Kitchen Harmony: How to Organize Your Kitchen for Maximum Soul

Erika Salloux Living Harmony LLC

We often hear “You are what you eat.”  I’m going to take you a lot further today, and say that not only is this very true, but we are also how we eat and where we eat.  So when we order our kitchen and regularly engage in certain food practices we order ourselves and consequently generate more harmony in our lives.  Here are the top eight tips that my clients find most helpful when I work with them to reorganize their kitchens to create physically and spiritually nourishing spaces:

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How City Living Makes it Easy to Be a Minimalist

Cheryl Russo, Organizing by Cheryl

By now you’ve probably heard the term “minimalism.” There are books, blogs, websites, magazine articles, and films dedicated to it. Maybe you have heard just enough to be intrigued and want to learn more about it. Maybe you’ve read about what it can provide in terms of less stress, finding direction, and focusing on what matters in life, and maybe that interests you. It definitely attracted me, and I’ve been reaping the benefits ever since I first learned about it. It’s something that once you’ve started, you don’t stop. You see everything you do through the lens of minimalism. You no longer just buy stuff; you have a method to purchasing. You think about each new item that comes into your home. You might even have a rule like, “if I buy something, then something that I have gets donated.” There are lots of resources out there for how and why to become a minimalist.

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The Simpler the Better

Receiving a thank you note in the mail is pleasant. It’s even more pleasant when you’re being thanked for something you didn’t realize would make an impact on the other person. This happened to me when I offered a simple organizing solution to a Realtor I had met at a networking event. She asked me if I had any ideas how she could keep all her real estate forms portable and organized. I suggested a portable accordion file. The next thing I know, I’m reading a very sincere thank you note that makes me smile. It just goes to show you, sometimes the simplest organizing solutions are the best solutions. In this case, find a good home for paper and things.

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Gift cards, love ‘em or hate ‘em

Ahhhh, summer in the air brings high school graduations, college graduations, birthdays, weddings, even times to appreciate your staff – and that means gifts. Sometimes all those presents come in extremely small packages… gift cards.

Gift cards, in my opinion, are both a blessing and a curse. The reason I say this is because it is a fabulous gift to allow people to choose what they want. In addition, the cards are easy to mail and don’t require tons of boxes or wrapping paper to make them look like presents. They are a curse because people forget about them or lose them in piles somewhere in their homes. I’ve encountered this a number of times, not just with clients but also among friends and family.

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Greeting Cards Organized in Hanging File Folders

A client of mine loves to give gifts and send greeting cards to friends and family.  She had been keeping her cards in several baskets but they were not in any order.  After sorting the cards into similar categories: birthday, holiday, sympathy and so on, and purging some cards that she no longer cared for (especially the free cards sent by charitable organizations as a thank you for your donation) we needed a way to organize the cards.

card drawer

The volume of cards was considerable so the card storage boxes that can be purchased at Hallmark would not cut it.  My client already had a two-drawer filing cabinet in her bedroom that was not being utilized.  After emptying the filing cabinet, we madefile tabs with her categories and put the cards in the hanging files.  This makes it much easier for her to see the collection she has and choose a card to send.

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Yard Sales

Selling what you no longer want or need is one way of bringing in a bit of extra cash, so long as you know what you’re in for. Yard Sales are a lot of work. If you want to give it a try here are my top 5 tips:

1. Spread the Word – if no one comes, you won’t be selling a thing. List your sale locally, both on line and in print. Share the date with friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers.
2. Price to sell – remember people are looking for bargains. Group things together by price and have a colored sticker code. This beats having to print up or write up price tickets.
3. Get a permit – some towns require a yard sale permit. You don’t want to have to pay a fine, if your town requires a permit, and you don’t have one. Check with your town hall before you plan a yard sale.
4. Donate after the sale – establish the rule that nothing from the sale goes back into the house or garage. Instead pick a donation location before the sale and set up a pick up date or drop off date.
5. Have cash on hand – make a trip to the bank before your sale so you’re prepared. Only accept cash as payment, and have plenty of change and singles to make for smoother transactions.

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Real World Organization: Wall of Games

My husband and I have some friends who like games just as much as we do.  I’m talking about board games.  While this is a great hobby, it does create the need for a way to store a large volume of boxes and game containers.

Games.thumbnail

My friends created this awesome shelving system to store and display their games.  Long pieces of wood shelving were attached to L brackets attaching the shelves to the wall.  The open concept makes it very easy to see all the games that are available and easy to put away after playing.

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Resources to Reduce Paper Mail

I was at the National Association of Professional Organizers Conference for 5 days and guess how many pieces of mail I received? Only 9! In addition, I did receive one local newspaper and one packet of flyers. Out of those nine pieces of mail, two were really good, a check and a copy of the news article in which I was quoted. Not bad, right? Would you like to know the secret of how you can receive less mail? Below are my top 3 tips on how to reduce the amount of mail you receive:

1.  Get your name removed from mailing lists for newspapers, magazines, catalogs and solicitations. Please note it can take up to 6 months to be removed from a mailing list. Some websites to try:

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Simple tips: Bathroom products

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by clutter and don’t know where to start? Sometimes just picking one type of item or one small area of a cluttered space and organizing that is a great start. Small organizing projects can usually be finished quickly, and it’s easier to focus on one small part of a big task than to tackle the whole thing at once.

I have a few simple tips that I’ve found make a huge difference for a lot of us. You might not find every single tip useful for your space, but I bet you’ll be able to take advantage of one or two.

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Cleaning Schedules: Maintaining sparkly surfaces with just minutes a day

I’d like to confess that although I love to organize, I dislike cleaning. My awesome husband usually picks up the slack or I pull marathon cleaning sessions before guests arrive. I don’t like either of these scenarios and right now hiring a cleaner is not an option. So I’m making it my new year’s resolution to get organized about my cleaning.

There are many cleaning schedules online where all the common household chores are spread out over a series of days so that you can work consistently towards a clean home. Here are a few websites that I found with sound solutions:

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