Creating an Organized Home Part One – Kitchen

I am what you would call organized chaos. I’m crazy organized when it comes to work, but not so much at home. I am always misplacing items and then creating an even bigger mess trying to find said item. It’s a vicious cycle. Clean. Misplace item. Destroy home looking for said item. Repeat. But no more! I have made an effort to get more organized in life, so I am sharing my journey, tips, and tricks of how I am accomplishing this. One room at a time. This my friends, is now a functional and organized kitchen.

I don’t know why I woke up a couple Saturdays ago with the urge to deep clean the kitchen, but I did. Then it lead to organizing the pantry, and every single cabinet in the kitchen. Maybe it was the toaster almost falling on my foot when I opened one of the cabinets, or maybe the food crumbs, or the fact that I realized I had 2.2 million cookie cutters. Yes, 2.2 million. Who needs that many cookie cutters? Wilton has probably produced less cookie cutters than what I found stashed away in the cabinets. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating. The point is, we had a lot of stuff that we never used or I didn’t even remembered we had. What was worse was the things I needed at some point but could NEVER find. I swear I asked my husband on the daily if he knew where something was. His reply was always, “Well, if you would have put it back where it went you wouldn’t have that problem.” Touché husband. Touché. But honestly he was right! I never knew where ANYTHING was because I would use it, then cram it somewhere. So with that, I am starting this home organization series.

Think of this series like a capsule wardrobe, just with your home instead of your clothes. Same concept and same feeling of accomplishment when you’re done!

The first thing I did was open all the cabinets. They were a mess! I wish I would have taken before pictures, but wasn’t until after I was done that I decided I wanted to blog about it.

Then one-by-one I pulled everything out of each cabinet and piled all like things. That’s how I realized I had 2.2 million cookie cutters.😂

After putting everything in piles I went through each one and put everything I haven’t used or had multiples of in a pile to donate. Let me be clear, I had three sets of mixing bowls. Who needs three sets of mixing bowls besides Martha Stewart?!? So I put the other two sets in the donate pile. I also put items that I hadn’t used in a very long time in the donate pile. I took the approach of,  if I didn’t even remember having it, I donated it.

While I had everything pulled out I vacuumed out the cabinets and drawers and then cleaned the insides with a magic eraser. Those things are magnificent!

Tip: Use toothpicks to reach the crud in the grooves of your cabinets then wipe with a magic eraser. Magic erasers are great for a lot of things, especially keeping white cabinets, white!

After going through all the cabinets I had a little over two bags of items ready to donate…just from our kitchen! And can you believe that half of one was cookie cutters?!? JK, but seriously…

I even cleaned out the cleaning supply cabinet and organized all the cleaning supplies using little white wire caddies I purchased from Home Goods like a year ago. Using the caddies have helped me stay organized and it’s so much easier to pull out a trash bag without knocking everything over now.

Tip: If you have a Tupperware drawer, organize them all by size and shape. If you find containers missing a lid, recycle it. I made sure to only keep the Tupperware that had a matching lid.

Once all the cabinets were situated, I started on the pantry. I found grains, cornmeal, and other items that had been expired for months. Gross right?!? So I went through everything, got rid of the expired food, put the items we had multiples of in order of expiration date, and used clear OXO containers we were gifted from our wedding to use for the cereal and other dry items. Yay for finally using them! Our containers are from Crate & Barrel, but I have found them at Home Goods & TJ Maxx for less.

Tip: Making dry foods more visible has definitely helped with meal preparation and allows me to see how much of something we have left. Like cereal. My boys eat the heck out of cereal, but I never knew we were out until I went to eat some. Thanks boys for keeping mom on her toes.

Side note, I didn’t realize my obsession with paper straws until I organized the kitchen. Because I have so many, I put them in a glass canister to keep them together. I am definitely glad I didn’t throw the canister away when I broke the lid.

I also rearranged everything in the pantry based on my height. Items that were easy to lose track are now at eye level. Also, if I had multiples of something I put the item with the closer expiration date in front to reduce wasted food.

I probably sound crazy, but it’s easy to overlook items when they are not at eye level and are not frequently used. Items such as canned beans. I realized when I organized the pantry we had 8 cans of various canned beans. See! All I can hope is that the family is ok with eating a lot of chili. 😂

After the pantry was situated, I moved on to organizing the items on the counters and open shelves. Recently I added a second set of open shelving in our kitchen, and I couldn’t be happier about the decision. Before the second set of shelves, there was a pot rack shelf that we never once used to hang our pots on. Adding the second set of shelves made the kitchen more functional. They also allow me to keep items that are frequently used, while cooking, closer to the stove.

Items such as everyday-ish spices. Before, I had to walk to the other side of the kitchen. Now I don’t have to. Even though I was focused on the items being functional, I still wanted them to look pretty. I mean, they are in the open. So for my spices I used glass jars (with a clasp seal) from Hobby Lobby.

I have never been big on labels, especially since I am always changing things up, so I opted for a cleaner look. However, I still need to know what spice is which. I’m sure pumpkin spice chili wouldn’t be a big hit. So I used a chalkboard marker and wrote the spice on the bottom on each jar.

Then when I want to change out the spice, or use the container for something else, I can easily rub the label off.

Can you see the residue of the marker on the palm of my hand?!? I am OCD about everything and had to rewrite the label 1.2 billion times before I thought it was acceptable. Even though nobody but me knows it’s there. Well, and you now.

For the cookie cutters I kept, I decided to put them in glass canisters below the larger open shelves. To stay organized, I separated them by type/season. On the left I have all my pie cutters, the middle, summer & spring cookie cutters, and on the end, Christmas and Thanksgiving cookie cutters. Now, I don’t have to dump all the cookie cutters on the counter and pilfer through them all to find  certain holiday/seasonal ones. Also, they are now close to the rest of the baking items I frequently use. Convenient and functional!

Organizing the kitchen was a huge task. It took almost a day to get everything situated, but it was well worth it!

The point of all this for me was to only keep items with a true purpose in our home, not just things for the sake of having things. It’s definitely an adjustment for me, but now I know where things are because they aren’t covered or crammed into spaces with things we didn’t need/use. The kitchen has stayed organized for over two weeks now, and I haven’t had to ask my husband once where anything in the kitchen is. I can’t say that for other rooms..but soon enough.

Next up in the series I’ll be tackling bathroom organization. Stay tuned!

P.S. Some of my favorite items to keep me organized are linked below.

Well friends, that’s it for part 1 of this series. I know these ideas are not revolutionary, but they have definitely kept me organized in the kitchen and I hope my tips can do the same for you. Until next time. Xo

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Fav Finds

Does anyone else feel like the Nordstrom Anniversary sale is like Christmas?!?! I mean, I do! The timing couldn’t be more perfect with the kids going back to school. I always take advantage of the kid sales. 😊

This year I also stocked up for our entryway makeover. Check out all my favorite finds below. I tried to be clever with the names. My hubby always tells me funny is not my thing. 😂  You can be the judge.

 

Bring on the Boho

I just bought the mirror and pillow last night. I can’t wait to style them in the entryway. 😊

 

Shop My Boho Favorite Finds

 

 

Straight A School Style

I definitely stocked up for my boys this year! I got the North Face jacket for $35! 😍

Shop Back-to-School

 

 

Green with Envy

Shop Green with Envy

 

 

The Warm-up

The pillow also comes in ivory and blush! 😍

 

Shop the Warm-up

 

Happy shopping friends! Xo

 

House Plant Love

If you have been following along on my Instagram @acarriedaffairdesigns then you know my love for greenery & flowers. However, keeping them alive longer than a couple weeks has always been a struggle for me. To the point I was making a bi-weekly trip to our local garden shop to replace our house plants. Well friends, the cost of doing that was adding up quickly and definitely wasn’t a good long term solution. So I did some research as well as got advice from some plant aficionados and let me tell you, it made all the difference in the world. I am happy to report that after following the plant aficionados advice, I am no longer making those biweekly trips. With that said, I am sharing some of my favorite greenery, the benefits of them, and how to keep them thriving. Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it!

Now let’s talk types of greenery

I currently have all of these plants in my house and they all have made it past week 3! Can you believe that?!? Me, keeping plants alive? It only took all my life. Moving on…

Now let’s talk benefits & care tips for each of these plants

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

This tree has quickly become my favorite plant in our house. The fullness and the various green tones have me all sorts of heart eyes. Maybe the seagrass basket it’s in has something to do with it being my favorite. 🤔

Benefits: Produces high levels of oxygen and cleans the air of allergens.

Care Tips: Bright consistent light. Turn the plant every few months (once the plant starts to lean towards the light). Keep away from drafty areas.

Watering: Stick your finger in the top of the soil. If the soil is dry about an inch down, then it is time to water your fiddle.

English Ivy

Benefits: Reduces mold spores, benzene, and formaldehyde in the air of your home. To lean more about the benefits of English Ivy read THIS.

Care Tips: English Ivy is poisonous and should be kept out of reach from children and pets. 

Watering: If the soil is dry to the touch, then it needs water. If the soil is most at all, it is fine.

Rubber Plant

The rubber plant is almost impossible to kill, which is probably why it is still going strong! 😂

Benefits: This plant purifies the air and reduces airborne bacteria. It also produces oxygen and eliminates mold spores in the air.

Care Tips: The leaves tend to get dusty. I just wipe them with a damp towel.

Watering: Rubber plants do not require a lot of water. Actually, they are better off under-watered than over-watered. If the soil is completely dry then it is time to water, but if there is any moisture, you can wait to water.

Boston Fern

Benefits: Removes formaldehyde from the air and acts as a general air purifier.

Care Tips: Needs indirect sunlight & humidity.

Watering: Keep the soil damp at all times. I also mist the leaves twice a week to create humidity.

Heart Leaf Philodendron Plant

Benefits: Removes formaldehyde and carbon monoxide from the air. 

Care Tips: Poisonous. Keep out of reach from children and pets. 

Watering: Keep the soil damp. If the leaves turn yellow that means the plant is getting too much water. Brown leaves mean not enough water.

Succulents

Benefits: Removes formaldehyde.

Care Tips: Needs a lot of sunlight and well drained soil. I added rocks to the bottom of this snack bowl turned succulent planter and topped the rocks with soil. Doing this will allow the soil to drain.

Watering: Once every 3-4 weeks.

Tip: Clip some of the the leaves off and lay on damp soil to propagate and grow your succulent garden.

Areca Palm

Benefits: Natural humidifier. Removes, benzene and formaldehyde from the air. 

Care Tips: They need bright indirect light. Direct sunlight with make the leaves turn yellow.

Watering: Keep the soil moist. I water mine about once a week.

Asparagus Fern

Benefits: Improves indoor air quality.

Care Tips: Needs humidity and indirect sunlight. Can prune.

Watering: Mist the plant daily to create humidity. Water when the soil is dry to the touch.

Additional Care Tips

Tip 1: Use planters that have a hole in the bottom. If your planters don’t, put rocks at the bottom so there is room for the water to go. Letting your plant sit in the water can cause the soil to mold.

Tip 2: If you use city water to water your plants let the water sit out overnight before using it. City water has traces of chlorine which can make your plants die.

Tip 3: The advice I got from a gardener at our local garden shop is to push your finger into the soil around the roots, if the soil is still moist then no need to water it. If the soil is completely dry and/or looks like it is separating from the sides of the planter then it needs water.

Tip 4: Put a weekly reminder on your phone to check the plants.

We all have busy schedules, so it is easy to forget about watering your plants if they look ok at a glance. I set a weekly reminder on my phone to check my plants in the evening.

Well friends, that’s all for this post. I hope you enjoyed it! Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or you can message me on Instagram @acarriedaffairdesigns

Until next time. xo

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My Mother’s Day Picnic

Picnics have always been dreamy to me. I don’t know why, but I’ve always thought it would be the perfect day time activity. I’ve always had this vision in my head with the big blanket, picnic basket, and cheese. Lots of CHEESE!! 

You might be thinking, Whoa Carrie, it’s just a picnic. But I have been planning a picnic since I was pregnant with baby K. I even bought a picnic basket before he was born. But after 2+ years of it sitting in the closet, I finally got to use it!

With having a child under 2, I have made up every excuse possible not to go on one. Just thinking of taking both boys by myself made me exhausted. The sucky part about being married to a chef, the hours. His only day off is Monday and he works every holiday except Christmas Day. Since I work M-F our schedules couldn’t be more opposite.

I had told my husband a few days before the holiday that I was finally going to take the boys on a picnic on Mother’s Day. A part of me didn’t want to go, because I wanted my first picnic to be with my husband and kids. I know it probably sounds silly, but it’s what I wanted.

While I was getting everything together to leave for our picnic, my husband surprised me and walked through the door (with flowers in hand) and told me he was taking me on my first picnic. I almost cried. He told me he knew how much it meant to me and that he wanted to be there.

So I finished getting the picnic basket ready and we left for the park. Baby K had fallen asleep on the way so while he slept, I watched my oldest and husband play catch and I laid on the blanket eating ALL the cheese. That’s acceptable right?! I mean, it was Mother’s Day.

Side note, I used mason jars for the lemonade and yogurt. Those seals are tight! Not one drop leaked out.

After we ate, we walked around the park. It’s crazy how we have lived less than 2 miles from this park for years and didn’t know anything about the history of the ruins tucked away in the park.

If you are interested, THIS ARTICLE provides more detail of the history of the statues. It was pretty interesting, but I am a nerd. 🤓

Anyway…

 As we were heading back to the car I was thanking my husband and oldest son for taking me on a picnic and as I was saying the words I started crying. What a sap. But I was so excited that I got to go on my first picnic with all my boys. It was the perfect day. Just as I had envisioned it. I know the boys did not want to go, but it made it that much more special that they took me with no complaints and let me enjoy my day. Best Mother’s Day EVER!

Well, friends that’s it. Thank you so much for stopping by. Your support means so much to me. ❤️ Also, if I have put you in the picnic mood and you need kid friendly ideas on what to pack, I included our super easy menu below. You can also shop the items in this post at the bottom.

 

The Menu

Peanut butter & banana sandwiches

Cheese & crackers

Lemonade topped with fresh lime juice

Vanilla yogurt topped with granola & blackberries

 

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