Make More Room in Your Kitchen

Family Life in the Kitchen

There are some ways to make even the smallest kitchen seem bigger and gain some awesome storage space you weren’t expecting. Try these tips as you start thinking about ways to make the kitchen you have the dream kitchen you want.

Before doing anything else….PURGE!

Grab a garbage bag and start throwing things away. Clean out your pantry, cabinets, freezer and refrigerator. Anything outdated including cereals, spices, canned goods and more can go. Old sponges, storage containers with no lids, expired meats, freezer burned soups and vegetables, and old leftovers all can be discarded. You’ll feel good about starting from scratch, and you will know what you have and what you need when you go to the store.

When you do go to the store, only buy what you need. If you’re a bulk shopper, store extra items in the garage or basement, but keep them out of the kitchen.

Hide your chairs. If you have an island or counter seating in your kitchen, buy a couple of low stools that you can push underneath and out of the way.

Put small appliances away. Toasters, mixers and other kitchen appliances are tools, not decorations. Put them in one of the larger cabinets until they are used again for meal prep.

Buy some cabinet shelving and dividers. You can purchase some inexpensive cabinet shelving for stackable pots and pans, serving dishes, vases and pitchers. It’s an easy fix to get some quick storage space back.

Get a smaller table. If you have a small dining nook, then you need a small table. You may even find one with folding parts so you can make it larger and smaller as needed.

Attach a sanitation rack to cabinet below the sink. These are inexpensive and easy to affix to the wall of the cabinet. Put your dish soap, sponges, and other frequently used cleaning products in it. They are easy to get to and off the sink.

Hang your plants. Get your houseplants off the counter by hanging them up or putting them on upper shelves.

A lot of families spend more time in their kitchens than any other rooms in their home. Make it a room you want to be in!

Top Tips for Keeping Produce Fresh Longer

Family Outing to the Grocery Store

No one likes to throw food away. Groceries are expensive and when you can keep your food fresh longer, you can save a lot of cash. Here are some tips for keeping your fresh food fresher longer.

Keep your refrigerator clean. Leftover residue or mold spores can increase the spoilage of all your food in the refrigerator.

Click here for some tips to easily clean your refrigerator and keep it clean longer.

Don’t store fruits and vegetables near a gas stove. Natural gas has been shown to increase ripening. In addition, don’t store fruits or vegetable in areas that have smoke or heat, like the stove or toaster oven. The exhaust and heat from these can increase the amount of Ethylene gas that is produced and speed up the ripening process.

Store produce in special storage bags that you can buy from your grocer.

Don’t cut your fruits and vegetables until you will be using them. Cut fruit will spoil faster.

If you do cut your fruit or veggies sprinkle them with a little lemon juice to keep them fresh and cover them with plastic wrap.

Place fresh herbs and leafy greens in a jar or vase of water, just like you would a bouquet of flowers. They’ll last longer and you’ll have a beautiful, green arrangement.

Store dried green onions or chives after you chop them up in a plastic water bottle in the freezer. When you’re ready to use some, just pull this out and sprinkle.

Store potatoes with apples to keep the potatoes from sprouting, and keep them away from your onions. Onions will make apples go bad faster.

Keep your greens in the refrigerator in a bowl with a paper towel, and cover with plastic wrap. The paper towel will absorb the excess moisture and keep them fresh.

Clean berries, fruits, and greens in a mixture of 10 parts water and 1 part white vinegar. This will remove dirt and even pesticides, and help them last longer by preventing mold.

Bad apple in the bunch? Remove it immediately. The old saying “One bad apple will spoil the bunch,” is true.

Store fruit in the middle of the refrigerator or in the drawers to keep temperatures consistent.

Keep bananas away from your other produce, as they produce some of the highest amounts of Ethylene gas. Place plastic wrap around the crown of your banana bunch to keep them lasting longer. If you want them to ripen super fast, place them in a closed plastic bag. Since they emit so much Ethylene gas, they’ll ripen quickly when the gas is trapped by the bag.

Keep tomatoes at room temperature and away from sunlight. If you grow your own tomatoes, pick them as soon as they are ripe. Do not to store your tomatoes in plastic; this will trap moisture and increase the likelihood of spoilage.

Store nuts in the freezer or in a food safe jar to protect them from moisture and air.

It’s no fun to throw food away, and it’s always fun to eat fresh! Try a few of these tips and see if you’re not saving and using more food than you ever have before! 

Quick and Easy Ways to Make Any Room in Your House Go from Drab to Fab!

Concept : happy young family in  new apartment dream

It really doesn’t cost much or take much time to spruce up any room in your home. Here are a few ways that a trip to your local home store can help you give your home the sprucing up it needs to make everything feel fresh and new again.

Treat the windows to something new. Home good stores are full of ready to hang window treatments that are easy to install. A new curtain or blinds can add as splash of color or ambiance to a kitchen, living room or bedroom.

Roll out the red carpet. A throw rug or area rug can make all the difference you need in your living room, entrance, bedroom or bath.

Get warm and cozy with a fireplace. You don’t need to have a wood burning fireplace or fancy fireplace unit. Today’s faux fireplaces look nice and can be functional, too, serving as a TV stand or bookshelf, while adding warmth and a comfortable glow to a living room or bedroom.

Shed new light on the subject. A new lamp, a new lampshade or even some new candles will shed new light in your room. This may be just what you need to brighten up a room that has lost its luster.

Everyone loves a new coat – especially when it’s a new coat of paint. A fresh coat of paint may be what you’re looking for to bring an old room back to life. Try something bright and cheery or go for an accent color you never thought you’d try. You may surprise yourself with the difference something as simple as a splash of color makes.

Tell a story. A children’s bedroom or bathroom may be the perfect place to play out a theme – a jungle, an underwater adventure or a fairy garden. The dollar store may be your best friend for finding inexpensive decorations to make a kid’s room an adventure!

Make a simple move. Move the furniture around and see what you get. You may find that moving the furniture around is just what you need to breathe new life into all the rooms of your home!

No matter what you decide to do to redecorate,  you’re sure to fall in love with your home again with just a few simple changes.

Clean Your Home with Household Items You Already Have on Hand

Dogs work is never done

Getting ready to do an annual fall cleaning and purge? You may have some items in your house that can do double duty – a lid may be a coaster; a sponge may be a furniture cleaner. Here are some household items that may have a second or third use, and they may just make your life a little easier.

No scrub pad? Use aluminum foil. Crumple a handful and scour to polish stainless steel pots – don’t use this on non-stick pots and pans, of course!

Use Pam or another cooking spray to dissolve soap scum. Spray your shower glass with cooking spray and leave for 30 minutes. The oil slides between the glass and the soap scum, making it easy to wash. Wipe off with soapy water (use a wet sponge with a drop of dish washing liquid).

Dog and cat hair on your furniture? Lightly dampen a sponge, and rub it across upholstery. It will easily lift pet hair.

Use baking soda to clean greasy dishes. Add two tablespoons of baking soda to the usual amount of dish washing liquid you use. It will give your detergent a powerful boost and easily clean greasy dishes.

Coffee can lids can keep your pantry and refrigerator clean. Use a plastic lid from a coffee can as a coaster. Slip it under containers that might drip – honey, jams/jellies, salad dressings. You’ve saved yourself from cleaning a sticky mess.

Dryer sheets can keep dust off your television and PC screens, which are electrically charged and attract dust. Dryer sheets remove dust and prevent it from resettling for several days. Polish glass screens with the sheets after they’ve been in the dryer, for a softer texture.

Feed your plants with water you’ve used to cook. If your water doesn’t have salt in it, it’s perfect for your plants after it’s cooled.

Freshen almost anything in your house with a cotton ball saturated with one of your favorite fragrances. Use an essential oil such as lavender, or use lemon juice or lemon, orange or cinnamon extract or vanilla. Try placing one in your vacuum cleaner to have the scent pushed throughout the room while you clean. You can also put a wet cotton ball on a shelf in your fridge to act as a deodorizer.

The good news about all of these tips is that they are easy to do and you most likely already have everything you need! They are sure to put the spring in your step when you’re spring cleaning.

Want more ideas? Check out 43 Truly Extraordinary Uses for Household Staples You Already Own.

Simple Tips for Cleaning Your Refrigerator

Midnight snacks

There are some jobs that very few of us want to spend a Saturday doing. Cleaning the refrigerator is one of them. But your refrigerator can be one of the hardest working and reliable appliances you own. Here are some simple ways to clean your refrigerator and keep it clean and smelling fresh.

Clean as you go: Wipe up spills as they happen. Wipe rims of jars, salad dressing, ketchup, etc. before you put them away.

Check for spoiled food every day or two. Why wait until garbage day to throw out old food you’re not going to eat? Cleaning it out every day or two keeps odors and from growing.

Wipe the doors, handles, top of refrigerator with damp cloth once a week. Use a mild dish soap and water.

Clean door seals once a month. Wipe away crumbs and other things that have gathered, using a dry, clean cloth. Check the seals quarterly

Use toothpaste to scrub stains. It contains a gentle abrasive that makes getting rid of stains easy.

Empty the refrigerator and remove all the shelves, drawers and walls once a quarter. Put your food into a cooler to keep it fresh. If your shelves are glass let the warm to room temperature. Clean the inside, shelves and drawers with a mixture of 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 quart hot water. This doesn’t just clean, it removes odors as well.

Vacuum the coils. Unplug the refrigerator and move it away from the wall. Use an attachment to get the dust and dirt that has collected in the coils.

Clean underneath the refrigerator. As long as you’ve pulled the refrigerator away from the wall, now is the right time to clean the floor where your refrigerator stands. To do this more often and not only when you move your refrigerator, take a yard stick covered in a pair of pantyhose and drag it under the refrigerator to catch dust and dust bunnies.

Keep a box of baking soda in your refrigerator to absorb odors.

Put a few drops of vanilla or orange extract onto a cotton ball and put them in a shallow bowl in the refrigerator for a quick fix.

Put a crumbled piece of brown paper bag in the vegetable drawers to eliminate odors. Leave the crumpled bag in for 48 hours. The bag will absorb the odor.

If you don’t keep your refrigerator full, put a gallon of water in there and leave it. It will keep the refrigerator running efficiently.