Organizing your kitchen is arguably the most important room in your house. From warm chocolate chip cookies, to gourmet risotto and lamb, to Dino Nuggets, your kitchen is where the magic happens. You can bake, toast, roast, boil, fry, and sizzle. You blend, peel, chop and dice food all the time, and you need a lot of different appliances to do it. This also means you need quite a bit of space. Buckle up because it is time to organize your kitchen!
Prioritizing what you store in your kitchen is a crucial place to start. First and foremost, take an inventory of everything in your kitchen. Sounds like a drag, right? Well, you might be surprised what’s hidden in the back corner of your bottom kitchen drawer. Trust me. For example, I guarantee that AT LEAST a few of the following items are taking up precious space in your never-quite-big-enough, where-did-all-the-counter-space-go kitchen:
- Way too much Tupperware
- How many casserole dishes did you say?!
- Jars of things that expired 5 years ago…yuck
- Be honest, when’s the last time you used your panini maker? KitchenAid? Just checking.
- Remember the juicer you bought for your juice cleanse? Well, it’s getting dusty.
- Don’t even get me started on the stale cereal or frozen brown bananas you swore you’d make into banana bread (…or is that one just me?)
I think you get the point. Fortunately, there are simple ways to create more useful space in your kitchen, which in turn will make your kitchen look cleaner and more organized. Here are 5 steps to organizing your kitchen for optimal space and storage.
Yes, it is time. Take a deep breath and make the plunge. Go through all of your food and drinks and check expiration dates. Be realistic and honest with yourself as you decide whether things will actually get eaten or not. This one is tricky because we don’t want to be wasteful and chuck food like it’s nothing. Access to so many delicious foods is a luxury, and we shouldn’t forget that. However, we do not need to store rotting apples, moldy jam, and freezer-burned Bagel Bites in our refrigerators out of guilt either.
Here is my suggestion to tackle this one: revolutionize your shopping. As you organize your kitchen, take note of what was and wasn’t eaten, and make potential changes to your grocery list. Sometimes we are tempted to buy in unnecessary bulk to save ourselves trips to the store, but in the end we often lose money in the amount of food we waste. Be aware of time-sensitive food, and plan accordingly.
#2 Cupboard by Cupboard, Drawer by Drawer
For some of us, food isn’t as big of a problem as appliances and cooking tools/utensils. It’s all too easy to hang on tightly to appliances that are lucky to be used once or twice a year. This one is also based on personal preference because I, for example, pretty much never use my KitchenAid, but I have friends that use theirs almost every day. If you are using an appliance weekly, by all means give it a front row seat on your countertop. It’s the unopened crepe maker and ice cream maker from your wedding ten years ago that we’re talking about here.
Methodically purge your kitchen. Don’t be alarmed! We’re not talking about throwing these things away (not all of them anyway). Just remove appliances you rarely use, but want to keep for the day you decide homemade ice cream is the only way to go. Once you finish your appliances, move on to your extra dishes, cutlery, etc. Once you’ve successfully made your piles, you are prepared to organize, prioritize, and store everything wisely.
#3 Optimize Your Space
This can be the fun part, especially if you like decorating. If you are a person who loves to keep cute decor on your countertop surfaces, then by all means, go to town! This just requires you to find cupboard or pantry space for your appliances, so it’s helpful to only choose the ones you use regularly to keep in your kitchen. The others should be stored somewhere else in the home, if at all possible.
Potential storage areas for these other items include closets, an extra/miscellaneous bedroom, an attic, under a bed, etc. A place that sees less traffic than the kitchen is the most ideal, because we are trying to make your kitchen more accessible and less cluttered. (For more storage options, stay tuned or skip to the end if you’re bored!)
#4 Organize What You’ve Prioritized
Now that you’ve sorted through everything in your kitchen, it’s time to organize your cabinets and drawers. Go through the piles you’ve made of appliances and food items you want to keep in the kitchen, and put similar items together. Then decide where you’d like each to be, based on your own preference. Some like to have baking supplies closer to the oven, others keep utensils closer to the dishwasher. The sky (and the size of your kitchen) is the limit!
With your pantry and refrigerator cleaned out, you should have plenty of space to get creative with how you group your foods together. Condiments in one section, baking ingredients in another, etc. Make stations with the supplies needed for your daily routines, such as a coffee station, smoothie/shake station, juicing station, and so on. Smartly stack your pots, pans, bowls, and tupperware in ways that take up the least amount of space possible–largest to smallest like a Russian doll.
#5 Dive into the Details
Small changes and tricks can make a huge difference in the kitchen. Here are some orderly kitchen tips from HGTV:
- Drawer dividers
- Lazy Susans
- Clear containers to keep small items together (especially in a junk drawer)
- Hooks to hang coffee mugs, pots, and pans to free up cabinet space
- Extra racks and shelving (especially if you don’t have a pantry)
- Magnets on fridge to put papers, receipts, invitations, etc.
- Extra garbage bags stored at the bottom of the bin (easy replacement)
Your kitchen should be an especially pleasant room in your home, considering how much time is spent there. Take a cluttered, disorganized kitchen and combine it with dirty dishes and a sticky floor, and it quickly becomes the place where happy things go to die. With these quick and easy steps, a dirty kitchen doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. Everything will have its place, and cleaning will feel easier and more satisfying.
As promised, let’s talk about storage. I mentioned extra rooms, basements, and storage closets, but many of us don’t have those luxuries. Some of us are limited on space, or just have one too many things. If you have kitchen items, such as larger appliances or holiday dish sets, that you want to keep but just don’t have room for, try storing them with a neighbor! We happen to know that there are willing neighbors near you who have plenty of space for your kitchen items–or any items! Rid your kitchen of clutter, while still keeping precious or sentimental belongings. Ready, set, organize!