To Everything There Is A Season

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

A blog about raising a young family and keeping Christ at the center of it.

The Cyrs

The Cyrs
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Time to Be Organized: The Kitchen


"Let all things be done decently and in order" ~I Cor. 14:40

If there is one room in the house that I need organized it's the kitchen. I cannot function in a cluttered, dirty and unorganized kitchen. I spend the majority of my time in the kitchen, which means I also spend a lot of time cleaning the kitchen. You might have noticed last week when I posted my cleaning and laundry schedule that there was not spot for the kitchen. That is because cleaning the kitchen is an on-going, everyday sort of chore. I wipe down counters and the stove after every meal. I also sweep the kitchen once a day at least, more if I have time. I cannot say that I have a hard and fast way to organize cupboards, etc. Every person's kitchen is different, and every person's amount of storage space is different. I will mention some tips that have helped me stay organized in the kitchen but really the only thing I feel matters when it comes to kitchen organization is to make sure everything has it's place and keep things that you use regularly close by. If you have extra storage in a basement or closet use that space to store bigger appliances and dishes you don't use often and save your kitchen storage for the things you use all the time. Also, I go through my kitchen about once a year. Anything that I have not used that whole year is given away.

I cannot stand a sink full of dishes so I am one to stay on top of the dishes. On a typical day I unload and load the dishwasher once a day. On a day where we have company or I'm doing  a lot of cooking then I do more than one load. Here's how I go about staying on top of the dishes. In the morning I unload the dishwasher while the kids are eating breakfast. Then I load the dishwasher throughout the day. After supper I fill up the dishwasher and run it. I hand wash any pots and pans and bigger items that take up a lot of space in the dishwasher to make sure there is room for all the plates and cups, etc. I will say that most days I have help with this since my 3-year-old daughter LOVES to load and unload the dishwasher.

One thing that's important to do when you have little ones is to try and delegate some responsibilities to them when they are old enough to have some. Setting the table is one of these tasks that I was anxious to get the kids doing. When I started my dishes were in a cabinet up on the wall.  They couldn't reach them so I still had to get all the dishes down for them. I decided that as much as I hated the idea of having my dishes in a bottom cabinet, it was the best solution. This way they are all able to reach the dinner dishes and can set the table themselves. It's also a great way to practice counting! I thought I would hate this but I'm so glad I did it and the kids like being helpful in this way. It used to be the older two boys chore to set the table but now they've graduated to other chores and now it is Will's chore to set the table and Jena always helps him. Currently it is Noah's job to sweep the dining area, Owen's job is to wash the table and Gabe's job is to wash the chairs. In the summer they take on more responsibility but during the school year this is about all they have time for (except for weekends when they are responsible for their rooms). One of my favorite chores to give the younger kids, and one that actually is a big help to me is wiping down the cabinets. I give them a bucket of soapy water and some rags or sometimes just disinfectant wipes and they have a blast washing the cabinets and appliances. 

Another tip I have is to keep one drawer in the kitchen that is OK for the little ones to play in. I have one drawer dedicated to just plastic cups and each of my kids has loved going in there and playing when they were very little. Of course understand that implementing a system like this requires a lot of consistent, diligent training. I started training them at age one and all of mine required a lot of reminding that this was the only drawer they were allowed in. It's a lot of work at first but after a few weeks you will see they understand and you will be so thankful you trained them this way. It keeps them out of trouble while I'm busy cooking.

My last suggestion for the kitchen is a snack basket. With children who are constantly asking for food it often feels like all I'm doing is getting people food. I made up a basket of snacks that I don't mind them having so that when they are hungry and want a snack they know they can either go to the fruit drawer in the fridge, grab a yogurt or go to the snack basket in the cabinet. These are all options that are low enough for them to reach and since I am the one who chooses what goes in the snack basket I'm not worried about what they are choosing to's already "mom approved"! And they really like seeing what's in the basket that week. When they receive candy from grandparents, etc. I don't let them eat it all right away. I usually give them one piece then put the rest away. I will mention that I do not allow the kids to eat whenever their little hearts desire. I  keep snacking to a morning snack, afternoon snack and one before bed and they are only allowed a snack if they ate well at the previous meal. 

I know that I would still like my kitchen to be more organized than it is. I do use baskets and bowls and jars to keep things sorted and neat but some days I still feel like I could use more space! One thing I want to start doing as soon as I get a little extra time is to peel, wash and cut my veggies after I've gone to the grocery store so that they are ready to eat or put in lunches or throw into a recipe. I know many people do this and I really see the benefits of doing this. I just haven't gotten to a point where I have found the time to set aside to do this. I would love to hear from you and learn different things that have helped you stay organized in the kitchen! 

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