6 Simple Money Saving Kitchen Tips

Saving Money in the Kitchen – 6 Simple Tips

Photo by hue12 photography on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking about some of the little ways I’m saving energy and there are several items that I use that have become second nature.

Living in a small space is an added incentive.  That’s it. Nothing too expensive or fancy involved. Just plain old common sense tools. If it was good enough for Grandma, it’s good enough for me. What do you think?

Wire Whisks

Money-saving Tip #1

I’ve pretty much quit using my electric mixer. I’ve got a series of wire whisks that I just love and use almost all of the time. Different sizes and shapes. Great little tools.

  • Balloon whisks (most common plus they conform to the shape of the bowl)
  • Butterfly whisks (great for whipping egg whites & cream)
  • Ball whisks (especially suited for whisking in straight sided pans)
  • Spring whisks (good for stirring and whisking with an up & down motion)!
  • There are tiny little whisks and very large whisks. See examples of each below.

I use whisks for beating batters, eggs, sauces & gravies. Just about anything that has to be mixed can be done as easily with a whisk as an electric mixer.

Whisks combined with rubber scrapers and wooden (preferably bamboo) spoons are just as slick as can be.

A Variety of Whisks

With a variety of whisk styles and sizes, you’ll be sure to have just the one you need for whatever whisking needs to be done!

Energy Saving Kitchen Tips – YouTube Video

Here’s a really short video with excellent tips for saving energy (and money, of course) in the kitchen.

For example, only preheat the oven if you’re baking recipes that need to rise. If you’re cooking casseroles or meats, you don’t need to preheat. You’ll save energy (money) and your dish will be perfect.

 

Reusable Microwave Cover

Money-saving Tip #2

I bought one of the Tovolo collapsible microwave covers in California while we were housesitting because I saw it at a shop and thought it was a great idea as an alternative to using wax paper or paper towels. It worked great.

I gave it to a daughter when we left but picked up another one when we got home. I love it. The microwave stays cleaner, the food heats up better and I just throw it in the dishwasher. (Well, I don’t actually THROW it in, of course).

This cover is collapsible but I almost always use it expanded like in this photo but being able to store it flat is great. I just put it in the dishwasher or wipe it with a soapy sponge and it’s ready to go, again.

But there are others that work beautifully, too. Check out this selection:


Reusable Refrigerator Bowl Covers

Money Saving Kitchen Tip #3

My very clever sister-in-law gave me some of these last year and I’ve saved a ton of money by not buying plastic wrap. They’re plastic covers with elastic around the edge and they come in a bunch of different sizes. You do have to wash them but that’s not a big deal. A quick swish in some soapy water and then rinse.

I’ve seen a little wooden gadget made just for drying them – little posts attached to a base that you just hang the covers on while they’re drying.  I’m going to buy one of those.

Another alternative is to use waxed paper and a rubber band. I use rubber bands all the time, anyway. They’re terrific for holding spaghetti boxes closed after you’ve opened them. Or bags of snacks…all kinds of uses for rubber bands

Bowl Covers

Even if you have storage bowls and have lost the covers. These will do the trick! They’re inexpensive and will last a long time.

A dryer for your plastic bowl covers

You can also use these to dry plastic bags that you wash to reuse. AND they’re perfect for drying baby bottles. Get a couple of them!


No Twist Ties Needed

So when you open a bag of chips or a box of cereal, how do you keep the chips or cereal fresh? I use clothespins or rubber bands. But clothespins are my first choice. I even use them for resealing frozen vegetable packages if I don’t use the whole bag.

Here are four easy choices…inexpensive AND reusable. Win-win.

Cloth Napkins

Money Saving Tip #4

I don’t remember the last time we purchased paper napkins for use at home.

We’ve got lots of cloth napkins that we use every day. I’ve got dozens…all different patterns. We don’t fuss about whether or not they match when we’re not entertaining.

They’re better than paper and you can just throw them in the laundry. I don’t even iron them unless it’s a special occasion. You can pick up gently used napkins at thrift stores, too, but they might not be less expensive than buying new. A new set of 12 napkins is pretty economical.

One of my best friends taught me that using terry cloth washcloths is perfect when you’re feeding kids. They can just wipe their little mouths and hands which totally absorbs any moisture. Quite frankly, it’s a good idea for grown-ups, too.

I haven’t any idea how much money we’ve saved using cloth napkins but it’s got to be significant.

Buying cloth napkins is a smart money move!


“Real” Plates & Cups – Not Disposable

Money-Saving Kitchen Tip #5

We don’t buy paper plates or paper cups, either. I mostly use our everyday dishes even if we’re eating on the deck but we do have a couple of sets of unbreakable dishes, too.

My theory is that some poor woman, after serving a gazillion people at a family reunion and after spending hours washing the dishes, invented paper plates.

I don’t blame her. It was a brilliant idea and caught on quickly with milliond of other women. This may or may not be true. But it’s totally logical.

In any case, using “real” dishes will save a ton of money and trees and landfill garbage. Sure, you have to wash them instead of just throwing them out but with dishwashers, it’s just not all that hard to do. You’re always going to have a few things that have to be washed, anyway, and the dishwasher is much more efficient when it’s full, so it’s another no-brainer (in my opinion).

Buying reusable plates is another smart money move.


Which reusable product is the best to own?

So these are great products that help save money in the kitchen. Which do you use or do you think you’d use?

What are some ways that you save money in the kitchen? I’d love to include some of them here on this page.

I’ll update this page when I discover other ways to save money and energy all over the house!

Thanks for stopping by. As always, I appreciate your comments and suggestions.  Stay tuned!

Cheryl K Logo

How to Personalize a Small Space Rental

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash

The Challenge:

Renting rather than buying your home presents a new challenge. How do you personalize your small space while keeping within the terms of your rental agreement?

The primary challenge for living large in a small space is how to create a warm and inviting home while finding the best use for every square inch without creating clutter.

That’s quite a challenge in itself.  But it’s not impossible. It’s totally doable.

There are multiple ways to personalize a rented home.

This photo is of an apartment in New York City’s West Village.  It’s bright and open and only 500 square feet! By keeping the walls and most of the furnishings white, the apartment seems much larger. Pops of red and blue keep it from looking sterile. I love that rug!

Read on to see two takes on personalizing an apartment.

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Two Identical Floor Plans – Two Unique Designs

I know you’ll enjoy the following Apartment Therapy video of two apartments in  New York City. They are both rentals. They’re in the same building three floors apart and have identical floor plans.

These two apartments are located in the Cherokee Apartments, a historic block of apartments in Gothic Revival style and built as a tuberculosis sanitarium.

The money was donated by Anne Harriman Vanderbilt and the architect, Henry Atterbury Smith, brilliantly designed the four interconnected six-story buildings to create a healthy environment for the patients.

Read about its history in this article on the Atlas Obscura website. It’s fascinating.

But I digress! Here’s the Apartment Therapy video that features these two apartments.

These two apartments are good examples of how to easily and inexpensively personalize a rental apartment.  Notice how just changing the wall color makes such a difference in the vibe of each apartment.  Also, one is pretty much a wide open space where the other has a separate bedroom.

So just imagine how you can employ these same small space ideas into your own tiny abode! Enjoy.

A Success Story on Apartment Therapy

I’ve just read a fabulous story about Emilie who transformed her small 752 Sq. Ft. apartment with contact paper and stencils and a little elbow grease.  She did a remarkable job. Check it out!

A Small Rental Updated With Contact Paper, Stencils, and More

IKEA to the rescue!

Here’s another video transformation of a small apartment. Ikea came in to help maximize this small space. The end result is quite inspiring.

This is the living/dining room, of course, but it’s the space where they spend the most time.

I love the table which can be used as a desk but expanded when you are entertaining. The wall mounted cabinets were a stroke of genius and created a perfect spot for the bicycles.

The only change I might suggest is that they swap out the sofa for a sofa bed or a daybed which could be used as a guest bed.

Did you know?

IKEA is named after the initials of founder Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd, the farm on which he grew up, and Agunnaryd, the nearby village.

 

 Just so you know, Overstock.com is offering some great deals on furniture and they have dozens of sleeper sofas, for example. The sale goes through November 11th. (Affiliate)

Your thoughts?

How have you personalized a small home…rental or not. If you’ve got a great idea for personalizing a small space rental, please comment…add pictures, too, if you like!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and maybe found a couple of ideas to jazz up your own home. I’ll be sure to update this when I discover other neat tricks and tips.

Stay tuned!

Cheryl K Logo

How to Use Color in Small Spaces

What are the rules for using color in small spaces?Picture of a Color Wheel

There really are no rules, but there are a few guidelines that will help when deciding what colors to paint the walls or to use in your furniture or accessories.

We’re taught that dark or warm colors will make the space appear smaller and light or cool colors will visually expand the space. But that’s not necessarily so! 

Use Color to Create a Focal Point

Remodeling and Home Design

You’ll be able to jazz up a small space with bold or dark colors if you either use the color on a feature wall as a focal point or if you use the color in adjoining rooms.

Contemporary Living Room

Use a Bold Color in Stripes

Photo by – Look for living room design inspiration

Bold stripes on a neutral background is an excellent way to visually expand a room plus it will add a pop of color and draw the eye through the length of the space.

Notice, too, how the designer used four chairs and a round table to define that sitting area. The color of the chairs is echoed in the drapes.

Use the Same Color in Adjoining Rooms

Painting adjoining rooms with the same color will create the illusion of a larger space.  Or try using two or three different shades of the same color.  That’s a great idea regardless of the size of the rooms.  It’s always a good idea to keep the same basic theme throughout the home.

Using the same color in two rooms

Use Bold Colors for Furniture and Accessories

Using bright colors on furniture and accessories in small spaces will give you that pop of color that you desire without making the room seem smaller.

Bold, colorful upholstery, decorator pillows, vases, and drapes are all elements that can be used in small spaces.  Just remember to bring that color into the other rooms in some way, as well.

Notice how these red chairs draw the eye toward the end of the room?  That’s how to visually expand the space with a focal point using bold color.

Colorful chairs in dining area

Get a Punch of Color With Wall Murals and Artwork

Wall Murals and huge pieces of art are available so many places, these days.

I’ve never been brave enough to use wall murals in my decorating but now there are so many removable murals available that I just might give it a go. Because they are often removable, you don’t have to worry about getting in hot water with the landlord if you’re a renter.

This gigantic coral reef mural is available on Amazon (affiliate).  I’d say that’s a heck of a pop of color! They have dozens of them, though, so if this isn’t your style it’s not a problem.

I’d love to put a mural on a tall wall in my master bathroom. If I ever do, I’ll be sure to post it!  I love, love, love this leafy mural that I found on Etsy.

These are all handmade and come in a half-dozen sizes. Here’s what the overview description on Etsy says:

  • Handmade item
  • Materials: Peel and Stick, Environment-Friendly, Vinyl, Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly
  • Made to order
  • Favorited by: 176 people
  • Gift message available

 

Add Color with Accessories

Pillows, flower arrangements, books, and other collections are a way to use color to tie a room together.

Adding a colorful area rug is a brilliant way to add punch to a room. Besides, rugs are an awesome way to define an area. Like this bright and beautiful rug from Etsy. I love it!

Experiment With Paint Colors

The best way to decide on a paint color for your walls is to purchase the 2-ounce samples that are available at all home improvement stores and paint stores.  You’ll be able to paint an area about 12″ by 24″ which is large enough to tell if it’s really what you thought it would be!

Here’s a fabulous illustration from Houzz.com of how just changing colors will totally transform a room.

 

Use color in small spaces judiciously but do it your way!

It’s your home and it should reflect your personality.  If your favorite color is purple, by all means, use purple…just maybe not on every wall!

Have you tried a unique way to incorporate color into your small space?  I’d love to hear about your experiences and whether or not this post helped you decide one way or the other so leave a comment if you like.

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Etsy Banner
 
The Challenge of Small Spaces

The Challenge of Small Spaces

Small Space Challenges and How to Deal With Them

There’s an interior designer from Boston, MA named Gary McBournie and this is what he says about small spaces:

“I prefer living in a small house. It just puts its arms around you and makes you feel at home.”

That’s a lovely sentiment and it’s exactly how I feel in spite of the challenges that are part of small space living.

I do know something about the challenge of small spaces.

Photo by christian koch on Unsplash

I recently downsized from a single family residence to a townhouse and, although it has everything I want in a home, it’s so much smaller than I realized when I purchased it!

Even though I purged a lot of belongings before moving into the townhouse, it was surprising how little room I had to work with.

For example, I had a sectional that I just loved and when measuring the new living room before moving in, I thought it would fit just fine.  Nope!  Even though it DID fit, it was just too big for the space.  So I sold it and purchased a sofa and two chairs.

Buying a smaller sectional would have been a good option but having a sofa and two chairs will make rearranging the room so much easier.  And I promise you, that furniture will be rearranged from time to time.  It’s in my DNA!

Actually, furniture for small rooms doesn’t necessarily have to be small.  Good proportions and style are more important, in fact.

My small space doesn’t look so small, now!

So I’m on a learning curve and I’ll share my journey with everyone facing the challenge of their own small spaces.

UPDATE:

I’ve since moved from that townhouse in Minnesota to an even smaller home in Arizona. So I’ve been able to use everything I learned when I first downsized!

First of all, I didn’t move all of the furniture I had in that townhouse. The layout of my new small home is totally different than that of the townhouse.

I decided to furnish my new abode AFTER I moved. It saved moving expenses and I used that money to buy new furniture.

Actually, a lot of it isn’t NEW new…I’m happiest when I find hidden gems at resale shops, consignment stores, and Craigslist. It’s the thrill of the hunt, I guess. I love everything I found, though, so all’s well that ends well. And everything fits!

There’s an article in the latest online edition of Apartment Therapy that I think you’ll enjoy.  It’s all about measuring properly before buying furniture.

In a nutshell, it reminds us to measure:

  • The room
  • The length, height, and depth to determine angles
  • Doorways and Stairs
  • The furniture that you’re planning to purchase

Had I measured that sectional as well as the room before I moved, I definitely wouldn’t have moved it! So this is good advice.

Your thoughts?

Have you overcome a small space decor challenge?  Please let me know what you think in the comments below!

Cheryl K Logo

 

Bedroom Storage Solutions

Bedroom Storage Solutions

How to Maximize Bedroom Storage small bedroom

One of the biggest challenges is the bedroom, especially if it’s small. Two people sharing the room presents an even greater dilemma.

  • Sort through the clothing or items that belong in the closet or cupboard and eliminate what you haven’t used in the past few months. Do you really need that piece of clothing or pair of shoes?
  • Purchase a closet organizer to replace the single pole that is typically installed in the space. There are so many styles and price ranges to choose from that you’re sure to find just the right system for your purpose.
  • Another idea for out of season clothing is to use vacuum sealed space bags. The downside to that is that you’ll likely need to press everything when you remove the clothing from the bags!
  • Put clear storage boxes on the top shelf to store out of season items. You’ll still be able to see what you have. Or use baskets that you have labeled.

Storage Space for Two

So there are two of you in the room? Been there, done that! As crowded as it can be for two people sharing a small space, there are DIY solutions.

One of my favorite ideas is to use low chests of drawers as bedside tables. The tops are wide enough for a lamp, books and a glass of water and the drawers are perfect for clothing.

My husband had the tall dresser in the room and I used the two low chests with drawers that doubled as bedside nightstands. A great solution for a potential problem!

An ideal height is between 27″ and 30″ and the width can be whatever size will fit nicely on each side of the bed.

There’s plenty of room in each drawer for clothing or accessories.

Extra Storage in a Small Closet

Yes, that’s possible. Usually, there’s a shelf above the clothes pole. There’s plenty of room above that shelf to add another shelf…possibly even two.

There are excellent closet organizers for sale that double or triple the space. Most of them are adjustable so you can have shelves at whatever height make sense for you. And double hanging rods, too, that save so much space by hanging shirts on a rod above the rod for hanging slacks or skirts.

If your closet isn’t very wide, how about this idea for the back of the closet door?

Under the Bed Storage

  • Consider under-the-bed storage, as well. Use clear plastic containers with wheels to store whatever you need to access on a fairly regular basis.

best-wheeled-underbed-box-XQKEf

 

These containers are ideal for shoes, for example. Because the bins are easy to roll out and can be opened from either end, it’s easy to choose the shoes you want to wear, then slide the bin back underneath the bed.

 

 

If your bed is too low to the floor, simply purchase bed risers to place under each leg. You can find bed risers in home improvement stores or online.

These Whitmore Wood Bed Risers from Target are an inexpensive and heavy duty. They have an espresso finish and add 4.375″ in height to your bed and will hold 800 lbs.!

Bed Risers

Whitmore Wood Bed Risers

This makes sense regardless of the size of the room or the number of people sharing it!

Utilizing Vertical Spaces

Storage in a small room can be created vertically, as well.

  • Use the backs of doors and walls as storage 5.-Use-the-back-of-a-bathroom-door-to-hang-towels-29-Sneaky-Tips-For-Small-Space-Livingsurfaces. This idea of attaching two towel bars to the back of the bathroom door is nothing short of brilliant. But the same principle can be applied in the bedroom. It would be perfect for hanging ties or scarves or even towels, for that matter, which frees up space in the bathroom. Especially if you only have one bathroom.
  • Consider attaching hooks to the back of the door or to the bedroom walls in an organized manner. It’s an attractive and functional solution.

 

Great Ideas are on Pinterest

I love these decorative hooks, too, for keeping jewelry in order. Every opportunity for being organized should be a priority in a small space.

Pinterest picture of wall hooks

These suggestions can be applied to just about any room. You’ll be amazed at how simple it will be to keep everything in order once you actually have it in order!

See which of these ideas will work for you. You’ll find that it’s easier to stay organized once you get organized!

Check out my Pinterest board on Small Space Solutions, too.

(Updated 10/3/2018)

Your thoughts?

I’d love to post photos of your small bedroom storage solutions so be sure to send them to me in the comments!

Cheryl K Logo


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