I am a self-diagnosed neat freak. I love to clean and I love to organize. (If I could have a container, holder and/or label for EVERYTHING, my life would be complete!) And this is my brand new blog for everything NEAT!
I have a toddler in perpetual motion, a packrat daughter, a dog and a disorganized husband... and I hope to share the challenges, trials, errors, rewards and insights of being a bit "too clean obsessive" in a family that's not so in love with neatness. And I am making a promise to clean, rearrange, organize and simplify my life... and help you along the way! SO stay tuned for my journey toward everything orderly and efficient!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 41: The Even NEATER Pantry

My kitchen pantry was already pretty neat from the get-go... I mean, I already keep all the "like items" together, and I sort things by size and/or by shape.

NO, I do NOT alphabetize, but that would be cool! But I do keep things in order. For instance, cereals on the top shelf; pasta, rice, noodles and side items on the next shelf (along with baby formula); chips, crackers and snacks on shelf 3; cookies, fruits snacks and sweets on shelf 4; and canned goods (stacked and sorted, of course) and baking goods on the bottom. More or less, anyway! :) There are always a few odds and ends that either won't fit on the proper shelf or don't really have a home that makes sense.

AT ANY RATE, I wanted to get my pantry even more organized and get the food items out of those boxes that never stay fresh. Too, I was tired of using up all my ziplock bags to store food, SO that's where the rest of my recent Tupperware order comes in!

I purchased 2 cereal storage containers (Super Cereal Storer)and a pantry set (Modular Mates Super Set) and put cookies, chips, baby formula, PopTarts, cereal... and more in nice, neat containers! Now the food items are even more easy to spot, they stack neatly, AND they will stay fresher... longer!


* And YES, just so you know, I probably WOULD buy a container for everything... if I could! And, NO, Tupperware did NOT ask me to write this post, pay me to do anything or send me free product. But I would welcome it. Tupperware is GREAT! :)

Now, THAT's neat!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 40: And Speaking of Plastic Containers....

Neat freak cheat sheet alert!!!!

Here's a little tip I learned for keeping your nice plastic food containers from getting stained (ah, tomato sauce....):

Spray a little non-stick cooking spray inside and on the lid each time BEFORE you put the food in the container!

(OR... use glass or ceramic containers for ALL your tomato-based foods...)

And if you have some containers that are already stained, you have 4 options:
  1. Throw them away and buy some new ones.
  2. Get used to the new color.
  3. Fill the container with hot water and drop in a couple of denture tablets. Leave it for a few hours, and when you come back, the stains will hopefully be removed.
  4. Try soaking the container in 1 part bleach to 2 parts of water. (Just be sure to thoroughly rinse the containers afterward and run it through in the microwave before using again!)

Now, THAT's neat!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 39: The Plastic Container That Broke The Husband's Back

You know, I was thinking: as neat as I am, you may have thought that I would've had the whole plastic storage container thing in perfect working order by now. After all, I am -- uh.... over 30 and have been using my own storage units for many, many years.

Alas, the plastic containers in my house were about to drive us all crazy. Granted, I did take the time to reorganize the lids. That worked out great. The ongoing problem was the containers themselves. Some were warped. Some were permanently stained. Some were missing their lids altogether, but they would creep back into the storage-container rotation somehow, and my husband and I would sigh in frustration after searching high and low for a lid that fit, finally giving up and ripping off a piece of aluminum foil to finish the job.

Here is a picture of the leaning tower of plastic containers (mostly the "throw-away" kind) in my cabinet. (I'll admit: it's not that messy. But it was definitely not worth the effort to dig through!)

And here is the chaos spread all over the kitchen counter.

For a neat freak (and even for the not-so-neat husband), this was simply unacceptable.

My solution? Tupperware.

That's right: Tupperware, the world-renowned, tried-and-true storage containers of the gods! :) Ha-ha!

When I discovered that my sister-in-law's boyfriend's grandmother (did you follow that?) was a Tupperware consultant, I knew my salvation was near! Even my hubby agreed. And he set the budget pretty high for us to get an ENTIRE new cabinet FULL of brand new, non-warped, color-coded, matching containers, bowls, cups... and more!

Here is the empty cabinet (lined with rubbery lining stuff, of course)... a blank slate!

Here are just some of the great things I got....

And here is the newly filled "Tupperware cabinet!"

I also purchased a set of containers that will help me reorganize my pantry. But that's a post for another day. Be looking for it soon! :)

Now, THAT's neat!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 38: The Bathroom Cabinet

Sorry I seem to be stuck in the bathroom.... BUT (oooh, bad pun) I wanted to share what I do for the cabinet in here, too, just in case your toiletries are multiplying and taking over your precious storage space!

I'm sure you won't be surprised to discover that I use a bunch of baskets! I dumped all the "like" things together (i.e. nail polish and make-up products in one, bath soaps and doo-dads in another, etc., etc.) and then arranged them with the things I use more often toward the front.

It works beautifully! I can dump things in the correct basket and keep it all neat and tidy. Then I sort through the items about once or twice a year to be sure I don't have anything empty, leaking or out of date (by expiration or by fashion!).

You could also get some "shelves" (I put that in quotations because you could get creative and stack items or use risers before you actually went and installed shelves!) and be more effective at using even more storage space. But this is all I need to store here right now, so I'm a-ok for the moment!

Now, THAT's neat!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 37: The Bathroom Drawer

OK-- I'm back ranting and raving about baskets.... but, they REALLY do work VERY well... for just about anything and just about anywhere!

As you can see in this photo, I keep a bathroom drawer (that could be a potential disaster area) very neat and tidy by using two metal "baskets."

These baskets, I think, were designed for office supplies, but they work just perfectly for keeping cotton balls, swabs, lip gloss, nail clippers and other odds n' ends in order!

After lining the drawer with rubber, non-slip drawer liners (appropriately named, eh?), I simply stuck the two metal things on the right-hand side of the drawer and filled them up with smaller items. Then I utilized the space around the baskets to neatly store other items that were too big.

Now, THAT's neat!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

DAY 36: As The Milk Sours

Sorry about all these random product mentions, but I was surfing the Internet today and just stumbled across something that really struck a chord with me: a kitchen gadget that tells if your milk has gone sour!!!!

Now, apparently this new-fangled milk jug is currently still in the "research and development stages," so isn't available for purchase just yet. But I assure you, I will be one of the first in line if and when Cravendale gets this out for public consumption -- even if they are located in England!!!

I am so neurotic about milk; I smell the milk before every use! In fact, I’m so careful about milk that I’ve probably dumped tons of perfectly good milk down the drain before. WHY!?! Well, because like many of you, I've gotten burned by sour milk before. You know, you sit down to a nice big bowl of cereal, and EEEWWWWWW! ACK! Sour milk. Or, even worse, you just take a BIG swig right from the jug, only to realize: the milk has gone bad! VERY bad!

At any rate, when it arrives on a planet near you, this sour-sensing milk jug will feature a LCD display that will either read "fresh" or "sour." It determines the milk's freshness through a sensor at the bottom of the jug. When milk goes bad, it’s more acidic, so the sensor looks for a drop in pH.

So no more sniffing, sipping or accidentally downing a huge gulp of nasty, sour milk. And no more dumping perfectly good milk down the drain! Hooray! Bring on the magic milk jug!

Now, THAT's neat!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 35: What's in YOUR microwave?

I'm a bit neurotic about keeping my microwave clean. Case in point: I clean it after EVERY use. I just use a Lysol wipe or at least a damp paper towel, whatever's handy (or whatever is needed for the clean-up job!). I don't want nasty bits of food getting nuked onto the walls, door, ceiling, turntable... and then splatting, falling or baking into whatever I am cooking or reheating! YUCK!

Here's an example -- or two -- of those not-so-clean nuke machines. You've seen them before. You may even own one! (And, no, these are NOT photos of my microwave!!! But you knew that.... right?!?!)

Does anyone feel a bit sick now?

At any rate, if your microwave (or that nasty one at work that NO ONE ever cleans) has gotten a bit funky of late, here is a neat little tip from my neat freak cheat sheet for an easier clean-up:

Get a microwave-safe bowl and fill it about half full with water and lemon juice. Microwave it on high until "boiling" (or at least until you get some good steam!) The citric acid will help to cut through grease and grime, and the steam will help loosen that stuck-on gunk! (Just please be careful NOT to touch the bowl or the hot water! Just let it cool down... those microwave "boils" can be a bit "iffy." And you don't want to get burned. Literally!)

Now, THAT's neat!