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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

79 Monthly Organizing Challenge: Kitchen Intro

Happy February my bloggy pals!

I am back to launch another monthly challenge, this month we are tackling the hub of the home, the KITCHEN!


It's all about sharing ideas, working together and conquering our organizing projects one step at a time.  And organizing is so much more fun when you have someone to do it with {or hundreds of people to do it with}, so let's do this together!

To kick things off let's chat about some of my favorite kitchen organizing tips:
  • Counter clutter is typically the top culprit in the kitchen.  Determine why your counter clutter is appearing and create solutions for those items.  Temporary papers, give them a review basket.  Returns?  Pop a bag or bin in your coat closet that you can grab when you head to the store.   Dishes?  Set a goal to do them each evening before you head to bed.
  • Drawer dividers will be your best friend in the kitchen.  By adding dividers to the drawers, you have to think about and categorize your belongings.  It forces you to edit what you put into the drawers {no more just tossing everything in}, and also helps you quickly find what you are looking for without digging endlessly for that garlic press.
  • Edit down your small kitchen tools.  It's amazing how many items a good knife can replace.  Donate duplicate items and keep the pieces that serve multiple functions.
  • Store dried goods in clear, air-tight containers.  This prolongs the life of the foods and always gives you a quick visual inventory of your pantry stock.
  • Create a meal plan for your family.  Just a couple minutes of planning during the weekend can save you boatloads of time, money and frustration when the busy week hits.  
  • Don't be afraid to start with a blank slate.  Take everything out of your cabinets and be selective about what you put back.  Dispose of expired foods and think about how you use your kitchen each day.  Put pans near the stove and dishes near the dishwasher.  Keep children's dishes in low cabinets or drawers for kids to reach.  Just because a cabinet is typically intended for a single purpose, don't be afraid to challenge that and use it for how it makes the most sense for you.
  • Use lazy susans and tiered shelving to maximize shelf space and to make items in your cabinets easier to view and access.
  • Consider the frequency of use of your small appliances.  There are so many specialty items such as quesadilla makers and panini presses that are only used a few times per year.  If you are low on cabinet space, it may be time to pair down the small appliances that take up so much room.
  • Use pull out shelves and drawers within your cabinets to give yourself easy access to items in the back of the cupboard.
  • Remember there is a lot of unused space in the kitchen on the backs of cabinets and doors.  Command hooks, over the door organizers and cork tiles are all great items that can provide extra storage where you would least expect it.
  • Clean out your fridge and freezer and take inventory of the contents to make meal planning easier and to reduce over-purchasing at the grocery store.


So where does one begin?
  1. Make a list of things you are hoping to tackle this month to get your kitchen in working order.  Be realistic and only take on what you can commit to and pick your battles.  It doesn't have to be an entire space overhaul, just enough to feel stress free about your time in the kitchen each day.
  2. Find inspiration.  Check out the www and your favorite magazines for ideas and products to spark your creativity.
  3. Schedule it in!  Make time to get it done, whether it is 15 minutes per day or an hour on a weekend.  Ask for help watching the kids or get them involved to help with sorting and any crafting.
  4. Blank slate it!  Anytime I take on an organizing project, it is great to start with a blank slate.  It allows you to properly evaluate what you have and place things back where they make the most sense vs. where they have been for the last eight years.
  5. Sort.  Sort down your contents into categories and piles.  Make sure you have a purge pile!  It's time to clear out the clutter!
  6. Purge.  Say farewell to all of those things holding you back from living simply.  Only keep what you need and love, say farewell to all the rest.  Sell on Craigslist, donate to Goodwill, recycle recycle recycle.
  7. Store it!  Now that you have cleared the clutter, it is time to store the remaining items.  Use what you have and shop your home for additional items.  Check out thrift stores, the dollar store or the Container Store to find things that fit your storage needs.  Or, DIY your own storage for a custom fit, to save moolah and because crafting and projecting is fun!
  8. Share it!  Blog about your projects and share them with the world!  You have just accomplished something, you should be proud!  At the end of the month, we will link up all of our projects and share the ideas and inspiration with the IHeart Organizing community!


This blog isn't just about organizing, it's about getting your hands dirty.  Whether making a tag from scrapbooking supplies or re-purposing a wine crate as pantry storage.... let's dare to DIY something fun while working on our kitchen spaces!

To not only bring us some inspiration, but to also spark a few DIY ideas, here are a few that have recently caught my eye:

  • Add additional storage by making over a bookcase.  Go the extra mile and DIY some pretty labels for dry goods.
{source}

  • DIY a lovely little recipe box.
{source}

  • And then use those recipes to plan your weekly menu on a pretty menu board.
{source}

  • Keep track of your grocery list on a pretty chalkboard tablet created from an old cutting board.
{source}

  • Use standard hardware from a Home Improvement store to create easy to access utensil storage.
{source}

  • Line your drawers with pretty papers.


  • Paint the inside of your cabinets or pantry for an unexpected happy surprise.
{source}

  • Get creative when storing your spices.
{source}

  • Repurpose an old cabinet or armoire as a pantry.
{source}


So who is excited to tackle the kitchen with me?  I will be sharing a few of our projects along the way this month, but what I am most excited about is seeing yours at the end of the month during the Link Party!

What other kitchen organizing tips do you have to share to kick off the challenge?  Any projects that are working wonders for you?  How about favorite product picks that you couldn't function without?


79 comments:

  1. I soooooo need to do this. I started at the beginning of January but got so overwhelmed I gave up and moved on to another room, my kitchen is constantly messy and disorganized, I REALLY need to sort things out!!

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  2. So excited about this one! Did a bunch of home office stuff in January, but haven't had time to post it yet. Anyway, my latest trick in the kitchen is this, which I switched to in January-I moved the black plastic dish draining rack to a deep bottom drawer to use as a way to hold all the pot and pan lids. They were driving me crazy, but now they are perfectly organized and never slide around. And, I could only do this because of a new fav product-a cheap black drying mat from WalMart, which I think looks much better on the counter than the dish rack anyway, and works better too!

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  3. I spend SO much time in my kitchen. With four boys and my hubby, it feels like all I do is cook!
    When we moved into this house I was only two weeks post-Caesarian, so everything got unpacked for me. I feel like- nearly four years and another baby later- that I'm only now reassessing my space and making it work better. I love your clean slate idea, Jen. There really is no reason that my cereal is on the top shelf of the pantry other than that's where it's always been!
    Super excited about this one! I feel some new labels coming on...

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  4. Paint the inside of your cabinets or panty for an unexpected happy surprise.

    Hehe...

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha, I do that all the time. I have a feeling it will happen a couple times this month. :) Thanks for catching that!

      xo,
      Jen

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  5. I really love that spice storage. I may have to make that my first project!

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    Replies
    1. Where did u buy the small bottles for spice?

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  6. Though you shared many great tips today, the one that speaks to me the loudest is the scheduling it in even for 15 minutes. I'll get a whole lot more done if I do a drawer in 15 than if I wait to tackle the whole kitchen over two days.

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely! One drawer at a time my friend. It doesn't have to happen overnight. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  7. oef, I so wish they make pantry's in dutch homes, and a separate laundry room... but unless I build my own house... I will have to do with what I got! So, I am going to think hard on how to make my small kitchen more to my like!

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  8. yes! Thank you for mentioning it!
    Usually we do this sort of stuff when spring is coming in. But I like to be ready at that time because we need to go outside and celebrate the nice weather!
    In my old home I used to do 1 cabinet/drawer etc a weak. I cleaned it, emptied it and rearranged everything. It was great because I stayed on top of everything.
    But in this home I never started this habit and now I miss it.
    So, time to start blank and after that start with it again!

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  9. The kitchen is one of my favorite areas to organize! I keep two crocks right next to the stove for utensils like wooden spoons, spatulas, strainers, whisks. Placing things near where you use them is key! Happy organizing, everyone!

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  10. Oh no - I haven't even finished my office yet ... inspiring as always Jen.

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  11. Some of my favorite products are the pantry sized cansolidators from Shelf Reliance for can storage. To create a pantry when you don't have one the IVAR System from IKEA is a versatile and inexpensive option. OXO Containers, while not exactly inexpensive are a great way to store dry goods and well worth the extra $$.

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  12. Going through the freezer and cabinets and getting rid of expired food cleared up so much space for us! It's a little scary to see how long we've held on to random cans of food and mystery frozen dinner leftovers. Clearing out the old things really freed up a lot of space for us.

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  13. I'm excited! We're downsizing (again) in May to a new townhouse so I've been obsessed with your blog. While I'm excited to start fresh in a brand new kitchen, I just know we'll have much less space than we have now. Time to tighten up and get serious. Thanks for all you do.

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  14. There is a somewhat embarrassing spelling error above the pretty painted pantry... :)

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    Replies
    1. Be ready to blush, I have a feeling it will happen a few times this month... :)

      xo,
      Jen

      Delete
  15. I'm super sad that I found you blog a little too late to participate in the the office organization month because my office could use some help but I'm really excited to organize my kitchen but there is so much to do!

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  16. I'm not going to lie, tackling the kitchen scares me a bit, haha! But its something I have been wanting to do for a while now. I guess its time! Love all of this inspiration and advice.

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    Replies
    1. You can do it! :) I am cheering you on from here!

      xo,
      Jen

      Delete
  17. My thing is paper....school papers, bills, stuff I can't throw out! What do I do with all of this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Create a small command center in a nook on your counter or utilize some empty wall space with wall pockets. You could also pop a basket on your counter with a few manilla folders tucked inside. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  18. This makes me excited! The kitchen (or I should say Pantry) is next on my organization list! Trying to find the perfect glass containers and wood crates.

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  19. Hi Jen, loving these new series!!

    My top kitchen organising tips...

    1. DRAWERS! All our cupboards, have internal pullout drawers (19 at the last count) and they make life so much easier- easier to organise to start with, easier to keep tidy and organised and easier to reach and see everything you have so no nasties can lurk in the back of cupboards!

    2. Decide on a colour palette for your stuff and stick with it. Mine is white, silver & purple and no matter how cute something is or how much I want it just because it us cute - if its not the right colour I don't buy it. Saved me a fortune! Mind you on the flip side it did take me 2 years to find oven gloves that were the right shade if purple lol.

    3. Finally keep your worktops clear of all but totally essential items and dusplay decorative items instead so it feels less a work space and more a family space. I only have a kettle, toaster & microwave out - everything else functional is i one of the 19 drawers!

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    Replies
    1. Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing!

      xo,
      Jen

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  20. I've been sighing over my kitchen for a while now. I think that I'll use your link party as a goal for streamlining my kitchen. For some reason, clutter and mess seem to migrate to my counters and top of the fridge. Thanks for the inspiration photos; I particularly like the ones that encourage thinking outside the box.

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  21. Yay! I sat down to have a cup of tea before i dove into two huge totes of un-filed papers and a bunch of other who knows what... then I read this post! Threw some music on and now I'm ready to organize! Girls, Jen Jones will do that to ya :)

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    Replies
    1. Now that made my morning! THANK YOU Jaime!!

      xo,
      Jen

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  22. Thanks for sharing my picture. I have yet to tackle organizing our kitchen drawers and they're a mess! Maybe this month in honor of our linky party???

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    Replies
    1. You can do it my friend! Maybe a drawer a day? Can't wait to see!

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  23. I just wanted to say thank you for your fantastic blog. It inspired me to really take a hard look at my house and start appreciating it more by making it pretty and organized. I only did two rooms so far, but slowly but surely it will get there.

    Wanda http://weedesigngroup.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Hey! Two rooms is a huge accomplishment! Kudos to you!! <3

      xo,
      Jen

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  24. So, I thought I was doing OK on the kitchen organisation front, until you spoke the words 'panini press' and aired my dirty secret. I can't part with it... I have dreams of making amazing cafe-like paninis! Guess it's time to use it or lose it. Also, I have a garlic press, and I hate it. Fiddly to use, hard to clean, I'm getting rid of it today! Thanks for the motivation Jen.

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  25. Soooo excited for kitchen month! It's the hub of our house (and my favorite, of course)

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  26. Eeek! I suddenly want to rip everything out of my kitchen cabinets and drawers and start over. I love all the little ideas that are not that difficult {emily's board and all of those pretty papers under clear organizers}. So smart.

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  27. Thanks for sharing your ideas! Love to organize! Now must find pretty paper!!! :)

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  28. Jen,
    I found your blog a few weeks ago because I was scouring the www for ideas on how to best organize my kitchen. A few years ago my husband and I bought a whole kitchen worth of cabinets from the company he worked for. They were from the company's showroom (they were upgrading) so we got a great deal on them ($1000!) but I've never really gotten them properly organized. After reading your blog I did a MAJOR overhaul on my kitchen, and my cupboards and drawers have never been more organized! I've still got to work on my pantry but I've made a lot of progress thanks to you. I just wish I'd taken before and after photos.
    I've also started working on my living room area which is a similar layout to yours. Seeing your built-in bookcases was an "ah ha" moment for me and I'm working on something similar for our space. I'm looking forward to seeing your projects!

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    Replies
    1. Wow! What a great deal on the cabinets! Great job with your overhaul, I bet it felt amazing! Sometimes "after" photos are enough, you should be proud! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  29. This is definitely my kind of challenge; however, it will be more of a full house organizing challenge for me! I move into my new home February 21!

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  30. I just did some major organizing in my pantry and with my spices. Next on the list for this month is my mail and papers and under the sink. I can't wait to link up at the end of the month!

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  31. I'm not going to say I'm excited to join you. I'm not. Truth be told, I'm a little afraid. However, nothing gets things done around my house better than adding a "blog" component. So, yes. Let's do this thing!

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    Replies
    1. Love your honesty! I agree that sometimes the process of blogging about a project is the best part! It's always good to find the positive in any project or chore you are tackling.

      xo,
      Jen

      Delete
  32. I just did a major re-org to my pantry and my spices and next on the list is mail and under the sink. I can't wait to link up at the end of the month!

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  33. Love this!! Kitchens are my favorite to organize... and the hardest. I'm always looking for new good ideas and I always love what you come up with!

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  34. Thanks for all the tips! My pantry is on the to-do list this month, and I'm not looking forward to it at all! As far as tips go, you pretty much covered it all. I would just add to check pinterest for design and DIY ideas. It's a great place for inspiration. Invest in cloth bags for grocery shopping to cut down on plastic bag hoarding or at least recycle plastic bags at local grocery stores (some of them have their plastic bag recycling bins next to the entrance. Looking forward to the linky party, thanks for the motivation :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Great tips about the shopping bags! We use green bags as well, but if we happen to be out without them, asking for paper or remembering to recycle the plastic ones is a great alternative.

      xo!
      Jen

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  35. Hi Jen! Soooooooooo excited about this monthly challenge! I am 18, so I currently still live at home with my parents. But hopefully within the next month my fiance & I will be getting our own place! So excited! But for now, I know my mom's kitchen could sure use some organizing and rearranging. I know she will probably be even more excited than me about getting to practice on her kitchen until I have my own. Hehe. I've recently found your blog and have become SO inspired by everything I read!! Its all so realistic & totally manageable. Thank you for all that you post for us! I have ordered a few printouts from your Etsy shop that I am very excited about as well. I wanted to ask you how that whole process worked too. I know its a digital file, so will I receive that in an e-mail? Thanks again! The kitchen is my absolute favorite room to be in as I love to cook! So it appears as though I've found your blog at just the right time. =]

    Kaelyn O.

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    Replies
    1. That is so awesome Kaelyn! I love that you are so involved at home and excited to organize with your mom! It will make moving into your own place so much easier when you bring those ideas and skills with you!

      And yep, be on the lookout for an email with your order attached.

      Thanks so much!
      Jen

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  36. I cant tell you how much I love your blog!! It completely brightens my life! Thank you Jen! :)

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    Replies
    1. And I can't tell you how much you readers brighten my day! Muah!

      xo,
      Jen

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  37. These organizing challenges are the BEST! I'm so excited to get this party started. Thanks for hosting these, Jen. I had a great time sharing my office organization last month!

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  38. We need printables (like the others in your Etsy shop) for our recipe binders!! Thanks!

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  39. Ok here goes I am a hoarder, but its ok I have gone public on my blog now HAVE to tidy up my house and get my get my actin gear. Please pop by would love any further tips , you can see the challenge I have ahead of me.

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  40. I am super excited about this project now! thank you for inspiring me going to get started on this first thing tonight lets see where it takes me. love all of the cute ideas for storage too they fantastic! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @ www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com

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  41. I just pinned everything on this page. And you gave me the very best idea for an armoire serving as a pantry. Clever girl, you are. Thank you and yay for February.

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  42. The one room I was praying you wouldn't pick to do next, lol. Only because it needs it the most. Guess I better get started :)

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  43. SO many pretty ideas!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  44. I did all this a few months ago.. The problem with my kitchen is my cabinets and drawers are not deep at all..I only have so much space. I threw out a lot of items I no longer used and things are still messy :( I don't have a pantry either

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  45. I love the idea of painting the inside of the pantry!! Going to need to do that soon!

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  46. Oh I really need this. Only problem is, I hate our kitchen - mostly the layout and dark benchtops - so I hate being in there. I know this could change that, but without the money to tackle the big job I am worried I won't stay motivated. You are a wonderful coach though!!

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  47. Found your blog a while back and love it. We have just moved into rental accommodation (moved from the UK to NZ) so had a major clear out before hand. I love a clean and tidy kitchen but do need to find some cute labels for all the IKEA jars I brought over!
    I have a somewhat de cluttered kitchen. I use Le Creuset dishwear so I go straight from oven/stove to table. Means less dishwear.
    I love to bake so would love a post on how to organise all those bits and pieces. I store all my cooking stuff in one draw, sprinkles etc in small jars and icing bits in a small bowl. Cupcake paper stored in a jar (thanks pinterest).
    Have just lined my draws today as well and have always used simple plastic place mats in the fridge. Own a freezer that is sorted in sections depending on type of meat, fish or vegies.
    Can't wait to read what ideas you have this month.

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  48. Looking forward to this month's focus on the kitchen! Just reading your post this morning got me motivated and I've already checked a couple small things off my list!
    - Lora

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  49. So happy you posted this I've been wanting to start on my kitchen! This inspired me!

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  50. This challenge excites me beyond all reason! I, literally, purchased my first house a week ago and I'm still unpacking!!! So my kitchen is a mess. What a perfect challenge to excite me into whipping that space into shape! Too bad I've gotta get to bed, I'm so ready to get started!

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  51. My kitchen is the heart of my home. I find when it's not organized nothing else in my day is. I did a post about it this morning about the one thing that makes a huge difference in my mornings - which is shine my sink. http://somersetlane.blogspot.ca/2013/02/how-i-shine-my-sink.html

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  52. I Love your blog! The first one I check each day, since it's my favorite :)

    Oh, my kitchen... it is in such sad shape. When we moved in, things got put in cabinets and that's where they have been for 6 years, whether it works or not. Maybe I should do something about that!

    And I am hoping that you, and whomever you feature for this kitchen business, has some idea about a recycling bin or cabinet or something. I can't figure out the best way to handle that in my kitchen. Right now, we are using a brown paper bag on the floor next to the end cabinet. NOT pretty, or functional, or efficient. Help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nicole!

      I love our pull out option for recycling, you can see it here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2012/11/everything-under-kitchen-sink.html

      Do you have space in the bottom of your pantry? They also make new combination waste can/recycle bins, which are side by side and take up less room.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  53. Wow, I love your blog and especially this challenge! I've done some fun organizing projects that I've been meaning to show, but then new clutter piles up and real life gets in the way. I will make it a goal to finish my kitchen and join you at the end of the month. We have an old (cramped) farmhouse and I'm constantly in need of reorganizing... You always motivate me to just tackle something, no matter how small ~ THANK YOU!
    hugs,
    Leslie
    ps- I use a cute vintage small trashcan by my backdoor for recycling (since I can't hide it).

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  54. I love the cabinet/armoire idea as a pop-up pantry. I've always had a soft spot for sideboards, dry sinks and the like.

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  55. My mom gave me a quesadilla maker so I have a hard time getting rid of it even though I.WANT.TO. LOL. I'm like, can't I just stick it in the oven!

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  56. I've actually been working on this a little bit at a time since the new year. Nearly finished with what I can do with the kitchen. I want it functional & I'm changing the way we eat so this was super important to get done. Love the colorful & creative ideas for kitchens. Ours is nearly 100 years old so we've had some challenges of our own. lol

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  57. Oh I wish I'd found you before you did the office area! I am so in for the kitchen this month. It's been almost 3 years since we completely remodeled our kitchen & it's time to declutter & change some things that aren't working well for us. I posted a list of ideas I copied from you that I want to try & will update the post w/pictures throughout the month.

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  58. Love your blog!! It is by far the one I look forward to reading the most each day. I completed and posted a quick kids drawer clean up today on my blog (onemilehomestyle.blogspot.com). In the last couple of months I have also posted about a quick and easy cabinet update and a super cute and easy way to store cupcake liners. Thanks for the inspiration and keep up the awesome job!!

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  59. I so need to get on board with this and solve my remaining kitchen demons. Last year, I decluttered and organized my pantry, drawers, cabinets and fridge, getting rid of a lot of things in the process. Surprisingly, I've actually managed to maintain those areas over the past year.

    Now the surface clutter on the other hand is another matter. The counter tops and bar always seem to have something on top of them especially if I've been sewing or crafting. The eat in side of my kitchen is where I cut out and sew and where I but things on top of the bar swearing I clear them off later and later never seems to come.

    So my goal for the challenge this month is to solve these remaining areas. Thanks for having this challenge and really needed a push from somewhere to get going this year.

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  60. Ive been following another fabulous blog as well as yours.. I started a 31 days to an organized and decluttered home.. i did tackle the counters at that point.. I now have MUCH LESS on my counters.. I didnt realize I had so much kitchen space.. however I want to tackle your challenge.. my cabinets and drawers need some TLC.. cant wait to catch up and get things going

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  61. What source do you have for the paper liners? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sara!

      That is actually from my own blog, you can find the original post here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/10/october-featured-space-kitchen_08.html

      xo!
      Jen

      Delete

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