Archive for the ‘Organizing Your Kitchen’ Category

Get Organized At Home With These Helpful Products & Services

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I recently attend the National Association of Professional Organizers Washington, DC – Metro Chapter’s June meeting.  Members featured new products and resources from the NAPO Conference in Orlando, Florida which I attended this past April. One by one, members demonstrated various products and explained the highlights of some new services. Everything shown was new, unique or a great resource. Below is a list of eight items featured. I’ll blog about the other five items in a future post.  Thank you to all the companies who donated their product.  Each product was given away as a ‘door prize’ at the end of the meeting!  Read on to discover which item I won.

Shelf Improvement Rollout Shelves
Shelf Improvement makes glide out shelves which only require four screws to mount and have a “2 minute” estimated installation time.  They were very solid in construction and had beautiful dovetail corners.  I was very impressed with the quality and price.  The glide out shelves are $79.00 plus $10 shipping for any size.  The widths available are: 10″-30″ wide increasing in 1″ increments and the depths are 21.5″, 18.5″, or 16.5″.  If you’re a do-it yourself type, check out these glide out shelves.

Clearly Noted
These designer note cards were created specifically for Professional Organizers.  They are the concept of my friend and colleague, Jill Revitsky of Discover Organizing from Pittsburgh, PA. The designs are fresh, unique and feminine in style.  They’re also very reasonably priced at $15.30 for a 6-pack.  If you’re an organizer and need stylish stationary to stay in touch with your clients, buy these cards!
The owners of, Maxx & Monica attend the meeting as guests.  Their unique service will scan your precious photos, old slides, and convert your old VHS Tapes and 8 mm film to DVD.  I love the idea of their service called – Stuff ‘n Send. A prepaid box which will hold up to 1600 photos. The photos are scanned at 300 DPI and returned on your choice of digital medium for the current sale price $99.95. They really couldn’t make it any easier.  Make this your Father’s day gift!

Brother P-Touch 1230PC
This easy to use label machine connects to your PC via USB.  You do not have to load software on your PC because it’s preloaded on the machine.  You can conveniently design durable, laminated labels up to ½” wide using your PC keyboard and monitor.  The labels print on their TZ label tape which comes in white, clear, and various other colors.  You can load additional logos or any True Type Font on the machine.  Brother says it’s “Perfect for home or home office labeling needs.”  I won this label machine in the ‘door prize raffle’ at the end of the meeting but I’m a Mac user – so, it’s not so perfect in my opinion.  For PC users, at $49.99, you could use this label machine – a bargain in my opinion.

List Planit
Jen Tankersley has branded her company as “List to Put Your World in Order”, and I agree!  List Planit has over 400 attractive, printable lists and planning pages for you to manage life.  They’re conveniently organized on their site by categories – life, business, kitchen, finance, etc.  They have three types of membership – print, download, or professional ranging from $20 – $50 yearly. That’s If you like paper lists, I highly recommend this service.

Time Timer®
If you saw the episode of Time Makeover on The Fine Living Network when I worked with the Lucchesi family, you would have learned about the very cool, Time Timer®.  Their products demonstrate how much time has elapsed.  If you see the color red on the face, that shows you how much time remains.  If you have trouble managing time or if you’re teaching the concept of time, there is no better tool than a Time Timer®. Their website boasts “This innovative tool constantly reinforces the sense of elapsed time in order to promote better time management.”  You can buy the 3″, 8″ or 12″ version or their handy wrist watch style.  They even have a new PC/Mac software that runs on your computer screen.  I’ve been using it since April to help manage the time I spend on Facebook and Twitter.  Prices start at $30 and I recommend you purchase the timers with the optional audible signal.

Recipe Nest® by Recipe Relish
I’m in love with this concept because I frequently tear recipes out magazines, dreaming of the day I’ll learn to cook.  The Recipe Nest® is perfect because it’s designed to store full-page recipes from your printer or from magazines.  They’re organized with tabbed dividers.  No more trying to punch holes in the flimsy magazine paper!  The built-in easel easily folds out and works with the clip-on the front to display the recipe you’re using.  This keeps my dirty hands off the recipe when cooking and I use a plastic sheet protector, or you can buy the specially designed ‘Recipe Sleeve,’ to keep the recipe clean as you cook.  The surface of the Recipe Nest® is also spill proof, so you can splash and splatter all you want!  There are great colors to choose from and the Recipe Nest® easily fits inside most kitchen cabinets or on a bookshelf.  Choose the color that matches your unique style.  Mine is Kiwi Green!  This is perfect for anyone who likes to cook at $38.95.

Easy Find Lid Food Storage Containers by Rubbermaid
I blogged about these Easy Find Lid Food Storage Containers by Rubbermaid back in September 2008 which I featured them on a WUSA 9 TV Appearance.

Their unique design allows you to snap the lid to the base of the containers.  You’ll never lose a lid again!  They come as small as .05 cup up to 2.5 gallons and all sizes in between.  With this graduated size design, they easily nest together. I’m a huge fan of square storage containers because they optimize your storage space.  Yes, you can microwave and freeze meals in these containers.  A 20 piece set is around $15.99.  I’ve seen them for sale at Target, Harris Teeter and Giant.  Click here to download a coupon for $1.00 off your purchase.

We had five more products featured at the meeting which I’ll feature in a different blog post.  Did you find anything above that would be helpful to you at home or that would make the perfect gift for anyone?  Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts and ideas.

Three Steps to Organize Your Kitchen – What’s Hiding In Your Kitchen?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

As a professional organizer, I’ve been in a few hundred homes, and one thing I’ve discovered is the kitchen is an easy place for clutter to pile up.  Does your kitchen have clutter? If you’re like most Americans, it does!  Keep reading, below are three steps to organizing your kitchen.

You know the kitchen clutter I’m talking about – the plastic grocery store bags that multiply overnight, the mismatched plastic ware, the bread machine you ‘should’ use, or the ‘obligation’ purchase you made at that last Pampered Chef party. The clutter sometimes lands on the kitchen counter but often the disorganization lurks behind the cabinet doors or in the deep, dark pantry.  Because it’s out of site, out of mind, the it easy to forget about the clutter. But, the time will come when you need to find something specific and you’ll have to dig.

You may be on your hands and knees digging in the back of the cabinet, or you’re dropping cans of soup on your toe as you forage past the Mickey Mouse shaped waffle maker, the Ginsu Knives, and the battery powered flour sifter. Either way, it’s frustrating! I’ve seen counter clutter so deep that it has caused personal injury!  Save the digging for the garden this summer and organize your kitchen.

Use my ’3-P’ kitchen organizing method to start process – Pull, Purge, Place.

Pull – Start in one area of your kitchen and pull all the items from the cabinets. When was the last time you wiped down those shelves?  While you are working, clean the shelves! As you place items on the counter, group the similar items together.  You may need a small folding table or your dining room table to have a larger working space.

Purge – Now that you are able to see all of your dishes, plastic ware, kitchen gadgets, pots and pans, etc., it’s time to purge! Kitchen clutter is usually not about having enough storage space. It’s commonly about too much stuff. With that in mind, keep the items you use most often. Beware of multiple items. How many potholders, spatulas, and frying pans can you use at once? If you’ve not used an item in the last year, do you really need it?  Do you have two items that are different but serve a similar purpose? NOTE – Things not to save include; take out containers, plastic ware missing it’s bottom or top, plastic stadium cups, rusty pans – you get the idea.  Give your surplus items to a student moving into their first apartment, have a garage sale, or donate the items to charity.

Don't Do This!!!!

Once You Purge, Don't Do This!!!

Place – When placing the items back in the cabinets, designate a home. For example: coffee maker near the sink with the mugs close by, glasses by the dishwasher, pots by the stove, knives in the food prep area, and so forth.  Your kitchen items should be stored in the area they are used.  Resist the urge to pile everything back into the drawers.  Use drawer organizers to divide utensils in the drawers.  The goal is to be able to open a drawer and see everything inside.

My ’3-P’ method is a good self-help method for organizing your kitchen.  You may need to add accessories to your counter top, drawer glide outs or shelves to maximize your kitchen.  If you have a specific kitchen clutter problem, leave us a comment below, we’ll be happy to help.

Happy cooking, from my kitchen to yours – LOL.  (OK – I laugh because I only prepare food, I don’t cook!)

Organizing At Home, Residential Resolutions in 2009

Friday, December 5th, 2008

“Residential Resolutions”
This year, make that list of attainable goals apply to your home.

PLAYFUL PLACES: De-cluttering and organizing your spaces are at the heart of fun play zones.

PLAYFUL PLACES: De-cluttering and organizing your spaces are at the heart of fun play zones.

‘Residential Resolutions’ was the title of an article featuring tips for getting organized in the new year.  Getting organized is a popular resolution, but many people don’t know where to start or how to stay organized.  The resolution to be clutter free and more productive is right up there with losing weight, spending more time with family and friends, to quit smoking, or to get control of your debt.  What I often hear is people don’t know how to get started with living an organized life. These organizing tips will help.

In this article, I offer a four week plan to get January started as the month to get organized!

Week One – It’s all about post holiday recovery.

Week Two – Attack your kitchen and beyond.

Week Three – Learning about cleaning ‘maid’ easy.  Yes, that’s cleaning made easy.

Week Four – Organizing your extremities, where I talk about an organized wardrobe, your organized car, and successful meal planning.

To read the details of this four week plan, check out the article on Rubbermaid’s website.

Organizing Experts Recommend Products to Stay Organized

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Blogger Debbie Jordan Kravitz of Virtually Organized is a self described “recovering perfectionist” who writes about simplifying and organizing your life.  We’re virtual colleagues since she lives in York, PA.

Recently, she surveyed her colleagues on Facebook and Twitter asking what products they love to use when organizing with clients and she also asked what we didn’t like.  Everyone who’s worked with me knows I am a huge fan of The Container Store’s elfa®.  So it’s no surprise, that was the product I recommend.  Check out her blog to learn about the other organizing products various industry experts love and hate.   Everything from the basic staple to Rubbermaid’s Easy Find Lid food storage containers received props.  You may recall me blogging about the Easy Find Lid containers when I highlighted the products I featured on WUSA9 News.  They’re great for food storage and have a space saving design.

I have to agree with Allison Carter,
of The Professional Organizer who dislikes the toy storage racks that hold 9-12 bins.  These racks for toy storage may look like a good idea, but they are poorly designed.  The bins are too shallow for anything substantial in size, they are hard to take off the rack, the bins fall through the slats, and the bottom two rows are halfway covered by the row above.  Want to know what else was liked or disliked?  Read the whole article here!

Space Saving Kitchen Items

Monday, August 25th, 2008

I simply love when brilliant people recreate common products to fit space limitations or with a new twist. Here are a few favorite pieces I have stumbled upon.

Origami for the Kitchen.
Orikaso has taken a completely flat piece of ultra lightweight polypropylene and engineered it to fold into a bowl, cup, or plate. Imagine the envious people around you when your picnic basket is smaller and lighter in weight, yet you’re sporting ultra cool blanket-top dish ware. Currently you can buy a dinner set, after dinner set, or a complete set for an individual.

Their web store has announced they will soon come out with a fold-up colander/strainer, cutting boards, and a set designed specifically for picnics. I hope they’re released in time for the great Fall movie events on the National Mall. For ‘green’ readers, yes, it is dishwasher safe and you can recycle the items if necessary. However, with a 10 year guarantee, you’ll have these items around for years of enjoyment. Check out how to fold bowl actually folds from a flat piece of polypropylene into the bowl.

Perfect For A Picnic.
Speaking of fantastic picnic plates, check out this amazing plastic plate I recently saw at one my favorite stores in DC, HomeRule. Designed with caterers in mind, this plate allows the user to snap her utensils into place and also hold a wine glass. No more fumbling over how to hold your glass and no more sticking your fork and spoon in your pocket as you move through the buffet line. Problem solved with the all-in-one design. There are even two locations to put your dipping sauces.

Shop HomeRule online or stop in the store to buy a set of 8 plates for $9.99. Grace, the store’s manager, reports that their shoppers love the fact the plates are dishwasher safe and not easily scratched. If not for picnics, use them for your next office luncheon or holiday party. The plates have a luxurious image versus that of something disposable. Plus I love that it is 100% recyclable. What this video to see how the plate works.

If you want to see the video produced by the makers of the CaterPlate, click here to go to Youtube.

Multipurpose & Space Saving Design.
You’ve probably seen the collapsible measuring cups and colanders, but check out the Foldibowl™. This bowl has no hard plastic because it is made completely out of silicon. Therefore it can also be used as a trivet. I love that I can flip it over and push it on to the counter top, where it will stick like a suction cup. It’s a great tool for boaters who don’t want bowls sliding around for those days when they’re out on rough water. I’m going to be giving these as gifts to my friends with boats and to my parents, who have a motor home. To buy online, Google Foldibowl, or check out your local Bed Bath & Beyond store. The lowest price I found online was here.

Do you have a favorite space saving kitchen product? If so, leave a comment to share it with our readers.

Could You Live Like These Three Women?

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

I was recently flipping through Domino magazine’s February Issue, “The Organized Home!” which contained three advertisements that really caught my eye. The first ad was by Citi Cards featuring their ‘Whatever your story is’ ad campaign. Grace lives in a small apartment in the big city and doesn’t cook, so she used her Citi Card to buy some closet organizing supplies to transform her kitchen into a walk-in closet. The ad continued by saying Grace saved room for plates, glasses and silverware, but I certainly don’t see any in the photo!  I love how the stemware holder is now used for sunglasses glasses and the coffee mug tree is used for bracelets. Do you know anyone who stores stuff in their kitchen or stove that’s not specific to cooking related?

Click on any image to see it larger.

The next advertisement for American Express featured writer/actress Tina Fey in their “Are you a card member?” campaign. Obviously she enjoys Post-it notes to capture her creative flow process. I am willing to give her some slack, because she’s a Macbook user and because her daughter is adorable. Tina’s perfect day “Coffee/Playground/Nap/Exercise/Flea Market/Playground/Bath Time/Dinner with Grownups/See a Great Movie/Asleep by 9 PM.” Obviously she does not have time to organize her office. Could you be creative in this mess?

Click on any image to see it larger.

The final ad was by Kohler and features this very glam Hollywood Mom, who’s devilish son (hiding behind the door) used the Purist® Hatbox® Toilet to hide one of Mom’s favorite hats. Perhaps if she had put away the hat, this wouldn’t have happened! After all, there are over 60 hat boxes in the photo that could have been used. Why is the toilet in the middle of the room anyhow? Kohler wants us to believe this $3000 toilet would work just about anywhere, including Bryant Park. You guessed it right, this high fashion toilet was debuted at Fashion Week in New York City.

Click on any image to see it larger.

Could you live like these three women? A kitchen for a closet, paper clutter in your office, or your hats strewn throughout your dressing area? If you have a favorite advertising campaign that features organizing or a lack there of, I’d love to hear about it.