You all remember part 1...need I recap on the mess?
Why these posts on my kitchen?
My sister, Carolyn, called and asked me one day, "What do you do with all the little baggies that you get from the bulk section of the health food store?"
I had nothing helpful to say.
My response should have been something like this, "Well, I just have a million little flimsy baggies all over my kitchen and randomly placed in my deep freezer. They all tear and make messes and I have no idea how much of each item I have or which foods I need to buy more of."
"Searching for, and then opening and closing a million little flimsy baggies with the twisty ties doubles the time that it takes for me to make a simple meal. Not being able to take inventory of my dry goods messes up my grocery lists and makes it harder to meal plan."
I am not the only one with dysfunctional spaces in my kitchen. Frustrating as it is, sometimes we simply don't know how to make the mess go away.
I would like to show you the process that I went through and hopefully it will spur on some creativity in your life.
1.) DETERMINE YOUR CONTAINERS
Shop around. I looked at Costco, Target, Amazon.com, at www.thecontainerstore.com.
I finally decided on OXO Pop air tight containers. I knew they were what I wanted. I was having a hard time swallowing the price! So I kept delaying and shopping out the price, which of course delayed my kitchen makeover. But it ended up paying off! Check these out!
$30 a box!!! I was just meandering around Costco, and in the kitchen/housewares section their was my magical box of OXO Pops!
At Target and on Amazon.com a box like this costs $50.
Overall, purchasing these on sale at Costco saved me $120 (I bought 6 total). So, moral of the story is, find what you want. Don't just buy something that is cheap, buy something that you will actually use. Search out the price, try to buy it on sale.
Things to consider on your containers:
* Do they maximize the space you have? Top to bottom, side-to-side?
* Are they user-friendly? Easy open lids (not too easy if you have kids!) and accessible?
* Can you easily determine the contents without having to open the lid (clear, see through?)
* Do you want glass, or plastic? (Glass is breakable....not kid friendly, accident friendly)
* Do your containers help you be excited about working in your kitchen? Or when you look at them does it
fill you with anxiety or frustration?
*Are they air tight? Will they safely preserve the quality and nutrition or moisture of its ingredients?
*Are they heavy or light? Lighter containers are easier to work with/pick up/put away, etc.
Keep in mind that these containers will be/could be in your kitchen cupboards for the next 20 years. Especially if you buy quality, which is what I wanted.
I was unsure if these containers would work right, so I only bought two boxes to start out with. I tried them out, see if they fit the spaces I had, and tested them to see if they increased the functionality of my kitchen. Once I knew they worked for me, I went back and bought more.
2.) CREATE CENTERS
This concept has been a game changer for me.
I never knew how to go about reorganizing a kitchen, until I saw that you could create centers.
The idea is that you maximize space by having everything you need for specific tasks all in one place. I will give you a sneak preview to demonstrate this idea.
This is a part of my baking center.
I used to walk back and forth to get salt, sugar, flour, oil, etc. Now I have it all in one place. The speed at which I collect the ingredients for my recipes has doubled. The ease of finding the ingredients has been major.
So, decide which sections of the kitchen you do the most work in. What do you do there? Bake? Cut? Chop? Blend? Pressure cook? Reorganize that spot so that everything you need is on hand.
In the "after" pictures you will be able to see this concept more in-depth.
3.) CLEAN OUT THE JUNK
Pick the cupboards that bug you the most. They are probably the ones you use the most.
Take everything out of it (you may have to do 3-4 cupboards at a time so you can rearrange) and wipe down the space. You want it super-clean so you can feel good about your new kitchen!
Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better. Just don't leave it like this. Give yourself the time to finish the job, or you'll regret ever even starting.
I was surprised at how many non whole-food items I still had in my pantries after 9 months of eating this way. When I cleaned it out and gave it away, I was also amazed at the space that opened up.
What junk are you holding on to that is taking up space?
4.) HAVE A SECOND AREA FOR BULK FOODS
This is my food storage downstairs, apart from my kitchen.
This just opens up more space in your kitchen. Which really should be a place of basics, and not a storage unit for all of the many wonderful plant based foods that exist. I can take the containers from upstairs and refill them from the bulk containers downstairs. There is not enough room in my kitchen for all of the huge bulk containers, bulk bags, cans, and other foods I need for meal prep. And I am a classic food hoarder so I like to have storage. It brings me extra security, and I like to have everything I need on hand so I can make WHATEVER I WANT!!
I also have a deep freezer, where I store many of my dry goods, grains, nuts, seeds, and extra meals that I have frozen. Having a deep freezer/fridge and extra storage space in a second location can really open up your kitchen. I have decided that, mentally, I am not going to fear going up and down the stairs to get a few extra things I need every once in a while. Hey, it may even be good for me.
Part 3, the final stage, coming soon. I am actually still tying up some loose ends on finalizing the re-do! Sometimes this kitchen clean out business is a lot of work, but I figure if I know where things are, and I have time-saving centers, and my containers/organizing materials create order, my work in the kitchen will be so much easier and enjoyable!
Do you have sore spots in your kitchen that drive you crazy? What are some of the organizing tips that you have discovered over the years, that help keep your kitchen nice?