November 23, 2017

Creating a Top Ten for the Kitchen: Starting Now


Right now, my mind is cluttered, and therefore, it pours into other aspects of my life, including the kitchen.

Can anyone relate? Please let me know I am not the only one wildly raising their hand here.

All of my life, I’ve desired to be a “To – Do” List kind of person. I’ve always wanted to be one of those perky, organized girls that wakes up, grabs her paper and pen, and goes to town with the Top Ten Things she wants to get done for the day. I dream about joyfully writing them down first thing in the morning, and then enjoying the sense of peace that comes as a result of crossing off those tasks as they’re completed systematically throughout the day.

And then I wake up, to my reality.

My reality begins with that cute Clutter Countdown logo that my designer did at my request FOUR months ago. Yes, back in January when life was full of fresh, new beginnings and the desire to organize kitchen cabinets, I started thinking through this series. And four months later, it’s still not a reality. I share this to make you all realize that we are in this together.

My goal over the next few months is to just pick one area a week that I need to focus on in my home life.

This week, it’s the kitchen.

I want to make it manageable so that I don’t get side tracked and discouraged. I”m starting basic and easy, with tasks that will give me immediate satisfaction for time well spent.

1. Organize my canned goods pantry so that I can actually walk in the space again. Our kids are wonderful helpers, but when they unload, they just stack things on the floor if there’s not instant space on the shelves. Ok, I admit, I’ve done it too.

2. Revisit my Fail to Plan post and Print off my weekly/monthly meal plan sheet, but NOT schedule anything. I want to just brainstorm my Top Ten   – Ten Minute Dinner Ideas. Then I want to ask my kids for their top ten requests. My goal is to once again have a working list of meal ideas that I rotate.

3. Browse my stock pile and see what ingredients I already have on hand from my Top Ten List. I will make those meals first from items that are fully stock piled. Then, I will grab the kids and spend some quality time in the kitchen with them working together and sharing some life.

4. Make a list of ingredients that I need to purchase for my Top Ten  – Ten Minute Dinner meals. Determine if those are part of the natural couponing sales cycle. If they are, then I’ll wait, if not, I will be shopping for them this week.

5. De-clutter my corner kitchen cabinet and vacuum it. I keep all my small appliances in there and I just noticed tons of crumbs that have fallen from my toaster, plus there are attachments and little items everywhere. Basically, it’s a mess and should only take 15 minutes to make it beautiful.

6. Stop typing right now, walk to the kitchen and grab my Crock Pot and Frozen Chicken Breasts for my old and easy fall back recipe – Crock Pot BBQ Chicken.  If I don’t do it now, it will be 3:00pm and I will just realize that I didn’t start the crock pot.

7. Print some great coupons that I’ve been neglecting. 

8. Add Coupons to Phone. Since I only recently moved to the new age of smart phone use, I need to set up my texting for store alerts and add coupon apps to my phone. I have been missing out on a lot of free money for these great deals. These are especially wonderful when you don’t have any paper coupons or don’t feel like cutting them.

Sign up for Savings Star – Good at over 100 stores. With SavingStar, you can save eCoupons to your grocery store loyalty cards from their website or their mobile application which automatically get credited when you swipe your card at checkout. Though the savings don’t show at the register, your savings get credited directly to your SavingStar account, which you can request payment via Paypal, bank deposit, or gift card.  (I can already check this off. First task completed this morning.)

Join Cell Fire – Add store loyalty cards to my phone. Valid at Kroger and Kroger subsidiaries, Carrs, Genuardi’s, Randall’s, Tom Thumb, Shop ‘n Save, Lowe’s, Foodtown and Harps. (Just did this. Two tasks completed.)

9. Put in my April grocery order from I’ve been procrastinating, but now it’s 8% cash back through Ebates, so it’s an amazing time to use my “free money.” (And you can get $10 to spend too. If you’re not familiar with this store, it’s worth your time to check out my Vitacost post explaining it.

10. Flirty Aprons order – and yes, because I really do think that adding a fun apron while you work improves the attitude, I will be checking out the Flirty Apron Site for their annual Mother’s Day Sale. It’s their best sale of the year because EVERYTHING is on sale at 40% off, not just selected items, but they sell out fast. Receive 40% off everything on site with code Mother40

 Let’s make this a week of being intentional in the kitchen.

For those of you who aren’t List Makers, join me with just jotting down a few tasks that you’d like to get done this week. Remember, it’s just baby steps.

What are some of the things you’d like to put on your “To – Do” List in the kitchen?

Take a minute and share them in the comments and we can get motivated and inspired together. Maybe we might even see a few things that we should get done, but would never have thought of if it wasn’t for your comment.

Now I look forward to seeing what some of you are making this week.

Link up to your recipe URL, link back here, and please take a minute to share some comment love with other bloggers.


  1. I love this post! What a great list and I love the intentionality of each step. 🙂 (Is it just me? Or is the Linky closed until 11:11 tonight?– just curious!) This is my recipe, Frozen Berries and Cream:


    Jen Reply:

    @JessieLeigh, AHHHH – I am SO glad you mentioned that. I just hit submit and didn’t even look at the time. Off to get it changed so you can add it now. Then come back and be #1. 😉


  2. I’m totally overwhelmed as well. Partly b/c of our frugal, whole foods lifestyle. Partly b/c of my special needs son and partly b/c I have to watch my stress level due to adrenal fatigue. I just can’t do it all.

    Hang in there – we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves!!


  3. I am just getting out of what was a long period of depression, during which my house took a major backseat. I’m kind of doing the same thing…trying to choose one area per week to focus on. I did my pantry last week and it’s good to know that I’m not the only one whose pantry looked like that! lol.


  4. I’m mostly organized, and it’s definitely not easy. With lots of kids in the home, there’s lots more to keep track of, and lots more cooking to do. A pan of brownies only lasts 6 to 8 hours; then, back to the kitchen to make more.


  5. I’m with you on the crumbs! How do they collect in the cabinets and drawers? I just vaccumed out my cabinets and drawers a few weeks ago. I was disgusted by the crumbs!


  6. Thanks for hosting. I am perpetually making todo lists and yet I never seem organized. One of my April goals was to plan, not actually organize, but just plan how to be more organized. We’ll see how I can implement it in the next few months.

    I shared a white chocolate strawberry icebox cake. It was very easy, and light. Hope you enjoy!


  7. I am a pretty organized person by nature. When I first quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom, I developed a routine with tasks for each day (Mondays=exercise, sweep and vacuum, pay bills, etc.). I’d get up each morning and write on our whiteboard, my tasks for the day, adding in whatever other household tasks or chores needed to get done (i.e., make a doctor’s appointment, buy stamps, etc.). For a long time, this system worked really well for me. I didn’t accomplish everything on my to-do list every day, but I usually got the most important items done.

    However, I’ve found as I have become busier with classes, play dates and my own blog, I am accomplishing less and less of my housework, errands, etc. Most days I don’t even bother to write my new list of goals for the day. So obviously my organizational system could use some revamping.

    In terms of clutter, my two biggest challenges right now are our hall closet which contains my son’s toys, all the kitchen appliances and random things that don’t fit in our kitchen cabinets (thanks to their completely inexplicable design, which apparently was meant to actually minimize storage space), and some of our household supplies (cleaners, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.). It has become a mess to the point that I often don’t bother putting things away where they should go because I don’t want to take the time to dig out the other things that are blocking the way. I think we simply have too much in this closet and some things need to go (most likely candidates: all that random kitchen paraphernalia).

    The other item in dire need of organizational help is our little in-box/out-box, which holds all our mail, coupons, pencils, bills, etc. It is overflowing, but I haven’t taken the time recently to go through it. Ugh. Even thinking about going through it is overwhelming. There is too much to do!


  8. Corrie Weaver says:

    Jen, when you make your cinnamon rolls and freeze them, how do you freeze them so that the icing stays on? Also, I made the banana oat muffins and I have noticed that when I store my muffins (any kind, not just those) after they are cool, they get damp and sticky. Do you know of a way to keep them “dry” when storing them?


  9. Linda Bonner says:

    Jen, I love your blog. Thank you for so many ways to attempt to get organized. I thought that I would share this website that I found to make a can rotation system out of cardboard boxes.

    I have made a few of these and they do help save room. I did have problems getting them to glue together so I got hat pins to hold the pieces together until the glue dries. Hope you find this useful.


  10. On of my favorite things to do (sad statement to come) is to clean out “stuff.” I love to go through and organize cabinets, drawers, etc. I find it very relaxing and it makes me feel a bit more together. I have friends who hate the process of cleaning out, throwing out, and organizing. This makes for a nice friendship. When I need a good “organizing fix” and I am done at my house, I someone else. My point is, if you have let an area go (or your house), find someone to help you who likes to do that kind of thing. Maybe you can help them with something they need. I have friends who frequently come over and help me with decorating ideas because that is something they love to do.


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