Category Archives: Organisation

Cleaning that is Kind to the Environment

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About a year ago I tried to limit my use of paper towel about the house.  I bought up a heap of white face washers and used them for cleaning in the place of paper towel.  It worked really well until my cloths became stained and ragged. I found myself less likely to reach into the kitchen cupboard to grab a cloth and more likely to use a paper towel again.

Feeling guilty, I got myself into gear and organised myself with a new set of cleaning cloths. This time I bought a HUGE bag of microfiber cloths. They will last longer than the face washers and will do a better job.  They also came in a variety of colours so that I could give each cleaning ‘zone’ a different coloured wipe.

Part of the problem with using cloths last time was the fact that they were tucked away in the cupboard.  I had the plan to keep them in a nice jar on the counter, but white clothes are only display-worthy for a month or so. These new microfiber cloths have been in use for over a month and still look new, so I repurposed a lolly jar I had in the cupboard as my cleaning cloth storage.

Environmental Cleaning

Until hubby gets the colour coding down pat, I have labelled the jars with a Sharpie…..I will no doubt have to look for a more permanent label :)

What environmental cleaning practises do you use?

 

 

 

Meal Planning and Organising Recipes

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Life has been crazy about the Crooked Household and it is set to get crazier.

We have just had the inside of the house painted and the outside is soon to start. With that came A LOT of cleaning, redecorating and the implementation of some new organising systems. A bit of hard work, but a lot of fun for someone like me. I hope to share some of the changes  with you soon.

I am returning to part-time work shortly so lots of planning is underway so that it all goes smoothly. And so came about the topic of today’s blog post – meal planning and recipe organisation. I know that if I want to avoid ending up a frazzled mess that I need to have this sorted. So today, with the kids away at daycare and school, I sat down and planned my attack. Here is my planning thus far…..

1. What types of meals do I need?

I am lucky that with my teaching timetable that I only have one full day of teaching per week, the rest of the days I have to be in for morning or afternoon classes. This gives me some time for meal preparation, but I really want to avoid being stuck in the kitchen. So I need easy and quick meals and some good slow cooker and freezer meals. I also need a good freezer load of lunchbox treats for the boys.

2. Gathering the recipes

I keep most of my recipes on Pinterest. I have written about that here.

Using Pinterest to organise recipes 2

I also have quite a few Thermomix and Jamie Oliver cookbooks which are perfect for quick and easy meals.

Normally I am all for conserving paper, but until I have this ‘Working Mum’ thing under wraps, I thought it best to print or photocopy our most used recipes. This way they are easy to find, especially for hubby should he be on cooking duty.

3. Meal Planning

I am pretty happy with how I meal plan so that will be left as is.  I plan out what we will eat for dinner on the weekend and pin-up the recipe names on a magnetic board inside the pantry.

Meal Planner

You can read more about this here.

3. Storing the Recipes

I have broken the recipes up into categories – Baking, Breakfast, Easy Meals, Slow Cooker and Freezer Meals, and placed them into folders.

Organising recipes

These folders will sit in the kitchen in this nifty organiser I picked up from Kmart.

Organising recipes

Lots of other space for organising ‘things’ there. Exciting! Or,  perhaps tragic?

So there is one planning task ticked off the ‘To Do’ list.

Stay close by the blog in the next few weeks. I have lots to show you.

 

Little Boys’ Bedroom Redecoration

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Here is a little bedroom redecoration teaser…..I am waiting for the room to be repainted before I can really get my hands on the room but take a look at what I have already purchased for the redo…..

Just before Christmas we decided to move our two boys into a room together. We weren’t sure how it would all go, but we could not be happier.

The room was previously decorated in a dinosaur theme…… Dinosaur themed boys bedroom

And this worked for both of them while I could buy matching dinosaur linen for our youngest’s cot. However, once Master C moved to a big bed, I could no longer source a comforter to match his brother’s.  Apparently that is a big deal to a 2 year old.

So I was forced to visit my favourite Children’s linen store, Adair’s Kids ;) . Here we chose a travel/plane themed ‘Toby’ comforter and the matching cushions.

Decorating a Boy's Room

Decorating a Boy's Room

Decorating a Boy's Room

Isn’t the suitcase cushion the cutest!? That is what really sold me on the whole set.

I didn’t love the matching artwork that they sold in Adairs, so it took some hunting to come up with something to go on the walls.  Finally I found two very amazing Etsy stores with the most amazing prints.

Firstly, I picked up this set from the lovely Trish at Strawberry Jam Studio.

Redecorating Little Boys' Room

 

And here it is framed waiting to be hung in a freshly painted room. (Sorry for the poor picture, the weather here is still miserable!)

Decorating Little Boys' Room

I cannot rave enough about how amazing Trish’s customer service was. Thank you, Trish!

The colours perfectly suit the linen. The boys love the dog and giraffe flying the planes and I love the typography and quote.

The other piece I picked out for the room was this brightly coloured world map from Wallfry. Decorating Little Boys' Bedroom

Decorating Little Boys' RoomAgain, the colours are perfect and the Geography teacher in me loves a map.

So there is the start of the makeover. I am itching to sort out some better storage solutions in this room now that Master O has started school. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Freezer Cooking: Quick, Kid Friendly Lunchbox Snacks and Midweek Meals

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My eldest starts school this week so I have been making a few lunchbox snacks to keep in the freezer. As I am also anticipating a lot of exhausted and hungry afternoons, I thought it might be best to get together a few kid friendly meals that I could whip out of the freezer if I needed to.  Here is what I made….

Cheese and bacon scrolls and cinnamon scrolls, ready to defrost and bake.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Fruity Pikelets.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Bliss balls.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

And for dinners…..

Kid size lasagne,

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

and pumpkin arancini balls.Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

This bit of effort should save me some trouble in the next few weeks. Whoo-hoo!

I also have dozens of other lunchbox recipes and ideas I want to get around to trying out.  I have been pinning madly so that I don’t loose them! If you want to gather some inspiration, or grab the recipe for any of the things I made above, take a look at my Lunchbox Recipes Pinterest page.

Have a great week.

Organising Children’s Art Supplies With Tupperware

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A while back I gave my pantry a makeover.  With the addition of the Thermomix in the kitchen, my pantry underwent a change.  There were a lot less cans and processed foods and a whole lot more basic ingredients. I desperately needed more storage containers and I was just not prepared to drop a grand on Tupperware to house it. As I hate to miss-match, the Tupperware I did own, came out of the pantry and went into storage.

Looking at the Tupperware taking up space in my storage cupboard today, I decided I had to make use of it.  I went to my most hated storage solution, the kids’ craft tub and decided that Tupperware might just save the day.

The old craft tub was huge and filled with a million bits and pieces. The half empty packets and the buttons and  beads laying loose made finding what I needed a challenge.

After a good purge and some help from the littlies to sort, we filled most of my spare Tupperware containers.

Using Tupperware to Organise Craft Supplies

Using Tupperware to Organise Craft Supplies

If our little collection of craft supplies should exceed our Tupperware collection, I will just pick up the super cheap knock-off version you can get in Kmart.

Kmart's Tupperware Knock-off

I love that I regained some space and made good use of the once wasted Tupperware.  I think that craft time will be a lot less painful with this storage solution. 

Starting School: Lunchbox Preparation

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Next week my eldest starts school for the first time <Insert welling tears>.

Here in Australia, the school year follows a calendar year. So, after a long summer holiday celebrating Christmas and New Year, we have to prepare to return to a new school year.

I am trying to bury my growing nervousness with organising ourselves for this new adventure.  Oh. So. Much. Organising!

So far the most challenging for me has been lunchbox/lunch logistics.

In the past I have been less than organised in this department and I plan to rectify that this year.  Here is the game plan…….

I have created myself a Lunch Box Planner.  The idea will be to sit down and organise what Master O will take for the week when I create the household meal plan. Hopefully my munchkin will help out with that bit!

Lunch Box Planner

I have printed and laminated the planner so I can write on it with whiteboard markers and wipe it clean.  I have secured it inside the door of the lunchbox cupboard using velcro dots so I will be able to remove and replace it each week.

With lunchbox planning sorted, I turned to organising what the lunch would be taken to school in.

I researched heaps of different lunch boxes/cooler bags and settled on a Fridge to Go. They guarantee that they stay fridge cold for 8 hours.  Important in our very hot climate.

Fridge to go

 

I want to make Master O’s lunchbox as rubbish free as possible, so I purchased some Keep Leaf snack and Sandwich baggies.

Keep Leaf Baggie

Some Sinchies for yoghurt.Sinchies

And some Nude Food Movers for other bits and pieces.

Snack Boxmuffin container

For Kindy last year I bought Master O a Contigo drink bottle.  Despite the punishment my 4-year-old gave it, including almost daily dropping on concrete,  it is still going strong. This year we thought we would try another Contigo.

Contigo Drink BottleThe final preparations for Master O’s lunchbox continues later this week as I bake a few snack  items to freeze. I have been fishing for some new healthy recipes to try. I will share what I end up making later in the week.

If you are planning for a return to school, good luck! For the rest of you, have a great day!

 

 

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

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In the hope of avoiding  the shopping centre crush at Christmas time, I have well and truly begun my Christmas shopping.

In years past, my present buying had been a bit haphazard. This year I was determined to be organised by writing a list of gift ideas and items purchased, as well as keeping my receipts in one place.

I decided I needed a pocket book in which to keep this information. Instead of going out to buy one, I made one using left over craft paper from last Christmas.

The whole thing was really simple and quick to make.

I didn’t have any double-sided paper left, so I stuck some coordinated prints together to make three,  30 x 30 cm double-sided pieces of paper. If you wanted to do this,  you could use paper or light card and alter the size and number of  sheets to suit the size pocket book you need.

I folded the base of each sheet to make a little pocket.DIY Christmas Pocket Book

 

I held down and secured the sides of the pockets with a glue tape.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

I folded each sheet of paper in half, using a ruler to get the folds crisp.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

I stacked the pockets on top of each other and used the sewing machine to bind them together along the fold line.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

This configuration of folded sheets gave me a good number of pockets to place receipts or vouchers and some blank pages on which to write my Christmas present ideas.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

I have divided each spread up for the different individuals or groups/families I buy gifts for.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

The front cover was screaming out for a little prettiness so my youngest helped me glue some buttons in a wreath shape on the front.DIY Christmas Pocket Book

This little book now lives in my handbag. I am never without my ideas list at the shops and my receipts can be stowed safely inside straight away.

How do you keep your Christmas buying organised?

 

Children’s Flash Card and Activity Book Storage

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For the last week I have been on a mission to organise those annoying bits and pieces about the house and garden. I hope to pop some posts up about these little projects because even if your abode doesn’t suffer from the same annoyance, you might get some inspiration to help you with something about the house. I know that is often how I get my ideas on how to tackle things. Today I focused on the tackling some kid’s mess.

My 4-year-old loves activity books.  You know the sort… with pre-writing, easy letter or number activities?

A while back I bought a whole heap of them on sale and they each came with a set of flash cards. He has every conceivable set available – numbers, letters, words just to name a few.

I had these stored in a basket but the boys had got into it for some card-throwing fun.  All the sets were jumbled and their cardboard cases squished.  They needed some organising know how.

Not too long ago I picked up one of these very cute A5 accordion file at Officeworks for just a few dollars.Organising Kid's Flash Cards

I loved the green colour and knew something or other would benefit from its addition to the house.  Enter the flash cards.

After spending a ridiculous amount of time rearranging the cards into their packs, I slotted them into the file and labelled each section.

Organising Kid's Activties

Now the flash cards are secured inside, no accidental drop will send these babies flying.  The box also has a handle which makes it easy to move around the house.Organising Kid's Activties

As for the activity books, they had been kept messily in a  drawer. I thought it best to pull them out and place them into something that made them easier to see and access.

I rummaged through my storage cupboard to find a Mimi Separator from Howards Storage World. I had used it to store things in my freezer of all places but it was no longer needed.

Organising Kid's Activties

It has handles and is perfect for moving to where the action is taking place

Now that these things are neat, I have decided that they are more than welcome to stay out.  I found a place for them in the kids’ playroom. By adding this cute container that once had a life as a recipe holder, I added some pencils and made a little station for these activities.

Organising Kid's Activties

Organising Kid's Activties

I love it when you find a nifty solution to your organising problems. Especially when you find the solution amongst the items making your storage cupboard messy.  It is like killing two birds with one stone!

Homework / School Paperwork Drop Zone

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As Kindergarten approaches last term and primary school starts next year for my eldest, we know our relatively ‘carefree’ parenting days are over.  Around the corner looms homework, permission slips and assignments, just to name a few.

At the moment, most of the paperwork that comes into the home from school is managed at the fridge – with magnets, or worse, is kept in the car glovebox!  It is beginning to look messy and things are being forgotten.  Increasingly the tasks sent home require some action from my son and I wanted these pieces to be more accessible to him.

So I set out to create a drop zone for all this ‘stuff’. I decided the best place to keep this was on the back of his bedroom door. That way it wasn’t taking up precious space in our living areas and it was accessible for my son.

Here is what the completed zone looks like.

Homework / School Paperwork Drop Zone

The zone is made up of …..

  • My After School Routine printable,  downloaded from Living Locurto.  We have had it pinned around the house for over a year now, so it makes sense for it to be placed in this zone now
  • A magnetic white board calendar (Quartet). Perfect for recording all those easily forgotten datesHomework / School Paperwork Drop Zone
  • Different sized plastic organisers (Ikea Pluggis).  These provide spots for holding pens for signing paperwork, writing on the calendar and Sharpies for labeling items heading to school.  Small containers for holding bits and bobs like ID cards and badges. Finally, a file to hold items like signed permission slips that need to be returned to school    Homewoork / School Paperwork Drop Zone
  • Plastic file holders (Martha Stewart Large Vertical Plastic Pocket) . One to hold general school paperwork like newsletters and tuckshop menus, the other for classroom paperwork like homework.Homewoork / School Paperwork Drop Zone

I have started to transfer the paperwork from my various ‘filing’ areas into this zone – a useful project as I found out that I am meant to be a fundraiser this weekend!  I am looking forward to testing its full usefulness beginning next week.

Organising the Pantry: Spice it Up

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This week I decided that I really needed to handle the spice situation in my pantry.  They were contained in baskets on the pantry shelves but it was just too hard to find what I needed, when I needed it.

A plan developed when I found these adjustable spice racks made by Storage Box at Bunnings.

spice-rack-4-tier-adjustable-white-wire-ltw

Hubby kindly screwed two of these to the inside of the pantry door for me.  They were really quick to install.

Rather than throw my mishmash of spice bottles into the shelves, I went to Howard’s Storage to find some Decor Tellfresh Spice containers.  I had some of these at home and I found they fitted nicely into the new spice rack.  Unfortunately they no longer seem to make the clear lid containers and instead have shiny red ones.  I love them but my desire for things to match didn’t.  Deciding I just had to be a big girl and suck it in, I bought the red set.

So here are all my spices within easy reach.  There is heaps of space remaining for any other items I might need to store here.

Spice Rack - Pantry Organisation

Spice Rack - Pantry Organisation

Spice Rack - Pantry Organisation

The best thing about this spice solution is that I have utilised the unused space behind my pantry door and hence freed up shelf space.  The fact that the shelves are adjustable mean I can rearrange them in order to store something other than itty bitty spice containers.

One problem solved this week….another 1001 to go!

How do you store your spices?