Thursday, February 1, 2018

How To Organize Your Snack Cabinet or Pantry For Under $15! #4DaysOfOrganizing

Happy Friday. If you're joining me from Crystal's (The Holliday Collective ) or Erin's (Live Pretty on a Penny ) posts, welcome to the next stop on our blog hop! I'm so thankful you stopped by. I am excited to be joining these amazingly talented bloggers to share tips on how we get organized. I'll be sharing with you how I've organized our small snack cabinet for under $15 and under 15 minutes. There are so many beautiful images on Pinterest and Instagram of gorgeous pantries and huge kitchens with adorable baskets and containers from amazing stores like Homegoods or Ikea. Ooohhh, how I wish I could do the same. The reality is, baskets and cute containers are just not in the budget right this second. If you are like me, you are purging ALL. THE. THINGS. after the holidays. Part of being successful with that task is making sure everything you want to keep has a place (I mean what good is organizing if you still can't easily find what you need).

 (That tiny cabinet where the chalkboard is, that's the pantry!)

Our snack cabinet/Pantry area is pretty small. I mean, its almost non existent. This area of our kitchen is used for snacks as well as lunch packing items and our bread. See what I mean? Yikes. The biggest problem with this area is that it's pretty narrow but fairly deep. Making it hard to get to items in the back of the cabinet. In order to make it easier for little ones to grab snacks (and not spill everything while doing so) I needed to add containers to hold everything. My favorite place for such a thing? DOLLAR TREE! 

If you don't shop at Dollar Tree then you my friend, are missing out. They have an entire wall dedicated to different size and color containers. All for... a DOLLAR. I know, craziness! At those prices I can get containers for my entire house... which I have haha. I have the smaller pencil/pen sized containers in the bathroom to hold toothbrushes and toothpaste. I have the medium bucket sized containers in my linen closet to hold medicine and other toiletry items. The small desk baskets I use for makeup and today I am going to show you how I used them in my kitchen.

I took most of these photos after a long (very long trip that it was dark out when I returned home hence the flash in most of these photos lol) grocery trip as I was putting items away. This is the best time to get everything organized and to toss any old food. The biggest way to get organized in the kitchen is to ditch the packaging for most pantry items. They are bulky and waste so much space (unless you have one of those dream kitchens I see on Pinterest, then you girl friend can keep alllll the packaging your little heart desires! HA!). No need to keep the big box that the fruit snacks came in, dump them all into a bucket with other smaller snacks like granola bars or individual packages of crackers. You'd be surprised at how much easier this makes it for little ones to pick out an after school snack without your help. 

(Look at all these empty boxes!)

Another great reason to get your Pantry organized is to help teach your kids a little independence. Once I started doing this my son didn't need me to get things down for him as often. He also didn't have to ask what was and was not considered a snack (no you cannot eat all the semi sweet chocolate chips as a snack!). He knew that everything in the container with the fruit snacks or granola bars was considered fair game. You could go as far as to label these containers, but since our pantry area is so small that wasn't needed. 


All together I probably spent ten dollars on all of these containers. Some even came two or three to a pack! The best past is if they break... they are cheap and easy to replace. To be honest I have yet to have any of my containers I've purchased from there break. If you don't have a Dollar Tree near you I have some news for you. You can order most of their items online. 

(The fruit is in the basket in the cabinet for demonstration but could easily be placed in the fridge as well)

Just $15 and 15 minutes and you can get your kitchen cabinets in order too. One thing I learned since becoming a homeowner is that the items I need to get my house organized are usually pretty pricey. I was so excited to discover all of these containers at Dollar Tree and they have helped me tremendously around my home. I am pretty sure every room has a container in it that I have purchased from there. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you take the time to visit all the other amazing bloggers included in this project. Below is a list if you've missed any. 

Organizing a Shared Boys' Room
Organizing a Craft Room
Organizing a Toddler Girl's Closet
Organizing -----
Organizing the Laundry Room
Organizing the Office
Organizing a Pantry
Organizing a Pantry/Kitchen Cabinets


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Menu Planning For The Everyday Mom (and how it helped me spend more time with my family!)

OH-EM-GEE!!! You guys... I am so excited for this new year! I literally have nothing exciting planned but there is something about a "fresh start" that is just so uplifting. I normally don't think much about it or making a resolution but for some reason I feel different this year. I am also excited to get back to posting on here. It is so crazy how much we hold ourselves back. I say I want to post more yet when I have the chance to I think of all the other things I could be doing. Not sure how many of you reading this are "creatives", but let me tell you, if you are and you don't take the time to create..... YOU GO CRAZY! 😂 So, this is my time to create... and share with all of you! *hugs*

 Anywho... I am back to meal planning and I am pumped about it. (Imagine me with my fist in the air because that's basically what I just did there) How many of you sit down and plan out meals? Let me tell you, when I started it seemed impossible. Funny, its not. I just make a list of our favorites, shop for said fave meals, assign meals to a day, and cook. Oh, and repeat. Pinterest obviously is a great way to mix in some new meals. After doing this for about 2 years I basically know how much things cost off the top of my head, what my family won't eat, and how much of each meal to make so we don't waste. 

You can get to that point too, I promise! All it takes is a little planning on your lunch break, during nap time, or while watching your favorite show in the evening. Grab a pen and paper (or use your notes app on your phone) and think of 4-5 things you want to make this week. Take that list into the kitchen with you during the commercial break and look through your cabinets to see what you already have to make those meals. I bet you probably have most of the items already if they are meals you make often. Flip over your list of meals and jot down what you need to grab from the store, then put that list in your purse, wallet, coat, car... somewhere you won't forget it. (Because lets be honest that's a huge reason why we don't stick to the script... we don't have one lol) 

Once you get your shopping done take a few minutes to look through your calendar. Is there a day your kids have practice right after school? Make your crockpot meal that day. Get out of work early every Tuesday? Why not use that day to make the meal that takes a little more work. Know that you hate cooking on Fridays? (Um, like me) Plan to grab a pizza! I never said you had to actually cook everything, silly. The point is to have a plan so you don't do that daily thing where you and your husband go back and forth about "what sounds good". ugh. 

Honestly, this post was actually supposed to be a menu *edits title of this blog post*... but I guess this is now a tutorial to show you just how easy planning meals can be. Now, some amazing benefits to doing this. You save money, and when I save I don't mean you can now cut a million coupons and save $2.42. I mean real money. Why? Because you're not buying things you don't need. No doubles of mustard because you checked the cabinets and fridge as you made your list. You can even get brave and check the local ad for the store you shop at to see whats on sale BEFORE you even plan your meals. Boneless chicken breast on sale for 99 cents a pound?! Well, sounds like we're going to have a few meals based around chicken over the next two weeks lol. 

I recently asked my Facebook friends how much they were spending monthly on groceries. I know we don't all eat the same, and our family sizes vary but some with similar families to mine were saying they spend up to $1000 a month. I couldn't even imagine. When we made the decision for me to stay home with the kids I took that job very seriously (and I wanted to be able to keep it 😂). I became a full time manager of our home and money.  If you ask my husband what I do he will 100% say I take "nothing" and make something. I mean I think that statement goes for almost any mom. We take a few ingredients and make a delicious meal. We take some paint and transform a house into a home. I take our grocery budget and stretch it as far as I can. I get some sort of weird joy out if it to be honest lol. 

My kids and husband love knowing whats planned for the week. I post it on our chalkboard wall. They look forward to their favorite dinner while rolling their eyes at their not so favorites haha. BUT, the menu gives them hope. While Mondays meal may not be something they love, Tuesdays might. It also helps my son realize how much we (by "we" I mean me) eat things we don't like because others do like it, but that his favorite will be back in no time. 

 All of that to say... I was sick of store runs everyday after work/school. I was sick of that 7pm scramble that usually ended with me dumping nuggets and fries on a cookie sheet and tossing it in the oven. And, I was sick of eating the same few things because I couldn't think of anything to make while in the store. So, here's to reclaiming those few short hours in the evening with our families. I hope this was helpful or at the very least explained why I love to plan meals. As always, if you have any questions drop a comment or email me! 

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