Easy and Effective Ways to Maintain Order in a Busy Kitchen

From prepping the morning coffee to working to get dinner on the table on a hectic weekday, you put quite a strain on your kitchen day in and day out. Here are a few effective ways to maintain order in your kitchen, no matter how busy your weeks can get!

  • Maximize the space in your cabinets. If your cabinets only have a few shelves, add more. If your belongings are always a jumbled mess, add organizers. Many people don’t consider adding new shelving or dividers in their cabinets, but this is one of the easiest ways to make your kitchen work better for your specific needs.
  • Bring in a bar cart. If you need additional storage but don’t have the space (or the budget), a bar cart is a great solution. Use this for your coffee maker and mugs, baking tools, or even as a traditional bar cart with wine and cocktail essentials.
  • Keep the counters clean. Avoid storing things on the counters in order to create space for cooking and more room for navigating your kitchen.
  • Group like items together. Take a day to organize your utensils, pans, and even your food, grouping the items that you usually use together in one place.

Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets [The Container Store]
10 Kitchen Organization Hacks to Keep Clutter Contained [Café Mom]
10 Steps to an Orderly Kitchen [HGTV]

Expecting Last-Minute Guests? Here’s How to Speed-Clean Your Apartment!

You were thrilled to hear that your friends were coming to town for a visit… but then they told you they would be there in an hour. When your apartment isn't exactly ready for visitors, you can follow these last-minute cleaning tips to tidy it up in no time at all.

  1. Keep all of your cleaning supplies in one place. That way you can simply pull out the bin or bucket in situations just like this one.
  2. Banish clutter. When it comes to making a room look clean, your guests are more likely to notice your dirty laundry on the floor than a bit of dust in the counter. Make one quick sweep of the apartment and clean up clutter as you go.
  3. Clean the bathroom. Your guests will likely use the bathroom before, say, your office, so be sure that all counters are clean, the toilet is scrubbed, and fresh linens are hung. Don't forget to restock the hand soap and toilet paper!
  4. Don’t get hung up on little things. Now is not the time to rearrange your shelves. Instead, dust only the visible surfaces, fluff up the pillows, and look at the room as a whole instead of focusing on individual details.

9 Tips For Speed Cleaning [About Home]
13 Tips to Help You Speed-Clean Your Home [Better Homes & Gardens]
Speed Cleaning [Real Simple]

July is National Ice Cream Month!

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? There are great ice cream shops in the area. Here are a few:

The Creamery: http://www.mycreamery.com/
Pops: http://fishmarketva.com/page/8/pops-ice-cream
Ben & Jerry's: http://www.benjerry.com/alexandria

Happy 4th of July!

We hope everyone has a safe and happy day as we celebrate America's Independence Day.

Georgetown Cupcakes- 20% off for 4th of July

Looking for the perfect dessert to bring to your 4th of July party? Look no further! Georgetown Cupcakes has an assortment of patriotic themed cupcakes to choose from and they're 20% off today! Use code JULY2015 online to receive your discount.

To order online go to www.georgetowncupcake.com/order.

Organize Your Dresser in 4 Easy Steps

If you’re like most people, your dresser is likely prone to becoming messy, jumbled and, after a long work week, maybe even overflowing. If you want to finally organize your dresser drawers — and keep them that way — use these four simple tips for daily dresser maintenance.

  • Tackle the top. Begin by adding an attractive tray to the top of your dresser where you can corral perfumes, lotions, spare change, and other smalls. Hang a mirror if the dresser doesn’t already have one, then consider adding a lamp if your space is lacking in light.
  • Add dividers. For drawers that hold folded items, such as t-shirts, purchase drawer dividers from a home goods store to keep everything in its right place.
  • Fold clothes vertically. Instead of folding your clothes and stacking them horizontally on top of one another, line them up vertically so that you can easily identify each item.
  • Think outside the drawer. While you might think of using dresser drawers only for clothing, you can also use them to store other loose items. Line a bottom drawer with shoes, add felt liners for jewelry or even use a top drawer for beauty products if you don’t have space for a separate vanity.

How to Organize Your Dresser [Real Simple]
The Only Dresser Organization Hacks You'll Ever Need [Huffington Post]
Organizing Closets and Drawers [Martha Stewart]
40 Brilliant Closet and Drawer Organizing Projects [DIY & Crafts]

3 Health Benefits of Strength Training Exercises

Even if you don’t plan on bulking up or competing in weight lifting competitions any time soon, strength training is a crucial part of any exercise regimen. Here are three great reasons to incorporate weight training into your workouts.

  1. It promotes strong bones. Weakening bones is a concern that all people have to face as they age. The stress that strength training puts on your bones increases their density and prevents osteoporosis, keeping you strong and healthy as years pass.
  2. It helps to control your weight. While you might relate weight loss with intense cardiovascular workouts, strength training is just as important if you want to lose weight. Gaining muscle increases your metabolism and causes your body to burn calories more efficiently.
  3. It gives you more energy. Like all workouts, strength training increases your stamina and helps you to stay alert and focused. After a few weeks of regular weight lifting or body weight exercises, you’ll notice that you feel more energized throughout the day. Some scientific studies even show that years of regular strength training exercises help to sharpen your focus and keep your mind attentive as you age.

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier [Mayo Clinic]
7 Reasons to Add Strength Training to Your Workout Routine [Everyday Health]
Benefits of Strength Training [Body Building]

Keep Your Home Office Squeaky-Clean (and Germ-Free) With These Handy Tips

Is your home office one of the messiest spaces in your rental home? Here are some easy ways to clean your gadgets and electronics — and keep your office tidy and germ-free.

  1. Start by organizing your pesky wires and cords. This will help prevent fire hazards and eliminate the unattractive mess.Invest in some sturdy clips from office supply stores to keep them neatly wound.
  2. Clean your keyboard. You can’t exactly spray your keyboard with disinfectant, but you can clean it by unplugging it and shaking out the loose dirt. Use canned, compressed air to remove the rest of the dust from between the keys, then give it a wipe-down with a cloth dampened with cleaner.
  3. Wipe off your computer screen. Use a bit of water and a lint-free cloth. Don’t use cleaner, as it may damage the screen.
  4. Disinfect your cell phone or landline phone. Do this regularly, as the germs from your mouth spread very easily. Use a disinfectant wipe all over the phone, being careful that no drips get inside of the phone itself.
  5. Dust. If you have allergies, be sure to dust shelves, floors, and your desk regularly to prevent dust particles from infiltrating your home office.

How to Keep Home Office Equipment Clean [HGTV]
Step-By-Step: Keep a Clean Keyboard [PCWorld]
How To Clean Your Filthy Gadgets [Gizmodo]

5 Steps Toward a Cleaner, Clutter-Free Apartment

So you’re not exactly the world's tidiest person — no problem! You can still create a clean, stylish apartment without spending hours cleaning. Use these smart and savvy tips for creating a clutter-free home.

  1. Purge your closet. One of the easiest ways to limit your amount of clutter is by simply owning fewer thing. Start with your clothing and shoes: Donate unused items to a local charity or toss stained or torn items.
  2. Make your closets work. Instead of thinking of closets as places to hide away all of your lesser-used items, make them neat and functional. Add more shelving or extra clothing racks, depending on what you use them for, and organize the contents based on what you reach for most often.
  3. Streamline your kitchen. Donate all coffee mugs and glasses that aren’t part of a set, pare down your cookware to only the essentials, and only keep the number of storage containers that actually fit in your cabinets.
  4. Get rid of unused furniture. You may not realize it, but having too much furniture in a room can make it feel more cluttered. Take a look around and eliminate small items that don’t serve a purpose in your home.
  5. Add a landing pad. If you frequently dump your coat, keys, and bag right in front of the door, add a hall tree or other storage unit for housing those everyday items.

How to Get Rid of Clutter [WikiHow]
Clutter-Busting Secrets of the Pros [Real Simple]
18 Things You Can Get Rid Of Today [Family Circle]

How to Plant Your Very Own Windowsill Herb Garden

Want to have fresh herbs right at your fingertips — without having to stop at the grocery store or farmers' market? Consider growing your own! Use these simple tips for planting a windowsill herb garden right in your own apartment.

  • Choose the window. An herb garden requires at least five hours of direct sunlight per day, as well as a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Buy starter plants. Unless you’re an expert gardener, your best bet is to start with grown plants rather than seeds. Chives, oregano, mint, rosemary, and thyme are among the easiest herbs to grow indoors.
  • Choose the right pots. Most people use terra cotta pots for their herbs because they are attractive and affordable. Be sure to choose pots with holes at the bottom for drainage and a saucer underneath to catch excess water. Herbs do well in pots that are 6- to 12-inches deep.
  • Add well-draining soil. Herbs require a lightweight potting mix that prevents against common diseases. Add 2 to 3 inches in the bottom of your pot, gently add the herb, and then cover to about an inch below the top of the pot.
  • Don’t over-water. Herbs require a regular watering schedule, but they don’t need to be watered every day. Water close to the soil, avoiding the leaves, whenever you notice your plant drooping.

Windowsill Herb Gardens [Epicurious]
10 Most Common Herb Garden Mistakes [About Home]
How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden [Spark People]

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