I love a beautiful Pinterest picture of color coded, chalkboard labeled cabinets and pantries, don’t you? Beauty, especially in the everyday, appeals to us all. You know what is MORE appealing though?

real life kitchen organization

A PRACTICAL and beautiful organized space. I’ve been working through Clean Mama’s Homekeeping Society & our November focus was the kitchen. My system is almost the same as it was when I moved into the house 9 years ago, but it needed to be tweaked a bit. Here are some practical kitchen organization tips that have served me almost effortlessly through the years.

And the photos? Totally not staged — even the food storage one. It really stays that organized. Cool, huh?

Glasses by the Sink

It seems like a no brainer right? When I go to someone’s house, that’s the first place I look. I’m astonished at how often glasses are not near the water source!

Real kitchen organization tips

Dishes Near the Dishwasher

Have you ever tried to put away dishes with a 15 month old weaving through your legs? It’s impossible! Even if you don’t have small babies, having your everyday dishes within arms reach of the dishwasher is a major time saver. By everyday, I mean plates, bowls, mugs and silverware.

Pots by the Sink, Pans by the Stove

It seems like you should keep pots AND pans by the stove right? I would say that at least 75% of the time I use them, I need to fill them with water. So I keep POTS by the water – I. E. the sink. The pans I keep near the stove.

organized food storage

Limit Food Storage

I have two kinds. I love the Pyrex because I can use it to store leftovers and then reheat them in my toaster oven without dirtying another fish. But I also exclusively use Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids for my plastic needs. I won a set or two and I think I bought at least 2 or 3 more. I use them to store dry goods in my pantry or prepped food in the freezer. I even use them for headbands, hair ties and other such things. I have 1 drawer for the Rubbermaid & 1 shelf for Pyrex. And that’s it. If it doesn’t fit, I can’t have it.

Oh, and these are next to stove so that its a cinch to put leftovers away. Easy peasy lemon squeezy ;).

Food Prep

While I wish I had a streamlined food prep station, I do not right now. If the counter next to my stove was a wee bit bigger, I would. My knives are stored in the non-functioning microwave above the stove (that 17 month old, you know), my cutting boards are on that counter and my trash is right there. But my kids like to “help,” so I work at the big counter :).

baking station

Baking Station

I do have a baking station set up & functioning though! I have the “baking drawer” which holds spatulas, whisks, measuring cups, a rolling pin & other specialty baking tools.

My mixer is on the counter. My baking goods (and baking spices, plus salt) are in the lazy Susan. And if I’m not using the mixer, my mixing bowls are in the cabinet above the dishes. It’s all accessible from where I stand while baking.

Cookbooks & Spices

I prefer to keep my savory spices & cookbooks in the cabinet nearest to my stove. I frequently season a dish on the fly & I don’t have to make multiple trips to a spice cabinet away from my stove.

I used to store ALL my cookbooks there but my shelf mounts kept breaking from the weight :). Now I keep my small appliance cooking instructions in Alton Brown’s Kitchen Equipment Notes binder (like rice cooker amounts), my favorite recipe binder, and my kitchen timing bible (probably the best spur of the moment clearance purchase EVER!).

Offsite Storage

If you are one of those people who love throwing or planning parties or provides hospitality, you’ve probably amassed such things as large serving pieces or extra wine glasses. Or maybe you make cakes as a side business and have cake pans, supports, displays and other special tools. Others of you may have specialty gear that is used infrequently. Like the giant turkey boiling stockpot, canning supplies or brewing equipment.

Whatever you may have like this deserves its own space. I keep my entertaining pieces & canning gear on a narrow shelf in my laundry room. Hubby’s beer gear outgrew the laundry room & is in the garage now instead :).

Obviously, this is not everything I have in my kitchen, but these are the self sustaining systems that have worked for almost 10 years. Pots & glasses near the sink, having baking supplies together and dishes near the dishwasher have been huge timesavers for me.

Everything else I have put where I had space and/or where it made the most sense for how I used it. Or how to make things easy with small children (like the knives in the defunct microwave).

Do you have any kitchen organizing logic that works awesome in your house?

Jen S.

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