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A Sweet Makeover For More Delicious Experiences

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Home may very well be where the heart is, but for many the heart of the home is in the kitchen. In fact, traditionally speaking, it’s the kitchen that brings back memories of warmth, bonding and family gatherings.

Still, for many the kitchen is nothing more than central port of clutter where people place their keys, cards, papers, books, bills, etc. Tops of microwaves double as additional shelving, as do refrigerator tops decorated with cereal boxes and extemporaneous paraphernalia. And, let’s not forget about the kitchen table and the counter, both invisible due to the carefully displaced clutter.

And, with all this muddle, it’s increasingly more difficult, note experts to gather in this central spot and find peace of mind.

Experts suggest ringing in the new year, by putting a fresh new face on this flavourful family place and all by making a few small adjustements.

1. Set aside a spot for paying bills While most of us have home offices these days, many still pay their bills in the kitchen. Make sure you have a place where you place your mail, after you’ve sorted through it (which you should do on a daily basis) and come up with an organizing system that allows you to store bills according to the order in which they need to be paid. And, make sure to transfer the bills to their corresponding and appropriate folders.

2. Clear Clutter: Spacious countertops were not designed for clutter. They were meant for more cooking space or to be clean and clear. Remove all paper and other paraphernalia and give your kitchen a bit more “breathing” room

3. Keep Only Essentials In Your Kitchen: Go through cabinets, pantries, etc and toss items you don’t need or use, and that includes outdated and overuses pots, pans, utensils and gadgets. And, regardless of how much you love your old iron or toaster, toss it once you’ve gotten a new one as a gift. And, if you can’t bring yourself to throw it out, consider donating it to a local church or charity.

4. Do a “spot check”: Look around and make sure you are using your space wisely. Decide what the essentials are and what the best place for them is. Start with the essentials such as toaster, coffee maker, etc. And, what you don’t use daily, especially if you have space, should be stored out of sight.

5. Invest In Some Sensible Storage Space: Consider vertical dividers for cookie sheets and cake pans, a lazy Susan for spices and a draw organizer for utensils, etc. For real “neat freaks”, an under-the-sink-caddy is a great way to organize cleaning supplies.

6. Junk The Junk Drawer: Experts suggest resisting the urge to set aside a specific place for things you just don’t know what to do with. At least move it to another place, preferably out of sight; and if after a year you’ve never looked for or needed those items, you can feel comfortable about officially getting rid of them.

7. Put The Paper Pileups On Pause: It’s easy to let papers stack up with the intentions of getting to them later, but like the title of a famous Sidney Sheldon book, “Tomorrow Never Comes”. Instead try to keep papers, especially in the kitchen to a minimum and not on top of your microwave or refrigerator. Sort papers daily or weekly putting those that you are inclined to keep in categories including takeout food, recipes, articles to read, etc. storing them in an organized system, such decorative baskets under a counter or on a small side table.

8. Become A Shelf-Made Woman: Consider adding another shelf to your office, laundry, garage or mudroom and freeing up some extra kitchen space. Store appliances and large cookware away from the main kitchen to free up space, especially if they are items you don’t use often.

9. Give Your Pantry and Cupboards a Makeover: Go through stored items including old spices rarely used and cereal boxes that are almost empty. Look at expiration dates and if it’s not something you like or are likely to eat, think about donating to a local shelter or soup kitchen. As for the rest, throw it out.

10. Make Delicious Decisions: Some cookbooks are worth holding onto, while others have recipes that we haven’t made in years not intend to make any time soon. Consider passing this down or along to someone else, donating to a library or the Salvation Army. For those you still like and use, consider keeping them either on the extra shelving you’ve installed for extemporaneous items, or placing one in a cookbook holder on your kitchen counter.

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