31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization

31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization

Autumn is the perfect time to get organized in the kitchen.

Don’t panic, but the holidays ARE coming!


31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization

My old kitchen.

My last kitchen was much more to my liking than the one I have now. My old kitchen was designed by me, so of course I liked it. The kitchen I have now is just as a builder designed it. Builders are not always the most sensitive to charming details. I have a fine kitchen and I’m blessed to have it. It just isn’t my DREAM.

Even though my kitchen is not (yet?!) as charming as I’d like it, that doesn’t mean it can’t be functional right now. And really, that is what matters. I don’t have to wallow in sorrow for what I don’t have (subway tile?, crystal knobs?, hammered pulls? stainless hood? fancy appliances? glass doors? Who needs them. Whatever).

My last kitchen was not designed with fancy divided drawers, pull out bins, or spice cabinets. It was pretty to look at, but still a basic kitchen without a lot of bells and whistles. Keeping things basic rather than fully customized saved us tons of money! Wish I could go back and show you the insides of all the drawers in that kitchen but too late, it isn’t my house any more!

I love organization because I don’t like to waste time looking for things, but not so much in that “every drawer MUST be a work of art” sort of way. I don’t obsess too much about stuff like that, I have other things to do. If something is in the right drawer, that is good enough for me.

I divide my kitchen into zones whenever possible. I have the cooking zone, the baking zone, the dish zones, pots & pans zone — it goes on and on! And when something doesn’t quite fit into it’s designated zone, I do the best I can to keep items as close to “the zone” it belongs in as I can.

31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization

Stainless and wood stirring items go in a simple crock near the stove.

31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization

Baking supplies. No fancy dividers or detailed organization, but it takes me 5 seconds to see what I need.

31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization

Cutting, stirring and other ugly randomness all go in a drawer.

31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization

Top shelf is overflow baking supplies, bottom shelf are spices. Clearly we don’t have a fancy spice rack. I don’t even turn my spices straight and line them up by size or type. My daughter would probably do that for me if I wanted to be perfect, but I just don’t take the time to keep up with it because they are in a closed cabinet. I can handle a little disarray in a cabinet.

Simply by grouping things TOGETHER with like things, I can almost always find what I am looking for in a matter of seconds. It may not look fancy, but it works!

I had another kitchen, the one prior to my “dream kitchen,” that was tiny. TEENSY TINY. We hardly had any cabinets or counter space. But I still could find everything in a matter of moments because I used the “zone” method. I hung racks on the back of a basement door for pantry items, put shelving in my basement for bulky items, put a metal rack for mixers and small appliances in a back hall, hung attractive items on the wall, utilized the inside of cabinet doors, and didn’t have excess of anything.

That kitchen felt charming and eclectic, but it was also far from a dream kitchen!

31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organizationc

Kitchen & Bath Ideas

It doesn’t matter whether your kitchen is big or small, or pretty or fancy, dreamy or basic, whether or not you have a dedicated pantry, customized drawers or fancy bins and baskets, you can still have a fairly organized kitchen that you actually enjoy working in. Just keep only what you really need, get creative with how you store things, and use zones as your organization method.

If you can make your kitchen prettier while you are organizing, that is a bonus!

31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization

I haven’t quite mastered pretty in my pantry. Wish I had a better picture of the whole pantry, but I’m away from home and can’t take a new one.  This photo is from last year but I assure you it looks about the same. Eh hem. You can see enough to know, it isn’t perfect or pretty. And I have issues with paper overflowing out of baskets. By the way, I did frame the owl art my son made in school, it didn’t stay on the back of the pantry door.

31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization
House Beautiful

That kitchen, above, is what I’d consider someone’s dream kitchen. But notice that even though it has beautiful features, it is actually quite simply organized. You might not have built-in basket drawers (who really has that many onions all at once?), but it has some very simple doable ideas such as racks on the back of doors and open shelves for pantry items.

Function can be pretty!

Tell me about YOUR kitchen!

Is it your dream kitchen?
Is it organized?

For the entire series links, click the 31 Days Button below!

31 Days of Autumn Bliss: Kitchen and Pantry Organization

Find the rest of the 31 Day girls here.

31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 3}:
The Secret to a Clutter Free Room

31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 3}: <br>The Secret to a Clutter Free Room

It is hard to feel content and love your home if your house is a mess. If you are like most of us (and some of the people I asked on Facebook!), you probably crave more order and less clutter in your house. For us to really enjoy the Fall season (and to be ready for the holidays this winter) I think it is important to address the underlying issue of what I call visual chaos in our homes.

When your home is filled with stuff, be it clutter, piles of papers, dirty laundry, projects, or even too many accessories or an abundance of furnishings, your eye has no peaceful place to land. All that stuff keeps us from seeing any beauty and often times prevents us from feeling energized and creative at home.

Visual chaos can take the form of random clutter, or it can be due to lack of cohesiveness in your decor.

Today we’ll attack the clutter, and later on we’ll talk about a simple way to create visual calm in your decor (and you don’t have to have a calm color palette!)

First, let’s deal with the random clutter! Notice I did not title this post “The Secret to a Clutter Free HOME.” I said ROOM. And that is because if you have an issue with clutter, as most of us do, we have to start somewhere to stop the craziness. We have to break it down to something we CAN manage or we’ll be paralyzed.

I believe if you start in one room, and you commit to keeping that room clean, it will become a habit you won’t want to break. And that habit will spill over into wanting that same visual calm in other rooms. At my house, we keep our family room, kitchen, living room, dining room and powder room as clutter free as possible most of the time. I would rather enjoy a few clutter free spaces than spread the clutter out all over the house and have NO peace anywhere.

31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 3}: <br>The Secret to a Clutter Free Room

Just so you know my house is not perfect, here is what I find in an upstairs bedroom on a regular basis. Yikes! Most of this stuff is what we bring to church (although I see a random sock and a paint can), we bring it back home on Sunday afternoon and don’t know where to put it so it ends up in a heap somewhere. We all have random stuff like that, don’t we? (humor me here people).

In spite of the secret I am about to share, you house will still get messy because people live there. That is a good thing! My rooms are often in disarray because we have kids and we hold music rehearsals here so furniture gets pushed every which way. But I can easily put the room back in place because we don’t KEEP CLUTTER in those rooms. So what is my secret to a clutter free room? (It isn’t really a secret because I’ve shared it here before a few times, it isn’t revolutionary (and it is a little crazy so neat freaks don’t hate me!!) but it WORKS for me!)

The Grab & Box Technique

1. Pick a room that has too much clutter.

2. Grab some bags and run around the room,  filling the bags with any clutter that fits in the bag. Don’t over think this, if it is random, doesn’t belong there or you just don’t know what to do with it right now, IT GOES.

3. You can toss ALL THE CLUTTER in one bag or box, no matter what it is (this is a super speedy way to tidy up one room). OR, if you have a little more time and want to somewhat organize it as you go, have bags labeled as  “GIVE AWAY” “THROW AWAY” “DEAL WITH LATER” so you can separate each item appropriately. Obviously if you run across bills or things you need to deal with immediately, set those aside.

4. Don’t get hung up on micro-organizing clutter right now or worrying about what to do with everything you put in the bags. Try to make quick decisions so you can move on.

5. Then, schedule a specific time to deal with the bags one at a time on an upcoming weekend. Put it on your calendar. Or, if you are really brave and ready to let things go, toss the bag in the trash and don’t look back.

You’ll be amazed how fast you can transform your house, one room at a time, with this technique! I love INSTANT gratification so it helps me tremendously to SEE the clean room right away and then deal with the junk as a separate project!!! Just don’t let the bags pile up, deal with the contents or toss them in the trash before you move on to the next room!

By tackling this little project today, Autumn nesting will be more fun! YAY!

Which rooms in your house do you need to declutter?

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31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 3}: <br>The Secret to a Clutter Free Room

Click here to visit the other lovely 31 Day ladies (including Nester who is dishing out daily help for our messy nests and Emily of Remodeling This Life who is helping us focus on simplicity!)

31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 3}: <br>The Secret to a Clutter Free Room