Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Is Your Kitchen Organized?

If you've never had a professional organizer come to your house, you don't know what you're missing.

My friend T is not a professional organizer, and by that I mean she doesn't get paid for it.  She does, however, take joy in bringing order to chaos.  Or my kitchen, as the case may be.  One night, I was heating oil to cook and I turned away to cut up some vegetables.  The oil caught on fire, and my mind could only think of all the things we had in the kitchen that made it a giant fire hazard.  We didn't have a grown-up kitchen, we had the equivalent of a teenager's bedroom instead.

Let me explain first that my laundry room and kitchen are the same room, and I've lived in the same apartment for 11 years. Three kids (one under 18 months) and countless life experiences have left us with little time or capacity for organizing, so my kitchen had become the room in the house that made me cringe.  The kids help put away the dishes, but they tend to put things wherever they'll fit, which results in a pile of pans and cabinet drawers that won't close.  Speaking of which, my cabinets are long, narrow painted shelves, which make it difficult to see what you have in the back.  They bring their own laundry to the kitchen, but it tends to pile up and wait there until the inevitable huff and puff that results in them finally bringing it to their own room.

Or did, anyway, until T came over.  She arrived in style, with buckets full of organizers, shelf spacers, bamboo dividers, you name it!  She was prepared for anything.  She even brought scrubbing materials (although we had pre-cleaned--that's how bad the kitchen had gotten.)  T's first task was to put our embarrassed hearts at ease.  "Listen," she said, "you've lived in the same apartment for 11 years.  Most people move.  When you move, you pull everything out, you get rid of things.  You just haven't had the need to do that.  This isn't that bad.  It's doable."

She had us pull everything out of the shelves, cubbies, buckets, etc, and organize them into "staging areas."  Tools went together, baking items together, arts & crafts items together.  We threw away or donated anything that we hadn't used in the last year (unless it was sentimental, and then it went in a special pile)--one of the key pieces to organizing.  Then we took a break.

That's right, we took a break, and went to Target!  We bought shelf liner, and two big stacking drawer systems, and came home to start the process of re-designing the kitchen.  This is what we ended up with:
A place for everything, on pretty shelf paper!

An organized closet

An easy-to-use silverware system for the kids.

A shelf system so that I can have a craft drawer!!! Of my own!!!

An under the shelf drawer and "steps" in the back to lift up items where you can see them!

And a drawer system above the dryer.  I put each child's clothing in a drawer, and they bring the drawer to their room to put their clothing away, then return it.  (Stray socks go in the basket up top,to await their mate!)

And that's it...my life is changed forever.  Everything has its place! I have a grown-up's kitchen!

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