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I listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m working in the kitchen.  I think I need to feel like I’m having conversations with people besides my camera and my cat.  Yes… I suppose I just admitted to talking to both my cat and my camera.

I love stories.  I love diving into different perspectives.  I love learning weird facts that I can awkwardly throw into conversation at dinner parties.

Here are a few podcasts episodes that have entertained me this week.  A little spooky, a few facts about skyjacking (what!?), some business talk with people I admire, and a raw story about Anne Frank that totally made me cry.

I hope you have a great week!

Snap Judgement:  Campfire Tales - I’m such a sucker for ghost stories.  I’m really the perfect audience, because they scare the heck out of me.  Listen to these stories and re-tell them around the campfire.  For real.  I got the chills.

99%:  Invisible Skyjacking - The history of hijacking airplanes.  Super fascinating.

The Lively Show:  Kendi Everyday is a super honest conversation about business and blogging.

I also really love Grace Bonney’s perspective on work and not work in The Lively Show:  Design Sponge.  

The Moth: I Need To Talk About Anne Frank - A lot of really necessary humanity.

Uhh Yeah Dude:  Episode 423 Live from Portland, Oregon - America through the eyes of two American Americans.  Always and forever.

 We talk a lot about Instagram on the Joy the Baker Podcast so I thought I’d share the latest of my Instagram favorites.  Everything from food to design, to absolute absurdity.  I’m only a little bit sorry.

Pictured from left to right and left to right.

Emily Henderson: stylist, designer, cute mama, hilarious lady!  I love her design inspiration and her baby’s super chubby cheeks.

Paul Octavious: Chicago photographer and storyteller!  His eye is always finds the unexpected!

Laura Miller:  Raw Vegan Not Gross and totally cool.

Rebecca Rebouche:  New Orleans artist with feminine vision and a traveling heart

AdamsCarpenters: Absurd videos from an absurd comedian.

Humans of NY:  NYC one story at a time.  “I found him in the trash.  I named him shadow because he followed me everywhere.”  Such great snippets.

Wit and Vinegar:  Food, design, dogs, and nonsense from Billy Green.  Catburger for real?

Nate Diesel:  Welcome to the world of the super-buff selfie.  I’ll follow this wormhole all the way down.

Nicole Franzen:  Brooklyn Photographer with heart and soul.

Cats of Instagram:  obviously!  Right?

In our last house we had a different fridge. We unfortunately couldn’t take it with us because it wouldn’t have fit in our new house. It was a pretty good fridge & I really miss it. Wahhh. I think this fridge that we have now is from my childhood. The one before that was avocado green! I secretly wish we still had it.

Our fridge now works for the most part and we’ve been living with it (it leaks and makes really loud noises!) but I feel like it should be called the GREAT FOOD HIDER. I swear, I never really know what I have in there because I have to stand back 5 feet to see way in the back of it.

I was having a really good Sunday in the kitchen last week and decided to go through my fridge again and weed it out & set the tone for the week. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get my head back in the game.

Here’s the kitchen. This is the kitchen I learned how to cook in! It’s changed a lot over the years.

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Are you ready to see inside? It’s kinda packed. Go ahead…snoop!

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There’s really no rhyme or reason for anything. I’ve been living in the SHOVE stuff in here mode.

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It’s not really that fun. I have no idea what’s in there half the time.

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So I started sorting everything.

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And cleaning…a soapy rag makes a huge difference.

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Especially with the yucky parts. Dang jam!

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We also have a part of the fridge that leaks…water collects down here and I have to use a turkey baster to get it out every other day. YIKES!

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This is the current sate of our fridge. Things are way more organized. I also weeded out a bunch of old stuff.

I probably could have done a better job “styling” the drawers but THIS IS REAL LIFE.

All it takes is meal time and the chi can get disrupted.

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Have mercy! There’s actually some empty spots to put food now.

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I bought a few pull out bins from the Container Store. They’re fantastic.

This bin is for tubs of things–like cream cheese, sour cream, dips, etc.

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This narrow pullout bin is for almond butters & such.

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I sorted all of my jars/condiments and created sections for myself.

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I’m sticking to it!

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I really hope that I can keep this up!  The freezer is next!

 

In our old house I had my jewelry pretty organized. Remember when I went through my bathroom & cleaned it all out?   In our house now we have a cabinet under the sink where I keep the tupperware drawers of my jewelry (bracelets, earrings & hair doo-dads) hidden. I like that it’s concealed but I realized that I am not wearing a fraction of my accessories because I don’t see it all the time.

But…my mom put up all of these hooks in her bathroom….and I couldn’t resist hanging my necklaces on them. I really liked the access, but I found it super cluttered and really couldn’t see what necklaces I have in my arsenal. Everything is just lumped together. I have lived with this for the past year and then one day I found myself in the clearance section at The Container Store…

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

I walked down those aisles staring at each item…trying to come up with organizing schemes in our house. And low and behold in the SALE section, I found a few organizers. What attracted me was:

  • the price (nothing more attractive than a RED sticker at The Container Store)
  • that I could see all of my accessories at once
  • I could have it out of sight in my closet, yet still have easy access to it.

This is the first one that I bought. You can find it online here.

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

I decided to get this other one too because I thought it would work well with all of the small studded earrings I have.

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

So here I am going through all of my loose jewelry….

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

I put my earrings in this one. On the other side I have pendants & rings. It’s only 1/4 full on the other side.

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

And I hung up my necklaces on this one.

They are grouped by kind/like. Now I can access a necklace based on kind!

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

Here they are in action! I have them at the end of my closet so I can see them when I immediately open the door.

High Straightenence: Jewelry!

I’m hoping these organizers help remind me that I have a nice collection of stuff to jazz up my outfits. Or maybe it will inspire me to get rid of some…

Hello Friends!!

So a few weeks ago I set out to merge all of my emails to Gmail. How’s it going? Hmm….I’m still trying to figure it all out. When I imported my email addresses, thousands of emails merged and made this task SUPER daunting. You might remember that I am merging 5 email addresses into my Gmail account so I can have Gmail be the hub for my addresses.  It took me a few days to get on top of it and move things out of my inbox and archive. To be honest, I’m still not done with it all because I feel like it’s super disorganized within all of my folders. It’s also taken some time getting used to searching for things within my inboxes.

What have I learned? That you MUST commit to blasting your email ASAP.

I had to change my thought process for when an email comes in to:

  • Does this email require action?
  • Do I need to keep this for later/archive it?
  • What folder does this need to go in?
  • Is this personal or Shutterbean related?

 

I also spent the first week blasting all of the subscribed emails. If I got an email from a list I didn’t want to be on, I unsubscribed IMMEDIATELY. It was super gratifying and I feel a tremendous sense of relief not to have all of those nagging/unnecessary emails.

What’s the biggest takeaway from this?  You HAVE to make a big effort to keep on top of your Inbox. Everything in life requires maintenance.  In life you have to keep on top of EVERYTHING and create rules and systems or else you drown. I have also realized that I have a huge problem with starting something and jumping right in and figuring things out as I go. This can get me into trouble because I don’t always understand how I am going to use something….and then months/years later the task of reorganizing is just so dang overwhelming. I can’t tell you how much work I had to do on my website re-design because I didn’t tag & categorize my posts properly. So with this Inbox thing, I’m taking things a little slower so I make sure I’m doing things correctly. It’s a learning process!

What’s next? Continue tackling my inbox and hopefully get around to deleting unnecessary items from both my phone & computer in the next few weeks.

WISH ME LUCK.

You  might remember the last time I cleaned out my pantry…it was in a different house!

Now that we’ve lived in our new old house for almost a year (holy crap!) it’s time for me to evaluate my space.  I’ve contracted the Spring Cleaning Bug and I’m really into organizing lately (thank God!) so I decided to go through my pantry yesterday and purge/organize. On a side note, I think it’s important to live with your space for awhile when you first move in and see how you use it. Then regroup!

Let’s look at the before.

This is a high traffic closet. We’re opening it up CONSTANTLY in my house. And since it’s been quite untidy for the past few months, it really freaks me out when someone else leaves it open (COUGH COUGH COOPER).

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I started sorting the shelves. This time I decided to do one shelf at a time. I thought I’d be too overwhelmed with pulling it out at once. It made it waaaaaay more manageable.

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More sorting…and emptying jars…

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I ended up going through all of the food and tossing what expired. It’s good to go through your pantry every few months to see what you need to get rid of/need to add. I like to do a BIG sort twice a year and then every few months straighten things up.

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Let’s talk about some sections, shall we?

Top row contains all my specialty flours & things I don’t need as often. Because the top shelf is high up and has a lot of head room, I decided to put big bottles (like oil & white vinegar up there)

Shelf below contains all of my potions!

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I decided to break things up into sections.

Vinegars & Oils to the left… and Asian & Mexican ingredients in the middle.

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Condiments like Mustard, Cookie Butter & Peanut Butter…

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And to the right we have sweeteners! Honey…Molasses…etc.

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The section below this one contains all my sugar/flour and baking needs.

I have my vanilla & chocolate section.

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I labeled some of my glass jars. This is my grain/rice/bean section.

I did tidying up on the row below…sorting like with like.

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To the right I have rice/grains/beans in glass jars.

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Nuts/Dried Fruits/Crackers & Snacks below….

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Another look…

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The GRAND AFTER!!!!!

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Let’s hope I keep it this tidy for months to come! Wish me luck.

Last week on the podcast, Joy & I talked briefly about managing our email inboxes. I’m at a point where it’s getting out of control and I need to take ACTION. We received quite a few comments/emails  from our listeners with suggestions on how to manage email. It was SUPER helpful, so thank you!

In the next few weeks I plan to streamline  my inbox(es). I currently have 5 different email addresses- One hotmail, one gmail, some old one from years ago and two that belong to my website.  I use the ones associated with my website constantly and the other three I have for what I consider “junk” mail. The problem with the junkmail accounts is that they are FILLED with daily emails from newsletters I subscribed to A LONG TIME AGO. Real talk: My hotmail account has 20k emails and they’re all pure crap. I call that email the BLACK HOLE.  It doesn’t stress or overwhelm me because it’s not an address that I normally use. I just feel a tremendous amount of shame for letting it go and getting to that ridiculous number.

So I’m ready to power up and TACKLE.

MY OBJECTIVE:

-clean out my junk inboxes/unsubscribe to as many newsletters as possible (this may take awhile)

-create folders in my inbox and sort emails (one of our listeners suggested sorting emails into boxes based on ACTION). I like this idea because sometimes flagging something isn’t enough for me remember to take action. And sometimes I don’t need something until later so it would be helpful to have a folder for archiving. I hope to have the following FOLDERS:

INBOX: A place for sorting (ideally, this area should be cleared out CONSTANTLY)

ARCHIVE: A place for storing information I need to reference at a later date.

ACTION: Emails that require follow-up (once finished, they will either be trashed or moved to ARCHIVE)

RECEIPTS: I’ll put anything tax-related/blog related into this folder

I was contemplating merging all of my emails account into Gmail and having that as a hub for my email addresses. Do you do this? Is it worth it? I was thinking it would be a good option for someone like me who doesn’t always use the same computer to write/read emails.

I suspect this is going to take A LONG TIME, but I know that once I have a better way to manage this, email might not get out of hand. In the process I would like to work on managing my contact list. The amount of information I have scattered on different devices is frightening. I need to get it merges & centralized!

If you have any tips/tricks you’d like to share before I go FULL FORCE with the email purge, please let me know! I can’t wait to get my inbox down to ZERO!

After spending a week away from home on a MUCH needed vacation, I came home feeling refreshed and ready to start anew.  I also felt a bit worried about falling back into our chaotic routine. It was really nice to have a break from the day-to-day because I was able to evaluate what aspects I missed and figure out a few habits/behaviors I want to change around the house.

In my Organizing Goals for 2013, I wanted to figure out how to change/pinpoint bad habits that contribute to our home mess. Having some distance from my routine really helped me figure out what I want to change, so here we go!

-One of the main reasons why things get chaotic and unkempt around the house is the fact that we are all doing too many things at once. I am super guilty of this behavior. As someone who takes on too many things at once (including making multiple recipes in the kitchen at a time!) I feel like most of the time the tornado that I make in the process of doing something isn’t worth the hassle. I also have a 4 year old who adds additional mess to the situation, but that’s not something that I can entirely control.

I think it would help if I reminded myself that I need to SLOW DOWN and BE MINDFUL of my actions. If I slow down, I am less likely to make more of a mess and I won’t spill things as often.  If an action takes a few seconds (like putting away my clothes or putting back a pair of scissors after I’ve used it) I should just DO IT. Because when I have a whole bunch of little things that pile up, it overwhelms me and I feel paralyzed. Plus it’s not rewarding to clean up a bunch of little things. It never ends!

-The weeks go by so fast and I never feel like I have enough time to do all of the things I accomplish. It’s frustrating! Spending a lot of time without reliable internet connection on our vacation made me realize that I waste a lot of time messing around on my phone. I know that my whole family could benefit from me being away from the computer/phone more often. If I have my head in too many places at once, I get stressed. I am guilty of getting short tempered with my son if he’s interrupting me while I’m reading an important email on my phone.  The fact is, if I am around him most of what happens on the internet/computer SHOULD WAIT.

How do I combat this? Set boundaries for myself. My phone and computer usage could be off limits during certain times of day. One of the first things I do is look at my phone when I wake up and then I get sucked in the zone of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Shutterbean checking. And once I start doing that I keep getting worked up. It can actually alter my mood.  I’ve been testing the waters and ditching my phone while I get ready for work and it’s already helping my productivity. I hope that in the future, I can increase my time away from the phone/computer. Perhaps spending on weekend day unplugged might do the trick? Maybe I could do what Shauna does and not check my phone/email/computer until after I drop Cooper off at preschool. I think it would take a lot of effort, but it could prove to be rewarding.

And with that said, if I have more time to get things done (in a productive/uninterrupted manner) I could actually get ahead of my schedule and do things ahead of time so I’ll be able to build in more relaxing/creative time for myself & family. Perhaps setting timers on my phone so I can go a period of time without using it will help? We’ll see!

-I have a lot of stuff. The problem with having a lot of stuff means that I have to MANAGE a lot of stuff.  I’m constantly trying to manage things, some items get lost in the shuffle. This means I end up buying a lot of things that I already have. It is EXTREMELY annoying to find out that I already have agave syrup when I just bought more? I went through a period of time thinking I didn’t have dish soap and ended up buying three separate containers to find out that I had a few tucked deep in the back of my kitchen cabinet.

I could benefit greatly from setting out time and going through all of our cabinets and getting rid of things I need/don’t need. If I have a designated spot for items, I would be able to glance at the space where I keep q-tips and know that I need more q-tips. In a perfect world, this would be easy. Am I too much of a micro-manager? I dunno.

The fact is, I have to be on top of getting rid of unnecessary items in my house. If I don’t buy new/unnecessary things, I’ll be happier because it means that I have less to manage and we’ll save money. It’s a win/win situation.

-For a long time I used to do laundry one day a week. I really thought that was the right way to do it. Turns out it doesn’t really work for me. When my mom suggested that I do a laundry multiple times a week, I thought she was crazy. It seemed like I would be doing nothing but laundry. Turns out that processing one load of a laundry a night makes it REALLY easy to stay on top of laundry. This one little change has made such a difference!

I am sure there are other ways I can help streamline our day/routine. I always appreciate finding new ways of seeing things and shaking up my routine.

In the next year, I hope to simplify, be more mindful and find new ways of operating that will help my productivity/sanity. It’s going to take a lot of patience and perseverance but I know it will be worth it!

Have you made any big discoveries yourself recently? Are there any shortcuts you’ve found that made a HUGE impact on your sanity? I’d love to hear!