In the words of Louis Parrish,
"If you can organize your kitchen,
you can organize your life."
It seems that people struggle with organizing their kitchens more than any other room in the house. Perhaps it's those cute little gadgets that seem to call your name when you walk into Bed Bath & Beyond or maybe, in the sake of saving money, we talk ourselves into buying 4 gallon jars of tomato sauce and a case of creamed corn at Costco. Regardless of the reason, you can turn your kitchen into the organized, clutter-free space that you've probably been dreaming about for years (well, if you're like me and dream about decor and cleaning).
Here is my small but perfectly organized kitchen-
Here is how I got there-
1. De-clutter. Everything. That means every single drawer, cabinet, pantry shelf etc.
Throw out old, expired food and spices. Condense your four bags of flour into one large, sealed container. Set aside your avocado peeler (unless your a quacamole fanatic), extra sets of measuring cups, broken or chipped plates, mismatched pieces of silverware etc and take them to your local GoodWill or Salvation Army.
Helpful Hint- If you have several mismatched plates and serving pieces, you could create a plate wall, similar to the one I just did in our dining room-
Helpful Hint- Use an extra saucer as a soap holder in a bath or by the kitchen sink-
2. Put everything in it's proper place. What's the proper place, you ask? It's what makes the most sense to the function of the kitchen. Cups should be placed closest to the sink or fridge. Baking dishes, pots/pans are put closest to the oven. Serving pieces or utensials that are not used on a regular basis can be in high cabinets or low shelves that aren't as easily accessible. Plates should be stacked by size and type. All salad plates together, dinner plates together etc. This makes finding things and putting them away much easier.
I purchased 2 organizers from WalMart.com to install on the inside of either cabinet door. The ones I bought aren't available anymore but you can purchase similar ones HERE for just $4.99.
This roll-out bin from BB&B holds trash bags, detergent and extra dish soap.
This is our gadget drawer, everything we need fits in here.
5. Limit what is left out on your counters. The less knick-knacks, canisters, boxes and baskets you have on your counter, the easier it is to keep clean and the larger your counterspace will appear. I learned the hard way. I have enough room in our drawers to store our serving utensials. However for those of you that don't have this space, a utensial holder set next to the stove is a great idea.
This containers can also be used on the side of the fridge as well.
Our pantry is organized as such-
1st Shelf (bottom)-Holds barbeque tools, dog treats
2nd Shelf-Baking supplies, breakfast foods
3rd Shelf- Snacks, canned goods
4th Shelf-Cleaning supplies, paper goods
Top shelf- Tablecloths, extra serving pieces, formal china
This mop and broom holder keeps the items off the floor and out of the way. Found HERE for just $9.99.
Helpful Hint-Avoid buying many things in bulk, if you don't have the space to store it all. It isn't saving yourself any money if you have to toss items you don't use or cram items into your pantry where they sit for months forgotten.
7. Clean out the fridge and pantry the day before your trash day. Every Monday night, I go through our fridge and throw out any to-go containers that didn't get eaten or any produce that's less than fresh. I also double check our pantry for bags of chips with only crumbs remaining. I then recycle/throw in the garbage can for Tuesday's morning's trash pick-up day.
8. Don't let mail/coupons/menus sit out on the kitchen counter. When we first moved into our house, I'd grab our mail, come inside and set it on our counter. It would inevitably sit there for days. In order to be more green and rid ourselves of all the extra paper piling up around us, we now have paperless billing for ALL of our bills. It was free to do this, easy and I'm still able to view, track bills online. This has cut down tremendously on the amount of mail we get. I also stop by our recycling bin on the way into the house and dump any advertisements/flyers that we don't want. This way no mail gets into our house that we don't need. I place cards/invites on the side of our fridge, write important dates on our chalkboard wall and don't have to worry about a mess on our counters.
9. Don't forget to have some fun. Cleaning may not be the most thrilling activity in the world but it doesn't have to be horrible either. The thing about organization is that if you do it right the first time, you won't have to do again. Let your kids help sort cookie tins or tupperware. Play some music and have your spouse help too.
When I completed our chalkboard wall in the kitchen, I didn't realize how fun it would be to write little notes to J and keep track of our grocery lists. Our neices and nephews (and the majority of our adult friends) have all enjoyed drawing on the kitchen wall too.
Write tonight's dinner recipe down or your grocery list. (This would be very easy to DIY and much cheaper too!)