I don’t know whether it is some sort of instinctive prelude to spring, and bit of spring cleaning, but February I think is a good time to have a bit of a declutter.
The post Christmas clear up is over and the Christmas decorations are safely tucked away. But if your house is anything like mine, then there is stuff, either without a home, without a use, lost, or just forgotten about.
Decluttering and getting everything back into some semblance of order is not only therapeutic it really does save lots of time in the long run. Of course actually embarking on the project can be daunting.
The thing to do, is to break any decluttering you are considering doing up into bite sized chunks, and set yourself a time limit for each of those chunks.
I find setting the timer helps keep me focused and acts as a motivator to complete the job in the time I have set myself.
Personally, I am on a massive decluttering and reorganisation mission for my kitchen. This has been prompted by building work and refurbishment, we are have just completed on the house we moved into just over a year ago.
So having consulted several of my books on the subject, as well as a few websites that give a few tips –this is what I have learnt and I thought I might share with you.
Of course it is not rocket science, but it is surprising how even the obvious can by-pass us, because it is easier to carry on living in a hap hazard sort of way rather than trying to create a little more order.
So these are the tips I have picked up to help you and hopefully me to become more efficient in the kitchen.
Start by doing a sort of stock take of everything you have got. For example.
• cleaning products and materials
• recycling equipment
• food preparation utensils
• dried and tinned food
• cooking equipment
• eating utensils
Consider your kitchen layout and where and when you use these groups of items.
Storage for food, pots and pans will be most useful close to your food preparation area and cooker. If your kitchen is a good size, designate a place for the plates near the dining table, so you don’t have too far to carry them.
To save time why not put your cutlery in a large jar or pint pot that you keep on the table. (Like they do in pubs).
Organise your kitchen drawers and cupboards by putting the things you use most at the front where they’re easy to reach, and relegating those seldom-touched appliances to the back or the top of cupboards.
Be ruthless: if you only use that bread maker once in a blue moon, don’t make life difficult for yourself by putting it in front of everyday appliances.
Try organising your tins by types – different shelves for sweet and savoury.
Divide flavourings into groups of herbs and spices that you tend to use together or are all hot, or sweet, or fragrant. This will help you locate what you are looking for faster.
If there are particular problem area in your kitchen that you struggle to access or keep tidy, then invest in a storage solution. There are amazing magic corner units which will treble your storage space on a previously difficult to access cupboard.
If recycling drives you mad with rubbish collecting everywhere, check out the latest recycling systems that are being sold in kitchen shops, IKEA and B & Q. Even if you don’t buy one it may help you work out a system of your own.
Finally be adventurous with your kitchen. Some years back I had a tiny kitchen – but I was determined to squeeze a tiny table into it so at least the kids and I could eat in there during the day.
Later when I returned to work full-time, doing the washing up, drying up, and the putting away I totally found exhausting and an unpleasant evening exercise. I got rid of a cupboard from my already tiny kitchen and put a dishwasher there in its place, despite being told that my kitchen was too small for a dishwasher. It was the best move I could have made. It completely revolutionised my evenings.
Have fun and good luck.