Sunday, January 23, 2011

Clear the Clutter





Do you get overwhelmed with the clutter around your home? I know I do at times. It usually makes me very cranky. I don't like clutter. I don't like piles. I love containers. I love organization. I could spend hours at the container store. This is way I decided to take the orgjunkie's challenge of 52 weeks of organizing.  If you would like to read more about the challenge check out this post.

I started the challenge last weekend when I started to clean out my cookbooks. This weeks challenge is to identify the piles of clutter in your home and tackle one of these piles. This was great timing, because I have a huge pile of loose recipes that need a home.

I went out a purchased a new binder and divide tabs for my recipe book.  One thing that I should have done first was figure out what my categories would be, so I would know how many tabs I needed.  But I didn't so I had to use two different sets. The perfectionist in me wanted to run out a buy more tabs, but since I already have some and they are the same color, just a different size, I decided to save some time and money and use what I have.

Here are my catagories:

Appetizers
Beef
Bread/Muffins
Breakfast
Chicken
Desserts
Drinks
Fish
Meatless
Pork
Salads
Soups
Side Dishes
Holidays
Substitution (this is a list of things that can be used to replace other items - mainly used for food allergy, but comes in handy if I'm out of eggs.)

I might change or add some of these categories, but I needed to start somewhere. I could fret over them, which I started to. Should it be meatless, or pasta or should I have both.... You get the idea. I realized if I start doing that I would never get this cleaned up. So I got out my trusty label maker and got to work.



As I worked through the pile and looked at each recipe to make sure it should be in my binder. Even if the recipe sounded good or looked good, I made sure that it fit a few "rules" before being put into the binder.

Rule #1: Does it have strange ingredients? If yes, toss it out.
Rule #2: Does it take hours to make? If yes, toss it out. (exception: some of the traditional holiday recipes)
Rule #3: Will I actually make this more than once? If not, toss it out.
Rule#4: Do I have multiple recipes of the same thing? If yes, decide which one to keep and toss the others.

This helped near the paperwork down. Now, it was time to get out the hole punch and start putting everything into the binder.


During this process I did change and add some categories.  Here's what I ended up having:



Appetizers
Beef
Bread/Muffins
Breakfast
Chicken
Desserts
Drinks
Fish
Pasta
Pork
Salads
Soups
Side Dishes
Holidays
Substitution
Dressings/Mixes
Misc. (used for camping cooking tips, temperature guilds, roasting times, etc...)


The red post-it notes in the binder are for recipes I need to test out. Either I have multiple of a recipe and don't know which one we really like or it's a recipe I think we will like but have not tried yet. My recipe clutter is now under control. And I have some clear off counter space, always a plus in my book. Now I just need a system to keep it that way.

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