Jan 5, 2013

My resolution: less social, more blogger, better organized

I can’t believe it has already been three six days since we said good bye to 2012. Usually I don’t make resolutions at the start of the year but this time round I thought I’d give it a try. So, my goal in the New Year is to reign in my sweet tooth as best as I can, write as regularly, if not every day, as I can, get the blog on track, organize my home and limit my time on the smartphone. Hopefully, blogging about all these resolutions will take care of fulfilling them as well.

The reason I decided to start organizing my house was the recent move of our dear friends to India for two years. During their last two weeks before departure, we would pop over to their house and help them pack their belongings into a humongous shipping container. During those two weeks I realized how organized my friend had been in her house and how much stuff my house was filled with compared to hers. I shuddered at the thought of how much stuff we would have to pack up, sell or give away if we ever had to move houses. 
Since then, I have been trying to organize a little corner of the house every week. I started with the kid’s baby stuff. A lot of it I gave away to my neighbor across the street who volunteers at the battered women’s shelter. The crib and sterilizer went to a friend’s pregnant friend. The strollers and baby car seat were sold at a garage sale another neighbor was having one weekend.

The next target was the kitchen. Thankfully, there wasn’t much I needed to organize or get rid of except for an 8-place setting stoneware dinner set I had bought at a garage sale long time ago. I had it for almost four years. It sat in my cabinets, taking up precious space and collecting dust. Out it went on the dining room table to be photographed and put on one of my online community garage sales.
Yes, our community has an online fb page where you can post about stuff you want to sell or get rid of or are looking for. It is awesome and better than a physical garage sale because you don’t have to spend days corralling your unwanted items, marking prices and sitting in your driveway, haggling with strangers over a few dollar worth of stuff. The online garage sale is so much simpler. You post whatever you want to sell as you come across it and people contact you if they want it. There is minimum haggling and if I don’t sell the item in a week, I donate it.

 
The chaotic medicine cabinet/ candles and pooja stuff

Anyways, after the dinner set was got over with, the medicine cabinet, which is also in the kitchen, was dealt with. There wasn’t anything to sell this time but a lot of throwing away of expired medicine and taking an inventory of our first aid kit. This is what it looked like once it got all organized.
Bottom shelf: kid's medicine bin, OTC medicine from India, ointments
Middle shelf: Candles and pooja stuff, vitamins and bandaids and pain killers in the bin
Top shelf: Kid's nebulizer and accessories (needed once a year, if that)
 
Next up was my pantry and this took the most time. I have a decent size walk in pantry which I frequent numerous times in the day, not to mention the kid and the spouse checking in for snacks and things to munch on. I thought I had it organized well and apart from the occasional cleaning it was in pretty good shape. That was before I beheld Richa’s pantry in all its organizational glory. Now I am not the sort to give in to pantry envy but this one time I did. You s
ee, all my lentils, beans and legumes were stored in the plastic containers I had scored at the dollar store. The problem was they took up too much space on the shelves, they were plastic and worst of all they were plastic. Thinking of all that BPA leeching into my food gave me the shivers. Check out some before pictures:



I did some research, checked out pintrest, my new addiction (more on that later), and decided to invest in some awesome canning jars by Ball. Not only did they look good and come in various sizes but the canning lids were perfect to keep in the freshness and keep out the crawlies that sometimes seemed to invade my plastic containers. Here are the before and after photos of my pantry in all its organized glory.   

 


It took me better part of two days to clean, sort and transfer everything to the glass canisters including two trips to Ace Hardware. Yep, that is where I got the jars and get this; apparently they are the only store that carries the 64oz jars. I got about a dozen of those to store the 4lb packs of lentils and beans. The smaller, 2lb packets of flours, lentils and bulk spices went into the 32oz jars. Everything else including snacks, dry fruits and not so often used spices went into the pint and a half jars.


Oh, and if you are wondering how much this pantry makeover set me back, it was well under $100. Canning jars are surprisingly economical. If you would like some details, I will be happy to share with you. It has been a week since the makeover and so far the chaos seems contained. Will keep you updated if things get out of hand or if I make any more changes.


 

The sweet tooth update: Apart from munching on some candied ginger and three teaspoons of sugar in two cups of tea every day, I have managed to stay away from sugar and sugary treats. No chocolate, cookies or any other kind of sweet has been eaten. Yay! Another 51 weeks to go.
 

 
 
Writing regularly update: Well, I have been writing and rewriting this post everyday for the last five days, so I think this one should count for the week. Turns out it is very difficult to pen your thoughts if you take two month long breaks in between. So, here is to writing regularly even if I end up posting once a week.

Limit my smartphone usage update: I would like to say it has reduced to about two hours a day but I can’t be sure. The only way to limit is to keep it out of reach so I have been trying to leave it in the bedroom to charge or leave it in my closet, or other rooms in the house I don’t use all the time. The thing with smartphones is if it is in front of you, you automatically pick it up and check facebook and pintrest and online garage sales. If it is out of sight, tucked away in the laundry room, then you can’t pick it up and log on and before you know it you have been on it for an hour! So far, out of sight has helped cut down smartphone addiction to certain degree.  

Have you made any resolutions this year and how do you intend to keep them? I have joined the 52-weeks of 2013 project on fb to keep me on track. If you would like to join, just click on join group and a moderator will accept you pronto. While you are at it, check out Sra’s hilarious post on her resolutions which includes one, the exact opposite of mine, to spend more time on social media.

Wish me luck blogging in 2013.

25 comments:

  1. here's wishing you lots of blogging luck, organising luck, less social media luck, minimum sugar luck and all that. you know where i work, so being off twitter is a bit of an undesirable thing. it's more for professional reasons. anyway, haven't logged in yet. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Nandu (I am assuming it is you). If I could get a job where I can use social media as part of my job profile I wouldn't mind it at all. :-)

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    2. Oh, that was me, Sra. I don't know why it went as unknown. I meant using Twitter to keep up with the world given what I do.

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    3. Sra,

      That totally makes sense.:-)

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  2. wow jayaji, you are an inspiration!!!! Love the Organized pantry!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Priya. Frankly, I am in love with my pantry too. :-)

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  3. What i want is your pantry. what i would like to do is the same like you keeping away from sugar, which i really can't, but would love to give it a try.

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    Replies
    1. Finla, you are a terrific baker. If I could bake like you, I don't think I would ever resolve to keep away from sugar. :-)

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  4. I am halfway through organizing my home and feeling good about what I have done so far. Love those 64 oz jars. Perfect to stash away those big packets of lentil and flour. Good luck with your resolutions and Wishing you a very Happy and Fruitful New Year

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Radhika. Happy New Year to you too.

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  5. Your post reminds me to take inventory of a lot of stuff and get many things organized. Just went to check my medicine/ first aid box. alas there were stuff that I thought I have sent with my daughter to university, but she had left behind.....that was five years ago.
    Wish you luck with the resolutions through the year.

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    1. Lata,

      Best of luck with your resolutions through the year. Hopefully, we will keep each other company.

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  6. What a lovely post ! For one am envious of your clean pantry - I think mine needs work !! I used to be very organized, still am to some extent - I think an the only one in my house who lives by the slogan right thing in right place - my girl and other half love to live in an organized mess as they call it lol !! I think am turning more like them now - shockingly !! Good job with the cleaning !! Inspired me to get off my butt and do sth !!

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    1. Turmeric,

      Turn them like you, not the other way round!

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  7. I envy you, your wonderful pantry! And SO organized. I have a smallish, apartment quality pantry, which is chaotic. I must say your post has motivated me to clean and organize mine. Hope I can do that once school starts and I have some free time.
    Good luck with all your resolutions.

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    Replies
    1. Manasi,

      The school started yesterday. What progress? :-)

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  8. I start everyday in the past 7 months, with a resolution to clean up the messy areas in the house. And I haven't done it yet! You have done a good job and that organized pantry looks absolutely great!

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    1. Thanks Rajani. Nothing like the new year to start again.

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  9. Jaya, first of all wishing you all a very Happy New Year...
    I did not make any resolutions[as always] but just started with cleaning the kitchen and pantry.My home too is filled with so much stuff that I have to get more organized and throw / donate stuffs. Love your pantry and am going to see if I can find those canning jars here...

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  10. Jaya, wish you and your family a very Happy New Year. Please stick to the 'writing regular update' resolution even if you break the others ;-) Mighty ordered pantry must say.

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    1. Sandeepa,

      A Happy New Year to you and your family too. I will stick to writing regularly if you promise to keep me on my toes. Just poke me on fb if you don't see a post by the end of the week and I will whip something up. :-)

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  11. I can never, never get my kitchen to stay organized like that for more than a week. Yours looks so neat and uncluttered.

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  12. Wishing you & your family a very happy New Year!
    Love your pantry. I have managed to keep it clean for more than a year now and I hope to keep it that way. Let see...

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  13. Wishing you a very happy new year! I wish I could take a resolution like you to stay off sweets! I have a sweet tooth too.. and would love to lose some weight! Love your pantry! I wish I had such a nice pantry..I stay in an apartment hence its a distant dream.

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