10 Handy Tips & Tricks for Organizing Your Kitchen

201303_kitchen_headerThe epicenter of most family homes is the kitchen.  With 3 small kids, my epicenter usually looks like an exploded disaster – homework papers strewn about, fridge overrun with layers of posted art projects, countertops decorated with the “after” of an ambitious 3-year-old’s attempt to prepare her own chocolate milk.

While the quest for an immaculate, organized kitchen may never be achieved in my house, I am still just delusional enough to continue searching for ways to try to get there.  I’m guessing I’m not the only one.  And so, I hereby offer to you some relatively simple, small steps that I’ve gathered up to start a journey toward Kitchen Utopia.  (You can also see and easily repin all of these by hopping over to this board on Pinterest: Handy Kitchen Tips & Tricks.  Or just click on each image to be taken directly to that pin.)

1.  Tension rod under the sink = easy place to hook all those spray bottles and free up the bottom of the cabinet.  (Original Source: http://www.littlebitfunky.com/2012/07/feeling-smart.html)

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2.  Control your spices by putting them in magnetic tins and using the inside of a cabinet door.  (Original source: http://practicallyfunctional.net/2012/08/organize-your-spices-with-a-magnetic-spice-rack/)

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3.  Or, if you want to avoid the hassle of transferring into the tins, just buy a few broom racks and you can still save space while keeping the spices in their original containers.  (Original source: http://organizeyourstuffnow.com/wordpress/everyday-items-everyday-organizing)

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4.  Chances are you’ve dedicated an entire drawer to plastic wrap, tin foil, zipper bags and the like.  By adding this clever underhanging shelf to an upper cabinet, you can free that drawer up… (Original source: http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B000KKMNGY/?index=1&ie=UTF8&ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_1)

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5.  … and perhaps use it to better organize your awkwardly large kitchen utensils, diagonal-style.  This is a custom drawer insert shown here, but you could do it yourself with some cardboard, tape, and a few minutes of your time.  (Original source: http://www.thekitchn.com/make-the-most-of-your-drawers-by-organizing-diagonally-165563)

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6.  Another way to deal with wooden spoons and spatulas is to keep them out and visible – we’ve all seen the good old “pitcher on counter” approach to this.  Take it a step further and hang a mason jar on the wall, and you can not only have your wooden spoons easily available, but also keep the countertop clear.  (Make sure you hit a stud when you attach the bracket.)  You could also skip the spoons and put fresh flowers in this to brighten up your kitchen.  (Original source: http://thecreatedhome.blogspot.com/2011/08/homeschool-classroom-makeover.html)

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7.  Moving on to the fridge… it’s amazing how quickly things like yogurts, string cheese, and other grab-and-go snacks can manage to separate themselves from their original packaging and take up camp at the very back of the shelf, cleverly hiding until they are discovered later, weeks after their expiration.  Fridge bins help keep like things together, easy to see, and easy to grab.  (Original source: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/fridge-bins-and-organizer-and-tray/f44087)

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8.  And while we’re in the fridge, let’s talk condiments.  Inside-the-fridge-door storage never seems to be enough.  Corral the overflow jars with a snazzy lazy susan, so you can always find the sauce you’re looking for. (Original source: http://fridgebutler.com/)

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9.  Who doesn’t love chalkboard paint?  I bet your dry goods would appreciate a little chalkboard paint love.  After you wall-mount your mason jar spoon holder, take a few more jars and paint their lids with chalkboard paint, and use a deep drawer to organize your sugar, oatmeal, chocolate chips, and other baking stuff.  The sealed jars with keep everything fresh, and the clear containers mean you can see exactly how much is left. (Original source: http://indulgy.com/post/2WuHgSfxG1/take-a-mason-jar-and-spray-the-lid-wit)

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10.  And finally, if you are lucky enough to have a pantry with a full-size door, you can use an inexpensive plastic shoe rack (hooray, dollar store) to reign in all those small, annoying things that are hard to keep on shelves.  Clear pockets make everything easy to see.  (Original source: http://www.moneysavingqueen.com/January-2011/Couponing-101-Quick-Tip-for-Pantry-Organization/)

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These little tricks may not turn your kitchen into June Cleaver’s, but maybe next time you find yourself stepping over one child coloring on the floor to put away the box of cereal that another child left on the counter, while responding to repeated how-do-you-spell-X? requests as Justin Bieber plays in the background, you can open the cabinet door and say to yourself, “Damn, my spices look good.”

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