Saturday, February 1, 2014

She Eats: Kitchen Organization

The kitchen has never been my favorite place (except for snacking late at night)...but I'm trying to change that. It's not that I don't like cooking or caring for my family, it's just that I don't have a lot of time to spend on making gourmet meals or cleaning up after them!

Over the years, I have tried to come up with a system that works, and to be honest, I'm still working on it. The point of this entire blog is not to show you how I have finally discovered how to keep it all together, do all and be all...nope! It's to share with you my honest struggles and my hope that some of the things I've learned can help you out, too. I have some talents and gifts, but I'll be the first to tell you that they do not include kitchen stuff (or music...)! But I wanted to share a few things that I've done that have helped me out tremendously.

First of all, we don't have a dishwasher. Although, I can't blame my issues on that alone, because even when we had one, I wasn't that great in the kitchen...the key is you have to actually use it for it to work...imagine that! LOL But anyway, one thing we are blessed with is a lot of counter space. So, since I have an abundance, I can afford to assign one nook to be my dish drying area.
I am notorious for procrastinating, so I often don't dry and put away my dishes immediately. Since I have this nook (it's hidden in the back corner by the fridge), it's not immediately visible if I have company or anything. And on the other side of the sink I have plenty of room for all the dirty dishes, which *is* immediately visible so I am more motivated to keep my dishes clean! LOL

Since I don't have a dishwasher, that means I need ready-to-grab tools to clean my dishes. Anything that will give me an excuse to put it off will be a problem, so I keep my stuff right in the sink. I don't want to clutter my counter, so I use one of these mini dish drainers I picked up from Target for only $8.

It's attached to the side of the sink with suction cups. In it, I keep my soap, scrubber, gloves (my kids use them), and in the little cubbie that's meant to hold silverware, I keep my Pampered Chef pan scrapers. No more excuses! And since I have a traditional double sink, I have a whole second side (with the disposal) for washing & rinsing so this isn't in the way.

This next tip may seem ridiculous, but it has helped my family out and kept my sanity in tact so you may want to give it a try! I labeled all my cabinets. Yes, yes, I know...but trust me! I made cute labels explaining what is on each shelf so that a) when my kids are putting away dishes, they know where they go and I'll know I can find them when I need them and b) when I have company over, there is no question where they can find something.

Each line represents a shelf in that cabinet. Because I have white cabinets, this has worked well for me. I'm not sure if I'd do this if my cabinets were not white, so use your own best judgement. Also, I'll admit I didn't think it all the way through--I used 2 x 4 mailing labels but they wouldn't stick to the paint so I used packing tape to secure them. The problem? If I ever change them, the paint will come off with them...oooooops! (Hey I'll be the first to admit I'm far from perfect!) So, I've thought about it a little more, and if I do it again, I will print them onto business cards, punch them out and laminate each one. Then I can secure them onto the cabinets using white Velcro dots. Easy solution! I only wish I had thought of that the first time around...

One last tip: go through each cabinet and weed out anything you haven't used in the last 6 months. I am queen of "I might need that later" so I have tons of kitchen gadgets! I also might have an addiction to The Pampered Chef...but I digress...

In order to combat an oversized mountain of dirty dishes each time, I have cut back on the amount of plates, bowls, cups, etc. that we have available to use. The less dishes we use, the less I have to wash and put away! I kept the bare minimum and boxed up the rest and put them in the garage. I can always go out and get another one if something breaks or if we have company. But honestly, if we have company, we usually use paper anyway...I know, I'm so fancy...

What do you do to keep your kitchen clean & organized? Let me know your tips in the comments!

Next time I'll share about my pantry. Hint: labels & baskets!