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Blog: Life Management
How Do You Eat An Elephant to Get Organized?
Bite 8 Kitchens

The kitchen is the real "body" of the house. How much of your time is spent there preparing food, cleaning up afterwards, picking up clutter, etc? It's been estimated that 90% of a woman's time in the home is spent in the kitchen. If you like being in there that much, great! If you want to find ways to get out of there more often and do other things in and around your home then keep reading.

One of my favorite cookbooks for the kitchen that will make meal preparation easier and faster is my Woman Time Management, Easy Does It Cook Book. It offers easy, delicious, nutritious recipes. I don't know about you but when a cookbook has fine print with lots of words and paragraphs I don't want to even read it let alone cook it! The Easy Does It Cook Book uses few words and gets right down to the point. Even a non-gourmet or child would find this cookbook a delight to use.

My family's favorite recipe from this book is on page 96 Instant Potato Casserole. It's made with instant potatoes but no one ever realizes it!

One of the best features of The Easy Does It Cook Book is in the front where a section is dedicated to cooking days (not daze) with everything you need to make 12 meals in advance for your freezer. There's a beef-cooking day and a chicken-cooking day with all the step-by-step directions along with the recipes. You can even shop by propping the book up in your cart as you pick up the necessary ingredients. Have a cooking day with a friend where you'll share fellowship and both end up with salads, desserts, and main dishes that are great to pop right into the freezer for those busy days when you don't have much time to prepare a meal or to take to a friend who just came home from the hospital.

If you like cooking with your friend here's another cook ahead idea based on the book, Cooking Among Friends. Gather a group of 6-8 friends to start a cooking group. It's a lot like a cookie exchange but in this case you'll be trading main dishes. The book will guide you right through the process and offers recipes already set up to make for large numbers of people. If you live nearby the authors they'll even meet with your group to go over how it works and offer throw away pan/lid options that you can purchase at their cost.

But if time and energy is at such a premium for you then maybe the cook ahead meal kitchens that have popped up all over the country are just right for you. You can go alone to make up your meals in just a couple of hours or you can go with a friend or group of friends. And, if that's even too much, you can now call or email in your order and just pick up the meals that are made up ahead for you according to your specifications. In our area some of the franchise names are Main Dish Kitchen, Simple Suppers, Delightful Dinners, etc.

Whatever you do in your kitchen make sure it works for you and the whole family. And, speaking of the whole family, how do they do when working in the kitchen? I taught our kids some helpful mottos for working in the kitchen that helped keep order before, during, and after their cooking projects. One of the main mottos is: Keep up is easier than catch up. You can role model to your kids that when you make something the routine is, for example, get out the flour, measure it, and put it away, then get out the sugar, measure it, and put it away. Don't get or bring out the flour or sugar first and then leave it out while you work on the recipe because when you finally put it into the oven it will look like a bomb went off on the counter top! You see by keeping up as you go it will be much easier to clean up when you're finished.

A similar motto can be applied in the kitchen and elsewhere around the house. This motto is: Don't put it down, put it away! I like to picture a little angel sitting on my shoulder and when that angel catches me sloughing off, for example, my jeans to the floor as I hurry to change outfits for another event that angel whispers to me in an angelic tone, "Don't put it down, put it away." Granted, sometimes I want to knock her right off my shoulder or tell her to be quiet because I'm in a hurry. How much time is really saved by kicking something off into a corner rather than actually putting it where it belongs? The time it takes you to put numerous things away because of this type of bad habit is much more costly and time consuming, not to mention having to live in the clutter before you get around to doing it.

Post these mottos around your house to make these ingrained habits for all who live there.
I think you'll find that you have much less clutter to deal with in the kitchen and all around the house. We'll deal with other aspects of your kitchen in future blogs but for now we'll just say to use the K-I-S-S method. Keep It Simple Sweetie!

For more kitchen tips and techniques I would recommend the following resources: Organizing Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin (a guilt free book because you aren't expected to read it cover to cover instead just pull it off the bookshelf when you're ready to get another area organized and you'll find my tips sprinkled throughout this book), Organize Your Home in No Time! by Deb Stanley, Smart Organizing by Sandra Felton (be sure to read my opening contribution to Chapter 9 in this book!), or The Complete Idiot's Guide to Organizing Your Life by Georgene Lockwood. Any of these books or those mentioned in this blog would make great Christmas gifts!

posted on: 11/27/2007 12:00:00 PM by Judy Warmington
category: The Mental Side

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Life Management

by Judy Warmington

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About Judy:

Judy Warmington, Woman Time Management (owner) -- Busy wife, mother of three adult/married children, grandmother of 10 (5 boys and 5 girls!), former high school teacher (M.A. from W.M.U.), Speaker, Author, Radio Personality, and Trainer of Professional Organizers.

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