What’s In Your Cabinet? Organization Tips with Liz Trotter

What’s In Your Cabinet? Organization Tips with Liz Trotter

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What’s in your cabinet? If you’re like me, you probably have a bunch
of stuff in your kitchen cabinets that you probably don’t need, you probably don’t use
and you probably could toss out. So we’re going to talk about that today. Hi there, I’m Angela Brown and this is Ask
a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house
cleaning question and I get to help you find an answer. Now, today’s show is brought to us by HouseCleaning360.com This is a resource hub that partners homeowners
with house cleaners. So if you are a homeowner and you need a professional
house cleaner or you need a professional organizer or you need somebody else that services the
home, check it out at HouseCleaning360.com And if you are a service professional, race
over there and list your business. There are free and paid listings to help you
so that customers can find you when they need your service. All right, on to today’s show. This is an awesome show, back by popular demand. We have the amazing Liz Trotter. She is a partner in one of the largest cleaning
companies across America. They’ve got branches all the way from Portland
to Dayton, Ohio. And so she knows a lot about cleaning and
a lot about kitchen cabinets. Now it’s interesting because as I’ve gone
through my own cabinets over the years, I find lots of stuff that just flat out should
not be there. And I would like to just point fingers and
go, who put that in there? But chances are probably I did when I wasn’t
paying attention or someone was coming over and I wanted to hurry and tidy up and I just
shoved stuff in the cabinets. Yeah, we’ve all done that, right? All right. So anyway, how do you tidy your cabinets? What’s in your cabinets and what are some
tips for keeping your cabinets clean? Please help me welcome the amazing Liz Trotter. Angela: And joining us today is the amazing
Liz Trotter from Castle Keepers, and today she’s going to share with us some secrets
that you need to know about your cabinets. Because we all have cabinets, and if you’re
like me, when you start cleaning them out, you find that you have like four cheese graters
and you’re like, what? Where did these all come from? Right? So please help me welcome Liz Trotter. Liz: Thanks Angela. I love being here. I really appreciate you doing this for everybody
because it’s a huge help for me too. Love your videos, in case I haven’t said that
before. Angela: Well thank you so much. Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been
up to lately. Liz: Let’s see. Well, I’m always doing a little bit of this
and a little bit of that. Having businesses across the country, one
of the things that we’re focusing on right now, and this is going to date this video,
but we’re going through a hurricane in our Charleston office. So that’s where a lot of focus is right now,
is on that and hoping everybody stays safe. Angela: Are your people safe so far? Liz: Yeah. Yeah. Everybody’s good. It looks like everything is going to miss
us and we’re all going to be good, buy just hoping for everybody to be safe. Yeah. Angela: Alrighty. All right, well what’s in your cabinet? Liz: All right. Well, you know what, this is, I just got to
say to everybody, my cabinets are amazing. If you open up any cabinet in my house, you
will be so freaking impressed. But, took me 60 years to get here. Okay, well let’s just be clear about that. And they were not so amazing when all of my
kids were at the house, but they were always in the process of getting amazing. And there were a few things that I think I
can share that will really, really help people. The first thing is, whatever’s going to be
in that cupboard, decide what’s going to be in that cupboard upfront, and then only put
those things in that cupboard. So if you end up with something you don’t
know where it goes, don’t shove it somewhere. I used to be that person that would take something
and would shove it in a drawer, or shove it in a cabinet or just shove it somewhere and
just get it out of my face because I don’t like stuff on my counters. That’s the worst. Better to just leave it on the counter and
let it irritate me or you until you decide where it’s going to permanently live. So where does that cheese grater live? Because that is the first step to getting
all of your cupboards in order. And how it works is this. If I have a cheese grater and it’s on my counter,
I don’t know where it lives, but I finally decide, “Okay, cheese graters are all going
to live in this one cupboard.” Then every time I find a cheese grater, it’s
like, “Oh, cheese graters belong over there.” It won’t take very long before I’ll find I
have two. So I’ll never end up with five. Right? There won’t be five cheese graters in one
cabinet, because as soon as I put the one in, I’ll see the other one, and that will
make me not buy more cheese graters and now I have more room for other things in my cupboard. So just that one thing, deciding where things
live, solves a whole host of issues. So do you really have five cheese graters,
Angela? Angela: I had four and I don’t cook. And so every time I would need a cheese grater,
I’m like, “Well, surely I don’t have a cheese grater because I don’t cook.” So then I would go buy one. And then when I cleaned out my cupboards,
sure enough, I had four and I was like, “What on earth? Why do I have four rolling pins and four cheese
graters?” So I got rid of them all and now I just buy
shredded cheese. Liz: Yeah, I love shredded cheese. Whoever invented that, that was a good invention. Angela: So let me ask you this, what about
keeping dishes and things in your cabinets close to the area that you’re going to use
them? How do you do that? So, I think people that are in any business,
any business that you’re in, you know that you need to keep the tools of your trade,
whatever it is, close to the work that’s being performed. So that’s how I think about it. I like to keep my pans by my stove, because
that’s where I’m going to use them. I like to keep my drinking glasses by the
water, because that’s where I’m going to use them. I like to keep the plates by my serving area
,because that’s where I’m going to use them. Silverware, same thing. So that’s how I decide where I’m going to
put stuff. It’s based on where it’s going to be when
I need it. For example, I don’t use my food processor
very often. I use it about once a month when I make the
most amazing salsa, but because I only use it once a month, it’s all the way around the
island in my kitchen, all the way on the other side, under an overhang, behind a stool, in
a cabinet. It’s a huge pain to get to, but I only have
to do it once a month. If I had my toaster that I like to use every
day over there, I’d probably give up toast. Not doing it. Or my coffee pot. I don’t even know what I’d do. Right? Angela: So keep the things that you use the
most closest to you and then keep everything else in the area in which you’re going to
use it. That makes perfect sense. Liz: Yeah, or really high or really low. The places that are harder to access. Right? Angela: What do you do as far as rotating
spices and stuff that could expire. I know when I cleaned out my cupboards, I
found stuff that, kind of embarrassed to say how old it was, but I was pretty sure that
it was no good anymore. So I just tossed it. Liz: Yeah. So I don’t. I don’t do that. But what I can tell you is, I only have stuff
in my cupboard that I use. If I’m not using it, then I get rid of it. I donate it, give it to somebody else, I do
something. Like to keep only the things that I use, and
this is going to sound a little obsessive compulsive, but my spices are in alphabetical
order. Not strict alphabetical order, but all of
the A stuff is here and the B’s and the C’s, because I want to be able to find cilantro
when I need it, not have to search my whole… And I have a lot of spices. I love spices. That’s how I cook. So they’re in alphabetical order. There are also lots of great ways to organize
spices. Tons of great racks-
Angela: You got to share us. What’s the secret? Because I’m using lazy Susan’s just as a
survival tool. Liz: Yeah. And lazy Susan’s are okay, but they’re lower
down on the list. Right? Okay. My favorite… Oh, I have two favorites. My son in law, my daughter and son in law,
but my son in law’s thing, because he’s the organizer, straightener in that family. He has a rack that hangs in his pantry. It’s a skinny little rack. It’s only this wide and maybe this deep and
it’s full length from top to bottom. And so it holds a lot of spices and he just
has that on the wall in his pantry. Super convenient. He basically has a system as well. Not alphabetized, but all of his hot spices
are here. He likes hot stuff. All of his garlic, all of his salts. So, that I think is awesome. I love that. And if I had a larger pantry, I’d have that. The second thing is, my brother has this one,
which I really, really love and he has these racks that you buy. They store horizontally, but they slide out
on the little rack and they tip down. So all of your racks, all of your spices are
right there. So he has hundreds, literally hundreds of
spices in an area that’s about this big, right. As deep as his cabinet. And that’s it. They just pull out, slide down and there’s
four rows of spices on here and they are, because they’re deep, all the way to the back
of his cabinet. Those things are amazing. You can find them on Amazon. Angela: I love stuff like that. Liz: Oh my gosh, it’s so awesome. Angela: Every time I see something new like
that, I’m like, “I’ve got to have that.” That makes so much sense. Liz: Yeah, and it really is as amazing as
it looks. It feels rickety when you first get it, but
oh, it works really, really well. Angela: So I got a question for you, because
when I got married, I had a set of dishes and my husband had a set of dishes, and then
I had a set of dishes I inherited from my grandmother. I had all these different sets of dishes. And what do you do for dishes that you sometimes
use, like Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever. You got lots of sets of dishes. Do you just give yourself permission to get
rid of them or do you just try to make room for them or how does that work? Liz: So my basic rule around my whole house
is, if I’m not going to use it in a year, they get donated to somebody who will appreciate
them more than I do. If I am going to use them every year, but
maybe once or twice around the holidays, something like that, then I hide them in some place
that doesn’t get used very often. A very high shelf on top of cabinets, in that
cabinet I told you about that’s all the way around my island, behind that chair, underneath
that edge. Right? So someplace like that. That’s my rule of thumb. If I’m going to use them every day, then I
got them right there where I’m going to use them every single day. Angela: Oh, those are such helpful tips. Thank you so much for joining us today and
for giving us an insight into how we can organize and clean up our cabinets. Liz: My pleasure. Angela: Alrighty. That was the amazing Liz Trotter from Castle
Keepers, and I’m going to leave links in the show notes to everything that she talked about,
so that you guys can learn a little bit more about her simple solutions and also find out
more about the Castle Keepers Institute. Angela: All right. If you found this helpful, please pass it
on to a friend. If we’ve earned your subscription, please
subscribe. And until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.


  1. I have a "rule" of ONLY one item per counter surface, the reason for this is its still very easy to clean the whole surface with just the one item on each surface and just move that one item with one hand and wipe and clean that surface with the other. I have 3 surfaces and I chose 1 My Kettle 2 My weighing scales 3 My Knife block rack, all of which can be moved easily with one hand, also I feel that these three items nicely "dress" each of the surface areas in a really neat and organised looking way. Everything else has a "home " away in a cupboard or a draw exactly as you and your guest were saying, this I feel is the No1 tip for declutter and organizing a kitchen……one item per surface and everything else has a home.

  2. I've been on a mission to minimize and simplify. I found the kitchen the easiest and the hardest. It's still a work in progress. The only things on my counters are a soap station with scrubbers and the OXO Brushes (Thanks, Angela!) and my dishwasher powder arranged in three matching white ceramic cylinders which I keep on a rectangular silver tray. A carved glass plate on a doily where I put fruit, or onions, that kind of thing. And a Ball Jar decorative very large container for my coffee. I have no upper cabinets. I have a few open shelves where I keep a few items. When I designed the kitchen I placed things for easy use and cleanup. The dish drawer is right where the dishwasher is. The dishwasher and the drawer can be open at the same time, so unloading the dishwasher is a snap. The dish drawer is right beside the counter extension we built at table height, where we eat most of the time. Do you want to know how I clean the counters and table and how fast I can do them and how shiny they get? I'm talking three big expanses in a couple of minutes? Plus backsplash and ledge. You would laugh if I told you. A lot. Then I bet you'd do it yourself in your house. Love your videos, Angela. Thank you, and thank Liz.

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