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Kitchen Cabinet Clutter – Organizing the mess under my counter

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Working at Rubbermaid has its pros and cons.  One of the pros is getting samples of our products. One of the cons is getting samples of our products. How is getting samples a con you ask? The issue was I had way too many food storage containers and beverage bottles. It seemed every time I turned around I was bringing another container home and I never seemed to get rid of old containers. Water bottles would fall out of my cabinets when the door was opened. I could never find a lid to my food containers because I had too many and too many types. 

Last weekend I decided to do something about this problem.  After having a couple cups of freshly ground coffee I stood in my kitchen and began the process of organization.

Step one was to identify and define the issue.  For me the issue was two-fold.

  1. I had too many containers and I certainly didn’t need all of them
  2. I was utilizing my space poorly. My frequently used items were stored in a cabinet that was deep and hard to reach while lightly used items were kept in the prime locations.

Foodstorage2Step two was to sort and purge. I ended up pulling everything out of my base cabinets and sorted it into piles on the kitchen floor. Beverage bottles went in one pile, pots & pans in another and so on. Once everything was sorted I began the process of purging. I started by finding all of the food storage and beverage bottles and matched bases to lids.  Anything that didn’t have a match went into the recycling pile.

Foodstorage3Next I pulled out anything that was damaged, old, stained or I just didn’t need. This was a fairly easy process for me as I ended up keeping only stuff that was new like my Produce Saver, Premier and other samples from work. Additionally, since Calphalon is a sister company of Rubbermaid I had some very nice pots and pans. There was no need to keep old stuff from college. My wife on the other hand had a hard time parting with the bakeware her grandmother passed down to us (although she eventually did).

Step three – With the sorting and purging process complete the next order of business was to put everything away. I didn’t want to just put stuff back in the same spot since the original storage locations were not optimum.  So I began to take inventory of what was left and ended up identifying a few major categories of items: (1) food storage container, (2) beverage bottles, (3) pots and pans, and (4) bakeware. With those categories identified I then prioritized which items I use most frequently along with the space required to keep these items organized.

Foodstorage4I ended up giving priority and easy access to the food storage containers and beverage bottles. These two groups of products ended up in the largest cabinets with the easiest access (the kids needed to be able to get these items easily without making a mess). The pots and pans were put into the cabinet that had the least convenient access since only my wife and I accessed those items (and in theory are responsible enough to keep them organized). The bakeware got the remaining cabinets.

After all was said and done it had only taken me 60 minutes to complete this very satisfying task.  It’s been about a week since I completed the project and all of the cabinets are still in good shape. And since I took into consideration the way we use our kitchen I expect the cabinets to stay organized for a long time too.

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So, the moral of the story is: If you have kitchen cabinets that are in need of reorganization, go for it. It won’t take too long and you’ll be glad you did. If I can do it so can you.

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26 Responses to Kitchen Cabinet Clutter – Organizing the mess under my counter

  1. michelle.toler@rubbermaid.com July 30, 2011 at 3:43 am #

    I just organized my kitchen whew… what a chore. I also purchased under the shelf baskets, lid and pan organizers, and pan organizers. I used the shelf baskets for things like kool aid that i can never find. The lid and pan organizers i used baking pans. Then the pan organizers for well the pans. I just got a pull out spice rack i need to put in. I love the organizers because they come with hardware or sticky tape to hold them in place. I also, am employeed at rubbermaid and i love working for a company that helps me at home too. :)

  2. Les Wood August 19, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    I am looking for 20 6″ diameter round by about 10″ high with a screw on lid. I have several now, that I use for pistachios, almonds, walnuts and also breakfast cereals, all of which go stale if left in the packages or boxes. These are the most handiest of food storage containers, as I use a scoop to measure out a right portion, or I just pour it out through the top.
    You must have something still available similar to that. If I found it so handy, I am sure others did also.

  3. Jim Deitzel April 9, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    Barbara, I’m sorry you weren’t able to find a retailer that sells this product. Unfortunately the website doesn’t have a really good way of knowing what retailers carry and stock products.

  4. Barbara April 9, 2010 at 12:09 am #

    I have some Rubbermaid tall square jars which I love. They’re lightweight, easy to clean, transparent, wide mouthed. They’re listed on the web-site as: “#1b49 – 1 GAL SQUARE JAR.”
    The site says “NOT available on-line;” so I looked for a retailer using an Arizona zip code. Web-site said “unable to find retailer.” I tried my old zips from Illinois, Virginia, and New York: each time got the same IDIOTIC message “unable to find retailer.”
    WHY LIST THEM ON THE WEB-SITE IF THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE? DOES RUBBERMAID THINK IRRITATING CUSTOMERS IS GOOD POLICY?

  5. Donna March 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    I am looking for some storage containers exactly like the ones i bought a few years ago, which are perfect for my bundt cakes to transport and store in the fridge or even on the counter. the number is 02A L3-3056-XO-RIRED It’s 11” wide, 5 1/4″ high with lid on. It’s translucent material with a red lid. Though on your website I see there was one with a cream colored lid, also. That is the style and size I am looking for. If anyone knows of anything, please contact me through this website. It would be a lifesaver!I like this style over the caketaker because a plate can sit nicely in the lid without moving around and slamming the cake into the sides, while the bottom of the bowl serves as a lid or cover. It’s perfect.
    Thanks,

  6. Leslie from swimming pools March 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    My problem is that with all the efforts I put into sorting the containers, things get back to the same old mess within a couple of days. And I simply don’t have the heart to throw anything away. The solution that I found: when you have guests over, pack them some cake (or other food) leftovers into one of those containers and let them know they don’t need to return the container.

  7. Jim Deitzel March 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Sounds like you came up with a great solution!

  8. Janet March 5, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    I had a big storage problem with containers and lids, so I made simple pull out drawers. In the drawers I separted the lids and containers with an extra board. One side containers the other side lids. I tried to go through all containers and lids to make sure everything fit together. The extra ones that didn’t fit or couldn’t find I put in a box till later. Then went on to make more drawers so now I have a cabinet with drawers, and places to put different things. Things turned out great.

  9. Annette W February 10, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    Water bottles and food storage are big problems for me too!

  10. Jim Deitzel October 26, 2009 at 7:31 am #

    I love the idea about the party. That’s one way to tackle the problem of too many containers.

  11. Mimi Bimi October 24, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    Jim, ‘was looking for “how to contact” when I stumbled upon your suggestions. They’re all very good. I finally organized my kitchen when it was renovated last year by having only “drawers” installed under the cabinets. The only cabinets were the corner turntable and the tray cabinet. What an improvement, providing more and better storage space. Another suggestion is to have a big party and give everyone some food to take home – in your plastic containers – and hope you never see them, the containers, again. Then, you can give yourself a fresh start.

  12. Jim Deitzel October 9, 2009 at 7:52 am #

    That’s great news. Getting rid of clutter helps so much.

  13. Law of Attraction Expert October 8, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    I just barely went through some of my stuff threw it out. Feels much better.

  14. Kithen Cabinets Designer October 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Ya, I find I have way more containers than I actually use. Your cabinets look nice being all organized. Wish mine did.

  15. Jim Deitzel September 15, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    Actually purging is a very important part of organizing. Often you have more stuff than you really need which leads to clutter. Take a good inventory of your stuff and try to determine what you really need.

  16. T Bakeware September 15, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    No matter how I try to organise my kitchen, it is always cluttered. I think the only solution is only to start chucking things away

  17. Jim Deitzel February 24, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    Yes, I did wash them. I had a lot less containers to put back since I recycled all of the containers that weren’t within the Easy Find Lids system family (Premier, Produce Saver, Easy Find Lids).
    I think you’ll find with a system like this you’ll need many fewer containers so you won’t have to purchase as many. The Premier containers have a lifetime guarantee.

  18. MichelleG February 23, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    Did you wash your contains after they were on the floor and before they went back into the cabinets?
    And I am still disappointed that my favorite Rubbermaid food storage containers (the flex and seal) are apparently being phased out. Having containers that are stackable when they are not being used is really important. But sadly my favorites are now either way too expensive (who is going to pay $7-8 for 1 medium sized container)?? Especially when a set of 5-6 plus lids used to be under $15??

  19. Jim Deitzel February 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Just take it one step at a time and you’ll be done in no time. I also did my pantry a few months ago and it’s still organized.

  20. janice February 23, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    This is so timely – my new kitchen is just complete and this weekend we were trying to figure out where everything will go. It is a bit fun and a bit intimidating!

  21. Jim Deitzel December 5, 2008 at 7:33 am #

    You’ll be able to do it. It just takes a little thought, some time, and hopefully a bunch of new Rubbermaid containers ;)
    Keep us posted. I’d love to see the results.

  22. Marie (aka Noggy) December 4, 2008 at 6:53 pm #

    Inspirational! I think you’ve given me enough “hope” so that I will make time to tackle my abyss this weekend. Will let you know how it works out.

  23. JoyD October 29, 2008 at 9:01 am #

    WOW,, thats a lot!!!! But you really did a Great job!!!! that is awesome…
    and Rubbermaid,, good products..
    I;ve done mine here http://whenmomtalks.com/2008/10/procrastination-challenge.html
    have a great day…

  24. Nancy October 29, 2008 at 8:21 am #

    Hi Jim, Great ideas – I’m a HUGE procrastinator and dream of the day that I will have cabinets that look like those – HOWEVER, I am starting mine one cabinet / shelf at a time and working it that way – doesn’t seem to be as overwhelming. Love rubbermaid and it holds up in some tough conditions at our barn and still keeps our feed fresh!
    Thanks for visiting my blog!
    Nancy

  25. Jim Deitzel October 11, 2008 at 7:46 am #

    Jeanine,
    I’m using the Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid system to store the lids & bases. The bases all stack together and the lids all snap together too. I can then snap the lids to the base if I want. In the photo above, the stack of ‘black’ are all of my lids that fit the containers in the front left.
    You can see the nesting capabilities of bases and lids in the front right side of the food storage photo. Those are produce saver containers.

  26. Jeanine October 10, 2008 at 6:22 pm #

    Thank you! I’ve been struggling with the same kind of kitchen disorganization. How are you storing the food storage containers and their lids? I always get frustrated trying to find the right lids for the container.

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