14 Tips On How To Organize Small Things In Your Kitchen

It’s unavoidable not to have lots of small stuff lying around in the kitchen. Here are some tips on how you can organize the clutter in your kitchen.

You may read the tips here or click on the link below to access the source:

http://www.ideadigezt.com/tips-on-how-to-organize-your-small-things-in-your-kitchen/

1. Store on the Door

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To make the most of your pantry’s space, utilize the inside of the door to store canned goods, spices, sodas and more. You won’t believe how much extra storage you’ll add when you take advantage of this often-forgotten area.

2. Sky is the Limit

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When trying to find a place to fit all those pots and pans, don’t forget to look up. Install a hanging rack, and keep these kitchen essentials out of the way but within easy reach.

3.  Basket Case

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Getting the kids ready for school and out the door is so much easier with an organized pantry full of grab-and-go snacks. Mix see-through, pull-out baskets of dinner sides, pasta and sauces, and save yourself some time and anxiety in the long run.

4.  Hanging Around

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Are you running low on cabinet space? A slide-out coffee cup rack offers plenty of space for hanging your everyday mugs.

5.  Paper Trail

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Paper towels are a kitchen staple, but they don’t have to take up precious counter space. Fit a sleek paper towel holder to the inside of your cabinet door to give your paper towels a new, hidden home.

6.  Stackable Solution

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Double your cabinet space by adding under-the-shelf racks for plates, bowls or mugs. Not only will you be able to fit more dishes in the cabinet, but each dish will be easier to find.

7.  The Clear Choice

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Stunning glass canisters lined along your shelf or in the pantry are aesthetically-pleasing storage containers that make it easy to know when you’re running low on your basic essentials.

8.  Your Search Is Over

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Searching for the right lid for a pan can be a real time waster. Save time and stress by storing your lids in an upright pan rack that fits right into your drawer. Bonus? You’ll never have to hear the loud clanging of lids again!

 9.  Curtain Call

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When organizing your kitchen, it’s easy to forget the dark area below the sink. Stop tossing in the miscellaneous cleaning supplies, and give them a space that’s all their own. By adding a small curtain rod below the sink, you will be able to hang your cleaning supply bottles while also opening up the bottom of the cabinet for other items.

10. Divide and Conquer

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Drawer dividers are one of the simplest ways to keep your kitchen organized. Separate flatware, spices and knives easily with a divider that keeps everything in its place.

11.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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Think outside the box, and save counter space (and money!) by mounting cool pie-filling cans to hold your cooking utensils.

12.  Take Out the Clutter

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Don’t waste a whole drawer on take-out menus and coupons. By attaching a couple of plastic sleeves to the inside of a cabinet drawer, you will have all the space you need, while taking up hardly any room.

13.  Sugar and Spice

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By keeping your spices stowed neatly in a drawer by the oven, they will always be on hand when and where you need them.

14. Clean Up Your Act

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Why have a drawer if you can’t actually use it? Try adding hinges and a convenient tray to the false drawer beneath your sink for an extra place to hide cleaning essentials.

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7 Reasons We Buy More Stuff Than We Need

Do you find yourself buying stuff you don’t really need? Here are some reasons why that is probably the case….

You can read the article here or click on the link below to go to the full site:

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

why-we-buy-more-than-we-need

The amount of stuff we own these days is staggering.

The average American home size has grown from 1,000 square feet to almost 2,500 square feet. Personal storage generates more than $24 billion in revenue each year. Reports indicate we consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years ago. All while carrying, on average, nearly $15,950 in credit-card debt.

These numbers should cause us to start asking some difficult questions of ourselves. For example, “Why do we buy more stuff than we need?”

I mean, when you really stop to think about it, this becomes a fascinating question. What thinking would compel somebody to spend money on things they didn’t actually need in the first place?

If we could successfully answer this question, we could more easily free our lives and our resources for more important pursuits.

But this question can be difficult. It forces us to admit weakness in our lives. Consider some of the lies we have believed:

7 Reasons We Buy More Stuff Than We Need

1. We think it will make us secure. Our logic goes like this: if owning some material possessions brings us security (a roof, clothing, reliable transportation), owning excess will surely result in even more security. But after meeting our most basic needs, the actual security derived from physical possessions is much less stable than we believe. They all perish, spoil, or fade. And they can disappear faster than we realize.

2. We think it will make us happy. Nobody would ever admit they search for happiness in material possessions—we all just live like we do. We buy bigger houses, faster cars, cooler technology, and trendier fashion hoping we will become happier because of it. Unfortunately, the actual happiness derived from excess physical possessions is fleeting at best.

3. We are more susceptible to advertising than we believe. On average, we see 5,000 advertisements every day. Every advertisement carries the same message: your life will be better if you buy what we are selling. We begin to hear this messaging so many times and from so many angles, we begin to subtly believe it. This is not a complete condemnation of the marketing industry. This is simply a call to realize their messaging affects us more than we realize.

4. We are hoping to impress other people. In a wealthy society, envy quickly becomes a driving force for economic activity. Once all of our basic needs have been met, consumption must become about something more than needs. It becomes an opportunity to display our wealth, our importance, and our financial success with the world.

5. We are jealous of people who own more. Comparison seems to be a natural state of our humanity. We notice what other people are buying, wearing, and driving. Our society encourages these comparisons. And all too often, we buy stuff we don’t need just because people in our friendship circles have done the same. A culture fixated on praising excess will always misdefine true success.

6. We are trying to compensate for our deficiencies. We mistakenly look for confidence in the clothes that we wear or the car that we drive. We seek to recover from loss, loneliness, or heartache by purchasing unnecessary items. We seek fulfillment in material things. And we try to impress other people with the things that we own rather than the people that we are. But these pursuits will never fully satisfy our deficiencies. Most of the time, they just keep us from ever even addressing them.

7. We are more selfish than we like to admit. It can be difficult to admit that the human spirit is hardwired toward selfishness and greed, but history appears to make a strong case for us. We seek to grow the size of our personal kingdom by accumulating more and more things. This has been accomplished throughout history by force, coercion, dishonesty, and warfare. Unfortunately, selfishness continues to surface in our world and our lives even today.

Excess material possessions do not enrich our lives. In fact, buying things we don’t need keeps us from experiencing some wonderful, life-giving benefits. We would be wise to realize the cause and become vigilant in overcoming it.

There is more joy to be found in owning less than can ever be discovered in pursuing more. (tweet that)

Storage tips for the laundry and bathroom

How to keep your energy bills low

July 2, 2014

By Alexandra Cain

 Household appliances and what they cost to run each year.

In the not-too distant past the cost of electricity and gas barely rated a mention. Compared with expenses such as car insurance and mortgage payments, energy bills were chickenfeed. But today the rising cost of energy makes front page news.

It’s a topic that’s front and centre right now given the energy market in New South Wales was deregulated on 1 July (deregulation happened in Victoria in 2002). This means a lower cost for energy for consumers at least in the short term, with customers of Energy Australia and Origin Energy now on a transitional rate that is 1.5 per cent lower than the regulated rate for 2013/2014.

But the cost of gas is skyrocketing. The eastern seaboard’s relatively new ability to export gas to global markets means consumers are now exposed to global gas market prices. The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s draft report on average regulated retail gas prices says the price of gas will rise by 17.6 per cent between 2014 and 2016, with average bills expected to climb by $150 to $225, depending on where the consumer lives and how much gas is used.

Nicola Olding hasn't had to pay an energy bill in 18 months.Solar earner: Nicola Olding hasn’t had to pay an energy bill in 18 months. Photo: Wayne Taylor/Jamie Smetkowski

So what can you do to help manage your energy bills? Graeme Ambrose, sustainability consultant with Ecodecisions – a company that aims to help consumers becoming more energy efficient – has an especially controversial suggestion.

ACTION PLAN

Top tips to reduce your energy bills

  • Turn off your second fridge
  • Use LED instead of halogen lights
  • Install insulation
  • Switch to solar energy
  • Put another layer of clothes on
 How your bills will look by the end of the decade.

‘‘Get rid of your beer fridge. Running ‘old faithful’ can make up 30 per cent to 40 per cent of your energy bill,’’ says Ambrose. For instance, one of his customers saw his energy usage drop from 30 kilowatt hours a day to 9.32 kilowatt hours a day just by turning off the old beer fridge. He says the average house uses 16 kilowatt hours a day.

‘‘Getting rid of the old fridge freezer reduced the electricity bill by 60 per cent,’’ he says, adding that convincing blokes to turn off the beer fridge is one of the toughest parts of his job. (The other one is convincing people to put pelmets over curtains, which people think are old fashioned but which help keep heat in a room.) So what’s the secret to getting guys to turn off their beloved booze cooler?

Says Ambrose: ‘‘When I tell them in front of the wife it costs them 25 slabs a year to run it they tend to see sense.’’ Having teenagers in the house also tends to produce a spike in energy use. Ambrose says one house to which he consulted experienced a jump in energy use from 16 kilowatt hours a day to 23 kilowatt hours a day because the teenage son had a computer running internet games 24/7. If you have teenagers, have a chat to them about turning off the computer when they are not using it.

Keith Armstrong believes solar panels will cut his electricity bills in half.Keith Armstrong believes solar panels will cut his electricity bills in half. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Changing light bulbs is another way of reducing energy use. Ambrose says halogen lights use an especially large amount of energy. He points out halogen lights use so much energy and give off so much heat, they are used in convection ovens for cooking. ‘‘You often see eight to ten in a room, left on for four hours a night. If it costs 30 cents a kilowatt hour to run them, you’re spending $210 a year just to power these lights.’’ Instead, he suggests replacing them with LED lights, which use far less energy.

Another of Ambrose’s tips is to make sure there are no gaps between the lights and the ceilings. As hot air rises, it can end up seeping through to the roof, instead of remaining in the room keeping it warm. Putting the thermostat in the main living room, rather than its traditional spot in the hallway, which is generally colder that the living room, is another way to save power. This is because the heater isn’t working overtime to keep a constant temperature of about 23 degrees in an area in which people don’t spend much time.

But one of his most interesting tips is to use a convection oven instead of a standard gas or electric oven. ‘‘It uses a quarter of the energy of a normal oven and cooks food in about half the time.’’ Kmart’s web site shows the Homemaker 12 litre convection oven costs just $39.

Excluding drafts

Ambrose has many other energy saving secrets including this one: if you stand in the hallway and can see gaps around the front door frame, you have a draft problem.

Another way to help reduce your energy bills is by installing solar panels. Richard Vargas who is a director of solar energy business United Solar Energy says his customers are saving as much as 80 per cent of their power bills every year with solar energy. ‘‘The use of solar is growing and … most customers are repaying their investment [in a solar system] through savings [on their electricity bill] within five years or less.’’ Insulating your home is another way to help lower energy costs. Vargas says insulation can help reduce power bills by up to 40 per cent, keeping the heat in during winter and out in summer.

When it comes to choosing a low-cost energy provider, Matt Cuming, head of corporate affairs of price comparison web site iSelect, says it depends on where you live and how you use energy. But he says the first step is understanding there are two components to an energy bill: a charge for supplying energy to the house and the cost of the actual energy use.

‘‘Consumers are charged a variety of rates, depending on what type of meter the house has and how the residents use energy in peak and off-peak periods,’’ Cuming says. Different retailers also offer different energy rates, which also determines what consumers pay for their power.

Cuming says one way to get a cheaper rate is to commit to a long-term contract. ‘‘Shop around because there can be significant savings between providers. Also watch out for bill shock when you receive your first bill and ask the provider whether bill smoothing is available.’’

Bill smoothing means you can agree to pay a certain amount over a predetermined period – say $40 a fortnight – so that you’re paying off your energy bill before it arrives. He says different energy retailers will offer discounts at various times throughout the year that are worth watching. ‘‘But if a 20 per cent discount is advertised look at whether it applies to the base supply or to usage. Over time we should see competition in the market determine energy prices, which should mean consumers are better off. For instance, in Victoria where energy is already deregulated, prices have risen, but consumers can shop around now for the best deal.’’

So can you negotiate prices with energy companies? Vargas says energy retailers have the ability to provide better savings and this often happens when you threaten to leave them for another company.

‘‘We advise home owners and businesses to have a discussion with their energy retailers every year to take advantage of lower prices since most retailers increase prices by as much as 5 per cent every year,’’ he says.

There is a plethora of steps consumers can take to keep power bills down. How much you save is ultimately determined by how much effort you’re willing to put into implementing energy saving tips and how good you are at negotiating with your energy supplier to keep your bills down.

Case study: The solar solution to reducing your power bills

Nicola Oldridge hasn’t had to pay an energy bill in more than 18 months. In fact, when Money spoke to her, she was $90 in credit to her energy supplier.

‘‘We had solar panels put in two years ago and we’ve been in credit for most of that time. Within three years, we expect to have made the money back we spent on installing the solar system,’’ she says, adding that it cost her $7000 to put in the system.

She has also made a number of other adjustments around her home in Langwarrin in Victoria to help reduce her energy costs. For instance, she put LED globes in her down lights. ‘‘It cost me $300, but I won’t need to change the globes for the next 20 years.’’

Oldridge is one of Graeme Ambrose’s clients and she has also switched to using a convection oven, rarely uses her drier and has blocked up gaps that caused drafts. ‘‘We also got rid of the beer fridge,’’ she says.

But Oldridge points out she gets a better deal from her energy retailer compared with those who are installing solar now. ‘‘We get 35 cents per kilowatt hour [for energy produced by her solar system fed back into the grid]. But people installing a system now only get a feed-in tariff of 8 cents a kilowatt hour,” she says.

“I understand the power companies have to make money, but people who are trying to help the environment and reduce energy use should be properly rewarded for it.’’

Another solar convert, Keith Armstrong, wanted to explore ways to reduce his energy bill as he was nearing retirement and conscious of trying to manage his energy costs in a world of constant price rises.

‘‘I had some friends who had installed solar and they told me how much they were saving, so I decided to go down that track. I was also attracted to the idea of using clean energy,’’ he says.

By happenstance, he was door knocked by a solar energy company and got an initial quote, which he followed up with four other quotes to make sure he had a firm grasp of the market.

‘‘We were initially going to install a small system, but then we realised energy prices are only going to keep rising, so we went with a large system,’’ explains Armstrong, who chose United Solar Energy to install his solar system.

Because his house faces north-west, he invested in a split system, with six panels on the northern side and 10 on the western side.

Armstrong only installed the system in March this year, and has not had a bill yet, so he’s not sure how much it will save him. But he’s checked the meter and his electricity consumption is down by 50 per cent.

‘‘I don’t think this will result in a 50 per cent reduction in my energy bill, but in summer I would expect to feed back into the energy grid.’’