Five Step Organising Challenge – Step Five


In celebration of the completion of my little project here are the before and after photos:


 I do feel quite pleased with myself as this was a little job that I had been putting off for some time.

Congratulations to everyone that participated in this challenge. There have been some amazing transformations. If you are interesting in having a look at some of the other projects completed during National Organising Week you can have a look here



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Five Step Organising Challenge – Step Four

Step four is Store and Label.

Here’s what AAPO has to say:

Store & Label – Choose storage solutions that allow easy access to the items. Use words or pictures to label items so you never forget what you have. DYMO supply a range of labelers perfect for use at home or work. Go to for more details.

I purchased some very inexpensive white plastic tubs from my local $2 store to store all my grouped “odds and ends” in. I replaced the knives and tongs into the original divided sections of the drawer and then placed my tubs in the remaining space. I found new homes for my cutting boards and measuring cups.

Normally I would use my Dymo label maker at this stage of an organising job, but I didn’t think it was necessary for this particular job.

Here’s the end result.

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Five Step Organising Challenge – Step 3

Sort and purge!

Here’s the advice from AAPO for this step:

 STEP THREE: Sort & Purge – Sort your items into categories like Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash, Recycle, Repair. Dispose of the items you no longer need responsibly. Group items that belong together or perform similar purposes for quick referral & ease of use.

My kitchen utility drawer houses all my knives, tongs and then an assortment of pens, pencils, glue, tools and other odds and ends.  As you will remember from my before photo, I had dividers separating the tongs and knives from all the other stuff. That worked OK but the “other stuff” was out of control and threatened to take over the drawer.

After cleaning the drawer I replaced dividers put all the knives and tongs back in. I knew that these were all “keepers”. Everything else went into a large container.

It didn’t take long to sort through the container. Lots of things went straight into the rubbish bin – broken pencils, dried up markers and a number of other useless or broken odds and ends.

Once I’d thrown away all rubbish it was easy to sort the other items into groups.  I ended up with pens and pencils, tools, rubber bands and paper clips, and a group containing glue and sticky tape. I placed each group into a snap lock bag to keep them together until I was ready to put them back in the drawer.

After that I measured the space I had available in the drawer for new containers. Next step is to buy the containers and place them in the drawer. Keep an eye out for Step Four!

Don’t forget if you have an organising project you need help with I’d be happy to offer some advice.

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Five Step Organising Challenge – Step two

Step two of the challenge today!

Clear and clean. Today I emptied my drawer and cleaned it inside and out. Easy peasy. See how simple it is to be organised when you take it one step at a time?

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Five Step Organising Challenge

As part of NOW – National Organising Week, AAPO is holding a Five Step Organising Challenge.

Here’s a description of the event from AAPO’s Facebook page:

To celebrate DYMO National Organising Week (NOW) this year AAPO have created a Five Step Organising Challenge to inspire your own organising project. NOW runs from 5-11 September 2011. The challenge involves choosing an organising project to undertake at your home or office. You can choose to post a ‘before’ photo on the wall of this event (or AAPO’s FB wall) and tell us what you’re looking to achieve.

I’m participating by organising my kitchen utility drawer.

Step One (Today!) is to have a vision of how I want this space to look at the end of the week and to write down my motivation for clearing the space.

My vision is for the drawer to have the same configuration  – so I will maintain the current dividers –  but I want all items to be clearly visible and easily accessible.

My motivation is to be able to find contents (pens, sticky tape, scissors etc) easily when I want them (especially during the morning “rush hour”!)

The “Before” photo!

Do you have an organising task you’d like to get on top of this week? It’s not too late for you to join in. If you’d like to participate head over to the AAPO Facebook page and sign up. Or, you can join me here by posting your organising task in the comments . I’ll be here each day this week to support you through the task. We’ll take it easy – one step at a time –  and by Friday  we’ll be done. What a great way to start Spring!


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What’s on the menu?

I talk to my clients a lot about menu planning. Making up a menu for the week makes grocery shopping so much easier (and cheaper!)

I’m often asked what’s on my menu plan so I thought I’d post this week’s edition.

Planning starts with a look at the diary to see what’s on. This week I will be away from home for the majority of the week so all the meals I have planned are very simple to make life easier for my husband.

So what’s on the menu?

Monday – Spaghetti bolognese. Shopping List items: pasta, minced beef, canned tomatoes. (I have stock of the other ingredients in my pantry already.)

Tuesday – Butter chicken – Shopping List: diced chicken, jar of Pataks Butter Chicken sauce, Frozen peas (Rice from pantry stock.)

Wednesday – Roast lamb and vegies – Shopping List – lamb mini roast, potatoes, pumpkin, cauliflower (frozen peas already on list.)

Thursday – Chicken schnitzel with mashed potato and steamed vegetables Shopping List – Pre-made chicken schnitzels, carrots, broccoli

Friday – Pasta Carbonara – Shopping List – pasta twirls, bacon, onion,  garlic clove, parmesan cheese.

This weekend we have a birthday party for our middle son so I’ll shop separately for that later in the week.

What’s on the menu at your house this week?

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Clean and Green

With environmental concerns in the headlines at the moment I thought I’d pass on some easy tips for being green and clean!

Chemical free cleaning

Once upon time I used to be a big user of chemicals in my everyday cleaning. I like my household surfaces to sparkle and I have to admit I had just about every cleaning chemical available tucked under my kitchen sink.

After my eldest son was diagnosed with severe asthma and eczema I started to investigate ways I could use more natural products in my cleaning. That was 15 years ago, and today I’m happy to report that I use very few chemicals at all in my cleaning routine.

I use Enjo® products for most cleaning jobs. Enjo® make a series of cleaning “fibres” (in other words, cloths) that require no chemicals to work. My favourite product is the floor cleaner. I use the Matt Floor Fibre on my tiled floors and they come up beautifully clean  – no detergents or chemicals of any type required. Enjo® products are not cheap, but in my opinion they represent value for money.

Green Laundry

Washing machines use an awful lot of water and power. The best way to be green in the laundry is choose an eco smart appliance when you next have to buy a new machine. There can be considerable differences between models so it’s worth doing your research.

If you are not in the market for new appliances just yet there are lots of things you can do to minimise your environmental impact in the laundry. Choose the cold water option on your machine whenever possible to save power. The shortest wash cycle is usually adequate to clean normally soiled clothing. Choosing this will save power and water. Wash only full loads where possible.

Think carefully about the washing powder you use, especially if you reuse your washing water on the garden. Harsh laundry detergents can dull your clothes over time so choosing a gentler option makes economic sense as well as being kind to the environment. Replace your fabric conditioner with white vinegar. This will leave your washing lovely and soft and keeps your machine clean at the same time!

Hang clothes on an airer or clothesline as soon as the load is finished to prevent creasing. This cuts down on ironing time and saves your clothes from the wear and tear of the clothes dryer. If you must use a dryer, choose the minimum amount of drying time. Remove and fold clothes as soon as the cycle is finished and you won’t need to iron.

In the kitchen

Only use your dishwasher when it is full and choose an appropriate wash cycle. Choose the eco option if there is one.

Use microfibre cloths to wipe down kitchen benches and other surfaces. These are available in the supermarket and are very inexpensive.  Just dampen the cloth to clean most surfaces (even grimy cooktops!) No sprays or chemicals required.

A fantastic product to clean with is bicarb soda. I make a past with bicarb and lemon juice to clean my sink with if it is looking a little dull. I also keep a small amount in an open container at the back of fridge. The bicarb absorbs odours and helps keep the fridge smelling fresh.

I’d love to hear your tips for environmentally friendly cleaning and organising.

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