The kitchen: it is the room considered to be the heart and soul of every home. It’s where families gather to prepare and share a meal together. It’s where kids do their homework while mom or dad stirs something on the stove. And it’s where plans are made and dreams are hatched.
With all of this activity, it’s no wonder most kitchens across America are cluttered, if not downright unorganized! How much easier would your life be if the room you use most often were organized?
We’ve got you covered. Here are some easy ways you can easily organize your kitchen.Attack Those Cabinets
Your cabinets are like black holes – things go in but they often don’t come out. Unless cabinets are tidy and organized, you’re apt to forget half of the contents in them. And then you have food items expire and end up spending more money to replace those saltine crackers that were hiding behind the 10-pound bag of Barley flour you haven’t used in five years.
Your first mission – whether you choose to accept it or not – is to clean out those cabinets. You’ll want to attack them in three steps:
STEP 1 – Empty
Pull everything out of each cabinet and go through the items. Toss items that have expired and donate any canned items you simply don’t use. Don’t go easy on your cabinet items, be ruthless. The goal here is to only keep the items you absolutely use on a daily basis.
STEP 2 – Group Like Items
After you’ve emptied your cabinets and sorted through items, keeping only those you absolutely must, you’ll want to place them in groups that make sense (you can lay everything out on the floor). For instance, if you’re a big baker (although we wouldn’t know it based on that unopened flour bag), it would make sense to group these items (flour, cornstarch, baking soda, etc.) together.
Same thing for canned items – group soups, canned fruits and vegetables – boxed items like crackers and cereal. You’ll want to also sort your cooking items, dishes, and glassware into groups as well.
Be sure to separate your dishes and glassware into those you use every day and those you only use for holidays and special occasions.
STEP 3 – Organize
Now that all of your items are neatly grouped on the floor, decide where each group should be stored. You’ll want to store your pots and pans near the stove. Dishes and glasses might make sense near the sink or refrigerator. Food should be kept together, so place either in one big cabinet or two cabinets next to one another. It also makes sense to create one coffee and tea station that includes coffee, tea bags, filters, sugar, and mugs. This way you don’t have to go back and forth to make your morning brew.
[ By the way – you should go through these 3 steps with each of your drawers as well.]Use Clear Containers to Store Food Items
There are those food items that tend to be kept in smaller, loose items like gravy mixes, hot cocoa packets and snack items. A great idea is to organize specific items into clear storage containers so you can easily spot what you need when you need it.Keep Containers and Lids Together
If you’re like most people, you have that one cabinet that houses all of your Tupperware along with other plastic containers you’ve washed out and reuse for storage (like old cottage cheese containers and take out plastic pieces). And, if you’re like most people, you often find yourself in a deep squat hunting for the lid that goes with the container you want to use.
First, discard any containers whose lids are long gone. With your remaining containers, keep the lids with each container, or store all of the lids in another large container so they can easily stay together.Utilize All Cabinet Space
Think of your cabinets as a city like New York. You only have so much vertical real estate, so at some point you’re going to have to start building UP. By making use of vertical space you’ll be able to have a place for everything.
For instance, you can place hooks underneath your cabinets to hang coffee mugs. Think about hanging a stemware rack underneath a cabinet for wine glasses. Use little sticky hooks on the inside of your cabinet doors to hang things like oven mitts and measuring cups. The more items you can hang up, the more flat space you free up for other items.Organize Papers
At one time or another, we’ve all had that one drawer we can barely open or get shut again because it’s overflowing with coupons and takeout menus. A better way to organize these paper items is to get a magnetic sorter box for the side of your refrigerator for coupons, menus, and a notepad and pen for grocery lists and notes to family members.Clean Out the Fridge
Last but certainly not least, you’re going to have to tackle that fridge once and for all. Though this chore can be a beast, you’ll feel so much better when you open your fridge door and see nothing unsightly or smell anything funky.
Take everything out and discard food that is obviously spoiled. Those 9 soy sauce packets that have lived in your deli drawer for over a year, you can probably pitch those. Once you’ve tossed what you need to toss, get a bucket with some nice sudsy, warm water and wipe down all of the shelves and inside of drawers and other little storage areas.
Be sure to dry the inside space with paper towels and then return items you are keeping back to their rightful place. Do your best to clean out the refrigerator once a month and keep it nice and tidy and smelling fresh. You’ll feel so much better if you do.
Obviously, how you organize kitchen items will be determined by your own personal work style. The goal is to create a space that is as clean and efficient as possible.
Now get to it!