Clutter in the kitchen wastes time and energy. Kitchen cabinets can become black holes that make it impossible to find what you need quickly and easily. Trying to prepare a meal in a messy space can lead to accidents and added stress. Kitchen organization is an important part of kitchen design because good design helps your kitchen function at its best and is easier to maintain.
Here are 10 tips to help you keep your kitchen organized so it is always a pleasure to use:
Resist the temptation to keep anything in your kitchen purely for sentimental reasons or because you think you might need it some day. Take a hard look at each item and make an objective assessment as to whether you use it regularly.
- Toss or recycle any worn-out, broken, rusty or permanently dirty items
- Identify the tools and appliances you use most often and eliminate any unnecessary duplicates.
- Determine if you can get rid of any single function items.
2. Empty Cabinets
Go through the contents of each cabinet one at a time. Remove everything, and put back only things you love and use. If you haven’t used it (or seen it) in over a year, it is a good candidate for the donation pile. If it is broken or damaged beyond repair, toss it.
3. Group Like Items
To make items easier to find and keep track of going forward, group them together by how they are most often used. For example, sort items into categories such as cooking utensils, baking items, holiday or seasonal items, entertaining pieces, and everyday dishes, silverware and serving pieces.
4. Organize the Cabinets
Store the most used items where they are easiest to get to. Cooking and baking pieces, as well as utensils, should be kept close to your food preparation area. Glassware should be near the sink or dishwasher, or alternatively by the refrigerator. Set up a hot beverage station near a water source, if possible, with coffee, tea, cocoa, sweeteners, mugs and filters near the coffee maker or teapot.
5. Use Clear Containers to Store Items
Small items in clear containers are easier to organize and keep track of because they don’t spread throughout the cabinet or draw. Group similar items together so they are easy to find. Store items that come in small boxes, like pudding, in clear shoeboxes. Square and rectangular containers stack well.
6. Make Use of Vertical Space
Making smart use of vertical space can greatly improve the organization of small kitchens, but even in kitchens that have abundant counter space, well-placed hooks or ceiling racks can eliminate a cluttered feel. Hooks that hold mugs under cabinets, adhesive hooks inside cabinet or pantry doors for oven mitts, dish towels or kitchen gadgets, or ceiling racks for pots and pans can free up a considerable amount of space.
7. Use Lazy Susans
Lazy Susans are rotating trays that can go on kitchen tables or islands, inside cabinets and pantries, and even in refrigerators. They are especially handy in corner cabinets where much of the space is hard to reach. Perfect for accessing condiments, spices, beverages, snacks and a variety of pantry items, Lazy Susans prevent items from being hidden or lost in the back of the fridge or cabinet where they are more likely to spoil or expire.
8. Use Drawer Dividers
How often do you waste time fishing around in a drawer for the item you need? Dividers keep utensils and other small items organized in a designated space, rather than jumbled together.
9. Sort Papers
Even in our ever more digital world, paper accumulates. Organize coupons and takeout menus in a magnetic sorter box on the side of the refrigerator to prevent papers from accumulating on the counters. Give each type of paper a section, so finding what you need when you need it is easy.
10. Clean Out the Refrigerator
The night before your trash goes out is the perfect time to do a quick clean out of the refrigerator each week, to prevent old food and containers from cluttering up the space.