Organizing your kitchen is easier with a partner

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 bowleggedness.

At the start of a ballroom dance lesson, the instructor would separate the boys from 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, it really does take two to tango.

I applied this same principle to organization this week. I enlisted the help of my neighbor, Rachelle Kreie, 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 interesting to see how the other organized her kitchen.

It was also nice to be in a judgment-free zone. Rachelle did not shame me in the least when I revealed not one, not two, but three junk drawers.

Here are a few of the steps we took together to better organize our kitchens:

T IS FOR TOSS

Tossing items is the first step in any organization process whether it’s a kitchen, office or car.

Having someone else look through your kitchen gives that other person an opportunity to point out things that may have slowly gotten out of hand, probably without your notice.

Rachelle had an overabundance of grocery sacks she was holding onto for later use, which is good, but there were so many they were taking up valuable space. My advice: 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.

Her kids are now old enough to use the same glasses as the adults in the house. That, again, freed some space.

A IS FOR ARRANGE

Rachelle helped me with thinking of new places for things. I have assigned cupboards for my plastics, cookware, bakeware and other items, but they get adulterated over time with other things.

Rachelle suggested that I could keep my plastics cupboard more organized if I stored water bottles and thermoses in a deep drawer. What a difference that has made.

I suggested that she show off a great collection of 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 the plates in the cupboard closest to the kitchen table for easy setting? Are the hot pads in a drawer next to the oven? Is the cereal on a shelf the kids can reach? OK, 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 rearrange 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 and I tackled my three junk drawers and the plastics cupboard.

O IS FOR ORGANIZED

Little by little, our kitchens will have more than 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 “heck-uvalot” better than an Idaho farm boy, too.

If you have any home tips, topics or projects you would like to share with Annie Payne, e-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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