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 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.

cooltext138649862867645 (1)

Etsy Banner
 

Small Home Office Solutions

Location, location, location…

Awkward-nook-transformed-into-stylish-work-space

Whether you are self-employed, frequently work from home, or are a student, finding a place to work in a small space can be tricky.

  • It needs to be easily accessible, able to contain your work or study necessities and relatively private, depending on the situation.
  • You’d also need access to an electrical outlet in order to plug in a task light and cords for computer and printer, etc.

The little office in this picture is about as simple as it gets if you happen to have a staircase niche where you are able to tuck a small desk and chair.

This would also be do-able in a small closet.  You could remove the doors…or not. Shelves above the desk could store supplies. Again, keep in mind that you’ll need access to electricity.

The photo below illustrates how to create a study or office space where there is no closet or under-the-stair niche. 

This appears to be on a bedroom or dressing room wall as evidenced by the jewelry and a mirror hanging above the desk and illustrates that an area such as this can serve double duty.  I think it would be particularly good for a student’s study spot.

wall mounted desk area

Wherever you choose to create your small space office, it’s important to keep clutter at bay.  Being organized will make working from your home office so much more pleasant and you’ll be so much more productive.

Be sure to make it a pleasing area with wall art and a plant or two.

If you have the room, put in a comfortable chair. If your work chair is a comfortable chair, all the better! I call my comfy chair my “thinking” chair.  It’s where I go to brainstorm ideas. I can have a cup of tea and just let the creativity flow naturally.  It works!

Placing a plant on your desk or in your office space brings life into the space.  Plus plants are known for increasing air quality.

Speaking of live plants and how they increase air quality, check out my blog post about what to choose and why they’re healthy. It’s Best Plants for Small Spaces.

plant on desk

Ideally, your desk will face the door but if it doesn’t and you have no alternative, hang a mirror over the desk.  That will serve two purposes: it will spread any natural light that you have and it will satisfy a feng shui principle for creating positive energy.

desk with mirror

When you’re looking for desks, don’t just concentrate on traditional desks.  The ideas here in this post illustrate that you can use a shelf or a small table with a stool or a chair and you’ve got that office niche.  I do like a desk that’s a multipurpose piece.

Rochester console table

Winsome Wood Rochester Console Table

This Winsome Wood Rochester Console Table with one Drawer Shaker is a great example.

What’s great about it is that it’s truly multipurpose:

  • Place it flat against a wall to use as a desk.
  • Place one short end against the wall and it’s a perfect small dining table, too, with a chair on either side.
  • Try using it as a sofa table if the sofa is placed in the middle of the room.
  • It would be an excellent serving buffet when you have guests.

Pinterest Ideas

I’ve got 32 pins on my Desks for Small Spaces Pinterest Board that you might want to check out.  It’s amazing, once you get those creative juices flowing, how many ideas you’ll have!

Pinterest is an amazing resource for ideas. Look at my Small Space Solutions Pinterest Board, too. There are 173 pins there so you’ll likely find more suggestions that I didn’t put on the Desk for Small Spaces Board.

So there you go…some simple but effective ways to create an office or study space in a small room.

I’ve posted my choices for wall-mounted desks on my post Best Wall-Mounted Desks so stop there, too.  You might just find the perfect desk.

Please let me know in the comments below how you’ve solved this dilemma.  I’d love to see a picture of your small office.

Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned!

(Updated 10/2/2018)

cooltext138649862867645


SC&A 300x250

Small Outdoor Living Spaces

Side Yard Garden

Clever Side Yard Garden on Pinterest

One of the most clever ways to maximize living in a small space is to add outdoor living wherever possible.  If you have a deck or patio area, you’re all set to jazz up your small outdoor living space!

Decorating an outdoor space is lots of fun and very rewarding. And it can be accomplished on any budget…small budget or “the sky’s the limit”.

I moved to my townhouse in Minnesota in February when there was snow up to my waist.  I had a tiny private patio and I couldn’t wait to sit outside on a warm summer day with a glass of wine or iced tea.

I had months to browse the internet for ideas. Pinterest is my favorite place to find unique solutions to most decor dilemmas, including outdoor living spaces.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Even the smallest deck offers additional space and can be a delightful place to relax at the end of a long day or on a summer evening.

Pretty stone patio

A pretty stone patio that’s almost maintenance free.

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A cozy little deck

A cozy little deck
Small courtyard

A small, beautifully designed courtyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So these are just a few suggestions to get your own creative juices flowing.

You can find small-scale patio furnishings that are beautiful and reasonably priced so many places, these days.

 

 

Don’t be afraid to add pattern or color. Think of the space as an indoor room when you’re deciding on furnishings.

Rugs and curtains add interest and warmth and there are so many materials that are impervious to temperature and weather fluctuations.

This indoor/outdoor Paisley Monteray Area Rug from Orion is so pretty and adds a bright spark of color. It’s stain and fade-resistant and, although it’s spot clean only, for sure it’ll hide a multitude of spills!

UPDATE: It’s Autumn! Sort of…Well, almost…

Now that I’m in Arizona, it’s awesome being able to sit out on my patio most of the year.  I will admit that it’s not so enjoyable during the summer months! But it’s almost October and that means cooler weather is on the way.

Desert Landscape

A Lovely Desert Landscape

I really needed to replace the outdated landscaping on my new small property so I turned to Pinterest for ideas and collected enough to last a very long time!

I have more than 30 boards on Pinterest including a board for Arizona Landscaping Ideas. It’s amazing how beautiful desert landscaping can be. No grass needed!

Also, check out this post – Decorating Ideas From Pinterest for dozens of design ideas for small spaces including small gardens.

In the meantime, if you have created a comfortable and pleasing outdoor area that suits your small space to a tee, be sure to leave a comment below and post a photo or two, as well.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d love it if you’d share it.

(Updated 9/24/2018)

Cheryl K Logo

Holiday Ideas for Small Spaces

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Get ready for holiday fun, food, and festivities!

Can you believe it? Summer is a thing of the past and fall is in full swing.

Next thing you know it’ll be Halloween, then Thanksgiving and then Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and there will be Halloween candy, Thanksgiving turkeys, parties, gifts, school concerts, and more.

Well, I moved from Minnesota to Arizona, last year. No snow and no 30-below temps were the incentives.

I’m lovin’ it!

I purged most everything I had in Minnesota before I move, so last Christmas was a minimalist’s dream.

I borrowed a small Christmas tree from a friend, placed it on a side table and decorated it with the ornaments I brought with me.

It was a really fun holiday with family and friends which is what it’s all about, after all, but my decorating was a bit sparse.

Holiday Decorating Tips for 2018

Well, this year I’m going to make a concerted effort to embrace the Holidays in style.

No matter which winter holiday you’re preparing for, if you live in a small house or apartment you are probably looking for ways to maximize your space to accommodate your collections of seasonal/holiday decorations.

There’s a slideshow on Houzz that’s relevant for Christmas but many of the suggestions would be simple to tweak for Hanukah or any other winter celebration so I want to share it with you.

I love a lot of the ideas but #2, #9, #14, and #20  are on my to-do list this holiday season. #20 I will use as a centerpiece.

I like my decor…it suits me and I have lots of family mementos here and there. So it’s kind of hard for me to replace any of them even for a few weeks! But I do. I remove some and replace them with holiday pieces. Okay, I’ll admit it’s a nice change and it’s festive.

A few ideas you might want to try:

Holiday Bows and Ribbons

Lamp with BowOne way to easily add holiday charm is to tie bows around lamps. If you already use candles, you can do the same thing…tie bows around the candle base or holder. I even tie bows around plants in pretty pots!

Using ribbon and bows is easy, cheap (cheap is good) and clearly creative, don’t you think?

If you don’t want to make your own bows, they’re pretty much available everywhere holiday decorations are sold.

Or order online…the bow on this lamp is from Etsy.com! There are dozens of bows and ribbons and you-name-it holiday decor on Etsy.

Mirrors and Mantles and Holiday Plants

Hang holiday towels in your bathrooms, especially your guest bath, and place a candle on the vanity.

Fancy up your mirrors and mantles with garlands, too.

Apartment Therapy has a post on 7 Holiday Houseplants for People Who Are Bored With Poinsettias.  Check the link for pictures.

  • Amaryllis
  • Paperwhites
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Holly
  • Norfolk Island Pine

Holiday Party Ideas:

So you’ve got the house all decked out. The next thing to think about is celebrating the season with a party. So much fun!

Holiday Buffet Table

A Beautfiul Holiday Buffet Table

Are you entertaining?  A buffet is an ideal way to serve party fare whether it’s a small gathering or a large party.

In a small space, a sit-down meal is not going to work for a larger gathering. But even if you have room, a buffet is easier to prepare and easier for cleaning up after the party.

Serving finger food is the best idea.

Just have enough small plates (and napkins) so guests can help themselves to a variety of offerings.

  • Trays of sandwiches
  • An assortment of cheeses and crackers
  • Fruit kabobs
  • A relish tray
  • Cookies or bars for dessert
  • A beverage bar

Tempting  Holiday Food and Beverages

Here’s a super scrumptious recipe for any time of the year but perfect for a holiday party.

It’s from Alyssa, the creative blogger at My Sequined Life.  It’s a keeper, for sure.

Crispy and Baked Toasted Ravioli

It takes about 30 minutes, total, to make.

Simple ingredients include refrigerated ravioli (one of my favorite go-tos for a quick meal) and marinara sauce. A few herbs, an egg and panko crumbs and you’re good to go.

The Beverage Bar

It’s a good idea to have a separate setting for the beverages you’re going to offer, especially if you’re setting up a full bar.  Have lots of disposible glasses and napkins.  Some suggestions:

  • Mulled Wine
  • Mimosas
  • Hot Buttered Rum
  • Irish Cream Liqueur (It’s so easy to make, too!)
  • Cocoa (on a cold snowy night)
  • Hot Apple Cider

You might just want to serve wine and beer or eggnog or punch. If you have a punch or eggnog station, offer non-alcoholic choices, too.

Try Martha Stewart’s recipe for Cranberry Orange Punch

Be sure to check out Good Housekeeping’s post featuring  35 Boozy Christmas Cocktails with creative names like:

  • Thinking Cap Cocktail
  • Ginger Bee Sting
  • Cranberry Mimosa
  • White Christmas Margarita
  • Cinnamon Rosemary Old Fashioned
  • Jingle Juice

How fun is that?

Well, other than getting out your guest list and gathering your thoughts, you should be good to go for a celebration everyone will remember.

Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to post pictures and stories about memorable holiday celebrations.

I’ll keep this post updated. Stay tuned.

Cheryl K Logo

 

Gettin’ Blitzened Stemless Glass

Give one-of-a-kind gifts to everyone on your list