Smart Storage

Decluttering has never been so easy.

Decluttering has never been so easy.

By Jennifer Shapira

Rodenburg Photography /


1. Entertaining hide away

We all have the pieces of tableware that we buy thinking we will use it everyday, but only seems to come out of the cabinet when guests arrive. Best, and safest, place for these pieces are wrapped and stacked away in the out-of-reach cabinet spaces—not too far when entertaining, but, also, not taking up arms-reach cabinet shelves.


2. Style it, don’t sterilize it

When trying to declutter sometimes people go overboard, not having anything displayed and out in the open. So, don’t forget to incorporate areas of interest, making people forget they are in a kitchen. Use awkward reaching areas of the kitchen to display some treasured pieces. This will pull in the whole room, having the eye focus on the decor instead of appliances.


3. Out of sight, out of mind

Only display everyday spatulas and cooking utensils on countertops—only four are really needed. You can make them a piece of decor buy choosing ones in bright, vibrant colors. Less used utensils should be stored, neatly, in a nearby drawer.


4. Cookbook mania

Chefs in the kitchen tend to come with a multitude of cookbooks, but how often are all the recipes actually used? Keeping go-to recipes at a close reach is needed, but you don’t need all those cookbooks in the kitchen. Photo copy your favorite recipes and store them in a stylish binder, in plastic sleeves, that you keep in the kitchen. If you still don’t want to get rid of your cookbooks, shelve them on a bookshelf somewhere else in the house.


5. Match it up

Mismatched plates make for visual chaos, especially if you have open shelving or glass cabinet doors. Keeping plates, cups and bowls in the same style and color tone bring a calming, orderly effect, both on the table and in the cabinet.


6. Seasonal swap out

No one is expecting you to get rid of your crockpot, but it doesn’t need to be handy in Northern Virginia’s sweltering summers. When it comes time to change up your seasonal or holiday decor, take the time to swap out your seasonal appliances as well. Store the bulkier items in the attic or other storage areas in the house. Or, if you still want them nearby, tuck them in the island counter cabinets.


A Pantry with Personality

The personalization of a home pantry has become much chic-er and a lot more interesting in recent years.

With so many DIY websites, blogs and TV shows, and the advent of the extremely popular online pinboard Pinterest, area experts say that the information sharing of creativity is flourishing.

Such forums exist to offer suggestions and inspirations to those who are looking to put a bit more oomph in their daily lives.

The pantry is often such a small space; it’s quick and affordable to give it a makeover. Think Mason jars with vintage-looking chalkboard labels or containers identified in a perfect font.

“There’s lots you can do to bling out your pantry,” says Janet Schiesl, Centreville-based professional organizer and D.C. Metro Chapter president of National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).

“Mine is tiny,” Schiesl says. “There’s so much more you can do if you have a larger [pantry]. It’s a doable project and I did it for almost no money.”

Schiesl chose a sunny gold paint color to serve as her backdrop and finished the white mesh shelves with a pretty, corresponding ribbon threaded throughout.

Now, with two grown sons and less of a fear of broken glass, she replaced her go-to plastic containers and scored Salvation Army clear glass jars to store her dry goods.

Just recently, one of her son’s oldest friends stunned her with praise for her project; he slapped a Post-it note inside complimenting her handiwork that read: “Mrs. Schiesl—This looks so nice!”

All those years of boys raiding the pantry for afterschool snacks?



(March 2013)