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Sometimes, you have to throw things out

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
I've been working on organizing. (That's not a news flash, I know.) I'm always on the lookout for new ideas to organize everything from the kitchen to the bedroom. As I shared last week, I have several books I refer to and their accompanying web sites, as well.
However, some things you have to just think through yourself and find what works best for you and your family.
I believe every house is a little different and personal. I often find myself comparing my house to TV houses. You know, like the Brady Bunch house, the Full House or (shudder) the Leave it to Beaver house.
The problem with this is: a) they don't really live in it and b) it's a house, not a home.
So, although I do use these kinds of examples for goal setting, I realistically know my home will never stay TV perfect. That doesn't mean I quit trying, I just try to keep my goals realistic.
Now back to the different and personal I mentioned. The fact I have six children means I do have some things people with smaller families may not have to have. For an example, let's look at my kitchen (groan).
I love my kitchen. I love to cook. (Good thing, because I do a lot of it!) However, I have to have larger pots and pans, as well as more dishes, spoons and such. I try to purchase pots, pans and other dishes that nest together easily.
As for organizing the kitchen, that comes back to personal preferences. For my kitchen, I tend to group things together according to how I use them.
For example, I keep all my baking goods together. I also group all breakfast items and all snack items together.
This makes writing out a grocery list a little faster. Sometimes I do put odd items together. If you were looking for the spray oil (like Pam), you wouldn't find it in the pantry.
My pantry is on the far wall of my kitchen, so it would be inconvenient to have it there since I use it so often. So where do I put it? It's in the drawer with the pots and pans that's right next to the stove.
OK, so it's a little strange, but it works well for my family.
I've also found small storage totes to be very handy in the kitchen. I use them for keeping my cake decorating supplies, my cookie cutters and Kool-Aid packages contained.
I use the clear ones–that way I can tell at a glance what's in them and since I store like things together, I avoid having to label the totes.
There are many handy-dandy storage tools that can be purchased at stores or on the internet.
One of my favorite web sites is www.thecontainerstore.com. It has wonderful ideas. Unfortunately, their items are usually very expensive.
Therefore I use them as an idea machine rather than a source for purchasing things. Most of what they carry you can also get a hardware store or it can be ordered through the hardware store much cheaper. Another great web site is www.organize-everything.com.
Again, it is expensive, but it has great ideas you can adapt to what you can buy at other stores locally. It also helps if you're handy with tools and can install shelving or whatever. I'm not, but hubby is! (Thank goodness!)
I did make a discovery about myself when I was working on organizing my kitchen. Well, it's really not a discovery. I already knew it, but I hadn't realized I did it in the kitchen, too.
Oh, the discovery –I hate to throw things out, even old pans! Now, I'm not talking about old pans that are still in great shape and are your favorites.
I have several my grandmother gave me I wouldn't get rid of for anything, but they are still usable and I do use them constantly.
I'm talking about the cookie sheets that have rusted, the Teflon pans that the Teflon is chipping off of, and the old sauce pan that got scorched when my daughter forgot to turn off the stove after making ramen noodle soup!
(By the way, a quick tip: If something like this happens to you, don't try to wash the pan immediately. Just fill it with hot soapy water and let it sit until the scorched stuff begins to break lose. That's the best chance you have for salvaging the pan.)
Now, I have to ask myself why on earth do I keep these things? I don't use them any more, they're in too bad of shape. I really don't know other than I tend to think something like, "Well, what if I need them?"
Then I must ask myself, "For what?" If I can't answer that question, then it's time to use File 13.
I made up my mind to view File 13 (i.e. the trash can) as a friend. This friend can help me make my home into what I want it to be.
Overall, I find that once I've went through and purged a room of all the useless or simply unused items, I feel like a large weight has been lifted off me and my family is much happier as well. It also does wonders for my mood when I'm not constantly trying to work around what I don't need anyway!
Thank you for visiting with me today. If you have a question, comment, or tip for Mom's corner please send it to: Mom's Corner, P.O. Box 1496, Hartselle, AL 35640 or email moms-corner@juno.com.

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