A place for everything...

Part three of my organise your life program is 'a place for everything and everything in it's place'.

I'm sure your mum, or maybe even your grandma used to say this, but I'm taking it to extreme levels.
So far we've been dealing with things that you don't use often and need to store/file away. My next stage is going to start dealing with things that you use on a regular basis and make sure that they are not only neat, but accessible and LABELLED. Believe me, labelling is essential. If you family members can read, they can ensure that something is put back where it came from without any prompting or nagging from you (after all, it's better to live on the roof than with a nagging wife)!

I always start in the kitchen, it's the biggest job and it's so satisfying to have that one done that it motivates me to work on other areas.
Start pulling out your cupboards and putting their contents on the kitchen table. Throw away anything out of date etc... And decant things like olive oil, flour, sugar etc... so that you only have one bottle/jar of each.

Once when we were cleaning out our pantry at my mums house we found a tin of spam which I believe was about 8 years past it's sell by date. My dad reckons spam keeps forever, so prove a point he ate it. Don't do this. If you find spam, feed it to a cat or something.

You need to plan your cupboards as you put them back, but don't forget that inside cupboard doors make excellent storage for things used regularly.
The insides of my undersink cupboard is covered in hooks labelled 'gloves', 'shoebrush', 'dustpan & brush', 'antibac wipes' etc... This means they are hung up and easy to grab without disturbing the rest of the cupboard contents. Being labelled means that even my three year old can put them back in the right place.

Spice racks can also be hung on the insides of cupboard doors around the hob. They are easily accessible, but also not in the way when you want to get to the contents of the cupboard. Your spices can now be in with your dishes whilst still maintaining order.
My spice racks were £1.09 each from ikea and worth every penny, but they are very basic and you could easily build them yourself with a little scrap wood.

I would also encourage you to look at vertical storage wherever possible. Cookie sheets, chopping boards, roasting pans, muffin trays are all very annoying when stored flat. By storing them vertically you save space and sanity. You can buy racks from Lakeland, or custom make one for your cupboard with some peg board and a few dowel rods.
However you put your food back in your cupboards, make sure there is a system that you will adhere to. The second law of thermodynamics (entropy) means that your cupboards will always become disorganised, but if you keep coming back to a system, it shouldn't take too long to sort out. I like to group tins by fruits, veg, soups, sides, and then stack doubles, always in sell by date order. You can do it how you like, but do have a plan.

If you have deep shelves and small items, grouping them in baskets (labelled) that are easy to pull out work well. I keep all my cake decorating (food dyes/flavours/sparkles) in a basket next to flour and raising agents. Easily grabbable, won't take over the cupboard.

Extra shelves can be really useful if you feel your pantry is full of wasted space. Mine were £1.99 at ikea, but you can easily make your own.
If you can, decant packets into jars that match and label them. This means they look pretty, stack better, and your kids don't become brand loyal from all the advertising they are exposed to in the home (probably most important for those of us with children on the autistic spectrum). It also means you can save money by purchasing bulk dry goods, like rice and beans, and putting what you need in the pantry, storing the rest elsewhere (cellar, shed or garage for instance). When you run out, you just take your jar and go 'shop' in your store.

Tupperware is a huge kitchen problem. Always store your Tupperware with the lids on. If you don't have enough space, you have too much Tupperware. Purge. If you separate lids from the Tupperware you will end up with a mismatched mess. I'm not sure if this is a scientific law with a special name, but I know it to be a fact.

Now that you've done the kitchen, time to do another room. Most of these tips apply elsewhere too. Hang staplers in office cupboards, have a pullout basket of accessories in your wardrobe. So go on, get organising!!

- Kj


  1. Can I screw spice racks in my cupboard doors? x

  2. As long as they are tasteful, and don't damage the fronts of the cupboard doors... I'm totally fine with that.

    When we were planning to live there I was going to shelve the entire interior surface of the pantry door!


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