Simple, realistic steps towards a paperless kitchen

The thought of creating a paperless kitchen may seem like a daunting task, but with the help of the right organizational pieces it can be easily done. Any home – small or large, contemporary or traditional – can be reorganized to limit paper products.

instagram_paperlessFirst, it is important to consider your household, the people around you and what level of change is appropriate for your lifestyle. Going paperless doesn’t have to be a black and white choice – any move in the right direction has its impact. It is important to communicate with your family and agree on a plan of action before implementing any large changes in your home.

Before you begin

There are lots of easy ways to make your own kitchen towels on the cheap. For specifics, check our Pinterest board on the same subject. If you’re not the hands-on type, start stocking up on towels when you find them on sale. It’s important to start loading up on towels before riding your home of paper products. You want to be ready to tackle life’s messes sans-paper before you run out of paper towels, napkins, etc. This way you can seamlessly transition from one lifestyle to the next.


Once you have stocked up on dish and hand towels as well as fabric napkins, it is time to find a storage solution that works for you. A lot of organizers love utilizing glass candy jars to keep clean towels at the ready. This allows you to keep towels near the sink or on the counter top without compromising neatness or décor. paperless_rags

For dish towels or other rags that may not be as pretty to display, consider re-purposing a plastic bag recycler. These handy bins are hidden under kitchen counters to create out-of-sight storage. Fill them with clean kitchen rags and easily access a towel whenever you need it.

Use and cleaning

Once it is time to throw towels in the dirty laundry, it’s necessary to have a receptacle in the kitchen. Utilize an over the cabinet waste bin to collect dirty towels. This small, stylish trash bin hangs over cabinet doors; you can hang them to sit either inside or outside the door. Doing this limits the need to do laundry more frequently, and keeping it tucked under the counter keeps any odors or stains out of sight.

Not all towels are ready to toss in the laundry after one use though. To allow them to dry properly and keep them at hand for another use, add extra areas to hang them. Over the door towel racks are the perfect way to create more storage without compromising wall space or creating permanent structures. These handy rods simply slid over kitchen cabinet doors without hardware or tools – plus, they’re padded to protect wood from scratches and signs of wear. These racks are also perfect for the bathroom!

Once you have these simple organizational hacks conquered, a paperless kitchen will be just another aspect of your everyday life. And then you can work to utilize it throughout the rest of the house!

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Enjoy this summer's herbs all year long

One of my favorite things about summer is fresh herbs. Even when I was in an apartment, I had all my pots lined up on the deck, boasting fresh bunches of oregano, basil, cilantro, rosemary and more.

Towards the end of the summer, when a distinct chill starts to creep through the air, I always debate what to do with my remaining herbs. I never have the space to bring the pots inside and keep them going – beside, I’m pretty sure my cat would just dig them up.

This year is different. I am prepared with loads of ideas to preserve and utilize all my leftover herbs.



Photo courtesy

herbs-1Yes, you can freeze fresh herbs. They actually last way longer this way and the flavors are so well preserved. There are lots of ways to go about this, but my favorite so far is freezing them in olive oil with an ice cube tray. I love this tray from CasaBella the best. The cubes are small and square so you can get good oil to herb ratio, plus the silicone makes it super easy to pop out the cubes without breaking them.

To do this, roughly chop up herbs and place them in the cube tray using equal amounts in each mold. Fill the molds with olive oil (or a different oil of your preference — coconut oil works well too, but I prefer the flavor of olive for cooking.) Freeze the trays and add a cube to recipes as you cook. You can remove the cubes from the trays after a day and throw them all in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag to free up the molds for other projects.


herbs-6Skip the freezing all together and create your own oil infusions. Glass oil bottles are inexpensive and easy to store. Slide bunches of your favorite fresh herbs into the bottles – maybe one with basil, another with rosemary or get creative and mix different flavors in one bottle – fill them with oil and leave them in a cabinet to infuse for no more than three months. Just like the cubes, this oil can be added to cooking and baking – or better yet, mopped up with some nice, crusty bread.

Butter me up

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

If you prefer to enjoy those fresh herbs sooner rather than later, compound butter is a great, inexpensive and almost effortless way to utilize them.

I’ve yet to meet a compound butter I will turn my nose up at. There are tons of recipes online, but the idea is so simple you can do whatever you want.

Throw two sticks of very, very soft butter in a bowl and set aside. Mince one tablespoon each of your favorite herbs — I love mincing up some fresh garlic as well. Throw in your herbs and mix with the soft butter until completely combined. Roll out some plastic wrap and scoop the butter on top. From there, form a long roll with the butter and roll the warp around it, twisting the ends. Let you fresh butter set in the fridge before using. Now you can add this tasty butter to baking and cooking – or snacking.

Outside to in

herbs-2If you do want to keep you herbs inside for the colder months, there are a couple easy transitions you can make.


Photo courtesy

Bring the outside in by utilizing a cool window box indoors. The great thing about window boxes is that they allow you to maintain multiple plants in one pot, limiting clutter and mess. Even better, they typically come with mounting hardware and can easily be anchored to a kitchen wall, staircase railing, windowsill and other spaces.  Doing this allows you to tend to your herbs without hording space with multiple pots.

If you’re feeling a little more DIY creative, consider mason jar planters. These adorable alternative planters can make a great display piece for your kitchen. Mount a few to an empty wall or the side of your cabinets to create a playful spot for your herbs. The clear glass presents an opportunity to get creative too. Place rocks or cool glass stones in the bottom of the jars to accent your kitchen décor or color scheme.

Utilize these easy steps to enjoy your fresh herbs throughout the entire year.

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Plastic Bag Dryer – The Recycler's Kitchen Friend

Plastic Bag DryerEvery time I go to my mom’s house, there is one thing that drives me crazy. No, not her infinite questioning, nor her ability to notice every minute thing that’s changed about me physically… she reuses plastic food bags. Which is not a bad thing, in fact it’s awesome! I too want to do all I can do be eco-conscious, but I haven’t evolved this far yet. In time I will. And it’s not the act of reusing plastic bags that bothers me; it’s what happens every time I go to the sink in her kitchen to wash my hands or rinse an apple. Read more

If You Only Buy One Thing to Make Life Easier…

Jumbo Folding Shopping CartMake it a wire cart! Folding wire carts are not just for little old ladies. They make life easier for everyone, myself included. Most, like this jumbo folding shopping cart, are very sturdy – carefully crafted of metal and designed to last for many years. I promise you will never run out of use for a folding shopping cart in your life.

Here are some tips on what to do with a rolling cart and where to keep it: Read more

It All Makes Sense With Galvanized Utility Bins

Galvanized Utility Bins - Set of 6I live in a house that has a lot of stairs, and it seems like I am constantly finding things that are supposed to be downstairs laying around upstairs, and things that should stay upstairs are always finding their way to the first floor – are you confused yet?

Imagine how confused I was when I discovered a set of measuring spoons, two weeks worth of mail, and seven and half pairs of shoes upstairs, and no less than four blankets and every Lego piece that's been manufactured since 1982 downstairs. Read more

Product of the Week: Luggage Rack to the Rescue

Designer Solid Oak Luggage RackWhen my mother-in-law gave us a Designer Solid Oak Luggage Rack for the guest room, I admit – I thought it was kind of a crazy gift. Even crazier than the ceramic chicken that she'd brought during her last visit.

I thought it was a strange thing to have, because last time I checked we didn't have plans to open up a hotel anytime soon, and I'd only seen luggage racks during business trips. The only time I'd seen a luggage rack ins somebody's house was during reruns of 'Mr. Belvedere'. To tell the truth, it spent it's first six months in our house buried inside the guest room closet. Read more

Tuesday Tip: The Amazing Flat Iron!

flat iron for wrinkles How many times have you been rushing around in the morning to get ready for work, only to find an annoying crease in the front button placket or in the hem of you blouse? No time to pull out the ironing board and heat up the iron? No problem!

Use your flat iron!

If you're like me, you have one hot and ready on the bathroom counter already. Just clamp it down on the wrinkle and smooth it out!

BONUS TIP for sewers & crafters: great for pressing ribbons or a quick hem! Read more

Top 20 Uses For Toothpaste – Who Knew!

toothpaste-usesToothpaste is for more than just cleaning teeth. Its amazing cleaning and polishing powers can help with everything from acne to piano keys! Read on for my top 20 uses for good old toothpaste:

1 – Clean silver and jewelry:
It will shine up the silver and take off tarnish as well. Toothpaste can also be used on copper and gold as well. Be sure to use a soft cloth so that only the gentle abrasive in the toothpaste is at work. Diamonds can also be shined up with a toothbrush and some toothpaste. Rinse them off with cold water and watch them shine. Read more

Eco-Friendly Shopping on the Cheap!

eco-friendly-productsMany of us really want to purchase environmentally sensitive products, but oftentimes they seem to be unattainable, financially speaking. But, if you arm yourself with careful research and a little patience, you will discover that shopping for eco friendly products doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are a few tips on how to do your part for Mother Earth while shopping on a budget:

Renewable Resources: When buying furniture, look for woods that are plantation grown, easily renewable and use little water to grow. Bamboo fits all of these categories, and since it has become so popular and is so fast-growing, it is also often less expensive than hardwoods, or even other eco-friendly woods like teak and eucalyptus. Read more

Kermit Was Wrong – It IS Easy Being Green!

ReduceReuseRecycleWe all want to do our share to help preserve our environment. Some of us just aren’t sure what we can do to help or where to start. Others of us feel that it takes too much time and effort to do anything significant. However, all it takes is a bit of planning and thought and you can recycle and reuse without much effort at all. Before you know it, it will be second nature.

Here’s a great project to help!

Find a sheltered are (garage or carport) to place some plastic boxes or bins. Make sure it’s a convenient location so you will be more likely to use them. Use bins or boxes that can easily be lifted and placed in your car, and that have a clear, visible place for a label. Divide and assign your bins as follows: Read more

15 New Uses for Newspaper

newspaperNewspaper is cheap and abundant and, as it turns out, quite absorbent of both moisture and odors.

Here is a list of some of my favorite uses for your old newspaper:

1. Packing for Storage or a Move- Wrap dishes and delicate knick-knacks with several pieces of newspaper. Wad up some extra pieces to fill and pad any extra space in the box. For extra strength, wet the newspaper before wrapping and let dry thoroughly before packing to create a protective cast! Read more

15 Creative Uses for Wine Corks

wine-corksLiving here in Wine County California, one ends up with a lot of corks. It’s hard to just throw them out when you know there must be a ton of creative uses for them out there. I did a search for creative uses for all these corks and found some great creative ideas!


Napkin rings – Drill a hole in the center, thread pretty ribbon through and tie. Read more

Where Did All These Shoes Come From?!

pile-o-shoesI did not know that a family of five could own so many pairs of shoes! I am always shocked at how many, and how quickly they pile up by the front door. And if you are one of the unfortunate ones (like me) who don’t have an entry way at the front of your home, the shoes wind up spread across half the living room if they aren’t kept in check. But how? With no entry way, I’ve had to get creative with our shoe storage.
Here are a few ideas: Read more

18 Amazing Uses For Baking Soda

baking-sodaWe all know that Baking soda is safe for the environment. But did you know it is also the basis for some of our top leading cleaners? So what makes us spend money on new items that are on the market today? Is it the advertising gimmicks, the idea that something might prove to be better? It is still known and proved that baking soda does everything that needs to be done as far as cleaning, freeing our clothes from odors and keeping our homes smelling fresh and clean.

Try some of these tips and see how great baking soda does the job: