An organized kitchen like Mom’s

Mom and Ali making pretzels

That’s my mom and sister Ali in the photo above. They are making pretzels for our annual Alt Thanksgiving a few years back. They are probably going to hate me for featuring this photo, but I really love it so I am using it.

We spend a lot of time in my parents’ kitchen. It truly is the heart of their house. My mother is the most amazing cook. I was lucky enough to have a childhood full of adventurous meals that inspired my love of cooking.

We have a family joke that you can never find anything in her kitchen because she reorganizes the cabinets and drawers so often. Even though we joke about it, the truth is my mom is very smart. She’s constantly improving her work flow in the most used room of their house.

Now I don’t intend to reorganize quite as often, but with my small room updates I wanted to streamline my kitchen just like my Mum does.

1. Simplify the plates & bowls

White plates

The first thing to do was remove the fluff. I stored or gave away all our random plates and bowls so on a daily basis we just use a set of white plates and bowls. (We highly recommend the 365 series from IKEA if you are looking for a set.)

Nate likes these plates because the stack nicely and take up little room in our dishwasher. I like them because they are classic and if a plate breaks we can inexpensively replace it.

We also have a stack of blue melamine plates and pink floral plates that we use during the summer especially around the pool. I keep them on an upper shelf since we are not using them much now, but will move them down to the bottom shelf this summer.

2. Keep the essential tools and remove the dupes


I grouped all my kitchen tools together and removed all the duplicates. I kept only one bamboo and one plastic cutting board out. I threw out the worn ones and stored any others. All my small appliances were consolidated in two boxes on a shelf so I can easily access them when I need them, but they don’t have to take up valuable space on our counter.


Now I just have my two cutting boards, a few choice cookbooks and a small collection of utensils on the counter for easy access.

3. Store the seasonal


Seasonal and rarely used tools were put in a box and placed on the top shelf of my cabinet. This includes cookie cutters, popsicle molds and my hand mixer. Since they are all in one box, I know where to look when I need them.

3. Keep the pantry and drawers organized


Food storage is another issue. My cabinet shelves and drawers are deep so it’s hard to always see what I have. I’m okay being a little haphazard as long as it’s tidy.

I took a cue from my mom and labeled the top of all my spice jars so I can easily find what I want. I buy my favorite spices in the bulk section of the grocery store. I stored them in old glass jars so I know when they are running low and can resupply.


None of these things are major changes, but boy has it made a difference. The kitchen looks cleaner with less clutter. So thanks Mom for teaching me the way!

Kitchen Update Progress

  • Update & touch-up the cabinets
  • Paint the cabinet knobs
  • Add a blackboard wall
  • Deep clean the appliances
  • Organize the cabinets
  • Install a water filtration system

My final parts of this update are deep cleaning the appliances and installing our water filtration system. Stay tuned!


  1. says

    I alphabetize my frequently-used spices because we have a spice rack on a cabinet door. It throws me off when someone doesn’t quite put things back — I used tarragon the other day when I thought I was grabbing thyme. (Luckily it wasn’t a crisis.) Regarding the deep pantry, I am always considering adding those rolling shelf inserts for mine. What do you think of them?

    • says

      Hi Cathy!!! I love the rolling shelves. I think when we finally renovate the kitchen we will go that route perhaps with the popular and economical IKEA cabinets.

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