Posts Tagged ‘clutter’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Clean As You Go

January 12, 2016

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It is easy to make a big mess in the kitchen. Pots, pans, utensils, mixing bowls… they add up fast! Not to mention all of the ingredients spread out on the counters.  All that clutter can cause a bad case of kitchen chaos. Cooking, and especially baking is a methodical process. It becomes almost impossible to acheive perfection in a messy kitchen, and cleaning up becomes a chore that is unpleasant enough to drive you straight to Seamless. ( For non- New Yorkers, that means take-out!)

Here are my tips for dealing with the colossal mess that comes with cooking and baking for a crowd. Trust me on this one people. I just made 200 pink marshmallows. It doesn’t get much messier than that!

Start with a clean slate. Put away the clean dishes, wipe down the counters and empty the sink before you begin. Starting clean makes it easier to find things, and to have ample room for the task at hand.

Take out all of your ingredients. Rummaging through the cupboards with sticky hands is not the way to go. Suddenly, everything is sticky and will require you to wipe down things you wouldn’t normally have to. It also helps make sure that you have everything you need before you get started.

Wash the dishes as you go. When you are done with something, put it right into the sink to soak. Once you finish that part of the project, wash them or put them into the dishwasher. Don’t leave the mixing bowls from the cake in the sink, only to find you don’t have room to wash the lettuce for salad. It will also help you keep tabs on where things are. If you need to reuse a bowl or utensil for something else, it will be clean and ready for you.

Keep up with the wiping up! If something spills, wipe it up as soon as you can. Not only will it keep your workspace tidy, it will avoid cross contamination of foods. It is also easier to wipe up something fresh, than to try to clean it up later when it becomes dry and crusted onto things.  Been there. Done that. Not fun.

For me, cooking and baking should be a calm experience. When all hell breaks loose in the kitchen, it takes the joy out of the process. It almost always shows in the end result too. Do your self a favor, and clean as you go. Its worth it!!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Closet Cleanse: Day 2

May 21, 2015

This closet thing is taking me awhile. I reached a point on Sunday, where I was digging the old stuff out of the discard bags because I didn’t have anything else to wear. On Monday, I decided it was time to shop a bit.

I had scoured the stores over the weekend, scoping out the merchandise choices and deciding which stores were worth a return visit. With the goal of looking polished and relavant, without being overly trendy, I made a mental list of what I was looking for. One thing for sure I knew I wanted to add to my closet was a jumpsuit or two. They are a must-have item this year, and with a depleted closet, they offer a ready-made look in one simple piece. I picked up a full length black one, that could be dressed up or down, and 2 shorter ones; one in a fun print that is more casual,but still pulled together, and another black and white version that is youthful, but sophisticated. ( read: not too short, not too bare and work appropriate.) I also picked up a couple of tops that would work with what I had, and replace a few of the holey ones in purge pile.

Packing up the winter clothes

Packing up the winter clothes

Next, I set out  to tackle the accessories. I weeded out all the broken and truly junkie jewelry that had found its way to me via grandmother’s junk drawers, and goodie bags, and organized the rest so I could find it.I hung the necklaces that tangle easily on a hangar, and put the rest into a bin.  I shelved the bags and hats, and rolled all of my light weight scarves so that they fit into one bin without becoming a wrinkled mess. I packed up the winter footwear, and cleaned the floor and shoe racks before replacing the summer edit. I took a quick trip to the shoe repair to rehab a great pair of shoes and a Hermes belt that I love, but was getting a little shabby.

Much better already!

It’s much improved already!

Now it was time to play dress up. I tried on what was left, and made outfits, including accessories and shoes, to be sure I had everything I needed to make these pieces work. B got a couple more hand-me-downs of things that still looked good; but not on me.  I recommend either taking a selfie, or laying the outfits out on the bed in their entirety, and taking a photo to document every successful look. I opted to do some quick sketches with notes, since I am camera shy.

Quick doodles of outfits I liked

Quick doodles of outfits I liked

This exercise not only ensures that you have things that work together, but also that you have the right accessories, down to the sweater or jacket to toss on when the air conditioning turns a nice place into a meat locker. My try-on session yielded me quite a few looks from a tightly edited amount of items, and helped me identify a need or two. Now when I go into the closet, I can see everything I own clearly, and have a stack of go-to outfits to get me started.

Today’s project: Eliminating the “stuff.” What is the “stuff” you ask? I haven’t a clue, but it is taking up a lot of real estate in there! I’m fully armed with 13 gallon trash bags, and I’m going in!

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