Cleaning & Organization

Kitchen Organization That’s Working (And Not Working)

January 11, 2023

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It’s been one year since we had professional organizers come and work their magic in our house. Amidst newly moving and mid-renovation, the house was in disarray, so it’s exactly what we needed at the time, and it lowkey changed our lives. I remember being emotional during their reveal because I didn’t think I understood the weight that the dysfunction was causing until it was lifted. Since then, the house has evolved, our lives have evolved, and we’ve made some tweaks here and there. So I thought it would be fun, and hopefully helpful, to share some kitchen organization that’s working (and not working).

The organizers did wonders, but I also have to give so much credit to Jean Stoffer and her team for incorporating built-in systems into the cabinets. They were so thoughtful and intentional in making this kitchen work for us, and our lifestyle! Let’s get into it.

1. Upper Glass Cabinets

The first one on the list is these upper glass cabinets on either side of the range hood. I absolutely love these cabinets for storing our everyday dishes and dishes for hosting. This works in that we have all the space we need (and more), but we haven’t created a proper place for each set. I want to find the sweet spot of giving every set a home that also looks good from the outside. The other thing we desperately need in this kitchen is a step stool! Chris is tall enough to reach the second shelf from the top, but I’ve been borrowing a chair from the dining room every time I need to borrow some height.

To solve this problem, I hunted and found the perfect solution (sneak peek here).

2. Shelves in the Range Nook

Task Lamp | Honey Pot | Salt Cellar | Sconce | Kitchen Sources

These built-in range nook shelves are the keystone to everything that Chris cooks. They keep his essential spices and oils handy while he’s cooking and are such an integral and understated part of the kitchen!

3. Lid Drawer for Pots and Pans

We could have never anticipated how life-changing it would be to have a drawer (within a drawer) for all the pots and pan lids. The main drawer holds the pots and pans, and then you can pull out the drawer stacked on top of the lids. This is what I’m I mean by “Jean Stoffer and her team are actual geniuses.”

4. Knife Drawer

Another one of our favorite drawers is this knife drawer. Chris is a knife connoisseur. He’s a collector, he’s a fanatic; he’s enthused over knives! In past kitchens, we’ve had a magnetic strip for hanging knives (which is a great solution), but I much prefer this pretty drawer to that. 10 our of 10 recommend.

5. Spice Drawer

Spice Jars | Labels

This spice drawer is something the organizers did for us! They put everything in these pretty jars and labeled them all. It’s so nice to open it up and see everything clearly, rather than reaching into a cupboard to search for the cumin. Been there, done that.

6. Drink Station Cupboard

Bottle Holders | Clear Bins

Above the drink station, we keep all of our protein powders, supplements, shaker bottles, Stanley cups, etc. It’s working really well, but I’m glad to be gaining a little more reach with the help of this thing I just bought. The bottle holders are something that has sold out before but is back in stock! Couldn’t recommend enough.

7. Refrigerator Bins

When our refrigerator finally arrived, we were so gungho about organizing all the food and making a designated place for it all. For the most part, we’ve kept it up, but some things need a bit of tweaking. For example, the berry bins. One thing we’ve noticed in general since moving to North Carolina is that the produce goes bad much quicker than it did in Idaho! However, the berries are going bad very quickly, and I need some tips to help them stay fresher for longer!

Hands down, our favorite part about the fridge is the egg tray. It’s incredibly helpful to clearly see how many eggs we have at any given point, and it makes for a quick grab without having to take a whole carton out. It’s all about the small things that make a big difference!

Fridge Organizers

Kitchen Organization that’s NOT working

I wish we had snapped a photo of what this cloth and napkin drawer currently looks like (this was fresh after the professional organizers came) because it’s almost unrecognizable. I think we could actually benefit from purging the contents in this drawer because there are linens are cloths spilling over.

If you saw my Instagram stories last night, then you know that the last and biggest dysfunctional space in our kitchen is… the junk drawer. Are we surprised? No. Are we looking for solutions? Yessss!

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What do you think?

  1. Rosalind says:

    Home and Kind did a berry test and got really good results with washing in vinegar/water solution, drying on counter, then storing in mason jar in fridge. She has a whole highlight bubble on it!

  2. Tara says:

    Don’t wash blueberries until you are ready to eat them. Look for blueberries with that powdery-silver look on the outside, it’s not pesticides but a naturally produced preservative called “bloom”. Washing that away will make them go bad quickly. At the store avoid blueberries that look shiny, it means they have already been handled too much. Also look for berries that are refrigerated, changes in temperature will do more to ruin the shelf life of the fruit. My husband worked for years in the farming and packing of blueberries.

  3. Carly Fleege says:

    Nancy Birtwhistle from Great British Bake Off uses citric acid and berries last for a couple of weeks. https://twitter.com/nancybbakes/status/1525725190927560705?s=46&t=-Mmor5kSLqsskdMANH3q7g

  4. Jordan says:

    Someone once told me to wash and let completely dry on the counter (sometimes all day). I’ve had a lot better luck with this method than paper towel in the Tupperware method!

  5. Rosemary Race says:

    I like your kitchen too although I am not so keen on cupboards with glass as I have to clean them at other people’s houses I’d rather cupboard doors than reflect light with colour. I do like the draws for pots etc as designated areas. What type of appliances did you buy for dishwasher, oven etc, sink, taps. thanks

  6. Amy C says:

    Wash your berries with a mix of water and a little vinegar. Let them soak and then strain and rinse. Works wonders! We live in NC too and every time we go strawberry picking I do this and it will help them last for a long time as the vinegar helps kill any lurking mold spores.

  7. Rebecca says:

    I ever wash my berries ahead of time. Invites mold faster! Definitely don’t wash raspberries or blackberries until ready to eat. Some say you can wash strawberries ahead of time with vinegar but I dont bother with it. I think those pads in clam shells help keep moisture at bay. Inspect the cartons too to make sure there are no moldy berries – it spreads like wildfire. And, if they seem moist, toss a paper towel in the container, preferably on the bottom. Happy eating, especially strawberry season here in NC!

  8. Annie Dull says:

    I live in Clayton NC…right around the corner.:) I use the rubbermaid brilliance container for fruits and veggies with a paper towel in them to catch any water. They last so much longer!

  9. Jessica says:

    Have you ever tried green bags for produce? Not as lovely to look at as glass hats, but no soaking required. Just store produce in these bags and it lasts SO much longer. I do not know the science, but it works and they been a huge help in our home!

  10. Maryn says:

    Mason jars for berries is a game changer!

  11. Valerie McGlynn says:

    Wash and let berries completely dry and store in a glass jar with lid. Blueberries will last an amazing long time this way. Just make sure they are dry before going in!

  12. mollie says:

    Have you ever checked out Heath ceramics? I feel like pieces from their coup or chez Panisse line would look divine in your open/glass shelves. Or East Fork for something more local!

  13. Kim says:

    Solution for junk drawer. I used altoid tins to store the mishmash of stuff: One tin for paper clips, one for erasers, Allen wrenches, clips, keys etc. I put my tins in alpha order, but u could color code the tins (ea flavor is diff color). Our drawer is narrow, but long and it had worked well. Easy to grab/go and keep organized

  14. monica says:

    Agree with others about washing berries only just before you are eating them. As far a reaching things on the shelves, looks like you have room to lower that first shelf a notch or two and they you could probably reach the second shelf without the step stool !

  15. Stephanie says:

    I love your follow-up posts about how the house systems or products are holding up! It’s a great reminder that houses need to adjust as the people in them grow and change. Personally I think the solution to the junk drawer issue is to purge and reorganize when it finally gets bad enough or your patience runs out. In the meantime, embrace the reality of many people using (or misusing) it!

  16. Dr Christie Lewis says:

    Look into the zwilling vacuum container. Amazing for things like berries and spinach or other lettuces that often go bad.

  17. J-Ann says:

    About the berries. Usually my berries lasted like 2 days (no kidding). You’re right about the fruit on this area (I live in NC as well). Try to soaking them in a mixture of water, baking soda and a little bit of vinegar for like 5 minutes. Then rinse and dry VERY well. Baking soda and vinegar helps remove dirt, traces of pesticides from fruits and vegetables which will also helps to keep them fresh longer.

    Also, you can store berries in paper towel-lined sealable container, with layers of paper towels between each layer of berries and keep the lid slightly open to allow excess moisture to escape. Hope it helps!

  18. Molly says:

    If you prewash and let them FULLY dry and the store in a glass container they stay for much longer.

  19. Karla says:

    Thanks for the tips! As far as the berries I would suggest storing them in a glass container with a paper towel on top then flipped upsidedown! Change out the towel ever once in a while!

  20. Patricia says:

    https://www.allrecipes.com/article/how-to-store-berries/ Do this first and then store them in these. tps://www.amazon.com/Frcctre-Container-Storage-Containers-Removable/dp/B09P7WLCTV/ref=sr_1_8?crid=29AHJRCGN74WA&keywords=berry+storage+container+for+refrigerator&qid=1673450492&sprefix=berry+storage%2Caps%2C242&sr=8-8 last days longer

  21. Rachel says:

    Do you wash the berries before putting them in the refrigerator? I live in Tennessee and I find the berries go bad faster after they have been washed. I store them unwashed and wash only what I’m about to eat right now.

  22. Meadow says:

    I learned the trick of putting berries in glass jars from Brittany at Home and Kind. After buying the berries, wash them and soak them in a water and vinegar bath for a few minutes, rinse and lay out to dry. Once dry, place them in the glass jars with lids and you have fresh berries that are ready to be used.

  23. Janie Claiborne says:

    Only wash your berries as you use them and they will stay fresh longer.

  24. Veronica says:

    Home and kind did an experiment on what keeps fruit freshest longer! I follow it and it really does help. Basically do a vinegar and water soak for a few minutes and then rinse ans drain (I actually don’t rinse just drain). You can’t taste or smell the vinegar at all once the fruit is dry. Then the key is storing it in an airtight container. I have used mason jars before or the brightroom target plastic food storage containers, both have worked great!

  25. Jenny says:

    Looking forward to the advice on keeping berries fresh longer! Our solution is usually just to eat them right away.

  26. Nicole Mangum says:

    I love love love your knife drawer. It’s genius to have a drawer for them. For the berries, once you wash berries, and then store them, they will go bad fast because the extra moisture makes them get mushy and moldy. You can either not wash them and put them in the containers and know that you will have to wash them before eating or try laying some paper towels in the bottom of your storage bins to catch the excess water after you wash them and see if that helps.

  27. Brianna says:

    To help keep the fresh produce last a little longer, I put a paper towel or thin towel into the container (usually on the bottom and top of the container) and this helps absorb some of the moisture. I do this for berries, spinach and other things that spoil quickly & it helps!

  28. Jd says:

    Hi, I’ve had luck rinsing my strawberries in a bath of white vinegar and water. Then dry on a clean dish towel and pop into the fridge. I have done this with blueberries and blackberries but not with raspberries. I’m also in NC. jd

  29. Sarah says:

    When I bring berries home, I soak them in a glass bowl of water with a good splash of apple cider vinegar (the kind with the mother). After a few minutes, I drain them and into the fridge they go. You can’t really taste the vinegar and something about it is supposed to kill mold spores.

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