Monday, November 09, 2009

Stump the Organizer Saturday! Organize Spice and Mix Packets

No, my calendar didn’t break. Unfortunately, I had a bit of the flu this weekend and really could not do anything beyond an “autopilot” mentality. Thank goodness for vitamin C.

This week’s question comes from Dianne who poses “How can I organize spice and mix packets? I use a lot of Homemade Gourmet because my sister sells it. I have other mixes too. It drives me crazy when I can’t find what I want or I forget what I have. I tried a basket but it took to long to find things – if I could. I found a wire basket at Walmart (I think) but it is too small and I would need to get a lot of them to screw onto the cabinet door.“ Dianne added later that she has soup, appetizer, seasoning, dinner, and desert packets. She wasn’t sure how many she has for each category. Of all the categories, the seasoning packets are the smallest.

The first step is to sort the mixes into categories. Dianne named the categories so these are perfect to use for sorting. Another possible way to sort might be sweet versus savory. The latter might work for a smaller collection.

While you are sorting, toss out anything that is expired or you have decided you do not like.

Look at the physical size of each sorted category. Will a shoebox accommodate the collection or is something smaller better? The Container Store has different sizes of shoeboxes. I love using translucent containers for the visibility of the contents. Use a separate container for each category and toss the lids. If using a shoebox without its lid makes you really nervous, then sit the bottom of the box on the lid. A little double-sided tape will attach the lid to the bottom of the box. Label the narrow end of the box with the name of the category, and set the mixes in each box as though they were index cards. Alphabetizing the mixes will provide very fast access to a specific mix. Alphabetize by the general name of the thing rather than the exact name. For example, file the potato soup mix as “potato soup” rather than “Auntie Helen’s Creamy Potato Soup” because you will think “potato soup” rather than the exact name when you want it.

Cut out some poster board or cardboard to create dividers for each box. The width of the divider should be the same as the box. The height of the divider should be a little taller than the packets. Use a card for a range of the alphabet - A through E, for instance – to reduce the number of cards you need to make. Crafty folks will enjoy decorating the cards. It may be constructive to appoint a specific color to each set of cards – red for seasonings, for example.

I hope these ideas help you bring order to your mix collection. Dianne has nominated the Alzheimer’s Society for the end of year charity drawing.
Please send your questions for Stump the Organizer Saturday to Denise@ClearSpaces.org. Include the name of your favorite charity for our December 30th drawing for a donation. The winner of the drawing will be posted on the blog on December 31.
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