When it comes to an organization if you’re like me, you probably tell yourself over and over that you will get things together… on Monday. And then Monday comes and something happens and you decide to push it off and push it off and push it off until you’re like that lady in the Tupperware commercial with everything falling on her (that seriously happens to me once a week!
But have no fear! You CAN get the kitchen and pantry organized and in control, you just need a system that works for you!
So how do you start to conquer all the kitchen clutter without getting overwhelmed? Check out my top tips 3 tips to take action today!
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Tip #1 Small Chunks Each Day
So often we overwhelm ourselves by trying to jump in and conquer a big problem head-on instead of taking the time to figure out the small steps needed to get there. On our way to trying to do everything in a hurry, we also bite off WAY too much. And as nice as it sounds to say “this Saturday I am going to organize the kitchen”, we know in reality it’s not going to happen.
I suggest you start with 15 minutes a day. 15 minutes may not seem like a lot but 15 minutes spent every day for 30 days will have your kitchen organized in no time! It is so hard for us moms to find time to pee, let alone time to take everything out of our cabinets to organize it so don’t try to tackle this project in one day.
Schedule 15 minutes in your day (yes, I want you to put it in your planner) that you can consistently keep up with. Maybe it’s right after you do your evening routine and make all of the lunches for tomorrow, or maybe it’s the first thing you do after a nap. Whenever you decide to do it, schedule it in your planner and set a 15-minute timer to get going.
When the 15 minutes is up, it’s done. You can keep going or you can stop, it’s completely up to you. Make sure though, that you don’t decide to conquer 4 shelves in that 15 minutes. Pick a small section to work on each day. For example, day one could simply be your utensil drawer or all the Tupperware. Chunk out super small sections that you can do so that you can feel immediate success.
Head to that section, empty it completely, wipe it down and clean it out, and put everything back in. While you are putting back in, I want you to do an inventory of what you have (for the food sections) and throw out stuff that is broken, doesn’t belong there, or that you really will never use.
We wind up collecting so many kitchen utensils and appliances that you never wind up using that just take up space physically and mentally. Outer order leads to inner calm and the less physical stuff you have in your home and in your face, the less stress and anxiety you will have in your life. Trust me, I’m a wannabe minimalist who knows how good an empty counter feels!
Tip #2 Take Inventory
While you are cleaning any areas that have food, I want you to take inventory of what you have. This makes cooking SO much easier. I keep a pantry checklist in my cabinet and put it in a sheet protector. This way, whenever I run out of a spice, I can just cross it off the list. Every week when I go shopping, I check over recipes I am making and quickly scan my list to see if I need it. Before I started this system, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to run out to the store for a last-minute ingredient (I mean seriously… where the heck does all the cumin go???)
I keep a similar chart in the other food sections of my pantry for general canned or boxes items. We follow the Capsule Pantry system and I create a monthly dinner meal plan so we use a lot of the same ingredients over and over. I like to see how many cans of tomatoes or boxes of rice I have so that, when it’s time to make dinner I can just grab and go.
Doing a food inventory will also start to save you a ton of money. You’ll notice ingredients that you might not have even known were there, can use them to make some different meals, and not just grab another can of chicken broth ‘just because’ when you’re at the store.
While you’re cleaning and doing an inventory, make sure you toss out any expired spices or food items you have. If you have an item that has been there forever (but isn’t expired) and your family just doesn’t eat, put it in a bag and drop it at a local shelter or food drop off location.
Tip #3 Clear off the Counter
Like I said earlier, outer order leads to inner calm, and our countertops are the biggest place of clutter in the kitchen. For some reason, we stack everything on the counter and then get so frustrated because we don’t have space to cook or do any of our regular kitchen chores.
I highly recommend getting rid of as many appliances as you can or at least move them off your counter. Ask yourself when the last you used it and if you hadn’t in this past week, it should NOT be a counter appliance. Keep the stuff out that you actually use and store (in an easy to grab place) the rest of it.
Make your counter inviting and easy to access and you’ll find yourself cooking in it more and actually enjoying the kitchen.
Every night, as part of an evening routine, I recommend doing a clean up of your kitchen so that you wake up and don’t feel behind. Make sure the dishes are loaded and sink empty, take out any trash, and wipe down all the counters. And the less stuff you have out, the quicker and easier it’ll be to get it clean!
As you go through organizing your kitchen, make sure you celebrate all of the small wins you have! It won’t happen overnight but if you use your time wisely, within one month you can have transformed your entire kitchen into a place you love that doesn’t stress you out!
Want some help getting started? Download this 30-day calendar with 15 minute clean up areas that you can tackle each day!