Organizing the Kitchen

Filed Under: Kitchens/Pantries

Overstuffed Cabinets & Drawers? Here’s the Solution.

Why does everything end up on our kitchen counter tops? I’ve seen the strangest things land on people counter tops- toothbrushes, toys, underwear, and even tools. And not so strange things: food, fresh produce, paper, mail, keys, coupons, purses, sun block, sunglasses, CDs, money, checkbooks, etc. There’s something about the kitchen – everyone congregates there. Many people hang out and talk in the kitchen. It must be the food that attracts people. I have friends who keep a couch in their kitchen. That makes sense. Why not have comfortable pieces of furniture where people spend the most amount of time?

There’s only one downside to having the kitchen being the center of action for the family. It’s the landing spot for everything. It brings the family’s stuff into the picture-your preschoolers artwork and crayons, your middle school child’s homework or science project, your teenager’s dirty dishes and makeup, your husband’s unopened mail and keys, and your wife’s returns which she has to take back to the store.

Now that’s just the counter tops. What about your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator? Most women that organize their kitchens with me want to organize for two reasons. The first is to maximize and utilize their space most efficiently and the second is to make room inside to clear off the countertops and surfaces outside the cabinets.

Here are key concepts and tips to keep in mind while organizing the kitchen.

  • Once a day, clear off the countertops. Take a small laundry basket and fill it up with everything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen. Then walk through the rest of the house, dumping things off where they really belong. Or better yet, stash different items in designated baskets for family members some near or in the kitchen. Ask family members to go through their baskets once a week to clean them out and put stuff away.
  • At different stages of life you might need to reserve one drawer or shelf for that specific time period- for example- a baby shelf for your newborn, a craft shelf for your preschoolers. It won’t always stay that way but might just for that time in your life.
  • Create zones or stations in the kitchen, for example- the mugs, glasses, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and coffee maker should all be in the same proximity of each other. Another example is all bake ware and baking ingredients should be in the same zone.
  • Get rid of your junk drawers. Every drawer should have a purpose and have a drawer organizer to organize the contents whether it is utensils or batteries, etc. It makes finding small items on a moments notice a lot easier.
  • Shop first in your cabinets before going to the store. I look for ingredients I need to use up and try to figure out what I can make with them.
  • Start using recipes apps and websites to free up space that is used up by bulky cookbooks. So many homeowners are getting rid of cookbooks because the internet makes cooking and recipes a cinch.
  • Take time to read expiration dates for food not only in your refrigerator but cabinets. And throw expired food out.
  • Have a designated shelf in your refrigerator for leftovers and clear it out every week if you haven’t eaten them up. A good night to do this each week would be the night before the garbage pickup.
  • Try to use clear, square Tupperware or glass containers. It’s easiest to see what you have and they save space by stacking easily. Labeling the leftovers with a date is always great if you can get in to the habit of it. Masking tape and a black marker will do, unless you’d like to buy label maker.
  • If you’re going to keep extra ketchup or soy sauce packets put them in a small container in the refrigerator so they don’t fly all over the refrigerator or break open.
  • Rotate food in the freezer, putting the new stuff in the back and bringing the old stuff forward to eat it first.
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