8 Clever Steps to Organize Your Kitchen
A clean and tidy kitchen can inspire even the most novice chef. Organize your space with these eight steps.
1. Take Stock
You can’t organize if you don’t know what you have. Pull everything out of your cabinets, empty your pantry, your drawers, and your oven (c’mon we know you are hiding cookie sheets in there). Once you can actually see what you have, donate or trash what you don’t need, use or want. Check expiration dates; this is the time to pitch that jar of capers you used for a recipe two years ago.
2. Clean Before You Organize
Now that the cabinets, refrigerator and pantry are empty, clean the kitchen. Wipe down cabinets inside and out. Scrub long forgotten sludge from refrigerator shelves. Actually press that self-clean button on your oven on purpose. Vacuum crumbs out of the pantry and drawers.
3. Group Like Items Together
Group items together in categories: baking, cooking, chopping, everyday dishes, special occasion, cookbooks, appliances, linens, etc. Once the items are sorted decide where they belong.
4. Most Used…Most Accessible
Organize your kitchen for your use – store coffee mugs by the coffee pot. Consider putting the silverware in a drawer easily accessible and close to the dishwasher for easy unloading. Store appliances according to use too. If you have a smoothie every morning, your blender belongs on your counter or at the front of an easy-to-reach cabinet. Haven’t used that crock pot since last year’s Super Bowl chili cook-off? Store it and other little used appliances in hard to reach places. You won’t mind pulling out a step stool once or twice a year.
5. Storage Wars
This is a good time to review proper food storage guidelines. Knowing what goes in the fridge, freezer and pantry is essential to organization and good cooking. No one wants sour grapes so print and hang this handy chart on your fridge for food storage success. Refer to it often and waste less food.
6. Contain The Crazy
Drawer dividers, baskets, bins and clear containers are your friends. Use them to organize utensils, troublesome Tupperware and party goods. Bins can be particularly helpful in a larger pantry. Use one for snacks, one for pasta, one for baking ingredients…you’ll know right where to go next time you reach for the brown sugar and you won’t feel overwhelmed by clutter every time you open the pantry door.
7. Lazy Cook Meet Lazy Susan
Long thought of as a convenient way to “pass the salt,” the Lazy Susan can be a handy tool for organization too. Use it in that awkward corner pantry for oils, vinegar and spices and in the fridge for smaller jars of condiments and sauces. It’s all about knowing what you have. If you can’t see it, it could get lost. Not enough room for the swivel, consider tiered cabinet organizers.
8. Give Yourself Permission To Have A Junk Drawer
You may have just Martha Stewart-ed your way to kitchen bliss, but you are still you. Give yourself one drawer to stow the weird, benign and not quite useful items that quite frankly don’t have a home anywhere else. Without this designated junk drawer, all other drawers will fail. You don’t want hair ties and dead batteries floating around in a drawer with your spoons. Give yourself a break and give them a home too.