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For The Love Of Dogs

For The Love Of Dogs

Let’s discuss some aspects of caring for, living with, and loving a dog that sometimes even dog owners ignore.

If you know me, then you know I love animals more than words can express. In particular, I adore dogs.

When working with a new client with dogs, I ensure those little ones have an adequate, clean, and comfy place to sleep (I will celebrate big if I hear they share your bed!).

I will note where they eat and drink and observe the type of relationship my clients have with their pups. It’s in my nature to look out for these defenseless, loving beings.

Many never notice when I clean their companions’ bowls, feed them fresh food, and serve them fresh water. I try to be discrete to avoid my fellow humans from feeling self-conscious.

But today, I’d like to address some things about living with dogs. I might ruffle some feathers, but I am not apologizing for that — not this time.

Dogs deserve all our love, compassion, and more! As humans, we owe them big. Dogs, as we know them, did not exist in nature. We created them by domesticating their wild ancestors. We created this type of creature that depends on us. It would be absurd to turn our backs on them by neglecting their complex needs. Dogs are intelligent, sentient, social beings; often caring for them with “just the basics” won’t do.

Why do you “own” dogs? If the answer is purely practical, please look for a loving, deserving family for them. Dogs love and need love. They are much better than us at seeing through our intentions and feelings. Dogs know when they are not loved. That can break a dog’s heart and spirit. So, if you have dogs but do not love them — truly love them, do yourself and the dogs a favor and rehome them ASAP.

Now, continue reading if you have dogs because you genuinely love and respect them. On behalf of my canine friends, I have some pointers that might not be the usual things we consider.

Safety First

Microchip your dog(s) and keep the national registry updated about pertinent changes like moving (duh!). Also, remember to include them in all possible national registries. Registering your dog(s) will substantially increase the chances of finding your fur babies if they get lost. It is only possible to use the technology if you keep the registries current.

Create a name tag for the dog’s collar with your phone number and address (not the vet’s). If the dog gets lost, reuniting him with the owners is easier if he has a tag on the collar with the home number, given that the vet’s office is not open 24/7. Consider also incorporating an Air Tag to your dog’s collar. There are collars that come equipped with a space to insert an Air Tag but also simple adapters for regular collars are available.

It is essential to have that tag because not everyone will be willing or able to take the dog to a place to scan the microchip. And, as I learned the hard way once (happy ending, though!), not all sites have scanners that can read all kinds of microchips.

If your animal sleeps in the room with you and the metal sound of their ID plate bothers you, consider following a routine to remove the collar last thing before going to be and putting it back on first thing in the morning.

Adopt, Do Not Buy!

Millions of animals need a good home out there! Don’t pay hundreds of dollars for an animal when so much love dies every day in shelters! Dogs get depressed and heartbroken in those places. They know why they are there. They feel the rejection and void in their hearts. Yet, ironically, these are the most grateful, intelligent, and graceful creatures you will ever find.

Besides, whenever money is involved with animals, inevitably unscrupulous behavior follows at some point. Nothing good ever comes from seeing animals in terms of dollars and cents. If you only knew the horrors these animals go through in places like puppy mills (that supply pet shops), you would definitively consider adopting instead of buying.

Spay or Neuter

Be a responsible owner and spay or neuter your dogs. There are way too many pups in shelters waiting for a loving family. Avoid the heartache of dealing with a litter of puppies. Chances are puppies will end up in houses where they are less than cherished, especially if the owners of these puppies did not have to pay a hefty price for them.

Adequate Shelter

Be kind if you have chosen to share your home with an animal. Animals deserve so much better from us. They did not choose to be your pet. You did.

Please do not get a dog and ignore him or leave him outside. Dogs have socialization and love needs. They also feel the heat and the cold. The “house dog” is okay for cartoons and stories (perhaps), but it does not work that way in real life.

Kenneling

If you kennel your dog(s) when you are not home, ensure that the kennel has adequate ventilation and that the dog has access to clean water. 

There are water bottles for kennels that work with gravity and water demand as the dog drinks. These eliminate the mess.

Remember that the dog will do his best to avoid soiling the kennel, but do not push their limits or abuse their good nature and respect for you. You don’t want their bladder to explode or the dog in pain. Keep in mind that you have a kenneled dog at home. Either go home at the usual time and allow them to go potty or make arrangements with a neighbor or paid service to walk the dog at some time during your absence.

Ensure the kennel has a soft surface for the dog to rest. For example, get a kennel cushion or place some plush (clean) towels inside the kennel.

Find a good location for the kennel. For example, avoid direct sunlight or dangerous spaces with access to electrical cables. When the kennel is in an area with a fan or windows, leave the fan on and window blinds or shutters open for the dog to enjoy natural light. It is best not to cover the kennel with towels or blankets. The dog enjoys seeing the surroundings. 

Leave the tv on or the radio at low volume for entertainment. 

Consider also leaving a chew toy inside the kennel.

When the dog is very young or getting used to living in your home, leave a piece of clothing or bedding with your scent.

By the way, a kennel that is the appropriate size allows the dog to stand upright and move around. Ensure the kennel is the correct size for your dog. Can you imagine spending your days in a cage where you can’t stretch your legs? That is a form of torture (and even then, the dog still loves you. Dang! We don’t deserve them.

Dog Grooming

Some breeds are supposed to skip bathing (like the Puli or the Komondor). Even if your dog does not share your bed, please bathe them from time to time, groom them, clip their nails, and express their anal glands (yep, that too!). Don’t want to do this yourself? Hire a grooming service. Don’t you have the resources for that, and don’t you want to do it yourself? Don’t have a dog!

I’ve heard many times, “We don’t want the dog inside because he smells.” And who’s fault is that? You would smell ten times worse than any dog if you stopped showering for several weeks.

Homes with pets tend to develop strong odors when not following proper hygiene. Therefore, wash their beds and clean their quarters as often as possible. Make this part of your cleaning routine (as in schedule it!).

Walking The Dog

Smile, for God’s sake! I can’t tell you how many times I have crossed paths with people walking their dogs who look so miserable and act so anti-socially that they don’t even answer a “hello.” 

It is your privilege to be in the company of such a magnificent creature that loves you! If this thought does not make you smile, read the seventh paragraph above again.

Allow your dog to sniff around. What is the purpose of walking your dog if you constantly pull the leash when the dog wants to “read the news”? It’s their time! Let them enjoy themselves. Smells are to a dog what Facebook or Instagram are to you. That is how they know who is around and what is happening. Their daily walk might be the only socialization the dog will get in his entire day!

Consider using a harness instead of latching the leash to the dog’s collar. When the dog pulls away or if you pull the dog, the collar hurts tender tendons in the neck. This kind of injury can be severe. And speaking of leashes, avoid those retractable ones. There have been too many instances of those leashes causing severe injuries to dogs and humans alike!

Food And Water

Thoroughly clean your dog’s bowls daily with soap and water, regardless of the type of food you feed your dogs. If your dog eats wet or raw food, you must adhere to a schedule to remove and discard leftovers and wash the bowls after every feeding.

When it comes to the water dish, it is not just a matter of replenishing the water. Every time a dog drinks water from a bowl, the saliva goes into it, and mixed with the water, it creates a slimy film in the bowl. So let’s keep those bowls squeaky clean and grant them constant access to fresh, abundant water.

Consider a raised feeder for their bowls for medium or large dog breeds. It is hard for taller dogs to eat or drink from a bowl on the floor. These raised feeders also help their digestion, given how they eat more comfortably. It’s a good idea to place a large rubber mat under bowls or feeder to avoid bigger messes.

Avoid human food. Yes, to human-grade food for dogs, but prepare it according to their needs, calibrating its composition and caloric value. 

Do not give dogs your chicken bones and things like that. Some dogs might behave as if they were garbage disposals. But they are not and should not be treated as such. Avoid feeding them the family’s leftovers, and much less the spoiled food in your fridge. You and the dog will both pay for awful consequences.

If your pup eats dry food, transferring the food to a sealed plastic container in your pantry (floor level) will keep the food clean and fresh. Also, you will quickly know when to buy more, and the food will be accessible and easy to serve. Keep the dry food bag closed, especially if storing it in the garage!

Sleeping

Hopefully, your dog has a comfortable bed or a comfy, cozy corner to sleep in and feel safe. Wash the bed at least every month if the bed has a removable cover. When dogs sleep on blankets or towels, wash all that stuff regularly. Dogs need a clean place, too!

Invest In Training

It is better to have a trained dog than to spend the few years he lives with us, yelling at the poor creature when he does the wrong thing. Dogs are intelligent creatures. It is us, humans, that are inconsistent and impatient with them. How should they learn when we don’t show them what we expect? (But then again, we all know some people should have taken IQ tests before having human children!)

Keep Them Healthy

Vet care

The least you can do for your dog is to ensure that he has an annual checkup with the vet to receive their shots and, at minimum, one thorough dental cleaning per year. Bacteria from the gums can easily affect the heart of a dog.

Of course, whenever a dog looks or acts strangely, take him to the vet to ensure his well-being.

Prevent heartworms

Remember the heartworm medication every single month. Seeing a dog suffering from heartworms is deplorable when this is easily avoidable.

Treat those fleas!

Can you imagine what the dog goes through living with an infestation of fleas 24/7? Don’t treat the fleas, and you won’t have to imagine it for long. Enough said!

Preparing For Baby

Put that baby blanket to good use

Before bringing your new baby home, allow the dog to familiarize himself with the baby’s scent. A used baby blanket is great to place in the dog’s kennel or bed. The reception of your baby by your furry friend will be much different.

Don’t break their heart!

Please do not neglect your dog or feel you have to keep the dog out now that you have a baby. That is a sure way to break a dog’s heart and create resentment towards your baby. Dogs are (or should be) part of the family. They naturally bond with babies and love caring for them! If you do not have enough love to share now that you have a child, find a loving family that does not feel that way. The dog deserves it!

Train early on

Consider engaging a trainer before the baby arrives. A trainer can help you and the dog work on walks with a stroller and other foreseeable situations you might want to prepare. Advanced training will decrease the stress of bringing the newest family member home. Primarily, work on barking at the door and greeting visitors. These are two areas where significant challenges arise upon bringing a new baby to a home with dogs.

Dogs And Kids

Dogs and kids are a great combination only when the children have learned to respect the dog. 

Some people think it is funny or speak highly of the dog when their children do all kinds of things to their dog, and the dog does not bite or snarl. This only speaks highly of those persons’ stupidity, I’m afraid. They are pushing their dogs’ limits, potentially creating a dangerous situation for both the child and the dog. The dog is being harmed, abused, or at least disrespected. Adults model a terrible example for their children this way.

Children need to learn early in life that dogs need to be respected and cherished, which is why dogs share the home with the family. What part of this is funny or should make the dog owner proud? I do not have a frigging idea!

Things We Do That Dogs Hate

Play dress-up

Do you think dressing up your dog for Halloween or other occasions is so cute and funny? Newsflash! They do not share your views on this. So do not do this ridiculous thing! Dogs don’t like the feel and know how stupid they look. Believe me!

Face to face loving

Do not love your dog by placing your face close to theirs. Dogs hate it! They might tolerate it because it’s you, and they love you and do not want to disappoint you. But they do not like this a bit.

Leaving them outside

Some dogs are suited for cold climates, but others are not. If it feels cold to you and your dog is not a furry snow beast (like our Great Pyrenees), consider getting them a size-appropriate jacket for those moments when there is no other option than going outside. 

Do not presume that being a dog and having fur is automatic protection. Freezing weather is when your dog won’t mind being dressed warmly (just a jacket and booties)

If your dog sleeps outside, bring them inside unless out is their choice (some breeds are like that)! They are part of the family. If you do not think a dog’s place is inside the home, again, DO NOT HAVE A DOG! 

In many states, leaving a dog outside when it is too hot or cold is a crime. And there is a reason for that — it is an aberrant act of cruelty!

Shaving off their fur in the summer

The dog’s fur protects him against the cold and insulates him in the heat. Some people think they do their dogs a favor by shaving off their hair when it is too hot. Unfortunately, this makes the dog lose their natural protection against the heat. Unless the dog is very matted and there is no better solution than shaving the hair, do not do such a thing!

Final Thoughts

Do not ignore your dog(s). Dogs look for eye contact as a reassurance of your love. So please look at them, smile at them, talk to them. Often. 

Tomography images of the dog’s brain have shown that when a dog sees his beloved human, the brain lights up in the same manner the human brain behaves in the presence of a loved one.

Whoever abandons an old dog because he has become an inconvenience or no longer as much fun as he used to be deserves the same treatment by their children. 

Neglecting or rejecting an older dog is a lesson they teach their children. So, wait for it — Karma is a bitch and is coming for you one of these days.

If you have the privilege of sharing your home with an animal, then honor that. Honor them! Don’t consider that a privilege? Then, allow someone else to give those creatures the love, happiness, care, and honor they deserve.

For the love of dogs!

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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.

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.

15 Tips To Love Your Pantry Again

15 Tips To Love Your Pantry Again

As Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases through affiliate links.

Here are 15 tips to increase your pantry’s space, order, and beauty so you can love it again.

1. Edibles Go In The Pantry

Space permitting, contain all edible items in your kitchen in the pantry. Kitchen cabinets are for kitchen equipment, dining, and serving items. Include pet food and snacks in the pantry. Use pet food containers to avoid having open pet food bags and spills. Use the smaller versions of these pet food containers for treats. If you mix treats, snack time will always surprise your furry friends. Mixing their treats in a single container avoids having many bags and treat containers open at once.

2. Remove Cleaning Products

Avoid storing cleaning products in the pantry. Kitchen cleaning products should go in the cabinet space under the sink. All other cleaning tools and products have their place in the laundry room.

Baskets or crates on pantry floor

3. Use Floor Space Wisely

Fit your pantry floor with baskets or crates to store plastic and paper serving products, beverage bottles or cans, water gallons, water jugs, and other items like lunch boxes. The floor area is a good storage space, but we must make it appropriate for holding our stuff.

4. Zone Your Pantry

Create zones in your pantry so the various product groups are on their dedicated space/shelf. Creating areas for the different product groups makes the space more efficient.

5. Hook It Up

Include a hook behind the pantry door for aprons if you use them.

6. Contain Plastic Bags

Add a plastic bag dispenser behind the pantry door. Think Simply Human. Their Wall Mount Grocery Bag Dispenser offers a practical addition to your pantry space to contain those plastic bags while keeping them accessible.

7. Got Bulk?

Dog food containers are ideal for storing dry bulk goods in your pantry.  Align these containers along the floor or the highest shelf.

Dog food containers are excellent alternative to store bulk dry goods.

8. Pizazz!

Consider adding lights to each shelf underside and watch the magic happen! Lighting under cabinets adds an incredible vibe to the space but also the functionality counter space needs.

9. To Line Or Not To Line?

Some people consider lining their shelves and drawers a must; others don’t. If shelf-lining is essential, consider a product like Zip-N-Fit Premium Liner. This liner easily cuts to size by folding and tearing the pieces. It makes lining a breeze. There are great alternatives, but you should get a product that makes the job easy and makes you happy. Lining shelves (the right way) is a project and can be an investment. Whatever you decide, measure twice and cut correctly so your shelves and drawers look sharp and are appropriately protected.

10. What To Do About Cans?

Organize canned products using tiered can organizers. These organizers allow you to see all cans at a glance and save space on the shelves. Look for the expandable kind to maximize the use of space.

11. Pantry Corners (Do We Have To?)

Using Lazy Susans on pantry corners is a good idea to maintain access to those awkward spaces. For added convenience, consider those lazy susans with raised edges and divisions so that what you place in them does not fall off.

Individually packed snacks in clear pantry bins

12. Snacks, Anyone?

Consider baskets or bins to place individually packed snacks. Remove them from their original boxes or packaging first.

13. Dry Goods: The Pantry Defining Item

Dry goods will define your pantry’s biggest question: Do you want a Pinterest pantry or a more functional one?

The Pinterest look is a high-maintenance alternative, as it requires consistently transferring all dry goods to containers each time you bring new products home.

The functional approach allows items to remain in their original packaging but clustered in bins or baskets.

Dry goods are cereals, rice, grains, dry fruit, crackers, cookies, pasta, flour, chips, and the like. These items should not be exposed to moisture and should last for some time after opening the package.

Pro Tip: measure each shelf to determine the space available and count how many different kinds of dry products are in your dry goods category. Whether you use the functional or high-maintenance approach, you must first know what to buy and how much.

Pro Tip: Stay clear of round containers, as they waste a lot of space. Go with rectangular or square, but stick to the same type of container to achieve a polished look.

14. Labeling Is Important

Labeling is a necessary step. It allows everyone to find what’s needed quickly. Labeling also reminds everyone where to put things back; thus, it is crucial to preserve the pantry order when many people share the space.

When using containers in your pantry, label these with a system that adapts to changes. Tastes and preferences of household members change over time. You want a labeling system that looks great but that can be modified easily.

If you use the cluster method to keep items in your pantry, label your bins or baskets with the product category.

But regardless of your preferred method, labeling the shelves also is a good idea. Label the shelf space where each item category should go.

kitchen spices on Elfa over the door solution

15. Where Do Spices Go?

Unless you keep your cooking spices next to the stove, these should go in the pantry. As with any other pantry group, spices should be together and have specific space on a shelf. A tiered spice rack on the shelf is ideal for placing all the spices because it lets you see them all at once.

When pantry shelf space is not an option, the Elfa Spice Rack comes to the rescue! This clever solution goes on the inside of your pantry door – a true lifesaver.

These tips will help transform your pantry into a happier, more efficient place for the benefit of everyone involved. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some pantry help. We love pantries!

How Is That Convenient Auto-Shipment Working For You?

How Is That Convenient Auto-Shipment Working For You?

Excess purchases are a significant component of the clutter we encounter in our clients’ homes. In this case, I’m referring to purchases driven by auto-shipping programs. So, how does that convenient auto-shipment work for you?

They offer savings on things we would buy anyway, so why not?

Moreover, they save us the trouble of having to remember to reorder. What can be better? How can this be so bad?

First, lured by the savings on what you intend to purchase, you might get into the bundling of items you did not need or want to qualify for reduced shipping rates or discounted prices. That means additional unnecessary expenses and more clutter in your home.

Second, there is the quantity of stuff shipped. I often see an excess of products delivered to my clients’ homes. 

Whether they order an excessive amount of the product to qualify for the program parameters or take advantage of the shipping expense per fixed order amount, they get more than they can use before the next shipment arrives.

The third is the shipping frequency. It could be that the program establishes a specific frequency to lower the shipping costs or ensure future purchases. It may also be a misjudgment of the reordering time. But truth be told, pre-scheduled deliveries also compound the situation by arriving way too frequently.

What’s The Result?

If you have the situation mentioned above, then you probably are experiencing one or more of the following factors:

  • Boxes and other packing material from deliveries that are so frequent that you can’t seem to catch up
  • An excessive number of products need to be stored in odd or illogical places because you no longer have space in the logical area for that type of item
  • Product overflow lies around just anywhere because it does not fit anywhere else, or you “have not had time to put it away.”
  • That pesky recurrent charge on your credit card that you always say you will eliminate, but you always forget to

Can You Relate?

In principle, these auto-ship programs may save money and offer the advantage of not considering placing future orders. However, they work under limited circumstances and for certain people or products.

Often, we just let things go. The status quo goes on as days, weeks, and months pass. But, because we don’t manage these subscriptions, we must manage the clutter that results. 

If automatic deliveries run your life and home, please handle this situation now. Adjust the frequency of deliveries, the number of products, and the products you buy, or eliminate the auto-shipment. Go! Now!