Posted in Kitchen Organization, Timely Tips

Caring for Wood in the Kitchen

While oiling a favorite wooden spatula this morning, I thought to write a Timely Tip about it. I prefer it to silicone, since wooden utensils won’t scratch pots and pans. Wood also won’t leach chemicals or chemically react with hot food. Here are some care suggestions for your wood utensils and/or cutting boards.
¥ DON’T put wood utensils or cutting boards into the dishwasher. The intense steam and extended time in hot water will crack the wood.
¥ DON’T let the utensils sit in water to soak for extended periods of time.
¥ DO wash the utensils in hot, soapy water fairly quickly after use.
¥ DO pat the utensils dry with a cloth and let air dry.
¥ DO rub with a slice of lemon and let air dry if any strong flavors have seeped into the wood.
¥ DO apply mineral oil to the wood to prevent it from drying out and cracking. If you’ve not done it before (if old or new), do it once a week for a month, then once a month for a year, then yearly for life. You likely can find inexpensive mineral oil at your local hardware store. I pour a bit onto cutting boards, then spread using paper towels. For utensils, a bit on paper towels, then rubbed around does the trick. Everything will look great, and nice patterns may emerge that you hadn’t seen before.

Posted in Clever Re-Uses, Kitchen Organization, Recycle, Suggestions, Timely Tips

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Vol. II

Do you have some extra things in your kitchen that you might toss out? Here are some suggestions for reusing them. An old, funky cupcake or muffin tin could store office supplies, jewelry, or to plant succulents. You also could use it to serve condiments at a party. An extra colander? Visualize yarn storage. You could feed strings through the holes to prevent tangles. Have too many, somehow? Hang them on the wall as fun art. You also could use one as a planter, though be sure to add something underneath to catch water. Hang one or two on chains, to store small objects. Do you have old, unmatched flatware? You could bend forks and spoons into napkin rings or curtain stays/pulls. An extra wine rack, somehow? It could hold wrapping paper. You could place one in the bathroom, with rolled towels inside. A surplus paper towel holder could hold bracelets and hair scrunchies, tape and ribbons for wrapping presents. If horizontal and meant to be hung on a wall, think about bracelets and necklaces. Any mismatched dishes? Hang them as wall art. Teacups could store jewelry. Ice cube trays? Great for storing jewelry and office supplies. Or, if you’re planning an art project, a paint palette in the making. If these suggestions spark your imagination, but you don’t have the needed pieces, it’s garage/yard sale and flea market season! Go forth and have fun!

Posted in Kitchen Organization, Timely Tips

Kitchen Counter Clearing

I don’t know about in your home, but part of my kitchen counter (in several sections) is like a magnet for stuff. To control my own behavior, about five years ago, I placed a shade-loving house plant right in the middle of it. Still challenged, I added a Revere-style bowl on the side, which somehow draws various papers and small items. I work at clearing it often.

What are your challenges? Is there a pile of paper, or two, or even more, on your kitchen counter? How to tame it/them? Are bills mixed in? If so, you might place them in a napkin holder, in due date order. Other important papers? If space allows, put them in a manila file folder, in date order, or in order of importance, or whatever works – to save time, space and brain power. Remember that physical clutter = mental clutter.

Posted in Clearing Clutter, Filing, Holidays, Home Maintenance, Kitchen Organization, Mental Clutter, Planning Ahead, Recycle, Reduce, Seasons, Timely Tips

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year? What? It’s not January! The calendar shows August. Even so, with the school year already begun in some places, and about to start in many more, in some ways it feels like the beginning of a new year.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions in January and, if so, how long do they last? A few days? A week? A month or two? Here’s something you can do on a daily basis, to lighten your load – clear clutter each day. That’s right – get rid of something every day. You will feel lighter and, after a short time, you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment. Can you imagine how it’ll be after 365 days?

Here are some tips to help.

  1. Consider how to do this. Give away, donate, recycle? If none are appropriate, toss?
  2. Don’t buy out of habit, or worse, out of boredom.
  3. Don’t keep items out of guilt or obligation. I had a pottery cookie jar, a gift from someone I’ve not been in touch with for years. I really didn’t like it all that much. I dropped something a few days ago, which landed on its lid, chipping it. Did I want to struggle with trying to glue the little pieces back on? No thanks! Could I “re-purpose” and use the bottom, say, as a planter? No, not really. I actually was relieved to place it in the trash.
  4. Does like = need? You may like some things that you don’t actually need.
  5. Don’t over-equip. You likely don’t need enough plates, cutlery, bed linens, towels, etc., to stock a hotel. If a big group of guests is coming, you might borrow from friends, neighbors, family.
  6. Save time. Every item you own takes time – to clean, maintain, perhaps repair. And, that’s after likely earning the money to buy, then taking the time to shop.
  7. Non-material gifts. Encourage those who might buy presents for you to make them gifts of experience or adventure. Concert tickets? A special restaurant meal? A hot air balloon ride? Also, consider time together, perhaps to be used on a big project. How about a donation in your name to a charity you hold dear?

Happy New Year!