Kitchen Kapers: Organizing

Ahhhh, January…don’t you just love the fresh start feeling of this month?!
After the holidays, I, like many, feel the need to clean.  And purge.  And organize.
Basically get my life together!

So that’s what I’m working on right now.  I’m going to tackle all the rooms in my home, bit by bit, and get them cleaned and organized.

And since I spend most of my time in the kitchen I started there.  When my kitchen isn’t organized and running smoothly I get a little batty.

There are going to be 2 parts to this Kitchen Kapers series:
Part 1 is Organizing, and Part 2 is Kitchen Tips.
I’m starting with organizing because being organized means that I can think more clearly, I can work more efficiently, and it just makes me feel better!
I hope you can find a little tip here that inspires you too!

Let’s get started!

A while ago I came across a website that sold coasters for the inside of your fridge.  The idea being that if you have a spill, or your fridge needs a good cleaning, all you have to do is remove the mats and give them a quick wash in your sink…no huge clean-up of your entire fridge.  Basically they are there to make clean up easy peasy.

I wanted them…but I just knew I could make them myself for half the price.
So when I was in my local grocery store I picked up 6 pretty hard plastic placemats and got to work.

I measured each individual shelf and cubby and cut the placemats to size.
One of the shelves is too big for one placemat, so I just cut 2 mats to cover the whole shelf.

Pretty huh?!

Then I placed the smaller cut out mats into the cubbies in the door of the fridge.

And to make things even more organized I got out my labeller and labelled the cubbies.  I know, I am well aware that this may seem kind of crazy and a little overkill, but let me explain!  I am married to a condiment hoarder.  No joke.  If he sees a condiment that looks good, he buys it.  My fridge is over run with condiments…so many in fact that we have no idea what’s even in the fridge.  More jars get thrown out because we’ve completely forgotten its poor self at the back of the abyss of the fridge.

Soooooo, I made it easy for everyone and gave everything its own place.  No more searching around for stuff.  It’s there.  It’s easy to find.  And it’s even easier to put away after its been used.  So far everyone is using and liking this system!  😉

I even bought some plastic bins to hold other items that float around aimlessly in the fridge.  We’re also really bad with dairy…things like sour cream and cottage cheese seem to get lost in the fridge.  It’s nothing for me to find 3 containers of sour cream with 3 different best before dates.  No more.  All in one spot.  And as an added bonus, it’s making grocery lists a cinch!  I can easily see what we need.

Verdict:  I’m loving my organized fridge.  It’s easy to find what we need.  It’s clean.  And it looks pretty too…win-win!

Next up…

I think it’s no secret that I love to bake and cook!  So I have a pretty well stocked pantry, and I’m pretty proud of it!  It’s taken a lot of time and effort to get it stocked the way I’ve wanted it (not to mention expensive…which is why it’s taken some time!).

So the next logical step for me was to get it all organized.
I started with the most used staples…sugar, white flour, whole wheat flour and oats.  I wanted these items to be within reach when I was in the middle of a recipe, so I knew they had to be on my countertop.

I found these glass bins at WalMart for ~$10 a piece, and bought 4.  They’re functional and pretty!  The 2 things that I needed them to be!

Then I bought a separate set of measuring cups, and put one in each bin.  Done.

Here’s what they look like on my countertop.  They look pretty huh?  And they’re great too because they don’t take up a lot of space.  And space in my kitchen is at a premium…I don’t have a lot of countertop to give up!


And since not all my pantry items can be on my countertop, I had to organize my kitchen pantry.  You probably recognize these mason jars!  They’re still hard at work storing all my stuff.  Again, functional and pretty!

Next up…

Over the years I have accumulated a lot of kitchen linens.  Things like tablecloths, and napkins, and all the stuff that comes with it: napkin rings, candles, etc…  And I’d run out room for them all!  No room in my linen closet or kitchen drawers for stuff like that!  So what to do?

Buy a dresser.  No honestly, you can put a dresser in your kitchen/eating nook.  I have this one in the back corner of our eating nook and it doesn’t take up hardly any space.  Actually, I really like it there.  It’s added a pretty visual to that section of the room.  Sometimes I even put seasonal decorations on it!

In case you missed it in the photos at the beginning of this post, here’s what it looks like from my kitchen.

And another view…see…it’s quite unassuming.  And looks nice there.

So those are the major changes/additions I’ve done with our kitchen in terms of organizing.
I hope that maybe you found something helpful from this post!

Also, in case you are interested, a while ago I put together another post on other organizing tips…

Do you have any great kitchen organizing tips that you would like to share?
Have an inspired day!

Next up in Kitchen Kapers:  Kitchen Tips!  Stay tuned!


  1. I absolutely love the idea of placemats in the fridge! I have a bunch that I don’t use anymore, great way to repurpose them! Your pantry staples jars are beautiful, I love your whole kitchen, dresser and all! Thanks for the great ideas!

  2. I think you`ve done a good job so far;)
    I need to organize my kitchen too. Badly in need. But during the holidays I decided to revamp the whole pantry room, actually install shelves in the space, paint the kitchen cabinets, change the flooring in the kitchen and hallway;)
    So I have a long way to go for organizing my kitchen;)
    Thank you for the tipps and have a pretty successfully New Year;)!

    Love from Germany…

  3. I love the idea of having a dresser for the linens! It looks lovely in your kitchen

  4. BEAUTIFUL Jo-Anna! Everything looks great! I love those clear canisters! Keep it up :)

  5. Barbara Noland says:

    are you sure our husbands are not clones? just go through the lecture that he needs to SEE if we need something before he goes to grocery (which is 3 times a year). Last night he comes home with duplicates, triplicates,…of everything. we did not need. I am definitely going to use the placemats. great ideas..thanks

  6. The fridge mats are an excellent idea. I look forward to exploring your blog more!

  7. Looks fantastic! I love the canisters on the counter and the dresser.

  8. UM I think we might be the same person? LOL! Last year I went on a shopping spree with some GC I received from my job and bought glass containers to sit on my counters, I also pulled my childhood bedroom furniture out of my parents attic, redid them and placed them in my kitchen =0) Though I like how all your containers are the some size.

  9. This is super random, but what is the font you used that is in green on the striped back grounds?

  10. Thanks for idea to use dime store placemats as refrig shelf liners. So cute. And a more reasonable price than the designer made-specifically-for-refrig liners

  11. I am absolutely loving the idea of the placemats in the fridge. It is such a huge job to clean out the fridge (one of my most dreaded jobs!) and it seems like the fridge gets dirty so soon after I clean it. The placemats would certainly help with the spills and gunk that comes from food containers. I also love your idea of using a dresser to hold tablecloths and other assorted kitchen/dining stuff, but there isn’t anywhere in my kitchen where I could put a dresser. It’s just one big open room – no separate dining nook.

  12. I love your kitchen! It looks so pretty and organized! They glass containers make me think of the food network! Love it!

  13. I saw those fridge coasters just the other day, but now I am totally going to copy your idea – it’s genius!! The dresser is TDF as well; real furniture envy going on here :)

  14. I LOVE the idea of a dresser in the eating area for storage! and those fridge coasters… I’m putting that on my to-do list! Thanks for sharing.

  15. lol…I label my frig, too! I love finding like-minded souls. Even my four-year-old asks for his things to be labeled!

    You can peek at my frig here:

    Btw, I love the linen drawer idea!

  16. robbiekay says:

    I was very impressed with the idea of the placemats as fridge coasters. I had been under the impression that fridge coasters could not be cleaned and therefore were more of a disposable item (a turn off), but your solution obviously can be cleaned. Vinyl placemats are going on my shopping list!

    I also appreciate that you have some items out on your counter. So many staging/organizing photos show absolutely clear counters and I find that to be just so frustratingly unrealistic. Of course you have to be cognizant of how much counter space you have, but if you use something on a daily basis it seems inefficient to have it shelved in a cabinet rather than sitting out. Furthermore, if something is such a hassle to get out every time you need to use it, then, if you’re like me, you probably just will avoid using it.

    Finally, what kind of wood are your cabinets? I like them–not too dark and not too light, which I think helps to make them timeless. Our house has the most unbelievably cheap melamine cabinets in the kitchen–can’t wait to get rid of them.

  17. I’m loving your tips,your beautiful photo’s and your blog,(I’ve google+bloggie,)-(I could not find your “follow”).
    I want to “copy cat” the fridge mats.thanks for sharing(#116)@BNOTP.
    #150 Jo @ LoblollyLane

  18. I’ve been blogging about and working on organizing my kitchen this month, too. I love your fridge mats — I’ve just been using wax paper on the shelves, but your solution is much prettier. Love your website!

  19. Hi there, I am way past taking care of family now….But I still love to see what other people are doing……may I make a suggestion that you may use in the future if you want to……For linens and things ( like extra silver ware, etc.) I have used
    A mechanics cabinet……, of course……There are shallow drawers for table cloths and napkins and place mats, …….
    Just right size drawers for silverware. and deeper drawers for candle sticks and vases and such as used on special occasions………And sometime you may find, cheaply, one that has an open top that can serve as a liquid bar, ( not just for alcahol) ….Mostly they come in pretty colors or you may have to paint them to match your kitchen…Just use auto paint!!!!

  20. You have a beautiful kitchen! I’ve also been dreaming of those coasters for my frig. love your solution! thanks for sharing

  21. I love your solution to the refrigerator coasters! I’ll definitely be trying that at my house.

  22. Um, that linen dresser idea is amazing. And those glass jars make your kitchen that much more beautiful. Seriously – I’m quite smitten with everything in this room.

  23. I love the miners for the refrigerator. Those jars on the counter are my favorite. It’s great that you have room for a bureau in hour kitchen.

  24. Everything is so organized, I love it!
    Thanks for linking up.

  25. This is so gorgeous. Love your style. I look forward to seeing you at My Dream Canvas. I am visiting you from Tuesday Treasures. Thanks Anu!

  26. Hi, hopped over from Tuesday’s Treasures. I have been in the cleaning and organizing mode also. Just did my pantry yesterday. It is small, don’t know what the home builders were thinging. Large kitchen with 2 dishwashers (ya, crazy but I have loved them) but the pantry is way small. Obviously, we didn’t build the home, happy to be here; but always somethings are ideal. I love the chalkboard jars! I am a crafter and did not know they sold chalboard paper. Going to pick some up. And I love the placemat fridge liner idea. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I have a link party, Share Your Cup Thursday. Would love for you to join sometime.

  27. I just read my comment and I made a bunch of typing errors. Sorry! I need to slow down and type. Could not see where to follow you.

  28. This is awesome! An organized kitchen means nice and neat! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Hi Jo-Anna, I wanted you to know I linked to this post in my Weekend Goodies. It’s a linky party, so do come check it out! I’d love for you to share more.

  30. Such great ideas! I pinned a few of them!! And your kitchen is so pretty! Thanks for sharing. :)

  31. Great work and great ideas. Thank you.

  32. I never thought of using placemats in the refrigerator, love it! I wish I had counter space for glass canisters like yours. All so pretty!!
    What do you have in the containers on the top of the stove? :)

  33. Caitlin says:

    Hi! I just stopped by to check out your kitchen via iheart organizing. Love all that you’ve done! I have checked out the glass containers at Wal-mart as well and actually bought them, but was hesitant to use them for baking items since they didn’t have a seal around the lid. Have you had any issues with freshness, etc? I love the way they look!

  34. So pretty! Love all the glass jars and labels (don’t labels make everything better? Ha!)

    -Chaney (Came over from IHeart Organizing)

  35. Nossa,sua cozinha é linda,sou apaixonada pelo seu estilo de cozinha,aqui no Brasil as cozinhas são diferentes,adorei as idéia das etiquetas nos frascos e na geladeira,também perdemos muito em nossa geladeira por ficar perdida lá dentro srsrs,já os placemates por aqui não usamos pois propagamos a ideia de que o ar refrigerado não corre por entre as prateleiras devido ao bloqueio que causa…Amei tudo em sua cozinha.

  36. Placemats as fridge coasters! I’m smacking myself on the forehead for that clever idea. Why didn’t I think of that? I had seen those great fridge coasters too, and wanted them, but just couldn’t justify the expense. But some inexpensive placemats from Homegoods or Target? I can do that. I too label my fridge. And I too, live with a condiment hoarder. Where did you get the plastic bins in your fridge? I just found your blog through iheartorganizing and I love it.

  37. Dropping by from I heart Organizing.

    Loved your fridge–I too had an attack of organize-itis and labeled everything in my fridge. It makes you happy, doesn’t it?

    I love the dresser in your kitchen. As I was reading the post I kept hoping you’d include a picture of it in reference to the kitchen. I’m glad you did!

    Keep organizing!


  38. Very nice–those pretty placemats are an awesome idea! Thanks for linking up to Point of View :)

  39. Everything looks so pretty and fresh! I love the colors and patterns on the place mats too!

  40. ValenzMom aka Helen says:

    Thanks for all the tips, Jo-Anna! I just dropped by from Thrifty Decor Chick after seeing your tip on using the placemats in the fridge – love it! I’ve been using an antique dresser in my dining room for all my linens for quite some time, though. It’s funny how folks see it there and say, “Oh, I never thought of doing that, but it’s perfect!” I like that yours is painted a pretty cream color – I haven’t decided what color to paint mine yet. I keep going back and forth between cream and a pale aqua color, but hubby is voting for the cream. We’ll see who wins once we move in 3 months :). Love your blog, BTW, I’m pinning your tips and subscribing!

  41. LOVE the dresser in the kitchen. I am on the hunt for a cabinet or other furniture piece to fit the nook by the stairs in my kitchen. Your beautiful photos just confirmed that I am on the right track! Lovely pictures and wonderful ideas!
    So glad you linked up to Point of View.

  42. Your kitchen space is beautiful. The dresser is ingenious! Thank you for linking to Point of View. I will be featuring this tomorrow.

  43. Hi! I found you via iheartorganizing! LOVE your kitchen!! I have recently labeled all the shelves and bins in my fridge as well!! Crazy, yes. But it works!!! :)


  44. I’m over from I heart organizing. I love the idea of lining your fridge with place mats. So much easier to clean up spills. I totally agree with having a dresser for linens in the main living area. We have one and it works really well!

  45. Sarah Meyers says:

    Hello! love your ideas! Wondering what are the size or dimensions of those glass jars? thanks

  46. LOVE the mason jar idea in the pantry as I have an awkward cupboard where things often get lost and then we have duplicates….same with the fridge. Laughed so hard when you mentioned triplicates of sour cream…happens all the time here and then we have to throw them out because they go mouldy! Hate that! So wasteful! I am going to organize my fridge and pantry! So excited! Thank you!!!

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  48. I love how organized you kitchen is. I love using glass jars for inexpensive storage and the dresser is such a beautiful idea. I’m pinning this post to the Organize It! Pinterest Board.

  49. Jo-Anna! I LOVE your fridge “coasters” — I’d love to pin you from our organizing party but you haven’t linked to it. If you do, I’ll come back and pin this :) Becky B.

  50. I love everything about all the fun little touches you’ve added to your kitchen. So beautiful! I’d love for you to share this at my link party “Organize My Life” that opens every Monday night. Stop on by! Have a great day!

  51. Theresa says:

    On the large shelf that needed two place mats, did you duct tape them together? Hot glue? I have large shelves and am dying to use the idea! =)

    • Hi Theresa!
      I didn’t actually put them together with anything. I found it was easier for clean ups to have them separated. I didn’t find this to be a problem (they didn’t float around once food items were placed on them).
      Hope that helps!

  52. I am in love with the glass jars for storing your baking staples. They look beautiful on the counter and make everything so easily accessible.

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  56. Where did you get your clear plastic bins for Fruit and Veggies, Dairy?


  57. I think I need to hire you to come organize my kitchen! Looks great!!

  58. I love my glass jars; I need more storage & more counter space too ! Happy New Year, Jo-Anna, wishing you & yours the very best in 2014 !

  59. How do you keep everything so neat?? I can organise but then things disintegrate over time – well really it’s just every time one of the kids takes something and doesn’t put it back where it is supposed to be!! You’ve inspired me… I need to reorganise the pantry ASAP.

    • You should see my pantry right now, lol! Time for me to get it reorganized…because in reality, mine disintegrates very quickly too – I have to keep on top of things with 3 kids and a very messy husband! :)

  60. I love your glass jar organization. It is a great low/no toxic option over plastic. Lovely, too.

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  62. Hello- I love your ideas. I have a question on the glass jars you used for the flour and sugar on the counter. Are those airtight? Does it need to be to hold those ingredients? What did you do? I would like to do the same, but want to find out from someone who has done it. and I purchased silver scoops to go inside. How big is the jar opening?

    • Hi Carrie! My jars don’t actually have a tight seal, but I use them so regularly that I haven’t found that to be a problem. I end up refilling them almost once a week. And I would say the openings are about 6 inches wide, so wide enough for a small scoop!
      Happy organizing!

  63. You’re so right about items getting lost at the back of the fridge. I keep coming across a tub of cream cheese that I will one day throw out!

    I like the cabinet doors and the kitchen seems to be lit by a lot of natural light which must make being in the kitchen a joy.

    Some great ideas and useful advice to follow. Thanks.


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