How I organise my Kitchen drawers

We all know that the Pantry and the fridge are the king of the kitchen when it comes to storage and organisation and always get the most attention especially when it comes to social media!!! Have you seen some of those Instagram pantry pics….wow!. However we can not over look the other areas of the kitchen that are need to be functional and well organised. So this post shares how I organised those “other” spaces. I love the look of cupboards in the kitchen however do not like using them….they are just not efficient and I much prefer drawers. So in my kitchen I have the best of both - drawers behind the cupboards !!! eh what????

kitchen drawers with glasses and cups

Cutlery and Utensils

Between using teaspoons for my cups of tea and knives for Pete’s after work toast , the cutlery drawer probably gets the most use of any space in the kitchen. We are lucky to have nice wide (actually it was part of the kitchen renovation design) drawers side by side. One is for cutlery and the other for utensils.  These drawers work really well and I have organised them with the help of Blum Orga - Line cutlery and utensil trays. They are adjustable and the each section can be placed in the dishwasher. I did use non slip drawer liners, underneath which works really well to keep the utensils from moving around.

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In the cutlery drawer I have two sets, one for the dinning table for meals and the other for everyday use, not sure about your home, but here we always ran out of cutlery for the table at tea time ..sooo annoying. In the utensil drawers I have got all the other usual items, knives, tongs, openers , etc. The only utensils that I don’t have in this drawer are those that we use while cooking, and these are housed in a jug by the gas hob.

Herbs, Spices and Oils

Using the same organisers range from Blum Orga-line, our herbs and spices are well sorted, and I have the oils below in the pull out drawers. On the bench top by the gas hob I have our oils that we use regularly in cooking at easy reach. The only limitation with this system is that I have run out of space for the herds and spices so have had to use a drawer above which was originally used as a junk drawer. Yes horror of all horrors I have a junk drawer….but it’s a well organised one. To help organise them and enable them to fit in I have used the spice drawer organiser from Madesmart . This is a great organiser and works really well and is excellent value.

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Rubbish and Recycling

Pete and I have been recyclers since like ages ago!! so we have made sure that our kitchen waste system has a recycling, organic and landfill system. The recycling and landfill bins are side by side, and in the drawer below we have our compost bin. I picked up this tin container from a hospice shop about 5 years ago and it has made the perfect compost bin. We also store our reusable bags in the same drawer . Tip: to reduce any odours use a small jute bag with cotton balls and place a few drops of peppermint oil (lemon/Wild orange is also good) on the cotton balls. Just pop the cotton balls into the Jute bag and place it by the bin. Now every time you open the drawer you can spell your favourite essential oils, now that’s better than the usual rubbish odour.

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dinner sets and Serving dishes

Under the cutlery and utensil drawers we have the dinner sets and serving dishes cupboards and drawers. Nothing very exciting here with their organisation, just the usual. Use of non-slip drawer liner is a must in these drawers as it stops everything from moving when you open and close the drawers. Our dishwasher opens in front of these cupboards and it makes it so easy to put everything into the drawers….great design really.

Coffee Station

So to be truthful ,this space is more than a just coffee station , it’s a also a cups and glasses space.

The cupboards under the Coffee machine house all things for the coffee station plus cups and glasses. There are three drawers in this cupboard, the top one has the tea and coffee containers which are opened several times a time. I love my tea and Pete loves his coffee. I have a collection of tea tins which I just love and use these to contain the loose leave tea and the teabags.

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The next drawer down we have the cups and mugs, followed by glasses. My son recently commented how he thought that the glasses should be the top drawer since he uses these a lot. My point to him was that he is only here on the odd weekend and we have the kitchen set up to Pete and my needs not his!!!. So it’s an important point to ensure that you set things up in your kitchen to work best for you and how you use it….and maybe not everyone else who pop in occasionally!

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Hutch

This area is both for “decor” and function. The top shelves are “display shelves” and in the cupboards I have our cookbook collection, table ware and wine glasses. A bit of an odd and sods cupboard, but it’s perfect for things that I don’t reach for daily.

Dining table centrepiece

Lastly, yet not a drawer, is our dining table. I do like to have a nice table centrepiece , normally a plant of some sort and try and change it up with the seasons. So for spring I have got some herbs, coriander and I am also growing some baby house plants. One item that is always there is our condiments basket. In here we have oils and seasoning with napkins and toothpicks, all the things that you need on hand when at the table for dinner. This has always been on the table and when the kids were at home we had the dining cutlery, so there was no need to take things from the kitchen to the table and no fights over who was going to lay the table.

For the herbs and plants, I planted them into terracotta pots with good quality potting mix. I purchased a couple of small coriander plants from the garden centre. You should be able to pick these up at any garden centre for a good price and they should provide you with coriander all through spring and summer. Just ensure that they get lots of light and water and regularly take some leaves, this will help to encourage growth.

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Before I sign off I thought I just provide the links of the posts that I have already done for our pantry and fridge organisation;

For more inspiration check out my Kitchen and Pantry Organisation board in Pinterest

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Kitchen Undersink cabinet organisation

To be sure this is not the first time that  I have done a blog about organising things under the kitchen sink cabinet. My previous post Taming the mess under the sink takes you through how I had things organised in our old kitchen and the process I went through to get things sorted.  Now that I have a new kitchen it's time to review this cabinet space again and get it working even better.

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Use of space

When we moved back into the kitchen I just put things back into the kitchen sink cabinet in the pretty much the same way that we had it in the old kitchen, and I didn't really think that I would need to make any changes. However I have found that we started using things differently and some things I just didn't use anymore.

One of the biggest changes is that I now have two shelves and where as in the old kitchen I had just the bottom shelf in the cabinet. I also had to use the sides of the doors to place things, like washing up gloves, brushes, plugs etc. In the new kitchen under sink cabinet the second shelf has turned out to be a great place to store those items I had on the side doors.

The one thing that I found was not working as well was how I organised my kitchen cleaning products. I use a mix of my own home cleaners plus new products that I have received with my new kitchen, such as stainless steel cleaner and stonebenchtop cleaner. I had these stored in different places in the cabinet and it was a bit of a pain not to have them in one place.

I also managed to collect a lot of nice new tea towels and could no longer keep all of them in the original container, plus I have a some drying mats that I now use on the side of the sink.

There were a few containers that I had kitchen cleaning items in, that I found I just was not using any longer. Lastly I was getting frustrated with my storage of my essential oils, it was not ideal and I really wanted to get them into one storage container.

So I set about planning how I wanted to reorganise this space. I also thought that it would be a great opportunity to try and pare down what I really need under the sink and reduce the amount of stuff that I had and so created my wish list;

  • Replace disposable dishcloths with washable cotton dishcloths

  • Store all the kitchen cleaning products together

  • Better storage for all my essential oils

  • Better place for the dishcloths and tea towels

  • Reuse storage and organisation containers from my home

  • Replace the container for the dishtabs as it had a broken top

  • Container for the Steelo (pot scrubbers)

  • Somewhere to put the gloves, brushes, plugs etc.

  • Place to house plant food

STORAGE AND CONTAINERS

It just so happened that Pete and I checked out some hospice shops recently and I came upon some great storage finds that were perfect for the under sink kitchen cabinet; a tin caddy , glass jewellery container and small bowl.

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The tin container is perfect for the kitchen cleaners and even has a handle on it which is perfect so I can just take the whole thing out when doing the cleaning. Best of all I was able to corral all my kitchen cleaners into the one container.

The small bowl turned out to be just the right size to hold the sponges and plugs and it sits within the original container so I can have the gloves and bowl altogether.

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But I've kept the best to last, the glass jewellery box for $3 turned out to be the perfect essential oils container.  The lid was broken which was fine by me as I didn't need it anyway.  I put in all my essential oils which are easy to see and I can also hold the other bits and bobs that I use with my oils. I have to say I am so happy with this find.

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For the rest of the containers I just used what I already had and found some unused glass jars for the dish tabs and the Steelo.

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If you don't have any existing containers and need to purchase them here are my best picks, from Amazon for my Northern hemisphere readers and Kmart for us Kiwi and Aussie readers. I have tried to find similar products to those that I have used. 

Amazon

Kmart

LAYOUT

When working through organising a space, it is really important to make it really functional, If it's not functional then it will not be long until the space gets messy again. 

The first step in the organising process, for me, is to take everything out and map out how I think the space can work well. Thinking about the things I use and how I use them, how I will store them. This process really helps me to decide the best layout. 

So after a bit of fiddling around I struck upon the new and perfect (may I just say) layout.

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The top shelf was best to hold those items that you reach for often, like dishcloths, gloves, scrubbers etc.  In the middle, under the sink I put the everyday sink items, rubber glovers and sponge bowl, then the dishcloths one side and the cleaning cloths on the other.

On the bottom shelf, at the back I have the plant food as I only need to access these once a month.  In the front I have the kitchen cleaners all corralled in the tin container. In the middle is all my essential oils and on the other side are my jars with the dish tabs, steelo and disposable gloves.

 

I have moved all the tea towels to the linen cupboard and they have their own, bigger, storage basket. You will see this when I get to do my Linen closet reorganisation. 

I have not changed my above sink storage , as per my previous post, however I will be making changes on this soon and will reveal that when I do a full review of my overall kitchen organisation.

I am really happy with how I have gotten everything organised this time and did manage to tick everything off my wish list.

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So how is your under sink cabinet? Need a good clean out? Need motivation or help? Just drop me a line as I am happy to chat about best options. or just share your great ideas.

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Fridge Organisation - French Door

It should come as no surprise to those who know me that I "organise" my fridge.  Now most people would actually ask what do you mean by fridge organisation? as it's not really something a normal person would do.  However there is some method to my madness and having an organised fridge can actually save you money by reducing food waste and encourage you to see and eat what's in your fridge.  I have always had an organised fridge, which essentially means that I would have "homes" in the fridge for certain items. Thanks to Instagram, people are sharing how they organise their fridges and well it's gone a bit crazy with how people do this. If you are interested in some of ideas, just check out my kitchen organisation Pinterest board where I have shared some great pins on Fridge organisation.

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fridge Organisation

Unlike some of those amazingly organised, and even food colour coordinated fridges, my fridge organisation is based only around functionality and if it looks nice in the process that's an added bonus. 

I think it's pretty universal that we all actually use a fridge in a similar way in regards organisation, i.e milk always goes in the side door, along with condiments . Fruit and veges go in the food crisper, meat on the bottom shelf, leftovers and diary in the middle and drinks and ready to eats on the top. 

Prior to our new french door fridge, we had a single left opening fridge which was smaller than what we have now. However it had to cater for more people than our big new french door. To help get everything in,  I used to corral like items together into plastic trays/containers.

The best organisation of the fridge that worked for us as a family was the use of lunch containers. As an example for my son, he had his own lunch container which had his ham and cheese and other sandwich and lunch snack items that he could just grab and quickly make his lunch. Also having a container/tray to put in leftovers from meals was great as they were easy to find and stopped the old "container of rotting food buried at the back of the fridge" issue.

Changing use

As empty nesters we no longer have to cater for our hungry kids, so what we need to store in the fridge has change somewhat. And what is rather crazy is that we now have a much bigger fridge....go figure!!! Pete said we don't need a fridge that size and I said well sorry honey but it's what I want in the new kitchen and that's that really...poor Pete he knew he was not going to win that one and certainly not come between a chick and her new French door fridge....with ice making for her GnT's.

We have been using the new fridge for about 3 months and it's perfect, although initially seemed big, now manages to get filled up. I just love the way it opens up fully so you have easy access to everything. French doors on a fridge...like who would have thought that was a going to be a great design feature.  Our fridge has so many great features which I could go on about however this post is actually about how to organise a fridge regardless of which brand it is. However If you are interested to know more about the specifics of he fridge just check it out here

As I said we have been using the fridge for approximately 3 months which has given me plenty of time to work out how we want to best organise it and get the best functionality from the fridge.  So let me take you through the steps on how I went about organising the new fridge. I'll provide links to the containers that I have used. For my northern hemisphere readers I will link to Amazon and to my fellow Kiwis I've linked to Kmart. 

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    1. Research

To get a good idea of the best way to organise a fridge there are some guidelines that can be helpful to get you started. I don't follow these exactly, however they are a good rule of thumb on the best way to store different food products safely in the fridge. 

  • Top shelves - ready to eat and drink items

  • Middle shelves - left overs, diary, eggs

  • Lower shelves - Meats and larger drinks

If you want to see more information about this just check out my Pinterest page which has some good articles to check out. 

In terms of trying to work out which is best to go where for you I would recommend tracking what you have and use in your fridge over a period of time, between shops would be best. As we shop weekly, I tracked our items and use over a  week. This was a great way to decide on how I wanted to organise things in the fridge based on our consumption.

     2. Placement

 Now that I have sussed out what we eat and use in the week, I have a better idea of where things can go in the fridge. To be honest the easiest way to do this is to open the fridge up and map out on a piece of paper where you will locate your items in the fridge. So for our needs,  I decided;

  • Top shelf - lunch items, asian cooking pastes and sauces, drinks

  • Middle shelf - eggs, space for left overs and dinner prep plus diary products

  • Bottom shelf - wine , meat and "grab" stuff such as margarine and yoghurt

  • Right side door - Soy/Almond Milk - mustards and spreads - spicy sauces - nice cheeses and butter

  • Left side door - Large and small drink bottles - condiments

  • Two crispers - One for vegetables and the other for Fruit

  • Bottom trays for beers

   3. Storage

Now this is the fun part! shopping for the right storage containers for the fridge. So my rule of thumb with storage is always shop the home first, i.e check out what you already have at home that could be useful. As we have recently done a big purge and declutter with the new kitchen I did not have a lot of storage containers that would be suitable for the fridge. Plus I wanted to replace the old plastic containers with resuable glass ones. So shame peeps!!! I had to make a trip to Kmart to get some goodies. However before you race off you need to actually work out what you need and the size of the storage containers. I mapped out roughly in a note book the set up of each shelf and the appropriate container for that, making sure that I measured the size of the space to make sure that I purchased the right size container.

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Below are the links for all the storage containers that I purchased. For my Kiwi readers I have given the links to the products that I brought from Kmart and for my US and Northern Hemisphere readers I have sourced the same products in Amazon and provided the links below. 

Kmart

Amazon

Note - there were a lot more choices of product at Amazon, especially with the turntables. 

Putting it all together was not too difficult as I had already worked out where everything was going. I just sorted everything into their containers and spaces and set up the fridge.

So far it is a lot more functional and easy to see everything and best of all everything has its place...which in the organising world is really good.

Just on a last note before I sign off,  I thought it might be of interest to share my weekly lunch prep storage. 

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lunch Prep storage

Pete and I both work away from home during the week, so it's really good to be able quickly make up our lunches. I prepare at the start of the week and put the food into small sealed containers and just take what we need on the day for our lunches.

Baby Spinach - Take out of the plastic bag and clean and rinse and place into clear container with a paper towel or light absorbent cloth, this stops the spinach from getting old too quickly.

Grapes - Rinse and take them off the stalks, drain and dry them and place into a clear container.

Grated Carrots - I grate up carrots and just have them stored in a container that I can just take a handful when making lunch salads.

So if you have been thinking about getting your fridge sorted, or just wanted to know what the heck Fridge organisation is, I hope I have helped.

As always love to receive your comments and feedback and your own experiences of organisation.

Take care my friends 

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