Does Your Kitchen’s Functionality Need Tweaking?

For a kitchen to function well, things must be stored efficiently.

Kitchens are the heart of the home. How is yours working for you? Is there anything you can do to make your current space more efficient? During the holidays, we spend an abundance of time in the kitchen, cooking, eating, and cleaning. It’s a great time to tweak things, so your kitchen functions as well as possible. Below are some ideas for quick fixes, along with suggestions to keep in mind future improvements.

How well are the contents in your kitchen arranged?

Some kitchen items can be decorative while not being used
  • Are the dishes and glasses that you use every day in a spot to be easily put away when emptying the dishwasher and dish drainer? Ideally, it would be best if you did not have to take steps to complete this task.
  • On the other hand, it makes sense to have the flatware, including serving pieces, near the table, if possible. When emptying the dishwasher, you can take the whole silverware caddy over to the drawer to put the utensils away, and you won’t end up walking back and forth.
  • If you like to bake, are all your baking needs—including bowls, and common ingredients like flour, sugar, baking powder, salt—within easy reach of each other?
  • Are the cooking utensils and pots and pans that you use regularly stored next to the stove? And are they organized a way such that you can quickly retrieve the one you need?
  • If you have a collection of herbs and spices, are they stored close to the stove? Are they organized so you can immediately find the one you want?
  • Do you have potholders stored next to the oven?
  • Are there utensils, implements, gadgets that you use only occasionally taking up room and cluttering up your core storage locations? Could they be relocated to a less central location to free up central space?
  • Is the trashcan located next to, underneath, or within easy reach of the sink?
kitchen with pots on shelves
Shelving can add additional storage.

Some suggestions on kitchen storage:

  • Within a cabinet, try to group things that are the same height on the same shelf—like cups and mugs, for instance. Then, if you tighten up space above, you may be able to add an extra shelf.
  • Add decorative storage baskets above cabinets to store things used infrequently.
  • Retrofit an antique hutch to look like a built-in cabinet to add storage.
  • Seek out vertical wall storage systems that could organize kitchen utensils and gadgets.
  • Or use a utensil crock/holder on the counter next to the stove to hold your most often used cook’s tools—it’s almost like a chef’s bouquet!
  • Put a two-tiered lazy susan inside your cabinet to hold herbs and spices. Lazy susans make them easier to find and keep less frequently used spices from getting lost in the back. 
  • Add a wire rack suspended from an upper shelf to hold a platter or two and free up shelf space.
  • Do you have numerous platters and trays piled on top of one another? Stacking the boxes that they came in, if sturdy—or obtaining suitable flat ones—opened on one edge, allows you to easily slide any of them out, even from the bottom of the pile, without chipping them.

Suggestions for future kitchen function improvements

More suggestions to improve a kitchen’s functionality:

  • Install recessed, pendant, and under-the-counter lighting.
  • Install outlet strips to make sure there is an outlet where you need it.
  • Install a swan neck faucet to make your sink able to accommodate large pots and pans.
  • Use a kitchen cart to create a coffee bar to free up room on the counter.
  • Create a built-in dining nook with storage drawers under the seats.
  • If your kitchen has a door to the outside, consider replacing it with an all-glass door to let more light in, and make sure it has a screen.
  • Buy things that require little maintenance. Don’t waste your time with dishes that are not able to go into the dishwasher. Your time is better spent doing things that make you happy!

The Container Store is a great source for ideas on how to organize specific parts of your kitchen. They have ideas for utensil drawers, spices, pantries, junk drawers and more.

I hope you found the time to read my lastest posts: Sherwin Williams Color Forecast for 2020 is a Homerun , What to expect in luxury home decor fabrics for 2020 from the Robert Allen and Duralee Group, and The Gary Mead Gallery. Coming soon will be a post about furniture trends for 2020. If you enjoy keeping up on trends and can use some ideas for making your home perfect for you, please subsribe.

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pillow with my happy place written on it

Ten Practical Tips to Conquer Clutter for Good

Storage and organization go hand in hand with design. You can create the most beautiful space, but if it has clutter, who can enjoy it or feel good in it? As I keep saying; It is all about Designing to be happy!

Clutter means different things to different people. To some, it means it is time to clean out the junk drawer. But to others, it can be a much bigger deal, and may even prevent them from entertaining in their home. If left un-managed, it can create tension between family members, cause stress, and unhappiness.

How much clutter do you have? Whether you have a little or a lot, these tips can help you can conquer it.

Clutter in our home can cause us stress

Tip 1 of 10- Design with storage in mind

If you live in small quarters, it is easy to accumulate clutter simply because there are not enough places to store items. Try to reduce what you have by eliminating doubles and things that you don’t use often. Next, make sure you are using your closets and other storage areas as efficiently as possible. Be very selective when choosing furniture. Tall furniture pieces take advantage of verticle space and provide much-needed storage. A credenza with storage space can be utilized behind a sofa and would be a better choice than a console table that does not have storage space. It is incredible how much extra space can be found with good design.

Tip 2 of 10- Thin out the excess

If you can’t blame the lack of space, perhaps you have too much stuff. Over the years, we acquire and inherit, and the result is the burden of caring for much more than we need. In some cases, it becomes overwhelming. When this occurs in your life, it is time to thin out what you have. This task is sometimes difficult because there are emotional reasons that prevent us from letting go. Let go of things that don’t fit into your ultimate design plan. Permit yourself to give away items that you have felt obligated to keep.

Tip 3 of 10- Develop good organization habits

Some people are innately good at keeping things organized. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, it just means you have to work a little harder at it. Start by making a conscious effort to make sure everything has a designated space and that it gets returned to it’s named home after use.

Tip 4 of 10- Throw out what is of no use

Throw out anything you don’t want, and that would be of no use to others. Get rid of old paperwork, broken household items, tattered towels, comforters, sheets. Completing this step first frees up space in which other belongings can be stored.

Closet systems can help control clutter

Tip 5 of 10- Give away

It is easier to lighten the load if you find your once treasured belongings a new home. If you don’t use it or need it, see if friends or family have a use for it. That way, you did something nice for yourself and someone else! Also, there is a fabulous website called freecycle that helps put you in touch with community members who might be searching for the very item you are looking to give away.

Tip 6 of 10- Donate to charity

Donating to a charity is great to do too. Some will even pick up clothing and household items that you would like to donate. I confess that I am guilty of arranging a pick up before getting donations together to get my family to clean out their closets. That tactic has a 100% success rate.

Tip 7 of 10- Sell unwanted items with significant value

Technology makes it easy to turn unwanted items that are valuable into cash. Craigslist, facebook marketplace, let it go, and next-door are great places to post the items you wish to sell. They are also an excellent resource to determine the value of the things you are selling.

Tip 8 of 10- Box up items that are difficult to let go of

If you are finding it difficult to part with some items, try boxing them up in plastic totes and storing them for a while. The plastic totes keep your items safe. If a year goes by and you have not looked for the things you packed up, it may be easier for you to bring them to a donation shop.

Tip 9 of 10- Go digital when possible to get rid of paper clutter

Try going digital if you must retain it—besides not taking up physical space in your home, it will be easier to find when you need it. Digital works great for papers but also can work for keepsakes from the past. Try taking photos of each thing, and then permit yourself to let go of the actual items. You will still be able to enjoy them.

checklist of what has to be done to remove clutter
Make a list of goals and then check off as you make progress

Tip 10 of 10- Take small steps

Be careful about pulling everything out all at once and becoming overwhelmed. If you have a lot to go through, remember that it took a long time to collect, and it may take some time to clear out. Be patient, and keep forging ahead. Taking small steps is still working in the right direction and eventually will get you to your goal.