Whew! So did my last post, with the kitchen cabinet organization project reveal, feel like a little bit of therapy, or what?
You guys know that organization is not my strong point. It’s not something that I even enjoy doing, not even a little bit. I think because it’s such a dang process. To do it right takes time, and thoughtful deliberation, and then you have to keep it up for it to keep looking nice! I mean, come on! 😉
But I did learn a few things throughout this process, because this was one of the hardest organization projects that I’ve done, and I had some time to reflect while I was on my back like a turtle painting those cabinets. I thought I’d share, for those of us who aren’t naturally organized and could maybe use a few tips going forward.
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Takeaways from the kitchen cabinet organization project
1. You may not be as bad as you think
I know, I know. Those before pictures make me look like a pretty terrible housekeeper. But, hear me out. When it was all said and done, I realized that I really only had to organize half of my kitchen- the uppers were already pretty neat and tidy. That’s because the shelves were all, well, shelves, not the open dark cavernous holes of the lowers. I realized that if I had the right space, I could do pretty well at maintaining.
Why is this important? For a long time, I had beat myself over the head with “I’m a bad organizer” so much that I didn’t even want to try with this project. I had psyched myself out.
The other reason is, this….
2. You absolutely need to put effort into planning the right space.
I should have done this in the beginning, when we first moved in two years ago, but didn’t. I was overwhelmed with the amount of stuff we were moving in at the time, and later, just the thought of measuring and planning out where everything would go almost paralyzed me. Not a natural organizer, remember? Plus, I was too busy with much more fun stuff, like playing with paint colors and such.
Earlier this month, when I finally sat down to evaluate the space, I took stock of what we had and what I would need to get rid of and keep. I evaluated each cabinet, determined what I would need for storage of each space, and measured. Then, I ordered what I needed on Amazon. That whole process took about 3 hours. Three hours of my time! Why oh why didn’t I do this sooner?
3. Once you plan, you need to commit to doing it.
When I plan a design project, I can’t wait to get started. With this project, I think I sat on my heels for a good 30 minutes before I got started. Then I changed the radio a few times. Walked the dog. Played with Beau. Pretty much whatever I could do to put it off. I knew it was going to kick my butt, and I really didn’t want to get my butt kicked by my yucky kitchen. But thank heavens for y’all! If not for this blog I may have seriously put this off another few weeks or so. #accountability
Plus, give yourself enough time. Consider the time you’ll need for all of the steps of your project (i.e., pulling everything out, sort, pile, trash, donate, etc. Don’t forget travel time if you’re dropping off at a donation site!) Being or feeling rushed or in a hurry while you’re in the midst of an organization project just makes it so much harder.
4. The pretty is important
It sounds silly, but for me, it’s so much more motivating to keep something organized if it looks nice.
You know what my favorite part of the kitchen cabinet organization project was? Honestly, it was ripping out that awful green vine contact paper that had been here since we moved in, and putting down that beautiful marble paper. It makes me happy every time I look at it. I know that I’m going to be so much more motivated to keep that space organized because it looks nicer.
5. Purging is important
Be ruthless. We got rid of a lot. I figured, if I don’t know what it does, I probably need to get rid of it.
6. Buy more baskets/organizers/etc than you think you will need.
You can always return what you don’t want, or reuse a basket or bin somewhere else! But if you run out of what you need, then you’ll never finish- and you’ll be tempted to do a half-way job.
7. Don’t let all the images of perfection scare you from just doing it.
I shared my post on the Grand Dames of Organization last week. These are three organization bloggers whom I love and continually derive inspiration from. Pinterest, of course, is a gold mine of picture-perfect organizational wormholey-ness. I used to think that I had to have an end product just like those Pinterest pictures, and yes, like my Grand Dames- and honestly sometimes, since I kept telling myself it was beyond me (my skill set, time frame, knowledge, whatever), I just wouldn’t even try. I wanted the picture perfect, and if I couldn’t have it, I couldn’t muster up the gumption to get started. (Thank heavens age, for me, has brought about a healthy respect for imperfection).
What a waste of years! Use the knowledge and images that you see all around you for inspiration, but don’t let them paralyze you. Just make a plan and get started with the best that you have available to you right now.
And if all else fails, if you see those perfect images and they start to get in your head, start to hold you back instead of inspire- just remember what was lurking in the cabinets of these Pinterest-perfect images above! It was this if you don’t remember:
Although with a little (okay a LOT) of thoughtful organization, it is now this:
See? If I can do it, anyone can!
And it will be completely, totally worth it in the end. It’s been a two and a half weeks now since the majority of the kitchen was done, and it has been functioning beautifully- and I can’t even tell you what a huge difference it has made on our everyday life.
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