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Order Your Groceries Online

by Home Heart Strings

Order Your Groceries Online

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When it comes to saving time in the kitchen, having everything you need within reach is probably one of the most important things you can do. If you’ve set up different areas in your kitchen, one for prep work, one for cooking, one for cleaning, and one for planning, you know how much easier it is to find things.

However, inside those centers lurks a hidden clutter – the pantry. Yes, behind that door is an accumulation of hundreds, if not thousands, of trips to the grocery store, ending in a hurried stashing of all your supplies. The result is a mess.

You can close your eyes to this mess by closing the door, but it comes back to haunt you every time you try to make a quick meal. The moment you open that door and start hunting and digging for supplies, precious time starts ticking away. That’s why organizing your pantry is so important to the overall success of your mealtime streamlining process. Let’s take a look at a few suggestions for tackling this area of the kitchen to organize it properly.

Clear the Decks

Trying to sort through every little packet, jar, box, and envelope while it sits on the pantry shelves is going to just frustrate you. There’s no way around this task; you must completely clear out your pantry.

Get out boxes and start taking everything out of the pantry. You may want to keep a trash can or box handy for items you know are either outdated or that you will never use. Once the entire pantry is empty, you can wipe down the shelves and get ready to organize.

Rethink the Space

If you put the stuff back into your pantry in exactly the same way it came out, chances are you will fall into the same clutter trap in no time. You need to redesign your pantry space to make better sense. That doesn’t mean you need to invest in expensive storage units or completely rebuild your pantry. It does mean you need to rethink the area you have and look at empty space with a critical eye.

Does your pantry have a door? If so, attach narrow shelves to the door, or hang a ‘shoe bag’ over the door. That little extra space can add up to a whole lot of storage. Also, because the spot is small, it can corral some of those tiny little packets that keep getting pushed to the back of the pantry.

Install ‘step shelves’ so the items in the back are lifted up and you can see them. Invest in inexpensive ‘lazy Susan’ type units so you can spin items to the front where you can get a hold of them. If you have space on the floor, think of the space more like a drawer, putting plastic bins down that you can pull out, rather than rummaging around trying to unearth items that are buried behind other items.

Think in Groups

The most efficient way to organize items in a pantry is by use, not by size. If you rarely use that bottle of sesame oil, then why keep it up front? I know it’s small, but it makes more sense to put it in the back on your ‘step shelf’ than in the front where you are constantly moving it to get at bigger products you use every day.

Keep the items you use most frequently up front and at eye level. Organize them by type so you know without even looking where you will need to reach for the canned tomatoes, the spaghetti noodles, or the breadcrumbs. If you have seasonings, spices, and herbs you use almost every meal, keep those in one bin right in front, and put the remaining spices on a ‘lazy Susan’ in the back of the pantry.

If you buy in bulk, you will obviously have large bags and boxes of food items you use often. You can put small amounts in reusable containers and keep the items in the ‘grab and use’ area of the pantry or you can keep the items in bulk and put them in plastic bins on the lower level or on the floor. Using plastic bins allows for sliding them out from the pantry, like a drawer, keeping the products more accessible. Either method gets the products you use most often up front, making mealtime preparation faster and easier.

Put it Where it Belongs

Once you have your pantry organized in easy to grab groups, you need to keep it that way. You may wish to label bins, either with words or pictures, to help the family put things where they belong. Even the youngest child will understand that the rice goes in a bin with a picture of rice on it. This is one way to eliminate the “I don’t know where it goes” cry.

The trickiest part of this whole organizing task is keeping things where they belong. Constantly nagging the family to “put it back where it belongs” gets tiring for everyone. You may have to monitor things for a while and come up with some teaching method for those who carelessly ignore your efforts. Of course, the consequences are simple and evident when dinner is delayed because somebody didn’t put the beans back where they belong.

Getting dinner on the table fast, and with less effort, is a goal we all have. None of us wants to spend all day or night in the kitchen. When time is at a premium, mealtime preparations can be given a time-saving boost by giving your pantry a make-over. As simple as it sounds, that little space in your kitchen can cost you a lot of time or save you a lot of time. You choose!




Organized Home, Happy Family

by Home Heart Strings

Organized Home, Happy Family

Experts agree that clutter is costly.  It’s costly not only in the amount of time it takes us to find the things we need, but also in hurt feelings among family members who don’t like clutter.  They may want to entertain but feel they can’t because your house is too cluttered.  When you remove the clutter you’ll have an organized home and a happy family, and you’ll enjoy your home much more.

If you’ve had clutter in your home for very long you may have become “clutter blind”.  You may not even realize how bad it is but your family members may become irritated and resentful because the clutter is keeping them from inviting guests over or being able to find what they need.

Clutter does more than just wear on your family’s emotions.  It may become a way to avoid dealing with what is going in your life – a way to insulate you from something that has hurt you.  Some people hold on to clutter because they’ve had tragedies in the past and are afraid to let go.  Let go, however, is necessary if you want to reclaim your home, your family, and your life.

Many people with seriously cluttered homes may want to clear the clutter from their homes.  However, they are overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” and don’t know where to start.  Starting to de-clutter is often the hardest thing.  After getting started, they then have to face the task of letting go.

Families that have a lot of clutter to live with may experience any of the following:

  • Frustration and anger over the amount of clutter
  • Family battles over getting rid of things
  • Shame or guilt to the point they won’t let anyone come into their home
  • Depression and feeling stuck in a situation of their own making
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed by the clutter and life

After the clutter is cleared away you may find that you feel relief, appreciation for the items you’ve kept, appreciation for your family and home, clear headed, able to make decisions, more focused, and productive.

There will also be less tension and fighting among your family members.  Everyone will be able to relax more than when the clutter took over the home.  You’ll also be amazed that you’ll actually have more time for your family because you won’t be wasting so much time looking for things.  What’s more, you and your family will be able to actually invite friends over without fear of embarrassment or being ashamed because of amount of clutter in your home.

Clutter makes your home unorganized.  When you are able to let go of the clutter and organize your home you’ll be amazed at the transformation that takes place.  You’ll have an organized home and a happy family, and you’ll feel much better about yourself.



Getting the Whole Family to Help You Get Organized

When you’re the woman of the house, it’s often expected that you’re going to be the one primarily in charge of keeping the home clean and running smoothly.   You may not be able to do everything, however, and really need to get the whole family to help you get organized.

Division of labor in the home is one topic that causes stress among families.  The man of the house often feels that the house is the woman’s domain and therefore he shouldn’t have to help.  And we know what happens when we ask the children to help with chores.  You’d think we asked them to walk over broken glass or something equally sinister.

The problem with organizing the home and delegation of chores is that you may work away from the home as well.  Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, that doesn’t mean you’re the only one who does the work.  If everyone made the clutter or the mess, it only makes sense that everyone in the family should help to organize and clean.

First, getting the whole family to help you get organized will take some effort.  Be sure not to nag and coerce them into helping just to get to you stop nagging.  They’ll only resent you for it.  Ask them to help, giving them tasks they may find enjoyable, or at least not completely boring.

If you can get everyone to take care of their own messes, it will make your job easier.  Have them put their own clothes in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor, take their dishes to the sink when they’re done, and clean up anything they spill.  Help them remember that you’re not a slave and that everyone in the family is expected to chip in with the chores.

When your children are younger, you may have to spend extra time teaching them how to clean and organize their own things.  The effort, if they are receptive to learning, will be well worth it in the future.  You won’t have to worry about their being able to take care of their own things, they will be less likely to lose them, and they’ll be better prepared to live on their own when the time comes.

Staying organized, at least as far as being where you’re supposed to be on time, will be easier if everyone knows how to read a calendar.  Whenever the children bring home a paper with an important date to remember, transfer it to a family calendar.  Color-code the calendar so everyone has their own color.  You’ll all be able to look at the calendar and quickly see if you have something to do that day.

To help keep the home organized and running smoothly, you may have to get creative.  Your goal is to help everyone learn personal responsibility even if that means being tough when someone doesn’t pitch in.  Encourage each family member in a way that will appeal and you’re closer to getting the whole family to help you get organized and clean up the house.