25 [31 days] How do you organise your grocery cupboards?

Well, it’s the end of October and I’ve posted 25 out of an intended 31 times.

The emergency gall bladder removal threw me off and then while at home recovering I missed another day.

I’m going to be honest.

When I looked at the stats, deep inside I want to make up the days and post the answers to the other 6 questions.

However, I really miss posting in my spontaneous, loosey-goosey way.

I took some pics of the Most Gigantic Laptop Bag ever, told the girl she was going on my blog (!) and then I remembered, “oh right, I’m doing 31 days”.

So I can look at this in one of two ways:

I failed at posting 31 days OR I was 80% successful at my goal.

I’m choosing the latter option.

I’m intentionally going to be okay with the imperfection and let myself off the hook.

Hope that’s okay with you because it’s okay with me.

So here is our last question for the month…

Laura-Kim says
I battle with my grocery cupboard and repack it once a month cos it never feels right :-/ I would love to see how you organise yours!

Your wish is my command!

BIG disclaimer

I would normally do a quick tidy but I was lazy and so these are (very clearly) the “before” pic. I do usually tidy quickly on the weekends. I mentioned before that there are too many people working inside my cupboards for them to stay tidy.

Moving on.

I have four shelves.

Right on the top, from left, Dion’s snacks and then cereals. It always seems excessive to me but some of us like lots of variety.

Next shelf – biscuits, baby snacks and teas/ coffees

This is the main food shelf – cans on left, then legumes, rices, noodles and pasta, packets of soup, sauce, etc, and then spreads.

Did you notice I’m the only one who seems to fill the rice containers??? Those rice labels are circles punched with a circle punch, handwritten (no fancy fonts!) and stuck on with Prestik.

I’m all about the easy organising. Although seeing these pics does make me want to attack this cupboard.

The last shelf has my snacks on the left, some sweets and things at the back and a bottle of Coke (we keep only for visitors as we don’t drink soda) and then baking things.

Close-up of the 3rd shelf.


Things that work for me in this space

  1. Everything has a place.
  2. When I pack away the weekly grocery shop, I do a quick tidy. It takes 5 minutes because it’s a weekly task.
  3. Labels

Please click through and share your favourite grocery cupboard/ pantry organising tips.

PS I nominated myself for the SA blog awards and I would appreciate a vote if you’re so inclined.

Thank you.

SA Blog Awards Badge

24 [31 days] keeping a work wardrobe when you don’t work

Mandy said:

I’m not working now, but I have so many really nice work clothes that I’m hanging on to. I went through things this morning and culled a few pieces that I hadn’t worn in the last year or two at work, but I’m hanging on to all my suits and jackets and blouses – most are classic and *should* still be in style in another three years (I think!).

This feels like the right approach…to keep classic items that still fit…but it seems weird in some ways that at least 1/2 my closet is taken by things I don’t wear at all right now.

Any thoughts?

Of course I do – plenty!

Really look at those work clothes in your wardrobe, even the classic ones, and be 100% honest with yourself.

Do you honestly LOVE the pieces?

Do they make you feel WONDERFUL?

Do they flatter your body type? If you’re not sure, I recommend MissusSmartypants (no affilliate commission – I personally have got TONS of compliments when I use her tips :))

If the answers to all 3 of these questions is yes, then I’d keep the clothes. Otherwise, you won’t wear them and they’ll become part of the 80% of your wardrobe.

Those are my opinion.

What do the other readers think?

P.S. Have you prepped your clothes for tomorrow? 🙂

23 [31 days] Share your easy lunch ideas

Julie says: OK… We do bunches of meals and freeze them so dinners are easy.

I’m looking for a solution to the “Lunch” thing.

How can I make lunches in advance so that I can just grab and go every weekday morning. Sandwiches get soggy. Too hot for soups. Any ideas?

Great question.

I also hate soggy sandwiches.

Have you tried making them the previous night and putting in the fridge?

Otherwise, do as I do and package each of the sandwich fixings separately, all in a cooler bag in the fridge, take with you to work/ school and assemble there.

Readers, what are your suggestions?

22 [31 days] Cooking for fussy kids

The question I always ask (silently) is about menu planning.

There are three kids and 2 adults in my family. When I plan our menu I have to consider school lunches (4 altogether, as kids do not get any meals at school), breakfast, lunch at home and dinner. Each of the kids (and DH as well) hve preferences in food, one will not eat this, another won’t touch that…
So DAILY I have to cook at least two types of breakfast, two or three types of meals for lunch and two types of meals for dinner. Sometimes it seems I’ll never ever in my life leave the kitchen, having to transfer into my bedroom, too.

So, the question is: Is there a solution to the problem of having to cook so much and so many meals?(I see that you plan only one meal a day, so you might know the answer! )
Thank you!

Gosh, Maria, I got tired just reading about all of that cooking.

The truth is that my brother is a fussy eater and I saw my mother cooking two meals (for supper) – one for us and one for him – and at that time, I determined I was not having any of that in my house “one day”.

And I don’t.

Dion and I had a rule before the kids came along.

We cooked one meal – if you don’t like it or just don’t feel like eating that meal on a particular day, no worries or hard feelings – that person just needs to “see to themselves”.

In the beginning of our marriage, we each cooked 3 nights a week and ate out once a week, so the rule worked both ways.

Of course since the kids came along, I now do all the cooking since I’m very particular that we all eat as healthy as possible.

The twins have eaten the exact same food as we do since they were 12 months old (they’re now nearly 28 months old), except when I make a curry, they’ll eat something else, as they don’t like spicy food… yet 🙂

I’m a very strict mother (!) and I don’t tolerate fussiness. My current rule with the twins is that they eat my cooked food or else they can get a sandwich with peanut butter, but nothing else.

Sometimes they opt for the peanut butter sandwich but mostly they eat very well.

I found in the beginning that no options makes them fussy for one meal and by the time the next meal rolls around, they’re STARVING so they polish off their food.

Okay, so that’s my situation.

If I were in your shoes, I’d try a couple of these tips:

  1. agree on meals for supper that everyone eats, or at least meals where you can easily adapt the ingredients. e.g. someone doesn’t eat peas, take out their portion and then add peas to the rest of the meal for the other family members (this is what I do because I don’t eat peas!)
  2. cook double so these ones are always available
  3. involve the kids in meal prep (they eat better when they do the work)
    let the kids pack their own lunches and keep it simple (sandwich, fruit/ veggies, yoghurt)
  4. do the same thing with breakfast – set out the cereals and let them help themselves

Who has fussy kids? Any tips for Maria?

21 [31 days] Help Kim stay organised

I’ve just come back home after having been out with some girlfriends and realised I still needed to post for today 🙂

Kim says:

I really need to figure out an easy way to STAY organized…apparently all the different ways haven’t worked for me, or I would be organized, right???? I’ve tried, but can’t seem to stay upon it. Not sure what is really going wrong.

Today, I’m taking the easy way out.

If Kim asked you this question, what would you say are your best tips to help her stay organised 🙂

20 [31 days] how do you organise your make-up?

monali says:
I want to know how to organize makeup if you have a small bedroom like me.

Well, Monali, I have the smallest bathroom in the world and that’s where my make-up lives.

It’s not difficult for me to keep things decluttered 🙂 since I don’t wear much – foundation, eye-liner, lip liner and lipstick. I do have my make-up in a little box on the cistern of the toilet, and the lipsticks are separately contained in a little bucket within that box.

My suggestions – keep going through your stuff and keep only the essentials. I also saw a great tip (I think from Chloe?) once – to keep your daily make-up together and your fancier stuff together so that you don’t waste time on a daily basis. Love that tip!

Decide on a container and make sure you keep evaluating your physical boundaries so that it doesn’t take over your bedroom.

What about you, readers?

What are your suggestions for organising make-up?

19 [31 days] Tips for organising ribbon

Mandy asked in a comment on a post last week if I had any tips to organise ribbon.


First, I don’t have that much ribbon, judging by the posts on the internet, but it is a lot for me.

I do like things stored with their friends, so all my ribbon is together.

I used to organise my ribbon like this.

But now, this is the shelf it lives on – those circles are 2-inch punched circles, my writing (I have no patience for finding and printing “the perfect font” and a bit of Prestik.

Coming in closer – those 4 on the top are my most-used ribbon. When I wrap gifts, I use those. When I tie labels to things, I use those – they are all double-sided satin 10 mm. I love them so much I may never go back to thicker ribbon again. They’re just so versatile. And so organising rule number 1 – keep things you use often near you.

this is the rest of my stash. It’s all stored in a spaghetti jar. I have the longer pieces of scrap ribbon rolled around a clothespeg and also thrown in here.

this is that horrible ribbon used for gift wrap. Once this is done I’m never buying anymore. That double satin ribbon will do this to you – I am spoilt forever.

These are scraps from gifts we’ve received. I throw nothing away that can be re-used. And I’ve found that when I make mini books (my latest creative obsession!) I can quite easily use these scraps to decorate the binder rings I use to keep the books together.


So that’s how I organise my ribbon.


Then, while browsing the internet last night, I found two gorgeous posts.

I love this woman’s unique ideas to store ribbon:

Here is post 1 and here is post 2.


How do you organise your ribbon?

18 [31 days] Help! I’m emotionally attached to my things

When you sign up to my weekly newsletter, you get my free Time Management Purpose Pack and an email that asks you if you have any questions for me.

Mostly I just refer people to specific posts on the blog (as I seem to have covered most of them) but I liked this question I got recently so I thought I’d answer it here.

Kimberley said

I seem to not be able to get rid of things! I often feel emotionally attached to objects/ stuff may need them again!

I love questions that talk to the mindset about organising. I think I spent about half the workshop talking mindset because it is that important.

Remember my definition of clutter is things you don’t love or use (and I think I saw this on Laura’s blog, “that you don’t have the storage for”).

So if you know you should get rid of things and you feel emotionally attached, start asking yourself why you feel that way.

Sit with the question for a couple of days if you must because this is very important and you’re going to breeze through the rest of the organising process if you spend time upfront thinking about these things.

I also want to add that if you feel like rushing through thinking about this, that might be all the more reason for you to really think about your motives… 🙂


1. Maybe you have some hoarding tendencies because you didn’t have much money at some point in your life?

Ask yourself if you really, honestly couldn’t get x again if you needed it.

2. Maybe you’re hanging onto things because they’re from special people in your life?

Remind yourself that the thing does not define the special person. They don’t love you more because you hung onto the ugly vase 🙂

3. Maybe you’re hanging onto things because they remind you of special times?

I wrote about sentimental organising here. So… take a pic and let the item go.

Two questions for my readers:

Do you have hoarding tendencies?
How do you make it easier to let go?

17 [31 days] organising your Santa’s shoebox

Have you heard of Santa’s Shoebox?

Someone sent me a mail and I signed up to donate 3 boxes.

The box needs to contain both practical and fun things, so both things like toothpaste/ toothbrush and also something nice to eat and wear. They give you a list with ideas so don’t be overwhelmed if you’re not familiar with kids. It’s actually very organised.

We’re doing a box for a two-year-old boy and girl (I’ve told the kids we’re doing presents for kids who don’t have a mummy and daddy), and a 13-year-old girl (that’s just so I can have some fun buying teenage stuff :)).


This is how I organised my stuff…

I printed the list and made some columns on the left to tick as I bought the items.

This list is on top of a clear plastic storage container with all the things inside.

We went to do the final bits of shopping today and I’ll be assembling it all this weekend ready for the drop-off on Sat 29th.

You all know how passionate I am about writing cards so the kids and I will be writing each of the kids a nice Christmas card 🙂 from the Francois family.

If you’re in SA and you’re willing and able to give, please consider sponsoring a box. I understand from my friend who’s volunteering that there are 1500 kids in Jhb North who still need sponsors. More in the rest of the country.

Even if you’re not in South Africa, maybe these tips could help you with similar initiatives in your community?


Is anyone reading doing Santa’s Shoebox? Is your box ready yet?


16 [31 days] how do you organise your kids’ clothes?

Ashley Shelby says:
Hi! I need to know how to organize kids’ clothes. I have 3 kids that share one room and its so hard to separate play clothes from school clothes. Desperately in need.


So I thought I’d show Ashley how I do our kids’ clothes since my two also share a room.

They have a small chest of drawers and about 0.5 m of hanging space for jackets, warmer clothes, etc. now that it’s spring.


On the top there are two smaller drawers which we use for vests and leggings. I have short and long-sleeved vests for days when the weather’s cooler.

The next drawer is Connor’s and the bottom one is Kendra’s (no particular reason – just how it worked out)

In both their drawers, I have one of those baskets on the right with their babygrows (for sleep) and pj’s.


Let’s look at Kendra’s drawer first.

Can you tell I like neat piles?

I make sets of clothes so that ALL the clothes get worn. I found when I left it up to their nanny to dress them she let them wear the same stuff and they never got a chance to wear everything, so then I stepped in. It’s easy for me to put their clothes ready when they’re already organised in sets.

I also have piles of clothes that are slightly inappropriate at the moment – it’s not blazing hot yet (really high 20’s and early 30’s) so the kids don’t wear sleeveless tops and really short shorts yet.

That’s the pile in the front.


This is where Nanny V puts the laundry that is ironed but unsorted by me into sets.

I generally get to it on the weekend.

Since my kids don’t go to pre-school, I have sets of clothes for home and different sets for going out, so that they look slightly more decent when they see other people.


and sometimes we have cool weather so I keep about 3 – 4 long-sleeved t-shirts out – they’re not all packed away til it’s “proper” summer of 28 and up. Celsius.



Connor’s drawers are very similarly arranged except he seems to have more shorts than t-shirts. I think it’s because we got lots of stuff from my sister and he outgrows clothes quicker on the top than on the bottom.

It’s worked out though because he also often needs a change of shorts sometime in the afternoon if he’s messed while playing.





This is what I use to organise their clothes for the week. It’s a fabric organiser I bought years ago at Sheet Street (for the South Africans).

There are 6 “shelves” – in winter we wear such bulk because our houses are not air-conditioned so I can only do 3 days’ clothes at a time. I would then layer it Connor, Kendra, Connor, Kendra, Connor, Kendra.

In summer the clothes are light so I can put both C & K’s clothes on the same shelf and put out 6 days at a time – LOVE that convenience.

Here is a pic of two days’ clothes to show you.

So that’s me – how do you organise your kids’ clothes?

I’d love it if you’d write a post and link up – the link will be up til Wed next week.

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