Dana Slatkin

Contain Yourself

I had one thought this week: Must…Get…Organized. I was desperate. After tripping over a can of tomatoes and finding granola bars in the onion basket, I concluded it was time to rearrange my life. So I decided to start with the room where I spend the majority of my time…the kitchen.

My past organizational skills peaked at Ziploc bags. Every time I opened a cupboard, I cringed. I started leaving leftovers on plates in the fridge because finding the matching lid to a plastic container would take up 10 minutes. Then, on a trip to the mall, I discovered a store entirely devoted to controlling clutter. There was hope.

But I needed a plan. There were so many options, so many ways to keep my stuff in order. After a third trip to the store, armed with measurements and lists, I finally made my investment. I went home and unloaded the trunk to the kitchen floor. And two days later, my kitchen emerged from its makeover looking fresh, purposeful, and completely in order.

The whole process was a bit daunting. So I wanted to share a few helpful tips from my odyssey, along with some indispensable items to purchase. I have since moved on to organizing the rest of my life. If only it were as easy as buying a few containers.

Mesh Drawer Storage Box (Silver) (2″h x 3″ x 9″) mesh drawer storage boxes
Mesh Drawer Storage Boxes — Ideal for storing snacks, utensils, baking equipment.

1. Start by keying in on the sources of disorder. Are your cupboards a mess? How are your dry goods kept? Are your utensil drawers jammed so full they are impossible to open? Are you running out of space because you keep buying things you didn’t know you had?


OXO Good Grips 10-Piece POP Container Setoxo good grips pop containers
OXO Good Grips pop containers
Attractive and air-tight. I like the
number of sizes for maximum versatility.


2. Write down the areas you wish to attack. For example: cutlery drawer, utensils, dry ingredients, spices, rice and grains, plastic containers, teas, etc.


smart spin storage containers
These stack easily and, thankfully,
all the lids are the same size!

3. Take measurements. Taking the time to measure your shelves, cupboards, utensils, and the items you want to organize will save you from having to go back to the store with returns.


4. If you can’t stand to throw away, call on a friend. When I was cleaning out my cupboards, I found boxes of tea from ten years ago. That popcorn popper that never gets used? Get rid of it. Or give it to your friend.

Rubbermaid Produce Saver Square 8-Piece Set Food Storage Containerssmart spin storage containers
Rubber Maid produce saver containers. If you are skeptical of plastic, try these handy glass containers.
They go from the fridge to the microwave with no worries.


Oggi Stainless Steel Airtight 3-Piece Canister Setoggi stainless steel airtight canisters
Oggi Stainless Steel Airtight
3 Piece Canister Set
When you are out of cupboard space, these are attractive enough to display on your counters.

5. Wash all purchases before putting them to use. To go even further, smell the containers before bringing them home. If they reek of chemicals, don‘t buy them.

Libbey Cylinder-Shaped Glass Jars with Stainless-Steel Lids, Set of 4libbey cylinder shaped glass jars
                Libbey cylinder-shaped glass jars


Brother PT-80 P-touch Electronic Labeling Systembrother p touch labeling system
Brother P-touch Electronic Labeling System
A new addiction. Labels give your kitchen a laboratory-like sense of order. Start labeling your containers and you may never stop.

6. Invest in a label maker. Label all containers that you can’t see through to save time and impress other household members with your organizational finesse.

Browse our complete recipe collection.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • FriendFeed
  • HealthRanker
  • Live
  • Orkut
  • Tumblr
  • Faves
  • Google Buzz
  • Ping.fm

Please share your thoughts!