Kitchen Organizing Tips: Tying it all Together! | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Kitchen Organizing Tips: Tying it all Together!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kitchen Organizing Tips: Tying it all Together!

This is the final post in the kitchen organizing tips series!  For those of you who follow my blog regularly, it probably felt like this series would never end.  I started it back in November... put it on hold... twice... and here I am nearly 6 months later... finally wrapping it up.  Thank you so much for hanging in there with me!

I have one final tip for you today and I'll show the whole kitchen and how it fits together (since most of the posts just showed small areas). 

Kitchen Organizing Tips

Here's a list of all the tips I've shared in this series.  If you missed any of them or want to refresh your memory you can follow these links for more details on each one. 
  1. Use drawer dividers
  2. Measure before you buy
  3. Determine the purpose of each drawer
  4. Purge before organizing
  5. Store like with like
  6. Keep items where you use them
  7. Store items you don't regularly use in "out-of-the-way" spots
  8. Maximize the vertical space in deep drawers
  9. Create zones in your kitchen
  10. Use boxes and baskets to contain like items
  11. Use clear containers for baking ingredients
  12. Label your containers
  13. Done is better than perfect
  14. Store dishes in a cupboard you can easily reach when you empty the dishwasher
  15. Maximize the vertical space in cabinets using wire shelves 
  16. Store all your hot beverage supplies together
  17. Use under-the-shelf baskets to maximize vertical space in cabinets 
  18. Store all your breakfast supplies together
  19. Use the top shelf of a food cabinet to store extra foods
  20. Hang paper towels on the back of a cabinet door to keep them off your counters
  21. Keep as many items in drawers or cabinets as possible, instead of on counters
  22. Rearrange or relocate items on counters for a less cluttered look
  23. Wash dishes frequently and put them away quickly  
  24. Relocate items that you rarely use so they don't clutter your kitchen
  25. Use narrow spaces under the sink for tall, narrow items
  26. Use plastic bins to contain cleaning supplies under the sink 
  27. Use short stacks as much as possible so you don't have to move items to access others
  28. Only store shallow pans in a shallow drawer
  29. Only keep as many food storage containers as you actually need and use regularly 
  30. Only use matching food storage containers
  31. Remove frozen foods from boxes to conserve space in the freezer
  32. Use a small container in the freezer door to hold small items
  33. Use tall bins in the fridge to maximize vertical space when grouping like items
  34. Store raw meat in a plastic container or at the bottom of your fridge
  35. For a less cluttered kitchen, reduce or eliminate items on the front or sides of your fridge  
  36. Use a tall and thin shelf unit to maximize vertical space in your kitchen and keep clutter off flat surfaces
  37. Think outside the box to find furniture you can use for extra storage
  38. Use small mason jars to contain small, like items
  39. Use stacking bins to maximize vertical space

What a list!  Many of these tips were used repeatedly throughout the series because they apply in so many different contexts.  You can use them in other areas of your home when you're decluttering and organizing there too.

I'm going to round out this series with one last tip to make it an even 40 tips!

Kitchen Organizing Tip #40:  Be flexible and take your time

OK, that's kind of 2 tips rolled into one :)  But it's what I've done throughout this whole process.  Don't be afraid to organize a whole room like a kitchen because it's so big and you don't know where to start!  Just start somewhere and then keep going.  It doesn't really matter how long it takes.  And along the way, if something's not working, or you find a better system, then change it up.  I've done that several times.

For example, I showed you pictures of how I organized my deep drawers, early in this process.  Remember these pictures?

As I focused more on decluttering my counters, I rearranged my deep drawers a bit, to make room for my kids' lunch containers.   Here's what they look like now.

I moved the dish towels and dish rags from the middle drawer to the bottom drawer (there was plenty of extra space in there anyway).  And I moved a couple less-frequently-used items from the middle drawer into my over-the-stove cabinet.  These two shifts made room to add a couple of plastic shoeboxes with the lunch containers.  I love having them off the counters now!!

You may also notice the addition of some pan protectors between my frying pans.  My mom bought these for me and I LOVE them!  You can find similar ones here.  

One of my favourite changes to the kitchen since I started this series has been this...

I know it has nothing to do with organizing... but I LOVE this new mug.  It makes me smile every morning when I have my cup of tea in it.  And that actually does have to do with organizing... because I can organize better when I have my caffeine... and when I'm smiling :)

OK, moving on!  Another change to my kitchen since I started was in my dishes and glasses cabinet.  I had decluttered a lot in this cabinet at the time I originally organized it which left me with some empty space that I said I'd use later.

I didn't share this picture at that time, but here's what I purged.

And all that decluttering left me with this empty shelf at the top...

Well when I cleared off the top of my fridge, I added a basket of tools to that space.

These are the tools we use most often (a multi-head screwdriver, grips, a hammer, and good-ole duct tape).  We have a toolbox in the basement, but we use these so often for little jobs around the house that they ended up being left on top of the fridge most of the time.  Not cool.  I figured it was pointless to keep thinking we'd put them back in the basement when we were done with them (plus it's nice just having these few handy).  So I gave them a home.  Yay!  No more top-of-the-fridge visual clutter, but we still have them nearby when we need them.  Win-win.

Here it is in my dishes and glasses cabinet now.

It's been working so well having just the dishes and glasses we use all the time so easily accessible.  And I am loving that wire shelf!!

I still have more room on this top shelf, but I now that I've finished organizing my kitchen, I've started planning another organizing project, and I intend to use this shelf space to help make that project work.  What am I talking about?  Well, I need to make more room in our hall closet for my hubby's work bags/gear and my work bag and the organizing supplies I use with clients.  So I'm going to move things like batteries, light bulbs, extension cords, hooks/fasteners, etc. from our hall closet to this top shelf in the kitchen to free up some space in the closet for items that need to be kept closer to the front entry.  I'm picturing something like this...

Those other 3 baskets are empty right now, but they'll be perfect for the household goods I need to store here.  Stay tuned for that project :)

That's the wonderful thing about organizing... it's never really finished!  As our needs change, our organizing systems get to change too.  Back when I organized our hall closet 2 years ago, I wasn't a professional organizer, and my hubby had just started working as a letter carrier.  We didn't need space in the closet for the gear we use now. 

I'm really happy I was able to free up space in our kitchen to shift things around from the hall closet.  It will make that project a lot easier.

Tying the whole kitchen together

OK, you've seen all the parts of my kitchen.  Now here's a look at the whole thing!  This is the sink side.

Everything flows together now.  You can stand in front of the sink to empty the dishwasher and just reach up and put away the dishes and glasses (rather than having to reach above the dishwasher to the other cabinet).  I can grab a mug and tea bag while I'm boiling water for my tea and not have to move anywhere.  I can toast bread and then add peanut butter and honey to it on the counter right beside it.  No more spinning around all over the kitchen!

Here's the other side. 

On this side everything flows better too!  A lot of our lunch and dinner prep happens on this counter and everything we need is right here.

I love how much less cluttered the counters are and how much bigger it feels to have nothing on the top of the fridge and only a few magnets and pictures on the front of the fridge.  And it's so easy to find everything because the drawers and cabinets are not jam packed any more and items are grouped by category.

It has been so much easier to clean and maintain my kitchen than it was before.  My kids and hubby know where things are (or they're learning... now that I've stopped moving things on them every week!).  So they can find things and return things where they belong.

Here are some pictures showing how the kitchen flows into the breakfast nook. {I'm standing in the doorway of the dining room.}

You can see the breakfast nook on the far side of the kitchen (for more pictures of the breakfast nook check out last week's post).

And here are a few pictures taken from the breakfast nook looking into the kitchen.  You can see the dining room on far side.

I've mentioned before that we don't use our dining room as a dining room.  We have a buffet/hutch for our fancy dishes, a piano, an office desk, and some activity drawers.  It works for us :)

And that's my kitchen!  It's small, but now that it's decluttered and organized, it feel so much bigger :)

I hope you've found some of these tips helpful and that you've been able to organize your kitchen too!  I'd love to hear which tips you used, as well as any other kitchen organizing tips you'd like to share with us. 

If you'd like more kitchen organizing ideas, check out my Kitchen Organizing board on Pinterest. 


How do you organize your kitchen?  What's your favourite kitchen organizing tip? 

Happy organizing!

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Here are all the posts from the kitchen organizing tips series: