©2009 Professional Organizer - Lea Schneider is the author of
Growing-Up Organized: A Mom to Mom Guide available at
Amazon.com. Lea provides one-on-one organizing advice via phone and email through Organize Online
division at her company website,
Organize Right Now.
Her advice is featured here at What's Cooking America in a monthly column. You may have read her
expert organizing ideas in Woman’s Day, Natural Health, College News, and Better Homes and Gardens Kids’ Rooms magazines and newspapers.
She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and the Association of Food Journalists.
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Organize Right Now
Quick - Make Your Kitchen Welcoming
Your Holiday wish-list might be for everyone to stay out of your kitchen. Get real. It simply isn’t going to happen.
Everyone, from Santa to your picky Grandmother to the husband’s boss’ wife will venture in to gaze and
graze. The smells and warmth of the kitchen is a magnet not to be denied by anyone.
Stop stressing. Stop fussing. You can quickly make your kitchen welcoming.
Clear Kitchen Clutter:
Grab one of the now empty holiday decoration storage tubs or boxes. Bring it
to the kitchen and use it as a temporary storage spot for your
countertop and table-top collections. Take a moment to pitch out any
obvious trash. Take any mail or important papers to your office or
desk. Place the rest of it in the box. If you have home décor items
on your counter, add them to the box so that you have room for
holiday decorations. If you have out appliances, decide if you
really use those during the holidays. If so, leave them out. If not,
box them. Your counters should be clear of all but your essentials.
Give them a good polish.
Place the box back into storage. When
you take down your decorations and want to pack them away, you can
unpack the kitchen box. You will be less busy then and can make
permanent decluttering decisions.
Do some speedy decorating on your clean countertops. Do you have some
Christmas serving pieces? Put them to use. Prop up a decorative
platter on a plate stand. Place your cooking utensils in a holiday
pitcher. Use a festive bowl for your fruit. Tuck a Santa or two in
the corner with a bit of garland or greenery at their feet. Remember
to not over-do it as you need plenty of space to work.
Be Good To Yourself:
Purchase a quantity of cute paper products for the season. Fill a basket with
decorative paper plates, napkins and cups. Place it on the counter.
All those visitors can help themselves without making more dishes
for you to wash.
If you are cooking or baking, it will
certainly smell great. Make it smell great all the time by having a pretty scented candle on the island or counter.
Or, you can easily
make wonderful scents in your smallest saucepan. Fill your pan about
one-half full with water. Add sprinkles of cloves, ginger, cinnamon
or a cinnamon stick. If you have an orange or lemon, add a few
slices. Simmer to create great scents.
For safety, I like to set my
kitchen timer to remind me to turn the stove off before I go to bed
or leave the house.
Offer nibbles in a corner of the kitchen that keeps nibblers out of your traffic
pattern. Place the nibbles on the table or on the counter near the
bar-stools so they won’t be tempted to stand in the middle of the
Keep Up the Clean:
sink with soapy water is a great trick to hide mess. Dishes, that
don’t make it into the dishwasher, are at least soaking and easier
to clean. Plus, you have warm soapy water at hand to use. During the
holidays, make it a routine to gather any clutter, sweep the floor
and wipe the countertops daily.