Monday, November 2, 2015

Kitchen Clutter Busters

I am a foodie. I don't make any secret of it. I stand up proudly and say "My name is Debbie and I am a foodie!. It's been ZERO days since I've eaten something perhaps I shouldn't have."

I love to cook. I love to eat good food. I wake up thinking of what I'm preparing for dinner that evening. I love to buy good food at farmers markets and gourmet shops.  I can spend an hour in a good kitchen shop with cooking implements. I can spend two hours in a cheese shop. 

All this foodieness means my kitchen has a LOT of stuff to store. 

And I have learned through the years some great tricks to make my kitchen work more efficiently. And since I am, as my sweetie says, a bit ANAL about neatness I have also learned some ways to corral the clutter. 

Just a warning, this is not a "pretty" post. This is most definitely a "practical" post. So if you are only looking for pretty eye candy you may want to look elsewhere! 

And there are a lot of pictures. No surprise, coming from me, right? 

So grab your beverage of choice and settle in for a few minutes. 

Ok here we go! 

Here's what the kitchen looks like....from a distance. 

Nice and tidy, right? Well, there's a lot going on in there to keep it looking that way. 

Let's start with the counters. I have to have clean counters with lots of cleared space for prepping and cooking. But there are also items that I need quick and easy access to. 

Like the house phone. And my car keys. And a pair of eyeglasses. Or 12. Yup, getting old....can't see. Tissues for my allergies. Apparently also part of getting old since I've never had allergies until recently. 

And of course I need 5 boxes of incense on the kitchen counter. And 2 bottles of medicine for my fur babies. And little farm animals with dangly legs. 

In order for all this stuff to be out and accessable but not drive me out of my mind I gather it all on a tray in the corner. Eyeglasses are in the little wooden rooster box. Car keys are in the green pottery bowl. A notepad and pen. And the 5 boxes of incense. Of course. 

Did I mention that despite the fact that I love food and love to cook I absolutely HATE the smell of the kitchen after the meal is over? 

Yup, that's where the incense comes in to play as a necessary item. 

Ok, moving on. 

On the right side of the stove I have my cutting boards in a nice metal rack that I picked up at Home Goods. I also keep my olive oil, pepper and sea salt grinders, and olive oil mister all ready for action in a small basket. 

And my little ceramic pig with the chipped ears. Just because. 

Above the cutting boards I keep my potholders, oven mitts, and tea cozy - they hang on this wonderful magnetic hook. I love my magnetic hooks!

On the counter between the kitchen and dining room is my produce rack. Well, it's actually a plant rack  and I bought it a few years back from Sierra Trading Post for about $20, but they have been sold out for ages. It works great for keeping onions and potatoes separated so they last longer and gives me a tier for fruit as well. 

The counter by the sink has my draining rack and also a few cleaning products in a metal holder for quick access - my Mrs Meyers Lavender Counter Spray, my Caldrea Lavender Pine Dish Soap, and a hand lotion from Williams Sonoma.  I don't remember which one.....since I never remember to use it. No wonder my hands feel like sand paper! 

Under the sink I keep some of my often used and favorite cleaners organized in an old office caddy. It works great for keeping the bottles upright and easy to grab. 

I also have some items in an over door basket so they don't get lost under the sink - an old dish sponge for dirty jobs, a brush and old toothbrush, and a spare dish sponge. 

The current dish sponge gets stored in this little basket that sticks to the side of the sink using suction cups. This lets the sponge dry out between uses and inhibits the growth of bacteria. I also throw it into the dishwasher regularly. 

To the left of the sink is this little storage drawer unit for K Cups. Which gives me a handy place to have a little lamp next to the kitchen sink, which I love for cozy evenings. 

To the left of the K Cup storage is another basket, right next to the back door. Miscellaneious items end up in this basket....things that need to go out to the garage, or to the garden shed, or home with my sweetie. It's just a catch-all to keep the daily clutter contained. And it's a great spot for my garage door opener!

At the base of the center island is one of my all time favorite handy-dandy organizers - I bought this a few years back when I was living in a super cute apartment with a teeny tiny kitchen. This little rolling organizer was an absolute life saver in that apartment - it cleared out an entire cabinet and slid right in between the fridge and the stove. I got so used to keeping my cooking oils, vinegars, etc on this unit that even though I probably could store this stuff in my pantry in my new home I continue to use this baby. Love it. 

In the cabinets I use these cabinet shelves  that come in different sizes to expand my storage space. 

I also use these little clear bins to corral packets and such. 

And of course baskets from the dollar store always come in handy!!

When I moved into this house I ordered this extra deep cutlery organizer which made a huge difference in keeping this drawer organized. The organizer I had previously was too shallow and things were always spilling out of the sections. 

That old shallow organizer was re-purposed in the kitchen gadget drawer, and it works perfectly to keep all those items organized. 

Another extra deep drawer organizer went into the "junk drawer" which my sweetie calls the "tool drawer." And while you're browsing around in there please take note of the package of firecrackers in the very front right of the drawer for easy access.....for when the bear comes back. Yup, just a part of mountain living. 

In the fridge I use more of those clear bins that I can easily pull out to see what's in the back. On the top shelf I use a lazy susan  that also makes it easier to see what I have and get to it without moving a bunch of stuff around. 

My fridge needs a good clean-out at this point....don't look too closely please...what can I say, I've been BUSY!

On the right side of the fridge is another magnetic hook where I keep my aprons as well as my fine mesh sieves. There's also a magnetic organizer where I keep take-out menus, pens, note pads, etc. I don't know where I got that one, I've had it so long, but here's one like it that I actually like better!

Across from that is the railing for the stairway to the lower level. 

I keep this metal basket from Decor Steals on the ledge for any items that need to be brought downstairs. You notice it's empty now....that's because I emptied it and carried everything downstairs. No fear my daughter would bring anything down on her 40 trips per day down to her room. 


Also by the top of the stairs is a this great wall file, also from Decor Steals - that place is awesome, don't you think? This is a great spot to put all the papers that need to go downstairs to my office. 

And the sage I'm drying for my other daughter so she can smudge her apartment

That's it, the whole shebang!  Well, except for the pantry....but that will be a whole other day....when I get around to giving it a bit of a tidy up. 

What are your favorite kitchen organizing tricks and tips?


  1. I tend to use big bowls and baskets. Israel, before he left, gave me a big rectangular basket someone was tossing, and I keep my snacks/cereal in it to corral things since I don't have a pantry. I love your organized kitchen! I need to find those things you put in your fridge to corral things in. Where did you get them?

    1. Amazon! I included a link but if you do a search they are called "Binz" and they have an entire line of clear organizers for the fridge and for cabinets. I have a bunch now at this point. I have also seen them in Home Goods.

      I love big baskets for keeping clutter contained. And I love your cute colorful organized kitchen!

  2. Wow, you are sooooo organized. I don't really do a lot of cooking these days because it is just me. So I keep my meals pretty simple. I do love to eat though. In fact right before the doctor put me under for my colonoscopy last week I asked him if he could please hurry because I was starving LOL

    1. ha ha did you wake up and head straight out for food? I would have!! No wait, I would have had a snack in my purse for when I woke up!! As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure I have a little bag of peanuts in there right now!

  3. I am not a foodie, Debbie, but I do like an organized kitchen and you seem to have that totally under control! Fabulous!

    1. Ha! That's because you didn't see my pantry yet!! It's not that bad....yet....but it does tend to get a bit out of control at times!

  4. My name is Debbi and I am a foodie too!! Ha ha lol. I love your looks warm and welcoming and homey and REAL. The kind of kitchen where you feel welcome and like your glad I'm there and your fixing me a great cup of coffee and then a yummy supper! And then if we hear a noise outside.....we can run out there and set off those firecrackers LOUD and scare that bear off! Lol

  5. My name is Debbi and I am a foodie too!! Ha ha lol. I love your looks warm and welcoming and homey and REAL. The kind of kitchen where you feel welcome and like your glad I'm there and your fixing me a great cup of coffee and then a yummy supper! And then if we hear a noise outside.....we can run out there and set off those firecrackers LOUD and scare that bear off! Lol

    1. Debbi, thank you so much for this amazing comment!! (As I'm trying to reply to you with a dog on my laptop - ha ha such a monkey she is!!) Any time you'll be in the area let me know and I'll gladly fix you a cup of good coffee and a meal - it would be my pleasure! Just keep the bears away...please!

  6. I love these!!! i'm gonna have to try some of these ideas for sure in my home!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

    1. Thanks, Ellen! They make everyday life easier for sure!!

  7. These organizers are fabulous! So fabulous in fact that I even own a few :). I did a kitchen organizing post a while back and there they be! lol

    As great as they are, I'm afraid they were overshadowed by something. Something pretty and homey and cozy and welcoming. Your kitchen. it looks exactly like I would have imagined.

    1. Oh Doreen you are going to make me cry!! Thank you so much for those sweet words! I think that's what it's all about, isn't it? We want people to come into our homes and feel welcome and comfortable. Like we feel at the end of the day when we return home. I'm going to pop over to your site and look for your kitchen organizing post!!

  8. I like that lazy susan idea for the fridge and you are quite organized indeed but my FAVORITE Part of this was the firecrackers for the bear! Now that's a fantastic idea!

    1. I can't take credit for that idea, Deb - that was some friends of ours who get a lot more bear action than me - they even supplied me with the firecrackers!

  9. The smudging; please bring that sage with you when you come to Vermont to visit; awesome post. Again, what an amazing story teller you are!


    1. I guess it's not off the grass you licked it or anything, beautiful daughter of mine!! xoxo

  10. Hi, I know this post is very old, but can you please tell me where you found that metal holder for your dish soap/cleaner/lotion?? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Amy - welcome and thanks for popping by - I love to meet new blog friends!! I know that metal holder came with a set of soaps, either by Caldrea or possibly Williams Sonoma. I believe it was a gift set I got from my sister many years ago. I've had that at least 10 years or more!


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