CLEAN OUT and ORGANIZE YOUR FREEZER

Posted on: January 16th, 2018 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Cathy MendlerHappy New Year!

It’s mid-January, and winter has certainly arrived.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Or did you decide not to make any this year? Do whatever feels most comfortable for you.

Chances are you don’t remember the last time you cleaned out your freezer.

We’ve had a lot of extremely cold weather already this winter. Take advantage of it, and clean out your freezer.

CLEAN OUT and ORGANIZE YOUR FREEZER

Step 1 – Remove Food

Remove all frozen food from your refrigerator freezer or deep freezer. Place food in an alternate location–refrigerator freezer, deep freezer, garage or a neighbour’s freezer. Or you can store food in coolers filled with ice. I use laundry baskets to hold frozen food and put it in our garage.

Discard any items that show signs of freezer burn or that won’t be eaten.

Step 2 – Clean Out Freezer

  • Check your owner’s manual.
  • Turn off and unplug your deep freezer. Leave the doors or lid open.
  • Once the ice is melted, remove any water.
  • Wipe out your freezer and any shelves or baskets with warm soapy water. I prefer to use baking soda and warm water.
  • Don’t forget to wipe down the outside of your freezer too.

Food Storage Guidelines

How Long You Can Freeze Everything, In One Chart

How Long You Can Store (Almost) Anything in the Fridge, Freezer and Pantry

Step 3 – Refill the Freezer

Once your freezer is clean, plug it in and turn it on. Check your owner’s manual regarding the length of time required before putting food back into the freezer. 

Some suggestions:

  • Group like items together–meat, vegetables, butter, ice cream, etc.
  • Place containers in your freezer to hold small items.
  • Keep frequently used items close to the front or top to allow easy access.
  • Label items so everyone can find them easily.
  • Put a date on items and/or containers.

Clean out your freezer on a regular basis–just before green bin or garbage day.

Remember – Many food items have best before dates. It’s helpful to follow the First In, First Out principle. Use the oldest items first. When unpacking groceries, place new items behind/under the older items. This seems like it should be common sense, but I’m surprised how many clients don’t do this.

Now that you’ve cleaned out your freezer, keep going and clean out your kitchen cupboards too. Check out our archived Organizing Your Kitchen blog post.  

Get started and turn over another leaf!

Until next month,

Cathy Mendler

Mmmmmmm…. chicken!

Posted on: December 7th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

If you’re craving comfort food on a cold winter’s day, here’s a recipe to try.

CHEESY CHICKEN STUFFED SHELLS – Courtesy of CentsLessMEALS 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 10.5 oz condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 4 oz herb & garlic cream cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil and drain pasta shells until al dente. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
  3. In a medium sized dish combine the shredded chicken, ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley, and salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Pour cream of chicken soup into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir in evaporated milk and whisk until mixed.
  5. Add cream cheese to soup mixture stirring over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  6. Fill pasta shells with chicken mixture and place in a 9×13 pan. Top with sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until hot & bubbly (about 25 minutes).

Looking for new cookie ideas this year? Check out 50+ of the BEST Christmas Cookie Recipes.

 

It’s never too late to make healthier choices!
 

 

POC Conference 2017 and more!

Posted on: December 4th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

What’s Happening?  Click Here

In early November, I was in Toronto to attend the annual Professional Organizers in Canada conference. It was filled with learning, networking, catching up with organizing colleagues I hadn’t seen in a year or two, meeting new professional organizers and enjoying great food!

POC Conference 2017

I felt overwhelmed…

Posted on: December 1st, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

“I felt overwhelmed until Cathy of ‘A New Leaf’ came to my rescue. I had lived in my house for 26 years and wanted to put it up for sale. Every nook and cranny was filled with stuff. I didn’t know how to begin.

Cathy is extremely well organized and meticulous. She came promptly each day with a smile on her face. Together, and with Cathy’s resourcefulness, we were able to separate things into piles for keeping, donating, recycling with little left for garbage. I was finally able to put my house on the market.

I would highly recommend ‘A New Leaf’ if you are looking for some professional assistance organizing.”

Martine

Thanks for reading…
Cathy Mendler

P.S. To read more testimonials, please Click Here

Countdown to Christmas!

Posted on: November 29th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Get Checking...

“He’s making a list, He’s checking it twice …” Even Santa is a list maker!

The countdown to the holidays has begun. Don’t stress! A small amount of planning now can provide you with more time for those extra chores on your list in the coming weeks.

 

Check out these archived blog posts if you need some help getting started.

Planning for the HolidaysPart 1 and Part 2

Introducing Georgina Forrest from Smartworks!

Posted on: November 27th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

The Super Simple Secret To Getting Stuff Done!

When you look around, do you see evidence of incomplete commitments, projects, tasks and “I’ll deal with that later” piles?

Do you wonder how on earth you are EVER going to get it all done?

If you answered yes to these questions, you’re not alone.

Now, let me ask you this: are you as tired as I am about hearing from the ‘experts’ on how to get this stuff done? You know … write down your goals, prioritize them, set dates and schedule them in your planner … yadda yadda blahdey blah.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Boooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiinnnng!

Not that this isn’t good advice, and there’s no denying we wouldn’t ALL benefit from following these practices, but for some people this is the stopping point in the whole process of getting stuff done.

It may just be too complicated and structured for some of you … right now.

We live and work in a time where there’s much more to do than we have time to do it. It’s the reason it’s more critical today, than ever before, to find simpler ways to stay on top of our ever-expanding workloads.

Want to know my super simple secret to getting stuff done?

I set time limits and I limit the amount of stuff I can reasonably do.

Yup. It’s that easy.

Before you toss this idea out, think about it for a moment.

If you knew you had a set amount of time to work on something, how likely is it you’d get down to the crux of the work and eliminate the superfluous stuff?

For example, how ruthless are you the day before you leave for vacation? Suddenly many tasks and commitments don’t appear to be nearly as important as you thought when it seemed you had time available to do it.

And if you limited the amount of commitments and stuff to do, wouldn’t your workload get a bit lighter? Thereby giving you more time to work on the REALLY important stuff?

I think so.

Time management doesn’t need to be a complicated, step-by-step process. It can be as easy as setting time limits and limiting how much you can reasonably get done.

It’s time to GET REAL!!

You are not Superhuman – you cannot get it all done at the pace you’re currently working at. And an endless amount of ‘time’ is NOT going to suddenly drop down into your life.

You need to start doing something – anything – to get that stuff done quickly.

So, what can you limit today? Do it. Get more done.

Now, get on with your day!

Georgina Forrest owns and operates Smartworks! in Red Deer, Alberta. Smartworks! specializes in helping people learn the principles of organizing and developing good work practices, so they can work in the kind of stress-free environment that they’ve always dreamed of. Additional services include getting your office and computer organized and functional, enhancing your productivity and time management through coaching, and process improvement and/or development.

How Long is YOUR Morning Routine?

Posted on: November 24th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Get Productive...

“Manage your time as if your life depended on it…because it does.” Dr. Robert S. Eliot

 

If you’ve been thinking about improving your morning routine, check out Julian Hayes’ 4 Simple Morning Habits That Will Improve Your Day (and Each Takes Only 5 Minutes).

Ask yourself, “How can I be more productive?”

A Quote from Jennifer Morrison!

Posted on: November 21st, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Organizing Your Pantry

Posted on: November 17th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Cathy Mendler

It’s mid-November already–time for hats, scarves, warm woolly mittens and boots–as snowflakes start to appear!

Preparing food and baking are on many people’s to-do lists over the next six weeks. The pantry is one of the most well-used areas of your kitchen, so it’s important to keep it organized.

 

ORGANIZING YOUR PANTRY

Dictionary.com defines a pantry as “a room or closet in which food, groceries, and other provisions, or silverware, dishes, etc., are kept” or “a room between the kitchen and dining room in which food is arranged for serving, glassware and dishes are stored, etc.” Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to have a walk-in pantry. Many of us likely have designated several cupboards to store pantry items.

Since many food items have best before dates, it’s helpful to follow the First In, First Out principle. Use the oldest items first. When unpacking groceries, place new items behind the older items. This seems like it should be common sense, but I’m surprised how many clients don’t do this. When cleaning out and organizing a kitchen, a great deal of food often gets thrown out. Food waste is at an all-time high.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Group like items together–tea/coffee, baking supplies, spices, etc.
  • Use containers to hold small items.
  • Cereal, rice, pasta, flour, sugar and bulk items can be stored in see-through containers (available at dollar stores).
  • Can dispensers, stepped shelf organizers and Lazy Susans can be used.
  • Keep frequently used items on shelves that allow easy access.
  • Use open containers for children’s snacks.
  • Label containers so everyone can find items easily.
  • Put a date on items and/or containers.
  • Can you store appliances in your pantry to keep your countertop clear?
  • Matching baskets or containers will make your pantry look tidier.
  • Purge your pantry on a regular basis–just before green bin or garbage day.

Remember – Buying items in large quantities is only practical if you have the space to store them. 

If you reorganize your entire pantry, you may need to make a few adjustments. There is no one right solution!

Get started and turn over another leaf!

Until next month,

Cathy Mendler

Pumpkin Muffins

Posted on: November 10th, 2017 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

If you love pumpkin, try this 2-ingredient recipe from Momcrieff.

Pumpkin Muffins

PUMPKIN MUFFINS – Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 spice cake mix
  • 1 can (15 or 16 oz.) pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
  • chocolate chips (optional)


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Stir spice cake mix together with pumpkin. Scoop into lined or well sprayed muffin tins.
  3. Optional – add chocolate chips.
  4. Bake 18-20 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean).

 

It’s never too late to make healthier choices!