containers! organization! spices! lids! sanity!

Once upon a time we bought a house and painted the kitchen cabinets TURQUOISE.
I have yet to regret that decision. 
Actually, it may be one decision I regret the least. 

However, inside of those beautiful turquoise cabinets was a mess. 

 As I accumulated bottles and cups and such for Blythe, I just sort of threw them in here. Yikes. So I started emptying everything.

It is at this point that it is easy to panic. Your countertops are full of things you haven't seen in ages, and it somehow cripples you with a fear that you will never know how to put things back or what things to throw away. Am I right?

But it is at this point you must press on.

I didn't have a budget for this organization day…meaning I scrounged around my house for any empty container I could find. I located a few baskets here and there and if I couldn't contain it it got pitched.

I have found that that is the key-- contain, contain, contain. It is so much easier to organize and STAY organized when you can easily grab a basket and get what you need, instead of standing on a chair and craning into the back recesses of a dark cabinet.

I put all my coffee goods in one basket, and other drink mixes and teas in another.

I got rid of old plastic cups we no longer needed, and found small baskets to keep lids to water jugs and thermoses handy.

 Granted, I have a lot of cabinet space in my kitchen, but once I was organized and purged I had an entire cabinet free! Woo hoo!

Then it was time to hit up my spice drawer and my cooking utensil drawer.

I didn't take a before picture of the utensil drawer for some reason, but just picture utter and complete chaos, the kind that requires you to hold your breath and stand on one leg just right in order to wiggle the drawer shut. [However, I will admit that I felt better when my friend, who is a nurse, told me she found a syringe in her kitchen drawer. Which begs the question: what is the weirdest thing you've found in one of your kitchen drawers? Not the junk drawer, but an actual kitchen drawer. I'll report the winner here later :)… the winner being the weirdest, obviously.]

I again rummaged through what I had and located several smaller baskets.  I tried to separate the utensils into groups that made sense to me.

Then I tackled that crazy spice drawer. Yikes. 
It was bad, you guys. 

The first thing I did was lay everything out on the counter. There were some spices I had three or four jars of, all at varying levels of used-up-ness. 

Then I threw out anything that I knew I had had since we were first married. Five years is probably a decent amount of time for the life of a spice [not to be confused with the spice of life…]. Then I combined half used jars of the same spice, kept a few reserves of the ones I use a lot, and then pedaled off the rest to other unsuspecting spice drawers in other homes. 

Then it was time to arrange. I had a few different containers I wanted to use, and arranged things according to size and frequent use. 
[By the way, I still have all the jars that were pre-labeled and given to me, filled with spices no less, from my Aunt Wanda as a wedding gift. It was an amazing gift, and as I organized this drawer…it kept on giving!] 

It's amazing what this drawer alone has done for my sanity. 
I'm over here throwing spices into dishes left and right now, just because they are easy to get to: "Cumin? Bring it on! Parsley? Why not? Garlic Salt? Of course!" 
[And now none of you want to sample any of my dishes :)] 

before and after.

I am happy to report that I actually did all of this back in June, and if I went and took a picture of each drawer and cabinet again, they look essentially identical to these pictures. It really is amazing what a little attention, some containers, and organization can do to your sanity and your space. 

Do you have any great "systems" that you use in your kitchen area? You should probably share with all of us. And if your answer is, "My cooking lady puts everything back neatly when she finishes up with the dishes," then we don't want to hear from you. :) 

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Hannah said...

oh, I love organizing! It makes my heart so happy. And also it helps me breathe and function so much better. I just had to go through our whole house and reorganize everything since we just moved. Once we got to our new house I had to find a new system for organizing, which included purchasing a new bin or two - we couldn't have done it without. Usually I'm looking around the house for other things I can use to help organize a space. But seriously, I love a well organized space. Maybe I'll share some pictures of my newly organized Tupperware cabinet :)

Pink Pamalamma said...

Oh I just LOVE your turquoise cabinets!!!

Ecoinstructor said...

I received a spice stack as a wedding present and I absolutely LOVE it! There are varying sizes and purposes and can be a bit pricey, but I would totally buy it if I hadn't received it as a present. Well worth it for organizational sanity.


*carrie* said...

I'm a bit confused about the spice gift you received from your aunt--pleas clarify as it sounds like a great wedding present idea!

Containing=the way to go! It's amazing how putting a bunch of items in a basket makes such a big difference! Isn't it amazing all the new kitchen stuff you accumulate with little people?! Our cabinets and drawers could probably--definitely--use some attention!

Nicole said...

I have the spicestack too and love it for organizing my spices. If you check out the link, you can see an image of it. The drawers pull out and "fall" downward so that you can see what spices are on that drawer. I like it because I have tall cabinets and can place it higher on the shelf while still being able to reach. It is a great addition to your kitchen if you would rather take cabinet space rather than drawer space for spices.

momiss said...

I have been needing to to this also. For 13 years. Want to come over? lol I will report back on whatever weirdness I find there if I ever get around to it.....there is really no telling at this point.