Do you look for additional muscle power every time you have to make dosa batter? I mean to take out the grinder from the bottom shelf, or is it perched on your countertop conveniently (great for use but not easy on the eye, right?) ?

As much as we would like to use ammi, kalloral (read: food mill, mortar and pestle), they’ve given way to juicer, food processor, mixer, grinder, microwave,  and hand blender/chopper. These are the appliances I have currently, add anymore you might own like a tandoor, coffee maker and oven, and what you end up with is an overwhelming list.

Since my kitchen was designed over ten years ago, when I had little design sense, the appliances are not stored in the most efficient way. Two overhead cabinet shelves are home to most of these appliances. I was looking for ideas which would require minimal redesign and this was what I came across.

I believe the design below works incredibly well for small appliances like chopper, blender, juicer etc. As they are on telescopic channels, if you have a waterproof board, weight shouldn’t be an issue. With electric wiring already present, you don’t have to take it out of its place every time to use but, of course, you’d need to detach the parts for cleaning. The only drawback is not all appliances can fit in so you’d need at least two pull out drawers.

Every site, magazine, blog is teeming with incredibly beautiful images of flowers, colorful rooms, and lights. But, there’s a lot to be done backstage to get the house look so beautiful, isn’t it? And not everything is a pleasant or easy job as the person getting your home in order will vouch for.  So, this post is dedicated to all the hard work that goes behind those pretty pictures and if yours is already not there, don’t fret about it, just enjoy the season.  As always, let’s begin with a story.

Not so long ago, we lived in Pune in a rented bungalow in a lovely, quiet, lush-green, open neighborhood. The owners, a Marwari family, lived downstairs.  There are so many simple things about life and relationships I learned from the beautiful lady who always smiled no matter how many house guests she had, the warmth with which she talked to people, and selflessness when it came to helping others. But, there is one other BIG thing I learned – lessons in housekeeping and how to keep a home clean. Not a spotless one, but clean. Every year, the Diwali cleaning akin to spring cleaning would start a month in advance in her house.

Now, having lived in the South for the better part of my life, this was new to me. The houses don’t turn upside down for Diwali or any festival for that matter – ok, maybe a bit for Pongal. I mean who takes down the fans and cleans the blades, rummages an organized cupboard to reorganize, and a time when every bottle in the kitchen counters shine. The first year I watched with astonishment and it repeated the next year. I’m not quite sure when the transformation turned from astonishment to something I started doing every Diwali. Well, not to that extreme as cleaning is a year round thing but it has become a ritual. You know what, it does feel good to see a shining home with fresh curtains, new bed linen, spotless bathroom floors yaada yaada.

The curtains, fans, floors take a shine now every year during Diwali. And to be honest, it not doesn’t take a month to do it. I have a small checklist for every room that I tick off once the job is done. So, if you’re game for some cleaning three days before Diwali, then now’s the time to get it done and let in some fresh scents and sights. Here’s my checklist that’ll come in three parts – today, tomorrow and Monday just in time.

I rely on my bucket of magic tools aka cleaners to get the job done. I’m not promoting any of these products just the ones I use. It takes me about an hour to run down the list and have divided them into bedroom, bathroom and finally kitchen.