I’m a snob when it comes to organizing and making sure my home’s as neat as possible (you can read my blurb here on having an urge to clean and organize when I can’t relax). But as much as I appreciate an organized home, I also have three kids who’ll make more mess than I am able to clean up after sometimes.
There are a variety of things I try to do to minimize clutter. But have you noticed that the kitchen can be the hardest to tackle? It’s crowded with so many items; the cupboards, pantry, and fridge can be overfilled with food, kitchen tools, and utensils. This post could’ve been titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Kitchen Organization Essentials” but (1) we don’t need another person pretending to be Marie Kondo and (2) some of these things are pretty much a “duh”. But without further ado, here are 7 essentials to help you with a more organized kitchen.
Food storage containers
I’m sure many of us have or still do place plastic wrap or a foil paper on top of a dish of leftovers. I’ve done it. In fact, I’ve stacked dishes of leftovers ontop one another only to have my food smashed and smelly a day or two after – by the way, bacteria really do exist, y’all (check out this article from Reader’s Digest). That’s why food containers are incredibly essential for any kitchen. If you don’t finish the food within the next day or two, you can easily place the container in the freezer. Opt for glass if possible; they’re reusable and can typically be used in the oven, microwave, and safe in the dishwasher. This storage set is on sale for $27.99 with an additional 20% off for $22.39.
Oh man, I fought this one hard. Really. Hard. I didn’t want to cave into drawer dividers because my kids and husband were supposed to know that the forks, spoons, and dinner knives were to be grouped in their own neat pile in the same drawer – the same goes for cookie cutters and all the kitchen tools. But we live in reality and neat little piles don’t happen in reality without a system to ensure it happens. So I went to Ikea and bought the cheapest drawer dividers I could find at a fantastic price of $3 and they worked brilliantly (hence the 4.5 star rating)! Please invest in drawer dividers if you don’t invest in anything else.
Storage bins are pretty. Storage bins mean you get to take short-cuts in organizing. Storage bins are game-changers. I have these from Target and I love them because you can see through them and know what’s inside the bin, but they aren’t being sold anymore (you might find some still left in your store so go look). This basket, also by Target, is from the same brand and is perhaps even better because you can grab things without having to slide the basket out. This one is exactly like the one I like from Target but with nice wooden handles.
Pots and Pan Rack
Why let pan lids stack haphazardly when you can easily organize them using a pan rack/lid organizer? This organizer allows you to easily find and access the lid or pan you need without having to shout at your spouse, “Where’d you hide the pan I like to use to cook my eggs?!” This expandable one from Food52 is a great option.
Trays are so helpful in corralling bottles of vinegar, EVOO, salt, and pepper together in a neat space. They also help to ensure that the hand soap and dish soap stay put in their place versus landing in the sink. I love this marble one from The Citizenry and this less expensive version from Crate & Barrel.
Keep the utensils you use in close proximity for when you’re cooking. It allows you to not hassle with looking through the drawers for the right utensil when you’re in the middle of cooking…or close to burning the perfect french toast.
Of all the items on this list, this kitchen essential is the best thing I found by chance. GRIPSTIC is in a category of its own because it’s unique. GRIPSTICs are not bag clips. Just like their name suggests, they’re “sticks” that grips the bag closed (watch this Youtube video here on how to use them). I was at the state fair this year and overheard the saleslady chatting with another fairgoer regarding how to keep foods fresh. I was sold before I even knew what the product was. I happily report that they’re so much better than bag clips (I’ve broken 3 bag clips so far this year). The kids can do it themselves. A set of 12 is $20.
So there you have it. 7 essentials to make your life easier and your kitchen more organized. Sure, there are other things you can do to make your pantry, fridge, or cupboards tidier, but start with these “baby steps” and you’ll be on your way to an organized kitchen that even Marie Kondo (or your mother-in-law) would be proud of.