We are deep into winter which means we are spending a lot of time inside. If you are like me, spending all of this time inside makes you realize how cluttered or disorganized certain areas of your home has become. What better time than now to tackle some of these problem areas. I don’t know about you but, I’ve been spending way too much time on the couch watching Gilmore Girls reruns on Netflix. We may as well take an hour or so and do something productive. Let’s declutter and reorganize!
The way I like to approach the whole declutter process is to take it a room at a time. That is how I am going to approach this latest series here on my blog as well so those of you following along, if you so desire, can do these things in your home.
Let’s start with the kitchen. Let’s face it, it is the heart of the home, it’s where we spend a huge portion of our day and it’s where a lot of clutter can pile up. The rest of my house can be chaos (think two kids, Lego, glitter and glue) but, as long as my kitchen is neat and tidy, I’m okay.
I have a small kitchen for our family of four. When we moved nearly a year ago, it took me several months to get my kitchen organized and feeling just right. You see my last kitchen had much more cupboard space so storage was not an issue. This kitchen has half the cabinets and to get the new appliances in, we had to remove some of those cabinets too.
The first thing I did was edit. If you don’t use it and I mean you haven’t used it more than once or twice in the past twelve months, then it’s time to toss it. (By toss it, I mean donate it, sell it or discard).
1. Lower cabinets: Remove everything out of your lower cabinets. Once you have an inventory of what’s been hiding in those cupboards, start going through it. Be ruthless. Let’s face it, if you are not using that juicer, bread maker or popcorn maker anymore, do yourself a favour and get rid of it. It’s easy enough to pop your popcorn in a sauce pan. Also, unless you are some high end cook, you do not need several sets of pots and pans. Keep a small, medium and large sauce pan along with a small and large frypan. Turf the rest. Baking pans, casserole dishes, etc again be ruthless. Keep one of each size if you use them. For example, you do not need a glass pyrex 9×13 baking dish and a corning ware 9×13 baking dish. Keep your favourite. Also, if you have two appliances that do the same thing, keep the one you like and use the most. Get rid of the other one. How many coffee making appliances do you own? Do you use them? If not, time for some of them to go. They are taking up way too much valuable space. Once you have edited things down, now it’s time to put it back. Organize like with like.
2. The tupperware drawer or cupboard. Again, if it is missing it’s partner in that you have the bottom but, no lid, get rid of it. A couple of years back, we decided to turf all of our plastic storage containers and replaced it with two sets of glassware storage containers with lids. They nest inside each other and I use a basket to store all of the lids. We have four different sizes and it more than meets our needs.
3. Upper cabinets. Do you have mismatched, chipped bowls and plates? If so and budget allows, turf it and replace them with two sets of white dishes (most sets are 20 pieces suitable for a family of 4). I like white as it will always complement my kitchen. Also the fancy restaurants use white as it’s the best background for food presentation. If white is good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. I scored on a service of 12 a few years ago and bought two sets so I have more than enough when we are entertaining. Also, check thrift stores to get good deals as well.
Coffee mugs, we are all guilty of it. Do your cabinets include an array of mugs with business logos plastered all over them? Okay, we are not in university anymore, turf them. Go out and get yourself some nice mugs. You can get white ones if your set of dishes did not come with any or if you are finding you could use a few more, why not pick up 4-6 in your kitchen accent colour? Check out your local dollar store, I’ve spied some really nice mugs from time to time. Chapters Indigo is another place that has great mugs.
4. Drawers- Most likely you have a drawer for your cutlery. If you are really short on drawer space, something to consider is a cutlery caddy that can sit on your counter or even on the table. Cutlery will always be handy for meal time and easy enough too when it’s time to unload the dishwasher.
Another drawer is probably dedicated to your dish cloths and towels. Please go through these and any ratty tatty cloths and towels, banish them to become your scrub cloths or for garage messes. Again, treat yourself and pick yourself up some new dish cloths and towels. They don’t have to be expensive.
At this point, you have decluttered your uppers and lowers along with any drawers. If you have a pantry (we have a small one) keep on going. Check expiration dates, freshness, etc.
You should have a lot less stuff after the purge. Here are some organizing tips to consider when returning everything to your cabinets.
1. Organize cabinets. Display dishes of same colour scheme together. I like to keep our everyday dishes close to the sink/dishwasher as it makes it easier when it comes time to clean up. I have our glasses in the cabinet close to our water cooler on the lower shelf so the kids can reach. Our coffee mugs are in the cabinet above our coffee/tea station.
2. Open storage shelving. If you equip your open shelving with everyday items, they will not get dusty. Everyone will know where everything is and it will make guests feel right at home as it is easy for them to help themselves.
3. If you are short on cupboard space, consider installing a pot rack. There are some great inexpensive DIYs on pinterest. A pot rack keeps pots and utensils out of the way but, within reach.
4. I dislike counter clutter. Instead of a knife block, consider installing a magnetic metal strip to your backsplash. Amazon has one for $17.99. I also like to use a pitcher or a crock to store my cooking utensils. It sits next to the stove. This keeps them handy while freeing up cupboard space. Again, you don’t need three or more spatulas. Be sure to edit.
5. Use drawer organizers to corral little items like baking tools.
6. If you are avid coffee and tea drinkers. Consider creating a coffee/tea station in your kitchen. I use a tray to corral things like coffee, tea bags, spoons, cream and sugar.
7. Organize your food stuff such as your dry goods in vintage jars, mason jars, clear bottles and canisters.
8. Don’t have a pantry? Construct a pantry from industrial shelving. This is another inexpensive DIY project using a pair of metal storage units.
There you have it. A refreshed, decluttered and reorganized kitchen. A great project for us Canadians as we are heading in to a snowy long weekend.