Kitchen countertop space is valuable. It’s frustrating to run out of room while cooking a meal. Here are six things BobVila.com recommends removing to declutter your kitchen and free up counter space:
• Décor. First, get rid of decoration that serve no purpose in the kitchen. Vases, candles, picture frames and small sculptures can all take up a lot of room and make cooking more difficult than it needs to be.
• Fruit bowls. Though they look pretty, fruit bowls provide little function and require tons of space. Move these to your dining table as centerpiece instead.
• Cake stands. These and other serving platters should be stored away, in a cabinet or hutch, unless actively in use.
• Spices. “Those who have designated a corner of the kitchen countertops as the home for spices might have noticed that collection has grown, creating a cluttered mess,” according to BobVila.com. “If it helps to see spices, consider purchasing some acrylic shelves (available on Amazon) for spices and mounting them on a wall or inside a kitchen cabinet for quick access.”
• Knife blocks. They may look nice, but for those strapped for countertop space, knife blocks just take up too much room. Most of the knifes on display in a knife block are basic steak knives that can be stored in a utensil drawer instead. For knives needed for cooking, invest in a magnetic knife holder that mounts onto the wall.
• Paper towel holders. “When messes occur, having easy access to paper towels is a must, but is it really worth sacrificing space on the kitchen countertops for a roll?” says BobVila.com. “Purchase a wall-mounted paper towel holder instead (available on Amazon). There are so many convenient places to mount it. Just take a look under a shelf, inside a cabinet, or on the wall, and wonder why you never considered freeing up space by mounting a holder before.”
Three quick gardening tips
Soon, winter will be over and we’ll be back in our gardens. Here are three quick tips from Better Home and Gardens:
• Deadhead. “Deadhead spent flowers on spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths, so the plants send energy to the bulbs instead of into making seeds,” recommends BHG. “Leave the foliage until it turns brown and can be removed with a gentle tug. The leaves store nutrients needed for the bulb to bloom the following year. Braiding or tying the leaves is not recommended because it reduces the amount of light to the leaf surfaces.”
• Weed control. Do not cultivate or hoe deep as this might bring weed seeds to the soil’s surface so they germinate. You should weed early and often so weeds so go to seed. To prevent annual weeds, smother them with mulch.
• Fertilizer not the answer. “Fertilizer is not the answer to growing the best plants; soil quality is. Add organic amendments such as compost and well-aged manure to your soil. The best soil structure is crumbly, easy to dig, accepts water easily, and is loose enough to provide oxygen for plant roots. If you choose to use fertilizer, use an organic one to add nitrogen, phosphate, and potash (the form of potassium plants can use).”
How to get rid of hard water stains on glass
Water that contains high levels of minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and iron, is known as hard water. When hard water droplets dry, they can leave behind stains varying from chalky white to brown or rust-colored. According to Good Housekeeping, vinegar is the best way to remove hard water stains from glass.
“To remove hard water marks from glasses by hand-washing your dishes, you’ll need a basin that’s large enough to submerge your glass in vinegar.”
1. Heat some white vinegar in the microwave until it’s warm, and pour it in a basin.
2. Immerse the glasses in the vinegar for 10 minutes, turning them to cover all sides.
3. Add baking soda: After 10 minutes, remove the glasses and sprinkle on a generous amount of baking soda.
4. Rub the baking soda gently with your fingers to remove the stains, rinse and buff dry.
Rates estimated to rise in 2021
Since Jan. 1, 2021, mortgage rates have already started climbing. As of Jan. 18, Freddie Mac reported that rates rose14 basis points to 2.79%, according to HousingWire. As we progress into the new year, economists predict that the era of record-breaking low rates we saw in 2020 is over.
“Freddie Mac’s quarterly forecast estimates that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will be 2.9% in 2021 and 3.2% in 2022,” says HousingWire. “However, the factors that will drive mortgage rate movements are still up for debate.”