I recently was inspired by the Netflix docu "Minimalism" to take inventory of the things I have in my life, and see if they really bring value to me. It's such a liberating experience! You rediscover things that you've lost, or didn't know you had. You also learn to let go of things that no longer serve their purpose, in order to really appreciate the things that do.
Mmmm... warm feelings...
So now for the hard truth! Things accumulate. Eventually we start drowning in "things", yet somehow we never have what we need. One of the most frustrating things is knowing you have something, but going to buy another one because you just can't find it. GRRRRRRR!!!!!!!
I've moved about 4 times in 12 months, twice for the shop and twice for my home. I thought I was quite good at being organized. It wasn't until I went through our oil/vinegar cabinet (you know the one, right above the stove!).
4 Sesame Seed Oils
3 Worcestershire Sauce
2 Soy Sauce
2 Rice Vinegars...
This is after living here for 5 months.
I'm in many kitchens as I renovate and I see first hand how quickly things can accumulate. The kitchen should be a warm, welcoming, and cohesive environment. Organization is a natural partner to keeping things flowing and peaceful.
So how do we make it so????
1. Take an inventory of what you have.
I know this is the ugliest part of the process. Not unlike a home renovation, things look much much MUCH worse before they get better. You'll likely have things strewn on the counters, on the floors, in your hair, etc. etc. JUST BARE WITH IT.
2. Start Clumping, Combining and Cutting Loose.
Start putting together all the doubles/triples of things that you have. Combine anything that has similar expiry dates and sharpie the sooner date on the package.
Next, toss out what's gone bad or expired. Let it go.
3. Find efficient organizers for YOUR space.
a) Take pictures of your cabinet space. Measure and map them out. It might seem a bit obsessive, but if you've gone through so much to get to this point, it's worth knowing if the containers/organizers actually work for you and will fit in your cabinet space.
b) FIND THINGS THAT STACK. This is how you take full advantage of your cupboards!I found these AMAZING glass containers at DOLLARAMA. So much space is wasted in your cabinets because everything rests on the shelf and the space above is empty. Use it! Also, if you're looking to replace or update your dinnerware, look for things that are STACKABLE. Cups, mugs, etc. If they don't stack you'll need to get some of those plastic or wire shelves inserts. We waste not space!
c) Backup Pantry. This is your overflow space for your extras and the things you rarely use. We use our spare bedroom walk-in closet as our pantry/storage closet. I've set up shelfs to store extras, and when we run out I simply go "shopping" in the pantry.
My guess is that after this whole thing you'll be stocked quite a bit better than you had previously realized. Hopefully over time you'll use the excess you have, and not have to store so many items unintentionally. This way your kitchen cabinet space is committed to things you use often and everything is easily seen/accessible.
ALL The duplicates and rarely used spices! Into the backup pantry they go!
And finally, here is the end result! Containers are labelled and are stackable. I even taped bar codes to the lids of some items so that I can easily scan them into MyFitnessPal food app. Feel free to include calories, cooking instructions, or anything else that would be useful. Make sure to put expiry dates to things that don't have quick turnaround.