Organize Your Kitchen Using Zones

 

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Now that you have implemented the 7 baby steps from Home Organization, I am sure you are beginning to breathe a little bit easier.

Let’s keep the momentum going by digging a little deeper into our organizational journey by starting with the kitchen.

The kitchen is the most used room in our house, so I thought I would post some tips on how to organize it and keep it running smoothly. I believe that a kitchen will function effectively if it is organized well.

There are lots of ways to organize your kitchen and make it work for you without spending a lot of money.

Before you begin, you will first have to figure out what your storage needs are. Take a look at the contents in your drawers and cabinets. Are the items located where you use them? Can you grab an item without moving others out of the way? Be sure to look at each piece and determine if it is something you need to keep. You may realize you have multiple items or pieces that you haven’t used in a while and can donate or recycle.

There are 5 work zones in a kitchen and it’s best to store the items where you use them. The 5 zones are: food preparation, refrigerator, stove, sink & cleanup and serving. Take a look at your kitchen and note where these zones are in your kitchen. Trust me, when you store your items in the correct zone, you will be able to prepare meals and clean up more quickly and efficiently. I like to periodically go through my cabinets and drawers to make sure items are where they should be.

Once you locate the zones in your kitchen, you can start moving items to where they belong. The following ideas will help you decide where they should go.

Cooking Utensils-Spoons, spatulas, ladles and whisks should be located near the stove. Some options for storage include a utensil holder on the counter or a rail installed on the wall above the stove. You can also store them in a drawer if you have one near the stove. This will help keep all of your utensils accessible while you cook.

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Flatware- Forks, Knives, Spoons and other small kitchen utensils should be located in drawers near the prep and cleaning areas. To eliminate chaos, select an organizer that fits your drawer.  Organizers come in wood, plastic or wire and some stack within a drawer to maximize space.

Pots & Pans-Pots should be located in a base cabinet near the cooktop. Cookie sheets, broiler pans, baking pans and cutting boards should go near the oven. If you are tight on space, you can purchase a lid holder to install inside the door of the base cabinet. Lid holders are also available as a shelf rack and will hold them vertically on a shelf.

Knives-Knives should be located near the food prep area. They can be stored on a magnetic wall strip, a freestanding block or in a drawer.

Cooking Materials- Items like cooking oils, spices and condiments you use frequently should be located near the stove. These items can be stored in drawers, in an upper or lower cabinet or on a shelf on the wall. Baking ingredients and dry goods can be stored on the counter in canisters.

Dishes- Dishes should be stored near the sink or dishwasher. Most people store dishes in upper cabinets (so do I!), however, you can also have a plate rack on the countertop or put the dishes in a deep drawer. Using shelf maximizers in the cabinets allow you to use more space in the cabinet. Maximizers come in wood, wire and acrylic. Some sit on a shelf and others can hang below it.

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Cleaning Supplies- Use the space under the sink for cleaning supplies. Consider putting a lock on the cabinet if you have little ones running around. You can also keep your trash under the sink if you don’t have a pull out trash bin.

Small Appliances-Only keep the appliances that you use every day on the countertop-all others can be stored in a base cabinet. Having only items of necessity on the counter will give you more room to prepare meals.

Pantry-Use the pantry for storing non-perishable food and dry goods. Keep everything in view-store larger items behind shorter ones and place cans on risers so they don’t get lost in the back. If you are able to see everything in your pantry, you will always know what you have on hand and eliminate multiple purchases. There are options to replace your shelves in the pantry or cabinet with inexpensive sliding drawers or you can install small racks on the inside of the door to hold condiments, foil, plastic wrap, plastic bags or small snacks.

Linens-Everyday linens like placemats, tablecloths and napkins can be stored in drawers near the serving area. You can use dividers out of cardboard or plastic to separate the items in the drawer.

Wine-Wine should be stored on its side, away from direct sunlight and heat. Avoid places near the stove, oven or dishwasher. You can find inexpensive bottle holders that fit inside cabinets.

Refrigerator/Freezer-Empty your refrigerator and freezer and give them a good cleaning. Toss any expired or spoiled food. When refilling the fridge, put like items together and be sure to put older items in front so they can be used up before going bad. When storing leftovers, make sure they are in the smallest container that they will fit in because air increases the chance of bacteria getting onto the food. Also be sure to label leftovers and items in the freezer with the date so you can be sure to eat them before they spoil.

  • Eggs should be left in their original carton and should not be stored on the refrigerator door because the temperature fluctuates each time you open the door.  The best place for eggs is in the back where it is coldest and they will keep for at least 3 weeks past the expiration date on the carton.
  • Fish should be refrigerated as soon as you get home and eaten within one or two days. If you are not going to eat it within 2 days, place it in the freezer for up to six months.
  • Store meat in the back of the refrigerator as soon as you get home and cook it within 24 hours. If you freeze the meat, wrap it in foil or plastic wrap. Freeze ground meat for up to 4 months and other meats up to 9 months. If you use freezer bags, squeeze out the excess air before sealing.

As you can see, it really is quite easy and inexpensive to transform your kitchen from one you dread being in into one you don’t want to leave.

Feel free to share how you organize your kitchen and how it helps you to stay organized. I’d love to know! ;)

Home Organization-7 Quick Steps

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Today I’d like to post a few tips on how to get started organizing your home. This post will be a collection of quick tips to get you started and in future weekly posts I will go into more detail by discussing each room of the house.

Your home should be a place of rest and rejuvenation. If you’re buried in clutter, I’m sure you and your family are not excited to come home every day.

Here are a few baby steps to get you started on the road to organization:

  1. Start by keeping a trash can in each room (office, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms). This will help you discard trash right away and not set it down on a counter or worse, the floor!
  2. Until you are able to get to some serious organizing, don’t bring any new items into the house.  You may be very surprised to learn that you may already have those items… they were just buried or put away somewhere forgotten. Wait until you organize the items you currently own before purchasing any new items. Remember, the more things you have, the more things you have to take care of. Less is more!
  3. Place a recycling bin/trash can and shredder where ever you collect the mail. You can immediately shred or trash the mail you don’t intend to read. Place the mail you intend to keep in a basket or tray to be sorted later.
  4. Do a quick pick up each day. Each night before bed, do a quick run through of the house and put things where they belong. Have the kids help as well if their things are laying around. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, then enjoy the rest of the evening. In our house we live by the expression “Everything Has a Place”. Keeping this saying in mind will help you maintain order in your home. Everything that enters your home must have a home of its own…if you use something, put it back when you are finished with it (kids included!). It may seem like more work to stay on top of things, but in the long run it will save you a lot of time and stress.  If you don’t tend to the objects in your life, they can easily turn into clutter.
  5. Place hampers in everyone’s closet or bathroom. This will eliminate the need to throw dirty clothes and towels on the floor and will make laundry day that much easier.
  6. Put a hook near the entry door. Hang your keys on the hook when you enter the house and then you can just grab them on the way out!
  7. Ask for help! You are not the only person in your house capable of tidying up. Keeping the house in order should be everyone’s responsibility. Teach everyone how to pick up after themselves and the load will feel just a little bit lighter.

If you commit to following these few simple tips, I am sure you will start to feel the stress of clutter begin to melt away. You and your family will begin to feel calmer and possibly more connected. Hopefully this feeling will inspire you to tackle the entire house…a little at a time…room by room.

What daily tip does your family implement to keep clutter under control? Share them in the comments below! :)

7 Online Shopping Tips from Real Simple

We all love shopping online, right? Well, at least I do. I prefer shopping online to shopping in crowded stores. Online shopping is especially helpful when our favorite stores are not in close proximity to our homes.

So whether you love online shopping (me!) or not, here are 7 tips to think about before you click “Checkout Now”.

  1. Before you even begin, look for the “Sale” or “Clearance” link and start there. Lots of great deals to be had. It’s always the first place I go when visiting a site (especially for toys and gifts).
  2. When shopping for clothes, you can narrow your search and speed things up by filtering what you’re looking for by either size or color or both. This will eliminate the need to scroll for days searching for what you really need. If you’re shopping for toys, filter your search by the age of the child or the type of item you’re looking for…like “arts & crafts” for example.
  3. If you see something you think you may buy, add the item to your cart. You’re not obligated to buy it and if you decide later to purchase it, you don’t have to go back looking for it.  With some sites, if you leave items in your cart for a few days, they will send you a reminder along with a coupon to purchase the items left in your cart. I love when this happens! :)
  4. Everyone obviously scrolls down the page, so if there are many pages to choose from, I sometimes will skip to the last page and work my way back to the front. There are usually more options and colors available when I shop this way.
  5. Always check the shipping costs before sealing the deal. When buying sale or clearance items, it may be a better deal to add more items to the cart especially if they are offering a fixed shipping cost.
  6. Be especially aware if any items are marked “Final Sale”. That usually means that it can’t be returned.  Even if it’s not marked “Final Sale”, be sure to check out their return policies.
  7. LOOK FOR COUPONS!!! Sorry for shouting, but this one is so important. I never purchase anything online without a coupon. Most times I am able to score a discount along with free shipping. You can usually find coupons directly on the website or on sites like Retail Me Not, Shop At Home or Ebates.  A few of these sites also offer cash back if you shop from their site.

So, I’m fully aware that not everyone likes to shop online, but hopefully these tips will be able to help those who do enjoy online shopping and those that want to give it a try.

If you have any other online shopping tips to add, please feel free to add your comment! :)

2 Liebster Award Nominations!

Hi Everyone!

I have been nominated for 2 Liebster Awards by The Modern Woman and from Tameka over at Pastries, Pumps and Pi.

Both of these women have wonderful blogs about living simply and enjoying life. Be sure to pay them a visit! :)

Liebster Award

If you are not aware, a Liebster Award is a way of getting other bloggers known,
shared and generally getting the word out about them, if they have under 500 followers.
 - A few simple rules apply -
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
3. Nominate 11 other followers with less than 500 followers
4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
5.Tag your nominees & post a comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them

 

The questions I was asked to answer:

1. What is your passion?  I love helping people.

2. Why do you blog?  To get my voice out there and to help people organize, decorate and love their homes.

3. If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? I would live in a warmer climate.

4. If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go? Paris, definitely.

5. What is your favorite “end of the day wind down time” activity? Curling up with a good book or magazine.

6. Who has had the most impact on who you are today? God

7. What is your dream job? I actually had it once as a Flight Attendant.

8. Favorite websites that make life easier? Hotmail.com (keeping in touch), Amazon.com (shopping), Education.com (ideas to motivate my kids)

9. Favorite social media to use to share your blog and ideas. Facebook

10. Blogs or people you follow obsessively. I Heart Organizing, I’m an Organizing JunkieDave Ramsey

11. Favorite rainy day recipe. Chocolate Chip Cookies! :)

My Nominations:

  1. Budget Loving Military Wife
  2. Journey of Joy
  3. EscapeWithJenScape
  4. Last Legs Blog
  5. The Zen of Zada
  6. It’s Tidy Time!
  7. Graceful Order
  8. Fabulous & Money Savvy
  9. Our Party of Six
  10. Organize Professionally
  11. Karama

My Questions:

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
  2. Where do you enjoy vacationing?
  3. What is the title of the last book you’ve read?
  4. What sports do you enjoy playing or watching?
  5. What’s your favorite food?
  6. List 3 hobbies.
  7. What is your favorite season and why?
  8. If you could learn another language, what would it be?
  9. Are you a saver or a spender?
  10. What’s your favorite type of music?
  11. What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

Thanks again, Modern Woman and Tameka! It feels great to be recognized. ;)

5 Entertainment Freebies (Yes, Free!)

dollar signsWe’re all looking for ways to save a buck, so I put together 5 ways to save money while still having a good time!

  1. Text Redbox to 727272 and receive a free movie code each month.
  2. Download the Pandora app on your smartphones and tablets to enjoy free music. You can also visit Pandora.com and listen to free music on your computer.  Just enter your favorite artists and Pandora will create a playlist just for you.
  3. There are tons of ways to get your hands on free books. One way is to visit your local library, and another is to download e-books from the following sites: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Project Gutenberg. Take your pick!
  4. Learn a new language for free if your library is connected to the Mango service. See if Mango Languages is available at your library and begin learning a new language today!
  5. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch customers with debit or credit cards can gain free access to 150 museums on the first weekend of each month.

Who said nothing in life was free? ;)

If you have any other free entertainment options to add, please include them in the comments below.

Enjoy! :)