Why is an organized kitchen so important? When everything is in its proper place, time is saved and things are found. This article will focus on the organizing ideas and tips for the kitchen and pantry as opposed to focusing on clearing the clutter from your kitchen. If you have a lot of items in your kitchen and not enough space, then a day of removing old and unused items may be necessary before you start creating a system of putting things in there proper places.
Ideas for the Whole Kitchen
- Labeling – if you want to keep your kitchen put together than this is a must. Labeling is the staple of all organization. How else do you or better yet, your kids, know where things go?
- Group by Purpose – just like all other organizing projects put matching items together. The obvious categories are cookware, utensils, plates/bowls, mug/glasses, etc.
- Locate by Frequency of Use – try and store items that are used daily up front, at eye level or at low elevations and store least used/special occasion items high on shelves and in back.
Pantries are like a library with food items put in categories. Possible categories to start with are oils/vinegars, canned goods, baking supplies (flours, powders, etc.), snacks food, etc.
- Helpful supplies
- Racks, shelves, etc. – this may allow for double and triple-decker stacking possibilities depending on your shelf spacing. These simple and inexpensive shelves just add to your overall pantry real estate. Put least used items in back/elevated and frequently used things at eye level and easy to get to.
- Storage containers – matching storage containers is a good idea because when you open the pantry you are amazed every time at your brilliance. Also, see through wire baskets can be used for certain things to make it easy to see and grab-go for yourself an the kids.
- Lazy Susan – probably one of the most underrated organizing items in the kitchen. Don’t let someone tell you that a circle is not good for a square because this is. The advantage of being able to easily get to all things on the Lazy Susan without a lot of removal more than makes up for the minute amount of space you give up on the sides. Plus it is easy to clean when necessary (www.realsimple.com).
- Over-the-door/On-the-door Storage – these do nothing more than give you more room in an area that would normally be useless. Things stored on the door should be frequently used items because of the ease and location.
Cabinets and Drawers
All of the cabinets, drawers, and shelves should be stocked with items that make sense with their location in the kitchen and to appliances. For instance, drawers near the stove may store cooking utensils. Pots and pans should be located near cooking areas as well. Baking pans, sheets, and the like should be stored near the oven, of course. Also, locating plastic bags, wrap, and foils near the fridge is a good idea for when leftovers are kept. Storing near the fridge also makes sense for plastic containers. Group them all by type and size and match them up with their lids.
- Helpful supplies
- Lid Racks – keep lids together so you always know where they are. If you have different styles then definitely group them but keeping them all in the same location minimizes searching. Racks can be used on shelves or hung on the sides of cabinets (internally or externally). The racks make for a nice appearance and more usable space.
- Drawer Organizers – keeping items separated when the drawers are closed saves you time. They also make for safer drawers too especially when you are dealing with knives. Have you ever rummaged through the silverware and utensil drawers and come up with a cut because you didn’t see the knife or pizza cutter facing up?
- Pull-out shelving – if it’s in your budget these allow for much easier item retrieval especially for low use items stored at the backs of shelves. It also allows for least used items to potentially be used more as they are seen more often and remembered.
Counter space is prime real estate. Remember that the counters are primarily for cooking and preparation. Some people like things left out on the counters to make it quick and easy to retrieve and others just don’t have the cabinet/pantry space to avoid counter storage. Understandably, you may have a few things out like fruit bowls and everyday appliances like coffee makers. Ideally, store as much off the counters as you can which may also help your psyche as it will always appear more organized and clean to you. If you need things out consider mounting on walls, under cabinets or counters, on the backsplash, etc.
- Helpful supplies
- Spice racks – If you are a cooker then a spice rack is a must. Having a nice looking, convenient and well contained spice area is an easy way to make your cooking go smoother and quicker. Again, label out the wazoo and alphabetize.
- Retractable book stands – Again if you are a cooker then these might be a good idea. You don’t use counter space and it goes out-of-site and under cabinets when not in use.
- Towel bars – these can be hung under cabinets or on the backsplash and can be used for hand towels, paper towels, pot holders, etc.
Other Kitchen Ideas
- Cookbook storage – open shelves are a good idea here if wall/counter/cabinet space is available. These books should be organized amongst themselves to allow for easy retrieval based on cooking type. If you have a lot of personal recipes from online books or from your grandmother consider creating your own flip through cookbook or 3-ring binder. Tab recipes by food style or any other categorization system that makes since and easy for you. Also, go through books and toss out the ones that you haven’t opened in years.
- Trash can storage – If you don’t like seeing your trash can and want more floor space then consider installing a trash can under the cabinets or counter. This may help to contain the smell as well as the sight.
- Plastic/Grocery Shopping bags – these can be stored behind doors (pantry, cabinet, etc.). Storing bags inside bags cuts down on clutter.