Whether you enjoy cooking or not, getting anything done in the kitchen is easier with these quick tips on kitchen organization.
For those who do enjoy cooking, a well-organized kitchen makes cooking faster and easier. Not into cooking? Grabbing a snack or preparing a cup of coffee is easier when your kitchen in an orderly kitchen.
Bad kitchen organization makes everything harder
Ever found yourself trying to get dinner on the table in a hurry but it feels like your kitchen is working against you? You rummage through your cupboard cookware in search of the baking dish you need, start making dinner, then have to search high and low for some ingredient you forgot. While you’re searching for it, the vegetables you’re sauteeing start to burn and, darn it, there goes the smoke alarm. Again!
Good kitchen organization makes cooking and cleaning easier
Good organization isn’t about cute labels or matching containers, though those things are nice extra touches. Organization is about accessibility and making it easy to find and use the things you need when you need them. The added benefit is that it’s also easier to clean because you won’t have to deal with clutter or move things around first.
9 Quick Tips On Kitchen Organization
1. Put things near where you need them.
It makes no sense to have cooking utensils in a cupboard on the other side of the kitchen when you actually need access to them while standing at the stove. Likewise, drinking glasses stored near the sink are easier to use and put away after washing.
Try this: Look where you’ve stored things in your kitchen and ask yourself where am I standing when I find myself needing these things? then move things around.
2. Group things by function
Why search in one cupboard for flour, another for baking soda, and a third for sugar just to make a quick batch of cookies? If you bake often, you know these ingredients are typically used together so store them together. You can do the same thing with coffee- or tea-making supplies by stashing mugs, spoons, and your creamer set near the coffee pot or kettle.
Try this: List the top 3 meals or snacks you prepare most often in your kitchen. Are there items you can group together so making them is more convenient?
3. Think vertically
Why keep cramming more into cupboards and drawers when there’s plenty of vertical space to be used? Tiered hanging baskets get those bowls of produce off of your counter, or stash rolled kitchen towels and washcloths in them to free up a drawer. A magnetic strip on your backsplash can hold knives and other metal utensils, while a kitchen pegboard wall is a perfect spot for pots and pans.
Try this: Look around your kitchen for ways to use wall space, or to add shelving, to increase your use of vertical storage space.
4. Respect the triangle
The kitchen triangle is an imaginary concept which recognizes that most cooking tasks are done between the refrigerator, sink, and cooktop. Storing things between the proper points on the triangle makes cooking easier.
Try this: Put food storage containers in a cupboard between the cooktop (where you’re making the food) and the refrigerator (where you’ll be storing it). Keep utensils between the cooktop (where you’ll use them) and the sink (where you’ll rinse or wash them).
5. Keep frequently used items between waist and eye level
Even if you’re young and bendy, it’s annoying if you have to squat down to get or put away the baking dish you use for just about every meal. The same goes with ingredients: why store cooking spray or salt and pepper where you have to bend or stretch to get them?
Try this: Go through overhead cupboards and upper drawers to make sure that any items between your waist and eye levels are ones you use often.
6. Bend over for bulky items
While you want frequently-used items within easy reach, those which are heavy or bulky are exceptions. These should be stored in lower cupboards or drawers where they can’t fall and injure someone trying to reach for them.
Try this: If you keep pots and pans in your cupboards, move them to a lower one for safety purposes. Do the same with bulk items and heavier small appliances.
7. Banish unitaskers
Yes, that banana slicer is cute but is it that hard to use a knife? Of course not. What is the point of salad claws? Toss salad with a pair of large spoons and free up space. You do not need special scissors to cut pizza or herbs or lettuce: a regular pair of kitchen shears or knife work fine.
Try this: Look at every kitchen gadget in your cupboards and drawers. Do you own something else that can accomplish the same purpose? Keep the most versatile one and get rid of the other to reduce clutter.
8. For storage, think square and clear
Whether in your cupboards or inside your refrigerator, every inch counts. Round containers aren’t efficient in their use of space. Switching to square, stackable food storage containers or canisters lets you store more in the same amount of space. Using clear containers means you’ll know at a glance what you’ve stored, too.
9. Lose what you don’t use
The kitchen is no place for sentimentality if you’re short on storage space. If you’ve received gadgets or small appliances that you’ve never used, let go of them. The same goes for duplicate items when you only use one, like that pair of large lasagna pans or the stovetop kettle when you’ve got an electric one that works faster.
Try this: Go through every cupboard and drawer removing anything you haven’t used in the past year. Immediately after the holidays is a great time for this since you can be realistic about your need for special occasion dishware. Sell or give away anything you don’t use regularly.
Remember: organization is an ongoing task.
It’s tempting to think we can spend one day, or even an entire weekend, thoroughly organizing our kitchens and then it will stay that way. Unfortunately, that just isn’t true.
Once you’ve organized your kitchen you need to be diligent about putting items away in their new spot. Don’t buy new kitchen items without knowing first how you’ll use them and where you will keep them.
Finally, be sure the items in your kitchen change as your life does: box up or give away baby bottles when your kids move onto sippy cups, give away or donate high-effort gadgets like pasta makers or grain mills if you step into a busy career that leaves no time for home cooking.
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