The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Let’s Get Organized

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Get Organized!

Spring is in the air, which means my cabin fever will soon be replaced with spring cleaning fever. And I think it already started the other day, when I spent 2 hours freshening up our laundry room, followed by another 3 hours rearranging things in the closet that houses all our cleaning stuff. (And now I know I have enough Swiffer sheets to last me until the next Olympics.)

Next on the list is the kitchen. And whether it’s for the pantry or the fridge or the cabinet underneath the sink, I think we all would love to hear new ideas on how to keep our kitchen stuff nicely tucked away. So tell us:

Do you have any favorite organization tips?

I, for one, love Mason jars. Love them and I’ll use them any chance I get. I even use the small sizes to portion out snacks for myself on my desk, so I don’t accidentally go overboard and polish off an entire bin of roasted cashew nuts. But I’m always looking for suggestions on how to keep my freezer organized, and I’m constantly muttering under my breath when I grab a pan and 5 pot lids shift and bang around the shelf.

How about you? What are your favorite ways to stay organized? Any tips to share? Or do you have any special organization or storage challenges you’d like help with? We’d love to hear them!



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Londra Fleming on 3.28.2014

Laundry, I LOVE to do laundry!

Sarita on 3.18.2014

I think the best way to organize is to declutter. I’ve been decluttering for about 5 years – yes, it can take awhile but I am now on a “list” for all the charities that pick up in my area and I have a charity box that I regularly make a “deposit” to so that they can be picked up by the charity when they come around.

Also I have 3 bathrooms and I have cleaning products stashed in each bathroom to make cleaning the bathrooms less of a chore – I hate cleaning bathrooms.

Christine on 3.15.2014

The chore I don’t mind the most is laundry. I actually like having all of the clothes sorted, washed, dried, smelling good, folded/on hangers, and put away for the upcoming week. Makes me feel settled in a sort of odd way.

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C. L. ( Cheryl ) "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser on 3.14.2014

As a weekly grocery shopper remembering what you have is key in a pantry or refrigerator, freezer of which I have each, plus my memory is pretty good. As most people, I will purchase BOGO on frequently used items and store in see through containers. My freezer is an up-right one and I can easily recognize the frozen products. I use a meat market and some meats are vacuumed packed for freshness, others labeled. My spices (jars) are in alphabetical order on a shelf in my pantry. Hope this may help! Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! CLW

AJ on 3.14.2014

My label maker is my secret organizational weapon. It prevents family members from disrupting my efforts and eliminates the time I have to spend reorganizing and restoring order. Pictures are useful if you have little ones who aren’t reading yet. I also found labels to be a great tool when I was teaching my kids to read.

Sandi W. on 3.13.2014

I re-use those twist ties that I get from buying bulk foods, on all the electrical cords of all my kitchen appliances. I just do the ‘figure 8′ fold and twist one in the middle; it makes my appliance cupboard just a little more organized. :). PS Thanks for these great tips; I’m going to use some of them! :)

Pvfrompv on 3.13.2014

My new kitchen had no wall space for a spice rack, but I did have shelf space in cabinets. I found the perfect solution at BBB: Cabinet Binz (clear acrylic 8″ x 10″ size, reasonably priced at $15 ea, other sizes available). I LOVE THEM! Things look so tidy.

JoyK on 3.13.2014

These are outstanding hints. Great blog! I’ve started reorganizing my recipes by scanning favorites and those I want to try into my computer along with pictures, if available. Then my cookbooks are swapped with my friends. Only downside is when you and a friend bring the same favorite dish to a pot luck. More space in my small kitchen though, so it’s worth it.

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goliadyaya on 3.13.2014

Keeping pot/pan lids organized. I have small kitchen cabinets and I found using a small dish drying rack (for plates only) with about 8 spaces is the perfect way to keep my lids organized. They stand up so I don’t have to worry about digging around to find the one I need.

Leslie S. on 3.13.2014

Chest Style freezers have always been a disaster. I found the best way to organizing the chest freezer is with plastic milk crates. Individual crates for your beef, pork, chicken, even break the meat down to crates of hamburger and steaks. My freezer has 4 top bins that I safe for veggies, frozen berries and any homemade bread that makes it to the freeze before it get gobbled up.
I love every ones ideas, great idea for a post!

jackie on 3.13.2014

I have been doing the same thing around here, cleaning all the closets, take stuff to goodwill. I love mason jars too, I use them for leftovers! My favorite tools are the tool turn abouts from pampered chef, I have three, 2 in my craft room and one in the kitchen, everything is there and at your reach!

DessertForTwo on 3.13.2014

I’m soooooo ready to organize, too! The best tip I have is to get rid of stuff you don’t use. Since we’ve moved twice in 2 years, we’ve pared down our things to the essentials. It’s so freeing. And now, when we buy something new, something old must come out to match it. I never want to accumulate the kind of clutter we had when we moved from California!

Patricia @ ButterYum on 3.12.2014

I don’t have a chest freezer, but I group like items together in my standup freezer – one shelf for fish/seafood, one shelf for chicken, one shelf for veggies, etc. In the kitchen I store all my savory spice jars laying down flat in a drawer with the labels facing up – makes it really easy to find exactly what I need when I’m cooking. In my baking cabinet, I use plastic baskets from the dollar store to group like items – one for various sanding sugars, one for baking spices, one for all the different extracts I have, etc. I also use adjustable shelves inside my cabinets so I can take full advantage of of all the space available. For bulk items and freezer storage, I love to use (and reuse) 16 and 32-ounce plastic takeout containers (like Ina uses on Barefoot Contessa). Oh, and I can’t forget my label maker – love it.

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marymc1952 on 3.12.2014

The bag method in the freezer is definitely a keeper I will try. My husband just commented last week that we really need to tidy it. I am a big believer in the lock and lock lid containers. I also am a big user of Mason jars in the pantry. For some reason, it makes me happy to see so many things organized like that. I haven’t tried lettuce in jars, but will do so. I keep any things I can in containers or jars. Keep suggestions coming.
I need help with lids for all the pots and pans.

Josephine on 3.12.2014

Additional information: I noticed while poking around the web that some reusable grocery bags are the size and shape of a regular plastic grocery bag. The ones that we have around here (Ottawa, Canada) have flat bottoms and are about the size and shape of a paper grocery bag and they have nice, wide, cloth handles.

CarolQ: Here they have a smaller version of what I described above – about 10 to 12 inches high and proportionally smaller in width and depth. Maybe that would work for you.

Sorry about the typos in my previous post.

liz on 3.12.2014

I’ve moved to using wide-mouth mason jars in the half-gal and quart sizes. I use the white plastic lids for things I use frequently and use the metal caps with the fresh saver vacuum thing. It is a small handheld machine that you can get at many places.

If there is a sale on some items, I’ll transfer the items to the big jars and seal the top. For example, when flour is on sale, I’ll buy a few extra bags and measure out the 6.5 cups that I need for a bread recipe. And, getting things out of boxes means you see what you have on the shelf and get rid of the potential for pantry moth.

Glass jars can be used to store lettuce, etc – I’ve seen some interesting recipes for salad in a jar. Again, vacuum-sealing the jar helps to extend life.

I’ve also used the mason jars in the freezer, just be careful to adjust for freezing liquids.

CarolQ on 3.12.2014

Josephine – your idea is terrific! I’ll have to figure out how I can use that in the bottom freezer of my fridge. Lena, I also use a permanent marker when I bring canned goods home but I put the date on the top of the can so I can tell at a glance when I bought it. (I also wash/wipe the lid before opening it). I’ll have to bookmark this page for memory purposes (I’m old) and remind myself what I can do!

lena on 3.12.2014

Wow, Josephine, that is brilliant. I was using plastic grocery bags & still do but they tend to tear and spill the contents out and I just used them to separate my pre-cooked & ready-to-eat frozen meals. Genius! I’ll have to adopt your method. Thank you.

Jean M on 3.12.2014

I love the lock and lock containers for the pantry and the freezer. I use masking tape info on the tops so as not to permanently mark up the containers… exception is the flour containers in the pantry so I do not get the types of flour mixed up. I write directly on them with permanent markers. Ziplock bags are great for the freezer to use permanent marker to write the contents and the date it goes into the freezer.

Debbie Buch on 3.12.2014

Container Store (and probably others) have freestanding drawer units that have pull out metal drawers to utilize the vertical space and depth of kitchen cabinets. also there is a Lynx lid organizer that rolls out and organizes lids or cookie sheets. Have both. Love both. No more lids clattering around and my kitchen essentials are organized and sitting in their appropriate drawer!

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Erika (TK) on 3.12.2014

Josephine, how smart! I don’t have a chest freezer but I still think I can use your method. Thanks!

Lena, I love those storage containers too, especially since they still stack nicely even when empty.

Josephine on 3.12.2014

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an organized person, but my freezer used to drive my nuts. I have a chest freezer and things would disappear at the bottom not to found for years. I got 4 new reuseable grocery bags and use one each for beef, pork, poultry and bread. Now I just pull out the appropriate bag and rummage through that for what I want rather than almost falling into the freezer to see what’s at the bottom.

lena on 3.12.2014

I like to use the storage containers with snap-on lids. I store pantry staples in there and they stack nicely. Also, if I have more than one item I put the ones with the closest expiration date in front & the one that with the latest expiration date behind. I also like to use a permanent marker & write on the bottom of a bottle/can/box when I purchased something or opened it to use.