It’s no secret that my favorite room in my house is the kitchen, but I’ll be honest-organizing the kitchen is something I have to really work at. With such busy lives, we don’t have time to be rummaging through the kitchen to find things; we want them right at our fingertips, ready to use when we need it.
The kitchen really is a workspace, and cooking so much easier and more enjoyable when you know where everything is. I admit that I’m not the most organized person, and keeping my kitchen streamlined takes a lot of effort, especially when I have a teenager who often puts things away in the wrong spot. Over the years, however, I have found that these tips really help me organize the kitchen.
|HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR KITCHEN
LOCATION AND GROUPINGS
Pots and pans by the stove, glasses by the sink; it seems so logical You want to reduce the amount of walking around that you have to do while you’re cooking. Some things may be obvious, some may take a little adjusting to in order to figure out just the right spot, but for an organized kitchen it’s worth taking the time to figure it out. I like to keep all my baking equipment together, all my plastic containers together in one large drawer, casserole dishes in one cupboard, etc. That way I always know where everything is. One thing we discovered that I find helps is to store all the plastic container bottoms in one drawer and the tops in another. Not only does it help keep the plastics under control but it cuts down on madly searching for the matching lid to a container. I also like to keep a jar of wooden spoons and basting brushes close to the stove so they are always close at hand. We also keep one drawer dedicated to storing aluminum foil, parchment paper, wax paper, cling film, etc. It really comes in handy when I’m packing lunches!
MAKE A COFFEE STATION
A friend of mind keeps a section of counter completely dedicated to her espresso machine, with all the accessories and coffee close by. In my house, we have a section of counter that houses the kettle and drip coffee maker, with the cupboard above stocked with filters, coffee, tea, and everything one would ever need to make a hot drink. It’s one of the most used spots in the kitchen! Also, it’s handy when someone wants a coffee and I’m doing the dishes because we aren’t running into each other.
BE CONTAINER SMART
Over the years I’ve tried various ways to store spices and I’m finding that 125 ml sized mason jars are is the most efficient. The jars stack, wash well, are the perfect size to easily fit measuring spoons in them, are clear so I can easily see what they contain, and when labeled with Mabel’s Labels, they are organizing nirvana. Use larger mason jars for things like lentils, beans, dried fruit, chocolate chips, or rice. For my baking cupboard, I recently discovered Rubbermaid modular containers and I absolutely love them! They are the perfect size for all my baking supplies, and since they stack, they free up a lot of space in my cupboards. Also it’s really easy to find what I need instead of digging through all kinds of clutter in the pantry.
Do you really use that toaster oven or has it sat in the cupboard for the past three years? About once a year, go through all the cupboards and get rid of gadgets that you never use or that are broken or damaged. Decide how often you use your appliances and store them accordingly: on the counter or within reach if you can’t live without it, in a cupboard if you use it occasionally, in the garage if it’s something you only pull out once or twice a year. Also, ask yourself if you really, really need it. If not, maybe it’s time to give it someone else.
ODDS & ENDS TOGETHER
There are lots of little gadgets in a kitchen: cookie cutters, cake decorating supplies, blades for food processors, Popsicle maker sticks, bits and pieces of things that belong with various appliances, lids and other odds and ends. To organize the kitchen, gather them together, label, and store in stackable plastic containers. This will save you the trouble of rooting around through the cupboards when you need them, or better yet, keep them from getting damaged by being banged around in the drawers.
BE RECIPE SMART
If there’s anything I hate, it is when I plan a menu for the week and at crunch time I can’t remember where I put the recipe. While most of my cookbooks and magazines are stored in a large bookshelf in the kitchen, the most recent often get lost in the sea of culinary reading. I recently created a spot on my counter, next to the microwave, for the books I am cooking from the most, so they are close at hand. Want to be an organizing maven? Bookmark the recipe when you find it, and there’s no guess work whatsoever. Even better? Write the menu on a calendar and post it on the fridge.
PURGE THE PANTRY
The pantry should get a good purge about once a year. Throw away expired food, donate food that you will likely never eat, and take stock of what you have so that you can use it up. Things such as flours, nuts, seeds, and grains (flax and wheat germ) should be stored in the freezer. Group items together in your pantry, like dedicating a shelf to baking products if you bake a lot, another to canned goods, and so on. (Editor’s note: checkout EverythingMom’s guide: Healthy Up Your Pantry.)
MAKE USE OF ALL SPACE
The most unused space in a kitchen is that section between the top of your cupboards and the ceiling. Organize the kitchen and get the most out of this space by storing small items in baskets or containers, or even larger, rarely used items up there.
The idea of organizing your kitchen may seem overwhelming at first, but if you just start with one drawer at a time, it’s far less daunting. What I love about it is I never know what I’m going to find! Suddenly that long lost digital meat thermometer shows up, or I discover my Popsicle molds hidden way in the back of a cupboard. The best thing about organizing the kitchen is that in the end, I know exactly where everything is when I need it.
Well,that is until my teenager rearranges it all over again on me.