O is for Organizing
A few weeks ago a friend of mine wrote a post on her blog asking if trading recipes made us officially old. I had that exact same thought the other day when some girl friends and I were sharing home organization advice. You know you’re getting old when your topics of conversation involve cooking and/or cleaning. Sorry to break the news.
As dorky as it is I’ve been in-love with
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My sister-in-law is 22 and graduates this May from college. We often talk about her plans after graduation and her anxieties associated with this life-changing event. Her parents, siblings, and friends appear to have a limitless supply of useful career and social advice. I don’t know a great deal about her profession or the city where she is moving, so I’m focusing my advice to her on the topic of organization. Specifically, I’m focusing the majority of that advice on her kitchen, because that is where my heart is.
Here are some of the tips I’ve recently shared with her:
- When putting your kitchen together, arrange items in cabinets based on where you use them. Pots, pans, baking sheets, and oven mitts should be next to your stove. Glasses should either be next to your sink (if you’re a tap water drinker) or the refrigerator (if you prefer chilled beverages). Silverware and plates should be relatively close together since you most often use them together. Heavy items should be stored in lower cabinets, and mugs near your coffee pot.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for very specific, practical things for graduation gifts. Receiving a basket of plastic wrap, aluminum foil, zip-top baggies in varying sizes, wax paper, garbage bags, paper towels, and hand towels isn’t the world’s sexiest gift, but you’ll definitely appreciate it when you don’t have to buy these items before getting your first paycheck.
- Consider re-purposing some of your college items for your kitchen needs. An old index card file is great for holding seasoning packets and soup mixes. An over-the-door pocket shoe organizer can hold pouches, cans, and mixes on the back of a pantry door. Milk crates you used as a bookshelf in your dorm room can become bins for recycling. Your shower caddy makes a nice organizer for cleaning supplies under your kitchen sink.
- Have a list of essential kitchen tools and only focus on acquiring those items. You’re likely moving into a small space, and having something you won’t regularly use will only cause clutter. I spent most of my first years after college using nothing but one cast iron skillet for my pan set. It was cheap (under $20), and I could cook almost everything on it.
- Don’t put your trash can under your sink. Get a relatively nice trash can with a lid that opens with a foot press. If the trash can is under your sink then you have to open the door and pull out the trash can every single time you want to throw something away. You won’t forget to take out the garbage if you can see that it needs to be emptied, and the likelihood that you’ll get critters is reduced since you’ll be taking out your garbage more often. Plus, you can move the trash can around the kitchen as you’re working.
About Erin Doland
Erin Doland is Editor-in-Chief of Unclutterer and lives in the Washington, D.C.-area. She was once a pack rat who held on to objects like her third grade math assignments and every note she passed in high school. When she moved into an 850 sq. foot, one bedroom apartment with her husband, however, she realized that it was time to change her ways. Now, she borders on having a fanatical commitment to a more minimalist and simple lifestyle. She believes in buying quality over quantity, and experience has taught her that a clean, uncluttered home is an essential component of a less stressful life. You may have seen her