Week 4: Tackling the Kitchen & Bath

This week, we're going to turn our attention to the kitchen and the bath. These rooms are where we take care of our bodies, whether we are bathing, cooking or eating. And since the body is the temple of the soul, these are very important tasks.

Bathroom: The Temple of the Soul
Few people give much thought to the importance of creating order in the bathroom. But preparing your body for presentation to the world is not an unimportant task. Fighting through mounds of makeup in a drawer or running out of soap or toilet paper can really set a day on its ear. We tend to think of a bathroom as the room where necessary functions are performed, not a place of tremendous emotional and spiritual significance.

Imagine that you have run out of your favorite fragrance or after-shave. You drive to your local department store. An improbable sight greets you. The individual cosmetic displays look as if all the lotions and potions have been hurled onto the counters in a mad frenzy. Used makeup sponges, tissues and Q-tips litter every available space. The garbage containers are overflowing. Unidentifiable sticky residues adorn the exact spot you rest your arm. You move and your sleeve is instantly coated with five new lipstick shades.

It's a jarring experience. Would you be moved to sort through the fragrant rubble and search for treasures? Or would you be irritated at the sight and run screaming from the store? I have one question for you: Why would you do this to yourself at home?



Before you begin organizing your space, ask yourself these questions to get a true idea of what you want your bathroom to look like. Your idea can be of a well-organized, sparkling bathroom, or it can have a completely different decor than it does now. I encourage you to dream.

1. Describe your ideal/dream bathroom
2. What would it take to make your present bathroom meet these requirements?
3. If your ideal bathroom is going to cost more than you can afford, can you start a special savings account for the project? If it's not possible (say you live in a rented apartment), how can you create the feeling of your ideal bathroom in this space once it is organized?

Organize Your Bathroom
Now that you've decided what you want your bathroom to look like, it's time to create a retreat where you can rest your weary soul:



Walk into any kitchen in America and you'll find cabinets above the sink. On one side, you'll discover the everyday dishes, on the other side, you'll see the drinking glasses. Open a drawer in this vicinity and you'll spy a cutlery tray filled with the silverware. Oh yes, the potholders live on or near the stove. See what I mean?

Chaos creeps in with the remaining items you want to have in your kitchen. It's as if the "let's just stick it here" fairies rule. The size of your kitchen also dictates exactly how organized you can be. Some of my clients have kitchens that are bigger than apartments I rented in New York City. Once I lived in a studio apartment in Brooklyn Heights. The kitchen (I use the term loosely) had a small stove, a small sink and (what else?) a small refrigerator. I had two cabinets above the sink and an area underneath. It was a place only someone in their 20s could endure.

Needless to say, in a tiny corner like this, you aren't going to have a state-of-the-art food processor on the counter (what counter?) or an elaborate cache of expensive pots and pans because you'd have to store them under the bed.



Before you start throwing away old pans and shuffling through silverware drawers, complete these sentences below. I highly suggest printing out this page so you can write in your responses.

Allow your completed statements to be the guidelines for your newly organized kitchen. If it helps, tack up your completed form on the refrigerator as you clean this space out.

1. My cabinets look like:

2. I want my cabinets to look like:

3. I have no place to put:

4. There's no room for:

5. These items don't belong in the kitchen:

6. These items do belong in the kitchen:

7. The state of my kitchen right now makes me feel:

Kitchen Organizing Essentials
With your completed goal list, you should be ready to tackle your kitchen. Here are some guidelines to help you understand the placement of the items in this room. If you have a matchbox kitchen, just follow the general principles:

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