The Minimalist Kitchen Part 5: Storage and Organization + Giveaway

Friday, April 15, 2016

Kitchen storage and organization always has a multitude of answers that come in all shapes and sizes.  I don't think there is just one right way to store your kitchen tools and food, but I have lots of opinions about good ways to store things (and about everything else... Check out part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4 through their respective links)

So let's jump in!  Also, the rules for today's giveaway are at the bottom of this post!

*ps.  there are some affiliate links in this post.  This means that if you click on a product and then buy it or something through my link, I will make a small percentage off of your purchase.  If you want to look it up on your own, please feel free. 


Pantry:  
1. Use glass jars and containers.  I have found that my food looks much prettier, and is easier to identify (and then use up) if it is kept in a glass jar.  I have collected a few different styles over the last few years, and I love them.

I am also a huge advocate of using fabric bags to bring home produce, nuts and grains, so I generally refill the jar from what I bring home in cloth bags. We have a bulk section at our grocery store that sells nuts, seeds, flours and dried fruit in bins, so I can get as much or as little as I need from those! It works really well and reduces the amount of film plastic and recyclables that come into my home.

Some of my favorite jars include:  These Large Glass Storage Jars, Small Weck JarsHinged Glass Storage Jars. I also like to use large and small mason jars.

2. Keep similar things together.  I always keep my large containers of flour, sugar, and wheat flour together on the same shelf.  Likewise, I keep my liquid stuff on the same shelf (oils, vinegar, honey, etc).  I also like keeping the nuts and grains together.  It makes them easier to find, and easier to remember to replace when you run out of something.

3.  Rotate through regularly.  Austin is quite humid year-round, and food goes soft very quickly.  This means crackers and cereal have a very short shelf-life, and if you don't keep flour in an air-tight container, you will end up with bugs in it.

I try to keep track of what nuts, random bits of grain and other things I have and use those up first, before buying new nuts and grain, even if I only have a little bit of something left.  I often will make a side salad with a small handful of almonds, walnuts or pine nuts on it.  I also like putting nut remnants on pizza.

4.  Keep larger pantry items, like potatoes and onions in a wicker or wire basket .  This will help give them good air circulation so your food items will last longer and will help make them look organized and pretty in your pantry.


Fridge: 
1. Keep the vegetables in plain sight.  You have seen those gorgeous photos of the fridge sparkling clean and filled with crazy amounts of fruits and vegetables.  The problem is that many fruits and vegetables do best if they are kept in the crisping drawers.  Then you can't see them, you forget about them, and they rot before you have a chance to eat them.

I generally keep the vegetables that I know I will use up in the crisping drawer, and keep the other stuff on the bottom shelf where I see it every time I open the fridge.  My drawer usually is filled with carrots, apples, lemons, beets and kale.  I usually have to keep chard, spring onions, cilantro, spinach and other greens on the shelf so I remember to use them quickly.

I keep my greens in large plastic ziplock bags (I try to reuse them a few times before throwing them away to make me feel better about using them), and don't wash the greens until I am ready to use them.  Moisture makes them go bad faster.

2.  Only make as much as you need.  For salad dressings, I typically make a half cup or so (sometimes this means halving or quartering a recipe).  That way we can finish it in a few days, and not have a ton left over.  For dinners, I make enough for us to eat for dinner one night, and have sufficient leftovers to eat for lunch.  No one wants to eat leftovers two days after you have made it.  Seriously, they are never as good, and something fresh always sounds better.

I also try to keep leftovers and dressing in glass or clear plastic containers (I am working on replacing these with glass) so they don't end up at the back of the fridge for weeks and I end up being scared to open them up.

3.  Keep like things together.  Same as in the pantry, your life will be much easier if you organize food by category.  Vegetables together, fruit together, similar condiments together, etc.  It makes things easier to find, and easier to know when you have run out of something.


Cabinets:
1. Stack things nicely, and find a home for everything.  This honestly applies to most of my life.  If a cabinet or drawer in your home looks chaotic, it is usually because not everything in the cabinet has a home.  My kitchen cupboards are organized by what is supposed to go in them, like tabletop dishes, cooking dishes, serving dishes, appliances, etc.  This works great for me and helps me easily find what I am looking for.

2.  Get rid of stuff you don't use.  If you don't use that old serving tray, get rid of it.  You cupboards might be in need of a thoughtful purge to get rid of the items you no longer use.

3.  Put things away every time.  Everything might have a home in your kitchen, but if you don't put it away when you are finished using it, it doesn't really matter if it has a home or not.

Did I forget anything?  Probably, so let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas for how to organize your kitchen!  Also, don't forget to enter the Instagram giveaway (see rules and link below!).


To wrap up this Minimalist Kitchen series, I decided it would be fun to do an Instagram giveaway!

In my post on Wednesday, I mentioned that we are going to Utah for the summer.  This means we are packing everything up here and putting most of it in storage for a few months.  I closed down my Etsy shop almost a year ago (much to my relief, honestly...), but still have some product left over and an Instagram shop account where I have been very passively listing some of them.

I figured it could be fun to send some of them off to a good home where they will be loved and used, rather than sit in storage here with the rest of our stuff!

INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY:
I am giving away 2 sets of produce bags (each is a set of 6) and 2 sets of cloth napkins (each is a set of 4)!  With 4 winners total!

To Enter:
1.  Check out my Instagram photo about this giveaway, make sure you are following me, and tag two friends in the comments there!
2.  For a bonus entry, leave a comment here, telling me which set of bags or napkins you would want to win and your Instagram handle!

Contest will run until 11:59PM on Monday, April 18th.  Winner will be notified shortly thereafter.

Many of the sets are one of a kind, so when I send out the email to notify the winners, I will go based on who responds first.  Hopefully all winners can find a set that they like.

*This giveaway is open to Continental U.S. readers only.  Sorry!  International shipping is crazy expensive!

Check out the bags and napkins in the photos below!

Cloth Napkins:
 Produce Bags: 




30 comments

  1. Love the black and white chevron napkins and the fuchsia bags!

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  2. I like the top left napkins and the bottom left produce bags!! So cute!!

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  3. I LOVE the napkin sets! Especially the Chevron pattern! Also, I thoroughly enjoy your Instagram and blog!

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  4. I LOVE the napkin sets! Especially the Chevron pattern! Also, I thoroughly enjoy your Instagram and blog!

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  5. I would love some produce bags! I love the top right set, or either of the bottom two. So cute!!

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    1. P.S. My instagram handle is n_hep :)

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  6. I love the bottom left produce bags. Love that you're helping cut down waste! I'm @unheardbeats.

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  7. Candy stripe napkins & pink pinwheel bags. They're all just darling.

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  8. Love the produce bags. If choose the top left, red cycle pattern with white background.
    Ltkibbe on ig

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  9. I love the top left napkin set - perfect for my kiddies lunch boxes! And the bottom right produce bags - we are obsessed with using cloth or mesh produce bags for all our produce! Love your blog! Instagram is @afabulousfrenzy

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  10. @foxysocks3 is my Instagram handle. I forgot!!

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  11. Love the yellow polkadot produce bags and the green napkins.

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    1. Madsenshell is my Instagram handle.

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  12. The red and white striped napkins are so cute! instagram: @janaethelen

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  13. Love to win the produce bags. Trying to go zero waste.

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    1. Oh and I like the yellow bottom option.

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    2. Oh and I like the yellow bottom option.

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  14. Love to win the produce bags. Trying to go zero waste.

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  15. Peacock napkins and the silver polka dot bags are my favorites, but they all look wonderful. IG: @onwhomtorely

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  16. Love the lower left produce bags and the black and white chevron napkins! @acdunkel

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  17. Love the peach colored polka dot bags! And the bright red/pink napkins in the first photo! @ruthyannie

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  18. The red napkins (looks like arrows on them). @megjenson

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  19. Yay for coming to Utah this summer, so fun! Love the chevron napkins and the red stripes for holidays. And love the fushcia bags. Andreasmith86@gmail.Com :) it won't let me sign in!

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