Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One Hour Clutter Cutter - is that any way to treat your home?

Now that I have found the secret to the “If you only have one hour…” pearls of wisdom listed in the BHG “Storage” issue, I suppose that you want to hear what they are! The first was in an article about Kitchen Spaces – Solutions: Corner Storage that was all about using the “wasted space” in the corner of your kitchen counter and cabinets. They suggest that you buy “bins or baskets the width of the cabinet opening and place them on each shelf inside a corner cabinet. Fill each container with small items (utensils, dessert plates, dry goods) and pull out to access.” They go on to say, “While you do sacrifice some space in the back and side of the cabinet, you’re less likely to lose items.”

In my kitchen, I couldn’t afford to lose that valuable space in the back and side of the cabinet; the width of the door is very narrow compared to the size of the cabinet inside. In fact, the corner cabinets are some of the larger cabinets in my kitchen, particularly the lower cabinet. My lower corner cabinet came with a two-tier turntable that I use for pantry type items – taller oil and vinegar bottles, large coffee containers and bags of things like sweetener or flour that I use less often. Sometimes I might spin the contents around a time or two before I locate an item, but as far as I know, nothing has ever fallen off the back. This round object in a relatively square space allows me to store items in the back corners and just inside the door and still not block the free spinning of the turntable. I have tall items like a thermos in the back corners because I can see them when I need them and just inside the door I can fit some skinny bottles that might topple if they were placed on the Lazy Susan.

If your cabinet didn’t come with a turntable feature, you can purchase separate Lazy Susans for each fixed shelf in the cabinet or remove the shelf and purchase a double or triple-tiered turntable that can be found in many home stores. I have found an assortment of sizes at The Container Store or online at www. and there is even a website called that not only has graduated diameters but also space saving stackable kinds. Pay attention to the door of your corner cabinet. Some have a double-panel door that closes into a 90 degree angle but some, like mine, have a single door set at a 45 degree angle to the adjacent cabinets. The double door type cabinet needs a turntable that is notched to get maximum use of the available storage.

By the way, the turntable options are listed in the article itself on Corner Storage, but the Clutter Cutter box is where the idea of a basket just inside the door was suggested. I am not sure that in BHG’s haste to create quick fixes, that they are offering the best solution. It goes back to the idea that a quick fix is not the best fix…take your time and do it right! Number 2 coming tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Go on a Clutter Diet and Shed Pounds (of junk)

Judy, one of my fellow staff members, purchased the Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication titled, “Storage: Get Organized Today” which has the enticing message on the front “Second Printing - Back by Popular Demand!” One of the items listed on the cover to be found inside, in fact the first item listed, is “One-Hour Clutter Cutters.” This was the reason that Judy purchased the magazine at the princely sum of $6.99. She combed the contents and thumbed through the magazine but never found an article on One-Hour Clutter Cutters so she gave it over to me for our de-clutter club. I too dug through the contents for some time trying to locate this holy grail of de-cluttering advice. Finally, I found it! In the very end of the letter from the Editor (who reads that?) I found the following message: “…we’re thrilled to share our quick tips for making storage your own. In particular, look for the ‘If you only have one hour…’ tip boxes throughout the issue.”

I went back through the issue and sure enough there were these little boxes, outlined with a dashed line, as if you might cut them out, hovering over a few of the pretty photos of clean, uncluttered interiors. But in another exhaustive search I found only four of these tip boxes with no more than two or three sentences each! Since I did not pay the seven dollars, I am not going to feel cheated, but it does go to show you what the editors of Better Homes and Gardens thought would best sell the magazine to consumers – the promise of cutting clutter in just one hour!

Now let’s be realistic. Just like losing weight, the pounds (and the junk) that we have accumulated took many years to add up. You are not going to shed any significant amount of weight (or clutter) with a quick-fix plan. These are useful tips included in these pages, but you are not going to solve your clutter problem without giving yourself permission to take it slowly, one step at a time. Remember the 20 minute rule of setting a timer for anywhere from 15 to 20 minute increments and stopping before you wear yourself out. If you enjoy the work and do it thoroughly and logically, it seems to me that you are more likely “to keep it off permanently.” But, as any good doctor or de-cluttering coach will tell you, you have to modify your behavior to not acquire the stuff in the first place, just like to have to be careful for your whole life what you put in your mouth.