Organize Your Kitchen With Guest Glynnis Whitwer

We are into week two of our online study of A Life That Says Welcome. This week we will tackle some practical tasks for getting our homes company-ready and strategies for cooking. (Chapters 4-7)

Today, my ministry partner, clever friend and fellow-author of an organizing book Glynnis Whitwer is here to help us get our acts together in the kitchen.

Remember, you can comment on all posts until the end of the study. Winners announced the day after Easter. So, be sure to catch up on the posts from over the weekend. They were fabulous. I am learning a ton from our guests and from you all too!

Now, for today’s guest:

Glynnis Whitwer is on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries as the Senior Editor of the P31 Woman magazine. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 500,000 daily readers.  Her newest book, I Used to be So Organized, was released last fall.  Glynnis, her husband Tod, and their five children live in Glendale, Arizona.  Visit for more information.

I’ve discovered many of life’s blessings happen in my kitchen.  This room unites the values I hold dear:  home, family and sharing life with others.  This is why keeping it organized and clutter-free is a top priority for me.  It’s not so I can boast of my alphabetized spices or labeled storage containers.  An organized kitchen helps keep me focused on what’s important, instead of mentally drained by a mess.

Here’s the problem with a disorganized kitchen as I see it.  When there’s no clear counter space, I’m discouraged from starting anything.  Instead of making an affordable and healthy dinner, I am tempted to pick something up. I can’t even imagine reaching out to anyone when I can’t even take care of my own family.

All my lovely ideas for hospitality evaporate as clutter drains me of creative energy.  Years ago I realized a well-managed life, one where I minister to my family and others, started in my kitchen.

So, in order to bring in more beauty, peace and order into my life and into the lives of those I love, I have declared a war on kitchen clutter.  If that appeals to you, here are some suggestions for how to de-cluttering the kitchen.

1)  Sort through and remove all clutter from on top of your counters.

Put away, recycle, toss and file those items you know what to do with.  If you don’t know where to start, pick a spot and work your way clockwise.  If you need to make decisions on other items, put those in a large box for later decision-making.  Wash and put away dishes. Clean your counters and sink. Now stand back and survey your accomplishment with joy!  (clap, clap, clap … that’s from me).

2)  Move many of your everyday kitchen appliances out of sight (toaster, bread maker, waffle iron, etc).

Clear counters will refresh you, and give you a clean palate for creativity.  You might need to work on step 3 at the same time so you have room to store these items.

3)  Eliminate extra, unwanted, broken, chipped and incomplete items.

Start with one cabinet or shelf and completely remove every item.  If you don’t use it, set it aside to give away, sell or toss.  Be honest and ruthless. I know this will be hard, because many of us are well intentioned.  I really intended to make fondue for my family … someday. But I had to be honest with myself.

Clean the shelves with warm soapy water and return the items you want to keep, including those items that were previously stored on your counter.

4)  Store seldom-used appliances elsewhere.

Can you store larger items outside your kitchen?  If you are holding out hope that you will start to use your waffle iron, then consider a shelf in an outside storage cabinet, extra bedroom or linen closet.   I have a shelf in my garage for larger items I don’t often use.

Another option is to purchase extra kitchen storage, like a free-standing cottage-style pantry or rolling island.  Consider buying something with doors to reduce visual clutter.

Great ideas, Glynnis!

Now, to be entered to win a copy of Glynnis’ book I Used to Be So Organized, tell us either your greatest kitchen organization dilemma or one tip you have when it comes to the kitchen.

REMEMBER: We are also interacting over at Karen Ehman’s Book Studies on Facebook. Click here to “like” the page & join us.

And, for this coming Friday’s idea swap and share, be thinking of your best decorating idea, tip, centerpiece or DIY project.

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  5. I like to buy the clear oxo storage containers to store open pastas, flour, sugar, coconut, tea, etc in. I keep a couple of dry-erase markers in the kitchen drawer and use them to label the containers with contents and expiration or opened dates. This way I can easily see how much of something I have left and also know if it’s still good :)

  6. I, too, have a catch-all counter. And very limited counter space to begin with AND no extra storage space for hiding seldom used appliances. Combine all that and I have to get pretty creative to come up with adequate work space when cooking!

  7. Clutter on my kitchen counters and keeping my pantry organized are two of my trouble spots in the kitchen. Any “free” space ends up a dump zone :) “He’s still working on me.”

  8. I have a small kitchen with little countertop space, so being organized and tidy is very critical for my “well-being”! :o)
    My biggest dilemma is paperwork, etc. that I need to sort through, but maybe don’t have time right at that moment. I have a junk drawer, but if I put stuff in there, I tend to forget about it! I’m really trying to stay on top of it, but it’s so hard sometimes. I also have very little storage space, so I’ve really tried hard to not be such a pack rat and to purge some of the things that I know I’ll never really use, but it’s so hard when I have such a great idea for that wonderful kitchen gadget…….. ha!!!

  9. I bought roll out shelving from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and installed them on most of my cabinet shelves. Since I’m so short, I can now make use of taller shelves and back of shelves because I can roll out the shelf and see and reach what I need.

  10. All the PAPER that comes in…holy moly!! I have reserved a shelf in a cabinet that holds it all and I go through it once a week….I can’t stand for it to be out on the counter!!

  11. My biggest kitchen dilemma is my Tupperware cabinet. I can never seem to keep it organized in a way that works and is neat.

  12. My biggest issue is keeping the cabinets organized and dealing with the mail clutter I occasionally allow to take over one corner of the counter.

  13. As a certified professional organizer, and 14 year veteran of NAPO ( National Association of Professional Organizers), I am always delighted to see our amazing industry reaching a vast audience. In my decade + years, I have come to believe that disorganization is really a “faith” issue. There are a million-and-one reasons why people just can’t seem to deal with the overload in their lives. That overload can be stuff, activities, or just the mental perception of time. My clients have expressed that their cluttered brains equal cluttered rooms. Clutter is NOT an easy fix, and anyone can give you a ton of hints and tips to fill you with more guilt and anxiety. If getting “organized” was simple, we would have all done it years ago, and magazine headliners would have something else besides a “clutter free” caption on the front cover. My advise is to seek out those in the field that are trained and have been certified before claiming the advise of well meaning authorities. Just like prayer, living an orderly takes on your unique form, and what is right for you is not right for your neighbor. My prayer is that we all seek a deeper more intimate communion with the Father, and that the first step is to identify what is standing in the way.

  14. My greatest issue in my kitchen is that my counters are never clear. It is a galley kitchen and a pass through for all 5 people who are constantly adding to the piles. It seems to be a never ending task of keeping it cleaned off. I can so relate to not wanting to start a project because my counters are a mess.

  15. My 10 year old puts EVERYTHING on the kitch counter. I have to tape notes to it reminding her not to do it for it to stay clean! I’ve gotten stackable paper organizers for the school papers.

  16. MY kitchen is small, which I actually like, saves on the feet. My dilema is, my kitchen is small and that is where we have our meals. Help, I need a small bump out!

  17. My biggest dilema in the kitchen is that it is too small. The refrigerator and the kitchen table take up over half and the other half is the sink, stove and one counter. Not much room to cook let alone anything else. I keep only sugar, flour and coffee pot on the counter. There is few cabinets so my pots and pans are actually stored in the oven. I constantly struggle with the table as everyone puts their stuff there. Right now the only solution I see is getting a bigger place with a larger kitchen.

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