I’m sharing a smaller corner of our home with you today. And it’s a super simple organizing tip especially for moms : creating a kids’ drawer or cabinet in the kitchen!
I love having a designated space for all the kids items like bowls, cups, plates, water bottles and lunch boxes and having it be accessible to them. It makes finding things and putting things away much easier for all of us, and it also gives my kids independence (meaning : get it yourself, kids!) If you have smaller babies and toddlers that get into and destroy every organizational system in two seconds, you may want to create a space like this just for your own personal use in a cabinet or drawer higher up out of reach, then transition it lower for them to access later on. But either way, the benefit of having a well-organized kids cabinet is really beneficial for maintaining your sanity as mom during daily lunch-packing and busy mealtimes.
This space combines many different organizing tips and strategies. So even if you don’t have kids, the ideas can be applied for any area of your home :
A C C E S S I B I L I T Y : Like I mentioned before, considering who uses a space, their height (s), what is most-often used and make those items easier to grab, and reserving higher or further back areas for less-used items is super key to a functional space. This can be applied to a closet, playroom, garage, pantry, etc. Know what’s used most and make that the easiest to reach.
S O R T , C O N S O L I D A T E , W E E D O U T :Even the most organized person is invariably going to find a random mix of water bottles WITH MISSING STRAWS (right? they’re like socks!) cups from events and parties, mismatched tupperware, plates of various sizes collected through the years, etc. Over time, it’s going to just become a hot mess. So it’s super important to sort things, match up items, see what you don’t need anymore, get rid of those mismatched pieces, and streamline your items. When things visually go together, it just creates a great look.
L A B E L I N G : You don’t have to always label the bin or container but can also use the shelf or drawer itself as the space for labeling. In this area, I labeled the interior roll out drawers because we would be seeing everything from standing above, so a surface that faced upwards made most sense. Labeling creates PURPOSE for spots in a space and therefore you and those using the space will be less likely to put things back where they don’t belong. Sometimes they still will end up in the wrong spot, but you can easily and quickly adjust and everything will just stay neater for the long run.
C O N T A I N E R S T H A T F I T T H E S P A C E W E L L : It’s so important to have your organizational system like bins, dividers, baskets, etc. fit the space well. Make sure it takes advantage of the full length, width, and height of a space. For this cabinet the drawers are long so I used deep long bins that kept things from toppling over and in nice neat rows. Also, vertical space is often wasted in spaces, so see how you can use it to your benefit with stacking or narrow-but-taller solutions.
These are custom roll-outs we had made when we built the house which I love and recommend to everyone if they’re building or remodeling a kitchen. Very much a game changer. But you can do this in a cabinet without rollout drawers (which is what I had for our kids cabinet in our previous kitchen, which was much, much smaller. In fact, the square bins you see here are the exact same ones I used in that last kitchen!) You can buy and install pre-made roll-out drawers like these ones but if you don’t have rollout drawers, bins and baskets are ESPECIALLY helpful to pull things in and out.
So here’s how to create your own kids drawer or cabinet in your kitchen :
1. Take everything out. Whether your kids’ items are found in various places in the kitchen or are freakishly jam-packed into one cabinet, take everything out and lay it all out in one spot so you can see everything
2. Categorize and weed out missing, worn-out, mismatched, or items no longer needed. Be judicial. Clutter in kitchens really ADD UP. Especially with kids stuff. Keep only what you like, toss or donate the rest.
3. Decide the best spot for items, and adjust shelving if needed. One thing that’s super helpful to think about is that most kitchen cabinet shelving is adjustable. So if there’s a spot that would be perfect for a kids cabinet but things just didn’t fit in there quite right, see if simply adjusting the shelving would make things fit much nicer. If you’re using a drawer, decide which one it’s going to be
4. Place items back in a way that makes sense to you. No hard rules on this one; make it work for you. Play with how things are lined up and grouped together in a space. Sometimes it’s like a puzzle.
5. Measure and shop for dividers. Now that your items are in place in an organized way, it’s time to decide if organizational products can be implemented to help keep things in place and nice and neat. Spring-loaded dividers like these can help separate and divide out spaces or you can use bins or baskets like these. Make sure to measure so what you buy fits the space and is the right size for the items you have.
6. Label the containers or the drawer/shelf. You can use chalkboard stickers like these or these, bin clips like these or these, or a label maker is practical especially for labeling the inner lip or top part of a drawer. I like to use a chalk marker (erasable) and this sharpie (permanent.)
One thing to note and you might wonder : the kids silverware is in our regular silverware drawer opposite this cabinet which they can reach. So they just turn around and grab their silverware. Oh and another thing to note, Maddix our 13 year old uses all the same grown-up items that we do, she’s taller than I am, and she doesn’t like to use “cute” lunchbox items so that’s why she’s not part of this cabinet (she prefers using Lululemon bags and sandwich baggies – it’s apparently the much more” I don’t care, effortlessly cool” lunch style for teens these days.)
I linked everything I used to organize the space plus all the water bottles, cups and plates, and lunchbox items below. And the labels on the kids items are by Namebubbles and I stick them on everything. EVERYTHING. PS you can get 15% off through the end of October with the code PERRY!
This kids cabinet makes life easier and makes me happy every time I see it. If you don’t have a designated kids cabinet or drawer, I hope you’ll try it!
O R G A N I Z I N G P R O D U C T S
W A T E R B O T T L E S A N D
L U N C H B O X I T E M S
C U P S , P L A T E S , A N D B O W L S