Thursday, January 24, 2013

Zone 1 - The HOW

Somehow I've suddenly gone all organizey on this blog....but it is where I'm at, so I'm gonna roll with it.  This should be the last post on my kitchen. Then I'll get back to sappy Navy wife business and psycho crazy-mama stories.

This is my "tutorial" on how to organize your kitchen. 
Well, at least the steps I follow/followed.
(Like there aren't enough organizer things online already! 
We've lived in 8 houses - I've had to figure out quite a few kitchens!)

First - psych yourself up. Pep talk yourself about how easy it will be. How totally awesome you are. And that HGTV will want to interview you after you are done. 

Then sit down and drink a cup of coffee. (This is vital)

Next, pick ONE drawer (preferably your junk drawer) to go through. Stand next to it with a trash can...and throw away. If you have held on to that recipe from a magazine for 2 years and have never made it - throw it away. It is sitting in the drawer (1) guilting you about not cooking something particularly amazing, (2) causing clutter, (3) adding to a list of ridiculous expectations for what you should be doing.  THROW IT OUT.  Broken crayons, scraps of paper, expired coupons, crappy plastic toys your kids got at the doctor, Sunday school papers - throw it all away. 

If it made it to the Junk drawer - it most likely wasn't a special enough, whatever, to keep. 
Chuck it. 

Once you are left with the important stuff - screwdriver, cookbook, masking tape, AWANA books, pencils that actually have an eraser, smoke detector that never shuts up - then you can figure out what to do with it. BUT FIRST - figure out the NEW purpose of your old junk drawer.  Put the stuff back in - making a list of any organization stuff you need - close the drawer, and you are done for the day. 

Seriously - don't burn yourself out! Anything that involves paper is exhausting to go through. So pace yourself!

**side note about organizer stuff: You want to go to Dollar Tree. DO NOT go to Wal-mart or Target and spend $6-$10 on one bucket just because it says Martha Stewart. That is dumb. Plastic bucket thingys are all the same - buy the cheap one. **

Next step - the rest of your drawers. I have an massive kitchen - for which I am very thankful - but that meant I had THREE drawers with papers in them. So, I managed to do all of them in the same day. Then, another day, I did the silverware drawer, the measuring drawer, and the tupperware drawer. A third day - I handled spices.  You do NOT have to do it all at once! Allow yourself a 2 week window and then commit to a certain amount of time to go through the smaller areas. 

After your drawers look beautiful and you can find everything easily - you will be annoyed that isn't the case for every spot in your kitchen! (This is why you do little things first - they give you the umph to tackle the big areas.)  

First wipe your counters - clear them off and scrub them. Wipe down your toaster - empty the crumb tray. Scrub your coffee pot. And then replace each item on the counter carefully thinking about its purpose. . . does it make sense to have it there? 
Does it have to be where its always been? 
Do you typically have to move it out of the way? 
Do you use it? 
Do you like it?  
Sometimes, there are decorations in a kitchen and they are there because they've always been there. Try clearing your counter off and seeing what it would look like set up differently. 
Maybe no decor? 
Maybe with a fruit bowl? 
Maybe a basket for collecting the mail? 
Think about what you use the space for....and what you WANT to use the space for. 

When it comes to the dishes/pots/pans/appliances section of organizing a kitchen - this is a bigger job. Leave this as the only thing you do in organizing the kitchen for one day. 

(I actually split it up over THREE! 
Dishes/serving dishes on one day, appliances another, pots/pans another)

First - pull everything out. 
Do you really need 6 serving dishes of the same size? (The answer is yes for some, and no for others!) Do you need 12 muffin tins? (I don't - but I have friends who definitely need all the baking gear they have) 
Kitchen at house #7

Are your dishes too many for your space? If yes - and you don't want to get rid of them - do you have a place where you could box them up and store them? 
If yes - and you DO want to get rid of the excess - walk them straight out to your car.  The next time you drive near the thrift store - drop them off.  
Go through each item carefully - why do you keep that one platter you've never used? 
Could it be displayed on a plate hook? (Use it as decor instead of as a platter)  
Or, use it in another area of the house as decor, or to hold plants, or jewelry, or bath things....just because it is sold to be used with food - it doesn't mean it has to stay there!

Kitchen at house #7...slightly short in the space department! And no dishwasher...very, very, sad.

Basically, when it comes to your kitchen - it shouldn't stress you out to work in it. If you have a small kitchen that can hold 5 days worth of food for your family and not a canned-good-more....don't fret! You have the gift of not "losing" food in your pantry! (Our last kitchen was that small. We stored cereal in a bucket on top of the dryer, and paper goods were stored in the back of our Suburban - along with the stroller) A small kitchen enables you to learn how to be more organized than if you had gobs of space. 

The white cabinet was my "pantry" at my last house!
Finally (probably a separate week!) attack your pantry. One shelf at a time...go through everything in there. Throw out what is bad or expired or stale. Donate stuff you will never use. Write down the things you have a little bit left of...and then figure out what you can make using those ingredients.  The goal is to streamline what you have. If you were moving in 6 months (we aren't!), you would start cooking from your pantry as much as possible so you wouldn't have to throw anything away....try to do that.  It will save you money, it will de-clutter the space, and it will make you feel like superwoman because you are so creative and thrifty! 

Maybe that last one is just me. 

Final thing - if I'm re-organizing anything and end up putting something in a new spot...I label the spot. With an actual label maker (LOVE!) or with masking tape and a sharpie. It helps the entire family find stuff...and put it away in the right spot! 

Have fun organizing!! 
I'd love to see pictures of your spaces...or of you drinking coffee and pysching yourself up. :)

 Copyright 2013

1 comment:

  1. Oh NO!! I actually have to throw away the recipes that have been in "the" drawer for 2 years or more!!!!!! You are getting me inspired!! XXOO


Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement!