Congratulations on finishing up your bathrooms in week one! I’m so excited we made it through our first space together.
Imagine walking in to your kitchen, the space is clean. You can find exactly what you need, and you know exactly where to put it when you’re done. This is possible.
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I just want to remind us that even during this challenge and our progress, to continue to focus on our real life priorities first! Our family life, our personal goals and filling our own cups with a dash of real life self care throughout the week should always come first.
Going Simple In Our Kitchens
Here are eight simple tips to clear kitchen spaces of excess, and focus on what we love most.
1. Start with a clean slate.
I like to organize my kitchen knowing as few dishes as possible are hiding in the dishwasher and sink. The night before, I make sure to clean up any dishes lingering about, and I run my dishwasher. The morning of, I serve breakfast, unload the dishes to their cupboards and start with as clean of a space as possible.
2. Categorize all the stuff.
You are busy, you have kids at your feet 24/7, you are balancing a career, a calendar, a life. You don’t have time to empty all your cupboards out and reset your space. I see you. And I’m here for you.
THIS IS HOW WE SIMPLIFY in kitchens without getting overwhelmed!
- Grab three empty bags/boxes. One for each: donations, for sale, for trash/recycle.
- Sweep your space for items of ONE category at a time. Example: sweep every storage spot in your kitchen for drink ware, pull it all out.
- Assess your collection. I like to call this part the “holy crap we own 172 drinking vessels.” To keep the process less stressful. Only pull out one category as you declutter. For example: sweep your entire kitchen for plates and bowls first. Assess your collection,
- Return your favorites. Focus first on what you use, what you want to keep, and return these items to storage.
- Let go of the rest. Once you’ve returned your faves, sort the remainders accordingly into donation/sale/trash/recycle.
Then, when you have time, repeat for the next category!
Going Simple Tip: Add simple baskets to easily access items from shelving. This works great for: items that tip over easily like tumblers, smaller items that can be grouped together like teas, hard to reach items on top shelves, and a variety of other reasons like simply to make your cupboard look a bit less chaotic!
3. Be honest with yourself.
Find your weak spots. For me, drink ware is a place I tend to collect clutter. Over the last three years we have downsized from literally hundreds of glasses, cups and mugs down to what we actually use.
Really question yourself. Do you need four crock pots? Or do you have them simply because you’ve acquired them? Keep the items you use and love. Let the rest go.
Remember that each home and family has different needs. There is no magic number of items to own.
Going Simple Tip! Designate one quality water bottle and travel thermos per family member. Not only does this cut down on cupboard clutter, but it saves on daily dishes to wash too!
4. Ditch the trouble makers.
Generally, there are two main clutter bugs in kitchens: kids stuff and promotional freebies. To learn more about how we ditched the meal time drama (and simplified our kids clutter in the kitchen) check this blog post: 5 Tips For Less Mealtime Drama.
5. Organize with intention.
For some reason, our brains are hard wired to think just because it’s always been, it’s the way it should always be. Rethink the layout of all existing kitchen storage. As you return items to cupboards and shelves, ask yourself “is this the best spot for these items?”
- most used and washed dishes near the sink + dishwasher for quick and efficient unloading
- Upper Cabinetry: daily items on lowest shelf, weekly items on second shelf, seasonal items on top shelf
- Lower Cabinetry: kid items to foster independence, pots + pans, large serve ware and bake ware
- Use bins and baskets on lower cabinet shelving to create a “drawer” effect and fully utilize the depth of a cabinet without losing functionality
Going Simple Tip! New homes for your items? Use post it notes on your cupboard doors as temporary labels. This way everyone can locate items with ease as they learn the new layout.
6. Be creative with storage.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. In our last home, there was no pantry. We did instead have a closet across the way, in our dining room. We added in an outlet for bulky appliances (like microwave and toaster) and played with shelving depth to create a mock butler’s pantry.
You can also store the “occasional” items like bulky appliances, holiday bakeware and serve ware, etc. in off site storage (think basement, garage, guest bedroom closet, etc).Best of Kitchen Organization
Going Simple Tip! Adjust that shelving. A top shelf we cannot reach does us little good. So if you are able, adjust your cabinet + closet shelving to become most functional for you!
7. Assess the visual noise in your space.
What is visual noise? Think of it as all the busyness you see when your eye scans the room. Excess decor, paper clutter, items stored on counters. The more visual noise, the more mental clutter. So scan your space. What areas can you lessen the visual noise for a more peaceful kitchen space.
8. Troubleshoot Sore Spots
In our kitchen, we can probably walk in and name one or two major repeat offenders. Maybe it’s never ending dirty dishes on the counters, a million water cups laying unclaimed, paperwork piling up for days, or a junk drawer that’s so full, it can barely open. Whatever it is for you, let’s name the drama spot this week, and then let’s find a solution for it!
In our home we had two main offenders: paperwork + junk drawer. Simple solutions fixed our issues:
- junk drawer no more, now we have an office drawer with a purpose
- piles of paperwork be gone, we try to immediately address all paperwork that enters the home, anything that needs follow up is popped into my TAP planner and handled during File It Friday.
Wanting to go BIG with change, but having a hard time committing?
When I really struggle to make decisions with items (ahem, have we talked about my issue with drink ware?!), I like to try this Going Simple Challenge.
Give this Extra Simple Challenge a try!
- Keep only the simplest of sets for your kitchen needs. (think, the matching plate, bowl, cups, utensil sets you have in your kitchen)
- Box up the extra sets of dishes, bowls, cups, promotional mugs, ALL OF IT.
- Set a calendar alert on your phone to revisit the boxed items in 30 days. Usually after a month of living without, we have an easier time admitting we don’t need them, and can more easily let them go!
I’m so excited to see the progress everyone makes. Don’t forget to share your before and after pictures, your progress and your struggles in our Going Simple Facebook Community!