Project Simplify: The Paper Clutter

project simplify: paper clutter @ simple momThis week Simple Mom challenged us to tackle our paper clutter in her 5 week project: simplify series.

I actually went through a bit paper organizing spree recently so the majority of my impressive purging isn’t available for photographing (which is not to say that my desk is not messy, by the way, but it’s an organized mess in my mind. Anyway, I decided to spend this week on two paper clutter hogs in our home that I’ve been avoiding since most of my clutter is currently under control.

Those area: our fire safe which previously could barely shut it was so full with papers that really didn’t need to be there ; and our file cabinet which was becoming a bit of a beast and getting fuller every day. I combed through every paper and made sure they were in the right place and / or necessary.

Wanna see the results?

Our Fire Safe Before and After:

BEFORE AFTER

Some major purging happened in this small fire safe. Days before my husband had commented that we were going to need a bigger fire safe. Now it’s barely half full. There were dozens of papers in here that were really better kept in our file cabinet (yikes!) and some were even old and unimportant enough to head to the shredder. Another ginormous thing taking up space in here:

what on earth do I do with these?

All of these boxes are filled with old checkbooks for accounts that are no longer active. Do I throw them away? Do I tediously tear out the pages and shred them? Are they recyclable? I need to figure this out. But I don’t need to keep them in the fire safe. In fact, I might be secretly relieved if these were to burn up and disappear. Bon fire? lol

So, anyway, my fire safe is much happier now and closes easily. Next it was time to tackle the file cabinet which groans every time I file a new paper.

File Cabinet Before and After

BEFORE AFTER

I know these pictures don’t really do a great job showing you that anything changed. I’m sorry, I kinda flat lined on the picture part, being sort of consumed by the Oh My God So Many Papers. The sad thing is that despite all the stuff I got rid of, because of the papers I needed to file previously in the fire safe, it’s still almost as full. But At least I know the stuff in there is quasi-important and organized. One thing I did to squeeze a bit more room in here is go through the folders and make sure none of the papers were folded. We have a bad habit of just shoving the folded up bill into the file instead of laying it out flat. This gave me a lot more room. I also moved files that were less important to the back of the drawer so that our more important and more often used files were in the front.

The Paperwork Monster Killing didn’t yield quite the same immediately observable results as my Closet Cleaning, but it was just as necessary and the results speak for themselves in action, if not quite in appearance. I actually shredded as much stuff as I could, rather than throwing it away, btw, because we’re planning to try using the shredded paper as packing material next month.

Have you tackled the paper clutter in your home recently? What’s the biggest offender in paper clutter for you?

Spring Reading Thing 2011: The Plan

Spring Reading Thing @ Callapidder DaysThe Spring Reading Thing @ Callapidder Days is one of my favorite ways to ring in the warming weather.

This Spring we’ve got a lot on our plate. My little boy is turning five, we’re buying our first house and… really, do I need more than that to say I’ll be busy?

I hope to spend this Spring unpacking, playing the with the kids in our new back yard and find new cozy reading nooks in our first house! To keep my reading on track, per usual I’m making a list of the books I hope to read this Spring. Wanna see?

Well first and foremost, here are the three books my book club will be reading this Spring:

I also plan to read at least some of the following:

I’ll also be reading and reviewing Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz which comes out April 5th!! You might know Lutz’s hysterical Spellman Files series – one of my favorite mystery series ever. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this book and will probably have to push a few things aside to devote my attention to it. Because we are moving this Spring, I’m planning to not request many review books for a couple of months, but this one I couldn’t resist.

For my classics challenge, in addition to Anne of Windy Poplars, I also want to read two other classics, of which I am considering:

But it seems like when it comes to the classics, I tend to sift through several choices and go with whichever grabs me so really my goal is to read at least three classics this spring.

And of course, you know I love to change my mind bunches when it comes to reading, depending on my whims and any new hot books that might cross my eye. So fair warning, that I might be changing this list between now and June 20th when the challenge ends – so …

Specific titles aside, my goal this Spring is: to read my four book club selections, three classics, Heads You Lose and and at least two other books, making ten in total.

What will you be reading this Spring?

-updates-

May 12, 2011 – As of today I have finished five books out of the ten I hope to read this spring. I did not finish Anne of Windy Poplars and do not think I’ll read the May book club pick, The Glass Castle but I have plenty of books on my nightstand both mental and physical and I’m still hoping to finish the challenge before summer starts, though it will be no easy feat I’m sure!

Recipe: Vegetarian French Onion Soup

french onion soup @ mommablogsalot

This French Onion Soup recipe is so easy to make and absolutely delicious. It’s a little different from most French onion soup recipes because it uses soy sauce instead of beef broth – though we aren’t still doing a Vegetarian diet, I actually prefer this version to the traditional recipes. It’s also one of the most inexpensive meals in my repertoire as most of the ingredients are things we always have on hand.

My original source for this recipe, which I’ve adapted slightly doesn’t seem to be online anymore – so I’m sharing it again here for soup lovers everywhere!

French Onion Soup

Recipe Info

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 394

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 8 oz. of sliced French bread
  • 4 oz. your favorite cheese

Directions

  1. Heat the oil or water in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and stir until the onions are well coated.
  4. Add the water and soy sauce and stir well.
  5. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered, until the onions are tender, about 45 minutes. Add more water if the soup becomes too thick.
  6. Serve in individual bowls topped with the French bread and cheddar cheese. Microwave to melt the cheese if you’d like – or put them in the oven on broil if you have oven safe bowls.

Use leftover French bread later in the week to make French toast or serve on the side of a pasta dish.