34 Weeks of Clean: Recipes (And a Peek in My Cabinets)

Okay, I’m sorely behind in all things in blog land. Due to a huge migraine last weekend, all posting was thrown off. I have kept up with the 34 Weeks of Clean hosted at Family, Faith and Fridays; and, although I didn’t show my great cabinet clean out last weekend, I did do it, with great results. I’m sharing that here along with this week’s challenge- recipe organization.

Cabinets: When we moved into the house we live in now, one of my biggest problems was lack of cabinet space. We are a family of six, and we live in a house with a small kitchen and very little cabinet space. I also don’t have a pantry. And, perhaps the worst problem is that the cabinets were made with these gigantic, deep, dark corner spaces. So, whatever I store there is lost and forgotten.

Now, that paragraph sounds as if I am complaining much about my house. I’m not. I love our little house. It is perfect for us. But, it is small; and I am constantly finding ways to adapt and best use the space we do have. So I loved this challenge to clean the cabinets.

One of my goals was to find new homes for some of the appliances that sit out on the cabinets. I don’t have an after picture, but I was able to move several of these to my organized pantry from last week!

Another nemesis: the plastic container cabinet. Of course there are always sooo many containers…but never any lids!

And my pot cabinet: Can you see into the dark recesses of the corners where things just get pushed?

My pans and casserole dishes were awful. Jason always accuses me of rigging things to fall on him.

Our medicines did share space with the cups and plates, and I knew I needed to clean them out and get rid of things. Some we don’t use anymore, and some were old, I knew.

Since the kids were small, I kept the plastic kids’ cups and plates and bowls low so they could reach them. But, I decided that since my youngest child is nine, I could safely get rid of some of these and put the others up where they will stay organized better.

I almost hate to show this picture. It’s all of the stuff that was crammed into my plastic container cabinet!

Once I cleaned out the lower cabinet full of kids’ dishes, I had room to house our many tumblers more neatly.

And the kids’ plastic ware found a new home neatly placed with the other cups and bowls. The kids can definitely reach the top cabinets now.

I traded the plastic containers for my mixing bowls which were in a mess in this top cabinet. This was also another falling hazard as some glass mixing bowl always seemed ready to fall out when the door opened. I’m not sure why I don’t have a picture after the switch, but I put all my plastics up here- with the lids on them. (Not sure why I couldn’t have had that brilliant idea sooner!)

And so, I’ve definitely ended up with more organized cabinets. This was something I needed to tackle!

 After I felt better last weekend, I quickly read to see what this week’s challenge was to try to catch up. And, to my pleasant surprise, the goal was organizing recipes. Now it’s time for another confession: I hate to cook. I’m not a cook. I don’t cook well. I’ve learned lots in the 20 years I’ve been married, but it still isn’t one of my strengths. But…I’m an expert recipe and meal plan organizer. Name me a recipe system, and I’ve probably tried it over the years. I’ve used some with more success than others. But, no matter how much I organize, my food doesn’t cook any better or any easier. But, I should get points for organizing, right?

So this week’s challenge was easy. My recipes are organized in a few main ways. I store many recipes online at allrecipes. This is a great free site. (I think there is a paid option.) I can search for recipes or I can enter my own. The recipe entry is super easy. When I find a recipe I like online, I can copy and paste or just link the page. I always make sure I note where it came from if I copy and paste. So I store all of my “regulars” here or anything special I find online that I plan to really make- not just drool over.

Besides the online storage, I have a place on my pantry shelf for the cookbooks I use most often. And I have this big green binder.

The big green binder stores printed copies of the recipes I use often or recipes that were given to me in a format that was easier to print out. Even though I can store them online, I like to have the tried and true (and used most often) here in print and easy to carry to the kitchen. I have the sections organized and the sheets in page protectors.

At the back of the big green binder is a section for Simplified Dinners- one of the best recipe books I’ve used. I reviewed it a while back, and I loved it! It’s an ebook, and I loved it so much I printed the whole thing and added it to my binder.

These recipe books are stored in a small, freestanding cabinet. They are not ones I use often, but they are meaningful in some way, so I won’t get rid of them. Recipe books from my husband’s grandmother, recipe books the kids have received, recipe books we’ve purchased from groups we are part of- they are all stored here.

So there we go. I feel a little more caught up now. And I’m loving the feeling of accomplishment when I clean out something new. It’s not too late to join the challenge at Family, Faith and Fridays.

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