In honor of GO Month, we’re wrapping up our room-by-room organizational spree in the kitchen. For many of us, the kitchen is the heart of our home, so it is important to keep it uncluttered and functional. This post will give you some inspiration to make the most of the space you have… which is probably more space than you think!
The kitchen tends to be the busiest room in the house, so it’s also the easiest place to amass a mess. When getting organized here, don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s a big job, so it’s okay to tackle the cabinets and drawers on one day, and save the pantry and the fridge for another. As always, the best way to get started is by removing everything from where it’s hiding, so you can see it all and truly take stock of what you have.
Start by creating a staging area. Use your dining room table, use a folding table, or spread a sheet out on the floor, if necessary, and begin to group everything by category: cookware, cleaning supplies, storage items, etc. Confine everything you remove from the cabinets and drawers to this area to prevent the kitchen clutter from exploding all over another part of your house.
Deal with your duplicates. When everything is out on your staging area, you’ll realize that the overcrowding in your kitchen isn’t always due to lack of space, but rather an overabundance of stuff! Multiples gather because when you need something and you can’t find it, you buy another one. But no one needs three pressure cookers… do they? Pare down your gadgets, pots and pans, and even your dishes to what you will realistically use. Unburden yourself by letting go of bulky items like that ice cream maker you used once five years ago, or the popcorn popper collecting dust on top of your fridge. Then box up the rest for your local charity organization or, if you’re brave, your next garage sale.
Make sense of what’s left. If you have an unruly collection of plastic storage containers, sort them by size and locate the coordinating lids. Designate a drawer or shelf for these, and use one of the larger containers to keep the lids from getting lost in the shuffle. If your drawer space is limited, try moving your knives to a magnetic strip for safe-keeping and easy access. If you have extra glassware, serving pieces or other necessary but rarely used items, move them to your dining room buffet or store them in your basement until they’re needed.
Wipe down every shelf before you refill your cabinets. Install sturdy shelf liners to keep things slip-free and to make your upcoming spring cleaning a cinch. Use modular drawer dividers and shelf-expanding inserts to maximize your storage space and make things easier to see, so they won’t get forgotten in the back of your cabinets. There are also countless organizers available for under the sink (to wrangle cleaning supplies and plastic bags) and inside the fridge (like soda can stackers) that can maximize your space and keep things organized week after week.
When you’re ready to start putting things back, get real about how you use your kitchen. Do you cook every day or just once in a while? Do the kids spread out here to do homework? Make sure you designate a space for each activity and that will serve as the roadmap to getting organized. Return items to their logical “home” by placing items near where they’ll be used. Dishes should be close to the dishwasher so it’s easy to empty. Coffee and tea should be in the cabinet near your kettle or coffee maker. If your kitchen island serves double duty as a homework station, make sure there’s a basket or drawer nearby for school supplies.
Now that you’ve got everything in order behind closed drawers, make sure that your surfaces are equally clutter-free. One of the easiest ways to declutter your kitchen is to remove everything that’s collected on the refrigerator door. Your kids’ art is precious but plentiful, so rather than jamming everything on there at once, try rotating items every week. You’ll make each piece seem even more special, while also creating a more visually serene environment.
These ideas will help you reclaim your storage and increase efficiency in everything you do in your kitchen. Please share your biggest kitchen challenges and how these (or other) tips have motivated you to tackle them.