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Are you a new frugal mom who's trying to stretch her family's budget, get dinner on the table, and stay sane in the chaos of modern family life?

The New Frugal Mom is a site dedicated to sharing practical ideas for frugal living to help you save both time and money.

September 22, 2011

How to U | How to Create a Household Command Center in a Kitchen Cabinet, Part 3 of 4

How to U is a new weekly feature at TNFM on Wednesdays. 

Each month, I'll feature a simple DIY project from start to finish with posts showing you how to do it as well.

For September 2011, I'm tackling How to Create a Household Command Center in a Kitchen Cabinet. This week is Part 3: What to Keep in Your Kitchen Command Center.

If you missed Part 1 of How to Create a Household Command Center in a Kitchen Cabinet, you can read it here; Part 2: Organizing Containers is right here.

This week, I'm focusing on What to Keep in Your Kitchen Cabinet Command Center.

This is by far the most daunting task (for me, at least!): deciding what should stay and what should go from my existing Kitchen Cabinet Command Center.

In fact, this is the point in my little How To project where I "hit the wall", so to speak. 

It's the point where procrastination sets in because now I have to do the real work.

Sure, it's fun to plan and dream about a well-organized space

It's even more fun to get giddy at the Dollar Store and buy cute little matching containers for my project.

But in the end, the project simply won't get done until I dig in, pull the existing mess apart, sort and toss, and rebuild the space from the ground up.

Obviously, as I'm posting this on Thursday rather than my scheduled Wednesday (yesterday), I'm slacking a bit in the get-the-job-done department.  Just for funners, here's a right-now shot of my current Kitchen Cabinet Command Center mess:

It doesn't look this bad in that corner of my kitchen normally; I have the two big boxes tucked under a side table in my sitting room and the doors to the kitchen cabinet are closed. 

The fact that I can't see the mess that needs dealing with is a big part of the problem.  If it were in my face making my eyelid tick uncontrollably from the sheer chaos of it all, I would have dealt with it much sooner.

So tonight is the night I Conquer the Chaos once and for all!  I mean, you guys are dying to see the finished product next Wednesday, right?  I won't let you fine readers down!

Here's how I intend to tackle the mess tonight:

:: Think Thirds.  There's a LOT of stuff in that cabinet and if all I do is make one pile after another on my counter, I'll quickly be swamped and overwhelmed.  I have the empty boxes to use as I empty the mess out and I'll be using my Principle of Thirds.  One third of the stuff stays, one third of the stuff goes (trash, recycle, donation), and the last third of the stuff is in limbo. 

Setting up three different boxes to chuck items into as I empty the cabinet out creates an instant hierarchy of priority for me when it comes time to put things back in and reorganize.

Obviously, the STAYS box will be the box I need to go through first and sort items so that I can reorganize them in the cabinet.  The GOES box can go sit it's merry self out in my garage until after I'm done the reorginization project; I'll sort those items for trash, recycling, or donating once I'm done with the cabinet.  The LIMBO box is where I'll put items that aren't high priority to go back in the cabinet but I'm not sure if I should get rid of them yet.  This box can go sit out in the garage until I'm done reorganizing the cabinet as well.

The key to my Principle of Thirds is to use those boxes to create quick decisions about items in the early part of the reorganizing process so that I don't lose momentum or become overwhelmed.

:: Think Boxes.  I'm not talking about cardboard boxes but time boxes.  Any organization project around the house takes time; it can be difficult to go from start to finish in one big stretch of unbroken time, especially if you're a busy parent.  By breaking the project up into boxes of time in which to finish it, I can get a little bit done each day instead of feeling like I have to wait until I have a few hours of free time to tackle it.  I don't know about you, but if I have a few hours of "free time", I'm going to want to spend that free time doing something a bit more fun and relaxing than a put-off chore!

Here's what my time boxes for this project look like:

Empty Cabinet and sort into Stay, Go, Limbo boxes: 45 minutes
Sort Stay box into smaller, discrete categories: 45 minutes
Install new and existing containers into cabinet: 30 minutes x 2
(I foresee needing to do this in two different sessions as I have some plans for the cabinet doors that will need to be one session of their own.)
Organize Stay box categories into cabinet containers: 45 minutes
Deal with Go box: 15 minutes
Deal with Limbo box: 15 minutes

It helps me to set a timer, turn off the TV, and lockdown my computer when I tackle those time boxes so that I can reduce distractions.  I also wait and work on these types of projects when my kiddos are either in school or asleep late at night - they're a big distraction unto themselves!

Next week, I'll will have the finished project for you with a full photo tour - fun!  I'll also be posting links to different ideas for creating a Kitchen Command/Household Command Center, from something as simple as a Household Binder to projects bigger and more ambitious than my own. 

Are you creating a Kitchen Cabinet Command Center? Do you have a different type of Household Command Center and a post with some pictures or instructions on how you created it?

I'd love to see it and I'd love to share it in my final post in this series on Wednesday, September 27. 

Please feel free to drop a comment below if you're interested in being included!

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