Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” By that definition, I am guilty as charged! Especially when it comes to the organization – or lack thereof – of my kitchen utensils. Every time I cook, I loudly search through the crocks and jars of utensils on my counter, muttering under my breath, unable to find whatever grater or scraper or whisk for which I am hunting. And I do mean EVERY time. And when I baking I do the same thing in my silverware drawer looking for measuring spoons.
Admittedly I am not the world’s most organized person – although I can be in some areas. In fact, get me around file folders and labels and various other things found at the office supply store and I get giddy and can find a system of organization that makes me sing! But in other areas – like the kitchen – organization has eluded me!
Maybe it’s because my kitchen is small and although there is a good deal of storage, at least 1/3 of the storage requires me to get out a step-ladder to reach it. Maybe it’s the old, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality that leads me to keep the same utensil crocks on the counter that I’ve ALWAYS had. But ultimately the “why” doesn’t matter. What matters is, it’s time for a change.
So, I want to share with you what I’ve done. Please, please let me know what you think and if you have any ideas that have helped you be more organized in your kitchen.
The first thing I tackled was the measuring spoons. Here’s what our measuring spoon storage used to look like: As you can see, the measuring spoons were in the silverware drawer along with other things like potato and mushroom brushes, scrapers, parts to our food processor, etc. I took all the measuring spoons out of that drawer and put them into a small tin that I recycled and put the tin in a cabinet just above the spot where we typically use our mixer.
Not only has this better organized our silverware drawer (see below), it has also corralled our measuring spoons into a container that is portable. I considered some other ideas – such as putting small cup hooks inside a cabinet door and storing the spoons on the hooks by measurement. I liked the idea of having all the ‘teaspoon,’ ‘half-teaspoon,’ and ’1/4 teaspoon’ measures together. However I appreciate the portability of the tin and for now it’s working.
The glass jar that held scrapers and wooden spoons was my first attempt to separate utensils by type; however, the jar was too small and it was always difficult to get things into it or out of it. But we kept using it…..ah, the insanity!
Finally, I decided to take a trip to IKEA to purchase some rectangular glass block vases to help me organize my tools. I like them because they are (1) inexpensive, (2) squarish and fit right next to one another, and (3) clear, which helps see what is in them.
The next step was to lay out all my tools to (1) decide if there was anything to discard and/or anything that I used so infrequently that it could be store elsewhere and (2) group the them into like categories and sizes. The following are a few shots of that process:
After grouping the tools by use and size, the next step was to divide the tools among the dozen containers I had purchased for storage. Although a dozen containers seems like a lot, when you have as many kitchen tools as I do, the space fills up quickly.
Let me just take a minute to say that although I have a lot of tools, I am not really a “gadget person.” I don’t typically fall for the latest gadget that does one thing in the kitchen. I don’t own a strawberry huller (although during strawberry season it would come in handy), I don’t own asparagus tongs, etc. The tools I have are multi-use and often are multiples of things that work well – for instance, I loved the silicone spoon I bought at Williams-Sonoma so much that I went back and bought two more. I know I will have them for years because they are well constructed, easy to clean (dishwasher safe) and can be used for cooking and baking in multiple applications.
Anyway, back to the organization. Once I decided on which tools would be housed in which containers, I set the containers on the counter and played with placement. Although it may not matter to some people, to me I like the things I use most often to be easily accessible.
The following are some of the ‘after’ shots:
The new containers do take up more room on the counter than the old ones; however having the tools organized is worth the few extra inches of counter space I gave up. We’ll see if this system works in the long haul. It seems like it will; but you never know what organizing idea I may find to improve things.
Next – the dreaded plastic food storage containers…..Noooooooooooooo!!!!
I’d love to know your kitchen organizing secrets. Don’t be shy……comment below!!!