Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Top Drawer

Friends, we left off here....

I know this has kept you up some nights...what will she put in this top kitchen drawer?

Here's a hint.

I love to cook, so my spices have always been front and center on my kitchen counter.  

As you can see, the jars came pre- labeled and as I have different spices, I had to make new labels.

Over they years, these labels have started to peel off and the lids started to look a little grungy. 

Also this...

These are the additional spices I use often that don't fit in the spice rack!  Aggravating.

It's always been a little dream of mine to have all my spices in one place.  A girl can dream right?

Now that the top drawer is empty (and lined with grip), let the work begin!

Do the research,...the jars must fit the drawer.  I chose these from #thecontainerstore.  They come with either chrome or white plastic lids.  I love my choices.  I ordered 40!  Did you know you can order online and have them shipped to the store for free?  Who knew?

These are helpful too.  I only had to label 6 that weren't on these pre-made labels.

And one of these was a lifesaver along with a tiny teaspoon.

 Let the filling and labeling begin!

There were a lot of stickers to remove....I really dislike manufacturer labels...ask my clients!  If you're going to make it your own, you've got to remove the label.

This perfect line-up makes me happy.  I hadn't measured across the drawer, only the depth, so this was a happy surprise!

 I closed the drawer in between filling, so that the spillage didn't seep into the drawer.  Here is a sneak peek of my progress.

 Oh it made my heart sing when I was finished!  I especially love that the jars all fit perfectly in the drawer  by width and length.  Notice there are 3 jars unclaimed (as of yet anyway).

There was some excess space at the back of the drawer, so I located a couple of plastic rectangular containers and placed all the excess spice in their containers in there.  I know I'll use up what I have this way.  

Bonus that the containers fit exactly and thus keep the jars from rattling around.  The grip liner helps too.

The jar filling took some time, but the clean up took a lot more.  Why are projects often like this?

These miscellaneous glass and plastic jars may come in handy in my art studio or the garage later. Soaking off the labels is a necessary chore.  


All sparkling clean, ready for repurposing!

Before                                                      After

  What will go in the gap on the counter?  NOTHING.  Now the pitcher with the spoons and the oil/salt/pepper tray can be easily moved when more counter space is needed.

What's your kitchen spice count?

Do you keep your spices in a cabinet, a rack, a drawer or somewhere else?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What a Difference A Drawer Divider Makes

These 4 drawers have given me lots of trouble over the years.

Sandwiched right between the stove and the dishwasher, many kitchen items have been stored here and forgotten.  It's always been a bit of a mess. There have been some challenges.  

Currently, the top drawer holds kitchen utensils.  Not knives, never knives.  All sharp objects in my kitchen are in a separate drawer.  No need to reach in to a mess and cut myself  (my biggest cooking fear).  I am sure some people can keep their knives and utensils in the same drawer, living together happily.  I am not one of those people.  

The next drawer is obviously very messy.  What's all in there anyway?  Hard to find and grab what is needed in the moment.

Next is towels and rags.  My husband complains that he cannot tell a dishrag from a dish towel.  There may have been arguing.  Well, who can tell them apart in this mess?  

Eww, that potholder needs laundering.

Next is all the items that don't fit anywhere else in the kitchen.  This could be classified as a "junk drawer" but all the items go together, so it's my "kitchen junk drawer".  Birthday candles, cheesecloth (for mulled cider of course!), twisty-ties, plasticware, napkins, string, paper plates, pilfered restaurant mustard & ketchup packets, and other necessary items.

Last is the "bag drawer".  Garbage bags, small paper bags, and plastic shopping bags.  The cat wandered in to see what was going on.  She may have climbed into the drawer too at one point.

This drawer has been organized for quite some time, ever since I learned how to fold these sweet little triangles out of those pesky plastic shopping bags.  

Kitchen origami, swoon.

To organize the other drawers, there was shopping involved.  Kitchen drawer organizers are amazing.  Just be sure to measure carefully.  It is so disappointing to come home with the wrong size.  

When it's the right size, ahhhhh...I love how all the handles are pointing the same way.  Easy to grab them.

Can you guess what this is? 

I love that it fit perfectly at the back of the drawer.

Next up, that messy dish towel/dish rag drawer.  Rags on the left,  towels on the right. Marital bliss is restored.

Hey, what about this drawer?

Stay tuned!  A creative solution is coming, and as some of us know, creativity takes time, and in this case, a little muscle.

Doesn't this look SO much better?

Before                                                                                            After

There is something so restful about having a beautifully organized space.  

So, I know you're thinking...what's going in the top drawer?

Wait and see!!!

Honestly, when's the last time you laundered your potholders?

Enter your guess naming the mystery utensil in the comments below.

Post your messiest kitchen drawer and tag my Facebook page!

Friday, October 16, 2015

An Organized Back Entry

Front entries are easier to keep organized, because they welcome everyone into the house.  There is usually a closet to store coats and shoes in and they are often small separate spaces or part of the larger living room.

Back entries are another matter.  They often become a catch-all for all sorts of things that may or may not have a permanent place to be kept.  Often items are set here as if in a holding area until they can be moved somewhere else such as a garage or basement.  

More often, these items never get moved.  The truth hurts.

If not kept tidy, back entries can become extremely cluttered.  It can be hard to remember what is actually stored there as well as hard to identify what things are.  And we all know that if we can't find it, that it can be quite frustrating! 

Sometimes we even will go buy another two or three of something because not only have we forgotten we own it already, we've forgotten where we put it!

Sound familiar?

This is before...

It was definetly a challenge to find anything in here.

First we removed everything and thoughtfully considered which items should be kept in this space  

Note:  If your back entry is unheated and you live in a cold climate, then anything that shouldn't be frozen, needs to be moved.  

I'm reminded myself of this tonight as there is a freeze warning!

In this space we kept, among other items:
Nails, screws, hooks etc.
Coolers and lunch bags
Electrical cords
Twine & wire
Gardening supplies 
Painting supplies
Brooms, dustpans, dusters
Work gloves

Everything must be sorted out and containers need to be located.  We found storage containers for everything we wanted to keep!

Be sure to look around your home before buying any containers.  You might already have the perfect thing to store your lightbulbs in.

This is after...

I am a fan of clear containers as you can see what's in them.

I also love labeling all the containers as well as the shelves.  This makes it so easy to see/read what you have at one glance, and most of all, put it back when you're doing using it. 

Labels can be a big help if you have children in your home.

It's fine to have some empty space. No doubt you will find something to put there!
Pegboards make for handy storage.

These inexpensive plastic jars can be ordered here.
Be sure to label the tops and then the jar can easily be replaced after use.
Having a well organized back room can save you a lot of time and trouble when you need to fix something.

What's your favorite item to keep in your back entry?

Have you ever bought something then discovered that you already owned it?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

6 Questions to Sort Paperwork

Paperwork.  Does anyone really like paperwork?

When I ask my clients what is the number one area of their life they'd like organized, they usually answer paperwork!  While actually sorting out papers and creating/maintaining a filing system is a chore that few people relish, (except for me, the professional organizer!) there is something so settling and peaceful about having all of the important papers in order where one can easily and quickly access them.

It is time well spent.  You will save time, aggravation, and surprisingly, even money by having all your paperwork in order.

First you've got to have something to file them in.  I recommend making a practice filing system using these boxes.  Once you have everything filed, then you'll know what size filing cabinet you need.   They come in many drawer quantities and there are even desks with file drawers built right in them.  Of course you'll want to consider your space as well.

I've got this beauty in my office. It's a vintage military cabinet that I picked up at the Beldenville Flea.  It's really sturdy and heavy.  The doors close smoothly and evenly and it holds the just right for me amount of paperwork!

It was love at first sight!
I once worked in a small office that held 4 filing cabinets with a total of 14 file drawers.  I felt surrounded by paper and despite all of that organization, it took me hours and sometimes more than one day to locate just the right form or piece of paper. 

It turns out that the last 2 people that had held my position had each made their own filing system, rather than sorting out what was there.  Oh my!  I wish I had taken photos of when I sorted out all that paperwork into just 5 file drawers.  What a relief and a feeling of security to be able to find just what I needed, when I needed it.

No matter the pile of paperwork facing you, with a little help, it can be done!

First, gather all of your paperwork in one place.  It's going to be a bit messy for awhile, so best to allocate an unused room, a  large table or a lot of boxes to this task.  Remember to gather from all rooms of your house. It is surprising how much paper is lurking in our attics, our basements, and even our automobiles!  

Any memorabilia that you find goes into a separate box.  Sorting memorabilia is another topic for another time.

Once all the paperwork is together, let the sorting begin!  You should always keep these documents and create appropriately named files for them.  As for the rest, ask yourself the following questions to determine to keep or discard.

1. What is this?
2. Why am I holding on to it?
3.  Have I already learned/used this information?
4.  Do I ever need to look at this again and under what circumstances?
5.  Can I find this on the internet?
6.  Shall I save this for a future project that I want to spend time on?

Remember to always shred anything that has personal information on it!

In less time than you think may be possible, you could have all your paperwork in order.  

Imagine the could be yours.

What kind of filing cabinet do you use?

Do you have a funny or not-so-funny story to share about lost or misplaced paperwork?