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How to Prepare Meals and Not Go Crazy Doing It

It’s Tuesday night and you’ve already run out of steam. A cry comes from the front door. “Whaaaaaat’s for dinnnnnner????” You have no idea. The pantry scramble comes and something that resembles dinner is on the table. Sure, you’ve filled the bellies and probably even satisfied the taste buds of each one in your home but your brain is probably stresssssed. Let’s talk about a few ways to make this scenario end with a little more sanity in your head and household.

Before we move into the tricks I want to let you know that the best first step is to have an organized pantry, fridge, and freezer. That way you can see what you have and use it.

If you need to declutter and organize your pantry, do that with these questions in mind.

  1. Is it expired? If it is, why do you still have it? (You might not care about expiration dates. In which case I would say, go ahead and use it up ASAP. See challenge below.)
  2. Do we like this food? Will we eat this food?

I love a good challenge! Do you? How many meals can you make without going to the grocery? Exception: fresh produce. If you use AllRecipes.com’s ingredient search it is amazing what you can find. (This post is in no way affiliated with or sponsored by allrecipes.com.)

The rule of thumb for this is:
Plan what you eat, buy what you plan, eat what you buy.

So here we go, let’s see what some of these tricks are for figuring out how to prepare meals and not go crazy doing it.

Make a written plan for each meal and snack.
You may choose a week or more. It’s totally up to you. If you are just starting out with meal planning, try a week.
If you have just cleaned out the pantry, fridge, and freezer for the first time in a while, you’ll want to use up all those expired or almost expired items. (For the record, I’m in the “throw it out” expired food camp.) So look at the items you want to use up and make meals around those items.

Make a written grocery list.
Since you’ve planned meals around the foods you want to use up it’s as if you have already done some of your shopping and you didn’t even have to leave your house or tip the grocery delivery person! Hooray!
Okay, now’s when you see what else you need to buy based on the meals and snacks you have planned. Put those things on your written grocery list. When you get to the store, buy only the things on your list. Be strong, you can do it!

Make your meals. Prep your snacks.
Now that you’ve bought what you’ve planned it’s time to eat what you bought by making your meals and prepping your snacks. You may choose to do all of this on one day and prep for the week. You may choose to make and prep as you eat. Different things work for different households at different seasons.

And just like that you have streamlined your eating for you and your household!

BONUS SIDE-EFFECTS:
You will save money.
Less food will go wasted.
You may actually lose weight. If you plan, buy, and eat food that is good for you in appropriate portions.
Once this is a habit for you, you will end up with more time and less stress.

Yes, these take time to do. Yes, it will take time to develop into a habit. Yes, you can help teach the other people in your family to help. Yes, it will pay off in the end.

Happy Meal Planning!

 

 

Just for fun, here are some other names I thought of for this article.

Food Tricks – makes me think of a circus with fruit and veggies doing acrobatics
Food Organizing – this screams “pantry” and that’s not what this article is about
Meal Planning – again, that totally gives it away, well, mostly
Meal Organizing – that gets the job done but how boring

Conquering Laundry Mountain

I can’t tell you how many people ask me about laundry. “What tricks do you have?” “What systems do you recommend to families for laundry?” “How can I get out from underneath Laundry Mountain?”

You might not like my answer but here it is… Do it!

Do your laundry from start to finish. There is not magic life-altering system.

Now, your family might have some different laundry needs that you can use a system for but the bottom line is, you have to do your laundry. With that said, there are a few tricks that can help you to accomplish that.

  • The less clothing you have, the less laundry you will have to do. I have a list of questions to ask yourself about what clothing to keep and what clothing to get rid of coming soon! Keep an eye out!
  • Set a timer for when the washer will be done. When the timer goes off, change the clothes over to the dryer.
  • Set a timer for when the dryer will be done. When the timer goes off, fold the clothes.
  • When you are done folding, put the clothes away. Right away.
  • If you have children, teach them how to do their laundry. It takes time and patience, but it is more than worth it to raise helpful contributors to your family.
  • Play some Beat the Clock games. Plan other things that will take the same amount of time to do as your washer or dryer. Perhaps spend that time picking up the little things around the house that never made it to their appropriate homes. Get a basket or bin, carry it with you to pick all of those little items up. When the basket is full, put everything in the basket where it goes. Repeat until everything is put away. By this time the laundry is ready to change over or fold and put away.

What ways have you found to make sure you get the laundry done from start to finish?

Laundry and Meals and Living

It happened again yesterday.

I got a text from a friend asking what I would recommend for laundry. And food, you know, while she was asking.

It doesn’t bother me to be asked. I’m honored to be thought of as an expert in the field. It is what I do for a living, after all. It’s just that no one ever likes my answers.

You see, we have created a world that no one lives in. Oh, we think people live there! We think everyone lives there and if we could just someone figure out the secret we could live there too. So we scroll through images of this world and think really hard of how we can get there.

We muster all the energy and time we can find to put our homes in order. And, voila, just like that the kitchen looks just like the one we saw while scrolling. Then, in the blink of an eye…

… the toddler comes in and explores.

… the teenager has a friend over.

… the spouse makes a snack to share.

… life happens.

Then, in the blink of an eye, life happens. You know, that thing that we are here doing. Living. The toddler learns and loves. The teenager shows hospitality. The spouse exercises spontaneity and generosity. And your “perfect” photo-worthy kitchen has hand prints, chatty teens, crumbs, and dirty dishes.

It’s that or a made-up life from your scrolling, in which no one lives. I hate to be the one to bust your bubble but it’s true. No one LIVES in those photos. My oh my are they beautiful photos, aren’t they? But more than that is the beauty in a family that lives life together. That’s why when you see my before and after photos you will still see life. Rarely will you see perfect little bins all in a row with nothing else in the space. That is because life is being lived in those spaces.

What is my advice for laundry and meals then?

I’ll start with laundry. Are you ready?

Do it.

Yep, that’s the best system there is! Wash, dry, fold, and put away. Do it all as close together as you can. Want a few tricks? Here’s that post.

Moving on to meals. Ready?

Meal plan.

Plan what you eat, buy what you plan, and eat what you buy. How do you do that? Click on over to this post.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what systems for laundry and meals work for you in the comments!

 

Build a Daily Habit with 30/30

***scroll down to registration link***

I get it, the weather is finally warming up and you are wanting to abandon anything remotely inside which is keeping you from keeping your home organized. The other people in your home have successfully managed to disorganize everything you organized back in January and rather than put it back together you are done.

Well, hold on just a minute. There is still hope. Now, you and I can’t change other people but we can work toward building a habit in you to keep up with the organization of your home.

All that hard work that you’ve put in for the past few months or weeks at getting unwanted items out of your house was not for nothing. Let’s keep it going!

Or maybe you find yourself finally getting frustrated with not being able to find things in your home and having to purchase things you KNOW you already own but just can’t find it. Ahem, tape, scissors, glue… anyone?

After working with clients who have diligently been through their entire home side-by-side with me developing little habits of success along the way, I want to provide that for others. While not the same as working with someone, I want to make encouragement and tips and success available to you as well. For that very reason, I’ve developed a program that will show up in your email every day for 30 days.

You’ll learn about the best method to organize fully. You’ll hear from others about the change that organizing has brought to their lives. You’ll have the accountability to work in your home’s disorganized areas every day for 30 days, building a habit that can last a lifetime. You’ll have quick wins along the way. And, best yet, you’ll have a daily cheerleader in me!

I will be popping in every day for 30 days to cheer you on to working 30 minutes in your home every day. Thus, the program is called 30/30! 30 minutes for 30 days. It’s really up to you how much time you spend but the goal is to build a solid habit to either create or keep up with the systems that are keeping your house organized.

In order to make this round accessible I am offering it at $30! Yes, just $30! So sign up, invite your friends, and make a fun time of it!

Click here and scroll down to register.

Details for this round of 30/30:
The program will run May 1 – 30.
Registration will be April 9 – 26.
The cost is $30.

 

 

Take Heart

February is National Heart Month. I have a handful of heart babies in my life and what joy they and their families bring to my life, each one. As you think about those in your life who have obstacles that they walk with daily or have conquered, I want to encourage YOU.

Maybe February is finding you with all your good intentions left back in January. Maybe you feel defeated and like you will never change or never get anywhere on your goals. Take heart! You can change!

Here is your permission and encouragement to start back with your organizational goals. Yes, you can start back today. You can start for the first time. You can pick up where you left off. If you’ve kept up and feel bored with your goal, kick it up a level.

This month I have two opportunities for you to pick back up or continue on with your organizational goals. The first is already in full swing, The Minimalism Game with Little Red Stool Organizing. This is an event that is more like a game and a lot of fun to participate in. It’s the second year in a row that the LRSO community has done the minimalism game and we’d love to have you join in. Click here to join the event.

The other opportunity is to register for 30/30. This 30 day program will start March 1 with daily encouragement, tips, and accountability to help you develop or continue a habit of decluttering your home just a little bit each day by focusing on one area at a time. Registration will end February 23rd. Click here for more information and a link to register.

Every day is a new beginning. Every day is a chance to start over with new grace and mercy. Take heart, friend!