Archive for the ‘Organizing’ Category

I’m a teacher, and I keep the books in my classroom in labeled baskets.  I like having the books organized by categories, such as historical fiction, fantasy, life science, biographies, etc.  At home, I wanted to do something similar, but in a frugal way.

I used some leftover plastic bins and I printed some labels.  I sorted the books into categories, wrote those categories on labels with a Sharpie marker, and then covered the labels with packing tape to keep them from tearing or wearing out.

Organizing kid books1

Organizing kid books2

Organizing kid books3

Organizing kid books4

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Have you ever wondered how to organize and store moving and shipping boxes that you know you’ll need again?  I recently went through our stash, purged quite a bit, and organized the rest so that things would be easy to find.

I organized boxes by size and stored them in a large box.

Foam/cardboard and packing paper

Mailing envelopes and bubble wrap

Air-filled bags were put in a large garbage bag.

Packing peanuts were put in a box as well.

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We were gifted with some wonderful baby clothes, blankets, cloth diapers, etc.  To organize and store them until they’re needed, I used large, clear stacking bins.  I divided the middle of each bin with a piece of cardboard.  Then, I sorted clothes by size.  I also had bins for blankets and towels/burp cloths, cloth diapers, wet bags, etc.

I love, love, love my cloth diaper stash!

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Organizing My Yarn Stash

I’ve been keeping my yarn stash in bins on a bookshelf, but the yarn wasn’t organized.  I recently sorted the yarn by weight and labeled the bins.  It makes it much easier to choose projects, because I can now look to see if I have a certain weight of yarn.  It also got me looking up the yarns I had to determined what their weights were.

Here’s how I labeled my bins:

  • Weight 3- DK Weight
  • Weight 4 – Worsted Weight
  • Weight 5 – Bulky
  • Weight 6 – Super Bulky

Above:  Super Bulky Yarn (Weight 6)

I have a lot of Caron One Pound yarn (Weight 4).

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I recently organized my stash of medicines, vitamins, and herbs.  I had them in two different rooms in the house, so it was good to get them all together in one place.  First, I pulled the ones that were expired.  I was surprised how old some of them were.

Above:  Before sorting through everything…

Below:  After sorting.

I put cough drops and sore throat drops in labeled jars.  They would be easier to get to in jars than in the bags they came in.

Like I did with my spice jars, I labeled the tops of the bottles and boxes of medicines, vitamins, and herbs.

The vitamins, herbs, cough/sore throat drops, and misc. items went in one basket.

The other basket held items for allergies and colds, including pain relievers and the thermometer.

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I often clean out my freezer and complete a new freezer inventory.  It’s not often that I organize all of the canned goods in my kitchen, or completely clean and organize my fridge.

A while back, I printed out a decluttering calendar.  It had a task each day of the week, for an entire year (I’m still on January).  One of the tasks was to put all of my canned goods on the same shelf.  (If any of you do food storage, you know you’ll need more than one shelf!)

I finally got around to doing this task, after procrastinating for a long, long time.  I knew it needed to be done, because I had similar foods in several places in my kitchen.  For example, I knew I had canned beans in three places!

First, I took all the canned goods of the shelves and sorted them by type.  I tossed any that were expired.  Above, you can see meats, tomatoes, soups, etc..

I was very surprised at how much cereal we had.  Some of it wasn’t even being stored in the kitchen!

I then put items back on the shelves, keeping similar items together.  I was able to use a wire stacking shelf to put some smaller cans above jars of pasta sauce.  Above, you have pasta sauce, meats, soups, and tomatoes.

Here, you have beans, veggies, sushi materials, gravy mixes, peanut butter, protein powder, and condiments for cooking.

I organized snacks together as well.  Can you believe that I can’t have anything in this drawer except for the applesauce!  I used to be able to eat it all…

I went ahead and organized my kitchen cupboards as well.  I moved my wheat-filled flours and sugars to the top shelf of a cabinet.  I also decided to stick my baking food storage up there as well (canned pumpkin, salt, etc.).

Since I was on a roll, I decided to work on the fridge as well.  I took everything out, sorted it by type, threw away anything expired, and then gave the empty fridge a very good scrubbing.

I put baking items on the top shelf, with non-wheat items toward the front.  Cheese, pasta sauce, salsa, yogurt, and leftovers went on the middle shelf.  Eggs, meat, and milk went on the bottom shelf.

The door shelves have condiments organized by type (and size).  At the bottom left, you can see where I store my garden seeds.

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Since I can’t eat wheat pasta, I decided to make room for gluten free pasta in the cabinet where I store my pasta and rice.

I put the wheat pasta and white rice on the top shelf (that requires a chair to reach), and I left the brown rice and gluten free pasta on the lower shelf.  I probably won’t be putting my GF pasta in storage containers like my wheat pasta, so I have a basket that I can easily pull off the shelf.

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Don’t you just love the mess involved in an organization project?  It reminds me of my grad school days, where I’d have textbooks, spirals, and research articles that I had to read all over my desk.

Okay, I found that I wasn’t using my “Favorites” recipe binder.  Instead, I was using my hodgepodge binder, where I stuff recipes printed on scraps of paper, note paper, sticky notes, etc.

The last time I updated my “Favorites” recipe binder, I was in total vegan mode.  Now, I’m eating some meat, so things needed to be reorganized.

First, I cleared out all of the recipes from the Favorites binder, and cleared the labeled tabs.


Next, I made a list of the categories I wanted, and put them in an order that worked for me.


I re-labeled the tabs.


At the beginning of each section in the binder, I put a colorful sheet of printer paper, labeled with the category and a list of the recipes in that section.  That paper and all recipes were then put in sheet protectors.

If a recipe was written on a sticky note (etc.) or needed modifications, I typed and printed it.


In this picture, you can see the category’s cover page, with the following recipes, all in sheet protectors.

This binder design works for me, because I can easily add more recipes, plus use the tabs to find recipes in a certain category (ex:  beans, rice, etc.) quickly.

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This is Part 2 of how I updated my favorite recipes binder after I started eating more vegan meals than meat/dairy meals.

These are my new categories.  Before, they were chicken, beef, pork, etc.  Now, they are beans, rice, salads, wraps, veggies, etc.

Yes, there is one category for meats, as I do prep and freeze hamburger patties, fajita chicken, etc. for my husband.  Still, it’s only one category, instead of 8 or so like it was before.


When I did my favorite recipes binder before, I hand-wrote the recipes.  This time, I typed them, which went much faster.  It also makes it easy to e-mail or print a copy for a friend.


For each category, I listed the category name and any recipes underneath.



This shows the Bread category.  There’s a divider, a colored title page, and the recipes in the sheet protectors.


Here is the updated favorite recipes binder!

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I have 2 binders.  One has a smorgasbord of recipes.  They’re on sticky notes, note paper, printed recipes, etc.  It’s not organized at all.  It’s where loose paper recipes go, whether I’ve tried them or not.

I have another binder with divided sections for favorite recipes.  These include recipes from cookbooks and the anything goes binder.  The difference is these are my frequently-used recipes.

After going vegan for a month, I now find myself eating meat only once a day, if at all.  I needed to redo the binder of my favorite recipes, because the categories were chicken, beef, roasts, seafood, etc.

I pulled out all of the recipes in the favorites binder and decided to start fresh, including only the recipes I’ve been doing frequently in the last several weeks.

This is the smorgasbord binder with recipes in no particular order.

These were the only three categories I kept from the original favorite recipes binder.

I have 10 dividers in the binder.  Each section has a couple of sheet protectors for recipes.  The sheet protectors help keep the recipes from getting wet, covered in chocolate, etc.

I had colored paper available for listing the recipes in each section.

Here was my initial list of recipes I would include in the updated favorites binder.  I created categories to match.  The recipes were modified versions of recipes I made before I started eating more vegan meals, along with new recipes I’ve picked up in the last several weeks.

Check back in a few days for Part 2!

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Want to make a coupon binder to organize all of your coupons?

I’ve put all 3 posts on one page!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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I sorted, folded, and organized another basket of fabric scraps.  I still have a giant bag with more, but I’m making progress.  After checking various resale and dollar stores, I found the perfect containers for organizing the scrap fabrics.  Here’s a picture of what I have organized so far.  I tried to put similar colors together.


Having the fabrics folded and organized by color will help me when I select fabrics for the scrap quilt I’m working on.  It’s very exciting to think about the beautiful quilt blocks that these will make!  It’s also neat to sit down and contemplate all of the blouses, dresses, tops, etc. that I’ve made!  Do you notice that most of my clothes are blue, pink, or maroon?

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