This Is An Intervention
Yes, I’m having an intervention…for myself. Let me start at the beginning.
It’s no secret. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not exactly what you would consider an organized person. (Okay, those of you who do know me, please stop laughing. I know that’s the understatement of the year.)
I love to make things look pretty on the outside, but I’m generally unconcerned about what lies behind closed doors. If I can shove things into a closet, under the bed, or into cabinets, and close the door and have things look pretty, I’m okay with that.
But last night, as I was cleaning my kitchen, I realized that it’s time to grow up. It’s time to stop being okay with my present system, because my system isn’t working. Not only do I have a ton of wasted space in my tiny little condo—valuable space that could be used much more efficiently in these 834-square-feet that I call my home—but I also waste a ton of time trying to find things.
Enough is enough.
So they say that the first step to recovery is admitting that there’s a problem, right? Well, there’s a problem.
Let’s start with this cabinet to the right of my kitchen sink. You’ll notice several problems…
Do you see all of that empty space?
Those spaces generally remain completely empty because this cabinet is over the dishwasher, and if the dishwasher is open, I can’t reach those areas at all. And the only reason that there are a couple of things on the left side of the top shelf is because I THROW things up there. Yes, literally, I throw things up there.
Even with the dishwasher closed, I can still barely reach the second shelf. I’m only 5 feet tall, so this is about as high as I can reach without a step stool…
So most everything winds up on the bottom shelf, in a hodge podge of clutter that falls out of the cabinets when I open the doors. (I’m continually chasing down runaway plastic lids.)
And this small-plates-stacked-on-large-plates situation is ridiculous. Every time I need a big plate, I have to take out all of the small plates, get a big plate, and then return the small plates to the cabinet.
Now I wish I could say that this is the only problem cabinets. I’d be lying.
Here’s a peek at the cabinet on the other side of the sink…
We’ve got ramen noodles randomly stored on the top shelf (which I love to eat in fall and winter!), and another collection of plastic storage containers on the middle shelf along with one coffee cup. On the bottom shelf, a hodge podge of vitamins and supplements, plastic cups, more coffee cups.
Yeah. This isn’t working. You’ll also notice that I never got around to painting the inside of this cabinet. Nope. Out of sight, out of mind.
Now for the scariest place in all of my home—under the kitchen sink.
The cabinets on this side of the kitchen are the original cabinets, installed when the condo building was built in 1982. This bottom of this cabinet looks like it’s survived more than one water leak during that time. It’s awful, and because this cabinet seriously gives me the heebie jeebies, I didn’t paint it either. I don’t want to spend that much time with my head and arms in or near this cabinet!
On top of that, this has become a catch-all for random stuff—a gallon glass jar with a missing lid, mineral spirits, bug spray (which I’m sure is super safe by my dishwashing sponges, right?). And who knows what else resides in the deepest depths of this cabinet?!
Now I could go on and on, but there’s no need. You get my point. And you see why an intervention was needed today.
I’m giving myself two weeks to get this mess under control in my kitchen. That means on October 13th, I need to have this taken care of. And I’m putting it out here on my blog so that you can hold me accountable.
Now I know I can’t be the only one with these organizational/clutter issues. Give me your secrets. How do you wrangle the mess in your cabinets? How do you keep it under control? And more importantly, how do you efficiently store your plastic storage containers!!?? Those things are such a headache for me.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I dunno. If that's the best clutter you have, the clutter-meter may not even sound. With all the space you have to work with, you shouldn't have a tough job. I would suggest rarely used things on the high shelves and a little stool. A folding one is nice if you don't have a lot of space.
Try to have all round or all square slastic storage containers-that way they always stack easily and you don't have to waste time trying to get them organized!
Oh, I wish this was as bad as it gets. Ha! Nope, this is just the kitchen. I have other areas that are far worse. But I figure if I can start with the easy stuff, and actually be successful, then perhaps the harder stuff won't be as overwhelming. 🙂
That makes perfect sense! For some reason, I always think I need both, and in different sizes. And you're right…they don't stack well at all!
I realize if that is what you call clutter… I am in definate need for an intervention! ha
This doesn't seem all that bad to me….however, there are shelves that can be used inside cabinets…. there are also metal shelf (coated in white plastic) units to hold dishes so that they stack but are still accessible without having to move the others. Walmart carries these but I'm sure as crafty as you seem to be you probably could construct some. Things that are rarely used should go on the high shelves. You would need to get a step stool… possibly a folding one to stash say under the sink (once you tame that mess). Shelving comes in handy under the sink also to optimize your space.
Your kitchen cabinets look sooo, sooo similar to mine inside – especially under the sink!
My plastic containers, however, are a different story. I have a drawer for lids, and a drawer for containers. Circles stack into the circles, rectangles stack into rectangles, and squares stack into squares. When we first moved in we only had 4 kitchen drawers, but I've since added some free standing pieces (a 1900's buffet and a mid century run of the mill dresser) to give me more storage!
This sounds so familiar to me- I consider my self a Clutter bug in recovery. I have been working on it for 8 years and it gets easier all the time. My biggest tip is to get rid of all the things you don't need. For me it was bowls. now have a set of nesting bowls that take care of most everything I need and a few "fancy bowls" for the holidays I can pull out. Make it all easy to get to, and put away.
I use plastic baskets under my sink because they control clutter better, but they are also easy to slide out for cleaning either the baskets or the cabinet floor. It's nice to know that if the plumber comes, I can snatch it all out, whether it's completely organized or not.
I vote for square containers because they save space – and use all the space they take up.
I'm a shorty too…put your storage containers organized by size in a basket with a side pull handle…its much easier to pull down from a middle shelf without a whole stack tumbling down on you. Also, it looks much more attractive to open a cablinet door to a cute basket than a tower of plastic.
for under the sink a quick easy fix is to get an extension rod and hang all your cleaning sprays by the trigger. Put everything else in a basket.
Hi Kristi. I store my plastic lids in square wicker baskets by shape and size and then stack the rest. It took me awhile to get to this level of organization. The key for me was weeding out containers that where one of a kind and odd shapes. I try to stick with a few basic shapes.
Lots and lots of ideas on my pinterest board http://pinterest.com/aimee_jongejan/because-life-is-messy/ good luck!!
I am very interested to see what you come up with for Tupperware organization. I struggle in a BIG way with this.
By the way, this is my first comment on your blog and I've been following for about four months now. I love it and have done a bunch of projects after being inspired by you. Thank you so much!
we put all of our plastic containers and lids in a drawer. we try to stack them in the drawer, but even if it gets out of control, it won't come tumbling down like it does in a cabinet. if you don't have any free drawers, use a larger plastic container or basket to hold it all on a shelf. under the sink i use plastic rubbermaid type boxes that pull out easily. the rubbermaid will catch any chemical spills, which keeps the bottom of the cabinet nice. (just paint it already, you'll feel a lot better about it!)
my biggest piece of advice though is to pull everything out of the cabinets and drawers and sort it all. throw out/donate unwanted or expired food. group like items together and get rid of duplicates or items missing their mate (i don't keep stray plastic containers or lids), and store those things together. use your lowest shelves for things you use daily, your middle shelves for things you use weekly, and your top shelves you use only a few times a year.
The only reason my kitchen is organized is because my wonderful mother did it when she gave to help me "nest" when my son was born, and again later when we moved. One thing she does that I like is use two drawers for the plastic tupperware stuff. She sorted them all by shape, stacked all the squares together, the round, etc, in one drawer, and did the same with the lids in the other drawer. Somehow they all fit in so much less space than they ever did before. Good luck!
OH girl, if my cabinets looked like that I would be SOOOOOOO happy. I am trying desperately to get RID of stuff so my cabinets will look as good as yours haha
Invest in a few little wire shelves that can go into the cabinets. They are tiny and allow you to stack things higher in the lower shelves. E.g. Makes it easier to pull out a big big plate if the little plates sit on a wire shelf above.
Good luck! And I love the look of your slideshow! Works great! Now- my question for you… How did you create you project/photo gallery? Love that!
Shannon, my DIY Project Gallery is simply a series of pictures that I created. Each time I do a project, I make a little 150px X 150px picture of the project, and then drop it into a template that I made (I use Paint Shop Pro–cheap and easy for photo editing). The template has the different layers–one layer for the thumbnail, another layer for the white area at bottom, and another layer for the description.
After I drop my thumbnail photo layer onto the template, and change the description, I save the whole thing with a 1px border around it, place it on my DIY Gallery where I want it to go, add the link to the picture, and then re-save the page. I place four pictures per row with no spaces between.
Hope that helps!! 🙂
Looking forward to hearing the secrets others have to offer! I have the same (but on a much larger scale!) problem.
I always struggled with the food storage/lids issue too. Then I saw a tip (I think it was on iheart organizing) to corral the lids in a basket. Now all the lids go in a basket (that I already had and wasn't using) on a half shelf in my cabinet and I stack the glass pieces below. It is so easy I can't believe I never thought of it myself!
I installed these sliding plastic bins under my kitchen sink and they literally changed my life. Now I don't even see much less get near the wood under the cabinet. Everything stays neat and it is easy to reach the things stored in the back since the drawers pull out. I got mine at Lowe's. http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?Prod_ID=RP091323
I also use plastic baskets under the sink. They can come out fast for a plumbing problem. If an item leaks, it is contained in the basket!
Not looking too bad honestly. :0
For the issue above, move dishes to the other dauber so you won't need to reach abov ethe dishwasher when its open and out foodstuffs above the dishwasher as it would be closed when you need them. I reduced my containers down to the bare minimum and make sure they stack. For long term, read "Sink Reflections" by Marla Cilly (aka Flylady) who teaches us how to bring clutter under control 15 minutes a day without beating ourselves up. She makes it fun and easy.
So… what does the finished product look like? I don’t see any followup post on this