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The Order of Things Affects People
People are more important than things, but the order of things affects people. I am convinced of this truth now more than ever. The order of things and too many things very much affect us, our families and our productivity.
Here are a few statistics about clutter:
- According to the National Soap and Detergent Association, eliminating clutter would also eliminate 40% of the time spent cleaning the average American home.
- Another NAPO study found that 55% of those polled would save up to 60 minutes a day if they were more organized.
- A UCLA study confirms the direct correlation between a woman’s cortisol (stress) levels and the amount of clutter in her home.
Clutter drains us and distracts us from what we need to do and interferes with us getting things done. It also negatively impacts our ability to give time and attention to what we want to do. Clutter can prevent us from being present for our closest relationships and our deepest convictions. Knowing this, we are wise to streamline areas of our lives, both physically and mentally. Implementing strategic, intentional routines and systems make a significant difference. Why spend time and energy making decisions each day that can be established in advance?
Implementing these three strategies in the kitchen will free up your space, time and mind to make more time for what matters most!
I’m excited to share what I have learned this summer in hopes that it might inspire you and help you, too, to make more time for what matters most in your life.
3 Mom Strategies in the kitchen to make more time for what matters most
Strategy 1 – Simplify Your Kitchen to make more time for what matters most
Simplifying your kitchen is mom strategy #1 to make more time for what matters most.
I decided this summer it was finally time to organize my kitchen. As we moved into our home a few years ago, my husband and I were juggling multiple priorities with deadlines. We unpacked boxes and loaded the kitchen cabinets any which way we could get things to fit. As a result, there was no good workflow when preparing a meal. You see, the storage in our new midwestern home was configured very differently than the storage in our former southern home, especially in the kitchen. I missed my large walk-in pantry and abundant cabinet storage spaces. I really didn’t give much thought to coming up with a solution. I just dismissed the awkward (to me) kitchen layout with a sigh as something I must tolerate.
Then, I read Love The Home You Have, by Melissa Michaels, a beautiful person who inspired me to give some attention to the purpose and flow of our home.
Then….. I read, Real Life Organizing by Cassandra Aarssen. Y’all! This book is my all time favorite organizing book – and I have read a few over the years. The author is fun and spunky, too!
Real Life Organizing offers ideas for people based on their own organizing style. I discovered from Cass in this book how to best organize based on my own approach to life and stuff. This was a game changer for me!
Steps I took to organize my Kitchen:
Determine the purpose and function for each counter
- Decide which counter space is best for baking and meal prep and determine how to store needed items nearby. (Cutting boards, knives, seasonings, baking supplies, measuring cups, mixing bowls)
- Decide which space is best for coffee, water, cups and glasses and determine how to store needed items nearby. (Coffee maker, coffee, supplies, cups, glasses.) We primarily use filtered water from our fridge, so for me this space was the cabinet nearest the fridge.
- Decide which space is best for cleaning supplies needed for washing dishes and wiping down appliances and kitchen counters.
- Decide which space is best for plates, bowls, serving dishes based on ease of putting them away from the dishwasher and/or setting the table.
- Decide which space is best for food storage containers for putting away left-overs.
Sort, Purge, Assign, Contain, Evaluate
- Reserve the core storage areas for the main functions of your kitchen and items you use on a daily and weekly basis. Then, decide where to store items you use less frequently beyond the core area.
- Decide your starting place and pull everything from one shelf. Then, ask yourself these questions: What is the purpose/function of this space? Do I use each of these items daily / weekly / monthly / annually? Which items are not used?
- Spend 15-30 minutes at a time doing the following for one shelf at a time in the kitchen until you have completed every shelf, drawer and space.
- Sort – pull out everything from a shelf or drawer and sort through items.
- Purge – set aside to donate or toss in trash what you do not need or use.
- Assign a home for each item that you keep.
- Contain like items.(use containers based on your personal organizing style from Real Life Organizing.)
After completing this process, I had a nice collection of items to be donated. I also had another nice collection of items that I wanted to keep, but use infrequently, so I decided to place them in a storage room in our basement. I bought baskets and drawer organizers from The Dollar Tree and made labels for the pantry containers. I set up a nearby closet for household cleaning supplies and created baskets and labels for them as well!
Now that each cabinet and drawer has a purpose, using my kitchen is more of a joy than ever! Who knew decluttering and simplifying one room could make such a difference?! Now, rather than being something I tolerate, my kitchen makes me happy!
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Strategy 2 – Simplify Meal Planning and Prep to make more time for what matters most
Simplifying meal planning and prep is mom strategy #2 to make more time for what matters most.
This summer, we decided as a family to eat more healthy food and reserve one day a week for less healthy choices.
I picked nine healthy dinner recipes, and two healthy breakfast options. I decided to use dinner leftovers for lunch.
We eat these same meals every week. I rotate these nine meals plus pick one or two completely different things for our “less healthy day.” Before, I would have thought this would be boring, but we have not found it to be! The “less healthy day” adds variety and the extra time and energy we have had has exceeded our expectations. This decision has made more room in my schedule and mind for other important things!
Strategy 3 – Simplify Grocery List and Shopping to make more time for what matters most
With a weekly meal plan in place, the next step is mom strategy #3 – simplifying your grocery list and shopping to make more time for what matters most!
After selecting my meals and recipes, I entered each recipe for the main dishes and the sides in my free account at www.mealboard.com. MealBoard combines recipe management, meal planning, groceries and pantry management into a single app. A tutorial is available on the website. I printed all the recipes from the MealBoard website (I like that the recipes are now formatted alike) and put them in page protectors in a separate binder just for them. Using the free Meal Board app on my phone, I select the dates and which recipes I want to make, sync it and print out my shopping list. When you enter the recipes, you can specify on which grocery aisle each ingredient is found and when you print your grocery list, it will already be grouped by aisle! Yes, this took several hours to set up, but my oh my – what a breeze meal planning and shopping has become since then! It’s worth every minute of set-up!
Grocery Pick-up is AWESOME! This is not new, but I must mention it because it is a wonderful free service. When I want to save more time in a week, I enter my order on the Walmart Grocery Pick-up website, pay online, drive up to the store and a friendly employee loads my groceries into my car! I smile every time I use this service! 🙂
The last thing you need to know about making more time for what matters most
Life is so short! Let’s get clarity on what really matters and make more time for what matters most by simplifying our lives and using some systems to free our minds and souls to focus on the precious ones and priorities that have been entrusted to us.
I would love to hear from you! What do you do to make more time for what matters most?