Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kitchen Organization Ideas from a Mom of 10

Dear friends,

Welcome to my kitchen!

One of the blogs I read is doing a weekly organizational challenge, and this week the featured area is the kitchen!   Since I pretty much already have a place for everything, I didn't need to reorganize mine much or figure out new storage solutions.  Our on-going problem is that 10 people still use my kitchen, and not everyone is very good at putting things away or wiping down the counters when they're done making a snack.  I did make sure everything was in its place before I started my little photo shoot.  

Every kitchen is different and every family is different, but maybe some of my ideas will spark a solution for you.  Let's take a clockwise tour, starting where the kitchen meets our dining room.  I'm not showing you everything, though!

There is a low counter between the two rooms.  Where the counter meets the wall, I put a shelf to give me an extra layer of storage.  On top, I put a tray that holds a power strip, a can opener and a small blender.  There is also a large container of hand sanitizer.  Underneath, there is a small electric food chopper, a large basket of trivets, and a small basket for miscellaneous little stuff, which I put away every few weeks.    Other items that stay on the counter are a vertical paper towel holder, a banana stand, a large bowl full of paper plates, and a fire extinguisher. 

Over the counter hangs a cloth bag for storing plastic grocery bags.  I bought it at Walmart.

This cupboard is over the aforementioned shelf so I have to stretch to get to things. The top shelf holds our stoneware dishes that I don't use as often.  The middle shelf stores our beverage supplies like tea, coffee, cocoa, and drink packets for water bottles.  Our spices are on the bottom shelf; I use the rotating lazy Susan for general spices and a plastic bin for baking spices.

Plate racks in my cupboard allow for different sizes and types of plates.  Plastic ones are on the lower shelf, where my younger kids can reach them, while the glass ones are above them.

The top shelf of this same cupboard holds my medicine and first aid bins.  

Other appliances that always stay out are the toaster and a large electric skillet, since I use them every day.  I bought the skillet for about $40 from Walmart when the inner coil of our large stove burner quit working.  I love the size of it. It is so much easier to use than a pan on the stove anyway!

A low cupboard holds my pots and pans, as well as a larger blender and an omelet maker.

Next to the stove on the other side: a large glass pitcher for my spatulas and other cooking utensils, and a smaller crock for mixing utensils.  On top of the microwave, I have a large bowl for hot pads.

At the other end of the top of the microwave there is a basket for measuring cups.  It's too hard to store them in a drawer or cupboard.  In the small corner between the microwave and the sink area, I tucked in containers for small plastic miscellaneous stuff and various sizes of sharp knives.  I keep another paper towel holder and our drainer rack there, too.

The kids run about two or three dishwasher loads every day, but in the meantime, my husband and I try to keep the dishes rinsed and stacked in the sink so that we don't have a huge messy overflow.

Next to the sink, I keep a small organizer for sponges and a toothbrush for scrubbing nooks and crannies.  I noticed yesterday how gross this organizer was getting.  I had to give it a really good scrubbing.

I store extra dish liquid and detergent under the sink.  One of my adult daughters, who as a nursing student is very conscious of safety, recommended that I start putting a mat in front of the sink to prevent slipping on drips.  It also cushions the feet.  I've been doing this for a few months and love it.  I try to buy seasonal mats.  I found this one at the dollar store and bought three since they were so cheap.  The key for buying a kitchen mat is to make sure it has non-slip material on the bottom, and it's generally better to not get really light colors since they get dirty.

A drawer by my sink holds dish towels.  

A high narrow cupboard holds small cleaning supplies like sponges, the store brand of Magic Erasers (I love these for getting marks off walls), and small cleaning solutions.  

My brooms and dustpans are nestled in against the back door.  I love the dustpan with the tall handle, which saves me from a lot of bending over.  I also keep small wastebaskets for recyclables and wet linens.  The rug keeps sand from getting tracked in.

I use bins in the refrigerator and pantry cupboards to keep things organized.  Every once in a while, I take everything out, wipe it down, and reorganize.

I store a bin of larger cleaning supplies, my sugar container, and our plastic cereal containers on top of the refrigerator.

I hang our large calendar and a bulletin board on the access door for our air conditioning unit.

One thing that I moved out of our kitchen recently is my basket of cookbooks.  Besides these regular cookbooks, I also keep a full size notebook of recipes that we have gathered from other sources.  One of my cookbooks fell apart, so I removed the spiral binding, hole punched it, and put it into another notebook.

Our house is about 40 years old.  We've been here for nearly 20 years, and put a lot of wear and tear on the whole house, but especially the kitchen.  While we have replaced all of the major appliances at least once, they each have their own issues, like loose handles or burners that don't work.  We haven't ever replaced the cabinets or drawers since we can't afford to do it and our kids are still likely to damage them anyway.  Some of the doors have been rehung, and there are lots of nicks and places where the laminate has come off.  But I make the best of it.  I often tape pretty note cards and sayings to the cupboard doors to draw the eyes away from the places that are less than perfect.

We did replace the kitchen floor -- twice!  When we moved in, there was horrible vinyl sheet flooring  that kept peeling up.  I used duck tape to keep the edges in place.  Blech.  We replaced it with  heavy duty urethane tile many years later, but that took a beating, too.  In 2004, we finally put in ceramic tile with a wood grain design and that has been wonderful.  It is so durable and easy to clean, and I love how it feels under my feet.  Highly recommended!

You can read more about kitchen organizing at these other posts:

Happy organizing!

Virginia Knowles

A Bowl Full of Lemons

Who is Ready to Get your Kitchen Organized? Challenge #2

This will also be linked here:


  1. Nice organization! I use bins in our pantry and fridge as well. :)

  2. I have an obsession with bins! I always get excited when I see new pretty ones:) Great job with the organizing! New Follower!

  3. Wow, that was just the inspiration I need to get my own kitchen organized again. It's due for an overhaul, as I've recently got rid of a few things and got some new ones for Christmas.

  4. very nice :) love your corner plate racks

  5. Nice to see simple solutions with what you have. Certainly a plus to be organized with your crew, I'm sure. :) God bless.

  6. I need to work more on getting the kitchen organized. We bought my parents house and ended up with almost double of everything. I'm ready to purge and organize.

  7. I enjoyed the tour of your kitchen!! There are lots of organizational ideas within each of these pictures.

    Thanks for linking up and sharing this post over at WholeHearted Home this week.

  8. Oh I got some great ideas from you. A family of ten. I envy you! I bet you have great family events! Thanks for sharing your kitchen and the linkys. I'll visit. And maybe do a little organization after seeing your inspiration.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a wonderful Wednesday,

  9. Great ideas! I need to go through my pantry and cupboards and rethink/reorganize things. It's certainly functional, but I think we need to pare down some of the items and then evaluate the best use of space and the best location.

  10. I love to see how people set up and organize their homes! We are moving in March and this gave me some great ideas for my new kitchen!

  11. This has given me an idea! Thanks for sharing all you do for your family and how you have organized your kitchen:) I'm so glad you linked-up at Deep Roots At Home!!


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