Over the festive period we stayed with friends in their summer house in Normandy (France). Each time we cooked a meal, my friend Odile felt despaired by the state of her kitchen drawers. The two main drawers in the kitchen and both pantry cupboards next to the table where she stores the food were completely messy and jumbled areas where pasta was mixed with honey, tea bags, vanilla pods, coffee filters, spicy sauce, crisps… She was hardly able to find anything in the drawers and she admitted she didn’t know what she had in the different food storage areas. Organising it all has been on her to-do list for many months but, at the same time, she was reluctant to waste time with the overwhelming task whenever her friends and relatives visited.
On the 1st of January, I suggested we should tackle the task together. Animated by my passion for organising, I launched the idea! For me, it was a great project to begin the New Year with, and a perfect way to detox the day after the big New Year’s Eve party we had celebrated in their home ….
We started by completely emptying both kitchen drawers and giving them a good clean… It was already looking good!We threw away many of the out of date products or items she knew she was never going to use in the future, and we started to group like with like. Then, we did the same with both pantry cupboards. She soon realised how many duplicates of things she had: 3 full boxes of coffee filters (with more than 100 spare filters, she wouldn’t be running out any time soon…), 3 opened packets of rice pudding, 3 almost empty vermicelli pasta packets, and 2 full packets of flour, when she thought she had run out!
Then, it was time to organise everything efficiently. We allocated one of the kitchen drawers for all the breakfast/teatime products where we put: tea, coffee, herbal tea, 1 box of coffee filters, honey, all kind of sugar, Nutella, chocolate bars… We stored grains in the second drawer: pasta, rice, bulgur wheat but we also made room for flour and pastry products (yield, ground almonds, vanilla sugar, vanilla pods…). We also searched the house for small containers for random products of the same category. ‘Containerising’ isolated items helps a lot when it comes to obtaining a neater area.
We stored the rest of the less used products in both cupboards. We saved an entire shelf for the jam made by Papy Michel and again, we organised both cupboards grouping like with like items: one area for crisps and crackers, one for canned items, another one for biscuits… We also put anything spare here (extra packets of flour, extra boxes of coffee filters…).
The result was awesome, it took us less than two hours and Odile was so pleased with everything that each time someone arrived at the house she offered a tour of the newly neatly organised areas!! And the best thing for her was just the realisation that we had made space in the cupboards to store other items that had previously been kept on top of the cupboards and for a wine rack which had previously stood on the kitchen countertops.
Free of extra stuff, even the tops of the cupboards are nicer to look at!
We’re now more than welcome to our friends’ summer house as Odile is already keen to tackle other areas in her property…
This exercise made me realise how much the kitchen should be the first area to tackle in a global organising project. Why?
– Kitchen is probably one of the easiest areas to deal with. It’s unlikely you would come across any sentimental items here, so the decision to toss or to keep is easier to manage. Product expiration dates also help you make decisions easier!
– For the kitchen to run smoothly, we need to know what items we have, where to find them (quickly) and if anything needs replacing. Therefore, organisation is KEY.
If, like my friend Odile, you need someone to help you to start your organisation project and to stay focused on the task until it’s completed, ask for help from a friend or a Professional Organiser.
To find a Professional Organiser in the UK, visit www.apdo-uk.co.uk