Kitchen organization ideas and minimalist checklist
October 18, 2018
Are you ever curious to look in someone else’s cabinets? Well, come on, I’m going to show you what’s inside all my kitchen cabinets and drawers. I’m also sharing how I minimized and organized all things in the kitchen. It is so refreshing to open drawers and cabinets that aren’t crammed full, where each and every thing has it’s own spot! There’s a checklist to follow at the end too.
This is part of my new organizing series! I will be going through one room a week at our house, showing you how I’m pairing down and using some smart (and of course cheap) solutions.
I’m a moderate minimalist. I don’t want our home to be sparse and bare, rather selective and edited. Living simply doesn’t exactly come easy to me, but I’m learning, and it’s making my family’s life easier.
My 3 organizing rules
1. Every thing needs it’s own spot.
2. Try not to own more than one of something.
3. If you don’t use it (or like it), lose it.
So let’s get started in the kitchen! To me, this seems to be the most obvious places for too many gadgets, mismatched dish sets and lots of unused things poked in the back.
First I like to clean out the fridge. Throw out food that has gone bad, empty leftover containers and evaluate the always-too-many condiment situation.
I bought this set of bins from Amazon to organize the fridge and then used smaller dollar store bins for inside drawers. (If you ever see clear bins at the Dollar Tree, grab a bunch because they can be used everywhere!)
I usually make the boys’ lunches for the week on Sunday and stack them in the fridge.
Having a specific place for leftovers keeps them from getting left in the back and going to waste.
I have a school lunch only drawer too. Because if I don’t my kids will eat all the school snacks in two days! It makes me nuts.
I put these silver metal labels on with Glue dots. I used them in the medicine cabinet and pantry as well. It’s working great so far. I did try removing one because I know someone will ask me if they leave a mess. And it came off plastic with no problem.
This refrigerator has a drawer, which is great because I tell the kids they can always grab a snack out of there and they can reach it. The dividers came with the fridge, but the three small bins and three-part bin to the left are from the Dollar Tree.
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Cabinets and drawers
Let’s move on to the cabinets and drawers.
Before I minimized our kitchen the first time, several years ago, our cabinets were overflowing with gadgets and various types of Tupperware. We couldn’t use half of them even if we wanted to because they were so buried.
Over a few nights, I pulled everything out of the cabinets and put it in the middle of the floor. I threw out or gave away about a third of it and then organized the rest.
I’m very careful about what I bring into the house now, so I don’t have to do major edits like that anymore, but I do mini-purges a couple times a year.
When we moved in earlier this year, I took a little time to think about where it made the most sense to put things.
Cups near the fridge.
All the cups and mugs together.
Silverware drawer by the dishwasher.
Utensil drawer by the stove.
Spice drawer by the stove.
One cabinet with all kid things.
Even a cabinet for hosting!
The reason we were able to devote entire cabinets to such things is because we don’t have that many things! My dishes really only take up one cabinet, there on the right.
I’m just going to start at the right cabinet and work my way over and down.
This is the “party cabinet!” We host a lot of Bible studies and people. We love having people over. When there are seven families and lots of kids coming over, I simply pull out that caddy and a stack of paper plates! Done. (The caddy is from Ross Dress for Less.)
When it comes to get-togethers, by the way, I’m not interested in hosting the best party ever known to man. I’m not interested in competing with anyone. My goal in having people in my home is to make them feel welcome and loved. Here are my best tips to make hosting simple and stress-free.
Next up is the kid cabinet. I really wanted one space for all the lunch boxes, water bottles, plastic bowls and plates.
I try to keep all their dishes the same so they will stack well, and all the water bottles the same so the parts will interchange easily. These plates and bowls were from Target.
The two plastic bins are also from the Dollar Tree. One holds the lids and the other holds the water bottles. This is much easier than trying to dry them and put the lid on the correct bottle!
We’re almost done with sippy cups, so I don’t have many now. But in the past I bought all the same cup and put the all the pieces in a basket. It’s just not realistic to think I will put the cups together the way they should go before putting them away.
Another benefit to minimizing our kitchen things is that I was able to fit all our vitamins, oils and first aid care in a cabinet. Having these in the kitchen makes it easier to remember to take them! The plastic bins here are from Five Below for $3. Here’s a checklist of what I do when my kids are sick.
This is the dish cabinet. Now that I’m looking at this picture, it looks like I’m missing a few white bowls! You’ll just have to take my word for it that they fit in here too!
And down below I keep my Tupperware and cooking appliances.
Before I cleaned out my Tupperware a few years ago, it looked as if was some kind of avid collector. There were so many mismatched pieces. Where do all the lids go? I tossed all of it and got a smaller glass set. It’s still working years later!
I did take out my rice cooker to donate when I bought my Instant Pot. I already have a crockpot, so that would just be too many appliances.
The last cabinet on this side of the kitchen has glass platters and servingware on top and plastic on bottom.
Do you hear that record screeching noise? Yep, this drawer is also in my kitchen. It is the junk drawer, filled to the brim with … junk. I just gave up here. And that’s ok! If you’re ever over at our house and need something, start here. I’m sure it’s in there. Somewhere.
In my lunch-packing station:
snacks for the school week
The silverware drawer. We have double sets for extra guests!
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Ok, moving on to the other side of the kitchen. Our only problem here is that we don’t have enough glasses. Haha!
I was fully prepared to get rid of half of these glasses, but we actually had enough room to keep them all! So here they are, all billion of them. This cabinet is obviously not necessary, but if we have space and it make my wine-loving husband happy, why not?!
The other side has all our mugs and cups. I try to keep them all white, clear and simple. I bought 12 mugs at the Dollar Tree so I could serve tea at women’s Bible studies.
It looks like I only took one picture of the utensil drawer on the left, but that’s where we keep measuring cups, extra knives and kitchen gadgets. If it doesn’t fit in there, I get rid of it.
These are plastic knives for kids. I don’t quite trust my six and seven year olds with knives yet, so these are a good compromise for us! They feel like big kids and I don’t worry as much about their little fingers.
This spice organizer was the answer to our spice tray disaster we had at our last house. My kids continuously “organize” it for me, so there is no rhyme or reason to the order, but I’m just happy I can see them all at once!
Here’s the utensil drawer beside the stove. I used drawer dividers to separate wooden spoons, metal utensils and barbecue utensils.
The cabinets below this side hold cookware, pots and pans. This side doesn’t have much to show off. In fact, I think my in-laws took a few of my pans that should probably fit in here as well. But for the sake of honesty, here’s what it looks like!
We don’t have a whole lot of pots and pans so it makes it easy to grab one and even allows space for the lids.
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We have a weird pantry situation going on. We have two smaller pantries behind both of these doors.
I use the one right off the kitchen for snacks, breakfast and bread. The other pantry is more for ingredients, oils, pasta, stock piling and cans.
They’re pretty hard to photograph because of the narrow spaces, but I actually like having two separate pantries. It helps me divide up organization and keeps the kids from getting into everything. They just get in the snack pantry.
These black and white baskets are from Ross ($5) and the cereal containers are from Amazon. I like the way they look, but I actually got them because my kids keep leaving bags open which makes the food stale and the ants happy. I bought them for the easy pour opening on top.
And of course more labels.
This is the pantry that shares the laundry room space. Nothing too fancy here. Baking supplies are up top in dollar store bins and ingredients are in these canisters also from the dollar store.
Under the sink
I use two caddies to organize my cleaning supplies. The one on the right is actually a shower caddy. It’s smaller and has smaller slots for sponges, brushes and smaller bottles.
Minimalist kitchen checklist
Simplifying our kitchen went something like this:Click image to download high-res checklist.
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