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Sunday, March 3, 2013

M.O.M. - organized KITCHEN

*This post is part of a series about getting organized in 2013, 
from our new Moms On a Mission = M.O.M. project , 
see February 2013 posts for more great ideas!*

We are swiftly moving through the house with our organizing skills. The kitchen is a slightly more complicated one to organize, mainly because there is a lot of STUFF in here and it's a larger room in the house typically, but you can do it. It will just take longer than a week to tackle. But don't be scared.

Pick ONE idea below and try it out this week or weekend, then keep crossing off ideas from your list and in a month or so your kitchen will be totally organized. Remember: the key is NOT to make organizing stressful or overwhelming to you, so break it down into pieces and you'll get there.

Start with asking yourself:
What's frustrating, annoying, difficult, challenging in this kitchen?
What do me and my partner argue about in here?
What could I do in here to make our lives easier, less stressful?
What works in this kitchen and how can I do more of that in here?


Good reasons for organizing this: So you don't buy new cleaning supplies when you already had 3 bottles under there you couldn't find when it was messy. So you don't pull your hair out every time you simply need a trash bag and can't find it because 10 things are on top of it!

How to organize this area:
Start by taking everything out. Put it on the floor next to you.
DO NOT do this with kids around. Nap time is good or at night for this task. Too many dangerous things under there.
Toss whatever is old, has not been used since you moved in, etc.
Put like things together - cleaning supplies, vases, candles with lighters and matches, trash bags and grocery bags, etc.
Get some plastic bins, baskets, etc. for organizing things together.
Done! Make it work FOR you.

Good reasons for organizing this: So you don't pack the kids up and rush to the store at night to get cupcake liners because you forgot you said you'd make cupcakes for work the next day... only to return to clean the spices cabinet and find you had 3 packages of cupcake liners already hidden in there! Save money and time! Also, our spice cabinet was overflowing, things fell out every time we opened that cupboard before I cleaned it out. Then after I tossed out old things we had plenty of room in there! I threw out TONS from this cabinet when I cleaned it. It was embarrassing what I found in there from years ago - chocolate chips from 2008!

How to organize this area:
Take everything out.
Check expiration dates.
Toss whatever is old and you don't need.
Combine things if possible (we had 3 things of parsley, I combined them into one container).
Put like things together (baking, spices, etc.).

We keep our kids' pain medicine, the thermometer and our daily vitamins in this cabinet, too so they are easy to find, so we put those all together on the bottom shelf.

To the right of those is my cake/cupcake decorating things, which I want to get a small basket for so it's easier to use those when we are decorating with my son.

Biggest thing about these is putting like things together.
Make sure you are USING these dishes. Don't hold on to things you hope to use someday but realistically have not used since you got married. Donate them or give to family instead of them taking up space.
Are they in an area that works for you? Or are the kids' plates far away from the counter where you make their lunch every day? Move them closer! Make life easier on yourself.

This one's easy to start with - just take everything out, sort in like order, and clean out the drawer before putting things back in. Voila!

Because you probably go into this one more frequently than other cabinets in the kitchen when you're making dinner or getting snacks for the kids, this one is important to make sure it's organized. You don't have time to check expiration dates every time your daughter asks for a snack, so make sure it's all clean the first time around. Same goes for the fridge and freezer. I clean those out every month at least, top to bottom making sure it's not old, putting things in an order that makes sense to us (salad dressings on one shelf, butter in its drawer, fruits and veggies in their spots, etc.).



The above before and after photos show small changes, I'm sure, but to me it's TONS of time saved. Everything is TOGETHER where it needs to be. The bottom shelf has the stuff we use most often. Snacks are all together. It all needs to make sense or else it's not organized and not going to make your life easier. The goal of organizing is an easier, stress-less life.

It's the most annoying ever when my son needed a cup and the pieces were all over the place. He whines more. I get agitated. It turns into an unnecessary stressful moment. If I can open the cabinet and just grab his cup and go out the door, we're all happier!

Ask yourself: What doesn't work in here? What is stressful in this cabinet? What could make my life easier in here? Start there!

Reasons to organize this: Because it's the most annoying thing when packing lunch at 5:30 a.m. or the night before to search for a tupperware lid to the bowl you put your food in. Tupperware gets old quick, so toss it (recycle!). Don't allow things to clutter up your house and therefore your life. Give old tupperware to your kids for their play kitchen, to play with in the tub or outside in the sandbox or the beach bag.

How to organize this area:
Take it all out.
Put lids on each thing. If there is no lid, toss in recycle bin or give away to the kiddos.
Stack them up with like sizes together.

Doing this last week made my entire week WAY easier! Packing my lunches was a breeze. My husband even commented on how easy it was in the morning for him to pack snacks or breakfast on the go having everything organized like this. AKA less stress in our home in the morning = a great thing! Keeping up with this has been easy this week, too, when putting away clean dishes from the dish washer - everything has a place and lid that matches so it's easy.

Reasons to organize this: Because otherwise you are never going to use those books that sit on the shelf or in my case on top of the fridge. I had books that have not been opened since they were given to me at my wedding 4 years ago. Really? What a waste of good food we could have been eating. Now that I organized it I one, know they are there, and two, found great ideas in there to get cookin' with!

How to organize this area:
Take them all off the shelf.
Dust them off.
Put in like order if there is some type of order to them.
Get rid of something you find you'll never use. Flip through them if you have to.

I put post-its on recipes I want to make. This makes it MUCH easier when looking for something to cook on a weekend instead of wasting time going through many recipes I'll never make.

I also have magazines that always have great recipes. Or friends at work who give me recipes or even moms on Facebook groups who share recipes. For those I keep a binder with dividers (soups, salads, appetizers, desserts, meals, breakfast, etc.). I have the large binder for magazine type cut-outs and the small binder is a real recipe card holder for those recipes I got at my wedding shower and from family members throughout the years.

I keep my cookbooks on top of the fridge.
While at it I cleaned up the rest of the fridge. The only things that go up here are my husband's phone charger, change jar, keys and wallet.

There are probably 1,000 other great kitchen organization tips out there. Check out some at my Pinterest board, get organized, mama!

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