How to Organize your Kitchen

How to Organize your KitchenThe kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. Whether you have just moved in a new home or you want to make some renovations, a lot of effort and planning should be put in the kitchen. What you want to achieve is have a kitchen arrangement that flows smoothly and allows you to work in there without too much trouble.

It is not always easy to achieve this, however, because you have to take into account the space in your kitchen as well as overall shape of the room. In order to create your dream kitchen, you can consider some clearance as well as creativity tips to help you.

  • Start with some home clearance – if there is one thing you cannot have in your kitchen it is things you do not use. The idea of the kitchen is to be practical, functional, a place where you can work fast and effectively and where you can have lovely family meetings at dinner and breakfast. For this to be true, you cannot afford to have a cluttered kitchen with outdated appliances and equipment you have used in the past but never recently. You can either give the excess to friends or relatives, or you can organize a garage sale. Also you can always consider donating to charity organization. Regardless of what you decide, you will be thankful for this clearance and see a lot of room for improvement in your kitchen.
  • Replace appliances and broken equipment – a great kitchen is one that does not have any flaws. If you think that there is faulty equipment in yours, or perhaps some tools that have outlived their usefulness, maybe it is time to let go of them and replace them. For this reason some clearance will be necessary. Give yourself a day to go through your entire kitchen inventory and see what needs replacing.
  • Consider what you use most often – normally you want to keep your most frequently used items within easy reach. That way you can have everything you need fast and have your kitchen organized in such a way to allow easy access to this equipment. As for things you rarely use, you can consider moving those to your garage, attic, basement, or elsewhere you consider fitting.
  • Consider the centers of activity in your kitchen – think of the most common activities you find yourself engaged in while in the kitchen, and organize it accordingly. For example, if you bake often, you should store the flour, sugar, all of your measuring cups and mixing bowls in one place so that you can easily take all of them out. Keep the napkins, trivets, tableware and dishes all nearby so that when time for serving comes you can easily take it out and prepare the table.
  • Keep your counter clutter-free – you don’t want to have objects constantly sitting on your counter, because this is your main workspace. It needs regular cleaning and for this reason you should try to find alternative place for objects that normally lie around there. Consider domestic clearance if space is a problem.

It is by following these tips that you can have a kitchen that is well organized and convenient. Definitely implement these suggestions and you will have a truly great kitchen.

Article granted by Ella Andrews-n freelance writer and home décor specialist – on behalf of: professional home clearance in Chelsea.

What’s your biggest challenge with keeping your kitchen organized? Leave a comment or question:

Absolute #8 – Finish One Thing Before You Start Another

secretaryLong before any one heard of ADD, mothers across the globe were telling their rambunctious children to “finish one thing before you start another!” In our world full of distractions today, we adults would do well to heed this mantra.

As a professional organizer, much of what I do entails keeping my clients on task. Just by standing next to them, I encourage them to finish the pile in question, sort it, make quick decisions and then move on. Some don’t like this, they would rather cherry pick – do the task that looks interesting or fun. “We’ll get to that,” I tell them, all in good time. So I always have a plan when organizing with clients and that includes following my own absolute of finishing one thing before we start another. If we are focused on a room, items that belong elsewhere go in a pile or bin right by the door. We don’t leave the room until we are finished. They we move things around. If we are focused on a certain category, like photographs, we don’t worry about the bookshelves in that room. We just do photos until they are under control.

Take a look around your house. Just for fun, try to find all the projects you’ve started and not finished because you got distracted. If you can, put them in a bag or box and mark it. Then prioritize the projects. Next, get out your planner and make an action plan to get them done. If they are a bunch of little things, try to finish all of them in one Saturday. With larger projects try one per week or month. With these projects complete, you’ll have less clutter and more room for fun stuff!

But finishing one thing before you start another also applies to consumable products. Do you have 5 half squeezed toothpaste tubes in your bathroom? Six different shampoos or lotions open? How many ketchups do you have in your fridge? Just sayin…I once cleaned out a fridge that had 10 half gallons of ice cream in it. Some were freezer burnt so the homeowner would never feed those to guests. I suggested that if it’s not good enough for guests, it shouldn’t be there! When you do a kitchen or bathroom clean out, remember to keep the best, toss the rest and don’t buy anymore of that item until you really need to. If something is getting low, put it on your grocery list.

By following this rule, you can stay focused on tasks, feel a lot more productive on a daily basis and waste fewer products around your home.

What is it YOU need to finish before you start the next project?

Little Projects with Big Impact

Sometimes I’m amazed at how a little organizing project can have such a big impact. I have had clients overjoyed with a neat linen closet, weep over an organized pantry and hug me after organizing their coat closet. And I’ve even been excited over little projects I do at home like cleaning out the gift wrap/card organizer. So I thought I would share some little projects I’ve done that have a big impact.

Medicine cabinet: A couple times a year it’s a good idea to go through your medicine cabinet. Take everything out and sort it into categories: first aid, pain relievers, lotions, etc. As you do this, look at expiration dates and toss anything that is outdated. How you put things back depends on what you are using; a wall cabinet or a shelf in a closet. Either way, you can use plastic containers to keep like things together. The size of the container should be big enough to fit one category and to fit on the shelf. Label the containers so that everyone in your house knows where things go. When you are finished make a list of what you don’t have but need. Then go shopping

Benefit: seeing what you have, stocking what you need and being able to find the right meds at the right time.

Refrigerator: This could be a monthly project or just seasonally. I like to clean mine out before a vacation or after the winter holidays.  Take everything out one shelf at a time. Wipe down the shelves and any messy jars. Discard anything that is outdated, moldy or just plain old! Then designate one shelf for leftovers at eye level so you can see them and use them up. It’s also great to have shelves or bins dedicated to fruit, meats & vegetables, and ready snacks if you have kids (or snackers).

Benefit: Fresh food, easier to prepare a well-rounded meal, seeing what you have and what you need

Coat closet: A seasonal clean out here should be enough – once in the Spring and once in the Fall. You can put one person’s coats all together, getting rid of any that don’t fit. And you can create bins for each person’s scarves & gloves so all they have to do is grab the bin and get what they need. Hooks are very helpful on the sides and back of the closet. I use mine to hang umbrellas and tote bags. Slide a plastic boot tray in the bottom for wet shoes and you’re all set! I think it’s best to keep these closets simple with a hanging bar and a shelf.

Benefit: not being embarrassed when guests come over, having a place for everything

Wrapping Paper/Cards – It’s great to have all these gift wrapping supplies in one place. There are many types of organizers you can purchase from cardboard to zip up containers that fit under a bed to a stand up Rubbermaid container. Whatever you use, keep this in a location where you will most likely wrap presents.  Begin by pulling everything out. Trash the old, wrinkled wrapping paper. Put gift bags together by size or by occasion. (I like to keep all my Christmas bags together) And make sure that the rolls of wrapping paper fit in your container. Cards w/envelopes, scissors & tape, gift tags and a pen can go into a small container or a pocket in your organizer.

Benefit:  being able to find what you need and get birthday cards and presents out in a timely manner.

 

What small projects have you tackled with a  big impact?

10 Tips for an Absolutely Awesome Holiday Season

  1. Set a budget and decide how you will pay for Christmas.  For some people it’s easier to take out the cash and only spend that.  If you do a lot of online or catalog shopping, maybe use one credit card or debit card.  If you use a credit card you may want to tuck away your budgeted money into a savings account until the bill comes.  This will prevent that post-holiday shock in January.
  2.  Make your list and check it twice.  In order to set your budget, you’ll need to make a list of all the people you buy for.  Include family, friends, teachers, charity donations and service people that you typically tip for the holidays.  Estimate how much you will spend on each.
  3. With kids, stick to a number of presents and not a dollar amount.  Typically the little toys are cheaper and the kids don’t know the cost anyway.  So if you spend more on your teenager it’s okay.  That one IPod might equal 5 V-tech toys but that doesn’t mean you have to buy them to be fair.  You could set a limit like:  3 toys, one outfit and one book per child so when the presents are un-wrapped it all looks even.
  4. Shop efficiently This could mean doing all of your shopping on-line.  Many companies offer free shipping in Nov & Dec.  Or it could mean going to a store only once.  If you go to Toys R Us for example, take your list and get all the toy gifts at that time. It could also mean buying the same thing for multiple people.  If you buy for your nephews, you could get each of them a sweatshirt in their favorite colors.  Before you go shopping, take all your retail coupons in an envelope with you and check the fine print before you buy so you get the best deal.
  5. Automate your holiday cards.  With so many digital photo companies now, it’s easy to make a great photo card for all your family and friends.  Make sure you do these early so you have them in time.  Also, if you don’t have your address list on the computer, this is the time to do it.  Printing labels is so much easier than writing.  Plus, you can have the children help you stuff and address the envelopes.
  6. Decide when and where the celebrations will take place Speak to both sides of the family and make sure you leave some down time for your immediate family to spend together.  This is a big cause of stress during the holidays – trying to make time for everyone else.  Think about what you want too!
  7. If you are hosting a meal, ask for help.  Most people are willing to make a dish or bring a bottle of wine to a holiday dinner so don’t be a martyr. You provide the entrée and one dessert and let the guests bring the rest.  If you make a big Christmas Eve dinner, then keep Christmas day simple and serve cold cuts.
  8. Remember the kids.  If you are traveling for the holidays even for a day trip to Grandma’s, remember to bring something for the kids to do.  Adults might be fine with having drinks, snacks and catching up with the relatives.  But the kids will be bored if that’s all there is.  Bring along a special craft or a holiday movie to watch.  Or even let them open a new toy when you arrive.
  9. Remember the reason for the season.  It’s not about the stuff you get. It’s more about the time with family and close friends, celebrating a wonderful season. It’s a little about what you give but don’t let that stress you out. Whether you like it simple and quiet or loud and fun, enjoy!
  10. Manage your time.  Like any other project, you have to set interim goals for the holidays.  Here’s a sample schedule:
  • Decorations – outside decorations up during the first weekend of December.
  • Shopping – use the first 2 weeks of December
  • Wrapping & sending cards – use the 3rd week of December
  • Food shopping – make a complete list and go the week before the holiday.
  • Christmas tree – decorate the week before on a Sunday night.
  • Baking and food prep – one or two days before Christmas.

FORGET THE CROWDS ON BLACK FRIDAY!

Maybe I’m getting old, but I have no desire to face the chaos of Black Friday. There is nothing I or my family wants that badly. So I shop for most of my Christmas gifts from the comfort of my own home, right here on my computer. Shopping on-line is more efficient – you can do it anytime you want. And it saves you time and stress. I’m all for that! So the way I organize my Christmas shopping is to browse catalogs, circle what I want and then log on to the computer and start. Before I check out, I always check retailmenot.com for coupons or free shipping codes. Sometimes they are posted right on the hard copy of the catalog.

I thought I would share with you my “favorite things” which include organizing products and unique gifts that you can give this year or just buy for yourself. These are all from a amazingly priced catalog called Lakeside Collection.  It has served my family well for the last several Christmases.

 

Over the door jewelry valet – for your daughter or decorative friend      $14.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revolving Jewelry Stand – another option for jewelry, smaller but nicer display $8.95

 

 

 

 

 

Heirloom Recipe Binder – for the saver of recipes on your list     $7.95

 

 

 

 

 

21 Photo Collage Frame – for the saver of pictures who has no frames   $16.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three pairs of touch screen gloves – know any texters?:)                          $6.95

 

 

 

 


 

 

Easy Change Artwork Frames – fill with art from your kids for a great grandparents gift   $8.95

 

 

 

 

 

Color coded Dry Erase Calendar Set – This one’s for you to start the New Year off right! $8.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set of 4 magnetic bins for your kitchen, bathroom or file cabinet   $6.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decorative Bench & Mirror for your entryway – A simple way to decorate and organize $12.95-$39.95

 

 

 

 

 

Toy storage net – get those stuffed animals off the bed an up in a hammock       $6.95

 

 

 

 

These are my favorites, check out the site and find yours!  www.lakeside.com

 

When to Use a Storage Facility

People spend a lot of time in their kitchen. It’s one of the most lived-in rooms in any household, and as a result it can sometimes turn into a repository for culinary knick-knacks and other useless gifts collected over the years. When you discover that you’ve got three too many frying pans and more decorative napkin holders than you could ever use, it might be time to look at renovating this social gathering spot.
Everyone has dreams of home organization, but few are capable of accomplishing it. Some are just naturally good at keeping things in order, but most reach the point where things have gotten so out of control that they just have to start all over. Renovating any room in your home can be quite the project, but you can make things much easier on yourself by renting a self-storage unit.  

So when it finally comes time to do something about that clutter-filled kitchen, instead of spreading that mess to other areas of the house or garage, rent a small unit from one of your self-storage companies. Easily keep all of the things you can’t and don’t use out of the way until it comes time to use them.

Putting these unused items in storage can help cut down the visual chaos of messy home, while it also gives you an opportunity to take a mental break from the stress. Using them to keep the majority of the mess confined in one safe area gives you the option to free up space in others rooms of your house as well.
Once you have decided to de-clutter the kitchen, you must draw the line between essential and nonessential. Here are a few tips that will help you make those difficult choices.
• Start with duplicates. If you have two of something, first think about donating one. If, for whatever reason, you think you will need two, put one into your storage unit. And if only one works, throw the broken one away before someone calls you a hoarder.
• Move on to those accumulated appliances. Because no kitchen would be complete without the essentials (microwave, coffee pot, etc.), you can keep what you use every day, but put the rest into your unit.
• Perform the kitchen storage dust test; anything that’s got a thick layer of dust on it is something that can go into storage without the risk of being missed.
• Install a hanging rack for pots and pans. This will allow you to maximize cupboard space without having to send everything to the self-storage unit.
• Pack things logically. Don’t just throw everything into a box. By packing things in an organized manner and labeling boxes, you’ll make it much easier to find something.

Giving your kitchen a “facelift” can be one of the most stressful things you do as an adult. You must deal with living in a mess, and there are almost always unexpected expenses and unforeseen circumstances. However, you can minimize the disorder and relieve some of the tension in your home by taking advantage of cheap storage units.
This article was written by Matt Schexnayder. Matt is on the SpareFoot marketing team and writes for the SpareFoot blog. SpareFoot is the largest online marketplace for self-storage with more than 5,000 self-storage facilities listed nationwide. For more info visit: www.sparefoot.com.