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Friday, April 25, 2008

An old kitchen made new, the results

At last, our very organized and beautiful new old kitchen! (See April 3, 8, 12 & 16, 2008 posts)

So, what did we do? Well, first I worked with my client to purge all the stuff that was not in use, too old to keep or no longer had a purpose. I separated what was left into groups and studied the space to determine where the best placement for items would be. I went shopping for organizing supplies and then went about putting the kitchen back together again.

Hanging cups made great use of the "up" space and stacking dishes on lifts doubled the space in this cabinet.

In the pantry I used labeled containers to bin like items and steps for the can goods. Turntables allow high items to be accessed easily.

Keeping the butcher block top next to the stove clear so that it can be used for mixing and cooking prep is very important, so even though we had to use the backspace, the front is available.

We pared way down the about of cleaning and gardening supplies that had been stashed under the sink and used the rolling cart and containers to hold the remaining items. My client will shop for some ready made curtains that will eventually cover this space.

Using drawer dividers will keep utensils separated and easy to find.

Assigning drawers and cabinets specific uses will keep everything in its place.

The end result is a kitchen that is now fun to cook in, which means that healthier meals are being prepared. Now, on to the rest of the apartment!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Things no one needs

A few weeks ago I responded to an ad for a service I needed. The ad offered a "free radio" when you called. I advised the person who took my call that I did not want the free radio. So, last week I received two of them in the mail. They were tiny plastic novelty things (made in China) that are absolutely useless. I can not imagine that anyone needs or will ever use one these things. I dropped them into our group give away box in the garage.

It irritates me that in the first place my request was not honored by this company and then that this junk is put in a box and mailed across the country and represents nothing but waste. I would like to call this company and complain, but I fear that it would just lead to another radio arriving...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Reminder from Rubbermaid

Drink in Earth Day
The history of environmental awareness day points to the future
April 22, 1970, marked the very first Earth Day. Over 20 million people took part in rallies, cleanups, teach-ins and other activities across America, and it’s commonly considered to mark the dawn of environmental consciousness in North America. This day of action for the environment went global in 1990. Since then, it’s become an annual event held to raise awareness about the preciousness of our natural resources, and take action against over-consumption, pollution and climate change.

This year’s Earth Day will be celebrated by close to a billion participants in countries around the globe. In fact, says the Earth Day Network, “Earth Day is the only event celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities.” In the U.S., millions of people will mark the day by participating in rallies, as well as tree planting projects; cleanups of parks, schoolyards, rivers, shores and roadsides; pond restoration projects; community garden initiatives and more.

Today we are more environmentally aware than ever, but there is still a long way to go before we can live a truly sustainable and environmentally sensitive way of life.


Reducing (cutting your consumption)
Reusing (getting more life out of the things you already own)
Recycling (disposing of things responsibly so the resources can be used again rather than sent to a landfill).
Also, bike, walk or run to an Earth Day activity. To learn what’s happening in your community, click on Earth Day Network’s international listing of events.

A refreshing change: A refillable water bottle is an easy way to make an environmental statement.

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to reduce the amount of waste your household generates is to buy less bottled water. Americans consume more bottled water than any other country in the world, at 26 billion liters per year (2004 figures from the respected environmental organization Earth Policy Institute). Yet according to the Container Recycling Institute, an estimated 86% of plastic water bottles go unrecycled every year in America alone.

Cut the litter, and save your money by toting a Rubbermaid beverage bottle and filling it up from taps and water coolers during the day. Good hydration improves health and wellness, and water is your best option. Available in great new designs with user-friendly features like different lids to suit different sipping styles, there’s a water bottle or personal water jug for everyone in your family.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

C'est la vie

My favorite new books....

Ah, to live in France. In my next life for sure. In the meanwhile I will make due with this wonderful book by Vicki Archer. Vicki and her family moved to France and lived happily ever after. The photos by Carla Coulson are beyond fabulous, which led me to her book...

Carla moved to Italy and this is her story in photos and notes. Who wouldn't love this, "I dreamed I was Annie Leibovitz by day and Audrey Hepburn by night."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An old kitchen made new, the innards

When you are living in a small space, over time you bring in more and more stuff. If nothing ever gets weeded out to make room for that new stuff, then you end up with cupboards and drawers that become an unmanageable mish-mash of everything.

And because stuff is stuffed everywhere, you can't count on finding or remembering that you already have 6 cans of diced tomatoes, which leads to buying 6 more cans and having to stuff those in somewhere. The open boxes of crackers and cereals get pushed to the back of the cupboard and long forgotten. You wonder where a bowl you use to have has gone to, but you know you'd have to take the whole kitchen apart to find it, so you give up in despair.

How do you fix this and stop it from happening again? You go back to the beginning...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

An old kitchen made new, back to basics

We had no choice but to completely take this kitchen apart and start from the bare bones. First we went through every cabinet and drawer and removed everything that was no longer needed, usable or wanted. (See April 3rd post)

Then we boxed everything left and moved it into another room. We hired a professional house cleaner to come in and scrub down the kitchen from top to bottom.

I worked out a placement plan, designating cabinets and drawers with what they would house. I went shopping for organizing supplies to solve certain problems and double the space and separate items so that they could be seen.

The next day, while my client was at work, I went about putting it all back together...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

An old kitchen made new

Remember the hallway full of bags going off to donation? (See, April 3rd post) Well, this is the kitchen reorg portion of that project. My client lives in an older building in the East Bay. While the kitchen is certainly old and outdated by current standards, it really is rather charming. However, it was so stuffed with stuff that it was truly unusable.

So we took it down to the bare bones and had it professionally cleaned.

Then while my client was at work, I came in and put the whole kitchen back together again... please come back and see the results in my next posts.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hoarding Study Newsletter

For those of you looking for more help on hoarding, Dr. David Tolin (who has been seen on Oprah several times) and his team, publish a quarterly newsletter. They also have a substantial website. Visit his site at:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A few extra things

Over the weekend I worked with an apartment dweller in the East Bay who had accumulated "just a few extra things" over the years. In the end we sent all this stuff off to charity.

While she has struggled unsuccessfully for months to clear her apartment out, we managed this in one weekend. What was the difference? Bringing in a professional organizer who is not attached emotionally to the stuff, knows how to ask the right questions and keep the pace of clearing going.

We actually had a good time during the process and celebrated with a lovely lunch when we finished our project ahead of schedule. Stay tuned for the next phase of this project - organizing the kitchen...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

TV disposal

As we gear up for the conversion to digital only TV, many people will be tossing their old tube televisions. Here's important info: don't toss that tube into the garbage. TV tubes are coded with lead and other toxic substances. Make sure to recycle those TV's. If you are in the Bay Area, go to and find a donation site near you.
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