Where Do I Start?

Let's get organized
By Jenifer Shaw
By Jenifer Shaw

The number one question people ask me when they hire me to help them get organized is, “Where do I start?” Getting organized can be overwhelming. While organization does not come with a “one size fits all” answer, the most common place for people to start is the kitchen. It is the most used room in the house. It’s the hub. I start by going through every cabinet. There are three questions I ask as we look at the items in the cabinets: 1)How often is this used? 2) Do you really need more than one? 3) Who uses it?

How often is it used?
Look at an appliance or utensil. Do you use it on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis? For instance, if it’s used every year at the holidays, it should not be in a cabinet that’s prime real estate, meaning places that are easy to reach. Your everyday items should be in prime real estate areas of the kitchen. The general rule is glasses go next to the refrigerator, coffee cups go near coffee makers, items kids need to access should go in reachable spots. Things that require immediate access like cutting boards, colanders and serving spoons should all occupy prime-real-estate-within-your-reach areas of the kitchen. Items you use on a weekly basis like that panini maker, can be a little further away, a little higher up. Items you may use on a monthly basis, like entertaining pieces can have higher up location that are still accessible and items like that Christmas tree shaped platter can go on the top shelf because you only need it once a year.

Do you really need more than one?
Throughout your lifetime you accumulate things that may cause you to have many of the same item. Multiple casserole dishes, multiple wooden spoons and so forth. You need to ask yourself, do I use this. If you bake a lot, having many muffin tins might be necessary. If you don’t, you can make space by having just one. Trim down. Do you really need more than one of each size casserole dish? If you’re a large family, maybe. But if not, maybe keep two large and one small. Look at your frying pans I’ve notice that people may have many of the same size. Do you need that? If you and your husband wake up and each have two different kinds of eggs in the morning, you might need two of the same sized pan. If not, get rid of one. Do you really need three spatulas? Pare down to one of everything. Look at what you use the most. Give the extras to Habitat, Goodwill, or take them to a consignment shop. It will help you stay organized and succinct.

Who uses it?
If there are items that you want kids to get on their own, put them at level kids can reach, it helps them be independent. If your six-foot husband is the only one that uses pilsner glasses, put those on a higher shelf where he can reach them. Once your kitchen is organized, you’ll be surprised how easy everything else will fall into place. You have to be willing to get rid of things. Voila! You’ve made the first step.

If you have any organizing questions you’d like help with, please email me at jenifer@minthilltimes.com with the subject line, Jen’s Organizing Tips. I look forward to helping you.