Are you ready to go beyond spring cleaning? Preparing your home for summer can reduce clutter, redress your environment and create the perfect space for you during those hot summer days. Love To Know chatted with Laura McHolm, organizational expert and cofounder of NorthStar Moving, Los Angeles' premier eco-luxury moving company, about bringing summer into your home and revamping your kitchen.
Adding Seasonal Touches To Your Home
For Laura McHolm summer is the ideal time to explore theme decorating in your home. You can bring out summer items like seashells, watermelons, flowers or whatever represents summer to you and your family. With a few subtle touches, you can transform your living areas in a summer respite.
Love To Know (LTK): What does it mean to 'bring summer into your home'?
Laura McHolm (LM): When you're hot the last thing you want to look at is a lot of layers of stuff. You don't want piles of things, you don't want fabric everywhere, instead you want open flat surfaces.
LTK: What fabrics would you remove?
LM: Take a look at the pillows, blankets and draperies. How much of that do you really need? This may be a good opportunity to store away for the summer. White is a great color for summer because it cools you down. You can do slip covers as you like to bring in white or lighter colors.
LTK: How does bringing in summer in differ from traditional spring cleaning?
LM: It's about creating summer space. You can deep clean your windows and screens to maximize the sunlight. Open them up for fresh air. Add scents like citrus flavored candles to really evoke summer and freshness. I also to like to use fruit as decorations, such as stacks of pineapples, lemons or limes in the kitchen or on the dining room table. Doing this encourages people to eat fresh fruit and the display looks beautiful.
LTK: What else can you do for summer?
LM: I like to keep a glass pitcher from Crate and Barrel and I change the fruit in it every day, oranges and limes, blueberries or limes. I put filtered water in it, and people enjoy the water and they drink more of it.
Encourage Better Energy Habits
Bringing summer into your home includes eating healthier and reducing your energy consumption by organizing the center of your home. McHolm discusses how to tackle this by revamping your kitchen.
LTK: What do you mean by kitchen revamping?
LM: What I mean is making everything in the kitchen easy to use and making sure that nothing is there that doesn't need to be. Sort through what you have and clear it out. My basic premise is this: if you can't see it or touch it, you aren't going to use it. So why not go through and weed things out? I think of the kitchen as location, location, location. Focus on the triangle of your kitchen: your refrigerator, your sink and your stove. What's closest to that spot and what makes sense to put in each area? I think about it like that and I walk through and some areas may not be set up as ideal. You are end up using space in a different way from the way you set it up originally.
LTK: How do you get started?
LM: Reassess the space. Use post-its to label your cupboards to know what should be in there. Don't look inside first, just decide what needs to be there.
Sort through drawers and cabinets:
- Dump the contents of each one
- Clean out the drawer or cabinet (add new paper if desired)
- Check how you want to organize the contents
- Decide what you are keeping, what you are discarding, what you are donating
- Repeat this process on every drawer and cabinet
For pots and pans, lids are always a problem, but if you stack them so that they are vertical rather than horizontal, you can get a rack for that. You can access them quickly and easily without clanging and banging. Stack pans, plates and baking dishes large to small.
LTK: What about your pantry and refrigerator?
LM: The best way to start is to clean it completely out. Then organize the refrigerator into locations that function like neighborhoods for certain types of items. For example, organize items so that dairy is in the door and all cheeses are in the bins. This will allow you to know where things are right when you reach into the refrigerator.
The big thing with the food is to check everything for expiration dates, put like with like in organized fashion on the shelf so you are going to only one spot for one thing. This will let you see what you really have, rather than buying what you already have.
- Throw out expired items.
- Turn all labels facing out.
- Place sweets and cookies in the back, out of sight of easy reach.
A lot of people have a thing about throwing out food. Donate half-open things or soon to expire food items to Move For Hunger or a local food bank.
Creating Your Summer Space
LTK: How long does this process take?
LM: It seems like a daunting task, but it's up to you to decide how many hours you're going to spend. Consider working on it as a weekend warrior project. You always have a million things to do, so just so decide that for the next five Saturdays, you're going to work for four hours on this project. Assign the time and do it in bits and pieces.
LTK: What about other areas of your home?
LM: You can do the same thing with your garage and other storage areas. Put your autumn and winter items to the back and bring your summer items forward. Make bikes, balls and roller skates accessible so children are encouraged to take advantage of seasonal sports. Ease of access encourages use.
Take Advantage of Change
The change in seasons offers you the ideal time to re-dress your environment, change out your decorations and clean out the clutter. Love To Know would like to thank Laura McHolm for sharing her expertise and wishes her and NorthStar Moving continued success.