October 27, 2011

Top-Ten Feng Shui Kitchen Makeover Tips

Take a look at your kitchen. Are the cabinets overflowing? Can you see your countertops? Can you find what you need when you need it? If not, you're in luck. Our guest blogger and Feng Shui Consultant and Expert, Ann Bingley Gallops of Open Spaces Feng Shui  is here today to offer us the steps to take to create a kitchen that nourishes us in more ways than one.

Did you know the kitchen is considered the heart of your home, symbolizing health, wealth and abundance from a Feng Shui perspective?

The food from this room not only sustains you, but also fosters prosperity in your life. Creating meals and cleaning up afterward are important to show how much you care for yourself and your loved ones.

Your kitchen must be an appetizing place, which is why keeping it clean and clutter-free is so important. Sending this message of wealth and abundance will make your life easier and happier, besides!

Here are my Top-Ten Feng Shui Tips for making your kitchen into the “healthy heart” of your home:

1. Clean everything inside & out. And I mean EVERYTHING: drawers and cabinets, appliances, walls and counters. Shelves should be lined with fresh liner paper, and the floor will need a good scrub. This requires you to take everything out of the cabinets, leading naturally to step 2.

2. Assess what you really use. What do you use, need and love in your kitchen? As you remove things from cabinets and drawers, ask yourself, “When did I last use this? What’s what the likelihood I’ll use it in the future?” If you must keep an item you seldom use, put it on a higher shelf or into deep storage.

3. Clear the counters. Small appliances can take over your counter space, preventing you from having adequate space to work comfortably. So remove everything, wipe down all surfaces and replace only the things you use on a daily basis.

4. Put like with like. While sorting through your cabinets, make life easier by putting similar things together. For example, separate sweet baking spices from savory ones, and store coffee filters near your coffee mugs.

5. Adjust shelves to maximize storage space. As you put things back into the cabinets, separate tall items from shorter ones and adjust your cabinets’ shelf-height appropriately.

6. Use “shelf helpers” for convenience and efficiency. Anything from tray racks to lazy susans can make your kitchen easier to navigate and, quite frankly, change your life. Don’t forget to measure your cabinets and drawers before heading to the store!

7. Get good Chi energy flowing by making sure everything works. Broken things must be fixed and doors should swing freely. If you have chipped bowls or glasses, replace them. Be sure to sharpen your knives.

This is a crucial step in Feng Shui — things that are well cared for signify your intention to take the very best care of yourself, too!

8. Recognize the importance of your stove. The stove symbolizes Wealth and Abundance in your life. In Feng Shui, the stove is the centerpiece for the “Heart of Your Home.” It must be treated with particular respect. Keep it clean and use all the burners regularly to draw more positive Chi into your life.

9. Use mirrors to create more wealth. Since the stove burners symbolize Wealth, you can symbolically multiply it by placing a mirror behind the stove. This mirror will also reflect activity behind you, so you can relax and focus on your cooking.

10. Balance the elements. Four of Feng Shui’s Five Elements already exist your kitchen: Fire, Water, Metal and Earth. If Wood is missing, simply bring in a small plant, bowl of fruit or a picture of these. With balanced elements, your space will feel great.

Ann Bingley Gallops is a Feng Shui expert and the owner of Open Spaces Feng Shui in New York City. She offers private Feng Shui consultations for homes, offices and business, helping clients achieve their personal and professional goals by balancing the elements in their spaces. 

Her services include long-distance consultations, space-clearing and blessing ceremonies, and Feng Shui design with a modern, practical approach. Ann also works with interior designers, architects and home stagers to maximize the beauty and value of any space.

Ann practices Feng Shui with an MBA from Columbia University, a Practitioner’s Certificate from the Western School of Feng Shui, and Red Ribbon Professional membership in the International Feng Shui Guild. 

Check out Ann’s blog, Feng Shui Tips & Insights, and subscribe to her popular Feng Shui newsletter! Follow Ann on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

October 25, 2011

Cool Product - Getting Organized Magazine

Since I started organizing in 2002, there have been a few magazines dedicated to organizing and it's profession. The first one was called Balance. The second one was called Organize--lucky me had the privilege of being involved with it at its inception as the author of the 'Organizing on a Shoestring' column.

Now, a new magazine has been created for Professional Organizers and anyone interested in getting and staying organized. It's called:

Getting Organized Magazine is the brain-child of Stacey Anderson, a Professional Organizer in the State of Washington. According to her blog, Stacey says, "This is a magazine that will cover everything organizing: home, work, technology, paper, time management, ADD/ADHD, book reviews and much more."

Go check out the website! It features articles, tips, videos, experts, events, and resources.

For a sneak peek of the first issue coming out in January 2012, click here.

If you'd like to follow the magazine on Facebook, click here.

There are two ways to subscribe--by print (arriving in your mailbox) or by electronic/digital file (arriving in your inbox). I'm not sure which I'll choose but as soon as I decide, I'll be signing up for my subscription to Getting Organized Magazine...

October 19, 2011

Wire Pull-Outs for Kitchen Organization

October is Kitchen Organizing month at Organized Artistry's Facebook Page. Every Friday I post a tip based on the monthly theme. My first tip was...

"Got deep cabinets? Make your kitchen items easier to see, access, and organize by installing pull-out drawers. No more surprises in the back of your cabinets! (This comes from personal experience--I love my wire pull-outs!)"

I really believe that up there with the label maker, pull-out drawers for cabinets are one of the greatest inventions designed for getting and staying organized.

Here's how I came to love my pull-out drawers...

Our kitchen was built in the 1950's. It's about 10'x10' and didn't have much cabinets and countertop area. Hubby and I had a piece designed by Home Depot that doubled our counter and cabinet space--hooray! In configuring the cabinets to hold our kitchen items, I realized that the bottom shelves of these cabinet were going to be a challenge to access. I didn't want to waste that valuable new space. But how was I going to make the most of it?

I decided to look in my local Home Depot and there they were--wire pull out drawers. I knew they would do the job--and they were the perfect size, too! I brought them home and installed them myself in a few hours with the help of a pencil and an electric screwdriver.

I use one pull-out drawer for frying pans...

And one for storage containers...

Why are pull out drawers so great?

• They increase your storage space
• No getting on your hands and knees to look for what you need
• Never lose items in the back of your cabinets again

Hubby and I have talked about redoing our kitchen one day. Mark my word--if that ever happens, there's going to be a large amount of money in the budget for pull-out drawers!

October 15, 2011

Professional Organizer Humor

Thought I'd share some Professional Organizer humor with you...

Bumper sticker seen:

"Professional Organizers do it on Schedule"

Look out for it on a highway near you...

October 10, 2011

Anniversary Post

Today I celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the Organized Artistry blog. Woo-hoo!

In my first year of blogging, I was getting used to writing weekly while juggling a pregnancy and new baby. This past year, I've learned a lot about blogging and although still sleep deprived, wrote and posted more often--one of the many goals I had set out to accomplish.

Some of my other goals were:

• Post more pictures with blog posts. Check! I think it livens up the page a bit more, don't you?
• Post 3x a month or more. Check! Who knew that there was so much to write about on the topic of organizing?
• Post more entries on unique organizing products. Check! I'm always on the lookout for cool products. Stay tuned for a review of a product I just bought for myself...

Some goals I didn't meet:
• Talking about my book, 7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note
• Discussing the process of writing a full length manuscript on the above topic (while juggling family and lack of time and sleep)
• Offering more organizing tips to brides and grooms

Although I will still create posts on this topic, I am considering creating a separate Facebook Page for my current and future book in 2012. I'm working on my manuscript in small chunks--just like I would advise an organizing client to do with a large task--break it down so it's more managable. Will keep you posted my progress....

What I've added to my blog:
• Guest bloggers! I've been doing some guest blogging lately, and I thought, 'Why not invite some bloggers to post at Organized Artistry?' I think it's been a fun way to bring new ideas and writing styles to my blog, I hope you've enjoyed reading the posts.
• New Categories! Such as 'Guest Blogger,' 'What's in my Workbag?' and 'Kitchen'
• A connection to my Organized Artistry Facebook Page
• The ability to subscribe to my blog via email (top right of page)

My goals for this year are:
• Post more often
• Post helpful content
• Offer more guest blog posts
• Give you the answers to your burning organizing questions
• Build a growing readership

I have a blast writing this blog--I hope you enjoy reading it and learning from it. Let me know what you've learned or would like to learn about organizing this year. Your questions and need for answers are my future blog posts!

Related Posts:
Anniversary Post October 20, 2010
Blogging Beginner October 10, 2009

October 7, 2011

Facebook Tip of the Week - Kitchen Organizing

I mentioned last week that I would be revealing October's topic for my Facebook Tip-of-the-Week. Here it is: It's all about the kitchen in the month of October!

Why the kitchen? Well, I thought it would be a good idea to offer kitchen organizing tips this month because the holidays are coming. And what do holidays revolve around? Food! And where do we prepare food? In the kitchen. And what room do many of our guests gravitate to when they come to visit? The kitchen.

My first Facebook Tip-of-the-Week for the month of October has to do with cabinets. Read about it and check back for a blog post on my own experiences with this week's tip.

Have any kitchen organizing tips that have worked for you? I'd love to hear them!

October 2, 2011

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Today, I’m pleased to welcome guest blogger Cena Block of Sane Spaces. Besides being a Professional Organizer and Mom-Preneur Clarity Catalyst, she is also the President of the Northern New Jersey chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Cena’s talking about a key organizing philosophy—grouping ‘like’ with ‘like.’ Read on to learn more about what she calls, ‘one of the oldest organizing tricks in the book…’

Pattern Recognition is the one differentiating skill set that organized people have - we see and recognize patterns where there aren't any!  It's why an organizer can walk into a chaotic situation and be successful - we immediately see "like with like" and patterns that work!

What I've found with clients in their homes and offices is that for you to be successful, you need to begin to recognize how you create patterns in your environment naturally, in order to create organizing solutions that stick.

One of the oldest organizing tricks in the book is to group ‘like’ things together. Organizers call this: putting "like with like" - or grouping all items that seem to go together, together. The interesting thing about this process is that each of us does this step a little differently.

As part of my community service, I offer a class to area elementary schools called NAPO In The Schools. This class is designed to teach 2nd - 5th graders basic organizing principles. There is an informational segment where the kids are introduced to "Disorganized Drake" who can't seem to get it together. He frequently loses homework, can't find supplies, and generally has a really rough time as a typical 4th grader!  I ask the students to help Drake by applying simple organizing strategies to his books, his room, his desk and his backpack.

The class ends with an exercise where students are given a bag of school supplies and asked to group them "like with like".  It always fascinates me that some will group them by function (all things you can write with together), by color (all blues go together), by category (all pens, all crayons, all toys), or by some other construct that makes sense to them alone.

What patterns do you recognize? What makes you comfortable? Do you prefer to sort by color, by use, by function, by location? Whatever works for you, is the right answer.  Determining which "one of these things is not like the other" is really up to you and the better you get at recognizing your own abilities for pattern recognition - and accept them as so, the quicker you'll be able to move forward with organizing your items!

Copyright 2011: Cena Block

Need help at home? Download my Products:

Time To Toss It E-Book -
This is a full color guide that gives guidelines on how long to keep items and when to get rid of them. (There is a whole entire section on how long to keep paper and files.)
Dimensions Workbook - http://sanespaces.com/products/organizing/
This is a self-driven workbook that offers you the support of working with your very own Professional Organizer without the hourly fees.
Get Organized To Keep Your Family Sane Ebook/Audio Tips - http://sanespaces.com/products/organizing/
This e-book and the accompanying weekly audio tips provide nearly 6 months of weekly organizing ideas to implement for your home and family. Whether you have a slew of children, or are kid-free, these tips are modeled after “best practices” that work with real families.

Cena Block is the Owner of Sane Spaces and a Mom-Preneur Clarity Catalyst. She helps people find sanity through clearing their spaces, creating systems, understanding themselves, and getting the support they need for success. Her Slice of Sanity eZine gives subscribers ideas and inspiration to get clear and out from under whatever is stopping them. If you are ready to get sane, you can click here to sign up for a F.R.E.E. e-zine subscription to Slice of Sanity. Learn more from Cena at her Facebook page, on her blog, and on Twitter.

Related post: Group It! April 25, 2010