Thursday, December 17, 2009

Odd-sized Kitchen Drawer? Organize Your Utensils

When I moved into my new home this spring, I had the usual batch of organizing questions. Where should everything go? As many people do, I began with the heart of the home: the kitchen.

I hit a snag right away, though. There were two options to house my day-to-day utensils. On one side of the kitchen, there was a drawer that was too small to hold an average-size utensil tray. On the other side, in a less convenient location, was a large drawer where the utensils would only fill half of the space and have to share with other items.

Luckily, I found a great product from The Container Store called "Custom Drawer Organizers." I was able to give away my old utensil tray, and custom-create three spaces just for forks, knives, and spoons. I also used it in the drawer below to separate whisks, spatulas, etc. It was a great solution.

If you plan to use this product to customize your kitchen drawers, here are some suggestions:

1. Measure twice, cut once.

2. Err on the side of "tightness," as the plastic connections give a little over time.

3. If you are uncomfortable scoring plastic (with an exacto knife) or breaking it apart by hand, ask a friend to help you. The process doesn't take a lot of strength, but it does take accuracy.

Overall, I'm happy with the versatility this product has given my kitchen drawers. While a little pricey, the solution was much cheaper than redesigning my kitchen drawers and much less irritating that having items in an inconvenient place.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ideas to Tackle the Tupperware

Try these products to tackle your overflowing Tupperware cabinet:

Rubbermaid Easy-find Lids


Smart Spin Containers

Spruce Up Your Kitchen

The holiday season can be a great time to take a second look at your kitchen cabinets. Before you start your holiday cooking, follow these simple steps to streamline your kitchen.

Check your expiration dates. Throw out expired items. Determine why you didn’t use the items, and decide if they need replacing. If a food item doesn’t have an expiration date, use a sharpie to mark a date several months out, and get rid of it then. Don’t risk eating spoiled food to save three dollars.

Do you need all this stuff? Take an honest look at what you actually use. Do you bake four pies every holiday? If you don’t, you don’t need the four pie pans you bought a decade ago with the best of intentions. Avoid the “just-in-case” excuse. Most seldomly-used items can be bought or borrowed in a pinch.

Tackle that Tupperware! If your plastic storage containers are overflowing, consider an overhaul. Try to have only three or four sizes of containers, all from the same brand.

Put items in their proper places. I know it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people are reaching and bending for utensils they use every day. Start by sorting items in piles for daily use, weekly use, and less often. Items used more often should be able to be accessed without squatting or grabbing the footstool. Items used less than once a month may be able to be stored in other rooms or storage areas. Consider putting great-grandma’s antique platter on a shelf or the mantle instead of taking up prime kitchen space.

Remember, there are a lot of people in need, especially this year. Your kitchen items could be just what a family needs to make their holidays special. Consider donating to worthy causes.