Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Kitchen Organization Series - Introduction

When I started this blog years ago, we were newlyweds who hadn’t bought our first home yet. We lived in a rental apartment and the kitchen was small, with barely any cabinets and narrow counters. The toaster oven, coffee machine and George Foreman Grill (which we used regularly back then) took up the majority of the counter space. To make up for it, I had to use cutting boards over the sink and prepare cookies on the kitchen table. The cabinet situation wasn't any better - one cabinet was off-limits because it smelled so strongly of an unidentified pungent spice. Everything you put in there would absorb the smell, so our small appliance wedding gifts had to remain in unopened boxes in a storage closet. I couldn't wait until we bought a house so I could finally put them all out on the counters and use them.

And that is exactly what I did! In our first house, I unpacked everything and lined them them along the walls on the counters – all 50 cookbooks, blender, Magic Bullet, Kitchenaid mixer. Yup, all these guys were having a party on my counters and I enjoyed finally being able to use them. It was easy to access everything, but they made the kitchen look smaller despite the wider counters. 

As a result, when I had some free time, I would look for ways to store everything but in an accessible manner. I wanted to hide these small appliances, but didn't want to lug my mixer out of a cabinet every time I had to use it. I looked for ways to make my kitchen more efficient and organized. I read organization blogs and books, watched organization videos on YouTube, paged through magazines, and scrolled through Pinterest, looking for ideas and inspiration. The best general organizing advice I have ever read was to have a "home" where each item belongs and to put the item away in its "home" immediately after using it. The key to keeping this up over the long-term is to make sure that the item's "home" is easily accessible so you have no issue putting it away. 

One Saturday, I woke up around 3AM and went to the kitchen for some water. I looked around and didn't like seeing everything out there. It felt cluttered and I couldn’t go back to sleep thinking how annoying the kitchen looked. I started googling kitchen organizing ideas again and discovered The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I downloaded it to my kindle and read almost the entire book by the morning! 

In the book, Marie Kondo talks about getting rid of items that don't bring you joy and keeping those that do.  I started in the order she recommends (with my clothes), but I couldn’t wait to get to the kitchen.  While the "joy" concept helped me immensely in getting through my clothes, the concept of putting things away easily helped me more in the kitchen. I went through a whole process to organize my kitchen which combined what I've learned from this book and all the other resources I have read. This process consisted of Decluttering, Organizing and Staying Organized. 

Since it's a New Year, I thought I would share with you what worked for me in a Kitchen Organization Series. Let me know the most helpful tip you've come across to organize your kitchen. 

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