De-clutter Your Kitchen for Divine Dining

My kitchen is always organized, but there’s always room for an update, too, as we all tend to accumulate things over time. I donated two large plastic bins of stuff to charity from my tiny kitchen! Here’s what I did so it will get you motivated to get going on your own kitchen de-cluttering campaign! Good Luck!

1. Open Sesame. I opened every single cupboard in my kitchen and if anything had a chip, it was put in a box to donate to charity. You can also use chipped pitchers for flowers or to water plants if you don’t want to get rid of them entirely and if the chip is small. Think how to re- purpose things as you go and then decide if they get donated, or stay for a new purpose.

Under the Shelf Cup Holder

Try our Under the Shelf Cup Holder to organize the coffee cups and mugs you keep!

2. So Long Set. If a piece of any set (three floral mugs instead of four, for example) was missing, out went the partial set. I could have used the mugs for pens on my office desk etc., but I already have some colorful mugs serving that function in my office so I hope someone else enjoys them on their desk!

3. White is Right. I’ve decided that other than our set of rose-motif antique china, I now only want to use white dishware and clear glasses and serving pieces and then use colorful napkins, placemats, tablecloths, and napkin rings to enhance my table setting. I like how nice food looks on crisp white plates and if a piece breaks, I can find another white piece to go with it easily even if it’s not an exact match; I actually like a mix of white and clear dishes with different textural designs. And it’s less expensive to update your table with new tablecloths, placemats, and napkin rings than to buy new sets of dishes.

4. Drastic Plastic. Too many plastic storage containers! Any that did not have lids or the lids did not fit, I donated. You can also re-use them in drawers etc. for separating small items like tealight candles, match books etc.

5. Let There Be Light. I went through all my candles and got rid of any that had wicks that were too short. I’ve decided that I’ll also only use white candles now for a nice uniform look, and I like to use different styles and sizes for a romantic twinkle when I entertain. I use unscented beeswax candles due to my scent allergies. I often put tealights in my antique stemmed juice glasses and set them all along my bookcases for a soft white ambiance.

6. Utensil Usage. I decided I don’t need three large meat forks! I only need one so the others went into the charity box. Ditto stray knives and duplicate measuring cups.

7. Recipe Reveal. Like most people, I sometimes tear recipes out of magazines and put them in clear sheet protectors

Recipe Nest

Our Recipe Nest is a great way to organize your favorite recipes, and it's a Featured Product for February!

and put them in a three-ring binder. I looked through the binder, and I decided if I haven’t made it by now, I probably won’t make it later. Trash time!

8. Bye Bye Bugs. I decided I really don’t need a hot pink mesh net contraption to cover food at a picnic in case of flies! In fact, my hubby reminded me that we seldom even have bugs in SoCal! He’s right! Bye bye pink mesh bug cover!

9. Crazy for Christmas. Out went the Christmas-motif salt and pepper shakers. White ones will do.

10. Vase Vanity. I’m lucky that people are kind enough to bring me flowers but after awhile the vases proliferate and are duplicates. My new rule for vases is clear or white, just like my dishware. Clean. Simple. Elegant.

If your kitchen cabinets are groaning from too many dishes and appliances, ask yourself if this is the style of entertaining and living that you still want to do today. If so, go for it! If not, why not donate your dishes and kitchen things you no longer want or need so that someone else can enjoy them? There’s a college student or budget-minded young couple setting up a new apartment who would love to have them!

As for me, I’m off now to set my table for breakfast tomorrow morning and I can’t wait to eat off my simple, but elegant, white dishes.

© 2009 by Kathryn Bechen, All Rights Reserved

Thanks to Organized A to Z.com partner Kathryn Bechen for contributing this article. Kathryn is an award-winning professional freelance writer for national home and garden magazines, regional wedding magazines, and creative entrepreneurs.  Combining a B.A. degree in English and Education with a certificate in interior decorating, her biggest life passion is writing about order and beauty as a way to live one’s best life. She also enjoys writing and consulting for other professional organizers and interior decorators. Visit her Web site at www.kathrynbechenink.com.

February 3, 2010 at 8:42 am 2 comments

Your Kitchen: The Hub of the Home

In today’s busy lifestyle our kitchens have truly become the hub of the home.  We ask one room to perform in so many different ways.  Not only do we prepare meals in our kitchens but many pay bills, manage kids school papers, help with homework, entertain, etc.  No wonder entering this room can make us feel overwhelmed.  But there is HOPE!

With just a few “tweaks” here and there you too can have a kitchen that functions for the way your family lives.

What's for Dinner Meal Plan System

Try our What's For Dinner Meal Plan System!

Let’s start with the classic function of the kitchen – cooking.  A great way to keep your pantry organized is to have a meal plan.  Sound funny?  Here is the reasoning.  If you know what meals are planned you will know what ingredients you need on hand and will stock only these.  This saves overloading your cupboards with a mish-mash of goods that don’t work to create a meal and saves your grocery bill because you won’t be buying items on a whim.  You now have a plan and will buy only what is needed to make your meals.  With this system you won’t find expired canned goods in the back of the pantry unused.  Remember any wasted ingredient equals wasted money.

With your pantry cleared and stocked with only the ingredients you will use let’s talk about a few ways to keep it organized.

  • Keep like items together.  Create zones for canned goods, dry goods, baking items, snacks, paper products, small appliances, recycling, etc.
  • Put items you use daily at eye level.
  • Linus Pulz Turntable

    Our Linus Pulz Turntable works great and is a featured product this month. You can save money!

    Create a lunch station.  Use bins or baskets to organize all items used to prepare a sack lunch.  With a quick visit to the lunch station your child can pack his/her own lunch.

  • Use every inch of possible storage space by using a turntable in a corner cupboard or adding an extra shelf or under shelf basket in a cupboard.
  • If your pantry has a door use an over the door rack to add even more storage.
  • Remove goods that come in a bag to a container with rigid sides.  This allows you to store vertically and you won’t have items falling all over your shelves.
  • If you store crackers, pop tarts, granola bars, etc in their original box tear off the top flaps.  No one ever closes the top anyway; this way you will create a more organized appearance.
  • If you want to go all the way label, label, label.  This helps family members get things back to where they belong and won’t leave mom with all the responsibility.

Well we’ve tackled the pantry.  How are your kitchen counters looking?  They may need more TLC than the pantry.  With the kitchen being the hub of the home our counters collect dishes, appliances, keys, paper work, backpacks, electronics and more.

Here are a few quick tips to keep your counters clear of clutter.

  • Choose only 1 or 2 appliances you use daily to keep on the counter.  Store others in the pantry or appliance garage.
  • Load the dishwasher after each meal.  Store everyday dishes near the dishwasher for easy unloading.
  • Have a basket for each family member and fill with belongings that found there way to the kitchen counter.  Try this rule –  by bedtime baskets must be emptied.
  • Install hooks for backpacks, coats and keys
  • Faux Leather Charging Station

    Try our Faux Leather Charging Station

    Have a charging station for electronics; store bought or homemade is fine too.

  • Give that paper a home.  Create a master binder.  This binder will contain all things paper.  From school hot lunch menus to party invitations, dance class schedule to book order forms.  Use dividers to categorize for each child and or event and place all those important papers in one place.  The next time you need to reference an important paper you’ll know right where to find it.

As you work to organize your multi-tasking kitchen remember that it is a process – but one with HOPE!  Every step you take is moving you closer to conquering that clutter.  Commit to one small step a day and watch the hope return. You can do it!

Thanks to Organized A to Z Partner Kara DeBord for contributing this article. Kara is a professional organizer in Mid-Michigan and the founder of Organize with Hope.  Her heart for organization is not about making a home picture perfect; it’s about setting up systems to make the client efficient so they can spend time on things that matter.  With encouragement and ingenuity she brings hope to a client’s home.  Visit her site at www.organizewithhope.com.

February 2, 2010 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

February’s Storage Plan – Tackle Your Kitchen!

For our monthly organizing project, the month of February will focus on your kitchen. We have several items that will make kitchen organization much easier for you, but remember to create a system that will work for you. Below are a few tips. You can accomplish them all in one afternoon, or set a goal to complete one task each week. By the end of the month, you’ll have a neat and clutter-free kitchen that fits your lifestyle!

  1. Start by cleaning out those drawers! Remove utensils and other items that you don’t use and place them in a box that you will donate to a local charity. Bamboo Expandable ShelfUse drawer dividers and sectioned trays to help keep silverware and kitchen tools easy to see and grab when you need them.
  2. Next, tackle the cupboards! Throw away outdated food and spices, and use expandable shelf organizers and risers to keep items within reach. We love our Bamboo Expandable Step Shelf! It adjusts to fit in any size of cupboard and promotes an efficient use of space by allowing you to use the back of your cupboards without burying items.
  3. Saving receipts? You can easily organize these in a pocket  photo album, accordion file divided by month, or in a binder with sheet protectors. The same concept works for user manuals for your appliances and smaller kitchen tools as well.
  4. Take advantage of the surface space on your refrigerator! Use a dry erase board to track schedules, write notes, or record phone messages. Purchase a magnetic basket to store pens, pencils, paper, and even freezer tape. This gives you easy access when labeling items that you place in your freezer.

Let us know your tricks and tips that help you organize your kitchen. We love to share with our readers, and you’re sure to help out someone who has the same organizing goals that you have. Leave a comment or send your tips to info@organizedatoz.com. Happy Kitchen Organizing!

February 1, 2010 at 8:25 am Leave a comment

Busy Bodies Will Appreciate This Organizer

BusyBodyBook Personal and Family OrganizerAnother featured product for January, the BusyBodyBook Schedule Organizer for 2009-2010 will help you manage your time and save you money. Receive 10% off this month!

With our BusyBodyBook planner, time management is a breeze! Each family member has their own column to organize and track schedules and activities while coordinating with each other side by side.

The unique layout provides the clearest view of your daily & weekly schedules and activities, helping you stay organized, focused and on track. You’ll easily view overlapping schedules and avoid double-booking.

BusyBodyBook organizers are versatile it can be used to manage more than just family schedule. Here are some things to manage with your 2010 BusyBodyBook organizer:
  • BusyBodyBook Inside Lookhousehold projects
  • meal planning
  • personal goals
  • holiday or vacation preparation
  • important clients
  • school subjects: homework, test and projects
  • employees and/or projects

We especially love the perforated pages for creating handy grocery or gift lists. You can either stash your list in your purse, or hand it over to someone else and let them do the shopping!

January 22, 2010 at 7:13 am Leave a comment

Store Your Stuff

Stuff BucketSometimes, you just need an attractive container to hold the stuff that accumulates throughout the day or week. Our versatile Stuff Bucket is the perfect solution! It’s another Featured Product for January, so you can order it at 10% off the regular price!

Designed for style and function the Stuff Bucket comes both a practical blank and canvas linen design or in an attractive black and white or raspberry swirl print that is available in either a round or square shape. The medium round bucket is lined with 27 pockets inside and out. The Square Stuff Bucket has 31 exterior and 8 interior pockets. They are made from durable nylon Cordura™ like material to last.

Swirl Stuff BucketPerfect for storing and organizing:
  • children’s art supplies or toy collections
  • tools, nuts and bolts
  • craft supplies
  • bath and beauty supplies
  • pet supplies
  • gardening supplies

Be sure to get yours today!

January 21, 2010 at 8:02 am Leave a comment

Rescue Yourself from Clutter

Clutter Rescue CourseSometime you can spend a day and clear the clutter on your own. But sometimes, the clutter just seems too overwhelming, and you don’t know where to start. That’s when you need to call on professional organizer Patty Kreamer for help!

Destroy clutter with a one-two online/offline knockout punch! Patty Kreamer’s Clutter Rescue Course™ will not only help you clear out your unneeded, unwanted physical stuff, but it will also help you overcome a lot of the mental stuff, too!
As a January featured product, you can purchase it from Organized A to Z.com at 10% off!
And it’s well worth the investment. The Clutter Rescue Course™ is made up of two 10-week segments (and a 5-week bonus course) that cover personal and work clutter, organization and time management issues. The step-by-step “classes” are delivered via e-mail and each lesson is designed to be completed in just 30 minutes.
The Clutter Rescue Course™ is perfect for you if:

  • you want the best, time-tested information that will have you be organized once and for all
  • you want to know what clutter really is, because it’s not the sign of a cluttered, disorganized or creative mind!
  • you like to learn things a little at a time, because you’ll have an easier time implementing the material
  • you like a support system, because you want to stay on track
  • you have problems focusing on things for too long, because your lessons will be short and to the point
  • you want a simpler, much more enjoyable life, because you and the people around you deserve it!

Clutter Rescue Course™ creator Patty Kreamer is a Certified Professional Organizer and author of “…But I Might Need It Someday” and The Power of Simplicity. Since 1999, she has been involved in hands-on organizing every day to help her clients live an organized, clutter-free life. She’s also worked with corporate clients all across North America to help them become more productive and perform at an optimum level. Patty is also a consultant, coach, professional speaker, and media subject matter expert, and has served as President of the National Association of Professional Organizers – Pittsburgh chapter and of the National Speakers Association – Pittsburgh chapter.

January 20, 2010 at 7:56 am Leave a comment

Organize Your Office, Now!

Don't Agonize, Organize Your Office Now!Tax time is just around the corner, so now is a great time to delve into any organizing projects that involve your office, whether it’s at your place of business or in your home. You’ll save time and eliminate stress if you take the time now to file last year’s papers, organize those receipts, and gather documentation for major purchases or other tax-related items.

If you’re not sure where to start, we suggest taking a few cues from CPO Diane Hatcher, author of Don’t Agonize, Organized Your Office Now! At 80 pages long, her book is a quick read, argeted to busy professionals who don’t have time to read extensive volumes, but want simple, direct solutions to life’s common office, paper, and time issues.

This book is a featured product for January, so you can purchase it from Organized A to Z.com at 10% off!

Learn how to:

  • set up workable filing and paper management systems
  • make packing for business travel easier
  • overcome procrastination and perfectionism
  • deal with chronic disorganization issues
  • schedule your day more effectively

Since 1998, Diane has operated Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. She has assisted hundreds of clients with their organizing issues, enabling them to reach their organizing goals, bringing more happiness into their lives.

Diane has dedicated this book to attorneys, executives, home office entrepreneurs and other busy professionals in her mission to help the world get organized, one person at a time. With her unique “RAFT” paper organizing system, Diane offers hope in this book so you can take back control of your workspace and simplify your life.  She is an Organized A to Z partner, and you can visit her website at www.timesaversusa.com

January 19, 2010 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

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