May 05, 2022

Spring Cleaning/Organizing

I had no idea what to write about today, so I spent the morning making a list of chores that I want to do for spring cleaning (if the weather ever feels like springtime!). After the whole fiasco with the pantry moths and my subsequent cleaning of the pantry--as well as putting everything into food storage containers--and organizing my spices, I'm in the mood to keep going.

I can't even believe this is (part of) my pantry (it was hard to get a picture of the whole thing). And funnily enough, my kids are probably the ones who are most excited about it... hahaha!

As I started to write this post, I had an idea: How handy would it be to have readers share cleaning and organizing hacks/tips/products all in one spot on a blog post? If you have any tips or want to share photos of your organization of particular spaces, or have favorite products for cleaning/organizing, etc., you can email them to me and I'll put everything into one blog post. I would love to get my house clean and organized this spring!

As for me, maybe you can help me with this... 

I need to figure out solutions for organizing this stuff:

pots and pans
lids for pots and pans
food storage containers and lids (the kind we use to store leftovers or put in lunch boxes)
cleaning supplies (spray bottles, cleaners, etc.)
water bottles (we have way too many, but it's hard to choose what to get rid of)
Mason jars and lids
plastic grocery bags (again, way too many; but we use them when scooping the litter box)
medication boxes/bottles/tubes
winter hats/gloves

This is my embarrassingly disorganized cabinet with pots and pans. I looked for a pan organizer on Amazon, but they are about $25 each and I'd probably need 3-4 of them for pans and lids! I used to have the lids organized on the white rack that's in there (I got that for $1 at a thrift store) but I'm probably the only one in the house to try to keep it organized. Boys don't care.

And this drawer full of measuring cups and spoons drives me crazy!

And I'd love tips for cleaning this stuff:

stove top and oven
toaster oven
window blinds (the most tedious task ever!!)
(I know there are more, but my mind is blank at the moment)

Here are a few of my own ideas that I've implemented and have been super helpful:

Save old toothbrushes and/or the toothbrushes that the dentist gives me at my appointments. (Jerry and I use an electric toothbrush, so we don't use them.) The toothbrushes are perfect for cleaning things that have nooks and crannies like the tracks around windows, drains in the sink and shower, etc. Just make sure you store the old brushes far from the brushes you currently use ;)

Wooden skewers and toothpicks work really well, too, when trying to deep clean in the nooks and crannies (I especially like them for the sliding glass door track. It's hard to scrape out dirt that accumulates in the crevices, but skewers and toothpicks work really well!)

A very-lightly damp washcloth works perfectly to remove pet hair from furniture. If you wipe it with good pressure, the hair will ball up easily on the washcloth and you can just pull it off and throw it away.

Use space organizers in my closet to keep clothes organized. I started doing this ages ago after 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' was super popular. I have not had to re-organize it ever since! I don't use anything special for the organizers--any sort of box will do--but folding items and storing them horizontally instead of vertically was actually "life-changing" for me. My socks take up so much less space! I was able to get rid of our dresser completely and store everything in the closet.

You can tell one of the cats was sleeping on top of my tank tops! Hahaha. Chick and Duck like to find inconspicuous spots to explore and/or sleep.

Now that I've lost quite a bit of weight, I need to go through and get rid of a lot of clothes that are too big. I'm starting to have to cram things in the boxes. (I have two loads of laundry to put away right now.)

Okay, so I'd love to hear your tips/hacks/ideas/products/etc for cleaning and/or organizing. Just send me an email (even if it's just a one-sentence tip and no picture) and I'll include it on a future post (a compilation). If you don't want me to use your name (I'd just include your first name), then please let me know. If you want to share pictures of your organized spaces, then please do! My email address is: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. I'm excited to see what you've got to share! :)


  1. Check out GoCleanCo on Instagram. She's fantastic with all the cleaning hacks you'll every need!

  2. That's a lot of stuff! For pans I use Pan Protectors and stack them. I was buying a set of saucepans anyway that stacked so using protectors seemed obvious. Then got rid on one's we never used.

  3. I'm no help here. Will watch for the post with other ideas.

  4. Ooh I'm so excited for this post! I'll try to send something over but I can't wait to see what others have to offer too! I absolutely love cleaning/organizing inspiration!

  5. One thing I realized recently is that I really only use 2 pots and 2 pans regularly - the rest are sizes I don't need often. So I put those essential ones in an easily-accessible drawer and decided keep the rest in an awkward corner cabinet that I don't use for much because it's hard to reach. I so rarely need them that it's worked out really well for me.

  6. We use a metal file folder holder to hold our baking sheets. GAME CHANGER!

  7. We just recently moved to a smaller house with a smaller kitchen, so this topic is near and dear to my heart. The first and most important tip I have is to declutter. Honestly, decluttering is the first step to organizing, otherwise you're just shuffling stacks of stuff around. Just looking at the drawer of measuring cups, do you have more than one set? I have two sets, I'll admit, but if I had to I could go down to one. And sometimes you need two quarter cups measures.
    But the cups should be put back in a stacked manner to save space. Also, store like items together. Pizza cutters and can openers should be in a different area, since they're not baking tools. I have one drawer for measuring cups and spoons. The can opener and scissors (which we use instead of a pizza cutter, and they're not a unitasker) are in a drawer together.

    All spatulas, cooking spoons and whisks are in a crock by the stove, since that way I don't have to open a drawer to get them. Basically anything long and skinny shouldn't be in a drawer where it's going to possibly catch on things or get tangled up. When organizing a kitchen you want to save motions, so store things near where you're going to be using them most of the time.

    Also, how many pots and pans do you need? We're a family of six and eat all our meals at home, and I have one large stockpot, a medium saucepan, a small saucepan, and three frying pans (different sizes). That meets all our needs. We do have four glass baking pans, but we use those for pizza night and they all get used. With a crockpot, that's about all the cooking vessels we need.

    We have a glass top stove and I love these for getting dried on food off:

    For the inside of an oven, I was advised (by a licensed engineer) to not use the self-clean feature--this will wear out your oven faster than regular use--but the green Heavy-Duty Scotchbrite pads are great at getting baked on stuff off. I just use hot water and sometimes some ammonia--not a lot--in the water I use to scrub. Cleaning the oven regularly, once a week, is key to keeping the buildup at bay.

  8. I love organization, but I have to admit - it's better to just have less sometimes. For example, when I saw your measuring cup drawer, my first thought was "get rid of most of it!" Keep one complete measuring cup nested set, one measuring spoon set and toss the rest. Also get rid of duplicate tools: you really only need one spatula, Tongs, Whisk, etc. If you need the half cup and it's dirty? Take 10 seconds to wash it, easy peasy lemon squeasy. I have a magnetic set of measuring spoons so they all stick together, that also helps. Have fun organizing!

  9. I keep my pots and pans on the stovetop. I cook in a cast iron pan most of the time, and have a single pot that I use for soups and such. And then one small copper bottom frying pan that I don't use much, but might use for cooking a side dish when the cast iron pan is also being used. I do struggle with where to keep the lid that fits on my cast iron pan, because I only use it for certain dishes so often need it to be out of the way. I keep my baking sheets (one full size, one quarter sized) on top of the fridge. And my food storage containers for leftovers are pyrex glass containers with lids, which can be used for baking as well. I try not to have too many storage containers- I have enough that I can easily store a reasonable number of leftovers (or prepped ingredients for a future dinner, I like to chop an entire onion at once and then keep the unused part chopped in the fridge for the next meal, etc). If I run out of containers, it is a sure thing that I have some leftovers in the fridge that are too old and need to be thrown out. So it helps me keep my fridge clean by not having too many containers.

  10. We use a shoe organizer that hangs in our garage door to store winter hats, mittens, and scarves. The clear ones slow you to see what's in it, and I put my youngest child's things on the bottom so she can reach.


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