Taking Care of Your Small Kitchen Appliances Keeps Money in Your Pocket

Over time, the average person will spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on small Kitchen appliances. While some of the smaller items aren’t too expensive to replace, some of the larger ticket items (such as foodprocessors and high-end mixers) can be costly. Taking proper care of these items is easy and takes little effort. Here are some tips to help extend the life of your appliances and keep that cash in your pocket.

  • Always clean and dry Kitchen appliances as soon as you’re done using them.
  • Pay special attention to drying anything made out of metal, such as blades found in food processors and blenders. This will prevent rust.
  • For toasters, make sure to clean the slide-out tray located near the bottom. Keeping this space clear of crumbs will reduce the chance of fire or attracting bugs.
  • The best way to clean a microwave is to boil a mug of water in it. The steam from the water will help to loosen any food that has been stuck to the insides. Using an abrasive-free cloth or sponge will allow you to easily wipe away old food or residue.
  • To clean the inside of appliances such as the dishwasher blender, or food chopper, a simple solution of water mixed with vinegar does a great job. Generally, a half-cup of vinegar to one gallon of water works best. This cleaner also works well for floors and even windows.
  • With any item you are cleaning, make sure to keep the cords away from water. It is also important to remember to keep appliances unplugged for safety.
  • To keep the garbage disposal clean, put a little liquid soap into it, turn it on and run the cold water on high for about 3 minutes. Keeping the water cold will help to solidify any grease and then allows the disposal blades to break it up. If you’re looking to get a fresh scent for the disposal, cut a lemon in quarters and drop it in, then turn on the disposal. The fresh scent of lemons will last for several hours. In addition, one of the best ways to keep the garbage disposal in good working order is to use it frequently. This allows the blades to rotate and the keep the unit from rusting since it is constantly exposed to water.

Using these tips will help to keep your appliances in good working order and looking good as well, but remember to always read the manufacturer’s instructions that come with each appliance when purchased. Some units have pieces that come apart and others do not. Knowing exactly how your unit works helps to keep it working properly.

Choosing the Right Kitchen Lighting

The Kitchen is a busy space in the house. In fact, for many families it is the hub of the home. Not only is it used for meal preparation and eating, but it is also a place for kids to do homework and the gathering spot to entertain. Thus, it is important to have the right lighting located in the right spots of your Kitchen.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0034-150x150The type of Kitchen lighting that will work best will depend on the type of activity you are doing in that space and the size of your Kitchen. Where visibility is essential to Kitchen safety, such as the primary food preparation areas, the lighting installed should be bright. The goal is to provide plenty of light for the cook’s needs.

Start by selecting overhead lighting, which will light up the entire room. Recessed lighting, decorative chandeliers or other overhead lighting fixtures all apply soft general lighting to the entire Kitchen.

From there, choose task-specific lighting. For more counter top light, under-the-cabinet LED lights can be installed, and both the battery-powered and hard-wired versions can be easily turned on and off as needed. For working at a kitchen island, hang pendent lights that will provide focused lighting in that area. Pendent lighting fixtures are usually only an option forKitchens with higher ceilings because they often need hung approximately 30” from the base of the ceiling, which doesn’t work in Kitchens with lower ceilings.

In storage areas, such the pantry, lighting is important so you can easily find things. If you have a walk-in pantry, recessed lighting should provide you with ample light, and instead of a standard switch, think about having a push-button switch installed into the door jam that will turn on when the door opens and turn off when it is shut. This will keep your hands free for the task ahead.

Another spot to consider lighting is the inside of cabinets with glass inlay doors. These accent lights can add a touch of elegance to any kitchen space and will create an instant focal point in the room. Additionally, you can add small recessed lights to call attention to meaningful collections, such as antique dishes. Keep in mind, decorative display lighting should be soft and muted.

Choosing the right kitchen lighting doesn’t need to be a difficult task. Simply consider the size of the kitchen, the area of placement and the amount of light needed. Doing so will allow you to create a beautiful kitchen space that is well lit and beautifully accented with the right lighting choices.

Kitchen Organization for Tight Spaces

One of the most common complaints homeowners have about their kitchen is the lack of storage space. One solution is to hire a contractor to remodel your kitchen; but if you aren’t quite ready for that project, here are a few tips to help you create a well-organized kitchen in your existing space.

One of the best ways to increase storage space in the kitchen is to think vertically. Installing shelves, pot hangers and other vertical storage options will allow you to conveniently store many kitchen items – decreasing clutter within cabinets, drawers and closets. Other vertical spaces in kitchens that can double as storage options are the backs of doors, tops of cabinets and above the island. Basically,
b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0114B-150x150anywhere you can add shelves or hanging storage units will help with kitchen organization.

Stackable food containers are a great way to achieve kitchen organization in pantries and other areas where you store food (including the refrigerator). Airtight plastic containers are easy to reseal, they keep foods fresh, and because they are stackable, they keep things neat and orderly.

Store everyday cleaning supplies under the sink or in a designated area, and hang a broom and dustpan holder in an out-of-the-way-yet-convenient spot, such as the little gap beside the refrigerator. All other cleaning supplies that aren’t used as often can be stored in another area of your home – perhaps the garage, basement or laundry room.

Closet, cabinet and drawer organizers are available for purchase at most department stores – all are designed to keep your kitchen tidier. If you don’t find the solution you are looking for in the housewares department, check out office supply stores. They have many handy options that can easily be used in the kitchen.

Finally, if after organizing you find that you still have too much clutter in the kitchen, it may be time to downsize your kitchen belongings. Instead of keeping all of your rarely used small appliances (such as the ice cream maker or the bread machine) on the countertop or cabinets, find another home for them – a hall closet, or a shelf in the garage or basement. You can grab them when you want to use them, yet they aren’t taking up precious kitchen storage space.

By implementing these tips, you should be able to organize your kitchen space so it is more functional, less cluttered and overall more enjoyable to cook and entertain in.

How to Get the Kitchen Remodel You Expect

b2ap3_thumbnail_2012-07-11-08.36.51-300x201You’ve lived with a Kitchen that you don’t necessary like for years. Perhaps it has functioned fine enough, but it isn’t your style; or your kitchen works – but doesn’t work well and you need more storage. No matter the reason, you’ve saved the money and now you’re finally ready to remodel your kitchen.

But where do you start? Here are three critical things to keep in mind so that you get the Kitchen remodel you expect … and deserve.

Use a reputable contractor

Although you are handy, you’ve already determined that remodeling your Kitchen isn’t a smart DIY project to tackle. It is an important room in the house, and it needs to be remodeled with expediency and it needs to be built correctly and to code. However, picking a contractor that is right for the job isn’t an easy task. You don’t want to just open up the phone book and start calling numbers listed under “remodeling contractors.”

One way to find a good contractor is to check with your friends, neighbors and family who have had work done to see who they’d recommend. Also, check with realtors or other area professional business people, who know who the reputable remodeling contractors are in your area. You’ll also want to check with your area home builders association or other trade organization and pick one of their members.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0216-300x201Use Quality Materials

Saving money on a Kitchen remodel does not necessarily mean skimping on materials. Often, you get what you pay for. If you are using cheaper materials, such as inexpensive cabinets or countertops, in your Kitchen remodel project, your Kitchen may not provide the pizzazz you’d hoped for. Consult your remodeling contractor about the materials you select for your project. He’s knowledgeable on the ways you can cut spending in particular areas yet still get the quality Kitchen you want. Additionally, be truthful with your budget – as your contractor can only help you get the Kitchen you want while staying in budget if he has all the facts.

Finally, Don’t Be Afraid to Get What You Really Want. While on the topic of budget, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on quality, comfort and design. This is a Kitchen you will live with for many years to come. If you are taking the time and money to remodel your kitchen, you might as well get what you really want.

Kitchen Update on a Budget

Are you dreaming of a newly remodeled kitchen? You long for new cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances – and to knock down a few walls and rearrange the traffic pattern to get more functionality out of the space – but it’s just not in the budget anytime soon.

b2ap3_thumbnail_7-16-08-19A-150x150You can still get an updated kitchen without a full-blown remodel. Here are seven ideas to update your kitchen without busting the budget:

  • Pick one. Is there one item in the kitchen that you really want to update? Perhaps your countertops are falling apart or it’s your cabinetry that makes the room look tired. Pick one and update.
  • Budget countertop option. Speaking of countertops, do you like the look of the more expensive countertops but think you can’t afford it? Think again. Consider installing two types of countertops. Use the more expensive countertop (such as granite or other natural stone) for the island, which is a smaller space, and install the less-expensive option for the remainder of the space. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how nicely it pulls together.
  • Walls and windows. Give your kitchen a fresh look with a new coat of paint and new window treatments. Maybe you elect to fit a tile backsplash in one area of kitchen to create a focal point. With unlimited options for paint color and wall coverings, you can really spice up your space by focusing on changes to just these two items.
  • Flooring. Another option to refresh the space is to install new flooring in your kitchen. You can improve the look of the space with new laminate, vinyl or wood flooring.b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0073-150x150
  • Fixtures and hardware. A simple way to update a kitchen is by changing out the plumbing and lighting fixtures, and the cabinet hardware.
  • Appliances. Updating appliances doesn’t need to be expensive if you shop around and watch for sales. Consider what features you need versus which ones would be nice extras. Often the cost of appliances varies greatly by the “bells and whistles” you select.
  • Focal point. Do you have a collection that you want to display or a piece of art that would go perfectly in the kitchen? This might be precisely what your kitchen needs to give it a new look.

Of course, the Internet is a great resource for finding other ideas to renew your kitchen. Some popular websites are Houzz.com and Pinterest.com. The key to updating your kitchen on a budget is to figure out the best solution for the money you have to spend.

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