Category Archives: Storage & Organization

Spice Drawer Organization with Mini Jelly Jars

Am I the only one who can’t stand the three-tiered spice racks that go in a cabinet?  My mom has two – and I’m always knocking spices over when I try to reach for something on the second or third row.

Spice Drawer Organization

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My spices have always lived in the top drawer by the stove.  It’s a shallow drawer, but the location is ideal when I’m cooking.  And it sure beats using those tiered racks.

This drawer was shallow so I had to lay the jars on their sides.  It worked, but because they were sideways, I’d often open the lid of a spice and spill it, because the lid had filled up. Also, it drove me crazy that the containers were all different shapes and sizes:

Spice Drawer BeforeI discovered that the 4-Oz Ball Jelly Jars fit perfectly in the shallow drawer, since they’re only a few inches tall.  Three dozen jars later, I have a very pretty – and functional – spice drawer!

Bonus: they’re now so easy to use when measuring with teaspoons or table spoons, thanks to the wide mouth of the jars.

Spice Drawer Organization with Ball Jars

I used these Round Chalkboard Labels on the lids because they were simple and relatively cheap.  The set of 48 came with a chalkboard marker, and are waterproof but can be wiped clean and reused.

Spice Drawer Organization with Ball Jars

I didn’t mean to get so fancy with the labels.  But as I wrote on them, I started doodling – so I just went for it.  I love how my spice drawer turned out.

Linking up in the IHeart Organizing February Organizing Party!

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Kitchen Organizing: Cheap vs. Pricey Storage Solutions

This is not a promotional or sponsored post and there are no affiliate links. I am just sharing my recent experience.

Do you ever go to the Container Store?  I love that place but it can be a minefield of expensive gadgets and too much inspiration.  I usually come home from there feeling that I need to completely tear apart every closet and drawer in the house and reorganize it.

I recently went there to tackle one item on my 2014 Project List.  I ended up buying both fancy and simple organizers. Some fancy ones were perfect, some were a total waste and got returned.  Some of the cheap, simple ones were perfect.  I thought you might find this info useful.

1.  Undersink Storage

The challenge:  Because of the pipes and the hose dangling from the sprayer faucet, I needed particular sizes of containers and I needed to go vertical with storage.

My cabinet houses the following:

  • Trash
  • Cleaning supplies – bottles and rags
  • Used batteries and wine corks for recycling

I wanted to make better use of the right side space near the sprayer faucet’s hose.  It was a narrow, tall corner that was otherwise going to waste.

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The Linus clear plastic stacking bins from The Container Store were one of the pricey containers I bought, but they were perfect for the space.  The bottom holds old batteries, then sponges, then the top holds wine corks. I added the bottom of a cardboard box to enable the top caddy to hold lots of corks.

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Total cost – $21, which is high for such simple storage, but the containers are solid and can be reused a lot down the road – if we ever move out.

Here’s the finished result.  Trash on left.  Cleaning supplies in the middle.  Rags on the right.  Corks/Batteries in the back right.  Reusable plastic grocery bags in the back left.  So exciting, I know.

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I must admit that seeing this super tidy photo makes me so happy.

 2.  Freezer Storage

The challenge: Organize. I’m constantly losing track of what’s in the freezer, or I have to pull everything out of a shelf to get to the one item I need.

I wanted to pop the bags of frozen veggies up to the higher shelf to make it easy to sort through.  I bought some fancypants Linus Deep Drawer Binz that measured out perfectly. But when I put them in the freezer they felt cumbersome, heavy and awkward.  At $17 each, they were a waste:

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On a whim I tried putting two cheap ($1.89) shoe boxes on the shelf instead.  They were perfect! Unopened frozen veggies in the back bin, opened and ziplocked veggies in the front. This way I can keep the oldest ones in front to use up. Freezer Frozen Veggie Bin StorageThe idea of spending $4 to organize the veggies in the freezer is so much less ridiculous than spending $32, you know?

Here’s a few more ways I organized my freezer, in case you’re curious:

Freezer Storage Ideas

The left image is the bottom half of the freezer:

  • I have another $2 bin for bags of frozen meat and fish on the shelf. Again, I like the bin because I can pull it out to sort through.
  • The top wire drawer holds frozen vegetarian proteins – beans, lentils, tofu, etc.
  • The bottom drawer holds miscellaneous, and a big ziplock bag filled with blocks of veggie broth. (I made the broth and froze it in cupcake tins so that I have it all portioned out.)

In the door:

  • Tin foil & wax paper that I use to wrap and freeze pizza.  I reuse the foil & wax paper, so storing it in the freezer cuts down on germs.
  • Ziplock bags that I reuse.  Same concept.  Store in freezer after washing.
  • The bottom shelf holds jars of homemade herb-infused salts and sugars.

A Final Tip:

I leave all labels and packaging on organizing containers when I’m setting up a space.  That way, if I get things set up, live with it for a few days, and then hate it, I can still return the items and find something better.

Also, sometimes I like store bought organizing containers, but I’m also a big fan of DIY organizing containers.  When you’re tackling a space, always look at what trash or recycling you could use!  Old cardboard boxes, plastic take-out containers, etc can work wonders!

Wow. This post ended up much longer than planned.  Well, I hope you find some ideas from it useful. I have lots of opinions on organizing, and I could just organize all day long if given the opportunity! :)

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Pet Food & Medication Organization

In the last month, the feeding and medicating of our dog Charlie has become one of the most time-consuming and draining parts of our day.  She’s on several medications to counteract the chemo side effects, and on the food side . . . well, it’s become intense.

(Post contains affiliate links.)Organizing Pet Medications

Thanks to the chemo and the cancer, we never know what Charlie’s going to be in the mood to eat.  We just pray that she’ll eat something.  And make sure it’s not in a metal bowl, because apparently the metallic taste can be exacerbated by chemo.

The rest of the house has also become more disorganized, too, but this weekend I decided I had to tackle the Charlie Station.  Her food, medicine, and other supplies were taking over our kitchen island.DSC_0401I wanted to hide it away, so the bottom shelf of the corner cabinet became the Charlie Shelf.  We have spare room in our cabinets, so I was able to move some items around to clear out the space for her.

DSC_0187On the left side we have cans of dog food, baby food, beef jerky, and a binder* that holds all her paperwork.   The papers include her medication dosages and medical records, so if we have a question about a pill we’re giving we can check it easily.

*No women were harmed in the making of this binder.

The week’s pill regimen is organized into a caddy, and the extras are stored in a big mixing bowl.  We use Greenies Pill Pockets even when she won’t eat them, because you can mold them around the pills to make them easier to shove down her throat.  That sounds really violent.  It’s not violent when I do it, I swear!DSC_0189

On the right side we have paper plates and plastic spoons, because we were running out of both dishes and spoons when we used our real ones for her.  Apparently metal dishes can give off a strong metallic taste when you’re on chemo, too.

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Sometimes she only wants to eat when spoon fed, and sometimes she’ll eat off a plate. I don’t like the waste of disposables, but we had a huge stash of plastic utensils and also . . . sometimes you just have to take the easy way.

I’m not oblivious to the psychological implications of this project.  I definitely tackled it with vigor, as if controlling the clutter and implementing a rigid system would somehow control her cancer.  If only it were that simple!

Still, it feels really good to have a system in place, and to have the island clear again, so my brain can focus on offering her approximately 2,304 meal options every hour every day.

Charlie Update:  Charlie has been showing more energy and more appetite the last few days, so our fingers are crossed that the first chemo is working its magic!

PS: Here is another pet food & medication storage idea that I implemented back when life was simple.

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