In your fridge and in your freezer

Your fridge and freezer are one of the most used items in your kitchen, except for the sink, stove and ovens. We do not deep clean these often enough.

Basic hygiene

In a program I once watched, a cleaning team went into a home that had a vegetarian and two meat eaters sharing the space. They dyed a piece of meat with ultraviolet dye and then asked everyone to prepare their meals. The contamination of all the food was quite surprising, even with washing utensils after each use. Is your kitchen actually clean?

How often do you clean the back of the fridge/freezer door handles? Cleaning the inside of the fridge should be a regular task in your households cleaning routine.

If you have a self-defrosting freezer you need to schedule a good clean out of that as well. For those of us who have to periodically defrost the freezer, it is the perfect time to deep clean the shelves.

Month end shopping

I planned this task to coincide with when most people will be doing a big shop. Pay day has just been and we are all about to replenish the food in our kitchens. If you are putting this task onto a regular cleaning schedule, the best time to do this is right before the grocery run. You will then have a nice clean fridge and freezer in which to put all your new shopping.

It's on top!
The top of my fridge makes perfect storage space!

Fridge decor

How cluttered is the outside of your fridge? It is time to make room for the new paintings and drawings the children bring home from school. When the children were younger, any birthday invitations we received went onto the fridge door, sometimes sitting there for weeks after the event.

 

Bicarb always

To get a good deep clean and to get rid of any odours that may linger after the food is gone, use a mixture of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water, make this into a paste and spread it with a cloth onto the surfaces and use a toothbrush to get into the crevices of your fridge/freezer.

My Freezer
Cleaning out your freezer will save you money!

Leave it for about 5 minutes and then using warm water wash it off.

For stubborn marks and odours, spray vinegar and then wash with the warm soapy water. Pay special attention to meat spills.

Repacking your fridge

When repacking your fridge, it is important that certain items be placed on specific shelves. Items that need defrosting should be placed on the bottom shelf in a bowl, or on a tray, to prevent the inevitable spillage from cross contaminating the rest of your food.

A rule of thumb is, cooked and ready to eat items top and middle shelves, food needing to be cooked, middle and bottom shelves.

Your fridge door is best used for items with a longer shelf life.

Don’t over fill your fridge as this can cause items to freeze and uses more electricity. Don’t overload the fridge door with heavy items as this can cause breakage.

How to pack your fridge

For more information check out the list I saved on Pinterest for how to pack your fridge https://za.pinterest.com/pin/6051780730348903/ or go to http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/refrigerator-storage-chart.html.

Packing your freezer is just as important as packing your fridge properly. You actually want to have this packed full, as the freezer works better with more food inside.

Pack like items together and also size and shape to make stacking easier. Label and date all frozen food.

Happy cleaning! Let us see those before and after photo’s please.

March in your Kitchen

Kitchen week

It seems strange to have a whole week dedicated to decluttering and sorting out of your kitchen counters. If you are anything like me you will understand why this is.
I love cooking and I think I own almost every conceivable kitchen gadget, with a few more on my wish list.

Gadgets
These are just some of my kitchen gadgets!

As with last year I have planned the kitchen sorting goal around the Jewish holiday of Passover. Our kitchens need to be scrupulously cleaned and with 5 weeks to go, now is the time to start.

What is it for?

The first step in keeping your kitchen clear of clutter is deciding what you use your kitchen for besides cooking.
Is it a homework area? Is it a home office? Having a definite idea of what is going on in your kitchen will be a huge help to your ability to keep organized.
If you are going to be using the space for homework or a home office, get yourself a nice box or basket to place the work into after you are done for the day, before you begin cooking.

Where to start?

One of the reasons we are starting on the kitchen counters, is that walking into a messy cluttered kitchen can ruin your mood for cooking. A nice clear space is far more calming that having to face a mess of disorganization.
I am not saying that your kitchen counters must be cleared of everything. I don’t do minimalist and I am not expecting anyone else to.
Once you have defined your kitchen’s uses, it is time to clear, pack, sell or give away anything that does not fit this function.
If you have a space designated as a home office, then any paperwork should be packed up and moved to the home office.

Where does it go?

One of the hardest tasks of clearing your kitchen counters is finding a place for those things that actually do fit your kitchens functions. The best way is to work out what you use daily and leave those out where you can reach them easily. Go through what you use weekly and finally what you use rarely.

I am Queen

Gadgets are another thing, I am the kitchen gadget queen. I have said it before, I love kitchen gadgets almost more than cookbooks! If it is broken it must go! A lot of appliances can be recycled. I no longer have the excuse of it being a schlepp to take it out of the house. The recycle people collect at my house. How to do recycling without leaving your house.

Gadgets

Space savers
Use space savers in your kitchen to create extra storage space

Make it a habit to tidy as you, when working in the kitchen.
Making use of nifty space savers will help you keep your kitchen tidy and still be able to have what you need at home.
Knife blocks or magnetic knife holder for the wall
Extra shelving
Hooks for hanging pots
Something I still have trouble with, is training household members to actually put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Most of them can manage to get the dishes to the sink, the dishwasher is just underneath!

It’s sorted

Happy Kitchen, Happy Home! I would love to see before and after pictures on the Facebook group or if you have come up with a great space saving solution, why not share it? For those who would like a little professional assistance with your sorting Catherine of Sensibly Organised Spaces is running a special now, she will talk you through everything Book now $147

Sorted

Welcome to a whole new chapter in Kashering Your Life. This is a group project so I have started a Facebook group called ‘We’re Getting Sorted’. Here’s what it’s all about.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted

For those of you who have been reading my blog, especially the “About Me’ page, you will see that decluttering my house has been a losing battle for me over the last 20 or more years!

At the beginning of 2015 I found a group called Declutter 365 , run by a lady named Tory.  The group is about decluttering your home in 15 minute sessions, 365 days a year. Obviously I joined and am still a member of the group. There is, however, one fairly large problem that has prevented me from keeping up with the groups cleaning calendar which is that it is an American based group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/declutter365

This means that when they are talking about putting away the snow shoes and clothes, we are pulling our winter stuff out of the cupboards. Then a whole month is dedicated to something that is very rare in South Africa, and I believe in Australia and New Zealand too, and that is Attics and Basements! Also their kids are on school holidays at different times to ours and they start school at the ‘ wrong’ time of the year. If you do have either a basement or an attic in your home, let me know so we can look at adding it to the calendar.

So I asked a professional to come have a look at my house.  When I told her my budget, she was polite enough not to laugh at me! 2016 is around the corner and I will not let another year go by without making a concerted effort to beat the clutter!

So I started the We’re Getting Sorted group.   I figured that with having to lead the way and with everyone watching, I would have no choice but to clear up and clear out the junk!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted

Here’s what you will need.  A timer, because you are only going to clean in 15 minute cycles.

15 minutes at a time
15 minutes at a time

A large black dustbin bag for the rubbish you will throw away and 2 kinds of boxes or crates, for the things you are going to put away, donate or sell.

Dustbin for trash
Dustbin for trash

Here’s how to do the 15 minute increments! Take your timer, bag and box to the area you are working in. Set the timer for 10 minutes as this is the time you will use to sort your area into the bag or the boxes. As you sort either put the item back in its place or into the dustbin bag, or donation box, or into the ‘return to the right place’ box.

donation box

When your 10 minutes are up, use the last 5 minutes to take the “return to right place” box and put everything back to where it is supposed to be.  You don’t have to put it in the correct spot, just the right room or area because you will get there later to tidy that spot too. Then take out the trash and put away the donate box either into a space where you can fill it up as you go along or to where ever you are donating. This can be the boot of your car until you can deliver.

On my website I have a list of charities and what they need/want and also if they collect.

http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/charities-to-support-getting-sorted/

If you do have time to do more, then go ahead.  However, I found that 15 minutes is usually all I have time and energy for after working a full day and then making supper and supervising homework.

At the beginning of each week, I will post a blog about the upcoming tasks and the reasoning behind some of them. We will be starting with easy stuff and then working up to the big things.

In the group I encourage everyone to share their before and after pictures, their experiences and tips that work for you.

We all have different shaped and sized rooms in our homes, so what might work for one person may not work for another. If you have a question or suggestion, but don’t want to put in on the FB page with your name, email me and I will post it, so that everyone can give ideas.

Remember this is going to be an interactive group activity. The rules are simple.

  1. Everyone is invited
  2. Pictures are welcome
  3. Suggestions are encouraged
  4. No rude remarks or naming and shaming
  5. If you find an item that you think will help get others organised, email me, if we have enough members, maybe I can approach the company to give us a group members special.
  6. No advertising. (if you wish to advertise a business that may go well with any aspect of Kashering your life, email me to get the rates to advertise on the website)
  7. Lastly have fun, don’t feel pressurised into keeping up, life happens.

My email address is adrienne@kasheringyourlife.co.za.  If you know someone who might like to join but who isn’t on Facebook, direct them to my website to sign up and they will get the schedules and calendars emailed to them. www.kasheringyourlife.co.za

 

Let’s enjoy the journey together!

We're getting sorted January Calendar 2016
We’re getting sorted January Calendar 2016

The Konmari method

As part of my mission to declutter, I read blogs about decluttering, downsizing, minimizing, purging and the lingo that goes with cleaning up the mess that has taken up residence in my home over the last 20 years.

Now I am following (sort of) the 15 minute a day method. It is a very good method and is working well for me on the days that I do my 15 minutes!  There are just some days that I come home from work exhausted from having spent the day in the operating theatre (I am a nurse) assisting till 5 pm. Even the thought of cooking supper makes me either want to cry, or curl up in bed with the covers over my head.

I have recently come across the Konmari method of organizing and it sounds really good, although maybe not totally for me.  Marie Kondo is a Japanese lady whose method is taking the world by storm! She has written 4 books on the subject, the latest being ‘The life changing magic of tidying up- The Japanese art of decluttering and organisation’.

She advocates an all at once policy, starting with your clothes cupboard and ending with mementos, as these are the hardest to purge. You must do it all at once, not room by room. This means all your clothes, then all your books, then all your papers and lastly all your mementos.

Kondo’s method is to declutter. By this she means get rid of it, not move it around. Kondo states that the best way to start is by identifying your goal. Start with why? As in why are you putting yourself through this? Next, what do you hope to gain from this?  It mustn’t  be too broad a goal. Something like, I want to live in a tidy house, is too vague. Visualise your goals.

Very importantly, if it is broken or out of date, get rid of it!

Kondo suggests that you empty your entire cupboard into one spot and then purge. The rules are simple, no clothes that you have labelled ‘one day I will fit into them again’; no clothes that you will wear just to hang around the house in (this is clothes that you can’t go out in public because they are too old, too worn, too faded, or even broken). If you would need to change before going out in public, it goes into the dustbin.  You physically have to pick up and touch each item of clothing before you decide where it is going.  No items I-got-it-as-a-gift or I-only-wear-it-to-sleep-in are allowed. One blogger says that your room will now look like a clothing store threw up all over your floor.

Clothes vomit

Kondo says that if the clothing doesn’t spark a happy feeling within you then get rid of it. I know I have a few of these in my cupboard.  The reason she gives for touching each item is that fabric apparently holds energy; I don’t know that she isn’t wrong about this. We all have or had something in our cupboards that we wore and the day or event was a disaster, I have a dress that I wore and someone asked me when I was due.  My baby at the time was 7 years old. I haven’t worn it since.

Kondo suggest that before you throw something out thank it for its role in your life and then toss!

Once your clothes are sorted, and here Kondo proposes that you should fold as much as you can, she even has a method for folding the clothes.

Folded clothes

The next move is your books, all of them. Once again only keep what makes you happy. Obviously books you refer to over and over you will keep, but a recipe book that you keep because there is one particular recipe in it goes. Copy down that recipe and keep it in a file.

book clutter

Papers are along the same lines, get rid of what you don’t need.  Elphin Lodge retirement village in Johannesburg has a group that uses old cards and makes new ones which they sell.  Give the cards to them. Or turn the covers into art by making a collage, but don’t let them clutter your home.

paper clutter

Kondo has suggested that you leave memorabilia and mementos till last, as the emotional attachment is very strong.  She feels that by the time you have decluttered the rest of your house, it will be a little easier for you to be able to declutter these things.

If this method appeals to you, try it out and let me know how it works.

Kondo says she has never had a client who has lapsed.

Happy clearing.

Where do I begin?

It’s time to begin! On my Facebook page ,Kashering Your Life, I have posted my new decluttering project.  My bead room!  I make and sell jewellery, as well as teach a jewellery class once a week.  A couple of months ago I moved my work area to another location in my house and just never unpacked it all properly.  I have tons of beads and just about all the accessories that go with it.

bead room

The mess in there has stolen my inspiration. I have not made a new piece that wasn’t comissioned since I moved the beads! I mostly sell the jewellery I make online and, to keep orders coming in, you need to put new stock into it at least twice a week.  Any shop owner will tell you this. To counteract the clutter and to be able to find what I need for the class, I have learned to put the most important components into a bag that I unpack and pack after each weekly group. As the ladies get better at their jewellery techniques and will need less guidance, I want to use that time to create inventory.

Decluttering any part of your house is sometimes an overwheliming task.  This is usually because most of us try to do it all at once.  For people who are not naturally inclined to organisation, this causes more mess than anything else and then if you have a domstic worker, she gives you a shake of her head and tidies up in your wake!

Your domestic cannot be expected to declutter your house as she does not know what things are important to you or not. Items like accounts and receipts that may later be used for your tax return. A scrap of paper with a number written on it. An article in the paper.  She can however, help you stay organised (and keep it that way), once you have decluttered and your systems are up and running.  In fact she might even  thank you for this as her work becomes a little easier.

So how do you begin?

As I have said, there are hundreds of blogs available and I follow/read probably all of them.  Some are extreme minimalistic but almost all are American.

Here I have included ideas that will work for our South African homes, whether you have domestic help full-time, part time or none at all.

My way is a combination of a few ideas that I liked and think they will work for me.

I found a 4 box method, that I am beginning to use:

One box is trash with a dustbin bag in it. I also separate paper for recycling as part of the trash. Not only are you doing something for the environment, but you are helping the men walking the streets, collecting papers, make some money.

The next box is the donation box. The donation box has a few options. I am keeping some things  to split between Yad Aharon and CHOC charity shop for them to sell. One decluttering blog suggests giving away one item per day, I am not going do this one as I am at work most of the day, but it might be something to consider.  Choose one item (or more)to give away and put it in your car, as you drive around during your day, pick a person on the street and give it to them, clothes, childrens toys, books, stationary and even an old bag or backpack are all good items to give.

donation box

The next box is the jumble sale box. “One persons trash is another persons treasure”, the saying goes.   I have planned my jumble sale for December as I mentioned in a previous post, this will give me time to clear a lot of rooms ,as well as price the items. A jumble sale does not only have to be clothes, it can be kitchen items, old working and non working electronics (remember to label them if they don’t work), old books.

jumble sale

Just remember, items over 25 years old are often considered vintage, iconic clothes, accessories and electronics especially. Everything else is just old (e.g. a paisley shirt is vintage – a plain white shirt is old). If you think something is vintage look it up on ebay or get it valued before you put it in the jumble sale. Items with designer labels are better off being sold on ebay, if you want to, at least get some of the money back you spent on it. For example, you cannot have a jacket at a jumble sale for the price of R200, people won’t buy it, but you can get that amount selling it on ebay or OLX.  Anything that is left over from the jumble sale must be donated or given away within that week, otherwise it just becomes clutter again. The problem with the jumble and donate boxes  is where to keep them, as they are actually also just clutter.  I have a store room outside and that is where the boxes are or you can put them in the garage.

The trash box and the keep box are emptied after each session,  the trash obviously out the door, the keep box to the rooms in which the items really belong .

The first thing I learned is never to try do an entire room or cupboard at once, this just makes piles of things, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post. I work full day and am too tired when I come home to take on another 2 or 3 hours of work and so the clutter has multiplied over the years.

Number one tip, only declutter for 15 minutes per day.  Everyone has 15 minutes available. The first 10 is for the actual sorting, the last 5 is the clean up. How easy is that? Yes I will not have my house clean in a hurry but it will get done!

egg timer

Another great tip is to take a black bag and wander through your house, room by room, only looking for trash to throw out. When your black bag is full, you are done for the day. If you need to repeat it a few more times then do so. I thought about how to adapt it for South Africa and came up with this solution. You can do this with jumble/ donation as well and you can also do this with the help of your domestic,  your husband or your kids. Each person gets a bag, you see something to donate,the person holding the donation bag, puts it in, if you see something that is trash, then it goes to the person holding  the trash bag. Don’t dig through piles to find stuff, it will just distract you and take too long. If there is some doubt about whether to keep or donate, leave it till you begin your formal declutter. (I will discuss ‘keep or donate’ in a later blog).

Now to keep it going! Set up some sort of system to keep from acquiring new clutter. We have implemented a box for the post, a box for papers (go through those at least once a week but preferably daily).

sorting ideas

My two younger girls suggested a box for each member of the family. When you find something in the wrong place put it in that family members box and they are responsible for taking it to the right place. If it has not been cleared by the end of the week, it either goes to trash or is donated.

If you have a domestic worker, she could easily sort this on her daily cleaning round. I don’t mean she must put it away for the person (unless you want her to) but that she puts it in the persons box and then tells the person ‘I put stuff in your box, please look’. If the ‘lost’item is valuable, hide it away and the family member must earn it back and you can decide what you want the cost to be.   An hour ‘me’ time from hubby (for one hour you can do whatever you want and he looks after the kids), a drawing from you kids, the car washed, the dog washed, anything at all, stuff that doesn’t cost money is best.

rewards

Find the right solution for the clutter problems in your house and implement them! Need help, why not join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted/