At the end of the evening, right before bed, I do a room-to-room sweep of the house to pick up odds and ends and put them away. It takes me maybe 10 minutes, maybe 20 if its been a busy day to go through the majority of the rooms. The room that gives me the most trouble though is the kitchen. I have been having the hardest time trying to keep this room neat and organized and frankly it is driving me crazy. I don’t want to spend a half hour of more at bed time re-cleaning what I already thought I cleaned after dinner. So I decided to evaluate the room and pinpoint my trouble spots & find solutions.
Issue #1 Too many things that don’t belong – I have a reasonable amount of counter space plus a bar-height counter that sits above my prep counter and when my youngest was in his early investigative stage, I would place everything I didn’t want in his reach on these two counter spaces but it has developed into a habit and the clutter has taken over. The mail, my purse, drinking glasses, the kids’ school work and other odds and end line the upper counter and have slowly trickled down to a portion of the lower counter. Our computer printer was even on it (although neatly tucked in the corner above the desk in the dining room).
Solution: I need to break bad habits and put these things elsewhere
- Since my youngest is older and is more understanding of what he can and cannot play with, I think it is time to move the mail and other paperwork back to the desk or better yet eliminate as much as possible by signing up of electronic statements, magazines, etc.
- I’m creating the habit of sorting the mail right when I pick it up. Recycling envelopes & junk mail, filing statements & bills and so forth.
- I took away my junk basket. All it did was give me a place to accumulate junk! Without it I’m forced to return things back to where they belong.
- I needed to eliminate things I am not using so I donated the extra coffee maker & the toaster plus the extra kitchen tools & utensils.
- The stand mixer needs a new home. I use it once a week or less so I wanted it in an easily accessible spot but off of my counter. After I sorted through a large cabinet it had plenty of new space that was perfect for it. I also put away the coffee grinder right next to the coffee and sugar bins in the cupboard. Being grouped together they are easy for my husband to find when he needs them.
- The hanging tool rack near the stove & the tool caddy was a bit redundant so the counter caddy was removed. The few tools I decided to keep when into the tool drawer (Yes, I had a tool caddy, a tool rack and a tool drawer…)
- My favorite idea was removing the bulky knife block & replacing it with a magnetic knife bar.The knives are still easy to get to and I feel a bit better about their location – not as easy for little ones to grab at.
- I have not done this yet, but I plan to replace the counter paper towel stand with a holder for either under the cabinet or inside a cabinet door – I just need to find something that works for me.
- And of course now that I eliminated the paper and other non-kitchen items there is a tremendous amount of space now!
Issue#3 The cabinets and drawers – they were too overflowing. It is hard to find what was needed & hard to put it away again.
Solution: Make space and organize!
- I went through each cabinet and drawer and pulled out everything in them. Anything that hadn’t been used recently was not put back. I had 4 of the same cookie sheets. I’m all for having an extra one, but 4 of the same?? I also had 2 full sets of dishes – both were just everyday dishes and we rarely used more than one set, so one was packed up into storage. If we don’t use miss them after a few months I will donate them as well.
- Food storage containers were a big mess. Bowls without lids, lids without bowls…too many of all of it! So there I was again, sorting through each and every piece deciding what should be kept and what needed to go. I kept a handful and the rest were either donated or recycled.
- I am rather particular about how I organized my food cabinets because I hate wasting foods. It is just such a shame to me not only to waste the money but also to waste the food itself! So this was the one area in my kitchen that needed very little help, but I am considering some options such as baskets and storage containers for our panty staples & snack foods.
Even though I know I’m making it sound like we are a very messy bunch, we really aren’t but we do have some bad habits – like letting the dishes pile up after dinner or leaving things like a box of crackers on the counter. I am doing my best to break this habit but I think the key here is that we are now organized and there is less cluttered so it is much easier now!
I do still have a few projects for the kitchen – number one being painting it but I need the weather to warm up so it will have to wait another month or so. I also used this great inspiration from a pin on Pinterest for the measuring cup spoon rack that I plan to add a measuring conversions chart too – but I have yet to decide how I would like to do mine, so it is a nice little project for the future!