I must tell the truth: My humble kitchen, from which I hope to offer up delicate morsels of cooking wisdom, was simply not Company Ready. I needed a fast, affordable, easy kitchen reorg. And when I say “fast, affordable, easy kitchen reorg,” I mean one that’s going to cost as little as possible, not take up too much time, and be totally DIY.

My kitchen is inherited, and it’s swell. I didn’t need a new stove or to knock out a wall or anything. My problem was disorganization. Not an insane amount, but enough that cooking was frustrating. And if cooking’s frustrating, well, you don’t want to do it.

Below are the specifics if you want to read. Or just watch the video.

I had a deep drawer that held ALL my spices. I would reorganize it about once a year in a well-intentioned way. But it never worked.

Easy Kitchen Reorg: The before, super-messy spice drawer.

I had  a drawer I could easily label “Weird Stuff I Really Need When I Need It, Which Is Hardly Ever.”

Easy Kitchen Reorg: The before, super-messy baking drawer.

Because my other big deep drawers were filled in a nonsensical, semi-logical manner, I had  all sorts of crap on my counters, including a bunch of vitamins (out of frame) that were there because I was supposed to remember to take them or something. I’d occasionally clean them off, but the crap always crept back on because of how that Broken Window thing works. (And if you don’t, here’s a link on Broken Window Theory as applied to housekeeping.)

Easy Kitchen Reorg: The before, mildly disorganized counter.

My sister loves organizing. So I gave her a drink that she also loves because she will do a lot for that drink. And I said, will you please fix this?

No, she wouldn’t, because I was the one who needed to do the fixing. But she did analyze my work flow. Here’s what that meant.

The Easy Kitchen Reorg: The Steps

I had to empty everything out of the drawers and to my dining room table at full extension. If you don’t have a table, I’d use the floor with a blanket on it, but the everything out thing is key. This only took about 5 minutes.

Easy Kitchen Reorg: Everything out of the kitchen drawers and onto the table.

I set out cookie trays on the table and started to group things by category. I dreaded this step, but it only ended up taking 45 minutes. Also, it was kinda fun in that kindergarten “clean up, clean up” way.

I moved things directly on the trays over to the new cleaned out drawers, one drawer at a time. This only took about 10 minutes.

Easy Kitchen Reorg: Everything out of the kitchen drawers, organized for new placement.

Spices now lie flat in rows in the 2 shallow drawers on either side of the oven; savory on the left (because I use those more and even though I write with my right hand, my cooking tends to orient left, which works out nicely for my left-handed husband)…

Easy Kitchen Reorg: Savory spices after organization.

….and baking spices. I repurposed our extra-large silverware tray for this, and I’m happy with it, even though it’s not Martha Stewart gorgeous. And since there’s more room in the baking drawer because I don’t have nearly as many sweet spices as I do savory, I could get all the vitamins hidden away but still accessible.

Easy Kitchen Reorg: Baking spices and vitamins after organization.

With the baking spices on the right, they’re just above a drawer of mostly baking type of things that I now use more because everything is organized.

Easy Kitchen Reorg: Baking and miscellaneous items after organization.

Silverware is next to the dishwasher. This was our one purchase, a smaller silverware holder. And I have to say, this is my favorite part of the redo and I actually look forward to unloading the dishwasher.

Easy Kitchen Reorg: Silverware drawer, newly placed next to the dishwasher.

Finally, we re-allocated the “Hardly Ever” stuff. Sometimes it fit with the baking or cooking things, but much went into a closet in a nearby room.

The Easy Kitchen Reorg: The Math

5 minutes to empty the drawers

45 minutes to organize

10 minutes to put the organized stuff in the drawers

60 minutes total

The value of this was tremendous. Cooking went from being this mildly stress-inducing process to a super streamlined one. Now, gathering all ingredients and tools ahead of time and stashing them back in almost no time takes a lot less energy.

So I highly recommend setting aside about an hour to just think about how you cook and what will work for you, and then taking the other hour to take everything out, reconfigure it, and put it all back. I’d love to hear from you, too; every kitchen is different, and if you have a cool way to deal with something, please share.

Cook joyful!