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 to Best Prepare for Tax Season

Stasia Steele  The Little Details

This time of year can be particularly taxing – make it easier with some of these helpful tax tips:

Dig up all of your receipts. Whether it’s a business transaction, major purchase, charitable contribution or other notable transaction, these receipts could lead to deductions. Here’s a list of tax deductions for you to reference.

• Some of these transactions may have occurred online, so remember to search for receipts in your email.
• For receipts that are not online, consider scanning them onto your computer to minimize the risk of losing them or having the ink fade away. Make a note on the receipt so you know exactly what type of expense it was. Store them in the cloud in case your computer crashes and you no longer have access to your files.

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February 13, 2017: National Clean Out Your Computer Day

Judy Eisenberg, Clutter Clearer Coach

National Clean Out Your Computer Day is observed each year on the second Monday of February. The designation was originally sponsored by the Institute for Business Technology in the year 2000.

During the year, I periodically check out my own information and transfer files to appropriate folders, delete outdated information,
computer screen - eliminate the clutter hereand eliminate photos that are no longer meaningful or needed. Yet, this day is a good reminder to me to clean out my computer more often.

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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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Too many tutus

I was shopping for baby presents and came across a cute book aimed at 1st graders, Fancy Nancy: Too Many Tutus, by Jane O’Connor. It caught my attention because it focused on tackling the overabundance of a particular favorite item.

Nancy is a young dancer who can’t fit new dance outfits into her stuffed closet. Over the course of the book, she learns to let go of some beloved, but outgrown, worn out and duplicate tutus in order to make room for the new ones. The book also includes a gentle lesson about sharing with friends and a younger sibling.

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Everyday Orgnaizing

Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®Upon returning home from getting my hair cut, I realized how many little things I organized. I can name 10 steps I took:

1. Hung up my keys
2. Hung up my coat
3. Put my gloves and hat away
4. Took of my boots and put them on the mat
5. Put my pocketbook away
6. Took my check book out of my pocketbook and put it back where it belongs
7. Put my book away (I brought a book to read at the hairdressers.)
8. Wrote my next hair appointment in my datebook
9. Tossed the hair appointment notice
10. Collected the mail and put it in it’s “to sort” location (I won’t go into the steps I took to process the mail. That’s a whole other blog entry.)

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The Reach Ability Factor

Reach Ability Factor
by Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®

In organizing, just like real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.  Where we permanently and temporarily place our belongings, papers, projects and information, is important because it helps us find what we want when we need it.  The Reach Ability Factor is a system that helps us decide the best location for things based on how frequently we use them.  We have 4 sections.

  • Section A:  Items in this section are things we use daily, like our toothbrush, our favorite coffee mug, and underclothes.  Everything in section A is easy to reach, all we have to do is reach out an grab it.
  • Section B:  Items in this section are things we use weekly but not necessarily daily, like our workout clothes, and specific utensils or dishes.  Everything in section B requires us to move a little, but still within comfortable reach.
  • Section C:  Items in this section are things we use occasionally, like suitcases,  a food processor, and extra blankets.  Everything in section C requires us to exert more effort to reach, like bending down or using a step stool.
  • Section D:  Items in this section are things we use once a year, like holiday decorations, or things you can’t part with like our wedding gown.  Everything in section D would be in a remote storage area like the basement, attic, or a cabinet that is more difficult to reach.

The Reach Ability Factor is meant as a guide to help individuals evaluate the best location for their belongings.  What is a perfect spot for one person is not the best spot for another.  Organizing is personal.
Please note that it’s important to concentrate efforts on one’s current lifestyle and reevaluate the placement of items once a year.

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Use a Lazy Susan to Tame Craft Supplies

If you are a crafter, you know how many small supplies go along with your hobby; pens, scissors, pins/needles, tape measure, buttons, paint, the list goes on.  While these items are essential for the success of your work, they are also easy to lose.  Having a clear home for these items helps you stay productive and organized while working.

A great organizing strategy for the craft or hobby room is a Lazy Susan.  The ability for the supplies to be displayed clearly and interacted with easily is ideal.  The Lazy Susan in the picture came with several glass dishes that fit in the tray.  They were perfect for holding pins, measuring tape and other small items.  If your Lazy Susan does not have dishes, simply using cans or jars will serve the same purpose.

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Moving to multiple destinations

Working with individuals who are downsizing for a move means I run into more and more people moving items to multiple destinations.  Recently I spoke to someone who needed to transport items to new homes in both Boston and California as well as a local storage unit.  The packing company had to know exactly what to pack and ship to each destination and we needed an easy system for accomplishing this goal.

We decided to use different colored masking tape and assign each location a color.  Every item in the house would get a strip of tape based upon where it needed to go.  Then the packers would know exactly which items to pack up for each house or the storage unit.  Brilliant.

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Shopping from your cabinets

When my pantry gets a little too full I look at what I have and make a meal plan based upon the contents before buying more food. Often times I get almost a week’s worth of dinners from the food. This prevents my pantry and refrigerator from becoming too full. When either space gets packed it is hard to see what is on hand and duplicates are bought by mistake. I like to “shop and cook” from my cabinets and fridge about once per month instead of buying ingredients according to a menu I have already created.

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