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15 Kitchen Planning Considerations

15 Kitchen Planning Considerations

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Here are important kitchen planning considerations, some of which you might have never thought of.

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

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 attention to these factors when considering 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 little you can do in a cluttered and unappealing kitchen.

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 duplicated or that you do not use or want?

2. Establish Kitchen Work Zones

Kitchen efficiency depends on the proper designation of work zones. Establish zones according to how you use the space to get the most out of your kitchen. 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.
  • 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 baking tools and accessories together to save time and effort when baking if you bake.
  • Keep most frequently used items within easy reach. For example, less frequently used appliances or seasonal serving dishes can occupy out-of-the-way places such as higher shelves or back sections of cabinets.
  • Place drinking glasses and dishes in upper cabinets because that space is more accessible. Specifically, glasses should go on the upper cupboard closest to the fridge because the fridge is where beverages are.
  • Dishes go on an upper cabinet above or directly across from the dishwasher to facilitate putting them away.
  • The counter area by the fridge is ideal for a coffee/tea station. Thus, the drawer below that station should have all coffee/tea accessories.

3. Create Extra Storage Options

Sometimes, a proper declutter won’t create the 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 for other things.

Pull-out drawers 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 due to the lack of a proper disposal system.

We must consider the trash situation to maintain a clean yet great-looking kitchen.

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 comfortably fitting together in that area: trash and recycling.

If your kitchen lacks cabinet space for trash, it is essential to pay attention to the style of your trashcan. Consider getting a rectangular, double-sided trashcan. Rectangular ones are easier to disguise. 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 leftovers and organize your fridge and freezer (more on that in the following section about systems you should have in place).

You should 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 to 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.) and your trash bags.

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

A miscellaneous drawer in the kitchen is handy, but this space should be manageable and intentional.

Junk drawer implies accepting everything we do not want to decide on — clutter.

This utility drawer is not a substitute for the garage either. We’ve seen drills and all kinds of tools in some kitchen drawers.

The utility drawer should contain a few things that are often needed, such as a tape measure, a couple of pens, scissors, a notepad, 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?

organized kitchen

efficient spice cabinet

8. Determine Where the Spices Go

Where do spices go? The most convenient place for spices is near the stove, where we frequently use them.

Select an upper cabinet for the spices to the right or left of the stove area. Another great area is the drawer next to the stove.

Once you decide on the spices storage area, choose among the many spice storage solutions available to make your life easier while cooking with them.

The pantry is the next best option without 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 unavailable, 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!

Ideally, the kitchen should be well-lit and combine top light and task or functional illumination.

Lighting also 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 essential, 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

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’ll 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 steps.

  • Throw out any expired food.
  • Separate the items you keep into categories and designate appropriate spaces in the pantry for these categories.
  • 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, flour, 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. It takes 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.
pantry organization

Organized walk in pantry in Frisco TX

12. Befriend Your Fridge

As a principle, limiting your grocery shopping of produce and meats to smaller quantities that the family will consume weekly is best.

This practice preserves the product’s freshness and nutritional value. It also helps organize your refrigerator space efficiently and enables you to remember the items 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.

On average, your fridge and freezer need a thorough cleaning and disinfecting each month. Use an open pack of baking soda to eliminate odors in your fridge safely should this become a concern.

A well-kept kitchen is a process that takes time. Staying tidy requires lifestyle changes. If you’re ready for those changes and want 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.

Organization for the fridge with food containers

Left overs in containers

13. Adopt A Meal Planning System

Having a meal-planning routine makes your life much easier. Of course, this requires some prep work, but once that’s done, you’ll be gliding through your weekly planning, shopping, and 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 like or want to try.
  • Then, clip them or make photocopies of those recipes to place them individually on 4″ X 6″ index cards.
  • 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).
  • Choose 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 ingredients and the amounts, you have your grocery list done! Add any other items like snacks and miscellaneous needed and go shopping.
  • Coming back from the store, remove bags and packaging from every item.
  • Store packaging helps you transport things home but is inappropriate for storing food items in your freezer or fridge.
  • Wash all produce, meats, fish, etc. Peel, cut, divide, and season all your items as needed, and transfer them to your food storage containers.
  • If you still have some energy left and want 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 you have gained a streamlined, great-looking, manageable, and helpful recipe system and a great-looking fridge and freezer thanks to your new meal prep and container systems?

14. Follow A Sound 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, people should rinse their items and place them inside the dishwasher instead of leaving them in the sink or the counter. All dirty stuff will be inside the dishwasher after dinner, presumably the day’s last meal.

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 of accumulating 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.

Performing a weekly fridge cleanout before grocery shopping is always a good idea. 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. Pay attention to the dishwasher filter. The filter must be hand-cleaned every other week for the dishwasher to do its job correctly.

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

These steps will make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable and productive once in place.

But if you feel this is too much to handle, contact us! We’ll gladly partner with you on your kitchen adventure.

The Mess The Organizer Made

The Mess The Organizer Made

What could be the mess the Organizer made? Allow me to explain.

People overbuy for many reasons and often end up with so much stuff they can’t see what they own. Other times, it’s a matter of not letting go. But whatever the reason, there’s usually a severe problem with space, although the problem lies in how much stuff we accumulate.

There is a need to fill every inch of space available. When there are available drawers in a spare room, they get filled with the most random collection of things because of open storage space.

What We Find

Too often, clients call us to organize a room in their home and insist there needs to be more storage space in the area they want to manage. 

But upon assessing the project, almost invariably, we realize three things:

  1. inefficient use of the space
  2. the space contains unwanted things that have not left the home
  3. much of what the project space includes does not belong there

No wonder there is no space for what does belong in that area.

Once unwanted items are out of that area, and we allocate and organize what is to keep, the client marvels at all the space they have.

But then they turn around and see the mess in their living room. 😂

Okay, So This Is How It Happens

No one expects to end up with a mess in other areas of the house when they engage an organizer to work on their home. That’s for sure.
During the organizing process, what we remove from an area of the home accumulates somewhere else while we work on the project’s primary goal.

Once we organize the project area, whatever is out of that space will require some decisions – what stays, what goes, and the best place to allocate what remains.

Often, we need to repeat the organizing process in areas of the home the client did not contemplate in the project initially. If things removed from one space are to be kept but belong to another area of the house, we need to find the proper space for them wherever they should go.

But when there is no evident storage space for these items where they belong, we must discover or create such storage space. And for that, the whole process repeats itself (remove what does not belong in the other areas and what might be unwanted/unused).

It Always Works Out

As Organizers, we want to delight the client, take care of everything, and leave their home looking perfect. And we know it will all work out in the end. (Because it always does!)

In the meantime, invariably, it’ll get worse before it gets better. So, take a deep breath and play along. The mess the Organizer made will go away.

A Real Case Example

See this example. The first picture is the living area “before.” The second picture is the living room after organizing the first three bedrooms. It might seem as if the pictures are inverted, right? That’s the mess we made! But here’s the other thing: often, a home’s chaos seems contained and controlled. You might not see it, but the clutter monster lurks behind closet doors and inside drawers.

Before picture in the organizing process

Before picture

in the organizing process

“During” picture

How About Enjoying The Holiday Season This Year?

How About Enjoying The Holiday Season This Year?

Enjoying the holiday season this year might be simpler than you think. But this is possible if we take care of a few essential things first.

It Starts on Halloween

Let’s see. It’s Halloween, and you have precisely the stuff you need to create the theme you are going for this year. You know this because you have that neat area in your garage dedicated to holiday décor where every box is labeled. So decorating will be a breeze!

This year, you are dressing up and having fun with the neighbors on Halloween!

You are enjoying it even more because you know how easy it is to put everything away (and while your kids are at school, you can eat all their candy!).

Then Thanksgiving Arrives

While putting all the Halloween décor away, you want to take out all the Thanksgiving stuff. Easy! It is all well-organized. What used to be a grumpy task is now an enjoyable thing to do.

And just like that, Thanksgiving has officially started in your home. It’s time to think of the menu, the guests, football, and all that comes with it. But guess what? You do have the time and capacity to think about all that now.

Your home is decorated, organized, clean, and ready for holiday guests. After that initial effort and investment last year, you maintained the place when we worked together to manage your home and all the storage.

On Thanksgiving Day, you can eat all you want and blissfully go into a food coma while watching football.

And Before You Know It

When recovered, it will be time to decorate for the year’s major holiday and put all Thanksgiving stuff away.

Everyone wonders how this process became so easy this time – everything is organized, accessible, and clean. You are in a jolly mood. It is a beautiful atmosphere.

You have time to shop or tackle all your gift shopping online in a few hours. 

Since your home looks, smells, and feels like the holidays, you have fun gift wrapping. But, of course, it helps that you have a fantastic gift-wrapping station stocked with everything you need for this purpose.

Probably It’s Not You (Yet)

This is probably not your case. You need to contact My Space Reclaimed. Let’s start planning and organizing now so the picture described above will be your story.

People go frantic during the holidays. They have to clean and prepare the home for guests, decorate, plan special activities, shop for gifts, wrap gifts, mail cards, and cook. 

But with a neglected house, seasonal decor shoved everywhere, and disorganization, it is hard to feel at ease or properly decorate, shop, gift-wrap, cook, or plan coherently. That does not sound much like the jolly spirit. 

Shining A Light on Your Home

No time of the year shines a light on our home and family life other than the holidays. Our home is where we get cozy with friends and family to celebrate, cook, eat, and drink while cold outside. So make your home an inviting nest that speaks of love, gatherings, family, and joy.

Being Proactive

All these holiday-related activities can be joyful if we first take care of the fundamentals. With things like home organization and the development of systems that make life more efficient, we create the foundation of an easier time amid everything happening around us. And this sounds like a joyful holiday time. 

So be proactive this year! Start analyzing which home processes can be more efficient, what changes your home needs to feel and look its best, and what home areas need reorganization.

The holidays are approaching, and we would love to ease your burden. Contact My Space Reclaimed and see how we can help you.

Let’s Go Shopping!

Let’s Go Shopping!

We are thrilled to take you on a shopping experience like no other- introducing Shop with Us*, our website’s newest development.

Shop with Us is a carefully selected collection of what will elevate your daily life and home experience.

Some clients ask what’s reasonable to have in a home without excess or deficiencies. For these people, the shop may serve as a guide or validation of their home’s inventory.

Others have the deer-in-headlights syndrome when visiting certain stores. They might face innumerable options without knowing what works best for what or why, or what systems go together. For this group, the shop offers a confident buying experience since items are divided by home space and the best organizing and style solutions had been pre-selected. 

This is an eclectic shop – From the mundane (like cleaning and home miscellaneous) to the sublime (design elements for the sensory experience you want at home). Each piece of the puzzle is equally important in developing the elevated lifestyle you crave. We bring you an intentionally driven purchasing experience without confusion, straight to what each space needs.

Some clients have jumped with us into the unknown (without a parachute) to start a new chapter in their lives. We’ve witness the healing power of starting anew. (Have you ever noticed it’s easier building something from nothing than fixing or transforming something else?). But despite its benefits, starting over from virtually nothing is only for some. However, our experience with those brave souls led us to consider, source, and create new homes and lifestyles for them.

Please note that before acquiring organizing solutions or deal with home design, we must let go of the excess – physical or otherwise. It’s not our intention that you accumulate more stuff or shop for the sake of shopping. Buying storage solutions, containers, or design elements without the proper context will only result in additional clutter. The goal here is to transform your home experience into a streamlined, simpler, organized, exquisite, and fulfilling one.

So, if you have yet to eliminate the clutter in your home and life or you look at this shop collection without a clue of what to get or why, let’s backtrack the process. We’ll happily walk you to a simpler, more organized, stylish, and fulfilling home through design, virtual organization, in-person consultation, or hands-on assistance.

We are constantly learning and growing, and would certainly appreciate your contribution to this shopping experience. Let us know of products that speak to you or diverse uses you give to some mainstream products. Please share your ideas for this shop with us for everyone’s benefit. We’d love your opinion on this new initiative.

Please know that if the items in our shop are not to your taste, you may still use this store as a checklist for all the essentials and charm of a minimalistic, styled, and cozy home. But also, we’d happily create a custom look just for your home, if that’s something that appeals to you. Just contact us!

Shop With Us here.

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualified purchases

No Clothes In Your Laundry Room

No Clothes In Your Laundry Room

The Laundry Nightmare

The laundry room and the process of “doing the laundry” are recurrent household nightmares among people who feel their homes are messy. It might seem a mistake, but no clothes should be in your laundry room. Keep reading to understand how to make peace with your laundry process.

Laundry never ends, and that room is constantly in chaos. Many homes have this area as the entrance to the house from the garage, and this complicates matters. The space becomes the dumping ground for bags, sports equipment, briefcases, papers, lunch boxes, shoes, shopping bags, and everything else we bring into the house from our day out. When we get home, we are tired, and whatever we dump at this entry point usually stays there indefinitely. But add to the mix of piled-up shoes, coats, clean and dirty clothes from everyone, plus the cat litter box, the dogs’ supplies, and the Costco bulk purchases. Not pretty.

Where The Clothes Are

Things would be more straightforward if we could remove the clothes from the scene. But isn’t the laundry room the place to gather dirty clothes to wash and clean pieces of clothing to hang dry? Not necessarily! Here is why.

Clothes should be:

  • on the person wearing them
  • in the hamper
  • inside the washer or dryer (in the process of washing or drying)
  • hung in the closet or folded in the drawer where they belong

There are two exceptions: clothes air-drying and pieces waiting for ironing (only if the ironing happens in the laundry room, which is not typically the case). 

In any instance, these clothes should remain in this space only for a short time. We should manage the whole laundry process on the same day, meaning that clothes should end up where they belong by the end of that day.

To Be Clear

There are two concepts that people often confuse: hamper and laundry basket. These are different.

The hamper holds dirty clothes and lives where we change clothes. Laundry baskets transport clean clothes from the laundry room to the clothes’ storage (as in the closet or drawers). It lives (empty) in the laundry room. 

Also, know that the washing machine, the dryer, and the laundry basket are NOT approved permanent storage for clothing! (And you know who you are!) It might be the easy way to use them as such, but eventually, this creates the chaos you loathe.

The Process That Helps You

Crush the laundry room mess by assigning each person in the home their hamper. Place this hamper where they change clothes. It also helps to wash each person’s load individually. This eliminates the need to sort the clothes for each household member.

Here is the process you should follow to keep the order in your home.

  • Designate a laundry day per household member.
  • On laundry day, bring the hamper to the laundry room (this should be only one load).
  • Wash that load of clothes. Then dry it. Pay attention to that end-of-cycle chime to avoid wasting time.
  • Return the empty hamper to where it belongs (it does not stay in the laundry room)
  • Once the load is dry, place it in a laundry basket (empty baskets live in the laundry room)
  • Take the basket full of clean clothes to put these clothes away. Do it immediately.
  • Return the empty basket to the laundry room (where it lives).

Plan For It To Happen

Try these steps and place the laundry process in the calendar. Leaving the laundry halfway done signifies that it interferes with your schedule. When you include this chore in your calendar, plan for it, and make it part of your household life, it stops intruding upon your time.

Need some help with your home systems? Contact My Space Reclaimed, LLC. We specialize in developing strategies to simplify your life.