Tidy Kitchen Tips

Tidy Kitchen Tips from Decor and the Dog

I often get asked a series of multiple questions about our kitchen.

  • Your kitchen is so clean.  How do you do it?
  • Does your kitchen always look like this?
  • Do you all cook? Because your kitchen is way too clean.

The answers are as follows.

  • Yes.  Read below.
  • Mostly.  Except when we’re cooking.  We are horribly messy cooks.  Seriously.  Awful.
  • We do cook. I would love to eat out all of the time but then we’d be poor and unhealthy.  And that would make me sad. We generally only eat out once a week (sometimes twice).  Breakfast is eaten at home.  Lunches are packed.  All but one or two suppers are prepared in our kitchen.

Today I’m going to share with you my secrets.  They don’t require multiple expensive storage containers.  They aren’t super time consuming. They aren’t rocket science.  I swear.  Pinky swear. 

Tip #1:

Have a place for everything. At the end of each day, put everything back in it’s place. If you don’t have a place for something, get rid of it!

  • It’s simple.  Everything in your kitchen must have a home.  If it doesn’t, do you need it?  If it does, find it’s permanent home. 
  • Do you only use that turkey platter and gravy boat one time a year?  Maybe store it in your storage area (basement, closet, etc).  Who wants to fight with the turkey platter every time you try to grab a dinner plate?  Not this girl.
  • How many pans do you really cook with?  Do you need 15 bread pans? (I’m talking to you, Mom.)
  • I also realize that I have a lot of kitchen storage.  Our last house had a smaller kitchen and it was equally as tidy.  I just stored more things in our basement/owned less kitchen items.
  • (I shared this tip over at View Along the Way last week.  Be sure to check out other great organizing tips there!)

Tip #2:

Don’t go to bed with dirty dishes/counters/appliances.

  • This is one that I picked up from my mom.  I don’t ever remember waking up to dirty dishes and it’s something that has always stuck with me. 
  • I spend 10-15 minutes every night washing up the dishes from the day, putting things back where they belong, and wiping off the counters.  10-15 minutes. That’s it.
    • Most nights I just use a wash rag to wipe the counters.  About once or twice a week I use Method’s granite cleaner to clean the counters.
    • I use Rubbermaid’s Stainless Steel cleaner on the appliances once a week.
    • I wipe down the cabinet faces about every other week or when visibly dirty.
    • I clean the stovetop when visibly dirty.

Tip #3

Be neurotic/borderline being diagnosed with OCD.

  • That should probably be tip #1.  And it probably explains most of our kitchen.  But keep reading for more helpful tips.

Tip #4.

Clean out your fridge often.

  • It sounds simple but even I can be known to find a melted kiwi in the fruit drawer from time to time.  Keep like items grouped together.  Healthy stuff up front, of course.  I also place leftovers up front so I don’t forget about them.
  • Throw away leftovers after 3-4 days.  Again, sounds simple but do you do it?
  • I have also found that meal planning cuts down on fridge waste.  Leftovers are planned to be eaten.  We only purchase what we need for meals.  Nothing more.
  • I wipe the fridge shelves down every 3 months or when visibly dirty.

Tip #4:

Use those pantry doors as a kitchen command center.  Don’t have a pantry?  Use the back of a cabinet door.

  • Our pantry houses a list of items in the freezer, our weekly grocery list, and a spot to record leftovers so they don’t get lost in the fridge/freezer.
    • Having lists will seriously make your life easier.  It’s takes a little set up time but maintenance is easy.
    • You will notice that my pantry is organized yet not super duper pretty.  It doesn’t have a hundred pretty glass containers, chalkboard labels, or any of those other dream blogger pantry necessities. I don’t know about you but I don’t really care to spend $5 on 100 containers to store all of my pantry staples.  I also don’t want to spend an hour each week dumping cereal, noodles, etc into containers.  I have Downton Abbey to watch.  I don’t need chalkboard labels to tell me where my cereal or canned goods are located.  Got it covered.  I do have some random baskets that I picked up from the Salvation Army that corral things like baking supplies.
    • Again, meal planning has also helped us reduce the amount of items/waste in the pantry.

Tip #5:

Keep your utensils in one location and within easy reach.

  • We are nothing on the counter type of people so our utensils go in a drawer right next to the stove.  A utensil caddy is perfectly acceptable in my book as long as it’s not overflowing.
  • We group all of our utensils with their similar friends.  Spoons together, spatulas together, measuring spoons together, etc.  This makes cooking very easy.  Again, a place for everything and everything in its place.

Tip #6:

Organize your spice cupboard.  It will change your world.

  • Our spices are stored on cheapo Wal-Mart spice racks.  They are alphabetized because I’m neurotic like to be able to find spices quickly.
    • Again meal planning comes into play.  I can easily glance through the racks to see if we need to purchase any spices for the upcoming week’s meals.
    • We have kept this spice cupboard like this for almost a year so the system works.  And it works well.

Follow these helpful tips and you too will have a tidy kitchen. *Cue infomercial music*


Are you a person with a tidy kitchen or are you a “Why bother. It’s just going to get dirty again” person?”  What’s your #1 tidy kitchen tip?

Like this post? Check out our meal planning tips here!

Then and Now-Kitchen and Dining Room

As most of you know, it’s hard to move quickly on house projects….they take time and money.

We have a set budget and keeping our budget is extremely important to us. 

We pick and choose projects each month based on what else is going on that month. 

For example, we don’t take on larger projects during months when we know we are going on vacation or need new clothes, etc.  When I go crazy and order a West Elm comforter, I can’t order West Elm curtains in the same month. 

It’s not that we don’t have the money, we just choose to be smart about our purchases.  There are things that we feel deserve the extra splurge (the comforter we sleep with every night) and there are things that we know we can spend less money on (a thrift store dresser that is more for looks). 

Due to our cheap frugal ways, decorating our house has been a fairly slow process.  It most definitely has not happened over night....just like Rome wasn't built in a day...all things take time...(I love cheesy sayings like that...)

This week I will show you the various stages of our house.  I’d call it “Before and After” but none of our rooms are complete so I feel that “Then and Now” is more fitting.

I’ll recap some rooms for our new readers and show some new-to-the-blog progress photos later in the week.


In the kitchen we added crown molding to the cabinets, a temporary picture backsplash, and bead board on the island.  This room took us about a year and is probably the closest to done.  We do plan to add a backsplash…..if we can ever make a final decision on what material to use.


Our dining room sat empty for an entire year after we moved in.  It’s the first room you see as you enter our front door.  We told people it was our meditation room.  We decided to purchase a table and chair set (darn matchy-matchy old self) after a year of living in the house.  We hung curtains (Target bargains) a few months after that.  I found the hutch at the Salvation Army last June.  I am still looking for a few others items to place on the top of the hutch and have been pondering chair covers.  We are eventually going to add crown molding as well.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the progress of our master suite and guest bedroom.

Do you have a decorating budget?  Do you want to learn more about how we budget? (I won’t bore you otherwise…) 

Do you have a meditation room? :)

House Tour- Kitchen

In between crazy craft projects, cute dog pictures, and Kindle recommendations...
I think I will give you a tour of our house. 

So far I have only posted the good stuff. 
From here on out I'll show you all of it.
The good, the bad, even the ugly....and yes, there is ugly.

Let's start with the kitchen.

Here is what our kitchen looked like around July 2008. 
Not too functional...

And here it is around September 2008. 
The dry wall is up but it would still be pretty hard to whip up some mac & cheese in this kitchen....

And December 2008. 
It is now at least functional but is missing crown molding and the island is lacking...

And here we are today!
Crown molding on the cabinets and beadboard on the island give it a little more interest.
We're still debating on a backsplash. 
We can't decide what we want and if we want to do it ourselves or hire someone.
Feel free to comment with suggestions!  We're open to anything!

Room info
Wall color: Svelte sage (Sherwin Williams)
Cabinets: Woodland/Provincial doors/Ivory
Granite: Epic stone/Black
Fridge: GE profile, french door
Cook top: Whirlpool
Oven/microwave: GE
Dishwasher: Bosch

Hope you enjoyed the tour.  There will be more next week...along with the duvet reveal!

Curtains versus Sheets

The kitchen eating area needed something......

I thought the answer was curtains. 

If only I could visualize things before I execute them...
For example, I thought these Ikea curtains would look cute in the kitchen.  Epic fail.  They looked like sheets.  And the pattern was a bit much.  And the curtains were white and the rug was cream.  And Nate hung them too low....and they kept getting stuck in the door.  And... :P

After learning a little bit more about hanging curtains, I decided on these curtains from Target.  And I made Nate rehang the curtain rods. It's amazing we are still married....I wasn't so sure after this adventure.

What do you think?  I wasn't sure what to do above the patio doors. 

We were super annoyed when the curtains kept getting caught in the door (we use the deck A LOT in the summer).  We didn't need the curtains for privacy...just looks....so we did away with the one getting stuck in the door...which left that area feeling like it was missing something. 

We decided on an iron piece from Hobby Lobby to add a little interest. 
Too much? Other suggestions??