How I Organize My Kitchen

Even just a year ago, shucks even just a few months ago, I wouldn't have been able to write a post like this and want to show it to anyone, much less the whole world. Thankfully I've gotten back into following Flylady and learned so much from blogs, especially A Bowl Full Of  Lemons which is where I'm linking this to today. I did her 21 day organizing challenge and now she has a weekly challenge as well and this week is the Kitchen!

Also linking up to:
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Since I have so many photos to stuff into this post, I'm keeping most of them smaller, but you can click them to enlarge them somewhat if you really wanted to.

So, here's my kitchen! Well, it's the view from one side anyway. This is how it looks most of the time nowadays.

Forgive the lighting, I am awake during the night due to work, so it's pitch black outside when I take most of my pics.

I'm going to kind of take you in a trip around my kitchen. So starting right in front of us there is the sink counter.
My sink is shiny!
I use old vintage Tupperware containers to hold the sink things. Love that color green.
 Under my sink is still organized from the 21 Day Challenge. I tossed everything I don't use and now just have a few cleaners, and I use them! Seriously that never used to happen. The Swiffer pads all fit perfectly into one of the little mini egg crates and vases are in another basket, leaving just enough room to put dishwasher detergent, and the two boxes of trash bags. (by the way the Swiffer and Swiffer Wet Jet pads both work with the new O'Cedar Pro Mist I got, LOVE IT!)

Over in the corner that used to be a nasty mess and really unused except for junk, I have a big crate that holds extras of things like dishwashing liquid, paper towels, and other things I don't use often like leather cleaner and Drano. It's a bit crowded in there, but it's contained so I like that.

Back up on the counter, we come to the utensil corner. I love having two crocks here. One holds wooden and plastic and the other holds the metal and black handled stuff. That white lid there is covering my two iron skillets I keep stored on top of my stove for easy access. I keep my stock pot on the other back eye all the time as well. It's just easier than trying to find somewhere to store them. I hardly ever use the back eyes anyway.
Under the stove in the drawer, I keep my posts and pans. There is one missing here that goes in that empty space on the left.  It's in the dishwasher. I use all of these, but need to give away that little one in front. It wobbles on the eye and annoys me and besides I have another one the same size.

 Ok! So, looking back up! I only have two upper cabinets in my entire kitchen, so they need to be very organized and only hold things I need.  This one is on the left and holds glasses and mugs. I know most people put them right next to the fridge, but this just works better for me. It also has cereal/soup bowls and some mixing/ storage bowls. That wire shelf is perfect for that space. The orange bowl is actually a set of 4 nesting bowls all with lids that all fit inside each other lids and all. LOVE it.  I got it as a prize at my family reunion haha. Next to them is a red and green batter bowl set I use all the time for mixing. Under those are two Tupperware containers that are sitting on their lids. These are for larger portions of leftovers. I don't use them very often since we have 5 people here and leftovers don't happen often.  But when I do have a bunch left, I have these. Plus there's the nesting bowls which can be used for that too.
Next to that I have my glass mixing bowls and my plastic stuff. There's usually a huge blue Tupperware bowl there too, but it had taco salad in it tonight Mmmmm, and is in the dishwasher. The rest are two old vintage Tupperware containers and a Tupperware colander I got off ebay years ago. I love that color! Next to those I keep the plastic plate cover I use for Hubby's dinner when he has to work late. I dish his up and cover it, then package up leftovers so the pots and pans don't have to sit around all evening. He can always come back and get seconds from the containers if he wants. Oh next to that there's also a traveling deviled egg tray with a lid that seals. I just found it at Dollar General and love it. Can't wait to take them on picnics and family reunions this summer.

 Above those cabinets, I keep other things that are sort of large and hard to store elsewhere. They don't look very nice up there, but I stopped caring about looks as much as function. I keep most of it all upside down so they're easier to clean when I need to take them down to use them. I don't use the big platter or the chip&dip tray often, and the muffin pan also rarely gets used anymore. I need to start baking muffins for breakfast again actually. That big ole cookie sheet gets used constantly, so I don't bother turning it over. Other than 2 round cake pans, those are the only baking things I have (well besides like casserole dishes - but I'm getting ahead of myself..)

 Coming back down, these are the drawers between the stove and fridge.  The microwave sits right above them on the tiny little counter.  So, everything has its place, even the can opener. That little basket is the perfect size. Love it.
 This one not so much. It needs help badly. Not organized at all and needs purging. It'll be done when we spring clean the kitchen.
 Then there's the drawer just for dish cloths. not many here cause they're actually almost all in the washer right now. I wait and wash them all at once when I'm down to a couple left. There's a mesh bag that hangs on the side of my laundry sorter where I toss them each night. That keeps the wet dish cloths from touching any of the other laundry. When I wash them, I was the mesh bag too so it all gets sanitized. Works great.
Then there's a drawer just for dish towels. They don't match and some are older than my kids, but they work for now. I'll get some pretty matching ones soon.

Ok... so that brings us to the fridge.
 This is still pretty well organized from the 21 Day Challenge too. Just about everything is labeled. The family has gotten used to the baskets for things like yogurt/dairy, one for biscuits, one for butter, one for cheese. Then there's a tub for sandwich stuff. I LOVE this idea.  It makes packing lunches so much easier. It holds mayo, ham, turkey, a ziplock bag of lettuce already torn into sandwich size pieces, tortillas for wraps, and other spreads like hummus etc. Super easy to just grab the tub and take it to the counter, grab the bread and get it done quick and easy.  Below that is the "Kids Snacks" basket. Let me tell you, the best way to make sure the kids WON'T eat something is to put it in that basket, LOL!  If it's OK for them to have then they don't want it. There's baby carrots, grapes, brownies, etc. crazy.  Before, when those things were just thrown into the fridge, they'd eat it all in one day. Having a stocked  and organized fridge, pantry and freezer all the time has had that odd side effect of them not wanting to eat it all at once... they finally have realized there WILL still be something to eat later.  We've come a long long way from our feast or famine days (which weren't that long ago really). Hopefully the kids aren't scarred for life.
 When I took these pics I had just packed everyone's lunches. I love that there's plenty of room for all 4 lunch boxes/bags.
 The door thingies came off years ago, so bungees work in their place just fine. I keep jellies together, condiments like ketchup and mustard together, as well as salad dressings. The little basket on the bottom holds kids' liquid medicine and coffee creamers - that just sort of happened. The green basket on that top shelf holds sauce packets from take out places like soy sauce and tarter sauce etc. Inside the butter door I forgot to get a pic but I keep a glass butter dish with an open stick of margarine. Everyone knows to look there first before getting a new one out of the butter basket.
 The freezer is still organized.  It is pretty bare because we put most stuff in the deep freezer since it's so handy now right in front of the fridge. That white basket holds rolls of ground turkey which we use a lot.  we don't eat red meat unless it's a crock pot roast about once a month. That green container is an old Tupperware bread keeper whose lid had melted, and it fits here perfectly and holds bags of fries and veggies without them falling under the bungee cord.
 On top of the fridge is this huge green tub. Thankfully I like the color of it cause it is kind of HUGE, but it's been probably the best thing to happen to my kitchen ever.
It holds all my Tupperware and lunch containers. I save a lot of the ones from the store like margarine and hummus etc, plus others I get at thrift stores. I prefer using re-useable containers whenever possible instead of plastic bags for lunches. So, when we take them out of the dishwasher all we do it throw them in the tub on top of the fridge. They don't have to have lids on them, I can match them up when I pack lunches. It keeps them out of my cupboards which I only have 2 of anyway, and just makes life SO much easier. I can pull it down, set it on the counter and root around til I find exactly what I need. no climbing up onto the counter to try to find a lost lid or just the right container stuck back on a shelf. Love it!

Ok, so now we're onto the other wall! Bored yet?  Anyone still reading..?
The deep freezer, island and wall shelf.

This shelf has had various things on it since we put it up there, but Christopher said he really wanted nice jars with stuff in them on it,.. so I did! There's dried beans, coffee, extra flour and corn meal that didn't fit into their main container, a small one with dog treats, a cool looking coffee can full of dark roast coffee for Rhiannon (I drink tea), and popcorn! I also keep all my pot holders on these pegs. it makes it a lot easier to grab one than having to look through a drawer. The cutting board with a handle usually hangs on the peg with the old ratty looking pot holders too (and hides them ;)  ), but it's in the dishwasher heh.

This is one of the latest organizing things I did.  This had once been my "baking drawer", but it turned into more of a junk drawer and it's not really big enough for the baking stuff. Also, since I'd moved my sideboard where the spices were kept, they were way on the other side of the kitchen... so I moved them to this drawer. It's so much easier to get to them from the "work triangle" now. I keep a TBSP and a TSP  in the drawer as well. That little basket is perfect for corralling the tiny jars that like to roll around. It all fit just right too, like a puzzle.  Oh and down below on that shelf, I keep my home management binder. (I didn't get a pic of inside the island cabinet in the little door. It holds some of my cook books, mixer and measuring cups.

That brings us over to the other side of the kitchen now...
 The pantry. Nothing great to look at, but I just consider it vintage so it fits right in :)  The flour and sugar containers hold extra flour and... cookies. Hehe.  When Hubby or I get a pack of cookies we don't want the kids scarfing down, I put them in the Sugar canister. The big bucket thing holds other excess stuff, like once I got 4 bags of sugar that were on clearance for $1 a bag.

 Inside I try to keep it organized and it's staying that way so far.  I finally found bins that fit in the bottom perfectly. One for potatoes, one for onions, and there's room next to them for my big roasting pan I maybe use twice a year. The bottom shelf holds the kids' stuff and extra lunch stuff.
 Above that is the canned goods shelf, I keep them stacked by vegetable on the left and then soups and sauces on the right.  The one above that is the starches shelf. There's a big gallon size ziplock bag with rice back in the right corner you can't see. Tortillas and tortilla chips, crackers, pasta, instant potatoes, bread crumbs, plus the oatmeal, dried milk and my cans of custard from England.
 The top shelf is the baking shelf, and I keep a grocery list paper with a magnet on the inside of the door and keep the pen on the shelf. This makes it really easy to just write down whatever I'm out of and on shopping day I grab that list and take it along with the main grocery list, in case I forgot to list something on it.
I keep sealed containers for just about all the baking stuff. I keep them labeled so everyone knows what's what. To the right here that you can't see, I have the boxes of corn starch and baking soda inside ziplock bags as well.

Ok, there's a window next to the pantry with the trash can under it, and then we come to...
The sideboard! This is what Christopher calls the Breakfast Bar haha.  I LOVE IT! That tea kettle gets used ALL day long... well all night really, from the time I wake up til I go to bed. I drink tea like many people drink coffee, if not more. (English tea by the way, with milk and sugar - and usually Indian chai spices.) So, I keep everything right on the tray, sweeteners (I prefer Splenda actually), jars of spices, the big jar holds the English tea bags, a spoon rest, and there is also a "TEA" container for the teabags we use to make the peach iced tea we keep in the fridge. The kids and Hubby have it in their lunch bottles each day. That little jar in front of the toaster holds the peach tea packs. They're the ones designed for a bottle of water - which is insane!  One packet flavors a gallon of iced tea. I keep a placemat in front of the tea tray because the finish on the sideboard does not like heat or water and there's already a ring there from when Hubby made a pitcher of tea and left it sitting on the sideboard.  Sigh.  I haven't found anything to take it out yet. That's also why there's a trivet in front of the coffee maker.  The coffee canister holds coffee filters. The actual coffee we keep on that other shelf you saw earlier. I was going to put it in that jar on top of the coffee maker, but Rhiannon keeps making homemade hot cocoa mix in it, so we keep it for that. It's empty at the moment unfortunately hehe.
The big BREAD canister does hold our bread actually, and in front of it I keep my big tea pot with the tea cozy a co worker got me for Christmas. I love that it actually fits!  It's a BIG teapot. I keep a couple of tea towels there to protect the wood and I keep two mugs there for my two teenage girls. I'll sometimes have a big pot of tea made for them or they'll make coffee. Then there's the blender for smoothies when we have those for breakfast, and the cake cover thing is covering a bowl of bananas that are past their prime and I'm trying to keep fruit flies from accumulating. I try to keep fruit, cereal bars, muffins, biscuits, etc there in a bowl or on a platter for their breakfasts.

 The right drawer is now my baking drawer and is even big enough for the rolling pin.

 The left drawer is directly over the lunch-making-stuff so this is where I put the ziplock bags etc. I saw someone on another blog had done a drawer like this for lunch prep and loved the idea. Sorry, I can't remember where I saw it or I'd link to it (so sorry if it was you!, holler and let me know!) I was already doing kind of the same thing but not as organized, and now it's even prettier.  I have snack size and sandwich bags as well as quart size freezer bags, plastic wrap and aluminum foil. These all get used. No room or need for any others so it reduces clutter. The little baskets trays hold colorful plastic ware for lunches. I got a 48pack of spoons, forks and knives at Dollar Tree for just a $1 and they come in lots of colors. I like to help make their lunches fun. The other basket holds grocery list paper, labels, post it notes and my Sharpies. I love putting cute or weird little notes in their lunches. They always come back with a funny story to tell about them.
Ok, under that drawer is this awesome space. There's two drawers on this side of the cabinet, and I keep lunch stuff in it like the sweets and savory snacks. Also their bottles get tossed in here after being washed out. It's a bit empty because lunches have been packed for the day already.

The bottom drawer holds their lunch boxes/bags. All 4 are in the fridge so it's bare, except for the canvas bag Rhiannon takes now and then if she has a bento box that doesn't fit in her Hello Kitty lunch box hehe.

 These aren't terribly organized, but they work for us so far as is. Soup thermoses and extra bottles for picnics as well as round serving dishes on that back shelf. Zoe's easy bake oven is back under that shelf too and I need to put it in her room. I'll get to it.
On this side are the rectangle and square baking and serving dishes as well as extra pitchers and a jar I keep plastic shopping bags in.

And well, that's it! It's a small kitchen, and as you saw the only built in cupboards I have are the two over the stove and the one under the sink, you can see why there's so much *furniture* in my kitchen, but it all works well and serves its purpose.  I'm happy with it.. well except that I want to paint the built in cabinets white and the walls ...some color. I can't decide what color! haha!  Anyone got any ideas?

Thanks for coming by my blog today! Please look around if you're new. I talk and rant about all sorts of stuff that goes on in this crazy house.  Have a great day y'all!  And if you're organizing too, leave me a comment so I can come see!