grocery store during the week. It also means we have fewer unplanned eating out times. (another big money saver !)

I have been planning menus for a long time now. I've been posting my menu's on my cooking blog for a few years ... as has my friend Khrista. And occasionally my cousins Pam and Jill. I love reading other people's menu plans ... I get so many great ideas. One place I visit on line to read other people's menu plans is "I'm an Organizing Junkie" ... She hosts Menu Plan Monday once a week, on (you guessed it) Mondays. Hundreds of bloggers post their menu plans there each week ...

Being organized doesn't mean that life will always be smooth ! It doesn't mean nothing will ever NOT go to plan.

The two weeks leading up to my talk are a good example. I was using every spare moment to finalize this talk and one morning Jono had no clean school shorts so we were late for school. The next morning he was sick, I sent him to school. The next morning he was still sick so he came to work with me, then Alia got upset about going to school alone. She wouldn't stop crying ! At the same time we had no hot water for two days, there was extra pressure on at work because lots of people were sick. The kids didn't want to go to their weekly Zumba and swimming sessions when I had planned those times for working on the handout for my talk. Then the day before my talk Alia wakes up with a sore ear and that same evening I broke (shattered into a bazillion pieces !) a six pack of beer on the kitchen floor !!!! …. etc etc etc

LIFE HAPPENS !!

BUT … for me, being organized means that when something doesn't go to plan, it's not the end of the world.

AROUND THE HOUSE : (including the kitchen !)

My main rule in organizing my home is ... “if it doesn't have a home, it can't live in my house.” I have two options ~find it a home or get rid of it !

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The first thing I suggest doing is getting a box, going around the house and gathering up the things that don't have a home. Then find them a home or get rid of them !

You can get rid of things by having a garage sale (I like to go to them but not have them) . Selling them on ebay. Freecycle it. Give it away to a friend. Give it to the salvos (or any second hand shop) Throw it away.

Once everything has a home, it's much easier to keep your home organized and tidy … it's just a matter of putting things back in their home once you are done using them !

I've written a few organization type posts on this blog ... here there are if you are interested.
Keeping track of Library Books
My Sister's Freezer Organization
My 'brain" ... I only have ONE NOTEBOOK now but like I said ... organization means change !
Brain Book ... (the new one) ... with totally embarrassing VIDEO footage !
What to do with wrapping paper ?
What to do with kids memorabilia ? (these boxes live in the garage in this new house)
Pantry Overhaul
Our Garage (we don't have the furniture in there anymore ... just one chair, and our new car !)
Home Management ... (the kids still work off their charts but i don't clean anymore ... neither does Rory. when i started working 5 days a week, we hired a lady to come clean for us once a week. i love her ! she saves me hours of time and frustration !!)

As far as organizing your TIME … for me it's about priorities.

Make a list of what you need to accomplish | daily | weekly | in the next two hours ! Number the list by priority level and start to work your way through. This way, even if you don't get through the whole list, you know you've gotten the most important things done ....



USING YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE HOURS:

I'm a night owl by nature. But I'm in bed by 9:30 on weeknights. And I get up early … I know that when I stay up late, I'm not as productive. Not then. And not the next day. I know, from years of experience, that I am more productive in the quiet morning hours.



I have a basic plan for my day that is routine as well as flexible.

5:00 my alarm goes off. I lay in bed and read email & facebook (i love my iPhone !) I find this wakes me up and makes it easier to get out of bed !

What happens after that varies from day to day … I'll do a load of washing | a bit of gardening | update the budget on the computer | write a blog post | plan the menu | grocery shop – online | read | play with my camera | etc ...

I enjoy the morning hours !

The rest of the day is school, work, after school activities, dinner time, relax time and then bed !

... stay tuned for part 6 and a post or two full of favorite recipes ... COMING SOON !!

1 comments:

Mari September 24, 2011 at 11:55 AM  

I do a lot of the same things - menu planning, list making, finding things a home... However - I could learn from you on going to bed on time. I get up at 5 every morning to go to work, but I love being up at night and often don't go to bed until 11. Bad habit!
I've really enjoyed these posts!

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