Have you wasted hours trying to organize your kitchen only to find yourself quickly overwhelmed? But the mess of trying to find things, or finding counter space to make lunches in the morning has you overwhelmed as well?
Let's spend the weekend overhauling your kitchen and reorganizing the whole thing. Sound overwhelming? It sounds like a much bigger project than it is. You can do it. We are going to break it up into bite sized steps so you can easily work through your weekend and move on to your successful week ahead.
This system also works if you're just moving into a new kitchen. Take out the steps that don't make sense (like identifying your problem areas, you won't have those yet), but you can still group together similar items, and find their best home.
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Identify Your Problem Areas
Okay, so your problem areas might be everywhere. Maybe when you try to get something out of your cabinets, you have to duck because there is always an avalanche.
Mail might pile up on the kitchen table, and you keep procrastinating it all, so the pile keeps growing.
Or maybe when you want to cook, you have to move things out of the way so you can have a little counter space.
Whatever it is, write it all down.
As a military family, we put things where they fit when we first move in. This usually leads to things being in odd places, like oils being across the kitchen in the smallest lower cabinet.
We will talk more later about zones, but basically, we want to put dishes near the dishwasher, cleaning supplies under the sink, and cooking things near the oven. Perhaps after we live somewhere for awhile we find new places for things to go, as they find more convenient homes.
Where are Things Piling Up?
This is the best way to find your problem area. If you look around and see piles, that is your first problem area. Let's say you want to make cookies, can you find the flour that isn't expired? If not, this is a problem area, too.
Pull Everything Out and Purge
Everything. I mean it. Take everything out. I put a fold out table in the middle of my kitchen, and piled everything on there. If it all still doesn't fit, use the dining room table.
It's also okay to take things out in sections, but the ideal situation here is remove everything and start with a clean slate.
Seeing things outside of their home give them a new light.
Once you look at all these items in a new light you'll have an easier time deciphering what you need and what you don't. You'll now be able to easily see duplicates.
Another awesome benefit of taking everything out of drawers and cabinets?
You can very easily see what does not belong your kitchen.
Why are there pencils in your aluminum foil drawer? Now is a great time to get those out and into their right home, outside of your kitchen.
Rethink Positions of Items in Your Kitchen
Okay, now that we can look at all of your things better, do you need those pans on the other side of the kitchen? Why not switch them with the cleaning supplies you put next to the oven (why did I put them there?)
With everything out in the open you can group like items together and give them the best new home. This new home will make the most sense with how you use your kitchen.
My favorite way to find an items best home is to ask myself “if I am trying to find this item, where is the first place I would look?”
Which brings us to our next step:
Assign Everything a Place Where it Belongs
The best way to organize things is to give everything a home.
This means when you want to find something, you'll be able to quickly locate it. No more digging around in your cabinets, no more avalanches.
And no more tossing things in drawers because you don't know where to put it.
Define the Zones You'll Use
This goes hand in hand with rethinking the position you have everything in.
You will want to have your spices near the place where you cook, you'll want your plates, bowls, silverware and cups where you can easily reach them, close to the dishwasher if possible. You'll have all your extra food (or food you don't use often), gadgets or pans you don't usually use and your dry kitchen staples in the pantry.
This step is like a puzzle. Where is the best place for each group to fit. Here are my zones (disclaimer: I don't have a pantry):
|Zone:||What is Located Here:||Location:|
|1||Glassware, Bowls, Silverware, Plates||Above Dishwasher and |
Next Closest Cabinet
|2||Pots and Pans, Spatulas, Spices||Around Stove|
|3||Food Storage: Baggies, Glass Containers||Next to Fridge|
|4||Coffee needs. French Press, |
Coffee Beans, Etc.
|On Counter + Above|
|5||Lunch making Station: Breads, Spreads |
and lunchboxes below
|Above and Below Largest Counter|
|6||Pantry Things, Canned foods, Instant Pot||Remaining Cabinet|
|7||Extra Food That Won't Fit Anywhere||Garage|
Your kitchen will likely look different. I have put together a printable for you to work through this whole process in your kitchen, you can access it here:
Do a Deep Clean
Admittedly, we could have–and probably should have– cleaned out these cabinets earlier in this journey. But organization is my jam. I'd much rather plan out where everything needs to go first and THEN clean.
How to Deep Clean Your Kitchen Cabinets
I'll admit this isn't my favorite part. But the end result is SO satisfying, so it's worth it.
Most of us aren't cleaning our kitchen cabinets as much as we should. Sure, we mop and clean the counters regularly, but when is the last time you cleaned the faces of the cabinets? That was probably more recent than the last time you cleaned the insides. Right?
Here is a great step by step guide to cleaning out those cabinets:
What Kitchen Storage Do You Need?
This is my favorite part.
Now that you know what is going to go where, you can put together storage solutions that will work for you.
My favorite place to get things is the Dollar Tree. If you aren't sure they'll have what you need you can purchase and have them ship it free to the store, or pay a $4.95 flat rate to ship to your house. Woot!
Full disclosure here, in order to purchase from Dollar Tree online, you need to buy a whole box, which could be 24 pieces, or 48 pieces. Now, I love baskets, but that can be a little much for me too.
I have gone in with friends before to get colors I've wanted that I couldn't find in store.
Here is a link where you can find my favorite baskets. I have more than 20 around my house, so I suppose a box of 24 wouldn't be too much in my house. 🙂
Here are a few things I've picked up from Amazon for kitchen storage. Click each one to check the current price on Amazon.
Sort Through (and Organize) Drawers
Drawers are quick to get messy, because it's easy to throw things in and slam the door.
The best solution to tiny (or odd sized) drawers is creating your own organization cubbies. This YouTuber talks about how she found inexpensive wood and use it to create her own drawer organizers. What a great concept! I can't wait to try it in my house.
Position Most Used Items at Eye Level
Make sure you are putting those items you need most, and use most frequently at eye level whenever possible. This way you can put the items you don't use often up out of easier reach.
Another great tip is to put the heavy items down below your counters. This way you can put them away easier and get them out easier. You don't want a heavy bread maker above your head. Ever.
Get Creative With Your Kitchen Reorganization
This is where the fun happens. This goes hand in hand with kitchen organization. You want to see where you can add space in those cabinets, or on your pantry door, or next to the fridge.
Finishing Up Cabinet Organization
Now you know where everything goes, you've clean, dried, and came up with awesome storage solutions. Now, put things back in the counters. Make sure the bottoms of everything are clean so you aren't putting mess back, and put them away the way you'd like them to be organized.
One thing I like to do with my kitchen cabinets is put down shelf liners, or contact paper. Click here to see an option on Amazon. It helps protect the shelf, and looks so pretty. I gave you a link to a marble look, but mine are chevron, because it's been so long since I did mine they don't even sell it anymore.
Ready to get started? Get your guide here:
Now it's time for counter top organization.
The cabinets will make your life so much easier to find things, but the counters will help with your emotional well being. A cluttered space makes a cluttered brain, which is why this information is so important.
Set Up a Mail Counter
Mail tends to pile up in kitchens, I've noticed. Without a plan to face that mail, you'll have a hard time containing it, and it will quickly take over.
My plan is super easy. If I bring it in and it's not something we will use or need right now it immediately goes in the recycling. Nothing touches these counters unless we need it.
Magazines are a one in and one out deal. When I get a new “Rachel Ray” then last month's goes in the recycle bin.
I have a cute little set up for bills, it goes on the counter too.
Check out your counters.
What do you have on there that you don't need?
Recently I got rid of my dish strainer, and it's opened things right up. Instead I have two towels I leave on the counter and when things are dry I put them away, and have a whole extra counter I hadn't had before.
Organize and Declutter Kitchen Action Steps
First, I want you to download the guide I created to go along with this post. Print it off and get to work. This weekend will change your life!
Then create a plan to implement this into your lifestyle. How often will you declutter? I recommend polishing up those counters every week, and cleaning everything off again about once a month. Do-able? I think so!
Get your guide to start your weekend kitchen reorganization project, now!