Monday, January 23, 2012

Operation OrGaNiZaTiOn! The Kitchen


Today I'm going to share some helpful (hopefully) ideas to de-clutter your kitchen.  I'm starting with your kitchen for a few reasons...

1.  It's an area I imagine every person I know goes into and spends time at least a few times a day if not, ALL DAY, like myself.  Our kitchen is our central hub in our house and therefore, pretty much everything happens here.  From mealtime, homework, family game night to entertaining...we spend a GREAT deal of time in our kitchen.  So...therefore, this is the area that bothers me the most when I let it get away from me and become a mess.

2.  The 2nd reason is because I've already started a few new things in my own kitchen that I'm going to share with you so you can call me "trained" in this area... Ha...I wish.

3.  And the 3rd reason, well, because I want to.

Today's
OPERATION
O r G a N i Z a T i O n
is all about 
KITCHENS

The main areas of a kitchen that I'm going to tackle are:

Refrigerator/Freezer
Spice Rack/Cabinet
Pantry
Tupperware/Pots and Pans Cabinet
Under the Sink

I think these are probably most people's problem areas and since most every kitchen has these areas or something like it....I want to focus my energies here.   I will tackle the "Junk Drawer" in a separate post because not everyone houses theirs in the kitchen and this post is long enough already :)

First, the dreaded fridge and freezer clean out.

1.  The first step is to take everything out.  I mean everything.

2.  The next step is to DEEP clean that fridge.  I spent about an hour taking everything out last week and cleaning each and every shelf and drawer.  What I found that I didn't know (besides that we are fridge hoarders) is that every single shelf and drawer comes completely out for easier cleaning.  Now I'd like to tell you that I do this often, but that would be a HUGE lie.  Actually, this is the first time I have REALLY cleaned my fridge and freezer (Gasp...I know!)

So since I was so gratified with the outcome and how much easier it is to find things, I have added "clean fridge" to my weekly routines.   I do this on the same day I grocery shop.  Many of you had probably already figured out this ideal swap of old and new, but let's just say I'm a slow learner on this one.

3.  So after everything was out and cleaned...next step was to organize.   Put like items together (again, may seem obvious, but some (like my sweet husband) just shove things wherever they'll fit)....no...bad idea.   When you put like items together (ie. salad dressings, milk, fruit) it's easier to keep an inventory of what you do and don't need.

4.  Decide where you'd like things to go in your fridge.  What drawers will hold which items?  Which items do you want right in front vs. items you might not use as often?  If you are struggling with where items should go or just where to start...click here for some tips.  She'll walk you through tons of ideas for what to store where, etc.

5.  Adjust shelf heights to accommodate items.  Don't just fall back into the old routine and put things where they fit.  Again, we want a system of sorts as we re-organize this area so that we can keep it that way.  "A place for everything..."  remember?

6.  Find some cheap containers to organize with.  I have fallen in love with my local Dollar Store.  Now of course I loved it there before for holiday cheapies, but now I have discovered the endless array of cheap organizational containers and baskets.   They don't fit all needs, but I'll show you how I've used a few throughout different areas of my home.

Or you can invest in some gorgeous containers like these below from The Container Store.  Sadly, these may be on my birthday list this year.  As I've said before...it's the little things with me.  I just couldn't justify the cost for just my fridge at this point.
Oh how I wish....

Or these from Crate & Barrel.  If I got everything I wanted, it would be $65+, so I'm sticking for now with my $3 worth of Dollar Store finds.
On to my own re-do.  I forgot to get a BEFORE shot and you should probably be very thankful.  It was downright yuck!   Here is what it looked like right after a grocery shop and my DEEEEP clean.

My Dollar store containers...perfect size for butter, creamer, mustards, soda cans.  They are actually drawer organizers, but who cares?
Since my son has severe allergies, I do have my stuff organized to avoid cross contamination so it may seem a bit odd how I have it, but it works for my family.  Remember, it needs to work for you and your family.   Take tips and use them for your needs.

The left side of the fridge has some great Walmart containers with handles that hold all of our jarred items (ie. sauces, artichoke hearts and other jars that have leak potential).  One thing I did add to the left side though is wax paper.   I lined the top shelf with wax paper since this shelf holds tons of jars of .  This way if they do leak, I can just replace the wax paper weekly and not scrub

And lastly, we have this great long drawer that is the width of the entire fridge right at the bottom of the fridge.  We dedicated this mainly to my son's food items (again he has allergies and we definitely don't want to mistake our food for his, been there done that and it was not pretty).  So....on the right side, another Dollar Store container with his Rice Milk boxes.  Also in this drawer is our bread items since they are easily distinguishable from his.

So now that I've totally bored you with my own fridge re-do...here's some others I dream for.  I think these are all staged and can't be in "real" homes....lol   Regardless, they are so well done. 
Oh and I did organize our freezer too (we have a bottom freezer) but I think you'll be so bored with anymore.

I love these large containers for fruits and veggies from The Container Store.   The only thing is that I'm weird about what fruits and veggies can "live" together because of ripening.

Here is a great use of space on a bottom fridge/top freezer option from 'Pennies & Blessings'.  She has used large baskets to hold like items too.   

And the last fridge/freezer before we move on from none other than Jen at 'I Heart Organizing' and for good reason.  Take a gander at her fridge.  Are we the only ones with crazy leftovers?  My husband and I may have to have a talk about how it's cramping my organized style.
She even has used her label maker to mark her shelves.  I dream.  These would last about 2 days with my family.

So on to the spice cabinet or the one that holds all of your cooking oils, baking needs, etc.   
Here is my before...

Yikes....after the holiday season and tons of entertaining, I couldn't find a thing.  And...when I went to make a dessert the other night, I found out the hard way that I was out of a crucial ingredient.  Bummer right?  That alone could drive me nuts...some could take it in stride.  Not me.

And my spice cabinet...a pure mess.
Things are shoved everywhere and the lazy susan is lazier than ever and can't even move.  What a mess...

Here is my after.   Smile....

First step was to take it all out.  I got rid of a few things too.  I cleaned up the bottles and  found out that we definitely do not need any type of vinegar until our kids go to college...at least.  I again lined this cabinet with wax paper to avoid sticky messes.

I got this great lazy susan thing with a shelf at Target that I put all of our bottles on so now we can see them all with a simple turn!   And I also put all of my son's baking things on this shelf so that they wouldn't get mixed up with the rest of ours since he's allergic to many of them.

I labeled and sorted everything on my 2nd shelf and put like items together.  I am loving all of my new storage finds...many came from the $1 section at Target so as you can see...you can do it on a budget.
I also bought (invested in) some Oxo containers for my baking essentials.  Certainly not cheap, but so worth it.

And here's the other side of this shelf.  I re-purposed some storage items I already had.

On my top shelf I used all existing containers to organize my many items that I don't use so often, but don't want to get rid of.   (I know I have toooo many cupcake liners.  I do use them for crafts too though)

Here are some pictures of my inspiration...



Love the use of the jar for all of those pesky cupcake liners.  I had gotten to the point where I would just throw them on the top shelf and quickly shut my cabinet.  No good.

And here is what I am laminating and posting inside this baking cabinet...now I won't need to open a cookbook if ever in question.  After all, the goal of organization is to make your space more functional for your life.


Our spice cabinet after picture is not so exciting.  What I did do was sort and clean it up a bit.
And since my husband has every single spice known (I'm not joking) and multiples of those he uses the most....we may need this....lol

He would be SOOOO excited.  Not going to happen though!

On to the pantry....  I took everything out, cleaned the drawers and sorted. 
I found some great containers for the pantry from both Walmart and Target.  Here is one that I used for our cereals (from Walmart).

Filled and labeled.

I also organized my children's snacks and re-stocked their snack bins.  I shared earlier in the year about making snack bins with mini bags of snacks that your children like to grab and go when packing school lunches.  It is so great.  I use mine ALL THE TIME. 
Here is where I got the idea.

In the above pictures, one is for the fridge and one for the pantry.  I only use it in my pantry because each of my kids eat different things and I cannot justify washing it all when we might not go through a whole bin.   Here is my bin in our pantry and my new containers (from Target) for some of our snacks. 

I put all of their other snacks right behind these bins and labeled each side.  This is for allergy purposes.  There are very few snacks they share.


They were so darn excited about this.  You would have thought I filled the bins with all candy.  I guess they like the little things too :)

I also filled these containers (Dollar Store find) with the few snacks they both can share.

I got the idea to place the label of the item on the outside from this...

Here are some pictures of my inspiration...

I love the use of the door space in the next few....genius!


This one I'm definitely doing.  I adore it.


I love everything about this woman's pantry....

And how about these beauties...

You're probably noticing that the trends in all that I think makes them so beautiful and functional are:
1.  Containers to store like items
2.  Labels for easy access and to easily return items to their home

Here are a few links to some FREE labels that you can customize, print and laminate if you choose. 


The links...
1.  Pantry labels- Better Homes & Gardens
2.  Spice jar labels- Martha Stewart
3. Basket labels- Better Homes & Gardens
4. Everything labels- Just Something I Made
5.  Allergy labels- Paper & Pigtails

 I used this great re-usable sticker on mine too so that I can change them if need be.  
Here's what they look like...

And this idea for your onions, potatoes and any other veggies that don't need the fridge...it's such a great use of space.
Here's my version....potatoes, onions, squash and avocados...


On to the pesky Tupperware and/or pots and pans cabinets.  I know this is always one we are organizing.  Here is what mine look like now.  All of the lids are together and the Tupperware is stacked by size, but if you take one out...it's all falls.  And I know...we have WAY too much Tupperware.  Minimizing is my 2012 goal!
I loved this ideas for easy lid storage...

Or this idea using a CD rack...


So I bought a dish rack last night at Target and I'm working on finishing up me re-do on this cabinet.

The last area I wanted to share some great ideas for is under your kitchen sink.  Currently I have a clear container filled with all of my cleaning supplies.  However, since I started using the "Green Cleaner" that I share here, I haven't touched one of the other supplies.  So I'll be re-vamping my space and gaining a ton of space by clearing out some chemicals!

Here are some great ideas I thought I'd share...

Install a pull-out shelfing unit for all of your sink needs...and under the shelf, they used a plastic mat to catch any spills.

Or this idea to add a tension rod to the cabinet to hold your bottles.  Such a smart use of space.  This takes advantage of your vertical space that would otherwise be lost.

And lastly, how about using the inside of the door?  

I hope that helps give you a jump start or at least some ideas to jot down about how you'd like to organize or re-organize your kitchen spaces.  If there's an area of your kitchen I didn't mention that you have some ideas for or struggle with....please share.  In the meantime, happy organizing!

Poshed Up
















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