I love it when something that hasn't even made it on to my to-do list gets completed. It's a rare occurrence, but it happened this weekend, thanks to some irresistible stoneware mugs from the Target Hearth & Hand range that I splurged on last week.
The backstory leading up to this slightly impulsive purchase was that our mug shelf was getting ridiculously cramped. Every time we unloaded the dishwasher we had to shuffle everything around until they could all fit, and it was visually unappealing as well as impractical. Most of these mugs were "sentimental" (meaning that someone else bought them for us) but not necessarily mugs that we would look forward to drinking out of. (I know that sounds weird, but having the perfect mug really is such a comfort of mine.)
So, when I saw the beautiful stoneware mugs at Target, I impulsively decided to buy six—two of each pattern. Back at home, we emptied the cabinet and decided to donate all of our mugs except our very favorite ones. Then we got really crazy and moved onto the glassware, and got rid of a bunch of glasses that we never. ever. use.
It took all of fifteen minutes, but that's how we spontaneously cleaned out and simplified an entire kitchen cabinet. This small victory got me thinking about how easy it can be to declutter the kitchen—for me, there seems to be less emotional attachment to kitchen items as they are more utilitarian, and so it's a great way to start and gain some momentum if you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed by clutter in your home.
So here are a few quick tips to get you started!
Note: I'm planning on reorganizing my pantry soon, so I'll deal with that side of kitchen organization in a future post.
STEP ONE: PURGE THOSE MUGS AND GLASSES
Empty your cabinet and get rid of anything that is chipped, not used, or any pieces you dislike. And if you want to, update them with a new set—this doesn't have to be expensive. Target and IKEA do some super affordable ranges that can easily be replaced if you have breakages.
You don't necessarily need everything to match (that isn't really my style), but purchasing products from the same range can help tie everything together. Also, it's worth considering how many mugs and glasses (or how few) you really need—we run our dishwasher almost every day and so we found that we could cut down quite a bit.
STEP TWO: QUIETEN THE COUNTERTOPS
Countertop clutter is SO easy to accumulate. But there are tricks to keep it to a minimum. The first thing to do is to remove anything that you don't use often, or that you don't find beautiful, and find a spot for it in your cabinets.
If you find that paper clutter is building up often, then you could keep a simple letter tray or basket on the counter to keep it neat and tidy. When it fills up, it's time to go through it and toss/recycle/file as required.
And another clean-counter-tip is to use a pretty sink caddy for your dish soap, cleaning spray and hand soap. You could keep it all under the sink if you want to eliminate the clutter altogether, but I find it more practical to have it out on the counter as it's something we are using many times in the day. Also, I buy the same brand of cleaning products so that they look as pretty as possible.
(And yeah—the fact that the hand soap is a different scent BUGS ME NO END. The grocery store was out of my usual.)
STEP THREE: CORRAL DRAWER CLUTTER
Drawer organizers are an easy way to add some order to an unruly drawer. I like the IKEA VARIERA series for its affordability and practicality. Empty and clean the drawer first, and replace items with the ones you use the most towards the front of the drawer.
STEP FOUR: STORE BAKEWARE VERTICALLY
You know that unique sound that only happens when someone is trying to extract a cookie sheet from under a huge pile of other bakeware? For some reason it really bothers me, so I invested in a vertical cabinet organizer. It's trivial, but eliminating that angry clatter from our kitchen is something that I'm definitely happy about.
STEP FIVE: CALM THAT TUPPERWARE CHAOS
When we moved from the UK to the USA, I took the opportunity to throw out all my mismatched food storage containers rather than bringing them over the pond with us. I purchased a new set of Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids and my cabinet has stayed neat ever since. They also stack on top of each other in the fridge which is super helpful in maximizing storage space.
And last but not least...when approaching any of these five steps, always think strategically.
My approach to organizing my kitchen is exactly the same as the method I used for organizing our outdoor storage room. The least used items go in the least accessible spots. Therefore it's worth taking a bit of time to think through how your family uses your kitchen, and that will guide you in how you arrange your cabinets. I cook a lot, so my cookware is in a prime spot. I'm a horrible baker, so all that stuff is tucked away in a high cabinet, and I pull it out for birthdays and rainy afternoons. Our glassware/dinnerware cabinet is the one nearest the dishwasher to make unloading it easier.
It's those little intentional decisions like that which allows our kitchen to run more smoothly and efficiently. And ultimately, that means less time doing chores, and more time to be present with our family and spending our time doing something we actually want to be doing.
I think that's always my goal with organizing, and that's why it's so important to me. If you are feeling stuck with any area of your kitchen, please do reach out and I would love to see if I can help!