Increase Your Home’s Value Up to 28% with These 5 Tips

Great curb appeal not only makes your home the star of the neighborhood, it can also improve its value and help you sell it for more. Whether you’re thinking of listing your home or just want to make your home the envy of your neighbors, here are several ways to increase your home’s curb appeal.

 1 – Make your home’s exterior look like new.

For many potential buyers, the condition of the exterior of a home can offer clues to the condition of the interior. The first place to start when boosting curb appeal is the exterior of your house.

Paint. Paint is the best way to make your home appear newer. While you can paint your home yourself, if it’s large or more than one story, consider hiring a professional. Painting is a fairly inexpensive improvement with between 60 to 100 percent return on investment.1

Maintain your siding. Over time, weather and the elements can make your home’s siding appear dull and dirty. Use a pressure washer to clean stains, spider webs and accumulated dirt and grime, or use a soft cloth and a household cleaner to get into those small nooks and spaces. Although the average life expectancy of siding ranges from 60 to 100 years, depending on the material, extreme weather may reduce this number. If you need to replace the siding, you’ll enjoy a 77 percent return on investment.1

Paint or replace garage doors. If your garage doors are in good condition, give them a new coat of paint. If they’re beginning to show their age, consider replacing them. Not only are new garage doors more energy efficient and better insulated than older models, they also have a 91.5 percent return on investment.1

Maintain your fence. Replace rotted or worn posts and panels and freshen it up with a coat of paint. If you have a hedge that serves as your property’s border, keep it trimmed and in good shape.

2 – Pay attention to the small details.

The small details tie your home’s exterior together and help it stand out from others in the neighborhood.

Paint front door, trim and shutters. This inexpensive improvement adds brightness to a home, whether you choose a bold color, a neutral tone or classic white.

Install new door fixtures and be sure they match in style and finish and complement the style of your home.

Update your house numbers. Make sure potential buyers and guests can find your home. If the numbers have faded or need an update, replace them. If choosing a metallic finish, make sure it matches the finish of your exterior light fixtures.

3 – Tend to your driveway and lawn.

Well-landscaped homes may sell for between 5.5% and 12.7% more than other similar homes and studies show it may also add up to 28 percent to your home’s overall value.5

Place a border along your driveway or walkway made of brick, stone, pavers or another hardscape element to add visual interest to a plain driveway.

Maintain your green space. If you have grass, a well-maintained, green lawn makes your home look inviting and picturesque. However, in many parts of the country, water conservation is becoming more important. Xeriscaped landscapes incorporate drought-tolerant vegetation that thrives in warm, dry climates, such as lavender, sage, wisteria and agave, with water-saving drip irrigation and mulch. Xeriscaping has a cost savings of 36 cents per square foot annually through reduced irrigation and maintenance costs.3 Additionally, these landscapes are virtually maintenance free, which makes it an attractive option for busy buyers.

Include trees and shrubs to create texture and add interest to your landscape. Planting a few types of trees and shrubs of varying heights, widths and flowering times boosts your home’s curb appeal year-round.

4 – Make it feel inviting.

It’s no secret that emotions play a role in a person’s decision to purchase a home. Stage the outside of your home to evoke warm feelings.

Stage your porch. If you have a front porch, make it feel more inviting by including seating, such as a chair or loveseat, an outdoor rug and a small table. If space is an issue, incorporate small decorative touches, such as a festive wreath or potted plant.

Hang flower boxes on your front porch railings and/or below your windows. If you don’t want to affix flower boxes to your home, purchase nice planters and containers and place them around your porch or on your front steps.

Choose flowers and plants that bloom at different times of the year for year-round appeal. For example, bulbs not only bloom all spring, they also multiply and come up every year. Perennials often flower for most of the year and will prevent you from having to replant them every year.

If you don’t have a green thumb, choose low maintenance plants and flowers. Flowers such as lavender, rosemary, and zinnias are a few low-maintenance and drought-tolerant options.

5 – Boost Your Online “Curb Appeal.”

For those interested in selling, it’s important to know the effect online curb appeal has on a home. The better impression your home gives online, the more likely buyers will want to see it in person. Here’s how to get your home ready for its listing debut.

Stage your home. Staging shows your home in its best light and helps potential buyers picture themselves living there.

Hire a professional to take photos. A photographer has the skills and equipment to shoot your home in the best light and make it look its best.

Include a short video tour of the home. Videos are becoming a popular way to give buyers a glimpse of the home before they step foot in it.

Are you thinking of boosting your home’s curb appeal or renovating your home before you list? Do you want help making your home more appealing to potential buyers online and in-person? Give us a call and we’ll help you present your home in its best light.

You can check out our current listings and homes we have sold to see how we stage and professionally the homes we list.

 

Sources: 1. Remodeling, 2016 Cost vs Value Report

  1. Realtor Mag, September 22, 2016
  2. REALTOR.com
  3. Houzz, Houzz & Home-U.S., June 2016
  4. Houselogic.com

 

Creating Clutter Free Closets

One of the first things buyers notice in a house is space. We’re talking about not only square footage, but closets and other storage. Remember how spacious everything looked at the model homes in your first assignment? You want to create the same feeling in your house because a buyer wants space. You may be wondering if the actual size of the closets is notated on the listing, what is the problem if you leave your stuff stuffed in there? Visualization – that’s the problem.

You need potential buyers to think you have the World’s Largest Closets. Of course, making the closets physically larger isn’t normally an option, but you can make them appear larger. Again, visualization is everything. The buyer has the dimensions, but the eye is the real measure. How does one accomplish this optical illusion? By making it appear as if your closets have plenty of space still available to be filled.

Your Assignment

Today you will be decluttering your closets. It may sound like a lot, but by approaching the decluttering with a plan, you can get it done. How? Well, as hard as this may seem at first, the plain fact is you will need to get rid of your stuff.

Of course, I’m not asking you to throw away anything. If you want to keep that old bowling ball, go right ahead. If your collection of old picture frames makes you happy, then by all means keep them. But you have to get it all out of sight while your house is on the market.

This may require some pre-planning on your part, depending on how much stuff you have to stash. Perhaps you will need to stock up on boxes or plastic bins. I’m not suggesting you spend a lot of money here, but you will need something to put your stuff in. A popular place to get good sturdy boxes that are the right size to handle easily is at a liquor store. They are free and small enough to lift and move around.

Once you have the boxes, you will need a place to put them. If you have storage that’s convenient, use that. A temporary storage unit may be worth the few dollars it costs in return for a successful sale. If you have one spare room, a pile of boxes hidden behind a decorative screen is less distracting than a pile of junk stuffed in a closet taking up precious space.

Now that you have something to store your stuff in and somewhere to put it, it’s time to get cracking. Start with the easiest closets first. How about the entryway closet? When you get done decluttering it, your entryway closet should have nothing more in it than a couple of seasonal coats, a pair of boots or two, some accessories, and a few nice looking hangers. Nothing else. Be sure the floor is practically bare and you can see all four walls and the ceiling.

The less stuff in your closets, the better. It’s all about s-p-a-c-e. If you have linen closets and utility closets, repeat the same process as you did with the entryway closet. Sort out anything that is not absolutely necessary and store it, leaving lots of room in the closet.

It’s time to move into the bedrooms. This will be a bit more difficult. Here you need to take everything out – everything. Reduce your clothing down to about a dozen outfits. Match them up and hang them up neatly on matching hangers. Yes, make your clothes sparse and match the hangers. Seem silly? It won’t to a buyer. Box up anything and everything that is not being worn currently. Extra clothes and shoes need to go away. The out-of-season wardrobe items and any of those clothes you won’t wear in the next several months need to be boxed up. The shelves can have a few boxes and the floor can have a few pairs of shoes, but when a potential buyer opens the door, they should be able to see all the surfaces, walls, and ceiling.

What you are trying to accomplish with this clean sweep is to give the buyer a good look at the size of your closets. Make sure each closet is no more than half full. You want to create the illusion of space. If the buyer sees how much MORE room you have to fill-up, they will instantly feel the closets are spacious. If the buyer opens a closet door and the contents are bulging right out into the room, they will know immediately that they will never get all their stuff in that space.

So, box it up and get it out of there. Your closets need to scream “Look at all the room in here!” Without that, a potential buyer will walk away and never look back. Get busy and get this very important decluttering chore done today so you can move on to the next step. See you tomorrow!

Keeping Your Kids’ Rooms Clutter Free

What’s the one room in your home where you just want to close the door and not look? For most families with kids, the answer to that is definitely the kids’ bedrooms. They are catch-alls for toys, games, clothes, school work, musical instruments, and everything else that kids seem to collect, no matter what their age.

Keeping kids rooms neat and clean might seem like a never-ending battle, but putting a solid organization plan in place can help.

Clothing

Overflowing dresser drawers and jam-packed closets not only contribute to clutter, but they make getting ready for school in the morning a real challenge. Keeping all that clothing organized might seem impossible, but a simple schedule can turn a day-long job into a quick task.

While your kids are younger and growing rapidly, it can help to evaluate each piece of clothing every time you fold laundry. This might mean simply asking yourself if the item still fits. If it does, it goes back in the drawer, if not, donate it or sell it at a local consignment store. In addition, check for stains, tears, and other damage that can’t be hidden or fixed, and toss those items that are no longer wearable.

Some Children’s Consignment stores/events in West Cobb
Kid to Kid, Kennesaw
All 4 Kids
Rhea Lana
Due West Consignment Sale

For older kids, you won’t have to do this with each load of laundry, but you should do it at the end of every season. When you put away the summer clothes as you prepare for back to school, look at each item and ask yourself if it will still be wearable in the spring. Make a donation pile for those items that won’t be useable. If you can use the items for younger children later, then sort them by size and store in clearly labeled bins, ready to pull out when they’re needed.

Toys

If there is one thing kids have more of than clothing, it must be toys. Preventing your home from turning into one big toy box sometimes feels like a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be. You can even get the kids to help keep their stuff picked up, if you make it easy and fun for them.

Pretty baskets or colorful plastic bins make it easy for kids to keep their toys put away, and even help you teach them valuable skills and habits along the way. You can make a nighttime routine of picking up all the toys and putting them in the appropriate basket just before bed. If more than one child shares a room, or if you have a lot of toys (and who doesn’t?) you might have different colored containers for each child or for various types of toys. Billy’s toys are in the green container, while Randy’s are in the blue, for example.

Homework and Other School Supplies

Is there anything worse than scrambling to get ready for school and not being able to find that math homework that’s due today? Well if you make it a habit to keep school supplies and homework organized, you’ll rarely have to worry about missing the bus.

Start with a designated place where all homework is stored. This might be an “in” basket on a desk, or a small box or basket on a shelf, but the point is, when your child comes home from school, everything he or she brings with him goes there. During homework time, he’ll know exactly where to look for the necessary books and papers, and when he leaves for school the next day, he’ll know just what he needs to take along.

Here’s a critical tip for this system, though: Nothing that is NOT homework can be kept in the homework box, and homework can never be left anyplace else. That way you will always know that whatever is in that spot must go to school, and that if the box is empty, all the homework has been turned in.

Keeping kids organized can seem like an uphill climb, but by setting up some easy-to-follow (and fun) systems and enlisting their help, you’ll not only have a much more organized home, but you’ll also have far less stress. Plus, you’ll be teaching your children how to live a clutter-free life, and that will serve them well over the years.

4 Steps to an Organized Bathroom

The bathroom is the most visited room in any home. It needs attention daily and if left untouched can quickly become the most disorganized room in the house. While the bathroom is not the most fun to organize and clean, if you follow these 5 quick and easy steps for an organized bathroom, there will be no need to have to deep clean or reorganize for a while.

Step 1: Gather and sort all the items in your bathroom. That means everything from the vanity top, drawers, medicine cabinet, and even the linen closet. Sort everything into four different piles—keep, toss, give away, and then an “I’m not sure” pile to go through again at the very end.

Step 2: Clean everything. With hair spray and makeup and steam from the shower, the bathroom can get dirty fast. Now is a good time for a deep cleaning. Wash down the countertops, sinks, drawers, and shelves. If you have any old toothbrushes lying around, they make good scrubbing tools around faucets and drains. Clean the mirrors, wash the windows (if you have them) and clean the tub and toilet areas. If you have knick-knacks sitting in your bathroom or pictures hanging on the wall, get those down and give them a good washing off also.

Step 3: Put everything away. Start with the easiest space first–the medicine cabinet. Once you get things put away there, you can move on to the drawers, linen closet, etc. If you want to get really organized, purchase some drawer dividers to keep things such as makeup, shaving supplies, and nail care products neat and accessible. Extra items can be placed in clear plastic containers with lids, labeled clearly, and tucked away under the sink or in the linen closet.

If space is limited and you have a very small bathroom, you can use tall baskets or decorative containers with lids and place them on a rack that is over the toilet to store things like hairbrushes, soaps, and other toiletries.

And if you are wondering how long you should keep items like cosmetics, check out our  Cosmetic Retention checklist.

Step 4: Pretty it up. If your bathroom is void of any decorations and the walls are bare, you might want to add some decorative touches or scented candles by the tub, and so on. An attractive, well-organized bathroom will be a joy to use and may even motivate you to move on to organize the rest of the house!

But remember – getting your bathroom, or any room in your home – organized is only the beginning. You’ll also need to have a plan in place to stay organized. In the bathroom, that might mean taking an extra 5 minutes every morning to put everything away, wipe down the vanity, and clean the sink. Teach everyone in your house to do these simple tasks after they’ve used the bathroom, and it will stay clean and orderly for a long time.

Master Bedroom Organization

Seems like when your bedroom is organized, your whole day just starts out better. You may sleep better, you may feel more relaxed, and it may even reduce your stress and anxiety. Another added benefit to keeping your bedroom organized is that you might find you want to spend more alone time with your spouse! Having a room in which to enjoy each other’s company without having things in the way may open the door for more enjoyment. Follow these tips on how to keep your bedroom from becoming a catch all. Your life will thank you for it!

Don’t Let Trash Clutter up Your Space

This sounds so simple and easy, right? But how many of us just throw receipts, clothing tags, and other scraps of paper on the dresser, night stand, or in a chair—thinking we will pick that up later? A good idea is to have a trash can accessible by the bed or in a corner of the room. By just seeing that trash can, you will be more likely to use it. Put the trash in the can immediately. If you allow it to sit somewhere, more than likely it will become a piece of clutter in your bedroom.

Don’t Let Your Clothes Take Over

If the laundry is dirty, place it in the hamper or basket. When the hamper is full, take it to the laundry room and wash the clothes. You may find this helps keep you organized. If the laundry has been done and is clean, hang it up or fold it and put it away immediately. Not only will this help keep your bedroom organized, but it will save you hours of ironing time later.

Make Getting Ready for Work Easier by Keeping an Organized Closet

Clothes all crammed together, shoes piled in a corner, hamper overflowing? That’s not a good way to start your day. A neat and organized closet makes getting up and out of the house a lot faster and less stressful for everyone, and no matter what your current closet set up is, chances are you can make it better with just a few simple changes.

You may find that purchasing a closet organizing system is the best way to tame a chaotic closet. They are readily available at most stores, with many to choose from, and can be used to hang clothes, belts, and accessories. By hanging all these things up and keeping them tidy, your items may last longer, not only saving you space and time, but also money.

Avoid the Temptation to Just “Toss it on the Bed”

You might find it is easy to toss things on the bed when in a hurry. The shirt that you wore once and which needs to be hung up, the sweater that got left in the car, your empty winter purse after you moved all your stuff to your summer bag – it adds up. Do that too many times and that pile will grow to epic proportions. Pretty soon, you will have no room to sleep in your own bed.
Keep your bed clear from clutter. Take 30 seconds to hang up that shirt or put the purse in a drawer. Make your bed the most comfy, relaxing, inviting space in the room. You may find that this truly lets you relax and get a better night’s rest.

By following these bedroom organization tips, your anxiety levels will lessen, your quality of sleep will improve and you may even find that you now have more time to spend creating precious moments with the ones you love.

Organizing Your Master Bedroom

As we move through the house, we’re going to hit the master bedroom next. I want this room to be a haven and an escape for you. You won’t see your room as that if you don’t like it and the decorations you have in it. Remember: small steps!

Walk in to your bedroom as you walked in to the family room and look at it critically. Is it cluttered? What’s the first thing that you notice? Do whatever that is first. If it’s making the bed, do it. If it’s putting dirty clothes in a basket, do that. Whatever it is, get it done.

Does your bedroom fall under the Law of Flat Surfaces? If so, start by clearing off the dresser(s) and headboard. If you have papers there, look through them, pitch what needs to be pitched, and file away (as you did in the study) what needs to be filed. Once you can see the tops of the dressers and headboard, run over them quickly with your duster.

If you have lots of things on your dresser tops and top of the headboard, the next challenge is to de-clutter. You’ve already done the paper-aspect of this—now look critically at the other things you have. Do you have too many jewelry boxes? What about baskets that are supposed to organize things? Now is the time to determine what you absolutely love and wear all the time and what you hardly look at and almost never wear. Pull out the things you’re not crazy about and get rid of them. Give them away, throw them away, or sell them online. It doesn’t matter—as long as what’s left is what you truly love. If you have too many “organizing baskets,” now is the time to realize that more things to hold your clutter isn’t “organizing”—organizing is paring down what you have and then keeping it orderly. Go through your baskets and determine which perfume bottles are your favorites and which ones you just don’t use anymore. There’s no glory in keeping 35 scents on your dresser if all they do is collect dust and make things look messy.

Let’s move on to the floor. Can you walk freely in your room? If not, use the laundry-basket method and pick up the things on your floor. Deposit the items in their correct location and run the vacuum. No moving the bed or dressers—just sweep where you can easily walk.

Look at your windows—are they grimy? What about the window ledges? Grab your rag and window cleaner and give them a quick once-over. You’ll be amazed at how much dust you pick up and how clean your ledges will look after that!

Cobb Homes for Sale with a Master on the Main
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Keep going in the master bedroom—we’re going to go inside closets and dressers next – tomorrow!

Although all of the steps for the Master Bedroom are here, all are easily done in other bedrooms, too—don’t neglect those!

Congratulations—your bedroom is done! You have a special, organized sanctuary from the stresses of life.

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Organizing Your Kitchen Pantry

If you haven’t organized your pantry in quite some time, the best way to start would be to take everything out and start from scratch. This way you can take stock, toss items that are out-dated, and donate items that are still good but you know you won’t use. Give the pantry a good cleaning, and then begin. You should now be looking at just the items you plan on putting back in your pantry.

Plan Your Strategy

How do you want your pantry to look? Of course, you may not have a huge walk-in style pantry, or even a full size pantry closet. We may be talking about a row of cabinets or even shelves. Whatever you have in your kitchen to store your food and other kitchen items, for this purpose, is called a pantry.

The good news is, even without a fancy pantry, you can have great storage and a very functional pantry area. Start by looking at magazines, on Pinterest, and around the web for unique designs. But, most importantly, look for inspiration to create an organized pantry for your particular needs. Let’s get started putting your pantry back together.

Organizing Ideas

Put items together in groups that make sense to you. Here are some suggestions:

  • Pantry Groups

    • Canned Foods
    • Baking Items
    • Condiments
    • Oils, Dressings, Vinegars
    • Cereals
    • Pastas, Rice
    • Spices
    • Jarred Items like Olives, Pickles, Sauces

If you have a small pantry, try to arrange it so you have the most frequently used items stored up front and center. If you buy large bulk items, you may want to store those in another area. It all depends on how much room you have in your pantry.

Check out these West Cobb homes for sale with kitchen pantries:

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Perhaps your less frequently used items must be stored in the same area with the things you need every day. Consider dividing your pantry in half – front and back – and using organizing shelves, racks, and containers. Put the more often used items in front and keep the less used items in back. In order to more easily reach the things in back when you need them, put the items in front in containers that you can easily remove when you need to.

Storing Large Bulk Items

If you buy large quantities of dried food items, find food-grade quality five gallon buckets and store your bags of beans, rice, etc. in the buckets with a tight fitting lid. Store these items on the floor or stack them in a separate closet area. Keep a smaller airtight container in your pantry with some of the dried food items for your more frequent cooking needs.

Mason Jars

Mason jars work well for storing dry foods in your pantry. You can see the contents, the lid is airtight, and they are reusable. Mason jars come in a variety of sizes so you can group similar items together, putting each food item in a smaller jar, and then putting all the jars together in a clear bin or basket.

Stacking Organizers

Your pantry may have fixed shelves, or just may not have enough variety to adjust the heights quite right. Stacking organizers are made to create multi-levels on each shelf. You can build a couple higher levels toward the back of the shelf to put smaller items on. Then when you put larger items in front, the items on the back are on a ‘stage’ and you can easily see them peeking up over the row in front.

Behind the Door

One of the most often overlooked areas of ‘real estate’ for storage in your pantry is behind the door. Whether you have a full size closet door or you have regular cupboard doors, take a look at the space you have between the back of the door and the outside shelf edge. Even on a cupboard door, you have at least an inch or two. On a full size closet door, you might find three or four inches, if not more. Back-of-the-door storage come in all sorts of arrangements, from pockets to baskets to shelves to hooks. Measure that space you have available and use it for narrow items like boxes of tin foil and plastic wrap and storage bags, or narrow shelves for spices. This is where your creativity really comes in handy.

Clear Storage Containers

Plastic storage containers are always nice, but using clear ones makes them especially handy in the pantry. You can easily see if you have flour, sugar, cereal, chips, crackers, or something else in the container even before you pull it out and take off the lid. Look for square or rectangular containers to best utilize the space and all the corners. Stick big labels on them to inventory what’s inside for even more organization and convenience.

Decorative Baskets

An assortment of decorative baskets is nice when your pantry is visible. You can get baskets with covers so you can stack them. If your storage area is open to everyone’s view, create pleasing arrangements of baskets on the shelves. You can even hang wicker or woven baskets from the walls with the proper fasteners. Look at craft stores and resale shops for some of the best prices on baskets. You can also find cloth-lined, leather-like, and wooden boxes that make pretty and useful storage. If you still want to go with plastic storage, but don’t want your pantry items visible, choose solid color plastic bins.

Maintenance

After the time and effort you put into getting your pantry organized, you don’t want it messy again. Now is the time to make sure you have all family members on board. Train everyone to respect “a place for everything and everything in its place” and your beautifully organized pantry will stay that way.

Kitchen Organization – Your Spices

There is a lot to be said for an organized array of spices and seasonings. When you’re cooking, it saves time and trouble to be able to reach in and grab what you need. And, it really helps eliminate those ‘spice disasters,’ such as putting paprika instead of cinnamon in your oatmeal. I cook and bake a lot, and organizing my spices is always a challenge! So here are some tips…

Begin by doing some research on how you want to go about designing your spice area. You may choose to keep them stowed in a cabinet, on the counter in a neat display, on a magnetic strip, or in a creation all your own. However you choose to arrange them, you will want to have your plan and any equipment you need before you start.

Designate Area and Choose Equipment

The first step is deciding where and how you want to store your spices. If you have ample counter space you might decide to keep them out in the open. But, if you are short on space, using a small cabinet or a section of a larger cabinet might work well.

A great way to store your spices is inside the door of your pantry or cabinet with a narrow spice rack. You can find spice racks that install in your cupboard and slide out or down for easy access. Although that space above your stove looks convenient, it may not be the best storage spot. The heat that rises in that area is not good for the spices, and reaching over hot pots and burners is not good for you. Pick a space that is convenient for you but also safe.

Gather Your Spices

Right now, your spices may be scattered to the four winds. You’ll need to begin by gathering all your spices so you can inventory them. First, check for any out of date spices and throw them out. Next, check each spice to see if it still has vibrant color and smell. If a spice looks dull and faded, throw it out. If a spice has lost its aroma, it’s time to pitch it. If a spice seems to be clumpy, hard-packed, or smells musty, time for the trash.

Finally, combine duplicate spices. If you’re like me, you’ve bought spices when you’re not sure if you have the one you need for a recipe. Once you have your spices combined, you’ll know what you have and you’ll be ready to organize them.

Get Organized

Depending on your space, your cooking style, and even your personality, you’ll find several ways to organize your spices to suit your needs. Here are a couple suggestions:

Alphabetical – This is pretty self-explanatory. If straight lines and color-coded clothes closets appeal to you, this may be your style. No matter what storage arrangement you choose, you can easily start from left to right and stick the spices in alphabetical order. Even a round turntable works for this. Just pick a starting point and spin around, alphabetizing as you go. Some of the larger items may not fit on the rack within your alphabetized spaces, but that’s okay. You can keep those items organized separately or by using one of the other tips below.

Type of Use – This method works well especially if you think about doing different types of cooking, such as barbequing, baking, and all the indoor cooking, separately. Keep spices used in specific areas in separate storage units close to the barbeque, or baking, or next to the stove. This type of organization can save time if you set up your kitchen in specific cooking work stations.

Categories – This style of organizing spices may only make sense to one person when they see it – you. But that’s okay. You may want to separate your spices by savory and sweet, or by spicy or mild, or even by the type of food they go in. You may even want to separate your spices in categories as simple as “I use these all the time.” to “I rarely use these.” Whatever makes sense to you are your spice categories.

Organizing your spice cabinet can be done in so many different ways. The main thing to think about when designing your spice center is to create a plan that works best with your particular cooking style and needs.

Frugal Ways to Organize Your Kitchen

It is truly amazing the things we throw away every day. Many of these simple items we think of as garbage can be used in clever ways to store all sorts of things. And the best part is you don’t have to spend a dime! Here are a few of my favorite ideas for turning trash into useful containers creating frugal ways to organize your kitchen.

Wine Boxes = Gift Wrap Storage

You can get sturdy cardboard boxes that wine and other liquor is shipped in from your local big store or liquor store for no cost; just ask. You’ll find most stores are happy to get rid of them. Otherwise, they have to break the boxes down and dispose of them, which is just more work for them.

Just cut the flaps from the top of the box and leave the dividers intact. You can decorate the box if you like or just use as is. Now your wrapping paper has a place to sit pretty and upright like it should. You can also store ribbon in the other divided sections and even store scissors and tape, too. Each divided section is heavy-duty and will stand up to a lot of wear and tear. You know the box is sturdy because it was used to hold and ship more than a few bottles of wine at a time.

Plastic Beverage Bottles = Storing Dried Beans and Rice

These containers are already food safe grade so you’re good there. The caps fit tight, so that’s a plus. Just be sure your bottle is clean and completely dry. Then use a funnel to fill the bottles up with any dried food item you like that will pour out easily. Dried beans, peas, lentils, and rice are perfect candidates for this frugal storage idea. You can also see what’s in the bottle, which makes organizing easier.

Cardboard Canister Containers = Just About Everything

We’ve all, at one time or another, probably used an oatmeal ‘canister’ to store things. They are appealing because they are sturdy, can be found in many sizes, and they usually have a nifty little cap. They are also super easy to decorate. With a little construction paper, Contac paper, wrapping paper, wallpaper, or even paint, you can turn any oatmeal or chip canister into a work of art.

There are endless ways to use this cardboard canister, decorated or not. Use it in the kitchen to store small odds and ends that otherwise get lost in the ‘junk drawer.’ Corral all those individual packets of crackers and snacks that keep finding their way into your kitchen from meals here and there. Put your ‘butcher’s twine’ in a small container, cut a hole in the lid, and thread it through, keeping your twine clean and neat. Keep your kitchen sheers put away in one. Gather up all your shish-kabob skewers and put them in one container. Put a sharpie pen and labels in one so you’re ready to label the leftovers before they go into the refrigerator or freezer.

The next time you go to throw out a container, look at it. Does the size, shape, or construction look promising? Go ahead and use it to get organized!

Organize Your Kitchen Into Work Stations

The first step to organizing your kitchen is to develop work stations. Having your kitchen organized in this way results in making your kitchen work for you, not against you. When you can take the fewest steps to get to what you need, all the cooking and cleaning becomes much easier… and even can be enjoyable! Let’s take a look at arranging your kitchen stations for the most convenient way to work.

Food Prep Station

Setting up your food prep station next to the sink is most convenient for clean up. In this area you will want to keep your knives, cutting boards, and colanders for rinsing. What else do you need at a food prep station? Paper towels are handy, as well as bowls to put the prepped food in as you go. You may want to put a ‘scrap bowl’ to hold the peelings, rinds, fruit pits in to take out to the compost bin or other wet garbage.

And, remember, you’ll need a good selection of cutting boards. Choose a variety that you can keep track of for use with poultry, meat, produce, and bread and nuts. You need at least four cutting boards to cover these different foods without cross-contamination.

Cooking Station

This is where you will want to keep your pots, pans, spatulas, big spoons, and hot-pads close for easy access while cooking. If your oven has a storage drawer underneath, use that along with the nearest cupboards. If your choices for storage are very limited, look into buying clever organizers specifically designed for cooking equipment. You’ll find storage that hangs or mounts to the wall or inside the cabinets or on the countertop. Also consider a small rolling cart to house your cooking equipment; one that can be rolled out of the way when you no longer need it.

And don’t forget your favorite seasonings and spices need to be handy while cooking. If you have room in a cupboard near the stove, install a ‘Lazy Susan’ organizer. You’ll find inexpensive plastic styles that fit most cabinets. A small rack can easily be installed on a wall near the stove. Also look at shelves that are meant to hold pictures. You can find narrow shelves, sometimes packaged in sets, that would be perfect to store a selection of seasonings. A neatly organized spice rack or cupboard can save you time and aggravation when cooking.

Baking Station

If you like to bake, a baking station is going to be your best friend. Keep your electric mixer, bowls, rolling pin, parchment paper, measuring cups, and spoons all together in a cupboard near your work station. You’ll want to have your mixing spoons, rubber spatulas, and other baking utensils in a canister on the countertop so you can grab them quick when you need to scrape down the mixing bowl.

Go ahead and move the baking powder, baking soda, flour, and sugar from the pantry to your baking station. If you bake a lot, that’s where you’re going to want them. Of course, you’ll want your pie pans, cake pans, cookie sheets, and cooling racks handy, too. Timers are another necessity when it comes to baking. Set up your baking station by filling it with all the things you keep reaching for when rolling out your homemade apple pie or buttermilk biscuits.

Leftover Station

You’ll need a place where you can wrap it all up. After a meal, you will want to grab storage containers to put away all the leftovers. Whether you use plastic containers, plastic bags, or just put the food on plates and cover with plastic wrap or foil, you will want all those items conveniently located somewhere between the dinner table and the sink.

There are many storage bins you can install inside a cupboard or pantry door to stock boxes of storage bags, plastic wrap, and tin foil so it’s easy to access. If you use plastic containers, you’ll want a shelf or bin nearby. You want to grab a container and spoon in the leftovers right from the table before you set the casserole in the sink to soak. Remember, if you can easily move your leftovers from the table to the refrigerator or freezer, the chances of getting the chore done quickly increases.

Wash Up Station

Use the cabinet above your dishwasher to store items such as dishes and glasses, and use the nearest drawer for silverware. If you find you have extra head-space in your cabinets, use kitchen organizer shelves to utilize this extra space for small juice glasses, coffee mugs, or even tiny dessert bowls and such. By keeping the items you use most often close to the sink or dishwasher, you’ll be more likely to get the dishes washed and put away simply because it’s easier. If you have to cross the kitchen with piles of dishes and glasses to put away, chances are you’ll put that chore off until later.

Of course, you’ll need a variety of cleaners, soaps, scrubs, and sponges and dishcloths. If you store those under the sink, you will need to install locks on the doors. Otherwise, put those cleaning items in a bin and put it up above the sink in a cupboard or in a utility closet nearby. To keep cleanup convenient, put all the items in one plastic bin with a handle, or a bucket, so you can grab it when you’re ready to do cleanup.

Less Used Items Station

There are items that you may not use every day. Those are the things that you can store in a buffet, china cabinet, or other out of the way place. You may have a collection of nice tablecloths, napkins, and other tableware. You may have some dishes that don’t come out often. Perhaps you have appliances and utensils that are used only a few times a year. Keep those stored somewhere other than the kitchen. If you aren’t cooking and serving with it often, move it.

The Odds and Ends Station

Some stations aren’t part of the cooking, exactly, but many families find their life centers around the kitchen in other ways, and a station needs to be set up. You may want a coffee or tea station if that is your ritual in the morning. Many people also use their kitchen to sort mail and keep the family calendar, or a grocery list, or a to do list, or just to keep messages so they know where everyone is going.

Besides the kitchen sink and dish cleaning area, many kitchens house the other cleaning supplies, such as the mop, broom, buckets, scrub brushes, dusting rags, and all the polishes and other sprays we use. Designate one place to hold everything so you’re not running from room to room just to polish a few mirrors or wipe up a floor. Get a few buckets or carry-all type containers to keep items for specific tasks all together and you’ll be able to grab and go clean without going back and forth.

Depending on the size of your kitchen, you may or may not be able to implement all of these ideas. But, take a look at the basic thoughts. By organizing your kitchen into stations, even if they are small stations, you can make your kitchen work for you.

And if you are looking for a new home, here are some homes for sale in Cobb County with walk-in pantries!

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