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Give Your Kitchen a Face Lift On a Budget

Kitchens are often considered the heart of the home. Not only are they the site of meal preparation, but theyre also a central location for family gatherings and home entertaining. With so much happening in the kitchen, its important to keep it organized and updated, whether youre throwing a party, trying to sell your home, or just having a family dinner. Luckily you dont need to spend a fortune to refresh your kitchen as there are several easy ways to add value and rejuvenate any kitchen on a budget.  
As home sellers continue to seek ways to make their home stand apart in a hyper-competitive market, its important to realize how to make cost-effective upgrades, says Nick Wolff, real estate broker with Century 21. If potential buyers walk into a dated kitchen, they may only see the additional work they would need to do and the money they would need to spend. Remodeling or refreshing your kitchen is a great investment.
For the best return on investment, Wolff recommends avoiding going all out on top-of-the-line finishes and appliances, and doing a more basic kitchen makeover instead. In fact, planning a cost-effective way to refresh your kitchen is always a smart plan -- whether you plan to sell in one year or 30.
There are simple, budget-friendly kitchen renovations and organizational tactics that can make your space appear bigger, brighter and better. Beth Randall, certified professional organizer and owner of Chicago-area based Joe Organizer, LLC, offers a few tricks of the trade to help make your kitchen look more spacious, organized and inviting:
* Create roomier cabinets. Remove items from the cabinets that have not been used in six to 12 months, like roasting pans that take up a ton of space, to another storage area in the house. Another option is to donate unused kitchen items you know youll never use to charity.
* De-clutter surfaces. Eliminate clutter on the counter top while still keeping often-used appliances accessible. The new Black & Decker SPACEMAKER kitchen appliances are convenient, versatile and cost-effective and can be mounted neatly underneath your cabinets, freeing-up counter space and creating an easy way to give the room a new, bigger and more organized look. Store seldom-used appliances in cabinets or drawers and instead keep those cant-live-without items like your coffeemaker, toaster oven, can opener and food processor off your counters and with-in arms reach.
* Double your shelf space. Make room in your cabinets by adding rubber or wire shelving, making it easier to store twice as many mugs without fear theyll fall over and break. Put heavier items down below and items you use regularly at eye level.
* Hook it. Use adhesive hooks and specialty hangers to hang items such as pan lids inside cabinet doors to eliminate searching. You may even consider hanging the pans from a ceiling fixture instead of storing in the cabinets freeing up a multitude of space - a simple "S" hook on a wire shelf works great. For storing lids, cookie sheets, cutting boards and plates, try a vertical plate holder which organizes and utilizes less space.
* Rearrange the pantry. Eliminate everything that is expired and sort foods into categories (i.e., canned fruit, vegetables, pasta, breakfast cereals, etc.). Group healthy snack foods together in a basket to make it easier to grab and go, while storing spices using a step-shelf spice rack for easy viewing.
* Refresh the refrigerator/freezer. Eliminate everything that is unidentifiable, inedible or expired. Remember the old saying -- when in doubt, throw it out. For all remaining items, store similar foods together labeling when possible and dating items with permanent marker. Keep any leftovers in square or rectangular containers since they utilize space better than round bowls.

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