11 Tips for Organizing Your Kitchen


By: Hannah Young
 
Give your kitchen a detox and declutter with some ideas that can be implemented annually, as well as habits that will help you out every day.
 

1. Clear your surfaces. Move everything off of your countertops and give them a thorough clean — then step back and enjoy the result. With this in mind, clean each item you’ve removed and think carefully about whether it deserves a place on display. Ideally, you will put back only items that are used on a daily basis.
 

2. Banish the paper. Do you struggle to find your bar counter when it’s time for before-dinner drinks? The mail, newspapers and magazines often land on the nearest flat surface and clutter up the space. A good solution is to hang magazine racks on a wall or to install a small basket nearby to keep everything contained. Try to book a weekly date in your calendar to sort, discard and respond.
 
3. Investigate the depths. Do you know what’s in your fridge and freezer, and how long it has been there? How about making this the year you use up all that extra food? Get into the habit of checking what you already have before you put together a meal plan for the week. Then, when you go shopping, you’ll know exactly what you need and be less likely to buy on impulse.
 
4. Give it away. Let’s be honest: Most of us have received a gift or two that we don’t really want. If it’s a seasonal item of food or drink, avoid letting it hang around and go stale, and instead give it to someone who will appreciate it more. Don’t be shy about regifting, as long as you make sure it’s into a different circle of friends!
 
5. Do the dishes daily. The humble dishwasher can make or break your day. Get into the habit of fully loading it in the evening and running it overnight. In the morning, you’ll be ready to go, as clean bowls and spoons can be put right on the table for breakfast.
 
Allocate cabinets near the dishwasher for dishes and glasses so that it’s easy to put everything away quickly. By clearing the dishwasher in the morning, you’ll have an empty area in which to put everything as you use it, ready for the next evening cycle.
 

 6. Plan a place for everything. This kitchen is pretty extreme in its stark lack of clutter, but there’s a lot to be said for precise planning when thinking about new cabinets. If you have a home for everything in a drawer or pullout, then there’s really no reason to leave much on the counter. Flat fronts and no handles also make this kitchen pretty quick to clean.

7. Make use of glass. Open shelves look great in a kitchen — it’s nice both aesthetically and practically to be able to see what you have. However, many people are put off by the dust and grease floating around. So why not consider installing cabinets with glass doors to give you the best of both worlds? This may even inspire you to declutter so that you can display the mugs and plates you love in a pleasing way, rather than cramming everything in.
 

8. Let it go. How many mugs do you have? If, like most of us, you have more than you’ll use at any one time, give yourself permission to get rid of some. It’s easy to fall into the trap of hanging on to an item too long just because it has become part of the kitchen.
 
Try to be objective as you look through your collections and send those you don’t need, don’t like or think are unsuitable to your local thrift shop. If you’re having trouble doing it on your own, enlist the help of a friend or find a professional.
 

9. Dig out the gadgets. Now is a great time to inspect those kitchen appliances lurking at the back of your cabinets and drawers. If you don’t think you’re going to use one, send it to a thrift shop or sell it on websites like eBay and Craigslist.
 
Gadgets you want to keep should be easy to access, so find a place for them on the counter or consider some nifty storage solutions. An appliance garage with outlets will keep things neatly behind closed doors and ready to go when needed.

10. Organize your cabinets. A top organizing tip for any space is to keep similar items in the same place. Arrange your pantry cabinets so that you have savory items (canned goods, pasta, grains) in one and sweet items (baking ingredients, cookies) in another. Maximize storage by outfitting cabinets with small shelves for items such as spices, and using shallow drawers or containers that can be pulled out from the back of deep cabinets.
 
11. Store items next to their point of use. Keep things where you use them. Think about all the items you require for a task. If you’re making a cup of tea, for example, how far do you move around your kitchen to gather together a mug, teabag, kettle, milk and teaspoon?
 
Try to think of your kitchen layout in terms of “stations” where you complete different tasks, then store the relevant items near each one. You’re more likely to put things away — and less likely to drop them — if they’re nearby.
 
 
Related Links:
Get Your Countertops Sparkling Clean
Bring a Small Mailbox Indoors to Organize Your Papers
Start Organizing Your Kitchen Cabinets Today

Top 10 Tips for Staging Your Home and Selling it Fast


By: Susan C. Kim
 
A real estate slump is a real drag, especially if you’re trying to sell your abode. So stage your pad to beat out the competition and draw in more prospective buyers. Most buyers have a hard time looking past pink walls and green shag carpet, so do the legwork for them and present their “new home” on a silver platter. If done smartly, the money spent staging will be made up tenfold in the house sale — and you keep all the hot accessories for yourself afterwards (or unload them on Craigslist).
 
Here are some tips I used when staging my San Francisco condo. This unit sold within a month and a half for just below asking price. The exact same (un-staged) unit, located one floor down, never even got an offer. So there you have it.
 

 
1. Clear it all out. Move every single thing out of your place. That goes for your beloved troll doll collection, leopard skin rug, and the couch your mom claims you were born on. As sentimental as these things might seem to you, buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in your space; seeing clothes in the closet, family photos, and random tchotchkes prevents them from doing so. Then place back in only necessary furniture, keeping in mind that you want the space to look big, clean, spacious, and uncluttered. This isn’t supposed to be a functional room. Nope. As I did in this living area, you can lose the TV, stereo, side tables, and ottomans if it creates more room.
 

 
2. Freshen up the style. You may be a diehard Shabby Chic follower, but even Rachel Ashwell would agree that not everyone is. Aim for a style that most buyers would like, even if it’s not your cup of tea. Furnishings that seem homey and comforting — yet fresh and contemporary — give an aura that your home is updated and well cared for. Neutrals work best; just add colorful touches here and there. For this home office, I used a bright rug to punch in some color and pattern to an otherwise boxy white room. The clear console stands in for a desk (if buyers saw my real desk stacked with papers and dirty coffee mugs, they’d run for the hills). Curtains hide the closet doors and soften the hard walls. Stick-on mirrors from IKEA reflect light and space.

 


 
3. Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest one of all? Your room, that’s who. Use mirrors liberally to make your area look bigger, lighter, brighter, and encourage sunlight to bounce all over the walls. In this small dining area, the mirror even adds color by reflecting the painting that’s hanging in the living area. How’s that for working double duty?
 
4. Don’t forget the details. Set the table. It’s easy to do and makes a big impact. Buyers walk in and instantly feel welcome, like as if they’re coming over for dinner. Light clean- or non-scented candles, place plush towels and fancy soap in the bathrooms, a breakfast tray on the bed, and a pretty book on the coffee table. If all goes as planned, they’ll want to stay over forever.
 

 
5. Play with texture. Wallpaper, pillows, rugs, blankets, baskets, and other tactile accessories can play up texture in a room. It’s an easy way for anyone, even my colorblind husband, to add warmth to a blah room. Try grass cloth wallpaper on plain walls that need a little oomph, such as in this master bedroom, where buyers expect to see a little more luxury and style.
 

 
6. Smart accessories. I cleared this kitchen counter of appliances, spice racks, towels, and cooking utensils and left only a few things: a couple of cookbooks and a shiny tea kettle. Random? Not at all. The gourmet cookbooks give the impression that this kitchen is built for serious cooking. It’s called “branding” — and it’s what advertisers bombard you with every day. You’re advertising your home, so buyers need not know that your cooking skills are actually a fire hazard to your own kitchen. The cookbooks here say culinary creations might have been whipped up here.
 

 
7. Small furniture, big space. It’s the trick of the trade: downsize your furnishings to upsize the room. Here, I got rid of the king-size bed, two nightstands, a dresser, and a bookcase; can you imagine what this room looked like with all that stuff crammed in there? I replaced it with a queen-size bed, a mirror, and two tiny lamps placed on footstools. That’s it. The one thing I regret is not ironing those sheets very well; it would have looked so much neater.
 
8. Create vignettes. Set up little scenes that help buyers visualize their potential life in this home. For the nursery, I wanted the buyer to walk in and say, “How lovely, I could totally see my future baby sitting in that chair nicely reading a book.” Now, if I can just get my own baby to do that….
 

 
9. Don’t forget the outdoor areas. Those spaces add as much interest for the buyer as the interior rooms. For this unsightly roof deck, I added inexpensive bamboo sheeting to the rail, an outdoor rug, small table and bistro chairs, and a few plants. Now the buyers will see this formerly blank space as an additional living area. Bonus.
 

 
10. White is nice. When in doubt, use white in the bathroom. It spells clean, and that’s what buyers want in a bathroom. Plus, it matches the toilet. (Note the absence of bath rugs, toothbrushes, and fuzzy toilet covers).

 

For more tips on organizing or selling your home, check out these other Houzz articles:

7 Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner


Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means it’s time to start planning for the big day. Preparing a meal can be stressful regardless of whether it’s for a few friends or a large gathering, so we’ve rounded up seven important tips to help your Thanksgiving meal run smoothly. All these tricks can all be done in advance, leaving you more time to catch your breath between now and when your guests arrive.

 

Thanksgiving Tips


1. Take inventory

Make sure you have all of the cookware and kitchen tools needed to cook the menu you have planned. Broke your pie dish? Only have a dessert thermometer? Now is the time to grab the items that will help your meal succeed.

 

2. Make a prep list

Cooking a turkey, side dishes, and dessert can be hard to balance regardless of the size of your kitchen. Figure out in advance what recipes can be made ahead, which ones will take the longest to cook, and what dishes can share the oven space.

 

3. Make ahead and freeze

There are many dishes that can be prepared in advance and will freeze well. Cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and sweet potato casserole are all good options to make ahead.

 

4. Thaw the bird

If you have a frozen turkey, make sure you leave ample time to thaw it. The rule of thumb is for every four pounds in weight, the turkey must thaw one day.

 

5. Utilize a cooler

Fridge space is prime real estate during Thanksgiving, but purchasing a cooler can help. Fill one with ice and you now have a space to temporarily store all the random jellies and condiments from your fridge that you can’t seem to part with, leaving you more space in the fridge to stock up on menu essentials.

 

6. Ask for help outside of the kitchen

Try not to overcrowd your kitchen by having guests help with tasks such as serving drinks, hanging coats, and entertaining children. If space allows, set up the drink station away from the kitchen.

 

7. Keep food warm

If the turkey takes too long to cook, don’t fret. Slow cookers, thermoses and microwaves are all great options for keeping dishes warm until you’re ready to enjoy.