Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The dreaded kitchen cabinets

Picture this scenario.  You are putting away the dishes after they are washed.  As you pull each plate out of the dishwasher or from the drying rack, there is no question in your mind where it goes, because each item has it's spot.  Each cabinet has the perfect placement of the dishes, cups, bowls.  Each shelf is labeled to perfection of where each item goes, so that even when your loving husbands do the dishes, they put them back in the right spot.

Then you wake up, snap back to reality, and open your tupperware cabinet, and a whole boatload of plastic wear falls out and hits you in the face.  Yep, that's what happens at my house too.  It seems that, no matter how I like things neat and tidy, and no matter if I have the best intentions, it always ends up with me or DH throwing dishes up into the cabinet haphazardly to hurry through the task.  Typically, there is a meal waiting to come out of the oven, a puppy that needs to go out, a baby's arms reaching up to be held, which are all really truly wonderful things.  But that doesn't help my kitchen out any.  That is what my cabinets looked like, we'll start with the storage container cabinet over the sink.  

It just so happens that the tupperware container cabinet is right over my microwave, so to get things out, I have to reach over my head, so things really do in fact fall out and hit me in the face.  There are a few other random items in there, like an Easter basket, and some light bulbs... that I'm not sure how made their way into that cabinet.  In the future, I'd love to replace all my plastic tupperware with glass, better for the environment, better for my family, much more durable and better looking.  But for the time being, that isn't in the budget, so with my plastic I'll stay for now.

So this is how I started:

1. Clean up the clutter!  There were tons of items in this cabinet that either didn't belong, or didn't need to remain there.  For example, the I had about 10 lids that were missing bottom containers.  I also had at least 3-4 containers with no matching lids.  And every time I go through to get a storage container, I have to rifle through all of it.

2. Readjust your shelves, if possible.  In this case, they were configured pretty well for what I needed, so I let it be.

3. Buy some storage pieces.  A few cheap cabinet organizers will really help to keep you from ending up with piles of junk.  I purchased single medium and double cabinet shelves from the container store, that were between $5-$10 each.  

More specifically, I used this one below for this cabinet.

4. Keep your items easy to grab.  If it had a cap that locked together (see below) then I stacked it.  No locking caps?  Each bottom and cap/lid were clicked together and stored together.  It only takes a few more minutes of drying time laid out on a towel until these items were dry enough after washing to be clipped together.  I do have some caps that locked together and stored nicely, so in that case those could be stacked.

So that was really simple, right?  Well, here is the end result:

I think, comparatively, this is going to be a lot easier to keep clean, because there is a space (or as my mom calls it, a home) for everything.  I won't constantly be searching for the other half of a container, because it is already there.  So, done and done on that cabinet.

Then I moved to the next biggest offender.  The baby accessory cabinet.  


Just the thought of that shelf made me frustrated.  I had a bad habit of shoving everything into that cabinet, and then going to get one cup for little man in the morning before I was really awake and sending an avalanche of bottles and pump parts flying out at me.  I'm not a coffee girl, but there is not enough coffee in the world to make someone excited about playing 52 card pick up with a ton of baby bottles/cups and their separate pieces.  Here is the starting picture of that cabinet:

One thing you may notice, is that the shelves are all in line with each other, just like they were when we bought the house.  There are tons of dishes in these cabinets, but there are also coffee mugs, the ball freezer jars I mentioned in this post, some candy dishes, and just a whole bunch of randomness.  That's the problem with the kitchen, I think, there are just way too many categories of things to store!

To start cleaning this out, I went back and repeated steps 1-4 from above, but added one more.

5. Keep the things you use most close at hand.  I divided up a bunch of things, keeping the plates, bowls, and bottle parts closest to the bottom, because we use these the most.  The coffee mugs and cutesy dishes were moved to the top, because I don't get cutesy very often :)

Here is the end result of that cabinet:

And here is a close up of the dreaded bottle section, now not so dreadful:

I've been living with these cabinets for probably a week or so now, and I have to say, it is a lot easier.  Even putting my dishes away takes less time, because I'm not wrestling to make everything fit.

So, that makes about 20% of my cabinets in perfect order.  Ah, well, I'll get the rest of the way done someday :)

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