18 Sep

Written by Kristin on September 18, 2013

Organize

Whilst spring cleaning means nothing to me, there’s nothing like September and that back to school feeling of getting organised and ready for a new year (whether or not I’m ages away from my studentdays!) that autumn brings. This past week my husband and I couldn’t stop complaining about the state of our kitchen. Every time we opened a cupboard things would fall on our head, and don’t even get me started on the drawers. Even worse, we kept throwing food away because we didn’t realise we had it until it was too late to safely eat, or buying more of an item because we didn’t know we already had a package at home.

This brings me to an important point: if your kitchen is well organised, you’ll not only be able to find things easier, but you’ll save money because your food won’t go to waste! I decided some organising was long overdue and set out to find some ideas.

My fellow PCUK editor Lizzie told me about the “Organized Like Jen” videos on YouTube, where an American woman who is all about organisation gives tips on getting your house in order. Turns out she had a 26-minute (!) video about tidying her pantry, and that gave me some great tips about using baskets and other containers to keep your food items neatly arranged.

My goal was to spend no more than £50 on the project, and believe it or not, it was easy to do.

First things first, I went on a rampage through the kitchen and took everything out of the cupboards and drawers to figure out what we had. I made three piles: keep, donate, bin. I’m ashamed to admit how many items I had which were well past the expiry date because they’d been sitting in the back of the cupboard … a bag of flour from 2009 is probably the most embarrassing find of the day! It made me feel ill to think of how much money and food had been wasted.

Next up, it was time to shop! I found an amazing set of six storage boxes at Ikea for only £6. They’re meant for organising things like belts and scarves in your wardrobe, but I found they suited my purposes perfectly for the kitchen. The small ones work well for items like seasonings, whilst the larger boxes hold snacks, baby food, soups, etc. These boxes saved loads of space and the added benefit is that it prevents me from overbuying; if the box of snacks is full, I won’t allow myself to buy more until the rest have been used. If you want to be proper OCD about it, you can print out some labels like I did! I already owned some cheap labels from Staples, but any office supply store will sell them.

Another great find is this fun blue basket from Homebase (£7.49), plus it’s more than 50 percent off! It works really well as a fruit basket, but you could use it for loads of things.

We’d been tossing the bread in random cupboards, so it was time to buy a proper bread bin. I’m obsessed with our new vintage-style red enamel one from Marks and Spencer (£19.50). I didn’t indulge in the matching jars, but if you’re so inclined, they offer them for sugar, tea, coffee, biscuits and more. I purchased two of these clear flip lock storage jars (£7.50 x 2) instead, which are perfect for storing my sugar and coffee. Plus, the slim size saves space versus using the original bulky containers.

One of the highest priorities for me was tackling the junk drawer. It’s such a hassle when you’re trying to find something quickly amongst piles of pens, sticky notes, papers and who knows what else. I was about to get rid of a shoe box and realised that the top of the box turned upside down was perfect  for storing all of the pens and pencils, scissors and other small items in my junk drawer. Even better … it was FREE. Two boxes fit nicely in my drawer and now I can find everything I need without wanting to rip out my hair.

Grand total to organise the kitchen: £47.99!

Before you get your cleaning game on, check out our home products category for money-saving codes and coupons. Who doesn’t love saving a few quid?

Follow Kristin on Twitter now at @KrisShopScoop

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