The Great Kitchen Purge
This project feels epic. Mostly because it was desperately over-due. So the title The Great Kitchen Purge is sadly fitting and not really over-dramatic. We have been so engrossed in completing our workshop, running our booth and refreshing The Little Cottage, along with working our jobs, that some of my regular duties got pushed aside. Oh like… keeping our kitchen in proper working order! I am very happily sharing my simple kitchen organizing tips and ideas with you today! After I implemented them in mine of course.
If you need to dig-in and get your kitchen in order too, I’m sharing my tips and ideas to purge, clean and organize. I hope this post will inspire you to do so! It’s so worth it. And a huge relief to know I’ve finally taken care of something so integral to the proper running of our household.
I had originally planned on refreshing our linen closet for my January organizing post with Better Homes & Gardens, but I did a reality check and told myself, “Shannon Marie you need to get that kitchen in order before you start playing with pretty towels and shelf liner!” And when I address myself with my first and middle name. I listen.
FIRST THINGS FIRST — You’ve got to start fresh.
It might take some time, but before you try to clean, or organize… you’ve gotta purge. That means methodically going through every food item in your kitchen. You can do one cabinet at a time, one section at a time, or whatever you are comfortable with. I chose to purge big, all at once.
I knew I had very successfully been ignoring a particular shelf in my cabinets, and as I suspected, the entire shelf was full of expired box mixes for things like potatoes au gratin and pasta sides. And it just got worse. The more I dug-in, the more expired goods and half used this & thats I was finding. My cabinets weren’t dirty or gross… just untouched. I ended up finding so much, that by the time I got done with the pantry, I had filled two kitchen trash bags and 8 grocery sacks to the brim. I felt ashamed, guilty… just awful about the sheer waste.
Thankfully my husband had the idea to snap a picture and advertise on Facebook that we had expired food that was fit for pigs, and a pig farmer came and got it all! He promised to recycle the packaging and toss anything that wouldn’t be safe. He even showed up in a truck with a goat in back! That all made me feel so much better. I’ve vowed to adjust my shopping habits and to take into account the market is 5 minutes away, and that Austin no longer lives with us. I will never have that kind of waste again.
It’s amazing the room I’ve got without all that food that no one was eating! Organizing was a breeze after the purge and with the right organizing tools and accessories. I had a general idea of what I needed and I hit Walmart to grab my goodies.
ADDRESS PROBLEM AREAS —
I knew I had loose goods that needed corralling, and some sort of solution for my spices. I suggest you make a list of your trouble spots, and take measurements of drawers and cabinets heights and depth. I bought two wonderful drawer organizers… that didn’t fit in my drawers. Lesson learned.
With room in the cabinets, I was able to put some things that lingered on the counter, away. And the toaster and can opener, which are barely used, are now down below.
Leaving space for fresh produce, my canisters and the cute lazy-susan. I’m only allowing a few pretty things, our most used items to take up valuable counter top real estate.
B E F O R E
So much disarray…
A F T E R
Keeping only what we need, use and what is actually current… with the addition of an expandable spice rack, has this cabinet looking & functioning better than it has in… ever.
DON’T OVER ORGANIZE: I think it’s easy to fall into the “everything needs a special container’ trap. Save your money. Most things come in a pretty functional container, and some containers take up more room that what your goods already come in. Get containers for foods that can go bad quickly if kept in the original container, or for things that need a better storage solution, like things that come in plastic bags. Those can be hard to stack or close tightly if you don’t use the whole bag when you open it. Loose items and produce can use the help or baskets, bins and containers. Some organizational items can actually have a larger footprint than the original packaging and end up using more precious storage space.
I was careful to only buy the organizational items I felt we really needed. This will be different for everyone. I love the look of perfect pantries & cabinets that I see on Pinterest, but I didn’t want to go overboard putting everything we eat in a new container.
The above cabinet was simply emptied, cleaned and the remaining items were put back. I’ve had the white organizer for many years.
This cabinet got two new containers for my favorite salad fixings. The Pepita seeds are a staple and I love strawberry Crasins. Both come in less than efficient packages so I got them new Better Homes & Gardens Flip Tite Canisters. These canisters are wonderful. They seal tight, but open easily. The flip top is easy to grasp and operate. I like the design very much and would definitely recommend them.
Better Homes & Gardens has two pretty wood species available in bowls, trays, organizers, and more. You’ll find both Bamboo (pictured above) and also Acacia wood.
What is that saying? “Do as I say, not as I do”… yeah that’s it. hehe. I didn’t think I needed this mug rack, but in my defense… it ended up being perfect after I re-configured the cabinets for our everyday dishes. I moved the shelves, and added a bamboo piece to stack our plates on (photo to come) I also got rid of over 20 glasses, making the whole section work so much better. I only kept our favorites. And a few of those ended up on this cute galvanized rack.
After I took care of all the cabinets and counters in this part of the kitchen, I turned my attention to our pantry.
Or pantry was built by Jimmy, taking advantage of an odd little spot in the right hand corner there, by the sun room door.
B E F O R E
(please excuse the late night, grainy cell phone photo)
A F T E R
Funny fact. The day after I cleaned this all out, Jim used the Instant Pot and made us a roast for dinner while I worked. It was delicious. Totally worth cleaning the kitchen.
This is more of the same. With everything we didn’t eat, need or use, there was suddenly room to get things organized, with room for everything to be put in place properly.
The stacking metal baskets fit perfectly! I could not have gotten much luckier. Unless a little nail-hole filling elf came and visited overnight.
I love cereal. But in the spirit of only opening what I can eat before it goes stale, I bought two more of the flip tite canisters and now, if there isn’t an empty canister to put a new one in, I have to finish what is open first.
Is that considered adulting?
Because I’d really like a bowl of Lucky Charms.
Our recycling service just changed drastically and now we are very limited to what we can recycle. I got the burlap storage box for cardboard packaging that is not longer accepted, so I can break it down and condense it. We are still trying to figure out the best course of action for disposing of it. I just can’t throw it away. It feels wrong.
And that is the end of my kitchen purging story.
All except for the two previously tangled-up utensil drawers and the everyday dish cabinet I forgot to take pictures of. The rain stopped for about and hour and I was racing to get these pictures so I could share what I’d accomplished, and have you actually see them. Living in the Pacific Northwest can be light challenging with all our rain, but it’s pretty enough to make it all worth it.
Thanks for joining me on my little kitchen adventure. If you get the urge to purge, I’d love to see your before and afters, or just to hear about your project. Join me on Facebook for easy commenting and casual chats. xo Shannon
I’m thrilled to be kicking-off another year sharing the Better Homes & Gardens line from Walmart with you! It’s important to me that this line fits most of our budgets and we can all feel inspired by the great design and affordable prices. Some of the links to the products and items I used are affiliate links. That mean I may make a very small commission if you choose to buy something, but you’ll never pay a penny more for it.
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