It is TIME!
Time to start getting ourselves together and getting our houses together, so today starts the first week of The Cluttered House’s month-long organization project: Organize-a-palooza! (As is the hallmark of an individual who came of age in the 90s, I believe calling anything a “palooza” makes it inherently better). In the next four weeks, we will tackle four areas of the house that are common sources of organizational frustration (and by common, I mean they are bugging me, so they MUST be bugging you. Right? Riiiight).
If your home is anything like mine, the kitchen is the hub of all activity.
As nice as that can be, it also means that the kitchen often becomes a dumping
ground for a lot of other “stuff.” As I write this, I can see at least a dozen items that do not belong
in my kitchen.
Week 1: The Kitchen
Another issue that plagues many kitchens (mine included) is that all too often, we are in a rush when we are in them; making breakfast and hustling out the door to work, or throwing together a quick dinner before heading out to gymnastics, meetings, etc. As a result, many kitchen items are hastily shoved into cupboards, or dishes pile up in the sink because the dishwasher didn’t get unloaded (assuming you have a dishwasher… otherwise the dishes are piling up because you haven’t had time to stop and wash them!). We always mean to get to the dishes, or to rearrange the pantry, or sort through those infernal mismatched Tupperware lids, but life gets busy and we don’t make the time to take care of these things.
Well, the buck stops here! After this week we will all have neat and organized kitchens that STAY that way.
Now, I’m not going to tell you how or where you should start, but I am going to give you some suggestions to help you get going. I’ll be here to support you through all this, and when we are all said and done, on Sunday, we’ll have a nice before & after linky party (for those of you who have blogs) and for those of you without blogs, I’m working on a way for you to be able to share your before and after pictures too.
Let’s get started, shall we?
What you will need:
- 2-3 boxes: Label one “Relocate,” as this will be where you put items that do not belong in the room on which you are working. Label another “Donate,” for items that you plan to donate or give away. If you plan on selling items, label the third box/bin as “Sell.”
- Trash bags: For items that have expired or are too old, dirty, or damaged to donate or sell.
- Paper and pen/pencil: for taking inventory, writing notes, keeping track of items you need to purchase, etc.
- Towels, rags, cleanser: for cleaning the shelves, cabinets and appliances of your kitchen
As you plan, think about how you use your kitchen. Is everything where it should be? If you use olive oil in almost everything you cook, it should be next to the stove, not by the sink (True story, I love my olive oil, but for some reason I have it hanging in a basket over the sink. THAT is going to change). Also, what are some on-going organizational issues about which you need to talk to the members of your household and/or come up with a solution to? In my house, I have started labeling all my shelves and cupboards. Yes, it makes my kitchen look a bit like an OCD preschool teacher lives there, but it saves on frustration with Diesel when he puts items where, to ME, they clearly do not belong. Now, he can clearly identify where the glass pitcher goes, and I can be righteously indignant when it isn’t put there.
Ideally, you will also want to try to reorganize your kitchen with minimal expense, so try to use what you have. I would love NOTHING more than to go to the Container Store and blow a few grand on lots of cool storage stuff, but… that so isn’t in the budget! (Have I ever mentioned that there is a part of me that truly, deeply, wholeheartedly, believes that if I just buy enough storage bins, my life will suddenly become organized. But, all this seems to do is add a bunch of unused bins to the clutter of The Cluttered House). Try to be creative in how you repurpose items—on Thursday I am going to tackle a Pinterest inspired project where I make a drawer organizer out of food boxes, so the sky is the limit in how you figure out your storage needs! You don’t have to spend a lot to get organized!
Speaking of Pinterest, you can get some ideas from my Organizing: Kitchen & Pantry board, as well as from my Organizing: General Information/Books/Help board. For a great checklist to help guide your organizing, head over to this one on Real Simple's website. I had initially planned to make a list of my own, but found this and couldn’t seem to create one that wasn’t darn near plagiarizing Real Simple's list—and anyone who knows me or has ever had me as an English instructor knows how I feel about plagiarism! (If you know me only through this blog, just FYI, plagiarism sets off a fiery rage within my soul).
Last, but not least, have fun and good luck! I’m off to tackle the madness that is the top of my refrigerator!