OA Aunt Q&A – organise cupboards

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Dear OA Aunt

My linen cupboard, cupboard under the laundry trough and cupboards under the kitchen sink are all mixed up with various products for cleaning, gardening, chemicals, tools etc.  Can you advise what should go where?  i.e. how these things should be grouped.

Marcelle

Butler WA

OA Aunt’s response:

Thanks for your question Marcelle, it is so easy to put things back near to where we last used them, which can result in similar items being spread around our homes.  This makes items hard to find, can result in us buying more of the same because we end up forgetting what we have and cupboards become harder and harder to manage.

By organising our cupboards into zones, it can save us so much time because we no longer need to spend time looking for things….did you know that on average a person spends 55 minutes a day looking for things they own but cannot find – this equates to a whopping 12 weeks a year!

To stop this happening, I would recommend the following:

  1. The first step is to go through each cupboard and get rid of anything you no longer need or want – follow Finer Details simple de-clutter tips to help you do this.
  2. Once you have de-cluttered all relevant cupboards, and are left with only the items you are keeping, find a central surface to sort the items onto (for example kitchen/ dining room table or the kitchen counter  – I would suggest covering tables with old table cloths or sheets in case of spills etc).
  3. Take everything you are keeping and group similar items together onto the central surface.  So for example group all your house cleaning items together.
  4. Everyone thinks and does thinks differently so it is important to organise your items in a way that will work for you.  When considering how to group them, place them in groups that make sense to you – for example, if you are in the habit of keeping spares, is it best to have all spares in one group or is it best to keep them with other similar items, so are you more likely to remember you have a spare bottle of polish if it was kept with the cleaning items or if all spares were kept together?
  5. Think about each cupboard and where would be the best place to keep each group – these will become your zones.  Look at the position of each cupboard in relation to each group and consider:
    • Which groups you use the most and which cupboard is easiest to access
    • Which cupboard is nearest to where you use the items
    • If you have children, where would be the safest place to keep the groups that have chemicals etc
  6. Have a look at your items and consider what would be the best way to keep items organised.  Would additional storage help?  If you have a few smaller items, think about using containers to keep them together – do you have old Tupperware, or ice-cream containers that you could use? Would additional shelving help?  Below are some storage suggestions – have a look around your house; you may already have a similar storage solution, to help you.
  7. When considering where to put the items, I also suggest you:
    • Don’t over stock the shelving or they will be hard to keep tidy.
    • Keep heavier items on lower shelves.
    • Plastic containers without lids work well as make shift drawers.
    • Think about using the space on the back of the doors to hang things.
    • Think outside the square – See my example below
  8. Label, label, label – label the shelves, containers etc so that you remember what goes where and can easily find things.

Storage suggestions

Wall and door space

When looking at the space you have to use, look outside the square on solutions.  The below picture is of my laundry closet – My closet is in a central location and I was able to use some of the wall and door space to store regularly used items making them very easy to access.

Shelving

A lot of cupboards have very deep shelving or no shelving,  so look at ways of maximising this space.

By installing sliding drawer systems, items at the back of cupboards become easier to access and see.

Store all your regular smaller cleaning, gardening (etc) products and tools together in a caddy, so that they are ready to use and easy to carry around (this will also save you time because you will not need to return to the cupboard as often).

The Finer Details team are a wealth of knowledge on all manner of storage solutions and tips. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and blogs for more Organisation Tips and Concierge Services or if you would like friendly professional help organising your life and home contact us now.

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