Get yourself organized

In case you haven’t noticed, I am a person that likes things just so.

One of the things that both makes me laugh and has become so important to me over the last year is this idea of “keeping house.” And by that I mean that when your life is crazy like mine is, you have to come home to a house that works. You have to stay organized or a million little things will start to drive you absolutely crazy. (piles of dishes, piles of paper, piles of dog poop, you get the picture). You have to make time for it. Meal planning is one of those things I really need to work on, but for now my focus was on the house itself.

So when I got back from Chicago I realized I had four days with absolutely no work to do. Four days to evaluate everything in my house so that when I went back to the madness, I wouldn’t have to stress about things being messy and a mile-long to-do list I wouldn’t have time for.

Most people would think woo hoo! Four days to drink martinis and watch basketball and work on my tan! Well, I did a lot of that, too, but I am a freak so I also got organized.

Anyway, I realized that the best way to get organized is to ask yourself some questions:

1. What do I have?
Go through everything. The back of your cabinets, the depths of your closets, the boxes in the basement. Everything. I guarantee you’ll find stuff you never knew you had. Then trash the trash, start a pile to take to Goodwill so someone else can benefit from it, and if there are things you found that you can use, rotate them back into your home. (Ahem, this is also a great way to save you money on things you might have bought new without realizing you already had.) Put things where you can see them. Frame your favorite photos, hang up clothes, make a display for your jewelry, etc.

I found that this over-the-door hanger was a godsend because now I can see all the accessories I have and make sure I wear/use them.

2. Does the way things are arranged make sense?
This one was huge for me. Over the last few months I’ve started noticing where things pile up (which drives me crazy) and buying organizers to tidy up those spaces. I got two of these shoe trays, one for each door, so that dirty shoes aren’t strewn everywhere. And any time someone needs to go outside to drop something in the recycling or whatever, there’s always a pair of shoes handy.

I go nuts over little organizing bins. But they really do give those inevitable piles of stuff a place to go.

And I really went bananas over the kitchen when I realized just how out of whack our arrangement of things was compared to how we use them. I had all kinds of things I never use at eye level while the bowls and measuring cups I use almost daily were in a cabinet almost at floor level. So, easy enough, I moved them.

In fact, I moved almost everything. After having lived in our house for two years I know how we use the kitchen so it was easy to figure out where things should go. I can’t tell you how much better I felt after that.

3. What simple, inexpensive items could I buy that would make everything function better?
Make those items a priority. Is it a shelf in the bathroom? A chest for soccer balls and water bottles that could also be used as extra seating (yes! yes!)? Storage bins? Cup hooks? Rubbermaid tubs? If a $10 or $20 or $30 item will save your sanity over and over because it makes your house work for you, just buy it. I am the queen of penny pinching lately, but I can tell you that when you have a busy life, these things are worth it. When you have 20 minutes to walk a dog and the leash is hanging right there, you are a happy person. Simple as that.

Dogs in their usual spot? Check.

Maybe I’m just stating the obvious here, but answering these questions has really helped me figure things out the last few days. I feel SO MUCH BETTER going back into the work week. And for once I feel like the house is working like it’s supposed to.

As for spring cleaning? Well, let’s just say I don’t get as excited about dust bunnies.

Loving: nesting bowls

I think these might be the perfect baking bowls. I’d been wanting a set for a while, but when they came out with the blue/brown/orange combo set I was sold. I got this Kitchen Aid set of nested mixing bowls for $25 at Target.

I love them for two little features that have already come in handy:

A pour spout.

And a rubber bottom that keeps them from sliding around on your countertops.

Deviled eggs

It took a while to seal the deal but I think deviled eggs are officially a thing. I’m starting to see them as appetizers on local menus, even fancy restaurant menus. And that is awesome, in the same way people think bacon is awesome. I get it.

So, here you go. The only recipe you’ll ever need for deviled eggs. It’s incredibly simple, just like my egg salad recipe. If you want to change it up a little, sprinkle a little curry powder on top, add a couple of sliced scallions – go crazy. You have my permission. Just please, pretty please, buy the good eggs.

But first! Get yourself one of these.

You must serve your eggs on a vintage egg plate. There’s no other way.

Start by hard boiling 7 eggs. Whatever method you love will work. Once they’re cool carefully peel each one.

If you get a dud, don’t panic. Steal the yolk and you’ll just have a little more yummy to mix in with the rest.

Slice each egg in half, put the yolks in a bowl and arrange the whites on your plate.

Using a fork or the back of a spoon, start to mash the yolks into a fine crumble.

To that, add 1/3 cup mayonnaise (ahem, the real stuff), a couple squirts of your favorite mustard and half a teaspoon dry mustard. I don’t know what it is about that dry mustard but it seems to make all the difference. Then sprinkle just a little bit of salt and pepper in the mix and stir it all up.

How you get this mixture into each egg white is up to you. A spoon works just fine for me, but you could certainly use a pastry bag or something like that. Try to fill them as easily as possible.

And then, because we’re doing this the most retro way possible, sprinkle those suckers with paprika.

You may notice that this egg plate has 15 slots and only fourteen eggs in it. That doesn’t seem logical when you consider eggs will always make two halves. But I think I have it figured out. When you go to present that lovely plate to your guests, carefully balancing each jiggly half in its assigned spot, you’re gonna need somewhere to put your thumb.