Restore the “Heart” of the Home

***image1***Our kitchens are the space in our homes where life really takes place. We cook, we eat, we communicate and schedule here. Thus, it should be an inviting and comforting environment. With our busy lifestyles, however, our kitchens can become overstocked and even neglected. Read on and see how to ‘Restore the Heart of the Home."

Q. My kitchen countertops are covered with appliances, papers and other clutter! I am overwhelmed and can’t even think about planning a meal much less cooking one. What can I do?
A. Your kitchen needs a bit of nurturing to bring it back to the place of nourishment your family needs.

If your countertops are cluttered with appliances and utensils, take 15 to 20 minutes to evaluate what you are really using. If you have some appliances you need only for special recipes or occasions, consider storing them in a cabinet or pantry. You won’t forget them and you will appreciate their function when you do decide to spend an afternoon baking or when you’re ready to enjoy an early morning smoothie. Any that you haven’t used in at least six months might need to find a new home. Lovingly donate these to your favorite charity or your local soup kitchen. 

Put knives in a knife block; suspend (if possible) utensils and pots and pans from strong hooks or an appliance rack. By displaying kitchenware you create a positive and nurturing environment. 

As far as paper goes, mail, school stuff and other paperwork should be in a dedicated family center and not on the counter tops where food is prepared.

Q. I have enough canned and packaged goods in my pantry to feed the neighborhood. Life is so busy that I am running to the store too often ‘thinking’ we are out of something.  It is out of control—help!
A. Help is here. First of all, think about your shopping habits. When at the grocery store, or as my dear Dad calls it, the ‘food store’, do you have a list or do you simply try to remember what you need? 

If you find yourself coming home from shopping only to find that you already have two or three unopened bottles of ketchup, then it is time evaluate your methods. Try to stick to your shopping list-- the things you need for meal preparation for the week. 

Also, give yourself permission to spend 30 minutes or so to inventory your pantry, then cull out the excess and bag it up for charity relief—always a relevant cause. Make both literal and mental notes of what you do use on a regular basis and plan one day a week to see what really needs stocking up on (then add it to your grocery list). With this being hurricane season, we do tend to overstock, but as November ends, consider your surplus as charity and help those less fortunate. It will make you feel good and free up your own pantry space.

Q. We recently moved into a new home and, with a busy family life, our boxes were emptied and simply stuffed into whatever space was available. My husband and I would be much happier if we had some type of organization to our home. What can we do? We are pretty organized, but this move was a mess and ‘stuff’ was placed wherever! I want my kitchen back, but the space is different!
A. Moving is always a trying experience, but consider the positive. This is a cleansing. You may have simply packed up your whole kitchen and thought ‘I’ll reorganize when we get settled in.’

Let’s face it, moving is stressful. I know. I’ve moved many times and each has provided a learning experience.

So, what to do? Simply give yourself at least three hours one day—a weekday or weekend. Don’t view it as a chore, but consider it a ‘time out’ dedicated to your future peace and simplicity. Evaluate how your cupboards were filled. Remove that which has not been used in ages. Purge! Just because you moved with all your ‘stuff’ doesn’t mean you have to keep it! At this time in your life, you have the ultimate opportunity to cleanse the space in your kitchen and recharge your home with a new energy.

Q. Our kitchen is our communications center. Schoolwork, household bills and a variety of other papers land on the table or the counter tops, and what results is a daily scramble to find the report or calendar memo. It is driving my husband crazy and yet we can’t seem to get out from under it!
A. Believe it or not, you are not alone! Life is often a hectic scramble to carpool, meetings, appointments and all those other places we have to be on any given day. What you need is a system, one that everyone in the home is aware of and respects.

Consider establishing a "landing spot" for communication purposes. Devote, if you have the space, a portion of a wall or other designated spot. This can be where the calendar is placed and all dates will be written on it as they come into the home. Granted, this will take some structure in getting everyone on board, but once the dates are entered you don’t need the pieces of paper or the sheets brought home from school.

If schoolwork is all over the place, work with your child (or children) and decide where ‘their’ place should be. This can be at the kitchen table for afternoon homework, but when done, all books and papers should be put back into the book bag and ready to take out the door in the morning. If you have a desk in the kitchen, consider designating a drawer for supplies and if possible, a drawer for each child’s school information. If there is no desk, consider a binder-type system and label it according to child and activity.

By reclaiming order and space, the days and weeks will be much more fluid and you will be stronger and more organized for it. Congratulate yourself! Your family will as well!

Karen A. Joseph is the owner of Ordered Bliss, LLC, a professional organizing company on Daniel Island. To submit your questions, contact Karen at 345-2592 or

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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