Getting anything done in the kitchen is easier with these quick tips on kitchen organization.
Kitchen Organizing Secrets
Cooking is Easier in an Organized Kitchen
If you dread cooking at home, the problem may very well be a disorganized kitchen. Every kitchen task is more difficult if you have to shove things around to find what you need.
Knowing where things are, and being able to access them quickly, makes every task from boiling water to roasting a perfect turkey so much easier.
Pretty Labels Are Not Necessary
Good organization isn’t about cute labels or matching containers. Sure, those are nice touches, but too often people put off organizing their kitchens until they can afford such things.
Kitchen organization is about making it easy to find and use the things you need when you need them. The first step to accomplishing this is decluttering things you don’t need. After that, you might not need pretty labels and baskets, anyway.
Proper Organization Makes Cleaning Easier
A disorganized kitchen never looks clean, no matter how much time you spend working on it. If your kitchen cupboards are a jumbled mess, your countertops will likely be, too, because it’s just too much work putting things away.
Organized kitchens are easier to clean because you don’t have to deal with clutter or move things around first. Everything has a place, and everything is returned to its place after use, so cleaning is a breeze.
So, whether you’re following a nightly kitchen cleaning routine to “close the kitchen” before bed, or using a printable kitchen cleaning checklist to give it a deep cleaning, the more organized your kitchen is, the faster it will go.
Kitchen Organization Tips
1. Put Things Where You Use 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? Move things close to where you use them.
2. Group Items 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. Reclaim Vertical Space
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 you can 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, so you don’t need to make space for a utensils crock.
Try this: Look around your kitchen for ways to use wall space or for spots where you can 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 Within Reach
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. Move seldom-used things to upper shelves.
6. Bulky Items Belong Below
While you want frequently-used items within easy reach, items that 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. (Better yet, hang them from a pot rack over the sink and free up a cupboard!) Do the same with heavier small appliances, large bags of pet food, etc.
7. Banish Unitaskers
Yes, that banana slicer is cute but is it that difficult 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 already 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
When it comes to space-efficient storage, every inch counts. Round containers like Mason jars may look Pinterest-ing, but they 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 and get rid of 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.
Kitchen 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.
Here are some strategies that can help you guard against clutter creep in the kitchen:
- 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.
- Be sure the items in your kitchen change as your life does. Having kids, kids getting older, starting a career, getting promoted, being an empty nester — we need and use different kitchen gear throughout our lives. Donate what you’ve outgrown so you aren’t holding onto clutter.
- Do a deep cleaning and organizing twice a year. Going through every cupboard and drawer during the Spring and Fall gives you a chance to reevaluate if your kitchen organization is still working for you.
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