My Messy Kitchen Makeover

My Messy Kitchen Makeover

A few weeks before Pesach I posted on the Nachlaot Yahoo group that I was looking for a cleaning lady to help me out with Passover cleaning. In response, I received the followed Email, “Hello! I am a young newly wed, just moved to Israel for a short time, while my husband is studying in a local kollel. My “profession” isn’t cleaning, but I have a passion for cleaning and organizing homes and have time.”

Hmmm…my curiosity was piqued. I (and my house) desperately needed to meet this woman with a passion for cleaning and organizing. So I Emailed Rochel Leah (Perl) Bulko, and she ended up coming over a bunch of times, and in her gentle, soft-spoken, lovely way she managed to make some order in this home where there had previously been precious little.

Here are some before and after photos from my kitchen, and the wonders that Rochel Leah worked there. I think that this kind of organizational advice could help so many moms feel happier in their homes…

Here is my kitchen counter pre-makeover

My kitchen counter after the makeover.

We Weisbergs are majorly into cornflakes: "Yellow" (that's Telma) and "Rooster" (Kelloggs). One of the main things Rochel Leah did to minimize clutter was rethink where we store things in the kitchen. For example, we had our many cereal boxes squished into a narrow cabinet, so we would keep the overflow boxes on the counter or in other random cabinets. So Rochel Leah moved the cereal to a big cabinet that can accommodate all the cereal boxes.

Here's the top of my fridge pre-makeover, covered from front to back with cleaning stuff. I liked to keep it up high so my little kids couldn't reach anything poisonous.

But I realized that I could keep all this poisonous stuff under the sink...

...locked away from little hands with a safety lock.

And now look how gorgeous and uncluttered my fridge top is...with just my big parve pot on it.

Here is the counter space next to my stove top, pre-makeover. I kept all of my meat pots there all week round, since I couldn't fit them in my pot cabinet.

But then Rachel Leah put all of the tops of the pots inside the huge soup pot, and stacked all our mixing bowls and put them away in an upper cabinet...

...and now I CAN fit all of my regular meat pots in the pot storage place

And now, voila! This is the counter space next to my stove top with a single huge soup pot on it (with a zillion pot covers hidden inside).

Does your home also need to some organizational assistance? You can contact Rochel Leah at rleah64@gmail.com. Another home organizing consultant in the Jerusalem area is Yael Wiesner, author of “How Does She Manage?” who can be contacted at yaelwiesner@gmail.com. If you know of a great organizing consultant in your community, feel free to mention in the comments below….

Related posts:

Our First Rejection
The BT
The Dirty Stairwell

17 comments

  1. My mom was our makeover maven – it took 3 weeks to organize our 4-bedroom home here in Israel. It made a huge difference about how I felt living here. The 3 best things I learned and kept up:

    1) If you don’t use it often, shove it in the back of your cabinet or store it. Better yet, give it away. We need much less than we think we do, esp. when it comes to pots and pans.

    2) Use baskets to store items that you need to keep out because of lack of cupboard space. I put my KitchenAid mixing bowl and components in a covered basket on a cabinet. Same for clips and rubber bands.

    3) A toy storage shelving unit was converted into a laundry station. It’s got 8 cubbies and each family member has his/her own plastic container with their name on it for folded laundry to be put into and then put away (teaches kids some responsibility too!).

    BTW, you’re quite the spice girl!

    • JewishMom

      could you explain more about this laundry system? My messy kitchen was nothing compared to my current mess of a laundry situation.

      • I’m emailing a photo of it to you. For general reference, it’s this Ikea bookcase put down on its side (lengthwise), with name-marked plastic bins in each cubby for folded laundry: http://www.ikea.co.il/default.asp?catid={A252AE70-105A-45FD-8A2F-1FBDC98C3A1F}&details_type=1&itemid={D315329C-663C-47DE-9EF5-E66B9BA15872}

  2. In Ramat Beit Shemesh, contact Hinda Goliger for all of your organizing needs. She has extensive experience in home organization, and retail settings, as well. 011-972-5-484-87106, or email hgoliger@gmail.com On the subject line, type “Hana-Bashe recommended you!!” ♥

  3. I love big re-organizing projects, especially in the kitchen, where we spend most of our time. Makes me feel like I have a brand new kitchen each time!

  4. I am a great believer and practitioner in the “basket for everything” tip mentioned above.

    I like to call myself “the basket case”….

    seriously though, you “clutterbugs” out there looking for organisers should know that someone impossibly neat like me truly yearns to be able to just “let it go” sometimes. It seems that it’s simply not possible, but I’m open to tips!!!!

    • I am the same way Yehudit – I am one of those neat people who finds it hard to deal with the mess…I have two toddlers:) The best way for me to handle when things aren’t as they should be is to have havens of organization in the house where things are pretty much in order. That way if a couple of rooms are topsy-turvy I can psychologically handle that knowing that the rest of the house is in good shape:)

      • And I am s mother of messy kids who hates cleaning. I could use you in my home any day! I do recognize the advantage that I’m more easy going about it all, but once “the mess grows bigger” I kind of get super fed up and cranky.

  5. Hadassah

    My favorite laundry tip is to have about three dirty laundry hampers kept in a bathroom or near the washer if possible (rather than individual ones in the bedrooms) One is a white hamper, for whites/undershirts or other white items that can be bleached. 2nd is for lights/permanent press items – for light colored and 3rd is dark hamper for dark items. It helps the kids learn to sort laundry and even an occasional mistake is easily picked out as you dump the contents of the hamper into the washer. This avoids having dirty clothes that then have to be sorted etc. or accumulate before washing. I enjoy folding clothes while listening to shiurim but kids over the age of 7 or 8 can help with this chore and deliver clean clothes to the beds or dressers where they are stored.
    I once or twice saw that in really large families all the clean clothes were kept on racks and drawers in the large laundry room rather than in the bedrooms since the bedrooms were like dormitories with many bunkbeds etc. (not enough closet space and room for dressers)
    It is a great feeling to have things orderly and it takes less time to keep it that way once you have a system in place.

  6. Hadassah

    A parent of one of my students just wrote a book called, “From Frazzled to Focused” the subtitle is The ultimate guide for moms who want to reclaim their time, their sanity and their lives. The author is Rivka Caroline. This will help those of you who really want some good ideas to keep things sane. I think it is available on Amazon. Now the trick is to find time to read it!

  7. One of the best purchases I ever made was five secondhand modular baskets from a closing business – the type they have at every shekel store and baazar strauss here in E”Y… you know the white metal baskets to hold anything from socks to small plastic toys.
    I labeled them Darks, Coloured, Whites, Delicates, and Sheets and Towels (becasuse that one takes up its own basket with a husband who mikvahs daily and kids in various stages of potty training).
    The baskets are open enough that you can just toss anything right in, the lip at the bottom keeps things from falling out, and they are the perfect size for single load, so you (okay, I) don’t have any excuse to procrastinate.
    Now I need to figure out a system for the pretreating. Anyone have any ideas?

  8. I just wanted to share a little tip: save the little plastic baskets from veggies like cherry tomatoes etc: they make great drawer organizers, or desk/tray/crafts organizers for kids….or medicine cabinet organizers: creams/pills/plasters etc… And they don’t take much room to save because they stack. No hoarding…. 🙂

  9. Does anyone have a good method for putting away pre-sewn tichels, turbans, snoods, bands, etc.? I have b”H quite a big collection after many years of marriage, and they take up sooo much room in a big basket, and I have to rummage through it impatiently each morning to find the one I’m looking for…

    • I’ve got cheap plastic hooks that have stickers at the back. Hung them in a pattern behind the door in my bedroom and I hang up the tichels there. The system works well for necklaces, too.

  10. As long as it’s not my mess (and even if it is, if I’m feeling inspired) I’m great at this stuff.
    Cleaning I hate. Organizing? Sounds good to me.
    But I have to have energy for it.

  11. Check out hakolbeseder.com.

    Life changing tips, book, homemakers calendar, etc, tailored to the busy Jewish home.

    It’s made a huge difference in my life.

  12. shaindee Brown

    Hi! So glad that I just discovered your website! I had a wonderful experience with a superb Professional Organizer – Chaya Roizy Vorhand. She changed my life! I used to find cleaning up overwhelming and depressing. After working with Chaya Roizy, I learned that if the house is well organized that clean up is a cinch! And that’s coming from somebody who has ADD! I am forever indebted to her. Her organizing techniques are life changing!! And I am thrilled to recommend her! Her number is 02-651-0025 or 052-711-7815

Leave a Reply