Let’s C.O.P. Together! Here’s My Next Cleaning, Organizing, Purging Project…

I haven’t been doing so well with my C.O.P. (cleaning, organizing, purging) efforts these last few weeks. My goal was to tackle at least one small organizing/purging project a week, while trying to maintain a clean house. Well, I’ve done fairly well with the cleaning part, but the rest has been forgotten.

So I’m putting it out here on the blog and sharing what I need to tackle next in hopes that this will hold me accountable to getting it done. And while I’m at it, why don’t you join me, too?

I know some of you are probably really tidy and organized and don’t need to do any C.O.P. project around your home. I envy you. 😀 But I know for others of you, getting and being organized doesn’t come naturally to you (just like it doesn’t to me), and you need someone to push you a bit. So I’m pushing. If you want to join, pick a project (a room, a closet, a cabinet, maybe your garage), and lets do this together!

The project I need to tackle is my kitchen cabinets. While some of my cabinets are perfectly organized, and my drawers are nice and tidy, and my refrigerator is staying clean and organized, I have so many cabinets that are just a complete mess. And while this is super embarrassing, I’m going to share these pictures with you anyway because this is reality. I see so many beautifully organized homes on Instagram each day and start to convince myself that I’m the only disorganized person out here. Everyone else has it all together. But that’s obviously not true, so I’m going to pull back the veil.

First, let’s start with some pretty pictures. From looking at the outside, one might presume that my cabinets are fairly organized inside, except with those middle cabinets, you can kind of get a peek at the disorganization lurking inside.

Yeah, that’s definitely not a pretty look with those center cabinets.

Well, now let me show you what those cabinet doors are hiding inside these cabinets. The first thing you’ll notice is that I’m missing lots of shelves. So in these two cabinets, which mostly hold my coffee, tea, sweeteners, etc., everything is relegated to the bottom shelf only. None of that vertical space is being used at all.

Almost all of my cabinets are missing shelves. That’s because when I took the shelves out to paint my cabinets (I’m still not really sure why I took them out, but I did), they got misplaced. I’ve had a lot of people through my house working on projects since these cabinets were painted — people helping to clean out rooms before remodels started, people to pick up and haul away construction debris, etc. And I’m thinking that my shelves got shifted around, and then somehow wound up in a construction debris pile, and then got hauled away. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for my disappearing shelves that makes sense to me.

Anyway, let’s move on to these see-through doors. They don’t do a very good job at hiding the massive supply of various supplements.

Matt has a bit of a vitamin and supplement habit. 😀 He’s always buying new supplements and vitamins that he hears about, so they tend to stack up, and they’ve all landed in these cabinets. I’m sure I could wrangle these better, and maybe move them somewhere else.

The next cabinet over has a random assortment of things, from coffee cups, a soup tureen, Cooper’s probiotics and ear drops, our Keto Mojo and boxes of extra testing strips, and other random items. None of this makes sense.

And these next two cabinets are probably the worst. I rarely even open these two cabinets, and I haven’t assigned any purpose to them at all, so they’ve fallen victim to my “open and shove” storage method. And again, there are no upper shelves.

This lower cabinet on the left is where I used to store my plastic food storage containers, but they were so old, brittle, and stained that I got rid of them about two weeks ago. So now that cabinet (which actually has a shelf!) is empty. The cabinet on the right is another one that is largely unused and purposeless, so it’s an “open and shove” cabinet as well.

This large left center cabinet kind of has a purpose. It’s where most of the canned food goes, but we don’t really eat canned food, so there’s not a whole lot of turnaround in this cabinet. And then it also houses some random drink tumblers.

The right center cabinet is a sad story. See those wire shelves on the bottom? See how that one shelf is flipped upside down on the other?

That’s because it used to be on the top shelf, so I had four shelves in here. This is where I keep all of our everyday dishes. One day when I was getting a plate off of the stack of plates on the upper wire shelf, I evidently didn’t lift the plate enough. Instead, I kind of dragged it off the stack of plates. That caused the wire shelf to shift and come tumbling down, along with most of my dinner plates, bowls, pasta bowls, serving bowls, etc. Most of them broke into a thousand little pieces on the floor, but a small minority made it through unscathed, or only with minor chips.

So until I fix this cabinet with more secure shelving, the clean dishes (the few that i have left) just live in the dishwasher. So not only do I need to fix this cabinet so that it has more secure shelves, but I also need to purchase almost all new everyday dishes.

These last two cabinets on this wall aren’t horrible. At least they have a purpose. This is where I store the small appliances that I use fairly regularly — food processor, ice cream maker, waffle irons, hand mixer, etc. But they could be organized a bit better, I think. At least these have shelves!

So that’s all for that wall. Now here’s the cabinet under the sink. I know what’s under here, but I have to dig to find what I need. I just need some shelves or drawers or some way to keep these items organized.

And finally, there’s this little cabinet. This has more supplements and protein drink mixes. It’s hard to work with such a skinny cabinet, but it could be organized better.

So that’s the tour of my shameful kitchen cabinets. I need these to be organized ASAP. I’ve put this off literally for years, and this is something that definitely affects my daily life. Living with such disorganized cabinets affects the efficiency with which I can do things in my kitchen, and that affects my life day after day.

So this is what I’m working on. I’ll give myself two weeks and show y’all my progress on March 15. Do you want to join me? Do you want to use these next two weeks to challenge yourself to tackle a cleaning/organizing/purging project that you’ve been putting off? If you do, let me know what you’ll be working on! We’ll do this together.



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  1. You go, Girl! I think Getting the right things in the right spaces in a kitchen is hard! We moved 2 years ago and I still wonder if I’ve chosen the most efficient place for all the things🤷🏻‍♀️ I need to work on uncluttering some things I’ve inherited, take pictures and post for resale.

    1. Bless your heart! You really are a real person and not an online perfect illusion. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I’m with you! My kitchen cabinets don’t look quite as bad as yours, but there is a lot of “open and shove” going on, moving outdated pantry items around instead of throwing out, frustrating placement of things that I can’t reach easily, and just generally disorganized mess. Let’s do this!

  3. Why aren’t your small appliances in your pantry? And lots of other items could be in the pantry. You have such amazing storage available in a beautiful room . I would go into it just to look.

    1. I have a lot of extra storage in my kitchen, especially when all of the shelves are in the cabinets. I like to keep things that I use regularly in the kitchen, and reserve the pantry for (1) items that are too large for my kitchen cabinets (like my air fryer), and (2) items that I use less frequently.

    2. Good ideas, especially Elaine Ness. My two cents. Obviously, you need shelves, but set up items so there is NO dead head space above the items. Biggest waste of space. Then, go Bed, Bath & Beyond or similar With measurements and buy the clear drawers that you can fill and slide onto the shelves. You can always label the fronts. I also use clear plastic drawers in my refrigerator which is fabulous. I can just pull out the drawer with the greens, for example, use it and put it back. No expired or wilted food anymore

      1. Excellent idea, Eileen. I have not lived in the United States for over 6 years. I live in the Amazon area of Ecuador and no such items like you described are available. They sound like a practical solution for many reasons.

        In the U.S. and also here I have done a lot of organizing work. The inclination to just start moving stuff before planning things out is quite common. Planning time is essential.

  4. Kristi, you can do this! And it does make a huge difference in efficiency and how we feel about everything! Organization comes fairly easily to me, but stuff does seem to “multiply” and I have to take time occasionally to weed out and rearrange back to a more efficient space. The biggest benefit is my emotional well being and how much more easily I can face each day and its tasks when everything has a place and is in its place. Please keep us posted on your progress.

  5. We just got our cabinets painted and I did some rearranging and purging. I can’t find anything and need things I no longer have. I am now realizing I am in a stage of my life where I must leave things where they are. Get them organized now because it becomes much harder as you age.

  6. I’m glad to see I’m not the only supplement junky out there lol. I have chronic illness so I have stacked up a bunch too. The one thing I do like to do is keep them sorted by type, energy, antifungal/antiviral, cold/flu, shake canisters etc. So far the thing that worked best for those was using pull out box bottoms so I could pull a box forward to see what’s at the back easily on the lower cabinets. Having several shelves in a cabinet just high enough to get bottles in and out easily. Looks like you have good cabinets for that where Matt could reach them himself.

  7. Kitchen is fine but my two “spare” bedrooms were disaster areas. They are currently in the process of being cleared out, cleaned out and decluttered. Both bedrooms are 11” by 13” including the closets. One bedroom was turned into my sewing/workroom while the other still has a bed and desk in it but is otherwise an extension of my workroom. Between sewing, quilting, drawing, painting, crocheting, knitting, weaving…basically, all manner of handwork and crafting…the two rooms are stuffed to the brim with, well, stuff. Reorganization is underway as well as an attempt at some purging. We’ll see how it goes, lol! What I really need is a room sized closet added onto the house!

  8. I see a need for lots of containers/baskets to sort items in cabinets. Maybe go to wallyworld or dollar store and buy lots of appropriate sized plastic containers then label them so you know which bin contains the item you need. I have several cabinets arranged this way and it makes life a lot less messy. Your kitchen is just so beautiful ( your whole home actually) and it makes my heart happy looking at the color of those cabinets and the hardware, mesh insets and wall sconces. 😍

  9. Thankfully when we moved 3 yrs ago I got rid of so much stuff that had collected over almost 20 yrs. So when I moved into my new home I was super organized. The problem is…although I am organized my hubby is NOT. I spend so much time putting things back where they belong. I cringe when he says he will empty the dishwasher because I know it will make more work for me after. But I bite my tongue most times. Even labels dont matter. Somehow he must have forgotten how to read…lol. Anyway, good luck with this project. Cant wait to see when you are all finished. I know it is going to look fabulous.

    1. YES, YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!!!! Thank you VERY much!!!! I am super organized, but my husband can’t put things back where they belong and I am CONSTANTLY putting things away in the proper places because he doesn’t. The dishwasher pain is the same for me. OMG it drives me nuts! He’s so good about washing the car, cleaning the carpet, sweeping the floor, but he is missing the organization gene in his DNA and can’t put things away where they belong. Let’s not even get into how he loads the dishwasher! UGH!!! I am so glad I am not alone Joyce! Love him dearly but……….

      1. I’m glad I’m not the only one! I have plastic baskets – with handles! I’ve grouped like together and labeled each: coffee, teas, and hit chocolate; another for seasoning packets, etc. Nothing is ever put back!!! Plus, he buys honey every time we go to the Farmer’s Market – we could open a hone shop! But I ❤️ him!

      2. It’s funny because I don’t care at all that I always have to rearrange the dishes in my dishwasher; I think it’s because I’m just pathetically grateful that my family put them in there at all – it is not their strength. 🤣

  10. The last cabinet you showed is where I have cookie pans, muffin pans, cutting boards, racks for cooling cookies etc. I use an office file rack to separate them.

  11. Kristi, your honesty is what we love most about you. Just when I get discouraged that my house will never look as beautiful or put together as yours does, you “pull the curtains” and I see that you are totally human. Thank you!!! I think just getting shelves in again will make a world of difference and I will advise you to put liners down in all because it protects against scrapes and blots.

    I will also say the I have Corelle dishes and have had them for 40 years. They are lightweight and very resistant to breakage and can take a beating. I don’t know how many times I have dropped one and it turned out fine. Some do break, eventually, but the majority are intact even after 40 years of dishwashers and children and company and pets. Best of luck and thank you for being you.

    1. I have so much to do I would LOVE an ongoing, private group. That’s the only way I’ll get through it all!

  12. Kristi, the first thought that came to mind while looking at your cabinets is to tackle the shelves for all the cabinets first. For your bottom cabinets make or purchase pull outs for every shelf. That is two pull outs for each bottom cabinet. Then make shelves for all your upper cabinets. Get large clear containers for the shelves that are easy to remove for the smaller items and of course label them and group like items together. For the higher shelves store stuff you use maybe once a year. Have fun building out the inside of your cabinets and “making them pretty”.

    1. Agree totally about putting in pull-out shelving in the lowers. I’ve done this to mine, and not a minute too soon. Those cabinets are in their best possible shape clutter-wise, and I gained a full depth “shelf” at the top. Everything is completely accessible -without standing on your head and contorting into the cabinet.

  13. Agree with what another commenter said on the last skinny cabinet-that could be for cookie sheets, etc. Or I’m sure you could build some awesome pull out storage, or possibly have your trash can live in there and have under your sink just for cleaning products, etc. Also sidenote, I thought the dishwasher was going away and that area was becoming storage as well, right? Like food storage baskets or something? Would be a good time to do that too. 🙂

    1. The dishwasher is eventually going away, but that area is already spoken for. 🙂 I had originally planned to make a pull-out basket area, but I don’t really like the idea of those being the part of the kitchen that’s seen from my front door. Also, what I’d really like to use that space for is one of those appliance lift shelves (that most people use for their heavy stand mixers) for my Blendtec mixer and Instant Pot. Right now, those live in my pantry when I’m not using them, but they’re sitting on the countertop in the pantry, which I don’t like. Also, I use those enough to where I’d really like them to be handy in the kitchen.

      That’s the plan for that space, so whatever organizing I do in the existing cabinets won’t affect that at all.

  14. So there are a lot of places that could do with some COP that are more embarrassing than that here. I think the most I can commit to is finishing a bath overhaul, that is now a kid bath. The vanity has collected a lot of unnecessary to stuff. Get it all done and settled, installed and all the tool stuff out. If I get stuck with a detail (Trofast bin, towel hook mounting) I’ll submit my overthink in the design help.

  15. Kristi, you have tons of space to store stuff. Lack of shelves is the problem, as you know.

    But, a good idea for anyone who wants to organize is to think out the plan before doing anything. You can’t hurry this step. Relax with a nice cup of tea or whatever, and, using a large sheet of paper draw rectangular boxes (the interiors of cabinets) and then decide, while you are in the actual space, what needs to go where according to category.

    Mentally map your movements as if you had the goods of a type already in place. Take out everything and put it on the counter ideally (or a table) and categorize the items. Where do you do what? What items do you need to be able to put your hands on to do a certain task? Then put the goods on the counter, under or above the cabinet where it seems logical to store them. First comes the thinking step to determine that. Once you do the exercise, the rest is easy. Even if a kitchen is very small it is still important to be logically organized. It is especially true if the kitchen is large because there are so many available spots.

    If you are building shelves, the easiest thing to do is measure, cut the material for shelves, spray paint or line them if that’s your thing, and put them up at the height that matches what will be stored on them. If they vary in height, remember the cabinet doors will be shut. Symmetry is a non-issue.

    For anyone who can’t build stuff, those wire racks like Kristi stored her dishes on are available on Amazon. They work fine if you buy sturdy ones. Measure the width of the space they need to fit into. I use them where I live. I added a rigid plastic piece on top to make a solid surface. Air is free so use vertical space and add another level.

    If money is tight for anyone, very sturdy cardboard boxes also work just fine. Figure a rough Idea of the size you need. Supermarkets recycle them so if you say “pretty please” you can probably get as many as you need. Cut off the flaps and store them with the opening facing outward and you have created two levels for no money. (Useful idea anywhere in the home.) Later, when you are rolling in dough, you can make a new plan.

    I have no more changes to make. Yay! I used the pandemic house-bound time to work through each spot in my home. That is the method I used.

    Have fun, everybody.

  16. The best thing we ever did for our kitchen was to retrofit our base cabinets with pull out shelves. Believe me, as I (and my knees) have gotten older, I appreciate them more and more. If there is a way to make your upper cabinets accommodate adjustable shelves, I would recommend that, too. It seems to me that having only two fixed surfaces available in each cabinet limits your flexibility. Good luck, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  17. Hi Kristi,
    Your cabinets don’t look too bad. I know you can get it done in two weeks. I am going to join your challenge. I need to clean under my master bathroom cabinet I have way too much stuff; mainly my overstock of bath products and the bathroom is too small to house it all.
    I actually just joined another challenge with a friend of mine, we both have serious issues with purging PAPER. It is so bad we are giving ourselves until 7.30.2022 to get it all done. I have a much easier time C.O.P.ing with other items than I do paper. I can’s wait to see how you do.

  18. Funny you are tackling this! I just started doing this in hopes of moving soon. And what a job it has turned out to be! I bought some storage bags and have some U-haul boxes, but mostly what I have is DONATION stuff! Bags and boxes full and doesn’t appear to have made a dent in the storage sheds/barn. Lordy. But I’m in with this challenge and doing it right this very minute. Organizing what I’m keeping too into bins/boxes/storage with labels, no less! Hoping to sell and find a new home and use SO MANY of your great ideas.

  19. I just repainted my bathroom and threw away a bunch of expired beauty products – although I probably held onto way too much because you just never know when you might need something… It’s refreshing to see your disorganized side! I have complete faith your cupboards will look as wonderful as your refrigerator!

  20. Hi Kristi. After a discussion a while back just like this one, you recommended a book regarding purging & organizing, by a very fun-girl. I bought it – I read it, and I lent it to a friend so now I can’t look at it to see the title. BUT, I am still remembering so much and some of her words come to me often. We are downsizing within a year, and my massive closets will be gone, so, it is time to rid us of STUFF! Tonight I have spent hours sifting through craft items, articles I saved to read some day, and paperwork – that should have been filed 6 months ago. I did make a dent, but one of the other things in my craft room/office is boxes of stuff to sell on Ebay. After I read that book, I am determined to put the VERY FEW things on Ebay, and donate the rest. It would take me YEARS to list…she was right – move it out, and let a charity benefit. So, the next two weeks I am trying to see the floor in here again…and things out the door. Thanks for the challenge.
    PS) I have fallen several times walking around in here – it is a past due job. 😒

    1. Would love to know the title of that book! I am in the middle of purging my whole house. I am 62 (and in pretty decent health) but realized all of this will fall on my son to do if I don’t! I started with the master bathroom-I actually have empty shelves in there now! My kitchen is a complete disarray. That will take some time, although I am about 1/3 done. It feels great to purge things that others can use.

  21. Seeing all of the vitamins that Matt is taking made me think of one of my best friends that has MS. A few years ago she started using vitamin patches.
    Like nicotine patches. I saw her life turn around in just a few short months. She is not the same person now. So full of energy and able to do things she couldn’t do at all. I am not trying to sell you anything. But if you do want me to find out the name of the vitamin system from her please let me know. I would not have said anything if I hadn’t witnessed how incredible they worked.

  22. Our garage needs some attention. I use the garage quite a bit, but so does the rest of the family so I can’t jus to in and “clean house” in there as I’d like to do! We usually clean out/tidy twice a year at least but I’d really like to just get rid of a bunch of clutter!

    For those cleaning out linen/bathroom/kitchen cabinets with medications/supplements in them, please remember not to pitch those in the trash. Most drug stores have secure drop boxes inside where you can safely get rid of your unused meds. Don’t throw them in your regular trash for the landfill, it can cause lots of issues for the land, water supplies, and ecosystems when those active ingredients introduced.

  23. Yes my kitchen needs it too!
    We recently had a few cabinets shifted around and so I’ve been taking a closer look at what is where and why.
    The kids are not happy that “everything keeps getting moved” but I know it will be much better soon.

  24. Kristi, I really appreciate you posting the pictures, takes a lot of courage. For bottom cupboards I measure opening I have and search at supermarket for sturdy boxes. I cut flaps and sometimes the top to make fit, I cut out handles. Now I just pull out box and everything there, no reaching. I have a box of paper plates, cups, cutlery, napkins, foil pans. I have a smaller box in upper shelf filled with baking chips, marshmallows. Another one for Jello, pudding, etc. I can afford containers and this works awesome! My mother taught me this trick.

  25. I hesitate to say this but… the bottom cabinets may have been better As drawers and relocating your dog supplies to your butlers pantry and relocating your meds to the gorgeous bathroom might give you some great ideas on how to organize your very logical brain to logical storage ideas that purtain to the kitchen. And yes upper cabinet shelves would be great but will that work hight wise. I have redone 6 kitchens and know a little about what is useful and what looks great but doesn’t necessarily work. I am not trying to offend you it is beautiful and so is the rest of your house just make it work for yo

  26. You may be embarrassed that your cabinets aren’t perfectly organized, but what strikes me is how little clutter and extra “stuff” you have! Way to go! Many moons ago, you inspired me to build out a butler’s pantry. I now keep all of my small appliances on the counter in there and it has made a huge difference in my ability to keep things tidy which is something I generally struggle with. Thanks for sharing!

  27. I need more time!!! It’s almost two weeks, and I barely made a dent. I have had some interruptions…like company, so I am trying to not beat myself up, but I am discouraged because more isn’t done. I hope some of you have been more successful. Joan