Ok friends, it’s time to get wild and chat about… kitchen cabinet organization. I know, I know, I live a life of pure excitement, which is why I’m sharing this with y’all today.
When I’m feeling extra anxious, organizing calms me. Actually, I don’t know if that’s true, but it gives me something to really focus my energy on. I’ll call it a healthy distraction. I’m pretty notorious about going hard on a project, getting distracted by a new one, and never finishing said original project. But our kitchen cabinets are an exception. I started them and I finished them! My sweet babysitter helped me, so I can’t take all of the credit. Trust me, when it comes to large scale organizing projects, enlist help! Otherwise, you will take on too much and potentially burn out without a complete project. Plus, it goes faster, is more fun with someone to chat with, and can lead to some great brainstorming.
I put off starting this project for months. It was too daunting to tackle and I really had to be in the right mindset for it to happen. We finished a mini kitchen makeover last Fall and I wasn’t ready to start this until Spring. And I’m really glad that I waited. I was able to really focus on what was and wasn’t working for us and what our overall needs as a family were. We could live with the new layout and space in our kitchen. This in turn helped determine what needed to go where, as well as what space got cluttered, which places were difficult to get to, etc.
Okay, that’s a lot of background information for a cabinet organization project. I’m sharing what worked for me and my family when it comes to organizing kitchen cabinets below. I formatted it in a step by step list. This is the list I try to use for any organizational project really, but I detailed it specifically for kitchen cabinets.
Empty everything. I’m talking EVERYTHING. Every single cabinet needs to be fully and totally emptied. I piled things on our counters, tables and on the floor. It was a mess, but it made things so much easier. You’ll be so surprised at how much you have – and exactly what you have. Be prepared, this is the hardest part of the entire process. But it is so worth it! It’s been such an eye opener to see how many items we had in our cabinets that went unused or we were just truly unnecessary. Just because something is on sale does not mean we need to buy! Or at least that it was I have to remind frequently myself.
Purge! Go through everything with a fine tooth comb. Toss anything expired (try to recycle as much as possible!) Make a donation box of nonperishable items that you no longer want. Local food banks or homeless shelters will usually take these off of your hands, and gratefully. If you have foods that you won’t eat but have a friend that will, share them. I was able to give unused baby food to a friend and some other things that we didn’t really eat, but didn’t want to waste. Same goes for tools and utensils. You don’t need more than twelve place settings or flat ware sets at a time. Be conscious of how many gadgets you have – and how many actually perform the same tasks.
Sort, sort, sort. In the most basic of terms, group like items together, then like items together within those groups and so on. I like to start by large groupings into categories: drinks, canned foods, snacks, etc. After that I break them down into sub categories that I can store them in. The best way to do this, that I have found, is to divide things by how you use them, and how much you have on hand of certain things.
Also try to plan for items that you know you will consistently have a lot of at one time going forward. Here is an example: there was a deal at Costco on teas so you currently have 200 tea bags. However, you rarely drink tea and will never buy it again in a quantity larger than 25. Don’t waste your large bins on this! I decant products into smaller containers and keep extra large storage of bulk items on a shelf in our garage. This is particularly true with paper products! My current categories include protein and powdered drinks, noodles, snacks, individual snacks (serving size), and bars among other things. This is just what works for our family. We all eat a lot of granola bars, and consistently use protein and other powdered drink items. Do what makes the most sense for you!
The last, and maybe easiest step – store and label! Target and The Container Store should have everything you need. Depending on the day, the Dollar Store can too! I like to stick with all white bins and clear drawers. The white just seems so fresh and clean looking, plus uniformity is visually pleasing when you open the cabinet doors. Stick with plastic as they are easier to clean and label. I prefer to use a dry erase marker and label directly on the bins. If it is a thin plastic, like these bins, it will not wipe off. It does come off when I spray it with my Thieves cleaner and use a sponge though. I’ve used stick on chalk labels and clip on markers in the past, but this just seems to work the best. Always make sure your labels face front and you can easily determine what is wear. I know for us, if we can see it, we don’t use it. Place all sauces and condiments on a lazy Susan for easy access, use clear stacking drawers for dry packets and make sure to only use containers with handles or easy grip sides to prevent spills!
I know that this is nothing ground breaking by any means. But it’s a system that seems to work really well for us and I hope can for you, too! I’m truly so proud to say that these cabinets have stayed organized (it’s no small feat in this house!) Let me know if you have any tips and tricks, I would truly love to read them!