Cleaning and Organizing the Kitchen

August 26, 2010 9:43:32 AM PDT
It's central command. It's a homework station. It's an arts and crafts studio. It's a playroom. And, oh yeah, you eat in there, too! The kitchen is the heart of the home. And it lives many lives in any given day. Because it's such a popular place, it's hard to keep it clean. And if it's not clean, it can't be organized. If it's not organized, it can't be kept clean. What can you do?

Peter Walsh, www.peterwalshdesign.com America's home organization expert and host of a soon-to-air show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, says the kitchen is primed for a "Home CleanOver." Peter says a "CleanOver" is similar to a home make-over, designed to help people rethink the way they clean and organize their homes from the floor up.

"In any home, the kitchen is truly where the heart is," says Peter, the author of It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff. "It's where your family gets its nourishment--not only from the food you serve but also from the gatherings that so often take place there. Because it's such a nerve center, it's also a tough place to keep organized and clean. "

Peter says now is the time to declutter the kitchen. "It's important to be able to spruce up before the holidays come along. There are a lot of "drop ins" during this time and you'll feel better if your space is clean and organized," he says. " Also, the kids are back in school and the schedule has changed so it's the ideal time to freshen up."

Here are Peter's tips on giving your kitchen a "CleanOver";

  • Flat surfaces are not for storage: Clear all of those things like trinkets and bread makers off the counters. The largest flat surface is the floor. I recommend having the new ProMist close at hand for a fresh, convenient and thorough clean. There's no bucket to drag around and you can either use the durable, machine washable microfiber pad or the microfiber semi disposable pads for those sudden spills. And, you can choose your own cleaning solution -- water, water & vinegar, whatever you like -- safe for kids and pets.
  • Cardboard Box Test: Empty all the contents of your utensil drawer into the box. Over the course of a month, each time you use a utensil from the box, put it back into the drawer. After the four weeks, whatever items are left in the cardboard box, you might want to consider tossing.
  • Magic Triangle: There are two strategies for keeping your kitchen lean and clean. The first is to establish a "magic triangle" in your kitchen between the stove, your refrigerator and your sink. Anything you use most often, keep it in the triangle. Anything you use less often, outside the triangle. It will save you a ton of time.
  • Cull the cookbooks: If you have too many cookbooks for your kitchen, try this simple test: Every time you use a recipe from a cookbook, mark the page with a sticky note. At the end of 18 months, get rid of books that have no notes.
  • Must-have marker: The most essential item to have in your freezer? A black marker. Use it to label and date what's inside freezer bags ? so you aren't stuck wondering what that 6-month old grey mass is.

If these simple steps won't help, you may need professional guidance. You can enter for a chance to win a personal consultation from Peter. Submit your video to the Home CleanOver Video Contest. Peter will give the winner's home a CleanOver! Go to www.homecleanover.com for all the details. The contest runs September 1 through January 31, 2011

For more information on organizing your home, visit Pete's website at www.peterwalshdesign.com or the website of National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) at www.napo.net

ABOUT PETER WALSH
Peter Walsh is a regular contributor to the Oprah Winfrey Show where he teaches people how to declutter their homes, their heads and their hearts. He also was the host of the TLC show Clean Sweep, helping thousands of people get excited about decluttering and organizing their homes and their lives. He is the author of It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, the designer of organizational products, and hosts a national radio program.

Peter was born and raised in Australia in a tiny town 25 miles outside of Melbourne. He's one of seven kids - middle child, three brothers and three sisters. All of his siblings live in Australia; he's now a dual citizen - Australian and American.

At sixteen Peter came to the United States as an exchange student - lived for a year in southeastern Utah and graduated high school there, in Moab. "I loved it!" he says.

The idea of working with youngsters was always attractive to him, so he returned to Australia, went to college and graduated as a teacher. Peter taught high school math, science and graphic art.

His background in education led him to work in drug abuse prevention and health promotion in Australia and then in developing health, education and training programs for schools and corporations. In 1994, Peter returned to the United States and launched a company that produced workplace training programs that helped employees with their interpersonal and communication skills.

All of his past experiences came together when his training experience and interest in organizational change in the workplace and in homes caught the attention of the producers of the hit TLC show Clean Sweep.

"We ended up making more than 120 episodes and helped thousands of people get excited about decluttering and organizing their homes and their lives," Peter says. "Helping people live rich and full lives without drowning in their stuff continues to be the focus of most of my work. I'm lucky to now be working on The Oprah Winfrey Show helping people declutter their homes, their heads, their hearts and their hips. "

Besides his work on TV, Peter has written a few best-selling books about clutter and organization. "My first (and favorite) is It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, Peter says. "I'm now also designing some cool organizational products and hosting a national radio program. This all keeps me busy when I'm not travelling or helping people turn their clutter and chaos into calm. I now live in Los Angeles with my long term partner. No pets. No plants. No clutter."


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