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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Awesome Tips for Organizing Your Kitchen

If there is one room in my house that I would like to keep organized, it's my kitchen.

If there is one room that never stays organized, it's my kitchen.

This leads to a cycle of continuous reorganizing, replanning, and then messing it up again.

I'm getting better though.  My issue is that I have very little counter space or drawer space.  I have lots of cabinet space, but it's not all the right size for what I would like to use it for.  These factors force me to get creative when it comes to finding logical, practical places for food and utensils to live.

I have worked for a while on the best ways to organize my kitchen, tried out a lot of things, and come up with a few really good ideas, mostly from Pinterest, but also a few from Brian and a few from my own desperate brain.  Here are my most awesome organizational tips for the kitchen.

1)  Magnet Strip for Knives

Brian suggested this because he's a genius.  My knife block took up a lot of room on  my counter, so why not get rid of it and mount a magnetic bar to the backsplash instead?

Obviously, this has to be well out of reach of children, but it works so well!  No more figuring out which hole is the right size for which knife!  No more big clunky block taking up a square foot of valuable counter space!  No more pulling three handles out before you find the knife you're actually looking for.  Genius.

2)  Produce Baskets

I saw this idea on Pinterest forever ago, but I modified it because I wanted bigger baskets.  It took me over a year to find the baskets I wanted.  For some reason, none of the places I looked carried anything similar.  Brian finally found these at Home Depot, I think.  We got three, and I love them.

Since I am trying to eat a lot more fresh food, that means lots of produce that was just sitting on my counters, again taking up space!

This way, it frees up my counter, and makes it look much nicer, too!

3)  Hang Measuring Cups and Spoons

This is another idea I saw on Pinterest, and it works really well, although I simplified mine.  I just got Brian to put some hooks on the inside of one of my cabinet doors, and I have one set of measuring spoons and cups that I keep on them, plus a couple of extra hooks for extra spoon sets.

That way, I can grab just my 1/8 teaspoon without having to use all the other spoons in that set, too.  Plus, no more rifling through drawers to find the one you need, and it frees up more space in my drawers for other things!

My only warning about this is that it took me a while to get used to the motion and the sound that they make when you open the cabinets.  For the first week or two, I just about jumped out of my skin every time I opened the cabinet door, thinking something was jumping out at me.  Now, I don't even notice it.  I have heard that the silicone collapsing measuring cups and spoons would help with that, but I don't own any.

4)  Leave Room for new things

Whenever I organize my pantry, it always looks so nice.  Everything is visible and accessible, and all the like items are grouped together.  Baking goods, canned goods, oils and vinegars, etc.

Then I go grocery shopping.

This always frustrates me because of course I return home with new things, like another canister of oatmeal, or a new bottle of honey, or a new bag of flour.  These things don't have a home, because the almost-empty bottle of honey or canister of oatmeal is still in it's place.  I empty my flour into my canister, but I still have two pounds in the bag.  Agh!

What usually happens at this point is that I just make room for them haphazardly, stacking them on top of something else, shoving the oatmeal next to the hot chocolate because it's the only place it fits, etc.

And now I'm unorganized again.

My new solution, then, is that this time, when I organized my pantry, I intentionally left open spaces for new items.

Space on the shelf next to the Cheerio's.

I know, that sounds so elementary that it can't possibly be worth mentioning, but I figure it took me nine years of running my own house to figure it out, so surely someone else has this problem, too.

5)  Accessibility is Key

I don't know if anyone else does this, but I default to organizing my kitchen pretty much the same way my mom did.

(Well, I mean, when I organize my kitchen and don't just stack stuff on top of each other like an edible Jenga game...)

After all, it's what I grew up with, so I'm used to it.  The problem is that my kitchen now is not at all set up like the ones I grew up in.

For example, my mom always stored the pots and pans in the drawer under the stove.  I did too, in our old apartment, but when we moved into this house, I found that the drawer below the stove is teeny tiny, and not at all tall enough for even one pot, let alone several.  I kind of panicked.  Where do pots and pans go if not under the stove?

So for about two years, they have been in a bottom cabinet beside the refrigerator, because they didn't fit in most of the other cabinets.  This is super annoying because I had to basically kneel down to get to them, and they were just stacked on top of each other, so they were always clanging around and making noise, and I almost lost a digit every time I tried to wrangle one out from under all the others.  Not at all convenient or accessible.  Also, moderately dangerous.

I cleared off one shelf that had previously held my casserole dishes and other baking pans,

and now it holds my pots and skillets!

This make so much sense, since I use them more than just about anything else in the kitchen.  It might not seem like putting them in the pantry is a logical choice, but if you can look beyond where you think things are "supposed" to go, and see where they would be more accessible, you might come up with some creative new ideas for organization!

6) Label

I love to label things (and people, but I'm working on that...).  I have a great little label maker and a huge supply of computer labels ready at a moment's notice.  I saw some pictures on Pinterest of a kitchen someone had organized and they had labeled everything so neatly, it really made it look more polished.

I got a bunch of storage containers from the Dollar Tree, printed off some labels on my computer, and voila! So easy!

(Actually, at the time, it wasn't that easy.  I kept trying to find some super cute templates, but none of them were customizable, so it was either use their six pre-made labels or just be happy with basic labels that say what I want them to say.  I chose the latter.)

Labels are great because you never have to wonder, "Is this all-purpose flour, wheat flour, white wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, pasta flour, or bread flour?"  Yes, I have all of those flours.  Don't judge.

Also, when you run out of something, you don't have to remember what was in the container!  Heaven forbid I should accidentally put organic whole wheat pastry flour in the container that used to hold pasta flour!

I hope that this inspires you to organize your kitchen in a way that is more helpful and easier to use.  I'd love to hear some of your favorite tips and tricks as well!

Unless your advice is to buy fewer types of flour.  No one wants to hear that.


  1. I really like the produce basket tip! My apartment had the world's smallest kitchen & it always made me nuts to go in there. Maybe when we move I can use some of these tips!

    1. Yeah, I have absolutely loved the baskets! I didn't know y'all were moving! Where to?

  2. What are the produce baskets lined with?

    1. Right now they are just lined with the moss that they came with. I would like eventually to make cute little red fabric liners for them, but I haven't gotten to it yet.