Mar 26

Organize Your Kitchen With Guest Glynnis Whitwer

We are into week two of our online study of A Life That Says Welcome. This week we will tackle some practical tasks for getting our homes company-ready and strategies for cooking. (Chapters 4-7)

Today, my ministry partner, clever friend and fellow-author of an organizing book Glynnis Whitwer is here to help us get our acts together in the kitchen.

Remember, you can comment on all posts until the end of the study. Winners announced the day after Easter. So, be sure to catch up on the posts from over the weekend. They were fabulous. I am learning a ton from our guests and from you all too!

Now, for today’s guest:

Glynnis Whitwer is on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries as the Senior Editor of the P31 Woman magazine. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 500,000 daily readers.  Her newest book, I Used to be So Organized, was released last fall.  Glynnis, her husband Tod, and their five children live in Glendale, Arizona.  Visit www.GlynnisWhitwer.com for more information.

I’ve discovered many of life’s blessings happen in my kitchen.  This room unites the values I hold dear:  home, family and sharing life with others.  This is why keeping it organized and clutter-free is a top priority for me.  It’s not so I can boast of my alphabetized spices or labeled storage containers.  An organized kitchen helps keep me focused on what’s important, instead of mentally drained by a mess.

Here’s the problem with a disorganized kitchen as I see it.  When there’s no clear counter space, I’m discouraged from starting anything.  Instead of making an affordable and healthy dinner, I am tempted to pick something up. I can’t even imagine reaching out to anyone when I can’t even take care of my own family.

All my lovely ideas for hospitality evaporate as clutter drains me of creative energy.  Years ago I realized a well-managed life, one where I minister to my family and others, started in my kitchen.

So, in order to bring in more beauty, peace and order into my life and into the lives of those I love, I have declared a war on kitchen clutter.  If that appeals to you, here are some suggestions for how to de-cluttering the kitchen.

1)  Sort through and remove all clutter from on top of your counters.

Put away, recycle, toss and file those items you know what to do with.  If you don’t know where to start, pick a spot and work your way clockwise.  If you need to make decisions on other items, put those in a large box for later decision-making.  Wash and put away dishes. Clean your counters and sink. Now stand back and survey your accomplishment with joy!  (clap, clap, clap … that’s from me).

2)  Move many of your everyday kitchen appliances out of sight (toaster, bread maker, waffle iron, etc).

Clear counters will refresh you, and give you a clean palate for creativity.  You might need to work on step 3 at the same time so you have room to store these items.

3)  Eliminate extra, unwanted, broken, chipped and incomplete items.

Start with one cabinet or shelf and completely remove every item.  If you don’t use it, set it aside to give away, sell or toss.  Be honest and ruthless. I know this will be hard, because many of us are well intentioned.  I really intended to make fondue for my family … someday. But I had to be honest with myself.

Clean the shelves with warm soapy water and return the items you want to keep, including those items that were previously stored on your counter.

4)  Store seldom-used appliances elsewhere.

Can you store larger items outside your kitchen?  If you are holding out hope that you will start to use your waffle iron, then consider a shelf in an outside storage cabinet, extra bedroom or linen closet.   I have a shelf in my garage for larger items I don’t often use.

Another option is to purchase extra kitchen storage, like a free-standing cottage-style pantry or rolling island.  Consider buying something with doors to reduce visual clutter.

Great ideas, Glynnis!

Now, to be entered to win a copy of Glynnis’ book I Used to Be So Organized, tell us either your greatest kitchen organization dilemma or one tip you have when it comes to the kitchen.

REMEMBER: We are also interacting over at Karen Ehman’s Book Studies on Facebook. Click here to “like” the page & join us.

And, for this coming Friday’s idea swap and share, be thinking of your best decorating idea, tip, centerpiece or DIY project.

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Comments

  1. Leigh F. says:

    I have a kitchen counter that ALWAYS accumulates paper, misc items, etc. It is kind of my junk counter. It doesn’t matter what I do to try to organize it. I don’t have a office area and everything gets dumped on that one counter!

    • Anonymous says:

      Find a place in your home for a small file cabinet…. then because there is a place for it… it won’t live on your counter top.

  2. My greatest dilemma is that my counter is a catch all for mail, important papers, keys, phones and so much more. It is a challenge for me to keep this area clean and uncluttered.

  3. LindaAnn says:

    I recently removed all appliances except for the coffee pot from my counters and this has helped a lot. My BIG problem is my catch-all counter. it holds the phone, pens,pencils, etc, daily mail, do later basket, and its even stays messy. No matter what, it is always messy!

  4. Kayla Joy says:

    My tips are actually more cleaning tips….hope that’s okay. I have one of those smooth surface glass cook tops. That thing always gets burnt on gunk and such. They make cleaners for it that I have tried, but the best I’ve found is a Mr. Clean magic eraser. Takes the yuck right off.
    Also…every time I have the vinegar out for a recipe I drip a little into the water dispenser tray on the fridge. Wipe it a few minutes later and it keeps the hard water stains away.
    As with the previous commenters…my kitchen problem is the ‘catch-all’ for when we walk in the door. Mail, school papers, receipts, lists, pens, crayons, 1/2 made craft projects, sippy cups from the car, etc, etc

  5. Kim Thompson says:

    My biggest dilemma is the tupperware cabinet. Even thought it is not visible because it is a cabinet, it still is a frustrating area in my kitchen when I go to make something or put left overs away.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I like to store my plastic containers in a drawer. They seem to stack nicer in there and are more easily accessible. If you can’t do that, try adding a pull out to your cupboard. Then, get a basket to put all the lids in.

      • Rtchef4u says:

        For when all the school papers come home. I have a basket about 12″ x 12″ and have labeled file folders in it. I put the papers in their folders, bills, school info, things to check into. etc. It does seem to help keep the counter clear. The other thing that helps when the mail comes in, I pitch what I don’t need immediately. Also I bought a silverware sorter for my drawer that holds, pencils, pens, erasers, etc. To keep them sorted and organized and so far that has helped as well.

    • I started leaving it out overnight(I know, GASP!) to make sure it is completely dry. The next morning I put the lid on the container and store them that way. You can stack them much better, and some of the smaller pieces fit in the larger pieces, but best of all, the lid is with the container.

    • I learned a tip recently…..buy plastic containers in the same shape: either all round, or all square, or all rectangular. That way they stack and store easier.

  6. Like the other ladies have mentioned- it’s that catch-all counter that gets me!

  7. This became my area to declutter too!!!! A nice clean kitchen makes for a nice kind me! Decluttered counters are a must! Even those “important papers” have found a hidden shelf in the closet and each of my kids have a paper cubby in the laundry room. If you leave it lying around you will find it in your cubby in the am!

  8. My biggest kitchen dillema is simple. MILITARY HOUSING! Our kitchen changes shape, size, color every 2-3 years, Just last year our family of 6 lives in a 1200 sqft 50+ year old home with no yard and no garage, not even a carport, this year we have a much larger base duplex. We have no say on our home size or shape so organizing is huge, my biggest kitchen helper is dollar store baskets. Yep. You can purchase baskets at dollar stores online too. I use these baskets on shelves to hold everything from pantry items to lids and cookie cutters. I also clear my counter and try to leave my Bible open to my devotional passage for the day. I spend a LOT of time in the kitchen with a family our size, so having my Bible open and available for reflection makes a HUGE difference!

    • Elizabeth says:

      LOVE the Bible idea!!!

    • I know exactly what you are talking about with the military housing. My husband just retired after 21 years in the Army. There wasn’t enough room in our last kitchen for more than 2 people at a time…oh, the memories! Lol.

    • This is one of many sacrifices your family makes on behalf of our country, because it comes hand-in-hand with serving in the military. It’s probably not one that most people think of, but it is a sacrifice nonetheless. THANK YOU.

    • Christina says:

      Wow! I am so impressed with all you ladies!
      I am a 26 year old single lady. I moved home to finish school (ESE education.) I am trying to make the most my time at home. I want to be a FABULOUS homemaker to my future family. Although I have a lot to learn myself, I want to teach my future daughters (God willing!) the lost art of femininity and home making. I love my mom, as a single mother herself she skipped past a lot of the lessons of “feminine touch.” I want to get it right. I am so thankful to get to read through blogs, books, and real life proverbs 31 mothers, wives, and beautiful helpmates (aka “world changers” in my book.)

      Thanks again and again!
      Christina

  9. Lisa Buchanan says:

    Oh the mail and stacks of paper have overtaken my kitchen counter tops! UGH!

  10. Leigh Ellen says:

    On my refrigerator I keep a dry-erase board where I make “notes” of important things I don’t want to forget. Usually it contains a few items I need to pick up at the grocery store. I also find that often times while I am cleaning up, something will “pop” into my mind that I need to do, and it use to be that nine times out of ten, I would forget. Now, I just hop over to the dry-erase board, make a quick note and viola… no more forgetting. This board has been a big help to me! Even my husband makes notes on it occasionally!

  11. I have the same problem with paper! But I did pick up a little tip somewhere down the line in another kitchen organization area. It may have been from one of Karen’s books, but I honestly do not remember. I always thought the coffee, coffee filters, sugar, creamer, etc. had to go in the pantry, and never thought about where I kept coffee cups. A few years ago however, I realized that no one ever made that a rule. I now keep the coffe, filters, cream, and sugar in the same cabinet as the coffee mugs, and that cabinet is the one directly above the coffee pot. It is AMAZING the difference it makes:)

    • Faith, I like that idea about storing the coffee and filters with the coffee mugs. Makes sense.
      I too have catch all counter that drives me crazy. I also do not have a lot of storage space so my small appliances all sit on the counters.

    • Beth McGaughey says:

      Love your idea, too! Looks like a good project to start today! I really have a small kitchen with limited storage space. I am always looking for a new place to store items!

    • jackie s says:

      fantastic idea! i don’t drink coffee (that’s for hubby), but i keep lots of mugs for the ladies bible study – why not keep it all in one place!

  12. Kelly F.K. says:

    My issue is that I have a very small kitchen. Little counter space, the dining table takes up over half the kitchen space.. Not a lot of cupboards either.

    • Carla Knowles says:

      My issue is the same a very small kitchen with no counter or cabinet space.

      • Christina says:

        Same here. For me it is almost worth the peace of mind to have less even if it means I have to run the dishwasher more or have-less plates. I do try to make the most of the space but if there is none… there is just no space for an 8th flower vase (haaha) ; )

  13. Susan S. says:

    Kitchen counter catch-all. To compound the problem, I have a serious case of “out of sight, out of mind”. So if I clear the counter of papers, etc. I have a very good chance of forgetting to handle something whether it’s for us or for the kids.

  14. I like to put items like brown sugar, chocolate chips, flax seeds, corn starch etc. in clear mason jars and label them. They take up less space and I can see what I have. I use baskets in my pantry to group like items (beans, rice etc) I also like to organize my cans together. My pantry still needs to be maintained so I do take inventory every few months or so and reorganize. It is a work in progress! I don’t have a walk-in pantry so sometimes I forget what I have!

    • I love the idea of placing the baking ingredients in mason jars! I am going to try that today!! Thanks!

  15. My greatest dilemma seems to be my junk drawer(s). I have collected so many knick knacky helpers aids over the years. Every time I go to donate some, I can’t decide just what I should give away. You never know when you might need that…..or that….or even that. Even though you have never used it and have owned it for over ten years. :0)

  16. I use a chalkboard to write the menu for the upcoming week. That helps me stay organized with buying groceries and planning the week’s dinners in general. Plus it looks cute!

  17. Michelle says:

    My greatest dilemma is the cabinet for my pots & pans.
    It’s a big cabinet, but the trouble is it’s a corner cabinet.
    It’s stuck between my dishwasher and the stove.
    Half of the cabinet is hard to see.
    So when I need a certain pan I have to try to `dig` it out.

    • Beth McGaughey says:

      I have the same kitchen cabinet! I am always digging to get the bigger pots out in order to cook. I recently moved my frying pans and small pots into the broiler drawer under my stove. This frees up space in my dark and awkward corner cabinet. I never use the broiler pan, so I moved it to the basement to store out of sight. Working so far, so good!

  18. Keys straight to the hook, phone straight to the charging station, mail in a basket near your desk or living area. School papers: notable ones or cute drawings on the fridge or cabinet, ones with a deadline on a clip on the fridge. Kids clear the counters every night after dinner! Now I need a recipe for consistency. :o)

    • Pam Sanford says:

      You Go, Denise! I have one more idea for you. I have started having my daughter be responsible to hold onto her own deadline papers for school. Right now it is just one consistent spot on her dresser , but I am going to either look for or make a shcool papers open box to put in that spot, so she can learn to organizeand keep track of her assignments.

      • This is a great way to teach your daughter the skills so that when she gets her very own kitchen she will be well on her way to an organized space!

  19. Sandee W. says:

    I, too, have to confess that I have a clutter area on the island in my kitchen that gathers mail, lunch boxes, keys – everything that you just “put down” when you come in the door. One method I have found for this – I have a large, long upper drawer in the island, and anything that I don’t want to deal with at the moment, I just slip off the island countertop, and put in the drawer. Out of sight! Then, once a week, I open and toss most of the items OUT, or file them appropriately. Sure keeps the kitchen looking tidy.

    • Jessica says:

      What a great idea! The clutter drawer is common for us, I just need to make a habbit to go through it weekly as you have. I am going to have to put your idea in to practice!

  20. Jeannine C. says:

    When women feel weighed down what do they do? Usually shop! I cleaned off the top of my refrigerator and the room feels “lighter”. Every time I take a bag to a second hand shop, “I” feel lighter. The best thing to do when you feel weighed down with life’s problems, is not to shop and bring more home and possibly cause another burden, financially, but get rid of junk you don’t need. You’ll instantly feel less weight, and the benefit spreads to your family will due to a cleaner, healthier and happy home:)

  21. Too many things sitting out on my counters. I have tried storing small appliances away, but find it a pain to get them out when I need them.

  22. I keep a lower drawer just for the kids where they can get their own cups, bowls and plates. Even their friends know how to help themselves.. Also, I keep a running grocery list on a paper pad on the side of the fridge. When I am going to the store, I can tear it off and go. My husband and kids know to write down when they have opened the last gallon of milk or any special food requests. Even shaving cream and tooth paste. My dilemma, paper clutter – for sure!

  23. My dilemma is too many appliances and utensils… big and small. Some are not used very often. They take up so much space. Time to sort, organize and purge!!!

  24. My huband is a minister so I can relate to military families. You never know what size house you will be living in. I love cooking and have lots of pots/pans. My solution for kitchens with lttle cabinet space such as our last home was a “hanging pot rack”. This frees up cabinet space for other kitchen items. I love to repurpose old things. An old ladder works well for a pot rack. Also, have a old entertainment center with doors that was painted & additional shelfing added for use as my pantry.

    • I have considered a pot rack and think they look nice but was always concerned about them getting dusty, etc. Do you find this to be a problem for you or do you just wash them off before you use them?

      • Jessica says:

        I agree Connie! I have loved the look of pot racks – so many varieties that can be used. I have the same concern. I guess it would just have to become a habit to rinse them off before using.

  25. Papers! Papers! Papers! So much junk mail to sort and toss and so many bills to file away! I’ve done pretty good at clearing my counters every day, but those papers! I also agree that tupperware is a problem….never can find the top to match the bottom :/

  26. Leigh and Deb,
    All of those important papers were driving me crazy too! A file drawer saved me (or you could get a portable file box). Now I file everything as soon as it comes in – one file for each child’s classroom papers, Sunday School papers, afterschool activities receipts, gift certificates, recipes, etc. But the most important file is the unlabled one at the front of the drawer. That’s where I put the papers that I’m tempted to “leave out” but I don’t want cluttering my desk or kitchen counter! I check it daily and now I always know where the list of things to bring to the field trip or the list of library books we need to return is!

  27. Daphne R. says:

    I, too, have the sad “catch-all” counter dilemma. I have not found a great way around that one. But, I did get a basket that fits in the cupboard under the cabinet where I have all my tupperware-type containers. All the lids go in the basket, in size order (biggest in back to smallest in front). I can easily pull it out a few inches, find the one I need, and push it back in. Keeps them all together, neat and handy :-)

  28. I have a grocery list pad on my refrigerator to write things down on as we run out or see that we need something. I stack my pots and tupperware inside of each other to save on space and keep it organized. That way I can easily get the size container I need. I make sure my counters and sink are cleaned off every night before I go to bed so I wake up to a clean kitchen in the morning. My problem is like everyone else, its the catchall place that gets the mail and papers from my husband. This is usually the kitchen table. It drives me nuts.

  29. Monica H says:

    I have also been struggling with the accumulation of papers on 1 cupboard area that is right outside my pantry. . .and the past 2 weeks I’ve been able to keep it pretty much clutter-free. . .hoping i can keep that up :). This post is so true. If I am not organized, I don’t feel like cooking. .I have been working on organizing everything better.

  30. my greatest dilema is I have a small kitchen with very little counter space and my stove is on the blink. I finally got me a new refrig and LOVE it, but my stove doesn’t keep temperature correctly so I have to keep a close eye on everything I cook. I would love to have a decent size kitchen with all working appliances….lol I have made due with what the good Lord has blessed me with and that’s what makes it my home!!!

  31. I have a very small kitchen and a large family. Our dilemma is keeping the table clean so we can have our family meals there. Because it’s right inside the door, we all will place whatever we’re carrying in from outside onto the table where it seems to take root and grow. Recently though, we’ve started a new attempt at decluttering. Whoever is responsible for dishes each night also has the task of piling up items on the table according to owner. Before bed, each owner is responsible for retrieving their pile. So far it seems to be working…

  32. The best tip I can offer is to get small plastic trays to organize the small utensils within a drawer. Rather than have everything just thrown into a drawer and have to dig to find something, I have the smaller peelers, corers, etc. in a separate tray. That way they are easier to find which reduces the time spent searching for a particular utensil.

  33. These are fantastic ideas…this week, the de-cluttering of my counter tops happens!!

  34. Carol Costello says:

    My biggest dilemma is how to store lids! It doesn’t matter what kind: tupperware, water bottle, or pots and pan lids. They take up a lot of room and get messy so easily. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    • Donna Harvey says:

      carol, I put my lids in an empty comtainer, like a plastic shoe box. it works well for me, if you have the room for it. All lids are in the same place Tehm I use another small basket or container for water bottle tops,. I havn;t figured out where to store pot lids excite on the pot itself. Hope this was helpful.

      • Robin Still says:

        I use a dish drain to store my lids…lids for tupperware/plastic ware and then one for the lids to my pots and pans…it helps me maintain some sanity!

    • I put the tupperware lids in plastic baskets in a deep drawer. They are lined up vertically. One basket for the larger size and one for the smaller. Extras go around the edge of the baskets. This is the best arrangement I’ve ever had. Dish towels and cloths are in two pretty baskets on a shelf so I can just grab, no need to open a drawer. Hot pads are on hooks on the wall next to the stove. All the cherry pitters, nut picks, etc. are in those little plastic trays that link together in a shallow drawer. My mail is not even in the kitchen. It piles up, but Saturday morning I have designated as “clean off the table and update the checkbook.”

  35. I keep a tally sheet of all the entrees/meat dishes in my freezer. I have it hanging inside one of my cabinet doors, and I refer it to routinely to either determine what to cook for dinner tonight or to plan several days in advance. Always knowing what is inside the freezer makes life more organized–and less tempting to grab take-out claiming I don’t know what to make or what is even in the house! Just scratch off an entree when you take it out of the freezer. Easy and fast to keep track of…….

  36. Tracey N. says:

    The biggest problem to kitchen organization for me is the small size and lack of counter space. I definitely think getting rid of items that are rarely used will help. I have a large Foreman grill that I use regularly that takes up half of my counter space….not really sure how to solve that.
    Loving this study! Thanks! :)

  37. I have clutter all over my cabinets. My pantry is so unorganized and since I don’t have a true pantry everything gets lost or is hidden.

  38. One of my biggest problems in the kitchen is limited cabinet space. I am out of space to store appliances line food processor& crock pots, the bigger stuff.

  39. Kari Zeier says:

    We bought a small shelf that has a few coat hooks for hanging keys and put it in the kitchen by the back door. Then I bought a cute, small mail organizer and put it on top of there. I go through the mail as soon as it comes and toss the junk immediately. Then I save the important stuff and put it in the carrier. I go through that when it is full, which doesn’t take too long because I didn’t buy the big carrier. This is super manageable for me!

  40. Just the other day my husband made a comment that he does not care what the rest of kitchen looks like except for sink. He would love to see it empty and shining. Since then I have made sure of meeting his wish!!! As for papers, I am shocked on how many papers my boys bring home from school!!! For those art works, I take picture of them then recycle papers. Kitcen is one of high traffic areas, and it is one of the rooms I absolutely HATE! Everything is still the same from 20 years ago, and I am waiting to win a kitchen makeover. Until then I try to make the best out of it.

  41. I use a utensil organizer for my spices. I put it into one of my drawers in my kitchen and put all of my spices into it in alphabetical order. It works wonderfully!

  42. Our biggest problem is that the cabinets, although gorgeous and recently installed by the previous owners, are too short for some of our glassware. We end up having to tilt it in at a strange angle to get it stored.

  43. Michelle R. says:

    “work your way clockwise…” That is pretty scary considering that’s where our junk corner is located. Mail, receipts, keys, junk….it’s all there. I too have a fondue pot that hasn’t seen the light of day in years. Thank you for giving me the courage to tackle some of these areas in one of the central rooms of our house.

  44. The biggest problem in my kitchen would be the dishes that sit on the countertop after they have been washed, because the dishwasher is either full or they are ackward pieces to go in the dishwasher. Noone seems to think about drying them and putting them away right after you clean up the kitchen. I do have a little of the paper clutter issue, but my clutter gets cleaned up and deposited into my office, which means a whole different topic of cleaning another area that becomes a catchall.

  45. I have a dish rack with file folders. When the kids come home with papers we put them in there folders and sort at the end of the week. Also painted the inside of my pantry with chalkboard paint…helps to immediately write down things when we run out.

  46. I have a nice big island with tons of storage space which is nice but it collects all the mail and alot of school work SO I have a wicker basket on top that I can easity toss stuff into and come bavck to later, and I really do come back to it.

  47. I’ve found that thinking outside of the box….or outside of the kitchen….has really opened up our hospitality options! Both my husband & I dislike clutter, but as a busy mom of 3 young kids, clutter happens quickly and regularly! We moved just before Easter last year, (one of the big reasons was the desire to be able to host and actually have room for everyone indoors!) and we ended up hosting for Easter….30+ folks inside for a sit down meal! We found that our one sofa didn’t fit through the doors to our basement…with the help of a nice carpet remnant, some spare side tables, we ended up with a lovely sitting room in one half of our garage. We set up the buffet and nice costco tables and folding chairs in the rest of the garage for the meal. I really enjoy bringing the outdoors in and to make the experience special, so we set the tables as though we were “inside” instead of like we were in a garage…..and everyone loved it! We thought that we’d take it all down once we were done…..but we like it so much that it’s still there…Thanksgiving & Christmas gatherings, several birthday parties and now for Easter this year! The really big benefit is that it frees up the kitchen and traditional eating spaces for all the prep and for the craziness as guests arrive with all of their yummy contributions. The kitchen remained “calm”, we had plenty of room to spread things out, and the clean-up was so much easier! I could actually send clean dishes home with folks because we had room to wash and properly store leftovers. And those of us who suffer from the “Martha” syndrome weren’t as distracted/handicapped by the small mess because it was out of site! Also, we found that the kitchen table, and other areas that would’ve been filled with tables were then free for games, puzzles, relaxing with family rather than feeling like we needed to clear a table first.

  48. Dianna Wissinger says:

    Tupperware was always a headache. We bought a “As Seen on TV” holder, with three sizes of containers, but the same lids fit on all three pieces. What a wonderful product! And time saver! I highly recommend it!

  49. Donna Harvey says:

    Great ideas, I am always use them! I am learning after all these years, to take time to put things away, and you will have less clutter and you will know where things are. There was a Pro 31 devotion on this a few months back. If we put things away instead of just putting it somewhere to get it out of the way, then we will spend less time in the end becuase we won’t have to try to remember where we put it!

  50. I put corkboard inside the door of one of my upper cabinets. It’s handy (and eye level) to pin up a recipe while I’m cooking, or to pin up coupons, etc. I’ve also hung a “Pocket” (made by folding a cloth placemat in half and sewing up the two sides) which is handy for holding coupons, recipes that I use often, and disposable shower caps (which I use to cover those odd sized bowls/containers that don’t have their own lids). I hung cup hooks inside another cabinet door to hold all of our keys. Inside another cabinet door I hung a dry erase board for notes, etc. And finally, inside another cabinet door I’ve hung a calendar where we note all of our appts. Now my kitchen looks neater and I know where everything is.

  51. Barbara Holcomb says:

    My biggest kitchen challenge is the left side of the counter. My husband constantly puts things here instead of putting them away – batteries to stest, light bulbs etc. I am constantly clearing thsi space and he again fills it up., Help!

  52. Found little 3 and 4 tiered spice holders, rather than pull every spice in my panrty out looking for one, with these stackables I can see the names of all of them, making my life a little easier!

  53. one of my favorite posts so far!! Thanks for introducing us to Glynnis. .can’t wait to check out her site!! I so want her book!! My tip: standarize all my tupperware. Instead of a huge cabinet filled with all different size tupperwares.. I have 4 sizes. . .and multiples of those sizes. I buy the throw away ones and buy lots of them and stack them in my cabinet. Takes up less space. . .looks neat. . .and can always find a lid for the tupperware. And one other tip: I put my paper towels in the cabinet. . I hung my paper towel holder in the cabinet. . .one more item off my counter and one less “visual clutter” to look at. Can’t wait to go read thru all the comments. Way to go on this series. . .I will be linking to this post and this series today. . .off to write that blog post now.

  54. In our previous home I had very little work space in the kitchen, so mydad helped us extend a counter-top with a fold-up top. It worked brilliantly!
    I have a work space in the kitchen big enough so the kids (2.5 and 1yrs) can sit and watch while I prepare a meal. They love it! And as they’re tasting and chatting about what I’m doing they’re learning at the same time. My girl loves raw mushrooms and cabbage – aquiring new tastes too!

  55. My dilemma is this: our over the oven mounted microwave went out. So, my fantastic husband went to buy us a new one. He came home with a countertop style microwave. He proudly declared that it was the biggest one they had. It is nice and roomy inside for even my largest dishes. I’ve even fit three large plates in it at once. The problem is that it takes up a HUGE amount of counter space. It doesn’t leave room for much else, but my husband likes it, so it shall stay!

  56. I can identify with so many of the challenges mentioned by other writers. First on my list to tackle are the counters. Today the clearing begins!

  57. I have a desk in the kitchen. My counters may be clean… But keeping that desk clean is a challenge. Best thing I’ve found is to review the stack of paper on that desk each night with my hubby… Lots of times that stack is kids homework from previous day, permission slips, etc… I go through it each night so it doesn’t have a chance to become unmanageable..

  58. Carol Carey says:

    Several years ago I went to a Heart at Home conference. Karen, you and your children had made “Brains in a Binder” to sell. I was not fortunate enough to get one of yours, because they sold out, so I came home and made one…….It is a life saver when it comes to paper clutter on my kitchen counter. I have used it faithfully for probably 5 years now.

  59. I make it a point to clean the dishes every night, so when I wake up in the morning the kitchen is clean and I feel refreshed and accomplished. I don’t always have time to do this, but when I do it’s a great feeling.

    • I try to do this too and don’t always get it done! but how nice to come out to a clean sink in the morning–no dirty dishes, yay!!

  60. We don’t have an entry with a place to put things on a counter, so everything gets dumped at the end of my kitchen counter leaving less room for food prep.

  61. I have a very small apartment kitchen, so my counters hold everything. The clutter is distracting.

  62. The dish drainer is my biggest problem right now. I can’t reach to put things away, so clean dishes stay in there ’til the next night when I need to empty it. Then, if I can get away with leaving something hard to reach in there, I do. I have my kitchen organized so that the least-used items are the highest up, but I’m pretty short, so I can’t reach the top shelf the whole way around. I keep a ladder in the kitchen but am just lazy and rarely use it. Gotta get better about that!

  63. Patti Bodenhamer says:

    We have a small kitchen and it is hard to keep clutter free. It happens sometimes.

  64. This sounds crazy, but my hardest place to keep organized is my lazy suzan (spelling?). I need a better way to organize spices mostly. Another problem area is the place to keep all the “travel” drink containers, sports bottles, cups with lids & straws, etc.

  65. Lori Dean says:

    Small Plastic Baskets….They have changed my life. :o) I have a small basket that holds all my “Baking essentials” Ya know, baking soda, baking powder, lil’ jar of salt,vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice: stuff for my “Use all the time” baking. Another basket for “not quite so frequent”.coco,cornstarch,tapioca,…so nice to grab one basket and Wala, (Yes, that is a word)have what I need, use it , load it, and put it back. I used small boxes,cut off to 3 inches high for a while….just to test my idea.( a bit cheaper to initiate,)Make them pretty and a bit sturdier with contact paper. Paper…egads…I found that a upright holder with dividers was helpful….each child has a slot…. I have several, Hubby has one too. Coupons….ummm…need help there!!!!!

  66. Carolann Luersen says:

    When I retired, I moved in with my daughter and son-in-law and my grandgirls. My daughter is due any day now with a son this time. She and I tried to combine our kitchen things but it only caused even more clutter. I stored all my things in the barn and now I am about to become married again and my fiance’ and I will now have to combine all our “stuff”. It is a challenge and I need some advice about what is truly all you need in a well organized kitchen. I am loving this study, it has been very helpful!

  67. I really want to clean out some old dishes and mismatching items but then I will have to replace them! Have to save my money to buy new ones!

  68. So much to learn here! It is great & I want to start it all but know that is not wise-so must pick & choose! Thanks for all the great ideas!!

  69. My husband used to work in a grocery store many moons ago. He has really helped me organize our pantry. The cans are all grouped in a stack and as they are used, we add them to the grocery list.

  70. I take the day before garbage day to clean my fridge and wipe it down before I get groceries

  71. Bobbie Gillette says:

    It’s that catch-all plastic storage area I have under my kitchen counter that frustrates me.

  72. I make sure our kitchen counter is cleaned off every night. I can’t stand to go to bed knowing that will face me in the morning. I love a clean kitchen!!!

  73. I struggle with he catch all counter problem as well… also, working on better organizing my pantry which is too small for all that we have in it.

  74. michelle h says:

    my biggest challenge is actually a blessing! My husband helps a lot in the kitchen but doesn’t catch on to my reorganization and/or we don’t always agree on where things go!

  75. My biggest kitchen problem right now is the cluttered “plastics” cabinet. I have tupperware, rubbermaid, etc. all kinds of plastic containers. I bought a rack that stands the lids upright. I keep the bowls stacked inside each other. I have also bought some of the containers that the lid attaches to the bottom of the container for easier stacking. This has helped with that cabinet. The big issue now is to keep it organized like this. My husband and I are not real diligent about standing the lids, etc.

  76. My problem is a very small kitchen that doesn’t have a lot of serving space or prep work space, and what space I DO have is used to hold cookbooks and the “catch-all” office & school paper stack. That usually goes on TOP of the cookbooks. Then the pile gets bigger til the end of the week when I try to sort through the stack! Ugh! That doesn’t inspire me to get the cookbooks out and USE them!

    • D. Cahill says:

      Get not- huge book bookshelf; put near kitchen to hold all cookbooks, but off your precious counters. Have a rack on wall or small table/ shelf for all papers. Don’t let stuff be deposited on counters. Get everything off counters into your cabinets. Excess goes in garage on dedicated shelving for kitchen-bath overflow

  77. I keep the pantry organized but the frig is a different story since there are four people getting in there and the just toss everything around. Ugh.

  78. Carolyn Chrisman says:

    The problem I seem to have, is that I clean off the counters and they look great! Then within a day, my husband has put some of his stuff there, because he sees it as “empty space” he can use! I can’t win!

  79. I totally understand the feeling of not wanting to cook cause there is just no counter space due to stuff. My problem is a really tiny house with three people living in it and a tiny kitchen. We don’t even have a kitchen table to eat at in our house due to space issues. We always eat on the couch. So my kitchen counters almost always have stuff on them, usually cereal and other items that get used daily that I just don’t have cupboard space for. I have moved all large items to a tub in our shed. I did recently move our crock pot back in the house cause I’m using it a lot and didn’t want to go back to the shed all the time to get it. :) So for me I can only declutter so much.

  80. I wish I had some really good ideas, but I’m with the rest…it’s just undaunting at times to get organized. The one thing I will be incorporating is an under-the-counter knife magnet-rack thingy! I’m not sure what you call it. But my husband inherited a really, really old pie safe and we are in the process of cleaning it up and refinishing it and we found this little wooden piece with two strong strips of magnet inbedded into the wood. (Have no idea how to explain) Anyway, my knife block takes up way too much room on the counter and I haven’t any room in the drawers, so I’m going to put it on the end of a cabinet and put the knives there! One less thing on the counter and a dozen others to find homes for! Thank you Glynnis for all your wonderful ideas!

  81. My kitchen is very “storage challenged” and for many years I stored my electric pancake griddle under the sofa in the living room because it had a skirt that hid what was underneath. If I forgot to get it out ahead of guests coming, you can imagine the surprise when I trooped into the living room to retrieve the necessary appliance.

  82. My problem area is lack of counter space in my small kitchen. One thing I do to keep my fridge, freezer & pantry organized is about twice a year I have, eat what I have weeks. I have to eat whatever is in the freezer, fridge & pantry! I have some interesting combinations, but it saves money for a few weeks when I’m not buying much & it cleans out what’s there. I feel so good when I see the neat, organized & rather empty shelves!

  83. My pantry had very deep shelves and things would get pushed to the back and were hard to find or would get forgotten. My husband took out the shelves and installed drawers. Now I can see what I have easily and everything is easy to get to. Love it!

  84. My biggest kitchen problem is the pantry. Having way too much stuff. We are starting a remodel soon so here’s my chance :-) Blessings!!

  85. My problem used to be that I had too many utensils (thank you Pampered Chef). I found a tip that was really helpful in reducing the number of gadgets. I went through all the utensils and put the ones I rarely or never used in a file box (you have to be really honest here:)). I put the box in my garage or out of sight for 30 days. If I discovered that I really needed something out of the box, I went and pulled it out.. I gave away whatever was left at the end of the 30 days.. I got rid of so much and made lots of room in my kitchen.

    • I like that idea because I have so much stuff in my house and attic that I “might need some day!” but if I were honest, I don’t really need.

  86. Keeping the kitchen counter clean, which is almost never unless I am having a gathering and then it all goes in a box and hidden away, until I can deal with it later, which I usually don’t!

  87. Hi Ladies, Thanks Glynnis for great ideas. I have way too much on my counter tops. I need to clear counter space. I think I’ve got a couple ideas. I also need prayer that my husband Mark and I might have wisdom on some grout repair that we might do in one of the tile areas in our counter space. I know that God will help get each of our kitchens in order to best serve our families and guests that He sends our way.

  88. My husband is excessive about having clean counter tops in the kitchen. When I can’t find an appliance I just ask him where he hid it. Hopefully he remembers. We accumulated 3 blenders once because we couldn’t find the previous ones. I like Glynnis’ idea of setting up a space outside the kitchen for those type of things. If I would de-clutter my utility room cabinets they would be the perfect place.. My breakfast room now becomes the catch all for that excessive mail, catalogs, etc. that I’m going to get to one day.

  89. Ha! My greatest obstacle is a 6 year old and a 7 year old coming in from school. : -) They have bins in the walkway coming in from the garage to drop their book bags and such bu then there are all the papers that get sent home. If I am “on top of it” I sort them immediately, sign what needs to be signed and put back in their bags or toss in the trash what we don’t need. However, I am not always that on it. Like Glynnis says if the counter is already cluttered I am more tempted to pile more on.

  90. My biggest problem is also space, but the top of my refrigerator is the worst. I have very little storage space, so I have my crockpots, a large try, and some other things up there. Since I’m short, things are easily jumbled and I ha be a hard time keeping everything straight and regained.

  91. My dilemma is the pantry. The items and quantities keep changing as I use them, and then stock up again. The pictures of pantries in organizing books look pretty and defined, but not realistic.

  92. Shannon C says:

    My biggest kitchen challenge is clutter. Cluttered dishes around the sink because I bake a lot, piles of mail, kids’ science projects, loose change. Clutter is my main issue!

  93. I use one of the reusable grocery bags to place small plastic containers and their lids in and store it on the floor of my kitchen pantry. My husband children know where to look for those containers when we are putting away left overs after our evening meal. Should I choose to keep a empty/clean sour cream container it has a home – out of sight but not out of mind.

    I must confess that I am constantly cleaning off one particular kitchen counter where all family members drop things every day. This shelf is my constant project or work in progress.

  94. When it comes to organizing my drawers, I have dropped in some of my seldom used bread pans to sort out some of my utensils. Then when I make bread, I lay those utensils on a dishtowel, until I wash the pan and put it back. Which having things laying out encourages me to wash the pan more quickly.

  95. My biggest dilemma is papers — recipes, bills, reminders. They either end up on the kitchen table or counter. If I move them to another room, they seem to get forgotten — appointments not made, etc. My biggest kitchen tip is to empty the dishwasher every morning and then to fill the dishwasher through the day. This keeps the clutter of dirty dishes put away, and the clean ones are always ready : )

  96. Kristin K says:

    In my house we seldom use the microwave so my husband wired up an outlet (along with a switch for it) in the garage and we set it on an old metal kitchen island that we already had. The microwave is only about 15 feet away from the kitchen when I find that I actually need to use it and I now have much more counter space free for the things that I actually use daily and I try to only keep out the things that I use daily.

  97. With homeschooling 4 boys and trying to keep up with my husband’s schedule, it seems I operate out of “survival mode” most of the time. This includes every room in the house. I’m always just thankful there is a pan clean when I need it. Laundry and dishes keep me feeling always behind and, like Glynnis said, sapped of energy to entertain or be hospitable. Ugh!

    • Remember, this is merely a season in your life. The memories of the days you have with your boys and what you are pouring into them will make all your efforts so worthwhile in a few years when you look back on these days. I’ve been there and now my oldest is engaged and just a few weeks from moving out. I miss those days when they were all over me all the time – Enjoy and you can clean house later.

  98. My tip is to keep your counters and table clear of things that shouldn’t be on them at all times (ie mail, papers). As soon as you put one stray item on the counter, it becomes much easier to just add to the pile vs putting things where they belong as soon as you come into contact with them.

    Several months back, I moved the blender and mixer into a cabinet and I love the extra counter space. But, my mixer (KitchenAid) is so heavy, I haven’t brought it out once since putting it away! Is this a sign that I really don’t need it? Or a sign of laziness?

  99. My greatest kitchen dilemna seems to be keeping my cabinets organized followed up by keeping clutter off the tops of said cabinets.

  100. Clean up as you are cooking, then finish the cleanup as soon as the meal is finished. Do this for 21 days and it becomes a good habit.

  101. My greatest kitchen dilemma is that I love to cook so much that I collect everything kitchen, so my cabinets tend to be pretty full. I read cookbooks like novels, so I have several bookshelves devoted to holding cookbooks (not in the kitchen).

    I do go through my cabinets about yearly to purge what I don’t use, but I’m starting to feel like it is time to do so again. I’d love to find enough room to store more small appliances away (food processor, toaster, tea kettle).

  102. I hate when I let my countertops get “cluttered” with things like the toaster, crock pot and “little things” that just find their way there. But, the hardest part of keeping my kitchen organized is finding the heart to toss out things I don’t need. That platter that was my granny’s but has a broken handle. The really nice Princess House dish that cracked in the oven one day. These things fill up my cabinets and take away space that I need for things I really use.
    Organized? What’s that? Oh, yea, that’s what I’m Going to be :)

  103. Rosie Yensho says:

    I tend to be a packrat. I have a lot of various plastic storage containers, several which are missing lids, but I still keep them. My daughter even bought me 2 boxes of Rubbermaid stacking container for christmas a year ago, and they are still in the box. I just need a strong nudge to tackle one space at a time and keep going until I finish. I’ve been wanting to this for some time now. Thanks for the extra motivation-this is what I needed!

    • My mother-in-law had an awesome set of Rubbermaid containers that sat unopened for more than a year in her spare bedroom – she forgot she had them, but oh how I wanted them for myself. One weekend when my oldest daughter was spending time with her, I asked my daughter to put them into her Nana’s cabinet as a surprise and to ask permission to clean out all the old plastic whipped topping and butter containers, with the promise that they would be recycled. We came home with 2 trashbags full of old containers and she loves her “new” ones that she can actually find the lids for (and I don’t have to look through 5 butter containers to actually find the butter!)

  104. I have a small kitchen so I keep my small appliances, skillets, pans and groceries in the basement with another refrigerator and upright freezer. I have my pantry under the basement steps so I get lots of exercise. My frustration is also my counter. With three teens, someone is always eating and fixing a snack so my counter and sink is only clean and clear when the lights go out.

  105. I have such a difficult time with clutter on any horizontal space in my home, so that certainly opens up a lot of places! Pretty much the only vacant spot in my kitchen where there is no clutter is my stove top, and sometimes stuff even gets put there. We have a wonderful “ledge” which would be wonderful for my kids to sit at to eat for lunch or as a special treat, but it seems as if each time we clean it off, literally within a day it’s piled back up again. Or maybe the piles that I stack up just get spread back out. I am challenging myself to work on one section of my countertop each day and hope to be able to have some great work space – I love to spend time in the kitchen, but the mess stresses me out! Thanks for your encouraging and helpful tips.

  106. Garbage. It sounds gross. We keep a plastic bag with garbage in it to take outside at the end of the day. Well the end of the day is the idea. Next to that neat mess, the junk mail gets placed, next to that the clean dishes get placed.

  107. Elaine Heller says:

    My family stayed for several months in a RV while we were selling our out of state house. One trick I learned there (which I use now in our apartment) is to cover the sinks to add more counter space. In the RV a large cutting board worked b/c the sink was so small. In our apartment I use the top of a TV tray, which fits snuggly and doesn’t shift! It not only creates more space for working, but for serving “buffet style” in our little kitchen!

  108. Elaine Segstro says:

    I feel SO good when I’m able to tackle little cleaning projects in my kitchen – many more to go, but I’m starting. One of my BIG challenges is my spices. I have a big cardboard box in my pantry with bags of spices. I usually have to take out the whole box to find what I need, and I have a lot of spices.

  109. I live alone and I’ve ‘downsized’ my home 3 times in the past 10 years but can’t afford to rent a storage unit, so I have clutter everywhere. (So many things I can’t bear to part with). I don’t have room in my current kitchen for a table (there is physically no room available in the design of the kitchen), so I got rid of the dining room set and use my little “dinette” set (which seats 4 cozily, and was originally my grandmother’s kitchen table when she married) in the small dining area. I now have room for the china hutch and a book case filled with cookbooks and room to set up a card table if I entertain.
    Having a very small pantry (if it can be called that) I buy smaller cans, bags, etc and plan meals using those items in varioius recipes. I know it’s not very creative but it’s much easier on my budget and prevents ‘fall-out’ when I open the pantry door.

  110. My biggest problem is not cleaning as I go! Then after a meal there is so much to do it can beI overwhelming so I tend to not put everything away like I should.

  111. I definitely have the problem she mentioned – if there is too much on my counters I suffer complete paralysis in the kitchen.

  112. I also have the issue of paper clutter on my counters. I do use a basket by the phone to store all the non-grocery coupons so they are out of the way but not out of mind.

  113. Tracy Johnson says:

    One of my favorite organizing tips for the kitchen is to get rid of old mismatched tupperware and purchase the rubbermaid stackable containers. All the containers stack as well as the lids. The nice thing is how much space it saves plus you can easily find the lids. I actually got rid of most of my old storage containers and started a new. They are very reasonable priced and I love how everything matches and fits together. Being able to stack them in the fridge is a space saver as well!! They are the ones that are clear plastic with maroon lids. Doesn’t sound like that big a deal but it is awesome not to be hunting for a lid and to have them all so neatly organized!!

  114. Tracy Johnson says:

    Oh, I forgot, my other favorite tip is to organize your spices alphabetically. It makes finding them very easy!!

  115. I have two different kitchen utensil drawers and can’t figure out a way to organize them, because there is so much stuff.

  116. My kitchen counter is also my “project” space…so when I am preparing activities for my preschoolers to do, I use counter space. When I’m doing something crafty with my school-agers, I use counter space. Sometimes these “projects” aren’t finished in a day, plus they compete with all the papers the kiddos bring home from school, the bills that need attention, etc. I’ve been working on making my space more clutter-free…but it’s a process:) Thanks for all the encouragement!

  117. I love a clean kitchen. I try to always have the kitchen clean before bed so I can wake up and enjoy the morning with a clean kitchen and a nice cup of hot tea.

  118. At my house we seem to have a fear of clean flat spaces, my husband fills them immediately. Ah but I have a wonderful husband so I try to remember that and not complain so much.

  119. I put a magnetized pad on the front of my refrigerator. When we need something we just jot it down and the list is easy to tear off and go when it’s time to shop. My kitchen has a door that opens right up into the garage. Putting shelving right outside the door for my large appliances will help clear counter space and is close enough to not be a bother to bring in and use it when the need arises. Right now I have them in the basement storage room and find that I will make something else instead of going downstairs to get the needed appliance/tool. My biggest dilemma seems to be what many struggle with – paper clutter on my table. I would love to read more about a paper workstation/organizer that would fit easily into my kitchen decor.

  120. i know that i need to organize not just the kitchen but the whole house i just never know where to start or when to begin. Have ideas and great intentions but never get there. I am a homeschooling mom and kids always there even when I try to do something. And the more people like my husband get upset i think yup i’ll do it but really get more discouraged . I was able to wipe and sweep behind the fridge and stove the other day. But know it will need being done as we plan to redone the counters and paint cupboards. One thing that is the worse organized things in the kitchen is the utensial drawer and junk drawer , spices and where our meds or supplements are , and we trough everything on the counter and then there is no room

  121. I have a portable dishwasher that is my catch-all. My kitchen so so small 2 people can not fit side by side so organizing has become an issue.
    I find though that if my kitchen is clean I feel better about myself and I feel as though I have accomplished something.

  122. WOW! i identify withmost of you. Counter a catch all, shelves too high up, like tahe basket idea, which I do use in some areas, out of sight and out of mind bring in seconds. I have cork boards to put inside cupboards to know what is on those top shelves that I can’t reach. I like cork boards for the lists of members and phone #’s of each inahandy place–better than the fridge. This is a helpful blog Thanks.

  123. No pantry. 1960′s ranch with limited storage, no pantry and no garage.

  124. Stefanie says:

    As so often mentioned already, my kitchen is a dumping ground for papers, mail, etc. With 4 kids from 1-16, it doesn’t get dealt with daily. All other items on the small counterspace are used daily so not sure what to do there. My kitchen table frequently houses a back log of the paper clutter ’til I can get around to it. I’d love some ideas!

  125. My biggest dilemma is trying to keep the clutter off the counter. My best tip is to clean up the kitchen the night before so you at least come down to a clean slate!

  126. hmmm…what to do with my beastly sized appliances that I need everyday {Kitchenaid mixer, toaster oven, keurig/coffee pot}? I have a large lower cupboard that will house some of them…but, I know of like having them so available. Hmmm…what to do?

  127. My greatest kitchen organization dilemma is tupperware. I dread opening the cabinet for plasticware/tupperware. Things come falling out. I can’t ever find the top to the bottom piece. I just fell like I’m wasting the cabinet space when I could be using it for other items. I’ve tried different tactics over the years, but nothing seems to work for me – HELP!!

  128. My greatest struggle is getting the rest of the family on board. No one likes it when I organize. They say they don’t know where things go.

  129. My dilemma is keeping everything organized after I go to the trouble of organizing it! It is a conscious, deliberate decision to either put something back properly or just stuff it in.

  130. 1) When you take something out of the cupboard to use (ex sugar), put it back right when you’re done with it!

    2) I have loose packages of snack food on our counter. We keep all these packages in one corner of the kitchen or get a little basket to put them all in, so it’s all contained yet all within reach.

  131. Natasha d says:

    1. use a pretty basket on the counter to corral items you don’t know what to do with!
    2. have a magnetic board or hanging file for important papers or mail that needs to be dealt with (keep it off the counter)
    3. a pretty hanging file on teh counter to file bills, etc. right away!!! (love this)
    4. use utensil organizers (even for your big utensils) — it really makes you sort out what you really use because you can’t just throw everything in there!!! Theis works with the junk drawer too — use an organizer in it!!

  132. Joyce Pereira says:

    I think my biggest problem in the kitchen is that I feel compelled to save everything. I can reuse a glass jar or a once used Ziploc bag. The challenge comes in managing all of the stuff. I dream of having a clean counter with a spot for everything, but I think I need to start with the stuffed cabinets before I can look at the counter. It all seems overwhelming.

    • my entire house needs de-cluttering. I read Karen’s entire book and de-clutter my entire house is a must before I have guests and yes it feels overwhelming. But I am doing it in small chunks of space and time. The other day I spent 1.5 hours cleaning out the fridge. I choose a small area to tackle and work until it is done. then my next day off I repeat. Take it in small chunks and it will get done. Of course, I might have it easier than those of you families because I live only with my 3 4-legged family members. So all the messes I have are MY messes. Not other peoples.

  133. Jan Quinn says:

    Who ever designed my kitchen put the fridge in the middle of a countertop run and it eliminated a great space! As it is now I have two small counters with a fridge between them so it appears I have no counter space…Must have been a man! I also rarely ever see one side of my kitchen table because that’s where all the paper clutter ends up. Drives me crazy!

  134. Thanks for al of the great ideas! With 3 kids all in 3 different school buildings and 3 different schedules, I started out the year fearful of forgetting something or someone! I also knew that my kitchen counter was where the piles were going to grow and grow!!! So, I found a LARGE corkboard with bars that run accross it…now, I can have our family calendar, the district calendar and all other important info right there. I used inexpensive fabric napkins sewed together to make a 3-pocket system…personalized pockets for each child (slides right onto the bar)…a larger side for important papers, handbooks, etc and a smaller pocket that is perfect for their special homework pencils, etc to help make that chore a little more special. For the 2 younger ones who still get special weekly calendars, I used a sheet protector so that I can see both sides easily and can still access their monthly calendars. I keep a combination of hooks and clips (with loops that fit on the bars) on hand so that I can easily keep things in the forefront & then discard them without having to re-do anything. Now, I still have room for their artwork (which I love to have out and they hate to put away) and can still be on target!
    I also printed up a little card with drop-off/pick-up times and locations for regular and modified schedules, laminated them….enough copies for me (my desk, my van, my kitchen) grandparents, and hubby so we are never second guessing and never miss kids.

  135. Shannon L says:

    My biggest dilemma is the top of the refrigerator. I’m short but the tall people keep putting stuff up there. Then it just collects dust until I get a chair and clean it off.

  136. We have a countertop/cabinet in our kitchen that is by the door to the garage and seperate from the other countertops. This is the “catch all” area, for charging phones, change, pens, sunglasses, etc. I’ve organized it, but it is not perfect… I have our phone chargers organized there and have a jar for me and a jar for my husband for misc. notes, change, and sunglasses. We also have a jar for pens and pencils, etc. The drawer below contains phone books, batteries, scissors, and emergency flashlight, etc. This would stay in perfect order…except for the fact that my husband also shares this space… He likes to only sort through his mail once a week (where as soon as I get mine, I sort through it and deal with it). When every company comes over I put his “stack of stuff/mail” into a white box in our office, and return it when the company has left (well try to return it 80% of the time). This has ended disagreements about “moving / hiding” his things and it looks nice when people come over (sorry, if your close friends or family…you get to see his stack!). Yes, I wish that I never had to look at the “stack”, but in the end, I’d rather not have a daily argument about it – it just isn’t worth it.

  137. My dilemma is my spice cabinet. So unorganized! I’d like to get magnetic spice jars and a label maker. Speaking of magnetic – I saw a great tip recently about clearing the clutter off your fridge. Attach sheet metal to the inside of your cabinets. Then you can still keep pictures, favorite magnets, etc. without cluttering the fridge!

    • I don’t have a spice rack, but i keep my spices in two rubbermaid semi-large containers, without the lids. it keeps them all together and to find the right spice, pull on the with the baking spice container or cooking space container and look through it. It works well for me. Mom taught me this one. I put the spice rubbermaid containers on pantry shelves.

  138. My biggest dilemma is that I don’t have a pantry or enough space to store food for my growing family. For now I am using a large clear storage bin in a nearby closet.

  139. Janet Haigler says:

    I have less than 8 feet of counter space, and that is chopped up to be about 5 feet in an L shape between the stovetop and the sink, and then 4 feet on the other side of the sink. No island, no nothing!!! Most of my cabinet space is so high up I can’t reach it from the floor!! I am 5’4″ and my husband is 6’6″, he had the cabinets built to his specs before we ever met…I think he thought he was going to be a bachelor forever!!

    • I have the same problem. my cabinets are way high, even with a little step stool they are hard to reach. I am 5ft.. to boot they have permanent shelfs that limit the height of items that can be stored in them. or they would be handy to store the ice tea maker, slow cooker, etc. fondue pots that I cannot part with. No, the ice tea maker will be stored in a handy space… it is iced tea season.

  140. Biggest dilemma: Keeping the table cleared off!! Everything seems to get piled there as we come in the house. Tip: I can’t remember where I found this idea, but I just started doing it. Keep a prayer list by your sink. That way, when you’re washing dishes, you can pray for those on the list and make a mundane chore more meaningful.

  141. Pam Sanford says:

    Rubbermaid Easy Find Containers with Lids. The containers nest and the lids lock together. A set of 30 is usually on Walmarts Black Friday List every year for about $6.00

  142. This could not have come at a better time! Decluttering is definitely on top of the my list! Hopefully everybody in our home feels the same way! One small area at a time….. it can happen

  143. My biggest challenges are the catch-all countertop area that seems to collect papers and miscellaneous “stuff” from everywhere else. Also, the plastic leftover container cabinet is always a mess!

  144. Shelly Housel says:

    I have to admit, I am a fairly organized person and the kitchen is probably the most organized room in the house. It is the center of our home, both figuratively and literally. And for that reason it can also very quickly become the most cluttered & disorganized room in the house. It’s where we enter our home (up from the garage) and where we drop things on the way ‘in’ and put things for going ‘out’ – going In & Out is what we do most! It is truly a busy intersection of our lives! I have a notebook where I keep important school, club, & church papers; I keep only the necessary small appliances on the counters, (though when I am able to put the shelves I want in the large closet, many of them will go there). My husband has his own “spot” for keys, mail, etc. so that it’s not all over the table and we have a long table that serves as a desk for our computer, printer & my purse, with a shoe basket & dog basket underneath. Baskets & Bins help make it easy for everyone to tidy up. But the most important item in our kitchen is a large White Board. Every week I write our family schedule on it: the Dates go at the top, the days of the week down the left, and each family member or activity has it’s own color (my oldest daughter’s activities are in blue, my son’s in green, my youngest’s in pink, red is for important/exciting things, etc) Extra notes or items can be added by anyone and we can leave notes to each other in passing. It is a lifesaver and many of my friends have started using something similar in their homes. When the kids ask what’s up for the week, I say “check the board”, when they say, “I didn’t know…”, I say, “it’s on the board!” When they want to do something or need something I say, “put it on the board”. We also write countdowns to exciting events and since it’s magnetic, post important outgoing mail. It puts responsibility on everyone to know what we are doing and gives me freedom from having to memorize everyone’s schedules (though I do that anyway). It is the One organizing tool that has worked from day 1 and I couldn’t imagine our crazy life without it!

  145. My biggest issue is Tupperware/Rubbermaid. I cant seem to part with because of that I may need this one day..In the back of the cabinet I put 2 rounds bowls. One holds rounds lids the other square. In the front of each bowl I store all the round containors and on the other all square. This helps my husband as well so he doesnt just toss everything in or ask where is the lid? Just look in the appropriate bowl.

  146. Problem: Drowning in paperwork! I have heard the rule – only touch it once. Whatever you are going to do with it, do it. But try as I might, I cannot get the paperwork I deal with to conform – there are alway SO many things that are on hold, waiting for something else to happen before that paper/task can be completed. What I end up with are piles on the counter like many other posters :(

    • Paperwork is a constant struggle for me, as well. I found that creating several file folders that fit neatly into my cabinet or drawer helps a lot! I have one for bills to pay, another for coupons for non-food items we got in the mail, another for tax documents that came in, another for my son’s preschool… You get the idea, I’m sure. I try to file these monthly (or go through them to sort our of date coupons, out-dated preschool papers, etc) in our main file cabinet. I’ve even created a ‘pending’ folder which helps for the things I need to hold on to discuss with my husband first. Hopefully this might be a help to you too.

  147. 1) We have a small notepad with a small pen posted on the inside of a cabinet. When any member of the family uses up an item or sees that the item is soon to be emptied he or she writes it on the notepad. This way I always have an up to date list when it comes time to go grocery shopping. 2) We keep a black Sharpie pen in a kitchen drawer and whenever a new herb or spice bottle is purchased the date is written on it and that way we can discard bottles when their flavor has diminished too much. 3) My counter space is minimal so one way we have fought back is to install very narrow shelves on the wall under the cabinets. These shelves can hold a spoon for stirring, a measuring cup, a can of broth, etc. and have been very valuable on busy cooking days when there isn’t a spare inch of counter space to be had. 4) I also use baskets to keep cabinet and pantry clutter at bay. All the lids to the refrigerator storrage containers are in a basket as well as the granola bars in the pantry and so forth. I am so enjoying reading everyone’s posts and being a part of this group. It is nice to feel a part of something.

  148. Wow! This is the 2nd article I have read today that encourages clearing kitchen countertops. Looking forward to getting started. Time to get to work :-)

  149. As everyone has already mentioned, it’s the catch-all counters that are the hardest to keep up on! However, my best tips in dealing with it are: 1. Only let yourself handle a paper, piece of mail, etc. ONCE. You must decide right away if it’s to be filed away, or set aside as a bill to pay, etc. (it helps to have places for these to go). 2. Spend just 15min a day decluttering or organizing. I start with my kitchen counters since they so quickly accumulate stuff. If I have time left over (you’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in just 15 dedicated minutes) then I will tackle another area. I do not answer the phone or check email or start reading a lengthy piece of mail during this time. This must be a focused 15min for you to really have impact. :)

  150. Robin Still says:

    Paper…paper…paper….when will it ever end. If it isn’t the junk mail coming in, it is all the papers that my children generate (4 children)…I too have a catch-all counter that holds my paper, pen/pencils, telephone, etc. I purchased two magazine holder things from my office supply store. One holds bills/mail and the other holds receipts. Then I put up 4 bulletin boards on my wall…one for each child. They hang any important papers that need my attention on the board so that I can keep up with them such as permission slips, retreat info, etc. I have little counter space but tried to make use of my wall space. The kids also hang up their show off school work so that we can all celebrate with them. Right now I am off to tackle the cabinet with all the pots and pans….be blessed because you are a blessing to someone.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Robin :)

  151. I run a day care and can not seem to get on top of all the clutter. I have the baby gone this week so we dove into to different cabinets in the kitchen. It feels good to get them cleaned and rotate the items that need to be used up. But I look around and think I need at least 30 more days like today.

  152. Kristi R. says:

    My greatest kitchen dilemma is all of the mail that piles up on my counter. It’s usually something that isn’t ready to be filed away, it’s just “pending”, like bills and school papers. The pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger!!

  153. JoAnn O. says:

    The biggest help I’ve found is shining my sink before bed. This helps me to keep that sink free from dishes and when I wake up in the morning and go to the kitchen it is SO nice to start the day not feeling behind!

  154. Tennille says:

    My biggest kitchen dilemma is that I organize everything in a “Everything in it’s Place” manner but if y husband tries to he,p by putting stuff away, he doesn’t care about that same organization and just tosses stuff in a cabinet even if it isn’t the right cabinet or drawer.

  155. Oh it is wonderful to know that I am not the only one who has kitchen counters you can’t see.
    I really need to tackle the kitchen, I like the idea of one cupboard at a time.

  156. Lisa C. in S.P. says:

    We recently remodeled our kitchen and it stayed organized the first year and then slowly went back to unorganized. The one thing the new kitchen has that has stayed organized is the great spice rack in the pantry. It works great.

  157. My biggest problem in the kitchen is my husband. I was brought up with my dad teaching me to be organized and clean. My husband however, goes for what ever is quickest. I organize the pantry and the next day, it looks as if a tornado has wiped through it. I finally gave up but now I just get lazy looking at it. I plan on organizing thanks to Glynnis. So, THANK YOU GLYNNINS!!!!

  158. I too was tired of the junk mail stacking up in places all over the kitchen. When one pile got to high we would just start another pile. We finally “fixed” that problem by putting up an outdoor wall mount mailbox on the wall right inside the door we come in from the garage. That way I hang up my keys and put new mail in the box. It doesn’t solve the problem of still needing to go through the mail, but at least it isn’t an unsightly mess in my kitchen!

  159. my biggest dilmena is too little counter space. On one section, my microwaves sits taking up the entire counter area, on the other section I have a toaster oven taking up most the counter area. on the last remaining sections I have slow-cooker, ice tea maker, toaster, taking up the entire area. so I have no counter space for fixing food. it drives me crazy. I’m going to use the tip of storing the small appliances that I don’t use frequently… they may even go on the spare bedroom closet self. That would help. I think I will find a used table/stand to put my microwave on which can sit just off the kitchen in the dining room. Just a half step away. I may even try to find a used cabinet of some sort I can put in the dining room to store christmas dishes, seasonal items, etc. I will also clean out my cabinets that store plastic items and toss items that don’t have mates. that will free up storage space.

  160. Isn’t it funny that we all have the same issues—whether kitchens are big or small. Clutter is the enemy and it truly does drain our energy! Best of luck ladies :)

  161. Danielle says:

    My biggest dilemma is trying to find space for things in small spaces. We did find a home for our oven pans, they are stored in the oven until we have to use it to cook. Not sure how organized it may appear, but it gets those pans off my counter! =)

  162. One part of my counter serves as a desk and accumulates alot of paper! Definitely looks cluttered!

  163. I have a very small kitchen with hardly no counter space it’s hard to figure out what get to be out on the counter.

  164. Wow, the kitchen is grand central. Paper, mail, reminder notes, computer. Where to even start?? I long for the days of clutterfree countertops!

  165. I DEFINATELY have a catch-all counter for papers, etc….its my office, and it doesn’t look too bad directly after I do a “pitch and pile” but it doesn’t take long for the clutter to “breed and have babies”. One kitchen organization tip I have used (for those of us that are sure that if we pitch, we’ll miss) is to remove everything from the utensil drawer and put it in a box in the garage. Then walk out to the garage to find what you need…that soup dipper, or the slotted spoon, or whatever. If you used it, then it can go back into the drawer. To speed things up, you can start with those 6 or 8 things you KNOW you use on a regular basis, then start to add. The unused gadgets and utensils STAY in the garage, and then at a set time, go to the Goodwill or even the sandbox!!

  166. I like to sort/organize in the kitchen or where it’s most needed while I’m on the phone. I’ll tidy up a cabinet here and there and it might take a couple of days….depends on how much time I spend on the phone!! :) I do make a habit though of giving away stuff that is not being used to a local thrift store. My house has been a lot less cluttered since I started doing this!!!!

  167. Melanie Shannon says:

    Ditto to the catch-all counter. It is a large bar/sitting area in my kitchen. I have tried everything to keeping it clean. I tried making that the place to have our family meals and before I knew it we were back into living room in front of the TV (pet peeve) and I put plant in the middle to look all pretty and the poor plant soon was covered up and almost died from lack of sun & oxygen. The other thing I have trouble with is tupperware. I open the cabinet and it all falls out. Clutter…clutter…clutter It is my enemy!!

  168. Pro356Mom says:

    When my kids were in early elementary, they came home with lots of colorful work papers. I used double-sized squares to mount a poster board on the pantry door for one child’s work, and another on the door to the basement. They hung their favorite papers during the month, including a calendar for assignments due, field trips, etc. I didn’t have to worry about papers everywhere, or sticking tape to the door or the walls. At the end of the month, I would choose a few to save, and start over. I have to admit, those “saved” papers are stored in the basement — another “need to clean” area! By 4th grade, there were a lot fewer papers. Now, my kids are in middle school and HS — , remember these “treasures” only come home for a few years. Enjoy them while you can!

  169. Kristy B says:

    We have this lovely island in the kitchen that is perfect for projects! Unfortunately it is also a clutter magnet, so I just keep working at it.

  170. I am a military wife with 9 kids. We’ve moved a lot and I am a “single” mom most of the time. I was blessed with the organizational bug, thank goodness! My top 5 tips for the kitchen:

    1. Store “like” with “like” !!
    2. Use disposable foil pans for really messy dishes whenever you can to save on clean-up (or reduce time spent ‘soaking” in the sink.)
    3. Use all square and rectangular food storage containers. They store better in the cabinet and the fridge. I have only 3 sizes in the same brand and it has saved my marriage! (My husband HATES looking for matching lids!)
    4. Place a pretty rectangular basket on your kitchen counter (about 3-4 inches deep) for ALL the papers and clutter. Go through it every other day and put stuff where it belongs. This keeps it contained but still where it’s handy!
    5. Set up an organizational wall area. I have a large dry erase board, large calendar and cork board hanging on my kitchen wall. If you want, you can buy ones with frames or have custom frames made to match your decor so they look less “industrial.” EVERYTHING my family needs to know is in this area!

  171. My greatest dilemma was I love to display the fruits and veggies on my island, but I also love all of my glass hurricanes and vases so I decided to combine the two. Now the bananas are artfully displayed in the hurricane vase and the onions on in a pretty bowl and I’m happy!

  172. Darci Wenger says:

    Having an Inventory list is how I stay organized in my home. I have an inventory list for the kitchen, freezer, “pantry” a cupboard with 2 spinning shelves, appliances and dishes used only once in a while, I have the bulk my recipes on my computer and the favorites on recipes cards in a recipe box. When I use an Item from the freezer or pantry I write it on my shopping list. This has helped me not run out of things and also saves me money because I am not buying duplicates ( how many jars of cinnamon does one girl need). Keeping my freezer, pantry and cupboards organized makes cooking a meal faster and much more enjoyable. Deep cleaning my kitchen once a year also helps with the clutter. I take a long hard look at the appliances and gadgets and knives I have not used. This is some times very hard as some of you know. For the items I decide to part with I will ask family and friends if they have use for them, they usually do. I give the rest to our church and our local Help Center. I do my “One Year” Rule for clothes, books, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. Doing these two things help me keep my clutter managible.

    In the same way I’ve made choices to clear and organize the clutter of things in my home, I’ve made the same to choices to clear the clutter of things in my life, and this is pleasing to my Lord.

    Thanks ladies and Glynnis.

  173. I like to run the dishwasher at night and empty it first thing in the morning. That way I can load dishes in as I use them throughout the day.
    My biggest frustration is Tupperware. I always have bowls but no lids or vice verse. Drives me crazy! Maybe they go where the lost socks go. :o)

  174. Pick a spot, any spot and it’s probably a problem. One thing I learned from a class last fall which I have yet to do is to sort (for example the utensil drawer) the items in the drawer into 4 containers labeled A, B, C, and D. A’s are items you use almost daily. B’s you use weekly. C’s are a little less often. D’s are items you wonder why you thought it was a good idea to get in the first place. A’s and B’s get returned to the drawer. C’s get a new home in a drawer or in a box on a shelf that is not in prime kitchen real estate (eye to hip level). D’s–recycle, sell or donate. Every drawer and cupboard should be looked at this way having A’s and B’s in the prime spaces of your drawers and shelves. The hard part is finding the time to do this. The one tip I have for my spice cupboard is kid shoe boxes! My shelves are deep but not very high. And most of spice bottles didn’t fit in the 2 tiered lazy susan. So now they are in shoe boxes. I just reach up, pull out the box and find my spice. A little sticky note on the front lets me know which box has which spice.

  175. D. Cahill says:

    Most helpful to me: do one or at most two loads of laundry a day & put away. Do one easy (towels, sheets, sox) & one more delicate or difficult. If I do more I feel as though I’ve been inside laundry tub all day & nothing else gets done.
    Put organizing table or small shelving outside kitchen area. Train kids to leave stuff there from school. Try to persuade husband to put his papers & keys on his personal shelf near door as he walks in. No non-food into kitchen helps.
    Clean up as I cook; soak nasty pots during dinner. all washed & cleared right after dinner. If won’t scrub clean, pot soaks overnight. Keep dishwasher emptied daily so can refill.
    Keep bill & to do organizer near kitchen or in special place for instant walk to & deposit.
    Do 5 min. straighten up each a.m. & before bed. Straight but not immaculate is peaceful to body and mind.
    I’ve struggled for years w clutter & now (w no small children now) am much more organized and can do quick stuff in 1 – 5 min. but didn’t know how in early years.
    Each night make my to do list out. Have tiny notebook in purse for items to do or needed for each day of this week (& next) I used to often say “when I have time” & never get it on my list.
    Now I’m going thru entire house again to tidy up organization, throw out/give, reduce possessions & therefore be able to extend hospitality.
    Now I’m trying simple, inexpensive entertaining: soup, or coffee, or dessert. Just to do it.with special longtime and new friends
    If I straighten one drawer every few days, great progress. AND NOW I have a file cabinet!

  176. It sounds like PAPER is a common foe! I have not conquered that monster completely, but these are a few strategies that have really helped (I am married and have 3 daughters, 13, 9 and 6).

    1) I go through the school papers as soon as they come in the door. Most school work gets reviewed and tossed in the recycle bin. I take pictures of most artwork and then, yes, recycle. I save a few papers and creations over the course of the year that I put in a keepsake box – one for each child (stored away in the basement, attic, office…). For papers that I may need to refer to again (i.e., notes about field trips, upcoming concerts, important assignments etc.) I file them into the girls’ designated folders (see #2)
    2) I started using brightly colored folders – the kinds with two pockets in them. I have one for each of my daughters for their school papers (different color assigned to each girl). If they have an extra-curricular activity (ballet, soccer, theater…) I have another folder for important papers related to that activity. Again, color-coordinated for each child (Emma has blue folders, etc.) When the activity is done for the year, I recycle the papers and save the folder for later use.
    3) Right now, I keep these folders in a cabinet in the desk area of my kitchen. I haven’t always had this luxury. In the past, I have kept them in one of my kitchen cabinets or on a section of bookshelf in the office/family room.
    4) This system worked so well for me, that I started using these folders for other papers too. Again, I get rid of as much as possible right away, and only save what I really need. Then, I have my folders for … menu planning and grocery shopping, tax documents, church committees, medical/dental/insurance papers, bills to pay, etc.
    5) I try to stock up on these folders in August, when the back-to-school sales are in full swing. I can usually get them for 10 cents each, rather than 50 cents or more.

    The folders have really helped me manage the paper in our house. Maybe this will be a helpful tool for someone else.

  177. My biggest obstacle is myself. I am so fatigued to comlete too many tasks. Even breaking them down seems to be too tiresome. I also have a small counter that collects everything! Love everyone’s ideas!

  178. After reading Glynnis’ book several months ago, I attacked my kitchen. The biggest disaster was the plastic containers and matching lids. My frustrated husband would pull everything out and just shove it back in the cupboards. So, I cleaned off the tops of the counters and placed my decorative canister set on them( Pfaltzgraf). I placed the same sized lids into the different canisters. For the larger lids, I used my largest plastic container and aligned them in it. I organized all the containers themselves in neat piles. For the past several months, everything has stayed organized. I also bought a wire plate holder to hold my different sized cutting boards. My husband is a ‘happy camper’ with this arrangement.

  179. Monica S H says:

    My first step will be to remove all non-kitchen items from my kitchen space.

  180. Virginia Albrecht says:

    I always left everything all appliances and other items on my kitchen counter until one day my husband said
    , “honey you are not cleaning this properly”. He cleaned the counters completely everything was removed from the counter tops. it was beautiful and this confirms it does work and we cook great meals all the time .

  181. My biggest success recently is a sandwich station – I used a small two shelf unit (that’s supposed to be for shoes in a closet) and keep all of our sandwich stuff that isn’t refrigerated there. So, now I can crank out our daily PB and honey sandwiches without having to get anything out or put anything away. It’s working great and hubby even uses it :).

  182. Jennifer says:

    I have a very small kitchen with limited cabinet space. A couple months ago, I went through every cupboard ruthlessly and threw away or donated the things I haven’t used in years. I had so many different serving utensils, some never used. It feels great to have an organized kitchen! However with that said, paper/mail/receipts all find their way to part of my small kitchen counter, so I really need to focus on keeping that “paper” free!

  183. Diane Fetter says:

    My island in the kitchen seems to always be cluttered with mail, and catches everything when we walk in our home. I never seem to have enough space to keep things organized!

  184. I have a very small kitchen. A lot of my storage is in my laundry room and I have extra shelves in the garage. I can only keep appliances that are multi-purposed. I don’t have room for the quesadilla makers of this world. I tend to cook more old fashioned because I have the same types of pans and appliances as my mother and grandmother used. I’m okay with that.

  185. Dede Thies says:

    JUNK DRAWER!!! Actually, I should say junk drawerS!! Should I just not have one or should it be organized chaos??

  186. Jennifer Rae says:

    The island in my kitchen is huge – I was so excited when we first moved into this house but it is a large, flat, horizontal surface that just calls out to have stuff piled on it. Everyone sets their stuff on it when they walk in the house and no matter how hard I try it never seems to stay organized. Four kids at four different schools = enough paper to fill up a file cabinent on a weekly basis.

  187. I have separate “filing containers”for each of my kids’ school stuff-I try to look through it weekly to see what needs attention.

  188. I have trouble cleaning out the utensil drawer. There are so many gadgets that I might use someday. What works best for me is to take everything out of the drawer and place on the counter or in a basket or other container. Leave it there for a week or so and every thing you use place back in the drawer when you clean it after using. At the end of the specified time, the items you have not used can be donated or discarded. It is much easier to get rid of items when we realize how little we have used the item, if ever.

  189. Kristina Divish says:

    My biggest problem is paper. It seems to pile up on my desk (which is in the kitchen) and the island. I’ve also got a pantry that is driving me nuts! There’s a TON of space in it, but the problem is that it’s so deep that things get lost in the back. As a result, I keep everything toward the front, leaving the back of the shelves completely empty. I would love to get drawers installed, but they’re so expensive! I’m still looking for a cost-effective solution.

  190. Jeannie S says:

    My dilemma is keeping all those plastic containers organized. I have tried every which way and nothing seems to completely work for me. I do keep as little as possible on the counters because it just feels better.

  191. When we remodeled our kitchen, we had pull out drawers put in all of our bottom cabinets. Now nothing gets lost. You pull out the drawer and you can see everything.

  192. I’ve been reading through the comments and I’m using some of those ideas.
    I recently just bought a basket for my kitchen counter when I first come home for my purse and bag. I put some pens and paper in there, too for when I need to sign things or write myself notes. That way it is off the counter and away from the food. I’m going to declutter my countertops. I like the idea of baskets of towels-we use them all the time. I’ll have to get some prettier pot holders if I hang those up though. I’m going to have to go through my utensil drawers for what we really need. We went to IKEA and accumulated more utensils but I didn’t take any out. I always have issues with my lids-pots, pans, Tupperware, glassware. I can’t seem to find what works for me. My husband usually cooks but he wanted me to organize the kitchen when we moved in so I gladly did. He just made a new pantry for us, too. It’s pretty sweet! For the dishes, I wash all the pots and pans but we have a dishwasher for dishes. I put a Dirty/Clean sign on it laminated with a magnet and my foreign exchange student uses that well since that is her chore. That way the dishes aren’t all over the counter and it reminds her if she needs to do her job. Thanks for the great ideas!

  193. I believe I have finally conquered the over flow of paper in my kitchen! We also had a counter that literally stayed full of “stuff”. My goal for 2012 is to get organized, so I’ve slowly been doing that. A few weeks ago, this counter was my project. I picked up everything on that counter and probably threw away 3/4 of what was on it. I have come to the point, that if I haven’t picked it up in 6 months…I’m not going to. My goal is to keep it cleared and so far I’ve done pretty good! My strategy has been instead of defaulting to “putting it on the counter” to go ahead and put it where it belongs! Also, going through the mail as soon as I bring it in helps a lot! Half the stuff we get is junk anyway. The biggest challenge I thought I would have was school work. I have 3 boys and they are constantly bringing papers home. I go through the papers and keep important papers or papers I would like to keep for memories, otherwise, it gets trashed! Also, I’ve found it’s been easier to display some art projects on the fridge for a while and then when they bring another one home, either trash it or if I want to keep it, place it in the keep drawer. I also have a husband who has not come to the same place as me and tries to continue to put things on the counter. I just kindly ask him if there is another place to put the item or if he needs to keep it…he’s learning!

  194. Two areas: kitchen island (really a peninsula…lol) clutter and my food storage cupboard. The food storage cupboard is tall and the shelves are of varying sizes. That makes some shelves so much smaller and able to hold very little. I need organization for the two areas. I am cleaning my house out this year. I went through a divorce and am now cleaning out and decorating with my tastes and colors. I want a minimalist home so that it’s easy to care for.

  195. I also have Karen Ehman’s “Brain in a Binder”, an idea from a Hearts at Home conference. I love it! This keeps all of my papers organized, off of my counters, and all in one place. I use your Daily To Do list as well which keeps my day on task and organized.

  196. My biggest issue is also clutter like so many of you have mentioned. I do use baskets on my counter so that at least it.is an “organized” clutter. :)

  197. My biggest issue is also clutter bit.I do keep baskets on my counter to try to organize the chaos. :)

  198. Interesting to see how many of us have this dilemma. Yes, mine is piling the mail, kids homework and school papers, pensils and school supplies on the counter. I try to unload it weekly, but it’s discouraging to see the stack that gathers up just the next day. Any creative solutions from anyone on how to prevent this paper tsunami would be greatly appreciated.

  199. One idea that was passed onto me by a neighbor friend, is putting all our pantry perishables in clear plastic organizers……crackers, cereal, individual wrapped snacks, seasonings, popcorn, etc – makes it look clean & it keeps me from over buying, b/c I know what I have the space for & what I’m out of very easily, so I can replenish! :)

  200. My greatest kitchen dilemma is that our bar seems to be the dumping ground for all my husband’s paper work. I can’t tell you how many folders and drawers I’ve allotted for him, nothing seems to help. The papers always pile up!

  201. cynthia chapman says:

    My greatest kitchen dilemna is that we rent our house and we have a narrow gally kitchen with little storage. It seems we spend more time finding a place to put things, and finding them once we put them in a place. The house is old,from the 1960′s and it seams that we have larger pans, dishes,etc then they did back then. So finding the space is hard.

  202. Elaine Gilbert says:

    I also have a small kitchen that doesn’t allow for many cupboards. Recently, I bought two large plastic storage boxes and put in all the large items that I only use once or twice a year (Things like large platters for use at Christmas & Thanksgiving, a large container of Christmas and Valentine cookie cutters, a punch bowl, etc.) I labeled the storage boxes as Box “A” and Box “B” and made out index cards to inventory what is in each box. That way when I need a stored item, I don’t have to rummage through both boxes, but know immediately what box to search. By doing this, I was able to free an entire cupboard, which enabled me to better organize all the items I frequently use. I keep the storage boxes on large shelves in the garage. I also have a problem with mail clutter and notes to myself in the kitchen. I have tried to eliminate this by going through everything on a daily basis before the stack gets too high; however, no matter how hard I try, I can only succeed for about a week and then it seems like I’m too busy to do the daily sifting and the stack grows again.

  203. Rebecca S. says:

    I find my biggest challenge is keeping my counters clutter free and cabinet organized.

  204. My kitchen dilemna is also the catch all counter. I sort threw the mail upon arrival. But it still is FULL of junk. I’m gonna try some of these suggestions… Can’t wait.

  205. My greatest dilemma is when I distribute mail to each family member, their mail somehow always ends up either left at their place on the table or on our island.

  206. My dilemma is trying to keep my kitchen table from being a catch-all space.

  207. Carla Dennis says:

    I recently just cleaned off my counters and refrigerator. After being in my home for 14 years, it feels fresh and new! I took 2, yes I had 2, junk drawers, and cleaned them out. I took my knives out of their block and put them in one drawer and took my spoons, potato masher, spatula’s and other assorted items out of their pottery and put them in the other. I also am going to try to live without my toaster oven that currently vacationing in the garage. We have a pop up toaster that might suit our needs well enough. I put my mixer in the pantry to see if I could live with out it on the counter. I love the clean uncluttered look. I want a basket with a lid to put on the counter for paper clutter. Progress!!!

  208. I just really have too much junk in my kitchen!

  209. Junk mail clutters my kitchen table. I live alone so I have no one to blame but myself so typically I can only go a couple of days before I sort through it and clean off my table.
    Now that I have read the other comments I have some work to do to my kitchen counter.

  210. My dilemma is storing pots and pans! I have a small kitchen and don’t have those fancy “pull out” pot and pan drawers, so they go stacked in a cupboard and I HATE getting them in and out (especially when the one I need is in the back and on the bottom of the stack).

    Any great solutions for storing pots/pans in a cupboard?

  211. My biggest problem in my kitchen is the drawers. They make me crazy! I haven’t found a good way to keep them organized. Help!

  212. If we have a flat surface, it seems as if it is open game for anything! I intentionally invite friends over so I can keep it cleaned off!

  213. My husband hates clutter! Growing up, his mom used the kitchen/dining table as a catch-all. I think he was traumatized..haha! Since we have been married we have have been space-challenged and I would leave things on the table and he would get really angry. So much so that it would lead to many fights. I had nowhere else to put things that I needed to look through at a later time. We recently moved into a much larger home with a kitchen that has a lot of space. Our counters are clear except for our toaster oven(we use this almost every day) and my Kitchen-Aid (too heavy to keep moving in and out of cabinets). We have a large butcher block type table that has shelves on the bottom so we bought large baskets and that is where all the Tupperware goes and our 3 year old has his own basket with his cups, plates, and bowls in so he can choose what he wants to use at mealtimes. The top is now a coffee and hot beverage station. The other thing we did was found some floating shelves (wood and metal) at Ikea and hung those to store the canisters (flour, sugar, etc) and hang our strainer and some other odd shaped items. The papers that I had laying on the table are now in our computer cabinet, with doors that we can close when we don’t want to look at the papers. Junk mail immediately goes in the trash! I am still a work in progress but am loving the ideas posted! Thank you!

  214. We don’t have much counter space, so instead of placing our microwave on what little space we have, we purchased a 3 shelf closet/laundry organizing shelf. One shelf for cookbooks, the other has decorative boxes (which hold less frequently used items, placemats, etc) and the microwave sits on top. It has been very helpful to us!

  215. My biggest issue is clutter on my dining table!

    Blessings,
    Janet W.

  216. My kitchen aid mixer, champion juicer, and water distiller stay on the counter because they are too heavy to take in and out of a cabinet. The keurig stays on the counter because it is used so much for my family for coffee or hot tea. I have plenty of other counter space for food prep. Two hints that have helped me alot are: the lids to Yankee Candles fit a large mouth quart canning jar. I labeled the jar and use the set for stuff like coffee, cream of wheat, granola, etc. since the lid is easier to get off, is decorative, and still rubber air sealed. Second, I used boxes from the grocery store about 3-4″ tall and rectangular as drawers on my wire shelves in the pantry that I have with bifold doors. The boxes that can be slid out as drawers help me to see what’s in the back of the shelf easily and I categorize the items in each box. Also got some bpa free, clear, tall plastic containers at Ross and labeled them for flour, sugar, corn meal, etc to put on the top shelf. The pantry is much easier to use now!!

  217. I like having a spice drawer. This way, I can read all the labels of the spices at a glance. I also have an entertainment cupboard. This is where I keep hot cocoa, teas, instant coffees, instant lemonades, etc. It’s all set up on a pretty tray and ready to be pulled out when we have company. All those free samples of products I get (drinks etc) go there. Now I need to organize the rest of the kitchen.

  218. With young children who like to tear the cupboards apart (and actually keep themselves happy and occupied doing it), I found it helpful to designate one drawer of tupperware or plastic measuring cups that they are allowed to play with, and can put away in any fashion they want (as long as it is back in the drawer), and then call all other drawers and cabinets off limits! I got so tired of cleaning up all the cluttered cupboards, so when we moved last year this was a new rule we put into place for the new house and it has worked great!

  219. My greatest challenge is keeping clutter off the counters. I find if I clear it daily and try to touch paper once it makes a huge difference. We also move frequently, which is challenging. We recently moved to Boston and live in almost half the house we used to, which I am looking at as a cleansing opportunity! Very time consuming though.

  220. My greatest dilemma is having my future mother in law living with us. She and I have very different opinions on where things should go in the kitchen. She has been with us for 8 months and she has rearranged the kitchen at least 4 times since she moved in. Now I have to ask her where things are in the kitchen!

  221. Christene Catlin says:

    My greatest dilemma would be the two draws (yes not just one) that hold all my hand held kitchen gadgets. I love a new tool but can’t seem to make everything fit. A great idea I do is rotate appliances (small ones) in the winter I seem to use my kitchen aide more and in the summer I use my food processor or blender more. I have a spot in my pantry for one appliance while the other is out on the counter in the corner.

  222. I think storage space is my biggest dilemma. I have to store a lot of kitchen items down in our basement.

  223. Lisa Buchanan says:

    Any ideas on how to organize cookbooks and recipes? UGH!

  224. My biggest dilemma is my husband’s tea collection! I found this nifty tray at Target that I can put the tea bags in to “display”, and one cabinet is devoted soley to his tea collection. Makes it more managable.

  225. I have starting “couponing” to cut down on expenses and maintain a REALLY small budget… my problem is keeping up with all the coupons and paper mess that it creates. I have the BEST of intentions and a binder for organizing… but alas they sit on my counter.

  226. Jodi Howell says:

    My biggest dilema in the kitchen is that it is too small. The refrigerator and the kitchen table take up over half and the other half is the sink, stove and one counter. Not much room to cook let alone anything else. I keep only sugar, flour and coffee pot on the counter. There is few cabinets so my pots and pans are actually stored in the oven. I constantly struggle with the table as everyone puts their stuff there. Right now the only solution I see is getting a bigger place with a larger kitchen.

  227. MY kitchen is small, which I actually like, saves on the feet. My dilema is, my kitchen is small and that is where we have our meals. Help, I need a small bump out!

  228. My 10 year old puts EVERYTHING on the kitch counter. I have to tape notes to it reminding her not to do it for it to stay clean! I’ve gotten stackable paper organizers for the school papers.

  229. Heather V says:

    My greatest issue in my kitchen is that my counters are never clear. It is a galley kitchen and a pass through for all 5 people who are constantly adding to the piles. It seems to be a never ending task of keeping it cleaned off. I can so relate to not wanting to start a project because my counters are a mess.

  230. As a certified professional organizer, and 14 year veteran of NAPO ( National Association of Professional Organizers), I am always delighted to see our amazing industry reaching a vast audience. In my decade + years, I have come to believe that disorganization is really a “faith” issue. There are a million-and-one reasons why people just can’t seem to deal with the overload in their lives. That overload can be stuff, activities, or just the mental perception of time. My clients have expressed that their cluttered brains equal cluttered rooms. Clutter is NOT an easy fix, and anyone can give you a ton of hints and tips to fill you with more guilt and anxiety. If getting “organized” was simple, we would have all done it years ago, and magazine headliners would have something else besides a “clutter free” caption on the front cover. My advise is to seek out those in the field that are trained and have been certified before claiming the advise of well meaning authorities. Just like prayer, living an orderly takes on your unique form, and what is right for you is not right for your neighbor. My prayer is that we all seek a deeper more intimate communion with the Father, and that the first step is to identify what is standing in the way.

  231. My biggest issue is keeping the cabinets organized and dealing with the mail clutter I occasionally allow to take over one corner of the counter.

  232. Amber R. says:

    My biggest kitchen dilemma is my Tupperware cabinet. I can never seem to keep it organized in a way that works and is neat.

  233. Michelle M. says:

    All the PAPER that comes in…holy moly!! I have reserved a shelf in a cabinet that holds it all and I go through it once a week….I can’t stand for it to be out on the counter!!

  234. I bought roll out shelving from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and installed them on most of my cabinet shelves. Since I’m so short, I can now make use of taller shelves and back of shelves because I can roll out the shelf and see and reach what I need.

  235. D'ana Heinlein says:

    I have a small kitchen with little countertop space, so being organized and tidy is very critical for my “well-being”! :o)
    My biggest dilemma is paperwork, etc. that I need to sort through, but maybe don’t have time right at that moment. I have a junk drawer, but if I put stuff in there, I tend to forget about it! I’m really trying to stay on top of it, but it’s so hard sometimes. I also have very little storage space, so I’ve really tried hard to not be such a pack rat and to purge some of the things that I know I’ll never really use, but it’s so hard when I have such a great idea for that wonderful kitchen gadget…….. ha!!!

  236. Clutter on my kitchen counters and keeping my pantry organized are two of my trouble spots in the kitchen. Any “free” space ends up a dump zone :) “He’s still working on me.”

  237. Carrie P. says:

    I, too, have a catch-all counter. And very limited counter space to begin with AND no extra storage space for hiding seldom used appliances. Combine all that and I have to get pretty creative to come up with adequate work space when cooking!

  238. Awesome blog article.Much thanks again. Want more.

  239. I like to buy the clear oxo storage containers to store open pastas, flour, sugar, coconut, tea, etc in. I keep a couple of dry-erase markers in the kitchen drawer and use them to label the containers with contents and expiration or opened dates. This way I can easily see how much of something I have left and also know if it’s still good :)

  240. Thanks intended for supplying this kind of superior data.

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