Column: ESCAPE from cluttered cabinets

A home’s “drop spot” can be organized with a little work. (Submitted photo)

A home’s “drop spot” can be organized with a little work. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Sarah Nurmi

“There is a set of cabinets in my kitchen that becomes a catch-all.  I don’t even know what’s in there half the time! Any ideas on how to keep this from happening?”

Ah, the quintessential “drop spot.” It’s the area in your home where things get placed — and sometimes shoved — with the intention of getting to it later.

As many of us can relate, intentions only get us so far. I’ll walk you through a system that can be used to organize any space in your home.

ESCAPE is an acronym I came up with because that’s exactly what I want to do when my house is disorganized!

E is for Empty. Take everything (yes, everything!) out of your cabinets.

S is for Sort. Sort the items by creating a “keep,” “toss,” and “donate” pile or box.

C is for categorize. Take what’s in your “keep” pile and group like items together.

A is for Assess. Assess how you will use the space. Only store things that will be used within close proximity to the space. This might involve creating new homes for some items.

P is for Purchase and Put Back. Now that you know how the space will be used, determine if containers would be helpful in maintaining order. Be sure to take measurements before you go shopping! Also, creating labels for containers identifies its contents, and it also deters you from dumping anything that doesn’t belong into said container. Next, give the shelves a quick wipe down and begin putting items away. Store less frequently used items up high, and those used most often within arms reach.

Finally, E is for Enjoy! Step back and admire your hard work. Moving forward, opening up those cabinets will be like a breath of fresh air.

Happy organizing, friends!

Sarah Nurmi is a professional organizer living in Fishers with her family of five. Submit your organizing questions to For more tips and to learn more, visit