Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 2/6/2019

 

10 Steps to a Decluttered Kitchen

Reduce clutter and live simply with these tips for better organization in the kitchen. Scale back on cookbooks, don't buy another coffee mug, and then take a deep dive in

Commit to the Pantry Challenge

Take a close look at the items in your pantry, especially the ones way in the back. Make a goal to use any items that are expiring in the next three months. Bonus points if you can incorporate three of the ingredients into a single meal. More bonus points if you can use up all these items in a single week.

Stack Your Cookware

Make better use of cabinet and drawer space and have a system for stacking cookware. Regardless of quality, pan protectors will help protect non-stick surfaces from scratches and will prolong the life of your pots and pans. You can make protectors like these; a single layer of felt cut into an asterisk shape will do the trick, but I recommend double-layered for added durability.

Keep the Fridge Free of Magnets and Artwork

It’s easy to let kids' artwork consume every spare inch of your refrigerator. Keep the chaos at bay by framing select pieces of artwork, or purchasing a shadowbox frame that doubles as a secret built-in storage unit – totally genius.


 


Reduce Unused Small Appliances and Tools

Some small appliances get used a lot, and those are the ones you should keep handy. However, whether we want to admit it or not, there are some appliances –like a veggie spiralizer, ice cream maker or specialty stand mixer attachments– that we rarely use, and we can certainly do without them taking up a whole cabinet of their own. If you must keep the lesser-used appliances, carve out anew space for lesser-used appliances in an unused closet or on a shelf in your basement.

Find Order in Your Silverware Drawer

Store-bought utensil trays are good for simple organization, but storage systems that take into account serving pieces and lesser-used hand tools – like potato mashers and can openers – are often better off custom built.

Organize Your Refrigerator

When there’s an assigned place for everything – and everything’s in that place – it’s a whole lot easier to find what you need. I always struggled with loose condiments wedged in the narrow door shelves, so a rotating tray has been the perfect accessory for our fridge. Not only can we spin it to access a specific item, but at dinner time we can pull the whole tray out and transfer it to the table so that everything remains contained and accessible. This same system works perfectly for salad dressings too!


Store Recipes Creatively With Magnets

Maybe it dates me to admit this, but we still rely on printed recipes from time-to-time. I keep our most-used favorite recipes (pancakes, enchilada sauce,dumplings, pizza dough) pinned to the inside of our upper cabinet doors for convenience. Open up the door, there it is! No poking at my phone for the recipe and no pulling out the cookbook. The easiest thing to do is to attach an inexpensive metal mending strip using a piece of mounting tape and then use a magnet to hold the recipe in position.

Reduce Your Stash of Plasticware

Assess your collection of plastic containers. First, separate items that aren’t yours; label and bag them so you can return them to their owners. Then separate items that don’t have a lid or lids that are missing their bottom.Next, check for cracks and melted plastic – those too can go. Finally, filter out plastic items that are from to-go containers. Put those containers to better use, such as organizing screws and hooks in your workshop. The goal? A much-less cluttered cabinet where you can always find what you need.

Keep Bulky Items Off of the Countertop

While it’s usually fun to show off your colorful stand mixer or high-velocity blender for a little while, it sure is nice to get that counter space back when the appliances aren’t in use. The Rev-A-Shelf is without a doubt my favorite invention, because it keeps the tool as accessible as it needs to be, and eliminates the back-breaking movements we all know from trying to lift one of those things from the bottom cabinet, or the top shelf in your pantry. Get one for every appliance!

Use Wall Space to Your Advantage

A magnetic bar installed on the wall is a magical way to store your most-used knives. Keeping them out of a drawer prevents them from getting dinged up, and getting a knife block off the counter saves valuable space, too.





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 9/28/2018

Donate first

Before moving into your new space, make sure to get rid of all those things you don’t need anymore.

Have you actually used that discounted bundt pan in the past year or two? If not, donate to your favorite local charity shop. Someone else might get use out of it, and you’ll be saving yourself from more clutter in your new home.

Think vertically

Vertical storage is a tried-and-true method of using space, and the kitchen holds some unique opportunities for making the most of it.

Hanging pot racks, magnetic knife strips, mounted dish-drying racks installed above the sink, and rods with hooks for towels, aprons, small tools and oven mitts are all excellent ways to keep clutter in its place — and keep the surfaces and lower area of the room free.

Find beautiful cleaning tools

The ugly truth is that a lot of everyday items just make sense to keep out — but that doesn’t mean they have to be such an eyesore.

Skip the plastic and get yourself a classic wooden broom, natural fiber dish brush and a glass soap dispenser. These items don’t cost much, but they add a softer look while also getting the job done.

Tap into change

Just because your place didn’t come equipped with a dishwasher doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Installing a quality faucet with a pull-down sprayer can make your chores less of a chore (and, as long as you swap it back before you move out, it shouldn’t violate your rental agreement).

Have space and the budget for something more? Portable dishwashers are a massive timesaver. From small countertop models to wheeled butcher-block-top options, there are sizes that fit into almost any space and require nothing more than your standard sink to function.

Live the island life

A kitchen island is a versatile tool for almost any space — even the tiniest micro apartments!

Whether you choose a larger center-of-the-room-style piece or a small butcher-block number, these additions create more counter space and storage, all in one piece.

Bonus: If your island has wheels, it can serve as a portable bar for your next party. (Hey, if we can call bingeing our favorite shows with a few of our closest friends a “party,” so can you.)

Light it up

Another timeless tip: Good lighting is everything.

If your kitchen is dedicated to getting things done and starting your day, invest in cool lighting — the kind that washes everything in a bright, sunlit glow. A refreshing, cooler light wakes us up and creates an invigorating feeling.

If you’re more of a romantic and enjoy taking your time in the kitchen, keep relaxing, warm lighting around so that you can let the day melt away as you sip your merlot.

For those who prefer a bit of both, app-enabled bulbs can customize the mood for any occasion, and some even use every color of the rainbow.

Think (temporarily) BIG

If there’s one common complaint about renting, it’s the stark white walls. Removable wallpaper adds a touch of personalization and won’t break the bank — or at least, it doesn’t have to.

To keep costs low, stick to one accent wall. Finding a large-scale print will make the space feel larger, and layering a sizable mirror on top will maximize the look and any light.

Curate unique displays

One of the best ways to keep an assortment of oddly shaped kitchen items is to dedicate either one section of the room (think: the top 12 inches of the walls) or one wall to showing them off.

Whether it’s your grandmother’s antique creamer collection or the jumble of cookie cutters that won’t fit into your drawers, making them into a vignette adds a layer of personalization to your space while also providing covert storage in plain sight. Easy-to-install hooks or some simple shelves are great ways to achieve this solution.

Keep it alive

Every room deserves a plant. Not only do they look good, but they also improve the quality of the air around them. If you don’t have the floor or counter space to spare, a hanging plant will do the trick.

No natural light in your kitchen? Or perhaps you’re better at killing plants than keeping them green? No matter — there are plenty of realistic artificial plants these days, which means everyone can benefit from the organic shapes of ferns, succulents and the ever-popular fiddle-leaf figs.

Have pets? Make sure to check the toxicity of your plants before choosing their placement.





Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 2/21/2018

New year, same old mess? Curb your family's clutter quirks with these 10 simple organization tricks.

It’s the season of fresh starts, which means it’s the perfect time to rejuvenate your home organization strategy. Spoiler: It’s not as hard as you think! In fact, these stress-reducing tips will help you solve some of the most common home organization woes — simply and with minimal effort.

1. “I can’t find it!”

Cutting clutter is an obvious starting point for resolving this issue. Having too much stuff can make it hard to locate items you need. Favorite shirts get lost in a crowded closet, the perfect spatula hides in the overstuffed kitchen drawer, and necessary tools float to the bottom of an unsorted toolbox.

But getting organized may be easier than you think. Let’s take those tools as an example. The garage can be one of the messiest places in the house, but this simple and easy starting point will help you get it under control.

  1. Hang a pegboard, and install some hooks.
  2. Using a marker, draw an outline around each tool to indicate its location.

You’ll have a tool organization system that not only keeps you organized but also alerts you when the tools are missing. Plus, organizing is contagious — once you start, it spreads rapidly throughout the house.

2. “I left home without it (again).”

Have you ever walked out of the house and forgotten the birthday card for your friend? Left the set of directions to your niece’s wedding on the printer? Or failed to retrieve the receipt for returning the vacuum you purchased last month?

If only we could remind ourselves about these things before walking out the door.

Whether the front door or mudroom is your jumping-off point each morning, you can set it up for total success. Create an organizing system with pockets that hang on the knob or over the door to hold items you’ll need before you leave for work, school or events.

A simple door organizer usually costs under $15 either in stores or online.

3. “Did you wash my soccer uniform?”

The laundry room is often the nemesis of an organized house. Here’s a laundry system that will restore household harmony and save you time: Get each family member their own laundry basket, and label it.

Rather than placing the clean laundry on the stairs or couch and watching everyone walk by without picking up their clothes, ask them to pick up their personalized basket in the laundry room.

There will be no lost items or mix-ups — and no more blaming you.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

4. “Do I have to do everything?”

The kitchen is the pulse point of most homes. It’s a high traffic area that everyone uses all through the day. We open our mail here, study for school here, use the computer here, pile our stuff here — plus, it’s where the food is!

Dedicate one part of the counter to be set up for daily routines, like a lunch-making station. Stock it with paper towels, wraps, baggies and a cutting board. You could also make a coffee and tea station, equipped with supplies like filters, strainers and sugar.

If you create an organized space for your family to make their own lunches or coffee drinks, your life is easier. That’s called delegation.

5. “Where’d I put the phone number for the doctor’s office?”

Another tip for the kitchen is one that can save a life: a household manual, in either a physical or digital form. You can create this in just a few minutes, and it costs you nothing.

To get started, grab a binder and three-hole punch, and put all your vital information in the binder. This includes emergency contact info, the name of your family doctors and vet, school rosters, alarm codes, medications and dosages for the kids, caregiver names, the location of your wills — anything you’d need someone to know in an emergency.

When you have a minute, make it digital. But start with step one: Simply gather important information in one place, and keep it contained.

6. “I can’t corral these crazy cords!”

Phones, chargers, remotes and mismatched cords are always scattered throughout the house. The shortcut for pulling everything together? A central charging station.

A charging station hides cords, keeps all electronic items together and can even blend in with your furniture.

7. “There are toys all over the place!”

Many parents’ biggest home organization issue is the kids not picking up their toys.

The solution here might be as simple as teaching your children organization skills early on and making it easy for them to put things in their place.

Here’s one idea that will allow you to shift from frustration to elation:

  1. Use bins to hold the toys. Each bin should hold toys of the same type.
  2. Find a picture of the toys being stored in each particular bin. For example, if you have dolls and stuffed animals in one bin, attach a picture of dolls and stuffed animals to the front of it.

8. “Can everybody please clean up after yourself?”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could clean up their own mess in at least one communal room? Does your bathroom come to mind? Make this a reality by creating a system that works fairly universally.

Get each person in the house a toiletry caddy. Just like at summer camp or in a college dorm, put names on the caddies, and store them on shelves in the bathroom or, if space is really at a premium, ask folks to carry their caddies back and forth from their bedrooms.

The bathroom stays organized, and there’s an automatic tidying-up system built in after every visit.

9. “I have no place to really relax.”

Clearing clutter can create a peaceful home — away from over-stimulation and the demands of our external world.

Take that idea to one room in particular: our bedrooms, which are meant to serve as a sanctuary for rest and romance. The piles of laundry, books and magazines living next to the bed nix any possibility of a calm and relaxing experience.

Let’s get the laundry and closet into a workable system and put a cap on the number of books and magazines in your personal space.

You can start to create a peaceful space by:

  • Getting rid of clothing you don’t need anymore. Box it and store it, sell it or give it away.
  • Going through all the books on your bedside table (or floor), and selecting just one to read. Store the others in an alternate location. Keep just this month’s magazines on your table, and either relocate, recycle or donate the rest.

10. “I don’t have time to get organized.”

One of the top reasons for not getting organized is lack of time. It seems we devote all the energy we have to work, family, school, volunteering and other commitments.

While many of us dream about alphabetized folders and color-coded sheets and towels, the fact remains that there is often little time in the day to organize or even clean.

The best way to manage this issue is to reduce — and then repeat after me.

  • Reduce. Eliminating clutter is the No. 1 thing we can do to create more time for ourselves. When there’s less clutter, we spend less time cleaning it, less time putting it back where it belongs and less space storing it. Take just 10 minutes today, and eliminate 10 items you no longer really need.
  • Repeat after me. Here’s a mantra for you: Avoid perfection at all costs. Don’t get too hung up on the details. Your home doesn’t need to be perfectly organized every day. Sometimes “good enough” is all you need.





Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 8/29/2017

Depending upon where your laundry room is in your home, it may be a breeding ground for plenty of stuff. People leave their shoes in there along with coats, an array of cleaning supplies and other “junk” piled up in one spot. However and wherever your laundry room is, you can organize it in a few easy steps.


Gather Off Season Items


If you place coats, boots, sandals, hats and gloves in the laundry room, you need bins to keep them organized. Either label bins and put items where they need to be, or get some baskets to sort everything out. Every member of your family can have their own bin for their off-season belongings.


Keep Hampers In The Laundry Room


For easy sorting, label hampers so that clothes are already sorted when you head to do laundry. This will cut down on your laundry time significantly. Each family member will have their own responsibility to bring his or her own clothes to the laundry room and sort them out.


Get A Retractable Clothesline


Since space can be limited in the laundry room, it’s hard to find places to hang clothes to dry that aren’t able to go in the dryer. If you get a clothesline that will enable you to hang your clothes vertically, you’ll save space. 


Clear Counter Space To Fold Clothes


If you have some counter space in the laundry room cleared way and reserved, you’ll have more space to be able to fold your clothes. Getting the folding done on the spot is a great idea because then, you’ll have less to do when you come out of the laundry room! 


Keep A Wastebasket Near The Washer


It’s inevitable that people will always leave something in their pockets. You don’t want tissues and receipts to end up in the wash. As you’re doing laundry, you’ll need a place to dispose of these items and a place to get rid of dryer lint and dryer sheets as well. Other items that are found in the laundry that don’t belong there should be kept in a separate basket for people to pick up at a later time. 


Install A Shoe Rack


If the laundry room is near an entryway to the home, you need a shoe rack there. People will be taking their shoes off and on, and you don’t want shoes strewn throughout the room. You may also want to get a good doormat, one that will pick up mud and dirt, to keep it from spreading throughout the room and the house.


With a few changes, your laundry room can be easily organized. You’ll just need to train your family on how to use the new systems in order to make life a bit easier for you!







JoAnn M. Drabble