Organize Your Pantry

Pantries Always Need Maintenance

Mine included!  I don’t have a problem organizing my pantry, but with 6 other people in the house, the problem is keeping it organized!

I have my own ideas of where things should be kept. The problem is, that the rest of my family have their own ideas too….. any open area of the pantry is open game IF they are going to put something back into it.

Here is what my pantry looked like:



Let’s look a little closer.  This is the upper level.  The medicine bins.  Notice off to the left? There is a loaf of bread! Wait…. we have a bread drawer. We don’t ever keep bread in the pantry (ugh)


If you look here you see a cereal box that is on the can rack, pancake syrup in a couple places, two bags of raisens..both opened! Drives me crazy. lol


As an organizer (for those of you who share my passion… or affliction will know how I feel) I have to realize that I can’t control everything in my house.  When I try and I can’t, it only brings frustration.

Here is the lower level down onto the floor.  What? You don’t keep your cereal on the floor?


Here is the plan of attack!  Clean Everything Out Of The Pantry


Go through and check expiration dates

I’ll bet you’ll find some expired items.  This one was expired Feb of 2010!

expired can

If you have baskets you want to group things together.  Like with like!

powdered drink mixes

It is ok to take things out of boxes if you need to save room.  We had lose Kool-Aides all over. We get bottled water for the kids for lunch and have the powdered individual drink mixes they can take if they want. I think we had like 4 different flavored boxes opened. So I but the correct flavors together and rubber-banded them together. Same with the Kool-aide and hot cocoa mixes
kool aide

I keep my some of my medicines in my pantry and I went through those too.  You can read my previous posts where I got rid of expired medications and labeled them and organized them.

Before you put anything back into the pantry, clean it!

cleaning the pantry

Decide how you can make some extra room in your pantry

I don’t have much room in my pantry. So I stretched what I had without having to spend a lot of money.  I have previously purchased extra shelves that I put on the floor


Also up on top of the top rack to use some of that extra space on top. You can see my “fix” on how to put wire rack on top of wire rack.  Of course I am not recommending this method… it is very crude, but I had the lids I wasn’t using and they worked.  It would be best to use a board over the shelf, but I had these at the time I did this and not a board.


You Don’t Have To Have The Perfect Designer Magazine Cover Pantry!

I LOVE the separate labeled jars and plastic tubs for everything when I see pictures of pantries. But for me, this is not a practical solution for my pantry (I’ve done it before – remember I’m 51 years old and I’ve already raised my 4 boys, so I have tried many different organizing techniques over the years) .

Why I Don’t Use Separate Labeled Storage Containers In My Pantry

1) I frequently had extra of something that didn’t fit into the jar (then you have a box or bag)
2) You buy a different kind of chip & don’t want to mix them, but you already have 2 jars with chips…so you now have the bag of chips too.
3) Moving those beautiful jars out of the pantry all the time to get things for the kids eventually means broken jars (I know!)
4) The family doesn’t appreciate the effort you put into separating items, and they will just shove everything into the pantry if they put groceries away.
5) Trying to keep it up is time consuming and other than the oohs and ahhs of my friends, it didn’t really fill a practical need – other than the feel good appearance it gave me.

I wanted to let you know… it is ok to leave your cereal in a box or bag... it is ok to leave your chips in a bag with a chip clip. You can still be organized without all the fancy.  Heck, you can use boxes  to make baskets like my green ones if you like.

Jars on the Counter
I am going to do is to get a couple jars for my counter for some of our daily use items. My husband’s oatmeal that he eats daily and the brown sugar he puts in it.  Also one for coffee and a cookie jar.  Maybe not the traditional flour and sugar, but I don’t bake a ton and I would rather have out the items we use frequently on my counter.

I am also going to make cute labels for the baskets. Again, you don’t have to do this step, and your labels don’t have to be fancy, but in general labels do help. (although many times you will just decide that no one in your family actually can read!) I’ll show you the labels once I get them done. I’m going to do them with chalkboard contact paper and chalk board markers I got.

I also use the sides of the walls.  To hang grilling utensils on the left wall and I have a baggie that I hang on the right wall for chip clips. (Again, I’m sure there is a much cuter solutions for this)

chip clip bag

I also have an over the door can holder that helps hold more cans.

Once you have cleaned the pantry and sorted the expired food out – Start reloading!

I purchased these baskets at Old Time Pottery. I spotted them and thought they’d be great. They are plastic so I can wash them. They have handles for easy pulling out and they are sturdy.  I paid $8.99 for the large ones down to $4.99 for small ones.  Plus I loved the colors!
Old Time Pottery baskets

As I was putting things back in, I tried several different arrangements with the baskets.  So don’t think there is one solution and one solution only!  I might even realize I don’t like having the baskets. It is all trial and error.

There will be times that you will realize after you have organized…. that the system you put in place just really isn’t working like you planned.  Don’t beat yourself up over it.  It happens to the best of us. Just redo it. No problem.


organizing pantry

I put the medications in a new basket along with the paper plates, plastic silverware and napkins. The things we don’t use or need to get to as often.

pantry organizing

Here is our cereal basket.

pantry organizing

I also made a snack basket.

organized pantry

I have used an extra shelf here, but this one hangs from the wire above.  It works great for cans to utilize that extra space.

organized cans

I have one of the smaller baskets that just holds the peanut butter and one of my favorites and my step son’s favorites… Marshmallow cream.  We normally have a larger jar of peanut butter, so this size isn’t too big.

organized pantry

I also used a basket on the ground for the bottled water for the kids lunches. I had previously purchased the clear smaller baskets with handles from The Container Store. I did have the medicines in them. I am using them for lunch snacks (fruit cups etc) and envelop mixes, Ramon Noodles and powdered drink mixes.

organized pantry

Again…. just to refresh….  BEFORE

cluttered pantry


organzied pantry


before pantry


organized pantry

Your turn to organize your pantry! I want to see what you have done.  And YES on those of you who do the ultimate organization for your pantry… I LOVE them and LOVE to look at them. I’m not saying the jars and containers are bad…. if they work for you and your family… more power to you (jealous) … but please share!!

I’d love for you to link it up to my Organizing Mission Monday Link Party
It will be open until April 9, 2011  to link to, so you have time to work on your pantries!

Organizing Mission Monday

I LOVE your comments!

I’m linking up to these blogs:

A Bowl Full of Lemons

Reasons To Skip The Homework

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Shopping Saturday – elfa pantry

March 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Kitchen, Sales, Shopping, Stores

Need I Say More?


This is the elfa pantry system from The Container Store.  First of all I would like to have that large of a pantry, second… love the colors.  Hmmm…. I might be able to do something with the colors!

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Disposing of Expired or Unused Medications

Guidelines for Safe Disposal of Expired or Unused Medications

Now that you have separated out all those expired medications from your medicine cabinets, what do you do with them?  Do you just pitch them in the trash can or down the toilet? Do you have to take them some place special, because that is a pain and no one wants to have to do that.


There are guidelines that are recommended by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for safe disposal of medication. See the FDA guidelines for safe disposal of medicine

* Check the bottle itself and see if there are guidelines there as to how to dispose of the medication. If it isn’t on
the bottle, you can check the enclosed information sheet if you still have it or you can check the web site.

* Most medications can be thrown in the trash. Take them out of their original containers. Put them into a plastic bag with something make them undesirable to animals and small children such as coffee grounds or kitty litter.  Seal the bag and throw it in the trash can (where animals or children can not get to it)

medicines in coffee

Be sure before you throw away a prescription bottle, to either scratch out your personal information or take off the label and shred the label.

prescription label

* There are some medications that should still be flushed down the sink or toilet according to the FDA. They are mostly medications that could cause real harm to children or animals if found and consumed.  The FDA is aware that there is concern over trace amounts of medications being found in the water. They feel this is more from people who excrete medications and that the medications going down the toilet are still the safest alternative.

See drugs that the FDA recommends Flushing down the sink or toilet here.

There are also some communities that have a “take back” program.  You can check within your own community for such a program. They have safe methods for disposing of the medications for you.

Be sure to use precaution when disposing of your medications!

Check out my other posts from this series:
Part 1 – Organize Your Medicine Cabinet
Part 2 – Organizing Your Medicine Cabinet – Expired Meds
Part 4 – Be Prepared for Illness

Your mission is to Organize YOUR medicine cabinets! I want to see them! Be sure to link them up to my Organizing Mission Link party!

Organizing Mission Monday

I LOVE your comments!

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Expired or Unused Medication

I Bet 95% of You Have Expired Meds In Your Medicine Cabinet!

It is just one of those things we don’t think a lot about, until we need it.  Expired medications aren’t usually harmful to you, they are just not as effective. But in some cases, such as severe allergies, having a medication that isn’t is not as affective can be harmful because may be preventing a life threatening reaction.

When you clean out and organize your medicine cabinet, I want you to look at the expiration date of every medication in it. The expiration dates can be in a variety of places.

expiration date

Sometimes they are hard to find.

expiration dateSometimes they are hard to read

expiration date

Don’t forget to check prescription medications too. See.. this one was expired!

expired medsThis one too.

expired meds

Here is my pile of expired medications from the cabinet above my coffee maker.


Here is my pile of expired meds from my two pantry baskets. Pretty bad huh?  But not unusual at all.


Even when some people go in and organize or straighten up their meds, they don’t think about looking for expired medications.

It is a pain to look for the expired meds!!  Trying to search all over the bottle for the expiration date. Then if you can read it without a magnifying glass your also lucky!

So how can we help solve this problem?  Simple!


Get a black sharpie marker and some sticky labels.

As you are organizing, go through each item and if it isn’t expired, you need to put the expiration date on the medication using your sticky labels and sharpie marker.

I had some clear Avery labels and decided to use those.  I first tried just writing directly on the medications label, but it was that slick plastic label and the marker didn’t go on nice, and even once it was dry, I was able to just wipe it off with my finger.  The label it didn’t do that.

When you place your label onto your medication bottle, be sure not to cover up vital information (directions and doses or concentration of the medications)

medicine labelIt is so much easier to see.

expiration date

It is just so simple! Depending on the bottle itself, you can just write directly on the surface if it writes easily and won’t wipe off.


As your medications come into your house from the pharmacy, as you go to put them away, get that sharpie marker (that you have kept right with your medications) and mark the bottles before you put them away.

There are times that the box that has the medication is where you will find the expiration date and it isn’t even on the bottle itself. I didn’t find any like that in my stash, because I don’t save many boxes…. but you won’t have any problem if you label them right away. The simpler you keep it, the more likely you will be to comply and actually keep it up.

But isn’t this much easier to see?

medicineLook at the ones I keep above my coffee maker.

medicineWhen the dates are easy to see, you will be MUCH less likely to have expired medications.

medicineWouldn’t it be nice if the drug companies did this for us?  If they won’t put them large on the bottle and easy to see and to find, wouldn’t it be nice then if they at least provided a sticker or had a surface up near the top of the bottle to make it easier for us to label them ourselves?  I sure think so!

Be sure to see the rest of my series:

Part 1 – Organize Your Medicine Cabinet
Part 3 – Disposing of Your Expired or Unused Medications
Part 4 – Be Prepared for Illness

Your mission is to LABEL your medications with EXPIRATION DATES! I want to see them! You might have another idea that could help us all.. please share it!

Be sure to link them up to my Organizing Mission Link party!

Organizing Mission Monday

I LOVE your comments!!

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Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

We Often Don’t Think To Organize Our Medicine Cabinets!

Do you remember when the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet was?

My medicine cabinet is actually a couple different medicine baskets.  I keep one in the pantry on the top shelf and our more frequently used medications in the cabinet above our coffee maker.

But I was in desperate need of organizing and cleaning our medicine baskets too! Just look what came out of the cabinet above the coffee maker!


This is what the pantry basket looks like.  Oh.. this is bad. (By the way, my pantry has since been organized too and you’ll get to see that before too long.


What a mess!


1) First thing you need to do is pull out all of the medication from the cabinet, basket or where ever you store them.

2) Then you need to clean the area that you have removed the medications from.  Often medicines can be sticky, so there very well might be some sticky residue where the meds were kept.

3) Go through and separate the meds. If you don’t use them or they are expired then you need to get rid of them.
(I will be going over expired meds tomorrow and how to dispose of meds properly the following day)

4) Once you have determined what medications you are keeping, decide where they are being kept.
Is the medicine cabinet/basket out of reach of children and pets?
Is the medicine cabinet/basket accessible to you?

5) Load your medications back in after they have been cleaned off if sticky. If they are infrequently used medications or duplicate medications, then you will want to store those either in the back or in another cabinet if there isn’t room in the main one.

6) Important!!!  I want to bring up a point I just learned about. ( Today’s date is actually April 11, 2011 and I am adding this point in.)  I learned through Jen at I Heart Organizing that medication storage is also very important. She had a guest post on her blog from a Pharmacist.  The Pharmacist noted that medicine cabinets are found in your bathrooms, but you should NOT be keeping your medications in your bathrooms. Why? Because of the humidity in the bathroom. Medications should be kept where it it low humidity and stable temperatures according to Melissa C the Pharmacist. The other thing she mentions is that above the stove or refrigerator is also not good because of the heat that these appliances generate.  Looks like my pantry is the best option. You can read the rest of the post if you go to Jen’s guest post from Melissa the Pharmacist called Medicine Cabinets are NOT for Medicine.

Decide how you want to organize your meds.  You can keep the children’s meds separate from the adult meds. You can keep them separated by individual or by the kind of meds they are.  Since my kids are now older, I don’t have many meds just for kids anymore. So I keep mine separated into most frequently used medications and least used or duplicate medications.


You don’t have to have fancy containers, fancy labels in order to organize your medicine cabinets. If you want to buy or make cute labels and buy nice baskets…. more power to you – but I want you all to know that you can keep things simple.

Tomorrow I will talk about how to handle expired meds and on Thursday I’ll tell you the best way to dispose of your expired or unused medications.

Be sure to see the rest of my series this week:

Part 2 – Expired Meds & labeling
Part 3 – Disposing of expired or unused Meds
Part 4 – Be Prepared for Illness

See How My Readers Have Organized Their Medicine

I want you all to see this picture.  Linda from Never Boring did a post on her cabinets.  She used clear zipper bags to organize her medicine. Thanks Linda for sharing this with us!

organizing medicine

Robyn from Randomly, Robyn also reorganized her medicine cabinets.  She did two of them, and went through and got rid of her expired meds.  Then she used baskets to organize them. Thanks Robyn!

medicine cabinet

Good Enough Mommy organized her medicine cabinet and one of the things that she added to her method of organization was also writing the name of the medication on the top of the lid.  She uses a basket method like me and it made it easier to see what the med was down in the basket.

Good Enough Mommy

Kia from A View From Here also organized her medicine cabinet. She realized most everything she had was for pain. She also noted that in the UK they do not flush any medication, they are to take it to their GP’s office or a chemist or pharmacist for them to dispose of. (Thanks for that info)

DaNita from Delightful Order always has the cutest organizing ideas.  Check out how she did her medicine cabinets on her post called Moving the Medicine Cabinet.  She is focusing on location of her medicine cabinet.

delightful order meds

Thanks goes to Courtney from Detroit Mommies for inspiring the series this week.

Your mission is to Organize YOUR medicine cabinets!  I want to see them!  Be sure to link them up to my Organizing Mission Link party!

Organizing Mission Monday

I LOVE your comments!!

I’m linking this post up to:

Handy Man, Crafty Woman Wicked Wednesday Link Party

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Shopping Saturday – Ikea Kitchen Island

February 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Kitchen, Products for Organizing

I might be in a bit of an Ikea mood for a bit! lol I went last Saturday and saw several items I’d love to have – but I don’t have any place in my small house to put them.

I’d Love To Have THIS!

ikea kitchen island

Think of all the things you could use it for!   What do you think?  Do you like it?  Could you use it?

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Sandy’s Kitchen Cupboard Organization

January 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Kitchen

See how I organize my Kitchen Cupboards

I thought I’d show you how I organized my kitchen cupboards since my remodel.  They are now sorted, cleaned and in the proper place.  Let my kids and husband put dishes away a few times…and they won’t look as neat – but that is part of what we deal with.

kitchen cabinet

Our plans are to remodel the kitchen at our farm next and move there in another year.  Going through this kitchen remodel was necessary in order to sell this house… but I’m glad we did it when we did. We will get to enjoy it for a little bit before we move.

When I went through my things as I cleaned out the cabinets and also as I was putting things back in, I had time to look at each item.  I went through the same thought process that I teach you and my clients.  Do I need it?  Do I use it?  Is it worth keeping and taking up valuable space?

I didn’t take a lot of time on each item, I moved quick…and did end up with a box of things to donate.

With my plastics, I made sure I had lids that fit the bowls. If there was a lid without a bowl….or a storage container without a lid …then it is outta here.

I don’t use expensive organizational products, I like using baskets to help separate items and keep things neat.  I can find those at the dollar store… so yeah for that.  You don’t have to have  highfalutin things to be able to organize… use your imagination.

You got to see my kitchen freshly organized… by the way I do use my counter tops.  I know some people like to have completely bare counter tops… Not me. I don’t like too much up there, but our toaster gets used daily, the coffee put is out, my kitchen knives and kitchen utensils  sit on my counter.

I linked this Post To:

Domestically Speaking

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Kitchen Remodel – The Big REVEAL!!

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Decorating, Kitchen

Look At My New Kitchen!

kitchen remodel afterThe After!!
Yeah!! My kitchen Reveal!  I have never had a title back splash before.  Also my cupboards are so much easier to open and close… and they are all wood as compared to the melamine I had before.  I love it…

kitchen beforeOk… here is the “Before” so you can see the difference before the remodel.  The white melamine just wasn’t holding up.

kitchen remodel afterAnd the other side…. notice I got a new sink and faucet too! There is still some dust from the tile work on the counters…but I just couldn’t wait when I took this picture! lol

I am SO excited with it!!

We are planning on selling this house in just over a year to move to our farm house.  Then of course there will be another kitchen to remodel…that one really needs help!!  But, we have kids that need to go to college and we will be able to save some money by moving there. But for now I am going to get to really enjoy this kitchen!

I love my counters – I knew I wanted them to have a “granite” look. But we didn’t feel spending the money on granite was worth wild for us right now. I  wanted a smooth shiny look…. I didn’t want an texture to it.  I had a counter at another home I lived in that had a texture and it was a bear to clean.  This is the Wilsonart Granite Laminate.  That is the name of it… Granite. They have a granite like surface now, but this laminate does not fall into that. That has a texture to it.  I like this much better.

Brand Homes kitchen remodelJerry Brand owns Brand and he did my kitchen.  I made him pose for this right when they were finished…. If you live in the central Ohio (or out a little) and you need a home built, or remodeling done… this is the guy!   I’ve been friends with Jerry and his wife Kathy Brand for years through our church.  I didn’t have to worry about being cheated or prices being “jacked” up.

He went right from working on my kitchen each day to working on helping to build a home for a woman with MS. That job was a volunteer job. He used some of my old kitchen cupboards in her kitchen. How often do you see that?  Wouldn’t that be someone you would want working on your home?

By the way….. my kitchen was not sponsored, I did not get any discounts for mentioning Brand Homes…. I just want you all to know about them because as anyone knows…the construction business is a hard business to be in right now!

Wilsonart did offer me the laminate for my counters.  I ended up turning them down on the offer because of the logistics of getting the counter company to wait on the order etc…  But I did want to mention what my counter laminate was because I am so excited about it. So they are not a sponsor of this kitchen.

We plan on remodeling our kitchen at the farm in the next year and I am planning on using the same counters.

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Kitchen Remodel – Cupboards are In

November 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Decorating, Kitchen

Yeah, my Kitchen Isn’t So Bare Now

kitchen remodel cupboardsSo what do you think?  This kitchen remodel is coming along isn’t it?  Do you like my new cupboards?  I do.. and that is what matters since I have to see them everyday! So… I’m glad I like them.  I actually love cherry. But with a small kitchen, and one we probably won’t be in for more than another year or so, I went with the maple.

kitchen remodel cupboardsHere is the other side.  I still have no sink to use. We are eating out mostly – thank goodness Dave’s kids are with their mom this week. That is helpful.  But having no sink or water in your kitchen really throws ya.

Yes I can pour that bowl of cereal and eat it, but then to rinse the bowl out…. I have to use the bathroom sink. Of course I have to make sure there are no food particles in it. So I have a nice little bin with dirty dishes that can’t wait to be washed!

The cupboards are configured the same way. The one thing I have noticed is that my drawers are different. I had 3 drawers before. Now I have 4. You might think… oh good more drawers. They are in the same amount of space. I had my silverware in the top drawer. Then the 2nd drawer down was our bread drawer, the 3rd drawer was the cookies and snack food. Now I have 3 thinner drawers and only 1 big one. I will have to rethink this. What I should do is just get rid of all the cookies and junk and then I wouldn’t have a problem…. we would all lose weight and the world would be a perfect place. LOL  Oh yeah… like that will ever happen.  (Believe me, if it does I will be blogging about it!)

Jerry from Brand Homes is doing a great job on my kitchen so far… Thanks Jerry & Mike

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Kitchen Remodel – Tearing out the Kitchen

November 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Kitchen

Before You Can Build It – You Have To Tear it Out!

kitchen remodelSo begins the tearing out part of my kitchen remodel. It is so strange to see your cupboards with no counter top and no sink.  This is Jerry Brand of Brand Homes working on taking out the cupboards. They had to take things apart with care. He is using some of this kitchen to help a woman who can’t afford a home – that has MS.  Cool huh?

kitchen remodelHere is the other side.  It almost looks like a design on the wall where the glue was for the back splash.  Are you ready to keep going?

It is almost like my kitchen is stripping you know?  lol  kitchen remodelEeek gads Edith! Where did my kitchen go?  LOL   They were having a time getting the microwave off.  Evidently there is a safety catch that hooks the microwave to that metal frame. When you first put the microwave up, it enables you to screw it in place without having to worry about it falling.  But they couldn’t find the release on this model and had it just sitting there with nothing apparently holding it up. They had taken out all the screws and it had them baffled for a few minutes.

kitchen remodelHere is the other side. The pass through ledge is gone too.

On the picture below – Ewww… look at that mess! Actually you can see the flooring had been cut out where the sink counter had been. There is water all over from the connections… and then all around it is wet and dirty looking from …. their shoes, the cabinets…. but of course not because there was anything the least bit dirty on my floors!  Oh heavens no!  (lol… and if you believe that… then I’ve got some property to sell you!)kitchen remodel

I didn’t have any water today, so I knew with this bladder I wouldn’t be able to stay in the house. So I ran some errands and sat at COSI’s eating my favorite salad – their Signature salad.  (If you haven’t been to one.. you should go and try that salad.. and no this was not sponsored… but I sure wish they would… LOL!)

Tomorrow… you get to see the new cupboards…..

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Kitchen Remodel – Preparing the Space

November 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Kitchen

Clearing and Cleaning

kitchen remodel prepI needed to make space to clear out every cabinet for my kitchen remodel…l I mean …. EVERY cabinet in your kitchen!  I don’t know about you, but I do not have a very big house.  I knew I would need every bin and surface that I had for several days.  Here is my dining room…. ready to go.  I am going to use the chair seats also… to put things on.

kitchen remodel So it can now look something like this mess!!   The only possible thing organized at all is that I have my coffee put set up (not in this pic) on the left corner… along with a toaster and cutting board. So I can make my coffee in the am.  Hubby and kids can make toast…. the cereal is there too.  So at least we can have those couple of luxuries while we have no kitchen.

bucket of soapy waterNow.. get a bucket of soapy water.  Unless you are a fantastic cleaner (and I am not! I can organize.. but I’ve said before, I have never claimed or will ever claim to be a great cleaner) you will have some serious cleaning to do.  Get that step stool out and clean out the cupboards.

You may not have to if your cupboards are being scrapped. But my builder Jerry Brand of Brand Homes has been volunteering to help turn a barn into a home for a woman who has MS.  He is going to take my old cupboards and use some of them in her kitchen.  So I had some cleaning to do.  I’m sure they will still need more cleaning than what I did… but clean the shelves and outsides if so.

When they pull out your stove and dishwasher, refrigerator … just wait to see what that floor looks like!  Also the side of my stove was a mess. Obviously things had dripped down between the counter and my stove. Ewww!

kitchen cabinetsHaving white cabinets is not advisible if you have 5 kids at home.  I still have to clean these.  …. and that filty microwave! Yuck.

So before you do a remodeling job… plan where all your things are going to go.  Get ready to do some cleaning… and get ready to not have a kitchen sink for awhile.

Disclosure:  This project is not being sponsored in any way.

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Kitchen Remodel

November 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Kitchen, Products for Organizing

It Really Needed To Be Done

kitchen beforeYou might be thinking, “Well… that doesn’t look bad”.  (Or you might be thinking… OMG she is right.. She HAD to redo it).  Actually when I look at this picture I don’t feel a kitchen remodel had to be done either.  But there are things you can’t see in this picture…. but look below and you’ll see more!

kitchen before with missing drawerNotice the missing drawer to the right of the dishwasher?  I used the space for the bottled water… Why not use that space right?  The cabinets were made out of melamine, not wood. There were a couple other doors that had small cracks on them. The kids like to open them and while they make things in the kitchen I’ve seen them put their knee or foot on as a prop. Or lean on them… This stuff isnt’ that sturdy.

melamine cabinet warped doorThis cupboard door was warped from the heat of the toaster below.  If you look close you can also see where the edge if peeling at the inside bottom left of that same door.  There were a lot of edges doing that on the drawers and cabinets.

These are things that need to be taken care of before you can put a house on the market. Especially THIS housing market.  We aren’t planning to move right away. We are thinking about it for 2012 after my step son graduates.  We would move up to our farm (and that kitchen needs to be remodeled too!)

But we thought we might as well do it now and get a little enjoyment out of it ourselves.  Oh… our disposal also decided to die.  We have been wanting a deeper sink. This one is like the cheapest one you could put in a house.. It wasn’t deep at all.  So… new sink, new disposal… you might as well do the rest of the kitchen right?

kitchen remodel samplesHere are the samples of what I am going to use in my kitchen.  My dream kitchen would have cherry cabinets and granite counter tops. But… this isn’t my dream kitchen.  With it being a galley style kitchen, it is narrow and we knew we couldn’t go very dark. It would make it look too small.

You can see the maple cabinets we are getting. The counter sample is a laminent from Wilsonart. The tile it sits on is the back splash.

I called in a friend and fantastic house builder and he also does remodeling too. Jerry Brand of Brand Homes to the rescue!  I know I can trust him and I know he does quality work.

It is hard to tell what your kitchen will look like… these are the only samples I have to go with. Hoping I like it.

It is all being done this week… so I’ll take you along with me to see it step by step.

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Kitchen Storage

November 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Kitchen, Products for Organizing

Organize those Extra Dishes

kitchen storageMy Sis also has some solutions for her extra dishes that she wants to keep.  I would never need as many sets of dishes as she has, but she does a lot of entertaining, and I would venture to say that she uses most of what she keeps at one point or another.  She is not a “saver” of things she doesn’t need – our Dad ingrained that in us early.

This is a stand up cabinet. I am not sure where she got it, but if I had to guess and knowing my sister she more than likely found it some place fairly inexpensively and then did the painting and distress look on it herself.

If you have the space to have some neat pieces that can store extra things, you can more than likely find them at second hand stores, garage sales if you are looking for a cost effective solution.

extra kitchen storageThis is a piece that matches her kitchen. The granite top is the same and the cabinets are the same, so I’m sure she had this made when her kitchen was being remodeled. This piece is out in her dining room. It serves as a storage place for her china, extra dishes and also works to place food or drinks on while entertaining.  Something to think about if you have the room and you are remodeling your kitchen. See how much it would cost to have them make you a matching piece for your dining room.

kitchen storageHere is another piece that my Sister actually has in her front entryway.  But I do remember this piece in her old house and she had it in her kitchen area. I didn’t open the doors or drawers to see what was in it, but my guess is that there is extra storage being used for wine glasses and accessories.  You could use this for table clothes, place mats and items you don’t use everyday also.

Just some ideas to get you thinking…

I linked this post up to:

1) Domestically Speaking: Get Organized Party

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Kitchen Cupboard Organization

November 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Kitchen, Products for Organizing

Simple solutions can make much needed room

Kathys kitchen

Organizing your kitchen cupboards can be made easier with extra space. We are always wanting it, but may not have the resources to remodel our kitchens. Here are a few ideas that don’t have to be expensive. I’m getting the ideas from my Sister’s kitchen (which I would die for!!) but these cabinet ideas can be used in any kitchen cupboards.

You can’t see all of Sis’s kitchen in this picture.  There is another area behind me that also has counter, sink, cupboards.  (You’ll see that in another post)  She’ll want me to let you know that things were still not all put away from the party she had last night for my Dad’s 80th birthday – usually the counters are clear.

But I did want to show you some other ideas for storage.  Many of us can’t have kitchens this deluxe, but there might be some simple solutions that you can do to your own cupboards that can increase your storage space.

kitchen storageThis cupboard is on the backside of her island.  But look at all the extra shelves that were built. You see so many of this size cupboard that are all open – or they may have a small half shelf in the back.  But this gives all kinds of extra storage. All those platters and trays that can be so hard to put away.

kathys kitchenHere is another one that the shelves are more spaced out to accommodate the taller items. I would guess these are adjustable shelves, although this picture doesn’t show the holes.

kathy kitchenHere is another example. These are some extra dishes she has – not her everyday dishes.

kathy kitchenHere is another idea that you can use in your cabinets.  This pull out wire drawer works well to be able to store smaller things and still be able to get to them.  But that space above is not wasted!  Then if you have taller items there is still room in front of the shelves for those.

If you are having custom cabinets made be sure to keep these ideas in mind.  Make sure they make holes so that your shelves are adjustable.

Check your cabinets. Most cabinets do have adjustable shelves.  USE them!  You can make more room in your cabinets.  If you know someone even a little handy it wouldn’t take much to make extra shelves. Just good measuring and a couple of shelf holders that you can get at your local hardware store and you are in business.

Even if you aren’t able to have a kitchen this big and nice… you can find extra storage in your cabinets by making extra shelves.

More ideas from Sis’s kitchen coming up later this week!

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I’m in Woman’s World Magazine

My ideas were published in a National Magazine! Hoot!!

Womans world October issue

I was asked by a reporter from Woman’s World Magazine, Gabrielle Lichteman – for some ideas on how to organize a kitchen using some inexpensive options. I offered her several ideas and she published 2 of them.  I think it is cool to see “Organize with” in print on a magazine page!!  hee hee

womans world magazine

You can see them a little better in this cropped version of the article.

Organize with SandyYou can read them in the number 4 and Number 5 options.  She did get a bit confused on the Number 5 option.  I suggested a rack on the back of the pantry door, but it is a rack that is wire so that you can put cans etc in it.  I use a clear shoe organizer on the back of other doors for things like hats, gloves, small toys… but I didn’t suggest that for a pantry.

Here is the blog post I did on organizing your pantry for less. It has both of the ideas I am sharing here in the article.  Using the un-used space I like to do using wire hanging baskets (off of the shelf) and using floor space and tall cupboard space.

pantry door organizerI’m not upset at all that things got a little confused, but this is what I was telling her about.  But over a phone it could have easily gotten mixed up.  so I understand.   If you did use a clear shoe organizer you could put packets of Kool-aide, small packets like onion soup mix, cake decorating sprinkles and supplies, even spices that are used frequently. So I suppose you could use that, but I hadn’t thought of it before. lol

But isn’t it cool that I have my ideas in a National Magazine?  I don’t know about you but I’m thrilled with that!  What is even neater is that when I was at the Toyota Tour in Evansville, IN last week – I had one of the other bloggers when she was introduced to me say, “Hey, you were in Woman’s World weren’t you? I just read that the other day!”.  Hee hee… so someone actually read it and related it to me.

This was the October 4, 2010 edition of Woman’s World Magazine, page 35.

I have also been recently featured on the Cleveland Moms Like Me blog page as their “Meet the Blogger” for this month.  Cool huh?

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Organizing Kitchen cupboards

August 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Kitchen

Don’t you wish you had more cupboards in your kitchen?

I know I sure do! Insert SlideDeck So how do you organize those kitchen cupboards when you  have a small house with 7 people living in it? Believe me….I know it isn’t easy!   This cupboard looks ok now….but you should see it if one of the kids or my hubby puts dishes away.  The bowls aren’t stacked anymore….you might have that big yellow one on top of the smaller ones.

On the left…forget putting the lids in the slots they are supposed to be in and the plastic containers were they go. Aren’t you supposed to just throw them in that side?

Organizing can be really hard to maintain, especially if others aren’t as on board as you. It is all about the maintenance, but we aren’t going there today…today we are just talking about some ways to try and organize those cupboards.


I love using baskets in cupboards.  You can see the red ones up on the upper shelf.  That is a hard place to get to things and it is a narrower shelf, so it doesn’t hold as much.  Those baskets hold the other plastic containers and lids that you accumulate.  They make it very easy to pull the basket out and get to what you want. They help keep things confined so that it isn’t falling all over your cupboard…and they are inexpensive!

Do you use it?

If you find there are things in your cupboards that you haven’t used in ages ….or you don’t have a lid for it and because of that you don’t use it (and you will!!) then get rid of it.  Why should you use that precious space on items you don’t use anymore?  The general rule is if you have not used it for a year or more then get rid of it.

Organizing kitchen cupboards isn’t necessarily hard to do.  But keeping it that way can be what is hard for many.

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Organizing Under the Sink

Easy and Efficient Under Sink Storage

What have you tried to store under your kitchen sink? The space is different in each house depending on where the water lines and disposal end up.  You are lucky to get one skinny container on one side of the cabinet.

Then there is the mix of cleaning products; dishwashing liquids, powders and tablets; trash can liners; rubber gloves; and assorted scrubbing doo-dads. The shapes and sizes are a nightmare to organize and contain.

When you are in a hurry, something is bound to topple over.  Gooey spills, dishwasher detergent powder, and spider webs conspire against you to make a sticky, dirty mess under there!

Let me offer a few suggestions. You are free to mix and match to come up with a solution that fits your unique circumstance.

  1. Store only what you use in the kitchen here. If you have an adequate pantry or space in your laundry room, keep the majority of your cleaning products there. This also helps cut down on the danger of poisons a child can reach (locks are necessary, but should not be the only safeguard!)
  2. Move trash bag liners to your plastic wrap area. These boxes should fit in the drawer on their side.
  3. Cover the floor of your cabinet with a rubber mat or shelf liner. The spills and grit will be easy to clean with a wet sponge. Once that cheap particle board gets wet, it is never the same. A pristine cupboard looks good when you get ready to sell.
  4. Use a slide out container with a stable bottom. Choose solid plastic, mesh, or metal stripping that is less than ½” apart to avoid tipping.
  • A 6 qt plastic shoebox with no lid will do for the side of your cabinet that has the most head room.  This is the frugal organizer’s option.
  • The Rolls Royce of pull-outs for the tall side is the 11” X 21” chrome Lynk Professional Kitchen Under-Sink Rollout Double Drawer.  There is an 11’ X 18” version as well.

Once you make these changes, you will be surprised at how easily and efficiently you can access everything you need from your now beautiful under sink storage!

Martha Clouse is founder of Organized For Life, a professional organizing company.     After moving 11 times in 20 years as a military wife while raising four children, Martha shares with you what she learned “under fire” about coping with change, using time to your advantage, and how to create a calm oasis out of chaos.

To learn more about setting up rooms for maximum utility while retaining a spacious feel, the basic systems you need in your home office to guarantee productivity, how to save an hour a day consistently, and to receive access to the free e-booklet “60 Tips to Get Organized NOW!”, visit Organized For Life.

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Spring Cleaning – The Refrigerator

March 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, How To Organize, Kitchen

Organizing Your Refrigerator

Organizer your Refrigerator

Organizer your Refrigerator

Do you open your refrigerator and see something like this? Or does it look worse? Old food, expired left overs that the lids have popped off of. Several containers of cream cheese because you forgot you had some in the back?

Your refrigerator can breed all kinds of things!  It is just like anything else….it needs to be kept up.

To Organize and Spring Clean your Refrigerator:

1) Take everything out of your refrigerator.

2) Pull out the shelves and wash them with warm soapy water.  Pull out the drawers and do the same. You can also use vinegar to clean.

3) Be sure to wipe down the walls of the inside of the refrigerator.

4) Go through all your food. Throw out anything expired.

5) You can adjust your shelves so that they work best for you. Maybe you need some shelves that taller items (milk, bottle of wine or pop) can fit in. Some others can be a smaller space between the shelves for things like eggs, cream cheese or dips.

6) I like to put my condiments, salad dressings, mustard, ketchup etc in the door.

7) Keep your lunch meats, cheese etc in drawer. Be sure to keep them covered with plastic bags or plastic ware to keep fresh.

8) Try to keep like items together.

9) Clean the outside and top of the refrigerator before you are finished.

10) If you like your children’s pictures or artwork on the outside of your refrigerator…..I suggest one magnet with either a picture of them or one piece of their artwork only. It will seem much more special if there is one item per child and you notice it rather than a bunch of stuff that is all cluttered.

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Spring Cleaning – Kitchen Storage containers

Spring Cleaning – Organizing those pesky plastic storage containers

I have to admit that even at my house these plastic storage containers end up messy.  I am usually good about putting them in their place…..but I have 7 other people in the house and although for the most part they do great…..there are times when that dishwasher is being emptied that it is easier to just “throw it in” instead of taking the time to stack it.

Here is the video that I did last year on organizing your plastics.  But the same with any organizing…it’s all about the maintenance.

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Spring Clean – Kitchen Drawers

March 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, Kitchen, Products for Organizing

Spring Clean the Kitchen

The messy kitchen gadget drawer

The messy kitchen gadget drawer

The kitchen can be a big job to spring clean. You will want to allow several hours for this room, or break it into a couple days.

I start with the drawers.

1) Take out each drawer and all of it’s contents Thoroughly clean the empty drawer. Get all those crumbs that gather in the corners out. Pick up the twist ties that seem to accumulate (at least at my house…do they ever get back on the loaf of bread when you have 5 kids?) Contact paper can work well to protect the inside of the drawers.

The empty kitchen drawer (in cleaning process)

The empty kitchen drawer (in cleaning process)

2) Go through the items that come out of that drawer.  Make sure if it is silverware….is it clean? Does it have any rough edges (from getting caught in the garbage disposal)  Do you use the item?  If it is something that has been in your drawers for years and you don’t use it, or are not sure what it is or it is broken…or you don’t like using it. Then get rid of it! Toss it!  (or donate of course if in good shape)

3) Make sure the outside of the drawer and all the tracks and edges are clean and then put the items you are keeping neatly back in the drawer.

4) Before you put the items back into the drawer – figure out a system. If it is silverware or gadgets, you can use something like the Rubbermaid Drawer Organizer that I am currently doing a review and giveaway on (until 3/15/10) I did like this one because of the rubber on the bottom & it doesn’t slide around…but there are many different ones out there to choose from. You can use small baskets or even the lid to a shoe box.

Rubbermaid Drawer Organizer

Rubbermaid Drawer Organizer

5) Place the items back into the drawer neatly.  It is ok to label things in your kitchen.  You can label in your gadget drawer if you would like to and that system works for you.

Kitchen Drawer after organizing

Kitchen Drawer after organizing

It will feel so good the next time you open those drawers….to see how clean and how organized they are.

Be sure to check out my giveaway that is going on until 3/15/10 on my review site.  Rubbermaid Drawer Organizer

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