You know those beautiful perfectly organized kitchens and pantries on instagram? Have you ever wanted to do it? Wondered if it would be worth the expense or easy to upkeep? Well I did it “the home edit” style and I’m ready to dish all about it!
Hey all, welcome to the podcast!
You know those trendy instagram beautifully organized kitchens and pantries?
Well, I did it!
…and I’m here to tell you all about it!
I’m jumping in today with a quick episode on kitchen organization, specifically kitchen organization the home edit style.
If you’re unfamiliar, the home edit is a company that combines home organization with interior design so you can create spaces in your home. They’ve got a super bingeable show on netflix that will convince you you need to buy all of the organizing bins!!! (Seriously, it’s becoming a problem in our marriage. Every time I ask my husband when he’s going to stop buying board games he retorts with when are you going to stop buying organizing bins. but I digress.
Anyway, I’ve had the organizing bug for awhile now, so doing the home edit wasn’t a monumental change, but I did want to go over what I learned and what parts of their organizing system I found the most useful.
Now, they have a book that can tell you all about how to do this, and they go over their system frequently in the show. TBH I skimmed the book, but didn’t give it a good read, so most of what I did was based on what I watched in the show.
Let’s go over their system and then we’ll do a deep dive into what each of the steps meant for my kitchen, and whether or not I thought the steps were worth it!
Edit, Categorize, Contain, Maintain
The home edit has 4 main steps, Edit, Categorize, Contain, Maintain. They are also big into creating systems so that your organization is functional as well as pretty (I LOVE this!!!), they are also all about creating rainbows in their organizing, and creating zones within your spaces (essentially categories) to help you maintain the system.
Edit-The “edit” is the home edit’s fancy way of saying declutter or purge. This is the step where you decide what is actually worth keeping and will stay in the space for the rest of the steps.
I honestly didn’t do much of an edit because I’m pretty disciplined with what I keep in my home/kitchen to begin with, but if you are holding on to a lot of excess items this is definitely where you want to start.
Categorize-Okay, so I’m obviously on board with categorizing…but we’ll get into why I don’t follow this PERFECTLY when we talk about zones…but the categorizing step is where you get EVERYTHING out of the cupboards and categorize it so you know what kinds of containers you’ll need, what zones you’ll need, and where you’ll put everything when you are done.
Contain-This is where they sell you with all of their beautiful organizing bins. Okay, they really don’t but watch the show and you’ll definitely covet. Containing is a hugely important step of organizing. To me, it’s kind of like giving respect to your things and your home. When you just throw something on the counter or on the shelf, it’s not very welcome. It always feels in the way and feels like a guest in your house. If you love an item enough to own it (which if you don’t, why do you own it?) It deserves a permanent home. This is what containers do.
So I’ve been using containers and drawer organizers for ages, but the home edits clear stackable containers…they are SOOOO pretty!!
Now, I didn’t buy them for everything, but I did want to dig into the contain portion of this a bit more and tell you what areas it was worth paying for the home edit containers for, and why, and what areas you can get away with cheaper dollar store bins.
Let’s talk about some of the areas in your kitchen. The first is the fridge. The fridge is notoriously difficult to keep organized for me because it feels like it’s ever-changing. The fridge is actually one area where I do very minimal “containing” I find that bins in the fridge make it more difficult to fit everything in. I do utilize zones in my fridge (a zone is an area designated for a certain category). I also use bins to organize dairy products and deli meats, as well as the build in containers in the doors for condiments. I also purchased clear egg containers so I know when I’m running out of eggs, but other than that I just use my regular clear tupperwares as containers, as well as clear mason jars to store fresh herbs. I will say that in the fridge CLEAR containers are key. You want to know what you have and how much you have to make sure you use things up before they go bed
Now let’s talk freezers. I have both a chest freezer and the freezer for my fridge (which is not a side by side so it basically operates as another chest freezer. Chest freezers are also notoriously difficult to organize because of the need to stack items to properly use the space. This was an area where it was worth it to purchase the home edit’s stacking bins. In my chest freezer I used a combination of the everything large bin and the everything narrow bin to best use the space. My indoor freezer is smaller and I used basically all the everything narrow bin, I’ll try to mention where all of the products I mention are from, but anything the home edit brand I purchased from walmart.
On to the pantry. So I have a fairly large pantry as well as some cupboards that are utilized for pantry ingredients. I have some cheaper opaque white bins that I’ve loved in the pantry so I kept a handful of those. They are great for containing bigger items like bread, crackers, chips, etc…that aren’t that pretty to look at. I did splurge on some stacking produce bins from amazon where I keep our staple produce and snacks. I wanted the snacks at eye level in a visible bin so the kids could get to them and it’s working great. For backstock or items that are less pretty I use canvas bins so you can’t see the eyesore those extra items can be.
For the pantry cupboards, I got clear containers for all of my grains and staples. I used some of these bhg easy close lid clear containers in varying sizes as well as these plastic cereal containers. The cereal containers are cheaper and worked well for a lot of things, but I liked the bhg option for items that I keep less of on time, and for the space saving power of being able to stack them. I also used a few lazy susans for vinegars and other bottles.
Now let’s talk drawers. For shallow drawers, cheap-o bins work just great. The dollar store has loads of options and many of my drawers still have dollar store drawers..but for deep drawers I found great success in the home edit stacking bins. My favorite pack for ANY deep drawer is the bathroom edit, yes even for the kitchen. These will dramatically increase your space in drawers by using up that space that you usually couldn’t use at the top of the drawer.
Maintain-Like I said, I’ve always had organizing bins of some kind, but what I did this time around was really get intentional about what containers are in which spaces, and I added extra containers to grow. I feel like all of this has made the system much easier to maintain. I completed this project about 6 weeks ago and I haven’t had to do a deep clean of my fridge since! I’ve also been actually using up produce that used to just get lost in the fridge. At this point, the system sort of just maintains itself and I replenish the items which brings me to the next thing the home edit LOVE to say!-
It’s a system!
One of the biggest things the home edit helps people with is creating systems that actually make sense for their needs. I actually love that when they go into a space to organize it they ask their clients what functions they need the space to serve. I feel like in our own homes items tend to just creep and crawl around and sometimes we don’t even have a specific goal or objective for a certain space…thinking about how you need a space to function and then coming up with the system makes everything so much more effective.
Some “systems” I implemented in my kitchen included putting the snacks at kid-level so I don’t have to get their snack every time they need one. I also gave our snacks a permanent home so I no longer have to think about which snacks to get, I just have to see which bins are empty and add them to the grocery list. It’s quite amazing actually!
I also implemented a system for having my kids help with unloading the dishwasher and setting the table by putting all of our tableware in a drawer at kid-level. When we have guests over, they inevitably can’t find the cups when they want a drink (oops) but it’s so functional for our little family even if it is a bit unconventional!
I also have all of our spices in a drawer right next to the stove with the lids facing up so I can see at a glance which spice I need, without having to try to find it in a cupboard.
There are more, but these are some of the systems that are keeping things going well.
When you are working on organizing your kitchen, I strongly consider asking yourself how you need your kitchen to function, what struggles you are constantly up against, and how you can use your organization to make things function better (not just look prettier).
One way that the home edit recommends getting better systems is with the use of zones. Like I said earlier, a zone is an area designated for a certain type of item. For the most part, I like using zones, but I do have to be honest that i’m not a complete perfectionist in this area. Sometimes I find that organizing items by the type of container they fit in actually makes more sense than using strict zones because I can save more space that way, but having general zones can be helpful. I would encourage you though to make this an individual thing and think about what “zones” would actually be useful to you instead of just creating the most obvious zones.
Okay, so the last thing I want to touch on when it comes to the home edit way of organizing is the rainbox. The home edit LOVES to organize things in rainbow order. Of anything I learned from them and the show, this was the least useful to me and isn’t something I did a lot of (I still love you Clea and Joanna, I hope we can still be friends!). To be fair, rainbow organized items look GORGEOUS! But in my case, I found that I just didn’t have enough items for rainbow organizing to look as beautiful as it did for them, and it also doesn’t seem overly functional to me. I don’t always know or remember what color an item I am looking for is. I feel like if you are the type of person that does hold on to a lot of items, or has a lot of backstock you could do some really beautiful rainbow organizing. Clea even organized her pantry snacks in rainbow order to the point where her kids just asked for a specific color of snack (mom, we’re out of green snacks!!) This is too much for me….but I did do a little rainbow organizing in my clothes closet and with books. If you’ve got any items calling to be a rainbow, go for it, but overall this wasn’t overly useful advice for me.
Okay, so there you have it. My biggest takeaways from this kitchen organization project is think about your spaces, think about how they need to function, get the right items for the right spaces, and contain the items so you can maintain your system!
Thanks for tuning in and listening friends, I always appreciate you.
Next week on the podcast, we’re going to talk about produce. Specifically how to make your produce last as long as possible in the fridge. I’ve been taking some new steps and my mind is blown how much more we’re using things up and how much less waste we have. If you have this problem, you’ll for sure want to tune in!
Happy Planning Friends!