For Day 4 of this free series, we are organizing kitchen cupboards. If you’re just joining us, here’s the series overview. It contains links to previous days, so you can find them all in one convenient spot.
Every day’s mission has four parts to it:
Keep It Clean
We started with the entryway and coat closet, two areas that others see first when they visit our homes. We also cleared off the dining/kitchen table, which can instantly make a room look tidier. Now we’re moving on to spots that affect what you see, and how usable your home is for you.
Organizing Kitchen Cupboards – Day 4
Disorganized and cluttered kitchen cupboards are a problem even if you don’t cook often. Opened food packages attract pests. Expired foods pose safety risks.
On top of those issues, crowded kitchen cupboards lead to cluttered kitchen countertops and piles of stuff on the kitchen or dining table — an area we just tackled and want to keep clean.
Ready to start organizing kitchen cupboards? Let’s ROCK!
Gather Your Supplies
Removing everything from your cupboards and cabinets at once might not be practical, especially if you have a small kitchen. So, the first step in organizing kitchen cupboards is to go through your cupboards one at a time and be ruthless as you purge clutter.
Some things to get rid of:
• Obvious trash
• Anything that’s broken
• Expired canned goods
• Stale spices
• Containers without lids
• Chipped drinkware
• Unused gadgets or utensils
• Permanently stained towels or potholders
• Canned or boxed foods your family will not eat*
*Please don’t throw good food away. Take it to a local food bank or share with a neighbor!
Get Rid of the “Someday Stuff”
Yesterday, I wrote about how we talk ourselves into keeping things we don’t really need. This includes pricey things we bought or were given as a gift, so we’d feel wasteful getting rid of it.
It also includes things we tell ourselves we’ll use someday, even if we’ve never found a use for it in all the time we’ve had it. A banana slicer for instance — who uses one when it’s so much easier to grab a knife?
Here are some more examples:
• Big Dutch ovens or casserole dishes when you have a small family.
• Flour sifters, pie weights, frosting bags, and piping tips if you don’t bake.
• That air-fryer which didn’t live up to the hype.
• Your Instant Pot if you’re too afraid to use it,
• The smoothie maker that wakes up everyone in your home,
• The indoor grill that leaves your kitchen splattered in smoky grease.
• The “good china” you inherited but think is tacky.
• Extra coffee or tea mugs that seem to multiply whenever you closet the cupboard door.
While you’re at it, get rid of anything you simply don’t enjoy using. It is YOUR kitchen and YOUR home. Why fill it with stuff you’ve got to maintain, clean, and move around but get no enjoyment from?
Now, I am not encouraging you to put everything in the trash. If something is in good, working condition, box it up and move it to the trunk of your car. Next time you’re out, take the box to your local charity.
Or list it on eBay or Craigslist if you want to make some money. But do it today so the stuff sitting around continuing to clutter your home.
Organizing kitchen cupboards and cabinets depends largely on how you use your kitchen. Someone who cooks often will want their favorite pots, pans, and utensils within easy reach. Someone who mostly uses their kitchen to make coffee and occasionally reheat a frozen meal will have a different priority.
That said, here are some principles to keep in mind when organizing kitchen cupboards.
Dry goods (e.g., cereals, flours, etc.) belong in storage containers. Paper packaging and open containers lead to pantry moths and other pests. An affordable set of stacking, clear food-storage containers will keep your food fresh and bug-free.
Group similar items together. Organizing kitchen cupboards makes them more efficient to use. Keep baking sheets, muffin tins and other baking-related items in the same cupboard. Put packets of dressing mixes, gravies, and seasonings in the same place. Grouping similar things together
Store things near to where you need them. The drawer next to your stove isn’t the place for take-out menus or silverware — you don’t need either while cooking. It’s great for wooden spoons, spatulas, and whisks, though. The cupboard above the dishwasher is best used for dishes, not snacks. Moving things close to where you use them makes your kitchen more functional!
Use vertical space. If you’ve got a gap between cupboards above your kitchen sink, why not install a pot rack there? You’ll free up an entire cupboard. Find more vertical storage by using a tiered hanging basket to hold fruit and vegetables. Ditch the clunky knife block on your counter in favor of a magnetic knife-holding strip on your backsplash.
Want more ideas? Check out my 10 Genius Kitchen Organizing Tricks.
Cleaning the inside of each cupboard one at a time gives you another chance to reconsider whether you’ve been ruthless about removing clutter while organizing kitchen cupboards.
Once you’ve emptied a cupboard, use the all-purpose cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth to wipe it inside and out. Pay attention to the handles and hinges, too — they tend to collect a lot of greasy dust.
Don’t forget to clean the top of the cupboards, too!
Keep it Clean
Keeping up the areas we’ve already rocked will help you break the clean/cluttered cycle. For now, it’s just a matter of buzzing through the areas we’ve already rocked to make sure they’re still in good shape.
Entryway: Throw away trash. Return items to where they belong. Shake dirt off the mats and sweep or vacuum debris.
Coat closet: Is everything hung up properly? Are shoes and backpacks put away? Throw away trash. Return items to where they belong.
Dining/kitchen table: Throw away trash. Sort and shred mail or other paperwork that’s accumulated. If your kids are still using the table as a dumping ground, have them do chores that kids can do to earn their stuff back. Wipe the tabletop.
See You Tomorrow!
Check back tomorrow for Day 5’s mission. (Hint: we’ll be continuing in the kitchen.) Want to hang out online with others working their way through this series? Join our Do Home Better group on Facebook!