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HOME/ Organizing/ Seasonal

5 Steps To A Clean Pantry + Keep A Clean Home Free Printable

clean-pantry-pin

According to my “Keeping A Clean Home” Printable, I am due for a good seasonal pantry cleaning. It is perfect timing as the holidays are coming, so I need to see what I have and make room for the holiday cooking and baking items I need.

I will have people all up in my kitchen, opening cupboards and helping me prepare—talk about motivating! I love having a full kitchen during the holidays, but I don’t want to cringe when someone opens my pantry or cabinets! I know you feel me.

It will also be very helpful to know exactly what I have in my pantry when I am holiday menu planning, and really just meal planning in general. I get so frustrated when I buy an item just to come home and discover I already have it. Wasted time, space and money!

Speaking of money, having an organized pantry really does help save money. Not only will you buy fewer duplicates, but if you make sure all foods are in containers or airtight, they will last longer and you will have less waste. We definitely are better at eating up the food we already have when we can clearly see what is there, which keeps us from grabbing food on the go or wanting to order food in. All big-time money savers.

Last summer I made and shared with you this super helpful “Keeping a Clean Home” printable checklist. It divides tasks into Every Day, Once a Week, Once a Month, Once a Season, and Once a Year. This checklist allows me to focus in, know exactly where I am at and what needs to be done.

The chart is keeping me on track and I’m slowly working through it. I’m pretty good at the Daily, Weekly, & Monthly lists. It’s the Seasonal and Yearly lists that I really need to zero in on, which I have actually been doing! The list is on my refrigerator and I have about half of those Seasonal and Yearly items crossed off.

Would you like to print one out for yourself too?

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE ‘KEEPING A CLEAN HOME’ PRINTABLE HERE

Clean pantry canned goods

5 Steps To A Clean Pantry

1. Remove Everything From Your Pantry

This will allow you to see what you are working with, what needs to go and clear your pantry for a good clean wipe down. This step is always entertaining, as I find all kinds of items that I didn’t know I had! I get inspired and a bit giddy about all of the possibilities of fun food I can make with the treasures I find.

2. Sort and Toss

Go through the items, start putting ‘like’ items together, then toss, toss, toss! Say goodbye to old, expired items. Don’t be afraid to get rid of items you won’t use, even if they are not expired. Donate them if you don’t want to throw them out. Use a critical eye and don’t keep anything you won’t use.

This is a good time to get rid of spices that are older than a year and bulk items that you have no idea when they expire or when you purchased them.

drawer organization for a clean pantry

3. Categorize

Think “like with like.”  Use the way a grocery store organizes their food as a guide to organize yours. Decide if you want to create stations, like a baking station, breakfast station or snack station. I personally always have a nuts and seeds station and an ‘oatmeal toppings’ station, as these are foods I eat every day and it is convenient to have them all gathered together in a specific area.

paper towels to clean cans for a clean pantry

4. Clean

Cleaning will be a breeze with all your items out of the way. I used my DIY All-Purpose Lemon cleaner and paper towels from Viva to unleash clean in my pantry. I like using Viva Vantage because it has a scrubby texture like a terry-cloth, that is great for cleaning anything that is stuck on shelves and cabinets. They are so strong and durable that you can actually wring them out and reuse them several times! I used Viva Vantage to wipe the bottoms of my food containers and jars before placing them back in the pantry.

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As you can see in the picture below, Viva not only sells textured Viva Vantage towels, but also  Viva towels which have a signature soft and smooth texture, almost like an undershirt material. They are amazingly absorbent and won’t leave any residue behind. I like to use these to dry my jars and dust the tops of cans. I also use these to dry my shelves completely before returning items.

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DIY All-Purpose Lemon Cleaner

1/2 c white vinegar | juice of one lemon | 2 c water

Stir to combine. Put in spray bottle.

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Use the dusting vacuum attachment to get all hard-to-reach crumbs from the corners and any that fell to the floor. Now is the time to be thorough, since this is a seasonal cleaning.

5. Return Items

This is the most fun and satisfying part. Put your organized, wiped and grouped items back. Keep beauty in mind as you are arranging them on the shelves. If you use storage containers, keep them similar in color. My favorite storage containers are mason jars. I love being able to see what is inside and they look so darn cute. I also have a few favorite containers to corral smaller items. Keep it simple, keep it beautiful, and label only if it is your ‘thing.’

clean pantry before and after

clean pantry before and after 2

Now your pantry is clean and ready for the holidays. Hopefully, you have created extra room to hold all of those holiday groceries and store holiday leftovers.

How often do you clean out your pantry?

Are you having holiday guests this year?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Featured/ HOME/ Homemaking/ Organizing/ Simplifying

Best Kitchen Drawer Organization

kitchen drawer organization system

Kitchen drawer organization has been on my to-do list for quite a while now.  This past summer, we had a full kitchen update (posts coming soon!) and I have been so very happy with it! Everything works so much better now, but one area that quickly became a problem was my kitchen utensil drawer.

We only have 2 drawers in our kitchen, but thanks to the update they are now nice & wide drawers that give us lots of drawer space.  I keep utensils in one and kitchen towels and knives in the other.

The drawer with the utensils is the one I will focus on today.

Messy_Kitchen-drawer

As you can see, we were just throwing all utensils in there and it became almost impossible to close the drawer. Even the rubber mat that was supposed to be under all of those utensils was all bunched up. It was driving me nuts!

Continue Reading…

HOME/ Organizing/ Simplifying/ Sponsored

Organize Your Phone In 10 Easy Steps

Amazon-Prime-Cloud-phone-photos

I get bitten by the organization bug much harder in the fall than in the spring.  The cool, crisp fall weather makes me want to just hunker down in a cozy home, and there is no cozy if there is clutter!  I love sitting under a warm blanket with a fall scented candle lit, scrolling through my phone and doing all the things our amazing phones do these days! I was doing this just the other day, about to instagram my yummy cup of Pumpkin Spiced Chai Latte, but, then…in the midst of my insta moment…the annoying ‘out of storage’ screen pops up.

How many of you have gone to take a photo with your phone, only to get the dreaded little screen that pops up letting you know that you are out of storage?  Ugh, this has happened to me so many times!  Well, no more. It is time for some fall organization of my phone, starting with photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive

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Phone Organization

Step One:

Get photos off my phone and onto the cloud with Amazon Cloud Drive.

Todd and I have been Amazon Prime members for a few years now, and love it. The free 2-day shipping is great, and we also love Amazon Prime Video. What we didn’t know until recently that if you are a prime member, you already have access to Amazon Cloud Drive with Prime Photos, which provides unlimited, secure photo storage as part of your Prime membership!

I was very excited about the unlimited photo storage, especially when I found out there is a handy Amazon Photo App for my phone.  What this means for me is any photo that I take with my iPhone can easily be stored in Amazon Cloud Drive. This can be done by setting it to automatically store every photo you take, or choosing them manually.  I no longer have to take up precious space on my phone and see that dreaded warning screen telling me that I have no space left to take another photo!

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As a blogger, this is especially exciting.  I take most of my blog photos with my phone, and before discovering Amazon Cloud Drive I had over 2,000 photos on my phone! Many of them were photos taken for my blog, some I had already used, and some I had not. They are were all screaming to be organized! I had access to another type cloud storage, but it is also being used by my whole family and all of their devices, and is one that is not unlimited, so it stressed me out to upload all my many blog photos to that specific cloud storage.

I plan on using Amazon Cloud Drive for my own personal iPhone photos, my Kindle photos, and my personal laptop photos, paying specific attention to my blog photos.  I can’t believe I will finally have all of my blog photos in one spot, accessible from all devices. Talk about Fall Organization! This is something I have desired for a long time.  Once I get all of my personal & blog photos organized, I will then see to the rest of my family’s photos, which will probably end up on Amazon Cloud Drive, too, since it is unlimited!

Don’t have Amazon Prime?  No worries, I will explain at the end of this post some amazing deals offered for you from Amazon Cloud Drive for non-prime members.

Now that photos are off of my phone and I have freed up a ton of storage space, I can organize the rest of my phone.

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{my sweet screensaver…can’t believe they are teenagers now!}

Step Two:

Update Apps

I had not been able to update my apps due to lack of…yep…storage space.  Now I can! I had 37 updates just waiting there for me, and now my phone will work with efficiency.

 

Step Three:

Voicemails –Listen to & delete all voicemails.  I had listened to all of mine, but had not deleted them.  They were starting to pile up!  I also went in my settings and set them to automatically delete after a certain period of time.

 

Step Four:

Messages — Read, respond to, & delete all messages

 

Step Five:

Voxer –(I’m assuming you all have and love this app as much as I do) I listened to and deleted all old messages (these were taking up a ton of space!) I use this awesome walkie-talkie type message app everyday.  It makes driving in the car so much more fun when I am alone. I blab to friends or listen to my messages and just love how it turns car time into connecting time!

 

Step Six:

Reminders–I took a quick peek at all of my reminders and clicked off items that were finished, and deleted lists that were outdated.

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 Step Seven:

Frequently Used Apps –I put frequently used apps on front home screen.  This is my personal preference, then I use folders on the second home screen. There are several ways to organize apps.  Some like to do it according to color, some like to alphabetize them.  On my front page I do a combination of color and type.

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 Step Eight:

App Folders–organize rest of apps in folders on 2nd home screen.  I saw a great idea online recently where you organize according to action word:

~look up (yelp, contacts, safari, contacts, weather)

~listen (music, spotify)

~talk (message, FaceTime, ichat)

~shop (amazon, walgreens, iTunes)

~share (snapchat, twitter, vine, periscope)

~photograph (photos, instagram, Amazon Cloud Drive)

~navigate (maps, around me)

~read (amazon reading app, mashable, Bloglovin’)

 

Step Nine:

Contacts–Go through contacts and update information.

 

Step Ten:

Notes – clear out notes. Delete unwanted,  file the rest into Evernote

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Oh my goodness I can’t tell you how much better using my newly organized phone is!

What made the biggest difference is dealing with my boatload of photos.  It took quite awhile to move over 2,000 pictures using the Amazon Cloud App, but that was to be expected with so many photos.  Now that the bulk of my photos are moved over, doing just a month at a time is super fast.  I find myself keeping about a week’s worth of photos on my phone, as I like to share them on social sites like instagram, so that gives me some time to do just that while still staying organized and on top of my photos.

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Want to know more about Amazon Cloud Drive?

Photos and files can be shared via private links from within the Amazon Photo app or by selecting a folder or file to be shared using the web interface on your computer.  Love that! This would be super useful for holidays or vacations, to share with your friends and family.

If you are already a prime member, you have access to Amazon Cloud Drive with Prime Photos, which provides unlimited photo storage as part of your Prime membership. In addition, Prime members get 5 GB of additional storage space for videos, movies, music, and files.

If you are not, Amazon recently announced two unlimited storage plans, both start with a free 3-month trial:

  • Unlimited Everything Plan ($59.99 per year—equivalent of less than $5 per month): Store an infinite number of new and existing photos, videos, files, documents, movies, and music in Cloud Drive.
  • Unlimited Photos Plan ($11.99 per year—equivalent of less than $1 per month): Similar to the Prime member benefit – non Prime members can also store an infinite number of photos in Cloud Drive without worrying about taking up space on phones, cameras, or other devices. This plan also includes 5 GB of additional storage for videos or other documents and files.

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What about you? Do you store your photos in the cloud? Do you find yourself annoyed when your phone photos take up all your storage space?  Do you have any more phone organization tips for me?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

HOME/ Organizing

How To Rescue A Messy Closet

RESUCE-A-CLOSET- Collage

Our bedroom has 2 closets in it that are both the same size.   One for me, one for Todd.  Todd’s closet always seems to stay nice a tidy.  Mine…not so much.  I’ve decided that I need to get rid of clothes that I do not love anymore, which will help, but the biggest problem was my closet floor.  It was a mess.  I am guilty of doing the quick ‘pick up and stash’ at one point or another and my closet was the perfect place to for the ‘stash.’  There were 2 bins of papers that have just grown and grown over the last year, and I just kept ignoring them.  They took way too much precious space in my closet, and since clutter attracts clutter, they made it next to impossible to keep my closet as nice as I would like it to be.  It was beyond time to clean it up!

Do you have a messy closet that is driving you crazy?

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Below are the steps to take to clean it up.  They sure helped me and hopefully they can help you to.

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{CLOTHES TO HANG UP}

Empty the closet:

~keep hang-up clothes & shoes in the closet

~have 3 places to put stuff:  Give Away Bin, Put Away Bin & Throw Away Bag

~as you bring things out,  keep ‘like’ with ‘like’  (example: papers together, books together, belts together, scarves together)

~once all is cleared out of closet besides shoes and hangup clothes, purge clothes. Get rid of anything you don’t love.

~match and straighten shoes and put on a shelf or rack; getting rid of as many pairs as possible as you go.

~hang up all hangers. If you have too many, find another closet to put all of the extra hangers.

~put hats in one place

~hang up belts

~hang up scarves

~hang up bags & purses (hooks are a wonderful thing in a closet. I have a few. I’d love more!)

~put any clothes from the floor in a pile (clean with clean, dirty in hamper)

~make a paper pile to go through later

~dust shelves

~sweep out closet

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{MY CRAZY PAPER PILES}

 

Start in on piles:

~you may need to split this job up and do a chunk each day

~hang up clean clothes or put into drawers

~sort through paper piles. Throw away or file away.

~take dirty laundry down to wash

 

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{AHH….A CLEARED FLOOR!}

Tips:

Only keep what you love!

Work methodically.  Finish one part before going on to the next.

Remember: you cannot organize clutter.  Purge as you go.

If you have not worn it for a season, get rid of it.

Box up your ‘skinny’ clothes or those clothes you can’t bring yourself to get rid of. At least get them out of the closet.

You may need to split this job up and do a chunk each day.  I did all steps up to ‘sort through paper piles.’ Like I said above, I had stuffed two big baskets of miscellaneous paper in my closet one day and this took time to sort through.  Same with the pile of books that I had stored in my closet.  They needed purged and put on a bookshelf.

Make a goal to finish all piles within a few days. Do a bit everyday.

Listen to a podcast, radio or a tv show while you do this.  I listened to recorded Dr. Oz show while I worked.  It helped the time go faster.

Don’t be a perfectionist.  I would love to paint my closet and put more cute baskets and hooks in it for things, but I did not let myself get side-tracked.  My pictures would have turned out nicer for you, but I would not have gotten my closet done in a timely manner.  Good is good enough!

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What have I missed?

What is cluttering up your closet?

HOME/ Organizing/ Simplifying

Organizing A Small Pantry

Organizing-Small-Pantry

I have a very small kitchen with very little cupboards.  I am thankful that I have a pantry, even though it too, is very small.

I’ve learned some tricks over the years to keep it organized and functional.  I find organization in the kitchen is key to keeping me motivated in the kitchen, cooking for my family and feeding them healthy food.

Here are a few tips for keeping a small pantry organized:

1. Only buy what you need for the week — I don’t have the storage space for buying weeks at a time, and honestly I think it keeps life much more simple to buy what we need for the week and start fresh the next week. Obviously some food items last much longer than a week (like baking powder and cocoa) but there are other items that I just don’t need 10 bags or boxes  at a time (pasta, cereal, etc.)

2. Keep like with like–always store like items with like items.  I keep all  my nuts together in a brown wooden box.  We have a bin for pasta/rice/grains and a bin for snacks.  I have a basket for all my tea items. Keeping tea in a cute basket motivates me to drink it more often.  Cereal and oatmeal stay together, as they are both breakfast items.

3. Use functional storage helpers–I love kitchen carousels and mason jars.  I like to be efficient in the kitchen, and jars quickly show me what is inside, and a carousels display their items with a quick spin.

4. Create extra shelving with wire organizers — because I lack drawer space, I keep my foil & plastic bags on a wire organizer.  The space organizer gives is just the right height for these items, and allows me to store things underneath them.

ORGANIZING-KITCHEN-COLLAGE5. Use hooks– I use hooks for my duster, broom, mop, a holder for my plastic bags, & my girls 3 lunch bags.  Hooks are a GREAT way to stay organized and keep things off the floor and shelves.

6. Buy an over-the-door organizer — this is one of the best purchases I have made.  It has a tea shelf, a shelf for most used baking items (baking powder, baking soda, cocoa & salt) that I can just quick grab when baking.  I have a vitamin/supplement shelf.  I keep my straws next to those.  The very last shelf is a deep one and holds my dish cloths, again, saving a drawer.

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I hope this inspires you to embrace organization even if you have a small space.  Small spaces are a great motivator for staying organized, as one really doesn’t have much choice but to get creative!

What are ways you organize your kitchen space?

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