cleaning/ Kitchen Tips/ organizing

7 Kitchen Organizing Tips

Get (and keep) your kitchen in top shape with these 7 Kitchen Organizing Tips! Simple tips and kitchen organizing ideas that will make your kitchen cleaner and easier to use!

Oh, January…don’t you just love the fresh start feeling of this month?! After the holidays, I, like many, feel the need to clean. And purge.  And organize. So that’s what I do every January and what I’m working on right now.  Since I spend most of my time in the kitchen I started there.  When my kitchen isn’t organized and running smoothly, neither do I! So I’m sharing 7 Kitchen Organizing Tips and I hope you can find a little tip that inspires your kitchen organization!

Practical Kitchen Counter Storage

Keep your most used pantry staples like flour, noodles, rice and oats in easy to access jars on your counter. It’s nice to have these items within reach when in the middle of a recipe. Keeping these staples out on display can look nice too…I love the glass containers that I use in this image below (I found these glass bins at WalMart for ~$10 a piece)…they look nice and they are practical!

Get rid of the clutter.

Try to keep your kitchen counter space as free from stuff as you can. If I had my way I would put nothing on my counters, but that’s just not practical. So I limit the clutter to storage jars, my favourite cookbooks, a few pretty cutting boards, my trusty mixer and of course the coffee machine!

Create Storage if you don’t have any!

If you are low on kitchen storage, why not add a chest of drawers to the space? I keep this set in the eating nook of our kitchen and I have it filled with linens, napkins, napkin rings, candles, extra dishes and there’s even a drawer full of teas. It’s the best storage space and I love it!

Organize Your Pantry

If your pantry is organized, the rest of your kitchen will be organized. I like to put as much of my dry goods, like flour, sugar, salt, noodles, rice, oats, chocolate chips etc…into transparent food storage containers with labels. That way you can see easily see what you have at a glance. Mason jars work great too! This method also helps to keep a pantry less cluttered by getting rid of bulky boxes and bags. If you’re looking for some checklists for stocking your pantry, I’m sharing a Baking Pantry List here, and a Dinner Pantry List here.

I think it’s important to remember that an organized pantry has to work for you and doesn’t have to look like a magazine spread. Mine certainly doesn’t. If you want to see more pantry organization ideas, you can read that in this post here.

Pantry Organization for Real Life

Declutter those kitchen drawers!

Again, this isn’t a magazine spread. My drawers are real life, and they get cluttered often and I’m constantly reorganizing them…which is just what happens with you live with 4 other people who use the kitchen. No matter what I do they just seem to turn into a junk drawer! To keep things as organized as possible I have added really simple plastic trays to the drawers that hold my cooking utensils and to my silverware drawers to help keep things in their places. Drawer dividers would work great too!  You can read more about what I did this in this post here.

Make Fridge Mats for Easy Cleaning

A while ago I came across a website that sold coasters for the inside of your refrigerator.  The idea being that if you have a spill, or your fridge needs a good cleaning, all you have to do is remove the mats and give them a quick wash in your sink…no huge clean-up of your entire fridge.  Basically they are there to make clean up easy peasy. I wanted to buy them but I just knew that I could make them myself for half the price. So when I was in my local grocery store I picked up 6 pretty hard plastic placemats and got to work.

How to Make Your own Fridge Mats:

  • Purchase plastic place mats.
  • Measure each individual shelf and cubby and cut the placemats to fit. If one of the shelves is too big for one placemat, just cut 2 mats to cover the whole shelf.
  • If you want, you can also place smaller cut out mats into the cubbies in the door of the fridge (for the condiment areas).

Pare down.

The biggest tip I have to offer is to pare down! Get rid of things that you don’t need.

  • Get rid of plastic containers without lids.
  • Throw out expired foods in the fridge and pantry. Don’t forget your spice rack and toss out expired spices!
  • Donate dishes you don’t use.
  • Go through your coffee mugs! This is a big problem for me haha!
  • Keep items at a minimum on your countertops.
  • Clear out the clutter from the tops of your fridge and kitchen cabinets.
  • If you have large kitchen gadgets and small appliances that you don’t use, consider donating or selling them.
  • Don’t keep doubles or triples of things. How many pots and pans do we really need?

I hope you found some ideas here to help you with your kitchen organizing!

PIN IT for later!

Looking for more organizing ideas and tips? Make sure to follow me on Pinterest!

Happy Organizing!

Note: This post was originally published in 2013. I have since updated it with new images and tips!

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  • Reply
    January 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    I absolutely love the idea of placemats in the fridge! I have a bunch that I don’t use anymore, great way to repurpose them! Your pantry staples jars are beautiful, I love your whole kitchen, dresser and all! Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Reply
    Pudel - design
    January 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    I think you`ve done a good job so far;)
    I need to organize my kitchen too. Badly in need. But during the holidays I decided to revamp the whole pantry room, actually install shelves in the space, paint the kitchen cabinets, change the flooring in the kitchen and hallway;)
    So I have a long way to go for organizing my kitchen;)
    Thank you for the tipps and have a pretty successfully New Year;)!

    Love from Germany…

  • Reply
    January 6, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    I love the idea of having a dresser for the linens! It looks lovely in your kitchen

  • Reply
    January 6, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    BEAUTIFUL Jo-Anna! Everything looks great! I love those clear canisters! Keep it up 🙂

  • Reply
    Barbara Noland
    January 7, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    are you sure our husbands are not clones? just go through the lecture that he needs to SEE if we need something before he goes to grocery (which is 3 times a year). Last night he comes home with duplicates, triplicates,…of everything. we did not need. I am definitely going to use the placemats. great ideas..thanks

  • Reply
    January 7, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    The fridge mats are an excellent idea. I look forward to exploring your blog more!

  • Reply
    KC @ The Real Thing with the Coake Family
    January 7, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Looks fantastic! I love the canisters on the counter and the dresser.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    UM I think we might be the same person? LOL! Last year I went on a shopping spree with some GC I received from my job and bought glass containers to sit on my counters, I also pulled my childhood bedroom furniture out of my parents attic, redid them and placed them in my kitchen =0) Though I like how all your containers are the some size.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    This is super random, but what is the font you used that is in green on the striped back grounds?

    • Reply
      January 7, 2013 at 7:27 PM

      Hi Sarah! It’s called Sketch Block.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Thanks for idea to use dime store placemats as refrig shelf liners. So cute. And a more reasonable price than the designer made-specifically-for-refrig liners

  • Reply
    January 7, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    I am absolutely loving the idea of the placemats in the fridge. It is such a huge job to clean out the fridge (one of my most dreaded jobs!) and it seems like the fridge gets dirty so soon after I clean it. The placemats would certainly help with the spills and gunk that comes from food containers. I also love your idea of using a dresser to hold tablecloths and other assorted kitchen/dining stuff, but there isn’t anywhere in my kitchen where I could put a dresser. It’s just one big open room – no separate dining nook.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    I love your kitchen! It looks so pretty and organized! They glass containers make me think of the food network! Love it!

    • Reply
      Rebecca Randolph
      June 2, 2018 at 11:17 PM

      Have you thought about using a dresser as a kitchen island

  • Reply
    Chic Mummy
    January 8, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    I saw those fridge coasters just the other day, but now I am totally going to copy your idea – it’s genius!! The dresser is TDF as well; real furniture envy going on here 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly Watson
    January 8, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    I LOVE the idea of a dresser in the eating area for storage! and those fridge coasters… I’m putting that on my to-do list! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    lol…I label my frig, too! I love finding like-minded souls. Even my four-year-old asks for his things to be labeled!

    You can peek at my frig here:

    Btw, I love the linen drawer idea!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    I was very impressed with the idea of the placemats as fridge coasters. I had been under the impression that fridge coasters could not be cleaned and therefore were more of a disposable item (a turn off), but your solution obviously can be cleaned. Vinyl placemats are going on my shopping list!

    I also appreciate that you have some items out on your counter. So many staging/organizing photos show absolutely clear counters and I find that to be just so frustratingly unrealistic. Of course you have to be cognizant of how much counter space you have, but if you use something on a daily basis it seems inefficient to have it shelved in a cabinet rather than sitting out. Furthermore, if something is such a hassle to get out every time you need to use it, then, if you’re like me, you probably just will avoid using it.

    Finally, what kind of wood are your cabinets? I like them–not too dark and not too light, which I think helps to make them timeless. Our house has the most unbelievably cheap melamine cabinets in the kitchen–can’t wait to get rid of them.

    • Reply
      January 13, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      After going through all the entries, yours won my vote for the organizing challenge. Good luck!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    I’m loving your tips,your beautiful photo’s and your blog,(I’ve google+bloggie,)-(I could not find your “follow”).
    I want to “copy cat” the fridge mats.thanks for sharing(#116)@BNOTP.
    #150 Jo @ LoblollyLane

  • Reply
    Kitchen Kapers: Tips
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  • Reply
    Lauren @ momhomeguide
    January 9, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    I’ve been blogging about and working on organizing my kitchen this month, too. I love your fridge mats — I’ve just been using wax paper on the shelves, but your solution is much prettier. Love your website!

  • Reply
    January 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Hi there, I am way past taking care of family now….But I still love to see what other people are doing……may I make a suggestion that you may use in the future if you want to……For linens and things ( like extra silver ware, etc.) I have used
    A mechanics cabinet……, of course……There are shallow drawers for table cloths and napkins and place mats, …….
    Just right size drawers for silverware. and deeper drawers for candle sticks and vases and such as used on special occasions………And sometime you may find, cheaply, one that has an open top that can serve as a liquid bar, ( not just for alcahol) ….Mostly they come in pretty colors or you may have to paint them to match your kitchen…Just use auto paint!!!!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2013 at 7:05 PM

      What a great idea! I love the look of mechanic cabinets! I’m picturing one in turquoise! Love it!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    You have a beautiful kitchen! I’ve also been dreaming of those coasters for my frig. love your solution! thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    January 11, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    I love your solution to the refrigerator coasters! I’ll definitely be trying that at my house.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Um, that linen dresser idea is amazing. And those glass jars make your kitchen that much more beautiful. Seriously – I’m quite smitten with everything in this room.

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    I love the miners for the refrigerator. Those jars on the counter are my favorite. It’s great that you have room for a bureau in hour kitchen.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Everything is so organized, I love it!
    Thanks for linking up.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    This is so gorgeous. Love your style. I look forward to seeing you at My Dream Canvas. I am visiting you from Tuesday Treasures. Thanks Anu!

  • Reply
    Jann Olson
    January 22, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Hi, hopped over from Tuesday’s Treasures. I have been in the cleaning and organizing mode also. Just did my pantry yesterday. It is small, don’t know what the home builders were thinging. Large kitchen with 2 dishwashers (ya, crazy but I have loved them) but the pantry is way small. Obviously, we didn’t build the home, happy to be here; but always somethings are ideal. I love the chalkboard jars! I am a crafter and did not know they sold chalboard paper. Going to pick some up. And I love the placemat fridge liner idea. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I have a link party, Share Your Cup Thursday. Would love for you to join sometime.

  • Reply
    Jann Olson
    January 22, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    I just read my comment and I made a bunch of typing errors. Sorry! I need to slow down and type. Could not see where to follow you.

  • Reply
    cynthia mcardle
    January 29, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    This is awesome! An organized kitchen means nice and neat! Thanks for sharing!

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  • Reply
    February 1, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    Hi Jo-Anna, I wanted you to know I linked to this post in my Weekend Goodies. It’s a linky party, so do come check it out! I’d love for you to share more.

  • Reply
    Beth @ Free Stylin'
    February 1, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Such great ideas! I pinned a few of them!! And your kitchen is so pretty! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 2, 2013 at 3:32 AM

    Great work and great ideas. Thank you.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    I never thought of using placemats in the refrigerator, love it! I wish I had counter space for glass canisters like yours. All so pretty!!
    What do you have in the containers on the top of the stove? 🙂

    • Reply
      February 5, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      Thank you Terry!
      I love those little containers on the stove! I have vanilla sugar in one, cinnamon sugar in another, and tea in the other!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    March 1, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Hi! I just stopped by to check out your kitchen via iheart organizing. Love all that you’ve done! I have checked out the glass containers at Wal-mart as well and actually bought them, but was hesitant to use them for baking items since they didn’t have a seal around the lid. Have you had any issues with freshness, etc? I love the way they look!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    So pretty! Love all the glass jars and labels (don’t labels make everything better? Ha!)

    -Chaney (Came over from IHeart Organizing)

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Nossa,sua cozinha é linda,sou apaixonada pelo seu estilo de cozinha,aqui no Brasil as cozinhas são diferentes,adorei as idéia das etiquetas nos frascos e na geladeira,também perdemos muito em nossa geladeira por ficar perdida lá dentro srsrs,já os placemates por aqui não usamos pois propagamos a ideia de que o ar refrigerado não corre por entre as prateleiras devido ao bloqueio que causa…Amei tudo em sua cozinha.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Placemats as fridge coasters! I’m smacking myself on the forehead for that clever idea. Why didn’t I think of that? I had seen those great fridge coasters too, and wanted them, but just couldn’t justify the expense. But some inexpensive placemats from Homegoods or Target? I can do that. I too label my fridge. And I too, live with a condiment hoarder. Where did you get the plastic bins in your fridge? I just found your blog through iheartorganizing and I love it.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Dropping by from I heart Organizing.

    Loved your fridge–I too had an attack of organize-itis and labeled everything in my fridge. It makes you happy, doesn’t it?

    I love the dresser in your kitchen. As I was reading the post I kept hoping you’d include a picture of it in reference to the kitchen. I’m glad you did!

    Keep organizing!


  • Reply
    Steph @ Crafting in the Rain
    March 3, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Very nice–those pretty placemats are an awesome idea! Thanks for linking up to Point of View 🙂

  • Reply
    March 4, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Everything looks so pretty and fresh! I love the colors and patterns on the place mats too!

  • Reply
    ValenzMom aka Helen
    March 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Thanks for all the tips, Jo-Anna! I just dropped by from Thrifty Decor Chick after seeing your tip on using the placemats in the fridge – love it! I’ve been using an antique dresser in my dining room for all my linens for quite some time, though. It’s funny how folks see it there and say, “Oh, I never thought of doing that, but it’s perfect!” I like that yours is painted a pretty cream color – I haven’t decided what color to paint mine yet. I keep going back and forth between cream and a pale aqua color, but hubby is voting for the cream. We’ll see who wins once we move in 3 months :). Love your blog, BTW, I’m pinning your tips and subscribing!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    LOVE the dresser in the kitchen. I am on the hunt for a cabinet or other furniture piece to fit the nook by the stairs in my kitchen. Your beautiful photos just confirmed that I am on the right track! Lovely pictures and wonderful ideas!
    So glad you linked up to Point of View.

  • Reply
    March 6, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Your kitchen space is beautiful. The dresser is ingenious! Thank you for linking to Point of View. I will be featuring this tomorrow.

  • Reply
    Monica E.
    April 10, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Hi! I found you via iheartorganizing! LOVE your kitchen!! I have recently labeled all the shelves and bins in my fridge as well!! Crazy, yes. But it works!!! 🙂


  • Reply
    Lauren {L'amour chez nous}
    April 11, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    I’m over from I heart organizing. I love the idea of lining your fridge with place mats. So much easier to clean up spills. I totally agree with having a dresser for linens in the main living area. We have one and it works really well!

  • Reply
    Sarah Meyers
    April 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Hello! love your ideas! Wondering what are the size or dimensions of those glass jars? thanks

    • Reply
      April 25, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      So sorry for the late response! The measurements for these jars are H 8 1/8″, D 7 3/8″.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    April 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    LOVE the mason jar idea in the pantry as I have an awkward cupboard where things often get lost and then we have duplicates….same with the fridge. Laughed so hard when you mentioned triplicates of sour cream…happens all the time here and then we have to throw them out because they go mouldy! Hate that! So wasteful! I am going to organize my fridge and pantry! So excited! Thank you!!!

    • Reply
      April 25, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      You are so welcome! I’m happy you found this useful!
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Reply
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    These heated clothing items are a must if you work out in the elements during extreme weather.
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  • Reply
    May 31, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    I love how organized you kitchen is. I love using glass jars for inexpensive storage and the dresser is such a beautiful idea. I’m pinning this post to the Organize It! Pinterest Board.

  • Reply
    June 2, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Jo-Anna! I LOVE your fridge “coasters” — I’d love to pin you from our organizing party but you haven’t linked to it. If you do, I’ll come back and pin this 🙂 Becky B.

  • Reply
    June 3, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    I love everything about all the fun little touches you’ve added to your kitchen. So beautiful! I’d love for you to share this at my link party “Organize My Life” that opens every Monday night. Stop on by! Have a great day!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    On the large shelf that needed two place mats, did you duct tape them together? Hot glue? I have large shelves and am dying to use the idea! =)

    • Reply
      June 25, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      Hi Theresa!
      I didn’t actually put them together with anything. I found it was easier for clean ups to have them separated. I didn’t find this to be a problem (they didn’t float around once food items were placed on them).
      Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Kristin (Everyday Organizing)
    July 10, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    I am in love with the glass jars for storing your baking staples. They look beautiful on the counter and make everything so easily accessible.

  • Reply
    July 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to our blogroll.

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  • Reply
    December 2, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Where did you get your clear plastic bins for Fruit and Veggies, Dairy?


    • Reply
      December 3, 2013 at 8:24 AM

      Hi Katherine! I found mine at Walmart!
      Happy organizing!

  • Reply
    December 30, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    I think I need to hire you to come organize my kitchen! Looks great!!

  • Reply
    January 3, 2014 at 4:27 AM

    I love my glass jars; I need more storage & more counter space too ! Happy New Year, Jo-Anna, wishing you & yours the very best in 2014 !

    • Reply
      January 7, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      Happy New Year to you too Cindy!

  • Reply
    January 6, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    How do you keep everything so neat?? I can organise but then things disintegrate over time – well really it’s just every time one of the kids takes something and doesn’t put it back where it is supposed to be!! You’ve inspired me… I need to reorganise the pantry ASAP.

    • Reply
      January 7, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      You should see my pantry right now, lol! Time for me to get it reorganized…because in reality, mine disintegrates very quickly too – I have to keep on top of things with 3 kids and a very messy husband! 🙂

  • Reply
    Renae launderlife
    January 6, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    I love your glass jar organization. It is a great low/no toxic option over plastic. Lovely, too.

    • Reply
      January 7, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Thank you Renae!

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  • Reply
    January 26, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Its such as you learn my thoughts! You appear to grasp a lot
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  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Hello- I love your ideas. I have a question on the glass jars you used for the flour and sugar on the counter. Are those airtight? Does it need to be to hold those ingredients? What did you do? I would like to do the same, but want to find out from someone who has done it. and I purchased silver scoops to go inside. How big is the jar opening?

    • Reply
      June 17, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      Hi Carrie! My jars don’t actually have a tight seal, but I use them so regularly that I haven’t found that to be a problem. I end up refilling them almost once a week. And I would say the openings are about 6 inches wide, so wide enough for a small scoop!
      Happy organizing!

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  • Reply
    January 5, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    You’re so right about items getting lost at the back of the fridge. I keep coming across a tub of cream cheese that I will one day throw out!

    I like the cabinet doors and the kitchen seems to be lit by a lot of natural light which must make being in the kitchen a joy.

    Some great ideas and useful advice to follow. Thanks.

    • Reply
      January 5, 2015 at 8:00 PM

      Isn’t it funny how the fridge swallows containers! 😉 Thank you so much for stopping by – I’m very happy you found some useful tips!

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    The Best Organization Hacks for your Kitchen | Media Officials
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    19 Lazy Girl Cleaning Hacks That'll Change Your Life - Just Girly Things
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    […] A Pretty Life in the Suburbs  […]

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    19 Lazy Girl Cleaning Hacks That'll Change Your Life - Cybertimes
    March 12, 2017 at 6:58 AM

    […] 5. For the eco-friendly lazy girl, use washable mats instead of plastic wrap in the refrigerator.  Can you see the difference? This version adds an instant upgrade to your refrigerator.  A Pretty Life […]

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    24 Lazy Girl Cleaning Hacks - Girly Dreams
    April 17, 2017 at 12:58 PM

    […] A Pretty Life […]

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    August 22, 2017 at 11:47 PM

    Hi, may i know what’s the size of your glass bin? The one i found (1/2 gallon) on walmart looks taller.

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    23 Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips to Maximize Your Space | Tip Junkie
    December 22, 2017 at 8:15 PM

    […] 4.  Kitchen Organization ~ Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to become more organized? This post by A Pretty Life in the Suburbs shows you several ways to organize your kitchen from the refrigerator to the pantry. The best part? They’re all low cost and functional.  {smiling} […]

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