Sunday, March 11, 2012

A memo station for our dining room

We have boring blonde cabinets in our kitchen. Since we're renters, it's not something we can change. And since our kitchen opens up to our dining room, I see the blonde cabinets every time I sit down for a meal at our table. I was getting a little tired of looking at the back of our blah island cabinet, so I decided to spruce it up a little.
First, I brainstormed. I wanted the space to have a function. What did I need in the dining/kitchen areas? (You know, besides a Kitchenaid Mixer, a Margaritaville blender, beautiful vintage Pyrex, and all the other things on my kitchen wish list that are lovely but can't really help with the cabinets).


After my daydreaming about material goods ended, it came to me. Not only was I tiring of the blonde cabinets, but I was also getting annoyed with digging through my cookbooks to find recipes that I frequently make. I do mark them with post-it notes, but I also mark recipes I want to make in the future, and I have so many cookbooks that I often forget where a recipe is from. So I thought, why not make a little memo station where I could keep a list of where to find those cookbook recipes? And I could also stash recipe print-offs in there and before transferring them to my recipe binder! Perfect!
Enter iHeartOrganizing. I hit up Jen’s fab blog for her free “Family Recipe Tracker” printable (get one here). I just filled out the form to keep track of where all my favorite real-life (aka not Pinterest or Epicurious or Recipes.come) recipes come from.
Next I turned to organizing maven Martha for her fun new line of office supplies from Staples. I’d been droooooling over the whole line for weeks, so it was great to finally find a reason to buy something :) Here are some of my favorites:



I got two of the Blue Shagreen Double Pockets. Love the color, and the price was good because I snatched them up with a 40% coupon and used Staples Rewards money that I gained from their ink recycling program. I measured to get them centered, marked lightly on the cabinets with pencil to match up the spots, then used command strips to adhere them to the back of the cabinet (even though they come with a heavy-duty adhesive already attached to the folder—again, since we’re renters, I didn’t want the folders to stick forever). I popped my recipe references in one of the folders, and placed our Freezer Inventory sheets (also by iHeartOrganizing) in the other folder. I laminated that printable so I can use wet erase markers to update the list as we use up our frozen foods!
Then I decided the cabinet still needed some cheer. So I traced pennants onto some bright scrapbook paper, cut them out, taped them to baker’s twine, and tied the banner on to two command hooks that were already on the cabinet (I used them to string up tinsel at Christmastime.)
Finally, I added a mini bulletin board (made of fabric-covered styrofoam, just like this one) to the side of the cabinet so that I could pin up my grocery list and any coupons. I popped the our grocery list notepad in one of the double folders so that it's handy whenever I need to make a new list.
I love how sunny and fun the cabinet is now, and that it serves a purpose. Whenever I make my weekly meal plans, I just grab the recipe index, my recipe binder, and of course pull up Pinterest. It makes it so easy for me to pick out what to make now that I have an inventory of my favorite cookbook recipes. And if I pick out any printed out recipes from my binder, I just snag the pages and slip them in a pocket. Easy peasy!
Have you taken on any small projects with big impact lately? And what Martha products are on your I must have this! list?

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