Tag Archives: well-kept spaces

Kitchen Secrets from a Professional Organzier

Today kitchens are the centerpiece of the design of most homes.  The “open concept” makes kitchen organization just as important for easy clean up as it does for ease of cooking.  When a professional organizer sets up a kitchen we look for vertical storage, drawers, pantry and if lower cabinets have pull out drawers.

VERTICAL STORAGE – Often it does not exist, but can be claimed.  Narrow spaces in lower cabinets often have pull outs for, well sometimes I wonder?  Yes they can be for spices and oils, but many times the space is too small to see what is placed there. Consider removing the drawers and use for vertical storage.  Also, over the refrigerator the large deep cabinet space can be divided for baking sheets, serving trays, cheese platters, cutting boards, and large seldom used items.

Drawers are so helpful in organizing your kitchen.  For cutlery and cooking tools drawer dividers/organizers essential.  Personally, there is nothing so inspiring as an organized flatware drawer!  Either by purchasing organizers at a retail store or having custom ones made, this keeps things in order.  Deep drawers are great for bowls, plates, and other larger items.

Pantry storage can be unique.  If there is not room in the kitchen, consider using a closet, if one is next to the kitchen.  Especially if the refrigerator is close.  Then all food needs are together.  I love having drawers in the pantry.  They can be used to hold/contain things like baking items that are small, food storage things like baggies, aluminum foil, saran wrap, even chips and bread.

Lower Cabinet Pull-out drawers make it easy to access the back of lower deep cabinets. Personally, I do not care for pull out drawer boxes above waist height as you loose space where you gain access.  The sides of the drawer boxes and glides and cause the loss of several inches at each shelf.  Also, when pull outs are above eye level seeing what is inside is impossible.  This is an important consideration for you when designing a new kitchen.  

The most important secret to organizing your kitchen is to “reboot”.  Don’t let past experiences form your plan.  Often the layout is different, you have new items, and needs have changed. Keep it simple and do be afraid of trying something creative.

Deep, high cabinets converted to vertical storage.

Narrow spaces beside the oven becomes baking sheet storage.

Dividers for cutlery

Deep drawers for heavy items

Pull-out drawer boxes make easy access for lower cabinets.

Drawer can contain some "like" items. ie baking needs, chips, food wrap.

Drawers as containers – perfect for grouping baking needs, chips, food wrap…

Making Room for 2017

Every year we make resolutions to make more time for family, business, and ourselves.  Each year we promise we will get more organized in the new year.  This is why January is National Get Organized Month.

Happily, I am ahead of the game.  For the first time, I took all Christmas decorations down within days of Christmas.  Yesterday, I created my 2017 file folders.  That never takes too long, but in the past I have always procrastinated until well after first of the year.

It is amazing how much better I feel; prepared for a successful 2017!  It really is true, getting rid of excess makes room for future.  Not just in physical space, but in your mind as well.  The tree is down, and makes my home seem bigger.  Files for 2016 are boxed and ready for storage and new files ready for action.  

Next week is busy with clients, but I am ready for busy year and look forward to more time for myself. If you are ready for a change in 2017, don’t wait.  Start meeting your goals today.

 

Organize Time, Don’t Hoard the Clock

Time is one of life’s most precious commodities.  We never have enough for family and friends. It seems work and project deadlines are always upon us; who reading this has too vacations that are too long?

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Recently a friend , not an organizing colleague but a professional in another field, was sharing an experience of working with a hoarder. “She kept me waiting for an hour, another time she was still asleep the when I arrived” he said.  I explained that hoarding not only happen with collections of “stuff”, but it also can occur with time.  A time hoarder is someone that is trying to “do it all, not just keep it all”.

Dicitionary.com defines Hoard as a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc.  Saying “yes” to every opportunity, not being able to “edit” your schedule can make your free time disappear.

Schedule work and play activities, check the calendar before making commitments, and most importantly do not be afraid to say “no” or “not now”.  You will be surprised how quickly the clutter of your minutes become pleasant organized hours.

Kitchen Clearing Clutter Game

Play High, Low, or Let It GO!

Kitchen Upper

If it is difficult to edit the clutter from your kitchen, try a fun exercise I created when helping a client organize her kitchen. The new custom home was finished and the move-in had just begun.  After the long anticipation my client found it difficult deciding what to edit and where to place the keepers.

So in the kitchen, I mounted the step ladder with items in hand. After creating the zones for kitchen work – food storage, food preparation, cooking, and cleanup – I simply asked “High, low, or let it go?”  Things needed for daily use were placed in the lower part of the tall upper cabinets.  If they were seldom used, but needed for entertaining they went high.  Quickly, she realized that if items did not fit into either of the first two categories, there were easier to pass on to others and clear the clutter.

After ten minutes, she said this made the process into a more enjoyable game.  If you have had a time editing your excess, try “High, Low, or Let It GO!”

Diary of a Move
from city to village

Long time clients recently moved to the east end of Long Island.  In her blog, MyFoodVoice.me, Louise shares the story of their transition and gives insightful lessons for letting go.  She relates the difficulty of moving across country and the weight possessions have when holding onto things only because of the memories they carry.

Louise loves cooking and has become a talented knitter and needlepoint artist.  Her husband is an avid gardener, grill master and enjoys his well organized garage.  They truly understand the benefits of an organized life.

IMG_2389Our paths first crossed in 2007 when interior designer Connie McCreight contacted me to assist with the organizing needs related to their Los Angeles home remodel.  Since then, my team has enjoyed working on the first move to their second vacation home, then later when they decided to make the east coast their permanent home.  Along the way, we have helped with other projects including decorating for Christmas.

I left LA for Knoxville just before the move was to start, but colleagues John Trosko and Ros Lakomy took over the California end of the final move.  When I joined the team for the unpack in New York, it was a “working” reunion for clients, organizers and designers.

After reading “The Art of Moving – Letting Go and Embracing Change” check out the rest of the blog for delicious recipes and tips for food buying and entertaining.  I did mention she is a talented cook?

Thank you for sharing your story Louise.  Many will benefit from your moving experience.

 

Mr. Vanderbilt’s Organized Moved


I love Biltmore, the largest home in America and just 2 hours from Knoxville.  It is a beautiful study of a different time, grand entertaining and gracious living.  The article below shares the struggles George Vanderbilt had in 1895 as he made his dream a home.

His struggles were the same as our moves are today.  What is going to the new home?  What room will the boxes be unpacked?  Where will things go, where to start?  How will the household run once completely moved and settled?

George Vanderbilt’s 250 room house had a large staff attending to every need of the family. Today, a professional organizer is available to help simplify the details of your move into your personal “Biltmore”.

Read “Moving Into Biltmore House, October 1895” from Biltmore.com

 

 

The Need to Organize for SNOW

Snow 4Snow is beautiful, but this week the east coast was reminded how treacherous the weather can be. Knoxville was lucky and missed the blizzard this time.  If you are not prepared, spend some time NOW and get organized for the next weather wave.

 

Organize the Car:

Have small bag stocked with blanket, extra shoes, flashlight, and snacks.

 

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Organize the Pantry:

This is one area that should always be organized.  Clear out-of-date foods, and buy only what you like and have room for.  Don’t let “bulk” buying clutter your space.

 

Create an Emergency Supply Area:

Have dedicated space for emergency supplies.  Light bulbs, batteries, flash lights, radio, and phone chargers.  Even have games ready should kids be without cable tv.

 

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Organize Toiletries & Linens:

Have blankets and towels clean and organized.  Stock toiletries and first aid supplies.  You never know when the neighbors heat may go out and you have company.

 

If your storage is limited and you need ideas for create organizing solutions, contact Closets by McKenry for custom closet design.  Be ready, and the next blizzard the only thing on the floor will be family gathering around the fire.

 

 

Clear Your Clutter, Help A Cause – KARM

You have started the process of having an organized home.  Good and tough decisions have been made and you are ready to let go of the past, but what can you do with that unwanted stuff?

DSCN0331Donate unwanted, unused items that are in good condition to your favorite charity.  In Knoxville, a great place to consider is KARM – KnoxvilleArea Rescue Ministries.  Over 18 thrift stores in east Tennessee will turn your clutter in to treasures for the homeless in our area. They offering pick up services, even for businesses.

Don’t let your clutter stay piled up in the garage, get it out of the house.  And remember, this is a process.  In a few months do a quick check around the house and see what is in your way.

Keep it organized!

Elements for an Organized Closet

Sure there are basic things every closet should have…uniform hangers are the first to come to mind.  But there are other elements that will keep clutter under control.

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Belt Hooks – placed on end panel or side of closet
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Tie Rack – on an open wall space (ties sorted by color)

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Waste Basket and Laundry Hamper – will keep dirty laundry together and give place for waste from pockets at end of the day
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Velvet Lined Jewelry Drawers – necklaces can get tangled in a box and other jewelry is quick to find when organized
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Valet Rods – allows the next days wardrobe to be prepared early

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Many times these elements can be added to an existing closet.  If not, the principles discussed can still be included when organizing your space.  Getting organized is not about “things” as it is the way we think.

Keep your clutter under control and your closet can be your favorite boutique.

note:  this closet was organized by Knoxville organizing firm Well-Kept Spaces and designed by east Tennessee’s Closets by McKenry.

Keeping Outside Organzied

In Knoxville, the beauty of East Tennessee makes our homes so much larger in the summer as we love to spend time outside.  For all the activities that we have, the garage gets even busier this time of year.

An organized garage will give you more time for the fun.  Think of your garage as the store you love to shop and create zones.

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Tools and Automotive

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Slat Wall for Vertical Storage

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Outdoor Crafts and Projects

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Even Space for the Cars

Whether your garage was designed by Closets by McKenry or someone else, it won’t organized itself.  Clear out the things no longer needed and spend a few minutes putting things away when finished.

The result?  An organized garage and more time outside having fun.