Organized Home

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Organized kitchen for the baker January 5, 2010

Filed under: Home organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 5:26 pm
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I have to tell you upfront I am not a baker. I don’t even play one on TV. I have, however, organized many clients who bake. I bake by default because I have kids (it’s a necessity with kids). This article is inspired by my latest client– and my dear, if you are reading,  I am writing this because I am jealous of your lovely baking talent.

Baking ingredients are very messy. There is no doubt about it– the flour, sugar, baking soda,  all these powdery ingredients that cover our kitchen with a white cloud of dust. It is not a bad thing,  just fact. We want to make our baking ingredients easy to access,  and we want them to be free of the yucky bugs that love them. (If you have never been lucky enough to experience them that is a whole another blog).  How do we do that? For starters, I love the containers available everywhere for dry goods. Not only do they stand tall and look awesome and clean in your cabinets, they keep out critters. I also like them because of the large openings. That is a necessity when scooping out flour and sugar. I received some cool looking canisters for a wedding gift a long time ago that I registered for,  and the buggers are too narrow. I can’t fit a measuring cup in them and frankly never really used them. I wish I had known then what I know now. But I digress.

If you are an avid baker or a seasonal baker here are some hints to keep your baking items handy.

1. Arrange all your baking goods in the same area of your kitchen. When you are in the mist of a creation, you can access everything and not run all over you kitchen. Cookie cutters, cake decorating tips and accessories, sprinkles and frosting coloring should be organized with each other in separate drawers or containers.

2. A drawer with organizing trays arranged to fit in the drawer are great for measuring cups and spoons. Little things that are used, such as frosting decorating tips, toothpicks, even candles.

3. Bulk ingredients like flour and sugar work great stored in clear plastic containers. Look for ones that seal and have a large enough opening to scoop with a measuring cup and fit your hand in when half full or less. Smaller canisters are perfect for brown sugar, powdered sugar and oatmeal.

4. I like to store sprinkles in an open bin on a shelf in the cabinet. The containers they are purchased in come in all different sizes and it will make it easier for you to keep in an open bin. I also like to store candy ingredients, such as chocolate chips in open bins. It keeps them from falling all over the place and helps you get what you need.

5. Baking pans and sheets can be tricky. They come in unusual shapes and sizes and it makes it hard to stack and store them neatly. If you have a small kitchen,  creating an easy access shelf in a storage area for seasonal pans is a good way to keep them from cluttering your kitchen cabinets. Look for pull out shelves at your local hardware store. Some are equipped to hold sheets and pan horizontally. It saves space and headache when accessing.

6. Cookie cutters tend to take up a lot of space because of their odd shapes and sizes. I keep my cookie cutters in a large cookie tin on a shelf in my storage room where I keep extra cooking items I don’t use very often. Along side of that is a cookie press and all these things I use only a few times a year.

There are so many different types of baking utensils and wares I have only touched on part of them. The art of storage on organizing these things is creating the proper space for storage. Keep like items with like items and store in containers that are useful and fulfill the needs for you to have a well-run and efficient baking experience. Baking is always fun for the kids and that is what makes it worthwhile for me. After all, flour and frosting can be easily cleaned up and I have a craving for a Santa shaped cookie with orange frosting and five gumdrops piled on top.  Enjoy your season. Cheers


 

Simple Speedy Steps to organize your kitchen cabinets December 2, 2009

Filed under: Home organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 7:09 pm
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I have a saying (actually I just made it up) “the back of our kitchen cabinets reminds me of the back seat of our cars.” Always full of mystery items that get thrown back there or pushed and placed so we “don’t forget.” The thing is, we do forget what is back there because it’s not up front and center everyday. Just like the back seat of your car – when was the last time you sat back there? I don’t know if I ever have.

It is time to clean out those serving plates that belong to a friend and get rid of that Foreman Grill you haven’t used since your college days. How on earth do I get the energy to tackle this trash, you ask? Well my dear, a venti macchiato with an extra shot aught to do the trick for this job.

To get started you will need:

  1. Paper and pen to write down the organizing materials you will need to put it all back together
  2. Strong trash bags
  3. 3 large boxes marked (1) Donate (2) Belongs To (3) Sell

Step one – make sure counters, table, and floor are clear of any items (you will use these as a staging area)

Step two – start with one cabinet and pull everything out and place on counter according to type, i.e. – water glasses, wine glasses, dinner plates, spices etc.

As you are pulling things out remember:

  1. If any piece is broken, you haven’t used it in a long time, or you just don’t like it toss or donate
  2. If any of the pieces belong to someone else because it was left there at your last bbq, place it in the box marked “belongs to”
  3. Continue to do this with every cabinet in your kitchen

When I work with my clients, it never fails when we get to “that cabinet” – you know, the one where everything gets thrown in it because you don’t know where else to put it?  My clients always say, “I have no idea what is even in there.”  Do you have one (or more) of those cabinets? If you do, don’t worry – so do many others!

“That cabinet” might be filled with odds and ends such as candles, tape, batteries, phone books, lint rollers and dried up play dough. You get the picture. Half of those things probably go somewhere else. For now, categorize them on the kitchen table. Lets take a look at what we have to do next.

Are all the cabinets empty? Time to reload!  Grab an apple for yourself and fill up your sink with some nontoxic cleaner. Wipe down all the cabinets inside and out. While they are drying take a look at what you have and think over these points.

  1. Do you have an over abundance of any type of item? Such as measuring cups, baking sheets, Pyrex bake ware, bowls, sets of dishes and plastic ware.
  2. Do you use all of them? Think about it this way, if you are a baker then you might need more that the average number of baking sheets than the occasional cookie maker. If you are big into chili or soup a large stockpot is a must.
  3. Make sure all your plastic storage ware has a mate. If it doesn’t get rid of it. Perhaps search for a brand that has containers that fit into each other and the lids attach such as Rubbermaid easy find lids.
  4. If you don’t use it, don’t remember the last time you’ve used it, and the coat of dust on it tells the whole story, donate.

What about the items that we only use once or twice a year but love them? I have a couple of crystal candy dishes that were my Grandmothers, which I love. I use them during the holidays and treasure the memory that they hold. Store these pieces in a space you don’t need to get to very often. In a kitchen with limited storage (like mine) holiday serving pieces can be stored on the top shelf in the pantry, in a hall closet, or in an area in your basement.

Now it is time to choose the right organizing tools. Here are a couple of things you need to think about before you start. What are the right organizing tools that you could implement that would give a better use of space? A couple favorites of mine.

  1. Drawer organizing trays. These handy little numbers come in all shapes an sizes. They usually hook together. I like to buy several of each size to piece together to suit the various sized cooking accessories used.
  2. Shelf dividers. Shelf dividers do just that; they add an extra shelf with in a shelf. You can double the space; imagine bowls on top and plates on the bottom. Limited only to your imagination. Great for soup cans, coffee cups, tea, etc.
  3. Pull out shelves. Bottom cabinet shelves are a pain.  You have to bend down to see what is in there and the back recesses seem to swallow things whole. There are so many great pull out shelves available now. They just need to be mounted, next best thing to custom cabinetry and a whole lot cheaper.
  4. Added extras. Don’t forget things like spice racks and Lazy Susan’s. They all add ease and efficiency to any kitchen.

Once you have chosen some tools to implement, it is time to put everything back, but where? Some things to remember:

  1. Silverware and dishes should be near the kitchen table and dishwasher.
  2. Drinking glasses are best placed by the sink and dishwasher.
  3. Spices, cooking utensil and pots and pans locate by the stove.
  4. Bowls by the food prep area. (Do you notice the pattern here?)
  5. Items you don’t use very often such as pitchers, vases and such can be stored on the top shelf of the pantry or the cabinet above the fridge.  (Pantry organization is a project all its own, see Organizing your Pantry on my blog.)
  6. Food items that are stored in the cabinets are arranged by usage. Place items used often on 1st and 2nd shelf. The top shelf is reserved for extras, things not used very much. In my home it’s baking ingredients. Things I keep easily within reach are the oil and vinegar because I love to cook.

Does everything have a home? If you get stuck on one section move on and come back to it later. It is just like putting a puzzle together. What a huge project and you did it! Time to celebrate or maybe just sit and look around to enjoy your hard work and organized kitchen. Congratulations, time to open the wine. Cheers.

 

Watch out for falling objects below September 29, 2009

Filed under: Home organizing,Personal organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 6:16 pm
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What is for dinner…what is for dinner?  Can the decision be made by looking into a pantry that has no rhyme or reason to it?  You are standing there staring a the fry-daddy you received for a wedding gift 10 years ago and never used, the 25 cans so cream of mushroom soup that you kept buying because you couldn’t remember if you had any, the jars of various holiday gifts from the office and boxes of dry goods that could stock a salvation army food kitchen. Sound familiar?

If you are like me sometimes meals are planned last minute and its hard to plan when you don’t know what your looking at and can’t put your thoughts in order.  Pantry organization is key for many different reasons.

You can,

plan instant meals.

Saves time

Dish out a prompt too dinner party

Delegate meals to family members and babysitters.

Provide a designated “snack” spot for your kids.

Other family members can help put away the groceries.

Getting a hold of your food stock takes some thought. One of the biggest challenges is the odd shape and sizes of food packaging. This is a challenge whether you have wire or solid shelving pantry. Are you ready to organize? Are you ready to know what you have at all times? Are you ready for efficiency in your kitchen and food preparation? Grab a cup of tea and lets get going!

To begin your counters and kitchen table should be free of clutter. You will need this space.

  1. Pull everything out of your pantry (yes, all of it)
  2. Group all the items on your counters and table according to “like items”
  3. Assess what you have and think of containers or organizers that would help contain. For example: Snacks that are individually wrapped can be taken out of their boxes and kept in an open bin. This way they are easy to grab and take up less space. Small mix packages and pasta that is not in a box can also be stored in a bin.
  4. Clean the shelves and floors of your pantry
  5. To place items back in remember this, snacks and cereal should be placed on a shelf that can be easily reached. Items you don’t use very often should be placed on the upper shelves. The lower shelves can be reserved for onions and potatoes, pop cans, larger storage items that are either heavy or need more space.
  6. Don’t forget about using the pantry door for storage and a free wall. Hooks can be installed for aprons, brooms and oven mitts. The options are limitless

If you are confused on what tools to use to organize your pantry, I suggest a trip to Bed Bath and beyond kitchen section to give you inspiration. Shelf dividers are a great addition and allow more useable storage space. It’s not that hard! To get your family on the same wave as you, label the shelves and bins to nicely remind everyone to do their part. Okay, now you can sit down and plan your grocery list because you can clearly see what you have. The best way to boast your accomplishment is take a picture and face book it! Congratulations, you did it. We are on to more things! Until next time, Cheers.

Next month I am focusing on your office!! No more lost papers. Tune into Blog Talk Radio, sign up for my newsletter and lets get your office organized!

 

25 uses for plastic storage containers September 2, 2009

  1. Baking ingredient storage – flour, sugar (all kinds)
  2. General food s   torage – leftovers
  3. Organizing small toys
  4. Candles – tapers and votives
  5. Hair accessories
  6. Suntan lotion
  7. Crafts
  8. Markers, crayons and colored pencils
  9. Emergency kit for car and home – flash light, batteries, candles
  10. First aid kit for car and vacations
  11. Ribbon for gift wrapping
  12. Small extension cords
  13. Light bulbs – different sized
  14. Batteries
  15. In home tool kit
  16. Bottle and sippy cup tops
  17. Pet food storage
  18. Snacks – granola bars, fruit snack,
  19. Food packet storage – taco seasoning, soup mix
  20. Medicine storage – kids container and adult container
  21. Extra toiletries – tooth paste, tooth brushes
  22. Extra linens and blankets – for quests or seasonal
  23. Toys – large containers for stuffed animals, babies, barbies, trucks
  24. Extra office supplies – envelopes, pencils, copy paper
  25. Mail supplies – packing tape, sharpie, labels, stamps

The list can go on and on. Do you have more fab ideas? I want to know because I have a yet another give- a –way from Rubbermaid! Thanks to them I can send you a set with their Easy Find lids line. I own it and love it! Leave a comment or email me your great idea or just your name and I’ll draw a winner on Friday Thanks!
Rubbermaid veggie storage

 

Rubbermaid and the fuzz in the fridge May 6, 2009

Filed under: Home organizing — organizedhomeinc @ 5:00 pm
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A while ago I tweeted a Fast Five for everyone to take five minutes and throw out anything in their fridge that was green and not supposed to be. It was great, I had so many replies telling me now their fridge was empty and others were afraid to look in the various plastic containers that had put up camp inside the cold box of mystery. I want to see a raise of hands of who has just thrown away the entire plastic container in repulsion just thinking about the experiment brewing with in. You can’t see me, but I’m raising both hands.
Another issue we all frequently have is storage of plastic containers and the battle of the lids? I was helping a client with her container issue and she had so any lids  she kept them in a Rubbermaid bin in the pantry. We sorted through the sea of plastic and were left with 5 containers for her to keep in a cabinet and used the Rubbermaid bin for other storage.
tomatos

tomatos

I’ve had the pleasure of trying out Rubbermaid’s new line of “easy find lids”. The lids stack together and the bottom of the container snaps onto the lid. It all makes a very neat stack. And for those of you who know me, I love neat stacks? The containers themselves are clear and made of hard plastic. Have you ever used a storage product made specifically for fruits and veggies? The “produce saver” did just that, it saved my produce from getting dried out or moldy. It is so much easier to find a quick snack or meal or see which left over has been staying at the Inn too long. When the storage containers are similar shapes and stack neatly in the fridge. A very efficient use of space and storage. Just how I like it. All the containers were medium to small good for small leftovers and food storage. A great way to prevent the growth of unwanted fuzz.