Saturday, November 18, 2006

Moving Tip: Packing the Kitchen Part 2

If you have the opportunity to get things ready in your new house before moving day spend some time planning out the kitchen. If you know where everything will go you'll have your kitchen functional on moving day!
  • Clean drawers, cupboards and appliances. This will save you tons of time on moving day!
  • Put drawer liners anywhere you plan to use them. (You could actually take down the measurements and do the cutting at your old house.)
  • Assess your space. What kitchen storage do you have available? Think about a pantry, cupboards, drawers and shelves. Compare the amount of storage with your old kitchen. If you're moving into a kitchen with less storage space you may need to think creatively!
  • Get out your post-its! You've already divided your kitchen into categories. Now decide where those categories will go. Start with general spaces, for example, food in the pantry, dishes in the large cupboard, paper products in the bottom drawer. Use post-its to mark what will go in each storage space.
  • Keep out those post-its! Make sure that you've taken each category into account. You may want to look through your current kitchen to make sure you're remembering everything. Take into account non-kitchen items that you may choose to store in the kitchen, or kitchen items you may choose to store elsewhere. Add more specific post-its to each storage area.
  • Decide if you need more space. If you don't have room for everything you're moving into the kitchen consider what you can use for additional storage. Consider hanging storage (pot rack, baskets,) shelving (wall-mounted or otherwise,) or furniture pieces (rolling carts, butcher blocks, plastic drawers.)
Think creatively! A small space can still yield great storage. If you need to create more space there's no need to blow your budget - yard sales, thrift shops, Ebay, dollar stores, any of these places can offer inexpensive options.

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Moving Tip: Packing the Kitchen Part 1

I was putting groceries away today and thought that I should do a post on kitchen organization. The more I thought about it the more I thought it would actually turn into several posts. Then I started thinking about the amount of stuff in my kitchen, something I've been amazed by each time I've moved. I decided that before talking about my kitchen organization I'll talk about dismantling kitchens during the moving process!

Here's "Packing the Kitchen Part 1," which applies to the packing process several weeks before moving.
  • As you plan your move divide your kitchen items into categories: dishes/silverware, pots/pans/cooking utensils, small appliances, cookbooks, tupperware, infrequently used items, perishable food, nonperishable food, furniture and miscellaneous. (Are you reading that list and realizing how much is actually in your kitchen?) You could probably make many subcategories if you really wanted to.
  • Think about what you use often. Remember that, not including the bathroom, the kitchen will probably be the last room you use in your old house and the first room you use in your new house. Packing efficiently isn't enough - you'll need your kitchen items to be accessible as soon as you move.
  • Pack underused items first. Fondue pot? Waffle iron? Holiday dishes? Anything you use infrequently can be packed early in the moving process and won't need to be easily accessible once you start unpacking.
  • Select a few items in each category that you know you'll use - you'll pack these last. For example, keep one plate for each family member, a few pieces of tupperware, a saucepan and a frying pan (or whatever works for your family.) This frees up the bulk of each category for packing.
Stay tuned for Part 2: preparing the new house, Part 3: dealing with the food and Part 4: moving day. Yikes! If moving the kitchen takes 4 posts imagine how many I'll need for kitchen organization!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mildew Help, Please!

I need some suggestions for removing mildew from wood floors. I have an unfortunate spot where water and rug had a party that I wasn't invited to. There's a small patch of mildew on the floor. I know it hasn't been there for long because I clean the rugs regularly, but I'm concerned that just plain scrubbing won't entirely remove it. I prefer to use natural cleaners, but any suggestions you have will do. Help!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pine Fresh Cat

You know how it goes with cats (or dogs, or any other animal that plays outside) - they like to roll in the dirt. And the mud. And the gravel. And the litterbox. Normally the last thing I want is to let a cat in the house who has just rolled all over the ground and will track dirt and odor through the house. Well, my rolliest (hmmm...probably not a word) cat recently started rolling under the pine tree, in the pine needles. I love it! The needles get most of the dirt out of his fur and he comes back home smelling pine fresh!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bulk Groceries

A great way to save money and shopping time is to buy groceries in bulk. I buy dry foods that we use frequently, such as cereal and pasta, in bulk. Many grocery stores offer discounts on bulk order options, particularly small and natural food stores. You can also order directly from some manufacturers. As long as you have room to store the extra food you should look into it. Buying nonperishables in bulk means that your weekly grocery shopping will be limited to fresh products, saving you time. I love a fast shopping trip!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"Fresh" Tortillas

I make and eat tortillas often and always have the problem of keeping them just fresh enough to fold into burritos without breaking them. Whether you buy or make your tortillas here's a tip for keeping them soft:

Take your stack of tortillas and store them in a Ziplock with a piece of wax paper between each tortilla. Freeze them like this. Anytime you want one just take it out of the freezer (it won't stick because of the wax paper) and microwave it for 10-20 seconds. It should be soft and flexible! Keep the wax paper in the Ziplock because you can reuse it with a new batch of tortillas.