I’m on a mission to purge and organize. It’s something fairly common at the start of the year, I believe. There have been several great posts on other blogs recently about organizing your kitchen (one of my favorites is Tidy Kitchen Tips by Decor and the Dog).
As usual, I’m a few months behind.
But while I tackled cleaning, assessing and reorganizing our kitchen, I realized that for me, the issue was maintenance. I can spend a day cleaning the kitchen cabinets and drawers, but in 6 weeks, they will all be a disaster again.
So, I went to my tried and true method of keeping ANYTHING organized – containers.
I’m not a naturally organized person. I like things neat, but for me that means out of sight. This leads to disastrous closets, cabinets and drawers. Because if I can close a door or drawer, it doesn’t matter how messy it it behind there.
So bins, baskets and other containers are my tried-and-true way to keep things organized. I use containers in the bathroom for hair and makeup products, in my linen closet for first aid, tools and cleaning supplies; in Henry’s room for toys and supplies; and in the living room for media, cords, remotes and toys.
Why had I never considered using containers to corral kitchen clutter?
I got creative and used containers I already had to organize the cupboards in a way that was maintainable. Once I figured out what I was lacking, I spent a mere $5 in Dollar Tree containers to finish the job. Here’s how I used them in four of our most disastrous areas of the kitchen …
- The top container holds all my teas, which allowed me to throw out all the packaging that was taking up space. (Other beverage mixes that are used less frequently are next to the teas.)
- The large container in the middle are less-used or oversized spices that don’t fit on our countertop spice rack. (Steak seasoning, Krazy salt and others make it in here.) Next to this is a Ziplock that I filled with all spice packets – chili, taco, Italian dressing, Ranch. Nothing fancy, but the Ziplock keeps everything corralled.
- The bottom level is my baking level. The small container are the tiny little spices that I use rarely – pumpkin pie spice and the like. Above that is a bigger container for baking items – cocoa powder, baking powder, vanilla, etc.
On the door, I finally put a little hook for my measuring cups.
For bulk items
I already had the chalkboard labels from a past project that never happened. I love that it adds a little consistency to all the varying containers. (I think a simple black piece of cardstock could have worked just as well if I didn’t already have them.) I used a chalk pen to write the contents.
The lazy susan is a must, in my opinion, for corner cabinets. It allows me to use all the space and not resort to rifling through everything to get to the back. (I got mine a few years ago, it’s similar to this.)
On the top shelf, I stored all the little-used items that I want to keep on a lazy susan. Not pretty, but practical.
I’ve always had a hard time corralling produce. I used to put the fruits and veggies out on the counter in a large bowl or hurricane, but I really hate having things on counters. Then there’s the challenge of potatoes and onions and garlic …
These yellow bins are the only things I purchased – I picked them up at the Dollar Tree when I realized I didn’t have anything that fit the bill for these items. They are nice and sturdy and keep all the stuff contained without mess from the “skin” of onions and garlic.
I planned to pick up two more of them for fruits and veggies, but for now, I have them in a basket I had on-hand. (I prefer the plastic bins for produce in case there’s any leaking. Much easier to clean.)
As you can see, the small appliances I used most still have their own spaces on the top two shelves (juicer, waffle maker, tea kettle, tea jug, 2 slow cookers and a KitchenAid).
I also LOVE having the three slim Simple Human trash cans in the pantry. They are out of the way from the dogs and Henry, but easy to access. They are for recycling, trash and dog food. I plan to eventually add labels to them, too, because guests often get confused.
Finally, I tackled the junk drawers. Yes, drawers plural. We have great drawer space in this kitchen, but I was mostly filling them with junk.
I’m linking this post up with my friend Emily at Imperfect. who’s hosting a great series on living more with less. This is something that really resonates with me as I try to be conscious about bringing less “stuff” into my home and keeping too much “stuff” around. It brings me too much stress for my house to be packed to the brim with junk that I don’t need.
For my kitchen purging and organizing, I had two garbage bags full of things to get rid of – out-of-date food, packaging and the like. I also had two Rubbermaid totes of never-used utensils, silverware and small appliances. I’ll be selling most everything in a spring yard sale or on Craigslist. What remains will go to Goodwill.
Next up in the living more with less series is the dining room. Stay tuned.
What about you?
How do you control your kitchen clutter?