Monday, August 4, 2008

keep order in your kitchen

your kitchen is probably the center of your home...and possibly the center of your clutter problems too. With so many activities revolving around the kitchen and eating area -- cooking, eating, preparing meals, packing lunches, homework, crafts, paying the bills, etc. -- it is essential that the kitchen be as organized as possible. Here are some tips to help you whip your kitchen into shape!

your pantry:
- keep track of what you have and don't have to eliminate last-minute trips to the store
- get rid of anything you don't use or that is expired
- keep similar items together (canned veggies, fruit, pasta, cereal, snacks)
- use wire baskets or shoe boxes for rice, noodles, chocolate chips, snacks and other small items that could easily get lost
- get a lazy-susan for can goods
- put hooks on the wall or back of the door for aprons, utensils, bags, etc.
- hang the family calendar or other schedules on the back of the door so everyone will know where to look

your refrigerator and freezer:
- throw out anything that is moldy, freezer burned or past its prime
- have designated zones for certain foods or food groups (cheese, meat, snacks, fruit, veggies, dairy, left overs, etc.)
- keep eggs in the carton to prolong their life
- keep a permanent marker handy to write the dates on items in the freezer

** remember, your fridge is colder in the back and on the bottom and warmer near the front, on the top and in the door. Plan your storage accordingly to prolong the life of your food.

your kitchen:
- don't let papers pile up...have a filing system for school papers, bills, invitation, receipts and anything else that tends to pile up
- create a "message center" with paper, pens, sticky notes or a white board somewhere in your kitchen for messages that must be relayed to other family members. This would most likely be by the phone.
- keep dishes out of the sink and off the counter
- soak cookware, pots and pans while you eat for easy clean up
- store leftovers as individual servings and take them for lunch the next day
- make double batches of your family's favorites and freeze the extras for a night when you are too busy to plan a meal
- purchase or make a "dirty/clean" magnet for the dishwasher...your family will always know when it's time to clean it out
- hang cup hooks under the cabinets for cups and to hold jewelry while doing dishes
- sort through your plastic storage containers and toss any without lids
- go through your recipe box on a regular basis and file any recipes that need to be filed and throw out any that you no longer need

Keep in mind that an overly cluttered kitchen is uninviting and overwhelming...for the cook and the rest of the family! Make it a goal to keep your kitchen clutter-free and the rest of your house might just follow. If you are trying to get in the habit of eating more meals at home, it is essential that you start out with a clean and clutter-free kitchen.

Contact us for more tips and ideas to control the clutter in your kitchen.



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