Creating an Organized Home Part One – Kitchen

I am what you would call organized chaos. I’m crazy organized when it comes to work, but not so much at home. I am always misplacing items and then creating an even bigger mess trying to find said item. It’s a vicious cycle. Clean. Misplace item. Destroy home looking for said item. Repeat. But no more! I have made an effort to get more organized in life, so I am sharing my journey, tips, and tricks of how I am accomplishing this. One room at a time. This my friends, is now a functional and organized kitchen.

I don’t know why I woke up a couple Saturdays ago with the urge to deep clean the kitchen, but I did. Then it lead to organizing the pantry, and every single cabinet in the kitchen. Maybe it was the toaster almost falling on my foot when I opened one of the cabinets, or maybe the food crumbs, or the fact that I realized I had 2.2 million cookie cutters. Yes, 2.2 million. Who needs that many cookie cutters? Wilton has probably produced less cookie cutters than what I found stashed away in the cabinets. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating. The point is, we had a lot of stuff that we never used or I didn’t even remembered we had. What was worse was the things I needed at some point but could NEVER find. I swear I asked my husband on the daily if he knew where something was. His reply was always, “Well, if you would have put it back where it went you wouldn’t have that problem.” Touché husband. Touché. But honestly he was right! I never knew where ANYTHING was because I would use it, then cram it somewhere. So with that, I am starting this home organization series.

Think of this series like a capsule wardrobe, just with your home instead of your clothes. Same concept and same feeling of accomplishment when you’re done!

The first thing I did was open all the cabinets. They were a mess! I wish I would have taken before pictures, but wasn’t until after I was done that I decided I wanted to blog about it.

Then one-by-one I pulled everything out of each cabinet and piled all like things. That’s how I realized I had 2.2 million cookie cutters.😂

After putting everything in piles I went through each one and put everything I haven’t used or had multiples of in a pile to donate. Let me be clear, I had three sets of mixing bowls. Who needs three sets of mixing bowls besides Martha Stewart?!? So I put the other two sets in the donate pile. I also put items that I hadn’t used in a very long time in the donate pile. I took the approach of,  if I didn’t even remember having it, I donated it.

While I had everything pulled out I vacuumed out the cabinets and drawers and then cleaned the insides with a magic eraser. Those things are magnificent!

Tip: Use toothpicks to reach the crud in the grooves of your cabinets then wipe with a magic eraser. Magic erasers are great for a lot of things, especially keeping white cabinets, white!

After going through all the cabinets I had a little over two bags of items ready to donate…just from our kitchen! And can you believe that half of one was cookie cutters?!? JK, but seriously…

I even cleaned out the cleaning supply cabinet and organized all the cleaning supplies using little white wire caddies I purchased from Home Goods like a year ago. Using the caddies have helped me stay organized and it’s so much easier to pull out a trash bag without knocking everything over now.

Tip: If you have a Tupperware drawer, organize them all by size and shape. If you find containers missing a lid, recycle it. I made sure to only keep the Tupperware that had a matching lid.

Once all the cabinets were situated, I started on the pantry. I found grains, cornmeal, and other items that had been expired for months. Gross right?!? So I went through everything, got rid of the expired food, put the items we had multiples of in order of expiration date, and used clear OXO containers we were gifted from our wedding to use for the cereal and other dry items. Yay for finally using them! Our containers are from Crate & Barrel, but I have found them at Home Goods & TJ Maxx for less.

Tip: Making dry foods more visible has definitely helped with meal preparation and allows me to see how much of something we have left. Like cereal. My boys eat the heck out of cereal, but I never knew we were out until I went to eat some. Thanks boys for keeping mom on her toes.

Side note, I didn’t realize my obsession with paper straws until I organized the kitchen. Because I have so many, I put them in a glass canister to keep them together. I am definitely glad I didn’t throw the canister away when I broke the lid.

I also rearranged everything in the pantry based on my height. Items that were easy to lose track are now at eye level. Also, if I had multiples of something I put the item with the closer expiration date in front to reduce wasted food.

I probably sound crazy, but it’s easy to overlook items when they are not at eye level and are not frequently used. Items such as canned beans. I realized when I organized the pantry we had 8 cans of various canned beans. See! All I can hope is that the family is ok with eating a lot of chili. 😂

After the pantry was situated, I moved on to organizing the items on the counters and open shelves. Recently I added a second set of open shelving in our kitchen, and I couldn’t be happier about the decision. Before the second set of shelves, there was a pot rack shelf that we never once used to hang our pots on. Adding the second set of shelves made the kitchen more functional. They also allow me to keep items that are frequently used, while cooking, closer to the stove.

Items such as everyday-ish spices. Before, I had to walk to the other side of the kitchen. Now I don’t have to. Even though I was focused on the items being functional, I still wanted them to look pretty. I mean, they are in the open. So for my spices I used glass jars (with a clasp seal) from Hobby Lobby.

I have never been big on labels, especially since I am always changing things up, so I opted for a cleaner look. However, I still need to know what spice is which. I’m sure pumpkin spice chili wouldn’t be a big hit. So I used a chalkboard marker and wrote the spice on the bottom on each jar.

Then when I want to change out the spice, or use the container for something else, I can easily rub the label off.

Can you see the residue of the marker on the palm of my hand?!? I am OCD about everything and had to rewrite the label 1.2 billion times before I thought it was acceptable. Even though nobody but me knows it’s there. Well, and you now.

For the cookie cutters I kept, I decided to put them in glass canisters below the larger open shelves. To stay organized, I separated them by type/season. On the left I have all my pie cutters, the middle, summer & spring cookie cutters, and on the end, Christmas and Thanksgiving cookie cutters. Now, I don’t have to dump all the cookie cutters on the counter and pilfer through them all to find  certain holiday/seasonal ones. Also, they are now close to the rest of the baking items I frequently use. Convenient and functional!

Organizing the kitchen was a huge task. It took almost a day to get everything situated, but it was well worth it!

The point of all this for me was to only keep items with a true purpose in our home, not just things for the sake of having things. It’s definitely an adjustment for me, but now I know where things are because they aren’t covered or crammed into spaces with things we didn’t need/use. The kitchen has stayed organized for over two weeks now, and I haven’t had to ask my husband once where anything in the kitchen is. I can’t say that for other rooms..but soon enough.

Next up in the series I’ll be tackling bathroom organization. Stay tuned!

P.S. Some of my favorite items to keep me organized are linked below.

Well friends, that’s it for part 1 of this series. I know these ideas are not revolutionary, but they have definitely kept me organized in the kitchen and I hope my tips can do the same for you. Until next time. Xo

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