An Organized Playroom

An Organized Playroom

I think every mama out there would love a cleaner, more organized playroom!

 

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I teamed up with the mama of this house to help conquer the clutter in this playroom, and we finished in just 4 hours!

There’s some great storage in this room, but not all of it was being utilized efficiently. This lovely cabinet, for example, had nothing in it yet! Score! We moved a bunch of the books in here, as well as board games.

 

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Before, this bookshelf was cluttered with a variety of toys and records. I relocated the record player so the cord would not make an awkward stretch to the outlet, then designated this bookshelf as a lego station. Now it’s easy to grab a bin of legos, take it over to the table, and build something awesome!

Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team…

Ha 🙂

 

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Large Basket | Medium Basket | Small Basket

 

Now let’s talk about craft supplies. You can make yourself crazy with the fine tuning of all the categories that live inside the world of craft supplies. So try to break it down into manageable chunks. Also, I strongly recommend solid plastic containers, because spills.

*Money Saving Tip* Designate your beat up  well-loved, mismatched, cheaper containers for storage inside cabinets/closets (since they won’t be seen), and spend a few more bucks on prettier storage bins and containers to place on out-in-the-open shelving. 

 

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Latching Containers | Shoe Box Containers

 

I used my Dymo label maker for the containers inside the cabinets, but wanted something a little more decorative for the baskets sitting on the open shelves. How cute are these chalkboard labels with the gray baskets? LOVE!

 

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Large Basket | Medium Basket | Chalk Labels

 

Now for the big finished picture:

 

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Ahhh…everything in its place!

What are some of your favorite playroom organizing tips and tricks?

Recipe Organization

Recipe Organization

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Organizing your recipes can be an overwhelming thought, but recipe clutter is just like any other clutter. You accumulate too much and end up having to flip through the recipes you don’t like or won’t use in order to get to your favorites.

Why is it so difficult to keep recipes organized?

Reason #1: Recipes come from different sources (family, friends, online, cookbooks) and therefore take different shapes (3×5 recipe cards, scribbled on a scratch piece of paper, saved to your phone, printed from your computer).

Reason #2: If you’re like me, you’ve tried different styles of recipe organization throughout the years, and now you’re stuck with a variety of cookbooks, cards, binders, and magazine clippings.

 

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In trying to decide what kind of system I wanted to use, I had to ask myself a few questions.

Question: Which recipes do I use most often and why?

Answer: Recipes for meal planning. I know most of these recipes by heart, but occasionally need to reference measurements or oven temperatures. And sometimes when I’m brain-tired, it would be nice to have all those recipes in ONE PLACE so I can thumb through and pick the 3 dinners I’m going to cook that week.

Question: What kind of system will be easiest to maintain going forward?

Answer: A binder with screen protectors (protection from splatters). When I find a new recipe, it’s most often online, which means I’m printing it out on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper. I’ve tried the cutesy recipe books, but their page sizes are unrealistic. Recipe 3×5 cards are too small for me to read, plus it’s really hard to get the entire recipe on one side of a card. It’s annoying to flip back and forth on a recipe card. I’d rather have the entire recipe on one page!

Question: What are the categories of recipes I use?

Category #1: Everyday Recipes

These are the recipes I use when I’m meal planning for the week. I’ve mentioned before in my meal-planning series that I normally choose 3 dinners to make each week. I want to organize these recipes by protein/vegetable because that’s normally how I meal plan. Breakfast should probably go in this category, too, since there are a few breakfast recipes I use weekly.

Category #2: Entertaining and New Recipes

I don’t pull out entertaining recipes daily, so I’d like for them to stay separate. When I think about the tabs for this binder, I think more in terms of menus, appetizers, main courses, sides, and desserts.

New recipe hoarding can be just as big of a problem as anything else! I love to cook, and sometimes Pinterest will suck me in, and before I know it, I’ve printed off a dozen new recipes to try…eeek! I think I’ll keep new recipes in a pocket of this binder and only file them in a sheet protector once I’ve made the recipe and decided I like it enough to keep it!

Category #3: Baking and Desserts

I don’t bake or make sweets that often, so it makes sense to have these recipes in their own binder. Normally, there’s a very specific reason why I need to make a dessert or baked good. I’ll pull out these recipes for festive snacks or birthdays… or Wednesdays 🙂

Category #4: Holiday

These recipes are used even less frequently- mainly twice a year for Thanksgiving and Christmas! For years it was chaos trying to gather all of my family’s holiday recipes, and it took a TON of prep time just to prep for the cooking process. One year I decided to make a Thanksgiving recipe binder for my mom, and it made ALL the difference! Our Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes tend to overlap, so the tabs in this binder state each individual recipe title. Easy peasy!

Now the fun starts!

 

Step 1: PURGE

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As with all organizing projects, step one is to PURGE! I started by taking the recipes out of every recipe book and binder and tossing all the ones I don’t make anymore.

Recipes I purged:

-New recipes I never tried

-Recipes that I tried once, then never made them again. (Sorry, Chicken Avocado Soup. You were pretty in color, but not tasty in flavor.)

-Redundant recipes. (How many variants of a lemon chicken recipe do I need? Just one. One is fine.)

-Fancy recipes that were a fun challenge and delicious…but I will never make again. (Thank you, Beef Bourguignon, Coq Au Vin, and Duck a l’Orange. Au revoir!)

-Recipes with too many ingredients or too exotic ingredients

-Recipes with great pictures, but are not realistic to make or eat. (ex: crostini. Crostini always looks like a great idea, but it’s an awkward, crunchy mess to eat.)

 

Step 2: SORT

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Now I’m left with the recipes I love, and the ones I really want to try. So now it’s time to sort all the recipes into categories. Since I already know my categories (Everyday, Entertaining, Baking & Desserts, Holiday),  I’ll use post-it labels to help me keep the piles organized.

Everyday Recipes

Tab Labels: Meal Plans, Breakfast, Chicken, Beef/Turkey, Pasta, Fish, Salads & Sides, Soups

Entertaining Recipes

Tab Labels: Menus, Apps & Dips, Main, Sides, Desserts & Drinks

Holiday Recipes

Tab Labels: Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Sweet Potato Soufflé, Pie Crust, Pecan Pie, Blackberry Pie, Whipped Cream

Note: I’m not doing tab labels in the Baking & Dessert binder since there aren’t enough recipes to categorize. Just keeping these recipes in their own binder is perfect!

 

Step 3: EDIT

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The most labor-intensive part of this process was transferring recipes from 3×5 cards and specialty binder pages over to my new format of organization. I was able to find some recipes online and print them. That way, I didn’t have to type each recipe out by hand. But some recipes were from family or an unknown source, and there was no way I’d be able to find them online. So type them by hand I did. Just tell yourself how wonderful it’s going to be in the end, to have all your recipes streamlined and oh-so-pretty!

 

Step 4: CONTAIN

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Last—CONTAIN and make it pretty!

I started with a shopping trip for supplies.

Target: white binders and gold washi tape

Office Depot: sheet protectors, 5 tab sheet protectors, and 8 tab sheet protectors

Hobby Lobby: pretty cardstock (you can also order it from Amazon!)

Now, I’m no Martha Stewart, so no judgement on my crafting skills! I tried to prettify these binders by giving them a color theme, then printed labels on white card stock. I framed the labels with gold washi tape and cut off the excess border.

 

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Next, I used my Dymo label maker for the tabs in each binder.

Since these recipe binders will live in the cabinet above my microwave, I also needed to label the spines so I’ll know which binder is which!

I cut gold washi tape the same length for every binder and gave the ends a decorative clip. Then I hand wrote each label with a white Sharpie paint marker.

 

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Not gonna lie. This project took some time! But for something that I use every day, and sometimes multiple times a day, it was a worthwhile investment of my time to have these recipes organized…and pretty!

 

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I’ve been enjoying these recipe binders for a couple weeks now, and I LOVE THEM!!! It is SO much easier to find the exact recipe I’m looking for. It’s also been much easier to manage the NEW recipes coming in! I added a few blank sheet protectors to the back of each binder so it’s easy for me to print a recipe and file it where it belongs!

Tell me some of your favorite ways to organize your recipes!

My Favorite Organizing Tool: The Lazy Susan

My Favorite Organizing Tool: The Lazy Susan

As most of you know, I have organized many a house using my favorite organizing tool: the lazy Susan (a.k.a. turntable).

It can be used in so many spaces, and I thought I’d try to capture just a few of them here on the blog!

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Organize: Spices

I keep 2 lazy Susans in the cabinet above my stove. That is where I store the spices, salt and pepper, olive oil, Read more

Meal Planning Series, Week 3

Meal Planning Series, Week 3

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Eventually, I will run out of all the recipes I know and use on a regular basis. But until then, this process of sharing my meal plans with y’all is actually super helpful to me as well! It’s forced me to look through my recipes and choose new things to share and proves that hey, I actually do have a pretty good arsenal of recipes under my belt to make some healthy and delicious dinners!

David and I watched the very beginning of a food documentary on Netflix, but we didn’t get through the whole thing because it started to feel very alarmist/sensationalist/the sky is falling and if you don’t eat 100% vegan you’re going to DIE!!! So we stopped watching. But it DID make me consider incorporating a few more veggie-based dinners into my meal-planning, so that will definitely be reflected in this post!

Meal plan for the week:

Read more

Meal Planning Series, Week 2

Meal Planning Series, Week 2

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I’m on a weird radish kick, and I can’t explain it. Like, I look forward to lunch so I can drizzle sliced radishes with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and eat them up like chips. Thankfully, my body craves something healthy every now and then, because most of the time I just want bread, cheese, wine, and chocolate. And Starbucks green tea frappuccinos…

Here’s my meal plan for the week:

Read more

Meal Planning Series, Week 1

Meal Planning Series, Week 1

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What’s for dinner?

Sometimes I get in a dinner rut, and I’m often wondering what other people are making for dinner. So today I’m starting a series about my meal planning system and what we’re having for dinner this week! Maybe you’ll find a new recipe to try 🙂

I normally cook 3 dinners a week, then we eat the leftovers or dine out for the other nights. Sometimes I’ll also make a big batch of something like chicken salad or Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad that we can eat for lunches. Read more