Earlier this month I wrote a post with an unintentionally misleading title:
The post was intended to introduce you to the idea of a 12 month plan to an organized life and promised a monthly plan for getting organized in 2015.
Yep, a 12 Month Plan.
Lives are complicated after all and we’re not stopping at just the house.
I started with the kitchen and laid out a plan for getting the chaos under control. Sign up for email updates so you don’t miss next month’s tip.
Four full days of cleaning and organizing later, I’ve had a few organization ah-ha moments and realize a better title for that post may have been:
A Whole Lotta Hard Work & Time Consuming, but WORTH IT Steps to a Cleaner & More Organized Kitchen.
I found that a ton of the work involved cleaning (you may want to consider hiring someone to help with the cleaning while you do the organizing and sorting), but I stumbled across a few good organization ideas that I wanted to share with you.
Tip 1: Put knives with the cutting boards. Duh, right? Yet it took me this long to pair the two. I have the luxury of a lot of storage space, so used a drawer. Whatever your storage situation, put the two together. I’ve had this set up for 2 days and it makes the kitchen flow just that much easier.
Tip 2: Look vertical. If you are short on space, or just to keep things off the floor or counter or wherever, look to hanging on the walls or ceiling (such as a pot rack). This is the Pot Rack we had in my last, much smaller, house. Also consider Vertical Wall Wine Rack, Mop and Broom Holder for your broom, mop, etc. and hooks. (affiliate links)
Tip 3: Leave space. I usually buy paper towels and toilet paper at Costco and they come in large quantities. But when I was organizing my pantry I was down to just a couple of each. If I’d used up all that space, I’d have a problem with my brand spanking new organization as soon as my next trip to Costco. Instead, I left an entire shelf just for paper towels and toilet paper for when my stock pile is full.
Tip 4: Create a Most Used Items Drawer. A friend recently had her kitchen remodeled and the kitchen designer added a drawer for their top 5 most used utensils. LOVE this! Depending on your space, dedicate one drawer for the items you use most when cooking (favorite spoon, whisk, can opener, tongs, pizza cutter, perhaps). Whatever they are will be unique to you. Put those items in one drawer – most convenient drawer – and all the other stuff in another one.
Tip 5: Identify Homeless Items. What items wind up on your counter most often? Chargers? Papers? Homework? Identify all these routinely homeless items (the ones most likely to wind up in a pile when you are quickly straightening up) and FIND A HOME for them. Make a list of these items and then decide where they are going to live. Where is the spot they SHOULD be landing instead. If you don’t have a spot, make one. If you have a spot but it doesn’t seem to work, identify why it’s not working and adjust accordingly.
Tip 6: Define a “It’s Pinterest’s fault.” storage area. I had all these glass jars I was keeping for crafts like this St. Patty’s Day project. The problem was my lack of limits and defined space. I just kept pushing them into the same space until I was afraid to open those doors because I knew a few would come toppling out. Instead of getting rid of all the jars, I moved them to an empty drawer. NOW, I can save jars until the drawer is full. Then I’m done. If I use some of them up, I can save again until it’s full!
Tip 7: MOVE your fridge shelves. I lived with the layout in my fridge for over 4 years and every time I bought a tall container such as milk or juice, I’d say a mental “ugh” because there was only one area tall enough for it to fit. Duh again! Just move the darn shelves until they work for you! When I had them all out to clean and was putting them back in, I took a moment to think about the things that bugged me and adjusted accordingly. Now I have two areas that are tall enough AND are at kid height.
Tip 8: Wait a Week before Tossing Tupperware & Jars. When going through the excess storage jars and tupperware, etc. I was antsy to get them out of my house. But, as I kept going I’d return to the discarded items box and use one of these containers for another storage purpose, just as toothpicks and batteries. Old Crystal Light jars work really well for this too.
Tip 9: Lay Unopened Cereal on its Side. There is no law that says cereal has to be stored upright (unopened boxes), but we all do it. Then the boxes hide behind the one in front, we can’t see it, forget it’s there, and when we sort our stuff it’s expired. Put those extra cereal boxes on their side and you can see ALL of them at the same time. This is especially helpful if you stock up during good sales like I do.
Tip 10: Add USB Ports. There are ingenious USB/Outlet combo devices available at any home improvement store or here’s one online – USB Charger Outlet (affiliate link). And in this day of digital devices we all need more, right? Go ahead and add them right to your outlets permanently (afar you decide where the device charging area is going to be kept). I’ll have a how-to post up soon on how you can do this yourself, but in the meantime this post has an How to install USB Ports Video.
Tip 11: Buy a Piggy Bank. All that loose change that always gets caught in the cushions or gets pulled out of pockets and winds up on the counter? Bite the bullet and put a piggy bank in your kitchen somewhere then you can just throw the money in it.
Tip 12: Dedicate a Spot for Papers. Tax papers, mail, receipts…they all add up. Dedicate a folder or drawer or something where all these items go after being handled one time. I decided on folders in a drawer. I LOVE fancy folders and when seeing the folders makes me happy, I’m more likely to use the new system. (I think these are from Ross or TJ Maxx.)
Tip 13: Put all turkey roasting items together. I had my roasting pan in one cabinet, my turkey’s done popper upper thingies in a drawer, the baster in a separate drawer… I only ever use this stuff when I’m roasting a turkey, just put them all in the roasting pan and they stop taking up space in other areas of your kitchen, PLUS you can find them all when you need them. By the way, that’s my spiralizer next to the roasting pan. LOVE IT.
Any great organization tips you’ve found in your years of working in a kitchen?
Which of these tips is the most exciting for you?