After I finished organizing my closet, I decided to tackle the kitchen. It was something I had wanted to work on for a while now. In the midst of making hearty soups and baking awesome brownies on a pretty regular basis, the kitchen just never felt very efficient. We had to crouch down beside the island and fish for pots and pans and oh my word so many lost lids. We had to go to the pantry to get the small grill every time we wanted to make a bit of chicken. The mixing bowls were on different shelves in different cabinets and it drove me nuts until I couldn’t take it any more.
One day, I started pulling everything out of the cabinets.
Every single item.
I categorized and piled like items with like (dishes with dishes, knives with knives…you get me). It got worse before it got better but it made me realize one important thing
I had too much stuff. I kept the things I loved and I let go of the things I hadn’t used in years. It resulted in a big trip to the donation center, which felt so good.
I’m a big believer that every item needs a home and it’s own space. I’m also a big believer that visual clutter hampers creativity and I don’t want any part of that either.
It took all day to get the kitchen back in order but it felt amazing to have it all done. Here are 9 tips for a more organized kitchen I discovered in the process…
Arrange the Kitchen According to Zones – Make the kitchen more efficient by moving everyday items closer to the space in which they’re actually used. For example, move the pots, pans, lids, plates, cooking utensils and spices closer to the stove. Move the glasses next to the refrigerator; the coffee mugs and travel/to go mugs closer to the coffee pot. Have the items you use on a daily basis at hand to help save time during busy mornings.
Create Workstations Based on Your Daily Needs – We pack lunches almost every day and I know you probably do too. The morning and nightly routine went something like this: pull out lunch bag from pantry. Pull yogurt from the refrigerator. Back to the pantry for a container. Back to the refrigerator for berries. Back to the pantry for another container. Exasperated why can’t I find a container with a lid? Cue tons of shuffling around. Go to the drawer for a spoon…you get the idea. We created a lunch making workstation close to the refrigerator using cabinet and drawer space we were able to carve out after we let the things that were no longer working for us go.
Rethink Cabinet Storage – I have a lot of baking items including pans, cake molds, rolling pins and different mixing bowls. They were literally in 3 different places in the kitchen. Since my stand mixer always stays out on the kitchen island, I created a baking station in the cabinets under the island. The island provides plenty of work surface area and it’s also close to the oven making it a win win. Even if you don’t have a kitchen island, find a little nook in your kitchen that will fit the needs of the tasks you do most.
Make Things Easy to Find – We’re blessed the kitchen island has 2 big drawers that house cooking utensils and eating utensils too. But it wasn’t always that way. When I lived in an apartment counter space was limited. Keep only the kitchen utensils you actually use on a regular basis to help keep kitchen clutter at a minimum.
Corral Lids – As much as I adore baskets, I have no idea why I didn’t do this sooner. All of the lids we use on a nightly basis for cooking are now corralled in this basket that can be easily filled or emptied. No more searching for the pot lid that fits, yeah!
Make Recycling Efficient – For years, we would walk the recycling items out to the big trash bins every night. I finally put another small trashcan under our sink and now we have an indoor place for our recycling needs. This has already been a big time saver because now we can take the trash and recycling out at the same time.
Organize the Pantry and Refrigerator – We’ve been using baskets in both the pantry and the refrigerator for a while now. The baskets in the pantry work pretty flawlessly. The baskets in the refrigerator have taken a bit of getting used to only because someone likes to keep a lot of leftovers. I still feel the system is an effective one because we never have to hunt for what we need.
Use Glass Storage Jars – I like using glass storage jars to keep spices and dry goods in the pantry organized. It’s a visual reminder of what we have and what need. If we’re low on sugar I can immediately tell just by opening up the pantry door.
Create a Menu Board and Running Grocery List – It takes about an hour or two to plan out a weekly menu and grocery list. But spending one hour on a weekend afternoon planning meals and a grocery list is so much better than having to decide every day what to eat or being in the middle of cooking and realizing you don’t have enough black beans to make burritos. I’ll share more on easy meal planning ideas Thursday.
Making the kitchen efficient and clutter free doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You just have to find out what works best for you and your family. I’d love to hear your kitchen organization tips so leave them in the comment section below if you have any.
See you guys back here tomorrow. I’ll share how we gave the pantry a little makeover!