Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tips to an organized kitchen

Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money and improving your overall quality of life.”      ~Christina Scalise

I ran across this quote this week and fell in love with it. It is very true that we as women can succumb very quickly to the idea that we need to be perfect in every way. We really tend to focus on getting IT ALL DONE to a perfect level which causes us to stress, fret, and overall panic about everything. We stay on high alert. And, having been a career woman for 10 years outside of the home, you can drive yourself crazy trying to even get the bare minimum done. 

Women today do a lot!!! I must at this point and time interject myself with a commercial break. I do LOVE my husband who has routinely been someone to help with the tasks around the house. 

Ok-- back to the point at hand. We are BUSY!!!! We plan and cook meals, clean, take care of kids, feed the dogs, run the errands along with grocery shopping and some of us complete the budget and work outside of the home on top of it all. It is no wonder that our houses are unorganized- we just don't have the time to be PERFECT. 

Now is the time we take a deep breath and realize WE ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE PERFECT. Things will be okay. 

But, becoming a little organized goes a looong way in helping with time management, our budget, our diet and our sanity. We won't focus on every room of the home in this post-- it would be so overwhelming. We are going to focus on the kitchen since that is the topic of the month and the topic of my upcoming WORKSHOP-- KITCHEN NIGHTMARES on February 24. 

Tip 1: I have said this before, but--- A Place for Everything and Everything In It's Place

This is especially true of the kitchen. If it doesn't have a place, it will end up in the junk drawer, on the table or on the counter. The places things should live in a kitchen really do vary depending on kitchen size, layout and PRIME RETAIL PROPERTY (amount of storage). 

Here are a few simple tips: 

a. Linens and cleaners need to be kept near the sink or under the sink

b. Cups and glasses should be kept nearest the source where you will use them (glasses next to the fridge and coffee mugs nearest the coffee/tea station)

c. Store items that are not used often (large items or seasonal items in upper cabinets or the back of lower cabinets)

d. Larger spoons and utensils should be kept near the stove and daily silverware nearest the dishwasher or plates

e. If it doesn't belong in the kitchen- find it a new home 

f. Spices should be stored away from heat, humidity,air and light. Store them inside of a drawer, cabinet or pantry. Common containers or holders for spices include tins, spice carousels or racks. Spices can also be stored using a Lazy Susan with two levels. See through containers are  fine as long as they are kept away from constant light. This helps them keep their flavor longer. 

It is easier to unload the dishwasher if plates, bowls and utensils are stored in cabinets nearby. It keeps you from carrying heavy plates across the kitchen. Having a place for everything holds true in the pantry and refrigerator as well.  

Tip 2: Purge-- if you haven't used it in 3 years and didn't even know you had it- purge. If you have 2 of them- purge. If it's expired (food)- purge. If you don't absolutely love it- purge. 

You can donate items to Goodwill or others who may need the items. It is okay to throw out expired food- food banks won't accept them (but you can donate ones you have too many of or you don't eat anymore). 

Tip 3: Have systems in place

This is one to share with the rest of the family. This will also save you time making your shopping lists. Have a tablet, dry erase board or chalkboard in the kitchen. The rule is that the person to use the last of an item has to write it on the space provided. You then know what you are out of. You can use this system for not only food, but bathroom items as well. Other systems include home binders with recipes, coupons, kids' calendars and information, etc. etc. (a post for another day) 

Tip 4: Use containers and sort items 

This is a big one. If you can't find things, you don't know you have them. If it is a cooking tool, you spend too much time looking. If it is food, you re-buy (this can cost extra money). You don't have to have the most beautiful containers money can buy, but you do need to have systems in place that can help keep you organized on a long term basis. 

Tip 5: Clean as you go (useful in every room of the home) 

I have always done this in my kitchen. Before I begin a meal, the dishwasher has to be empty. As I cook, utensils and other items are placed in the dishwasher. That way, when the meal is finished and the food is put away, I can do something else or just put my feet up. Other family members can rinse their items and place them in the dishwasher as well. 

It always makes me feel good to come downstairs in the morning to a clean kitchen. It allows me to get my coffee and breakfast with ease and I am not tempted to skip breakfast to clean up the mess from the night before. 

So, now that you have the tips you can begin. Choose one area per day- refrigerator, cabinets/drawers, or pantry. Empty everything out and begin to sort everything. Have boxes or bags to place items that you will donate or toss. Begin to place items back in the cabinets, etc. in categories that make the most sense. For example: your cookie cutters could be stored with the blender and other baking items. 

In my own kitchen, I did invest in drawer liner from Bed, Bath and Beyond (you could get it anywhere, but I had a gift card). It is a heavy plastic material with ridges. This helps protect your cabinets and drawers and helps save time when you clean. 

Here are a few pictures of my kitchen. It is always a work in progress, but it is coming along. 

AFTER (not a final solution) 

Plates and Bowls (I am planning to add vertical
 shelves for stacking to better use the space) 

Pyrex, Cutting Boards, Measuring and Mixing 

Coffee/Tea Holder (Clever Container Bin Coffee) 

I will add more pictures later as one blog- a tour in pictures of my kitchen. Better believe it will be organized before my Kitchen Workshop this weekend. 

Clever Container Special this month. The Over the Door (OTD) Hang Pantry Organizer. $17 (Regularly $30) when you spend $50. 

Has 24 pockets to divide and conquer items in your pantry or other areas (see previous post on Top 10) 

No comments: