Today I thought I would let you into one of my kitchen cupboards.

There are very few places that get out of sorts as fast as a kitchen, and some of those kitchen cabinets can get crazy! We may start out strong, but even with the best of intentions, sometimes we end up shoving things in willy nilly or even just leaving things out. And it goes downhill from there – We can’t find what we are looking for and things get even more haphazard as we search high and low. We may buy duplicates because we never find the thing we are sure we have but is missing in action. We might pull everything out and leave it out because it is too overwhelming to even think about, and you may wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just go lay down on the couch for a while?

To be clear, this can happen anywhere. Maybe your bathroom drawer, maybe the closet in your guest bedroom, maybe even a wallet. But today, let’s just look at one kitchen cupboard.

So, what to do? Here are a few ways:

  • Put a lock on the cupboard and never open it.
  • Throw an “Out of Order” sign on the door.
  • Never allow anyone but you to use it.
  • Toss out everything that’s inside and ban anything from entering it ever again.

Those are some winner ideas, but how about something like this instead:

  • Pull everything off just one shelf. 
  • Check expiration dates and throw away anything old or unidentifiable. And everything you don’t love and will not use.
  • Combine opened packages of the same thing.
  • While everything is out, clean the shelf for a fresh start.
  • Be thoughtful about what and how things go back on the shelf.
  • Repeat for all the shelves in the cabinet.

You’ve got this! Working on one shelf at a time bonuses:

  • You only have to commit to a small chunk of work.
  • It can be done in a short amount of time.
  • When one shelf is done, you get all the “good job” vibes sooner.
  • If you ride those vibes, you can do another shelf. Or not. No pressure.
  • Before you know it, you could have one whole kitchen cupboard tidy, orderly, and easy to use.
  • You can admire the shelf and show it off immediately.

You can certainly take things up a notch:

  • Decant staples for a streamlined look.
  • Add shelves to make the space more usable.
  • Hang wallpaper in the back of the cabinet for a fun space.

Is this doable? Making a date with just one shelf is not so scary – it’s just one shelf. You call up the shelf and set a time and place to meet, dress for the occasion, say hello, maybe put on some music. You get to know the shelf and everything on it. There may be some small talk, you ask a few questions as you size things up, and throw out a few laughs (and old nasty foodstuffs). You get more into the mood by wiping down the shelf and contemplating a future with the leftovers. You definitely plan to see each other again, as you use this newfound love. And of course, you tell all your friends about how wonderful it was.

Sounds great, right? Who knew organizing a kitchen shelf could be so fun.

Let me know how your date goes!




  1. I follow these steps almost to a T when I clean out and reorganize my bathroom closet — that area can get so out of hand so quickly!

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