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Organizing Memorabilia: The Warm & Fuzzy

Organizing Memorabilia: The Warm & Fuzzy

The Warm & Fuzzy

Memorabilia, or warm & fuzzy stuff, as I call them, are items that evoke fond memories. They are usually those things that have the power to make us laugh or cry happy tears when we see them. What exactly is memorabilia and how to organize it? 

No matter how ruthless you become at minimizing and organizing, there will be a few items that you can’t let go of, even when you have a digital record of it. It’s like you need to touch it, smell it, see it in person, or the memory is not there. In some cases, we are not ready to part with some items. Maybe we never will.

I recommend getting a “Warm & Fuzzy Box” for those things. The “Warm & Fuzzy Box” is a beautiful, high-quality boxbin, or basket with a lid or a cover. This box will contain those items that are so special to you. 

The “Warm & Fuzzy” box should live in a private space like a shelf in your closet, under the bed, or in your home office.  

Not Everything Is Warm & Fuzzy Material

You should probably scan or photograph the things that don’t make it to your “Warm & Fuzzy” box to preserve a digital memory. I discuss these processes in my blog “Organizing Kids’ Memories.” When you maintain a digital image, you keep the memory but not the clutter.

However, as said before, dealing with your memorabilia, you will find a few items for which a digital record would never do. These are the items we are referring to on this blog.

Keep a minimal number of treasures in your warm & fuzzy collection. Otherwise, if everything seems important, then nothing is. The moments and memories in our lives are most important, not the things. So, carefully choose the items that best represent your most significant moments in life.

When you become discriminatory with your “warm & fuzzy” collection, the collection is manageable. It should be a sampling of happy memories that make you smile, not an overwhelming heap of stuff you’d rather avoid.

A Different Kind of Memorabilia

Please note that memorabilia in this context refers to mementos you keep for their emotional value but that are probably dispersed around your home, maybe even stowed away in drawers or closets. We want to gather these together and assign them a good home in your life.

Memorabilia items of high monetary value or related to famous people like sports players, antiques, and the like, should have a place of honor somewhere in your home, so they are displayed and enjoyed. However, this type of memorabilia is a different story. 

Should you have this type of treasures, you need to find a way to incorporate them into your home décor overall concept. Things like shadow boxes and glass displays come to mind. There is an infinite number of options to honor your high-priced memorabilia! Just look into Pinterest and knock yourself out!

 

Organizing Media

Organizing Media

Sneaky Media

Media, like DVDs, cassettes, videos, CDs, and books, insidiously clutter our homes. These items sneak into our space without us even knowing why. We feel like organizing media today. Want to join us? Keep reading!

These items are often invisible until they overrun our environment or until they gang up with other types of clutter to take us down. Do you know that feeling?

Let’s Do This!

Let’s strike back and end this battle now. Follow these simple steps and suggestions.

1. Gather

Go through your home and gather every book, CD, DVD, video, and cassette (if you have any of the last two?). Do not get distracted by papers, clothes, Knick knacks, or other stuff around. You need to stay hyper-focused if you want to finish this process.

2. Divide

Divide this large media group into five categories: CDs, DVDs, videos, cassettes, books.

3. Cassettes (Tapes)

Let’s deal with those cassettes first, if you have any.

Do you have the equipment to listen to these? And would you listen to them — ever? (Honestly!). What are their contents? Are the contents something you can easily find online (like music)? Or is the material recorded conferences, for example? If so, could you find the same content online? If the contents of the cassettes are something personal you recorded and need to keep, find a service that can transfer that tape contents into digital. A digital format preserves the material and also makes it more accessible. Then you can let go of both the tapes and the tape player. Off with clutter!!!

If you MUST keep one or two tapes in the actual cassette format for utmost sentimental reasons, that item should go in your “warm & fuzzy” box. What is that box? This box is a special box everyone should have in their closet or under the bed, with very few carefully selected items that make you laugh or cry throughout your entire life. Of course, not everything can or should go in this box. You have to be super selective!

Place all cassettes you decide to digitize in a box or bin marked “to digitize.” Then, get your calendar (yes, right now) and schedule a date when you will do any research needed about this service and when you will mail this material to be digitized.

4. VHS anyone?

Everything said in point number 3 applies to any VHS video in your home.

Answer the same questions and take the same actions described for cassettes with your videos.

Photo Credit Home Decor Obsession 200x300 - Organizing Media

Photo Home Decor Obsession

5. Books’ turn!

Check all those books collected through the home and see if anything should go away through donation, recycling, or selling. If you have a decent number of books to let go of, see if you can sell them at Half-Priced Books? They also buy movies and music so, keep that in mind.

Take the books you will keep to that home area where other books live. If you do not have a central place for the books in your home, maybe it is time to assign a place?

Don’t limit your ideas for lack of space or bookcases. There is an infinite number of ways to create bright displays for your books. In addition, books can make a design statement! Just check Pinterest, and you will see. Smashing idea; Points for Design!

6. A word about vinylVinyl 300x214 - Organizing Media

Vinyl has come back- no doubt about it. But being a vintage item, vinyl makes a statement on its own. Because we tend to listen to records on special moments and need vintage equipment to play them, these items tend to behave more appropriately. They don’t run away like their CDs and DVDs relatives. There is not much we need to say about vinyl. But if you have some records and their player but have not given these items the standing they crave, you are missing all the fun. Consider a place of honor to display and listen to your Vinyl music. It is unlikely that you have records you no longer want out of their jackets or in random home areas. But if you do, I am simply out of words. Let’s leave it at that.

7. How about DVDs and CDs?

Make a space in the living room or a home office for all the DVDs you keep. First, you will need to pair DVD and CD cases with their discs! For mysterious reasons, half of the cases we find are empty. That probably tells us their corresponding disks might be broken or scratched somewhere or under some gooey, unknown blob. Chances are those disks are no longer suitable to keep, and you can feel okay with trashing them. But when you let them go, make sure you discard their case as well.

Other DVDs and CDs will be in good condition. So, after matching them with their cases, you can decide to keep or donate them.

The DVDs and CDs you keep should probably be all together in a single place in the home. Typically, the optimal location for these is the living room.

When you decide where all your DVDs and CDs will live, take those you found during this exercise to that place in the home. Then see if any of the discs in your collection can go. You could donate or sell them (remember Half Priced Books?).

When you go through all your disks and eliminate what you don’t want or enjoy anymore, you make a more comfortable, appealing space for the DVDs and CDs you keep.

The Most Brilliant Idea Yet

On the other hand, consider that movies and music are easy and inexpensive to download these days. It might cost you more to store these items if you consider the space they occupy in your home and the amount you pay for each square foot of the house. And when was the last time you watched a movie from your DVDs or listened to a CD? (No, honestly!)

Some DVDs and CDs might be homemade, with great sentimental value. You probably will want to keep all that material. However, here is my brilliant idea: Transfer their contents to an external drive dedicated to photos and videos or place the material in your computer and copy it to the cloud, for example. This way, all your memories are safe, shareable with others, more accessible to enjoy, and do not occupy the physical space CDs and DVDs take. Furthermore, you can also let go of CD players and DVD players. How about that? Off with the clutter, again!!!

Hopefully, these steps and ideas help you tackle the media clutter in your home. Probably media is not the most significant factor cluttering your environment, but every little bit counts. So, we need to divide, conquer, and work on every puzzle piece to get our desired results.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help or advice with your home organization.

Fighting Back Contagious Illness at Home

Fighting Back Contagious Illness at Home

Order and Cleanliness to Fight Illness

There is no better remedy to cure me of an illness than cleaning! Although that is not my line of business, I admit I am a self-proclaimed eminence in this field. I don’t always clean joyfully, but I love the feeling when everything is squeaky clean, and shiny! So, I have a few things to say about fighting back contagious illness at home.

I spent the whole day cleaning the other day. It was not an act of inspiration. All of us got sick at the same time. And when illness attacks everyone in my home, nothing gets me in cleaning mode like the desire to fight the virus and bacteria and eliminate the mess our collective condition throws in our lives. When every family member falls ill at once, the environment turns chaotic. Chaos is not conducive to healing.

To heal from any given illness, I believe we need to surround ourselves with order and cleanliness. For example, don’t we feel instantly better after a shower when sick?

Feng Shui teaches us that Ch’i, the vital energy, does not thrive in chaos and dirt. Therefore, from an energetic point of view, it makes sense to clean and disinfect and keep the place in order. And also, the less clutter we have, the easier it is to clean.

I genuinely hope flu and COVID do not get any of you this season, but it would be good to keep these things in mind when illness attacks you or your loved ones.

Let’s Decide

Determining a specific day when illness will leave your household helps this process. I recommend this day be after 24 hrs. of following the prescribed treatment, whether it is antibiotics or any remedy you might follow. Usually, it is best to establish this date after any fever is gone. Powerful energy comes from “deciding this illness ends today.” After all, we are energy, and our thoughts determine our reality.

On this particular day, I was determined to put an end to the absurd week we had spent being sick. I kept visualizing the virus and bacteria, desperately trying to jump out the windows. Sounds ridiculous? Try using this image the next time you are going through this process. It works wonders in terms of how you feel. It will give you the energy you need to eliminate the bug making you and your loved ones sick.

Best Practices

Here are some tips to consider when declaring war against illness in the household.

Air Quality

  • Open windows, if you can. Invite fresh air into your home. By the way, it is my practice to eliminate the screens from windows. Windows look cleaner, more light comes into your home, and if you decide to open the windows, you won’t get the dust and dead bugs accumulated on those screens in the house. I prefer a few insects flying into my home than all those dead ones mixed with crusty dust.
  • Diffuse a mixture of essential oils that can purify your environment and help you heal. I never thought essential oils were beneficial and effective until I learned about Young Living Essential Oils. You might want to check that.

Kitchen Wise

  • It’s an excellent time to clean out your refrigerator and freezer. Toss anything expired, growing mold, anything you don’t recognize, or you don’t know when or how it got there. Pay special attention to decaying produce. Sorry, it does not matter if you bought it.
  • All those medicine cups, what do you do with them? So many people keep those little cups in their cupboards, sticky with cough syrup from the last person who used them! Aside from the tacky factor, doesn’t it make sense to wash them with soap and water every time you use them? I mean, we use them because we are sick, after all. So, prepare a bowl with soapy water and disinfectant agent if the whole family is using medicine cups “like there’s no tomorrow” (as my husband says! LOL). Then have everyone place their cup there, after each use. Then, rinse and dry the cups once a day and change the water in the bowl to repeat the process.
  • Throw out the used kitchen sponge. Get a new one. Alternatively, place the sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes. That works!

Pet Care

  • If you have dogs or cats, thoroughly clean/wash their bedding, particular spaces, and dishes. Make sure they are not sick. Our furry loved ones can often get the same bacteria or viruses we get.

Washing

Make your washing queue with all things you can wash. Separate by whites and colors and by type of items: towels, sheets, bedding, and clothes. My advice is to treat the home as a flea or lice infestation. Wash everything! Wash in the hottest water available and include natural disinfectants like Thieves Essential Oil Blend or Thieves Household Cleaner. Include in your washing queue:

  •  Mattress covers and pillow covers (and if you do not use these, you better get some!)
  • Blankets that you keep in the family room for when you are all cozy watching movies
  • Furniture covers, if you use them to protect your couch from dogs or cats
  • Towels, including washcloths and kitchen towels
  • Sheets (all used)
  • Stuffed animals kids sleep with
  • Decorative pillows from beds and couches
  • Clothes in hampers

General Cleaning

  • Dust and wipe all surfaces with some disinfectant of your choice. Pay special attention to door handles (especially the pantry door) and the fridge. Don’t forget toilet handles and all water faucets. Lysol and bleach can do the job, but go the natural way with essential oils if you can. Again, you are trying to purify your habitat, not make it more toxic.
  • Do your regular weekly cleaning as usual. Use a disinfecting agent if you don’t usually use one.

Personal Items

  • Do not forget to change lip balms and lipsticks, if possible. Wipe or cut off their top portion if you can’t replace them. That might help.
  • If using disposable contact lenses, throw out the ones in use and their case. Use a new pair.
  • Change all toothbrushes. How many people forget to throw out their toothbrushes after being sick! Toothbrushes are Petri dishes of bacteria. Wash retainers and mouthguards with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. Don’t forget to disinfect their cases too! Ah, don’t forget to change the heads of electric toothbrushes.

What Else You’ve Got?

Please don’t take me wrong. I’m not germophobic at all. Heavens knows that my kids have excellent immune systems they have worked hard at building (if you know what I mean).

But I thought I’d instead share with you all some of the things that came to mind while I was busy eradicating viruses and bacteria from my home recently. 

I’m sure you can add many more helpful tips to this list, depending on your experience, your family, and the way you live. The more, the merrier!

Nothing puts me in nesting mode like having had a couple of days of family illness. But then, Mama bear comes out and fights back with all she’s got.

What other ways do you use to fight back against family illness? Let’s hear about it!

Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

The ability to notice details and the willingness to creatively tweak little things are crucial to achieving the perfect space in a project. Organizing takes skill, patience, strategy, time, and attention to detail. Those are a Professional Organizer’s tools of the trade. However, Organizers are exceptional at developing systems that take organizing to its next level. Systems usually increase clients’ efficiency in utilizing their space.

Consider the kitchen cabinet and notice all details involved in the process resulting in an organized, functional space. However, organizing this cabinet also resulted in two efficient systems.

MySpaceReclaimedPix 47 - Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

The Kitchen Cabinet Situation

  • this cabinet had lots of cookbooks and recipe binders
  • it also had a myriad of serving items
  • books stacked sideways because some did not fit the space
  • recipe clippings were sticking out of books and binders
  • nothing was labeled or had hand-written post-it notes

Also….

  • recipes were hard to remember, identify, or use
  • meals were boring, repetitive, and unhealthy
  • medicine and supplement bottles occupied the lower shelf of this cabinet
  • taking meds and supplements was inconsistent because of the sorting and opening of bottles required, and it was hard to remember who took what and when

The kitchen cabinet needed some tweaking to become a functional cabinet with valuable, organized content.

The Process

  • removed all cabinet contents
  • sorted through contents and removed what was no longer wanted or needed
  • adjusted shelves to fit even the tallest book
  • allocated specific areas for things that stay
  • created a recipe use and management system
    • recipes photocopied, cut, and pasted on 4″ X 6″ index cards
    • index cards classified by dish type and organized in index card boxes
    • recipe boxes labeled with the recipe categories it contains
    • system benefit: mixing/matching cards create a week’s worth of healthy, varied meals
  • created a supplement and med management system 
    • pills presorted in bags according to dosage/time of intake for each person
    • pill bags divided into baskets for each household member
    • system benefit: a streamlined process where everyone knows where, what, when, and how when getting their meds

The development of systems improves efficiency in the use of your space. Therefore, designing systems that increase productivity and make life easier is one of the most valuable benefits you can get from working with a Professional Organizer. 

If you want to experience some of “Organizing magic,” let’s talk! We’d love to hear about you and see how we can help.

15 Less-Than-Exciting (But Important) Kitchen Planning Considerations

15 Less-Than-Exciting (But Important) Kitchen Planning Considerations

Despite the increase of families ordering take-out dinners, the kitchen is still the heart of the home. This space is central to the house and allows families to gather and share special moments. A well-appointed kitchen is always a joy.

And whether getting the kitchen of your dreams you’ve wanted for years or just reorganizing the space to add efficiency to your days, here are some essential considerations for your kitchen space. 

We don’t always pay real attention to these factors when thinking of a kitchen revamp, but they are critical and will make your life easier, your kitchen more appealing, and support your lifestyle and health.

1. Thoroughly Declutter

There’s not much you can do in a kitchen that is cluttered and unappealing. So, the first thing it needs is thorough decluttering. Remove everything from drawers, cupboards, and cabinets to start.

Then sort every single item and decide what goes and what stays. The more you let go, the simpler your life will be. For example, why keep kitchen utensils and gadgets in duplicate or that you do not use or want?

2. Establish Kitchen Work Zones

Kitchen efficiency depends on the proper designation of work zones. To get the most out of your kitchen, establish zones according to how you use the space. Think about how you move around the area and what you do there to understand better where to allocate everything. 

Here are some ideas for zoning your kitchen:

  • Establish a clear distinction between a cooking zone, a meal prep zone, and a baking zone. Establish these zones according to how you will use each one and what is most efficient.
  • Assign the drawer and cabinet closest to the dishwasher to flatware and dishes. It is easier to put these items away when emptying the dishwasher. 
  • Place all baking tools and accessories together to save time and effort when baking if you bake.
  • Keep most frequently used items within easy reach. Less frequently used appliances or seasonal serving dishes, for example, can occupy out-of-the-way places such as higher shelves or back sections of cabinets.
  • You want to place glasses and dishes in upper cabinets because that space is more accessible. But specifically, glasses probably should go on the upper cabinet closest to the fridge because the fridge is where beverages are. 
  • Dishes might go on an upper cabinet above or directly across from the dishwasher to facilitate putting them away. 
  • The counter area by the fridge is probably the ideal place for a coffee/tea station. Thus, the drawer immediately below that coffee station should have all coffee/tea accessories. 

 3. Create Extra Storage Options

Sometimes, a proper declutter won’t yield the kitchen space needed for optimal organization. In those instances, it becomes essential to create new storage space.

Over-the-door storage racks are good alternatives. These go on kitchen doors and inside cabinet doors. A formidable storage solution is the Elfa Spice Rack (sold at The Container Store). It goes inside the pantry door to accommodate all cooking spices and condiments, creating more space inside the pantry for other things.

Pull-out drawer or drawer inserts in cabinets solve the never-ending problem of things getting lost in the depths of cabinets. When the budget does not allow for a kitchen remodel, achieve the same result by using bins to organize the cabinet contents. You can pull out these bins to manage their contents, eliminating the need to bend over and reach inside the cabinet.

4. Evaluate Your Trash Situation

Few things are less exciting than trash. Whether you like to compost, recycle, sort your garbage some other way, or discard what you no longer need, you need a system that works for you. Nothing speaks of unhealthy habits like trash and perishing food accumulated in the kitchen for lack of a proper disposal system. To maintain a clean yet great-looking kitchen, we have to think about the trash situation. 

Investing in a large, functional trashcan for the kitchen is a must. Some kitchens have a pull-out drawer that contains a space for the trashcan. If this is your case, measure that space and divide that number by two. Then get two identical containers that will comfortably fit together in that area: one of trash and one for recycling. Think out of the box when looking for these containers, as these do not need to be actual trashcans. They just need to be light in weight and conform to the required measurements.

If your kitchen does not have cabinet space for trash, it is even more important to pay attention to the style of your trashcan. Consider getting a rectangular, double-sided trashcan. Rectangular ones are easier to disguise. Please avoid round trashcans, which waste space and make their presence unavoidable. Budget permitting, get a trashcan with a sensor lid for a hands-free experience, which keeps the bin cleaner.

5. Clean Up Your Food Container Act

Do yourself a favor and recycle all that mismatched, old plastic stuff that overflows your cabinets. Get a set of new, BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, plastic, or glass containers with lids. You need them to store left-overs and organize your fridge and freezer (more on that in the following section about systems you should have in place).

You should probably also get an additional but less expensive set for sharing food with others (avoiding resenting them for stealing your best containers or growing old waiting for them to return them).

Select a specific cabinet, preferably a lower one, to neatly organize those containers in one single place in your kitchen.

6. Corral Cleaning Products

Store cleaning products that pertain to the kitchen under the kitchen sink. Install cabinet organization solutions in that space so you can easily access these products and equipment.

The under-sink cabinet is also an excellent place to store the various types of filters you might need in the kitchen (sink faucet, fridge/freezer, etc.), as well as your trash bags.

7. Know What That “Junk” Drawer Is and Is Not

It is handy to have a miscellaneous drawer in the kitchen but not a junk drawer. Junk drawer implies accepting everything we do not want to decide on — clutter. And it would be best if you did not wish for a clutter drawer. This miscellaneous drawer is not a substitute for the garage either. I have seen drills and all kinds of tools in the “junk drawer” of some kitchens.

The miscellaneous drawer should contain a few things that are often needed, such as a tape measure, a couple of pens, scissors, a note pad, some tape, maybe envelopes and stamps, a mini screwdriver, and the like.

Tools go in the garage. Lightbulbs and batteries should have their bins and belong in the laundry room area or utility closet. Get the idea?

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8. Determine Where the Spices Go

Where do spices go? The most convenient place for the spices is near the stove, given that this is where we frequently use them. Select an upper cabinet to the right or left of the stove area for the spices. Another great area is the drawer next to the stove.

Once you select the storage space for spices, choose among the many spice storage solutions available to make your life easier while cooking with them.

The pantry is the next best option in the absence of cabinet space or a drawer for spices. As with any other pantry group, herbs should be together on a shelf area. Use a tiered spice rack on the shelf to better see everything without much effort.

When a pantry shelf is not available, the Elfa Spice Rack comes to the rescue! This clever solution goes on your pantry door, on the inside. It is a lifesaver.

9. Light Up!

The kitchen should be well lit in various ways. Ideally, the kitchen will combine top light and task or functional illumination. Light sources are up to your style and budget. However, good, efficient lighting is crucial. In addition, lighting directly impacts your mood. For example, placing light under upper kitchen cabinets offers the functional task illumination needed on counters while preparing food, but it also does wonders for the ambiance of your kitchen.

10. Clear Counters

Sometimes people go overboard with décor on kitchen counters and islands. Although some décor items are important, do not overload flat surfaces with stuff. Counter space is not storage either. Keep counters as clear as possible. It makes the kitchen look much better and gives you the space needed to work.

11. Don’t Ignore The Pantry Pantry After 8 225x300 - 15 Less-Than-Exciting (But Important) Kitchen Planning Considerations

The process of organizing the kitchen needs to include the pantry. Organizing the pantry is an excellent opportunity to clean the space and, if warranted, line or reline the shelves.

You will be amazed at all the duplicates and expired products in your pantry when you see it all in front of you.

To keep an organized pantry, follow these simple steps.

  • Throw out any expired food.
  • Separate items you are keeping into categories and designate appropriate spaces in the pantry for these categories. Better yet, label the pantry areas accordingly to make it easier for everyone in the house to maintain the space organization achieved. Place products with a closer expiration date to the front to use these first.
  • Invest in pantry containers to store rice, cereals, flours, sugars, grains, chips, cookies, crackers, etc. Square and rectangular containers utilize the space best. Containers stand and stack better than the usually opened product bags with clips we keep in the pantry, right? With these containers, products stay fresh, and you can always see what you have and how much, thus knowing when to buy more. Additionally, your pantry will have that magazine look you admire while browsing social media. It takes some effort and discipline to keep the system as you need to transfer the products to the containers when coming home from the store, but it pays off immensely in the day-to-day kitchen operation. Oh, make sure you label these containers.
  • Remove pre-packed items from their primary packing — group snacks in clear containers for easier access.

12. Befriend Your Fridge

As a principle, it is best to limit your grocery shopping of produce and meats to smaller quantities that the family will consume weekly. This practice preserves the product’s freshness and nutritional value. It also helps organize your refrigerator space efficiently and enables remembering the items in your fridge so food does not get spoiled.

An organized fridge leads to a more straightforward cooking process, more in-home cooking, money savings, and better health.

An excellent routine to achieve an organized refrigerator and freezer is to wash, cut, and repack produce and meats when coming from the store. This process takes some time and effort but ensures that the refrigerator and freezer stay clean and organized. Opening the fridge to see plastic and paper bags, some halfway open, saluting you is not an inviting proposition.

The washing, cutting, and repacking of produce and meat before placing these in your fridge or freezer also saves significant time throughout the week during cooking.

Having the proper containers for your fridge and freezer is crucial. Invest in transparent or translucent containers that can be labeled and relabeled, BPA-free, and dishwasher safe.

Being disorganized can cost you. Think about all the food you throw away in an average month. Get organized to stop the waste.

By the way, your fridge and freezer need a thorough cleaning and disinfecting each month, on average. Use an open pack of baking soda to get rid of odors in your fridge safely, should this become a concern.

A well-kept kitchen is not a one-time process. Staying tidy requires lifestyle changes. If you’re ready for those changes and would like professional assistance with your kitchen adventure, don’t hesitate to contact us at My Space Reclaimed, LLC. We will be thrilled to partner with you.

13. Adopt A Meal Planning SystemProfessional Organizer My Space Reclaimed 18 300x225 - 15 Less-Than-Exciting (But Important) Kitchen Planning Considerations

If you don’t have a meal planning routine, you should see how it can make your life much easier. Of course, this requires some prep work, but it is just once. Then you’ll be gliding through your weekly planning, shopping, cooking.

It starts by going through all your clippings and books full of recipes. By the way, as a bonus for following this procedure, you get a streamlined kitchen book and recipe area.

Get all those recipes out and choose only those you truly like or want to try. Then, either clip them or make photocopies of those recipes, so you can individually place them in 4″ X 6″ index cards. Next, divide these cards into salads, main dishes, pasta, soups, desserts, beverages, protein shakes/smoothies, dressings, snacks, etc. Finally, get all your categories sorted into index card boxes (choose the style of boxes that makes your heart sing).

Select a day of the week to make your meal planning. On that day, each week, mix and match recipes to compose your weekly meals. For each meal, choose the main course and other dishes as desired. You’ll have all kinds of options, so choose the type and number of dishes needed per each meal you’ll be making. Then, group each day’s recipes and have them accessible for later cooking.

Since each recipe includes its ingredients and the amounts, you have your grocery list done! Add any other items like snacks and miscellaneous needed and go shopping to that list.

Coming back from the store, remove bags and packaging from every item. Wash all produce, meats, fish, etc. Store packaging helps you transport things home but is not appropriate for storing food items in your freezer or fridge. Peel, cut, divide, season all your items as needed and transfer them to your food storage containers.

If you still have some energy left and would like to save significant time during your week, batch-cook dishes shared by some of your recipes. Then use your containers to save those dishes until you need them throughout the week.

Did you notice that so far, you have gained not only a streamlined, great-looking, manageable, and helpful recipe system but also a great-looking fridge and freezer thanks to your new meal prep and container systems?

14. Follow A Dishwashing Procedure

Provided that your dishwasher is in working order, there is no need to see the accumulation of dirty dishes and things in the sink or counter.

Start every morning with a clean kitchen and an empty dishwasher. As kitchen stuff gets used, each person should rinse their items and place them inside the dishwasher instead of leaving them in the sink or the counter. After dinner, presumably the last meal of the day, all dirty stuff will be inside the dishwasher. The dishwasher runs, and at the end of the cycle or first thing in the morning, whoever is responsible for this task, puts items away.

The dishwasher is available for a new day every morning. However, if the day starts with a loaded dishwasher with clean stuff, there is no chance to accumulate used equipment inside it. Therefore, dirty stuff gets all over the kitchen. It’s as simple as starting the day with an empty dishwasher. Really!

15. Clean & Maintain Appliances

Get in the habit of cleaning the refrigerator and freezer, inside and out, at least once a month. It’s always a good idea to do a weekly fridge cleanout before shopping for groceries. That ensures no food gets forgotten and spoiled in the fridge, plus it makes space in the refrigerator and frees-up containers for that week’s fresh groceries.

Clean your microwave weekly, inside and out. It makes no sense to warm up meals in a crusty microwave featuring food remains from weeks ago.

The dishwasher needs cleaning as well. Do not neglect the dishwasher filter. The filter needs to be hand-cleaned about every other week for the dishwasher to do its job correctly.

So, there you have it — fifteen less-than-exciting considerations to make your kitchen space more efficient, whether renovating the area or just reorganizing. 

Hopefully, these steps will make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable and productive once into place.

But if you feel this is too much for you to handle alone, you don’t have to. Contact us! We’ll be thrilled to partner with you on your kitchen adventure.


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