Spick and Span

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Spick and Span

Two of the most used rooms in the house, the kitchen and bath are inevitably prone to clutter and chaos. The pros offer their advice for how to tackle your mess and turn it into a success.The main factors in any organization project are time and mentality. “The first step is planning,” says Standolyn Robertson, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and owner of Things In Place Organizing Services. “To allow enough time, the rule of thumb is: estimate how long you think it will take and multiply that by three.”

Next, you should set up activity zones for each room. “Set up your kitchen as a triangle, moving from stove to sink to rerigerator,” says Ramona Creel, Professional Organizer and founder of OnlineOrganizing.com, an online resource for organizing products and services. “The paths in this triangle should be kept clear of obstacles like a trash can or a dog dish.” Keep the following tips and expert advice in mind when organizing your kitchen:

Mind over matter

The main factors in any organization project are time and mentality. “The first step is planning,” says Standolyn Robertson, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and owner of Things In Place Organizing Services. “To allow enough time, the rule of thumb is: estimate how long you think it will take and multiply that by three.”

Next, you should set up activity zones for each room. “Set up your kitchen as a triangle, moving from stove to sink to rerigerator,” says Ramona Creel, Professional Organizer and founder of OnlineOrganizing.com, an online resource for organizing products and services. “The paths in this triangle should be kept clear of obstacles like a trash can or a dog dish.”

In the kitchen

  • “Cooking is creating,” Robertson says. “You need a clear pallet, so clear your counters to produce your meals.”
  • Creel recommends you set up a “station” for each of the five basic kitchen activities and keep your equipment nearest the appropriate center:

    1. Cleaning–sink, dishwasher, trashcan, soap, rags, sponges
    2. Cooking–stove, pots, pans, microwave, toaster
    3. Food prep–countertop, mixing bowls, blender, measuring cups
    4. Food storage–refrigerator, plastic containers, canned foods
    5. Serving–dishes, linens, candles, flatware, glasses

  • “Do the math: 50 plastic containers to store leftovers is out of line with your needs,” Robertson says.
  • “Alphabetize spices in a rack to make them easier to locate,” Creel says. She also recommends you keep small packets, like gravy, JELL-O and dip mixes, together in a basket, and group all of your foods together in categories for easy access.

In the bath

  • Use college dorm-style totes to store small items.
  • Make kits to store in the linen closet for the following: first aid, spa, manicure, hair coloring, cold and flu tote (tissue, lozenges, cough syrup).
  • Color-code kids’ bath items.
  • Regularly check for empty, outdated and worn items that you can discard. 

Products and paraphernalia

If you realize the importance of having an organized kitchen and bath, but don’t feel you can tackle the organization project on your own, there are hundreds of professionals available to help you. To find a professional organizer near you, visit NAPO’s Web site, www.napo.net.

Robertson offers the following tips for organizing your bath:Investing in containers, baskets and other organizational products is a key step in keeping your kitchen and bath organized. “Hold off buying permanent storage containers until you’ve completed the cleaning step,” Robertson says. “Then, you can choose containers to store the things you are going to keep.”

The following items are at the top of Creel and Robertson’s lists of products to buy for organizing your kitchen and bath:

  • Containers. “It can be a bin or a basket–any unit that will contain a category of a particular item, like make-up or sponges,” Robertson says.
  • Racks and pull-out storage. These make use of any “dead space” in a cabinet, according to Creel, and they make it easy to access your stored items.
  • Drawer dividers. These keep utensils, small bath items and much more separated and easy to find.

If you realize the importance of having an organized kitchen and bath, but don’t feel you can tackle the organization project on your own, there are hundreds of professionals available to help you. To find a professional organizer near you, visit NAPO’s Web site, www.napo.net.

When Good Foods Go Bad

 Use the following guide in identifying whether you should discard or keep the following foods:

  • Canned foods last 2 to 5 years
  • Cereal lasts up to 6 months
  • Pasta can be kept for up to 1 year after purchase
  • Spices are good for 6 to 12 months
  • Flours last for 3-6 months
  • Grains and legumes last up to 1 year
  • Dried herbs remain edible and flavorful for only 6 months
  • Condiments last up to 1 year

Source: OnlineOrganizing.com

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