Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

10 Shevat 5759 - Jan. 27, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly

















Home and Family
Baalebusta Betterment
by Chaya Roizy Vorhand, Home Management Consultant

A few weeks ago, you wrote about a woman whose kitchen cabinets were so crowded, it was impossible to see what was inside. That sounds like the situation in my kitchen. Can you really help me?

Sure! It's easier than you think.

Let's do this together and you'll see that organzing even the messiest kitchen is no reason to get overwhelmed. All you need is a block of time (or several smaller chunks of time) and some strong, washable containers with straight sides.

A good inexpensive basket for most kitchen cabinets is the shoebox size, plastic containers we spoke about for organizing children's clothes. (As a reminder, the measurements are 26 m. x 16 cm. x 10 cm. high). Look for them in grocery or disposable goods stores.

Get at least ten. Should you have any left over, you'll be able to put them to good use all over the house. In a pinch, you can use clear plastic fruit baskets, just double or triple them for strength. We'll be needing the other organizing tools we used last week: wide masking tape, a permanent marker and some rubber bands.

When you have your supplies together, you're ready to take a good look at all your food storage cabinets with an eye for efficiency. Decide which shelves are the most convenient to use, which are the least and which are somewhere in between.

* In the most convenient, you'll be storing your daily-use items like sugar, coffee, spices and vitamins.

* In the less convenient, you'll be putting items you use less frequently, say once a week.

* In the highest or least accessible shelves, you'll store food for occasional use like cake decorating foods or nosh that's off limits to the kids.

Now -- to work. You might want to invite a friend over to keep you company and keep you focused. And when you finish, you can celebrate your new, super-organized kitchen together.

All organizing jobs can be divied into a two-step process: First you declutter, then you reorganize.


* Start by clearing a large surface to work on -- the kitchen table is excellent.

* Target one shelf to work with and pull out one item at a time.

* Ask yourself these questions:

1) Does this belong in the kitchen? (Are the kitchen cabinets really the best place to store screws, cassettes, bills?)

2) Do I use this product? (If not, see if you can return it to the store, or put it aside to give away to charity.)

3) Is there a more logical cabinet to put this into than where it is now?

Most likely, you will be removing a few or many items from each shelf. As you answer these questions, sort the contents of your shelf into one of three groups:

1) Items that will go back on this shelf go in one group.

2) Things that will be better off on a different shelf in the kitchen go in a second group.

3) Anything that belongs in a different part of the house goes in a cardboard box or laundry basket. Don't put them away just yet. You'll do that at the end, when you've finished your organizing session for today.

When you've done all the decluttering on one shelf, you can move on to:


* Collect all similar items and place them in one of the containers you prepared. Some items that fit well into these containers are: vitamins, spices and soup mixes, packages of beans and grains, noodles, bottles of condiments and snack foods.

* Collect all items that are always used together, such as coffee or tea and sugar, or spices.

* Label the fronts of each container with a piece of masking tape and a permanent marker.

Work on one small area at a time. As you put things in their place, include anything that you took out before, but should be on the new shelf. When you've finished the work for today, distribute all the things that go to other parts of the house.

To be continued...

Chaya Roizy Vorhand works as a Home Management Consultant. Readers are invited to ask about specific organizing questions they may have. Call her at 02-651- 0025, between 9 and 10 p.m.


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