This article, entitled "T-A-N-G-O Your Way to an Organized Kitchen!," comes from Annie Payne, MomsEveryday blogger from Western Colorado.
It’s a little known fact that I am a former college ballroom dance champion. I placed first in my school and third overall in the bronze division waltz of the bi-annual Ricks College Junior Open Invitational. My partner, an Idaho farm boy, was surprisingly graceful despite his bowlegged-ness.
At the start of a ballroom dance lesson, the instructor would separate the boys from the girls to teach them their steps. I would often find that alone the steps seemed awkward and hard to remember, but when put together with my partner, I could rely on his lead. I quickly learned, in fact, it really does take two to Tango.
I applied this same principle to organization. I enlisted the help of my neighbor, Rachelle, to organize my kitchen. What was great about this partnership is that our homes have the same floor plan and the same layout for the kitchen. It was great to see how she organized her kitchen and where she kept her stuff.
It was also nice to be in a judgment-free zone, Rachelle did not shame in the least when I revealed that not one, not two, but three junk drawers!
Here are a few of the “t-a-n-g-o steps” we took together get our kitchens better organized:
T is for Toss
Tossing items is the first step in any organization process whether it’s a kitchen, office, or car.
Having another person look through your kitchen gives them to opportunity to point out things that have slowly gotten out-of-hand and probably without your notice.
Rachelle had an overabundance of grocery sacks she was holding on to for later use, which is good, but there were so many they were taking up valuable space. My advice to her was that she didn’t need to destroy her pantry to save the planet.
It was also time for her to say “good-bye” to all the plastic cups collected over years of having little kiddos in the house. Her kids are now old enough to use the same glasses as the adults in the house.
That, again, freed up some valuable space.
A is for Arrange
Rachelle helped me with thinking of new places for my things. I have assigned cupboards for my plastics, cookware, bakeware, etcetera, but they get adulterated over time with other things. Rachelle suggested that I could keep my plastics cupboard more organized if I stored my water bottles and thermoses in a deep drawer. What difference that has made!
I suggested that she show-off a great collection of artsy mugs with cup hooks under the cupboard or on a small shelf on the counter. Some dishes are just too pretty to hide behind closed doors.
N is for Navigate
Think about how you move around in your kitchen. Are your plates in the cupboard closest to your kitchen table for easy setting? Are the hot pads in a drawer next to the oven? Is your cereal on a shelf in that the kids can reach? Okay, maybe you don’t want that.
A lot of people move into their homes quickly and never consider, “Is this the best place for that?” Perhaps it’s time to rethink how you navigate your kitchen and re-arrange accordingly.
G is for Goal
Setting small, easily attainable goals for organization is the best way to not feel overwhelmed. I don’t recommend taking a whole day to empty, wipe down, and rearrange your kitchen. Instead, commit to organizing one or two drawers or cupboards a day until you’re done.
Rachelle started with her pantry. I tackled my three (I counted them as one) junk drawers and the plastics cupboard.
O is for Organized!
Little by little our kitchens will have more than just their layout in common. They will be organized, accessible, and in-step with the busy lives of their busy owners.
Rachelle made an excellent “t-a-n-g-o” partner and she smells a whole “heckuvalot” better than an Idaho farm boy, too.
Now, it’s your turn. What are your tips for keeping your kitchen organized?
To read more from Annie, click here.