In one kitchen this summer, we ended our editing/organizing work with a few lovely enhancements. This kitchen was already gorgeous! With concrete counters, beautiful barn wood cupboards, delicious papaya-colored paint on the wall, and stunning hardware and appliances. One corner, however, seemed a little forlorn (and if you’re feng shui-y at all, it was the wealth corner!). It was a deep corner with a little vase made from recycled paper with peacock feathers in it (cool,but from a distance didn’t play to it’s full potential). Every time I looked there, I saw what was possible. By enhancing just that one little bit of counter space we could really make a difference! So, we found a gorgeous green glass vase (really big!) and filled it with HUGE money plant branches (why not???). The difference was so dramatic that a neighbor kid (teenage boy) wandered in and blurted out, “WOW! What’d ya do to the kitchen? That looks COOL!” We took it as the highest compliment (and those of you with teenagers know...it really IS)!
The new vase/branch combo was stunning (and instrumental) in bringing up the energy of not only that corner but the whole kitchen, which of course rippled out to the entire home. The ripple effects are amazing and if you’re still with me on the feng shui angle, the client received incredible news about a potential boost in finances not long after the kitchen had been upgraded!
I have worked in a few kitchens this summer (including my own, if you read the newsletter too!) and have noticed some common threads:
1. Kitchens are the heart of a home. Kitchens are where we nourish ourselves with good food and drink; it’s where the food prep and cooking takes place. But it’s also where the action is! (Ever been at a party where the real party was in the kitchen?) It can also be where homework, backpacks or mail collects, and where home office tasks are completed. Allowing for all of these functions in your kitchen will give you extra ease and flow in your everyday life. Do you need a bench or stools for people to sit and socialize or “help” the cook (Paige?)? Hooks for backpacks and satchels? A mail station? Baskets for homework, bills to pay?
2. Kitchens have too much stuff! It is true and even more critical in the kitchen that “Less is More” ~Robert Browning, 1855. Edit every cupboard, drawer and pantry shelf by taking each space one at a time and following the rules:
- Take everything out
- Make decisions about what to keep, donate, trash
If space in your kitchen is at a premium, the “have-tos and the somedays” are taking up precious real estate and could most probably find a good home somewhere else.
3. Kitchens are tough to keep organized! When putting things away after editing, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Any food past it’s expiration date has to GO! Other food (remember when you had the craving for tomato soup last winter?) that’s still good but you don’t want to keep can be donated. Food pantries are always happy to take things off your hands and you need that space!
- For maximum efficiency, put like items together, food items, baking pans, storage containers, utensils.
- Think about frequency of use...put holiday serving platters and other rarely used items up high, or way in the back, reserve your easy to reach and close-by shelving, cupboards and drawers for everyday items. If you don’t bake everyday, the cookie cutters and rolling pin do not have to be front and center.
- Consider adding a mail station or inbox system for mail, bills to pay, homework to be signed, etc. Include a small container of office supplies such as stamps, envelopes, scissors, and pens. This may also be a prime spot to create a charging station for phones, Ipad, etc. It does not have to be a lot of space, 18” of counter space would do the trick.
4. Kitchens need a little love, too! Take a fresh look at your kitchen, now that the insides have been purged and whipped into shape, what could you do to make it beautiful? Would some fresh flowers do the trick? New dish towels on display? Rearranging or upgrading art, adding a mirror? Possibly enhancing the lighting? And one of my favorites...adding something sweet or surprising to the inside of a cupboard to make you smile!
Nothin’ like a laughing Buddha to greet you in the morning!
Here’s your kitchen challenge:
Pick just one drawer, shelf or cupboard and take action...create some magic for yourself!
And, let me know how it goes in the comments below.