My annual flare-up of ‘clutter body’ has sent me into a nighttime and weekend frenzy to organize EVERY SINGLE cabinet in my LA home. There are sharpies in the vitamin drawer, extension cords next to the saran wrap (not that I have saran wrap, of course, I don’t), I saw a rogue pacifier (??) in the entry drawer and don’t even mention ‘Tupperware’ – nary a matching lid to be found.
So, I’m needing some org porn, some inspiration. I’m revisiting how we fully organized the mountain kitchen (with the expert help of NEAT Method) and assessing what really worked, and what was harder to keep up (along with some hacks and product recommendations along the way).
The Pull Out Trash Bin
I’ve never started a blog post with a shot of trash, but today is the day. It’s because that pull out trash/recycling is having its birthday and needs to be celebrated for how much it has helped our life.
It’s not that the trash/recycling cans were so genius, it’s that right next to it we have room for MORE backup trash bags (different types, even) and even better – shopping bags. This is a luxury of a big kitchen that we don’t have in LA as that kitchen is super small, but knowing where your shopping bags are before you run out of the house is an absolute joy.
A year later we don’t have it as organized, but it still functions GREAT. We use one of our shopping bags to hold the rest (we have so many) and then the white garbage and black garbage still fit snuggly.
The Fully Visible Pantry
Now onto one of my favorite parts, the pantry. It’s just so beautiful. We made it so you could see food instead of packaging which helps to really know what you have. Everything was labeled, and “like things” were put together.
The stackable, clear containers with lids make life easier, and the baskets are definitely used, jam-packed (and easy to clean). Here she is now:
Not bad, guys. I’d say it’s still about 60% organized. Once you invest the time and money setting up your system, it’s not that hard to maintain even for people as messy as we are.
Where we succeeded: I still love to decant snacks and cereal into the clear containers (when I remember). We definitely use the baskets and love those pull out drawers with the dividers, although now they have mostly broth and canned goods (those beautiful bags of green peas somehow never made it in our stomachs). But cheers to clear plastic stackable containers and see-through baskets. (We had excess beers leftover from new years so we shoved them back there, they don’t normally live there).
Where we failed: I’m not good about keeping up with the snacks in the spinny round things (that’s mostly because it’s hard to keep up with the snacks, period).
I’m honestly now more motivated to keep it up, being reminded by the photos of its beauty. Maybe I should tape a photo of it to the inside of the cabinet. That would likely help– kinda how people used to tape photos of themselves skinnier on their mirrors to “motivate” themselves? (don’t do that).
The pride I felt when people opened up the pantry the first few weeks to innocently get their kids a snack was embarrassingly high. I instantly told everyone how professional organizational experts did it for a shoot because NO mom wants to see another pantry look like that effortlessly. I would have lost friends.
The Junk Drawer
Now here is a staple in any kitchen and what was once my favorite feature (and still kinda is, just messier). The command strips are no longer stacked neatly and there are very few cords housed in a ‘ leather cord taco‘.
Now it is more a place for truly everyday things – chapsticks, keys, sunglasses, Brian’s antacid/Pepto Bismol, super glue, tape, 5 pairs of scissors (??), hair ties, 4 flashlights for night hikes, a rogue walkie talkie and most importantly non-decanted batteries. I’ve relegated most tools to a toolbox and office supplies to the office (when do you really need a stapler on vacation?).
But as I said, we still LOVE THIS DRAWER and the lucite dividers do indeed help. We charge our devices in here all the time and I love that I can just shove my phone in a drawer and say goodbye to technology while it charges.
The Utensil and Baking Drawers
I cook SO MUCH up at the mountain house it’s actually odd. I know where EVERY single thing in this kitchen is and everyone who cooks up here says it’s very intuitive (thank god because it took forever to design and we labored over the function of it so much). Having a ‘baking’ drawer seemed weird to me, but knowing that all these things (including my apron) belong here makes cooking so simple.
This particular drawer is great. So pretty. So lined up. The in-drawer knife holder is awesome and the clear boxes truly do keep things more organized. I have no idea why we have paper bags – (oh wait, of course I do – they make pretty, simple and ‘earthy’ props to contrast the ziplock bags).
How’s she looking now?
Again, not bad!!! Everything is still there, just jumbled a bit and that’s ok. The useless brown paper bags are still holding court but I’m proud to say that that knife holder is GREAT, all the Made By Design cooking supplies are simple and easy (although we got a new garlic press) and apparently, we absolutely need 2 potato mashers?
The Tupperware Drawer
There should be a special swear word for the Tupperware drawer. I need to go through and clean it out and reorganize. It’s not that it’s not working, it’s just a ‘hard-working’ drawer that gets tired and gives up.
I’ve never had someone take care of me so much as Krisztina Galambos (from NEAT Method Los Angeles) and Nicole Loiterstein (from NEAT Method St. Louis) when they organized the area under my sink. That is something that I am going to do this weekend but typically wouldn’t think of doing. It’s honestly been SO easy to keep at least somewhat organized because of the shelf, tray, the sponge/brush shelf and the towel holder.
I’d give us a success rate of 7/10. Everything still has its place and we put things back where they should be, just not very neatly. No rags are ‘folded” (who do you think we are?) but we KNOW where they are.
Lastly, I have no ‘now’ shot for this but I wanted to give proper homage to….
The Dedicated “Kids” Drawer
Every mom probably knew this before I did, but if you can put all the kid’s stuff where they can access it then there is no reason for them not to help set the table or get themselves a glass of water when they are old enough (ours are – THANK THE ACTUAL UNIVERSE). Top drawer houses flatware, then our plates/bowls/cups live on the bottom two for ‘all things kids’.
By the way, our favorite kids’ cups and plates are these from Re-play.
The plates have the right height of rim and the glasses are short and heavy and easy to grip (and thus don’t topple over easily). The bowls match, everything stacks, and they clean really well, even when covered in marinara (and are BPA free, too). Anyway, it’s messier now (I forgot to take a photo of that drawer), but we’ve kept that drawer up pretty well.
Lastly, I forgot to take a photo of the spice drawer because we aren’t very good at decanting our spices, but it’s fine because maybe I’m not the ‘spice decanting type’.
So that’s where we are, a year later. The top products that we love and highly recommend are these:
… and head here to the original post, for all our pots, pans, flatware and utensils.
If you guys have ANY other questions, tips or products please leave them in the comments. xx
**photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp