Spring Cleaning and Organizing: The Kitchen, Part 1

Ugh, the kitchen. It’s the gathering place of the home and the one room that we know ALL guests will spend time in at some point during their stay.  To keep procrastinating with “Spring Cleaning and Organizing” this area would just create more work in the long run. Not to mention, more anxiety.

 I was dreading it, but here we go…here is the “ORGANIZING” part!

So, the kitchen is one of those places that may be as overwhelming to think about for you as it was for me.  Therefore, we are going to break the kitchen up into a 5-day project.  It could all be completed in an afternoon, but I don’t have a full afternoon to spend on this. I want to be with my family. I want to share with you the easiest way I found to complete the task in order to ensure efficiency AND that it gets done, period! J

DAY 1 –  I think that it is important to first tackle the “every day” items we use in our kitchen on the first day.  These are items like plates, cups, utensils, etc. Also, the small appliances you may use.  Since we are always using them, the anxiety we get from the chaos of their state may be lessened by organizing them first.  These are the cupboards you want to tackle today.

1.    Empty all of these cupboards with these items onto one place. If you have a large counter or dining table you can use, great. That way you can see everything you have and all of the items that you need to group together.

2.   Wipe down the inside and outside of all of the cupboards you just emptied. Proceed to also clean any utensil organizers or dusty plate racks, etc.

3.   Remember in our post about Decluttering: The Basics, we mentioned keep toss or donate? Have at it! Now is the time to donate 35 mugs and keep 24, right? (We STILL have too many mugs! Aaahhh!) Get rid of those old plates that are chipped or the glasses that don’t match.  Remember, excess causes anxiety!  If you do have extra mugs, check out our post about Sharpie Mugs That Actually Work!  You can recycle your extra mugs into gifts!

4.   Now, decide which cupboards to return your “keep” items to. Make sure you put these particular items near the sink or dishwasher to make them easy for you to clean and return to their place.

Breathe. Sleep. Wake up to Day 2! J That wasn’t so bad, right?

DAY 2 –  Now that we have the items that we use all day long organized and looking pretty, now it is time to organize the pots, pans and bake ware.  We are also going to organize any storage containers and mixing/serving bowls you may have.  We use them pretty regularly too, so we need to focus here on the second day.

What a mess!!!

1.    Again, empty out the cupboards into one place. Now, wipe down the cupboards.

2.   Now, this is where you REALLY need to think about what you want to put back into the cupboards.  Did you pull out Valentine candy molds that you use once a year? This should be stored in holiday decorations.  Do you have a rusty old baking sheet that you refuse to use but just can’t part with? Cover it with fabric and create a magnetic board! Whatever you do, don’t keep items you don’t use. As a general rule, if you haven’t used it in 6 months, see ya! (Besides the holiday ones)

3.   Evaluate HOW MANY mixing bowls you need or how many “whatevers” you have. I don’t bake often, so 13 bowls was a little much! Remember, you will have to deal with whatever you put back into the cupboard, so make sure you use it!

4.   Match each storage container to their lid. If you don’t have a lid, then you don’t keep the container!

5.   Replace all of the items in “groups”. I use a magazine rack to organize the lids of the pots and pans, stack my pots, stack my pans, stack my mixing bowls…you get the picture. All “like” items need to be together.

What? Extra space! Yessssss!

DAY 3 Here is an “easier” day! Let’s tackle the small drawers you may have that house your measuring cups, pot holders, dish cloths, etc. We added bibs & pacifiers to the list, too.  Don’t forget your plastic wrap, foil, plastic bags & other stuff like that!



DAY 4 It’s time for food! Let’s tackle the pantry and the fridge! Now is the time to get rid of the half-empty box of rice that you can’t remember when you opened. Finally let go of the “greens” powder that you opened and used once before spitting it out. Yup, pitch it! Just follow the same routine we have been using to organize the other cupboards.  Here are some other tips to help you out!

1.    INVENTORY – If you read my TOP 10 TIPS TO SAVE MONEY ON FOOD, you will remember that we need to have an inventory of what we have and we can then make a list of what we need. Now is a GREAT time to do that!

2.   PLACEMATS – If you are constantly spilling food on your refrigerator shelves, try getting some plastic placemats, cutting them to fit, and then placing them on the shelves.  Then, you can just easily take out the mat, wipe it down and replace it!

3.   Don’t store your dairy items in the door of the fridge. It is not as cool there and your items may not hold the proper temperature to keep from going bad.

4.   If you have frost in the freezer, use a hair dryer to get rid of it. You can also boil a pot of water, put it in the freezer and boil another to replace it in a bit. Then, when the frost is off, spray some cooking spray on the top and sides. The ice will come right off next time!

DAY 5 OTHER:  Here is a category that can cover a lot of items we haven’t talked about. For us, it was vitamins (stored out of reach of small kiddos), junk drawers, kitchen cleaners, etc.  By now, you are a pro!  Make sure you get rid of everything that DOESN’T belong in the kitchen as well. You know, the stuff kids empty from their pockets after school, keys, sunglasses, mail. In other words, make the kitchen a kitchen.  If you have to store mail here, make sure it is confined to one drawer that is “out of the way” so the function of the kitchen is not compromised. 

Also, check out the DIY Message Center we made just around the corner from our kitchen! That may help, too! (I still LOVE it by the way!)

Aaahhh. Right? Let’s try that again, AAAAHHHHH! With a cherry on top.
Now, if only we could get to the “spring cleaning part” today. Nah, go take a nap and enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out our other spring cleaning posts!
Toys Made Easy!

                                       .....And much, much more!

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