I worked with a client this weekend on an ongoing kitchen organization project – and I’m having a blast. I love organizing kitchens more than ever – now that I’m cooking more than ever in my own home and can truly appreciate how a well-organized kitchen can help with preparing meals, storing ingredients, cleaning up and all of the other living that happens in the heart of many homes.
Here are a few of my go-to tips when it comes to making sure your kitchen is well-organized:
Keep necessities within reach of where you use them. Everyday items should be kept between waist and shoulder height – things used less often should go up high, and heavy items should go down low. It usually makes the most sense, for instance, to find a place near the stove either over or under a counter space for spices, oils, and vinegars. Storing everyday items like plates, bowls and glassware, close to the dishwasher makes unloading clean dishes quick and simple.
Group like-items together. This makes things really easy to find. Keep all of your mixing and serving bowls together; all flatware and utensils near each other; baking dishes should be grouped; as well as pots and pans. Do you have a number of small mobile appliances that you only use occasionally – like a blender, hand mixer or Panini press? Store those together in an area near where you might use them to make accessing, and putting away, as easy as possible. A roll-out drawer or tray – found at most most home supply stores and online – is easy to install and eliminates crouching down and digging around a lower cabinet space.
Clear containers are a pantry’s best friend. Basic mason jars are affordable, classic and easy to replace, and great for liquids and leftovers because they don’t absorb odors or colors like plastic sometimes does. There are also a number of companies that make tall, slim and stackable canisters that are great for limited dry goods storage and small spaces. No need for labels if you can see the contents, plus air-tight containers keep food fresher longer.
- If you don’t use it in the kitchen, don’t store it in the kitchen. Sounds logical, right? But how many people end up with a “junk drawer” full of pens, tape, tools, rubber bands, buttons, and other random items in the kitchen? We had a drawer like this in my house growing up. Try to relocate these items to their proper place in the house – or if you really need a catch-all collection place, use a cool basket with a lid or designate one drawer off to the side, and keep it sorted and organized with labeled plastic baggies or drawer dividers.
Ok – it’s January 17th and I still haven’t put away my holiday decorations. I don’t want the holiday season to be over! I love twinkle lights and ornaments and wreaths. I love all of the silly holiday photo frames with family poses from years past, and homemade ornaments that prompt the telling of silly stories. I especially love all of the photo holiday cards from my friends and family that I have displayed around the house.
All good things must come to an end though, I suppose. Here are some packing-up tips that will help make the season that much brighter next year when you bring out all the holiday cheer again:
1. Wind lights around a piece of cardboard to keep them from getting tangled, and make it easier than ever to re-hang them. HINT – use a piece of cardboard 12″ wide and for every time you wrap your lights around once, you’ll know how many total feet you have. You can write the length on the cardboard and take the guesswork out of next year’s lighting scheme ideas.
2. See what’s tattered, broken or missing now, and hit the sales to re-stock! Many department stores have large holiday clearance sections throughout January with really quality items. Don’t be surprised that you’re one stocking short next year and have to shell out a small fortune, go hunt for a bargain now.
3. Love to try to save the prettiest gift wrap you received – only to never use it again? Wrap your delicate ornaments in tissue and gift wrap to keep them safe until next year. You can feel good about re-using while protecting your baubles and bits!
4. Change out holiday photos in seasonal frames now before packing them up, with some of your newest favorite moments from this year’s celebrations. That way you can concentrate all your energy on enjoying your friends and family and taking new photos!
It’s party season, people.
Birthdays, holidays, cookie parties – you name it – with cooler weather brimming, kitchens are heating up everywhere. People are cooking, gathering, drinking and juggling festivities galore. Yay!
Check out these tips that I totally stole from my latest e-newletter from The Chopping Block (ok, technically I’m borrowing since I’m giving credit and linking you to thier awesome website).
Don’t let hosting be a hassle! Here are some holiday entertaining tips from our chefs so you can enjoy your time with friends and family:
– Always make a prep list of what can be done in advanced.
– Create a timeline when everything needs to go into the oven or reheated, especially if you have just one oven.
– Set out all of your platters and bowls and stick a post it on each with the specific dish it will be used for.
– If you have a dishwasher, make sure it is empty. Loading as you go will prevent a kitchen full of dirty dishes and you won’t have to wash dishes with guests in the house.
– If you have guests who like to help out in the kitchen, have a plan of what they can do in advance.
– Assign a willing guest to provide beverages as guests arrive, which will make them feel welcomed right away.
– It’s okay to use a store-bought spread or starter to simplify things.
Our most recent house project has been to add stair treads to the front stairwell. Our nearly ten-year-old pup has been getting a little arthritic and occasionally slips on the stairs, so we needed to think about a safer way for her to get up and down.
We knew we didn’t want to go the traditional carpeted stair route, but after searching online and all the home supply stores in the area, we couldn’t find anything that we thought looked simple, modern and in line with our style. Ayesha had a great idea to check out Flor, and we learned that we could get their standard tiles custom cut to use as treads.
We found a great subtle gray-on-gray stripe in a low pile, and Ayesh did some research to find a good adhesive double-sided carpet tape from Global Industrial that is non-toxic and fume-free and supposedly won’t damage the finish on the stairs, should we ever wish to remove the treads in the future.