Tag Archives: kitchen

How to Clear Clutter Off Your Kitchen Desk

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is often a hub where people gather for nurturance and communing with family members. As mentioned earlier, the kitchen is often where women center their energy. As such, it has become an action area, not only for food preparation, but for women to coordinate a variety of activities as diverse as meal planning, scheduling appointments, coordinating schedules, and making important phone calls.

The kitchen desk probably came into being to accommodate the ever increasing needs of women to have an office of sorts close to where they spend most of their time. The idea was good, creating an area for the CEO of the home to work. I know, you’re already laughing! Who works at their kitchen desk? Who even sits in front of a kitchen desk?

First of all, kitchen desks are usually about the size of a postage stamp–too small to accommodate the needs of a busy family. Also, they are not comfortable places to sit because they are built-in pieces of furniture which force people to sit facing a wall with his or her back to the rest of the room. Sitting with your back to a room puts your nervous system on high alert, ready for any possible threat. In that state it’s difficult to focus. Consequently the chairs of those desks, if they even exist, are rarely used, except as a stacking spot for paper and other objects.

Kitchen desks of even the most organized women quickly become drop spots. Typical desk clutter consists of papers that come in from children returning from school, the mailbox, and meetings, not to mention all kinds of other objects that family members drop on their travels through the kitchen. Most people just roll their eyes when they look at their kitchen desk. Unless properly set up and managed, it is often a source of frustration, as well as an eyesore.

Clearing clutter from a kitchen desk first involves separating papers from other objects.

Work with objects first. Follow these steps:

  1. Sort objects into those that belong in the kitchen and those that do not.
  2. As you’re sorting, feel free to pitch any items you know you don’t need, love, or that aren’t worth the effort of moving to another location.
  3. Put items that belong elsewhere just outside the kitchen door to be dispersed to their homes after you finish working on the desk.
  4. Put away those items that do belong in the kitchen. That may involve going into drawers associated with the desk. Resist the urge to organize the drawers at this time. Your first focus is on restoring order to the desk top.
  5. If objects don’t fit in the drawer, put them aside for the clutter clearing session when you’ll address the drawers.

Once you’ve addressed the objects on the desk top, sort the papers that were on the desk.

  1. Pull out the biggest chunks first: the newsletters, magazines, and stapled-together papers.
  2. Toss or recycle those that are no longer relevant.
  3. Sort the remaining papers into the following categories:

Trash (recycling),

Refer Out (goes to another location or person),

Action (actions to be taken at this location),

Reference (e.g. contacts, schedules),

Filing (at this location),

Pending (e.g. tickets for an event, directions to a social event, etc.),

Reading (optional reading), and

Possibilities (e.g. information about products that you could use or events that you might attend).

The only papers that should remain on the desk are the action papers. The desktop is an action area. It ceases to be an action area when clogged with papers that need filing, reading, or are references and possibilities.

  1. Move reading papers to an area where they are most likely to be read.
  2. If you have room to store files, filing ideally would be done immediately up receipt.
  3. Reference items can be stored in files or binders.
  4. Pending and possibilities can also be filed for easy access.

A good filing solution for the kitchen is an open filing box for files to accommodate all the types of paper you need to access from the kitchen. It could be stored on the counter, but preferably under the counter in a cabinet or in the opening where the chair is supposed to be. It must be easy to access so frequent filing is easy to do.

Whew! Who knew that clearing clutter from a kitchen desk could be so complicated? Anywhere you have paper, you have complexity. When you set up a system for managing paper you need to access in the kitchen, and you use it, maintaining order on the kitchen desk gets easier.

Remember, keep only those things at the kitchen desk that you regularly use in the kitchen. I call those tiny desk areas “prime real estate”. If you want to maximize the potential of a kitchen desk, you can’t afford to park useless things on those small surfaces. If kept clear and set up properly, they can function as the cockpit for the coordination of most of the activities of a busy family. Is that how your kitchen desk functions? If not, why not? Claim your kitchen desk as a mini-home office, an action area for women at the heart of the home.

Counter Knife Blocks = A Feng Shui Kitchen “No! No!”

One of the most common feng shui errors that I find in kitchens is the knife-block-563633_640presence of a knife block on the counter. You know, a block of wood holding knives of various sizes. It’s a very convenient way to store knives so they are easily accessible for use.

When you assess the feng shui of a space, it’s important to consider safety. Knives that are located out in the open in a knife block are not considered safe because they are so accessible. They could easily be used as weapons. A block of knives is a block of negative energy because of its potential for harm.

You are probably thinking, “If I can’t store them on the counter, how should I store them for easy access?” You have several options. First, you can put the block out of sight. Make room on a shelf in one of your lower cabinets for the knife block. It’s important that you be able to reach the knives easily. If accessing it is the least bit inconvenient, you will avoid getting knives that way. Then either the block will end up on the counter again, or the knives will be tossed into drawers.

A second option, and my preferred option, is to purchase a wooden drawer insert specifically for knives. Be sure to measure the drawer first so you are sure to buy an insert of the correct size. The insert will have slits to hold the knives, safely containing the blades out of harm’s way.

Removing a knife block from the counter is a great way to make a kitchen immediately feel more peaceful. Commit to peace and safety in your kitchen by removing your knife block from the counter.

Want Peace in the Family? Clear Kitchen Countertop Clutter!

At this time of kitchen gadgets and appliances galore, it’s not uncommon toCalm Kitchen find kitchen counters clogged with those “essentials.” But, I challenge you to do a survey of those items asking yourself, “How often do I use this?” I’ll bet you can cut those “essentials” in half if you limit countertop items to those you use every day. Any item used less often can be stored in a cabinet or pantry and retrieved when needed.

The energy of those items displayed on your counters talks to you and everyone else in the kitchen. Multiple appliances and gadgets create lots of energy chatter. Lots of chatter can become lots of stress, particularly when you add the chatter of family members to the mix. Remove the chatter by removing those items, and you’ll find that your kitchen feels much more peaceful.

It’s also difficult to make cluttered countertops look attractive. “Attractive? Kitchens are meant to be functional, not necessarily attractive,” you say. I say, “Why not functional AND attractive?” Treat your kitchen as a 3D collage of those things that bring family and friends together and you’ll find interactions with others in that space not only more harmonious, but more connected. Environment affects performance. A cluttered space tends to irritate the nervous system. A lovely space soothes it. Which would you prefer?

Kitchen Clutter: Whose Kitchen Are You Working In?

Environment displays consciousness. Whose kitchen are you working in? Does your kitchen DSCN0057
reflect the kind of cook you are, the kind of cook you once were, or the kind of cook you hope to be? Ideally you want your kitchen to reflect who you are today. In other words, it should contain only those items that you use with some regularity, not those you once used or those you might use someday when the stars are aligned properly and you suddenly have oodles of time to do gourmet cooking.

Keeping kitchen tools and equipment that you no longer use and are unlikely to use in the future, holds the energy of the past in place. They also often anchor nostalgic feelings and sadness that things have changed. Stocking up on items that you might use, but never do, keeps you yearning for more time and perhaps even resenting your current reality that doesn’t allow for the pleasure of spending more time in the kitchen.

Why not release items you no longer use? Trust that if you have a change of heart or a change of schedule, you will be able to purchase replacements. I let go of round cake pans because no matter how hard I tried, I could never make a round cake that wasn’t lopsided. I have never regretted that decision. Sheet cakes taste just as good as round cakes! I also got rid of my bundt pan because I never made that type of cake. Recently when I found a recipe that I really wanted to try, one that called for a bundt pan, I was able to pick one up at low cost at the grocery store.

Make your kitchen be an accurate reflection of your current eating habits and abilities. When you get real about your commitment to cooking or lack thereof, I predict you’ll feel more comfortable in your kitchen. It’s cabinets and drawers will be telling the truth about how the space is actually used.

Clutter Clearing: Create a Kitchen That Tells the Truth

Environment displays consciousness. Whose kitchen are you working in? Does your kitchen DSCN0057reflect the kind of cook you are, the kind of cook you once were, or the kind of cook you hope to be? Ideally you want your kitchen to reflect who you are today. In other words, it should contain only those items that you use with some regularity, not those you once used or those you might use someday when the stars are aligned properly and you suddenly have oodles of time to do gourmet cooking. 

Keeping kitchen tools and equipment that you no longer use and are unlikely to use in the future, holds the energy of the past in place. They also often anchor nostalgic feelings and sadness that things have changed. Stocking up on items that you might use, but never do, keeps you yearning for more time and perhaps even resenting your current reality that doesn’t allow for the pleasure of spending more time in the kitchen.

Why not release items you no longer use? Trust that if you have a change of heart or a change of schedule, you will be able to purchase replacements. I let go of round cake pans because no matter how hard I tried, I could never make a round cake that wasn’t lopsided. I have never regretted that decision. Sheet cakes taste just as good as round cakes! I also got rid of my bundt pan because I never made that type of cake. Recently when I found a recipe that I really wanted to try, one that called for a bundt pan. I was able to pick one up at low cost at the grocery store.

Make your kitchen be an accurate reflection of your current cooking and eating habits and abilities. When you get real about your commitment to cooking or lack thereof, I predict you’ll feel more comfortable in your kitchen. It’s cabinets and drawers will be telling the truth about how the space is actually used.

Kitchen Clutter Clearing: Where to Start

Where should you start clutter clearing when faced with all the cabinets and drawers of a

Deep pantry post-purging.

Deep pantry post-purging.

kitchen, not to mention a pantry? I recommend starting with whatever area is easiest for you to deal with, preferably in a section with large items. Getting some big things out of there will release lots of stagnant energy and you’ll be encouraged by your progress. 

When I help a client clear clutter in a kitchen, I quickly try to determine where I’m most likely to find the most “dead” stuff. Dead stuff are items about which I’ll get no objection when I suggest getting rid of them. Dead means no energy, nothing appealing, no need to keep. In fact, it often feels good to get rid of dead stuff.

Often I find it’s a choice between foodstuffs that have been around since the Ice Age or the bottom or top shelf of a cabinet that holds miscellaneous occasional use items in disarray. The bigger the items, the better! Recently when choosing where to start with a client I got my answer when I opened the pantry door. The shelves were about three feet deep. I knew there would be lots of dead items hiding in the darkness beyond easy reach, especially on the upper shelves.

Sure enough, from the back end of those shelves I unearthed many items that would be risky to eat. In some cases expiration dates helped make the decision. In others my client took one look at the long lost item and exclaimed, “Oh, throw that away!”

When clearing any area, your first goal is to quickly get things moving out. When items start flowing toward the trash or the donation pile, you will feel energized. And, you’ll need that energy to keep going through all the many types of items that get housed in a kitchen!

Mug Feng Shui Tells a Story of Riches

As I was unloading my dishwasher today I took a look at the coffee mugs I was putting away. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a majority of the mugs in my kitchen cabinet held good energy and special associations.

Mugs tell a story of rich relationships and memories over the years

Mugs tell a story of rich relationships and memories over the years

One mug was from Dale, a very dear friend, lovely creative spirit, and someone who lovingly spends time with my mother on many days when I can’t be there. It’s turquoise and a beautiful round shape. I smile whenever I look at or hold that mug.

Another was from Lou, a former client who is a very special gentle spirit. It’s pink with white spots. I love its association and it’s color. 

Another was from Barb, a very dear friend I had when living in Salt Lake City between 1979 and 1983. It has an artistic picture of a sheep on it. I raised sheep on my dad’s farm in Vermont for a year, and Barb knew I came away from that experience with a special love for those gentle creatures. That mug holds memories of all the support Barb offered me when I was divorcing my first husband and of the Vermont chapter in my life.

And, the most recent addition to my mug collection is a white mug with little black cats walking around its bottom edge. I gave that mug to my mom years ago because we had had a black cat named Beaut (affectionately called Beuttox or Toxity), a favorite cat among our family cats. That mug came to me just last week when we moved Mom into memory care where she has no kitchen. It holds the energy of our love for Beaut and my love for Mom.

Who knew a kitchen cabinet could be a treasure trove of my wealth of love, special memories and treasured relationships! Over the years I had been intentionally making it a point to weed out mugs that I didn’t love (the look, shape, size, association) or use. With my clutter clearing efforts I unconsciously ended up with a collection of useful items that not only appeal to me from a practical and aesthetic standpoint, but also document in physical form precious relationships I’ve had over the years.

Feng shui teaches that living exclusively with what you love or use is the way to transform your space so you can attract good things into your life. It seems to be working for me!