Kitchens are one of my favorite things in the komono category to tidy. It makes such a huge difference in your life if your kitchen is organized. You’re more likely to cook and keep it neat when it’s easy to find things and put them away. You’re more likely to invite people over if it’s not a huge ordeal to get ready for guests. We are big proponents of inviting people into our home and making them feel welcome. Since we KonMari’d our kitchen, we can get our house ready for entertaining guests in about 5 minutes. We all know where everything is kept, so it’s easy to put things away and it’s also easy to get out whatever we need.
One of my favorite things when working with clients is figuring out how they use their kitchens, then helping them store their things in a way that will support them. I also enjoy encouraging people to actually use or at least display things they are saving “for a special occasion.” Now is a special occasion. Alice Caldwell Jones, who is participating in our Month of Joy project, posted this picture. The teacup is from a set of china that belonged to her husband’s grandmother. She said you never know how long you have, today is a special occasion so use the things you love.
We’re going to tackle kitchen tidying with a series of blog posts because it’s a big job. In fact, I usually keep this area towards the end of the komono category when I’m working with clients because it can be overwhelming if you tackle it too early in the process.
Today’s post is about tidying your fridge
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I very, very seldom encourage you to buy stuff to store your stuff. But...these plastic bins have really made a difference in keeping our fridge tidy and has consequently cut down on food waste for us. Before we started using these it wasn’t unusual for us to have 2 jars of opened spaghetti sauce, a couple open jars of peanut butter, old leftovers, stale bread, and produce that had gone bad because they all got hidden in the back of the fridge. Now things are stored by category, and we can easily pull out a bin to access everything in it. You can get these bins inexpensively at places like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. These were all less than $5.00 each. We have one for peanut butter and jelly, one for bread, one for vegan “cheese,” one for produce. You get the idea. Figure out what works for your family. You may need to try a couple different arrangements until it clicks.
A lot of fridge photos on Pinterest and Instagram show bins with printed labels on them. Unlike a lot of organizers, I’m not a huge fan of these. It’s pretty obvious what’s in the bins, and you may need to change the contents seasonally or as your tastes change. Also, for me, the labels create visual clutter which I don’t care for.
Here’s my biggest tip - as far as produce goes, I’ve found that if I wash and prep fruits and vegetables as soon as I get home from the store, my family is far, far more likely to eat it them. It’s totally worth the time I spend once or twice a week. I try to serve fruits or vegetables at every meal, and having it all ready to go really helps with that goal. I know experts recommend waiting to wash berries just before you eat them, but I’ve found that if I don’t prep them, they won’t get eaten. We eat them quickly once they’re all ready in the fridge, so it’s worth the risk of them getting a little mushy to me.
I usually store the prepped produce in mason jars so we can easily see what we have. Plus it looks gorgeous when you open the fridge. I try to put it at eye level so it’s the first thing we see, and it’s easy to pour a couple different fruits into a bowl for a quick fruit salad. I use plastic screw on lids (I found these in the canning aisle at Walmart) so I don’t have to mess with the metal lids and rings that come with the jars.
I also use rectangular glass dishes, again because they’re see-through. If we have a lot of leftovers, I’ll put a piece of tape with the contents written on it in Sharpie. My husband appreciates this so much. He comes home for lunch pretty often, and if he can find something quickly he’s more likely to eat a real meal than make a PB&J.
I keep big bags of pre-washed produce (like salad or broccoli) in the hydrater drawers. Keeping cut up fruit and vegetables in those drawers did not work for us, but I can see the big bags through the drawer so I don’t forget them. The condiments are stored with like items in the door.
That’s what’s working for us. I’d love to hear what works for you!
And if you feel overwhelmed decluttering your kitchen, I’d love to help - it’s my favorite komono category.
Sue Fehlberg is Arkansas’ only Certified KonMari Consultant