I’m still catching up on Organizing Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organising Project and this week she has asked about “piles” that we may have tackled in the past week and any decisions that needed to be made about them. In my case it was piles of Weight watchers magazines and cook books.
Cooking dinner each night for at least 6 nights out of 7 has been a big drama over the past 18 months and I am now working on ways to get the whole process running more smoothly so that we have a meal on the table, we are eating healthy food and we save money by not resorting to takeaway food at the last minute. The other thing influencing all of this is that Weight Watchers have introduced their new Pro Points system which means the points on everything have changed.
There are two key things that I am doing/have done to streamline the whole meal planning/cooking process:
1. Culling Recipes – I had at least four magazine files full of Weight Watchers cookbooks and magazines and I was desperate for space to make my new “homework station” for the boys (a post about that is coming!). I knew I would have to work out the points for recipes I liked and that obviously there would be new magazines and books coming out as well. So I sat down for about 4 15 minute sessions and ripped or cut out the recipes I wanted to keep and recycled the rest. I don’t have a before picture but as you can see in the photo I have reduced that massive pile into one plastic pocket folder of recipes to try. It isn’t particularly glamorous looking but every piece of paper in it will eventually be thrown away so it is just fine for its purpose. The decision making was done as quickly as possible and I was as ruthless as I could be. If I don;t have every recipe I needed I am sure I can find it somewhere else anyway.
2. Meal Planning – I started by making a list of all the meals that will be happily eaten by all four of us. In some cases it is meals that dh and the boys will eat more happily than I will but I can organise something different for myself if I have time. So far there are only about 7-8 things on the list so I am aiming to expand the range by going through my “ripped out recipes” and choosing at least one to re-visit each week so we can decide whether to add it to our list. because I am using e-tools on the Weight Watchers website I can go in and input the recipes as I do them and it will work out the points for me. Then the recipe is stored there and I have one piece of paper less in my home. My aim is to go back to my old habit of planning meals and writing a shopping list on a Sunday so we are all set for the week and either dh can do a grocery shop on Sunday or I can do it on a Monday.
I often have some friendly discussion with my knitting friends about finishing things. Many people dislike the process of sewing things together that they have knitted, some are just so busy with so many projects that they rarely get time to finish things and some others are starting things so often that they just never seem to finish them. After quite disciplined start to my knitting career I’ve found that I have a few projects on the go as well as some unfinished cross stitch projects and a few projects that are just waiting to be started. As I don’t yet have a regular income flowing in I’m going to focus on finishing some things in the next few months so that I’m not spending money on stash and it frees up some of my craft storage space. I’m doing a little happy dance tonight because this evening I have finished the Wee Wonderfuls Santa Sacks that I started for the boys before Christmas. I’m just going to focus on the fact that I am very prepared for Christmas 2011. White pillowcases with red stitching for Daniel and green stitching for Eric has been combined to make something I’m rather proud of and the boys like them too! Here’s what I hope to be “finishing” this year: Cross-stitch – tropical vacation window (will be for Fiona) birth record for Rhys (hopefully BEFORE the child starts school!) Janlynn “Dolly Mama” cross stitch about housework (I’ve got this one and other one that I would like to make into pillows) Knitting – Mikayla’s Yellow Scarf – is measuring about 40cm now so I’m well on the way! Noro Shawl – will be finished very soon Dream Blanket – will take a looong time but is going to be beautiful Citron Shawlette for Trish Z with Malabrigo lace weight yarn – this one is sitting for a while as I wait for lace needles New Job Swing Vest – sigh! perhaps it will be for a new new job! Candy Stripe Cardigan -I have to admit for the sake of accountability that this isn’t officially finished but it is waiting for two buttons. In theory, I could finish it tonight! Cross Stitch to start Christmas Ornament on plastic canvas for Luke – the surprise nephew who made his appearance after I’d done decorations for his siblings Knitting to start South African Silk Scarf – with silk yarn and contrast yarn. Silk yarn was bought for me by Fiona and Crawford in South Africa. Leaf Purse Lavender bags for Mother’s Day stall “Roar” dinosaur beanies for Daniel and Jed Wonderball scarf in white and pastels – yummy! Knitting that I might start: long cowl type thing that A is thinking of having as a knit along a “flood bear” – I was thinking of a pastel colour with “muddy” feet a cool hat for Eric because Daniel will have his special beanie. Crochet I might start: NONE – I just put that in the get Alix’s attention because no matter what she says I do not crochet!
There could be people out there who says that we might needs more than 52 weeks of organising but I’m going to give this a go for starters. I’m starting late because there have been a few other things happening (that might be the understatement for January!) and I only stumbled across this yesterday when I cleared out my blog reader. So today we are beginning the 4th weeks of January. That means by my calculations that I have three organisation projects to catch up with everyone else.
I’ve been gradually chipping away at our main bedroom, unpacking stuff, throwing out stuff and making some clear spaces. It is still very much a work in progress but with the school year starting for Catholic schools in Brisbane this week, having an area for doing homework became a priority. Previously the boys have done their homework on our dining tab;e but now that there is more of it, they need somewhere they can spread out a bit and not have to pack up so that we can eat. So I’ve cleared off one of the two desks in our bedroom. This meant tossing a lot of magazines, relocating cook books and socks! The whole cookbook/magazine thing is work in progress and may feature here soon. But in the meantime for my very small start to this venture I give you: One clean desk!