Tuesday, May 24, 2011

52 Weeks: Recap Weeks 1-20

Since I have completed 20 weeks of the organizing challenge I thought it would be fun to do a recap of all my projects. I have to say it has been nice to get each area completed. For the most part I am organized but it was good for me to look at each area and to remove the clutter that had accumulated. I have enjoyed deciding each week what to work on and most weeks have completed more than one project. I like doing the challenge with others and seeing everyone’s progress each week.

My Progress:

Basement- I worked on 5 areas in my basement but there is way more left to do.

My Office- I still have to organize all my craft shelves but at least I tamed my magazines. I must say I have not gotten anymore lately and have been reading and purging them like crazy. I still have way too many and haven’t keep to myself imposed rule of purging 10 per week.

Kitchen- My biggest accomplishment so far has been my kitchen because I completely organized each area except for my chest freezer. I am trying to use up everything in it or enough to move whatever is left to my upright freezer in the basement so that I can defrost it.

Upstairs- I just started working on the upstairs of my house last week. My kids (DD22, DD19, DS18, and DS14 years) each have their own room so they are responsible for that, which makes it easy for me. Besides the game closet which I finished and vacuuming the hall I only have to monitor them so the whole upstairs area will be done this week. I will also do my bedroom on the main floor of the house this week since it would be an easy week for me otherwise.

What rooms are left to do: Upstairs 4 Bedrooms (this week), My Bedroom (this week), Bathroom, Laundry Room, Living Room, School Room, My Husbands Office, and unfinished areas in the other rooms.

For your convience you can also view each post under my Cleaning and Organizing Label rather than clicking each link.

Intro: 52 Weeks of Organizing


Week 1 (Jan. 02) Christmas Decorations

Week 2 (Jan. 09) Recycled Craft Box

Week 3 (Jan. 16) Shoeboxes

Week 4 (Jan. 23) Basement Storage

My Office

Week 5 (Jan. 30) Organizing My Office & Magazine Storage

Week 6 (Feb. 06) Magazine Organization & What Type of Magazines?

Week 7 (Feb. 13) Office Bookshelves

Week 8 (Feb. 20) Activity Bags Part 1 & Office Tablescapes

Week 9 (Feb. 27) Activity Bags Part 2 & Purse


Week 10 (Mar. 06) Gadget & Plastic

Week 11 (Mar. 13) Kitchen Drawers & Sink Area & Coupon Box

Week 12 (Mar. 20) Canned Goods Cabinet & Plants

Week 13 (Mar. 27) Outside of Fridge & Spices & Drink Mixes

Week 14 (Apr. 3) Breakfast, Snacks, and Baking & Dinner Cabinet

Week 15 (Apr. 10) Small Appliances, Pots & Pans & Stove Drawer

Week 16 (Apr. 17) Dish Cabinet & Kitchen Decor

Week 17 (Apr. 24) China Cabinet & Serving Size Snacks

Week 18 (May 02) Inside of Fridge & Freezer

Week 19 (May 09) Oven & Microwave & Kitchen


Week 20 (May 16) Game Closet

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I'm an Organizing Junkie 52 Weeks of Organizing

Friday, May 20, 2011

52 Weeks: #20 Game Closet

I decided to clean, organize, and declutter our game closet. I had my oldest daughter help to determine if the games were ones they liked to play or if we could donate them. If you would like to see my post on Board Games Get-together’s just click on the link.

This is the before picture.

This stack of games are all things my kids have outgrown and don't use anymore that we are donating. Some of these things we were saving for when we had younger kids visiting but, we decided that we could give away more things and keep a smaller amount.  We had too many games for younger kids and not enough for older kids or adults.

This is the closet after I finished decluttering and cleaning it up. I think at the end of summer I may get rid of a few more things that they wanted to keep that I wasn't sure they would actually play. I am also going to watch the yard sales for a couple of games that they would like to have.Some games we have used alot we need to rebuy because some of them are worn out and have too many lost or damaged pieces.

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I'm an Organizing Junkie 52 Weeks of Organizing

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Board Games Get-together’s

Playing board games is one of the things that we like to do for entertained on the cheap. With a collection of board games you could have a game night one night a week or every other week with you family or invite a few friends, add some snacks and you have a fun get together.

We have purchased all of our games from yard sales and thrift store over the years for no more than $2.00 apiece. If you need a game that is a good place to look but make sure you open the boxes and check that the pieces are their first. If you go to a yard sale and they have a lot of games you can ask if they will sell all of them for $5 or $10 and then donate the ones you don’t want. You could even play each of them first to determine if they are keepers or not.

When my kids were younger in the summer they always liked to invite a few friends to play out in the yard at the picnic table and I would serve kool-aid and cookies or some other really cheap snack. They are older now but still enjoy having friends over for game nights especially during the fall and winter. This winter they had friends over and we served soup, salad, breadsticks, and dessert along with a fun evening of playing some of their favorite games.

I hosted a game night with a Café Party theme in February that was a hit with my family and friends. I used mostly what I had around the house to serve my guest a nice cafe' style snack to keep the costs down. It would be fun to host other game night with different themes depending on what game you decided to play that night.

My oldest daughter (22 years old) has a group of friends that get together every Friday night and play board games it is an open invite to whoever can make it each week. Everyone brings a 2 liter of pop, a bag of chips, along with a game they think people would like to play. She is not the host but enjoys a night at one of her friend homes and helps clean up afterwards.

My husband and I lead a group called Students with a Mission (SWAM) they are Christian Homeschooled Teens that do volunteer projects in the community. Every other Tuesday night they have a meeting with a devotional, discuss group business, and play board games, everyone bring a snack and a 2 liter to share.

It can be as simple as serving popcorn, or ice cream with a drink. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy but you could dress it up a little by serving a nicer dessert. We have invited other families over and had a potluck and played games this way we could do something nicer but not have a large expense. With summer on its way I plan to invite some friends over to play games and have a cookout in the backyard. If you have a couple of card games you could hang out and play cards at a restaurant such as Steak & Shake or Starbuck’s.

Not only is it fun but is good to have an activity to do that doesn’t cost a lot of money. It is always nice to extend hospitality to others by inviting them into your home so many people don’t invite anyone into their homes anymore.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

52 Weeks: #19 Kitchen

I decided to do a detailed cleaning of my kitchen. I washed down the outside of all the cabinets, baseboards, woodwork, tops of doors, top of fridge, freezer, table, china cabinet, and vacuumed.

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I'm an Organizing Junkie 52 Weeks of Organizing

Friday, May 6, 2011

52 Weeks: #18 Oven & Microwave

There was only a little organizing involved in this project because I cleaned my oven and microwave. I reorganized the top of the microwave so that counts as organizing though it was a small change.


I like to clean my oven before all big holiday's or if I have a major mishap in the oven. I guess I probably should do it again after the holiday but I don't seem to do that.


It looks a lot better but isn't perfect. I didn't have any oven cleaner so I used dishsoap and water.
I usually clean my microwave everyday when I do dishes but I had been put it off. This is the result of not cleaning it for a week.

Cleaning my microwave everyday works well for me because I don't get hard stuck on food and it wipes clean very easily. If I put it off I fill a coffee mug half way with water and microwave it for 2 minute and let it set for about 5 minute before I wipe it clean. This moistens the junk up and it comes off easier.

This is the top of the microwave that I reorganized. It looks like this most days but sometimes it does have some extra papers. It usually doesn’t get that bad because we each have a desk where we put our personal stuff. We have a filing cabinet for bills and household paperwork so this area is used for messages or mail until the person comes home to receive them.

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I'm an Organizing Junkie 52 Weeks of Organizing

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cake Mix Recipes: Fudge Marble Pound Cake

1 pkg fudge marble cake mix

1 (3.4 oz) pkg vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
4 large eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pans.

2.Set aside cocoa packet from mix. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water and oil in large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Measure 1 cup batter. Place in small bowl; stir in contents of reserved cocoa packet.

3.Spoon half the yellow batter in each loaf pan. Spoon half the chocolate batter on top of yellow batter in each pan. Run knife through batters to marble.

4.Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Carefully loosen cakes from pans. Invert onto cooling racks. Cool completely. Cut cakes into slices.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

52 Weeks: #18 Inside of Fridge & Freezer

I decided to clean and organize the inside of the fridge & freezer. The main thing I did was to find ways to use up some of the things that I had in there.

I cut up vegetables to refill the veggie tray. I like to keep a veggie tray in the fridge so that everyone will eat the veggies. When we have salad I just pull out the tray and a head of lettuce.

I like to keep chopped onion, celery, and green pepper in the freezer. This is my bag of celery trimming that I had after making the veggie tray. I like to keep the stubs of broccoli in a bag to make cream of broccoli soup since that is the only way I can get my family to eat the stubs. If my veggies start to look wilted I try to add them into a recipe to use them up so that they do not go to waste.

I had grapes, apples, oranges, and grapefruit in the fridge that needed to be used up so I made a fruit salad.

I had eggs that needed used up so I made a cake using this Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting recipe.  

I made some hard boiled eggs which my family can't seem to get enough of lately which used up the last of the eggs.

I sliced tomatoes and put them in a little bowl.

I am the only one who drinks coffee in the house so I make a pot once or twice a week and fill up a container to store it in the fridge. I usually drink 2 cups most mornings. If I have plans to leave the house in the morning at anytime during the week I usually fill a small travel mug too.

I have several boxes of tea bag that needed used up so I have been brewing the bags instead of making instant over the last month. I plan to keep doing this until it is gone which maybe awhile since I just refill the container I store the bags in and I still have 3 boxes in the basement.  I brew 6 teabags and 2 cups of water on the stove to make 1 gallon of tea. I make 1 gallon of unsweeted tea everyday.

We always have leftovers for lunch which helps us avoid food waste. We had the fruit salad, tomatoes, and iced tea that I put together along with our leftovers. I pack up leftovers for my husband to take to work after dinner is over. We have leftovers for dinner at least twice a week too. One benefit to my family losing weight is that the food lasts longer so I cook fewer meals each week. I make a menu plan each week but frequently only make about half of the meals listed and still have too many leftovers. I think I am going to start freezing half for another week because my kids are getting tired of leftovers. I would rather do that than cut the recipe that I use in half.  If you need ideas click on Using Up Leftovers to read I post I did in 2009.

I forgot to take a before picture of the fridge but this is an after before I took out the turkey to roast. The top shelf is milk, tea, and other drinks, second shelf is leftovers, eggs, butter, extra fruit, and veggies. I use the small drawer to defrost meat. The larger one under it is my fruit drawer that is now empty after making the fruit salad. You can see were I keep my veggie tray. The other larger drawer is where I keep cheese, lunch meat, yogurt, and cream cheese.

I have been trying to use up some of the condiments in the door. I think I am going to make some Raspberry and Almond Shortbread Thumbprints this week to use up some of the jam.

I roasted the turkey that I had defrosting in the fridge. It had been in the freezer since Thanksgiving and I still have one left to use.

These are the bags of turkey broth I bagged up for the freezer.

I made turkey gravy with a packet that came with the turkey. I will use it later in the week.

The next day I made Turkey, Noodle, and Veggie Soup with the leftover broth, turkey, and a couple cans of mixed veggies.

This is the freezer freshly cleaned up. It is a little empty right now because I haven't found very many good meat deals lately. I try to get all my meat for under $2.00 a pound. You can visit a previous post I did on How I Save Money on Meat. I still have a chest freezer and a upright freezer that I need to reorganize and clean that are pretty full right now. 

I had Kroger Value Fudge Swirl Ice Cream in my freezer for a couple months and we had two of them, nobody was wanting to eat them so I bought  waffle cones at Aldi. Guess how fast everyone ate it when I got out the cones and sprinkles for the ice cream?

I had leftover sugar cookies from Christmas frozen in the basement freezer that I frosted with leftover peppermint icing from the freezer.

I have been using up all the rolls that I got after Christmas for 10 for $1.00. I just got some new ones after Easter so I need to use the ones that had been in the freezer.

I cooked up 4 cups of dry blackbeans in my crockpot that I will use later in the week. I will probably make at least one of these recipes Chicken Fiesta with Black Beans, Black Bean and Smoked Sausage Soup, or Chicken and Black Bean Burritos.

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I'm an Organizing Junkie 52 Weeks of Organizing

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2-8 Menu Plan

Monday: Chicken, Asparagus, and Penne Pasta, and Green Beans

Tuesday: Roasted Turkey, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo, Peas, and Salad

Friday: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings, Carrots, and Corn

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Peas, and Carrots

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Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie to see more menu ideas.