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Friday, July 3, 2009

Kitchen Organization tips

I am definitely a clutter bug. I know the simplest way to keep my house free of clutter is to have a place for everything and everything in its place, but I simply get lazy when I get the mail or go to the library, and end up stacking everything in one place. Then, within a week or two, I get so sick of the clutter that I spend 30 minutes or more de-cluttering. So the first step in de-cluttering my kitchen is to find a place for everything. Here are some tips that help me:

1. Plastic grocery bags: use an old tissue box to store these in and recycle when the box is full! There are many different ways you can find to store plastic grocery bags. It would even be ideal to buy 1 cloth bag every time you go shopping, and gradually you will have no bags left. We also use the grocery bags for liners for the bathroom garbage can.

2. Re-arrange cabinets. The items you use most frequently should be on the bottom shelves with easy access. We have extremely limited cabinet space in our kitchen, so stacking is a big deal. Find creative ways to stack dishes to maximize space. With food, if a box is almost empty, take out the remaining food and recycle the box to make more space.

3. Use plastic containers that nest and stack easily. Don't spend tons of money on fancy plastic containers: old cottage cheese, yogurt, and sour cream tubs are perfect for leftovers!

4. Set a day every month to clean out your fridge! Say, the first Saturday of every month! If you do monthly shopping, it's great to have a clean fridge to come home to! (and it helps your home smell better also!

5. Organize recipes. I have lots of random papers all over my kitchen with recipes I printed and used. Get a three-ring binder, or transfer the recipes to index cards and file. If you use a binder, tape any cards you do have to a sheet of paper. Use dividers to organize your recipes.

6. Get rid of things you don't need. Go through your utensil drawer. Do you have 5 spatulas? Get ride of 3 of them. Do you have strange doo-hickies that you have never used? Thrown them out! I finally got rid of some shallow ceramic bowls that matched my plates because I NEVER used them! SIMPLIFY!! Ask yourself:
Is this easy to use?
Do I frequently use it?
Is it enjoyable to use - e.g., It feels good in my hand.
Is it easy to clean?
Is it easy to store and does it earns its keep in storage space?
Do I have too many of these?
Can I do this task just as easily by hand (without the messy cleanup of a machine?)
Does this tool really make the task easier and quicker, or is it just a cool gadget?
Is it uncomplicated to use, clean and care for?
Is it clean, in good shape, and ready for action?

Do you have more tips? Please leave a comment!!

I think the key is twofold: 1. Organize! 2. Keep it organized. That means every time you go in your kitchen, do a visual sweep. Is anything out of place? Are there things on the table that shouldn't be there? What can you quickly put away? It's also important to put things away right after you use them!


Lisa Marie said... is awesome for this kind of stuff. She saved my sanity when we moved into my parent's house and I thought the place was too big for me to keep clean. With her tips I've realized I can keep the place clean! No job is too big if you do a little bit every day.

Jenny said...

Great ideas. We are down to almost no plastic grocery bags because we've gotten 4 reusable, which is about perfect for a big shopping trip, other times we usually just use 1-2. They hold a ton, it is so much easier to get the groceries into the house in fewer trips and then I don't have to cart around bags I'm waiting to remember to recycle!!

I've found that cutting the top off of a 2 liter pop bottle works well to store plastic bags in. They condense well in there. We don't buy soda often but when one is laying around, it's a small item to keep under your kitchen sink. But now I hardly ever have bags around, which I love!!

As far as mail, I find that if I can go through and sort the mail right when I bring it in, that helps. At least to put bills by my computer, ads I don't need in the trash, then I use my file folders on my desk to put coupons and shopping ads I do want to look at later, that way things are at least in a place I can get to them but aren't stacking up too much (that being said I have piles all over my desk right now! good it's Monday tomorrow and I can do what I didn't due on Saturday 'cause it was the 4th of July!!) :)

I have a hard time doing a little each day, I usually end up letting things go until it's a disaster, it seems! I started the flylady books but just couldn't get into it, I probably need to try to motivate and dedicate myself to creating a better system with keeping up on my house since it tends to overwhelm me most of the time!