Tuesday, January 8, 2008

magazine clutter and meal planning

Part of my big home organizing kick is getting our magazines under control. When I cleaned out our office, I sent so many magazines out to recycling that Josh was forced to put all the (heavy) bags into one huge (really f-ing heavy) box and drag them down our stairs and across our lawn in such a manner that he jacked his back all up and spent a great deal of time laying on our floor and popping muscle relaxers every few hours. Like, for many days. That's a lot of magazines! I suppose that could have been avoided by the bags out one at a time, but whatever. I figure we're serving our philanthropic duty to keep the big pharmaceuticals in business.

To stay organized, the only magazines I am keeping are MS Living and Everyday Food. For my other regulars (BHG, Veg Times), I will read/leaf through them and rip out whatever little tid-bits are worth keeping. I am compiling images of home decor and gardening and things, that will all go into a notebook for ideas/inspiration/etc. All recipes are going into clear sleeves in my handy-dandy 3-ring binder. And if I try the recipe and don't like it, it's coming out of the binder and getting trashed.

This recipe binder also now houses all the recipes we've printed out from online sources that were sitting in random piles with coffee stains on them, or flour on them, or that we would throw out and reprint every time we wanted to make it (like my beloved VT Breakfast Pizza that I swear I've printed at least 6 times and then always manage to lose). I haven't gotten as far as actually organizing the recipes within my binder by category, but it's not so super-full yet that I really need to. I'll get there eventually.

And why do I need all my recipes organized? Well! One of the biggest changes we've made at home recently is weekly meal planning. We figure out a menu for the week, make a grocery list, and go shopping and only buy what we need. So simple and so brilliant! Why haven't we done this before??

This eliminates our daily "What do you feel like for dinner?" conversation. I know when I'm making something that takes longer, so I need to go straight home with Delma and start cooking, or when we have a little more time to run errands or play before dinner, or when I don't have to lift a finger because Josh will be cooking. It means taking time to sit down and create the menu and make a good shopping list, but it saves so much time that we used to waste hemming and hawing and seeing what we had in the fridge, etc. It saves us from wasting produce that we used to buy with no specific plan for it that would inevitably go bad and get tossed. And making more meals means ending up with more leftovers to bring to work for lunch, which also saves us some cash. And it makes it feel like we're one step closer to having a well-managed household. Like we're real grown-ups or something. It makes me happy.

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