Thursday, January 3, 2013


Call me crazy (and many do) but after going to the trouble of packing holiday ornaments up and gingerly placing them away for their long years nap, I like to attack other rooms in our house, making sure they are as organized as my Christmas bins and tins.  If you're like us, many of the rooms in your house get more wear and tear between Thanksgiving and New Year's than the rest of the year combined.  I like to use January as a month to rinse, lather and prepare to repeat the same traffic in those rooms during the forthcoming year.  And, no, I haven't taken my trees down yet (as mentioned earlier this week) and don't plan to for at least a week (with an exception of the real tree and all real garland..dead trees are never fun to look at nor are they safe to let linger).  For me this is also a great time of year to make note of what worked and what didn't during our heavy entertaining season.  Were those inexpensive cushions I found at Ikea comfortable enough throughout Thanksgiving dinner, or is it worth spending a bit more for better cushions?  Did my tricks for removing candle wax from tablecloths work?  Was the time and effort I put in to the mason jar hanging votives worth it? Did my new towels pill after one use, or hold up for our guests entire visit? Did overnight guests actually use items in their welcome packages, or pay no attention?  As you roll your eyes and think "wow, he's got waayyyy too much time on his hands" learning from design mistakes, I think, is what makes a better designer and, in the end, a more comfortable home for everyone.  While I sat at our kitchen island jotting down my list of dos and don'ts (one of my favorite purchases, by the way.."A Trip to the Islands" 9/11/12) I looked around and realized this room, hands down the most used in our home, needed some reorganization 101 ASAP!  Here are two little things I did to make a huge difference in the organization of our packed kitchen:
A few of our cabinets were overflowing with sugars, flour and other baking goods from holiday cooking projects and another was jam-packed with melamine summer plates, mason jars and random, yet useful, kitchen tchotchkes.  To make sense of the baking goods, I grabbed a bunch of mason jars (you can purchase anywhere from Target to tag stores and everywhere in between..I prefer collecting vintage at antique malls or garage sales for around $.50/each), cleaned them thoroughly and filled them with sugar, flower, rice and other items that were crowding our cabinets. You might be can you tell what's on what shelf, though? I purchased labels at the $.99 store and placed one on a jar and another on a 5x7 card placed on that shelf.  When looking for brown rice, for example, while it might not be at the front of the shelf, I grab the card and know it's there!  To organize summer melamine plates and other items I put them in baskets and placed them on shelves in our cabinets.  This way I can pull out an entire basket to reach it's contents..all organized by theme, of course.  Need extra barware? Pull out the basket with openers, extra napkins, shot glasses, etc. and it's all there, easy to reach, easy to find and very, very organized!