Posted by & filed under Basement Design, Bathroom Design, Kitchen Design.

Design by

Susie Killion

White Cabinets:

  • Manufacturer: Columbia
  • Door Style: FP333
  • Wood Species: Paintable Maple
  • Finish: Iceberg
  • Drawer: Dovetail/softclose/undermount/full extension
  • Interior: Maple melamine

Dark Cabinets:

  • Manufacturer: Homestead
  • Door Style: Shaker
  • Wood Species: Rift Cut White Oak
  • Finish: Black Stain
  • Drawer: Dovetail/softclose/undermount/full extension
  • Interior: Maple melamine

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10 Steps to Getting the Kitchen of Your Dreams

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The excitement of a beautiful, functional and efficient kitchen design can quickly get lost in the kitchen renovation process and the reality of construction. Having a good understanding of what to expect will make the experience more pleasant. With a little preparation and focus the kitchen remodel you want can be a dream come true.

10 Steps to Getting the Kitchen of Your Dreams

1. Assess Your Needs

Involve family members and take the time to consider what matters most. Make a list of your main objectives. What do you hope to accomplish with the renovation?This will inform all your decisions on budget, style, products and more.

2. Establish a Budget

Be realistic about what you can invest and how to pay for it. Shop around to get a sense of product prices. Don’t forget to include about 17% for installation.

3. Find a Professional

A kitchen design professional can help you avoid many common pitfalls and also show you innovations that you might not have considered. A kitchen designer can also help you assess your priorities and help you get the best value for your investment.

4. Finalize Room Layout & Design

Make notes about how you use your current kitchen, what works, what causes frustration and what could just use a bit of improvement. Your kitchen professional will have ideas on flow and organization that will help you make the best use of the space.

5. Decide on a Look

Visit showrooms, attend home shows and look online. Collect images of what you like. This will help your designer get a good sense of your tastes and preferences.

6. Choose Products

From cabinets and countertops to lighting and hardware to flooring and tile and more you will have many choices to make. Your designer can help narrow down your options based on your priorities, budget and taste.

7. Plan for the Installation

Determine who will be responsible for finding, scheduling and supervising all the contractors and installers including the electricians, plumbers, tile contractors, carpenters and cabinet installers. Remove anything extraneous — dishes, decorations, food, personal items. Prepare a make-shift kitchen while yours is under construction.

8. The Remodel Takes Place

The actual remodel begins with demolition to remove everything that is being replaced. Any major construction happens next, followed by plumbing and electrical upgrades. Then the walls are closed and the new kitchen begins to take shape. During this phase, it is important to keep in mind that problems can occur that delay progress, particularly if something unexpected is uncovered. This is where your choice of a project manager becomes especially important. A good manager will be responsive to your questions and concerns, communicate updates regularly and offer solutions. Be patient!

9. Review Proper Care and Maintenance

Go over the finished kitchen thoroughly and address any imperfections with your contractor. Try out everything and be sure you understand how to use and take care of all your new surfaces and appliances.

10. Enjoy for Years to Come!

Caruso Kitchens wants you to have the kitchen of your dreams. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver metro area.

What’s Hot in Kitchen Renovations Right Now

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Kitchen renovations are an excellent way to add value to a home. The kitchen has long been considered the heart of a home and good kitchen design encompasses the functional aspects (cabinets, appliances and fixtures) as well as the aesthetic — how the space makes the occupants feel. From style choices to technology, consider how these latest trends might fit into your kitchen.

Smart Kitchens

Kitchen design has evolved to accommodate our growing use of technology.  Charging stations for mobile devices have become a necessity. Docking stations or device holders for smartphones and tablets are useful for cooks who like to have cooking videos or online recipes accessible. Cabinets can even have wireless devices such as music speakers or televisions built-in. Appliances incorporate technology as well, such as refrigerators with touch screens, Wi-Fi connectivity and interior cameras that allow you to see what’s inside from anywhere and track which items are running low.

Two-Tone Cabinet Colors

Two-tone cabinets pair a color with wood or two contrasting colors. Colors can be split between upper and lower cabinets, perimeter cabinets and a center island, or used as an accent on certain cabinets. It’s a striking way to add interest to your kitchen design.

Bold Cabinet Colors

Are you ready to make a statement? Bold colors are replacing neutrals for greater impact and personality. Bright red, emerald green and ocean blue are just some examples.

“Chunkier” Hardware

Hardware is like jewelry for your cabinets and doors. While minimalism is a trend in cabinets and overall design, chunky hardware complements sleek lines and stands out with a vintage feel. It is the perfect finishing touch to any kitchen design.

Streamlined Designs, Materials and Textures

A trend toward modernization has led to a desire for cabinets with clean lines rather than ornate design. Simple recessed panel doors with smooth edges work with a variety of styles and allow other design elements to stand out.

Quartz and Concrete Countertops

Engineered stone combines the beauty of natural stone with durability and low maintenance. Unlike granite, quartz countertops are non-porous and don’t require re-sealing to protect the finish from stains. They also come with a warranty that is not available for natural stone. Concrete is another trending countertop option for its durability and versatility.

Appliances with New Styles and Features

Side opening or French door ovens make so much sense it’s hard to believe they taken this long to hit the market. Black stainless steel is gaining traction as a warmer, fresher take on the ubiquitous stainless steel. Where your appliances live is also changing. Built-in under cabinet microwaves, convection/steam ovens and even refrigerators free up counter space with added accessibility. Drawer appliances are also becoming popular for a clutter-free feel.

Hardwood Flooring is Still King (but Ceramic Tile and Engineered Flooring are gaining)

Natural hardwood floors have a classic beauty that will always be popular, but ceramic tile and engineered wood flooring are gaining ground. Engineered floors can be easier and more cost-effective to install.

Matte Black

Another surprising color choice: matte black. Appliances, fixtures and hardware in matte black are the latest way to add contrast to wood cabinets, even in more traditional-style kitchens.

Beautiful Backsplashes

Backsplashes are getting more attention with endless color choices that bring a pop of color and personality. Homeowners are moving away from small individual tiles to large subway tiles in eye-catching colors and patterns. Slabs of marble — single pieces with few breaks — are attractive for their subtle color and variation in veining. Backsplashes that continue up to the ceiling are another dramatic trend.

Better Storage Solutions

The desire to keep kitchen tools and accessories organized, out of sight and easily accessible has led to some clever innovations. Drawers conceal a multitude of tools including charging stations and cutting boards with integrated catch pans. Extra deep drawers store appliances to keep counters clear. Custom stainless steel inserts and pegged bottoms make it easy to organize utensils, spices and dishes. Cabinet shelves that pull out and slide over to access previously unusable corner space. There are many rollout options storage options as well including removable wire baskets.

The Most Popular Kitchen Cabinet Colors in 2019

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Cabinetry is one of the main focal points of a kitchen, so the style and color dictate much of how the rest of the space is designed.  As with any design feature, there are classic colors and some that ebb and flow with time. Here is a look at the most popular choices this year.

The Most Popular Kitchen Cabinet Colors in 2019:

  • White:
    White has been the leading contender among cabinet colors for several decades. Bright, crisp and clean with timeless appeal, white is perfect for a number of styles, particularly transitional and modern. The drawback, of course, is that white is likely to show wear and dirt, and will therefore require more frequent cleaning to keep it looking sharp.

  • Grey:
    Grey cabinets have a neutral character with a flair that goes with a contemporary or industrial look, but also works with traditional styles such as Shaker or farmhouse. While it is a neutral color, it is somewhat unexpected in a kitchen and that may be part of its appeal. Grey can be dark or light, warm or cool, and is easily paired with a bold accent color on walls, tile or floors.

  • Black:
    Black cabinetry can be quite dramatic and works especially well in large kitchens with abundant natural light. A smooth, black finish pairs nicely with white or other neutral accents (countertops, walls and floors or even upper cabinets for a two-tone design) and is perfect for a sleek and sophisticated ultra-modern look. Unlike white, black cabinets hide wear and stains well.

  • Green:
    Green is another surprising cabinet color choice. Think nature with a rich sage green or go bold with a bright emerald green.

The Most Popular Kitchen Cabinet Stain Colors in 2019:

  • Walnut:
    Walnut is noteworthy for its unique color and graining that comes in a wide variety of shades and colors that accommodate a natural stain.

  • Rift Cut White Oak:
    White oak is lighter and fresher-looking than the deep tones of walnut. The rift cut gives the grain durability as well as a unique appearance.

Caruso Kitchens will help you design the perfect kitchen. We also provide cabinetry for other areas of the home. We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver metro area. Call us today.

What’s the Best Kitchen Countertop: Corian, Quartz or Granite?

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Kitchen countertops come in a dizzying array of options with multiple factors to consider. When choosing the best material for your kitchen design, the look is undoubtedly the primary focus, but durability, maintenance and cost also come into play. Quartz, granite and Corian (solid surface) are among the most popular countertops in today’s homes.

Corian (Solid Surface)

  • Appearance / Definition:
    Corian is an engineered stone developed by DuPont specifically for countertops. It combines natural materials (66%) with a mix of acrylic polymers and resin (33%). The heated mixture is poured into molds to form solid sheets when cooled. Corian’s initial popularity came in large part from its versatility; it can be formed into any shape with minimal seams and is well-suited for sinks and backsplashes as well as for countertops. Its consistent color offers many possibilities for personalizing the design with a uniform pattern.
  • Cost:
    Corian is a relatively inexpensive option, which makes it a good choice for small budgets or less visible applications such as basement bathrooms or laundry rooms.
  • Maintenance:
    Because Corian is non-porous, it doesn’t require sealing. Maintenance is simply regular cleaning with a soft cloth, warm water and a mild cleanser. Sinks should be thoroughly washed once or twice a week to prevent food residue from accumulating.
  • Durability:
    Corian is less durable than granite and quartz. It can be scratched and scorched, and may be damaged by strong chemical cleaners. Corian surfaces are not heat resistant, only able to handle temperatures up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit before sustaining damage. Therefore, keep in mind that Corian countertops, while versatile and economical, require a lot of special care during use to keep them looking their best.


  • Appearance / Definition:
    Granite is 100% natural stone extracted from quarries in large slabs and then polished, fabricated and cut. The natural striations and color variations make each piece unique with an often dramatic appearance. Choosing granite countertops from samples can be tricky, however.  Because of the wide variation in pattern and color, the sample will not exactly match the final product. Some homeowners may consider granite’s appearance too busy.
  • Cost:
    The price of granite depends on the quality of the stone, its thickness and color. Installation and sealing for protection are typically added to the final cost. Granite is slightly less expensive than quartz, but it does need to be resealed and that cost should be factored in as well.
  • Maintenance:
    Granite is naturally porous (liquids can seep into it) so it need protection to retain its beauty and functionality as a countertop. It should be sealed every few years, and thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis to remove germs and bacteria from the surface.
  • Durability:
    Though quite strong, granite is prone to cracking and chipping without proper care. With proper maintenance, however, granite countertops can last for 25 to 50 years.


  • Appearance / Definition:
    Like Corian, quartz is an engineered stone. It consists mainly of quartz crystals (typically 93%) in various grades and sizes combined with resin and pigment. While not as natural as granite, quartz countertops are fabricated in a similar way, by cutting shapes from large slabs and polishing them. Unlike granite, quartz appears much more uniform.
  • Cost:
    Quartz is the most expensive of the options featured here, perhaps because it has many of the upsides of Corian and granite and few downsides. Many homeowners agree that the exceptional quality of quartz make it a good value, despite the higher price tag.
  • Maintenance:
    Quartz is non-porous, like Corian, so it requires no sealing, polishing or reconditioning to protect it from stains and spills. It does require regular cleaning with a soft cloth, warm water and a mild cleanser.
  • Durability:
    Quartz is strong and durable yet, like any stone, can be damaged with force. Like granite, it can withstand high heat, but should be protected from rapid temperature changes. Hot pads should be used to prevent heat damage. Quartz is a long-lasting countertop material, and with proper care, can remain beautiful and functional for 25 to 50 years.


At-a-Glance Stats

Quartz Granite Corian
Composition: 93% Natural, 7% Resin 100% Natural 33% Natural, 66% Polymer
Appearance: Uniform, Lustrous Dramatic, Lustrous Uniform, Matte
Cost: Moderate, Expensive Moderate Inexpensive
Sealing: No, Non-Porous Yes, Porous No, Non-Porous
Durability: Hardest & High Strength Hard & High Strength Easily Scratches & Scorches


In conclusion, the countertop material you select for your home depends on your personal needs and preferences. However, we believe that quartz is the best overall choice and offers the best value among the three materials. It combines the best characteristics of both granite and Corian without sacrificing quality.

Caruso Kitchens can guide you through the many decisions for your kitchen or bath construction or remodel. Contact us today! We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver metro Area.

8 Common Kitchen Design Mistakes

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A kitchen remodel is a great investment and is one of the best ways to improve your home’s value. Spending your money wisely by making the right choices is an important part of maximizing that investment as well as your long-term enjoyment of the renovation. A professional kitchen designer can help you navigate the many options, work with you to set priorities and help you stick to your budget while creating a beautiful and functional kitchen. With thought and planning, it is possible to avoid these common kitchen design mistakes.

1. Ignoring the Kitchen Work Triangle

The work triangle is a time-tested guide for creating an efficient workspace. The stove, sink and refrigerator are the three points that make up the triangle and should be between four and nine feet apart for greatest efficiency. Each point should have a clear path to the others, without appliances, cabinets or trashcans in the way.

2. Inadequate Storage

Proper storage is one of the keys to keeping a kitchen organized and efficient. Overstuffed cabinets make it difficult to find things, and can even lead to forgetting what’s there. Today’s cabinets have many options for shelves and drawers that neatly store specific items such as large pots and serving trays and small utensils and spice jars, and keep them easily accessible. In smaller kitchens, maximize storage by utilizing often-unused space, such as above the refrigerator.

3. Not Enough Counter Space

Allow room for countertop appliances, space for meal preparation, multiple cooks and stations for different activities such as baking.

4. Poor Lighting

Consider all the ways the kitchen is used, especially when there is a limited amount of natural light. Be sure to include multiple light sources for different purposes. General lighting for overall illumination can be achieved with recessed lighting or a chandelier. Pendants or track lights are good for task lighting over work areas. Accent lighting with under- or in-cabinet lights provides softer illumination.

5. Improper Island Size and Placement

Islands continue to be popular kitchen features because they are practical and functional for meal prep, family meals and entertaining. Design the island so that it works for these purposes rather than gets in the way. An island that is too big,  can be difficult to maneuver around. One that is too small takes up space without providing much practical use.

6. Improper Placement of Appliances

Consider the space needed to easily access appliances, drawers and doors as well as where in the kitchen they are located.

7. Choosing Cabinets Based on Price Not Quality

Cabinets can include many extras that make using them comfortable and efficient such as shelves that slide out or drop down and drawers that don’t slam shut. While you may not need all the high-end bells and whistles, investing in quality construction for durability is a good investment. Choose cabinets that will stand up to daily wear and tear and continue to function and look beautiful for many years.

8. Forgetting the Backsplash

More than just a decorative feature, the backsplash protects your walls from water, food splatters, steam and grease.

With more than 30 years experience, Caruso Kitchens can help you avoid any kitchen renovation pitfalls. Contact us today to discuss your project. We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver metro area.

4 Ways to Tell if Your Cabinets Need to be Replaced Instead of Refaced

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Cabinetry is a huge part of a kitchen’s aesthetic and functionality. Not surprisingly, new cabinets are the largest expense when renovating. Refacing cabinets can be an economical choice for a cosmetic update, but in some cases the best option is still replacing cabinets.

Here are four ways to tell if your cabinets should be replaced instead of refaced.

1. Age of the Cabinets

Older cabinets (those built prior to 1980) were often built of better materials than cabinets built more recently and may still have the benefit of craftsmanship that can hold up for refacing. However, cabinets that are two to three decades old and do not have those well-built structures may be truly worn or damaged from time or wear-and-tear and should be replaced.

2. Quality of the Cabinets

Ultra-cheap, low-grade cabinets made of particle board or other inferior materials are not candidates for refacing because in order for the process to be successful, the cabinet boxes must be in solid shape. If the structure of the cabinets is significantly damaged due to, for example, pests (including pets) or mold, refacing is not an option.

3. Layout of the Cabinets

Cabinet boxes can only be refaced if they are kept in place. Changing the layout of the kitchen — which can include moving or removing walls, or adding an island or peninsula — changes the shape and dimensions of the space. Large structural changes to the room will require new cabinetry specifically designed for the new configuration.

4. Water Damage or Excessive Wear and Tear

Water damage from plumbing can cause wood to swell and lose its integrity. Faulty construction or excessive wear-and-tear can cause the wood to fall apart. Thoroughly examine the interior of the cabinets to look for this type of damage. If it exists, refacing will not be possible.

When choosing between replacing and refacing cabinets, consider the return on investment as well as the initial cost. New cabinets have many features that appeal to buyers, as well as make the kitchen more usable for the current homeowners. Today’s cabinetry incorporates many ergonomic improvements, such as drawers rather than shelves in base cabinets for greater convenience and ease of use. Cabinets that extend all the way to the ceiling are dramatic, make smart use of limited space and provide out-of-the way storage for infrequently used items such as serving pieces.

Caruso Kitchens offers custom and semi-custom furniture-grade cabinetry for applications throughout your home. Contact us today see the selection. We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver metro area.

10 Ways to Refresh Your Kitchen if You Can’t Do a Complete Renovation

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A full renovation may not be within reach — and may not even be necessary — to bring new energy to your kitchen. Much can be accomplished with a simple kitchen refresh. Here are 10 easy ways to liven up a kitchen that’s gotten a little stale.

1. Clear out the clutter.

Go through your kitchen section by section and get rid of anything you don’t love or use regularly enough to justify the space it’s taking up. Of course, there are seasonal or holiday items you’ll want to keep that only get used once or twice a year, but gadgets that made sense when you bought them, but then never used should probably go. Chipped or cracked dishes, containers without lids and other broken, damaged or overly worn items should also be tossed or recycled. Clear as much as possible off countertops.

2. Organize everything in a logical place.

Consider how you use the items in your kitchen when you are deciding where to store them. Group similar things and keep items necessary for a particular activity (such as baking, or making coffee or school lunches) together in a handy place near where you use them most.

3. Refresh the paint.

Paint goes a long way to freshening up a room, even the kitchen. Pick a hue that complements your cabinets. Adding a bold accent color is an easy, inexpensive way to create a pop of color. There are types of paint for surfaces other than walls, too. With the right paint and preparation, you can paint wood floors, tile flooring, a backsplash and cabinets.

4. Update the hardware.

Hardware is like jewelry for your cabinets. Upgrading from basic builder hardware to something with a more current feel can completely update your kitchen. Play with mixing metals and shapes. Add a whimsical cabinet pull or two for some fun and personality.

5. Change the light fixtures.

Light fixtures come in many different styles. Opaque shades provide directional light shining down, which can be good for task lighting, while translucent or glass shades illuminate the whole space.

6. Accessorize.

Kitchen accessories should enhance the look of the kitchen without creating more clutter. Choose them carefully for what they bring to the overall look. Decorative bowls or platters, a plant in beautiful pot, and small appliances that are out on the counter or an open shelf can either add or detract from the look and feel of a kitchen. Too many accessories can be overwhelming, and too few can leave the kitchen feeling stark. Accessories can add a splash of color and interest.

7. Add a (washable) throw rug.

A rug in front of the sink or a runner down a long kitchen adds softness and color. Choose a rug that is both durable and washable, because spills in the kitchen are inevitable.

8. Hang artwork.

Art can be a surprising touch in a kitchen, and is especially helpful from a design perspective in an open kitchen that is part of greater living space. Looking at the kitchen from outside can help you identify where a painting or beautiful photograph would be aesthetically pleasing as well as tie the different areas together.

9. Change the window treatment(s).

Window treatments add color and texture. If you can sew, making an inexpensive shade with remnants or discontinued fabrics is an economical way to brighten a kitchen.

10. Add dimmers and under-cabinet lighting.

Dimmers and accent lighting, such as under-cabinet lighting, can create drama and offer a softer lighting option than overhead lights.

The experts at Caruso Kitchens have lots of ideas for refreshing your kitchen. Contact us today to get started? We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver metro area.

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Ogden Project - Kim Foutz

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Kim Foutz

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10 Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Organized

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Clutter in the kitchen wastes time and energy.  Kitchen cabinets can become black holes that make it impossible to find what you need quickly and easily. Trying to prepare a meal in a messy space can lead to accidents and added stress. Kitchen organization is an important part of kitchen design because good design helps your kitchen function at its best and is easier to maintain.

Here are 10 tips to help you keep your kitchen organized so it is always a pleasure to use:

1. Minimalize

Resist the temptation to keep anything in your kitchen purely for sentimental reasons or because you think you might need it some day. Take a hard look at each item and make an objective assessment as to whether you use it regularly.

  • Toss or recycle any worn-out, broken, rusty or permanently dirty items
  • Identify the tools and appliances you use most often and eliminate any unnecessary duplicates.
  • Determine if you can get rid of any single function items.

2. Empty Cabinets

Go through the contents of each cabinet one at a time. Remove everything, and put back only things you love and use. If you haven’t used it (or seen it) in over a year, it is a good candidate for the donation pile. If it is broken or damaged beyond repair, toss it.

3. Group Like Items

To make items easier to find and keep track of going forward, group them together by how they are most often used. For example, sort items into categories such as cooking utensils, baking items, holiday or seasonal items, entertaining pieces, and everyday dishes, silverware and serving pieces.

4. Organize the Cabinets

Store the most used items where they are easiest to get to. Cooking and baking pieces, as well as utensils, should be kept close to your food preparation area. Glassware should be near the sink or dishwasher, or alternatively by the refrigerator. Set up a hot beverage station near a water source, if possible, with coffee, tea, cocoa, sweeteners, mugs and filters near the coffee maker or teapot.

5. Use Clear Containers to Store Items

Small items in clear containers are easier to organize and keep track of because they don’t spread throughout the cabinet or draw. Group similar items together so they are easy to find. Store items that come in small boxes, like pudding, in clear shoeboxes. Square and rectangular containers stack well.

6. Make Use of Vertical Space

Making smart use of vertical space can greatly improve the organization of small kitchens, but even in kitchens that have abundant counter space, well-placed hooks or ceiling racks can eliminate a cluttered feel. Hooks that hold mugs under cabinets, adhesive hooks inside cabinet or pantry doors for oven mitts, dish towels or kitchen gadgets, or ceiling racks for pots and pans can free up a considerable amount of space.

7. Use Lazy Susans

Lazy Susans are rotating trays that can go on kitchen tables or islands, inside cabinets and pantries, and even in refrigerators. They are especially handy in corner cabinets where much of the space is hard to reach. Perfect for accessing condiments, spices, beverages, snacks and a variety of pantry items, Lazy Susans prevent items from being hidden or lost in the back of the fridge or cabinet where they are more likely to spoil or expire.

8. Use Drawer Dividers

How often do you waste time fishing around in a drawer for the item you need? Dividers keep utensils and other small items organized in a designated space, rather than jumbled together.

9. Sort Papers

Even in our ever more digital world, paper accumulates. Organize coupons and takeout menus in a magnetic sorter box on the side of the refrigerator to prevent papers from accumulating on the counters. Give each type of paper a section, so finding what you need when you need it is easy.

10. Clean Out the Refrigerator

The night before your trash goes out is the perfect time to do a quick clean out of the refrigerator each week, to prevent old food and containers from cluttering up the space.

Ask the experts at Caruso Kitchens how to incorporate organization into your new kitchen design. Contact us today! We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver metro area.