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Chaos in the Kitchen

You know the show “Hoarders”? I don’t come close to that, but I am your typical packrat. Thank goodness for Pinterest and my passion for organizing, otherwise our house would truly reveal that reality.

 

When we bought our first house, the only thing it lacked from my wish list was a basement. Growing up in Michigan, I always had a basement- filled to the ceiling with Sterilite totes around the perimeter and a heavy metal table to hide beneath when the tornado sirens blared in the spring and summer. I’ve missed having a basement, not only for comfort during bad storms but mainly for storage. However, not having all that extra storage space has forced me to eliminate clutter and find ways to organize all the things I couldn’t bear to get rid of.

You see, I have this terrible habit of keeping things (I don’t need) “just in case.” Totes and boxes of Beanie Babies, clothes too small, cd cases (without the cds), hand written notes, photographs of people I no longer remember the names of, yearbooks older than me (because they’re interesting), and even trinkets and broken jewelry from my childhood. It took me years to finally let go of all my “stuff.” Slowly but surely, each year beyond college, I’ve been able to sift through my things room by room and pitch the garbage, donate the unneeded, and store the keepsakes. Still, even though I’ve pared down my twenty boxes to five, I still find several areas of my house to constantly be plagued with clutter. Today, I’m focusing on the kitchen.

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You know that cabinet in your kitchen that you’re afraid to open? The one where you grab what you need as quickly as possible and slam it shut before everything can jump out of the cabinet and attack you? All of my cabinets were getting to be “that” cabinet.

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I sold Pampered Chef for a few years during college and accrued quite the collection of kitchen tools. I’m pretty sure by the end that I owned almost everything in the catalog. I’ve pared it down, but I love cooking and baking, so most of it has stayed. Also, I’m a firm believer in the “reuse” portion of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” so I tend to keep any reusable plastic cups and containers that we come across. The problem was, my cabinets looked like this…

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and this…

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I was tired of searching for missing sippy cup parts and mysteriously vanished measuring spoons, and I was annoyed at trying to cram everything into the cupboard well enough so that I could slam the door shut before an avalanche fell onto my counter. So, I started researching organization ideas on Pinterest and finding useful organizational tools on Amazon. After picking up some 3M hooks, a set of shelves, a shelf organizer, a cupboard organizer, a few silverware trays, a Spicy Rack, and a few plastic baskets from Target, I was ready to tackle the chaos of my cupboards (and drawers).

I started by pulling out the items one by one and either recycling them, putting them in the garage sale pile, or setting them on the counter to be put back into the cupboard in a new place. So, my stovetop looked like this…

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I got rid of a LOT of stuff. I mean, WHO NEEDS THREE SETS OF PYREX BOWLS? Did I really register for all of that five years ago? A silver and crystal vegetable dish my mom didn’t want to toss out so I took? Garage sale. The ridiculous number of lidded Pyrex bowls I never use? Garage sale. The plastic cups from fairs and promotional bags of stuff at school from insurance companies? Donation box for Goodwill. Orphaned containers or lids? Recycling. The 2,532,678,534 martini and hurricane and daiquiri glasses I owned that took up an entire cabinet in themselves even though I rarely drink, and if I do, it’s wine? Garage sale. The ridiculously expensive and ornate Waterford Crystal chalices we received as a wedding present that we had never even removed from the box (because when do you use those things)? My glass display cabinet.

 

Cupboard by cupboard, I worked until I was done. It took three days, mainly because this was a naptime AND an after-the-toddler-was-in-bed kind of activity: time consuming, messy, and full of things he’d love to run off with. Finally, voila! Small lids are cozy in a little basket instead of all over the shelves. Mixing bowls are within reach, and my lower corner cabinet that was piled to the breaking point with junk is now easily navigated.

I used a small plastic basket from Target to contain the lids and one of the stackable shelves to provide more separated space for some of the containers we use daily to pack lunches.

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I relocated the kid’s sized items to a different cupboard and minimized the “stuff” in the corner cabinet. I made sure only food was on the bottom shelf for easy access, put the least used items up top (like serving dishes for special occasions or special cooking tools), and put baking tools I use most on the middle shelf. I also installed a tiered can shelf on the bottom shelf so it’s easy to see what I have in the cabinet.

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I was able to minimize the wine glasses to one top shelf and put all of my toddler’s cups, bowls, and plates in one cabinet for easy access.

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For “That Cabinet,” before I added the items back into the cabinet, I laid down some non-slip drawer liner so that it would be less likely to knock glass items over if bumped into when retrieving items from the cabinet.

 

I hung a 3M Command hook on the inside of the door to hang my cheese grater on and used one of the stackable shelves to provide more shelving inside the cabinet so that things weren’t stacked on top of one another.

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I installed the Spicy Rack in the cupboard within reach from the stove but not right over or next to my stove (spices stay fresh longer if not heated and reheated all the time).

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I used a cupboard organizer (also called a lid or pan organizer) to keep my cookie sheets, wire cooling racks, and cutting boards in order.

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I used the shelf organizer to keep my pot lids out of the way but still within reach and 3M hooks to do the same for my oven mitts.

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I found this basket for $3 at The Christmas Tree Shop (which sells everything but Christmas trees) to use on my counter top to contain snacks and keep them within view and reach.

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I used to have my spices in this drawer, but my collection grew so large that giving them their own cupboard became necessary. Now, it holds my favorite cook books and our take-out flyers.

I used silverware trays and two small trays to organize the remainder of my drawers, keeping all sharps in one of the upper drawers with a child-safe lock on it. And just so you don’t think I’m a total neat freak, here’s the bottom drawer…

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All the rarely used stuff that didn’t find a home anywhere else…yet!

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I also organized under my kitchen sink using some old magazine holders.

It’s been so nice the past few days knowing where everything is again and not having Tupperware trying to commit homicide each time I open a door. I’ve even added another small basket to contain the measuring spoons in the spice rack cabinet so they’re not just lying on the shelf.

I hope you found some ideas to help you get organized! Remember, you don’t have to go out and buy these organizational tools; you can often find them at garage sales, thrift shops, goodwill, and you can even create your own (which I’ll demonstrate in the next Organizing Chaos post) or use small baskets and things from around your house!

Keep the chaos organized, mommas!

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The items I’ve used to help me organized were bought by me, and the reviews of such are my own and not influenced by any person or company. I do not claim these organizational ideas as my own original thoughts but rather a compilation of implemented ideas from Pinterest, common sense, and my meticulously detail oriented father who is my cleaning and purging inspiration.

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