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Weekly Tip

No Pantry? No Problem.

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

In the days of social media and Pinterest perfect pictures, having an organized pantry is something of a status symbol. Beautifully organized pantries with coordinated bins, clear jars full of food, labels and turntables is fun to look at and admire, but what about the kitchens that don’t have pantries? In those cases, it’s time to get creative and

Think outside the box

What I mean is, look at your kitchen as a whole unit. Just because tradition dictates where certain items typically go doesn’t mean that’s where they ALWAYS have to go. The first step is to eliminate what isn’t necessary. Set aside time to pull everything out and really consider what you need and what you don’t need. You can donate rarely used small appliances and gadgets or keep them in a storage area in the house or garage until the yearly need for them arises. If you’re limited on space, don’t let rarely used items take up valuable space. Once you know what you’re working with then you can begin to assemble the kitchen puzzle.

Some examples from my previous jobs include:
– Hanging mugs on hooks on the wall or under a cupboard

– Using a shelf riser to stack bowls above plates without having to stack them directly on top of each other

– Using bins to keep “pantry” items contained in cupboards, especially if they share space with other non-pantry kitchen items.

– Give each shelf in a cupboard a specific purpose (I.e. the bottom shelf may be glasses and above it may be powders and other smoothie ingredients, along with the items used to make your smoothie)

– 3m hooks on the inside of cabinet doors for measuring cups or other utensils

Just remember your kitchen is YOUR space and you can organize it however YOU need it to be organized. Use Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration but at the end of the day give each item a home in a space that makes sense to you.

The Best Place to Store Plastic Wrap – The Kitchn

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

A simple tip that will blow your mind

Hey all! I’m currently on on break with my family but wanted to send a quick tip to get you through your BBQs, picnics and other summer meals. It’s a great little tip from The Kitchn and I think you’re going to like it

Check it out here

AND, you’re welcome.
Happy Summer!

Jenna

Look Back Before Looking Forward

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Eating An Elepthant Monthly Newsletter

Look back before looking forward

As a nation we are all in various stages of “re-emerging” after the lock down. Before life really picks up and we focus on looking ahead and doing things we haven’t been able to do for the past few months, here’s my piece of advice:

Reevaluate your systems

How have they held up during this time? Did you make any new systems that are working great and you want to keep them as they are? Or has something not been working and so it needs to be altered? If you have a system that needs to be fixed, set your mind to it now. Once life can actually happen again you’re probably not going to take the time needed to figure out a fix. And if you don’t handle it now there’s a good chance you never will.

1 Simple and Easy Way to Help

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Eating an Elephant Newsletter

Do your part… by doing this one thing

At some point we will be out of quarantine and back to our regular lives once again. At that time we’ll have to figure out how to get back to “normal”, whatever that may be, and what’s one way we can help that happen?

Shop local

When you can, starting now, please shop local or on small business websites. I know how easy it is to order from Amazon and free shipping is definitely appealing, but who is being more affected by the lockdown – Jeff Bezos or small business owners? This idea is not mine but I think it’s great – if you find an item on Amazon, go to that seller’s website and order the item(s) from there. It’s a lot better for the vendor and it’ll help boost the economy. I know it may not seem like a big step, but for those of us who run small businesses, every client is valuable ALL THE TIME, and especially right now. So do your part and shop small and shop local.

 
 
And just in time for Mother’s Day – receive 15% off all organizing services when you
buy some hours for mom/the mom-figure in your life.
Email jenna@topshelforganizing.com to get a gift card for organizing hours!

 

 

 

Do You Really Need It?

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

 

Do you really need it?

Okay, let’s get real – I know the tendency right now is to hoard all that you have. I’ve struggled with it myself (hello panic shopping at Costco when they clearly said grocery stores are going to stay open!) but, there are some things that, regardless of how long this lasts, you just don’t need to keep around. So, what is my tip for the month with quarantining, social distancing and working from home looming over all of us?

Purge what you can

I understand there may be things you want to hang on to “just in case”. But stockpiling and adding to your clutter while you’re stuck at home isn’t going to help you feel better. If anything, being stuck in a home that’s full of clutter is going to make you feel even crazier! So look through your closet, the kitchen, your pantry, garage and other spaces and see if there are things that, now that we have survived the “what if” scenario, you ended up not really needing.

March Newsletter

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

Create a division

Last month I wrote about Multi-purpose drawers. This month I want to talk about another drawer that can be an issue – the large utensils drawer. Large utensils can be so hard to organize. They’re big and bulky and oddly shaped and can be a complete mess in the drawer. They don’t fit very well into pre-set drawer organizers and even if they do fit in the organizer itself, sometimes the extra height added by the bottom of the organizer causes spoons and spatulas not to fit in the drawer. For these large utensil drawers I much prefer to use

drawer dividers

Drawer dividers are similar to tension rods in that they start out long and you push the ends in to make them fit the drawer and the tension keeps them in place. You can completely customize your drawer by making the spaces in between the dividers as wide or as narrow as you want and need. And because the items are laying on the bottom, as long as they fit before, they’ll fit again but this time in a more organized space.

The Dreaded Junk Drawer

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

The Dreaded Junk Drawer

Junk drawers have a terrible reputation. They look junky. They’re disorganized. They’re a wasteland of lost items like rubber bands, matchbooks, pens, pencils, scissors, tape, safety pins, paper clips, batteries, twisty-ties, and much much more. But, they don’t have to be! It can be intimidating, but go to your junk drawer, pull everything out, purge, sort, categorize and when you put items back in

USE PRODUCT

I am the first one to admit that, when organizing, product is not always needed. However, when it comes to junk drawers, I definitely believe it is. My favorite drawer organizer is the Practical Comfort Adjustable Drawer Organizer (pictured above) but you can use other small bins or organizers as well (pictured below). Just make sure what you use fits the drawer without giving too much “negative space” (areas outside the organizer or bin), gives enough options for all of your categories to fit separately and make sure you actually put things back WHERE THEY GO. A good drawer organizer can go to waste if it’s not used properly.

Another Idea for a Deep Drawer

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January Newsletter

Looking From Above

At the end of last year I started talking about the current trends I’m seeing in newer homes.
One of them was deep cupbards and the other was deep drawers.
This month I’m going to keep that theme with one more idea for deeper
drawers. This is specifically for those drawers that aren’t deep enough
for baking sheets and frying pans, but is deep enough that items could still
get lost. What is it?

Label the top of your cans and store them in a deep drawer

I utilized this idea in a kitchen that had deep pantry cupboards where
items frequently got lost in the mess. We used bins for the pantry
items and moved the canned goods down to one of the lower drawers.
This way, all that they have can be seen and nothing is getting lost in the
back. AND they don’t have to dig around just to find the corn!

A Christmas Present For You!

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December Newsletter

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And the most stressful!
I figured I’d be extra generous this month and give you THREE tips in this month’s newsletter. You’re welcome! 

Hopefully, if you’ve been a reader for a while now, you implemented
these tips when I sent them out in years past, but in case you haven’t
or if you’re new to the Eating an Elephant family, here are a few tips
to help you get through the holiday season. I hope they help you enjoy
this amazing time of year!
Merry Christmas!

My #1 Tip for the Holidays

A Post Christmas Tip

How to End the Year the Right Way

What To Do With a Deep Drawer

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Deep Drawer Dilemma?

Along with the deep pantry shelves (October’s newsletter theme)
another trend I see quite a bit in newer kitchens is a deep drawer (or 2, or 3…).
If you have a similar drawer in your kitchen,
here’s one way to utilize the space without sacrificing the depth of the drawer:

Use lid dividers for pans and baking sheets

This is the ideal solution for really deep drawers. It’s almost like
they were made for them!No more stacking baking sheets and nesting pans –
now they can be stored upright so you can access them easily.

If you have a deep drawer in your kitchen, this is one easy and creative way to utilize every square inch.

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