When I was at the very impressionable age of 22 and lived in California and drove a convertible and wore an even brighter shade of red lipstick and married a sailor with twinkling brown eyes and bucket loads of patience something amazing happened.

I attended an organizing seminar.

It was held at the organizer’s house and she greeted us at the door and served us dessert and coffee and then invited us to tour her home.

Every. Single. Square inch of it.

We could open up every door and cabinet and look in closets and under beds and behind doors—anywhere and any place we wanted.

Nothing was off-limits.

Her house was an open book.

I’ve never forgotten it.  We opened doors and drawers and cabinets and took notes and were inspired and a little in awe and I told myself that one day I would have a house just like that. And wouldn’t it be the best ending if I told you that it actually happened?  That every cabinet and space was perfectly organized and I showed it off to anyone who stopped by for sweet tea.



Until this week. I’m going all organizing seminar on myself. My incredible friend Leslie and I are organizing our houses one room and one day at a time and we are bringing you along for the journey. I even filmed a video of the actual organization. I’m saving money and using what I have to organize my closets and cabinets and drawers and spaces.

And today? We are starting with the kitchen.

So here’s the premise behind today’s post.

Here’s me leaning on the kitchen countertop without a care in the world. I know it looks clean. I know it looks shiny, but just below the surface?

Lurks the Loch Ness of unorganized spaces.

I chose three of my “hot spot” areas in the kitchen.

  • my junk drawer
  • my kitchen island
  • my plastic container drawer

Then? I filmed myself taking everything out of the space and reorganizing it using WHAT I ALREADY HAVE. I put that sentence in all caps because sometimes it’s easy to spend so much money on new organizing things and while I love that—I just wanted to see if I could make it work with things around the house.

Here’s the video that kind of summarizes the entire process.

And here’s a before and after of each of the areas along with some simple tips that helped me organize these spaces.

The plastic container drawer in the kitchen island

On the left side of the kitchen island (the side closest to the sink) is the drawer where I keep all the plastic containers.

I try to make sure there are matching lids and containers, but sometimes it gets out of hand. And because it’s so close to the dishwasher sometimes random stuff ends up in there.

And when I open it.

It looks like this.


That is a lot of stuff.

There were rolling pins and water bottle lids and a pad of paper and mismatched containers.

And now?

It looks like this.

Here are a few tips for organizing a drawer like this:

  1. I took everything out of this drawer (and the one next to it, too) and put it on the counter.
  2. I had a big garbage can next to the island and recycled a TON of containers without lids and random bottles and other things. And the best part? IT FELT AMAZING. I felt like I lost 10 pounds just getting rid of all the junk and TOTAL NONSENSE that was in these drawers.
  3. I used the baskets I already had and put the lids and containers that I had together in the big basket. It’s really deep (the drawer is larger) and they all fit in the basket.
  4. I put the cookie cutters together inside a larger plastic container with a lid to keep them clean.
  5. I found a home for everything else that was in the drawer except for a taco bowl maker. That’s now sitting in the front of the drawer.
  6. The key to organizing a space like this is TO GET RID OF EVERYTHING YOU DON’T USE. Remember—-clutter is just a decision you haven’t made yet.

The junk drawer in the kitchen

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve organized this thing.

Over and over and over again.

I had a place for everything last year and kept it clean for about a month. But then it started collecting nonsense again. Something had to be done. So I squared my shoulders and the entire pen population of the state of Texas.

And now?

It looks like this.

Here are a few tips for organizing a drawer like this:

  1. Take everything out of the drawer.
  2. Wipe it down.
  3. Find some old silverware drawer organizers.
  4. Sort everything and throw some of it away.
  5. Group like with like and put everything into one of the parts of the organizers

The kitchen cabinet

These are the cabinets on the other side of the island.

They are challenging to organize because they are not that deep and they are not that tall.

Like the junk drawer and the other side of the island, they tend to collect things.

When you open the doors?

It looks like this.

So I sorted and tossed and donated half of what’s here.

And now?

It looks like this.

Here are a few tips for organizing a cabinet like this:

  1. Keep only what you are going to use. We had 14 water bottles. I am all about drinking water—but enough is enough. Keep the ones you use on a regular basis and donate the rest.
  2. Group like with like. It’s much easier to know what you have when they are all friends.
  3. I like clear or wire containers so you can see what you have at a glance.
  4. Decide a purpose for each shelf and organize accordingly.
  5. If you haven’t used it in a year? It’s time to show it the door (preferably not one that’s attached to your cabinet).

Even if you read all these tips and decide today is not your day to organize your kitchen. I want you to leave today with this:

Organization doesn’t have to be fancy.

Organization doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Organization can be done a little at a time and a minute at a time.

Just pick your minute and begin.

Rome wasn’t organized in a day….

….and your house doesn’t have to be either. 🙂

And now?

Be sure and stop by Leslie’s for even more kitchen organizing tips.

PS Come back tomorrow. We are organizing our pantries. 🙂


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  1. Image for Kathy M. Kathy M.

    I loved your videos. Just need to find the speed button to help me get it all done so quickly. Maybe it's in the music😀 I just did my kitchen junk drawer last week and it has become a January tradition! Somehow it never stays quite as good as it looks now. Some folks hate organizing projects but I love them and feel so pleased with myself once they are done. Of course it is just my husband and I these days and our 2 dogs and 2 cats to mess up things. Reminds me today I need to go through all the pet items and make a box to donate to our local rescue group. Finally realized my dogs are not fond of wearing clothes and how many leashes do I need? One more cup of coffee and I will get started. Thanks KariAnn. You always give me a great start to my day. Stay well.

  2. Image for Tracy Tracy

    “Clutter is just a decision you haven’t made yet’”. I absolutely LOVE that! We just finished up our new build home. Most of our stuff has been in storage coming up on three years. I paired down to “essentials” since we would be in a rental during the out of state move and build. I have hardly missed anything that’s been in storage. I plan on sorting in the storage unit and having a massive garage sale right there. It is truly liberating! I can’t wait for your other posts on this!!

  3. Image for Dahlia Dahlia

    You are absolutely a positive influence to me! I love your enthusiasm and your encouragement, you rock! I am going to get my organizational skills going, thank you for your tips.

  4. Image for Jillian Jillian

    This looks great! My middle name is organize. I love cleaning out and clearing away clutter. I have a little trouble throwing things away though! Always working on it and gradually letting go. We have a lot of space around here so it is easy to keep too much when it can be hidden. I will look forward to continued inspiration this week.

  5. Image for Sharon Sharon

    One room at a time is my new mantra thanks to you. You are proof that it can be done! Thank you,. And I have to say that your new pictures of YOU are amazing. You are a beautiful and inspiring woman and I am grateful for the day I found you on line! Happy Monday!

  6. Image for Carol Karl Carol Karl

    Thanks of sharing this. I needed some motivation to get my house organized. There are some dark spaces that I'm been meaning to deal with for some time. Now, I have no excuse (except of course finding the time!).

  7. Image for Eileen Eileen

    I love your organizing tips. I moved a few months ago, and started purging, downsizing several years ago but still managed to drag along a good bit from a 4000 sq foot house to a 1054 sq foot apartment!! I've been organizing ever since and it's finally starting to shape up. Donating is fine, but if you want, you can always have a yard sale or sell stuff on ebay or facebook marketplace. I had two 3 day yard sales before moving and brought in over $3000. Lot of work, lots of rewards and I also was able to NOT bring along stuff I would be Now going crazy trying to fit into this smaller space. All good.

  8. Image for Eileen Eileen

    I forgot. I also have stopped using plastic containers completely. I could never find the lid to the bottom!! I have all glass containers, stacked so pretty with lids on and easily accessible. I love them.

    1. Image for Nita Nita

      That is exactly what I want to do to my container cabinet! Throw out all plastic and get all glass! I have two projects to do this winter....the container cabinet and the pantry! ugh!!

  9. Image for Loryl Loryl

    I love to organize too. I’m so bad when I go to someone else’s house and say, “I can organize that for you, you’ll feel so much better”🤣 The problem is in households with husbands and children EVERYONE has to get on the same page and put things back where organized. Easier said than done. In my house it’s just me and the hubby and I reorganize the fridge about every 2 weeks. It’s nice for a while until my hubby cooks and everything is back in the front at eye level. LOL


    Great job of organizing, KariAnne! You always have such great tips for us! I just organized our pantry! It felt so good to have this all organized once again! Next job to tackle is our "junk" drawer! Have a great week!

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