Thursday, January 10, 2013

Organizing Revolution: Week Two - The Kitchen!

Spice Cupboard: January 2012 (It was much, much worse in 2010)
If I never did another organizing challenge, I'm absolutely all right with that because I have accomplished the one thing I've been trying to do since I started this blog in 2010. Although I achieved some success with this space early in 2012, it wasn't finished and it has been a thorn in my side for a year.

But not anymore. Now, it is exactly how I first envisioned it.

I spent a lot of time trying to find the right solution and implemented a few but when it came to the "E" in the Org Junkie's PROCESS, the evaluation never help up. It didn't work for me. When something doesn't work, I quickly abandon it.

During a trip to Ikea, I found spice jars that would fit in my kitchen drawer (idea #4 for how to organize my spices) so I bought a 12 (what would fit in the drawer). They sat for a very, very long time as I couldn't afford to give up the drawer space. During an impromptu stop at a big box home store, I found a tiered organizer and for the $4 price tag, I thought it couldn't hurt my cause to try it. In February 2012, I finally implemented it and I like it. Unfortunately, I had more spices than jars so I had to expand the system. Unfortunately, it never happened and the small success I had in 2012 turned into another abandoned mess.

After ordering another tiered storage unit in the fall, this challenge was the push I needed.

Complete satisfaction!
I can access all the jars (and have 3 to spare) and I've inventoried what I have (I discovered duplicates and triplicates of onion powder, parsley and pepper) and will tack it to the inside door. I've used large mason jars to store bulk spices (salt, cinnamon, bouillon) and contained my cake decorating supplies in a basket. I bought a small container for storing packages (mixes, sauces) and contained the "not often used" spices in containers on the top shelf. I love, love, love the cupboard now that it's finally finished. I'm so proud of what I accomplished and think it is fabulous, maintainable, functional and so organized! I still have a few labels to make for my jars as my label maker ran out of labels!!! We ordered them two days ago and they still haven't arrived - thankfully, scotch tape and a Sharpie makes a quick label (and I won't forget what I put in what jar).

I also organized the counter below the spice cupboard (which I've also done before) but after running out of time last year, I finally finished the storage device I decided to use to wrangle my cook books. I took the advice I've seen many times (most recently this post on Bowl Full of Lemons) and kept only the cookbooks I use frequently. The binder tucked behind my cookbook storage solution houses the recipes we use frequently.

Counter - before

Counter - after

I've learned that changes, now matter how small, result in positive feelings and lead to future and continued success. I'm pleased to joining the Organizing Revolution! Congratulations to all the successes I've seen looking through the others participating.

Ask Anna

Want to know more or want to vote for my entry? Check out the Organizing Revolution and come voting time Friday, January 11, click on #92 (that's me)!


  1. That's really great! I've been struggling with my spice drawer for, well, ever, and I think your solution is pretty and practical. Glad it all came together for you. My problem is too many spices, like you said, I have been slowly able to consolidate and I'm trying not to run out and replace the spices I use up, but force myself to use some of the more obscure stuff until I free up more room. But it looks like you have it down to a reasonable number now. I am working on a recipe binder too, that's a great idea.

    1. I weeded through my spices two years ago (I wish I had a picture of what it looked like when I first started trying to revise that space) and gave away a TON. I still have close to 40 spices but I use most of them frequently and I love to cook! The obscure ones I have in a tub on the top shelf (and it's noted on my inventory so I don't forget I have it).

      The binder was my saviour. I used to have a stack and I can't tell you how much simpler it is! When I find a new recipe to try, I print it and if its good, it goes in the binder!

      Thank you for stopping in and leaving your encouraging, kind words!

  2. I agree with what you say about positive changes leading to positive feelings and future/continued successes. I am naturally a glass half empty type of person. Within the last year I read a blog post by life coach Mark Forster in which he talks about a "What's Better?" list, a practice by which you focus on those things that are better at the end of the day--no matter how small--thus setting you up mentally to further focus on making things better. I recently had a day in which I felt like I hadn't gotten anything done, largely because there was little visual feedback to show for my efforts. However, when I started doing the "What's Better?" exercise it made me feel that I had actually gotten a lot done and made our house a better place for my husband and myself.

    1. I like the idea of that kind of exercise - we all tend to get lost in the day to day drudgery but remembering (and even celebrating) the small things can help to give better perspective.

      Thank you for sharing that idea, I may give that a try - especially since sometimes, I'm more apt to neglect the small successes.

  3. Here's a funny story about thinking you'll remember what you put in a clear jar with no label only you don't and it bites you in the butt later: I like to make homemade pizza. I've got my whole system down and it's pretty brainless at this point because I've done it so much. Or, at least, it WAS brainless. I always dust the top of my pizza peel and the top of my pizza stone with corn meal so that the dough won't stick. It's always worked like a charm, and it makes me feel like kind of a pizza pro. Anyhoo . . . I was making pizza for the bajillionth time the other day and for some reason the dough was sticking to the peel. SO weird. I had definitely put a generous amount on so this should not have been happening. Then when it came time to take the pizza out I was having a hard time getting it off the stone. WHA?! It was weird, but the pizza cooked up fine so no big deal. Then I started eating it. And I swear, the bottom tasted like maple syrup or something. No one complained that it tasted bad, but something was weird. It took 3 MORE PIZZAS worth of this happening for me to realize that I had been dusting the peel/stone with SUGAR. I felt like such an idiot. So yes. The moral of the story is LABEL!

    1. That is exactly why I used my tape/Sharpie trick! :) I can't remember where I parked my car after grocery shopping so I knew I didn't stand a chance with spices (my nose is not that refined)!



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